"Four Dead in O-HI-O." "Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s." "We got a kinder, gentler machine-gun hand." "Time is runnin' out, let's roll." "I'm living with war every day." Neil Young has never been one to pull punches either socially or politically.
On The Ricky Gervais Show (audible.com and itunes.com), Gervais (right, center) and Stephen Merchant (in glasses) - cocreators of the brilliant BBC series The Office and Extras - are joined by offbeat comedian Karl Pilkington for one of the most irreverent half hours you'll ever spend.
Neil Finn is a restless soul. Though the New Zealand–bred singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist has long mastered the craft of concocting melodic gems—Split Enz’s “I Got You,” Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” his solo single “She Will Have Her Way”—he continues to search for ways to shake up song arrangements and their ensuing sonic character while still managing to keep everything eminently hummable. By teaming up with longtime Flaming Lips sonic alchemist/producer Dave Fridmann to co-turn the knobs for his third solo album, Dizzy Heights, Finn plants a stylistic flag that whips together a heady mixture of stark minimalism and ethereally dramatic effects.
Could there be a better name for the first all-new Monkees studio album in 20 years than Good Times? Produced and mixed by Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne, Tinted Windows), Good Times! teems with vintage energy from all four Monkees — including the late Davy Jones. Good Times! is the perfect soundtrack to accompany the band’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year, which also include having the TV show appear for the first time on Blu-ray (The Monkees: The Complete Series) and a tour featuring Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork (and sometimes Michael Nesmith, schedule permitting). Recently, I sat down with Nesmith, 74, in New York to discuss his songwriting influences, his sonic goals for his Good Times! contributions, and The Monkees’ enduring legacy.
When I saw Nirvana play Roseland Ballroom in New York City in July 1993, it was three months before the release of In Utero, the band’s explosive follow-up to the game-changing Nevermind. The balls-out, frenzied new songs I heard that night foreshadowed In Utero’s raw power. And this 20th anniversary Super Deluxe Edition not only reconfirms the depth of Kurt Cobain’s tragic genius, it also reminds our collective ear that alternative-rock icons could sound great too, despite the somewhat misleading lo-fi tag hung on the grunge movement.