For Your Consideration
I believe you read as good an argument as there is for putting LL COOL J in the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in this space on Thursday, courtesy REDEF CEO/guest curator JASON HIRSCHHORN, who I nominate to actually do the inducting should LL be voted in. If you're still holding onto your ballot, please also consider: CAROLE KING's TAPESTRY is up there with THRILLER and SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER as one of those albums that so dominated popular culture that it can be hard to imagine there was a time when it didn't exist. It's easy to take it for granted, which is perhaps why King, who the Hall long ago honored for her previous career as half of the GOFFIN/KING pop songwriting factory, has never made it in for her solo work, which continued at a ridiculously high level of singing, songwriting and performing (I mean, come on) long afterward. Or maybe voters don't like women?... Before she became Twitter's favorite adult, before she was TV's infomercial queen, before she fronted a ridiculous superstar assemblage on one of the biggest charity singles of the 1980s (no not that one, though she appeared on that one, too), before the BEE GEES discovered her, before before before, DIONNE WARWICK was the voice of one of the most ridiculous runs of sophisticated pop singles in the '60s, or any decade (I mean, come on), and she belongs on a sophisticated plaque in a sophisticated wing of a certain building in Cleveland. So much pop history flows through her voice... Rock and jazz and funk influenced FELA KUTI influenced rock and jazz and funk in ways you can feel in your body as much as you can hear in your head, whether it's coming through TALKING HEADS or BRIAN ENO or BOOTSY COLLINS or countless other borrowers (and thieves) of Fela's spirit. Says Bootsy: "On Minimoogs, they’ve got an oscillator that you don’t really get to hear, but you feel it; that’s what was going on in Fela’s rhythms and the music. If nothing else, they should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for that." Plus, that time he owned PAUL MCCARTNEY. Fela, who wasn't so much a protest singer as he was a protest human, very obviously isn't actually getting into the Hall—unless people actually vote for him, which is why you should actually vote for him... Early in their 2020 documentary, the GO-GO'S make their own case in simple, broad, obvious terms: "We are the first all-girl band that wrote their own material and played their own instruments to be really successful." No one has refuted this compelling fact. Also, they did it on an indie label. And they oozed rock and roll at all times and sounded like this... Speaking of indie, two basic ways you can be independent: You can record for a label that isn't distributed by one of the multinational behemoths that control the recorded music business, or you can record for anyone you want while writing and playing anything you want, following your inner muse at all times, A&R people and radio programmers and pop and rock conventions be damned. Sometimes you might align with them and sometimes you might not. Sometimes you might just serve hot cross buns to unwitting guests. Every relentlessly individualistic artist of the past 40 years, from BJÖRK to FIONA APPLE to SOLANGE, has KATE BUSH to thank for some crucial part of what they do... Also, duh, watch the TINA TURNER documentary. If you asked me to explain what rock and roll is and how those three words can encapsulate JAMES BROWN and the ROLLING STONES and ROD STEWART and MADONNA and the NOTORIOUS B.I.G. without collapsing under the weight of the very question, I'd possibly say "if you have to ask..." or I might say "yes," or maybe just maybe I'd hand you a TINA TURNER live record and say "good question."
Dot Dot Dot
Yes it's OK to call them "vinyls." Adjectives sometimes become nouns. It's an organic expansion of language, it's clear in its meaning and it serves a purpose. You're under no obligation to use it if you don't want to. But if someone else wants to, let them be and/or steer them to the good ones if you're so inclined... I'm wondering if PAUL should cut ART in on some percentage of the sale price. Not saying he has to. Just wondering if he should. There may be other claimants, too... The GRAMMYS will be on a Monday (Jan. 31) next year, which last happened in 2016... Major summer festivals on the docket for this year, a year that's trying it's hardest to pretend everything is normal: HARD SUMMER on July 31 and Aug. 1 in San Bernardino, Calif., with a lineup including LIL DURK, FUTURE and KAYTRANADA and with tickets going on sale today, even though the fest couldn't legally take place today under California's Covid rules. BONNAROO in September, with MEGAN THEE STALLION, LIZZO, FOO FIGHTERS and LANA DEL REY among the marquee names (tickets already on sale). MONTREUX JAZZ in July, with a new socially distanced stage in the middle of Lake Geneva (no artists or ticket sales yet). Hedging their bests, organizers of the already canceled GLASTONBURY FESTIVAL are hosting a livestream featuring COLDPLAY, HAIM and others on May 22 and have applied for a permit for a new in-person event in September without yet committing to actually having it. Artists, reports the New York Times, are "itchy to perform again"... PATTI SMITH discovers Substack.
Good Friday to be specific, and this week's theme for new music, fittingly, is redemption and renewal... DEMI LOVATO's career re-setting DANCING WITH THE DEVIL: THE ART OF STARTING OVER is a companion piece, if not quite a soundtrack, to the raw YouTube documentary series of more or less the same name... Bronx rapper and XXL Freshman Class member LIL TJAY's DESTINED 2 WIN (there's a very different YouTube doc for that, too) chronicles some life obstacles of his own with the help of a hip-hop festival's worth of guest artists... After a lifetime of singing in her church choir, and more than 50 years after she fronted the Memphis group the GOSPEL SOULS, gospel singer ELIZABETH KING, age 77, releases her first solo album, LIVING IN THE LAST DAYS. Her music, like her, "contains multitudes," writes the Memphis Commercial Appeal's BOB MEHR... A suite of three ESPERANZA SPALDING songs, fittingly called TRIANGLE and aimed at post-pandemic healing, was "written in consultation with music therapists and neuroscientists" (official release date Saturday)... The NATIONAL's BRYCE DESSNER collaborates with the AUSTRALIAN STRING QUARTET on a classical album called IMPERMANENCE/DISINTEGRATION.
Today is also BANDCAMP Friday. As has become custom on the first Friday of each month, every penny you spend on Bandcamp will go directly to the artists and their partners. You can find Elizabeth King's album there as well as new music from many of these artists, also out today: KAIDI TATHAM, MYELE MANZANZA, JASIAH, SYLVAN LACUE, DRY CLEANING, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, HIT LIKE A GIRL, NO-NO BOY, LA FEMME, FLOCK OF DIMES (aka Jenn Wasner from Wye Oak), the NATVRAL (aka ex-Pains of Being Pure at Heart frontman Kip Berman), ELEVENTH DREAM DAY, RYLEY WALKER, AL RIGGS, LESLIE JORDAN, CANAAN SMITH, GARY BARTZ/ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD/ADRIAN YOUNGE, BANKROLL FREDDIE, 24HRS, MELLO MUSIC GROUP, 夢遊病者 (SLEEPWALKER), LA FEMME, MOONTYPE, MAJOR MURPHY and the FRATELLIS. (This works for all other music on Bandcamp, too.)
Rest in Peace
Jazz drummer BUDDY DEPPENSCHMIDT, whose performance on the 1962 album JAZZ SAMBA "helped launch a worldwide bossa nova boom."
MusicREDEF will be off for the next week while the curator travels for the first time in over a year to visit his all-time favorite FRANK SINATRA, BARBRA STREISAND and CLANCY BROTHERS fans... But JASON HIRSCHHORN's wide-ranging, incomparable MediaREDEF returns on Monday and you really, really should subscribe if you don't already. MusicREDEF will be back in 10 days.