December 13, 2008 |
The downfall of Soviet Communism took 70 years, but "Chinese Democracy" appears to be in jeopardy after just two weeks. The Guns N' Roses album that was 17 years in the making climbed only as high as No. 3 when it debuted on the national sales chart. It has tumbled to No. 18 in its second week of release. That's a disturbing sign for the most expensive to produce album ever in rock, the cost once estimated at $13 million.
December 8, 2008 |
A day after hauling in seven Grammy nominations, Coldplay should've been celebrating. Instead, band members were served with a copyright infringement lawsuit last week that claims they ripped off guitarist Joe Satriani to write their hit "Viva La Vida."
November 22, 2008 |
After a decade and a half in the making, the release of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy" has everything a good rock 'n' roll myth needs. There's bitterness, as leader Axl Rose is the only original member left standing. There's excess, as the album's cost seems to escalate with each media story, but there's no question millions of dollars have been spent. And there's an enigmatic artist at the helm, one many critics and hard rock fans agree is a genius. There's only one thing missing: An artist to sell it. It's been a 17-year wait since the last Guns N' Roses album with new material, and the biggest questions -- why now and why link with a major retailer?
November 8, 2008 |
President Hugo Chavez has made a show-business appearance singing on a new compilation of revolutionary songs released by his United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Chavez, who is prone to belting out folk songs during his frequent TV appearances, sings an ode to a 19th century rebel leader on the album, "Battle Music," released to coincide with the last weeks of campaigning to elect governors and mayors. His familiar baritone rolls over a traditional harp-led joropo backing in the song, which praises the exploits of Maisanta, a rebel from whom Chavez says he is descended.
October 25, 2008 |
For Tom Gabel, the singer and guitarist of the Gainesville, Fla., punk band Against Me!, voicing dissent is less a means of changing the political tide than trying to find his own place in it. His band's 2007 LP, "New Wave," was a pop-savvy punch in the eye to not only America's foreign misadventures but also to the efficacy of protest music and the cynicism of both lovers and the music business. However, Gabel's new solo record, "Heart Burns," due out Tuesday, saves its sharpest knives for Sen.
October 20, 2008 |
It's nearly Halloween, and pop's favorite demons are coming out to say "Boo!" Guns N' Roses (i.e., Axl N' others) seem committed to a November release for "Chinese Democracy," the album that's been in the making since the dudes in Hinder were in grade school. And now there's fresh music from a project that's not as long delayed but nearly as anticipated -- Eminem's upcoming return, the Dr. Dre-produced "Relapse," of which a track is available for streaming via the Fader website. The track, "I'm Having a Relapse," is the first taste of the Detroit rapper's return to mayhem.
October 17, 2008 |
Recordings by Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who died six years ago, will be released as a solo album on Nov. 11. The album features a collection of songs Lopes recorded but never released, family friend Jay Marose said. Lopes, who was part of the hit '90s group TLC, was killed in a car crash in Honduras on April 25, 2002. Proceeds from the album will benefit Lopes' foundation, which aims to build orphanages and schools in Honduras, Marose said.
September 27, 2008 |
National Public Radio listeners can get an early listen to "Tell Tale Signs," the latest release in the "Bootleg Series" of Bob Dylan archival releases. The album will be released Oct. 7, but NPR will begin streaming the album for free listening starting Tuesday, a week early, on its website, www.npr.org. It's the first time NPR has offered a pre-release album stream. -- Randy Lewis
September 17, 2008 |
Bear Family Records' remarkable new release, "Let Me Be Your Sidetrack: The Influence of Jimmie Rodgers," makes a persuasive argument that Rodgers is one of the most important figures in the history of country music. According to the liner notes for the six-disc boxed set released last week, 102 of the 109 songs Rodgers did in the late 1920s and early 1930s were later recorded by other artists -- a 94% "cover ratio" unmatched by any other country singer-songwriter, including Hank Williams.
September 1, 2008 |
Ol' Blue eyes did it his way -- and so now has Michael Feinstein. When he began kicking around ideas recently for a new album, the singer and recording artist who carries a torch for the Great American Songbook initially dismissed a suggestion that he do a Frank Sinatra tribute. There were too many on the market already, he thought, and most simply copied legendary performances, sometimes note for note. Why bother? But then Feinstein, who is also a music historian and curator, came up with a novel idea: Why not make an album of classic pop standards that Sinatra never got around to recording during his golden years in the 1950s at Capitol Records on Hollywood and Vine?