April 25, 2010
It's hard to feel sorry for Norah Jones: At 31, she's already sold more records than most artists will over a lifetime, and despite her soccer-mom appeal, she's retained a kind of cool-musician cachet, collaborating in recent years with Bright Eyes, Beck and the Beastie Boys. In an unsteady music industry, hers is a success story with both commercial and creative dimensions. Still, on Friday night at the Orpheum Theatre, where Jones played a sold-out date on her current U.S. tour, your heart went out to the singer a little bit when her promise to "go back in time" to her early work earned a more enthusiastic reaction than did the new songs that preceded it. Jones opened the show with a long stretch of material from last year's "The Fall" — moody, groove-based tunes such as "Chasing Pirates" and "Even Though," in which she projected a soulfulness and a devotion to rhythm largely absent from her first three albums.
December 23, 2009 |
Perhaps not since "The Godfather: Part II" have we seen a sequel come along that more than matches the mastery of the film that came before it -- all the pathos, the brio, the epic sweep. . . . the cheese balls. I'm referring, as you no doubt have guessed, to "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel," which builds on the wit, the whimsy and the shredding bass that was 2007's "Alvin and the Chipmunks," the blockbuster hit that would turn the musical 'Munks into 21st century pop sensations.
September 20, 2009 |
At the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, the Monsters of Folk pounced upon bottles of Kombucha tea with an enthusiasm befitting an '80s Juicy Fruit commercial. All four members of the indie rock super group -- My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James; troubadour Conor Oberst and producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, both from Bright Eyes; and M. Ward of six lovingly crafted solo albums and the duo She & Him (with actress Zooey Deschanel) -- are devotees to the fermented elixir that most would consider an acquired taste.
April 28, 2009 |
Bob Dylan "Together Through Life" Columbia Records In "Together Through Life," the latest missive issued from his woodshed out in Malibu, the bard of America calls up some obvious influences. Bob Dylan has said this album was inspired by midcentury Chess and Sun label recordings, and indeed, the hearty ghosts of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf stomp through most tracks, with Doug Sahm and Edith Piaf stopping in for a dance or two. But John Bunyan? Leave it to Dylan to pull up some really old roots.
August 5, 2008 |
Conor Oberst "Conor Oberst" (Merge) . . Conor Oberst hasn't done an album under his own name since the dawn of his career in the early '90s, establishing his reputation as the defining songwriter of his generation since then mainly under the Bright Eyes banner. This return to his original billing doesn't signal a radical reinvention. The name tag and most of the support team (bassist Macey Taylor, guitarist Nik Freitas and Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel are the core band)
October 1, 2007 |
Conor Oberst got his first taste of a roaring crowd Saturday only a few lines into "Don't Know When but a Day is Gonna Come," the opening song of the set his band, Bright Eyes, played at the Hollywood Bowl. "They'll kill a man for what his father's done," the 28-year-old singer-songwriter hissed, following that line with an obscenely dismissive insult about said paterfamilias, and then the final blow: "I'm not him." The audience went nuts.