By now you've probably heard all about that Facebook satire button for folks who can't tell reliable sources from fake news. Well, it doesn't work in real life, but that's not always such a bad thing, as a bunch of Jack White fans in London found out back on July 3. As reported by The Guardian, uneasy fans responded to calls and texts luring them into a spooky, rundown hospital building in central London, purported to be the headquarters of Vescovo & Co., where expert members of the immersive-theater troupe Punchdrunk put on a mock epidemic outbreak for their benefit.
Playing along with the gag, White and band appeared and performed a short set, which ended with a convulsing White being hauled off on a stretcher. The above "security camera" footage was "salvaged" and released just today, teased by Third Man Records on their Facebook page (see the message from "Nurse Nancy Hopper" block-quoted after the jump). The whole spiel is a clever play on the theme of White's new chart-topping LP Lazaretto, for sure. The timing seems a bit coincidental, considering the current Ebola epidemic, but the concert did indeed go down before news of the outbreak began to make national headlines a few weeks ago.
Did someone forget to tell me? Is Aug. 19 National Covers Day? It certainly seems that way. News has wafted our way today that a whole slew of locally residing artists — as well as artists who are locally significant, whether or not they pitch their tent here — have issued covers of some exceptionally good songs. You've got: Jim James, Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and others working some old Bob Dylan lyrics into a new song; Gillian Welch and her longtime collaborator Dave Rawlings covering Johnny Cash; Electric Würms taking on The Beatles; and Natalie Prass getting her Janet Jackson on. Follow me after the jump to hear all the goods.
Below are the three "best" boy band videos out there, as arbitrarily decided by me, PLUS a special bonus video that you should all watch, learn and enjoy. Kick it!
In the few minutes before Tori Amos’ show kicked off, the P.A. washed the Ryman’s pews in the warm glow of Led Zeppelin’s greatest hits. This struck The Spin as an interesting choice on a couple of levels. On one hand, it might have been a gesture to the middle-aged husbands in the audience: “I know this isn’t how you would normally choose to spend your Monday night, so here’s something a little more your speed.” On the other hand, it underlined the pronounced hard, sharp edge on Amos’ work. Like Zeppelin — simultaneously an incredible rock band and the very banal definition of “classic rock,” not to mention unrepentant plunderers of the blues’ treasure chest — Amos is sometimes at odds with her image. Musically or lyrically, she’s never been the featherweight that the popular recollection of Lilith Fair sometimes makes her out to be. Her legion of superfans know this well, but after nearly 25 years in the limelight, would Amos feel the need to do more than preach to the choir?
If you missed out on either of those, don't worry — the FMRL dudes have plenty more up their sleeves, starting with a super-spooky show tonight. As Dark Tips, Jessica Pavone and Raquel Bell — whose respective backgrounds in art music and theater are put to good use in their music — perform a series of improvisations for viola, organ and voice that make even the cute kitten picture they're paired with kind of unnerving. See the Soundcloud embed after the jump and you'll understand what I'm talking about. Then, Haint Whoop make their debut performance. That's the astounding Evan Lipson on upright bass and percussion pro Bob Stagner, both of whom are active in the burgeoning Chattanooga arts scene.
It's a school night, so the show kicks off early at 8 p.m. You can snag tickets at the door for $10, or get them early for $7 at FMRL's website. News you can use: If you head to the site, you'll find a handy map that shows you how to get to the correct parking lot, which is conveniently located right outside the Bistro's door. Keep your eye on the Facebook event page for updates.
Today, America’s sweetheart with the unlucky lucky number announced she’ll pay tribute to the year of her birth by titling her fifth studio album — the follow-up to 2012's multi-platinum juggernaut Red — 1989 (cover art above). Whether all the notable, aforementioned events of late-‘80s history will be represented in the “Mean” singer’s latest solipsistically titled compendium of empowering kiss-off songs remains to be seen, or rather heard.
"Well, lately things have been a little complicated," sings local country songster Sturgill Simpson in the opening line of "Life of Sin," a standout track from this year's much-talked-about Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. You can say that again, Sturgill.
While we've seen Simpson and his crack band play "Life of Sin" on more than one occasion — most notably on a recent episode of The Late Show With David Letterman — the performance you can see above is particularly noteworthy. LR Baggs (a company that makes acoustic pickups, microphones, preamps and more) shot and recorded this rendition of "Life of Sin" in RCA Studio A, which has of course been in the news a lot lately. Like, a whole lot. The building that houses the historic studio became something of a political football this summer after Ben Folds (who rents space in the building) wrote an open letter expressing his concern that he might have to vacate the building. That ultimately led to a series of open letters back and forth between Folds and Harold Bradley (brother of country legend Owen Bradley and longtime co-owner of the building), before developer Tim Reynolds officially bought the place and Folds decided to move out. Reynolds has said that he plans to "preserve and incorporate the studio" into whatever design he and his firm come up with for the building that houses RCA Studio A, but who knows whether or not bands will continue to track and perform there.
"I wanted to capture a more reflective, softer, intimate side of the song," Simpson tells Rolling Stone Country in regard to the above performance. He's clearly a fan of the space. "I'm not sure how much of that was the influence of the room or my own short attention span." Good stuff. Give the performance a look, and cross your fingers that this isn't the last we see and hear out of RCA Studio A.
Show of hands: Who here caught Jerry Lee Lewis' 2011 appearance at Third Man Records? According to The Spin, the then-75-year-old Killer sounded killer with a "rich, aged-like-wine croon" as he plowed through classics like “I Wish I Was Eighteen Again,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire." By all accounts, it was a pretty special appearance, with a backup band that featured the legendary likes of Steve Cropper, Kenny Lovelace and Jim Keltner, not to mention in-demand Nashville resident (and bassist for The Greenhornes, City and Colour, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, among others) “Little” Jack Lawrence. Also, star of stage and screen Edward James Olmos was there, and considering the fact that I was making my way through the Battlestar Galactica reboot at the time, it all felt a bit like a strange but overall totally rad dream.
Anyway, what's my point? This: Folks who either missed or want to relive The Killer's 2011 Music City performance will have another chance just a month-and-a-half from now. Jerry Lee Lewis will play the Mother Church of Country Music on Saturday, Oct. 4, as a part of his official 80th Birthday Tour. Tickets for that will run you between $49 and $95, and they go on sale this Friday, Aug. 22, at 10 a.m. via this link. According to a release, "Lewis is set to release both his album Rock & Roll Time and Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, a memoir co-authored with Rick Bragg, on Oct. 28, 2014. The album title track 'Rock & Roll Time' was originally co-written recorded by Kris Kristofferson in 1974."
Speaking of Kris Kristofferson, you may recall that he'll be playing the Ryman just three weeks before JLL stops in. And speaking of all these legends, Loretta Lynn will play a two-night-stand at the Mother Church just a week after Lewis. Let's just call it the Autumn of Awesome Octogenarians (and Near-Octogenarians), shall we? And since we were just talking about The Johnny Cash Show, which was filmed at the Ryman from 1969 to 1971, watch Lewis' 1970 Cash Show performance of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" above.
On a set equal parts hunting lodge and Space Age bachelor pad, Cash — through a broad, genre-spanning series of top-shelf guests from one of the most fertile eras of popular music — proved himself not just a country connoisseur, but a savant-like musicologist across the board, week after week from 1969 to 1971.
ABC canceled the kick-ass series after two seasons due to “rural purge” — when the nation’s television networks cut down on shows skewed toward older or rural folks like wheat before the sickle. Though, rather tragically, the cancellation came before the era of AM radio and ‘70s album rock, which probably would have taken it to the next level, the short-lived series did run 58 episodes, leaving behind a trove of genuinely unique performance clips, many of which are spirited, strange-bedfellow duets with the host in black.
You could seriously spend all day (and I have) binge-watching these gems on YouTube. Below are 19 must-see classic clips of Cash cracking jokes, championing and dueting with legends ranging from Eddie Albert to Odetta.
In the 2013 documentary Hello Everywhere, director Sam Jones follows two bands — Passion Pit and L.A. trio Wildcat! Wildcat! — as both make their way to a gig at SXSW. Passion Pit’s road-weary outlook contrasts starkly with Wildcat! Wildcat!’s bright-eyed enthusiasm, which makes perfect sense considering Wildcat! Wildcat! wasn’t meant to last beyond one initial show. But if the band’s exposure has snowballed quickly, its members have responded on their feet by taking the reins of their now-shared career path. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the trio’s highly polished new full-length debut No Moon at All contains nary a trace of naivete — no small feat considering that Wildcat! Wildcat! hadn’t even recorded in a formal studio setting beforehand. Produced by M83’s Morgan Kibby, No Moon both defines and significantly expands on the bright, harmony-rich pop that sparked such a strong audience response in the first place.
Tonight's show at The High Watt starts at 9 p.m. and costs $10. Marley Carroll will open.
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