Friday, October 04, 2013

"480 Minutes" - SF Music Edition

This week I was whisked along at the last minute (thanks, JT!) to see Tame Impala and The Flaming Lips.  Tame Impala were excellent when they stuck to their pop songs. I can do without the 6+ minute extendo-psych freak-outs, and can almost always do without instrumentals (my take is if you have to do an instrumental live, just cover the Mister Softee jingle because (a) it will stimulate the audience's brain in a positive way and (b) be over inside a minute). Timpala kinda lost me after a long droning Phillip Glass-esque number. The Flaming Lips were The Flaming Lips which is to say they were a spectacle. Wayne was a bit more needy than usual and the set list was a little too slow-to-mid-tempo heavy for my liking, but still great entertainment. The evening was made when 80-year old Yoko Ono took the stage in an outfit rivaling Wayne's. She was helped up onto a pedestal by her son, Sean, and proceeded to shriek an entire song (with Sean holding her hand the whole time). Until that point I'd wondered why Flips drummer Kliph chose to wear a "WAR IS OVER" t-shirt…

Yoko Ono on stage with The Flaming Lips and son Sean Lennon @ Terminal 5, NYC, 10/2/13
In less fun news, I have been receiving so many boring, bland, regurgitated soft rock submissions of late that it's making me fear for the kids. What kind of future can they possibly have when, in reviews of a new album, no mention is made of the fact that one song directly rips off a million-selling hit by The Eagles.  Every review mentions this particular song, no one mentions the so-obvious-even-if-you-only-heard-the-original-once plagiarism.

Let's be honest: there's nothing new under the sun.  Most pop music released over the past 40 years has been a riff on something someone else already did, or a melding of pre-existing sounds and styles, or a direct rip-off.  Each is acceptable, as long as you (a) bring something new and interesting to the table), and/or (b) write a great pop song, and, most of all, (c) nail it.  I share in the pleasure of reliving the sounds of the past, but not all of the sounds of the past.  Some things were outright mistakes and are better off left dead (rap/rock comes immediately to mind).  Some things were meant to be disposable, and once disposed of they were not meant to be retrieved from the trash and put back on display.

Someone needs to explain to these bands that, despite the (now thankfully dwindling) hipster cache that Yacht Rock has this week, most of that non-genre was a barren musical and emotional wasteland of beige corporate money-printing product, and the Simmons Electronic Drum-powered 80s version just added some day-glo packaging and then-futuristic sounds (which ended up sounding dated before that decade ended).  Enough. Try again. Find a vein to mine that contains actual gems, a food with actual nutrients.  Carroll, Haim, Leverage Models -- I'm looking at you.

It's a bit odd that this long-simmering rant finally escaped my fingertips this week, as more than half of the bands from which will be debuting songs today are...ahem!...strongly influenced by acts that preceded them (The DirtbombsFuzz  Peace  and The Crookes  for example), not unlike Charlie Boyer and the Voyeurs last week.

During this week's 480 Minutes program we will be debuting new songs by Arctic Monkeys (Los Angeles, CA via Sheffield, England), Best Coast (Los Angeles, CA), The Crookes (Sheffield, England),  The Dirtbombs (Detroit, MI), Elf Power (Athens, GA), Ezra Furman (Evanston, IL), The Fresh & Onlys (San Francisco, CA), Fuzz (San Francisco, CA), The Herms (reissue - San Francisco, CA), Is Tropical (London, England), Kelley Stoltz (San Francisco, CA), Naked and Famous (Auckland, NZ), Peace (Birmingham, England), The Sadies (Toronto, Canada), SWiiiM (Los Angeles, CA), Wild Decade (reissue, new name - San Francisco, CA), U.S. Girls (Portland, OR), and Yuck (London, England).

Requests are encouraged during the live-hosted hours (9 a.m. - 5 p.m Eastern Time) via e-mail and IM:

e-mail: ted(at)
Yahoo IM/GoogleTalk: bagelradio
AOL/iChat: bagelradiolive

and feel free to Tweet the bands whose songs you like: @best_coast, @TheCrookes, @DirtbombsBand, @BroKnHeadphones (also Dirtbombs), @komelina (also Dirtbombs), @ezrafurman, @Freshandonlys, @ISTROPICAL, @tnaf (Naked and Famous), @PEACE4EVEREVER (Peace), @TheSadies, @WildDecade, and @Yuckband.


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