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by Ashley Cooper

2 Oct 2009

In 1994, Madonna made a historic appearance on the Dave Letterman show. The host was flabbergasted as Madonna cursed, used sexual innuendos repeatedly, and decided that she would not leave the set in an effort to rebel against American television. As a result, ratings went through the roof, the censors had their hands full, and many were worried about the Material Girl’s mental state.

Fast-forward fifteen years to 2009. The two have since buried the hatchet, and Madonna appeared on the Letterman show again to promote her CD, Celebration. This time around, she was able to remind her fans of the refined woman that she has evolved into, while still keeping the laughs appropriate for late-night television. The appearance concluded with Madonna and Letterman sharing a slice of New York-style pizza, which the singer had somehow managed to avoid her whole life.

by Tommy Marx

2 Oct 2009

In some ways, a one-hit wonder is in the eye of the beholder (or more accurately, the memory). A-Ha peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “The Sun Always Shines on TV”, a great song that spent four months on the chart. But most people only remember “Take on Me” (and the phenomenal video that accompanied it), so A-Ha is mistakenly thought to be a one-hit wonder. Vanilla Ice fared no better. “Play That Funky Music” was on the chart for four months and peaked at #4, but the song was overshadowed by the enormous success of “Ice Ice Baby”, so he too is often labeled a one-hit wonder.

This bothers me. The geek part of me cringes when Katrina and the Waves, for instance, is labeled a one-hit wonder. They actually had three Top 40 hits, “Walking on Sunshine”, “Do You Want Crying”, and “That’s the Way”. And my love for music makes me feel sad that radio stations (and as a result, listeners) have completely forgotten that “Real, Real, Real” was almost as huge a hit as “Right Here, Right Now” for Jesus Jones and was, in fact, a great song too.

So today I want to talk about so-called one-hit wonders who actually had more than one hit. There are literally hundreds of singers and groups who are remembered primarily for the one hit among many that lived on, from the Angels (“My Boyfriend’s Back” was just one of four Top 40 hits for the female pop trio) to Spandau Ballet (“True” peaked at #4, but “Gold” and “Only When You Leave” were also Top 40 hits in the US). I thought it would be interesting to talk about “one-hit wonders” who released successful songs I personally liked more than the hits they’re remembered for.

by Faye Rasmussen

2 Oct 2009

The Black Lips have released their fourth video from 200 Million Thousand, titled “Let It Grow”.  The band chose director Matt Dilmore to film the video using the Vidster, a late ‘90s toy camera, to create a unique effect incomparable in resolution to today’s hi-def standards. 

To follow up on their summer festival appearances at NXNE, Athfest, Pitchfork, and the Capitol Hill Block Party, the Black Lips have planned a fall tour at select cities:

TOUR DATES
10/09/09 Austin, TX @ Mohawk
10/17/09 Portland, OR @ Scion Garage Fest
10/28/09 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
10/29/09 Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
10/30/09 Memphis, TN @ Young Ave Deli
10/31/09 New Orleans, LA @Voodoo Experience

by Allison Taich

2 Oct 2009

An audience of loyal Chicago fans patiently awaited Built to Spill to take stage at the Vic Theater last Saturday night.  Introducing their set was Chicago’s native rock poet Thax Douglas, who wrote an original piece entitled “Built to Spill Poem #7.”  After the band took the stage, and after tuning and gear fiddling, guitarist Brett Nelson interjected an apology: “Hey, sorry we’re fucking around, you know, taking for ever.  I’m sorry.  We’re gonna do it! Let’s do it!”

The group—Doug Martsch on guitars and vocals, Brett Nelson on guitar, Jim Roth on guitar, Brett Netson on bass, and Scott Plouf on drums—started their set on the mellow side with the new track “Oh Yeah,” followed by more tuning, and the old-school, melodic, up-tempo piece “In the Morning.”  By the forth song, “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss,” the band was content with their intonation and ready to give Chicago their all.  As people nodded, swayed, bopped and sang along to the music their expressions were nothing but smiles of approval and joy.

The set list covered the span of Built to Spill’s career (16 years and counting,) including “Oh Yeah” and “Hindsight,” both off of their upcoming release There is No Enemy, due out October 6th.  Some tracks were kept brief, while others strayed into extended, intricate jams—the most notable was encore “Conventional Wisdom,” which lasted a good half-hour before the band brought it to an end.  The entire time stage lights matched the music’s intensity, becoming brighter during build-ups and peaks, only to fade out as the musicians backed off.  Closing the show with “You Were Right” brought down the house. 

The band’s beautiful melodies and intricate guitar playing were ideal for filling and warming the theatre’s small, more enclosed, setting.  They could not have played a more perfect venue.  But what was most impressive was how Marsch, Nelson and Roth complimented and layered their guitar parts into one unifying sound.

When the performance ended both band and audience thanked each other for a stellar evening.  In the most modest of fashions band members broke down their own gear, sans roadies, taking time to mingle with fans.  They enthusiastically passed out set-lists and guitar picks upon request, and dutifully signed ticket stubs and any other concert paraphernalia handed to them.  Not just a great band, they were also a class act.

Set List
“Built to Spill Poem #7” (Thax Douglas)
1. Oh Yeah
2. In the Morning
3. The Plan
4. Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
5. Hindsight
6. Wherever You Go
7. Reasons
8. Three Years Ago
9. Sidewalk
10. Timetrap
11. One Thing
12. Stab

Encore:
13. Car
14. Conventional Wisdom
15. You Were Right

by Ashley Cooper

2 Oct 2009

On a nonspecific afternoon, comedian Chris Rock was spending time with his daughter. The little girl, who recently admired the hair of her Caucasian friend, turned to her father and asked, “Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?”

The question inspired Chris Rock, along with director Jeff Stilson, to travel to hair salons, barbershops, and trade shows to ask haircare professionals, clients, barbers, and beauticians alike to share their stories and definitions of “good hair” in an effort to educate himself enough to be able to respond to his daughter’s question.

In his travels, Rock manages to keep the conversation educational and humorous. He speaks to regular Janes and Joes, and also talks to celebrities—such as Ice-T, Al Sharpton, Paul Mooney, and Dr. Maya Angelou—to get their perspective on what “good hair” is, how it can be attained, and if it’s a realistic goal to have. The film will hit select theaters on October 9th, with a wide releasing coming October 23rd.

//Mixed media
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