To say Lauryn Hill kept a low profile in the previous decade is one of the biggest understatements in rock. As years have gone by since her iconic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Hill’s mystique just grows larger. During a segment on NPR’s All Things Considered, reporter Zoe Chase discusses the impact of Hill’s 1998 classic as well as the weird rumors that have risen about the singer’s behavior (not allowing people to look her in the eye when they’re speaking with her?). However, this routine profile takes a huge left-field turn when Chase is invited to ride along with Lauryn Hill.
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To loosely paraphrase the lead singer for the Church, the best and worst things about a band member’s solo career is that there is no one looking over their shoulder saying “you probably shouldn’t do that”. And with that, welcome to Steve Kilbey’s solo career, an impressive display of creativity branching from the man’s already-exploratory space-psych day job. Even when allowing someone of Kilbey’s stature the mandatory indulgences of going it alone, it’s plain to see that this man will never run out of ideas. And to anyone who wants to play catch-up in one fell swoop can spring for his breathtaking new box set Monsters n Mirages.
Included in the package is Unearthed, Earthed (the all-instrumental companion to Kilbey’s book of the same title), The Slow Crack coupled with his debut single This Asphalt Eden, Remindlessness, Narcosis + EP, Dabble (which at one time seemed to go out of print suspiciously fast, Artifacts (a previously unreleased collection of rarities), and Freaky Conclusions. That’s eight CDs in all. All that’s missing is the unplugged performance Acoustic & Intimate and 2008’s spacey, monstrous and relentlessly tuneful Painkiller.
If the price tag intimidates you, then you can head on over to Amazon.com and put together a groovy 35-minute sampler for free. “The Neverness Hoax” will give you a clear idea as to why, in 1990, Kilbey was a little more excited about his side projects than the Church. With the re-sequencing of The Slow Crack, the anthem-in-waiting “Fireman” is the first to greet the listener in all its three-chord glory. Even “This Is Goodbye”, a demo buried in obscurity for possibly a very long time, has all the Kilbey hallmarks one finds through early Church songs; an unassuming place where mystery and the great outdoors meet, and you never can quite articulate the reasons why you like and/or identify with it. Experimental pop that deserves a wider audience than just Church fans, Steve Kilbey’s solo career is great because no one was there to mess with it all along.
Patti Smith joined the Sicilian singer-songwriter Carmen Consoli to perform Consoli’s “Mio Zio”(My Uncle) in Turin, Italy. The song, from Consoli’s latest album, Elettra, is a first-person narrative of a young woman who, at her uncle’s funeral, recalls the sexual abuse he inflicted on her when she was a child. Consoli’s narrator remembers how her uncle called the abuse blind man’s bluff and riding a carousel. Patti picks up on Carmen’s imagery and riffs on it brilliantly. She knows what Italy’s known for years and the rest of the world is finding out—Carmen Consoli is one of the most distinctive artists on the international scene.
While some might find this skit offensive, saying that it is making light of the BP oil spill disaster, I would argue that is hardly the point. Instead, this focuses on generic vs. brand name dish detergent, (No, there really isn’t a brand named Daybreak) and trying to explain something to a cheapskate fish.
The morning crew of Chicago’s WGN news station dubbed over old footage of the ‘60s kids’ show Diver Dan in order to create this, probably inspired by Dawn commercials that mention the detergent’s use in oil spill clean-up. The voices are all done by local comedian Mike Toomey.
Unfortunately, one of the fish says, “What the hell?” at one point, so this probably isn’t suitable for kids. Other than that, the only real issue here is whether or not the owners of the original Diver Dan could sue them for copyright infringement, but that seems hardly likely.
I don’t have the slightest idea what would make a local news station team up with a professional comedian in order to create this, but let’s hope they keep it coming.