This morning the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unveiled its list of names for its voting body to consider for induction as part of the institution’s 2015 class. The ballot includes first-year eligibles Green Day and Nine Inch Nails (who per the nomination criteria released their debut records in 1989), first-time nominees the Smiths, Sting, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Bill Withers, and returning names the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Chic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Kraftwerk, the Marvelettes, N.W.A, Lou Reed, the Spinners, and War. While the organization has garnered a lot of (justified) heat for its seemingly elitist and out-of-touch view of which artists are worthy of being canonized as part of a body that honors excellent and influential rock ‘n’ roll artists (Exhibits A and B: the shocking number of times Black Sabbath and the Stooges had to be nominated before getting the nod), recent strides like an online ballot that the public can vote for and a progressively more enlightened selection of nominees (with particular consideration given to previously underrepresented genres like heavy metal and prog) have been respectable efforts to correct those shortcomings.
Latest Blog Posts
My Chemical Romance was a band that was doomed from the start. From their manic 2002 debut (I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love) to their final escape off into the sunset (Danger Days), MCR always sounded like a steam engine careening off of a cliff. Lead singer and showman Gerard Way’s unhinged vocal style felt fresh out of an asylum, complimenting his macabre, twisted imagery. The band never quite fit into any genre or anywhere in general. And that was perfectly fine by them.
Eternally the outsiders, My Chemical Romance always played by their own rules above all else. Constantly slapped with the “emo” categorization (a label that the band particularly loathed), My Chemical Romance were in reality the spirit of punk rock incarnate. Their identity was in perpetual flux (particularly during the latter part of their careers), re-envisioning themselves for every album, never content to stay the same. They shoved the very boundaries of what “punk” could mean.
Last month, Kate Bush’s return to the stage at London’s Hammersmith Apollo for the first time in 35 years was a long-awaited event, to put it mildly. Since her first pirouette onto the music scene in 1978 when she was only 19, Bush has astonished and fascinated her listeners. She is an enigma—a Mother Nature-like figure spinning in leotards or dancing in kaftans while singing in a voice that has made her an icon.
Bush not only has a cult-like following of dedicated fans, she is a musician’s musician. Coinciding with her live show, the BBC released a documentary titled Running Up That Hill, which aired late last month. In the film, an impressive list of musicians including David Gilmore, Peter Gabriel, John Lydon, Elton John, Tricky, and Tori Amos sing Bush’s accolades and discuss how she has influenced their music. Even writers chime in: Neil Gaiman calls her voice “absolutely otherworldly“, and author Katherine Angle describes her style aptly when she observes that Bush not only stretches out her voice but also stretches “the pop form“.
When you really think about the group’s music, there’s a lot about Interpol not to like. Be it the consistent post-punk cribbing or the monotonous delivery of its albums, all of which are cut from the same cloth, it’s easy to dismiss its members as hipsters of the highest order. (I have one friend who cringes at the first note that singer Paul Banks utters.) Interpol can be labeled as “the” quintessential New York indie band, the one that exploded on the scene with its debut, Turn on the Bright Lights, in 2002 to immediate acclaim and a built-in audience. But times change and sustainability is not a capital that most “it” bands are able to trade in fruitfully. Despite all of the odds against it, Interpol managed an almost-hat-trick with its first three albums; Turn on the Bright Lights,, Antics, and Our Love to Admire, respectively. The ensemble’s fourth LP, the self-titled Interpol was deemed a mediocre affair, at least critically, that culminated with founding bassist Carlos Dengler leaving the band and casting its immediate future in a wavering light.
In 2014, alternative rock is a standard fixture of the musical landscape. This is an era where Coldplay regularly placing near the top of the pop charts, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers filling stadiums, Radiohead and Arcade Fire racking up Grammy Award nominations, and Nirvana essentially being begged to be honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are normal, even expected, occurrences. One not even need look beyond PopMatters itself for confirmation, for like any other current critical publication online or off-, a sizable percentage of new rock releases reviewed will originate from the alternative/indie spectrum due to sheer volume and the ubiquity of the style.
// Notes from the Road
"With vibrant performances by artists including St. Vincent and TV on the Radio, the first half of the bi-annual Boston Calling Festival brought additional excitement to Memorial Day weekend.READ the article