Two of my strongest passions in life are history and music. When they come together it’s like my birthday. In fact, today, September 30 is my birthday. So, I did a little digging and came up with some historic moments in music on this day.
Below are some events that took place on September 30 – there are plenty more but these stood out to me. And below this list is a playlist I put together including the artists mentioned, in the order they appear. Yes, Skynyrd is in there but don’t worry – no Freebird. All you musicians out there, do something historic today or any other September 30, so I can include you on this list next time.
1942 Dewey Martin, drummer of Buffalo Springfield was born. Reached fame with the war protest song “For What It’s Worth.”
1950 “Grand Ole Opry” makes its radio debut.
1965 Donovan made his US television debut on Shindig! along with The Hollies, The Turtles and the Dave Clark Five.
1974 Cops are called when Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blue Oyster Cult get into a fight at a concert.
1984 Kiss kicks off a 14-date UK tour at the Brighton Centre.
1987 Roy Orbison records “A Black And White Night,” a television special produced by T-Bone Burnett featuring all kinds of crazy talent: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits, K.D. Lang and Bonnie Raitt, among others. If you’ve never seen it – buy it right now. It’s a Sound Citizen must-have.
1988 John Lennon gets his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
1993 Kate Pierson of The B-52′s gets charged with criminal mischief and trespassing during an anti-fur rally in New York.
2007 Foo Fighters reach the #1 spot on UK charts with Echoes Silence Patience & Grace.
What separates simple bands from true artists is the willingness to step out on the edge, to take risks and create something new. Here at Sound Citizen we’ve long been touting the brilliance of The Black Keys and now they’re giving us yet another reason to get excited: BlakRoc. Produced by hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, BlakRoc came together in Brooklyn, New York over the course of 11 days.
Supergroups seem to be the flavor of the day – with new bands like The Dead Weather, Them Crooked Vultures and Monsters of Folk (set to release today, Saturday, September 22) being some of the latest installments. But most supergroups stay within the framework of their collective genre. Not BlakRoc. This collaboration takes The Black Keys and adds some of hip-hop’s biggest talents – Mos Def, RZA, Raekwon, Luda, NOE, Billy Danze, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and the incomparable Q-Tip, among others. And while you might not think blues, rock and hip-hop would make the best combination, it kind of makes sense. At the very least, when you put great talent together, more often than not you’re going to get something quite interesting.
“The Black Keys are about real music and all these other people that came through are really good at what they do,” Dash explained to XXL magazine. “We didn’t know what it was gonna be, we just knew that we just liked making music.”
What’s the result? See for yourself in the video below. The full album is available now for pre-order on both CD and vinyl and will release in stores on November 27.
While iTunes is the clear leader in the music download space (at least legally) it has one major flaw. It’s those pesky 30-second previews. That’s 30 measly seconds to decide if a song is worth a dollar or more. Good songs are so much more than 30 seconds – not to mention entire albums.
Well, Lala.com has your back. They have more than 7 million songs in their catalog and you can stream any of them once in their entirety, for free. The same goes for albums. Yep, listen to an entire album for free before spending a dime. And that’s not all:
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No website offers a way to listen to and buy music like Lala. Where iTunes holds you hostage, Lala sets you free.
Rodrigo y Gabriela have released their third studio album titled 11:11 (recorded in Ixtapa, Mexico) and it’s poised to make their current tour (dates listed below) one of the hottest live tickets this fall. If you’re not yet familiar with them, here’s the short version of the story: The duo met in Mexico in a thrash metal band. They soon moved to Ireland and, as a matter of convenience, switched to acoustic so they could tour the pubs without hauling heavy gear. Then they found their sound – a mix of rock, metal and Spanish-style guitar. It’s just the two of them, no percussion. What you hear that sounds like drums is them slapping, knocking and pounding on their guitars. It’s mesmerizing.
So what can you expect from the new album? They keep with the stuff that earned Rodrigo y Gabriela a loyal following but are clearly growing and exploring new territory. There are some new sounds teased in an earlier U.S. tour stop, like the distortion in “Buster Voodoo” ala Jimi Hendrix – all recreated on stage with no loops, no back-door tricks. Some other influences Rodrigo y Gabriela list on this album include Carlos Santana, Hendrix, Paco De Lucia, Pink Floyd and Pantera lead guitarist Dimebag Darrell.
We saw Rodrigo y Gabriela in Milwaukee this summer and it was easily one of the best shows of the year. Check out the footage. And don’t miss them when they come through town. It’s as must-see as it gets. I’ve also included a video of one of their new songs I found on YouTube, “Hanuman.”
JET also released an album this week titled Shaka Rock and it sucks. So, I’m not going to spend much time on it. Basically, JET hit their high-water mark when they had that iPod commercial for “Are You Gonna Be My Girl,” and they’ve been going downhill ever since. They’re boring and sound uninspired. It feels like they’re attempting to break out of their early mold, but instead dig themselves a deeper hole. Listening through the new album, I was reminded of 80′s Great White. No kidding. About the only use I see for JET anymore is a beginners level song on Rock Band.
Rodrigo y Gabriela, “Hanuman” live at Festival Eurockéennes