Sound Opinions
Sound Opinions, being the scholarly work it is, has provided footnotes to help you navigate through the show's vast maze of musical knowledge.

Because, let's face it—sometimes even we have no idea what the heck Jim and Greg are talking about.
Songs featured in this episode
Join the Mailing List
Contact Us


04-29-06 Footnotes
Listen to the MP3 Stream of this show: (link)
Download the Podcast: (Download the MP3)

1 The first story in the news this week involves that age-old practice of “pay-for-play,” or payola, in the music industry. In recent years, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has been investigating major record labels like Sony and Warner who engaged in this practice. But now, the FCC has joined the battle against this unethical behavior by launching an investigation of the four major radio corporations: Clear Channel Communications, CBS Radio, Citadel Broadcasting and Entercom Communications. The F.C.C.'s enforcement unit is looking into accusations that broadcasters violated the law by accepting cash or other compensation in exchange for airplay of specific songs without telling listeners. Of course, per usual, the federal government is late to the game, but this investigation is an admittance of a problem. And, as we all know, that’s the first step.

2 Also making news recently are many of the major acts from the early 1990s. It seems that people are already nostalgic for the music of the alternative era, and many of the surviving bands are cashing in on it. Alice in Chains announced tour dates for this summer, despite the fact that their original lead singer, Layne Staley, died of a drug overdose in 2002. Like the members of Queen and The Doors, the surviving Alice in Chains bandmates don’t seem fazed by this loss, and will continue with the addition of Guns ‘N Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Comes With the Fall vocalist William DuVall. Incidentally, former Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Stephen Perkins will also be touring this summer under the name Panic Channel. Their lead singer, however, has not passed on. Rather, he has moved on to become the reigning impresario of what may prove to be this summer’s big moneymaker—Lollapalooza.

3 Neil Young is releasing a new album soon, and it’s already stirring up some controversy. The prolific rocker finished recording the music only days ago and will have it out at stores in a couple of weeks. Young is just coming off his last release, Prairie Wind which was featured in Jonathan Demme’s recent concert film), and on Living With War, he shifts gears completely. According to Greg, this release is a completely political, guerilla-style protest album. Young wrote and recorded songs like “Let’s Impeach the President,” in only a day as a response to the current administration and its failed war in Iraq. Jim points out that Young works well in this situation. Less than two weeks after the Kent State shootings in 1970, Young was in the studio with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and was inspired to write “Ohio.” Within a week of recording the song, people could hear it on the radio. Almost 40 years later, the classic rock icon shows no sign of slowing down his writing, or his politics.

4 Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins are also in the headlines again. Nirvana widow Courtney Love sold 25% of her share of the band’s publishing rights to Larry Mestel, a former executive at Virgin Music. She reportedly received over 50 million dollars for this settlement which should help alleviate some of Love’s financial woes, though not necessarily the woes of Nirvana fans who worry Cobain’s legacy will be boiled down to Teen Spirit ads. Smashing Pumpkins fans are also a bit curious about the fate of that band. Lead singer (and Love ex) Billy Corgan has stated that the Chicago group will reunite, but no one is quite sure in what incarnation. That really just leaves Pearl Jam, who you’ll hear about later in the show.

5 The guests this week are the members of the band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. This East Coast quintet was one of the success stories of 2005. They paid for, produced and released their self-titled debut album on the 'net without the help of a record label. Now they’ve sold over 100,000 albums and are selling out shows across the country. Even Lawrence Lessig, cyberlaw expert and previous Sound Opinions guest, cites the band as an example of how people can use the Internet to propel music. A community formed around the band—a community that was still willing to pay for their music despite the fact that it is available for free. As Jim points out, this completely contradicts what the RIAA and many in the music industry would have you believe.

6 Clap Your Hand’s lead singer Alec Ounsworth is often compared to Talking Heads lead singer David Byrne. This goes beyond just vocal quality, however. Alec mentions his love of Another Green World by groundbreaking "non-musician" Brian Eno (or Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno as his parents know him). You can hear a lot of the New Wave sound and Eno's philosophy in the band's music. Listen to the spartan, rhythmic New York sound of his song "Sombre Reptiles."

7 The band, which got its name after the members saw “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” scrawled on a Brooklyn wall, play another song from their debut album. Following, Jim sees keyboardist Robbie Guertin’s parents sitting in the Chicago Public Radio control room and reminisces about when his own mom used to come to see him play at the less than refined venues CBGB’s. He adds that Joey Ramone’s mom also used to carpool him and the rest of the band to their gigs. It seems parental support is crucial to punk rock success.

8 Bruce Springsteen came out with a new album this week, and Sound Opinions listeners know they can always count on a heated conversation when it comes to The Boss. This week’s discussion is no different. Springsteen’s album, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, is the 18th of his career. This time around, the singer pays tribute to folk artist Pete Seeger, and Jim and Greg completely disagree on whether or not it is worth your time. Greg became a Springsteen fan early on, but has been disappointed in his rock hero in recent years. However, he asserts that We Shall Overcome is Springsteen’s best album since Nebraska. He appreciates the more down-to-earth production style and political messages of the songs. He gives it a Buy It rating. Jim, on the other hand, states that this record literally makes him sick to his stomach. He has never been a Springsteen fan, but has occasionally given a favorable review to albums like Devils in Dust. He finds this Seeger tribute musically and lyrically conservative, and basically just completely pathetic. He does not want to hear Springsteen do folk songs like Froggie Went a Courtin’, and wishes that Springsteen followed in the path of Billy Bragg and Wilco, who paid homage to another folk hero, Woody Guthrie. Unlike that album, this one gets a Trash It from Mr. DeRogatis.

9 Another big rock act, Pearl Jam, also has a new record. The alternative rock giants took a number of years off, but are back with a self-titled release. Since their heyday in the early ‘90s, Pearl Jam has gone through a number of highs and lows. Yet they remain the only band from that alternative era to continue to be able to sell out rock arenas. On this album, they are trying to remain relevant with political songs like “World Wide Suicide,” but Jim and Greg only feel they half succeed. They both agree that the first half of the record rocks; however the second half is more sleepy and probably not worth your time. In addition, lead singer Eddie Vedder’s lyrics are really hard to understand, but our hosts wonder if that is necessarily a bad thing. Pearl Jam is a Burn It for both critics.

Songs Featured in Show #22

Neil Young & the Shocking Pink, “Payola Blues,” Everybody’s Rockin,’ 1983
Alice in Chains, “Man in the Box,” Facelift, 1990
Neil Young, “Let’s Impeach the President,” Living With War, 2006
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, “Ohio,” Four Way Street, 1971
Neil Young, “Families,” Living With War, 2006
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “In This Home on Ice,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 2005 Live in Studio
Brian Eno, “Sombre Reptiles,” Another Green World, 1975
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “Is this Love,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 2005 Live in Studio
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, “Details of the War,” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 2005 Live in Studio
Bruce Springsteen, “We Shall Overcome,” We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, 2006
Bruce Springsteen, “O Mary Don’t You Weep No More,” We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, 2006
Pearl Jam, “World Wide Suicide,” Pearl Jam, 2006
Pearl Jam, “Life Wasted,” Pearl Jam, 2006
Credits: DJ Khaled, “Holla at Me Baby”

Site Map

Main Page

The Staff / Record Reviews / Message Board / Desert Island Jukebox / Audio
About Sound Opinions / Photos / Links / Mailing List

  Contact Us