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01-04-13 Footnotes
Show 371: A Genre Dissection of Shoegaze, Big Boi Review

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1 To kick off the first show of the new year, Jim and Greg answer some of your questions.

1a Mark from Chicago and John from Lexington, SC want to know how Jim and Greg choose reviews and how they listen to those albums? Jim explains that we first narrow down a list of albums that are either interesting or making news. Then it comes down to what would make a good mix for the show. So if the feature segment is all about soul, we might like to get a little punk at the end. Greg answers part two, and explains that he tries to listen to an album as many times as possible and, most importantly, in as many different scenarios as possible. He hears music very differently whether he is driving down Lake Shore Drive in Chicago or doing dishes at home.

1b This leads to question #2. Nathan in Chicago is looking for suggestions on how to heighten the digital music experience. Can we do better than just headphones in an ipod? Jim and Greg admit they are not always seeking the most hi-fi experience, so they turn to Bob Gendron, copy editor for Music Direct and contributor to the Chicago Tribune. Bob recommends Nathan get a pair of Grado SR-60i headphones. Priced at $79, they give nice bang for the buck. But if Nathan is a high roller who wants his mind blown, Bob refers him to the Audeze LCD-3.

1c Chris from Corvallis, OR emailed for recommendations on songs to learn to play on ukulele. All the uke players around Sound Opinions H.Q. say that Paul McCartney is a great place to start; the simple pop melodies are perfect for the four-stringed instrument. Greg adds a vote for Weezer. YouTube is filled with ukulele love. Here are some of our other favorites:

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2 Today Jim and Greg dive into “Shoegaze.” In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, this sound developed in the U.K. and was typified by lots of guitar, lots of atmosphere and lots of noise. But while the height of Shoegaze only lasted a few years, its influence looms large today. As Jim and Greg explain, the artists of this movement were students of rock history. They looked at the guitar as something more than a traditional blues instrument. Those hunks of wire and wood could act as a sound machine. You can trace a line from bands like The Velvet Underground and Dinosaur Jr. to key Shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Ride and Slowdive. And their desire to marry rock drive with otherworldly ambience is what carries the genre into the present moment. It’s also important to note that while the term “shoegazer” began as derisive—musicians staring at their shoes are no fun to watch—seeing these acts live was really a special, albeit loud, experience.

3 We may not have heard new Outkast since 2006's Idlewild, but one-half of that groundbreaking Atlanta hip hop duo has a new record out. Big Boi’s first solo album, Sir Lucious Leftfoot…The Son of Chico Dusty, came out in 2010 to positive reviews. Now he's followed it up with Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours. How does the new record stack up? Well Jim calls it "hip-hop at its best." Big Boi's been playing the rock festival circuit and he's nothing if not ambitious with his collaborations on Vicious Lies. Everyone from indie band Waaves to more traditional hip-hop guest Kid Cudi makes an appearance on this record. For Jim, the songs succeed or fail on the strength of the guest, which makes this only a Burn It album. Greg agrees. Big Boi's solo records mostly remind him of how much he misses Outkast. Can't those two guys get back together already? Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumours gets a Burn It.

Songs Featured in Show #371
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” Second Helping, MCA, 1974
The Smiths, “Ask,” single, Rough Trade, 1986
Paul McCartney, “Something,” unreleased live performance, 2008
My Bloody Valentine, “Only Shallow,” Loveless, Creation, 1991
The Velvet Underground, “Sister Ray,” White Light/White Heat, Verve, 1968
The Byrds, “Eight Miles High,” Fifth Dimension, Columbia, 1966
Cocteau Twins, “Lorelei,” Treasure, 4AD, 1984
My Bloody Valentine, “To Here Knows When,” Loveless, Creation, 1991
My Bloody Valentine, “I Only Said,” Loveless, Creation, 1991
My Bloody Valentine, “Blown a Wish,” Loveless, Creation, 1991
Lush, “Thoughtforms,” Mad Love EP, 4AD, 1990
Lush, “Lovelife,” Split, 4AD, 1994
Ride, “Dreams Burn Down,” Nowhere, Creation, 1990
Ride, “I Don’t Know Where It Comes From,” Carnival of Light, Creation, 1994
Slowdive, “Sing,” Souvlaki, Creation, 1993
Slowdive, “Richard,” Hide Your Eyes, bootleg, 2011
Slowdive, “Shine,” single, Creation, 1991
The Besnard Lakes, “Albatross,” The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, Jagjaguwar, 2010
Big Boi, “Mama Told Me (feat. Kelly Rowland),” Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Purple Ribbon/Def Jam, 2012
Big Boi, “Apple of My Eye,” Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Purple Ribbon/Def Jam, 2012
Big Boi, “Descending (feat. Little Dragon),” Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, Purple Ribbon/Def Jam, 2012
The Beatles, “Any Time at All,” A Hard Day’s Night, Parlophone, 1964
Alicia Keys, “Listen to Your Heart,” Girl on Fire, RCA, 2012
Beck, “I Just Started Hating Some People Today,” single, Third Man Records, 2012
The Golden Palominos, “Boy (Go),” Visions of Excess, Celluloid, 1985
The Good, The Bad & The Queen, “Herculean,” The Good, The Band & The Queen, Parlophone, 2007

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