Archive for the ‘The Dose’ Category

Duran Duran have long been one of my favorite bands, and i’ve taken a lot of stick for it. Do i give a shit? What do you think?
Admittedly, their catalogue is hit and miss from about ’82’s ‘Rio‘ album, but when they hit, they really hit.

Which brings me to their new album (out December 21st), and their new single “All You Need Is Now”, released through iTunes for FREE today!

Maybe it’s just a lovely early Christmas present, or maybe it’s a shameless link with the anniversary of a tragedy, but hey, Free is Free.

The new songs were co-produced with the uber-hyp (misspelling intentional) Mark Ronson, but he seems to be making the boys do things that they seemed to have previously forgotten; like playing their instruments, instead of copy/pasting bits and pieces with ProTools. They are touting this new record as an imaginary followup to their biggest and best album, the aforementioned ‘Rio’, which is not really honest if you ask me. First of all, from the snippets that i’ve heard, it sounds like a followup to their lesser known, but great ‘Big Thing‘ album. But who, besides us fans, has heard of that one? Even jocks had ‘Rio’.

However, what’s bugging me the most about what i’ve heard, is that it indeed does sound very 80’s, but not like Duran Duran in the 80’s. It just carries that sound, without the real DD trademarks, but i’ll wait to hear the entire record before i make that judgement. Besides, i’m always happy to hear new Duran Duran music. The point of this band is to show you a good time for as long as you feel like listening. As Simon once famously said, they want to be “the band to dance to when the bomb drops”, which sounds even scarrier these days…

ToeZoo loves You…AND Duran Duran


I was only 8 years old, but i’d been listening to The Beatles my entire life (still do), thanks eternally to my Dad. It was Monday Night and we were watching Monday Night Football, when this happenend…

I remember my Dad was devastated. The memory of the death of Elvis was still fresh in my mind from 3 years earlier, but being gunned down outside of one’s apartment was a world apart from dying on the toilet. Music was always around (still is), and i was familiar with the big names. I of course was too young to really process what it all meant, but i could feel it through my Dad.

John Lennon was far from a perfect human being. Stories of his shortcomings as a father, a friend and/or a husband can all be sought out, but that’s not really what his legacy is about.

He was an inspired musician (divinely?), who’s near perfect catalogue revealed his own weaknesses, as well as the world’s, but what’s really important, was his belief and hope that things could/would get better.

It’s exactly this reason, that he is still so beloved, and not just remembered

John Winston Ono Lennon
October 9th, 1940 – December 8th, 1980

ToeZoo Loves John

Tame Impala keeps coming out with great video after great video!

“Expectation” is no exception.

Maybe someday their record company will stop dicking around and give us their album in the US?

But that would make sense, and we all know how ‘making sense’ is a foreign term to a record company. Ironic, since all they’re really after is ‘making cents‘…

ToeZoo loves YOU.

My Best Of 2010 is almost done!

This next video is great, but it’s not from my list, i just thought i needed to put something out there, and this is super-fantastic!

Plus, it’s nearly Christmas!

Also, Happy Hanukkah!

If you don’t fall into either of those catagories, then Happy Holidays!

If that doesn’t cover it, then count your gold, Mr. Scrooge…

ToeZoo loves You!

Concluding from the previous post, this is all about the joy of reading and learning what cannot be known; what makes the artist tick…

If you love the Flaming Lips like i do, and you haven’t seen the brilliant documentary “The Fearless Freaks“, then stop reading now and go rent it, but it, steal it, download it, whatever, but you MUST see it! I saw it. It made me cry. It made me happy. It taught me a few things and it inspired me. The film is nearly 2 hours long, but it just wasn’t enough, so I ran out and bought Staring At Sound, another authorized biography. While a great read, the cynicism of the author was a bit much for a band that lacks cynicism more than just about any other. However, it does dig deeper into some of the issues “The Fearless Freaks” touched on and that’s enough to recommend it.

The Flaming Lips have a rich musical history, but this next song is one of the best songs by anybody ever, it’s “Enthusiasm For Life Defeats Existential Fear”…

Ian McCulloch, lead singer for Liverpool legends Echo & The Bunnymen has always been a bit of an enigma. He was very outspoken in the 80’s, so much so in fact that he was dubbed “Mac The Mouth“. Often critical of his peers, and in no short supply of ego or Guinness, he would let readers know exactly what he thought. However, he never let us know who he was and when the 90’s rolled around, he dummied up for good, no doubt in an attempt to loose the “Mac The Mouth” tag. He quit The Bunnymen, cancelled solo tours, made an album with Johnny Marr, the master tapes of which were stolen (maybe) and then disappeared for awhile before restarting The Bunnymen. I was there for all of it, and privy to none of it, so i bought “The King Of Cool“. Some of my questions were answered, but like a lot of these other books, there’s so little out there on their subject that anything is better than nothing. So of course, i recommend it 🙂

Here he is with Echo doing the classic “Never Stop”…

Growing up, i’d always heard about the band Japan. I’d not heard the music or anything, but i’d seen the pictures and at the time, mistakenly thought they were ripping off Duran Duran (it was the other way round, actually). In the early 90’s, I’d heard this fantastic self-titled record by a band called Rain Tree Crow. Turns out, this was a Japan reunion project of sorts, but unfortunately it was short-lived. So I delved into the Japan catalogue, which is uneven and remarkably different to Rain Tree Crow. David Sylvian‘s solo career however, was very similar and i began digging in that mine. After years of listening to these records, I am now a lifelong fan, but these men are not exactly household names so info on them is sadly deficient. Therefore you can forgive my excitement when i spied The Last Romantic, a bio for David Sylvian in The Elliot Bay Book Company! I immediately headed home to crack this particular code. Sadly, it’s a poorly written document about an artist who is reluctant to be written about and who has informed his closest associates of this reticence. Not only that, but to be honest, he seems like a dick. I could be totally off. Maybe it’s his shyness that warrents such a misdiagnosis. I myself have that very problem, but what i read is what i read. Hopefully, there will be more written about him and his colleagues down the road, but until then, this is the book for you!

Here’s the beautiful “Blackwater” by Rain Tree Crow, which was my unofficial theme song for 1995-1996…

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Continuing from Part 1, this is a purge of useless, yet enjoyable knowledge that is my music biography collection…

Elliott Smith & The Big Nothing is a must read. Again, we unfortunately know how the story ends, but this book helps us to understand why it ended the way it did. What more can I say? Elliott Smith was a genius that left us far too soon. I even stayed away from the Elliott bandwagon for a few years, but once i let myself in i couldn’t leave. Great songs for days and days, so just listen, read and mourn…

Here’s Elliott with one of his best, as well as one of his most doleful, “Waltz #2″…

Suede were another great band from my 20’s, but they’ve not aged well over the years for me. Like New Order before them, i find the music mostly insufferable these days. That doesn’t mean i can leave them behind however, and like everyone on this list, i needed to learn more about what made this band tick. Especially as their guitarist and half of the songwriting team left after just 2 albums, only to be replaced by his tubby doppelganger. I read this so long ago, that it’s difficult to remember whether or not i liked it, but Love & Poison is, so far, the only bio i’ve seen on these boys. If you, like me, used to sit in your dark apartment with this band at full volume, then this is the book for you!

Here’s the original line-up with “So Young”…

When I was 15, I loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers. By the time I was 20, I loathed the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That said, i’ve always kept tabs on them. Through multiple guitarists, multiple tattoos & multiple albums this band just will not die! After reading Scar Tissue, I believe it’s all down to the stubborn will of Anthony Kiedis. He too will just not die, and that’s a good thing. This is hands down the best book of the bunch! Reveal, reveal, reveal was his mantra during the writing process I’m sure, because that’s what you get and it’s fascinating. This book is about a man, not a band, and anyone could, and everyone should read this!

I had trouble with the idea of including a RHCP video here, but then i realized that it’d have to be an old one for me to enjoy, so here is “Show Me Your Soul”. The guitar solo at the end of this is transcendent…

stay tuned for the conclusion…

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Yesterday i was browsing my own bookshelves, thinking about clearing some space and began reminiscing about some of my beloved music biographies. Before i clear out some space on my shelf, i thought i’d clear out some space in my brain and post a little something about each book…

The most recently read of the bunch is Twenty Thousand Roads which is a fantastic and eye opening bio on Gram Parsons. I don’t know why, but i’ve always felt a connection with Gram, even though i don’t love the music. I can’t explain it, but i needed to know more about the guy so i picked this up in Portland at the fantastic Powell’s Books. If you’re interested in Gram I highly recommend this book. He was never quite taken seriously as he was considered a “Rich Boy”, but his life was charming without being charmed. His father killed himself when Gram was very young and his mother was a drunk who died the day of his High School graduation. Gram himself died in the early 70’s, but not before playing with The International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and The Rolling Stones (maybe) and his legacy has been growing ever since. He has had 2 very credible champions over the years; Keith Richards, who loved and trusted Gram because of his knowledge of Country & Western, and because Gram had his own money so he wasn’t leaching of The Stones’ Machine, and Emmylou Harris who sang and recorded with Gram in the years before his death. Gram didn’t exactly discover her, but it’s safe thank him for giving her the exposure she needed. Anyway, go and buy it and read it!

Here’s Gram and Emmylou singing “Big Mouth Blues”…

The next book is the authorized biography of Siouxsie & The Banshees. This is another group that I’ve always been curious about though I’m not the biggest fan. I can say that Budgie is one of the greatest drummers of all time and will someday get his due, but The Banshees themselves will always be minor 80’s greats, inline with The Psychedelic Furs, OMD and the like… The book is interesting enough for any fan, but the thing i remember most about it is the acrimony Siouxsie still holds for Robert Smith of The Cure. If you don’t know, there was a time in the early 80’s when Robert was sick of The Cure and joined the Banshees for awhile. He did a couple of tours and recorded the album “Hyaena” with them, then decided to resurrect his own band again. Siouxsie has been disparaging him publicly ever since and uses this book to continue the bashing. Kind of pathetic when you think about it…

Anyway, here’s my favorite Siouxsie song (with Robert Smith, just to be mean) “Spellbound”

The Verve were one of the best bands of the 90’s and should’ve been much bigger than they were. They had a few things working against them however: 1. they just could not get along and stay together 2. Richard Ashcroft mistakenly thought he was the star of the group 3. Bittersweet Symphony. The latter is a fantastic song, don’t get me wrong but they were successfully sued by Andrew Loog Oldham for sampling a Rolling Stones track for the song, and will forever be labelled as plagiarists, and even worse, One Hit Wonders. Furthermore, it’s not anywhere close to their best song! Oh well, I guess they’ll never know. Star Sail is just an ok bio, but when there is so little to be read on this band, anything is welcome.

Their legacy has been somewhat tainted over the years with lackluster reunions and Richard’s solo albums, but watch this to understand how great they once were, here’s “Blue”

to be continued…

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