'They Love Music the Same Way You Do'

In the aftermath of the great Uncle Tupelo schism of ’94, I’ve always been a Wilco partisan. From A.M. to Sky Blue Sky, the band – in all of its various iterations and lineups – has produced some of the best music of the past 15 years (or of any years, for that matter). From traditional alt-country – if that isn’t a contradiction in terms – to the “sculpted soundscapes” of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, the band manages to stay true to its roots while reaching far beyond them.

Avett Brothers Draw Die-Hard Crowd to State Theatre

From the balcony of the State Theatre, the turnout for the Avett Brothers seemed unimpressive. Save for a scattering of patrons and a small contingent of students having their own private rave in the upper corner (complete with glow-sticks), the balcony was largely deserted. Fortunately for everyone, the balcony was so depopulated because the entire audience decided to get as close to the stage as possible — the lower level of the theater was the most crowded I have ever seen it, and filled with the most enthusiastic crowd I’ve ever seen (or heard).

Music Icons Crosby and Nash Perform At State Theatre

At first, I was disappointed with David Crosby and Graham Nash’s show at the State Theatre on Monday night. Mostly, this was because they didn’t perform “Fortunate Son” or “Bad Moon Rising.” Then I realized that I was confusing CSNY with CCR, and that expecting them to perform the latter group’s hits was somewhat unreasonable. After I came to this understanding, my entire perspective changed, and I found the concert quite nice.

A Change We Can Believe in

My friends, as a respected and beloved (and feared!) columnist for these many years, I feel it is my duty to speak my mind. Never before have I dared enter the fray of campus politics. This time, however, I feel compelled to do just that. Now, some of you may not agree with me. Some may think it’s not my place to use my lofty position as semi-regular Arts columnist to force my opinions on everyone else. And to you I say, yeah, you’re probably right. But I’m going to do it anyway.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for a change. The status quo has left us in an untenable position. We need something that will shake up this University, a change we can believe in, something that will let us hope once more.

Kid Rock and His Unoriginal Sin

Like snowflakes and unhappy families, every hit summer single is a unique entity. Though they each share that ineffable quality that garners radio play and drives people onto the dance floor, “Umbrella” is an entirely different animal from “Gold Digger,” which isn’t at all the same as “A Milli.” But one song this summer, Kid Rock’s latest hit single (a phrase I thought I’d never have to write again) breaks with this tradition by taking a popular song and recycling it without bothering with any emendation.

Notes from Newport (Day 1)

Hiya. It’s me, Jared, again, reporting about the second stop on my whirlwind Summer Music Festival Tour ’08. This time, I drove over to the tiniest state in the union, Rhode Island, to catch all three days of the Newport Folk Festival.
Though the last two days of the Festival on Fort Adams State Park contain the bulk of the performances take place, Friday night technically started things off with a show by Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. Warming up the crowd were home-grown acts Willy Mason and Kate Taylor (James’ sister).

Sun Correspondent Goes to Grassroots Festival, Forgets Why

For those of you Cornellians unfortunate enough to have high-powered internships in Manhattan, D.C. or wherever you may be, let me assure you that you’ve been missing out on a shit-ton of fun here in sunny Ithaca (as difficult as it is to believe the words “sunny” and “Ithaca” side-by-side, it’s true). The Grassroots Festival in Trumansburg was just the latest event that made me happy I’ve stayed up here, away from the hustle and bustle of real life. Unfortunately, your unreliable correspondent has less in the way of specific details than he would like — Grassroots is a BYOB affair and he’s never been given to doing anything in half measures, particularly when it comes to bringing beer.

A Thankless Job

I never thought I’d say it, but I miss Guy Ritchie. After watching The Bank Job, I can appreciate his blend of antic mayhem and criminal mischief. His movies have the emotional resonance of a pair of pliers, but at least they move at a nice clip. The same can’t be said for Roger Donaldson’s serviceable heist flick. What can be said? It’s capably executed and has a few laughs but lacks panache.

Appropriately, the movie revolves around a bank robbery (so if you were expecting a small movie about a guy who works at a bank, think again sucker). But, this is no ordinary bank robbery. One of the film’s distinctions is that, unlike say Ocean’s 13, it begins with that most dubious of cinematic phrases — claims that it is “based on true events.”

How You're Killing the Record Industry

This may be my last music column for the foreseeable future, and given the finality of the occasion I thought that instead of typing up my typical list of favored songs I’d substitute something halfway cogent — and maybe even coherent — instead. So this week we’re going to take a look at the future of the music industry, and why the future looks bright for music but cloudier for the industry.

Test Spin: Jason Collett

On his second solo album, Broken Social Scener Jason Collett keeps his streak of singer-songwriter excellence. Here’s To Being Here takes the pop, folk-rock style he managed with grace in Idols of Exile and stretches it out, pushing into new genres and styles. With “Charlyn, Angel of Kensingston” he introduces an afro-pop beat into the mix while “Sorry Lori” is an unabashedly pop number that allows Collett to showcase his unassuming vocal range and lyrics. The first track on the album, “Roll On Oblivion” has the rollicking momentum of “Fire” off of Idols but manages to retain its own sound and style at the same time. So far in his solo efforts, Collett’s come up with two solid doubles, and I think the third time might be a home run.