“My God is Rock & Roll” - Lou Reed (March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013)
Rock artist and legend Lou Reed passed away earlier today at the age of 71. Though the cause of death is still unknown, Reed had a liver transplant in May. Reed was the singer for the highly influential rock band Velvet Underground. He started his music career in 1964 and continued to make music all the way up until his death.
In 1964 Lou Reed moved to New York to work as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. He penned the minor hit “The Ostrich.” His employers saw potential success with his song and put together a band to promote the single. They called the band “The Primitives” and one member, John Cale, would continue making music with Lou Reed in the near future. They began writing music together and invited some of Reed’s college acquaintances Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker to join them. Together they formed a group and called themselves Velvet Underground. They began playing shows and eventually caught the attention of legendary artist Andy Warhol. Warhol was impressed with the group and began to manage them, making them the house band for his studio The Factory.
It was Andy Warhol’s idea to add a female singer (which the band had disagreed with but eventually obliged.) They added Nico, a former European model, to become the female singer for the group. Though still dissatisfied with the new arrangement, they released their album titled “Velvet Underground & Nico.” They wanted to make it clear that Nico was not an official member of the group. Despite this, Reed wrote many songs for Nico to sing and she became a lasting member in the band.
Their album reached No. 171 on the charts but today is considered one of the most influential rock albums ever. It has influenced artists everywhere from Brian Eno to Metallica. Rolling Stone placed the album as the 13th most influential album of all time.
Lou Reed left the band in 1970 and began a solo career, writing his hit song “Walk On The Wild Side.” He continued to make music, collaborating with bands such as Metallica (for their full length album “Lulu”) and Metric on their 2012 album “Synthetica.” Susan Boyle did a cover of his song “Perfect Day” and asked Lou Reed to direct her video rendition, which he did. Velvet Underground also reunited and began playing live shows once again and in 1996 they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Though Lou Reed never achieved commercial fame, his poetic lyrics, monotone singing, and artistic flair made a lasting impression on musicians old and new. Velvet Underground is regarded as one of the most influential bands in history, without ever achieving fame. Lou Reed is both widely known, and unknown but his influence can be heard in music everywhere.
He will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace Lou Reed.
“I don’t know just where I’m going But I’m going to try for the kingdom if I can Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man….”
Hey all YouTube lovers.. There’s a rumor floating around about a new music service that is allegedly going to launch.
Back when it first began, YouTube was a small site for people to upload and share videos. It slowly grew into a major phenomenon and is now the number 1 go to site for music. With this in mind, there is a rumor that YouTube will be launching a Spotify-like music subscription service. This service would be an on- demand music video player with a free version (for all the cheap, or broke people out there) and a premium version that would cost around $10 (for all the people raking in that dough!) The premium version won’t have any ads..
It’s really annoying when an artist comes out with a new album and you head straight to YouTube only to find limited songs that the artist released. As a music blogger, I get highly annoyed by this when I want to share more than a certain number of songs.. This new service would fix that by offering the ability to stream FULL albums instead of just the few an artist has music videos for. How awesome is that?!
If you’re like me and miss the days of MTV when MTV actually played music videos, this new YouTube service would fill that void and possibly become the “next MTV.” Music videos playing all the time? Sounds good to me! Don’t get your hopes up just yet though.. In a statement released by Google (YouTube’s parent company) they said “We are always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans. However, we have nothing to announce at this time.”
Hopefully they’re just being secretive and don’t want to give any hints yet.. but since I am a full on lover of music videos, I’ll gladly perpetuate this rumor of this (un-named) future YouTube service.
It’s finally happened! One of the biggest bands in history, Nirvana, has an opportunity to be memorialized in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
This is the first year that the groundbreaking grunge band is eligible to be voted in.
For those of you that don’t know how the process works, I’ll explain it to you.
For an artist or band to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, they have to have released their first single 25 years ago. There’s something called a “fans’ ballot” where fans can vote for the nominees and this ballot will count as one of more than 600 ballots.
Nirvana is the first band this year to be nominated in their first year of being eligible.
Their first single was a cover of Shocking Blue’s song “Love Buzz” and they released it in 1988. As it is well known, Nirvana went on to achieve phenomenal success and fame with hit songs like Dumb, Pennyroyal Tea, Lithium, Heart Shaped Box and their most famous song of all Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Nirvana is still a major influence in rock music today and Kurt Cobain is considered a musical hero to thousands of fans new and old. If Nirvana wins they will be the first and only grunge band to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
So cast your votes over at RollingStone.com!
(Peter Gabriel, Hall & Oates, The Replacements, Link Wray, Cat Stevens, Linda Rondstadt, Yes, and The Zombies are also nominees for the 2014 ballot)
*Nirvana pic by: Mark Seliger/CORBIS OUTLINE Taken Jan. 27, 1994
Check out these tracks from up and coming bands! Good stuff
Falling is the third single off the trio Haim’s debut album “Days Are Gone”
Sound: Indie/Pop (has an 80′s feel to it and very upbeat)
Fences: “Same Tattoos”
Same Tattoos is off of Fences self titled debut album (released Sep. 20. 2010)
Sound: Indie (beautiful acoustic chords and melody. Lyrics are nostalgic and well written)
New Ivory: “Feel”
Feel is off New Ivory’s “Nothing” EP (released July 16, 2013)
Label: Dim Mak Records
Sound: Alternative (sounds like 90′s Oasis. Great song)
In 2002, after a string of bands, 3 musicians Ruki, Uruha, and Reita decided to form a band of their own, making it their final one. Ruki sang, Uruha played guitar and Reita played bass. They decided to add two more musicians and recruited two ex-Arita members Aoi (rhythm guitar) and Yunne (drummer). They signed to Matina label and released their first single “Wakaremichi.” With the intent of gaining more fame, they decided to do several events and released more music as well. Their focus paid off. They played their first live show in October 2002 and were included in the record label’s event “Final Prelude 2002-2003.”
Soon after, Yuune announced to the band that he was leaving. Upon hearing the news, a drummer by the name of Kai immediately called the band and soon joined them. With their lineup complete once again, The Gazette signed to PS Company and released their first EP “Cockayne Soup” along with their first tour with the band Hanamuke. They followed this with a second tour, this time with Vidoll and had their first feature in a magazine called “Cure” which focused on visual kei bands. In 2004, after their year of non stop touring, and shows, The Gazette recorded a solo show which was then released on DVD. They released their fifth EP “Madera” which became a huge success, hitting No. 2 on The Oricon Indie Charts. They were also featured in another visual kei magazine “Expect Rush III.” Things were looking up for The Gazette and they worked even harder by playing more shows and hitting the studio to work on their first full length album.
Their debut album “Disorder” was released on October 13, 2004 and was a success, making it to the top 5 on the Oricon charts. After a tour the following year, a dvd release, and their 6th EP release, The Gazette ventured into a new direction by releasing a photo book called “Verwelktes Gedicht” which included a CD with songs. In December 2005 the band performed alongside other record label mates to celebrate their fifth anniversary as a band.
2006 would bring them great changes starting with their name. After four years of spelling their band name with Japanese characters they switched to English letters. They then released their 2nd full length album “Nil” and embarked on a nationwide tour, but the year would also bring them the opportunity to tour Germany, which they gladly did. This marked The Gazette’s first tour outside of Japan.
After releasing their 3rd album “Stacked Rubbish”(which hit No. 2 on the charts) they had their first European tour in England, France, and Germany. Their fame was growing in and outside of Japan and their hard work and non stop release of music, was bringing them major success. Their next single would prove this when “Guren” hit No. 1 on the charts for the first time. The Gazette was now more famous than they could’ve imagined. They decided to hold a secret show in Shinjuku Station. Originally, only 250 people were expected to show but on the night of the secret show, over 7000 fans arrived (the most in Japanese history.) They crowded the streets and stopped traffic so much that the police had to shut down the concert, after only 2 songs. The Gazette was no longer an unknown band from the Kanagawa prefecture, they were now Japan’s most famous group. After the release of their 4th album “Dim” along with more touring, The Gazette signed to Sony Records. Their first single off their new label “Shiver” was chosen to be the opening theme for the Japanese anime “Kuroshitsuji II.”
2012 marked The Gazette’s ten year anniversary and also was the year they released their 6th full length album “Division.”
Currently, The Gazette is achieving more memorable milestones in their music career. They performed at a Russian rock festival “Kubana” alongside American bands such as Bullet For My Valentine and System of A Down. This was the first time The Gazette performed in Russia as well as performing with American acts. In February 2013, they were awarded “Most Requested Artist” and in various polls were ranked as Japan’s No. 1 band. The release of their newest single “Fadeless” was a major success on both the Oricon and Billboard charts. WIth rocking guitar riffs, great vocals and an edgy sound, the single has given fans a taste of what their new album will be like when it’s released this October. They are currently touring Europe and for the first time ever, will also tour Mexico, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil.
The Gazette’s music has hard rock fans everywhere and their fame is now spreading to other countries outside of Japan. The Gazette will keep their reputation as Japan’s biggest band and they’re more than ready to keep the rock world on its feet.
You can buy The Gazette’s new single “Fadeless” off iTunes and their new album “Beautiful Deformity” comes out this October.
Check out the new releases from Sept. 20-September 27!
*Justin Timberlake “The 20/20 Experience” and “The 20/20 Experience Part 2″
(RCA Records The 20/20 Experience released March 2013. Part 2 released September 2013)
Justin Timberlake had an idea which was “10 songs now, 10 songs later” which equals 20 vision.. His album concept was born. He released the first half of his album “The 20/20 Experience” back in March which debuted at No. 1 and produced the hit singles “Mirrors” and “Suit & Tie.” The album has a neo soul feel with his trademark falsetto singing and songs about love. It’s an upbeat record with good grooves produced by JRoc, Timbaland, and Timberlake. Each track is around seven minutes because Timberlake thought that if Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Queen could do 10 minute songs, he would as well.
The 20/20 Experience Part 2 is Justin Timberlake’s 4th studio album and the closing half of his 20/20 project. The 11 track album has appearances by guest artists such as Jay Z and Drake. The album received mixed reviews, with many claiming that the first half was more of a favorite. The album produced two singles “Take Back The Night” and “TKO”
*Lourde “Pure Heroine”
(Universal Music released September 27.2013)
Debut album from New Zealander Ella Yelich-O’Connor aka Lourde. Her EP was released earlier this year producing the popular single “Royals.” Her full length album is a ten track album with a pop/alternative sound.
Notable Tracks: Tennis Court, Royals, Team
*Haim “Days Are Gone”
(Licensed to Columbia Records released September 30. 2013)
Debut album of the band Haim which consists of 3 sisters. Their 10 track album is upbeat with an 80′s pop feel. The band has been voted “Most Promising Act”
Notable Tracks: Falling, Forever, The Wire, If I Could Change Your Mind
*Cher “Closer To The Truth”
(Warner Brothers Records released September 20. 2013)
Cher has released her 26th studio album “Closer To The Truth” which she had been working on for 2 years straight. It has been 12 years since Cher has released an album and fans everywhere are praising the 11 new tracks. Full of dance music, pro-woman lyrics, and Cher’s signature tone, the album is fun, inspiring and upbeat which can easily be danced to. After 48 years in the music business Cher is still thriving and Closer To The Truth is a great album to prove that.
Notable Tracks: Woman’s World, Take It Like A Man, I Hope You Find It
*Joan Jett & The Blackhearts “Unvarnished”
(Blackhearts Records Group released September 30. 2013)
The Queen of Punk Rock is back with her new album Unvarnished. The tenth studio album is full of good riffs and lyrics ranging from social media to comments about the earth sung by Joan Jett’s signature rock vocals. Dave Grohl appears on the track “Any Weather” playing drums, bass, and lead guitar while Joan Jett sings and plays rhythm guitar. The album has 14 new tracks for all Joan Jett fans to enjoy.
Notable Tracks: Any Weather, Make It Back, Reality Mentality
*Nirvana “In Utero 20th Anniversary Edition”
(Geffen Records re-released September 30, 2013)
In Utero was the third and final album by legendary grunge band Nirvana. It was originally released September 13, 1993 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Nirvana wanted the record to be more raw and unpolished than their previous smash record “Nevermind.” The album made it to the Top Ten Albums of the Year and was nominated for a Grammy. To this day, In Utero remains an influential album selling over 3 million copies and is considered one of the Greatest Albums of all time. The 20th Anniversary Edition includes Bonus Tracks, Demos, and remixes including instrumentals of some of the albums most popular songs.
All these albums can be bought on iTunes, Amazon, or your local record store.