Music News Recap: Hey Baby, They’re Playing Our Song

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Amy Blake

Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil’s request for a divorce has been granted by a London judge.

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Music News Recap: Meeting of the Minds

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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The folks at Rolling Stone got the ball rolling for this holiday weekend with a mini 4th of July playlist, with readers contributing their own additions.  Tell us what you’d add to the list.

Richey Edwards

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Music News Recap: “It’s The F*cking Nuts”

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Mike Dirnt

Even though he’s not a committed vegetarian, Green Day’s Mike Dirnt has designed a vegan-friendly shoe. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

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Media Roundup: A Free Doc and Some Burning Flesh

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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The Kills’ Alison Mosshart was rushed to the hospital following a performance in Colorado.

Alison Mosshart

Alison Mosshart

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Media Roundup: Re-issues, Live Action and Insider Hints

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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They’re back!  Or at least, they will be…once the new album’s finished.  Singer Julian Casablancas says The Strokes‘ new material sounds like it’s “trapped between the future and the ’70s.”  Interesting…

The Strokes

The Strokes

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Media Roundup: A Cup of Lists, A Pinch of Controversy, and A Handful of Tasty MP3s

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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MTV may not be as cutting edge as it once was, but its website is currently in the middle of an advertising controversy.

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Pete Doherty lets fans in on some of the details of his forthcoming solo album, featuring guitar work from Blur’s Graham Coxon.

Pete Doherty

Pete Doherty

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Be sure to catch Fleet Foxes on Saturday Night Live this week.

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Your bootleg this week comes courtesey of the Aquarium Drunkard blog.  Check out a great Guided By Voices’ 1995 show.

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Ben Taylor will play the High Noon Saloon on February 8th.  Blog readers looking for a handful of mp3s to sample before he hits town should head over here to have a listen.

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor

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NPR celebrated 50 years of Motown Records with a discussion with Detroit critic and author, Gary Graff.  Click here to listen.

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Reflections on the great year in music that was 2008 keep pouring in.  Check out this local fan’s impressions here.

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Rolling Stone has rounded up the favorites of your favorites! See what musicians like Ezra Koenig, Noel Gallagher, Gregg Gillis, and Santogold liked in 2008.

Santogold

Santogold

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Hip-hop fans will want to check out NPR’s list of the best “mixtapes” of 2008.

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It’s hardly news anymore:  Kanye West overreacts.  This time it’s over grey hair.  Seriously.

Kanye West

Kanye West

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Billy Zantzinger, the villian inspiration for Bob Dylan’s “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” passed away on January 3rd.  Here is Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Robert Levon Been performing the moving song in a session for Minnesota Public Radio.

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A Note from The Hold Steady

The Hold Steady will be performing one week from today at the Majestic Theatre. Get your tickets now as they haven’t quite sold out yet but are very close..

The Hold Steady was born out of some loose talk in my Boreum Hill apartment in 2002. I had moved to Brooklyn about two years earlier. I was thirty-one years old, and the other dudes were about my same age. Our concept was to start a straight rock band, with low aspirations. Just local shows, no touring, and most likely no real records. We practiced for a while and then played our first show in January 2003 at North Six, in Williamsburg. I was surprised at how many people showed up.

The show went well. It reminded us, all veterans of hard luck bands, that music can be fun. We played our second show in Baltimore, and it sort of becomes a blur after that. We quickly broke our rules about no touring and records, and released three records in three years. We lost one member and added two others. The most recent record, 2006’s Boys & Girls in America, was successful enough to get us in a bunch of magazines and take us pretty much around the world. It was, to be honest, pretty ironic- the band that set out to do nothing became a critics favorite and a touring machine. The Hold Steady had become our lives.

Thus, when we began talking about a new record, it became obvious that in order to keep up our schedule of releases, we would have to start writing on the road. We hadn’t done a lot of this previously. Ideas started taking shape in hotel rooms during while we played European festivals in Summer 2007. Laptop demos were recorded and shared. I remember Tad coming up with the title track, “Stay Positive”, backstage at Manchester Academy. The music from “Lord, I’m Discouraged” had its genesis partly in Milan and partly in Hamburg. We couldn’t slow down, but we could get ready.

When the touring wrapped up, we went straight into rehearsals and fleshed out the ideas that were banging around. As with each record, there was a desire to make it more musical than the last one. In this case, more musical meant an attempt at more dynamics, different instrumentation, more complex arrangements, and not always hiding behind raw volume. The songs came together quickly, but were painstakingly rehearsed and reviewed, with many minor changes made along the way.

Finally, in early January 2008, we showed up at Water Music in Hoboken NJ to record our fourth record. We worked with John Agnello again, as we had developed a great sense of trust with him during the Boys & Girls sessions. When John says something sucks, it probably sucks.

We recorded basics for nineteen songs. Everyone was very excited with the progress. Everyone played to their utmost potential. Lyrically, I had an idea of what I was trying to say much earlier in the process than on our previous records. Spirits were high.

We moved on to Wild Arctic Studios in Queens for vocals and overdubs and then to the Magic Shop in Soho for mixing We got some of our most favorite rock musicians to sing and play on it. We had some minor struggles, and a bunch of really good times. Finally, in mid-February, it was done.

Its always interesting how a record reveals itself to you. You can go in with the best-laid plans, but there is always a fair amount of uncertainty. Late night brainstorms become defining moments. Accidents become choruses. You might write the record, but it ends up teaching you something about yourself.

We kick off this record with “Constructive Summer”, a driving song about trying harder. “Navy Sheets” features a guest harmony vocal by Patterson Hood from the Drive-By Truckers, who have been a modern day inspiration to us. “Both Crosses” was a live in the studio experiment that ended up working. The record ends with “Slapped Actress”, which combines a mammoth Tad Kubler riff with a lyric inspired by the John Cassavetes movie Opening Night.

I think this record, musically and lyrically, is about the attempt to age gracefully. This is no easy feat, especially in rock and roll. I am now 36, and will be 37 shortly after this record is released. At the age of 30 I was working in an office, thinking my rock band days were behind me. This last summer we opened for the Rolling Stones in Ireland. We have met many of our musical heroes.

Meanwhile, in the five years since forming, the guys in the band have gone through a bunch of typical thirty something stuff- babies born, family members dying, relationships started, relationships ended, health problems, joy, struggle, life, etc.

But possibly the most exciting aspect of our band is the community of fans that have followed us around the country. In talking to them, we have found that no matter their ages, they are so much like us as people, that they seem at times an extension of the music. A great American philosopher named D. Boon once said “Our band could be your life”. I think that is true. But “Your Life could be Our Band” is also a true statement. I know this because we have lived it.

These are our lives. These are your lives. This is our fourth record. Stay Positive.

Craig Finn

Brooklyn NY

4.21.08

Our hardworking interns and True Crew members snagged up the few coveted guest list spots we had available for this one. To make it up to all our super radical fans we are offering a guest list spot plus one to any other show we have this week. Just be the second person to email MJ@TrueEndeavors.com with “Win (the band you want to see) Tix” in the subject line. I will always respect your info, promise.