Archive for July, 2011

Amy Winehouse Dead at 27

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Amy Winehouse, the British soul singer behind hits like “Rehab” and “You Know I’m No Good,” has been confirmed dead by UK authorities. She was found deceased in her London home on Saturday of an alleged substance overdose.

The singer, whose personal struggles often overshadowed her immense talent, spawned a wave of 1960s soul throwbacks (Duffy, Adele, Leona Lewis) and enjoyed immense critical and commercial success with her second album, 2006’s Back to Black. Rising to stardom with her debut, Frank, Winehouse solidified her success when she released the immensely catchy single “Rehab.” With its unforgettable chorus, the song was an unfortunate foreshadowing of her future.

Since Back to Black, Winehouse has released only two songs, a cover of the Zutons’ “Valerie” for producer Mark Ronson’s 2007 album Version and a cover of the classic Leslie Gore track “It’s My Party” with Quincy Jones in 2010. She has remained in the headlines, however, for the often erratic nature of her live concerts, her struggles with the law, and her tendency to appear in public under the influence. Her latest tour was recently rescheduled after a series of disappointing performances in which she appeared to forget she was performing, slurred words, wandered around the stage aimlessly, and got her backing musicians to sing for her.

Lady Gaga does “Edge of Glory” Live on Howard Stern

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

After what seems like a dozen singles, a hundred ridiculous outfits, and a smattering of reactions ranging from shock to adoration to indifference over the past few months, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Lady Gaga is undoubtedly one of the most talented artists on the Billboard pop charts. Watching her performance on Howard Stern TV, though, it’s impossible not to be reminded of the artist formerly known as Stefani Germanotta’s incredible talent.

Five Bands Who Should Have Kept Their Original Names

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Not surprisingly, many of our favorite bands took a while to come up with a name for the group (Toad the Wet Sprocket is not among them). Whether it’s Oasis (originally Rain) or Led Zeppelin (originally the New Yardbirds), sometimes bands just have to get out there and play before they can come up with a moniker which works for them. Sometimes, when the bands later become huge, this is hilarious. Here are five of our favorite instances.

Johnny and the Moondogs (The Beatles)
It’s hard to imagine John Lennon as someone who went by “Johnny,” and it’s even harder to imagine the world’s most popular musicians not named Justin Bieber going by this name, which makes them sound like some kind of biker gang. But hey, it could have been brilliant: maybe Lennon, McCartney, & Co. could have invented punk rock a decade early.

Rat Salad (Van Halen)
Whether you prefer Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth, it’s difficult to picture either becoming popular as singer for a band called Rat Salad. That’s what Van Halen started out as, though, before one or more of the band members decided that people seeing them as conceited was better than people seeing them as members of a band called Rat Salad.

Psychedelic Rangers (The Doors)
Sure, “Psychedelic Rangers” describes the Doors a lot better than “the Doors.” It’d work equally well, though, at describing a spandex-clad group of superheroes on a Saturday morning cartoon. Jim Morrison, nuclear-powered crime fighter? Hey, why not?

The Polka Tulk Blues Band (Black Sabbath)
Imagine going to see the Polka Tulk Blues Band (is it polka? Is it blues? It was actually named after singer Ozzy Osbourne’s favorite brand of talcum powder). Imagine watching the frontman for the Polka Tulk Blues Band bite the head off a bat. Imagine your mind EXPLODING.

Sex Maggots (The Goo Goo Dolls)
Adult-contemporary favorites the Goo Goo Dolls (you know, the guys who do “Iris”) would have provided the soundtrack to a lot less slow dances at high school proms and weddings if they’d stuck with their original (kind of awesome) name. When a promoter refused to book them, they changed their name to “Goo Goo Dolls” and ended up selling 9 million albums in the US and having 14 of their songs make the Billboard Top Ten. Okay, never mind–maybe they’re better off as the Goo Goo Dolls.

CSS Adds Vancouver Concert Date to 2011 Tour

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Brazilian dance-rockers CSS, famous for hits like “Music Is My Hot Hot Sex” and “Let’s Make Love And Listen To Death From Above,” have added a Vancouver stop to their 2011 world tour. The nu-rave band, whose infectious rhythms and charismatic singer Lovefoxx have brought them fans across the world, will be playing Saturday, October 1 at the Vogue Theatre in downtown Vancouver with fellow dance-rockers (and Le Tigre side-project) MEN. CSS will be playing material from their new album, La Liberacion, as well as fan-favorite songs from their back catalogue.