Each week here on VH1 Tuner, ourVH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Your regularly scheduled Top 20 Video Countdown show is on a break until 2012, but be sure to tune into the Top 40 Videos of 2011 tomorrow evening when it airs on VH1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT. This week Jim gives us his top 10 albums of 2011.
10.) Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation, Murs
Sometimes Murs’ albums have the propensity of being too laid back, but on Love & Rockets he strikes a nice balance, weaving between more chilled out tracks like “Remember 2 Forget” and heavier callouts like “Let’s Go.” The highlight of the album though is its closing track “Animal Style,” the boldest hip-hop song I’ve heard about homosexuality (which sadly, is traditionally never discussed in hip-hop).
9.) The Road From Memphis, Booker T. Jones
Indeed, this is the same Booker T. from Booker T. & the MG’s, an outfit responsible for making one of the greatest instrumentals in modern music: “Green Onions.” Jones’ trademark Hammond organ licks backed by The Roots’ rhythm section and legendary funk/soul guitarist, Dennis Coffey, play out splendidly on the all-too-fun covers of Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything,” Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” and Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend.” And not to diss, but Lou Reed’s collaboration with Jones on “The Bronx” sounds better than anything he did with Metallica this year.
8.) Watch The Throne, Kanye West & Jay Z
At the beginning of 2011 word on the street was that Kanye West & Jay Z were going to release an album together, while Dr. Dre was set to put out the final recording of his stellar career. I was skeptical of both, but at year’s end I’m happy to say we did get a solid debut from hip-hop’s premiere super-group, although I’m still waiting for Dre’s Detox, which is quickly, or slowly, becoming hip-hop’s version of Chinese Democracy.
It wouldn’t be Monday morning without waking up to some deliciously NSFW antics from rock’s original angst princess, Hole frontwoman Courtney Love. This weekend at Brazil’s SWU Festival, Courtney mouthed off on stage after being provoked by an audience member holding up an image of her late husband and Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. The emaciated Courtney, mere millimeters away from slipping a nip, burst into an angry tirade, aggressively swearing and giving the finger to the fan who had so offended her in what we can only imagine was an attempt at honoring Cobain.
Spitting into the microphone, Courtney scathed, “You know, I don’t need to see a picture of Kurt, a–hole. And I’m going to have you f–king removed if you keep throwing that up. I’m not Kurt, I have to live with his f–king shit and his ghost and his kid every day. Throwing that up is stupid and rude and I’m going to beat the f–k out of you if you do it again.” Somehow, her rant turned to Dave Grohl and the politics of his relationship with Cobain when they were both in Nirvana. Seething, but with a half smirk on her face, Courtney declared, “Go see the f–king Foo Fighters and do that shit,” before flipping the audience a solid bird and storming off stage.
In conversation–because of my profession–people usually ask me if I’ve seen any good shows lately. Without hesitation, I tell them that they must see the Foo Fighters, who are currently putting on a rock show for the ages (and that’s not me speaking in hyperbole).
I’ve seen two performances from their current tour, and I can tell you for a fact that no other band is putting on a better show than the Foo Fighters right now.??You need more reasons to see them? Good, here goes:
1.) Grohl on Drums
Cage The Elephant are currently opening up for the Foo Fighters, and after their drummer Jared Champion’s appendix burst, Dave Grohl said he’d fill in on drums so the band wouldn’t have to drop off the bill.?As you know, Dave Grohl has played drums before, but whenever he steps behind a kit, its met with the same astonishment as if he’s walking on water. It’s not that miraculous, but it is still pretty freakin’ cool (especially since Cage The Elephant’s music is inspired by the decade in which Dave Grohl was a full-time drummer)!
Dave Grohl has been all over music news lately for his contributions to Nevermind, the Nirvana album that was released twenty years ago this week. So we took a certain bizarre delight in seeing his Foo Fighters on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon yesterday, backing Roger Waters of Pink Floyd for a rendition of “In The Flesh.” We’re not sure whether the collaboration is simply a useful reminder of Grohl’s self-proclaimed rock stalwart status?indicating that despite the generational shift that Nirvana seemed to indicate, the band fits quite snugly in the rock canon?or a nose-thumbing at that very idea, but intentionally or otherwise, the performance was a total riff on nostalgia. And it sounded great! Plus it’s always nice to see that we and Questlove agree that Pat Smear is the best.
If that wasn’t enough riffing, the episode also featured a “karaoke” segment, in which Jimmy Fallon and guest Joseph Gordon-Levitt showcased their impressions of David Bowie and Axl Rose, respectively. Check out their takes on Foster The People, Kelly Clarkson, and Lady Gaga after the jump. Read more…
Remember the naked baby on the cover of Nirvana‘s Nevermind? You know, the one who was swimming in hot pursuit of the almighty dollar? Well, turns out that little baby isn’t a baby anymore. The Nirvana baby’s real name is Spencer Elden, and he’s a 20-year-old student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California (and, if you haven’t put two and two together, he’s the guy in the picture above). He did an interview with CNN on the occasion of Nevermind‘s 20th anniversary, where he revealed a startling fact: Neither he nor his parents have ever received a single dime in royalties! C’mon Courtney Love, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic, toss the kid a few sheckels and make it right. After all, he’s got student loans to pay off!
If you thought the Foo Fighters didn’t hold onto the costumes they used for their goofy tour-launch video “Hot Buns,” you don’t know the Foo Fighters. The band discovered that the Westboro Baptist Church had added their St. Louis, MO show Friday night to the increasingly bizarre list of protest sites, and they reprised their gay-trucker roles in a flatbed performance of a song apparently called “Keep It Clean,” which after a brief (and tame) vignette about a homosexual encounter, broke into a chorus singing the praises of tolerance (and its inherent American-ness). Fred Phelps‘s church members didn’t exactly need the band’s help to look foolish and intolerant, but we’re always in favor of Pat Smear wearing a fake mustache.
Dave Grohl made a guest appearance on Chelsea Lately last night?not to play music, but to talk VMAs with host Chelsea Handler (who of course emceed last year’s VMA ceremony).?With no musical guest on The Late Show and Kristin Chenoweth and Chris Colfer on The Tonight Show, yesterday may have seemed the perfect opportunity to repeat a cry for “real” rock music, and to clarify his much-quoted comment to the Hollywood Reporter, “F?k Glee.”
Grohl remains one of the nicest guys in music, and we love seeing him tell stories and wave goofily, even though he’s starting to sound like an old man when talking about music. In he interview he refers to the use of “computers” as “cheating,” and pointedly notes that when the Foo Fighters play live, it sounds like “five guys beating the s?t out of their instruments,” making an implicit contrast with artists who faithfully reproduce their recorded songs live. (Don’t count on the Foos playing The Colour and the Shape start to finish anytime soon.) We wouldn’t have the Foos any other way, but we certainly don’t want every artist to embrace this philosophy.?
As for Glee, well, far be it from us to say that Grohl should take lessons from Lady Gaga about artifice, but when a guy praises Kiss and Queen in one breath and spits out the word “musical” with derision in the next, there’s a bit of a disconnect. That said, Glee is more like professional karaoke than a Top 40 jukebox musical, and we will always have a soft spot in our hearts for nineties dudes who insist you don’t have to sell out to anyone. DIY-or-die may not be a requirement, but it’s always an option.
Our favorite bit of this interview, though, was Grohl’s anecdotes about Cloris Leachman at the 2011 VMAs. He told Handler that she spent the ceremony in slippers, and when Adele performed, the actress went right up to the stage to watch, camera crew be damned. Right on, Cloris! Who’s gonna tell you not to?
Another summer weekend, another festival we couldn’t attend. Here’s why we’re jealous of this year’s Lollapalooza attendees:
Foster The People Open Friday Strong
Need proof that You Oughta Know favorite Foster The People is more than just one hot single? Check out how many people made the effort to turn out for their Lollapalooza set on 3:00PM Friday (a tough festival slot considering many attendees were still en route or, locally, at work). Or look how pumped up (pardon the pun) the huge crowd is for “Life On the Nickel,” above, which wasn’t even on their EP. Read more…
Tens of thousands of music fans are, as we type, passing through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports on a pilgramage to Grant Park for Lollapalooza 2011. After a torrid month of July in the Windy City, the weather forecast is calling for sunny temperatures in the low eighties for most of the weekend, which is perfect festival-going weather; there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday, though. Still, what’s a little rain when you have over 150 of the world’s best bands and DJs all gathered within 1.2 square kilometers of each other?
As we have explained for you in the past at Coachella and Bonnaroo, festival-going is all about making tough decisions. At any given time this weekend, upwards of six acts will be performing simultaneously, and some of these overlaps are bound to involve bands that you care about equally. Sadly, because of the sheer size of the park (319 acres, yo) and the amount of people on the grounds, waffling on your decisions could lead you to missing both acts. So, in the interest of being as service-y as possible, we’re putting the spotlight on five of these potential conflicts and arming you with as much information as possible to help you make an educated decision.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
Foster The People (3-4 p.m.) OR Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2:30-3:30 p.m.)?
Right at the time when most people will first be entering the festival grounds for the weekend comes our first tough decision as two of our You Oughta Know alums are going head-to-head. Foster The People have the #1 alternative song on the Billboard charts at the moment (“Pumped Up Kicks”), while Grace Potter and her Nocturnals are seasoned festival performers who lean on heavy riffs (and Potter’s famously long legs). This is a toughie, but based on their highly buzzed about “breakthrough performance” at Coachella this past April, we’re going to suggest you check out Mark Foster and his People as they perform to what will surely be their largest audience to date.