Saturday, December 31, 2011

The ball's dropped on Live - "Mental Jewelry"

Released December 31st, 1991 on Radioactive
Today is the last day of 2011.  Starting tomorrow, when I tell people about Expired Music, I'll be saying how I no longer listen to music produced prior to 1992!  I find this extremely exciting.  Don't you?

Twenty years ago today, the band Live released their debut album "Mental Jewelry", a twelve-track record with two singles including "Operation Spirit"* which made it all the way to 9 on the Billboard charts.

Let's talk about Live for a second.  Everyone who listens to rock music on the radio is familiar with their second album "Throwing Copper" (Exp. April of '14).  It's by far their most successful album selling over 8 million copies in the US alone.  We've all heard "Lightning Crashes" a billion times by now and most of us are familiar with the tracks "I Alone" and "Selling the Drama." The fact that "Lightning Crashes" and "I Alone" are their only songs that continue to get regular airplay says one thing: Mainstream radio blows.

Live has released 7 records!  Can you name any of their follow up albums?  Can you hum even one track off their most recent release "Songs from the Black Mountain?" (exp. '26)  How do bands like Live continue to build a fan base when nobody knows what any of their music sounds like post 1994?  I suppose you have to really like "Throwing Copper" in order to wanna buy/download their follow up music.  That's a lot to ask.  I think the majority of all people wanna be familiar with at least ONE song before buying a new record.  Only die hard Live fans are gonna pick up their records on name alone.

I'm not saying Live's catalog is a must have, I was never really a fan of theirs in the first place, but let's at least give 'em a shot.  Play a bunch of their newer songs every so often and continue to do so for a significant amount of time. (20 years?)  Over time we might really like what we hear.  And think about all the other bands like Live that continue to produce music decades after their "big hit" hit the airwaves.  You know how much content that is?  We could probably go YEARS before "Lightning Crashes" climbed back to the top of the queue.

One last note re: Live.  ATW, they've disbanded.  Something about lead singer Ed Kowalczyk being a douche and demanding more money than the rest of his bandmates.  Legal action was taken, not sure of the outcome.

*I couldn't remember having ever heard "Operation Spirit" so I listened to it on YouTube for the first and last time before it expires for good. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

NEW MUSIC: Hanni El Khatib - "Will The Guns Come Out?"

Have you discovered this guy yet?  I first heard his music on 88.9 KXLU.  His first full length album hit stores in September and it's pretty bad ass.  "Will The Guns Come Out" is a rockin', crunchy, kill-or-be-killed record from Hanni El Khatib.  Part Filipino and part Palestinian, El Khatib comes from the San Francisco area with roots planted deep within the skateboarding community.

He's taking from blues, doo-wop, and mixing it all with a thick garage rock sound.  It's clear he's influenced by people like Elvis and Louis Armstrong both of whom have songs reimagined by El Khatib on this record.*

I know what you're thinking.  You're thinking: "That last paragraph disproves your entire theory of a need for music expiration." I'm also certain that if Hanni El Khatib ever came across this blog, he'd probably stick a switchblade through his computer screen.  All I can say is, yes, it's true that artists influence artists and new sound comes from old sound.  But you know what?  New sound can also rise from nothing.  It's possible to create music with limited to zero influence from other sources.  Isn't it?  And what if it's THIS MUSIC that really changes things?  Is it so crazy to think that older music, in a way, restricts significant growth?  Is it impossible to make huge strides toward new and interesting sounds without having Billboards top 50 of the past century on your iPod?**  I don't know, but I sure as hell would like to find out.

And yeah, if I could get the whole world on my side, records like "Will The Guns Come Out?" probably wouldn't exist, and that'd be a shame.  But El Khatib would still be a person with things to say and I'm sure he'd find a way to express himself.  Whether via music or some other medium.

Regardless, this record is excellent, and I highly suggest you spend some time (albeit no more than twenty years) checking out his music.  Might I suggest the tracks "Loved One" and "Dead Wrong"?

*Both of whom have expired physically and musically.  Presley ('77/'97ish) & Armstrong ('71/'91ish)

**I have no idea how long Billboard's been keeping stats, i just went with a nice round number.