My Early 2016 Music Grab Bag

So much going on this new year…

Rest In Peace

There’s the loss of so many important musicians these past few months. In the pop/rock realm, we mourn the passings of David Bowie and Glenn Frey. And others like Maurice White, Lemmy Kilmister, and a teen obsession near and dear to my heart: Denise Matthews, aka Vanity. Her nearly unclothed posters and magazine pages (Black Beat!) adorned my teenage-era bedroom walls (along with Mr. Prince Rogers Nelson and his merry band of Minneapolis musicmakers). My favorite:



In the music streaming world, my service of choice, Rdio, filed for bankruptcy and signed off by year’s end. I (and my close friends and family who used it) considered it the best one of the bunch – the clean, intuitive interface, the organization of songs, artists, and albums, and most importantly, the social side of it. Rdio allowed you to follow other users, whether friends or artists or brands, and get a view into what they were listening to and adding to their collection. Spotify is the only other service I can find that features any social integration, and it’s far inferior to what Rdio offered. No marketing though, and that ultimately killed Rdio. R.I.P.!


So with Rdio’s demise, I’ve gone all in with Apple Music. I have so many local files in my iTunes that have been uploaded to the Apple Music cloud, that it just made sense. People complain of its bugs and bloat, but frankly, I’m used to it. Also, you can bring your whole family on board for only $15.99 per month for everyone. I’m hoping they integrate some sort of social feature where users can follow each other. The “Connect” area is perfect for it (and so under-utilized currently).

I’ve jumped in and out of Google Play Music as well (currently signed up). I like the web and mobile interfaces, and I have it as an app on my Sony TV (although they need to work on that interface – when you’re listening to a song/album, all you see on the screen is a giant picture of the artist or album – no artist/album/song info at all. And sometimes, say with the Pogues, for example, you just don’t want Shane MacGowan’s giant mug staring at back at you).


As far as new tunes go, I stumbled across L.A. musician Julia Holter. She offers up an otherworldly, laid back, orchestral/indie vibe that I really like. The best of the bunch is “Lucette Stranded on the Island” from her most recent album, Have You In My Wilderness which you should listen to now.. it’s mesmerizing.




I also recently read John Lydon‘s autobiography, Anger is an Energy. Never Mind The Bollocks has always been a top shelf album for me, but believe it or not, I never jumped into John’s follow up (and current) band Public Image Ltd. Reading through the book and listening along as I go, discovering new P.I.L. tunes in the process, has been a fun ride. John’s as obnoxious and provoking as ever, and I like what I hear.  Their newer stuff in the 2010’s is strong too.  You can get a good feel for the band in this 2013 set from Glastonbury:

Any new music I should be hearing?  Please recommend…

The Sex Pistols’ Last Show

Thirty years ago yesterday, the Sex Pistols ended their ill-fated U.S. tour with this show at San Francisco’s Winterland – a venue which would close later that year (marked by a New Year’s Eve finale show by the Grateful Dead – available on CD as The Closing of Winterland).

In early January, the Pistols embarked on their first U.S. tour with a string of dates through the Deep South – purposely booked by their manager Malcolm McLaren to create an atmosphere of tension and hostility. Mission accomplished! Sid Vicious was deep into his heroin habit by then, and increasingly hostile to the audience. Fights would break out, people would attack him on stage. It was ugly. Johnny Rotten was increasingly disillusioned during the tour. He was disgusted by Sid’s behavior, and found himself more and more isolated from Steve Jones and Paul Cook (the other members of the band).

By the time they made it to San Francisco for their January 14th show, enough was enough. After the final song, a cover of the Stooges tune “No Fun” (not coincidental, it would seem), Rotten famously exclaimed: “Ever get the feeling you’re being cheated? Good night.”  And walked off the stage. That was it for the band – at least in that incarnation.

The Sex Pistols
Live at Winterland, San Francisco
January 14th, 1978

God Save The Queen
I Wanna Be Me
New York
Belsen Was A Gas
Holidays In The Sun
No Feelings
Pretty Vacant
Anarchy In The U.K.
No Fun

Rotten: Bugger to the Hall of Fame


I just caught John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten) on Jimmy Kimmel Live a few nights ago. He is one entertaining and honest guy. He was ranting about the Sex Pistols induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In a nutshell, eh, they ain’t goin’. Though they’ve been history for a long time, it’s admirable that a band so anti-establishment has stuck to their principles so many years later, and not bowed down to the “system”.

Cheers to them for causing a little stir… here’s my favorite Sex Pistols song.

The Sex Pistols: Bodies (mp3) – from Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols

Here’s the letter written to the Hall of Fame, thought to be John Lydon’s handwriting (Link to John Lydon’s Official Site with a larger image of the letter):

Next to the SEX PISTOLS rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. Were not your monkey and so what? Fame at $25,000 if we paid for a table or $15,000 to squeak up in the gallery, goes to a non-profit organization selling us a load of old famous. Congradulations. If you voted for us, I hope you noted your reasons. Your anonymous as judges. but your still music industry people. Were not coming. Your not paying attention. Outside the shit-stem is a real SEX PISTOL.