STREAM: Ryan Adams’ “Ashes & Fire”

In an uncharacteristic act of act of restraint, Ryan Adams has been relatively quiet on the new album front the past few years. He did put out that weird proto-metal record last year (Orion), but that somehow doesn’t count as a “Ryan Adams” album. The media is assuming the man has developed some kind of internal editor, hoping that Ashes & Fire out October 11, 2011, will be a cliched “return to form.” If you want to decide for yourself, you can stream the new album here. I’ve never been in the camp that complained about too much product output from Adams. But his new album is amazing all the same.

But, if you’re also interested in a more in depth look at what Adams’ motives are, this interview with the Guardian is extremely informative and shows Adams in his most stable frame of mind.

FEATURE: The Joy Formidable

It’s often hard for me to believe it when bands say they have no direct influences on their sound. And when I recently spoke with The Joy Formidable’s bassist, Rhydian Daffyd, I heard a familiar refrain: “Sometimes we feel like we live in a bubble.” Yeah, yeah. Bands always hem and haw when asked to describe their sound or list their favorite artists, so I always make a point to do so, just to see how much they squirm or if they’ll play along. Daffyd predictably begged off at first, but when pressed let slip quite a few. His list caught me off guard. While I was coming from a very narrow-minded and specific shoegaze angle with a little Curve and Britpop thrown in, he lobbed “Springsteen, Costello, Orbison, and Motown” back at me. Touché.

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Foo Fighters and Roger Waters Perform “In the Flesh” on Fallon

Despite The Foo Fighters’ semi-bland brand of stadium rock, I don’t mind the band’s energy and tightness one bit. Dave Grohl’s choice of covers over the years has been the hook that keeps me paying attention on any level. Seeing them perform as Roger Waters’ backing band on a classic Pink Floyd track for Jimmy Fallon is no exception. I have to admit I enjoyed the hell out of this.

The Cure Add “Reflections” Concerts Stateside, Call Out R&R Hall of Fame

The Cure has been nominated for induction into the joke that is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Kudos! Except, wait, Robert Smith is pissed about something. Evidently, The Cure’s “current” drummer was left off the name check list on the band’s bio at the official Hall of Fame site. In the Hall of Fame’s defense, The Cure’s revolving door policy for members over the past 30 years is bound to result in a few oversights. Granted, Jason Cooper has been in The Cure for 17 years. But in all honesty The Cure isn’t being nominated for anything Jason Cooper has added to the canon. Playing drums on 17 years of, uhh, less than stellar albums does not an induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame make.

In other Cure news, the band is preparing to reprise its “Reflections” concerts, wherein the band will play its first three albums in their entirety for special shows in London, New York, and Los Angeles this November.

Fender Unveils Kurt Cobain Guitar

With the pending 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind, Fender has decided to cash in on the festivities by releasing an exact replica of Kurt Cobain’s 1965 Fender Jaguar. The replica comes complete with Cobain’s scuff marks and wear and tear. Besides the creepy factor, what surprises me most is that this hasn’t happened already. If you want to pony up for this piece of manufactured nostalgia, it will cost you $1849.99.

VIDEO: Battles “My Machines” [featuring Gary Numan]

Battles’ second LP, Gloss Drop, somehow seems to be achieving underrated status when it’s easily one of the best records of the year. Hammering that point home is the band’s new single “My Machines,” which features the one and only Gary Numan on vocals. This is an album highlight for me, as it’s one of the album’s more aggressive musical tangents, and I love Numan’s unorthodox vocal line. The video wins just for placing Gary Numan in the mundane context of a shopping mall, replete with shopping bag.