Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm
Levon Helm is widely celebrated and beloved among musicians for his collaborative and joyful attitude (unlike Ginger Baker, whose documentary I covered last week), but for the only documentary about the legendary drummer of the Band, it shows a surprisingly very different side of Levon Helm. The film covers the recording of his first album in 25 years, the eventually Grammy Winning Dirt Farmer, but more importantly his ongoing struggle with throat cancer, which would ultimately take his life in 2012.
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Editor’s note: It’s a slow week in music, so we figured we would revisit one of our favorite lists we have done, our very favorite band names.
Band names are a highly subjective topic for a top ten list. Some people are more partial to goofy names (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. anybody). Some people dig simplicity (Cream). And some people even have a penchant for alliteration (Modest Mouse). We try to give every type of name its due on our list, but alas, a list of ten is far too short to honor all of the creative, funny, and bold names the creative geniuses throughout time have come up with. Enjoy our list for what it is, and we’d love to hear your favorites in the comments. Godspeed.
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One of our biggest pet peeves at LxL is the mid-career self-titled reinvention album: the one last gasp at pretending to start over. Many times it is when a band joins a major label and hopes to start anew or when the band has been falling apart and hopes for a fresh start, but either way, the mid-career self-titled album usually spells trouble. MGMT this week joins the ranks of mid-career self-titled albums, and from early returns, it sounds like this album won’t necessarily be a return to form. So in order to get our minds off the ugly self-titled trend, we have decided to give you the 10 best self-titled (or eponymous) albums of all time.
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Wes is on a pretty epic 12-day road trip out to Seattle, then up to Vancouver, and back to Chicago. Along the way, him and Jackie (his wife for the uninitiated) are stopping at Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, and many other beautiful places along the way. In honor of this trip, and in hopes of his safe return, we put our heads together to come up with the top ten road trip songs to keep Wes and Jackie alert, energized, and most importantly awake on this endeavor.
We tried to limit our choices for this list to songs actually about traveling to some degree. There are many songs and albums that we more abstractly view as road trip songs, but that would have opened this list up to too many options. We hope you enjoy these songs of the road, and as always feel free to bring more road trip songs of your preference to our attention.
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We caught up with Taylor Goldsmith, front man of the Americana L.A. band Dawes, post-Bonnaroo to discuss playing with legends like Robbie Robertson and Jackson Browne, songwriting, Occupy Wall Street, and going head-to-head with Ludacris.
LxL: Bonnaroo was my first time seeing you, and I was able to catch part of both your sets. I thought you guys sounded great, but my real question about the show is what was it like going head-to-head with Ludacris?
Taylor Goldsmith: (laughs) That was actually sort of a relief. Not that he is not incredible, but we were more worried about playing at the same time as a similar artist who we might share fans with. At Hangout Fest, we played at the same time as M. Ward. We have played a bunch of shows together and we are all buddies at this point. So we thought “Ahh that is inconvenient” where as someone like Ludacris, with all the people he is playing to, which I am certain was a much larger crowd than ours, I doubt they would want to see Dawes anyway even if Luda wasn’t playing.
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So with yesterday being the Fourth of July, you may be a little America’d out – or maybe you are the type of person that never gets sick of the old red, white, and blue. Either way, we opted for a list that isn’t straight up American patriotic songs (that list will come another time), but still captures the American spirit. We opted to do the best songs about freedom and independence, which is what is really at the core of the Fourth of July – going way beyond any mushy nationalism. We figured this works for everyone, including our international readers as well. Plus, Todd hates America, so staying away from a straight up American list was in the blog’s best interest to keep him from quitting. So here are the ten songs we thought best instill the spirit and message of freedom.
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In the past month, we have tried to give various coverage and recognition to some of the music greats that have passed, all in such a short span of time. With it being Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it was a great opportunity for us to highlight the musicians who have passed in recently by doing a five song playlist in dedication to these artists.
Continue reading “LxListening: May Memoriam”