Mar 232013
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Ric Ocasek, who turns 64 today, may be best remembered for buzzing around in the “You Might Think” video, but between 1978 and 1988 he led the Cars to FM radio immortality with a string of successful singles and albums (and two quality solo albums to boot). After the Cars folded, Ocasek’s skills as a producer became much in demand, and he stood behind the glass for bands such as Bad Brains, No Doubt, Nada Surf, and Weezer’s multi-platinum Blue and Green Albums. In both musician and producer roles, Ocasek’s influence has proven huge and lasting; bands such as The Strokes, Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, and even Nirvana owe Ocasek debts of gratitude for his style and sound, melding ‘50s rockabilly to ‘70s new wave with ‘80s rock and pop sensibilities. Continue reading »

They Say It’s Your Birthday: Rivers Cuomo

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Jun 132012
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Since the age of 22, Rivers Cuomo has headed up one of the world’s most beloved alternative rock bands: Weezer. For the last 20 years, Weezer has guided millions of angsty youths through glorious highs, soul-shattering lows and everything in between with hits like “Island In The Sun,” “Say It Ain’t So” and “Hash Pipe.” Continue reading »

Apr 022012
 

New Jersey based Titus Andronicus is known for their near-mockery of emotion with their completely unreserved demeanor and lyrics. While at SXSW, the band was selling $2 mixtapes. The mixtape, which is comprised mostly of rare demos, is not only a necessity to any hardcore fan, but also to the cover fan. The band doesn’t pull any punches, covering everything from Weezer, Thin Lizzy, The Velvet Underground, and yes, the obnoxiously catchy jingle for Hot Pockets. Continue reading »

Jan 262012
 

The members of Weezer, and a mass of super fans, recently returned from Weezer Cruise 2012. Yes, a very real, very sincere, and very weird cruise. No irony. After partnering up with Carnival Cruise Lines, Weezer set sail from Miami to Cozumel, January 19-23. The typical cruise amenities were provided, but Weezer boasted unique events like Rivers reading from “The Pinkerton Diaries,” watching Young Frankenstein with Brian, and vow renewals with Scott. Perhaps the true highlight was the lineup of bands, which, along with Weezer, included Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Wavves, the Knocks and many other acts. Continue reading »

Aug 232011
 

Though they’ve never really dropped off the map completely, Jim Henson’s lovable Muppets seem to be enjoying something of a cultural resurgence lately. A lot of that probably has to do with the upcoming Jason Segel/Amy Adams film simply called The Muppets, as well as the fact that many people who enjoyed the characters as kids are now coming to the age where it’s acceptable, even desirable, to embrace their childhood loves again.

You can add The Green Album to the list of cultural artifacts presaging the return of these creatures to full-on popularity. The record’s aimed exactly at the people described above, who in the years between their childhood and now have cultivated “cool” tastes, of which the Muppets have become a part. One look at the pedigree of bands and artists contributing to this compilation can’t help but impress — Weezer, My Morning Jacket, Andrew Bird and the rest all stand in the upper echelons of their respective fields, and it’s rare that any kind of tribute album could cull such noteworthy acts together. Continue reading »