Arcade Fire Cover INXS' "Devil Inside"

arcade-fireArcade Fire has had a pretty incredible 2014, and it’s only January. I mean, they were nominated for a BRIT Award, are headlining Coachella, and just generally seem to be on top of the world. I still hear “Reflektor” played constantly on indie radio. Plus, they’re currently touring Australia surrounding their time at Big Day Out Festival, so that’s  pretty cool.

Speaking of, last night while at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the band covered INXS‘ “Devil Inside.” You can watch a fan recorded performance, and if you’re in the mood for an Arcade Fire/INXS mashup, you can listen to a new one by the Hood Internet below. (more…)

INXS TV Drama Begins Production, More On The Way Soon

Though their career as a band was tragically cut short, INXS have left an impression on the rock world that has lasted more than two decade, and in 2014 it seems fandom is going to hit new heights.

In a new article posted by The Hollywood Reporter, it is confirmed that production has begun in Australia on a new two-part miniseries titled Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS. The program, which is being made for the Seven Network here, is the first dramatic production from SHINE Australia. The film’s story will tell the band’s uncensored journey with full access to their archive of music, photography and stories. No air date has been set. (more…)

Exclusive Q and A: Free Energy Talk Irony, Romance, Rebellion

Philly-based indie rock outfit Free Energy have been bringing classic rock riffs back since the mid 2000s, when three-fifths of their members were part of Minnesota hometown heroes Hockey Night. With Love Sign, the band’s follow-up to their 2010 release Stuck on Nothing, Free Energy is channeling a whole new decade to expand on their ’70s sound. We talked to lead singer Paul Sprangers about the ’80s influences on the new album, his affinity for certain recurring phrases in his lyrics, and what makes the idea of rebellion so appealing.

OS:  How did the band approach writing the new material compared to Stuck on Nothing?

Paul Sprangers: Scott and I demoed songs together, like the last record, but this time we were able to bring the songs to the band, work on arrangements, then re-demo, sometimes repeating and refining the process many times. Then the songs would undergo more arranging with John Agnello so we were able to spend more time refining the songs and letting them ferment. We also had a clearer vision of the production aesthetic going in, partly because of our experience working with James, and also because we had been listening to so much mid-80s music in the last 5 years. INXS, Def Leppard, Peter Gabriel, AC/DC, The Bangles, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Ocean. John Agnello worked on the first Outfield record, and a Cyndi Lauper record, so those were two huge sonic reference points. (more…)

Living With Lineup Changes

With Shia LeBouf, explosions, robots and more explosions, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is guaranteed to be a huge summer blockbuster. But even though we’re pumped for the latest installment in the Transformers franchise”and believe us, we are”we’re almost more intrigued by the soundtrack, which features the first single from Paramore since Josh and Zac Farro left the group in December.

For those who have forgotten (or never cared in the first place), the Farro brothers quit Paramore amid a swirl of controversy at the end of 2010, calling the band a sham, and frontwoman Hayley Williams a manufactured product of a major label. (You can read their full statement on Josh’s blog.) It might seem tough to recover from the kind of bad publicity the Farros saddled the band with, but their new single “Monster” sounds just as raw and Paramore-esque as any of their material when the brothers were still members, and Williams just told BBC Radio 1 that they plan to release a new album in early 2012.

Of course, Paramore are far from the first band to make a triumphant return after a rocky lineup change. Remember a little album called Back in Black? AC/DC made what is to this day the second highest-selling album of all time, and they did it after the untimely death of frontman Bon Scott. Can you even imagine a world without Hells Bells or You Shook Me All Night Long? Scott may have appeared on six AC/DC releases before Back in Black, but his replacement Brian Johnson helped create what is arguably the most iconic record from the Australian rockers. And they’re not the only classic band that’s had to survive personnel messes” Guns and Roses have had an almost constantly rotating lineup since 1985, and Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd have had more than 20 different lineups since 1964. Courtney Love is no stranger to change; since 1989 she’s remained the only consistent staple of Hole while drummers and bassists have come and gone. Even longtime lead guitarist Eric Erlandson, who was with the group for their first 10 years, declined to be a part of their 2009 reunion and actually tried to keep Love from using the Hole name.

Sometimes bands can do more than just survive a lineup change, using a bit of new blood to actually improve. Take Sid Vicious”the infamous bassist’s name is synonymous with the Sex Pistols despite the fact that he wasn’t even one of the original members of the band. Of course, there are times when a change in the lineup can bring… well, let’s just say “mixed results.” Frontman Michael Hutchence of the Australian rock group INXS died in 1997, and in 2005 his band embarked on a search for a new lead singer on the TV show Rock Star: INXS. But despite the program’s popularity both of the albums recorded with new singer J.D. Fortune earned reviews that were mediocre at best, and many INXS fans thought the show dishonored Hutchence’s memory. (Two Australian radio hosts called the program “broadband urination on Michael Hutchence’s grave.” Ouch.)

And then there are the occasions when a member’s loss is just too great for the group to overcome. Led Zepellin decided to disband in 1980 following the death of legendary drummer John Bonham, despite a surge of  rumors that the rockers were replacing him. In a statement, the group said, “We wish it to be known that the loss of our dear friend, and the deep sense of undivided harmony felt by ourselves and our manager, have led us to decide that we could not continue as we were.” Nirvana made the same decision after Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994. While former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl has proven to be an outstanding vocalist for the Foo Fighters, replacing a singer who has been hailed as the voice of a generation would have been a tall order.

But it seems like more and more often, bands will lose a member or two and decide to forge ahead. Florida-based punks Against Me! are selling out shows along their current summer tour, even though their lineup looks nothing like the one that started putting out cassette demos in ’97. Several longtime members of Taking Back Sunday have parted ways with the band over the years, yet their self-titled album”out June 28”is one of the most highly anticipated rock releases of the year. In fact, bands like U2, Radiohead or Green Day that have had a consistent lineup through their career are the exception rather than the rule these days. But judging from the work some of these bands have done after weathering massive lineup changes, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

All Keyed Up

Jes Hudak

Things happen when you’re 13 ” first kisses, first cigarettes, first piercings ” and, if you’re like Jes Hudak, first albums. Maybe it’s a little precocious for a 9th grader to drop a record on her classmates and hit the local open mic night, but getting a head start can pay off. Now well into her 20s, the LA ingenue has already been a contestant on American Idol and Rock Star: INXS, toured with Enrique Iglesias, Maroon 5 and Howie Day, sung both the National Anthem at Giants Stadium and a Tom Jones cover for a Pantene commercial, and picked up her fair share of music awards along the way. Here’s what the fuss is about: Hudak’s limber voice and gift for writing insistent little piano melodies that won’t let you soon forget them. National Holiday is blissed-out piano pop, while No One in the World is sexier terrain, where a chorus of cooing Hudaks and the squiggle of electric guitar raise the temperature. High school boys, eat your heart out.

Lust Machines

Their future's so bright: Loomis & The Lust

Their future's so bright: Loomis & The Lust

Just because something’s accessible, doesn’t mean it’s inappreciable. When Loomis & The Lust front man Will Loomis is singing, I put the needle in the groove / To a song that fits the mood, he’s literally describing playing a record, not obliquely referencing drug use. But, when he sings, I’m in love with a feeling I can’t forget, he’s literally describing drug use.

In short, what you hear is what you get with Loomis & The Lust. And what you get is straight-up rock with vintage sensibilities. The low buzz of bass, scorching guitar riffs, stomping drums and vocals rife with ˜tude are the the touchstones of this a four-piece rock band from Santa Barbara, CA. Break On Love has the bluesy strut of a vintage Rolling Stones number, while Sweetness with its tempest of hand claps and spitting guitars recalls INXS. Maybe they’re not going to spark your imagination, but Loomis & The Lust will definitely set fire to your feet. And that’s gotta count for something.