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Archive for December, 2012

David Chase tries a new beat with ‘Not Fade Away’

David Chase (right) consults with James Gandolfini and John Magaro on the set of "Not Fade Away."

David Chase (right) consults with James Gandolfini and John Magaro on the set of "Not Fade Away."

David Chase will forever be linked with “The Sopranos,” a show so robust with an ending so unconventional, it will undoubtedly live on among TVs greatest.

But now Chase is turning his Italian-American roots to a movie – his first — about music. Specifically, a young New Jersey-ite (Douglas, played by relative newcomer John Magaro) who aspires to rock ‘n’ roll greatness, much to the extreme disapproval of his traditional bear of a father (played by head Soprano himself, James Gandolfini).

The Chase written-and-directed “Not Fade Away,” opening in Atlanta Jan. 4 is set in the 1960s, when kids still hung out in record stores and The Rolling Stones (a Chase favorite) influenced more than one teen to tune a guitar (or, in Douglas’ case, take up the drums).

It’s not autobiographical, but Chase, who worked on the music with E Street Band legend – and former “Sopranos” henchman – Steven …

Continue reading David Chase tries a new beat with ‘Not Fade Away’ »

Friday Riffs: Our Top 10 favorite songs of 2012

If we’re heading toward the end of the year, it must mean it’s time for another list!

Last Friday I asked you to tell me what your favorite songs were for 2012. The responses were scattershot, from Frank Ocean’s “Lost” to Josh Groban’s “Brave” to Green Day’s “Let Yourself Go.” Even Paul McCartney’s “My Valentine” got a mention.

My rundown could have also included The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey,” Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pool (Drank),” The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” Ocean’s “Thinkin’ Bout You,” and The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” – but that would start an out-of-control list, so here is my self-imposed limit of 10.

If you didn’t get a chance to weigh in then, now is your chance to share your picks of the year.

10. Matchbox Twenty, “She’s So Mean”: Mock if you will, but this comeback song from the ‘90s hitmakers highlighted Rob Thomas’ knack for crafting goofy-fun lyrics wrapped in a cotton candy melody. Pat Monahan, take note.

9. B.o.B., “So …

Continue reading Friday Riffs: Our Top 10 favorite songs of 2012 »

Concerts: Dec. 28-31

NOLA Suspects 5x8 by Jeffrey DupuisThe New Orleans Suspects — from left, CR Gruver, Jeff Watkins, Reggie Scanlan, Jake Eckert and Mean Willie Green — will play Smith’s Olde Bar on New Year’s Eve. Photo: Jeffrey Dupuis

FRIDAY
JJ Grey & Mofro
Grey’s evocative songs about the vanishing landscape of his home state of Florida and its hearty backwoods denizens are buoyed by his band’s deeply funky execution. His music is still as down-home and tasty as a mess of collard greens and fried catfish. You’ll have a hard time finding a set of muscular swamp funk this soulful, proud and unrepentantly Southern.
8:30 p.m. Dec. 28. $27.50; $25 in advance. Variety Playhouse, 1099 Euclid Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-524-7354.

FRIDAY-MONDAY

Umphrey’s McGee
Among the post-Dead jam-rockers, popular Chicago outfit Umphrey’s McGee is more accomplished — and more varied — than most. “Miami Virtue,” the lead track on the band’s latest album, “Death by Stereo,” even recalls ’80s synth pop. “Domino Theory” rides on a big, crunchy guitar riff. …

Continue reading Concerts: Dec. 28-31 »

Which Atlanta concerts made the Top 10 list for 2012?

Even though I’m lucky enough to see dozens of concerts every year – probably about 60 in 2012 if my admittedly shaky math is correct – there are always those few that have me clenching my fists in regret at the end of the year.

How I would have loved to have seen Alabama Shakes at The Masquerade in September. Or the Psychedelic Furs at either of their two Atlanta shows in 2012. Or Jack White at the Fox in October.

But, because of a conflict in concert scheduling (hey, seeing Alanis Morissette at the Tabernacle instead of the Furs at Variety Playhouse in October was a worthwhile choice, despite my initial laments), a conflict in personal scheduling (sorry, Jack, but a trip to Italy took precedence over seeing you) or basic exhaustion (yes, going to five concerts a week might sound dreamy on paper to some of you, but trust me, it gets harder as the years roll on), I wasn’t able to experience every show I’d hoped to see.

But of those many I did take in, here is my Top 10 picks …

Continue reading Which Atlanta concerts made the Top 10 list for 2012? »

From Bruce Springsteen to Tony Bennett, musicians hit the literary trail

Something must have flittered through the cosmos last year, prompting anyone who ever picked up an instrument to write – or contribute to – their life story, with all of them releasing the results this fall.

For awhile, rock fans could only natter on about the Keith Richards autobiography, but in the past four months, artists ranging from classic pop stars (Tony Bennett) to ‘80s favorites (Cyndi Lauper, John Taylor of Duran Duran) to rock ‘n’ roll behemoths (Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend) have delved into self-exploration.

Here are some selections.

“Bruce” (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, $28) by Peter Ames Carlin

The notoriously private Springsteen lends enough of his voice to Carlin’s biography to enhance its credibility. Exhaustive research and interviews with band members – including Clarence Clemons last year, shortly before his death – portray a boss who could be both cold-hearted (Max Weinberg still hasn’t gotten over Springsteen harshly axing the E Street Band from …

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‘Gangnam Style’ hits record-setting 1 billion YouTube views

So Psy’s video for “Gangnam Style” reaches 1 billion views on YouTube/Vevo on the same day the world is supposed to end.

Coincidence?

The Korean pop star is the first artist with a video to hit a billion views on YouTube, surpassing his last record-setting move of unseating Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the most-viewed clip on the site. He reached the milestone exactly five months to the day of the video hitting YouTube.

Psy’s manager Scooter Braun (he of Atlanta and discovering-Bieber fame), said in a statement, “We just set out to try and make some history, break down barriers, and prove a song in Korean could go all the way. This is a remarkable accomplishment and a testament to music being the universal language.”

Psy promises a big 2013. And in case you are the one person who hasn’t seen the clip, here it is:

Continue reading ‘Gangnam Style’ hits record-setting 1 billion YouTube views »

Where to find the blues in Atlanta

Photo: AJC

Photo: AJC

Looking for some blues this holiday season? My music-lovin’ buddy and colleague Bo Emerson has done some scouting around to find out some of the best blues joints in the Atlanta area.

Check out Bo’s guide to top Atlanta blues clubs.

Continue reading Where to find the blues in Atlanta »

Friday Riffs: What was your favorite song of 2012?

The artsy Gotye performed in Australia last week. Photo: Getty Images

The artsy Gotye performed in Australia last week. Photo: Getty Images

So we know that Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know” was the most played song in 2012. But was it your favorite?

Maybe the second and third-place songs with the most radio spins – Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” and fun.’s “We are Young” (with Altanta’s Janelle Monae) – top your list? (I can’t imagine that the song in the No. 4 slot, Maroon 5’s whiny “Payphone,” would top anyone’s list with the word “best” or “favorite” in it, but feel free to prove me wrong.)

Sound off below with your top three favorite songs of the year and I’ll tally the results for next week’s Friday Riffs and share my picks.

In the meantime, Happy Christmas.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

Continue reading Friday Riffs: What was your favorite song of 2012? »

Man awarded half a million dollars in Waka Flocka-related shooting

Waka Flocka Flame performed at Opera in Atlanta this summer. Photo: Getty Images

Waka Flocka Flame performed at Opera in Atlanta this summer. Photo: Getty Images

A jury awarded a man shot by members of Waka Flocka Flame’s security team last year in Charlotte more than $500,000 in compensatory and punitive damages earlier this week.

Mizay Entertainment, the company that manages the Atlanta rapper (whose real name is Juaqin Malphurs) and is headed by his mother and manager, Debra Antney, will be responsible for paying the money.

When called for comment, a receptionist at Mizay Entertainment offered only, “There is no comment, thank you,” before abruptly hanging up.

The incident with Waka Flocka took place in February 2011, when Antonio Stukes and five of his friends pulled into the parking lot at the Car Stereo Warehouse near Bojangles’ Coliseum in Charlotte. Stukes, an aspiring rapper, began to approach Waka Flocka’s tour bus – which was being outfitted with a new stereo system – to present a demo CD when two members of Waka Flocka’s team began shooting at …

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Concerts: B.o.B, Drivin N Cryin, Cartel, All the Saints

Hong Kong MAMA AwardsB.o.B celebrates a successful year with a show at Smith’s Olde Bar on Friday, Dec. 21. Photo: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

FRIDAY
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: ‘A Very Merry Holiday Pops’

Actress and singer Jodi Benson and the Grady High School Chorus join conductor Michael Krajewski and the orchestra for a selection of holiday favorites. Benson is probably best known as the voice of Ariel in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
8 p.m. Dec. 21; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 22. $22-$60. Atlanta Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000.

B.o.B
Decatur’s Bobby Ray Simmons Jr. (aka B.o.B) was a busy guy this year. His second album, “Strange Clouds,” was released in May and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In recent months, he’s contributed to albums by Big Boi and Melanie Fiona and released his own live “iTunes Session” EP.
8 p.m. Dec. 21. $30 in advance. Smith’s Olde Bar, 1578 Piedmont Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-875-1522.

All the Saints
Alabama-born, Atlanta-based All the …

Continue reading Concerts: B.o.B, Drivin N Cryin, Cartel, All the Saints »