One Day As A Lion And Dr. Dog Andy Langer of Esquire magazine looks at this week's new music releases.
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One Day As A Lion And Dr. Dog

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One Day As A Lion And Dr. Dog

One Day As A Lion And Dr. Dog

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An EP from the MIA front man of Rage Against the Machine and a teen queen continues her quest to dominate the globe. Yes, it is Tuesday, and it is time when a new raft of music floats our way. So, let's get right to it with a fellow who's been with the BPP since its days as a little, tiny pilot, hailing from Austin, Texas, Esquire Magazine's music critic and friend of the BPP, Andy Langer. Hi, Andy.

Mr. ANDY LANGER (Music Critic, Esquire Magazine): Good morning. I'm drinking Burger King coffee because they're paying me.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: You're just going to keep dropping Burger King into the whole segment?

Mr. LANGER: Exactly.

STEWART: That's a Whopper of a good record!

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Hey, let's start with new music from Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. You know, they've been doing some live dates this summer. Last album, I think, was 2000. You know, Tom Morello, he's been, obviously, much more active. Did you miss Zack?

Mr. LANGER: Which isn't necessarily a good thing.


(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Well, tell us, did you miss Zack, and why do you think Zack's been sort of lying low?

Mr. LANGER: Well, I mean, I think, yes, Morello has been out there as the Nightwatchman, even though he's one dude, and de la Rocha nowhere. And you know, you keep hearing rumors that he's making music with DJ Shadow or with Trent Reznor or ?uestlove, and one or two tracks have trickled out over those eight years. Neither of them, or any of the two or three, have been any good. And radio in particular is dying for new Rage Against the Machine. I mean, it's something that they could just drop into that alternative format and have a hit instantly. And apparently, they're just not willing to deliver a new Rage Against the Machine record. So, we have this, "One Day as a Lion." Finally, we have new music from Zack de la Rocha, and it's OK.

STEWART: "One Day as a Lion" is the name of his partnership with drummer Jon Theodore, who used to play with Mars Volta. Let's take a quick listen, and we'll talk about it on the back end.

(Soundbite of song)

Mr. ZACK DE LA ROCHSTEWART: (Rapping) They say that in war the troops be the first casualties, So I bring in selector (ph). I will resurrect her. Fly my (beep) (unintelligible) With my (unintelligible) full of arsenic, Burn disillusion and fire with straight (beep). Your arsenal strip, cavalry full of jackets and clips. It's my ability to provide phenomenal raw Crenshaw 84 boogey down before L.A. when the war break off, where you be take off, Standard fool face off with the M1 millimeter...

STEWART: OK. So, Zack's got a little potty mouth, as we heard from the beeps.

Mr. LANGER: Yeah.

STEWART: His style is so distinct. I mean, no matter what band he is in, no matter what they call it, you know who it is.

Mr. LANGER: Yeah. And there's five songs here. And sonically, two of them sound like Rage Against the Machine songs, and those happen to be the two that are good. On the other hand, what you realize when you listen to this EP is that Tom Morello, who may not be very good as the Nightwatchman, is definitely the song craftsman of Rage Against the Machine because what's missing here is song craft. It sounds like Rage Against the Machine, but there's no hooks.

STEWART: Right. All right. I'm moving onto Miley Cyrus. Now, if you aren't up on 15-year-old Miley Cyrus, let me tell you. She played a concert series across from our offices here last Friday. City officials literally shut down two subway-station entrances because so many people showed up. So, based on the sheer volume of the screams that we endured for two hours, we want to find out what you think about Miley Cyrus's new release called "Breakout."

Andy, did you...

Mr. LANGER: Oh. I thought we were listening to some.

STEWART: No. I thought you hung up on me.

Mr. LANGER: Oh. All right.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: Well, you know, here's the deal. I mean, to pull back the curtain on this rock-criticism thing - we might as well, since it's the last time - anybody that tells you that's 35 years old or older - and I'm 35, and I'm 15 years younger than the average guy that does this for a living - if they try to tell you that they listen to a Miley Cyrus record and that they understand it in a critical way, that they can tell you what's good and bad about Miley Cyrus, then they're lying to you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: They just want to get on the list for tickets, so they can invite their kids, if they can get their kids. And you know, it's fine. It's a record that doesn't matter whether it's good or not.


Mr. LANGER: I mean, this isn't a record that we're going to look back and say, oh, she was maturing, and this is her transitional album from "Hannah Montana" into a solo artist. And you know, it's a record that has a cover of "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" and takes it in a serious way.

STEWART: Well, let's listen to the critic-proof Miley Cyrus. This is called "Seven Things" from "Breakout."

(Soundbite of song "Seven Things")

Ms. MILEY CYRUS: (Singing) It's awkward and silent as I wait for you to say, What I need to hear now, your sincere apology. When you mean it, I'll believe it. If you text it, I'll delete it. Let's be clear. Oh, I'm not coming back. You're taking seven steps...

STEWART: OK. We're just going to move onto Dr. Dog from Philadelphia.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: The new album called "Fate," it's their fifth. The band stopped by our studio last week, and singer Scott McMicken, he said the band didn't really have any plan going into recording the new record, but that the concept of fate imposed itself. Let's listen.

Mr. SCOTT MCMICKEN (Lead Singer, Dr. Dog): At that point, we then, you know, put forth more intent into what we were already observing, and so, this process became this kind of manifestation of fate or something that you could see as, wow, we are witnessing this fated event. I mean, the process itself started to bring as much to us. It's the kind of thing that I live for, you know, and it's not the kind of thing you always get.

STEWART: Now, Spin Magazine described their acoustic throwback music as having "sepia sweetness." What do you think of these guys?

Mr. LANGER: I think that's a deep thought for a really sort of simple record, a record that gets its beauty from simplicity, and it's a really strong record. I mean, whether you call this, you know, beard rock or retro or just Americana...

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Beard rock, I haven't heard that!

Mr. LANGER: It's part Beatles. It's part The Band. It's a little bit Beach Boys, and it's really earthy and complex in the melody but simple in the delivery. And it's just an easygoing sort of summery-slash-Sunday record.

STEWART: All right, and finally, I want to talk about a reissue that's come out. U2 - we don't need to explain anything about U2 - reissued the first three albums, a bunch of bonus material. What kind of goodies are we talking about here?

Mr. LANGER: They're really gorgeous packages. I mean, they're, you know, there are these 32-page books and then a full disk, you know, 14 to 16 songs on each of these extra disks, of live stuff, of previously unreleased stuff, stuff that would have come out on a box set down the line and hasn't. And frankly, I'm surprised it hasn't because a lot of it is good. You are getting a lot of bang for your buck with these reissues. And, you know, two of the records are not the best U2 records. I mean, really, until "War," U2 isn't U2, but these really generous B-sides that they've given over, and apparently, you know, early adopters, as always, get screwed.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. LANGER: If you bought this in the last 45 years, you didn't get what you should've because now is the time to buy these records.

STEWART: Let's listen to a bonus cut from the "Boy" reissue. It's the early single, "Eleven O'clock Tic Toc." This is live from the Marquis Club in London.

(Soundbite of song "Eleven O'clock Tic Toc")

BONO: (Singing) A painted face, And I know we haven't long. We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong...

STEWART: All right. There were different reactions here about hearing this. Jacob, our director, says it reminds him how far Bono's voice has fallen in the last 28 years. I said it reminds me of how much he has - his voice has matured and has depth. What do you think?

Mr. LANGER: It reminds me of how early they were good. I mean, that's the thing is that this is a band with such a long career, who early on were - knew what they were before most bands knew what they were. And it's obvious when you listen to these early records. Even if they're not great records, they're records from a band who knew where they were, who they were earlier than most bands do. And that's you how get to be U2.

STEWART: Andy Langer, Music Critic from Esquire Magazine and very good friend to the BPP.

Mr. LANGER: It's been my pleasure.

STEWART: Andy, it has been our pleasure. Thank you so much!

Mr. LANGER: All right. Thank you.

STEWART: We'll see you down the line.

Mr. LANGER: All right. Thanks.

(Soundbite of song "Eleven O'clock Tic Toc")

BONO: (Singing) La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la. La, la, la...

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