Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rock And Roll Television Is Experiencing A Rejuvination

It's been quite a few years since there's been anything resembling a legitimate, intellectual, artistically sound television program about rock music. In fact, even the less insightful programs featuring chart countdowns are even going the way of the dodo. Probably the best thing in recent memory (and even it was ten years ago) was David Byrne's program Sessions From West 54th on PBS. Sure, there are some concert programs that simply show live music, but they seldom do much to investigate anything beyond the live experience as it stands up on its own. Given that, we've been subsisting on a steady diet of youtube clips and Classic Albums DVD's from Netflix. However, news over the past couple months has given us some hope that maybe the music program is on the rebound, and that there'll be a fair bit to gobble up over the next year.

To start with, you may remember that we mentioned Nigel Godrich's program From The Basement. Well, apparently it was popular enough to sustain a second season, and so it's back with a killer lineup of players, all getting recorded for your listening delight in specialized studio sessions. One of our favorite producers recording some fantastic bands? Not exactly a bad idea.

What's more, you may have heard about Elvis Costello and Elton John collaborating as producers on the Costello-hosted program Spectacle. The show features Costello interviewing, collaborating with, and then listening to, a wide range of celebrities who all have some sort of musical inclinations. (Yes, Bill Clinton is on the list. We're skeptical too.) Given that Costello and John are both admitted fanboys themselves, we're looking forward to checking out what kind of interviews Costello puts out there.

Oddly, the shows broadcast on the same night, so you'll have to negotiate your schedule accordingly. Sure, some of the guests aren't exactly to our taste, but frankly we're glad to see music reestablishing it's proper place as part of an otherwise shallow and dead world of television.

From The Basement Season Two Lineup:
12/3 - Gnarls Barkley, Sparks, The Kills
12/10 - My Morning Jacket, The Fall, White Denim
12/17 - Iggy Pop, CSS, Shortwave Set
12/24 - Radiohead, Andrew Bird, Fleet Foxes
12/31 - The Raconteurs, Seasick Steve, Band of Horses
1/7 - TBC supported by Mercury Rev and Terry Callier

Elvis Costello's Spectacle Lineup:
12/3 Sir Elton John
12/10 Lou Reed + Julian Schnabel
12/17 Bill Clinton
12/24 Elvis Costello with James Taylor
12/31 Tony Bennett
1/7 The Police
1/14 Rufus Wainwright
1/21 Kris Kristofferson, Rosanne Cash, Norah Jones, John Mellencamp
1/28 Renée Fleming
2/4 Herbie Hancock
2/11 She & Him, Jenny Lewis, Jakob Dylan
2/18 Diana Krall
2/25 Smokey Robinson


Adrian said...

Austin City Limits is, admittedly, not intellectual, but their artist line up is varied and often good. It's been around forever. And since it happens during the festival, there are a lot of artists around to do interesting collaborations with.