"Steve Hammer’s article on the Grammys, “Out of Touch With Reality” (Feb. 14-21) was certainly an interesting one … Steve’s statement that “Rock and roll is dead and has been for quite some time” is to me a very ignorant one. I think Mr. Hammer is stuck listening to his old vinyls of U2 and Cat Stevens, because he’s simply too old to go out and find new music, whether on the computer or in local record stores. Amazing rock & roll CDs produced recently include Wolfmother by Wolfmother, Wincing the Night Away by The Shins, Both Sides of the Gun by Ben Harper, to name only a few.
Wolfmother has produced one of the best CDs in recent history and is certainly hard rock, complete with Zeppelin-esque guitar riffs in such songs as “Where Eagles Have Been” and “Vagabond,” but also more White Stripes-esque garage band style tracks like “Apple Tree” and “Tales.”
Wincing the Night Away, an independent release from the Shins off Sub Pop Records, is last year’s most experimental and inventive album. The band is highly talented and shows it especially on such tracks as “Phantom Limb,” a song in their signature simple style, and “Sea Legs,” a great track in the style of Beck, another artist with a great new release.
Finally, Both Sides of The Gun, Ben Harper’s most recent release, shows the strength of singer/songwriters today. Ben Harper, probably today’s most talented slap-slide guitar player, is highly original and has an amazing ability to write songs with a whole lot of soul. Other great singer/songwriters of today include Matt Costa, Bright Eyes and Jack Johnson.
These recent CDs and many others lead me to change his quote from “Rock and roll is dead and has been for quite some time” to “Rock and roll is very much alive and doing well.