rock doctors

Rock Doctors Return

Jim and Greg put on their white coats once again as the Rock Doctors attend to a patient in need of some musical treatment. This time they attempt to revive a woman bored by rock's recent formulaic trends.

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Music News

The biopic film Straight Outta Compton debuted this past weekend to a monster box office earning over $56 million. The movie tells the story of the group N.W.A. and how they created the blue print for west coastand gangster rap in the '80s and early '90s. Jim recently saw the film and thought more about the biopic genre in general. He thought that this was a VH1-type film that largely glossed over many of the important truths of the band's history, including Dr. Dre's misogyny in both his lyrics and his actions. Greg agrees that the story of Dee Barnes, a female journalist covering N.W.A who was physically assaulted by Dre, was excluded from the film. Jim ultimately thinks the biopic doesn't work as journalism or biography, but instead acts as a missed opportunity to tell the whole truth of the story.

Two celebrated '70s producers passed away this week: Bob Johnston, longtime Bob Dylan producer, and Billy Sherrill, creator of the countrypolitan genre and producer of George Jones and Tammy Wynette. As an in-house producer for Columbia Records, Johnston produced some of Dylan's most notable albums, including Blonde on Blonde and Nashville Skyline. Johnston also served as the producer for Johnny Cash's At Folsom Prison, which only came about after Johnston's persistent efforts. With a similar determination, Sherrill ignited the careers of country artists like Jones and Wynette with hit songs "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and "Stand By Your Man." However, Greg chooses to honor Sherrill by playing The Staple Singers' "Why Am I Treated So Bad," a track that he produced before entering the country music scene. Sherrill produced songs for early R&B artists when no other producer would, earning him tremendous respect.


Jeffrey Brown

"Happy Birthday" is a song nearly everyone knows, so it seems like it should belong in the public domain. However, for several years now there has been a fight over whether the song is for the public or is the copyright of Warner/Chappell Music. Jeffrey Brown, a prominent trademark lawyer, joined us this week to discuss the case which appears to be wrapping up soon. Jeffrey believes that Warner will actually lose their claim to the copyright, and may have to pay back millions in licensing fees because the song should never have been copyrighted to begin with! Sound Opinions will continue to follow this case and we wish you all a Happy Birthday in the least costly way we can.

rock doctors


Once again, it's time for the Rock Doctors to put on their white coats and stethoscopes. During this appointment, Jim and Greg attempt to treat a fast spreading musical virus. Their patient is Jessica from Montreal. Jessica comes to the Rock Doctors Clinic with a bad case of“musical mailase, lyric lethargy, and beat fatigue.”Jessica has become uninterested in the rock music of today, which she perceives as redundant and insincere. The doctors' job is to help her reignite her passion for her favorite genre.

Jessica is well-versed in rock music, and spends a good amount of time listening to independent radio station WFMU with her husband, a rock DJ. Jessica loves rock music's focus on instrumentation, and her favorite album of 2014 was Brand New Day by The Ugly Beats, a young garage rock band out of Texas.

Greg's prescription is the album MCII from San Francisco multi-instrumentalist Mikal Cronin, while Jim recommends the album Slow Gum from Australian singer-songwriter Fraser A. Gorman. During their follow-up appointment, Jessica shares that she really enjoyed both records. She appreciates the balance of honest, personal lyrics with dynamic instrumentation, and found that both artists avoided the musical cliches that once plagued her. Greg and Jim decide that Jessica's knowledge of rock music would make her quite the rock critic.

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reviewComptonCompton available on iTunes

Dr. Dre Compton

Dr. Dre's Compton is the hip hop legend's first album since 1999, released as a companion to Straight Outta Compton, the new biopic of his former group N.W.A. Dre has been one of the most influential figures in hip hop, equally due to his own albums, his production work for artists like Snoop Dogg, and his history of grooming new talent like Eminem and Kendrick Lamar. Jim always thought Dre was overrated as a producer and is disgusted by the misogny in much of Compton's lyrics, which takes away from some of the more interesting political tracks. For Jim, it's a clear Trash It. Greg, on the other hand, praises Dre's production work, noting that by collaborating with younger producers King Mez and Justus he is reentering the conversation as a relevant figure. But Greg agrees that some of the lyrical content is stomach churning. Still, there are enough brilliant tracks to earn it a Try It rating.



“(Knife in the) Marathon”Breaking Circus

A listener recently asked Jim for some musical gift advice for her boyfriend's 30th birthday, leading Jim to dig out a 30-year-old mixtape of his from 1985. One of the artists featured on the tape was Breaking Circus, a forgotten Chicago post-punk band formed by Steve Björklund that fell somewhere in between the pop hooks of Naked Raygun and the abrasiveness of Big Black. Jim particularly loves the weirdness of "(Knife in the) Marathon," which tells the strange tale of an athlete from a third world country wrestled to the ground by security for carrying a knife. Jim would never have remembered this song without the mixtape, so he's grateful for the prompt as he nominates it for the Desert Island Jukebox.

Featured Songs

  1. N.W.A, Straight Outta Compton, Straight Outta Compton (Single), Ruthless, 1988
  2. Bob Dylan, To Be Alone With You, Nashville Skyline, Columbia, 1969
  3. Staple Singers, Why (Am I Treated So Bad), Why, Epic Records, 1966
  4. AFX, serge fenix Rendered 2, orphaned deejay selek (2006-2008), Self-released, 2015
  5. The Bird and the Bee, Doctor, Recreational Love, Polydor, 2015
  6. The Ugly Beats, Up on the Sun, Brand New Day, Get Hip Recordings, 2014
  7. Peter Schilling, Major Tom (Coming Home), Error in the System, Elektra, 1983
  8. The Lumineers, Ho Hey, The Lumineers, Dualtone, 2012
  9. The Moldy Peaches, Anyone Else But You, The Moldy Peaches, Rough Trade, 2001
  10. Van Halen, Somebody Get Me a Doctor, Van Halen II, Warner Bros., 1979
  11. Mikal Cronin, Shout It Out, MCII, Merge Records, 2013
  12. Mikal Cronin, See It My Way, MCII, Merge Records, 2013
  13. Mikal Cronin, Am I Wrong, MCII, Merge Records, 2013
  14. Mikal Cronin, I'm Done Running From You, MCII, Merge Records, 2013
  15. Fraser A. Gorman, Broken Hands, Slow Gum, Marathon Artists, 2015
  16. Fraser A. Gorman, We're All Alright, Slow Gum, Marathon Artists, 2015
  17. Fraser A. Gorman, Blossom & Snow, Slow Gum, Marathon Artists, 2015
  18. Mikal Cronin, Weight, MCII, Merge Records, 2013
  19. Dr. Dre, Talk About It (Featuring King Mez and Justus), Compton, Interscope/Aftermath, 2015
  20. Dr. Dre, Deep Water (Featuring Kendrick Lamar, Justus and Anderson .Paak), Compton, Interscope/Aftermath, 2015
  21. Breaking Circus, (Knife in the) Marathon, The Very Long Fuse, Homestead, 1985
  22. Bob Dylan, Nashville Skylilne Rag, Nashville Skyline, Columbia, 1969
  23. The Kinks, Party Line, Face to Face, Pye, 1966
  24. Procol Harum, A Whiter Shade of Pale, A Whiter Shade of Pale (Single), Deram, 1967
  25. Patti Smith, I Ain't Got Nobody, Boardwalk Empire Volume 2: Music from the HBO Original Series, ABKCO, 2013
  26. Vic Mizzy, Main Theme: The Addams Family, Original Music From the Addams Family, RCA, 1965

Footnotes Straight Outta Compton Film Success Jim's Straight Outta Compton review Dr. Dre Abuse Accusations Dee Barnes's piece in Gawker Dr. Dre Donating Royalties to Arts Center Bob Johnston Obit Billy Sherill Obit Jeffrey Brown History of the“Happy Birthday”Lawsuit Benihana Happy Birthday Mikal Cronin Fraser Gorman Dr. Dre Snoop Dogg Kendrick Lamar Eminem Breaking Circus“(Knife in the) Marathon”