As touted in this week's Backbeat, music editors from across the country asked luminaries from our respective towns to tell us what music they loved this year. Their picks appear below and on the subsequent pages.
Looks like Dave Navarro is going to be all about instant gratification next year. The L.A. native guitarist, who launched his own Internet TV show and directed his first porno in 2007, has obviously become inspired by both the immediacy the Web provides and the adult film industry's quick turnaround.
"These things come out during that burst of inspiration" — no pun intended — "whereas with records, by the time you're talking about it, it's something you created long ago," he explains. "That's one of the things I'm looking forward to with future music projects. I'm just going to immediately put out stuff online as I record it, song by song."
And although Navarro's most recent proper band, the Panic Channel, featuring his former Jane's Addiction bandmate Stephen Perkins, is "up in the air" after a less-than-well-received Capitol release late last year, Navarro still has music to make and fans eager to see what he'll do next. That might include performances with his all-star cover band Camp Freddy (also the name of his radio show on L.A.'s Indie 103.1), jamming on live guitar over his pal DJ Skibble's scratch attacks for select club dates, or one day (maybe) even re-forming Jane's.
"There haven't been any conversations, but at the same time it's something very close to my heart," he says. "It seems there's such a space right now for great live bands. If the Eagles can get together and do another tour, I don't see why we can't."
In the meantime, making more artistically minded porno films might be in the cards. In fact, he got an e-mail during our interview notifying him that Broken, the flick he cowrote and directed for Tera Patrick's production company Teravision, had just been nominated for five Adult Video Network awards, including best director.
Right now Spread TV, the talk show he launched this past Spring on Mania TV (the same Web station Tom Green calls home) is definitely his main focus. Airing Thursdays at 5 p.m. Pacific, the show features everyone from actors to local freaks to people with problems whom he often brings on psychotherapists to help. Think Dr. Phil, Jimmy Kimmel and Jon Stewart with a rock and roll twist.
"The overall feel of the show is fun and lighthearted, but at the same time we want to get into serious issues as well," says Navarro, who did his time on "real" TV, cohosting both editions of CBS singing competition Rock Star and starring in a reality show with ex-wife Carmen Electra. "My show is anything and everything me and my partner Todd Newman find captivating."
That includes up-and-coming bands, who often play live on the show. A few have become favorite artists for Navarro's off-air listening as well. Here's his current musical addictions.
Gravenhurst, The Western Lands
"I discovered them watching The Unit, the TV show about an undercover military group. During the end credits on one of the episodes, I heard this song called 'Black Holes in the Sand.' It just struck me. I'm never one to search something online that I happened to hear on a television program, but it just really hit me hard. They're pretty mind-blowing — my favorite band right now. Instant melancholy. I have to be careful what time of day I put them on, because I could easily find myself in a suicidal state, which is actually saying quite a lot if a band can evoke that much emotion out of you."
kHz, Reality on a Finer Scale
"I played on a track from their next album. They're a metal band from New York with an amazing lead singer named Raiana. She's got this beautiful, operatic voice that goes on top of this real hardcore metal; just a really nice juxtaposition. A lot of females in the metal world try to emulate the singing chops of men. She remains feminine and the combination is really sexy."
The Start, Ciao, Baby
"A great band. Love Aimee Echo's vocal abilities. They're close friends."
"Don't believe he's put anything out this year, but I think he's just an incredible genius. His personality really comes through in his vocals. The music is very simplistic and there's something to be said for that. It's all about highlighting the personality, and he does that really well."
The Procussions and Mr. J
"Kind of a hip-hop thing. Real emotional. Stripped-down and positive lyrical content. These guys came on my show with a microphone and drum set, and pretty much blew everybody away."
"Fun. Kind of reminds me of Love and Rockets with the sax and the hokey guitar stuff."
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"He's a bipolar schizophrenic who's a really brilliant songwriter [and] heavily influenced bands like Nirvana and Sonic Youth. I would highly recommend looking into this guy, and the documentary about him [last year's The Devil and Daniel Johnston]."
-- Lina Lecaro