A look back at Ray Manzarek, Digable Planets' reissue, "Dumb Disco Ideas" and more in our weekly music recap
Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers: Into The Great Wide Open
Opening their five-night residency at NYC's Beacon Theater with a cover of The Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star," Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers set the tone for an ensuing trip down memory lane, with Petty digging deep into their archive. The rock legend waxed poetic about overlooked tracks while doling out the occasional mega hit, giving devotees and the less acquainted plenty of reasons to whistle. The first night's setlist didn't include "Into The Great Wide Open," but when recalling the band's glory days, it's hard not to immediately look to a video that surely gave MTV a big boost thanks to its all-star cast, including Johnny Depp and Fay Dunaway.
The Doors: Light My Fire
Jim Morrison may have very well been the face of The Doors, but it was keyboardist Ray Manzarek who ignited their worldwide success with his inimitable ability to play a Vox Continental organ with his right hand for the melodies while simultaneously playing a Fender keyboard with his left for the bass chords. Arguably no song better displayed his remarkable talent than the 1967 hit "Light My Fire," but with his passing on 20 May 2013, Manzarek left behind an extensive catalog showcasing his prowess with The Doors, as a solo act and as part of the cult LA punk band, X.
Holy Ghost!: Dumb Disco Ideas
Nick Millhiser and Alex Frankel, the duo behind Holy Ghost!, released a banger of a song that's sure to be a summer party anthem with "Dumb Disco Ideas"—contrary to the title. Perhaps they had an inkling it would become a Brooklyn rooftop staple when they teamed up with frequent collaborator Ben Fries to make the video, which forgoes the twosome in favor of an NYC skyline backdrop and a Simon Says-like time-lapse light show programmed to fall perfectly in sync with the beat. While their DFA-produced album Dynamics has yet to see a release date, you can catch them at several festivals around the US this summer.
Charli XCX: I Want It That Way
British pop singer Charli XCX made her mark both writing and featuring on the uncontrollably catchy Icona Pop hit "I Love It," but she is undoubtedly a successful solo artist, opening up for Santigold and Coldplay in 2012. Last week she touched down in Chicago, where a fan captured her performing at the Boys Town record shop Borderline Music. Whether a nod to its gay-friendly location or just one of her favorite tracks, Charli XCX offered the crowd her rendition of The Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way," which, despite missing the quintet's shirtless torsos, still packed the heat thanks to her own sexy vibe.
Digable Planets: Blowout Comb
Digable Planets' jazz-infused hip-hop album Blowout Comb feels as fresh today as it did in '94. It makes perfect sense then, that the Brooklyn trio's last official LP under that moniker (Ishmael “Butterfly” Butler is now one-half of the thriving duo Shabazz Palaces) is being re-released on Seattle's resissue-focused record label, Light In The Attic. Their timeless sound, intelligent lyrics and "natural style" have been repressed alongside liner-notes by journalist Larry Mizell Jr. and, while it's too late to receive a copy on white or lavender vinyl, you can still order the album through LITA for $20—the same price as the CD back in the day.