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Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Year in Music: Best Albums and Concerts of 2017

I never have a problem coming up with 10 strong contenders each year. Here are my picks for the Best Rock Albums (not just favorites, but ones I felt were solid from start to finish), ranked in order...

1. Dreamcar/Dreamcar




 







2. Kasabian/For Crying Out Loud

 










3. Lindsey Buckingham Christine McVie


 









4. The Killers/Wonderful Wonderful


 









5. Little Steven/Soulfire

 










6. Robert Plant/Carry Fire

 










7. Ryan Adams/Prisoner
8. Warbly Jets 


 









9. Shout Out Louds/Ease My Mind

 










10. The Luxembourg Signal/Blue Field









 

11. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness/Zombies on Broadway
12. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds/Who Built the Moon? 
13. Jesus and Mary Chain/Damage and Joy 
14. Elbow/Little Fictions 
15. U2/Songs of Experience 
16. Matthew Sweet/Tomorrow Forever 
17. Ride/Weather Diaries 
18. Jake Bugg/Hearts That Strain 
19. The Charlatans/Different Days
20. Niall Horan/Flicker

These are my Top Americana/Country Albums in order:

1. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit/The Nashville Sound
2. Justin Townes Earle/Kids in the Street
3. Thomas Rhett/Life Changes 
4. Rodney Crowell/Close Ties
5. JD McPherson/Undivided Heart and Soul
6. Pokey LaFarge/Manic Revelations
7. Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real
8. Nikki Lane/Highway Queen
9. Lee Ann Womack/The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone
10. Sam Outlaw/Tenderheart

And finally, my Best Concerts of 2017 (out of 51 - including multiple day festivals):

1. Midnight Oil, The Wiltern, Los Angeles, May
2. Elbow, Observatory, Santa Ana, November
3. New Order, Coachella Festival #1, Day 3, Empire Polo Field, Indio, April
4. Depeche Mode, Hollywood Bowl, Show #4, October
5. Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, August
6. Anderson East, Stagecoach Festival, Day 1, Empire Polo Field, Indio, April  
7. Dreamcar, Coachella Festival #1, Day 2, Empire Polo Field, Indio, April
8. Eric Church, Staples Center, Los Angeles, March
9. X, Grammy Museum, Los Angeles, October
10. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, House of Blues, Anaheim, March  

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mariah Carey will return to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest '18

Dick Clark Productions and ABC announced that Mariah Carey will return to Times Square to perform before the ball drops on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018.”

Carey first appeared on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in 2005 when she became the very first artist to perform live from Times Square on the program. She returned in 2016 and will once again headline this year’s festivities. Carey joins previously announced Times Square performers including Camila Cabello, Nick Jonas and Sugarland. The celebration will take place on Dec. 31 beginning at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

“We can all agree that last year didn't go exactly as planned and we are thrilled to move forward together to provide America with an incredible night of music and celebration on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018. See you in Times Square!”
- Mariah Carey & dick clark productions

“Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018” marks the 46th anniversary of America’s largest celebration of the year and will include 5 ½ hours of special performances and reports on New Year’s celebrations from around the globe.


Ryan Seacrest will host the primetime festivities and lead the traditional countdown to midnight from Times Square in New York City, as he has for the last 12 years, with live onsite reporting from actress and comedian Jenny McCarthy.

Ciara will host the Los Angeles festivities which will feature additional performances by Kane Brown, BTS, Kelly Clarkson, Fitz & The Tantrums, Florida Georgia Line, Halsey, Khalid, Shawn Mendes, Charlie Puth, Portugal. The Man and Hailee Steinfeld, and all-star collaborations from Alessia Cara and Zedd, G-Eazy and Halsey, Khalid with Marshmello, Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line, and Hailee Steinfeld and Alesso featuring Florida Georgia Line and watt.

Additionally, Lucy Hale will return to host the 2nd annual Central Time Zone countdown celebration from New Orleans, where multi-platinum selling band Imagine Dragons is slated to perform from the Allstate® Fan Fest, and Walk the Moon will take the stage leading up to the midnight countdown and stunning fleur-de-lis drop near Jackson Square.

Britney Spears will perform from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, making it the first television performance of 2018 and the end to her record-breaking residency.

The complete lineup airing Sunday, December 31 on ABC is: 

8:00-10:00 p.m. ET – “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 – Part 1”

10:00-11:00 p.m. ET – “Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 – Part 2”

11:30 p.m.-1:09 a.m. ET – “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 – Part 1”

1:09-2:13 a.m. ET – “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2018 – Part 2”

TIMES SQUARE

Mariah Carey 
Camila Cabello
Nick Jonas
Sugarland

HOLLYWOOD

Alesso
Kane Brown
BTS
Alessia Cara
Kelly Clarkson
Fitz and the Tantrums
Florida Georgia Line
G-Eazy
Halsey
Khalid
Marshmello
Shawn Mendes
Portugal. The Man
Charlie Puth
Bebe Rexha
Hailee Steinfeld
Watt
Zedd

NEW ORLEANS

Imagine Dragons
Lucy Hale
Walk the Moon

LAS VEGAS

Britney Spears 

The Shins to release 'The Worm’s Heart' next month

The Shins will release The Worm’s Heart, a complete rework of their 2017 album Heartworms, on Friday, January 19. The announcement was made by James Mercer via Facebook Live; check it out here. The Worm’s Heart is available and includes immediate downloads of "Name For You (Flipped)" and"Cherry Hearts (Flipped)" which were released earlier this year. See full track listing below.

When James Mercer wrote, produced, and recorded Heartworms, he had this desire for an alternate version, an opposite version. The album’s slow songs would be flipped and re-recorded as fast songs, and vice versa. The reasoning was to showcase the versatility and strength of his songwriting, the result is The Worm’s Heart.

Track listing:


The Fear (Flipped)
So Now What (Flipped)
Heartworms (Flipped)
Dead Alive (Flipped)
Half a Million (Flipped)
Rubber Ballz (Flipped)
Mildenhall (Flipped)
Fantasy Island (Flipped)
Cherry Hearts (Flipped)
Painting a Hole (Flipped)
Name For You (Flipped)


theshins.com 

NAMM '18 news: TECnology Hall of Fame at the TEC Awards

At the 33rd Annual NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards (TEC Awards), eight products and technologies inspired by a series of global sound pioneers will find their place in audio history when they are inducted into NAMM’s prestigious TECnology Hall of Fame. The ceremony, and later the awards show, will take place Saturday, Jan. 27, as part of The 2018 NAMM Show.

A history lesson in breakthrough products in sound and production are included on the list, which spans a world of innovation from the late 1800s to 2000s. The honorees include:

The earliest known device for recording sound through transcribing soundwaves, the Phonautograph (1857). Initially used in the study of acoustics, the Phonautograph could be used as a visual study of soundwaves, including the measurement of amplitude and wave forms of speech or other sounds. While the Phonautograph had no playback mechanism, the product, created by French scientist Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, was considered the precursor to the phonograph.

The Tape Echo Slap (1954): Developed by the legendary Sam Phillips of Sun Studios, the tape echo slap offered previously-unheard echo and delay effects on many of the studio’s recordings from the 1950s which gave a new texture to popular music of the day.

When it launched 50 years ago in 1968, the Shure Vocal Master PA was considered the “first complete portable sound system.” Featuring a combination of control consoles, mixers, amplifiers and microphones, multiple components and systems could be combined to expand the system.

In 1971, Eventide introduced the 1745 digital delay which offered two channels of independent delay from a single input. Initially designed for a Maryland-based public broadcaster, the product would offer 0 to 200 million seconds of delay through a hundred shift registers. The invention gave birth to several other models including the 1745M, one of the first uses of RAM memory in an audio product.

The Deane Jensen 990 Discrete Op-Amp redefined the op amp market in 1979. A discrete separate component, the 990 quickly surpassed other amplifiers in terms of distortion, slew rate, stability, and output drive. The 990 continues in production in its third generation 990C made by the John Hardy Company, and today, Jensen Transformers are manufactured as a subsidiary of Radial Engineering.

It wasn’t until 1992 when L-Acoustics introduced the V-DOSC, the first line array loudspeakers, and changed the industry forever. Designed by founder Dr. Christian Heil and his team, the system was based on the company’s Wavefront Sculpture Technology (WST) theory, which offered the first high-frequency device capable of creating a constant-phase planar output.

In 1998, the Line 6 POD revolutionized guitar tones with its digital amp modeler, which quickly found its way into personal and professional studios. The first of its kind, the POD was easy to use and affordable, and would go on to spawn multiple iterations, becoming a staple for guitarists in the studio or at home.

More recently, the 2004 debut of the Solid State Logic AWS900 forever changed what a console could be. At just 56-inches in length, the AWS900 studio console redefined the traditional console design. Featuring a DAW controller and HUI-compatible control surface interface, the AWS900 provided everything needed to record, edit and mix professional audio in a revolutionary small desk set-up.

“The technological advancement that each represents was unparalleled at the time of debut,” said Carolyn Grant, NAMM Museum of Making Music Executive Director and host of TECnology Hall of Fame. “Each product was carefully selected based on a variety of factors, but one thing all the products share is that each represented a shift culturally in the ways by which many listened to and made music.”

The Hall of Fame was established in 2004 to honor and recognize products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology. This year’s eight products were chosen by a panel of more than 50 recognized audio and sound production experts, including authors, educators, engineers, facility owners and other professionals. Products or innovations must be at least 10 years old to be considered for induction. Previous inductees include some of the earliest expressions of audio production including the cylinder recorder from Thomas Edison (1877) to more recent inventions, including Pro Tools (2001), the Neumann U67 (1960), the WahWah pedal (1966), the API Lunchbox 500 Series module housing (1985) and others.

The TECnology Hall of Fame event will take place on Saturday, January 27 at 4:00 p.m. inside the San Simeon Room at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel. The event will be moderated by Front of House magazine Editor, George Petersen, and Audio Engineering Society President, David Scheirman.

Following the ceremony, the NAMM TEC Awards will commence in celebration of companies and technical innovations behind today’s sound recordings, live sound, films, television and video games in two categories: Outstanding Technical Achievement and Outstanding Creative Achievement.


In addition to the products and projects, Jackson Browne will receive the The Les Paul Innovation Award. The award is annually bestowed to individuals who have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording technology in the spirit of the famed audio pioneer, inventor, and musician, Les Paul. The Les Paul Innovation Award has been presented at the NAMM TEC Awards to remarkably-distinguished and accomplished individuals from the music industry, including such legends as Sir Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend, Slash and last year's recipient, Joe Perry.

TEC Awards tickets can be purchased on site or in advance here for $65 (General Admission) or $195 (VIP). The show will be hosted by musician and comedian, Demetri Martin.

Congratulations to the 2018 TECnology Hall of Fame Inductees:

1857 Phonautograph - first audio recorder (Leon Scott)
1954 Tape Echo Slap (Sam Phillips, Sun Studios)
1968 Shure Vocal Master PA system
1971 Eventide Model 1745 Digital Delay
1979 Jensen 990 discrete op amp (Deane Jensen)
1992 L-Acoustics V-DOSC (first line array)
1998 Line 6 Pod guitar processor
2004 Solid State Logic AWS900 studio console

ABOUT THE TECnology Hall of Fame

Founded in 2004 by George Petersen and presented since 2015 by the NAMM MUSEUM of Making Music, the TECnology Hall of Fame honors and recognizes audio products and innovations that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology. Inductees to the TECnology Hall of Fame are selected by a panel of more than 50 recognized audio experts, including authors, educators, engineers and other professionals. Products or innovations must be at least 10 years old to be considered for induction.


Learn more at www.TECAwards.org

Note: The NAMM Show is not open to the public. 

Out now: Culture Club 'Live At Wembley' home video

Rock Fuel Media has released 'Live At Wembley' from Culture Club on DVD, Blu-ray and CD package via Cleopatra Records. The concert will be broadcast on TV in 2018, details of which will be announced soon.

Trailer: https://youtu.be/RF5tjfyZVvE.

In a statement, Boy George said this about the
show:

"We were thrilled to be back home for the final show of such a highly successful reunion tour. Being able to document this show on film before our hometown fans, friends and family, with all the original members of the band, where it all began for us in London in 1981, makes this concert film release that much more special for our fans to enjoy for many years to come."

Culture Club returned home for the holidays in 2016 and performed live at Wembley Arena, after a hugely successful 60-city world tour. The set includes big hits like "Karma Chameleon," "It's A Miracle," "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," "Church Of The Poison Mind," and "Miss Me Blind," plus a cover of T. Rex's "Bang A Gong (Get It On)."

It was produced by Barry Summers of Rock Fuel Media and directed by Mark Ritchie. Special Features include exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes footage with the band members as they discuss their career and the significance of this hometown iconic live performance.

All packages are available at MVDshop.com, Amazon, and other retailers.

www.cultureclub.co.uk

Bee Gees 'One' tour home video coming

Recorded live in Melbourne, Australia at The National Tennis Centre in November 1989, The Bee Gees One For All Tour Live in Australia 1989 has been fully restored with newly mixed and mastered surround sound and will be released on DVD, SD Blu-ray and digital by Eagle Rock Entertainment on Feb. 2.

This release captures The Bee Gees on their ‘One for All World Tour’ for the band's eighteenth studio album, One. This career-spanning concert, part of the Bee Gees first global tour in 10 years, sees the Gibb brothers performing tracks from as far back as their 1968 breakthrough US Top 10 hit “I've Gotta Get A Message To You”, through their 1970s-80s hits, with performances of their dance-era smashes including “Stayin’ Alive’” and “Jive Talking” as well as selections from the One album.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Charlie Puth's 2018 tour on sale this week

Charlie Puth has announced plans for his biggest North American headline tour to date. The Voicenotes Tour” officially gets underway in July and travels the continent through the summer (see attached itinerary).

Pre-sales have started; tickets will go on sale to the general public on Friday. For complete details, and ticket information, please visit www.charlieputh.com/tour or LiveNation.com.

Puth’s upcoming album Voicenotes is due next year from Atlantic Records; pre-orders are available now HERE. The album is preceded by the current smash single, “How Long,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services HERE.


Now with close to 300 million streams worldwide, the single has proven yet another popular favorite both here and abroad, reaching #1 on various iTunes “Global Singles” charts and Mexico’s “Ingles Airplay” while earning both gold certification in Australia and silver certification in the United Kingdom. “How Long” is joined by an even more popular companion visual, currently boasting over 160 million views via YouTube alone – HERE.

Puth marked the release of “How Long” with high-profile TV performances on CBS’ The Late Late Show With James Corden (watch HERE) and ABC’s Good Morning America (watch HERE), soon to be followed by a performance on tomorrow night’s season finale of NBC’s The Voice. He’ll then perform both “How Long” and “Attention” on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2018, to be broadcast live on ABC on December 31st (check local listings). In addition, Puth will perform “How Long” on upcoming episodes of the nationally syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show and CBS’ The Talk, both set to air in early January.

“How Long” arrived hot on the heels of Puth’s summer’s blockbuster, “Attention,” available at all DSPs and streaming services HERE. The RIAA platinum certified single – which marked Puth’s first new music since 2016’s RIAA platinum certified debut album, “NINE TRACK MIND” – reached #5 on Billboard’s “Hot 100,” his third consecutive top 10 hit and highest charting solo track to date.


What’s more, “Attention” topped the multi-format “Radio Songs” chart for four straight weeks while also ascending to the #1 spot onBillboard’s “Dance Mix Show Airplay” tally – Puth’s first time atop that chart as a solo artist. “Attention” also proved an international favorite, reaching #1 in such far-flung lands as Russia, Venezuela, Ukraine, Israel, Latvia, and Mexico, while earning diamond certification in France, 3x platinum in Australia and Italy, 2x platinum in Spain, and platinum in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Of course, the “Attention” companion visual – directed by Emil Nava (Ed Sheeran, Calvin Harris Feat. Rihanna) – proved yet another record-shattering video sensation for Puth, now with over 638 million YouTube views and counting – HERE.
 

Puth has spent much of the early winter stealing the show on the just-concluded iHeartRadio Jingle Ball tour.

Tour dates:


JULY
11 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
13 – Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
16 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
19 – Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun
21 – Gilford, NH – Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
22 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
24 – Camden, NJ – BB&T Pavilion
25 – Vienna, VA – Wolf Trap Center For The Performing Arts
27 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
28 – Raleigh, NC – Coastal Credit Union Music Park @ Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
31 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion

AUGUST
2 – Clarkston, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
3 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
5 – Noblesville, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
6 – Maryland Heights, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
8 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center
9 – Kansas City, MO – Starlight Theatre
11 – Albuquerque, NM – Isleta Amphitheater
12 – Las Vegas, NV – The Pearl Concert Theater
14 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
15 – Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre
17 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
18 – Stateline, NV – Lake Tahoe Harvey’s Outdoor Arena
20 – Chula Vista, CA – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
21 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
23 – Irving, TX – The Pavilion @ Irving Music Factory
24 – The Woodlands, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
26 – Rogers, AR – Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
28 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater
29 – Alpharetta, GA – Verizon Amphitheater
31 – Tampa, FL – MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre

SEPTEMBER
1 – West Palm Beach, FL – Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre

charlieputh.com/tour

Camper Van Beethoven/Counting Crows side project Monks of Doom reunite for album

Monks of Doom: Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher, Chris Pedersen (all from Camper Van Beethoven) and David Immerglück (Counting Crows) are set to release The Brontë Pin, their first album of all new material since 1993’s Forgery, on March 23. It will be available on CD, digital and streaming formats via Pitch-A-Tent Records.

To pre-order the CD go to: http://www.monksofdoom.com/music 

Recorded over several years beginning in 2009, The Brontë Pin continues the Monks’ improvised music, instrumental work and psychedelia. Recorded and mixed by Bruce Kaphan (American Music Club), the album also follows 2005's album of covers, What’s Left For Kicks?

The band has revealed a video for "Duat! Duat!" 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaLT_Qw1HKU&feature=youtu.be 

Track listing:

01. The Brontë Pin pt.1
02. The Bastards Never Show Themselves
03. Duat! Duat!
04. Up From The Cane
05. Boar’s Head
06. The Brontë Pin pt.2
07. 23rd Century Hard Bop
08. John The Gun
09. The Honorable Death Of The 100 Million
10. The Sinking Of The Essex
11. The Last Leviathan (interpolating Rabbit’s Foot)
12. Osiris Rising  

Velvet Underground’s anniversary box set coming in February

To celebrate the Velvet Underground’s 50th anniversary, Verve Records/UMe is releasing The Velvet Underground, a limited-edition career-spanning box that collects all four of the pioneering band’s studio albums, Velvets collaborator Nico’s debut LP, Chelsea Girl, and a reconstruction of the fabled “lost” 1969 album, making it available on vinyl for the first time.

The six albums housed in a special black slipcase will be pressed on 180-gram black vinyl and feature stereo mixes and meticulously reproduced original cover art. The box will also include an exclusive 48-page booklet, featuring vintage photos, lyrics and a new foreword penned by founding member Maureen “Moe” Tucker. Limited to 1000 copies worldwide, the box set, which will be released Feb. 23, is available for pre-order now exclusively at uDiscover: https://UMe.lnk.to/TVULPBox 

Assembled by Grammy-winning reissue producer Bill Levenson, The Velvet Underground incorporates six classic records from the band's vintage heyday including 1967's The Velvet Underground and Nico, their landmark debut, produced by the band's mentor Andy Warhol and includes such Velvets classics as“Sunday Morning,” “I'm Waiting for the Man,” “Venus in Furs” and “Heroin;” Nico's 1967 full-length solo debut Chelsea Girl, featuring songwriting and instrumental contributions from Velvets members Reed, Cale and Morrison as well as a young Jackson Browne; 1968's explosive White Light/White Heat, the group's final album with co-founder Cale; 1969's relatively restrained, introspective The Velvet Underground; and 1970's Loaded, which was the band's commercial breakthrough as well as its final studio album, with such beloved Reed anthems as "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll."

To honor the band’s half a century legacy, Levenson has loving recreated the Velvet Underground’s much-mythologized “lost” album, 1969, specially for this set. Nearly 50 years later, much remains unclear about these mysterious recordings. While there’s been reports that the album was intended to be the band’s fourth record only to be rejected by MGM, it’s also possible they were scrapped by the band or possibly shelved by them for being ahead of its time. Whatever the real story is, these songs, recorded just after their lauded self-titled album, which include many gems like “Foggy Notion,” “Ride Into The Sun,” and “I Can’t Stand It,” help to tell the band’s enigmatic story and shine a light on their creative restlessness and rapid evolution.

For this new vinyl recreation, Levenson has assembled the album using 1969 and 2014 mixes. Although these recordings have been previously released, they’ve never been represented on vinyl in this expansive 2LP format. Side four of the second LP is rounded out with bonus tracks recorded in 1968 including “Hey Mr. Rain” and “Stephanie Says."

The Velvet Underground's gritty, fearless creative vision remains unique and unmatched. Although the band met with little commercial acceptance during its existence, the seminal New York foursome of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker, along with Doug Yule, is now considered one of most important rock and roll bands of all time, laying the groundwork in the ‘60s for punk, alternative, avant-garde, psychedelic rock, post-punk and shoegaze. The Velvets' revolutionary body of work stands as a one of rock's most distinctive catalogs and today their influence looms larger than ever.

The Velvet Underground and Nico (March 1967)

Side One
1. Sunday Morning
2. I’m Waiting For The Man
3. Femme Fatale
4. Venus In Furs
5. Run Run Run
6. All Tomorrow’s Parties

Side Two
1. Heroin
2. There She Goes Again
3. I’ll Be Your Mirror
4. The Black Angel’s Death Song
5. European Son

Nico: Chelsea Girl (October 1967)

Side One
1. The Fairest of the Seasons
2. These Days
3. Little Sister
4. Winter Song
5. It Was A Pleasure Then

Side Two
1. Chelsea Girls
2. I’ll Keep It With Mine
3. Somewhere There’s a Feather
4. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams
5. Eulogy To Lenny Bruce

White Light/White Heat (January 1968)

Side One
1. White Light/White Heat
2. The Gift
3. Lady Godiva’s Operation
4. There She Comes Now

Side Two
1. I Heard Her Call My Name
2. Sister Ray

The Velvet Underground (March 1969)

Side One
1. Candy Says
2. What Goes On
3. Some Kinda Love
4. Pale Blue Eyes
5. Jesus

Side Two
1. Beginning To See The Light
2. I’m Set Free
3. That’s The Story Of My Life
4. The Murder Mystery
5. After Hours

1969 (recorded May – October 1969)

Side One
1. Foggy Notion (original 1969 mix)
2. One Of The Days (2014 mix)
3. Lisa Says (2014 mix)
4. I’m Sticking With You (original 1969 mix)
5. Andy’s Chest (original 1969 mix)

Side Two
1. I Can’t Stand It (2014 mix)
2. She’s My Best Friend (original 1969 mix)
3. We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (2014 mix)
4. I’m Gonna Move Right In (original 1969 mix)
5. Ferryboat Bill (original 1969 mix)

Side Three
1. Coney Island Steeplechase (2014 mix)
2. Ocean (original 1969 mix)
3. Rock & Roll (original 1969 mix)
4. Ride Into The Sun (2014 mix)

Side Four – Bonus Tracks
1. Hey Mr. Rain (version one)
2. Guess I’m Falling In Love instrumental version)
3. Temptation Inside Your Heart (original mix)
4. Stephanie Says (original mix)
5. Hey Mr. Rain (version two)
6. Beginning To See The Light (early version)

Loaded (November 1970)

Side One
1. Who Loves The Sun
2. Sweet Jane
3. Rock & Roll
4. Cool It Down
5. New Age

Side Two
1. Head Held High
2. Lonesome Cowboy Bill
3. I Found A Reason
4. Train Round The Bend
5. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

NAMM '18 news: She Rocks Awards

The Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN) has announced KROQ FM/Los Angeles DJ Kat Corbett (pictured) as co-host of the upcoming 2018 She Rocks Awards, joining WiMN founder Laura B. Whitmore on stage for this special evening.

Recognizing women who stand out as role models in the music industry, the live awards event takes place on Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the House of Blues Anaheim during the NAMM Show.

Corbett is host of the KROQ midday shift and local show, Locals Only, which has helped launch many bands. She also currently has a show on SiriusXM. Her extensive radio career has also included stints on Boston’s WFNX, Import Export on XFM in the UK, and on L.A’s Y107.


In addition to also holding various music-related positions for many indie films, Corbett is a copy writer and published author, having publisher her first short story on Amazon titled, "It’s Personal," in 2013. As a voice-over artist, Corbett’s work includes events such as the MTV VMAs and the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. Find out more about Kat Corbett here.

“I'm so looking forward to celebrating women who have not only made a huge impact in the world of music, but on me personally—by realizing their dreams and thriving in such a difficult business, they have been an inspiration,” shares Corbett.

The WiMN Founder, Laura B. Whitmore, comments, “I’m excited to welcome Kat on board as my co-host. Kat’s enthusiastic energy, creative style and know-how will perfectly complement the dynamic evening we have planned for this year’s awards.”

Gearing up for its sixth consecutive year, the She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show.


Previous award recipients include female industry leaders such as Colbie Caillat, Ronnie Spector, Sheila E, The Bangles, Shirley Manson, Esperanza Spalding, Chaka Khan, Jennifer Batten, Karmin, Orianthi, Dinah Gretsch, Craigie Zildjian, and more. The event brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans and media to celebrate women in music.

The She Rocks Awards tickets are on sale now. A NAMM badge is not required to attend the She Rocks Awards. To find out more, visit www.sherocksawards.com.

The 2018 She Rocks Awards is sponsored by Gretsch, Monster Energy, Sennheiser, Seymour Duncan, Martin Guitar, Reverb.com, Harman, Fishman, Roland, Zildjian, Guitar Center, Casio, Daisy Rock Girl Guitars, PRS Guitars, D’Angelico Guitars, Tech 21, PreSonus, D'Angelico Guitars, Berklee Online, 108 Rock Star Guitars, On-Stage Stands, M.A.C Cosmetics, Paul Mitchell, Bittree, NAMM, Music Inc., Music & Sound Retailer, Music-News.com, NewBay Media, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Bass Player, Electronic Musician, Guitar Girl Magazine, Gear Tech + Recording, KVR Audio, and more.

Learn more at SheRocksAwards.com.

NAMM '18 news: TEC Awards

The NAMM Foundation has announced that singer-songwriter Jackson Browne will receive the Les Paul Innovation Award at the 33rd Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards (NAMM TEC Awards), being held Saturday, Jan. 27 in Anaheim, CA. The award is given on behalf of the Les Paul Foundation to honor individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording technology in the spirit of the famed audio pioneer, inventor and musician, Les Paul.

Browne has written and performed some of the most iconic and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion, and personal politics. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004 and into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2007. His debut album came out on David Geffen's Asylum Records in 1972. Since then, he has released fourteen studio albums and four collections of live performances, and has sold over 18 million albums in the U.S. Browne will be on tour in the spring of 2018. Tour dates can be found here.

“Jackson Browne’s success as a singer, songwriter and guitarist has had a prolific impression on the music industry throughout his successful career,” said Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation. “Like Les Paul, Jackson has never shied away from expressing his emotions or thoughts through his music. I have no doubt that Les would have liked to share a few jams with Jackson along the way.”

The Section will also be honored during the evening event as the newest inductees to the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame. Reaching their height in the 70s playing alongside the biggest names in the business, including James Taylor, Carole King, and Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Section also released three of their own imprints and toured and recorded with Jackson Browne in earlier years. While no longer recording collectively, each artist now actively works in the studio and on tour and consists of Danny Kortchmar (guitar), Craig Doerge (keyboards), Leland Sklar (bass), and Russ Kunkel (drums). They’ll reunite on stage for a rare performance of some of their best-known hits in support of the evening’s celebration.

Honoring pioneers of audio technology, as well as the music industry’s most accomplished producers and audio technicians, the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame Award started in 1988. In 2017, Aerosmith engineer and producer Jack Douglas was inducted into the NAMM TEC Hall of Fame, and joined luminaries Skunk Baxter, Ed Cherney, Hal Blaine, Nathan East and others.

The NAMM TEC Awards, held during the global gathering of music, sound and event technology at The NAMM Show, are bestowed annually in honor of the many individuals, companies and technical innovations used in sound recordings, films, broadcast television and video games.

Purchase tickets on site or in advance here FOR $65 (General Admission) or $195 (VIP). The show begins with a VIP-only reception at 6PM, followed by the awards ceremony at 7PM, held in the Hilton Anaheim Hotel’s Pacific Ballroom. Stand-up comedian and entertainer Demetri Martin will host the ceremony.

Note: The NAMM Show is not open to the public. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Shawn Colvin news

Shawn Colvin has announced the upcoming release of The Starlighter, a new album of songs adapted from the children's music book "Lullabies and Night Songs." The record will be released on Feb. 23 via Amazon Music.

She has shared a new video for the song "The Starlighter." Watch it HERE.

The Starlighter will be released exclusively for purchase on Amazon Music and streaming through Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music. Pre-order for the album is now available at www.amazon.com/thestarlighter, and fans will immediately be able to stream and download the title track from the album, “The Starlighter.”

"The Starlighter" video is based on Victorian paper theatres and the illustration style of children’s books from the same era, and was created by the Manchester, UK/Los Angeles-based motion design studio WeFail. Each scene contains over one hundred layered illustrations, and every element in the video was drawn using a digital tablet before being animated by hand. Shawn Colvin’s character in the video consists of 30 individual hand-drawn pieces, each digitally painted before motion design was applied to create the complete figure.

As an eight-year-old girl growing up in Vermillion, South Dakota, Colvin's mother and father presented her with "Lullabies and Night Songs," a children’s music book that joined famed 20th century American composer Alec Wilder’s arrangements with the fantastical artwork of "Where the Wild Things Are" author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. In 1998, on the cusp of becoming a parent herself, she returned to its pages for her album, Holiday Songs and Lullabies, which featured updated takes on several selections from Wilder and Sendak’s book.

Now, another 19 years later, she has revisited the book once again for her newest release, The Starlighter, Colvin’s tenth solo effort overall. The Starlighter’s 14 tracks are a mix of traditional numbers and children’s standards, all of them culled from the pages of Wilder and Sendak’s transformative book.

The selections from "Lullabies and Night Songs" that Colvin chose for The Starlighter
run the gamut from traditional fare like “Hush Little Baby” and “Raisins and Almonds,” to “Minnie and Winnie,” with prose by 19th century Poet Laureate of Great Britain Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and “Cradle Song,” including lyrics by celebrated English poet William Blake. As for how she went about choosing which pieces to adapt, Colvin admits it wasn’t easy. “There wasn’t a dud among them,” she says. “But we wanted to give the record some dynamics in terms of the feel, so we made sure to choose some upbeat songs, because I sort of tend toward the melancholy, slower, more hypnotic tunes.”

The Starlighter arrives on the heels of two recent, acclaimed releases from Shawn Colvin. In June 2016, Colvin and longtime friend Steve Earle united on the duo album, Colvin & Earle. An expanded 20th anniversary release of A Few Small Repairs, Colvin’s seminal breakthrough album, was also released in September 2017. Colvin marked the occasion by undertaking a seven-week U.S. tour in which she and her band performed the album in its entirety.
 

In March, she will tour with Lyle Lovett. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.shawncolvin.com or www.lylelovett.com.

Track listing:


01. The Starlighter
02. Raisins and Almonds
03. Go Tell Aunt Rhody
04. Minnie and Winnie
05. Sleep, Baby, Sleep
06. Many Millions Years Ago
07. The Huntsman
08. The Cuckoo Is A Pretty Bird
09. Night
10. The Journey
11. Bobby Shaftoe
12. The Nut Tree
13. Hush, Little Baby
14. Cradle Song

Tour dates:


03/01 - Bensalem, PA @ Xcite Center at Park Casino
03/02 - Torrington, CT @ Warner Theatre
03/03 - New London, CT @ Garde Arts Center
03/04 - Peekskill, NY @ Paramount Hudson Valley
03/06 - Orono, ME @ Collins Center for the Arts
03/07 - Brownfield, ME @ Stone Mountain Arts Center
03/08 - Troy, NY @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
03/09 - Portsmouth, NH @ The Music Hall
03/10 - Burlington, VT @ Flynn Theatre
03/11 - Huntington, NY @ The Paramount Theatre
03/14 - Geneva, NY @ Smith Opera House
03/17 - York, PA @ Strand Capitol Theatre
03/18 - Pittsburgh, PA @ The Carnegie Music Hall
03/20 - Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
03/21 - Athens, OH @ Ohio University Templeton Blackburn Auditorium
03/22 - Akron, OH @ Goodyear Theatre

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Last Minute Music Gift Guide 2017: Box sets and reissues

For music fans, seeing their favorite artists release box sets and elaborate reissue packages of nostalgic albums is big deal. If you have a music aficionado on your Christmas shopping list, here is a holiday gift guide:

U2
The Joshua Tree
(Island/Interscope/UMe)


The lowdown: For U2, much of this year has been a time of reflection, as the band embarked on a world tour to mark the 30th Anniversary of its most acclaimed and successful studio album, 1987’s The Joshua Tree, and played the songs in their original running order.

What’s inside: An embossed gold-leaf Joshua tree adorns the outside case of this astounding super deluxe collector’s edition box set. There are seven LPs on 180-gram vinyl, including: The Joshua Tree 2007 reissue version double gatefold LP with Bill Flanagan’s ’07 essay, lyrics and credits in the booklet; Live from Madison Square Garden 1987 double gatefold LP with various live shots on each LP sleeve; The Joshua Tree 2017 Remixes, Outtakes and B-Sides (“Spanish Eyes,” the original “Sweetest Thing,” “Silver and Gold,” an eerie new Jacknife Lee remix of “Bullet the Blue Sky” and an ethereal new Daniel Lanois remix of “With or Without You” are among the standouts). The latter’s sleeve artwork shows Bono’s handwritten lyrics and the Windmill Lane Studios tape boxes and the outer cover is embossed with another Joshua tree image.

An 84-page hardback book comprises guitarist The Edge’s personal never-before-seen 1986 images of the band milling about the Mojave Desert while doing the album cover shoot with Anton Corbijn. Edge admits “there wasn’t exactly a ban on smiling, but Anton encouraged a kind of studied asceticism.” A folio of eight rare 12′ Anton Corbijn color prints are so vivid that fans might want to frame them.

Where to buy: www.amazon.com, www.u2.com 


David Bowie
A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982)
(Parlophone/Rhino)


The lowdown: The third in a series of box sets chronicling different periods of David Bowie’s career, A New Career in a New Town comprises often-experimental music from the acclaimed so-called “Berlin Trilogy” efforts Low, Heroes and Lodger (helmed by Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti,) Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps), the Stage double live album and rarities disc.

What’s inside: The square pull-out box holds the CDs, which are mini LP replicas with white sleeves, lyric sheets and reprints of old Bowie fan club order forms. Stage comes in two versions: the original and an expanded one, while Lodger is paired with Visconti’s new remix (the original mix was deemed “muddy” by some people), which had Bowie’s blessing before his death in 2016. The Heroes EP contains the German and French versions of “Heroes.” On the exclusive Recall:3 CD, there are single and extended versions, the full theatrical Bertolt Brecht’s Baal EP – from Bowie’s appearance in the BBC play; available for the first time on CD – the soundtrack version of “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and more. An amazing 128-page mini-hardbound book contains old news clips, rare photos, lyrics, 7” single sleeves, fascinating commentary by Visconti and other ephemera. All told, this is an excellent encapsulation of one of David Bowie’s more influential musical runs.

Where to buy: www.amazon.com 


Fleetwood Mac
Tango in the Night
(Rhino/Warner Bros.)


The lowdown: The last Fleetwood Mac album Lindsey Buckingham would be involved in before taking nearly a decade off to concentrate on solo work, Tango in the Night boasted layered harmonies, lush sonics, ample synthesizers, samplers and drum programming often characteristic of mid-1980s music. It was among the venerable English rock band’s most successful – and difficult – albums to complete. Still, it spawned six hit singles at pop, album rock or adult contemporary radio (“Big Love,” “Seven Wonders,” “Little Lies,” “Everywhere,” “Isn’t it Midnight,” “Family Man”).

What’s inside: This 30th Anniversary edition of Tango is available in three configurations: the single remastered original album, an expanded double disc set with rare and unreleased recordings and 12″ remixes and a super deluxe edition containing three CDs, a DVD with music videos and a high-resolution version of the album and a 180-gram LP. The super deluxe tucks the CDs into pockets, while the large vibrant color booklet includes an essay and band interviews by David Wild, album lyrics and credits.

Also noteworthy: Fleetwood Mac’s 1982 album Mirage, with the hit singles “Gypsy,” “Hold Me” and “Love in Store.” The 2CD deluxe version has extensive liner notes with a David Wild essay, outtakes and early session versions. Meanwhile, the deluxe editions of Stevie Nicks’ first two solo albums Bella Donna (“Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Leather and Lace,” “Edge of Seventeen”) and The Wild Heart (“Stand Back,” “If Anyone Falls”) include bonus discs with alternate, unreleased and soundtrack cuts. Bella Donna also has audio from a 1981 concert. All are remastered.

Where to buy: www.rhino.com 


Elvis Presley
A Boy from Tupelo
(RCA/Sony Legacy)


The lowdown: Before Elvis became a big star, he recorded for Sun Records and honed his craft alongside more seasoned musicians Scotty Moore and Bill Black. This comprehensive 3CD, 85-track box set includes all Sun master recordings and outtakes, live and radio performances, the artist’s first self-financed acetate recording and an unreleased track from 1953-55. According to project coordinator and Elvis reissue chief Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, A Boy from Tupelo reportedly took 20 years to complete, with thousands of contributors. It’s quite a revelation to hear the young, unpolished (and yet-to-be controlled by Colonel Tom Parker) Elvis here working out songs like “Blue Moon,” “I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” and “Harbor Lights” until he gets it right.

What’s inside: The three CDs are tucked into a cardboard holder, which folds out to display a nice montage of Elvis photos (with his parents, on the Louisiana Hayride radio show. The 119-page softcover book has a weekly timeline of exactly what Elvis was doing (or mostly likely doing) from 1953-55, rare photos, posters, concert ads and past interview anecdotes from people who were there. A Boy from Tupelo is a true labor of love.

Where to Buy: www.amazon.com 


George Michael
Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1
(Sony/Epic)


The lowdown: The first archival release since the singer’s passing on Christmas Day 2016 revolves around Michael’s second solo album, which was released in 1990. Though not as successful in America as the rest of the world, it still went double platinum here and spawned hit singles in “Praying for Time,” “Freedom ‘90” and “Waiting for That Day.”

What’s inside: Housed in a hardback book, the sleekly-designed deluxe edition encases the three CDs (the original remastered album, MTV Unplugged 1996, Bonus remixes, B-sides and extended mixes) and a DVD (a revealing 1990 “Southbank Show” BBC documentary, video clips like the celebrated supermodel starring “Freedom ‘90”) in fold-out pockets. Highlights of the collection include George’s soulful live cover of Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “If You Were My Woman” from the 1988 Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, “Heal the Pain” – a breezy 2006 duet with Paul McCartney, “Happy,” off the Red Hot + Dance benefit album, and stripped down “Unplugged” versions of “Father Figure” and “Everything She Wants.” The book includes multiple photos, handwritten and printed lyrics and an extensive essay by veteran UK music scribe John Aizlewood. 


Also noteworthy: A 2CD package includes Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1, MTV Unplugged and a new Nile Rodgers mix of "Fantasy." 

Where to buy: www.amazon.com 

The Smiths
The Queen is Dead
(Rhino/Warner Music Group)


The lowdown: Among the defining albums of the 1980s, The Queen is Dead found The Smiths at the top of their game. It included several songs that became staples at college and Modern Rock radio (“There is a Light That Never Goes Out,” “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side,” “Bigmouth Strikes Again”) and later solo tours by Morrissey.

What’s inside: Each disc in the deluxe 3CD/1 DVD box set has a different cardboard casing cover and gatefold photo. In addition to the original album remastered, there is a solid round of demos (which ended up being similar to the final takes, though some laughter is heard on “Never Had No One Ever” and there is studio chatter after “Bigmouth”), B-sides (the longtime Morrissey concert fave “Rubber Ring”) and B-sides, plus a 1986 Boston concert where the group sounds sharp, a 2017 master of the album in 24-bit PCM stereo and three abstract music videos by Derek Jarman.

Where to buy: www.rhino.com, www.amazon.com 


Midnight Oil
The Overflow Tank
(Sony Legacy)
 

The lowdown: Earlier this year, when The Oils embarked on a world reunion tour after a couple of decades away, the politically-minded Aussie rockers also put out two mammoth career-spanning box sets. One was The Full Tank: The Complete Album Collection. This companion set primarily focuses on the band’s reputation as an incendiary live act. If anyone doubted how powerful these guys were – and still are – more than 14 hours of audio and video on The Overflow Tank definitely proves it.

What’s inside: The 4 CD/8 DVD set is housed in the center of a tin replica oil can. The earliest live audio footage dates back to 1978 and the video, to 1981. There are entire concerts, riveting documentaries (The making of the 10…1 album, Blackfella/Whitefella – about Australia’s Aboriginal people), an MTV Unplugged, CDs of B-sides, rarities and unreleased demos. The accompanying booklet includes an essay, photos and credits.

Where to buy: www.amazon.com 

Bon Jovi
The Albums
(Island/Universal Music Enterprises)


What’s inside: Designed like a tour road case, this limited edition, 17-album collection on 180-gram vinyl is for the hardcore Bon Jovi enthusiast. It includes every studio album the New Jersey rock band has released since its self-titled 1984 debut, a personally curated record of rarities, plus singer Jon Bon Jovi’s solo albums and the soundtrack he did for the 1990 western Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory. Half of the titles have never been released on vinyl before and a pair were never issued on vinyl in America. Last year’s This House is Not for Sale is a 120-gram pressing, while 1988’s New Jersey is split into a double album for the best quality.

Where to buy: www.bonjovi.com 


Goo Goo Dolls
Pickpockets, Petty Thieves and Tiny Victories: 1987-1995
(Warner Bros.)


The lowdown: After eight years together, Goo Goo Dolls garnered an alt-rock radio hit in 1993 with “We Are the Normal.” Two years later, the Buffalo, N.Y. trio made an even bigger impact when “Name,” off A Boy Named Goo, went top 5 at various formats. 

What’s inside: Originally released as a Record Store Day exclusive last April, this box set collects the band’s first five LPs, tracing their evolution from scrappy indie metalheads to assured pop/rock musicians. In addition to Goo, the self-titled first effort is available here on vinyl for the first time since 1987; Jed and Superstar Car Wash make their vinyl debuts; Hold Me Up is on vinyl for the first time in America. Each title comes with a full-sized sheet of liner notes, lyrics and color photos. 

Where to buy: www.googoodolls.com

Last Minute Music Gift Guide 2017: Pop/rock/alternative/folk albums


With only a week left before Christmas, here’s a guide to some noteworthy albums for the music lover on your gift list. Most of them cane still be obtained via Amazon, Target, Best Buy with express shipping or the artists' individual websites.

For fans of NPR, power pop or adult-alternative, singer-songwriter fare:


Paul Kelly 
Life is Fine 
(Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl) 
Last year, one of Australia’s finest treasures put out an intriguing concept album and EP (the excellent Death’s Dateless Night; Seven Sonnets & A Song). He followed them up with Life is Fine and saw it debut at No. 1 back home. Kelly uses his longtime touring band to great effect on these adult alternative tunes. “Leah: The Sequel” pays dreamy homage to the same-named Roy Orbison song. The sinewy rocker “Firewood and Candles” could’ve fit on an old Paul Kelly & Messengers CD. A joyous and romantic “Finally Something Good” boasts a memorable piano melody. The starkly haunting “I Smell Trouble” is a prime example of what Kelly does best. Finally, the lovely closing title track is a Langston Hughes poem set to music.

A.J. Croce
Just Like Medicine
(Seedling/Compass)

Recorded "old school" style in Mono with legendary Sixties producer/songwriter Dan Penn (Box Tops, Patti LaBelle, Solomon Burke), singer/pianist Croce’s highly satisfying soul album was recorded by a stellar crop of musicians, including Stax Records guitarist Steve Cropper (“The Heart That Makes Me Whole,” co-written by the late Leon Russell), The Muscle Shoals Horns (which elevates four tracks), background singers the McCrary Sisters (a bluesy “Name of the Game,” also including Vince Gill on acoustic guitar), Colin Linden, David Hood and others. Among the standouts: slinky opener “Gotta Get Outta My Head,” the aforementioned “Name” – a previously unreleased tune written by A.J.’s late father Jim, the alluring “Move On” and “I Couldn’t Stop.”

Peter Himmelman 
There is No Calamity 
(Himmasongs) 
The LA-based folk/rock musician released his first solo effort in 1986 and has had an accomplished career composing music for film, TV and children. He recruited Steve Berlin of Los Lobos to produce his latest album. Featuring thought-provoking lyrics and prominent female backing vocals, it sometimes recalls Leonard Cohen and Elvis Costello and stands as one of Himmelman’s strongest to date. Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Suzanne Vega) contributes Hammond organ, Mellotron and Celeste. Highlights include the topical “245th Peace Song,” “Rich Men Run the World” and “Fear is Our Undoing,” the driving “Memories in this Heart of Mine" and slightly funky “Sacrificial
 
Flamin’ Groovies
Fantastic Plastic
(Sonic Kicks/Severn)

The first new album from the San Francisco garage rock band in nearly a quarter century reunited the key Seventies lineup of Cyril Jordan, Chris Wilson and George Alexander. It finds the musicians in solid form on originals like the psychedelic, Byrdsy “End of the World,” Stones-styled “What the Hell’s Goin’ On” and two well-chosen covers: The Beau Brummels’ “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad” (done in a jangle pop style). The instrumental “I'd Rather Spend My Time With You” features The Tubes’ drummer Prairie Prince. 


Richard X. Heyman 
Incognito 
(Turn Up) 
This New Jersey native has backed Brian Wilson, Jonathan Richman, Link Wray and Ben E. King onstage and came to many people’s attention via his 1991 major label debut Hey Man! Nearly a dozen albums later, Incognito may have an element of darkness, but the power pop master writes, produces and performs the bulk of the material with impressive results.

For the casual music fan, you can't go wrong with the following pop/rock/alternative/folk retrospectives with a majority of the hits: 

Green Day 
Greatest Hits: God's Favorite Band 
(Reprise)
Spanning the Berkeley punk rock trio's 30-year career, God's Favorite Band includes all the modern rock radio staples like "Longview," "Welcome To Paradise," "Basket Case," "When I Come Around," "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," "American Idiot," "Boulevard of Broken Dreams," "Holiday," "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "Know Your Enemy" and 10 more. There are also two new self-produced tracks: "Back In The USA" and "Ordinary World," a duet with Miranda Lambert.

Tears for Fears 
Rule the World 
(Mercury/UMe) 
The British synth pop band came to fame via such big Eighties hits as "Shout," "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," "Head Over Heels" and "Sowing the Seeds of Love." All those songs are included on this 16-track collection, plus early college rock faves "Mad World" (famously covered by Gary Jules and Adam Lambert in recent years), "Pale Shelter," "Change" and more. Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal's first new songs in 13 years - 
"I Love You, But I'm Lost" and "Stay" are characteristically enrapturing.

Bryan Adams 
Ultimate 
(A&M/UMe) 
In the liner notes to this retrospective, the Canadian superstar says it was a tricky prospect to include as many of his charted hits as possible to fit on a single CD (no doubt - he has a few dozen over several decades). Instead, Adams used his recent live show set lists as a guide and added a pair of new songs written with longtime collaborator Jim Vallance: "Ultimate Love" and "Please Stay." The latter was earmarked for "Pretty Woman," the upcoming Broadway musical based on the Garry Marshall film. Elsewhere, most of what will matter to casual fans is here among the other 19 tracks: "Summer of '69," "Run to You," "Somebody," "Cuts Like a Knife," "Can't Stop This Thing We Started" and "(Everything I Do) I Do it For You," etc.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 
Anthology 
(Capitol/UMe) 
Marking the Americana band’s 50th anniversary as a recording unit, the 39-track, two-disc Anthology comprises selected pop and country hits ("Mr. Bojangles," "Long Hard Road"), deep cuts, instrumentals and fan favorites. Among them are collaborations with Linda Ronstadt ("An American Dream"), Nicolette Larson ("Make a Little Magic"), Roger McGuinn & Chris Hillman of The Byrds ("You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"), Bruce Hornsby ("The Valley Road"), Alison Krauss ("Catfish John"), Johnny Cash ("Tears in the Holston"), Maybelle Carter ("Will the Circle Be Unbroken") and others. The liner notes include an informative history by noted music scribe Holly Gleason, rare photos from all eras of the band and full credits. 

The Human League 
A Very British Synthesizer Group
(Virgin/EMI/UMe)
Most people know them from big 1980s hits like "Don't You Want Me" and "Human," but there was far more to the UK synth pop group. This anthology, in its 2CD Deluxe Edition and Deluxe 3LP box set versions, spotlights The Human League's entire history in 30 songs including 7 previously unreleased DJ edits from the earliest incarnation. Both packages feature a 20-page booklet featuring a new essay by David Buckley plus rare memorabilia and photographs. The 3LP box set includes special vinyl discs that were mastered at half-speed at Abbey Road Studios.