July 2014 Archives

The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale by Eric Clapton & Friends is the Pick of the Week

#NewMusicTuesday for July 29, 2014
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Having grown up very near Tulsa, Oklahoma I've certainly heard of JJ Cale (who was raised in the city) though I don't recall ever hearing him perform one of his songs. Tulsa has a small but influential musical history (and many passionate fans) and growing up I heard about it a lot, but actually heard it very little. I was way too into hair metal and then grunge to care about those old guys making laid back boogie music.There's no doubt JJ Cale was hugely influential though and while he never became a household name he's been name check and

DeepSoul: Dennis Edwards - "Don't Look Any Further"

The Temptations lead singer is responsible for one of the most irresistible and memorable R&B singles from the 1980s.
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One of the best R&B tracks of the 1980s, Dennis Edwards' "Don't Look Any Further" has been sampled in over 54 songs. Beloved by hip hop artists, the track is also notable for introducing listeners to Siedah Garrett, a Quincy Jones protégé who would later play a major role in Michael Jackson's career. Featuring a smooth groove and African-tinged chorus, "Don't Look Any Further" proved to be Edwards' only major solo hit outside of his usual gig as lead singer for the Temptations. Born in Birmingham in 1943, Edwards moved with his family to Detroit at age seven. As a

CD Review: Saga - Sagacity

This veteran band steps into the future with Sagacity.
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For bands that have been around as long as Saga, it can be difficult to add modern elements to their music without sounding derivative. This is not the case, however, on Saga's latest, Sagacity, which manages to incorporate contemporary guitars while maintaining the band's signature, progressive rock roots. Moody, atmospheric keyboards and guitar lines introduce "Let It Slide," The album's opening cut. A complicated song, it blends heavy guitars with almost funky verses and a chorus of strong, multilayered vocals courtesy of Michael Sadler. Ian Crichton and Jim Gilmour deliver a unison lead on guitar and keyboards respectively in this

Vaudeville Etiquette Unveil Poignant New Video For "Oh"

Beautiful video, beautiful song, beautiful record...
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Vaudeville Etiquette -- Remember them? They made the record I politely commanded you all to purchase back in April -- is back with a new video from what remains the best debut record I've heard in 2014. I still love the warmth in Tayler Lynn's voice and how a simple sound can capture what words fail to describe. I love Bradley Laina's harmony vocal and the way mandolin and vibraphone decorate the acoustic guitar strums and melody. There is a gentleness of spirit and sweetness in the song captured in the video shot by Laina. This is all making my

CD Review: Marillion - A Sunday Night Above The Rain

Legendary prog-rockers return with a new live set.
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During their long career, Marillion has amassed a very devoted fan base. So much so that twice a year, there is a Marillion Weekend with this one taking place at Center Parcs in Port Zelande, Netherlands. In a March 2013 performance, fans from 44 different countries got to witness the band perform its latest album, Sounds That Can't Be Made, in its entirety, as well as a number of classic cuts. That performance makes up the groups latest live offering, A Sunday Night Above The Rain. The show opens with "Gaza," from the Sounds That Can't Be Made album. One

Blu-ray Review: ZZ Top - Live At Montreux 2013

The little old band from Texas still has it in their latest live release.
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The Montreux Jazz Festival has always been a special place for ZZ Top. The band has turned in many memorable performances at the festival and bassist Dusty Hill has amassed a collection of event posters, some given to him personally by the late Claude Nobs, the festival's founder. In July 2013, the band made its first appearance at Montreux since Nobs' passing, turning in a blues-soaked set of the band's brand of Texas rock. The performance was filmed and makes up the Blu-ray ZZ Top - Live At Montreux 2013. The show opens with a hard-charging "Got Me Under Pressure."

Hit Parade: Magic! - "Rude"

I'd rather hear "Jammin'" for the millionth time than hear "Rude" for a second one.
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Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," featuring noted Roman numerals enthusiast Charlie XCX, earned its place in the song of the summer conversation by being the number one song for all of June and most of July. However, at least for one week, it has been knocked from its perch. Taking Azalea's place is a song called "Rude" by a band called Magic! I am not excited about them. They just have an exclamation point in their name. The excitement is built in. I've heard tell of these Canadian lads and their musics, mostly negative I must admit, but I have not heard

Lanegan Announces 'No Bells On Sunday' EP, Premieres Video "Sad Lover"

The EP a precursor to full-length album slated for the fall...
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Mark Lanegan Band will release a new, limited edition EP No Bells On Sunday on July 29. The EP is being issued as a limited edition vinyl with only 1,500 copies being pressed. The music will be available digitally at that time and will also be available on CD when the band releases their full-length effort Phantom Radio later this fall. They've also shot and released a video for "Sad Lover," one of the five new songs from the EP (which you can see below). The past three years have been prolific ones for Lanegan, with a compilation of his

DeepSoul: Tower of Power - "So Very Hard to Go"

Their 1973 classic highlights a more complex side to the band, offering a rare glimpse into the inner workings of an extraordinary 1970s R&B group.
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"What Is Hip?" Tower of Power asked 41 years ago. Their song may not have definitively answered the question, as they simply sang "What's hip today / Might become passé" and even "Sometimes hipness is / What it ain't." One fact that remains unchanged is that the funk outfit Tower of Power is anything but passé. Their brand of horn-driven soul made regular appearances on the 1970s charts (including the aforementioned "What Is Hip?") and they backed such artists as Elton John, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Aaron Neville. While their 1973 track asking that eternal question may be their best-known

Book Review: Rush FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio by Max Mobley

No matter what level of Rush fan you are, there is something for everyone in the new Rush FAQ book.
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"When did Rush become cool?" asked Dave Grohl at the induction of Rush into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it was a great question. In the new Rush FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Rock's Greatest Power Trio, author Max Mobley sets out to answer that, and many other questions.Early on, Mobley breaks down the Rush audience into four categories. There are the "Original Fans" who were there before the release of their breakthrough Moving Pictures album. "Second Generation Fans" came along right after Moving Pictures, while "Rush Fans The Next Generation" began filling the giant

Counting Crows Unveil "Palisades Park," First Single From 'Somewhere Under Wonderland'

New Counting Crows single from forthcoming album due Sept. 2
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Counting Crows will release their first album of new music in six years on Sept. 2, Somewhere Under Wonderland, preceded by first single "Palisades Park," which can be purchased at iTunes and streamed on Spotify starting today. The complete tracklisting (see below) reveals a nine-song set of originals, some of which are already showing up in setlists on their current tour with Toad The Wet Sprocket. The band released a collection of covers, Underwater Sunshine in 2012 and a live performance of their debut August & Everything After the year before, both of which followed their last studio album Saturday

CSNY 1974 by Crosby Stills Nash & Young is the Pick of the Week

A bevy of live albums in this week's new releases #NewMusicTuesday
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We have talked many, many times in these pages about my love for live music and my obsession with recordings of concerts. I'll allow you to go back to those pages if you like and catch up instead of treading the same water again here. What I will say is that its a darn fine week to be a fan of officially released live recordings.In 1974 Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young lit out for 30 gigs in American arenas and stadiums then jumped over to London for one show at Wembley Stadium. Each night they played up to 30 songs

Blu-ray Review: Elton John - The Million Dollar Piano

A great memento of Elton John's latest Las Vegas show.
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The Las Vegas residency has long had its place in popular music lore. What was once seen as a home for "older" music, such as Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin, has since seen the likes of Elvis Presley, Prince, Motley Crue, Shania Twain and Cheap Trick, among others, take to the stage. Elton John is no stranger to Vegas either, having already performed more than 200 times as part of his Red Piano show. His latest show, The Million Dollar Piano, has been a hit with fans and critics alike and is the subject of a Blu-ray of the same

iTunes Chart Watch: More Phish Fans Download Bootlegs Than 'Fuego' (And Other Chart Observations)

Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith Have Top Albums on iTunes....
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It's entirely possible I'm the only person who thinks it's funny a Phish studio album was among the most legally downloaded albums in the US last week, what with the band having been kings of the bootleg nation since their inception. Hilarity or not, Fuego checks in at #9 on the Albums charts where the latest from Ed Sheeran, X is #1. I didn't fall in love with Sheeran's debut (although I did take a $7 flier on it and gave it a chance). I've been told this new one is good and better than its predecessor so I might

Ryan Adams Announces New Album Due Sept. 9, Issues First Single "Gimme Something Good"

First new album from RA since 2011...
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Ryan Adams has announced he's ready to release a new, self-titled album Sept. 9. The once prolific Adams has slowed the frenetic pace of releases as this is his first new set since Ashes & Fire in 2011. The first single for the record, "Gimme Something Good" has been released on vinyl and is available to stream through Spotify. We don't know much about the record beyond the release date, title, artwork, and track listing. Adams has announced a small handful of tour dates scheduled between now and the album's launch but we are otherwise in the dark, left with

Singleton, Birchwood Top At Blues Radio, Eden Brent Joins Top 5

Top 10 Albums at Blues Radio For Week Ending 6/27
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It's the Better Late Than Never edition of our Blues Radio Report, another series that went on hiatus and I'm now reviving. It's also the Alligator Records edition as our friends at Alligator have the top two spots on the chart -- Jarekus Singleton and Selwyn Birchwood -- as well as entries from Joe Louis Walker and The Holmes Brothers. The venerable Ray Bonneville is in at #3 and Eden Brent's beautiful new record from Yellow Dog Jigsaw Heart is at #5. I'm also very pleased to see Mr. Ronnie Earl and his Broadcasters' latest record Good News in Roots

Blu-ray Review: Peter Gabriel - Back to Front: Live in London

Peter Gabriel celebrates 25 years of So live with the original band.
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In recent years, it has become the thing for classic rock artists to recreate their most famous albums in their entirety on the concert stage. Acts from Cheap Trick to Bruce Springsteen to Judas Priest to Aerosmith have all performed their biggest releases. It is not surprising then that for the 25th anniversary of his landmark album, So, Peter Gabriel performed the album in its entirety live, with the original touring band no less. A London performance was filmed to mark the occasion and makes up the new Blu-ray Peter Gabriel - Back To Front: Live In London. The show

New Jersey (Super Deluxe Edition) by Bon Jovi is the Pick of the Week

Bon Jovi, Old Crow Medicine Show, Floyd, and more release new albums today #NewMusicTuesday
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In discussing my formative years as a music obsessive I tend to concentrate on the early 90s alternative scenes and more specifically the grunge movement. It is mostly true that those bands coming out of Seattle - Peal Jam, Soundgarden, Nirvana etc, - were some of the earliest bands that I really loved. That sound helped create the music nerd I am today. Yet, if I am to lay out the entire history of my musical history we have to start a little earlier. I was (and sheepishly must admit still am) and great lover of hair metal. Poison, Mötley

DeepSoul: Bobby Womack - "Woman's Gotta Have It"

Remembering the late soul singer's honesty, passion, and spare arrangements cement his legacy as one of the best--and most influential--R&B artists in history.
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Bobby Womack never experienced massive crossover success like contemporaries Sam Cooke or Wilson Pickett; his gritty vocals and authentic rhythm and blues sound, however, gained him favor with soul fans as well as rock bands such as the Rolling Stones. A true survivor, Womack weathered drug addiction and other personal problems throughout his life; he succumbed to a complications from Alzheimer's and cancer last week at age 70. His legacy will be his passionate vocal style and a minimalist sound that stripped soul music to its basics. Born in Cleveland on March 4, 1944, Womack was reared on his father's