The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach Releases New Solo Album, Waiting On A Song

If there is one thing that surprises me, it’s the news that Dan Auerbach will release a new solo album apart from the band he is one half of, The Black Keys. It’s his newest since the issue of Keep It Hid (2009). Any Black Keys album is celebrated upon news of release. Since this one lands partially in Black Keys territory, it certainly has my interest. For those out of the know, Dan Auerbach is the singer and guitarist for The Black Keys, whose last album was Turn Blue, issued in 2014. Turn Blue was, as expected, favorably received by critics and fans.

One listen to the new track coming from Dan Auerbach will give you the feeling of a lighter shade of Rock that might be too bubbly for a Black Keys album. You can watch the new video below! The new song is called “Shine On Me”. It has an interesting component in it that might surprise you more, the addition of a guitar part by Mark Knopfler.

Nonesuch Records will release (on Auerbach’s label, Easy Eye Sound) Waiting On A Song, on June 2. It will present ten new songs by Dan Auerbach. Waiting On A Song will be released on CD, DD, and vinyl LP. The cover shot is a throwback to the ’60s style of album art.

Dan Auerbach. Doing “things he loves”!

 

The Rifles To Release Unplugged Album With New Track

By now you should have heard of the UK band blessed by Paul Weller. They go by the name of The Rifles. Thus far, their recorded output has been stellar. To date, they have five studio albums beginning with No Love Lost, released in 2006. That album was critically acclaimed and earned them the rabid attention of Paul Weller of The Jam/Style Council/solo. No Love Lost ended up on the UK charts at 48. With all of their albums, they have always  hit the high marks.

Their last album, Big Life, was released last year (2016), and effortlessly reached 26 on the UK charts. Earlier this year, the band entered Abbey Road Studios to record an acoustic album set. This new album is being called The Rifles Unplugged Album and will feature sixteen tracks, most taken from their five studio albums. The music is no only recorded acoustically but will also feature a string quartet. Some songs will also present a 30-member fan choir. As a bonus, there will be a brand new track, “In Key”. (Pre-ordering the album will net you this as an immediate download. Hear the new track below.)

The Rifles Unplugged Album was available with color vinyl but those seem to have sold out pretty fast. They were offering a white vinyl set, and a grey marble set (as of this writing, there was one left here).

The Rifles Unplugged Album is scheduled for release on  April 28 via Cooking Vinyl.

Unplugged Album – The Rifles

01 – The General
02 – Out in the Past
03 – Local Boy
04 – In Key
05 – Minute Mile
06 – The Great Escape
07 – Spend a Lifetime
08 – Rock the Boat
09 – Motorway
10 – The Hardest Place to Find Me
11 – Tangled up in Love
12 – You Win Some
13 – For the Meantime
14 – Coming Home (Rifles Choir)
15 – Romeo & Julie (Rifles Choir)
16 – Under and Over (Rifles Choir)

 

Sparks To Release New Album, Hippopotamus, In September

There has long been a solid fanbase for Sparks. First unveiled back in the late sixties, the band featured the sly comical writing of the Mael brothers embedded within great music. Their first album, was released via Bearsville Records and was produced by Todd Rundgren , although at the time, they were not known as Sparks, but as Halfnelson. The debut was released later using the newly adopted name of Sparks. From there, they released five more albums, one more for Bearsville and the next three for Island Records. Their 1974 Island debut, Kimono My House is credited with being their breakthrough album. Over the years, and with multiple labels (Big Beat on Columbia, released in 1976, is my favorite of theirs), Sparks gained a foothold in the history of Rock and Roll. Their last release was The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman in 2009, and was more a high-brow opera than an expected standard from them. Their last album to produce that kind of expected music was Exotic Creatures of the Deep (2008). It performed well in the UK market, and was critically well-received. Sparks even played a set on SNL during the show’s 7th season. That’s a feat!

On September 8, Sparks will release their awaited 23rd! album, Hippopotomus. The single for that album is the title track released on Friday on Britain’s BBC Radio 6 (see video below of that new track). The new album will contain fifteen new Sparks compositions, some of which are available on YouTube as live videos from recent shows. Sparks will tour the album beginning in the UK during he third quarter of 2017 with US dates expected for announcement later, likely within the fourth quarter of 2017, perhaps into 2018.

Hippopotamus will be released on CD, in DD, cassette, and on black vinyl 2LP, and a limited edition 2LP picture discs set. If you go to the band’s site (here), there are bundle packages that include tees and a Super Deluxe all-inclusive package.

Enjoy the new Sparks ride!

A prime example of great Sparks writing!

 

Blood, Sweat & Tears’ Box Remasters, Bloodlines, on Vinyl and SACD

Blood, Sweat & Tears gained their status as a highly revered Rock band back in the ’60s with issued singles like “Lucretia Mac Evil”, “And When I Die”, “Spinning Wheel”, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”, and others. With the early addition of vocalist, David Clayton-Thomas, whose rich and powerful voice elevated the music of the jazz-rock of B,S & T, the band became a strong seller of music and an essential live attraction. With over ten albums, recorded between the years of 1968 through 1980, the band made its commanding presence well-known.

On May 5, Analogue Productions will re-release the first four Blood, Sweat & Tears albums (Child Is Father To The Man / Blood, Sweat & Tears / Blood, Sweat & Tears 3 / B,S & T 4) as remastered albums with the original music (no bonus tracks) on three various sets. Those sets include an 8LP Box cut at 45RPM, a 4LP Box cut at 33 1/3RPM, and a 4SACD Box, all available separately.

The two vinyl Box sets include 200g-weight black vinyl housed in top of the line Stoughton gatefold jackets. All albums will be contained in a custom designed deluxe hinged box.

The SACDs for that box will feature two titles as Hybrid multi-channel mixes (Child Is Father To The Man – 5.1 Surround Mix by Al Kooper; Blood, Sweat & Tears – 4.0 Quadrophonic Mix), and two titles as Hybrid Stereo (Blood, Sweat & Tears 3, B, S & T 4).

All boxes will contain a booklet with photos, notes, and an in-depth essay by David Clayton-Thomas recounting the grand history of the band.

The Boxes will be known as Bloodlines.

 

DA’s Early Classic, Horrendous Disc, To Be Reissued For July

Some of you are Daniel Amos fans. And if you’re wondering who they are, then you surely missed out. They were a Christian band that had the right formula for making great albums. Therefore, much of their music was enjoyed by the music world at large, not all Christian fans.

Daniel Amos got their start back in 1974. Yes, that’s quite some time ago. Their first album, the self-titled Daniel Amos, was issued in 1976 and was a Country Rock effort.  It was followed by another similarly styled album, Shotgun Angel (1977). But Country stopped there. From there they went Rock before settling on a potent and effective brand of New Wave.

In 1981, they released Horrendous Disc. The album soon caught plenty of attention and performed well. Certainly, it attained a better edge than most Christian bands of the time. Eventually, Daniel Amos released their ¡Alarma! Chronicles series that encompasses ¡Alarma! (1981), Doppelgänger (1983), Vox Humana (1984), and Fearful Symmetry (1986). It was with Fearful Symmetry that the band shortened their name to simply DA. Since, they released seven more studio works, their last being Dig Here said The Angel, issued in 2013.

Recently, a Kickstarter project was launched for the reissue of Horrendous Disc. The band has acquired the necessary funds to go forth with definitive 3CD and LP sets. Basically, the original album will be remastered and bolstered by the inclusion of a bonus disc with demos, alternate mixes, remixes, outtakes, live performance tracks, and more goodies (see tracklist below). The added booklet will contain 40 pages with previously unreleased photos, full lyrics, complete credits, and new notes.

The vinyl set will be presented in color vinyl (red, green) and housed in full-color sleeves.

The project is still open to backers. It has achieved the $30,000 needed to fulfill all that has been detailed here. An extra push for the $35,000 mark promises a full Box set that will include a sticker, DA button, a guitar pick, and five random photos from their archives. If you’re interested, head over here to stake your claim! As of this writing, there are 7 days left, concluding March 31.

The release date for this definitive edition of Horrendous Disc is expected  in July of 2017.

Review: The Night Siren – Steve Hackett

Most will recognize Steve Hackett as one who helped Genesis create six classic studio sets from Nursery Crymes (1971) through Wind & Wuthering (1976). That short lifetime with Genesis gave Genesis and Hackett a lot of structure. After his departure, Genesis changed their style of music beginning with their post-Hackett venture, … And Then There Were Three… (1978). Steve Hackett went on to produce more than 20 studio sets as well as partner for a successful GTR collaboration with Steve Howe, and a very interesting outing with Chris Squire in a band called Squakett. There were others.

Throughout Steve Hackett’s recorded career, he has produced enduring classic recordings that have been remastered and expanded over time. His place in the world of Rock and Roll is an essential one. With elaborate skill on the guitar, Steve Hackett is a classic delight for prog fans everywhere.

With the release of his latest studio set, The Night Siren, fans like myself can only be excited. The new album brings eleven new tracks, all of which are well expressed songs with plenty of Hackett guitar wizardry on display. The songs are showcase his unusually strong talent of songwriting.  As “In the Skeleton Gallery” will reveal (see video below), Steve Hackett has lost nothing in his interpretation of today’s culture. He creates music that is uniquely him (and well-loved by fans), and still is able to address the problems of today’s word within his lyrical scope.

You will be warmly overjoyed by the eleven new songs. You will amaze at the quality of the music found here. The start of The Night Siren with “Behind The Smoke” amply sets the stage. There is not one disappointment. In fact, the Hackett magic is in place but imbued with a current world sound as well.

The Deluxe Edition of The Night Siren provides the CD, and on a separate Blu-Ray disc, provides access to 5.1 Surround tracks as well as  Hi-res Stereo tracks. The 5.1 Surround is offered on DTS-HD Master Audio, and 48 kHz/24-bit LPCM. The Stereo is 48 kHz/24-bit LPCM. The Blu-ray disc also provides a video, “Somewhere In Darkest Teddington – The Recording of The Night Siren.”

The booklet is a 24-page, full-color collection of lyrics, artistic photo manipulations, and a complete page of album credits.

If you’re a Steve Hackett fan, The Night Siren will not disappoint. It belongs in your collection.

 

Discoveries: Chastity Belt (Washington), With New Album Coming in June

Music is a much different beast these days with the instant availability of recording processes, and a wealth of venues to play at. In addition, the coming of the internet age has provided more access and visibility options than ever before. And with streaming as an option, you can immediately sample a track to see if it’s worth your time. Of course, I use up much of my time to not only enjoy the old classics that you and I grew up on but also on a search for music worth my time. There are a few that sticks. One that I enjoy and you should be aware of is a band out of Washington.

Chastity Belt is a four member all-female band that play a brand of music geared toward Pop and is quite listenable. Formed in 2010, Chastity Belt has been around for a bit with two previous studio albums under their belt. Their first album, No Regerts, was released back in 2013. It was released by an indie label. In 2015, Chastity Belt released their next album, Time To Go Home, generating positive reviews.

On June 2, Chastity Belt will released their latest album, I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone. It will be released by their current label, Hardly Art, and distributed by Warner Brothers Music. They have a single out to pave the way for the new album (hear below).

I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone will be released on CD, DD, Cassette, and vinyl LP. The LP will carry with it a download rights card.

I hope that you take the chance to explore them as they are pretty good.

 

New Alison Moyet Album, Other, Planned For June

The early ’80s brought us Yazoo, the combined talent of Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode), and the super talented Alison Moyet. After only two albums inside of a year’s time, the pair split. This, of course, proved to be a good thing as Alison Moyet embarked on a solo career that created her two big sellers, Alf (1984), and Raindancing (1987). Both albums produced seven singles between them. Although primarily a UK star, her music was embraced in a smaller fashion in other countries including the US. Over time, Alison Moyet released eight studio sets: four with Columbia Records (Alf – 1984, Raindancing – 1987, Hoodoo – 1991, Essex – 1994), two with UK’s Sanctuary Records (Hometime – 2002, Voice – 2004), one with W14 (The Turn – 2007), and her last with Cooking Vinyl (The Minutes – 2013). In the UK, interest remained throughout her solo career to this day, although not to the degree her first two albums had. But not bad either. Her last album, The Minutes, reached #5 in the UK charts. And I highly respect the UK audience for their diversity.

The good news is that Alison Moyet is back with a new album. It’s being called Other, and is expected to be released on June 16, also by Cooking Vinyl. It will host ten new Moyet tracks. Currently, the title track is available for purchase and streaming (see YouTube video below). Other is being issued on CD, vinyl LP, DD, and Cassette. Other is also bundled with a series of items including prints, signed editions, and numbered vinyl. there are several all-inclusive Super Deluxe bundles as well. You can see all of them (and pre-order) here.

Alison Moyet will be undertaking a world tour in support of Other. Her Chicago date is at Park West on September 19, which may just find me in the audience!! Dates here.

 

Thoughts On Our Losing Chuck Berry

I won’t bother attempting to compete with all of the articles that are popping up like weeds upon the passing of Chuck Berry.  It would be pointless.  Those articles are bringing up all of the obvious and important points over why Chuck Berry was and still will be a musical institution around the world.  In light of this, I’d rather be short and sweet when it comes to Chuck and mention a few things not mentioned as often as they should.

First of all, anybody who could release a song like “Wee Wee Hours” could be forgiven for punching Keith Richards, tax evasion and setting up a camera system in a restroom at his place to watch women using the toilet.  With some artists, it’s not the songs which put them on the zenith of their craft in the eyes all of who followed them, it’s the songs they would plop themselves down into a chair for during the after-hours which can reveal to people where they really came from.  That Chuck Berry still managed to find the time and inclination to want to just hammer out a Blues tune is something which endeared me to him over the years.  It was painfully obvious to observe his genius-the combining of Country, Jazz and Blues into the drive which became Rock and Roll.  It was the Blues angle which I always wished got more attention.

In my eyes, “Wee Wee Hours” is the Chuck I will always take along with me for as long as I live.  I think of it as the true soul of Chuck.  It told me that he wasn’t forgetting where he came from while being an African American in this country and living through the hard game involving a real rigged system which was levied against him in his quest to become who he would become.  So much has been made of his imperfections in life.  Perhaps those hardships he endured during the early part of his career made him develop some really eclectic quirks?  He wasn’t perfect and he angered a lot of people because of those imperfections. Hell, I’d have loved to have punched him for some of the things he did-like changing tempos on famous name bands who backed him at gigs without notice and no rehearsals beforehand.

But as distanced as I was to chuck Berry and his orbit, as a fan, I could still forgive him for those transgressions because of his having the outright taste to do a song like “Wee Wee Hours”.  Hey, that’s my excuse.  We fans are nuts just for something like this that I’m explaining.  We have this strange thing we do.  We love to make saints out of people with whom you’d just assume strangle to death.  I just wish he could have cut whole Blues albums with Johnnie Johnson to go with all of the great Rock and Roll he gave us.  Universal would later compile an album of songs of his which were Blues cuts and made a CD out of it called Blues.  But he never, as far as I know, ever cut an entire Blues album.

Something also has to be said for his late great pianist Johnnie Johnson.  Let’s credit Keith Richards for saying it when Keith was trying to get Johnnie inducted separately into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Chuck would not have been who he was had he not had the framework of Johnnie’s Blues-based piano to work with. He never would have done his rhythm patterns like he did had he not had Johnnie to play off of.  It also influenced Chuck’s leads too.  In short, we might have never had Chuck combine the elements of Country, Jazz and crooning that he did and speed them up if it hadn’t been for Johnnie Johnson.

I am also thinking of a song like “Havana Moon” as well.  Again, for him to have come up with the great riffs that he did for all of the big hits, I can still think of him doing “Havana Moon”  It got him a little out of his element so that he could come back and be even better at the Rock and Roll gig with all of those elements coming gloriously together.

God!  I can still remember late 1972 and my being hit with Chuck Berry fever via my first copy of Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out by The Rolling Stones and his then new version of the “Reelin’ And Rockin'” single during a small ’50s Roots Rock revival which was going on at Top 40 radio as a result of the popularity of the American Graffiti movie and the soundtrack which went with it.  In the San Francisco Bay Area, I was also hearing “School Days” being played on those AM stations for a short period of time.  I can’t even recall if it was re-released as a proper single that late Fall.  That revival helped me to make invaluable connections between the ’50s artists to ”60s artists.  I needed to make those connections.  My own evolution was calling out for it.  The timing was perfect and Chuck Berry played a huge role in all of it.

It was during that Fall that I fought with the meanest teacher I ever had during all of my years in school.  “School Days” gave me a great framework for rebellion.  It also gave me something to bang up against when I would discover other guitar players that I would develop huge admiration for.  Long live Rock and Roll.  Baby, you better believe it!  Over the years, all I had to do was remind myself not to think of Chuck’s problems with his own personality and let the music speak for itself.  I could save the subject of his quirkiness with all of my music friends I would develop over the years.  The music is what keeps you going when the friends aren’t there.

–Steve Talia

 

Blink-182 To Release Deluxe Edition Of California in May

If the new lineup of blink-182 and their latest album (California) was to your liking, then you might be interested to know that the band will be introducing a Deluxe Edition of that album. Originally released in 2016 in July, California featured the new vocalist/guitarist addition, Matt Skiba (who replaced Tom DeLonge). The album is being revisited with a wide assortment of vinyl colors, and a 2CD edition.

California Deluxe will offer eleven new studio tracks that were being recorded at the time of the original album’s release. As another bonus, California Deluxe will provide an acoustic version of their single, “Bored To Death”. All Deluxe Editions are planned for May 19.

Pre-order here.

The 2LP editions have green, yellow, purple, and blue translucent vinyl sets for sale along with a standard black vinyl edition. Added to the available sets will also be a white vinyl edition. The LPs are 180g-weight in gatefold jackets.

California Deluxe Edition – Blink-182

CD1: Original Album

01 Cynical
02 Bored To Death
03 She’s Out Of Her Mind
04 Los Angeles
05 Sober
06 Built This Pool
07 No Future
08 Home Is Such A Lonely Place
09 Kings of the Weekend
10 Teenage Satellites
11 Left Alone
12 Rabbit Hole
13 San Diego
14 The Only Thing That Matters
15 California
16 Brohemian Rhapsody

CD2: Eleven New Tracks/Acoustic Track

01 Parking Lot
02 Misery
03 Good Old Days
04 Don’t Mean Anything
05 Hey I’m Sorry
06 Last Train Home
07 Wildfire
08 6/8
09 Long Lost Feeling
10 Bottom Of The Ocean
11 Can’t Get You More Pregnant
12 Bored To Death (Acoustic)