December 24, 2008


I have fears that Rock, as many of us have come to enjoy it, will be a sad picture in the decades to come.  Here’s my take.  In the decades of the past, we have had very noticeable rock bands that we remember to this day.  Examples run the gamut of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin…the list goes on and on.  However, in this time, we have but scant few that can command that kind of notoriety into the future, Coldplay being one of them.  But try and tick off on your two hands a list of notable rock stars and bands that have changed our way of listening or that carry the same level of visibility as Led Zeppelin or The Beatles have.  Frankly, I can’t do it.

Having stated that, are we witnessing a death rattle of sorts?  We have our music and can pass it down – and we have.  But the bands these days have no identity.  They dress in jeans, same as we do; they act and talk like they’re merged with us.  I’d be hard pressed to recognize a Rock Star on the streets these days, whereas, back in the ‘70s, they rather jumped out at you.  They were icons.  They were style-changers. They were celebrated for not only their music but who they were as personas.  I don’t see any of that these days.  Yeah, there are some fine bands to listen to.  But they never really seem to produce albums worth of memorable songs.  Just a good song here and there.

I understand that we live in a new time where music can be made on a laptop, be good, create some fans, and then be gone in a heartbeat because the artists who recorded them couldn’t muster the talent needed to make more of them.  Why?  Little talent to speak of.  There are only rock chords learned rather than creating hybrid chords from Jazz, or R&B, or Blues backgrounds.  No basis on which to build.  No talent.

There are also little to no talent that is being recognized and nurtured in all of this music.  I hear some genuinely great music but it never moves past the chart-toppers and so they lanquish.  We tend to blame labels for not fostering bands like Ertegun did at Atlantic.  But it isn’t really them, per se.  It is the transient love of song that eliminates the shelf life of a promising Rock band.  And young adults and teens seem to be happy with the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ stream of Rock music.  Blame iPods, blame younger audiences, blame labels, or blame whatever else seems to work, the bottom line is that young adults these days don’t need the definition of a single band to underscore their lives.  It’s all a Various Artists soundtrack to them.  They won’t look back and remember a band like we remember Led Zeppelin because there are none as well defined as Led Zep in this time.  U2, you say?  Hangers-on from the ‘80s.  Rolling Stones?  Working off a successful catalog of hits.

Today’s music is a product of the time it represents.  And today, younger audiences are there for the experience, much less the lasting ability of song.  Fix that, and we might be able to create a wider bridge.  But, Rock isn’t going anywhere; it just changes its face.  Recognizable to the youth that it sells to but not to us older people who can only remember the way it ‘used to be.’

Was there a point to all of that?  Yeah, I miss Rock in its more diverse, experimental style.  It was challenging, it was fun to listen to, and it made heroes for us.  I see a lack of that these days.  And there shouldn’t be.   

We have two reviews for you today to close out 2008.  I review an independent release from Jagjaguwar from a Baltimore band called Wilderness. The album is (k)no(w)here. Mark Squirek contributes a rousing review of the latest Strawbs album called The Broken-Hearted Bride.

When we come back on January 5, it will be with a call for your picks of 2008, album-wise, and a few more reviews, and, hopefully, lots of more release news.  In addition, we will have a few other goodies for you as well.  But until then, have a great Holidays!  We’ll see you a few Mondays from now.

For the long promised Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! list (#25), I will be posting a letter each post until exhausted (there were only 17 21 25 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 emails).  Some were only a few titles, some only one.  But there were more than a few that were massive and a few extended, well-detailed lists.  I’ll post them as I received them.  For today's post, we have a list of 13 albums.

Audience – House On The Hill
Family – Bandstand
Chapman Whitney – Streetwalkers
Hudson & Ford – Free Spirit
Renaissance – Turn Of The Cards
Genesis – Selling England By The Pound
Kinks – sleepwalker
Kinks – Schoolboys In Disgrace
Peter Frampton – Frampton
Fludd – ’71 to ‘77
Elton John – Madman Across The Water
Rough Trade – Live
Cowsills – In Concert

I could go on but these are pretty good to start with. - Sender

We're going to keep the Best Album of ALL Time up for a long while as we continually update it. But I'll say this: The Beatles took the lead with not only The White Album but also the fact that they have been selected with two albums. Like The Albums You MUST Hear Before You Die! run, which does not show signs of stopping (I'm still getting emails, which I have no problem with and encourage - Send Them In), I'm hoping that this new thing stays strong. Send in your selection (one only, please) for the album that is the ruler of all.

If you have missed the last As The Disc Spins (updated), check it out here.

To access the previous site and catch up, click here.






American Beat Records will release new reissue titles that include Club Ninja by Blue Oyster Cult, The Up Escalator by Graham Parker, The Paley Brothers by The Paley Brothers, and He Who Rides the Tiger by Bernie Taupin.  These titles are expected to arrive on March 10.  Another company, Noble Rot, will release some Toy Matinee titles (I’ll nail those down for you) as well as a few Marc Bonilla albums (I’ll get those for you as well) on February 3.  You can expect more info shortly or perhaps an update of this paragraph.

We promised an update on the ABBA set known as The Albums, and so here we are with a promise kept.  The set actually contains – as the title would suggest – the studio albums of ABBA (Ring Ring; Waterloo; ABBA; Arrival; ABBA-The Album; Voulez-Vous; Super Trouper; The Visitors).  In addition, a bonus disc is included that contain B-Sides, rarities, and other selections to round out the ABBA set.  No word on whether these have been re-mastered or if there is an extra booklet aside from the various albums’ booklets.  It would really tie that set together, man, if there were one.  In any case, it is still on target for January 20 by Polydor Records. Polydor will release these as Digital Downloads as well.

Dance-Pop by two former members of Simian (Simon Lord), and Wiseguys (Theo Keating), now called The Black Ghosts, is available on their upcoming album, the self-titled The Black Ghosts.  You may know them by their hot track (playing in Twilight – opening scenes) called “Full Moon.”  This 11-track album is scheduled for January 20 by Universal Republic Records.  And, if your feet still need to ‘trip the lights fantastic’ then Universal Republic is also releasing some Techno-Pop with a new album by Cash Cash called Take It to the Floor, which will also release on January 20.

Verve Records will release Volume Three of The Impulse Albums for John Coltrane with the following titles, all slip-cased: The John Coltrane Quartet Plays (1965); Meditations (1966); New Thing at Newport (1966); Kulu Se Mama (1967); and Ascension (1966), which contains both released versions of the album.  As the previous sets, these albums are re-mastered, specially priced digipaks with original LP design.  This set is planned for January 20.

Verve Records also have a collection of remastered albums, specially priced and digipak packaging that emulate the original LP art coming on January 27 for the following sets: Satchmo at Pasadena (Louis Armstrong); Ubiquity (Roy Ayers); Chapter One: Latin America (Gato Barbieri); On My Way & Shoutin’ (Count Basie); Feels So Good (Grover Washington, Jr); You’ve Got it Bad, Girl (Quincy Jones); Oscar Peterson & Nelson Riddle (Oscar Peterson/Nelson Riddle); Blues in the Closet (Bud Powell); Let it Be Me (Nina Simone); and Dynasty (Stan Getz). 

Concord Records will release a 10-track album by saxophonist, Benny Colson, called New Time, New ‘tet.  It is scheduled for release on January 20.

On January 20, Universal/Motown will introduce Gin Wigmore by way of a 5-track EP/CD called Extended Play.  There’s quite a description of her music, enough to get you to want to run to MySpace for a listen. 

Emarcy/Universal will release a new Jazz album by Clifton Anderson called Decade.  This 10-track release is expected on January 27.

Geffen and Decca Records will release a 2CD/59 tracks collection of rarities from Buddy Holly.  The first disc contains undubbed early works from Holly as well as a set of tracks known as The Garage Tapes from Buddy Holly and The Crickets.  The second disc contain alternates, undubs, and rehearsal takes as well as a batch of songs referred to as The Apartment Tapes, which contain fragments and various versions of familiar songs.  There’s even a tune recorded when Holly was 14 in this set.  Down the Line/Rarities is set to be released on January 27

The Kids Are Alright, the movie by The Who is being re-released with a High-Def transfer, in two versions.  The first is a Deluxe Edition DVD issue that contains the film, commentary by the director, the Hi-Def transfer with 5.1 Surround in DTS and Dolby, and Dolby Stereo.  The other version is a Special Deluxe Edition 2DVD set that includes the same content explained earlier as well as a bonus DVD that contains interviews with Daltrey and Stein (director), video and audio restoration demos, isolated Ox Bass tracks from “Baba O’Riley,” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” a short doc called The Who’s London (an interactive map with important Who/London locations), multiple camera angles for “Anytime You Want Me,” and Who trivia.  Both sets are scheduled for January 20 from Sanctuary and Universal.

Hoobastank’s upcoming January 27 release, For(n)Ever will contain eleven tracks.

Rarely do you get a sweep like this but Sanctuary Records is releasing four 2CD Deluxe Editions albums by Motorhead.  The albums are: Ace of Spades, which contains an added disc with “Dirty Love,” a B-side to “Ace of Spades, 11 outtake alternate versions of songs from the album, and a 3-song Jensen Sessions live set (BBC);  Bomber gets an extra disc that contains “Over the Top,” a B-side track, along with four alternate versions of album cuts, and five live performance tracks; Iron Fist will add a disc that features “Remember Me, I’mGone,” a B-side to single “Iron Fist,” as well as 15 live performance tracks from a 1982 show at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto; and finally, Overkill with a bonus disc of tracks that include a non-album A-side single of “Louie Louie,” the “Too Late, Too Late,” B-side of “Overkill,” “Tear Ya Down,” a B-side of “Louie Louie,” and “Like a Nightmare,” the B-side to “No Class.”  In addition, there are three alternate version tracks (“Louie, Louie,” “Tear Ya Down,” “Like a Nightmare”), an instrumental (“Tear Ya Down,”), a three-track in studio live Peel Session set (BBC), and a 6-track live set In Concert Special from BBC Radio One (1979).  All Deluxe Editions are scheduled for release on January 27Motorhead fans, better save up your gift cards for these because you’re gonna need ‘em!

There were five Policeman’s Balls benefits shows between 1976 and 1989 selected for film.  You’ve seen the legendary videos in one place or another.  Now, Universal puts together a 3DVD Various Artists set called The Secret Policeman’s Balls and will release it on January 27.  This set will also provide bonus footage and extras like a full-length documentary from 2004 called Remember the Secret Policeman’s Ball?, as well as rare bonus footage and footage from the UK premiere of Secret Policeman’s Other Ball.



Review - Strawbs - The Broken Hearted Bride - CD

Strawbs is one of our treasures as a band. On their latest album, The Broken Hearted Bride, Dave Cousins reveals clearly just why Strawbs is an important part of our musical history.





Review - Wilderness - (k)no(w)here - CD

This is not your average album but (k)no(w)here is one to listen to if you like abstract art. I introduce it as a change for you. Wilderness, a band from Baltimore, is an interest.




Review - FEMI - Sweet Water Soul - CD/EP

Female Soul music done in the old manner like Sade and Roberta Flack is a rarity these days. FEMI gives us something that is well sought after. God bless FEMI for giving me a part of the past back to enjoy in a new setting. I love Sweet Water Soul.










Copyright 2002-2009 Matthew Rowe.
All rights reserved.All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Disclaimer: various news pieces may state a specific media publication or program as a source. All other news is considered 'rumour' only. That goes double for release dates.

212 Frech

"Even though most of the people I knew in my youth are gone, I still reach out to them..." Norman Maclean - Paraphrase

"...we should enjoy every sandwich." -- Warren Zevon
"Buy the ticket, take the ride." -- Hunter S Thompson
" best wake up 'fore tomorrow comes creepin' in...: -- Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be." -- Kurt Vonnegut
"Because they wouldn't let me go for three..." -- Woody Hayes (OSU)
"Show me peaceful days before my youth has gone" -- Neil Diamond (Serenade)