Friday, July 31, 2009

Classic Rock Videos

The Ramones - Pinhead

Music News & Notes

DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA to release new album in September

Ascendance Records is gearing up for the release of the second album from DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA entitled ‘SING ALONG SONGS FOR THE DAMNED AND DELIRIOUS’

The unique genre-hopping Swedish sextet has already garnered an ever-growing army of fans on the strength of their self-released debut ‘The Butcher's Ballroom’ (later licensed to Candlelight Records in Europe and Sonic Cathedral in the US) and their European festival perfomances including MFVF and Summer Breeze.

The album was recorded at In Flames studio in Gothenburg under the supervision of producer Roberto Laghi who, besides his work on the latest In Flames effort, has also worked with the likes of Sonic Syndicate, Mustasch and Hardcore Superstar.

The band say that fans of “The Butcher Ballroom” will recognize the DSO sound but it has developed into something even more playful and at times far more aggressive than before.

A "very special" edition will be available directly from Ascendance by mail order only, with an individually numbered band logo Dog Tag pendant, a set of postcards and a vinyl sticker included with the CD/DVD version. This will be strictly limited to 300 copies.


Neil Finn, Wilco, Radiohead, and KT Tunstall collaborate for charity

The first 7 Worlds Collide album, a collection of amazing musical talents from across the globe in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières, was a unique live performance experience, fusing the varied talents of a stellar cast across a range of cover versions to create a series of shows that culminated in the live album of the same name. Seven years after that project, instigator Neil Finn has upped the ante with the new 7 Worlds Collide project, The Sun Came Out, a double album of original songs created and recorded by many of the original cast alongside notable new additions in an intense three weeks in his native New Zealand. This time the beneficiaries of this album will be Oxfam, as well as music lovers worldwide.

Familiar faces from the original album abound, Johnny Marr, Ed O'Brien and Phil Selway of Radiohead but this album, first and foremost presents the listener with new songs rather than interpretations of old favourites. The Sun Came Out also features a whole host of new guest talents such as KT Tunstall and Wilco and heart stopping firsts, including Phil Selway's songwriting and vocal debut as well as dream collaborations such as those between Johnny Marr and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy; and KT Tunstall and Neil Finn.

At the heart of the record is Neil Finn. His enthusiasm and drive persuaded the likes of celebrated producer Jim Scott, Lisa Germano, Johnny Marr and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, Pat Sansone, John Stirratt and Glenn Kotche (amongst others) to spend their Christmas holiday in New Zealand and even interrupted KT Tunstall's honeymoon in the process.

With families welcome, the studio became a constant whirl of creativity and energy throughout the three weeks allocated to create the record. Johnny Marr returned from a run on the beach with the basis of 'Too Blue', where Jeff Tweedy was waiting to add his talents; KT Tunstall stopped Neil retiring to his bed to complete 'Hazel Black'; a wandering Johnny Marr added a chorus melody to Liam Finn's 'Red Wine Bottle'; Ed O'Brien fashioned 'Bodhisattva Blues' from a Tibetan chant. In this atmosphere, anything was possible and Neil's wife Sharon found herself laying down her debut vocal on 'Little By Little' whilst Phil Selway also took his vocal bow and unveiled a hitherto unknown songwriting talent with his solo turn 'The Ties That Bind Us' in one take.

From Neil's original doubts over the idea, "I thought, what is this? Is it just an ego thing," came a double album of astounding collaborations for the listener and amazing memories for all those concerned in the recording. At the center of it all stands Neil Finn, too humble to take the glory himself, it is left to KT Tunstall to give the credit due to the man who made this happen: "It's Neil. It all comes from him. There's something about him that made everyone open up creatively."


Green Day, Pink to perform at MTV Video Music Awards

Green Day and Pink are scheduled to return to the MTV Video Music Awards this year, both scheduled to perform songs from their recent releases at the Sept. 13 New York City event.

Pink, who at last year's VMA's sang a live rendition of "So What" from her October release "Funhouse," will select another track from the multi-platinum album to perform at Radio City Music Hall.

Green Day, slated to appear for the first time since 2005, will perform a song from the alt-rockers' new album, "21st Century Breakdown." Three tracks from the record--"21 Guns," "East Jesus Nowhere" and "Know Your Enemy"--are now available for download for use in the "Rock Band" video game.


DARK FOREST: 'Defender' EP Due Next Month

England's DARK FOREST will release the CD version of its new EP, "Defender", at the Reanimator Night concert in Wolverhampton on August 22. The vinyl edition will follow a couple of weeks later. According to the group, "There will be a special deal for those who buy both the CD and the vinyl: you'll only have to pay postage for the vinyl, the CD will be shipped for free, as soon as it's available. This way you can listen to the great new tunes right away without having to wait for the vinyl version to arrive. We'll also add some nice little extras to your package if you order both."

Formed in 2002 in the West Midlands, DARK FOREST "combin[es] the great legacy of classic NWOBHM acts like TYRANT, ELIXIR, MAIDEN or TREDEGAR with the pounding glory of epic metal bands like ISEN TORR and the beautiful mythic harmonies of Anglo-Saxon folk music," according to a press release. "DARK FOREST deliver an absolutely unique brand of classic, no-bollocks heavy metal. Galloping rhythms, insanely beautiful twin guitar harmonies and unbelievable vocal lines — everything British metal was famous and loved for in the early '80s is there."

DARK FOREST's second album is tentatively due in 2010 via Iron Kodex.

Keeping the Album Alive

by Sean Highkin

You hear people say it all the time: the MP3 killed the album. And to an extent, it is true. The advent of iTunes has made it easier to pick and choose songs, and even if you do choose to buy the album, it’s really just files on a hard drive in a certain order. Obtaining new music has essentially lost any physical or personal value. I can’t even remember the last time I looked forward to an album’s release date so I could go to the store, buy it, and go home and put it on for the first time. Even on the rare occasions when I do buy music these days, I will have downloaded it two weeks before its release date, and at that point it becomes more like going through the motions of buying the physical product to put on the shelf. If it’s been a long time since I’ve bought an album without listening to it first, it’s been even longer since I’ve sat down with the artwork and lyric book for an album I own and truly immersed myself in it. Nowadays, you have to form a tweet-sized opinion so quickly that you don’t have time to first decide how you actually feel about the album, and then you move on to the next one.

So in that sense, yes, file-sharing has robbed us of the rituals associated with hearing a new album for the first time. However, I am not ready to believe that it has completely taken away the meaning of a certain collection of songs put out by an artist at one time in a specific order. You see the album’s continued relevance in the recent resurgence in vinyl sales. Granted, even a doubling market for LPs is still a tiny niche market at best, but it makes sense that those purists of the physical product would opt for the version with the bigger artwork and analog sound. After all, hasn’t the entire appeal of the CD, the increased portability, now been completely replaced by iPods?

But more than the renewed popularity of vinyl, there is another reason why I believe the “album” as a form of expression is not dead: with the supposed demise of the album in the digital age has come, oddly enough, the increased popularity among bands new and old of the live show built around a start-to-finish performance of one album. This concept is nothing new, of course—Pink Floyd and Yes used to do it all the time in the ‘70s, and the Who have repeatedly hauled Tommy and Quadrophenia out on tour. It’s something that seems logical if you’re pushing the “concept album” angle. The Decemberists are devoting the first hour of their latest shows to a full presentation of their newest literary epic, The Hazards of Love. Prog metallers Mastodon tore up Coachella in April with a front-to-back reading of Crack the Skye. If Green Day had any clue what they were doing, they would give the same treatment to 21st Century Breakdown on their latest arena tour.

What I find interesting is the amount of bands that are now doing this for albums that don’t necessarily need to be heard in order the way a concept piece would. Sonic Youth, for instance, garnered rave reviews when they performed Daydream Nation in its entirety at a handful of festivals last year. Similar shows by everyone from Slint (doing Spiderland) to Public Enemy (It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back) have found wide acclaim from both fans and critics. The Pixies just announced a Fall tour commemorating the 20th anniversary of Doolittle, and these shows will feature a complete performance of that album. Even classic-rock dinosaurs are getting in on the action: Aerosmith have been performing their 1975 classic Toys in the Attic in full on their summer amphitheater tour with ZZ Top, and Metallica has recently treated fans to 1986’s Master of Puppets.

However, sometimes when older bands with large bodies try to do this with newer or lesser-known albums, it doesn’t go over as well. Iron Maiden tried it in 2006 with A Matter of Life and Death, and was met with mixed reactions from fans who undoubtedly went to the show to hear the band’s classic ‘80s material. To Maiden’s credit, they didn’t backpedal, although they also have recently done tours covering only specific periods of their past. The Cure also faced backlash when they opted to perform their self-titled 2004 album on tour. It would seem that the live show isn’t the way to get acquainted with a new album from start to finish, which is why most bands that have tried it have stuck to replicating their most well-known works.

It’s a fascinating trend given the evidence of the endangerment of the album on almost every other medium, but in a way it makes sense. The instant access to music allowed by MP3s comes at the expense of much of the emotional connection tied to the full-album experience, and many fans want to be able to preserve that somehow. So why not through the live show? You’re there with the band, hearing the songs in the order they intended. I’m sure every fan can name a few albums they’d love their favorite band to present live in this fashion. Radiohead would be amazing at this, but I feel like Thom Yorke probably disdains the concept of being in a rock band too much to ever consider it. Bob Dylan’s live shows haven’t been relevant for years—how many fans wouldn’t love for him to revitalize himself as a touring act by devoting an evening to Highway 61 Revisited or Blood on the Tracks? Wouldn’t a Neil Young show featuring After the Gold Rush or Tonight’s the Night be infinitely preferable to a show based around his new concept album about electric cars? The possibilities are endless.

Here are a few albums that aren’t necessarily concept albums that I’d love to hear performed live:

My Bloody Valentine, Loveless – MBV already perform most of the songs on this 1991 masterpiece in concert anyway. Doing them in order and closing with their usual 20-minute feedback frenzy of “You Made Me Realize” would add up to roughly the length of one of their festival setlists, and adding “Performing Loveless in its Entirety!” to the poster would make the shows feel like a once-in-a-lifetime event.

U2, Achtung Baby – Debate all you want about the merits of the giant PopMart lemon, the Elevation heart, or this new claw thing U2 have been erecting in stadiums this summer. While all of these are landmarks in the field of spectacle, the fact remains that the best tour Bono and co. have ever done was 1992’s ZooTV tour, for one reason: these shows featured 9 or 10 songs a night from their finest album, Achtung Baby. Bringing this album back in full works on so many levels: as a perennial set-closer, “One” has become a groan-inducing chore to endure, building a reputation mainly as the song where Bono tells everybody to get out their cell phones and donate money to Africa despite the fact that they have just paid $150 to see the band’s show. Moving it back to its third spot on the album, where it would be surrounded either side with “Even Better Than the Real Thing” and “Until the End of the World,” could breathe new life into it. It would mean that every show would be guaranteed “The Fly” and “Mysterious Ways,” two songs no U2 concert should be without. And “Acrobat” and “So Cruel” have never been performed live, so it would be a great opportunity to please die-hards by pulling out two long-neglected gems. The rest of the material has rotated in and out of their sets over the past two decades, so it wouldn’t be impossible to pull off.

The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers – If there’s any touring juggernaut whose live shows could use the boost of energy that Toys in the Attic has given Aerosmith, it’s the Stones. Exile on Main Street is the critical favorite, but it’s probably too long to pull off and still leave room for all the other classics the Stones would need to play. Sticky Fingers is perfect: it’s universally recognized as one of their best albums, they already play “Brown Sugar,” “Wild Horses,” and “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” every night anyway, and album cuts like “Sway” and “Sister Morphine” would be a treat to hear again.

The Smashing Pumpkins, Adore – Yes, I know. It’s not really the Smashing Pumpkins. Billy Corgan has zero credibility in 2009, for a variety of reasons that I’ll save for another column. But this could work. Corgan has always been obsessed with being a very ‘70s kind of rock star, and the “full album performance” thing that the Who and Pink Floyd used to specialize in is not something he got around to doing while he was relevant. So why Adore over Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie? For one, Adore is the band’s most underappreciated album, so giving it time in the spotlight would almost—almost—justify Corgan in keeping the Pumpkins name when there are no other original members left. Plus, given that it’s the only original Pumpkins album that drummer Jimmy Chamberlain, the last member to leave earlier this year, didn’t play on, it would seem to be the clear choice of an album that Corgan could credibly present under the band’s moniker while functioning as a solo act.


This Date In Music History-July 31


Will Champion – Coldplay (1978)

John Lowery - Marilyn Manson (1971)

Jim Corr - The Corrs (1964)

Robert Townsend - Pop Will Eat Itself (1964)

Norman Cook – Housemartins (1963)

Malcolm Ross - Aztec Camera (1960)

Bill Berry – R.E.M. (1958)

Daniel Ash – Bauhaus (1957)

Karl Green - Herman's Hermits (1947)

Gary Lewis (1946)

Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974), was born in Los Angeles in 1946.

Lobo (real name Kent Lavoie) turns 66.

They Are Missed:

The late Ahmet Ertegun (founder of Atlantic Records) was born in 1923. Along with his brother Nesuhi, he helped create and hone the Atlantic Records jazz, R&B, and pop empire in the '50s and '60s. The Ertegun brothers arrived in America from Turkey and forged a company to record, distribute and publicize the sounds of Black America, which at that time were largely going ignored.

Country singer Jim Reeves was killed in a plane crash in 1964.

One of the first major stars of R&B, Bull Moose Jackson (real name Benjamin Clarence Jackson), died in Cleveland of cancer in 1989 (age 70). Jackson was at his peak in the late 1940's, and became the first R&B artist to receive a gold record, for his 1947 recording of "I Love You, Yes I Do."

BBC producer John Walters died in 2001 (age 63). Walters produced and worked with Radio 1 DJ John Peel. Peel teamed up with Walters to broadcast some of the most groundbreaking music of an era.


In 1966, in Birmingham, Ala., a Beatles record-burning session was held to protest John Lennon's "bigger than Jesus" remark.

In 1969, Elvis Presley kicked off a four-week run at the Las Vegas International Hotel, (his first live show since 1961). He reportedly netted $1.5m for the shows.

Also in 1969 - A Moscow police chief reported that thousands of Moscow telephone booths had been made inoperable by thieves who had stolen phone parts in order to convert their acoustic guitars to electric.

In 1970, after Decca Records demands a final single from the Rolling Stones to make them fulfill their contract, Richards and Jagger delivered the unreleasable "Cocksucker Blues." The single becomes the title of a Stones documentary that the band decides is also unreleasable.

The documentary Gimme Shelter premiered in 1971 at London's Rialto cinema. The film includes footage from the infamous concert at Altamont.

The second night of the Who's first of two 1971 US tours was marked with tragedy when a 22 year old security guard was stabbed at New York's Forest Hills Stadium.

James Taylor went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1971 with the Carole King song “You Got A Friend.” The song would go on to win the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male.

George Benson started a two-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1976 with “Breezin.”

Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear The Reaper" was released in 1976.

In 1991, Black Crowes lead singer Chris Robinson was given six months probation for spitting on a customer in a 7/11 store in Denver. When the woman said she didn't know who the Black Crowes were, Robinson told her she would know if she didn't eat so many Twinkies. The woman claimed Robinson then spat on her. Hey, I love Twinkies….

Selena's "Dreaming of You" debuted at # 1 on the Billboard chart in 1995. It was her first English album. Selena became the first Latin artist to debut at #1.

Christina Aguilera scored her first US #1 single in 1999 with “Genie In A Bottle,” also #1 in the UK. The song spent 5 weeks at #1 on the US chart and won Aguilera the Best New Artist Grammy for the year.