Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Beach Boys reunion album news/events

Founding members of The Beach Boys have reunited for a global 50th Anniversary celebration, including a new album release, an international tour and commemorative catalog releases.

The Beach Boys' new studio album, That’s Why God Made The Radio is released June 5 by Capitol/EMI. 
Beach Boys Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston, and David Marks recently completed their recording sessions at Los Angeles’ Ocean Way Studios for That’s Why God Made The Radio, the band’s 29th studio album (including 2011’s The SMiLE Sessions) and the first in decades to feature all of the band’s surviving original members.  

Produced by Brian Wilson and executive produced by Mike Love, the album’s 11 new songs illustrate The Beach Boys’ unique and evocative West Coast story with the band’s timeless signature sound. 
The album’s lead single, “That’s Why God Made The Radio,” showcases The Beach Boys’ soaring harmonies in an upbeat, beaming ode to music’s radio champions around the world. It is available for download purchase from all major digital service providers. 

A new lyrics video for the single has been launched today on VEVO and The Beach Boys’ YouTube channel, where a video about the making of the song is also available for streaming.
“Radio was my whole education,” says Brian Wilson. “Chuck Berry, Rosemary Clooney, The Four Freshmen, Phil Spector, Little Richard...To hear ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ on the radio would be a thrill beyond belief, it really would.  It would be a thrill beyond belief.”
“I got a lot of my appreciation for all of the creativity in the world, in terms of music, through the radio,” says Mike Love. “For all of us who grew up in the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond, the radio has played such a huge, important part in our lives.  When we were kids, we’d sneak out of the house and go and sit in Brian’s car and listen to the local radio stations on his car radio.”
The album’s other new songs include “Think About The Days,” “Isn’t It Time,” “Spring Vacation,” “Private Life Of Bill And Sue,” “Shelter,” “Daybreak Over The Ocean,” “Beaches In Mind,” “Strange World,” “My Life Suite,” and “Summer’s Gone.” 
The Beach Boys’ collaborative approach to writing and recording their new music is evidenced throughout the album, with all of the band members participating to create its glorious harmonies, lyrics, and arrangements.
“We’ve come full circle,” says Al Jardine. “Sharing our memories and our present in the studio has been really remarkable.  I can especially feel it when we’re all singing around the mic together, because we all hear each other and we really lock in.”
“We have reunited as a band, but we never ‘un-reunited’ as friends,” says Bruce Johnston.  “To be back in the studio with these guys is like a prayer that’s been answered and I am thrilled to be sharing it with everybody.”
“This is more like a family reunion than anything,” says David Marks. “When we’re together, we get along great.  The chemistry always works the same as the last time we were together, and the five of us become a single element.”
The Beach Boys’ 50th Anniversary tour, the band’s first major outing to include Brian Wilson in more than two decades, began this week in Tucson, with other North American stops including their first concert at the Hollywood Bowl since 1965, headlining performances at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (“Jazz Fest”) and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and concerts in major cities including New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, Toronto, and Montreal.
The Beach Boys have also confirmed concerts throughout Europe with additional European territories to be announced shortly.  The Beach Boys will also perform shows in Japan, and concerts in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia will be announced soon. All confirmed tour dates can be found on
Starting May 1, a custom 72-page Beach Boys ‘ZinePak magazine, bundled with an exclusive CD featuring 11 of the band’s classic hits and their 2012 version of “Do It Again,” will be available for purchase in the music department at Walmart stores nationwide.  For more information and to purchase the ‘ZinePak online, visit
The Beach Boys are scheduled to head to QVC Wednesday, May 16 to unveil their much-anticipated new release with a special hour-long live performance at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT. During The Beach Boys’ QSessions Live broadcast, fans will have the opportunity to order the new album, which has been specially packaged just for QVC shoppers with a greatest hits bonus CD, nearly a month before the new album’s release date. The QVC-exclusive album package with bonus CD will be available starting May 16 at or (800) 345-1515, while supplies last.
The Beach Boys have confirmed several other national television appearances, including an interview on “CBS Sunday Morning” to air this Sunday, April 29, a multi-song performance and interview on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” on May 7, a performance on NBC’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno” on June 6, and more to be announced.
Special radio events have also been confirmed, including a SiriusXM “Artist Confidential” performance and Q&A special to air Saturday, May 26 at 12 PM ET within the satellite network’s “Beach Boys Endless Summer Weekend,” a four-day Memorial Day Weekend tribute airing on ‘60s on 6, channel 6.  Also during Memorial Day Weekend, Cumulus Radio Networks will premiere an exclusive, hour-long Beach Boys 50th Anniversary special on more than 150 Classic Hits/Oldies and AC stations across the U.S.
The Beach Boys and Capitol/EMI have also partnered for 50th Anniversary commemorative releases celebrating the band’s entire catalog, with a new hits collection and a career-spanning box set planned for later this year.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blur career-spanning box set out in July

21 years since the release of their debut album Leisure in 1991, Blur's body of work has been personally compiled by the band and gathered together in one box, due for release by Parlophone on July 30 (the next day in North America).

All seven studio albums are collected with over 5½ hours of unreleased material including 65 previously unreleased tracks and more than twice as many rarities, 3 DVDs, a collector's edition book featuring rare and unseen photos and a new and exclusive interview with the band, and a special limited edition 7-inch vinyl featuring a track recorded under the band's original name, Seymour. The box will also include a digital download code for the albums and all bonus material.

The collection - which sees the first five albums re-mastered by Frank Arkwright in Abbey Road Studios - has been fully overseen by Graham Coxon and producer Stephen Street.

Highlights of the box include early versions of tracks recorded for Leisure, bare bones early demos of the classic singles 'For Tomorrow' and 'Beetlebum', previously unheard songs 'Saturday Morning' and 'Hope You Find Your Suburbs' and never released sessions with Bill Laswell and the legendary session with XTC's Andy Partridge.

Other rarities are 'Don't Bomb When You're The Bomb', 'The Wassailling Song' and 'Fools Day' which appear on CD for the first time. DVD material includes Live at Alexandra Palace 1994 and Live at Wembley 'The Singles Night' 1999.

In addition to the 21-disc Deluxe Box Set, all 7 studio albums will be available individually, each with a second disc of b-sides, previously hard-to-find tracks and exclusive bonus material.

A vinyl box set will also be available, with six of the seven albums on double-vinyl, highlighting iconic artwork and visuals from Banksy, David Shrigley and Graham Coxon among others. The vinyl box set will include a download code to access all of the bonus material digitally. Each of the 7 LPs will also be available separately on heavyweight vinyl.

For full track-listing and a complete list of all bonus material and rarities please visit

Coachella Festival 2012 wrap up: April 20-22

photo by Robert Kinsler
A version of my review originally appeared at

Contrary to popular belief, the real Coachella experience is not all about being seen and partying; it involves discovering new music and reacquainting yourself with old faves.  

Despite an attendance level near 90,000 daily (an increase of 10,000 over 2011), everything was fairly tolerable. The crowds could still learn some things about concert etiquette though.

Shields Date Garden, a desert institution since 1924, made its Coachella food court debut. I enjoyed one of their sweet milkshakes. With Sunday being Earth Day, I was surprised not to see teenagers racing to gather empty water bottles to recycle in exchange for a full one as in years past. None of the performers I saw mentioned the environment either. 

Record-breaking heat didn’t deter guys and gals from wearing skimpy attire. Nor did it keep others from sporting a wide array of colorful, rave-worthy costumes (Gumby, Crayola crayons) that made you want to check your phone to see if the calendar actually read Oct. 31.

Right around dusk each day, a parade of models arrived in the VIP section, ostensibly just to see the headliner. They were hard to miss in designer clothes, shoes and sunglasses. One woman who was not a model passed out right in front of me.

Adjacent to that gated perimeter, near the handicapped seating section, paparazzi guys were on the prowl during Noel Gallagher’s set. I turned around to see a veteran actress who looked like Melanie Griffith forlornly shield her face and say “please, guys” before heading toward the pit area.

While darting between the four stages (I scarcely set foot in the DJ-centric Sahara Tent), I witnessed three dozen full or partial sets. Memorable moments were in plentiful supply, so I thought I’d tie up some loose ends with a few others.

On Saturday Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook (the latter is pictured above) – the singer/songwriters of influential British band Squeeze – displayed sublime harmonies and deft guitar work inside a shamefully under-filled Mojave Tent. The parade of classics from their ’70s and ’80s heyday (“Tempted,” “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Up the Junction,” “Hourglass,” “Is That Love”) were pure bliss for fans of traditional smart pop/rock songcraft. Later, I heard several people rave about them. (Their new Live at the Fillmore album is highly recommended.)

Miike Snow impressed me with its coolly detached brand of electropop. Playing to a large and enthusiastic Outdoor Theatre crowd, the Swedish/American trio opened to a landing spaceship sound and opened with “The Wave.” Both “Pretender” and “Paddling Out” stood out for their consistent dance sensibility.

Coachella Festival 2012 review coverage: April 22

photo by Robert Kinsler
My review originally appeared at

If I could anoint a queen of Coachella’s second weekend, Florence Welch would take the festival crown. The golden-throated Englishwoman led Florence + the Machine through a transcendent final-night performance that capped the Outdoor Theatre proceedings and left fans clamoring for more.

Emerging from atop a stairwell to begin the 55-minute set in regal fashion with “Only If for a Night,” Welch commanded the stage. The first time she stood resplendently with arms outstretched and gorgeous dress blowing in the breeze, I thought: “This is rock royalty.”

Subtle gestures, vocal wails and backing singers helped elevate the chamber-pop drama of “Never Let Me Go,” “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up),” the hit single “Dog Days are Over” and the gospel-styled fervor of “Shake It Out.” The band sounded sleek throughout, and at various points their welcoming chanteuse urged female empowerment and inclusiveness (notably right before “Spectrum”).

After watching the Hives put on a blazing show at the Glass House last week, I figured it wouldn’t be hard to tear myself away from their performance on the Coachella Stage. Yet while the Swedish garage-rockers were tearing things up on the Polo Field with “Wait a Minute” – the initial single from their coming album Lex Hives – I begrudgingly left and rushed over to Mojave because Gotye was not to be missed.

The lanky Australian singer (real name Wally De Backer), currently has a No. 1 song on Billboard’s Hot 100. As expected, the tent became a makeshift sauna and was packed like sardines. Two large inflatable balls sporting the Aussie flag bounced around the crowd.

Gotye’s inviting vocal timbre and sense of musical experimentation draws parallels to prime Peter Gabriel. Those qualities, along with striking percussive touches, a high likeability factor and animated screen projections, all equaled one brilliant set in Indio.

The mysterious “Smoke and Mirrors” (a fan request not played at the first weekend of Coachella), his emotive vocals on a billowy and propulsive “Eyes Wide Open,” the mild rocker “Easy Way Out” and the aforementioned smash “Somebody That I Used to Know” (which fans sang loudly, filling in for absent co-vocalist Kimbra) were among the sharpest selections.

Half an hour later, Beirut drew a large (though not quite as massive) audience at the same spot. Zach Condon and the group weaved indie rock and exotic world music sounds into an intriguing tapestry that encompassed his ukulele and trumpet work alongside horns, accordion and upright bass.

New Mexico resident Condon enthused about spending time in the desert over the past week to do some recording (most likely at Josh Homme’s studio). He often sang in a measured croon à la Morrissey on tracks like “Santa Fe” (off last year’s The Riptide), a mournful take on “The Shrew,” plus “Vagabond,” “Elephant Gun” and “Postcards from Italy.”

Friends have raved to me about U.K. male/female trio Band of Skulls for a couple years now. I finally saw what all the fuss was about when they totally smoked on the Coachella Stage Sunday afternoon. Their Led Zeppelin-influenced blues/rock sound was really hard-hitting for “Death by Diamonds and Pearls” as well as the chunky riffage throughout “The Devil Takes Care of His Own.”

Real Estate, a Pitchfork-approved New Jersey band in regular rotation on college radio, were extremely low-key in the Gobi tent. Still, the atmospheric keyboards and electric guitar tones on songs from their most recent album Days were mostly irresistible, coming across like a satisfactory mix of Ocean Blue and Cocteau Twins.

Out in the Gobi tent, Fanfarlo front man Simon Balthazar had a pink plastic flamingo with him onstage. Much like a pond you’d typically see housing those birds, the London-based indie pop band’s music often has a tranquil quality.

That vibe translated well during their charming early afternoon set. Sporting a pink triangle shirt, he played sax, electric guitar, dueled with a trumpeter (“Walls Are Coming Down”); Cathy Lewis switched back and forth from violin to flowery keyboards and added heavenly backing vocals. It all was very Belle and Sebastian at times.

Balthazar’s Bryan Ferry-esque pipes on selections from the new effort “Rooms Filled with Light” – especially “Lenslife” – got a good response from the moderate, relaxed crowd.

Next up on the same stage was Parisian electronic rock duo Housse de Racket, which brought to mind fellow countrymen Phoenix, albeit with a denser sonic scope. Singer/guitarist Victor Le Masue and drummer Pierre Lerouxt (both wearing matching white attire) even sang a couple songs in French. “Human Nature” and “Chateau” came across best.

Coachella Festival 2012 review coverage: April 21

photo by Robert Kinsler
My review originally appeared at

I'm back for a second action-packed day of music. The polo field was definitely more sparse once gates opened, likely due to festivalgoers partying early into this morning.

Since it’s Record Store Day, fellow OC Register freelancer Robert Kinsler and I immediately made a beeline over to the Zia store, where plenty of exclusive vinyl and CD releases were there for the taking. We did our part to support local music and picked up a few items.

Ambling over to the Outdoor Theatre stage, we caught OC’s own Suedehead, who had the unenviable task of trying to drum up attention before a small crowd. As the high energy set progressed, it wasn’t long before the size tripled to nearly 100 people.

Front man Davey Warsop (pictured above) definitely knows how to get a crowd excited. He got some call and response action going, even as everyone baked in the sun. The band’s take on Northern British soul and The Jam-styled dynamics worked well in these environs, especially upbeat opener “Can’t Stop,” rousing character studies “Trevor,” and “Small Town Hero,” plus the harmony-filled, totally appropriate “Long Hot Summer.”

The Vaccines sure draw a colorful, spirited crowd. In the Gobi tent, they waved flags and cheered at the opening notes of several songs. I saw one brave person sport a stuffed fur animal head (surely to be put to good use later this evening during Kaskade or David Guetta‘s DJ sets). Someone else held up a homemade sign featuring Clint Eastwood's face, for whatever reason.

Taking the stage to the Ramones' “Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio,” the London quartet’s short, often punkified pop tunes were just as simple and catchy as that once revered band. “Eleanor” mined Jesus and Mary Chain territory (minus the feedback). Standouts included selections from last year’s winsome What Did You Expect From the Vaccines album: the beach-themed “Teenage Icon,” and “Wet Suit,” not to mention a chiming guitar-led “Post Breakup Sex.

When it comes to performing at festivals, Ricky Wilson has a mischievous streak and a penchant for danger. The last time the Kaiser Chiefs leader played here a few years ago, it was on the Outdoor Theatre stage and he decided to scale the side of it.

Late Saturday afternoon on the Coachella Stage, the British pop/rock band’s engaging set saw the singer embark on another climbing excursion, by taking a trip out to the beer garden in search of a cold brew, then mixing it up with fans.

As for the music, their amped-up takes on ’90s Britpop and ’80s New Wave contained a healthy dose of English irreverence. Wilson told the crowd, “It’s the second week at Coachella and everything feels fresh.” Another time he boasted “here’s another treat” and “make the most of us.”

Taking the stage to Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing,” Kaiser Chiefs opened with the hyper-kinetic “Na Na Na Na Naa,” among several selections off their 2005 debut disc Employment

Equally spastic were “Oh My God” and the minor U.S. modern rock radio hits “I Predict a Riot” and “Ruby,” and Wilson often pogoed right along with the audience. The insistent pace of “On the Run” and the almost Devo-esque “Kinda Girl You Are,” off this year’s great Start the Revolution Without Me were also standouts.

photo by Kelly Swift
Since I missed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (pictured, left) over the holidays and was always a big Oasis fan, I had high expectations for the Mancunian singer/guitarist’s set here, and I wasn’t disappointed.

While it’s true that he basically just gets down to business live, the frequently majestic tunes more than make up for any perceived shortcomings in stage presence.

Then again, younger brother Liam always just stood at the microphone during Oasis gigs. By the way, astute listeners might have heard the elder Gallagher’s upcoming experimental project, Amorphous Androgynous, piped over the sound system before his elder brother began.

On the main stage, Gallagher’s tasty baker’s-dozen tunes launched with an acoustic-based version of Oasis’ “It’s Good to Be Free” and also included his old group’s “Talk Tonight,” “Little by Little,” “Mucky Fingers” (thunderous, with forceful vocals and pounding piano work), “Half the World Away” (a breezy gem) and the soaring closer “Don’t Look Back in Anger.”

People who were previously paying scant attention suddenly perked up once they noticed one of Oasis’ biggest stateside hits. Gallagher rounded those out with songs from the High Flying Birds that also fared well, notably the psychedelic “Everybody’s on the Run,” the ominous “AKA…What a Life!” with rollicking piano, and “If I Had a Gun.”

As the evening got crazier, I headed over to the packed Mojave tent to catch Kasabian. The British dance-rockers’ brash music has an exultant quality that makes you feel like you can take on the world. That vibe is multiplied in a live setting.

Before their set, roadies tossed hundreds of large, personally emblazoned glow sticks to those in front, making the atmosphere more charged after the lights dimmed. Starting with a brawny new “Days Are Forgotten,” the band also performed the silly yet powerful title track from last year’s Velociraptor!, plus the album’s electrifying “Re-Wired” and sinister undertow of “Fire.” Singer Tom Meighan worked the crowd into a frenzy throughout and the musicians took everything to a higher level during “Club Foot.”

Coachella Festival 2012 review coverage: April 20

photo by Kelly Swift
My review originally appeared at

It’s great to be back for my 11th go-round at the Coachella Festival — especially after being wowed by a lot of last weekend’s festivities online.

The Gobi tent was my first stop of the afternoon, where LA-via-Chino alt-rock band Abe Vigoda drew a decent sized crowd. The low-key quartet did several recent songs that utilized a synth and recalled Bloc Party, but with far more dramatic vocals. It was a major improvement from their noisy mid-2000s No Age punk days.

Over at the Mojave tent, there was a party going on, despite the sweltering heat. Oakland band Wallpaper had a big audience waving their hands in the air and singing the Cobra Starship-leaning tunes with abandon. One young gal wearing hot pink shorts enthusiastically blew on a whistle. But a muddy bass mix and rhythms from three drummers made it a little overwhelming at times. Charismatic frontman Ricky Reed was definitely excited to be onstage during “T Rex” and “Two Pair of Shades.”

While heading over to Mojave to check out honeyhoney, I was enticed by the ebullient sound of Wolf Gang. The energetic British rock band led by Max McElligott went down a storm, especially during infectious, danceable songs like “The King and All His Men,” and “Lions in Cages,” from its 2011 album Suego Faults. Definitely want to see them again.

I first became aware of honeyhoney after seeing them serve as an opening act at the Coach House. The L.A.-based duo mixes alt-country, a bit of blues and plenty of attitude in Suzanne Santos’ vocals. Her violin work and musical partner/electric guitarist Ben Jaffe were equally impressive here. The packed crowd howled “Glad I’ve Done What What I Did,” the haunting “Thin Line,” and tender love ballad “Don’t Know How,” from last year’s solid debut, Billy Jack.

The Outdoor Theatre stage was awash in the indie rock, emo-ish strains of New England’s The Dear Hunter. Burly bearded singer Casey Crescenzo mentioned today was 4/20 (a marijuana reference), but otherwise let the anguished and mellow music do all the talking.

Best T-shirt spotted today: One that read, “bomb the music industry,” with a blood design splattered all over it; soon after, I saw a long-haired hippy-looking dude do cartwheels on the grass.

Watching Pulp's main stage evening set (and especially the previous night at the Fox Pomona) was almost like being in college again. Lanky, bespectacled leader Jarvis Cocker - pictured above - has the air of a professor. His lyrics could easily be sociology lecture topics (human sexuality, voyeurism). Still spry as ever and frequently all over the stage, the singer even provided “this day in history” info.

During the ’90s, the sophisticated, critically acclaimed band never managed to get the attention or album sales that fellow Britpop acts such as Blur and especially Oasis (whose Noel Gallagher performs today) enjoyed here in America. But after a tremendous second set at Coachella, I’m sure a lot more people will suddenly be curious about them.

Out in the field past the soundboard, I saw a group of young giddy French guys singing along to the Pulp songs at the top of their lungs. Opening with a buoyant “Do You Remember the First Time?,” the set list was tweaked slightly from Coachella Weekend 1. There were problems with the screens on each side of the stage; only one ended up being utilized. Yet the visual effects and green lasers during “Sorted for E’s and Wizz” were dazzling.

Like so many other acts throughout the day, Cocker mentioned the drug reference date 4/20: “You thought this was dry ice,” he said of the mist flowing from the stage. “You were wrong, so wrong.” “Disco 2000″ was pure high energy, and during the haunting orchestration of “I Spy,” the vocalist ventured into the crowd and used a mini camera to show close-ups of his face.

Other standouts included the lurching seediness of “This Is Hardcore” (capped with heavy breathing) and the expected closer “Common People,” where onetime Pulp member Antony Genn, now of the Hours, turned up to guest. Let’s hope the rumors of a new studio album come to fruition.

Earlier, after spending much of Friday afternoon in the various tents (where the sound mixes were often atrocious), I got my first glimpse of Coachella stage action with James. The veteran U.K. band makes stirring alt-pop music that fit its time slot and location perfectly.

I’m willing to bet trumpeter/backing vocalist Andy Diagram was the only male performer wearing a dress. Lead singer Tim Booth said they made a point to change their set list from last week, which was partially true.

Opening with a frantic “White Boy,” they also did the mesmerizing “Out to Get You,” during which Larry Gott’s slide work on a resonator guitar wafted over the crowd, Mark Hunter played melodica, and Saul Davies fiddled with abandon. Booth immersed himself into the music, shook his body all around and used his trademark megaphone a couple times. Finally, James’ U.S. hit “Laid” was given a welcome new spacey keyboard intro by Hunter and mariachi horn flourishes from Diagram.

Back out in the tents, Dawes provided one of the day’s other highlights. The Goldsmith brothers (Taylor on lead vocal/guitar and Griffin on drums/vocals), along with keyboardist Tay Strathairn, conjured heavenly harmonies and easygoing classic-rock style that often recalls the ’70s heyday of CS&N as well as the Band, which Dawes covered here in tribute to Levon Helm. (Taylor has even added his pipes to Robbie Robertson’s latest album, How to Become Clairvoyant).

Launching with the Griffin-sung “How Far I’ve Come,” the packed crowd loved every minute of the group’s performance. An organ-sweetened “Time Spent in Los Angeles” boasted a rustic charm; at one point, Taylor played electric guitar like a man possessed, sliding across the stage as he soloed. “A Little Bit of Everything,” in which Taylor sings about different people in frustrating points of their lives, was truly poignant. All told, Dawes was completely captivating.

Also, I didn’t want to tear myself away from the Black Keys on the main stage, who sounded much better than their previous appearance here — maybe it was the soulful vocals on selections from last year’s El Camino — but venturing out to the tents, I saw some of M83, who drew an overflow capacity crowd at the Mojave tent and could easily have played on one of the outdoor spots.

Susanna Hoffs summer solo album on tap

photo by Rebecca Wilson
Susanna Hoffs - singer/songwriter/musician and founding member of the Bangles - returns with a new solo album, Someday, on July 17.

Produced and orchestrated by Mitchell Froom, it’s an intensely personal song cycle that doubles as a musical love letter to the music of the 1960s, which “has always been my reference point for everything,” says Hoffs. The self-released work will be distributed by Welk Music Group.

Los Angeles fans will get a preview of Someday when Hoffs plays a solo show at McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on April 28. The set will include new songs, along with Bangles hits and some of her favorite covers.

“This album was inspired by my yearning to sing songs that were as melodic and emotional as my favorite music of the 1960s,” Hoffs says. “We recorded ten original songs, eight of which I wrote in a flurry over a period of a few months with Andrew Brassell. He’s a 27-year-old musician from Nashville, who’s been on the indie club scene there since he was a teenager. So the project started with me, this talented boy from Nashville, two guitars and a reverb pedal.”

The tracks include the summery groove of “This Is the Place,” the evocative “November Sun” and the lilting “Picture Me,” with its Bacharach-style sophistication, lush retro arrangements and modern state-of-the-art production enclose Hoffs’ one-of-a-kind voice in an aural tapestry of velvet and lace.
Someday also features updates of two older songs. One of them is “Raining,” which she wrote with Mike Campbell of the Heartbreakers back in 1989. “I rediscovered an old cassette of it in a box, and Brassell and I did a rewrite of it to bring it up to date,” she says. “And then there was ‘November Sun,’ a song I’d been carrying in my pocket since 1998. The melody was so natural to sing, and it had a baroque folk/pop style that ended up becoming the template for the rest of the album.”

Froom (known for producing Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Paul McCartney, Suzanne Vega, Crowded House) first met Hoffs when he played the signature keyboard riff on the Bangles’ “Manic Monday” in 1986.
After hearing Hoffs perform the new songs on acoustic guitar at his home studio, Froom enthusiastically signed on to produce Someday. In addition to his behind the scenes magic, Froom played keyboards throughout the recording.
Additional musicians include Elvis Costello’s Imposters rhythm section - drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher - who played on the album’s initial sessions in 2011, with Val McCallum and Brassell playing guitar. A few of the songs were tracked with Michael Urbano on drums and Bob Glaub on bass.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MuteMath on Honda Civic Tour 2012

MuteMath will hit the road with Linkin Park and Incubus for this year's Honda Civic Tour. The tour kicks off in August (see below).

The New Orleans band also head to Australia for a headlining run this May in support of their current album Odd Soul. They recently released a new single from Odd Soul, "Allies," as well as an accompanying video which features footage from their last headlining tour.
Tour dates:

4/20 Nashville, TN @ Vanderbilt
4/21 Houston, TX @ Woodland Pavilion Buzzfest
5/5   Bendigo, VIC (AUS) @ Groovin the Moo
5/6   Townsville, QLD (AUS) @ Groovin the Moo
5/10 Brisbane (AUS) @ Zoo
5/12 Maitland, NSW (AUS) @ Groovin the Moo
5/13 Canberra, ACT (AUS) @ Groovin the Moo
5/15 Melbourne (AUS) @ Corner Hotel
5/16 Sydney (AUS) @ Hifi
5/17 Melbourne (AUS) @ Corner Hotel
5/19 Bunbury, WA (AUS) @ Groovin the Moo
5/20 Perth (AUS) @ Amplifier
5/26 Little Rock, AR @ Riverfest
6/23 St. Paul, MN @ River's Edge Music Festival
6/24 St. Paul, MN @ River's Edge Music Festival

Honda Civic Tour:
8/11 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live  8/12 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena  8/14 Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
8/17 Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
8/19 Atlanta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/21 Detroit, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
8/22 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
8/24 Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre  8/25 Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
8/27 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
8/28 Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
8/30 Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
9/4 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
9/5 Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome
9/7 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/10 San Diego, CA @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Millencolin rarities collection due

Swedish punk outfit, Millencolin celebrate twenty years with the release of The Melancholy Connection on May 29.

This assemblage of B-sides, a follow up to 1999's The Melancholy Collection, features two new songs and twelve rarities spanning from their album  Pennybridge Pioneers through today.

The CD is paired with a 90-minute DVD that takes fans inside the making of Pennybridge Pioneers with never before seen archival footage, interviews with the band and live performances. Fans can preview a trailer for the CD/DVD budle by going here: 

“We've released a lot of songs since Pennybridge Pioneers that were not released on our previous albums, so we thought it was about time to put them all on one,” says band member Erik Ohlsson.

“We recorded a bunch of new songs in our own studio where we also recorded our previous album Machine 15 from 2008, and picked two of them for this release. We’re really excited about the new stuff we recorded! We're taking it back to our roots and mixing it with the new sound we've developed over the last years.”

With nearly two million records sold worldwide, the Örebro based quartet of vocalist/bassist Nikola Sarcevic, guitarists Erik Ohlsson and Mathias Färm and drummer Fredrik Larzon have put together a collection of material that allows fans get an inside look at the past twenty years which have brought Millencolin to where they are today.

“We had a lot of footage archived from the Pennybridge Pioneers recording that we shot ourselves,” says Ohlsson.  "No one has ever seen any of that footage and since we have new live footage from the 10th anniversary tour of the album, now would be a perfect opportunity to make somthing out of it."

Record Store Day exclusives: Buck Owens, The Knack

I was lucky enough to receive one of the Owens packages and can attest it is very cool-looking (haven't opened it yet though) - especially for country music fans.

Omnivore Recordings will have two exclusive releases for Record Store Day on April 21.

The LA-based record label will issue an original, limited edition, vintage 1970 Buck Owens coloring book coupled with a four-song flexi-disc, and digital download card, of rare live material from the legendary country music Hall of Famer and pioneer of the Bakersfield Sound.

Alongside that unique collection, the label will also issue a 10" authorized bootleg EP from 1978 featuring L.A.’s pre-fame, power pop group The Knack. Both Buck Owens and The Knack are vinyl only, limited edition releases exclusively for Record Store Day and available only at participating retailers.

Commissioned by Buck Owens in 1970, these original, uncirculated vintage coloring books have been safely stored by Buck Owens Enterprises for over 40 years! Original copies are sought-after by collectors and they are now officially being made available to the public this spring, for the first time since 1970.

Omnivore Recordings is hand coupling a limited edition of 2,500 original stock coloring books with a newly pressed flexi-disc that includes four rare live tracks. The story told in the coloring book culminates in Buck & The Buckaroos playing a concert with four of Buck’s biggest hits “Act Naturally,” “Together Again,” “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” and “Crying Time” specifically highlighted and named below the double-page spread (and you can color it in). The flexi-disc and digital download card included with this coloring book feature rare live versions of those exact songs, curated from Buck Owens & The Buckaroos historic performance at the White House for President Lyndon Johnson on September 9, 1968.

This collector’s bundle features a red, white or blue flexi-disc (your choice), which is viewable from the outside of the package and contains all four of the above-mentioned songs. The album Live At The White House, from which the tracks are drawn, was recorded in 1968 and issued almost exactly four years later on September 5, 1972 and has never been reissued in any form.

Just in time for this election year, Omnivore Recordings will release Live At The White House in its entirety for the first time on CD. This reissue also features a bonus, previously unissued, set that was recorded specifically for the astronauts of Apollo 16 in 1972.

“We at Buck Owens Productions have enjoyed working with a record label that thinks outside the box set!” said Jim Shaw, longtime keyboardist for the Buckaroos, and executive of Buck Owens Productions. “Omnivore constantly surprises and delights us with their creative ideas.”


Culled from The Knack’s late-frontman Doug Fieger's personal tape archive, Live In Los Angeles, 1978 captures The Knack at their pre-fame height, right before they would sign to Capitol and hit the big time.

An authorized bootleg, this EP is being presented for the very first time as an historical document to the band and Los Angeles’ late-’70s musical era. The Knack Live in Los Angeles, 1978 is limited to an edition total of only 1,500 10" records on red/yellow splatter-colored vinyl.

Side one of the 10" features two audience-recorded live songs that capture the spirit and atmosphere in The Troubadour the night they were recorded in 1978. Side two features two tracks exclusive to this release, and were recorded at a rehearsal in 1978. “Romeo Eyes,” was never recorded in the studio and appears here for the first time anywhere. All tracks have been restored by legendary Knack producer, Richard Bosworth (KISS, Neil Young, Warren Zevon), and all are previously unreleased.

A: Live in Los Angeles, 1978
1. Let Me Out            2. My Sharona

B: Anawalt Rehearsal, 1978
1. Romeo Eyes         2. Art War

“The Knack has the most ardent and loyal fans in the world,” said sister, and successor of Fieger’s estate, Beth Falkenstein. “This release is the best way to thank them for keeping my brother's legacy alive. And to have some of Doug's personal friends at Omnivore at the helm of this project makes it all the more moving.”

In May, Omnivore Recordings will release a full 14-track CD set by The Knack titled Havin' A Rave-Up: Live in Los Angeles, 1978.

For more information and to find your local shop and availability, please visit and

Monday, April 16, 2012

English Beat reissues coming this summer

I can't wait to hear these English Beat reissues. Read on for details...

Shout! Factory has announced a reissue campaign of The English Beat catalog, beginning with a July 10 release of a new single-disc compilation titled Keep The Beat: The Very Best Of The English Beat  and a new box set titled The English Beat: The Complete Beat.

 The five-CD box set features all three studio albums with bonus tracks, remastered from the original tapes; two discs of bonus material - most of which is previously unreleased on CD - three sessions recorded with the legendary John Peel for his show on BBC Radio 1, tracks from a live show recorded at Boston’s Opera House, and 12” and dub versions of some of the band’s biggest singles; also, there's  a booklet with rare photos and an essay by music scholar Alex Ogg. Both releases have been produced in collaboration with the band.

Those buying the box set on Shout! Factory’s website will also receive a bonus – the first ever release of The English Beat: Live At The US Festival, in a 2-disc CD/DVD set, part of Shout! Factory’s new line of US Festival releases. Pre-order at just premiered 2 tracks from Keep The Beat, which are available to stream now

Ogg writes in The Complete Beat essay:

“While The Beat’s original lineup played together for four short years, their brief but memorable existence yielded three increasingly experimental albums that continue to reward repeat visits, five of the finest hit singles of the era and, often forgotten in the ledgers of great bands, hundreds of intoxicating live shows. They were a core part of the still-influential 2Tone movement, but beyond that, they were intrinsically a wonderfully gifted songwriting unit, drawing on a serendipitously assembled cast of contributors who found themselves able, through either skill or simple instinct, to fluently combine reggae and pop traditions without compromising either. This box set incorporates practically their entire recorded output, and the absolute dearth of chaff is a small and lovely miracle.”

The Dave Wakeling-led version of English Beat are currently on tour and appeared at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony over the weekend, performing their hits “Save It For Later,” “Mirror In The Bathroom,” “Tears Of A Clown” and “Tenderness.”

Apr 16 Wooly’s Des Moines , IA
Apr 17 The Waiting Room Omaha , NE
Apr 19 ACM @ UCO Rocks Bricktown Oklahoma City , OK
Apr 21 Blueberry Hill St. Louis, MO
Apr 22 Skully’s Columbus , OH
Apr 25 Count Basie Theatre* Red Bank, NJ
Apr 26 Carnegie Hall of Homestead * Munhall , PA
Apr 27 Rams Head Tavern* Baltimore , MD
Apr 28 Roseland Ballroom* New York , NY
May 04 Saint Rocke Hermosa Beach , CA
May 05 Mozambique Restaurant Laguna Beach , CA
May 10 Dixon May Fair Dixon , CA
May 11 The Canyon Club Agoura Hills , CA
May 18 Avalon Ballroom Santa Clara , CA
May 26 Downtown LV Outdoor Festival Las Vegas , NV
May 27 The Bunkhouse Las Vegas , NV
May 31 The Canyon Club Agoura Hills , CA
Jun 01 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach , CA
Jun 02 Fiesta Del Sol Solana Beach, CA
Jun 22 Motorcity Casino Hotel Detroit , MI
Jul 04 Palisades Charter High School Pacific Palisades , CA
Jul 20 Stephen Talkhouse Amagansett, NY
Jul 27 Monte De Oro Winery Temecula , CA
Jul 29 The Hangar @ Orange County Fair Costa Mesa , CA
*w/ Squeeze 

Keep The Beat: The Very Best Of The English Beat Track Listing
1. Mirror In The Bathroom
2. Doors Of Your Heart
3. Save It For Later
4. Twist & Crawl
5. The Tears Of A Clown
6. Best Friend
7. I Confess
8. Ranking Full Stop
9. Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret
10. Get-A-Job
11. Jeanette
12. Too Nice To Talk To
13. Can’t Get Used To Losing You
14. Sole Salvation
15. Hands Off . . . She’s Mine
16. End Of The Party

For more information, visit

PiL reunion album news

Public Image Limited has confirmed their first studio album in 20 years - This is PiL - will be released on May 28.

It will be released on PiL’s own label, PiL Official, via Cargo UK Distribution. The new material was recorded in the UK last year.


A 4-track EP entitled "One Drop" will be issued for Record Store Day on April 21.

The EP is comprised of the songs "One Drop,” “I Must Be Dreaming,” “The Room I Am In” and “Lollipop Opera,” also be available on the album.

Says John Lydon, "'One Drop' is about my early youth in Finsbury Park. Fantastic! Hello, we’re all teenagers don’t you forget it! At any age, stay young. "Lollipop Opera" is basically a beautiful bunch of background noise and music to sum up Britain and all its wonderful ambidextrousness! "The Room I Am In" well that’s about drugs and council flats. And there’s a tragedy that still continues. "I Must Be Dreaming" well, you know, I must be to put up with these governments.”

Following their live performance at BBC Radio 6 Birthday Celebrations at Queen Elizabeth Hall last month, PiL also played two special shows at London’s Heaven showcasing more new tracks. The track “One Drop” has received airplay from BBC Radio 6, XFM and Absolute Radio.

Widely regarded as one of the most innovative and influential bands of all time, PiL's music and vision earned them 5 UK Top 20 Singles and 5 UK Top 20 Albums. With a shifting line-up and unique sound, John Lydon guided the band from their debut album First Issue in 1978 through 1992's That What Is Not, before a 17-year hiatus. John then resurrected PiL in 2009 playing live worldwide. Now after 20 years, yet another new and unique chapter is set to unfold in the shape of new PiL material.

Public Image Ltd. live line up/wrote and recorded the new material...

John Lydon: After fronting the Sex Pistols, John Lydon formed PiL in 1978. Outside of PiL, John has released several solo records and collaborations. He also brings quality TV to the masses.

Lu Edmonds: Multi-instrumentalist and former guitarist in The Damned Lu joined PiL in 1986 recording and playing on the album "Happy?" and co-writing the album "9" adding yet another dimension to the PiL sound.

Bruce Smith: Former drummer in The Pop Group and The Slits became percussionist for PiL also in 1986 playing and recording on the albums "Happy?" and "9." Seen as a drumming virtuoso, Bruce Smith brought his unique style into the fold.

Scott Firth: A bass player/multi-instrumentalist that has collaborated and played with a variety of top musicians and bands including Steve Winwood, John Martyn, and Elvis Costello. 

Album track listing

1. This Is PiL
2. One Drop
3. Deeper Water
4. Terra-Gate
5. Human
6. I Must Be Dreaming
7. It Said That
8. The Room I Am In
9. Lollipop Opera
10. Fool
11. Reggie Song
12. Out Of The Woods 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Concert review: James enthralls Los Angeles before Coachella

Nowadays, it’s common for a band to vanish at some point in a concert and reappear elsewhere in the venue to do an acoustic segment.

James turned that tradition on its head during a captivating gig at LA’s El Rey Theatre on Thursday – a precursor to Coachella Festival appearances yesterday and April 20.

As the lights went dark, lead singer Tim Booth (pictured left), trumpeter/backing vocalist Andy Diagram and guitarist Larry Gott emerged from behind the soundboard to start the rapturous “Lose Control.” Then the three musicians casually strolled onstage.

Nearly two decades ago, the Manchester, U.K. alt-pop group enjoyed its biggest Stateside success with the album “Laid” and the title track. That stirring hit single was dispatched early in the 90-minute set as the crowd went wild. Surprisingly, nothing from 2010’s solid “The Morning After the Day Before” was played.  

Booth shook himself into a frenzy during the compelling “Oh My Heart,” while the bright and punchy “Waterfall” (off excellent 2008 comeback effort “Hey Ma”) was among several show highlights.

Others included the spiritual, uplifting “Seven” and “Say Something” - where Booth climbed atop a railing adjacent to the floor area and was propped up by fans as he made his way to the back of the El Rey - “Born of Frustration” and a mesmerizing “Waltzing Along,” assisted by most of the band on backing vocals.

Noticing a child up front without anything to protect her hearing, the alert front man asked why she didn’t have “ear defenders.”

The septet elevated the transcendental dance qualities of “Play Dead” and drummer David Baynton-Power provided martial beats (along with multi-instrumentalist Saul Davies) on the dramatic '80s-era tune “Medieval.”

Come encore time, a rapturous “Out to Get You” made expert use of space and had an extended violin ending by Davies. Finally, both “Sometimes” and “Tomorrow” were shimmering pop gems as always.  

Photos by Ida Miller