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Friday, August 18, 2017

The Who's 'Tommy – Live At The Royal Albert Hall' out this fall

On Oct. 13, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release Tommy – Live At The Royal Albert Hall by The Who on DVD, Blu-ray, 2CD and 3LP. This concert film captures a live performance by The Who of Tommy in its entirety and boasts over two hours and twenty minutes of content. The show includes plenty of all-time classics.

In April 2017, The Who took to the stage at London’s Royal Albert Hall to do a rare performance of their rock opera Tommy live in its entirety. Previous Who live shows had always dropped two, three or four tracks from the album, but for this show, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, the band would perform every track.


With specially created animations on a huge screen above the stage and creative use of lighting, the concert told the story of the “deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure played a mean pinball.” In addition, at the end of Tommy, the sell-out crowd was treated to a short set of Who favorites.

Bonus features include a behind-the-scenes featurette, plus full screen animations of both “The Acid Queen” and “Pinball Wizard” with the live performance audio.

Track Listing:


1) Introduction
2) Overture
3) It’s A Boy
4) 1921
5) Amazing Journey
6) Sparks
7) Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
8) Christmas
9) Cousin Kevin
10) The Acid Queen
11) Do You Think It’s Alright?
12) Fiddle About
13) Pinball Wizard
14) There’s A Doctor
15) Go To The Mirror!
16) Tommy Can You Hear Me?
17) Smash The Mirror
18) Underture
19) I’m Free
20) Miracle Cure
21) Sensation
22) Sally Simpson
23) Welcome
24) Tommy’s Holiday Camp
25) We’re Not Gonna Take It
26) I Can’t Explain
27) Join Together
28) I Can See For Miles
29) Who Are You
30) Love, Reign O’er Me
31) Baba O’Reilly
32) Won’t Get Fooled Again


Pre-order links:

CD: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-Live-Royal-Albert-Hall/dp/B0746XTX18
Blu-ray: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-Live-Royal-Albert-Blu-ray/dp/B07472V1D9
DVD: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-Live-Royal-Albert-Hall/dp/B07477ZM3B
Vinyl: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-Live-Royal-Albert-Hall/dp/B07472TY5L

Available digitally today: Brandy Clark live

Critically-acclaimed country recording artist Brandy Clark played Los Angeles’ renowned Hotel Café last year and later that summer, she had a successful second album, Big Day In A Small Town, which garnered her two Grammy nominations.

Now, Clark is releasing that Hotel Café performance for her first ever concert album, Live From Los Angeles, which Lewis calls “smart to the core.” Live From Los Angeles is available now at digital retailers.

Clark released an exclusive limited-run of Live From Los Angeles vinyl albums in April in honor of Record Store Day and earlier this summer, released an outtake from her Big Day In A Small Town sessions; instant crowd-favorite “You’re Drunk.”

Clark has established herself as one of country music’s greatest storytellers. 2016 marked several successful acoustic tours and the release of Big Day in a Small Town, which was produced by Jay Joyce.


Big Day in a Small Town followed Clark's critically acclaimed debut album, 12 Stories.

In stores today: Everything Everything

British alt-rock band Everything Everything release their fourth studio album, A Fever Dream today. Produced by James Ford (Florence + The Machine, Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode), it features “Can’t Do” (watch the video HERE) and their most recent single, “Desire.” Check out that clip HERE. A Fever Dream is the follow up to Everything Everything’s critically acclaimed 2015 album, Get To Heaven.

Guitarist Alex Robertshaw says, “Our records have been many styles rubbing up against each other, and for the first time I wanted to make a record that was cohesive sonically.”

Midway through touring with Get To Heaven, Robertshaw found himself listening increasingly to the kind of electronic music he had loved as a teenager — early Warp Records releases, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Boards of Canada, relishing “the atmosphere and the attitude” of them. “I wanted to go back to that thing that first made me excited about music,” he says. “We’ve spent a lot of time going into that R’n’B and hip hop world — for an indie band it was a bit of an untouchable thing, and it was really fun to do and I think we captured it at its best with Kemosabe and Arc. But once you start doing that you kind of separate yourself.”

In talking about the new album’s sound, singer Jonathan Higgs explains “It’s kind of a mixture of the sounds of our adolescence I suppose - the electronic stuff mixed with American heavy bands of the early-mid 90s. As a result, there’s also a lot of adolescent riffy guitar-playing on the album. Guitar music is really where we came from, all of us. Then we grew up a bit and it went out of fashion, but really that’s what excites us hugely. And because we always had a plan on not being like that early on it feels really good to do it now.”

While bassist Jeremy Pritchard and drummer Michael Spearman joined later in the studio under the watchful eye of producer James Ford, the album began with Higgs and Robertshaw, Everything Everything’s principal songwriters. This has been their most collaborative record to date, seeing the pair working together on every track, with Higgs’s more dramatic pop sensibilities tempered by what he simply describes as Robertshaw’s “cool”.

In many ways A Fever Dream is the logical thematic successor to Get To Heaven’s exploration of rolling news culture — a portrait of a world grown relentless and unfathomable, whatever your nationality or political persuasion.


“I really didn’t want to be too explicit about world events,” Higgs says. “Everyone’s pretty aware of what is going on. But I wanted to make a record about how this has all affected us, not just me and you, but everyone around us. I think people come to us for a sense of recognition. They want to hear someone else say what they’re feeling. And that’s what I’ve always gone to music for, and I hope that’s what we put out - the ‘Do you feel like me?’ message, rather than anything more concrete. It doesn’t interest me to be preachy, it just turns everybody off, including me.”

One track, “Ivory Tower,” is a particularly striking reflection of the times — a spewing-forth of what Robertshaw politely terms “a lot of hugely unacceptable language” in a portrait of an increasingly faceless and impersonal world. “’Ivory Tower’ deals with very extreme stuff,” says Higgs. “It’s a reaction to the nasty side of everything we’ve had lately, like all the stuff on immigration. But I’m not looking at it objectively I’m going right in there and saying lots of awful things that everyone’s saying at each other - so I’m having a go at the liberal elite and I’m having a go at the small-minded racists, all this stuff at the same time. And it’s just this rage, this really fast, violent song. And it’s a way to get all that horrible shit out of us. And when you hear it on the record it does just sound like someone kicking down your door. But I’m not setting out my stall — it’s a photograph of now, a snapshot of how it feels to be alive at the moment.”

Expanding on A Fever Dream, Higgs says: “You shouldn’t be sitting down the first time you hear it.”


Currently in the midst of a sold out UK tour, Everything Everything recently announced a run of North American tour dates, kicking off in October. Tickets are on sale now via www.everything-everything.co.uk

Tour Dates:

10/09 – Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco, CA - TICKETS
10/11 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA - TICKETS
10/13 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY - TICKETS
10/14 – Black Cat – Washington, D.C - TICKETS
10/15 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA - TICKETS

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Lee Ann Womack news

Lee Ann Womack will make her debut for ATO Records on Oct. 27 with the release of 'The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone,' an album that mixes the country, soul, gospel and blues of her native East Texas.

Produced by Womack's husband and fellow Texan Frank Liddell (fresh off a 2017 ACM Album of the Year win for Miranda Lambert's 'The Weight of These Wings'), it features songs mostly co-written by Womack.

Listen to new song "All The Trouble," co-written by Womack and her band mates Adam Wright and Waylon Payne here: http://n.pr/2uKTgdy

'The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone' features fourteen new songs, recorded with Womack's core band including bassist Glenn Worf, songwriters and guitarists Wright, Payne and Ethan Ballinger, and drummer Jerry Roe. The album was mostly recorded at the legendary SugarHill Studios in Houston, TX.


Formerly known as Gold Star and open since 1941, SugarHill is one of the oldest continuously run studios in the country and home to seminal early recordings by many artists who had a formative influence on Womack, including George Jones, Willie Nelson and Lightnin' Hopkins. Among the album's three cover songs, Womack recorded a haunting version of George Jones' "Take the Devil Out of Me" standing on the same gold star linoleum floor where he cut the 1959 original.

"I wanted to get out of Nashville, and tap the deep music and vibe of East Texas," says Womack. "I wanted to make sure this record had a lot of soul in it, because real country music has soul. I wanted to remind people of that."

'The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone' follows Womack's acclaimed 2014 album 'The Way I'm Livin'.' 


Track Listing:

1. All The Trouble
2. The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone
3. He Called Me Baby
4. Hollywood
5. End of the End of the World
6. Bottom of the Barrel
7. Shine On Rainy Day
8. Mama Lost Her Smile
9. Wicked
10. Long Black Veil
11. Someone Else's Heartache
12. Sunday
13. Talking Behind Your Back
14. Take The Devil Out Of Me

Tour Dates:

Aug. 25 - Ford Center - Evansville, IN*
Aug. 26 - State Farm Center - Champaign, IL*
Aug. 27 - Plaza Theatre - Glasgow, KY
Sept. 8 - The Family Arena - St. Charles, MO*
Sept. 9 - U.S. Cellular Center - Cedar Rapids, IA
Sept. 10 - St. Croix Casino - Turtle Lake, WI
Sept. 14 - AmericanaFest - Nashville, TN
Sept. 22 - Charleston Civic Center - Charleston, WV*
Sept. 23 - Erie Insurance Center - Erie, PA*
Sept. 28 - Trans-Pecos Festival - Marfa, TX
Oct. 7 - Museum of Appalachia - Clinton, TN
Oct. 20 - Music In The Mill - Hickory, NC
Oct. 27 - Resch Center - Green Bay, WI
Oct. 28 - Target Center - Minneapolis, MN*
Oct. 29 - Bridge View Center - Ottumwa, IA
Nov. 3 - Lafayette Cajundome - Lafayette, LA*
Nov. 4 - Bell County Expo - Belton, TX*
Jan. 5 - The MusicFest at Steamboat - Steamboat, CO
Jan. 23 - Kent State Universtiy at Tuscarawas - New Philadelphia, PA
Feb. 4 - Cayamo Cruise - New Orleans, LA
Feb. 16 - Arizona Musicfest - Scottsdale, AZ
* denotes show w/Alan Jackson

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Upcoming Steve Miller compilations include rarities

Steve Miller has produced and overseen two new, career-spanning Steve Miller Band Ultimate Hits collections, to be released Sept. 15 by Capitol/UMe.

Ultimate Hits is available now for preorder in a 1CD and digital edition featuring 22 essential Steve Miller Band tracks, including three previously unreleased rarities, and in an expanded 2CD and digital deluxe edition with 40 tracks, including the acclaimed band’s top hits, live tracks, and eight previously unreleased recordings from the studio and the stage. On Oct. 27, both editions will be released on 180-gram vinyl in 2LP and 4LP deluxe packages, which are also available now for preorder.

Both Ultimate Hits editions feature Steve Miller Band’s biggest worldwide chart-toppers. The 1CD and digital edition adds two previously unreleased live recordings, “Living In The USA” and “Space Cowboy,” as well as a never-before-released Steve Miller solo recording of “Seasons.”


The 2CD and digital deluxe edition also features those rarities, plus five more previously unreleased studio and live recordings, including a demo for “Take The Money And Run.” Ultimate Hits’ stunning cover art was designed and photographed by StormStudios in collaboration with Miller.

Preorder Steve Miller Band Ultimate Hits:
1CD; Digital; 2LP Vinyl - https://ume.lnk.to/SMBUltimateHits
2CD; Digital; 4LP Vinyl (Deluxe Edition) - https://ume.lnk.to/SMBUltimateHitsDeluxe

It was recently announced that Steve Miller has brought his entire catalogue of recorded music to Capitol, where he originally began his recording career in 1967. Miller has opened his vault/warehouse of music, footage, photos, memorabilia, artwork, handwritten notes, journals, and more to Capitol/UMe to include in his upcoming releases. Steve Miller Band’s newUltimate Hits collections, produced by Miller, launch the initiative.

"Selecting material to include in these two collections and revisiting the creation of these recordings I’m reminded of how I learned to make multi-track recordings from Les Paul and play lead guitar from T Bone Walker. I’ve been blessed to work with so many wonderful musicians and engineers and friends over the years. Mostly I want to thank you our fans who come out to our shows and listen to our records. I hope you enjoy this as much I did putting this together for you." -- Steve Miller


Track listing:

STEVE MILLER BAND: ULTIMATE HITS [1CD; Digital; 2LP]

1. Harmony Of The Spheres 2
2. Steve Miller at age five talking to his Godfather Les Paul
3. Take The Money And Run
4. Rock’n Me
5. The Stake
6. Threshold
7. Jet Airliner
8. The Joker
9. Abracadabra
10. Jungle Love
11. Swingtown
12. Dance, Dance, Dance
13. Serenade From The Stars
14. Space Intro
15. Fly Like An Eagle
16. Wild Mountain Honey
17. Living In The USA (Live – Previously Unreleased)
18. Space Cowboy (Live – Previously Unreleased)
19. Seasons (Previously Unreleased)
20. I Want To Make The World Turn Around
21. Winter Time
22. The Window

STEVE MILLER BAND: ULTIMATE HITS (DELUXE EDITION) [2CD, Digital; 4LP]

CD 1

1. Steve Miller at age five talking to his Godfather Les Paul
2. Gangster Of Love (Live – Previously Unreleased)
3. The Joker
4. Baby’s Callin’ Me Home (Previously Unreleased)
5. My Dark Hour
6. Little Girl
7. Living In The USA (Live – Previously Unreleased)
8. Space Cowboy (Live – Previously Unreleased)
9. Seasons (Previously Unreleased)
10. Journey From Eden
11. Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma
12. Going To Mexico
13. Kow Kow Calculator (Live – Previously Unreleased)
14. Come On In My Kitchen (Live)
15. Sugar Babe (Live)
16. The Lovin’ Cup (Live)
17. Dance, Dance, Dance
18. Take The Money And Run
19. Rock’n Me
20. Space Intro
21. Fly Like An Eagle

CD 2

1. Wild Mountain Honey
2. The Window
3. Take The Money And Run (Demo) (Previously Unreleased)
4. In The Midnight Hour (Previously Unreleased)
5. Jungle Love
6. Threshold
7. Jet Airliner
8. The Stake
9. Swingtown
10. Serenade From The Stars
11. True Fine Love
12. Heart Like A Wheel
13. Abracadabra
14. I Want To Make The World Turn Around
15. Italian X Rays
16. Don’t Cha Know
17. Cry Cry Cry
18. Stranger Blues
19. Behind The Barn

Whitney Rose's 'Rule 62' arrives in October

There are many useful rules to live by, but for Whitney Rose, there’s one that stands alone as a guiding principle for life as she knows it: Rule 62.

The origin of the rule is best summed up by the poignant, pronoun-adjusted excerpt from Alcoholics Anonymous’ Tradition Four cited above, a treatise on how to find harmony between ambition and self-awareness, and how to learn one’s lessons with humor and humility.

This truism, officially worded as “Don’t Take Yourself Too Damn Seriously,” is the origin of both the title and ethos of Whitney Rose’s forthcoming album, Rule 62.
 

The album is due out on Oct. 6 via Six Shooter/Thirty Tigers.

Rewind to January 2017. Six months ago, Rose was primed to release South Texas Suite, a countrypolitan valentine to Austin, Texas. Days before the EP hit the streets and Rose kicked off a four-month worldwide tour, the burgeoning songwriting force (and “country hair” disciple) packed her boots for Nashville, where she entered BlackBird Studio A to reconvene with the Mavericks’ Raul Malo.


In one short week, Rose, Malo and co-producer Niko Bolas channeled the tumult, turbulence and tension outside of the studio into Rose’s sophomore worldwide release, which includes nine self-penned songs. 

“Can’t Stop Shakin’” was recorded January 20, 2017. With Malo on harmonies and rhythm guitars, Kenny Vaughn on lead guitar, and saxophones and organ in the mix, “Can’t Stop Shakin’” was originally written as an anti-anxiety treatment in Memphis soul dance party form.

Against an ominous political backdrop, the song now reverberates with an undercurrent of uncertainty and anger that reframes the self-calming shimmy as an act of protest. “’Can't Stop Shakin’ started out as something I would sing to calm myself down.” Rose says. “We recorded that song on Inauguration day and you could physically feel the divide between the public and the unrest in the air. I was in the studio that week every day for twelve hours on average, so realized my contribution was going to have to take place within the walls of Blackbird. So the song that started as a personal anthem got a rewrite that day.”
 

Rule 62’s “breakup” theme can be felt in songs like “Arizona” and “Time to Cry.” 

“For reasons unbeknownst to me at the time, I started writing all these “breakup” songs that were mostly angry. I wasn’t sure where all these feelings were coming from until one day it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was penning these songs to society,” she observes. 

This is Rose’s second release of 2017, and sees the songwriter’s increased output matched by increased distinction. With so much touring now under the tires, it’s no surprise that Rose’s best work yet often explores her journeywoman’s experience.

“Meet Me in Wyoming” and “Trucker’s Funeral” are emblematic of Rose’s clever study of the musician-as-trucker analogy. “Trucker’s Funeral” is in fact a true story: “I had a meeting at Bank of America here in Austin last year and when the meeting was over the teller told me about going to his grandfather’s funeral here in Texas,” Rose recounts. “He found out he had a full second family on the West Coast. His grandfather was a trucker and always on the road, so neither family had any idea. As he was telling me this story, I was jotting down lyrics on my banking papers because it was just too intriguing an experience not be made into a song.” 

Rule 62 boasts the first-class musicianship and studio instincts of collaborator and producer Raul Malo. The comfort and familiarity between the two made for a seamless return to the studio, this time with the added ear of Niko Bolas as co-producer.


“Niko brought a lot to the table in the studio (when he wasn't sitting at his table at Waffle House). It allowed Raul to step down from the producer role from time to time and be a part of the band. That man can play and sing. One of my favorite parts of the album is the guitar solo on ‘You Never Cross My Mind’ — that's all Raul,” Rose observes appreciatively.

Other musicians in the studio included Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) on drums, Jay Weaver (Dolly Parton) on bass; Jen Gunderman (Sheryl Crow) on piano; Chris Scruggs (Marty Stuart) on steel; Aaron Till (Asleep at the Wheel) on the fiddle; and Kenny Vaughn (Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams) on lead guitar. 

Track listing:


1. I Don’t Want Half (I Just Want Out) (3:06)
2. Arizona (3:58)
3. Better to My Baby (3:13)
4. You Never Cross My Mind (4:02)
5. You Don’t Scare Me (4:14)
6. Can’t Stop Shakin’ (4:22)
7. Tied to the Wheel (4:41)
8. Trucker’s Funeral (5:04)
9. Wake Me in Wyoming (3:29)
10. You’re a Mess (3:48)
11. Time to Cry (3:56)

Hear the track "Can't Stop Shakin'": http://rol.st/2v3O3QM
 

Jake Bugg's 'Hearts That Strain' due out soon

Jake Bugg releases his new album Hearts That Strain on Sept. 1 via Island Records. It is available for pre-order. The first single is “How Soon The Dawn,” a collaboration with Dan Auerbach. Watch the video HERE.

The album was produced by David Ferguson, who shared this year’s Best Country Album Grammy for Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. Also in the studio was guitarist Matt Sweeney, who collaborated on Jake’s 2013 album, Shangri La. Guest vocalist on “Waiting” is Noah Cyrus, daughter of Billy Ray and sister of Miley.

Auerbach (who Jake supported on tour) also played on “I Can Burn Alone” and “In The Event Of My Demise.” Elsewhere, veteran keyboardist Bobby Wood and drummer Gene Chrisman contribute. They've played on thousands of sessions (Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield).


“They’re old guys but they’re amazing,” Jake says. “It was ten to five and then that’s it. They'd pack up and we’d done two or three tunes. It was a mad vibe being from England and meeting these absolute legends and then cutting some tracks with them.”

Jake (now 23) was 18 years old when he became the youngest male artist in UK chart history to debut at #1 with his first album, Jake Bugg, released on Island U.S. in April 2013.

“Lightning Bolt,” Jake’s first U.S. single received major exposure via Gator­ade TV spots.

Shangri La followed in November 2013, produced by Rick Rubin at Shangri La Studios in Malibu, California. Jake toured non-stop in support of the album, including a 13-city headlining North American tour, every date sold-out in advance. June 2016 brought Jake’s third album, On My One, self-produced with Jacknife Lee joining for a handful of tracks. In addition, Jake’s “Lighting Bolt” was used this year on TV spots for the Mini Cooper Countryman.

Track listing:

1. How Soon The Dawn
2. Southern Rain
3. In The Event Of My Demise
4. This Time
5. Waiting
6. Man On The Stage
7. Hearts That Strain
8. I Can Burn Alone
9. Indigo Blue
10. Bigger Lover
11. Every Colour In The World

Trash Can Sinatras to head out on rare acoustic tour

This is very exciting news. I reviewed the band last year in Orange County, Calif. (see review elsewhere on this blog) and have covered them many times in the past. Read more from the press release below...

Frank Reader, Paul Livingston and John Douglas from the Trashcan Sinatras will be touring the U.S. as a three-piece acoustic lineup. The bandmates celebrate their 30th anniversary, having formed in Irvine, Scotland in 1987.

"I've been in the band for 30 years now," says Livingston. "That's a long time to be in any relationship. It's a good time to take stock, see how far we've come, and think about where we're headed." The All Night with The Trashcan Sinatras acoustic tour begins in September. Initial tour dates below.

The shows will consist of two unique sets (excluding the NYC date) and fans can expect to hear some covers, too. Although the band often delves into its back catalog for obscurities, particularly during acoustic tours, many songs have never been played live.


Others may never be played again. "We will be playing some songs live that we have never attempted before, so in some ways, it's a tightrope walk for us. But, these songs are what we have done with our lives, so I accept the challenge and will try to not look down," says Douglas.

Performing acoustically will transport many of those 100 songs back to their origins. "Most of our songs are written with acoustic guitars and voices in quiet, solitary rooms, so it will be nervy but exciting to bring that sound out of the backroom and into the light," says Douglas. According to Livingston, "touring with no rhythm section means you have to take your cues more from the vocal. You can bend time and create space for the emotion of the song to come through."

With six full-length albums to their credit, starting with debut Cake in 1990, through last year's Wild Pendulum, the band has written and released just north of 100 songs. Over the course of the tour, they plan to play each one of those songs. "Now that we've reached a century of songs," says Reader, "it feels like a good time to meet up with them all again, like a high school reunion." He adds, "Those songs whose love and friendship we've nourished over the years will no doubt turn up most nights and show us why we've remained so close over the years, but it'll be most interesting to see how those with whom we've lost touch have aged." He expects that some songs will "turn up drunk and disheveled," while others "may now be dashing and distinguished, more so than we all would have guessed. I can't wait to meet them all again and find out."

Watch the music video for "All Night"
Listen to "Ain't That Something" and "Best Days On Earth

Tour Dates:


Sept 27 Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
Sept 28 Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
Sept 30 Highland Lakes, NJ @ Seckler Stage
Oct 1 New York, NY @ Joe's Pub
Oct 3 Somerville, MA @ Once Ballroom
Oct 4 New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine
Oct 6 Cleveland, OH @ Winchester Music Tavern
Oct 8 Ferndale, MI @ Magic Bag
Oct 9 Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Oct 11 Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
Oct 12 St Paul, MN @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
Oct 14 Kansas City, MO @ Gospel Lounge
Oct 16 Denver, CO @ Globe Hall
Oct 17 Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro
Oct 19 Seattle, WA @ Fremont Abbey
Oct 20 Portland, OR @ Dante's
Oct 23 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Oct 24 Los Angeles, CA @ Largo
Oct 29 Austin, TX @ 3Ten
Oct 31 Nashville, TN @ Blue Bar
Nov 1 Atlanta, GA @ Smith's Olde Bar
Nov 2 Charlotte, NC @ Evening Muse

1977 Box set to spotlight early Jam

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Jam's first two LPs, In The City and This Is The Modern World, UMe/Polydor will release 1977, a five-disc box set featuring both albums re-mastered as well as unreleased demos and live recordings on Oct. 20.

The collection includes a 144-page book, new liner notes, period photos and a wealth of cuttings, reviews and memorabilia from 1977. Five LP-style CD wallets with printed inner bags – In The City will feature the U.S. version of the LP inner sleeve, also using a Martyn Goddard out-take photo. This Is The Modern World will feature an alternative Gered Mankowitz cover image. It also includes five postcards. All are housed in a ‘rigid, lift-off lid’ box.

Track listing:

Disc 1 - In The City (original album remastered)

1. Art School
2. I’ve Changed My Address
3. Slow Down
4. I Got By In Time
5. Away From The Numbers
6. Batman Theme
7. In The City
8. Sounds From The Street
9. Non-Stop Dancing
10. Time For Truth
11. Takin’ My Love
12. Bricks & Mortar
+ single & B-side extras
13. All Around The World
14. Carnaby Street

Disc 2 - The Polydor Demos: February 1977

1. Art School (demo) #
2. In The City (demo)
3. I Got By In Time (demo) #
4. I've Changed My Address (demo) #
5. Time For Truth (demo)
6. Sounds From The Street (demo)
7. Non Stop Dancing (demo) #
8. Bricks And Mortar (demo) #
9. Takin' My Love (demo)
10. So Sad About Us (demo)
11. Slowdown (demo) #
# previously unreleased

Disc 3 - This Is The Modern World (original album remastered)

1. The Modern World
2. London Traffic
3. Standards
4. Life From A Window
5. The Combine
6. Don’t Tell Them You’re Sane
7. In The Street Today
8. London Girl
9. I Need You (For Someone)
10. Here Comes The Weekend
11. Tonight At Noon
12. In The Midnight Hour

Disc 4 - Live 1977 + John Peel Sessions

1. In The City
2. Art School
3. I’ve Changed My Address
4. The Modern World

Recorded 26.4.1977 - Transmitted 2.5.1977

5. All Around The World
6. London Girl
7. Bricks & Mortar
8. Carnaby Street

Recorded 19.7.1977 - Transmitted 25.7.1977

Live at the ‘Nashville’ – September 10th 1977 (previously unreleased)

9. Carnaby Street
10. The Modern World
11. Time For Truth
12. So Sad About Us
13. London Girl
14. In the Street Today
15. All Around The World
16. London Traffic
17. Sweet Soul Music
18. Bricks & Mortar
19. In The City
20. Art School
21. In The Midnight Hour
22. Sounds From The Street
23. Slowdown

Disc 5 - DVD

1. In The City (Polydor promo - May 1977)
2. Art School (Polydor promo - May 1977)
3. In The City (Top Of The Pops - Date: 19/05/1977)
4. All Around The World (Top Of The Pops - Date: 18/08/1977)
5. All Around The World (‘Marc’ - Granada TV)
6. The Modern World (Top Of The Pops Top Of The Pops - Date: 03/11/1977)
7. Bricks and Mortar (‘So It Goes’ - Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
8. Carnaby Street (‘So It Goes’ - Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
9. In The City (‘So It Goes’ - Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
10. Slowdown (‘So It Goes’ - Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)
11. All Around The World (‘So It Goes’ - Granada TV Nov. 20th 1977)

Concert review: Jake Owen, Honey County, Dan Krikorian in Costa Mesa, Calif.

photo: Miguel Vasconcellos/OC Fair
Jake Owen is a master at creating a party atmosphere in concert.

Country music’s Prince of Surf ‘n’ Sand Vibes learned from the best: his first big tour was spent as an opener for Kenny Chesney in 2006. Owen proved to be the perfect choice to close out the 2017 Summer Concert Series Sunday at the OC Fair (this season’s slate also offered up top-notch country talent like The Band Perry, Kenny Rogers and Justin Moore).

Before the show began, a bunch of excited female fans were overheard raving about Owen’s headlining spot last spring at Coastal Country Jam in Huntington Beach. Several males in attendance here wore American flag attire - some with profane slogans. A pink flamingo curtain covered all the onstage gear and the crew laid carpeting for the headliner, who performs barefoot.

The 80-minute, 17-song set in Costa Mesa kicked off with – appropriately enough – “Beachin’”, the first of half a dozen country chart toppers. Owen, casually clad in pink shorts and t-shirt, happily traversed the two-tiered, faux palm tree-lined stage as the three-man horn section added a bright sheen.

A breezy “Good Company,” the latest single off 2016’s “American Love” that was partially recorded in Pomona, describes living it up on the weekends with friends. It got a rousing response. Owen looked out into the packed Pacific Amphitheatre crowd and marveled at a crutch being hoisted in time to the tunes, then said, “I appreciated playing fairs. It’s not every day you get to see a big (stuffed) Papa Smurf.”

“If He Ain’t Gonna Love You,” a R&B-fueled Chris Stapleton co-write, sizzled, especially with some tasty slide guitar, a swelling organ buildup and excellent brass accompaniment.

Having too much fun can be detrimental though. A truncated cover of Johnny Cash hit “Ring of Fire” started with Owen sounding like he was imitating the Man in Black and one musician played a keytar as if it was new wave. Later, the singer delivered sensual ballad “Alone with You” a bit too nonchalantly. The same attitude gave short shrift to “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” which would’ve benefitted from more dramatic heft (the swelling organ and sax work were great though).
   
Owen’s take on Brooks & Dunn’s “Neon Moon” was just average (unfortunately OC didn’t get Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman,” done live last week and to fine effect for Owen’s Facebook followers). Turning serious, the singer explained the low-key ballad “LAX,” one of his favorites from “American Love” and co-written by a friend who passed away (Andrew Dorff) has lyrics “no one seems to get unless you’re from here.”

Late set highlights “Anywhere with You” and “The One That Got Away” and first encore “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” - with an odd nod to "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" TV theme - all rocked with abandon to massive singalongs. Owen capped the evening with more recent No. 1 hit, “American Country Love Song.” 

Honey County opened the proceedings with a pleasant, if unremarkable half hour performance. The ladies’ glossy pop take on country music boasted plenty of group harmonies, especially during “High on the Radio.” Guitarist Katie Stump, an OC native, took over lead vocals on a feisty cover of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.”

Earlier on Sunday, I caught Dan Krikorian’s last performance of the afternoon inside the fair’s Baja Blues Restaurant. Playing with a full band, the Costa Mesa singer/songwriter’s 45-minute pop/rock set definitely made a strong impression. Highlights included the appealingly upbeat “New York City Day” and well-crafted “Maggie” (both from “Windsor Blue,” one of my favorite local releases of ’11), an exquisite “Words,” the Ben Harper-ish "Something Good" - where his family and friends danced around - and the beautifully soulful “Need You Bad.” 

A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com

Friday, August 11, 2017

A chat with Mike Peters of The Alarm

photo: Jones











Mike Peters and The Alarm are in the midst of the band's longest American tour since the 1980s with several California and Midwestern shows ahead this month. 

Here is more from my recent interview with the veteran Welsh singer/guitarist and three-time cancer survivor that didn't fit into my regular feature (which ran in Riverside Magazine and various SCNG newspapers; it can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/yc5uysyz)

Q: This particular jaunt gives your fans ample chances to see you perform live. And it's also a family affair, correct?
A: That's right. When I had children, I limited my time in America to three weeks tops, really. Now that the boys are grown up, they’re out with their mum and dad on tour.

Q: Turning to the ‘The Man in the Camo Jacket’ documentary, which is out now on iTunes, what was your first impression after seeing the final cut?
A: It’s still hard to believe that so much has happened to one person...To see it all in a 90-minute session, I can’t believe we crammed so much in. It’s a big story to tell...To hear people speak who have known me all my life – they say when you drown, you see your whole life flash before you, it’s a bit like that, watching ‘Man in the Camo Jacket.’ It’s hard not to get drowned in all the emotion that a film like that brings up. I’ve really limited the amount of time I’ve spent watching the film because it’s quite overwhelming.

Q: Your diehard followers will surely be amazed at seeing some of the old footage in the film. Did you help supply a lot of that material from your archives?
A: That’s right. I’ve always been a pretty strong advocate of keeping a good library about what we did. In the earliest days, I kept a good scrapbook. But when success was elusive, I thought it was a curse and [set it aside] for a while. But once we had a hit and “The Stand” had become successful, we got on things like “American Bandstand” and MTV and I started collecting things again. It worked out well. I’ve got a pretty massive library of archive material, which obviously helped make ‘Man in the Camo Jacket’ so [detailed]. It’s got a lot of stuff from my career. I think that helps communicate [everything]. It seems to hit quite hard with everyone who’s seen it from my generation. They can relate to it and people who weren’t there get a sense of being there from seeing so much detailed footage and archived material.

Q: The film soundtrack has a good mix of new, unreleased and live tracks. One that immediately stuck out for me was your live cover of INXS’ “Devil Inside.” You did it with a skiffle type sound. How did that come about?
A: I went to speak at the World Cancer Congress in Melbourne, Australia. I was asked to put a band together for the closing ceremony. I thought, ‘I’m in Australia, we need to play a song that is part of Australian culture.’ For some reason, I thought of it due to the connotation it had about cancer. It’s written by an Australian band and I was working with Australian musicians. I said, ‘let’s shuffle it and make it a skiffly version.’ We started playing it electric in rehearsal. I said, ‘we’ve got to go and record this one.’ It was very off the cuff and absolutely blew the place apart at the conference because it was Australian and what it meant to the cancer community. It just shows you that a song can be written about a completely different thing and get a whole new meaning in the hands of other musicians. You’ve gotta follow your instincts somewhere and was one of those moments that certainly caught people’s imaginations.

Q: I was also taken with the lush live version of “Rain in the Summertime” on the soundtrack. Was that taken from your special Welsh Pops Symphony show?
A: Yeah, that’s right. I was afforded the opportunity to play at the Wales Millennium Center with a full orchestra and two choirs. I knew what The Alarm’s music sounded like with two guitars, but it had never been played with full orchestral backing. I said to the band, ‘let’s play acoustically at this event and allow the strings and orchestration to be the real power and show off the strength of the songs.’ A song like that lives on beyond its original release because at the heart of it is a very good song. It’s not just a riff or a lyric. It’s a song. It can be busked on the street by one man, played by a four-piece rock band or played by a 100-piece orchestra. I wanted to show that through the recording and the concert. I think it unified all the eras of The Alarm’s music. Modern songs were able to sit along with songs from the early stage of my writing career. Because they all got rearranged, it was like they’d all been written yesterday. They sounded really fresh. It was really exciting to do. It’s a great addition to the soundtrack.


People can hear songs from 30 years ago – ‘Rain’ came out in 1987 – and here we are in 2017 still talking about it in a new light. That’s what you always hope for your music. Like [the new version of] ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ out now. It’s been remixed and everyone is talking about how it was made. Unfortunately, there are only two of them [Beatles] still alive, but people revere the music. The Alarm; we’re not The Beatles, but I always wanted people to give our songs some some attention. By playing them in a different way, people can reconnect. Some people can connect with the song through that arrangement, not the drum machine-led version that came out in 1987. All roads lead back. If you follow the river, you get back to the source.

Q: The concept for your new album “Blood Red” and how you did limited edition artwork for early LP copies, is very interesting. When you wrote the lyrics for it, did you find they tapped a different sense of creativity that had been dormant in you for a while?
A: Possibly. It certainly helped to unlock some feelings I might not have been able to voice through conventional means. When I’ve worked in a creative environment and writing, I’ve always doodled or something to loosen the creative flow. I really gave precedence to the other side of my creativity in the process of writing ‘Blood Red' [and follow up] 'Viral Black.’ A lot of the songs started with the words first, which is quite unusual for me…this time, I wrote a lot of lyrics on my journeys, laid them all out and that was the beginnings of the songs. Sometimes, I could see the words, but I couldn’t hear the melody, but I could see a painting. I did that first. I got a different part [of my mind] to create the music, which I where I find myself right now.

Q: So far, I’ve only heard “Coming Backwards” and some bits of other songs from the new album you did for the 10-part video web diary on your site. Can you give me an overview of the sound? Is it a mix of acoustic-based songs and rockers?
A: It’s a very modern-sounding record. It’s organic in the sense it’s made with guitars and drums. There’s a lot of sounds I created through my guitar using loop stations, creating sequences that could run under songs. That came from doing the demos completely on my own. I was working with effects pedals that could create the sound of an orchestra. I was really trying to push myself as a guitarist on this album. The tours I’ve undertaken in the last few years – I’ve re-imagined The Alarm’s ‘Declaration’ and ‘Strength’ albums – they really created a freedom for me as a musician that I’ve never known before. It meant I could get to the heart of my songs really fast. Within seconds of writing a sequence and some lyrics, I could plug into these pedals where I could sound like a whole band in five minutes and play loud. It affected the way I wrote. 

‘Blood Red’ reflects an inner looking sensibility. The second part, ‘Viral Black,’ out in [the fall], reflects a more outward looking expression. This music you’re hearing glimpses of now, I want to stay underground really until 2018. I don’t want it to go out on streaming services or iTunes. I want people to actually connect with this music physically. We’re playing it live at the shows. It’s little like it was in the early days of the band when we toured off what was our first album for three years before it came out. I don’t know why I’m doing it this way other than pure instinct. I just feel like music has become very disposable now. The convenience of Spotify and iTunes is brilliant, but I feel you don’t engage with the music in the same way. You don’t live with it. You haven’t really made an investment in it, so you don’t feel like you have to play it 20 times to get your money’s worth. That’s how a lot of great albums came into my life. I bought the record and didn’t like it on the first play. But because I bought it and put my hard-earned wages or money down, I’d think I have to give it another listen and another one. Eventually, some of those became my favorite records of all time.

I think that process of learning to love and understand a record has gone out of music. Now we want the song to be instant. We want pop music. I don’t make out and out pop music. You’ve got to get to know it. All great rock music is called that because it wasn’t pop, it wasn’t instant or disposable. It was music you learned to love and could change your life. It would give you deeper understanding the more you listened to it. I hope that by encouraging our fans to buy the record, buy the CD, only get it from www.thealarm.com, creates that foundation of understanding. When those people go and tell their friends about the new music from The Alarm or the concert or haven’t heard “Rain in the Summertime” live in 30 years and say, ‘wait till you hear this song, it’s amazing.’ I think the fans help create that atmosphere of excitement that’s really obvious in our shows because we’re taking a few risks. It’s really exciting. It’s great for me onstage, it’s great for the fans in the crowd.

Q: This fall, Oxy & the Morons, the punk rock musical you co-wrote will start a run in England. What is the storyline?
A: It’s about a guy who was in a band and needs to put his band back together to stay alive. All the problems that go with it. There’s a love triangle in the center of it and a big twist in the tale at the end. I’ve only seen the script and been a part of writing the story and music, it’s going to be a powerhouse. It’s hard hitting. I’m thrilled that’s it’s getting a staging straight away. There’s been no workshops. It’s gone straight off the paper onto the stage, which shows the commitment from the director and producers. They wanted to get it right out there and think there’s potential for a lot of life in it. I can’t wait to see it. It’s been a great process to be involved in. Who knows if I’ll end up on Broadway or in a movie. You never know. That’s the excitement of it. Of all these projects, I like the unexpected. I don’t like knowing what the outcome is. I wanted to test myself to write songs for a musical, for myself and for The Alarm. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had lots of opportunities like that come to fruition. You can write a lot of music and it never sees the light of day. A lot of people out there would love to have their records out. So I’m very lucky and fortunate.

Upcoming California shows:


8/13 Pasadena, CA
8/14 Riverside, CA
8/15 San Diego, CA
8/16 San Juan Capistrano, CA
8/17 Agoura Hills, CA
8/18 San Francisco, CA
8/19 Sacramento, CA

For the full tour routing, to buy the new Alarm album/merch or more info, go to www.thealarm.com
To get on a list to possibly become a future bone marrow donor, go to www.lovehopestrength.org

Monday, August 7, 2017

Neil Young to put out unreleased 1976 album

Neil Young will open his archive and release Hitchhiker, an unreleased new studio album. The release date is Sept. 8 on Reprise Records - it will be available on vinyl, CD and digitally.

The 10-track acoustic solo album was recorded in Malibu, CA at Indigo Studio in 1976. The original session was produced by Young's long-time studio collaborator David Briggs. Pre-order for Hitchhiker has started. Go here for details: https://wbr.ec/hitchhiker

Recorded between Zuma and American Stars and Bars as a solo album in a single session, only Young, Briggs and actor Dean Stockwell were in the room at the time of recording. A few of the songs would not appear on vinyl until years later.


Some have never been heard, included in the original sessions for Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Dume, another unreleased record of original sessions that yielded the classic album, Zuma. When the Hitchhiker album was recorded, none of the included songs had ever been released and many of the performances of the songs were the first ever.  performances.

Track listing:

Side One: 

1. Pocahontas 
2. Powderfinger 
3. Captain Kennedy
4. Hawaii 

5. Give Me Strength

Side Two:
1. Ride My Llama
2. Hitchhiker
3. Campaigner
4. Human Highway
5. The Old Country Waltz
            

Barry Manilow concert review: Los Angeles

photo: Drew A. Kelley
Hordes of women over 40 howled like teenagers and were easily reduced to tears. Who could cause such a commotion? Yes, Barry Manilow was back in Southern California for a sold-out Forum gig. It was originally scheduled on Mother’s Day, but postponed due to the veteran singer's sprained vocal cords.
 

The average age of “Fanilows” in Inglewood actually skewed much older. No surprise there: Barry Manilow’s successful, nearly decade-long run on the Billboard pop singles chart began in 1974 (adult contemporary radio hits continued throughout the ‘80s).

Since then, he's put out more than a dozen concept albums that continue to resonate with longtime followers. During the 2000s, a “Greatest Songs” series of love songs and standards all went gold or platinum.

Last spring, Manilow released “This is My Town: Songs of New York,” a great musical love letter to his hometown of Brooklyn and surrounding areas. Manilow mixes impressive originals like “Coney Island” and “Lovin’ at Birdland” with covers made famous by The Crystals, Petula Clark, The Drifters, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Jay-Z & Alicia Keys (!) and others.

On Friday, an electronica mashup of Underworld’s “Born Slippy” and past Manilow hits served as a festive introduction. Then the 95-minute show kicked off in standard fashion with the jubilant “Daybreak.”

Although the affable entertainer, now 74, stopped doing large scale tours in favor of sporadic live appearances, he said onstage that watching news channels like CNN “where everybody is so angry” all the time made him realize “people need uplifting music again. So I’m back reporting for duty.”

Supported by a large band that included horn and string players, plus three backing singers, Manilow was in fine vocal form throughout and managed to hit all the high notes (even if it meant a few pained expressions from old plastic surgeries).

He introduced the ballad “Somewhere in the Night,” by lamenting how music on the radio today often lacks melody. In a recent interview, Manilow admitted “Can’t Smile Without You” was one of his least favorites to do live, but seemed to have fun with it here.

Much of the arena was up and dancing for a vibrant “Bandstand Boogie” (the theme to Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” TV show from 1977-87). The sleek title track from “This is My Town” and “On Broadway/New York City Rhythm” were standouts and the only newish songs played. The latter featured an anecdote about Times Square and whimsical rotating piano/keyboard turns by Manilow and his band.

Alone at the keyboard, Manilow did the quiet, emotionally resonant ballads “I Am Your Child” and “All The Time,” where he recalled early days making the NYC piano bar rounds and “feeling like a misfit.” Back at the black grand piano, the ultra-dramatic “Even Now” and its sustained vocal note whipped the crowd into a frenzy. A snappy “duet” with Judy Garland seen on the screens for “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart” (heard on 2014’s Grammy-nominated “My Dream Duets”) worked well.

What followed was the usual sturdy hit parade, including a romantic “Weekend in New England” (prompting loud female squeals), an upbeat take on The Four Seasons’ “Let’s Hang On” (where Manilow palled around with his singers) and “Somewhere Down the Road” (capped by a moving a capella bit).

Manilow introduced “Could it Be Magic” by explaining how it was inspired by Chopin and his thoughts on Donna Summer’s dance hit version. A segue into the disco arrangement was just alright.

Toward the set’s end, Manilow belted out his dramatic showstoppers “I Made it Through the Rain,” “Mandy” (with the now standard 1975 “Midnight Special” TV clip accompaniment) and “I Write the Songs” (driven by swelling orchestration and assistance from the Los Alamitos Show Choir) with ease. “Copacabana (At the Copa)” brought everyone to their feet again for the party time finale.

A version of my review originally appeared at ocregister.com

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Echo + The Bunnymen, Violent Femmes concert review: Costa Mesa, Calif.

photo: Bill Alkofer/OC Register
The contrasts between bands at a packed Pacific Amphitheatre on Saturday were literally like night and day.

On one side was Violent Femmes’ eccentric take on folk/jazz/blues/rock, with Gordon Gano’s demented-yet-humorous vocals.

Then there was Echo & The Bunnymen’s mysterious post-punk and neo-psychedelia alongside singer Ian McCulloch’s serious, brooding delivery. One act played in full view (Femmes); the other preferred being obscured in shadows and didn’t allow their images onscreen (Bunnymen).

Both did enjoy their biggest success during the 1980s, were KROQ/106.7 FM regulars, split for a brief period, then reformed again.

Earlier this month, Violent Femmes put out “2 Mics and the Truth,” an excellent live album recorded as the Milwaukee-bred group visited various places to promote the 2016 studio album “We Can Do Anything.” Echo & The Bunnymen released “Meteorites” in ‘14 and the Liverpool, U.K. musicians continue to lure new younger fans, thanks to its classic catalog being used in various films and television shows like “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix.

In Costa Mesa, Echo & The Bunnymen opened the erratic 65-minute, 15-song set with “Going Up,” the leadoff track from its debut LP (1980’s “Crocodiles”). Oddly, that tune was truncated and the band switched to “Rescue,” with co-founder Will Sergeant’s clarion call guitar sounding glorious as ever.

McCulloch struggled vocally and was merely adequate throughout the performance. Still, the exceptional backing musicians (particularly the rhythm section) more than compensated. The fast maelstrom of “Do It Clean” was thrilling and McCulloch added his usual song snippets (Nat King Cole, James Brown). A majestic “Seven Seas” gave way to the slinky “Bedbugs & Ballyhoo” while the frontman puffed on a cigarette. Sergeant’s amazing guitar effects elevated the ominous “Over the Wall.”

Stripping things down, “Nothing Lasts Forever” (top 10 UK single in 1997 originally featuring Liam Gallagher) was unfortunately ignored by the crowd until McCulloch transitioned into Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” Later, the dramatic orchestral grandeur of “The Killing Moon” went down a storm.

For the encores, a fierce “Villier’s Terrace” segued into The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” and David Bowie's "The Jean Genie." Finally, the band concluded with the peaceful sway of “Ocean Rain.” Overall, a mixed bag.

photo: Bill Alkofer/OC Register
Violent Femmes made its first appearance here since the venue reopened for concerts in ’03.

Gano, fellow founding member/bassist Brian Ritchie and percussionist John Sparrow delivered a thoroughly enjoyable 75-minute, 20-song set.

During the obscurity “Waiting for a Bus,” Gano sarcastically questioned whether they were actually playing the blues as Blaise Garza blasted a huge contrabass saxophone (Ritchie deadpanned that it was stolen from a film soundtrack studio). 

Then the guys delved into polka for the manic new “I Could Be Anything.” Ritchie introduced signature song “Blister in the Sun” by saying it was “classic alternative, a term I only recently became aware of.”

The energy level was raised several notches and what followed was even stronger: “Kiss Off,” the rollicking call and response singalong “American Music,” a jaunty “I Held Her in My Arms” (featuring more impressive sax work by Garza), xylophone-accented “Gone Daddy Gone,” “Jesus Walking on the Water” (with Gano on violin),” the sprightly hoedown vibe of “Prove My Love” and finally, the pent-up sexual frustration of “Add it Up,” where you could feel the excitement all around.

A version of my review originally appeared in the OC Register.