Thursday, March 29, 2012

Neil Finn's '7 Worlds Collide' and more coming to DVD

I'm really looking forward to this since I'm a huge fan of all things Finn. The original live CD was one of my picks for the year's best back in '01. Read below for more info...

In 2001, New Zealand singer/ songwriter Neil Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) put together a multi-artist concert called 7 Worlds Collide.

The live concert turned into an album collaboration with Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Modest Mouse), Phil Selway (Radiohead), Ed O’Brien (Radiohead), Tim Finn (Split Enz, Crowded House) & Lisa Germano.

Then in 2009, Finn invited his friends back to New Zealand for three weeks to record a second album and perform in three concerts, with proceeds going to the international charity Oxfam, an aid organization that supports ending world poverty and injustice.

On April 10, Cinema Libre Studio will release on DVD and digital download, the inspiring, behind-the-scenes film, THE SUN CAME OUT, which documents the creative process 20 artists went through to produce 10 songs in just three weeks. The film also includes an exclusive release of the live 2001 7 World’s Collide, The Sun Came Out concert featuring Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.

THE SUN CAME OUT, directed by Simon Mark-Brown, is a glimpse into the musical collaboration process between Neil Finn and the great musicians he assembled together for a special cause.

Finn invited the 7 World’s Collide alumni, as well as, some more of music’s biggest names including; Don McGlashan, Bic Runga, Glenn Richards, KT Tunstall and Wilco members Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Glenn Kotche & Pat Sansone, and their families to his personal studio in Auckland for a three week recording session of original material contributed by everyone involved.

Some of the songs that were cultivated and performed during this three week journey are: “Reptile" by Lisa Germano, “Too Blue" by Johnny Marr & Jeff Tweedy, "Little by Little" by Sharon Finn & Neil Finn, "Girl, Make Your Own Mind Up" by Don McGlashan, "Black Silk Ribbon" by KT Tunstall & Bic Runga and more.

Sara Watkins New sets album+tour

Sun Midnight Sun, the second solo album from singer/songwriter/fiddler Sara Watkins, will be released May 8 on Nonesuch Records.
Produced by Blake Mills, the album features special guest appearances by Fiona Apple, Jackson Browne, Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes), Benmont Tench and brother/former Nickel Creek bandmate, Sean Watkins.
The album is available to pre-order on and with an exclusive 9x12” print signed by Watkins.

Sun Midnight Sun
follows Sara Watkins’ critically acclaimed 2009 self-titled solo debut produced by Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones. In celebration of the release of Sun Midnight Sun, Watkins will embark on a nationwide tour this spring and summer, including a series of special tour dates with Dawes. 

In the three years since her last release, Watkins has toured as guest fiddle player and vocalist with the Decemberists and joined Garrison Keillor on his nationwide Summer Love performance tours, as well as acting as his first and only guest host for "A Prairie Home Companion" broadcasts.

The songs were written by Watkins (“You and Me,” “Take Up Your Spade”) as well as several collaborations with Mills (“The Foothills,” “Be There,” “The Accord,” “Impossible,” and “Lock and Key”). It also features songs by Dan Wilson (“When It Pleases You”) and Willie Nelson (“I’m a Memory”), and a rendition of The Everly Brothers classic “You’re the One I Love,” on which Fiona Apple duets with Watkins.
A limited-edition 7” of “You’re the One I Love” will be made available April 21, as part of Record Store Day.

Tour dates:
April 14 & 15 College Station, TX Old Tyme Wonderland
April 17 Oklahoma City, OK Blue Door
April 19 St. Louis, MO Blueberry Hill
April 20 Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music
April 21 Madison, WI The High Noon Saloon
April 22 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center
April 28 Indio, CA Stagecoach Festival
May 2 San Diego, CA Anthology
May 3 Los Angeles, CA The Watkins Family Hour at Largo†
May 27 Cumberland, MD Delfest
May 31 York, PA Strand-Capitol PAC*
June 1 Washington, DC 9:30 Club*
June 2 Elmer, NJ Appel Farms Arts and Music Festival*
June 3 Hunter Mountain, NY Mountain Jam Festival*
June 5 Pittsburgh, PA Three Rivers Arts Festival*
June 6 Cincinnati, OH Taft Theatre*
June 7 Indianapolis, IN The Vogue*
June 10 Athens, GA The Melting Point*
June 11 Chattanooga, TN Track 29*
June 13 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel*
June 14 Carrboro, NC Cat’s Cradle*
June 15 Richmond, VA Friday Cheers*
June 16 New York, NY City Winery
June 17 Croton on Hudson, NY Clearwater Festival
July 29 Newport, RI Newport Folk Festival

†as part of the LA Bluegrass Situation
*opening for Dawes

Soul Asylum news

Soul Asylum will release “Delayed Reaction,” their first album in six years, on July 17 through 429 Records. 

The veteran band now includes founders Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy, alongside ex-Replacements/Guns N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson (who replaced original member Karl Mueller upon his '06 passing) and former Prince drummer Michael Bland.

“Delayed Reaction” was produced by the band and John Fields. It bristles with the tightly wound, slightly ragged vibe that characterized the band when they emerged straight out of Minneapolis. 

Says Dave Pirner on the recording process: “It feels like approaching it as an album and a thing that has a sequence, and a thing that is a piece of work in itself is almost an archaic process…Honestly, it's more organic. Even though you're using some of this newer technology, the fact that you're doing it yourself is what made it take so long and the process unique, this time."

Track Listing: 
1. Gravity
2. Into The Light 
3. The Streets 
4. By The Way 
5. Pipe Dream 
6. Let’s All Kill Each Other 
7. Cruel Intentions 
8. The Juice 
9. Take Manhattan 
10. I Should’ve Stayed In Bed

For more information, visit:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lit returns with long-awaited new album, tour

Orange County, Calif. alt-rock band Lit is set to release sixth album, "The View From The Bottom," on June 19 via Megaforce Records.

With the help of new drummer Nathan Walker and guitarist/keyboardist Ryan Gillmor, the band tracked with artist/producer Butch Walker in 2011.

Among the album's tracks are “The Broken,” poignant “Here’s To Us,” big rockers “C’mon” and “You Tonight” - co-written by Marti Frederiksen (Aerosmith) - and glam stomper, “Same Shit, Different Drink” (co-written with Walker).

For more information, visit:


April 30 Atlanta Smith's Olde Bar
May 1 Jacksonville, Fl. Jackrabbit's
May 3 Nashville, Tn. Exit In
May 4 Louisville, Ky. Phoenix Hill
May 5 Clarksville, Tn. The Warehouse
May 8 Montgomery, Al. Blue Iguana
May 9- Birmingham, Al. Zydeco
May 10 Charleston, SC Jumbo's Rock Lounge
May 11 Charlotte, NC NC Music Factory
May 12 Fayetteville, NC The Rock Shop
May 13 Baltimore, Md. Recher Theater
May 16 Virginia Beach, Va. Neptune Park

SUMMERLAND TOUR (with Lit, Sugar Ray, Everclear, Gin Blossoms, Marcy Playground) ***additional dates to be announced soon***

June 28 Saratoga, CA The Mountain Winery
June 29 Los Angeles, CA The Greek Theatre
June 30 Las Vegas, NV The Beach at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
July 2 Del Mar, CA Del Mar Fairgrounds (Free w/ admission to fair)
July 3 Phoenix, AZ Comica Theatre
July 4 El Paso, TX Socorro Entertainment Center
July 6 Austin, TX ACL Live at The Moody Theater
July 7 Fort Worth, TX Billy Bob’s Texas
July 8 Tulsa, OK SpiritBank Events Center
July 10 Columbus, OH LC Outdoor Amphitheater
July 11 Cincinnati, OH PNC Pavilion at Riverbend
July 13 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheater
July 14 Raleigh, NC Raleigh Amphitheater
July 15 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre
July 18 New York, NY Roseland Ballroom
July 20 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
July 21 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 22 Gilford, NH Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion
July 24 Bethlehem, PA Sands Bethlehem Event Center
July 25 Vienna, VA Wolf Trap
July 27 Atlantic City, NJ Ovation Hall
July 28 Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion
July 29 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun
August 2 Detroit, MI MotorCity Casino Hotel
August 3 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
August 4 Duluth, MN Bayfront Festival Park


Sigur Ros news

Sigur Rós will return with their sixth studio album, "Valtari" (XL Recordings) on May 29. The first track, “Ekki Múkk,” is now streaming on the Icelandic band’s website,
"Valtari" will be released on double LP, CD and digital download. It is the first studio album since 2008 and marks the end of their indefinite hiatus.
The songs on this 54-minute album feel like an alternative musical path the band didn’t take after 2002’s untitled ( ) album. Frequently bereft of formal structures, and for large stretches of time more atmospheres than songs, the work – which the band has described as sounding “like an avalanche in slow motion” – offers a counterpoint to Sigur Rós’s steady yet unconscious migration towards public acceptance.
In English, "Valtari" translates as “steamroller,” and there is something right about the title in terms of the process of its creation. More of a “studio based” album than any of its predecessors, the long hours of experimentation and unsentimental editing have yielded incredible results.
Some songs have roots in earlier times. “Dauðalogn” and “Varðeldur” emerged out of sessions on the back of "Takk," but the choral ideas behind them stem from as far back as 2002 and an orchestral collaboration with the 16 Choir; 2009 sessions in the wake of the last album, resulted in some individually beautiful moments - three of which - “Rembihnútur,” “Fjögur piano,” and “Valtari” live here. But it was hard to draw a line between them, and the band found focusing on such elusive music hard to do for any sustained period.
They essentially put the record on hold. In 2010, singer Jónsi went off to make and tour for his expansive, critically-acclaimed solo album "Go." Keyboardist Kjartan spent time on his classically-inclined, unreleased work, "Credo."
A film scoring opportunity led to the creation of the towering and majestic "Varúð," arguably the record’s centerpiece. Scouting around for a closing credit song for last year’s live film, "Inni," the band unearthed "Lúppulagið," which, in its reworked choral form is here titled “Varðeldur,” one of the album’s most understated and elegant songs.
The process of making "Valtari," and the end results, are described by bassist Georg Holm:
“I really can’t remember why we started this record, I no longer know what we were trying to do back then. I do know session after session went pear-shaped, we lost focus and almost gave up...did give up for a while. But then something happened and form started to emerge, and now I can honestly say that it’s the only Sigur Rós record I have listened to for pleasure in my own house after we’ve finished it.”
Sigur Rós are: Jón Þór Birgisson (vocals, guitar), Georg Holm (bass), Kjartan Sveinsson (keyboards/piano), Orri Páll Dýrason (drums). "Valtari" was recorded by the band in Iceland.
Valtari track listing:
1. Ég anda.
2. Ekki múkk.
3. Varúð.
4. Rembihnútur.
5. Dauðalogn.
6. Varðeldur.
7. Valtari.
8. Fjögur píanó.

Keane announce U.S. tour dates

British alt-pop band Keane will kick off a North American tour in June in support of fourth studio album "Strangeland," which is due May 8 on Cherrytree/Interscope Records.
Fan presale started today with public on sale March 30. For more information and a video message from the band, see
Earlier this month, the band debuted first single “Silenced By The Night” on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Keane also recently performed “Silenced By The Night” and “Disconnected” for
Keane North American tour dates:
June 12         Boston, MA                 House of Blues
June 14         N. Bethesda, MD        Music Center At Strathmore
June 15         New York, NY             Beacon Theatre – on sale 3/31
June 16        Philadelphia, PA          Merriam Theater
June 18         Montreal, QC              Olympia de Montreal
June 19         Toronto, ON                The Sound Academy
June 21         Nashville, TN.             Marathon Music Works
June 22        Chicago, IL                  The Vic – on sale 3/31
June 23         Milwaukee, WI            Pabst Theater
June 25         Denver, CO                Paramount Theater
June 26         Salt Lake City, UT      The Gallivan Center
June 29         Los Angeles, CA         The Orpheum Theatre
June 30         Oakland, CA               The Fox Theater – on sale 4/1

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New release Tuesday: Paul Weller, Quiet Riot

Here are my reviews of two releases in stores today...

Paul Weller
Sonik Kicks
[Yep Roc]
Grade: A- 

After Paul Weller hit 50, the revered singer/guitarist went on an experimental music tear. 2008’s 22 Dreams was a sprawling, double-disc affair where various genre excursions worked more often than not.

Now the former Jam/Style Council leader returns with 11th studio album Sonik Kicks. It’s another adventurous collection where the Brit is joined by Noel Gallagher and Blur’s Graham Coxon (both also played on Dreams), The High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan and longtime collaborator Steve Craddock.

Crazed opener “Green” is the first of two tracks inspired by ‘70s Krautrock act Neu! (a fast, chaotic “Kling, I Klang” contains lyrics about U.K. military involvement in the Middle East). The former uses squelching synths and a split channel sonic technique to attract attention.

Other standouts are the frazzled goth rock of “Behind the Lake” and synth, programming, toy piano-infused  “When Your Garden’s Overgrown,” which intriguingly ponders what Syd Barrett’s non-music life might’ve been like.

Several songs are destined for Weller classic status: “The Attic,” with lovelorn sentiments driven by brisk pizzicato strings; retro ‘60s-leaning “That Dangerous Age,” which revolves around how society views people and the elegant “Be Happy Children,” written for fathers and featuring Weller’s own young kids (but avoids being mawkish).

Keeping it in the family, wife and singer Hannah Andrews is his duet partner on the extended Style Council-esque dub love song, “Study in Blue.” Overall, this is a winner from the Modfather. 

Quiet Riot
Live at the US Festival 1983
[Shout! Factory] 
Grade: C+ 

When Quiet Riot performed in San Bernardino, Calif. (technically Devore) on Memorial Day Weekend during “heavy metal day,” it was having a banner year. The Metal Health LP had just been released that May, was on its way to multi-platinum status and reaching No. 1 on the charts.

Meanwhile, the hit Slade cover “Cum on Feel the Noize” was in regular rotation at MTV and months later would become a top 10 single. The Live at the US Festival 1983 DVD includes the band’s entire 41-minute, nine-song afternoon set – heavy on Metal Health material - before thousands of sweaty fans.

Singer Kevin DuBrow, clad in bright leather (or is that spandex?), hops all over the stage and delivers the sexual innuendo-filled songs with his trademark cartoonish mannerisms.

Guitarist Carlos Cavazo does some lightning speed licks on “Battle Axe” and is hoisted up by DeBrow at one point. Bassist Rudy Sarzo even dazzles with an upside down solo. A CD of the set is also part of the package. Recommended for diehard enthusiasts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fun. concert review: Pomona, CA

photo by Lindsey Byrnes
A version of my review originally ran at

The human element makes a big difference. Saturday’s sold out and spirited Fun. concert at the Glass House was a prime example.
New album Some Nights finds the alt-pop trio collaborating with producer Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Beyonce, Jay-Z) on ambitious songs inspired by Queen, Broadway musicals and layered rap/hip-hop efforts with rhythmic programming, loops and auto-tuned vocals.
Anthemic first single and KROQ/106.7 FM fave “We Are Young” is currently No. 1 on  Billboard’s Hot 100 for a third week. Fun. is the first rock act in several years to achieve the pole position with a career debut chart entry.
Many music fans initially discovered the track through an episode of “Glee” last December. A more recent placement, during a Super Bowl commercial for the Chevy Sonic, sent the song’s popularity soaring and helped Some Nights bow at No. 3 on the trade magazine’s top 200 albums tally.  
For this tour, Fun. (the period is part of the moniker) impressively teamed up with Revel & Riot. The gay rights organization had items and info alongside the band’s merchandise  table. Guitarist Jack Antonoff - also a member of New Jersey indie rocker Steel Train – is a “Straight Ally” contributor to the Gay Voices section of The Huffington Post.
Behind the stage in Pomona, tall letters spelled out the group name and LED panels displayed computerized graphics (think old school screen savers). Fun. was augmented by a bassist, second guitarist/keyboardist and drummer.      
A very enthusiastic Glass House crowd skewed young, with a few parents seen chaperoning their children. Teen girls shrieked as soon as Fun. started the rousing 75-minute set with a punchy “One Foot.”
Frontman Nate Ruess was clad in a sweater vest and could’ve easily been mistaken for a student at the nearby Claremont Colleges (Antonoff sported an equality t-shirt). Ruess (who used to lead The Format) delivered a fierce vocal and tender coda while live trumpet, piano and sax were added to the tune’s grand triggered arrangement.
The toy themed hip-hop of “All Alone” proved endearing. A heartfelt “Why Am I the One” was propelled by Andrew Dost’s fine piano work and a soaring group chorus (“Glee” should take it on next) that recalled mid-‘70s period Elton John.
“All the Pretty Girls,” an exuberant rocker from 2009’s “Aim & Ignite,” had everyone clapping and singing along to the lyrics about having a good time on a Saturday night, while Antonoff did a ripping electric guitar solo. Ruess really worked up a sweat – and thankfully downplayed the synthetic vocal effects – during the affirming sentiments and spastic new wave of “It Gets Better.” Older tune “Barlights” featured welcome call and response action, while the uplifting “Carry On,” with a Brian May-worthy solo by Antonoff, was among the evening’s highlights.
A brief stripped down segment including the ultra-dramatic “Be Calm” featured just the core musicians and gave them a chance to relax, joke around and sing “Happy Birthday” to a fan. 
Elsewhere, the buoyant “At Least I’m Not Sad” boasted a cool Caribbean music vibe. But the set closing tandem of “We Are Young” and joyous, tribal “Some Nights” were truly electrifying.   
New Zealand three-piece Avalanche City entertained early arrivals with a lovely 40-minute set characterized by inviting folk/pop arrangements (violin, banjo, accordion, mandolin, and xylophone) and heavenly harmonies. Unassuming singer Dave Baxter basically let the music speak for itself.
Standouts included his intricately picked acoustic guitar playing on “Beautiful,” the group whistling of “Sunset” and title track to the Love Love Love EP, released this week on Roadrunner Records.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

David Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust' gets full reissue treatment

EMI has announced the release of a 40th anniversary edition of David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars on June 5. 

Originally released through RCA Victor in 1972, Ziggy Stardust was David Bowie’s fifth album, co-produced by Bowie and Ken Scott. The album was written while Bowie was recording 1971’s Hunky Dory album, with recording beginning a couple of months before that album’s release.

It was recorded with the main line up of Mick Ronson (guitar, piano, backing vocals, string arrangements), Trevor Bolder (bass), Mick Woodmansey (drums) and Rick Wakeman (keyboards). As well as performing vocals, Bowie also played acoustic guitar, saxophone and harpsichord on the album and was involved in the arrangements.

This new edition has been remastered by original Trident Studios engineer Ray Staff (at London’s Air Studios). It will be available on CD and a special, limited edition format of vinyl featuring the new 2012 remaster with a 5.1 mix and high resolution audio on DVD – the DVD features previously unreleased 5.1 and stereo bonus 2003 Ken Scott mixes of Moonage Daydream (instrumental), The Supermen, Velvet Goldmine and Sweet Head.

Paul McCartney's 'Ram' reissue coming

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is an album from a long, long time ago, when the world was different. This is an album that is part of my history - it goes back to the wee hills of Scotland where it was formed. It's an album called RAM. It reminds me of my hippie days and the free attitude with which was created. I hope you're going to like it, because I do!"
- Paul McCartney, 2012

Following the successful recent reissues of McCartney, McCartney II, and this year's Grammy winner for Best Historical Album, "Band on the Run," "RAM" is the latest album from Paul's iconic back catalogue to get the deluxe Paul McCartney Archive Collection treatment.

As with the previous releases in the series, Paul has personally overseen every aspect of the project and the result is spectacular. In keeping with the reissue campaign to date, the Deluxe Edition Box Set is the ultimate collectable for any fan of this album. Its stunningly presented 112-page book, photo prints, handwritten lyrics and notes, four CDs and a bonus film DVD, tells the full story of a classic album that has gone down in music history as one of the most revered in McCartney's catalogue.

"RAM," originally released in May of 1971, is the only album to be credited to both Paul and Linda McCartney and was Paul's second post-Beatles LP. It was overshadowed at the time by the drama of the dissolution of The Beatles, as played out in the world's media.

The album topped the charts hitting #1 in the UK and #2 in the US. While "RAM" polarized critics upon its release, music fans and critics alike since have overwhelmingly embraced it, with Rolling Stone, for example, revising their original review up to 4 stars. Recently, "RAM" has enjoyed even further re-appraisal and acknowledgement including a number of tribute albums.

It was written by Paul and Linda, mostly at their Scottish farm on the Mull of Kintyre. In the autumn of 1970, they flew to New York to start the recording process. Without a band in place they auditioned and drafted musicians, who included future Wings drummer Denny Seiwell and guitarists David Spinozza and Hugh McCracken.

The band completed the album in early 1971 along with non-album tracks "Another Day" and "Oh Woman, Oh Why," which were released together as Paul's first post-Beatles single ahead of the release of "RAM" and became a Top 5 global hit. The multi-disc editions of the reissue include both songs as bonus tracks. The album also gave Paul his first solo US number 1 single with "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" and a Grammy win for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists.

"RAM" was also issued in mono with alternate mixes, which were only made available to radio stations at the time. This version has gone on to become one of the most sought after McCartney collectables. It will now be commercially available for the first time ever on CD as part of the Deluxe Edition as well as a limited run on vinyl.

1977 saw the release of Thrillington, an instrumental interpretation, which was originally recorded in 1971 at London's Abbey Road Studios and arranged by Richard Hewson. It was released under the pseudonym Percy 'Thrills' Thrillington, an unknown eccentric socialite who often cropped up in mysterious newspaper classifieds. In reality, Percy was a character devised by Paul and Linda. The idea behind it was simply to have some fun and the concept of doing a full orchestral album was an ambition long held by Paul.

The additional film content features previously unreleased and exclusive content including the brand-new documentary, "Ramming" narrated by Paul, as well as the original music videos for "Heart Of The Country" and "3 Legs".

The remastering work was done at Abbey Road using the same team who recently remastered the complete Beatles' catalogue.

"RAM" will be available across a variety of different formats:

Standard Edition: 1 CD digipak
Single disc, digitally remastered 12- track standard edition

Special Edition: 2 CD digipak
Remastered album and 8-track bonus audio CD including rarities, b-sides and the hit single, "Another Day".

Deluxe Edition Box Set: 4 CD/1 DVD box set & download
Remastered album, bonus audio CD, remastered Mono album, Thrillington CD, bonus film DVD, 112 page book, 5 prints in vintage style photographic wallet, 8 full size facsimiles of Paul's original handwritten lyric sheets and mini photographic book of outtakes from the original album cover photo shoot.

Hi-Res: 24bit 96kHz files of the remastered and bonus audio CD, accessed via a download code inserted on a card within the deluxe edition package.

Vinyl: 2LP 180gm, gatefold vinyl with download
Remastered album, bonus audio disc plus digital download of all 20 tracks

Limited Edition Mono Vinyl: 1LP
Remastered mono album

Digital: "RAM" will be available for download across a variation of digital configurations including Mastered for iTunes and High Resolution

Squeeze live vinyl album; U.S. tour

UK pop legends Squeeze will return to the States in April for select dates, including their debut performances at Coachella and an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show on April 17.

The band also has a limited-edition white vinyl package, Live at the Fillmore, due out April 14 through Anchor and Hope Music that will be available only at the band's US tour dates and through their website, 

Recorded at the Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco in 2010 and mixed by Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Rolling Stones), the album contains hits and fan favorites, a download card for all 20 tracks and a bonus download card for Squeeze's 2010 release "Spot the Difference/Greatest Hits," as well as a "Spot The Difference" tour poster and Squeeze sticker.

"Live at the Fillmore" will be available digitally through iTunes, Amazon and eMusic on April 17. 

Squeeze's "Spot the Difference," studio recordings of their hits done so faithfully that the band dared you to "spot the difference," brought the band back into the spotlight.

Now the subject of a major BBC documentary in the works, songwriters Difford and Tilbrook are also working on the first new Squeeze material in over 15 years.

Squeeze "Live at the Fillmore" track listing

1-Take Me I'm Yours
2-Annie Get Your Gun
3-Black Coffee in Bed
4-When The Hangover Strikes
6-If It's Love
7-It's So Dirty
8-Goodbye Girl
9-Hope Fell Down
10-If I Didn't Love You
11-Cool For Cats
12-Is That Love
13-Someone Else's Heart
14-Mumbo Jumbo
15-Up The Junction
17-Slap And Tickle
19-Another Nail in My Heart
20-Pulling Mussels (from the Shell)

Squeeze US Tour 2012


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bonus Q&A with the band Cults

Here is more from my interview with the band's Brian Oblivion...

Q: I saw the band live last October when you opened for Foster the People. Was that a good tour?
We’d never played venues that size before. On our own tour this time, we’re doing some of the same places. Now it’s a lot less scary than it would’ve been. It’s crazy to watch those guys’ progress. Mark is now the most famous person I’ve ever met. 

Q: Since you’ve been headlining, have you expanded the setlist and visual presentation?
Yeah. That was the whole point of doing this tour; to do one more lap of the country the way we always wanted to do it.

Q: Are you still using the old black and white movie clips on a screen at the shows like I saw in Pomona?
It’s much more sophisticated now. Back then, we basically pressed play on a DVD player. This time, we have a guy who’s a band member performing with us in a different way every night. It makes it more fun for us to have that dialogue with the visuals.

Q: Do you choose the visuals in regards to the songs’ different moods?
Yeah. We’ve definitely expanded the ways we play the songs. We have moments that change throughout shows. If we didn’t change the songs up, we’d be really bored by now. Any time someone has an idea to do something different; we’re always receptive to that because the live experience is so much different than the studio record.

Q: How have things changed for the band since the album came out last summer?
It’s been a crazy, amazing year. We just got back from Australia; we played Switzerland. It’s been an insane world trek. We’re just excited that we’ve been able to keep up with the pace of it and that we can do this last tour and start it all over again.

Q: Has the working relationship with ITNO/Columbia and Lily Allen met your expectations?
We’re a record company’s dream and nightmare because we do everything ourselves. We coordinate our own videos; we do our own posters and album artwork. We do most of our songs at home without use for a studio. Our relationship with the record label is really just ‘give me money’ [laughs]. It’s easy for us to deal with people because we go it going on our own. The reason we signed with them is they’re happy to let us do what we want. We don’t really get restricted, so that’s great.

Q: When you first started to make this album, did you have any goals in mind?
We had no idea what we were doing. I’d never been on tour longer than San Diego to Portland. We had no idea how a band works as a business entity or on an international scale. We had no expectations about anything that was going to happen. But that’s a nice way to go about it because then you kind of make it up as you go along. And that’s what we we’re been doing. There’s no formula.

Q: You’ve already started writing for the follow up. How far along are you into it?
We’re like 15 songs in on that. Last time we wrote 23 songs for the 11 that got picked. This time, I think we’re going to write about 40. It’s a lot easier to write songs now that we’ve gone on tour so much and become better musicians ourselves. It’s liberating to be able to play more and show off on the new recordings.

Q: In one prediction of the new sound, you’d described it as ‘Nancy Sinatra meets Squarepusher.’ Do you still stick to that?
[laughs] I don’t know. It’s always a battle for us between the guitar and electronic beats. It sways back and forth all the time. For us, the album is just starting to come into focus. I think I’d say we’re trying to make a dance record without dance beats and a funk record without funk music. 

Q: Last December, you both guested on an episode of “You Gabba Gabba.” How was that experience?
I was a big fan of that show and saw performances, so I knew it well. They asked us two days before we had to be in LA. It was like, ‘how are we gonna make this happen?’ We just showed up and did the whole track in the morning and then shot it in the afternoon. By nighttime, we were on a plane back to New York. It was really special because Madeline’s little brother is 5 and that’s his favorite show. We got to watch it with him, which was really cool.

The Smiths individual remasters due out in U.S.

A quarter century after The Smiths’ final studio album, the band has become one of Britain’s most influential groups.

Thanks to the dynamic of Johnny Marr’s musical genius, Morrissey’s lyricism, Andy Rourke's bass and Mike Joyce's drum work, the band is often cited as the key precursor to the Britpop movement.

Last fall, The Smiths’ entire catalog, recently remastered by Marr, was released in the boxed set Complete.

On April 3, each individual album from that set will be released on CD from Rhino Records, including all four studio albums – The Smiths (1984), Meat Is Murder (1985), The Queen Is Dead (1986), Strangeways, Here We Come (1987) – their sole live album, Rank (1988) – and three fan-favorite compilations: Hatful Of Hollow (1984), The World Won’t Listen (1987) and Louder Than Bombs (1987).

Johnny Marr and engineer Frank Arkwright remastered all eight albums using the original tape sources. Each album, several of which were previously out-of-print, will be available at physical retail outlets.

This marks the first time that The World Won’t Listen will be released on CD in the U.S.

An interview with the band Cults

photo by Martin Sanmiguel
My interview originally appeared at 

Cults continues its California tour this week with shows in Hollywood tomorrow, Pomona on Friday, Santa Barbara on Saturday and Santa Ana on Tuesday. 

For more info:

 A sense of mystery surrounds Cults.

The Brooklyn-based duo’s self-titled album includes photos where their faces are obscured by long hair and others displaying mass cult rituals.

Then there’s the pair’s alluring alt-pop, which deftly combines an affinity for 1960s girl group music with dialogue snippets from past notorious cult figures like The Rev. Jim Jones.

“That was a conceptual thing we came up with for the songs on our first 7” single,” explained multi-instrumentalist Brian Oblivion, via phone, before a visit to Disney World.

“We were already fascinated with that idea after working on some projects for school about mass mind control and alternative religions. Pulling those quotes out was something we did from memory…it’s just part of our personality.”

Foreboding undercurrents also seep into Cults’ music videos. On “You Know What I Mean,” a guy makes a death defying leap and catches fire as evil-looking townsfolk watch.

Director Isaiah Seret, who also helmed Cults’ memorable “Forrest Gump”-styled “Go Outside” clip, initially “sent us a plotline that was more romantic,” said Oblivion. “It didn’t have the dramatic aspects and twists like the burning scene. We emailed him back and said, ‘you’re not going to freak us out if you go weirder.”

Oblivion – whose stage name pays homage to 1983 David Cronenberg flick “Videodrome” - and lead singer Madeline Follin were born in San Francisco, but have local roots. He grew up in Encinitas and went to Torrey Pines High School; she was raised near North Park and attended San Diego High.

As a teen, Oblivion and “the people I grew up with in North County idolized the old guard of the ‘90s music scene like Drive Like Jehu, Heavy Vegetable, Rocket From the Crypt, Pinback. Those guys made a really big stamp on San Diego, for sure. Even today, it endures. There’s a lot of really amazing bands from San Diego now whether people talk about it or not.”

He fondly recalls hanging out and catching shows at SDSU’s Che Café. “I wouldn’t be playing music today” if it wasn’t for the venue. “It’s constantly in danger. We’ve been talking about ways we can help them make money. There was a place called The Scene; I saw Blonde Redhead and Mars Volta there when I was in seventh grade. That was a game changer too.”

Having played with Follin’s brother Richie in short-lived stoner metal band Barracks, he met her at House of Blues San Diego, where Richie’s band Willowz had a gig. Coincidentally, they were both headed to film school in New York City.

“We hit it off personally and lived together for a year before we started making music” in 2010. They posted songs on unsigned musician web site Bandcamp and put out singles through a couple indie labels. 

The debut album was released last summer on UK pop star Lily Allen’s ITNO/Columbia Records imprint and co-produced Cults and Shane Stoneback (Sleigh Bells). Follin’s stepdad Paul Kostabi, a founding member of White Zombie, provided additional studio assistance.

Several songs (“Most Wanted,” “Go Outside”) are rife with glockenspiel, Farfisa organ and a dense, reverb-laden sheen inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

“That was definitely the jumping off point,” noted Oblivion.”

Follin’s sugary vocals often bring to mind Sarah Cracknell of St. Etienne and such influences as the Shangri-Las and Lesley Gore. Closer examination of the lyrics reveals a dark subject matter and attitude (“Never Heal Myself,” “Bumper”).

The upbeat latter tune, co-written by The Shins member Richard Swift, is a quarrelling call and response duet complete with electric guitar freak out. 

“We were going for Ike & Tina Turner, but we needed to scream it a little louder. We’re big fans of kitsch and like a lot of late ‘50s/early ‘60s songs that tell really campy stories. That’s one thing we realized about each other early on.”

Being romantically involved and living together makes for an efficient songwriting process.

“I always compare it to an assembly line. I’ll be in one room working on music for hours and get to the point where I’m happy enough and send it over to Madeline. She’ll listen, put finishing touches on and write the lyrics. When she’s finished doing that, I usually have another song ready. So we just keep going back and forth. It’s so easy to get stuff done quickly.”

Although Oblivion said the next album is “just starting to come into focus,” they have several songs already written and a new recording space in Brooklyn. “We’re going to work more with a full band and real string players and have more time to experiment.”

Having completed a tour last fall opening for Foster the People, Cults is glad to be headlining with a more sophisticated presentation.

“We’ve got a visual artist for projections and lighting.” The expanded setlist features their take on Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows,” a choice made after much debate.

“It’s always a big statement as a band. We could never really find the right cover until that one.” 

Follin’s five-year-old brother is now a true Cults fan thanks to their appearance on an episode of his favorite TV show “Yo Gabba Gabba” this past December. 

“That was probably the coolest thing we’ve ever done. We were walking around and couldn’t believe it was real.”

James Morrison album discount today; U.S. tour starts next month

James Morrison's latest album The Awakening is today's MP3 daily deal on in the U.S. for $3.99. 

This past January, I had an opportunity to check out Morrison during a special invite-only gig at the Sayers Club in Hollywood, Calif. Performing on acoustic guitar with a stellar band (including a drummer on a cocktail kit and two female backing vocalists), his 50-minute set was very soulful and charming.

The Brit made the biggest impact on the funky "Slave to the Music" (which he said was inspired by a dream involving Michael Jackson), the Motown vibe of "Nothing Ever Hurt Like You," quietly dramatic "Person I Should Have Been" and exuberant closer, "Wonderful World."   

Now the BRIT Award-nominated singer James Morrison is gearing up for a full American headlining tour in support of the international chart topping album released through Universal Republic.

Morrison’s third full-length studio effort debuted at #1 in the UK, has sold more than a million copies worldwide and produced a U.S. hit with “I Won’t Let You Go.” The accompanying music video has had more then 19 million views.

On that recent visit to the States in January, Morrison's performance on The Today Show yielded a 661% sales jump for the album. 

Visit for more info.

Tour dates: 

29 Neptune Theatre Seattle, WA
30 Aladdin Theater Portland, OR

2 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA
3 Avalon Hollywood Los Angeles, CA
5 Humphrey’s San Diego, CA
8 Fox Theatre Boulder, CO
9 Granada Theatre Lawrence, KS
10 Fitzgerald Theater St. Paul, MN
12 Cannery Ballroom Nashville, TN
14 World Café Life Philadelphia, PA
15 Webster Hall New York , NY
16 930 Club Washington, DC
19 Royale Boston, MA

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Neil Young & Crazy Horse album news

Not exactly what some people expected from the next release with Crazy Horse, but then when does Young do the expected? Read on for more info from the press release...

Neil Young & Crazy Horse will release Americana on June 5. It is the first album from the band in nearly nine years. Crazy Horse is: Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, Poncho Sampedro and Neil Young.

The collection of classic American folk songs have been referred to as "protest songs," "murder ballads" or campfire-type songs passed down with universal, relatable tales for everyman.

Some of these compositions like "Tom Dooley" and "Oh Susannah," were written in the 1800s, while others, like "This Land Is Your Land" (utilizing the original, widely misinterpreted "deleted verses") and "Get A Job," are mid-20th-century folk classics.

"God Save The Queen," Britain's national anthem, also became the de facto national anthem of sorts before the establishment of The Union as we know it until we came to adopt our very own "The Star Spangled Banner," which has been recognized for use as early as 1889 and made our official national anthem in 1931.

Each of these compositions is very much part of the fabric of our American heritage; the roots of what we think of as "Americana" in cultural terms, using songs as a way of passing along information and documenting our past.

What ties these songs together is the fact that while they may represent an America that may no longer exist, the emotions and scenarios behind these songs still resonate with what's going on in the country today with equal, if not greater impact nearly 200 years later. The lyrics reflect the same concerns and are still remarkably meaningful to a society going through economic and cultural upheaval, especially during an election year. They are just as poignant and powerful today as the day they were written.

Young has penned brief historical details about each of the songs. Americana was produced by Young, John Hanlon and Mark Humphreys. 

Track listing:

Oh Susannah
Tom Dooley
Gallows Pole
Get A Job
Travel On
High Flyin' Bird
She'll Be Comin 'Round The Mountain
This Land Is Your Land
Wayfarin' Stranger
God Save The Queen

The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine' movie+soundtrack to be reissued

Here's some exciting news for Fab Four fans...

The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been digitally restored for DVD and Blu-ray release on May 28 (May 29 in North America).  The film’s songtrack album will be reissued on CD on the same date.
Currently out of print, the film has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time. Due to the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork, no automated software was used in the digital clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. It was all done by hand, frame by frame.
Bonus features for the Yellow Submarine DVD and Blu-ray include a short making-of documentary titled “Mod Odyssey,” the film’s original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos.

Both Digipak packages will include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet with a new essay by Yellow Submarine aficionado John Lasseter (CCO, Walt Disney/Pixar Animation Studios).
Lasseter writes in his essay, “As a fan of animation and as a filmmaker, I tip my hat to the artists of Yellow Submarine, whose revolutionary work helped pave the way for the fantastically diverse world of animation that we all enjoy today.”
Yellow Submarine, based upon a song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is propelled by Beatles songs including “Eleanor Rigby,” “When I’m Sixty Four,” “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “It’s All Too Much.”

When the film debuted in 1968, it was recognized as a landmark achievement, revolutionizing a genre by integrating the freestyle approach of the era with innovative animation techniques.
Inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling Pop Art styles of Andy Warhol, Martin Sharp, Alan Aldridge and Peter Blake. With art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann, Yellow Submarine is a classic of animated cinema, featuring the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes with a team of animators and technical artists.
“I thought from the very beginning that the film should be a series of interconnected shorts” remembers Edelmann.  “The style should vary every five minutes or so to keep the interest going until the end.”

These styles included melding live-action photography with animation, 3-dimensional sequences and kaleidoscopic “rotoscoping” where film is traced frame by frame into drawings.  The entire process took nearly two years, 14 different scripts, 40 animators and 140 technical artists, ultimately producing a groundbreaking triumph of animation.
On April 24, Candlewick Press will release a new, compact hardcover edition of the Yellow Submarine picture book, a read-aloud journey for the whole family. Featuring the lighthearted wit of the film’s script alongside original artwork from the movie that has charmed children and adults through several generations, the beautiful, 40-page book will be sold by retailers everywhere and on the Beatles Store (

An interactive digital version of the book is also available as a free download on Apple's iBookstore for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch at