Monday, October 27, 2014

Luke Bryan, Lee Brice, Cole Swindell concert review: Hollywood, Calif.

photo by Drew A. Kelly
A version of my review appeared at

Luke Bryan's first appeared on country radio in 2007 with his top 5 charter, "All My Friends Say." Saturday night, he performed with two such pals, who also just happened to be the opening acts.    

Cole Swindell assisted during a spirited “This Is How We Roll,” the No. 1 single they co-wrote with Florida Georgia Line and the pair comfortably worked both sides of the Hollywood Bowl stage.

Over the weekend in SoCal, Bryan finished his latest mammoth tour in support of 2013’s double platinum-selling “Crash My Party.”
Launched in January, the jaunt – primarily with Swindell and Lee Brice – encompassed three stadiums. Bryan and Brice also played at last spring’s Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif. Meanwhile, the “Party” album has spawned five Top 10 country singles.

At the Bowl, some fans held up colorful signs; others wore bright attire (one man was spotted in a sparkly confederate flag vest). 

Once the lights went down, orchestral music and blaring rock guitars heightened the anticipation level. An introductory scene featured Bryan shooting a flaming arrow. It proved to be an apt illustration for the sold-out gig, in which he hit the bull’s-eye with a high-energy 18-song performance that was basically wall-to-wall hits (“Roller Coaster,” “Play It Again,” “Do I,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”) and provided plenty of hip-shaking heat (“That’s My Kind of Night,” “Rain is a Good Thing”) for the ladies.

Bryan’s top-notch production values and band ably held fans' attention. Even an extended segment during which he impressively played piano didn’t appear to prompt a massive exodus.

Standouts included a good-natured duet with Lee Brice on “Crazy Girl” (which the opening act penned for Eli Young Band and joined Bryan for a swig of tequila), their feisty pairing on Alabama’s “Mountain Music,” the reflective pedal steel-infused “We Rode in Trucks,” a dramatic “Drink a Beer” (Bryan sat on a makeshift picket fence strumming acoustic guitar as gorgeous swamp imagery was projected behind him) and the appropriately hyper main set closer, “I Don’t Want This Night to End.” The latter found both Bryan and fans jumping around amid the usual segue into Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.”

photo by Joseph Lanes
Backed by a six-piece band including an organ player and percussionist, Brice’s 45-minute set featured plenty of hard rock flourishes and a needless drum solo. “Parking Lot Party” delivered a rowdy vibe, later heightened by the simple sentiment of the bluesy, harmonica-driven “Beer.” Then Brice chugged down a can. 

Yet the burly denim clad singer fared best when he downshifted into more soulful territory on “Hard to Love,” got closer to the audience for sensitive ballad “A Woman Like You” and a passionate “I Drive Your Truck” (all three went to No.1; the latter saw fans hoist an American flag).

The conversational relationship advice of “Love Like Crazy” saw him nail its wailing chorus with ease. “Drinking Class,” an inspiring ode to the working man, also struck a strong chord with the crowd. Backdrop screen images of smokestacks, blue collar welders, etc., was a nice touch.

Returning for an encore, Brice dedicated recent heartfelt chart topper "I Don't Dance" to his wife and started it solo before his band carefully joined it. After the uplifting delivery, he truly looked touched by the enthusiastic response.

photo by George A. Paul
Like Bryan, the 31-year-old Swindell also hails from Georgia and is an alumni of the same college and fraternity.

He once handled tour merchandise for Bryan and has co-written several songs that the country superstar recorded ("Beer in the Headlights," "Roller Coaster" among others).

Obviously pleased to be on such a legendary stage like the Hollywood Bowl, Swindell started the solid 25-minute performance with an upbeat and fun "Hey Y'All."

An affable presence throughout, Swindell asked if anyone knew how to do 12 ounce curls before "Brought to You By Beer" (a reference to the song's lyrics). Cowgirls near the front of the stage danced along to “Get Me Some of That,” which the singer penned for Thomas Rhett. 

Swindell's own hit songs from his 2014 self-titled debut album like “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight” (dedicated to our troops serving overseas), “Let Me See Ya Girl” (featuring a soaring chorus) and closer “Chillin’ It” went over mighty well with early arrivals.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Butch Walker upcoming album, tour with Ryan Adams

Butch Walker‘s seventh full-length album Afraid Of Ghosts, will be released Feb. 3 via Dangerbird Records. The production was helmed by Ryan Adams at his PAX AM Studios in LA along with special guests Johnny Depp and Bob Mould. 

A Grammy and CMA-nominated producer and in demand session guitarist (Keith Urban, Panic! At the Disco, Fall OUt Boy, Taylor Swift, P!nk), Walker already unveiled first album track "Chrissie Hynde," wistfully invoking the legendary Pretenders frontwoman.

Now he has shared the album's title track. The track is available on iTunes as an instant-grat MP3 with the album pre-order. He has joined Adams on the road this fall for a nationwide tour, the latest dates follow:

11/6: Indianapolis, IN @ The Murat Theatre
11/8: Columbus, OH @ Palace Theatre
11/9: Detroit, MI @ Fillmore Detroit
11/11: Cleveland, OH @ State Theatre @ Playhouse Square
11/12: Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
11/15: New York, NY @ Carnegie Hall
11/17: New York, NY @ Carnegie Hall
11/18: Boston, MA @ The Wang Theatre
11/19: Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
11/20: Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre
11/22: New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
11/23: New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom

Paul Rodgers brings R&B to 'Front and Center'

Paul Rodgers will be featured on public television concert series "Front and Center" beginning in mid-November (check local listings).

It was filmed on June 23 at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City. 

The hour-long special features the rock legend alongside the all-star Memphis studio musicians that recorded latest album The Royal Sessions at Memphis’ Royal Studios. They perform classic soul and R&B songs.

"'Front and Center' was special indeed,” said Rodgers. “They provided a dazzling setting for all the Royal Session musicians from Memphis and myself to dig into the tracks from the album. Visually and aurally the show came off beyond my expectation. Everyone worked together to capture the same magic that we captured and recorded on the album. Absolutely a night in my life to remember and I'm thrilled that we can share it with the fans.”

Onstage, Rodgers is accompanied by The Royal Sessions musicians: Reverend Charles Hodges Sr. (Hammond B3), Leroy Hodges Jr. (bass), Archie “Hubby” Turner (Wurlitzer), Michael Toles (guitar), Steve Potts (drums).

Additionally, Rodgers was joined by The Royal Singers, three soulful, gospel-rooted vocalists, including Shontelle Norman, Sharisse Norman and Stefanie Bolton, and The Memphis Horns: Marc Franklin (trumpet), James L. Spake (baritone sax), Gary Topper (tenor sax), and Lannie McMillan Jr. (tenor sax).

Check local listings for specific Paul Rodgers on Front and Center airdates/times. Here are the SoCal ones:

Los Angeles, CA KLCS Friday, November 14th at 10PM
Los Angeles, CA PBS SoCal Sunday, November 16th at 8PM
San Bernardino, CA KVCR Saturday, November 29th at 10PM

On Nov. 3, Rodgers will return to the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, for a special show of The Royal Sessions, alongside classic hits from his catalog. This concert will see Paul Rodgers joined by Reverend Charles Hodges Sr., Leroy Hodges Jr., Michael Toles, Archie "Hubby" Turner, Steve Potts and the talented members of The Royal Singers and The Royal Horns.

More world tour dates for One Direction

One Direction has added dates for its 2015 stadium world tour, which will see the band perform in Australia, Japan and South East Asia in support of their new album Four (to be released Nov. 17).

The North American tour kicks off next July in San Diego. The additional dates go on sale Nov. 1 at

Group member Niall comments, “We could not be more excited about the new tour. We’ve started rehearsing songs from the new album and can’t wait for the fans to hear them live. We’re just so very thankful to our amazingly loyal fans - they make it possible for us to play in these incredible places and continue to surprise us every day with their unwavering support.”

Fans will have access to a pre-sale by visiting the band’s Facebook page on Oct. 29. Citi card members have access to pre-sale tickets now through Citi's Private Pass Program. For complete pre-sale details, visit Additional details are available at

The music video for the band’s lead single "Steal My Girl" premiered today. It features veteran actor Danny Devito ("Taxi").

Four will be released globally on Nov. 17 via Syco/Columbia Records. Fans can receive the band's first single “Steal My Girl” instantly if they pre-order the deluxe album on iTunes:

(subject to change)

6/10/15 Vienna, Austria – Ernst Happel Stadion
6/13/15 Brussels, Belgium – King Baudouin Stadium
6/16/15 Horsens, Denmark – CASA Arena
6/19/15 Oslo, Norway – Ullevaal Stadion
6/23/15 Gothenburg, Sweden – Ullevi Stadium
6/27/15 Helsinki, Finland – Olympiastadion

7/9/15 San Diego, CA – Qualcomm Stadium
7/11/15 San Francisco, CA – Levi's Stadium (on sale Nov. 14)
7/15/15 Seattle, WA – CenturyLink Field
7/26/15 Minneapolis, MN – TCF Bank Stadium
7/28/15 Kansas City, MO – Arrowhead Stadium
7/31/15 Indianapolis, IN – Lucas Oil Stadium
8/2/15 Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field
8/5/15 East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium
8/8/15 Baltimore, MD – M&T Bank Stadium
8/18/15 Columbus, OH – Ohio Stadium
8/23/15 Chicago, IL – Soldier Field
8/25/15 Milwaukee, WI – Miller Park
8/27/15 Cleveland, OH – FirstEnergy Stadium
8/29/15 Detroit, MI – Ford Field
9/1/15 Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
9/3/15 Buffalo, NY – Ralph Wilson Stadium
9/12/15 Boston, MA – Gillette Stadium

New live set on tap for YES

The band YES will release Like it Is - YES at the Bristol Hippodrome via Frontiers Music on
Dec. 9.

Available in 2CD/DVD, Blu-ray and digital formats, it encompasses two of the band’s albums, 1971’s The YES Album and 1977’s Going For The One, as they were performed live on the band’s recent world tour.

Says guitarist Steve Howe, "Playing complete albums is a great way to hear the development of YES music and relive the familiar transitions from one track to another.” 

“'Going For The One' is a wonderfully diverse set of songs, whilst 'The Yes Album' contains the most ‘played live’ songs in the career of the band,” he continues.

See track listing below.

“These are two bodies of music that many of the most devout YES fans wanted to hear in their entirety,” adds keyboardist Geoff Downes. “I believe our performance at the Bristol Hippodrome was among the most compelling of the entire tour.”

Watch a snippet of “Starship Trooper” here:

Track listing:

Going For The One
Turn Of The Century
Wonderous Stories
Yours Is No Disgrace
The Clap
Starship Trooper
I’ve Seen All Good People
A Venture
Perpetual Change

YES is currenly:

Chris Squire, bass
Steve Howe, guitars
Alan White, drums
Geoff Downes, keyboards
Jon Davison, vocals

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Placebo heads to Los Angeles on Friday

Placebo wraps up a brief North American tour – the first since 2007 – on Friday at Club Nokia in Los Angeles.

Last year, the London based alt-rock band put out its acclaimed seventh album Loud Like Love via Universal Music Enterprises.

A success throughout Europe and Asia, it reached the top five in 10 countries, including a few No. 1 entries.

Together since the mid-1990s, the trio has sold more than 12 million records worldwide and is best known Stateside for a pair of top 40 hits on modern rock radio: “Pure Morning” (1998) and “Infra-Red” (2006). They’ve racked up 10 UK top 20 hits, plus several others to date.     

In a video interview accompanying the latest album’s release, Brian Molko said that the lyrics this time around touched upon addiction and social media, but that he wrote about people rather than those specific things. Essentially, the singer/guitarist concentrated on relationships and how people relate to each other.

“First track ‘Loud Like Love’ is sort of celebratory, but then it gets dark from track 2, onwards. I think we’re just attracted to melancholy and dysfunction in general. It’s more interesting to write about.”

The unusual, riveting music video for first single “Too Many Friends” was directed by Saman Kesh and features narration by American author Bret Easton Ellis (Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, American Psycho).

Provocative as always, highlights amid the solid collection include a haunting “Exit Wounds,” an intriguing, Radiohead-esque “Begin the End” (which clocks in at six minutes and finds Molko calmly signing, “knock me off my feet like heroin”), the dramatic, string-laden “Bosco” and propulsive title track.

Placebo plays Oct. 24 at Club Nokia in LA. Tickets for the 9 p.m. show are $43.50 and available through The Moth & The Flame opens. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pixies' 'Doolittle' to get deluxe treatment

Having seen the band perform at Coachella 2 Festival last spring, I'm really looking forward to hearing this...

To mark its 25th anniversary, 4AD Records will release Pixies: Doolittle 25, a deluxe, three-disc package that brings together for the first time all of the album's B-sides, Peel Sessions and demos from the time, along with the original album.

Nearly half of the tracks on this album are being commercially released for the first time. Set for a December 2, 2014 North American in-store date, Pixies: Doolittle 25 will be available in CD and all digital formats, as well as a double-vinyl edition that features all of the B-sides, Peel Sessions and demos.

Doolittle, the second studio album from Pixies - Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering - was to prove a pivotal moment for both band and the wider scene. For the few years prior, the band had enjoyed cult status in their homeland with their early records having to find their way to the U.S. on import. In 1989 their British label (4AD) joined forces with American giant Elektra for Doolittle to receive a full domestic release.

Produced by Gil Norton in late 1988, Doolittle was an instant hit containing some of the band's most memorable singles ("Monkey Gone To Heaven," "Here Comes Your Man," "Debaser"). A slow-burn success story followed, helping them to sell in excess of a million copies in the U.S. alone.

The band toured Doolittle in 2009 to celebrate its 20th birthday and five years on from then, it's now time to give it the deluxe release treatment it deserves.

The three-CD Pixies: Doolittle 25 contains 50 tracks with the original album on disc one, two full Peel Sessions and six B-sides on disc two, and the complete album in demo form plus seven bonus tracks on disc three. A gatefold two-LP version is also being released, with two pieces of 180g black vinyl being pressed - the first containing six B-sides and two full Peel Sessions and the second being the album in complete demo form plus three bonus tracks. A download card is included, offering access to all LP tracks plus four more bonus tracks.

Like all other Pixies sleeves before it, Vaughan Oliver returns to oversee its design, reinterpreting his original artwork and Simon Larbalestier's photographs to create a stunning new design using metallic ink.

New round of U.S. tour dates for Sam Smith

Sam Smith will return to the U.S. again for his first arena and theatre tour starting Jan. 9, 2015, and hit venues such as Madison Square Garden in New York City on Jan. 15 and The Forum in Los Angeles on Jan. 30.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Oct. 24 at 10am EST. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public now through Oct. 23 at 10 pm EST.

It was only a year ago Smith played his first show in the U.S. – at the Mercury Lounge in New York City.

In that short time, his incredible ascent will see him take the stages of the some of the most prestigious high capacity venues in the country.

“It’s been my dream to play some of these venues,” said Smith. “I’m so appreciative of how American audiences have embraced my music. I’m thrilled to come back to the U.S. again. This is starting to feel like home!”

Smith’s fast-paced trajectory is attributed to his undeniable, and immense talent. His album In The Lonely Hour debuted at No. 1 in the UK and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., and remained in the Top 10 for 13 weeks.

That album claimed the record for the highest first week sales for a UK male artist in the soundscan era and currently has surpassed sales of 2.8 million adjusted units worldwide. Most recently, the album climbed back up to No. 1 in the UK once again, while it has remained in the Top 5 since release, 20 weeks ago. Additionally, In The Lonely Hour reentered the Top 10 in the U.S. this week.

While “Stay With Me” has become a mainstay at mainstream radio, Smith’s current single “I’m Not The Only One” is on the same path. The moving accompanying video features Dianna Agron (Glee) and Chris Messina (The Mindy Show), playing out a heartrending tale of betrayal amongst a married couple, following the songs’ candid lyrical content.

Most recently, Smith was nominated for two American Music Awards in the categories of New Artist of the Year and Favorite Male Artist Pop/Rock.


January 9 Atlanta, Ga. Fox Theatre
January 10 Nashville, Tenn. Grand Ole Opry House
January 12 Fairfax, Va. Patriot Center
January 13 Philadelphia, Pa. The Liacouras Center
January 15 New York, N.Y. Madison Square Garden
January 17 Boston, Mass. Agganis Arena
January 19 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
January 20 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
January 22 Detroit, Mich. Masonic Temple Theatre
January 23 Chicago, Ill. UIC Pavilion
January 24 St. Paul, Minn. Roy Wilkins Auditorium
January 26 Broomfield, Colo. 1st Bank Center
January 30 Los Angeles, Calif. The Forum
January 31 San Francisco, Calif. Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
February 2 Seattle, Wash. Key Arena
February 4 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena

BoDeans singer goes solo

Sam Llanas, formerly of the BoDeans, will release his new album The Whole Night Thru on Nov. 18 via Llanas Music.

The guitar-driven collection was produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin and features nine Llanas originals.

With a career spanning decades, Llanas is continuing his solo pilgrimage after 25 years with the band he co-founded. His 12th studio album and third major solo effort, The Whole Night Thru, blends roots rock styles and more.

Work began in 2013 with Llanas began completing The Whole Night Thru in Milwaukee with producer-musician Tanin, who had also worked on the singer-songwriter’s previous solo efforts, A Good Day To Die, 4 A.M. (The Way Home) and 4/5 Live - Vol. I.

Milwaukee musicians Sean Williamson, Matt Turner and Ryan Schiedermayer contributed guitar, bass, drums & percussion respectively, while Tanin supplied the string arrangements, piano and mellotron on the new recording.

“I’ve always been influenced by what I heard," Llanas revealed. "In the ‘60s, when radio was wide open, you would hear the Beatles and the Stones, Motown Soul and Atlanta Soul, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding and Southern Soul. You’d hear Tom Jones, The Carpenters, Glen Campbell and country artists, you’d hear Johnny Cash and folk. Those songs were all really well-written and well performed.”

Going solo at this point in his career has allowed Llanas to combine the experience of a seasoned professional with the passion of an emerging artist.

As Llanas admits, “I think the best part about being solo has been that I get to express myself completely now. I never got to sing half of these songs, and I always wanted to. I love being able to have that freedom.”


Nov. 7 - WBSD Coffee House - Burlington, WI
Nov. 11 - Turner Hall Ballroom - Milwaukee, WI (w/ Dave Davies)
Nov. 14 - Silver Dome Ballroom - Neillsville, WI
Nov. 15 - Vox Concert Series - Marshfield, WI
Nov. 22 - Wisconsin Conservatory of Music - Milwaukee, WI
Nov. 29 - Aster Café - Minneapolis, MN
Nov. 30 - Aster Café - Minneapolis, MN
Dec. 27 - Shank Hall - Milwaukee, WI (w/ The Delta Routine)

(more dates to be announced soon)

Coldplay's 'Ghost Stories' Live arrives next month

Coldplay have announced the Nov. 24 release of a new concert film and live album, Ghost Stories Live 2014, on DVD/CD, and digital formats.

An exclusive trailer can also be viewed at

Filmed by director Paul Dugdale, the Ghost Stories Live 2014 film documents the band's performance of the Ghost Stories album to a small group of fans in March 2014, two months prior to the album's release. Shot in a custom-built amphitheatre at Sony Studios, Los Angeles, the production sets the band's performance against 360-degree and overhead imagery.

Said Chris Martin: "The 'Ghost Stories' show at Sony Studios was a very special moment for our band. The magic theatre built by our incredible crew with the 360 screens was literally a dream come true. And it was the first time anyone outside of our studio had heard the new songs. This film is basically our original vision for the 'Ghost Stories' album."

Parts of the performance were first broadcast in May 2014 as a Coldplay TV special around the world, including NBC in the US and Sky Arts in the UK (where the film has already been nominated for Best Live Coverage at this year's UK Music Video Awards). But Ghost Stories Live 2014 is the first time that the performance has been sequenced as originally conceived: a visual representation of the Ghost Stories album.

This new release also contains an exclusive Ghost Stories live album, with audio recorded at the band's rapturously-received shows in London, Sydney, Paris, Cologne, New York and Los Angeles between April and July 2014.

The package is completed by eight music videos from the Ghost Stories era, including two never-before-seen films for B-sides All Your Friends and Ghost Story plus the exclusive Extended Director's Cut of the Magic video (with a brand new cameo from Peter Fonda).

Ghost Stories Live 2014 is Coldplay's first DVD release since the Grammy-nominated Live 2012 concert film.

Ghost Stories Live 2014

1. Always In My Head
2. Magic
3. Ink
4. True Love
5. Midnight
6. Another's Arms
7. Oceans
8. A Sky Full Of Stars
9. O

Music videos:

1. Midnight
2. Magic (Extended Director's Cut)
3. A Sky Full Of Stars
4. True Love
5. Ink (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)
6. All Your Friends
7. Ghost Story
8. Always In My Head (Artwork Animation)

Alternate Live Takes:

1. Always In My Head
2. Oceans


1. Always In My Head (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London)
2. Magic (Live at the Enmore Theatre, Sydney)
3. Ink (Live at Le Casino de Paris, Paris)
4. True Love (Live at the Enmore Theatre, Sydney)
5. Midnight (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London)
6. Another's Arms (Live at the Beacon Theatre, New York)
7. Oceans (Live at E-Werk, Cologne)
8. A Sky Full Of Stars (Live at the Royal Albert Hall, London)
9. O (Live at Royce Hall, Los Angeles)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Return of The Church

The Church 25th studio album titled Further/Deeper will be released in North America on Feb. 3, 2015.

Next year also marks the 35th anniversary of the band.

"The magic started on day one," says singer/bass player Steve Kilbey. "Someone strummed a chord or struck a drum or plucked a note and we were off. We wrote and recorded like demons and it was inspiring to feel every member using all his resources in the service of this record."

Ian Haug (Powderfinger) has taken over
guitar duties from Marty Willson-Piper with founding member Peter Koppes. Drummer Tim Powles produced the album with the band. According to Kilbey, Haug has helped the quartet to together discover a new textural dimension and acted as a “blood transfusion that has brought us back to life.”

Twenty-six songs were born over eight days of exploration in Sydney in late 2013. Guitarist Koppes drew palpable inspiration from the quartet's remixed chemistry. "This new incarnation of the band with Ian Haug has brought a joyous energy to the music we've written together," he says. "The rhythm swings more than usual yet the moods still range from melancholy pop to our modern version of heavy psychedelic rock, as in ‘Laurel Canyon’, to the epic gothic-progressive dance track, ‘Globe Spinning’."

From the ominous allure of the lead track, “Vanishing Man,” to the beguiling tippy toes of “Pride Before A Fall;” the chiming keys of “Love Philtre” to the sheer hammer horror “Toy Head;” the exhilarating breeze of “Old Coast Road” and the ultimate, panoramic drama of the mini-screenplay that is “Miami,” Further/Deeper, delivers on the promise of its title in a combined blossoming of melody, rhythm and audacity.

For Haug, transitioning from the multi-platinum ashes of his previous band Powderfinger to join "one of my favorite bands of all time" was an utterly surreal experience, audibly expressed in fantastic new dimensions of the church's fabled ‘guitarchitecture’."

"The first song we wrote was ‘Miami,’ and from there we splintered off into several styles of surreal to intense psychedelia — and songs to make you drive fast," he says. "It was a trip. And an incredible honor to be accepted so readily into a songwriting as well as guitar-playing role."

Drummer Powles was again instrumental in the painstaking alchemy that boiled the explosion of ideas down to 12 potent pieces in the early months of 2014, a process that often saw members working simultaneously in separate studios across multiple instruments to produce a work of singular cohesion.

"After an eternal twenty years in The Church I marvel more than ever at how we've become masters of our own freedom," he says. "No strings attached, no view to winning a prize. How lucky are we? Or have we earned it? We've got better at it too. Or maybe it's got the better of us. It seems to devour us. Like magic."

The first taste of Further/Deeper comes in the form of the track “Pride Before A Fall.” The ballad introduces us to the next step in the church's sound, and while embracing the signature psych leanings fans have come to know and love, 'Pride Before A Fall' is proof that the band are making music that is both futuristic and relevant.

A North American tour is in the works with details to be announced shortly.

Track Listing:

Vanishing Man
Pride Before A Fall
Toy Head
Laurel Canyon
Love Philtre
Globe Spinning
Old Coast Road
Lightning White
Let Us Go

The Bangles rarities coming

Having interviewed and reviewed The Bangles members over the past couple years, I'm really looking forward to hearing this. Really wish there was a physical release though...

The Bangles have announced the release of Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bangles!, on their own label, DownKiddie! Records, available for digital download at all major music outlets starting Nov. 27 (Thanksgiving Day).

Hand-selected by the band members from their personal music archives,
Ladies and Gentlemen…The Bangles! is a 16-track collection of re-mastered 80's-era rarities, demos, live recordings and more, including the Bangles’ debut single and all of the tracks from their self-titled EP - produced Craig Leon – unavailable since its initial release on vinyl in 1982.

Encompassing the very first years of the band’s development, from their earliest days as the “Bangs” to their incarnation as the Bangles, the tracks include performances by the Bangles’ founding and current members - Susanna Hoffs, Debbi Peterson, and Vicki Peterson - as well as now-retired bassist Michael Steele, and the band’s original bass player Annette Zilinskas.

"We’re so pleased to give our fans and music lovers alike the chance to enjoy the early fruits of our labor. Some of these tracks have never seen the light of day,” states Bangles drummer/singer Debbi Peterson.

"We've wanted to make these songs available to a new audience for a long time,” adds singer/guitarist Vicki Peterson. “We’ve thrown in a couple of live tracks, and even some of the first demos, all lovingly collected and re-mastered, so you no longer have to dig out a cassette player to hear them.”

Singer/guitarist Susanna Hoffs continues, “I feel a very special connection to our early recordings. The garage of my parents' house was our musical laboratory, and we took all the flavors of our favorite bands and mixed up a concoction of jangly guitars, McCartney-inspired bass parts, grooves powered by punk energy, and harmonies galore! These songs and recordings were our musical manifesto - all that mattered and inspired us, fueled by youthful energy, hope and blind ambition.”

The Bangles are:

Susanna Hoffs – guitar/vocals
Debbi Peterson – drums/guitar/vocals
Vicki Peterson – guitar/vocals

Track Listing

1. Bitchen Summer/Speedway (The Bangles/Rodney On The Roq: Volume 3, 1982 - S. Hoffs/D. Roback)
2. Getting Out of Hand (The Bangs/debut single A-side, 1981 - V. Peterson)
3. Call on Me (The Bangs/debut single B-side, 1981 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson/ D. Roback)
4. The Real World (The Bangles EP, 1982 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
5. I’m in Line (The Bangles EP, 1982 - D. Peterson/V. Peterson/S. Hoffs)
6. Want You (The Bangles EP, 1982 - V. Peterson)
7. Mary Street (The Bangles EP, 1982 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
8. How is the Air Up There? (The Bangles EP, 1982 - S. Duboff/A. Kornfeld)
9. Outside Chance (unreleased demo, 1981 - W. Zevon)
10. Steppin’ Out (unreleased demo, 1981 - M. Lindsay/Paul Revere & The Raiders)
11. The Real World (unreleased demo, 1981 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
12. Call on Me (unreleased demo, 1981 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson/D. Roback)
13. Tell Me (live performance, Dingwalls London, 1984 - S. Hoffs/V. Peterson)
14. 7 & 7 Is (live performance, The Palace, Hollywood, 1984 - A. Lee)
15. No Mag Commercial (The Bangles, 1982)
16. The Rock & Roll Alternative Program theme song (The Bangles, 1982)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness concert review: Los Angeles

My review originally appeared at 

When musicians perform songs from their former bands live, the results can come across awkwardly if not done carefully.

Yet on Wednesday night at the Fonda Theatre, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness handled their leader’s new and old material seamlessly.  

“It’s crazy weaving all these threads of my life together,” said the singer/pianist, onstage in Hollywood.

He first gained attention during the early 2000s as the teenage front man for popular Dana Point alt-rock band Something Corporate. A little over a decade later came the acclaimed, adult alternative pop-leaning Jack’s Mannequin, which ended two years ago.

McMahon’s latest music endeavor involved various career changes, so “in the wilderness” was added to the new moniker. He penned the songs in a Topanga Canyon shack. They were fleshed out in the Echo Park studio of co-producer/collaborator Mike Viola (who worked on the latest releases by Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis and Matt Nathanson).

Besides a heightened emphasis on atmospheric keyboards, piano and electronic programming (think: The Postal Service and Keane), McMahon’s trademark pop melodies are peppered throughout the excellent self-titled debut album, which arrived this week.

Expansive first single “Cecilia and the Satellite” (inspired by the birth of McMahon’s infant daughter) is currently receiving airplay on KROQ FM. The autobiographical lyric finds McMahon singing how he’s “been around the world with a punk rock band/I’ve seen London and I’ve played Japan.”

Inside the lobby before the Hollywood show, an organization signed up potential bone marrow donors – something of vital importance to McMahon since a transplant helped save his life while battling leukemia. 

Having spent much of the summer opening for Vanguard Records label mate Nathanson and Gavin DeGraw, the band just started a headlining U.S. tour. It winds up Thanksgiving weekend back home here in OC, where McMahon resides with his family again after an extended period living in LA.

A large group of enthusiastic young fans packed the area in front of the Fonda stage and often sang along loudly to the older tunes. Further back, other concertgoers were annoyingly chatty – even during the quiet numbers (something you’d expect at House of Blues).

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness – comprised of former Jack’s Mannequin drummer Jay McMillan and bassist Mikey Wagner (pictured left), plus keyboardist Zac Clark - kicked off their enticing 90-minute set with a strident “Canyon Moon.”

Featuring a soulful chorus live, the first of eight selections performed from the new album was co-written by pop/rock hit maker Sam Hollander and Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin and revolves around a girl trying to escape LA.

The frantic Jack’s Mannequin song “Dark Blue” was slightly revamped with a piercing synth line, while Something Corporate rarity “Watch the Sky” was a pleasant surprise. Before noting, “this was written right around the corner in Echo Park,” McMahon flubbed the lyrics to airy new one, “High Dive” and joked about it.

Gregarious as always and never still at the piano (he briefly jumped into the crowd amid “All Our Lives”), the singer explained the background to several songs. Among the past catalog, “The Resolution” was an early standout. Mannequin selections like “Bruised” and “Crashin’” worked well with tweaked arrangements. SoCo’s “Ruthless” benefitted from McMahon’s more mature sonorous vocals. 

Alone at the piano, his versions of “Holiday From Real” had added gravitas, “Rainy Girl” was quietly effective and the dramatic “Cavanaugh Park” (where the band joined in) was simply stunning.   

Later, “I Woke Up in a Car” sounded quite different minus the original electric guitar, but the synth and brief acapella bit cast it in a fresh new light. McMahon worked both sides of the stage for “Synesthesia.” 

For the encores, the new “Maps for the Getaway” contained a compelling Peter Gabriel vibe, the poppy “La La Lie” saw McMahon impressively handle harmonica and piano (!), and “Cecilia and the Satellite” ended the evening on a kaleidoscopic high. 

Setlist: Canyon Moon/Dark Blue/Watch the Sky/High Dive/Amy, I/The Resolution/Driving Through a Dream/Bruised/Crashin’/Ruthless/All Our Lives/Holiday From Real/Rainy Girl/Cavanaugh Park/Halls/I Woke Up in a Car/Synesthesia

Encore: Maps for the Getaway/La La Lie/Cecilia and the Satellite

All photos by Armando Brown
The band does a hometown show on Nov. 29 at the Observatory in Santa Ana. Tickets are $30. For more information:,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Noel Gallagher sets next spring for new album, tour

I can't wait to hear this. Hope to catch a full gig from the band since I only managed to see their short set at Coachella...

Noel Gallagher has announced the new Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds album Chasing Yesterday
will be released on March 3 via Sour Mash Records. 

First single "In The Heat Of The Moment" is out Nov. 17 digitally and on limited edition 

7" vinyl with B-side "Do The Damage." 

A run of arena dates commences in March (see below) to coincide with the album release. Tickets will go on sale on Oct. 17 at 9 a.m.

Chasing Yesterday marks a new chapter and sound for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. It's the first album to be produced as well as written by Noel and features a broader array of instrumentation On producing the album, Noel said the following during a press conference this week:

"It was a major pain in the arse. It's not that I've ever had people telling me what to write or what direction to go in, but managing sessions from one end of the week to the other proved extremely difficult. I had all these people looking at me and saying: 'right, what are we doing today?' I was making the whole thing up as I went along."

As for "In The Heat Of The Moment," it was inspired by a documentary in which an astronaut said that going into space for the first time feels like touching the face of God. "If that's not an opening line for a song I don't know what is," said Gallagher.

Opening track "Riverman" is an expansive song with several guitar and saxophone solos. Noel said of the track:

"We made a demo of Riverman and we knew it was amazing," "And then I was listening to [sax-laden one-hit wonder from 1974] Pinball by Brian Protheroe and thought: Shall I actually get a saxophone player? And what if I get him to play not one but two solos? I know I'm going to be accused of sax crimes. But fuck it. There's nobody to tell me not to do it. And when you listen to that saxophone, please, don't think about the guy from Spandau Ballet."

The closer, "Ballad Of The Mighty I," sees Johnny Marr join with Noel on guitar duties.

"I tried to get him to play on the last album but it never happened," said Gallagher. "So when I put this track together and knew he would be perfect for it I called him and asked if I could send him the rough mix. He said: 'No, I don't want to hear it. I'm just going to react to it on the day.' He didn't even want any pointers. Well, that was brave of him. He just arrived with two guitars and a bag of effects pedals. And I have to say, he's unbelievable. He's way up there, on another level to the rest of us. The result is a burst of energy that helped make Mighty I one of the best songs I've ever written."

This album follows the huge success of the double platinum eponymous debut album that has sold 770,000 copies to date in the UK alone, and a live schedule that saw Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds visit 32 countries and play 143 shows over a 15 month touring period.

Track listing:

1. Riverman
2. In The Heat Of The Moment
3. The Girl With X-Ray Eyes
4. Lock All The Doors
5. The Dying Of The Light
6. The Right Stuff
7. While The Song Remains The Same
8. The Mexican
9. You Know We Can't Go Back
10. Ballad Of The Mighty I

2015 Tour Dates (additional dates in Europe & U.S. to be announced):

March 3 Belfast Odyssey Arena
March 6 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
March 7 Glasgow The SSE Hydro
March 9 Manchester Arena
March 10 London The O2 Arena

Throwing Copper Unplugged Tour in '15 for LIVE's Ed Kowalczyk

This should be a good tour. I saw him do a partial acoustic set a few years ago in San Bernardino, Calif. and it was impressive...

Ed Kowalczyk, songwriter and former lead singer of the multi-platinum rock band LIVE, announces the first leg of his Throwing Copper Unplugged – 20th Anniversary Tour (see below). 

The Pennsylvania native will appear onstage with a new unplugged production, some of rock's most memorable 1990s anthems and the voice that has attracted legions of fans for more than two decades.

His band Live became one of the most successful and enduring alternative bands of the last 20 years, with more than 20 million albums sold worldwide.

Among this catalog are such modern and active rock radio hits as "Lightning Crashes", "I Alone", "Selling the Drama", "The Dolphin's Cry", "Overcome" and "Heaven" – highly influential to bands that followed. 

In 2010, Kowalczyk released his first solo album Alive, spawning the hit single "Grace", which was followed in 2013 by The Flood and The Mercy, which featured the hit song, "Seven".

For Throwing Copper Unplugged – 20th Anniversary Tour, Kowalczyk will perform an acoustic set that celebrates the 20th anniversary of this seminal Live album, along with a few surprises.

"I'm so excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Throwing Copper in this new unplugged production", Ed says. "Fans can expect to see and hear me like never before!"

Tour dates:

Feb-04 The Center for the Arts Natick, MA
Feb-05 Narrows Center for the Arts Fall River, MA
Feb-06 Flying Monkey Perf. Center Plymouth, NH
Feb-07 The Ridgefield Playhouse Ridgefield, CT
Feb-12 City Winery New York, NY
Feb-13 City Winery New York, NY
Feb-15 Boulton Ctr for the Perf. Arts Bay Shore, NY
Feb-20 Rams Head On Stage Annapolis, MD Sun-Feb-22 Altar Bar Pittsburgh, PA
Feb-24 House of Blues Cleveland, OH
Feb-25 Pasant Theatre at The Wharton Ctr E. Lansing, MI
Feb-27 Blueberry Hill – Duck Room St. Louis, MO
Feb-28 City Winery Chicago, IL
Mar-01 City Winery Chicago, IL
Mar-02 Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, MN

Bob Seger news

Bob Seger’s new studio album, Ride Out, arrives today, eight years after his previous platinum selling album Face The Promise.

Media appearances scheduled as part of this week’s launch include Jimmy Kimmel Live! (today) and The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Oct. 16).

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band have added cities to their Ride Out Tour, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, Toledo, Columbus, Atlanta, Tampa and Ft. Lauderdale. Fan club members will have special access to purchase tickets in advance. For more details visit

The 17th studio album finds Seger lending his signature style to several personal favorites written by other artists, including the driving first track, “Detroit Made” written by John Hiatt, “California Stars” featuring lyrics by Woody Guthrie and music by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Jay Bennett, Steve Earle’s “The Devil’s Right Hand,” and “Adam and Eve” penned by acclaimed Australian singer/songwriters Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson.

“We decided to experiment and have some fun,” Seger recently told The Detroit News, adding, “You can’t go to Nashville as long as we have and not have some….”

Produced by Seger, Ride Out was recorded at Nashville’s historic Ocean Way Recording studios, with backing by Academy of Country Music Guitar Player of the Year 2014 Rob McNelley (who also serves as lead guitarist in Seger’s current live band), bassist Glenn Worf (Mark Knopfler, Tammy Wynette), keyboardist and longtime live guitarist Jim “Moose” Brown (Brad Paisley, Darryl Worley), and drummer Chad Cromwell (Neil Young, Joe Walsh).

Vince Gill lends harmony vocals to “Listen,” while background vocals throughout the album come courtesy of Laura Creamer, Shaun Murphy, and Barbara Payton.

Ride Out is also available in a special deluxe edition featuring three bonus tracks (see attached track listing). The standard album is also released on 180 gram vinyl.


Detroit Made
Hey Gypsy
The Devil’s Right Hand
Ride Out
Adam and Eve
California Stars
It’s Your World
All of The Roads
You Take Me In
Gates of Eden
Listen (Deluxe Album only)
The Fireman’s Talkin’ (Deluxe Album only)
Let The Rivers Run (Deluxe Album only)

RIDE OUT TOUR 2014/2015

Nov 19, 2014 Saginaw, MI The Dow Event Center
Nov 22 Bangor, ME Cross Insurance Center
Nov 24 Halifax, NS Scotiabank Centre
Nov 26 Saint John, NB Saint John Harbour Station
Nov 29 Boston, MA TD Garden
Dec 2 Albany, NY Times Union Center
Dec 4 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
Dec 6 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Dec 9 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
Dec 11 Chicago, IL United Center
Dec 13 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
Dec 17 Buffalo, NY First Niagara Center
Dec 19 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Jan 20, 2015 Toledo, OH Huntington Center
Jan 22 Pittsburgh, PA CONSOL Energy Center
Jan 24 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre
Jan 27 Charleston, WV Charleston Civic Center
Jan 29 Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena

Venue TBA:

Feb 5 Tampa, FL
Feb 7 Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Feb 12 Dallas, TX
Feb 14 Houston, TX
Feb 19 Phoenix, AZ

Feb 27 Los Angeles, CA