Friday, February 28, 2020

Sweden's The Sounds returns with new music, U.S. tour in the spring

“Write as many good songs as possible and enjoy it while you’re on a roll. We had a great time writing this one. No pressure; just having fun,” explains vocalist Maja Ivarsson for Swedish indie rockers THE SOUNDS about the goal for the new album THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE which is set for release on May 1.

“It’s always been about being in the moment and trying to catch a good melody, chord progression or lyrics when it comes to you.” The first single to be released from the album is the title track which can be streamed here.

Maja describes “Safe and Sound” as “having the courage to dive into something new as long as you got that special person right next to you." 

About "Changes," drummer Fredrik says, “I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly but I really like the vibe of [it] - a simple song and all the instruments and vocals just fit together so nicely.”

The band's tour kicks off in late April in Brooklyn, moving onto Washington D.C., Chicago,  Denver, Los Angeles and Las Vegas before heading back overseas for a summer of major headlines and festival appearances.

“It’s gonna be absolutely amazing coming back to the U.S again,” says Maja excitedly. “It feels like coming home. We’ve done almost 20 tours on American soil and we love every bit of it. Great fans, great venues and the good free spirit."

Adds Fredrik, “I’m very excited to return to the U.S. Very very excited! Can’t wait to get back on the road again with my bandmates and our crew. See you there."

Formed in 1998 in Sweden, The Sounds debuted with 2003's Living in America and its breakthrough singles “Seven Days a Week”, "Rock 'n' Roll", and the title track. Fronted by Maja Ivarsson, The Sounds have released several albums, each spawning singles like “Tony the Beat”, "Painted By Numbers", "Song With A Mission", "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake", “Beatbox”, “Something to Die For”, “Shake Shake Shake” and “Thrill."

“I can only speak for myself but I feel very proud of this one. I’m able to write songs from a different perspective this time, being a mom and all,” says Maja, referring to her baby boy who just turned five years old earlier this year. “It’s been quite some time since we last released an album and a lot of great things have happened in between.”

The current Sounds lineup: Maja Ivarsson (vocals), Felix Rodriguez (guitar), Jesper Anderberg (guitar, keyboards), Johan Richter (bass), and Fredrik Blond (drums).

Track listing:

2. Safe and Sound
3. Changes
4. Bonnie and Clyde
5. Hollow
6. Fingertips
7. Dreaming of You
8. Dim The Lights
9. Stay Free
10. Home
11. Miami

Missing Persons feat. Dale Bozzio ready new album

Popular '80s new wave band Missing Persons featuring original vocalist Dale Bozzio, known for alt-rock hits “Words,” “Destination Unknown” and “Walking In L.A.,” will release Dreaming, a new studio album of cover songs and original tunes, on March 20 via Cleopatra.

Produced by Adam Hamilton, Dreaming includes interpretations of classic rock/pop songs by The Cars, Joy Division, and The The as well as The Rolling Stones, The Mamas & Papas and others. 

The album has three original compositions - “Lipstick,” the title track and “This Time.”

Listen to the first single, a take on Strawberry Alarm Clock's '60s classic “Incense And Peppermints”:

Bozzio says, "This was such an easy, breezy album to make, even though it’s been a long time coming. I think fans will really appreciate the sultriness of this direction of the music and the honesty of the vocals.”

Dreaming will be available on both CD and in a limited-edition PINK vinyl as well as on all digital platforms. 

Bozzio's autobiography, “Life Is So Strange” is due later this year.

Track List:

1. California Dreamin'
2. Lipstick
3. Dreaming
4. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
5. Playing With Fire
6. Just What I Needed
7. This Is The Day
8. Love Will Tear Us Apart
9. Images Of Heaven
10. Incense And Peppermints
11. This Time
12. In The Rain

Rufus Wainwright news

Acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has announced the release of his new album. UNFOLLOW THE RULES which arrives via BMG on April 24; pre-orders are available now HERE.

The song "Damsel In Distress" is available for streaming and download along with an official companion video, created by award-winning animator Josh Shaffner and is streaming HERE.

"'Damsel In Distress' is an homage to Joni Mitchell in some ways," says Wainwright, "particularly the structure. My husband and I now live in Laurel Canyon. I wasn't that familiar with Joni's music but Jörn became obsessed and took me on a journey into her music. We ended up hanging out with her and I get now why she's one of the greats. So it's part Laurel Canyon, part a song about a personal relationship that I'm trying to come to terms with, but mostly my Mitchell virginity being broken."

Wainwright's ninth studio LP and first new pop album since 2012, UNFOLLOW THE RULES was produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega, Randy Newman) at a variety of legendary Los Angeles studios - including Sound City Studios, United Recording, and EastWest Studios.

"What I would like this album to symbolize is a coming together of all the aspects of my life which have made me a seasoned artist," says Wainwright. "My aim is to emulate the greats of yore whose second acts produced their finest work - Leonard Cohen when he made THE FUTURE, when Sinatra became Sinatra in his 40s, when Paul Simon put out GRACELAND. Pop music isn't always about your waistline. Many songwriters improve with age. I'm flying the flag for staying alive!"

UNFOLLOW THE RULES was preceded late last year by the first single, "Trouble In Paradise," available now at all DSPs and streaming services HERE. The track arrived alongside a gender-blurring companion video, directed by award-winning Canadian photographer and filmmaker Mia Donovan and streaming now via YouTube.

The album has already been met with remarkable praise from some of Wainwright's friends, fans, and fellow artists. "This is pop music on a grand scale; sweeping, symphonic, unabashedly emotional and fearlessly agnostic in style and delivery," says Sting, while Cyndi Lauper described the album as "Rufus' PET SOUNDS. It sounds like a culmination of everything he has done. It's a great album, catchy and intelligent."

Wainwright is currently working on a number of films, podcasts and musical projects and lives in Los Angeles with husband Jörn Weisbrodt and shares custody for his daughter Viva with her mother Lorca Cohen.


19 - North Charleston, SC - High Water Festival
24 - Bremen, Germany - Jazzahead Festival
25 - Bourges, France - Festival de Printemps de Bourges
27 - London, United Kingdom - Islington Assembly Hall (Two shows)
1 - New York, NY - City Winery
2 - Huntington, NY - Paramount Theatre
3 - New York, NY - City Winery, NY
8 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
9 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour (Two shows)
11 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up
17 - Guadalajara, Mexico - Corona Capital
30 - Kværndrup, Denmark - Heartland Festival
2 - Istanbul, Turkey - Zorlu PAC Jazz Festival
4 - Caldas De Reis, Spain - PortAmérica
5 - Madrid, Spain - Noches del Botanico
7 - Oeiras Valley, Portugal - Festival Jardins do Marques
14 - La Rochelle, France - Francofolies Festival
18 - Echternach, Luxembourg - Echterlive
1 - Glasgow, UK - Kelvingrove Park
2 - Co Waterford, Ireland - All Together Now
6 - Paris, France @Grand Rex

A bonus Q&A with DJ Richard Blade of SiriusXM's 1st Wave

I recently had a quick chat with veteran DJ Richard Blade, best known to Southern California alternative radio listeners for his longtime stint on KROQ/106.7 FM Los Angeles, about guesting on Berlin's latest album "Transcendance."

Below are a few excepts that didn't make into the main newspaper feature (see it elsewhere on this blog).

Q: What was your initial thought when Terri first asked you to contribute the voice of an infomercial huckster to the song “Show Me Tonight?
A: I was thrilled. I would do anything for Terri. We have a relationship that goes back to 1982 and she’s always been great.

Q: Did you come up with the spiel quickly?
A: Yeah, we did it in one take. They had the producers there running tape and I ran through it. Terri started laughing at the end and applauding. The guys said, ‘that’s it.’ I asked if they wanted any pickups or anything and they said, ‘no, that was great.’ I sat there another two hours hanging out with the guys. It was so much fun.

Q: Were you trying to channel some of those late night cable TV commercials from the ‘80s and ‘90s?
A: Absolutely. When it was back at 240p [video quality resolution], not 1080p. You’d put it on because there was nothing else on the television. And they would be going [in exaggerated voice], ‘If you call now, you will get this, but wait! There’s more!’ You see so much of it in this consumer society, it was very easy to pull out.

Q: Terri said you convinced her to put the remixed version of “Sex (I’m a)” on the album.
A: Absolutely. I’ve done so many gigs with Terri over the years. Particularly over the last 3-4 years, they’ve done incredible live versions of “Sex” and “Metro.” I said to Terri, over and over again, ‘I would love to play this on the radio. Get a version down.’ She said, ‘We’re thinking about it'...[They've revisited] a classic song without screwing it up. I’m sort of a music purist. I'm not someone who just plays a long version just for the sake of it. 

It has to be good...I think I finally I wore her down and she put it on. People love it [in concert].

Richard Blade's 1st Wave show airs weekdays on SiriusXM from 12-6 p.m., Saturdays at 11-5 p.m. and Sundays at 1-7 p.m. Pacific Time. He can also be heard daily from 12-1 p.m. Pacific Time doing the "Flashback Lunch" on JACK FM/93.1 Los Angeles. 

In 2017, Blade put out the excellent biography "World in My Eyes" and last November issued the historical adventure novel "SPQR." Both are currently available on Amazon.

A bonus Q&A with Terri Nunn of Berlin

Louis Rodiger/Mint Artist Mgmt
There was a lot more interesting material from my recent interview with Terri Nunn of Berlin that didn't make it into my main feature story. Check that newspaper piece out here:

Read the rest below...

Q: Hi Terri. Where have I reached you?
A: I’m at home, making phone calls, revamping the show and going for an intro video with Gerry Casale from Devo, who did our last intro video. I love his work. We spent the morning conferencing because we need a new one. It’s just great to work with amazing talent.

Q: The last time we spoke was in 2002, when Berlin was about to play a NASCAR event in Fontana. You were preparing to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for the first time.A: I was terrible. Awful. It was bad. I thought I’d try to change it up a little bit, because people have heard that song for a million years. They did not like my change up at all. They didn’t out and out boo, but there no love for it [laughs].

Q: Now that John Crawford and David Diamond have rejoined Berlin, I was wondering: Was VH1's reality series “Bands Reunited” the initial catalyst for the three of you rekindling your musical relationship?
A: Yeah. That really brought John and me back together, honestly. That was not staged. I had not seen him for seven years.

Q: You’d been touring and recording with your own version of Berlin for more than a decade before John and David came back into the fold. How did their return play out?
A: John was in a marriage where he got very religious for a time. Making music was looked down upon. It was a much more restrictive time for him. He’d been so out of it for so long. He was really nervous about coming in, but he’s so brilliant that it didn’t take long. We knew it wouldn’t. And it didn’t.

So he started playing with us. Then we started writing together again. It took awhile, actually. It took about a year of trying stuff. People were excited about a couple things, but not enough. We tried all kinds of things. Then we landed on working with this team from Australia to produce and co-write some of the songs with us. People were really excited about what they were hearing. That’s what created “Transcendance,” the new album.

Q: Many acts that came to prominence in the 1980s are content to coast on their old material. Is it vital for you as an artist to have something new to say?
A: Yeah, it is. Why say the same thing for the rest of your life? [laughs] I understand. I totally get it when people come to our shows, they want to hear the songs they know. I’m the same way. They also like a few fresh sounds too. It’s a combination. You don’t want to go too far one way or the other. You don’t want to be too stale or too new.

I get pretty really pissed off [when I go to a show and that happens]. There was one show - and I don’t think he’s done it since - I’m a big Trent Reznor fan. I went to a [NIN] show and all the songs that I love, he didn’t do any of them. He just did basically his new album and I was like, ‘fuck you, dude. I like your new album, I listened to it a couple times. But come on, we’ve got a history together. You worked this hard to create a body of work that people love and you’ve achieved it. So please celebrate this with us. Don’t throw it away!’

Q: For “Show Me Tonight,” you got SiriusXM/1st Wave DJ Richard Blade, formerly of KROQ/106.7 FM Los Angeles to add infomercial announcer bits.
A: I’ve known Richard for 40 years now. Of course I knew he could do it. And he would. I called him and said, ‘Dude, we’ve never been on an album together. Would you do this part with us? I think you would kill it.’ He did, man! He took what I wrote and just went further [laughs].

Q: Is that particular song, about female body image, a good example of one of your newer songs that have a message?
A: I don’t know if it has a definitive answer in the song, but it’s about coming to accept the changes that my body’s going through. That I’m dealing with. It’s not easy. Then there’s new stuff that comes up and I’m like, ‘what the fuck is that?’ Then having to deal with that and getting to a place of ‘yeah, this is me.’ The other day I was talking to my girlfriend. She’s my age. I said, ‘This fucking tummy, man. I’m tired of this tummy shit.’ She said, “I got it too. So what? Quit being so egoed out that all you think about is your fucking tummy. There’s more to life.' So these are things I’m dealing with.

Q: What have your fans thought about the remixed version of “Sex (I’m a)” on the latest album?
A: They love hearing it live. They just love that song because I get to sing it with the man that I wrote it with. That’s wonderful for me and he’s of course amazing at it. That’s a big highlight of the [live] show.

Q: You’d originally wanted to include a new version of the song on your last album "Animal," but had to hold off, right?
A: Yeah, the label didn’t want it. They wanted all new songs and didn’t want me to hark back to anything. I understand that. That’s a choice. We went with it, but it was actually Richard Blade who was playing that remix. I gave it to him to listen to and get his opinion. He thought it was great and kept saying, ‘Dude, you got to release that. Put it out by itself. Do something with it. Don’t let that one go away. That’s a good one.’ When this album came up, this label was fine with it.

Q: Back in the ‘80s, Berlin released several memorable music videos. At the time, do you think your prior acting experience was a big help in making them?
A: Yeah, it helped me to focus my emotions in a set amount of time. That’s the best way to describe it. That’s really a good discipline to have in music, because songs are three to four minutes. The most important thing is to focus my honest emotion that I either wrote myself in the song or someone else wrote and I’m relating to in my life into that three minutes because a song is just a communication. That’s all it is. It’s an honest feeling that I need to be on top of, that I need to share right then when the song’s happening to make it effective. To make it translate.

That’s what acting taught me, because even though people think acting’s not real, what I learned doing that craft is that I had to tie in something honest that I related to in the scene that I was doing with a real life experience in my life. It’s not pretend. It’s ‘this is how I feel in this situation right now.’ It’s real. Music and songs are the same way. They’re a different craft but the feeling is the same. The honest emotion has to be there.

Q: If you need to make a new music video these days, do you mind going through the process?
A: It depends. If I can get out of my own head. I’m not a model. Part of my job is to do photo shoots and it’s not really my thing. I don’t really feel that comfortable with it. So it’s a constant challenge for me. I can do it well enough to get the job done. I like making music, but the other stuff: the videos and photo shoots, are more challenging for me.

Q: When the band released its first single and EP, KROQ was a big supporter. Did that early airplay help you get exposure on a national level?
A: They were the only supporters in the beginning. Without them, I don’t know if Berlin would’ve had a shot. They were so powerful that their format got taken over across the country. It did so well here, that everybody wanted it. If they hadn’t been here, we [still] might’ve done something because slowly, other stations around the country started playing us. But it was such an explosion for Berlin when KROQ started playing us that it was hard for the rest of the country to deny. They were at least listening to us and asking, ‘what’s Berlin?’

We had a shot because of KROQ, but before KROQ, there was only KLOS and corporate rock, arena rock. KMET was mostly hard rock. It was very unlikely either one of those stations would touch us. We got lucky twice. KROQ started playing us and MTV started in 1982 right when we got our first video going. Thank God for them. That gave us exposure we’d never had before. We were lucky with the timing with all of these outlets because our music was weird. Nobody was really doing electronic music yet. It was all coming from overseas, which was why we were trying it. It was hard. That was really fortunate.

Q: What was it like back then playing the second US Festival's “Rock Day” in May 1983, alongside David Bowie, the Pretenders, U2, Stevie Nicks, Joe Walsh, Los Lobos and others at Glen Helen Regional Park in Devore early in your career?
A: To this day, it was one of the best days of my life. Oh my God! That lineup? Holy shit! Incredible. And in one day! It was the entire weekend, but that was just our day. It was an absolute dream. And then the people - 250,000 people in this empty [field], it was nothing then. Just space.

Q: Is it inspiring to see so many bands that you shared a stage with back in the day still continuing to tour and make new music in 2020?
A: Yeah, because I have such admiration for them. Many of them I look up to, like the tour we just did with the B-52s. I think they’re brilliant musicians. They have a sense of humor that is so incredibly amazing. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Their music is so well written.

We are opening for Blondie in Dallas in May and looking at [Debbie, who’s 74] - fuck man. I feel old in the business, but look at her! She’s just going and going. Amazing. We’ve done a few shows together and every time, she’s a great person. She loves what she does. She said to me, ‘Terri, what else am I gonna do?’ [laughs]

[Blondie guitarist] Chris Stein is so supportive and hugs me as I get offstage. C’mon! It’s so wonderful to have these people to look up to. To see that you can still rock it and bring this joy to people. It’s a gift.

Q: Do you think Berlin will follow their lead and continue for another 10 years or more?
A: We’ll see. I have no idea. We don’t even know what’s going to happen in five years or even a year. But they make it possible for me to even consider something like that.

Q: I read that John had a bunch of extra songs leftover from were making the latest album. Can fans expect more new material sooner than later?
A: He’s a machine. He had 30 songs after we started working on the 12 we were recording. He kept bringing them in and I said, ‘John, we gotta focus. No more songs. We gotta get this album out.’ He said, ‘I just wrote this last night!’ I’m like, ‘Oh fuck!’ [laughs].

Q: You can always put them out as EPs.
A: True.

Q: Did you finish the Christmas album that I read has been gestating for awhile?
A: There’s a Berlin orchestral album that we recorded at the beginning of last year. The label wanted [the studio album first]. It’s coming out in May. We’re in the mixing process now. I can’t wait [for people to hear it].

For tour dates, see or Berlin - Official Band on Facebook.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Electronic artists tour news: New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk

Now this is a tour I'd really like to see!

New Order and Pet Shop Boys have confirmed a co-headlining tour of North America. The two British electronic bands have announced The Unity Tour kicks off in September. Both bands will play a full set with the headliner alternating each night. Full list of dates below. Tickets go on sale to the general public starting Friday, February 28 at 10am local time at

Pet Shop Boys recently released their 14th studio album Hotspot via x2 Records/Kobalt to critical acclaim. It reached #3 in the UK, German and Spanish albums chart and #1 on Billboard’s Top Dance/Electronic Albums chart, making it the fourth Pet Shop Boys album to accomplish this. Hotspot is the third in a series of albums produced by Stuart Price (following 2016’s Super and 2013’s Electric.) Watch the video for “Monkey business” here.


September 5 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage
September 9 – Boston, MA – Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
September 11 – Philadelphia, PA – TD Pavilion at The Mann
September 12 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
September 15 – Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
September 18 – Chicago, IL – Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
September 20 – Minneapolis, MN – Armory
September 24 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena
September 26 – George, WA – Gorge Amphitheatre
September 30 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
October 2 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

I'm sure this tour will be fascinating too. The group sure was when I caught it at Coachella Fest several years ago.

After some successful 3-D concert tours worldwide, Electro pioneers Kraftwerk announce North American tour dates for summer 2020. The shows will bring together music, 3-D visuals and performance art.

The multi-media project Kraftwerk was started in 1970 by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider. They set up their electronic Kling Klang Studio in Düsseldorf, Germany where they conceived and produced all Kraftwerk albums. By the mid-1970’s Kraftwerk had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electronic‚ soundscapes and their musical experimentation with robotics and other technical innovations.

In their live performances, Kraftwerk–Ralf Hütter, Henning Schmitz, Fritz Hilpert, Falk Grieffenhagen–illustrate their belief in the respective contributions of both man and machine. Starting with the retrospective of their catalogue at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2012, in recent years Kraftwerk have returned full circle back to their origins within the Düsseldorf art scene of the late Sixties.

The 3-D concert series at MoMA was followed by further presentations at Tate Modern Turbine Hall (London), Akasaka Blitz (Tokyo) Opera House (Sydney), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris), Neue National Galerie (Berlin) and Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao). In 2014 Ralf Hütter and his former partner were honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tickets go on sale to the public this Thursday, February 27 at 10am local time. American Express Card Members can purchase tickets in select markets before the general public beginning Tuesday, February 25 at 10 a.m. local time through Thursday, February 27 at 9 a.m. local time.

North America tour dates:

Seattle, WA 
Moore Theatre

Vancouver, BC
Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Portland, OR
Keller Auditorium

San Francisco, CA
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

Los Angeles, CA
Shrine Auditorium

San Diego, CA
Balboa Theatre

Salt Lake City, UT
The Union

Morrison, CO
Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Austin, TX
ACL Live at The Moody Theater

Dallas, TX
Bomb Factory

New Orleans, LA
Orpheum Theater

Miami, FL
James L. Knight Center

Orlando, FL
Dr. Phillips Center

Atlanta, GA
Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Washington, DC
The Anthem

New York, NY
Radio City Music Hall

Columbus, OH
Palace Theatre

Chicago, IL
Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom

Minneapolis, MN
The Armory

Nashville, TN
Ryman Auditorium

Memphis, TN
Crosstown Theater

Saint Louis, MO
The Pageant

Detroit, MI
Masonic Temple Theatre

Toronto, ON
Meridian Hall

Philadelphia, PA
The Met

Boston, MA
Boch Center Wang Theatre

Montréal, QC
Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

An interview with Terri Nunn of Berlin

photo: Louis Rodiger/courtesy Mint Artist Management
When Terri Nunn reunited with John Crawford and David Diamond from the classic lineup of Berlin a few years ago, she discovered that collaboration was easier the second time around.

“I think people really do get better. It’s so much more enjoyable to work” together now, Nunn affirmed, during a phone interview.

“We don’t have the same fears and egos, a need to prove ourselves and fight for everything. A lot of that energy is good when you’re 20, but it’s also really stressful. [For me], getting older is cool. I’m relaxed and still excited about the music.”

Last summer, Berlin released “Transcendance,” the three musicians’ first studio album together in 35 years. The positive reception has surpassed expectations.

Before our chat, the singer was preparing for multiple Southern California concerts by conferring with Devo’s Jerry Casale about a new intro video for the sextet.

Founding bassist/vocalist/songwriter Crawford started Berlin in Orange County during the late 1970s, having been drawn to Kraftwerk and Ultravox. Nunn, an actress who appeared in television shows (“Barnaby Jones,” “Lou Grant,” “Trapper John M.D,” “T.J. Hooker”) and film (“Thank God It’s Friday”), joined the new wave band, briefly left and returned for its first single release “The Metro” in ‘81.

The group went onto achieve a platinum and gold-selling album thanks to other memorable era hits like “No More Words,” “Sex (I’m a),” “Masquerade” and “Take My Breath Away.” The latter, a pop chart-topping love theme from “Top Gun,” won an Oscar and Golden Globe for producer/composer Giorgio Moroder. Then Berlin broke up in 1987 at the height of success. 

Nunn went solo and rejiggered Berlin with new members by the late ‘90s. A catalyst for the core trio’s reintroduction was VH1 reality series “Bands Reunited” in 2004. The original members went their separate ways afterward, but some casually stayed in touch. A little over a decade later, Crawford called Nunn to vent about his divorce and Diamond’s long relationship ended. Suddenly, the time seemed right for a new beginning.

Assimilating into the existing Berlin lineup was a gradual process.

“At first, David started playing with us for fun,” Nunn said. “John came to a few shows and loved it,” Nunn explained. “Then we coaxed him into coming in. Both [guys] were out of music for a long time.”

Songwriting commenced for about a year before they teamed with Aussie producers Andy and Thom Mak, who co-wrote half the material on the alluring “Transcendance.”

The brothers “really inspired John and me” by bringing different kinds of arrangements and “added so much” that the songs “really came alive.”

A sense of tranquility informs several tunes, including the ethereal title track and a pair dedicated to Nunn’s husband and daughter respectively. Other selections verge upon Erasure and Pet Shop Boys musical territory.

“People love it when I do ballads and a lot of the subject matter lent itself” to that type of sound.

Slinky dance-pop standout “Show Me Tonight” revolves around body issues, “always being inundated with ads and pictures and everybody telling me that I’m not good enough. I’ve fought it and it’s hard,” Nunn admitted. “I had this fantasy about a sleazy commercial announcer telling you all this BS” in a song. “Then I imagined getting madder and angrier as he kept talking.”

So Nunn asked SiriusXM 1st Wave DJ Richard Blade, a longtime friend and Berlin supporter during his time at KROQ and beyond, to fill the role.

“She sent me over the rough track and I thought ‘this is going to be a great song,’” said Blade, in a separate interview. “I’m sort of playing against type...It was fun. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. To be part of one of her best albums ever is an honor and a thrill. I get emails almost every day” asking whether I am really the one on the song.

The latest album also includes an remixed version of “Sex (I’m a),” now with a fresh EDM-styled vibe. Nunn gave Blade an advance copy to get his opinion (the pair dated awhile when Berlin was on the rise; the explicit tune is based on their relationship). The DJ urged her to get a final version down that he could play on the radio.

“It’s so good and relevant to today’s music,” Blade enthused, describing the twist Berlin put on it as “unique and fresh.” Particularly when the band plays it live, “it really is a show stopper.”

Berlin performs at 7 p.m. Feb. 28 at The Canyon in Santa Clarita; 7 p.m. Feb. 29 at The Canyon in Agoura Hills; 7 p.m. March 20 at Ramona Mainstage in Ramona; 8 p.m. March 21 at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano; noon May 2, Cruel World Festival, The Grounds at Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson; 8 p.m. Aug. 28-29, with the B-52's at the Hollywood Bowl. 

My article originally appeared in the OC Register, Riverside Press Enterprise and other SCNG (SoCal News Group) newspapers in Southern California. 

For more info on Berlin, go to: or Berlin - Official Band on Facebook.  

Friday, February 21, 2020

More archival David Bowie releases coming for Record Store Day

In addition to the Record Store Day 2020 release of CHANGESNOWBOWIE, Parlophone Records have also announced never before heard recordings of David Bowie in concert circa 1974 on I’M ONLY DANCING (THE SOUL TOUR 74) on 2-LP and 2-CD. Both will be available on Record Store Day on April 18.

Taken from recently discovered sources in The David Bowie Archive, I’M ONLY DANCING (THE SOUL TOUR ‘74) was recorded mostly during Bowie’s performance at the Michigan Palace, Detroit on October 20, 1974 with the encores taken from the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville on November 30, 1974.

The only song missing from the full set during the October 20 performance is “Diamond Dogs,” which was unfortunately only recorded in part. To make up for that, it was decided to include the encores from the November 30 performance which featured “Diamond Dogs” but also enables a fuller representation of the set from The Soul Tour including such numbers as “Knock On Wood” and the “Foot Stompin’ / I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate” medley.

I’M ONLY DANCING (THE SOUL TOUR 74) follows on from the previous Record Store Day 2-LP release Cracked Actor (Live Los Angeles ’74). The artwork for both the 2-LP and 2-CD releases is based on the original design for the programs available at venues for dates on The Soul Tour. This is the first time that any audio from this incarnation of the tour has ever been officially released.

CHANGESNOWBOWIE is a nine-track session recorded for radio and broadcast by the BBC on Bowie’s 50th birthday on January 8, 1997. The broadcast originally featured an interview with Bowie by Mary Ann Hobbs interspersed with specially recorded birthday messages and questions from the likes of Scott Walker, Damon Albarn, Bono, Robert Smith and more.

The interview and birthday messages are not included on this album. This mostly acoustic session featured some of Bowie’s favorites of his own compositions and was produced by Bowie, Reeves Gabrels and Mark Plati.

CHANGESNOWBOWIE was recorded and mixed at Looking Glass Studios in New York in November 1996 before rehearsals for Bowie’s 50th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden and the cover art for the album will feature a black and white portrait of Bowie by photographer Albert Watson, taken in New York in 1996.



CD 1
1. “Introduction - Memory Of A Free Festival”
2. “Rebel Rebel”
3. “John, I’m Only Dancing (Again)”
4. “Sorrow”
5. “Changes”
6. “1984”

CD 2 
1. “Can You Hear Me”
2. “It’s Gonna Be Me”
3. “Somebody Up There Likes Me”
4. “Suffragette City”

LP Side 4
1. “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide”
2. “Panic In Detroit”
3. “Knock On Wood *”
4. “Foot Stompin’ / I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate / Foot Stompin’ *”
5. “Diamond Dogs / It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I like It) / Diamond Dogs *”

Recorded at the Michigan Palace, Detroit on October 20, 1974
* at the Municipal Auditorium, Nashville on November 20, 1974

David Bowie - Vocals, 12 string acoustic guitar, harmonica
The Mike Garson Band:
Earl Slick - Guitar
Carlos Alomar - Guitar
Mike Garson - Piano, Mellotron
David Sanborn - Alto sax, flute
Pablo Rosario - Percussion
Emir Ksasan - Bass
Dennis Davis - Drums
Backing vocals - Warren Peace, Anthony Hinton, Luther Vandross, Ava Cherry, Robin Clark and Diane Sumler.

These recordings have been mastered from the only available sources to provide the best sound quality possible. Any flaws and distortion are inherent in the original sources and the historical importance of the recordings should outweigh such imperfections.


Side 1
“The Man Who Sold The World”
“Aladdin Sane”
“White Light / White Heat”
“Shopping For Girls”
“Lady Stardust”

Side 2
“The Supermen”
“Andy Warhol”

Recorded at Looking Glass Studios in New York in November 1996.

David Bowie - Vocals, acoustic guitar
Gail Ann Dorsey - Bass, vocals
Reeves Gabrels - Guitars
Mark Plati - Keyboards and programming

Bon Jovi news

This week Bon Jovi released a new single ‘Limitless’ from their forthcoming album Bon Jovi 2020, set for release May 15 from Island Records.

The veteran Jersey band's 15th studio album is available for pre-order here and ‘Limitless’ is available here. The band also recently announced the first leg of a major world tour, tickets on sale now at

Bon Jovi 2020 makes reference to an election year with the title and the album art features an American flag in the reflection of Jon Bon Jovi’s sunglasses. The album sees the singer  tackling current topics such as gun control, veterans’ issues, politics, the meaning of family, and more. Jon stated: “It encompasses life, love, and loss.”

Track listing:

1. Beautiful Drug
2. Unbroken
3. Limitless
4. Luv Can
5. Brothers In Arms
6. Story Of Love
7. Lower The Flag
8. Let It Rain
9. Shine
10. Blood In The Water

Tour dates:

Wednesday, June10 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
Thursday, June 11 Portland, OR Moda Center
Saturday, June 13 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
Tuesday, June 16 San Jose, CA SAP Center at San Jose
Thursday, June 18 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Saturday, June 20 Las Vegas, NV T-Mobile Arena
Tuesday, June 23 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
Thursday, June 25 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Friday, June 26 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
Friday, July 10 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
Tuesday, July 14 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
Thursday, July 16 Boston, MA TD Garden
Sunday, July 19 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
Tuesday, July 21 Chicago, IL United Center
Thursday, July 23 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center
Saturday, July 25 Washington, DC Capital One Arena
Monday, July 27 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
Tuesday, July 28 New York, NY Madison Square Garden

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Brad Paisley tour dates

photo by Justin Kaicles, courtesy Bieber PR
I've reviewed Brad several times in recent years (see elsewhere on this blog) and he always puts on a solid show with a bit of humor. Get all the tour details below...

Brad Paisley has announced his 2020 World Tour, which kicks off this May in California. Special guests on the U. S. tour dates will be Jordan Davis and Gabby Barrett. Additional dates will be added soon.

Fans can purchase tickets for all dates now at Live Nation is the official promoter of the tour and select cities are part of Live Nation’s Country Megaticket at

A portion of all ticket sales will go to The Store – a nonprofit free-referral based grocery store that Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley, in partnership with Belmont University, are spearheading in Nashville, TN. It will be a year-round free grocery store allowing people to shop with dignity for their basic needs. For more information on The Store go to

World Tour dates:

**March 6 Penticton, BC South Okanagan Events Centre 
**March 7 Abbotsford, BC Abbotsford Centre
**March 9 Grand Prairie, AB Revolution Place
**March 12 Moose Jaw, SK Mosaic Place
**March 13 Medicine Hat, AB Canalta Centre
*March 20 Thackerville, OK WinStar World Casino
*March 21 Houston, TX Houston Rodeo & Livestock
**April 2 Niagara Falls, ON Niagara Falls Entertainment Centre
*April 3 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
May 15 Concord, CA Concord Pavilion
May 16 Irvine, CA FivePoint Amphitheatre
May 17 San Diego, CA North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
May 22 Ridgefield, WA Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
May 23 George, WA Gorge Amphitheatre
May 28 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
May 29 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
May 30 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
June 4 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
June 5 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 6 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 12 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
June 13 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
June 18 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
June 19 Alpharetta, GA Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
June 20 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
July 20 Bergen, Norway Bergenhus Festning
July 22 Trondheim, Norway Kristiansten Festning
***July 24 Goteborg, Sweden Liseberg
***July 25 Gavle, Sweden Furuviiksparken
July 29 Amsterdam, Netherlands AFAS Live
July 30 Berlin, Germany Zitadelle
***July 31 Schwetzingen, Germany Schlossgarten Open Air
August 7 Syracuse, NY St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater at Lakeview
August 8 Pittsburgh, PA KeyBank Pavilion
August 9 Bethel, NY Bethel Woods Center
August 13 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
***August 14 Montreal, QC Lasso Festival DeMusique Country
August 15 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center
***August 22 Lima, OH Allen County Fairground
September 3 West Palm Beach, FL iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre
September 4 St. Augustine, FL St. Augustine Amphitheatre
September 6 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
September 26 Westbrook, ME Maine Savings Pavilion at Rock Row
September 27 Bloomsburg, PA Bloomsburg Fair
*Paisley Only
**Paisley and local support
***Festival – includes Paisley and multiple artists

Friday, February 14, 2020

Gang of Four EP out this month

Gang of Four's new EP, This Heaven Gives Me Migraine, is out on Feb. 26. Lead single, "The Dying Rays (2020)," is out now.

Until days before his death on February 1st, Gang of Four co-founder Andy Gill was working on a new body of music that revisits and re-imagines his musical legacy. The new EP includes three new recordings, which form only part of that output, together with two spoken interludes by Andy.

Andy’s wife, Catherine Mayer, says:

“From the hospital, Andy continued to give final notes on mixes of music that he looked forward to releasing. Since his death, I have been working with the band to fulfill his vision. The only change we have made is to include on the EP two brief recordings of Andy speaking, both, in different ways, essence of Andy.”

Gang of Four singer John “Gaoler” Sterry adds:

“This collection of songs was recorded just before Andy died and it was his intention to get these out - to represent the way we played them on tour, late last year. All three songs were recorded in Andy’s home studio in London and there’s a fly-on-the-wall intimacy to this EP; from the song selection to the snippets of spoken word.”

"The Dying Rays (2020)" re-imagines a song originally included on the legendary post punk outfit’s eighth studio album, What Happens Next, released in 2015. The new track features vocals by John “Gaoler” Sterry in place of original vocalist, Herbert Grönemeyer. Poignant and powerful, "The Dying Rays (2020)" is a meditation on mortality, composed and produced by Andy Gill.

John says:

“'The Dying Rays (2020)' is just a beautiful song and completely confounds what people think of when they think Gang Of Four, which in itself is quite a Gang Of Four thing I guess; the lyrics seem all the more pertinent now.”

Catherine adds:

“There have been so many tributes to Andy as a creator and as a breaker - of rules, new ground, guitars. 'The Dying Rays (2020)', a track Andy first recorded with our old friend Herbert Grönemeyer and reworked by Gang of Four singer John, shows the fuller picture, of a man who also thought and felt deeply and whose loss is not just to music but to all of us who loved him.”

The other tracks on the EP are:

"Natural’s Not In It": Originally featured on Gang of Four’s seminal 1979 album Entertainment! and one of the few older tracks included in the live setup of the current Gang of Four line up, this was recorded in late 2019 to capture the energy of those live performances.

"Toreador": Andy was fascinated and horrified by the myth of the Minotaur, as he said, a story that is “ancient but of the moment... Half man, half beast. He’s rational and understands his predicament while locked into the behaviors that destroy all chance of happiness or intimacy. Vainglorious, insecure. Simultaneously aggressively proud, attention-seeking and conceited. He’s brave but frightened. He is alone but desperate for the human touch. Masculine fragility and alienation.” First recorded for Gang of Four’s 2019 album, Happy Now, the track continued to evolve in performance and in Andy’s concept for it.

Says John:

“'Toreador' was in the live set from the moment it was written and has evolved a lot from the album version, it has an energy that only comes from knowing a song like the back of your hand.”


Anthrax (Andy speaks)
The Dying Rays (2020)
Natural’s Not In It
Purple in Nature (Andy speaks)

'American Idol' judge and country star Luke Bryan unveils more album info

Country music superstar Luke Bryan revealed the cover and track listing of his BORN HERE LIVE HERE DIE HERE album. His seventh studio album was produced by Jeff Stevens and Jody Stevens and will be released on April 24. It is available for pre-order HERE.

“The second I heard the song “Born Here, Live Here, Die Here” (written by Jameson Rodgers, Josh Thompson, Jake Mitchell) it related to me, how I grew up, how I have so many roots and so many ties to my hometown,” said Luke. “Being tied to your hometown is very important in country music. I fell in love with the song right away and now we have an album and a tour derived from this song. It’s pretty amazing. I’m proud of this new music and I’m really excited to get it out!”

Luke’s album includes his 23rd #1 single “Knockin’ Boots” and current hit “What She Wants Tonight.”

This Sunday, February 16, 8pm/7pm CT, Luke returns to the judges table alongside Katy Perry and Lionel Richie on ABC’s American Idol as the new season premieres.

Track listing:

1. Knockin' Boots (Hillary Lindsey, Jon Nite, Gordie Sampson)
2. What She Wants Tonight (Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman, Hillary Lindsey, Jon Nite)
3. Born Here Live Here Die Here (Jake Mitchell, Jameson Rodgers, Josh Thompson)
4. One Margarita (Michael Carter, Matt Dragstrem, Josh Thompson) 
5. Too Drunk To Drive (Luke Bryan, Michael Carter, Brandon Kinney)
6. Build Me A Daddy (Jake Mitchell, Josh Thompson, Brett Tyler)
7. Little Less Broken (Michael Carter, Lindsay Rimes, Matt Rogers)
8. For A Boat (Randy Montana, Josh Thompson, Mike Walker)
9. Where Are We Goin' (Luke Bryan, Brent Cobb)
10. Down To One (Dallas Davidson, Justin Ebach, Kyle Fishman)

The Raconteurs' Brendan Benson has a new album, tour on the way

Third Man Records will put out Dear Life, the first new album in almost seven years from Brendan Benson on April 24. Pre-order the album HERE and pre-save the album HERE. His seventh solo album and first full-length release via Third Man, is preceded by first single, “Good To Be Alive,” streaming now via its official video and on all DSPs.

“’Good To Be Alive’ is kind of weird, to be honest,” Benson says, “But that’s what I’m most excited about. It says a lot about this record, it’s almost got a split personality or something. It’s totally bizarre – I still sit back and listen to it, thinking, that’s so cool! It’s like somebody else played it, it’s not the same old me.”


Produced and almost entirely performed by Benson at his own Readymade Studio in Nashville, the album sees the Michigan-born, Nashville-based artist – and co-founder, with Jack White, of The Raconteurs – reveling in a more modernist approach.

“There's something about this record,” Benson says. “A friend of mine called it ‘life-affirming.’ I thought it was a joke at first but then realized, well, it’s about life and death for sure. I don’t know if that’s positive or optimistic or whatever, but that's what's going on with me.”

Benson will embark on a North American headline tour in April. For updates and information, please visit

His solo career first began with 1996’s ONE MISSISSIPPI – recently reissued by Third Man in its first-ever vinyl pressing and available now – and in 2002, followed it up with LAPALCO. Benson is co-founder – with Jack White, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler – of The Raconteurs. The band first convened in 2006 garnering Grammy noms and alt-rock hit  “Steady As She Goes,” from their debut album, BROKEN BOY SOLDIERS.

The Raconteurs returned two years later with 2008’s CONSOLERS OF THE LONELY. It earned a Grammy for “Best Engineered Non-Classical Album” as well as a nomination as “Best Rock Album.”

After more than a decade, The Raconteurs finally returned to action in 2019 with a critically acclaimed, chart-topping third one, HELP US STRANGER, highlighted in part by songs Benson had initially considered for his own LP, “Only Child” and “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying).” The Raconteurs then did a 2019 world tour.

Benson is also an in-demand producer (Robyn Hitchcock, Young The Giant, Trapper Schoepp, The Greenhornes) and collaborative songwriter, with a CV that includes partnerships with Jake Bugg, Iain Archer (Snow Patrol), and The Kooks’ Luke Pritchard, among others.

Track listing:

I Can If You Want Me To
Good To Be Alive
Half A Boy (And Half A Man)
Richest Man Alive
Dear Life
Baby’s Eyes
Freak Out
Evil Eyes
I’m In Love
I Quit
Who’s Gonna Love You

Tour dates:

26 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
28 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
29 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
30 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s

4 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
5 – Detroit, MI – The Loving Touch
6 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle
7 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
14 – Portland, OR – Holocene
15 – Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern