30 ene. 2012
by Gregory Heaney
Whether he’s spinning tales of arson and murder over the angular, synth-kissed indie rock of Lifter Puller, or recounting the excesses and fatal flaws of his fictional Twin Cities denizen with the Hold Steady’s swagger-filled bar rock behind him, Craig Finn has always had a way of blending in with whatever music he’s accompanied by without losing his writerly voice. With its mellow, lonely sound, Finn’s solo debut, Clear Heart Full Eyes, finds the songwriter looking for a change of sonic scenery that feels more like a vacation from his other work than a departure, with the singer maintaining his identity as a songwriter as he adapts to a more distinctly country sound. Over the course of its 11 tracks, the album unfolds like a series of vacation snapshots that show Finn being himself in a new locale. Unsurprisingly, the singer is able to deftly adapt to his new surroundings, with his narrative, story-filled lyrics taking on a newfound earnestness that reflects the plaintive strains of pedal steel that weaves in and out of these more restrained arrangements. This ability to meld with, rather than take over, the songs he’s on is a testament to Finn’s abilities not just as a lyricist and a singer, but as a raconteur. Finn’s guileless, observational create a clean, engrossing narrative that allows listeners to escape into another world for a few minutes at a time. Though this kind of approach doesn’t leave a whole lot up to interpretation, its directness gives you the opportunity to contemplate the “who,” “where,” when,” and “why” of the songs rather than just the “what.” Anyone expecting the bar rock bravado of the Hold Steady is probably going to be disappointed by Clear Heart Full Eyes’ subdued vibe, but anyone looking for more of Craig Finn’s sprawling tales will feel right at home.
28 ene. 2012
by Jon O'Brien
Having enlisted the services of indie pop stalwart Edwyn Collins for a second time, Nottingham trio Little Barrie return from a rather lengthy five-year absence with their third record, King of the Waves, aiming to recapture the raucousness and raw energy of their electrifying live sound. Right from the first track, "Surf Hell" (recently heard as the theme tune to C4 comedy drama Sirens), it's clear they mean business, as Barrie Cadogan's attitude-laden vocals swagger their way through an array of '60s Brit-pop harmonies and blistering rockabilly riffs, while the galloping dirty basslines and foot-stomping rhythms of "How Come" and the Kasabian-esque "Does the Halo Rust" keep up the authentic garage rock revival schtick. While this opening trio has a certain old-fashioned charm, there are times when the muddy production begins to sound tired rather than vintage, particularly on the self-indulgent jam session of "Tip It Over" and the formulaic acid rock of "I Can't Wait." Luckily, there are a few mellower moments that allow the band to explore its more experimental side. "Precious Pressure" is a gorgeous slice of laid-back Primal Scream-esque funk that interweaves languid beats and soulful melodies with Hendrix-style psychedelic guitar hooks; "Dream to Live" is a slightly sinister lullaby awash with creeping basslines, shimmering guitars, and hazy Jim Morrison-inspired vocals; while the title track is an effortlessly cool bluesy stoner rock anthem that sounds like it belongs on the Easy Rider soundtrack. Of course, King of the Waves is always going to come off second best when compared to the bands that inspired it, but the occasional filler aside, it's easily one of the more palatable retro homages that the current British indie scene seems so fond of.
27 ene. 2012
26 ene. 2012
by Ned Raggett
With the band in full artistic flower and Suzuki's sometimes moody, sometimes frenetic speak/sing/shrieking in full effect, Can released not merely one of the best Krautrock albums of all time, but one of the best albums ever, period. Tago Mago is that rarity of the early '70s, a double album without a wasted note, ranging from sweetly gentle float to full-on monster grooves. "Paperhouse" starts things brilliantly, beginning with a low-key chime and beat, before amping up into a rumbling roll in the midsection, then calming down again before one last blast. Both "Mushroom" and "Oh Yeah," the latter with Schmidt filling out the quicker pace with nicely spooky keyboards, continue the fine vibe. After that, though, come the huge highlights -- three long examples of Can at its absolute best. "Halleluwah" -- featuring the Liebezeit/Czukay rhythm section pounding out a monster trance/funk beat; Karoli's and Schmidt's always impressive fills and leads; and Suzuki's slow-building ranting above everything -- is 19 minutes of pure genius. The near-rhythmless flow of "Aumgn" is equally mind-blowing, with swaths of sound from all the members floating from speaker to speaker in an ever-evolving wash, leading up to a final jam. "Peking O" continues that same sort of feeling, but with a touch more focus, throwing in everything from Chinese-inspired melodies and jazzy piano breaks to cheap organ rhythm boxes and near babbling from Suzuki along the way. "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" wraps things up as a fine, fun little coda to a landmark record.
25 ene. 2012
24 ene. 2012
Aquí os dejo otra canción del que creo será grupo revelación del año y su disco uno de los mejores sino el mejor.Por lo menos de los mas divertidos
by Heather Phares
Three-minute blasts of guitars, drums, bass, and attitude may be among the simplest kinds of songs to make, but they're also some of the hardest to make truly distinctive. The Strokes did it by evoking the heyday of New York's punk and new wave scene, infusing it with emotions that veered from too cool for school to unbridled glee; the Ramones did it by subverting the sounds of '50s and '60s innocence with tales of sniffing glue and being sedated; and the Libertines did it by harking back to the Beatles and the Clash while adding their own debauchery and poetry. Howler obviously hold these sounds and bands in great reverence, and that may be what inhibits them from fully inhabiting their music: they've got the handclaps, the strutting riffs, and the backing vocals in just the right places, but there isn't much that makes their music stand out from what came before them. Jordan Gatesmith's voice -- which is surprisingly deep for a guy still in his teens when these songs were recorded -- hovers somewhere between a sleepier Julian Casablancas and a less excitable Joey Ramone. He's got the lung power, but not the authority of his idols, and doesn't quite make songs such as the self-loathing put-down "Told You Once" as riveting as they should be. Even the album's best moments feel like they're standing in the shadows of Howler's influences: "Wailing (Making Out)"'s impatience and singsong verse melody play like a rewrite of the Strokes' "The Modern Age." Still, it's hard to dismiss Howler entirely. There's plenty of fun to be had in the rave-up "Black Lagoon," and songs such as "Beach Sluts" would have freshened up Angles. "Too Much Blood," with its wall-of-sound beats and dreamy melody, hints at untapped depths to the band's sound, as does "Free Drunk," which finds Gatesmith singing in a more natural -- and original -- voice. While too many young bands try to tackle too many sounds on their first albums, it could be argued that Howler didn't experiment enough. Even if they weren't quite ready for the amount of attention thrown at America Give Up, it's a debut with potential, especially if Howler find their own identity as completely as they borrowed others'.
Hoy todos hablan bien de los discos que publican Neil Young, Tom Waits , Brian Wilson y Dylan . Todos muy grandes (Tom Waits...bueno, no tan grande) !
Pero no muchos nos recuerdan que el amigo Macca realizó 2 magníficos álbumes en la pasada década y que merecen la pena escuchar bien : Driving Rain (2001) y Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (2005). Este fantástico tema y clip se llama "Your Loving Flame" aparece en el Driving Rain. Hay muchas más joyas para descubrir en ambos discos!
23 ene. 2012
Adelanto del nuevo trabajo en marcha de Brendan Benson
The first single off What Kind of World is available for free download
22 ene. 2012
by MacKenzie Wilson
Ohio native Joseph Arthur was discovered by Peter Gabriel, who signed the folk-rock songwriter to Real World Records in the mid-'90s. Arthur's debut, Big City Secrets, was released in 1997 and went fairly unnoticed, despite an eclectic, brooding sound influenced by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Joe Henry, and the late Jeff Buckley. Gabriel influenced Arthur's music, too, exposing his songwriting to a global palette, roping him into Gabriel's annual WOMAD shows, and giving him a roster of fellow labelmates -- including Ben Harper and Gomez -- to tour with during the decade's latter half. Arthur steadily earned an audience of his own, attracting some attention for his work as a visual artist as well.
In 1999, Arthur released the seven-song EP Vacancy and received a Grammy nomination for Best Recording Package, thanks to the hand-folded design by art director Zachary Larner. The sophomore effort Come to Where I'm From appeared one year later, featuring production from alt-country icon T-Bone Burnett and distribution from Virgin Records. The album showed Arthur's musical fondness for basic country-rock and Americana, and he spent the rest of 2000 headlining club shows across North America and serving as an opening act for The The. Two years later, Arthur issued the four-EP series Junkyard Hearts, a precursor to his third opus, Redemption's Son. North American dates with Tracy Chapman followed in summer 2003, then one year later the critically acclaimed Our Shadows Will Remain appeared.
After starting his own label, Lonely Astronaut (distributed by Sony), Arthur published a collection of his artwork entitled We Almost Made It, complete with a mostly instrumental accompaniment, The Invisible Parade, during the spring of 2006. A few months later, fans were greeted with his fifth record, Nuclear Daydream, as well as a tour that featured Arthur with a full live band, something he had never done before. Arthur also provided vocals for "Sublime," from the Twilight Singers' iTunes-only five-song EP A Stitch in Time. In April 2007, he partnered with his band once again to record Let's Just Be, the second album released on his own label.
The following year brought even more material, with Arthur releasing no less than four EPs during the first seven months of the year (Could We Survive, Crazy Rain, Vagabond Skies, Foreign Girls) and a full album, Temporary People, in September. In February 2010, Arthur teamed up with Dhani Harrison and Ben Harper to form Fistful of Mercy, a folk-rock trio whose debut album, As I Call You Down, was released later that year. The band toured off and on during 2010 and continued playing sporadic shows in 2011, but that didn't stop Arthur from furthering his solo career with The Graduation Ceremony, which appeared in May 2011.
21 ene. 2012
by Andrew Leahey
Foxy Shazam's music is an unhinged, maniacal mix of piano, guitar, howling vocals, double-kickdrum percussion, and rock & roll theatrics. The quintet hails from Cincinnati, OH, where bandmates Eric Nally (vocals), Loren Turner (guitar), Daisy (bass), Sky White (piano), and Joe Halberstadt (drums) first joined forces in 2004. Recording sessions for The Flamingo Trigger began that year and stretched into early 2005, and Foxy Shazam supported the album's June release with a series of headlining show dates. New Weatherman Records took an interest in the band's rambunctious, genre-melding sound, and Foxy Shazam signed to the label before entering the studio for a second time. Released in partnership with Ferret Music, Introducing Foxy Shazam arrived in early 2008.
20 ene. 2012
19 ene. 2012
El rock quedara como hoy en día el blues o el jazz, para minorias.
La BBC ha hecho sonar la alarma. Repasando el listado de los diez discos más vendidos en el Reino Unido durante el pasado año, BBC News ha constatado el imperio abrumador del pop. Solo hay un grupo de rock y, al tratarse de Coldplay, muchos discutirían la pertinencia de esa etiqueta. En el Top Ten aparece también un cantautor curioso (Ed Sheeran) pero, para encontrar otra presencia rockera, hay que llegar hasta el 15, donde se cuela Noel Gallagher, exjefe de Oasis.
Más abajo están Florence & The Machine, los Foo Fighters y Mumford & Sons. El único grupo nuevo que se coló entre los 35 máximos vendedores de 2011 son The Vaccines. Escaso consuelo cuando la zona alta está dominada por las divas, sean discretas (Adele) o escandalosas (Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Jessie J). En términos comerciales, el rock creativo parece irrelevante.
¡Quietos los caballos! No conviene apresurarse a redactar la necrológica del rock de guitarras en el Reino Unido: esta música sigue dominando el circuito de pequeños locales y también los grandes festivales. Lo que se ha diluido es su impacto comercial y, sobre todo, su pretensión de ocupar un lugar central en la cultura juvenil. La fragmentación de la escena indie milita contra su reconocimiento por el gran público: la multiplicación de tendencias desconcierta al oyente menos informado.
¿Importa eso? Ya lo creo: el desplazamiento de los gustos masivos hacia las divas tiene consecuencias económicas. Las (decrecientes) inversiones de las grandes compañías van hacia este tipo de artistas, que se caracterizan por sus altísimos costes de producción: Rihanna tiene algún tema que ha costado más de un millón de dólares, debido a la presencia de invitados estelares y el caché del productor en cuestión.
A la hora de repartir el presupuesto, el rock ahora recibe migajas. El runrún entre los cazatalentos de las discográficas británicas dice así: “mejor no fichar grupos, ya no venden”. Resulta difícil averiguar datos exactos sobre lo que fichan las majors ya que hay truco: muchos sellos indies están financiados, bajo cuerda, por las multinacionales. BBC News entrevista a Jim Chancellor, director de Fiction Records. En otros tiempos, cuando empezaba con The Cure, Fiction era una indie; hoy forma parte del pulpo Universal. Allí graban ahora Elbow, Snow Patrol o White Lies. Chancellor confirma que se está cerrando el grifo: “cuando se contrata a un nuevo grupo, todos esperan resultados inmediatos. No hay paciencia para las bandas a las que debes amamantar, llevar de un nivel a otro.”
Se queja Chancellor de que en el país de The Beatles no hay escaparates televisivos para los grupos de guitarras, “solo salen en el Channel 4 y en Later…with Jools Holland (BBC)”. Les queda, pienso yo, el New Musical Express, obligado por su periodicidad semanal a inventarse constantemente “salvadores del rock” con sus correspondientes movimientos. Pero el NME también está en caída libre, por lo menos en su versión papel: está por debajo de los treinta mil ejemplares, cuando llegó a vender 300.000.
La lenta y dolorosa muerte del 'indie
Ese era el titular de The Guardian hace un par de días, al revisar las deprimentes ventas de muchos de sus artistas favoritos. La pregunta obvia: ¿hay algún grupo mágico que pueda cambiar el rumbo del mercado? Vamos a fiarnos nuevamente de la BBC. Cada diciembre, la vieja tía Beeb realiza un sondeo para establecer lo podría ser “el sonido” del año siguiente. Consultaron a 184 locutores, blogueros y periodistas, que han decidido que el Sound of 2012 está encarnado por el cantante Michael Kiwanuka, un londinense en la línea de Bill Withers. Entre los quince primeros puestos de esta lista de grandes esperanzas solo hay un grupo-de-guitarras. Se llama Spector y ya está fichado, precisamente por Fiction Records. Por lo tanto, la respuesta es que sí, hay cantera pero mejor no hacerse ilusiones respecto a sus posibilidades de destacar.
LOS MÁXIMOS VENDEDORES DE 2011 EN GRAN BRETAÑA
1. Adele - 21
2. Michael Buble - Christmas
3. Bruno Mars - Doo-wops & hooligans
4. Adele - 19
5. Coldplay - Mylo xyloto
6. Rihanna - Loud
7. Lady Gaga - Born this way
8. Jessie J - Who you are
9. Ed Sheeran - +
10. Rihanna - Talk that talk
17 ene. 2012
by Ron Wynn
A master of novelty/disco funk, saxophonist Jimmy Castor started as a doo wop singer in New York. He wrote and recorded "I Promise to Remember" for Wing with the Juniors in 1956, a group whose roster included Al Casey, Jr., Orton Graves, and Johnny Williams. Castor replaced Frankie Lymon in the Teenagers in 1957 before switching to sax in 1960. He appeared on several soul-jazz and Afro-Latin sessions and had a solo hit with "Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You" on Smash in 1966. Castor also played sax on Dave "Baby" Cortez's hit "Rinky Dink." He formed the Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and signed with RCA. Their first release, It's Just Begun, launched Castor's next phase with the song "Troglodyte (Cave Man)." It was a Top Ten R&B and pop smash. Castor continued the trend in 1975 with "The Bertha Butt Boogie" and later recorded "E-Man Boogie," "King Kong," "Bom Bom," and "Amazon." The Castor band included keyboardist/trumpeter Gerry Thomas, bassist Doug Gibson, guitarist Harry Jensen, conga player Lenny Fridle Jr., and drummer Bobby Manigault. Thomas left to join the Fatback Band. Castor recorded as a solo performer from 1976 until 1988. He had one of his bigger hits in many years with a 1988 revival of "Love Makes a Woman," which paired him with disco diva Joyce Sims. Castor had his own label, Long Distance, during the decade.
15 ene. 2012
13 ene. 2012
12 ene. 2012
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Out of all the bands that emerged in the immediate aftermath of punk rock in the late '70s, few were as enduring and popular as the Cure. Led through numerous incarnations by guitarist/vocalist Robert Smith (born April 21, 1959), the band became notorious for its slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance, a public image that often hid the diversity of the Cure's music. At the outset, the Cure played jagged, edgy pop songs before slowly evolving into a more textured outfit. As one of the bands that laid the seeds for goth rock, the group created towering layers of guitars and synthesizers, but by the time goth caught on in the mid-'80s, the Cure had moved away from the genre. By the end of the '80s, the band had crossed over into the mainstream not only in its native England, but also in the United States and in various parts of Europe. The Cure remained a popular concert draw and reliable record-seller rhroughout the '90s, and their influence could be heard clearly on scores of new bands during the new millenium, including many that had little to do with goth.
Originally called the Easy Cure, the band was formed in 1976 by schoolmates Smith (vocals, guitar), Michael Dempsey (bass), and Laurence "Lol" Tolhurst (drums). Initially, the group specialized in dark, nervy guitar pop with pseudo-literary lyrics, as evidenced by the Albert Camus-inspired "Killing an Arab." A demo tape featuring "Killing an Arab" arrived in the hands of Chris Parry, an A&R representative at Polydor Records; by the time he received the tape, the band's name had been truncated to the Cure. Parry was impressed with the song and arranged for its release on the independent label Small Wonder in December 1978. Early in 1979, Parry left Polydor to form his own record label, Fiction, and the Cure was one of the first bands to sign with the upstart label. "Killing an Arab" was then re-released in February of 1979, and the Cure embarked on its first tour of England.
The Cure's debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, was released in May 1979 to positive reviews in the British music press. Later that year, the group released the non-LP singles "Boys Don't Cry" and "Jumping Someone Else's Train." That same year, the Cure embarked on a major tour with Siouxsie and the Banshees. During the tour, the Banshees' guitarist, John McKay, left the group and Smith stepped in for the missing musician. For the next decade or so, Smith would frequently collaborate with members of the Banshees.
At the end of 1979, the Cure released a single, "I'm a Cult Hero," under the name the Cult Heroes. Following the release of the single, Dempsey left the band to join the Associates; he was replaced by Simon Gallup at the beginning of 1980. At the same time, the Cure added a keyboardist, Mathieu Hartley, and wrapped up production on the band's second album, Seventeen Seconds, which was issued during the spring of 1980. The addition of a keyboardist expanded the group's sound, was which now more experimental and often embraced slow, gloomy dirges. Nevertheless, the band still wrote pop hooks, as demonstrated by the group's first U.K. hit single, "A Forest," which peaked at number 31. After the release of Seventeen Seconds, the Cure launched its first world tour. Following the Australian leg of the tour, Hartley exited the lineup and his former bandmates chose to continue without him, releasing their third album in 1981 (Faith) and watching it peak at number 14 in the charts. Faith also spawned the minor hit single "Primary." The Cure's fourth album, the doom-laden, introspective Pornography, was released soon after in 1982. Pornography expanded their cult audience even further and cracked the U.K. Top Ten. After the Pornography tour was completed, Gallup quit the band and Tolhurst moved from drums to keyboards. At the end of 1982, the Cure released a new single, the dance-tinged "Let's Go to Bed."
Smith devoted most of the beginning of 1983 to Siouxsie and the Banshees, recording the Hyaena album with the group and appearing as the band's guitarist on the album's accompanying tour. That same year, Smith also formed a band with Banshees bassist Steve Severin; after adopting the name The Glove, the group released its only album, Blue Sunshine. By the late summer of 1983, a new version of the Cure -- featuring Smith, Tolhurst, drummer Andy Anderson, and bassist Phil Thornalley -- had assembled and recorded a new single, a jaunty tune named "The Lovecats." The song was released in the fall of 1983 and became the group's biggest hit to date, peaking at number seven on the U.K. charts. The new lineup of the Cure released The Top in 1984. Despite the pop leanings the number 14 hit "The Caterpillar," The Top was a return to the bleak soundscapes of Pornography. During the world tour supporting The Top, Anderson was fired from the band. In early 1985, following the completion of the tour, Thornalley left the band. The Cure revamped their lineup after his departure, adding drummer Boris Williams and guitarist Porl Thompson; Gallup returned on bass. Later in 1985, the Cure released their sixth album, The Head on the Door. The album was the most concise and pop-oriented record the group had ever released, which helped send it into the U.K. Top Ten and to number 59 in the U.S., the first time the band had broken the American Hot 100. "In Between Days" and "Close to Me" -- both pulled from The Head on the Door -- became sizable U.K. hits, as well as popular underground and college radio hits in the U.S.
The Cure followed the breakthrough success of The Head on the Door in 1986 with the compilation Standing on a Beach: The Singles. Standing on a Beach reached number four in the U.K., but more importantly it established the band as a major cult act in the U.S.; the album peaked at number 48 and went gold within a year. In short, Standing on a Beach set the stage for 1987's double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. The album was eclectic but it was a hit, spawning four hit singles in the U.K. ("Why Can't I Be You," "Catch," "Just Like Heaven," "Hot Hot Hot!!!") and the group's first American Top 40 hit, "Just Like Heaven." Following the supporting tour for Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, the Cure's activity slowed to a halt. Before the Cure began working on their new album in early 1988, the band fired Tolhurst, claiming that relations between him and the rest of the band had been irrevocably damaged. Tolhurst would soon file a lawsuit, claiming that his role in the band was greater than stated in his contract and, consequently, he deserved more money.
In the meantime, the Cure replaced Tolhurst with former Psychedelic Furs keyboardist Roger O'Donnell and recorded their eighth album, Disintegration. Released in the spring of 1989, the album was more melancholy than its predecessor, but it was an immediate hit, reaching number three in the U.K. and number 14 in the U.S., and spawning a series of hit singles. "Lullaby" became the group's biggest British hit in the spring of 1989, peaking at number five. In the late summer, the band had its biggest American hit with "Love Song," which climbed to number two. On the Disintegration tour, the Cure began playing stadiums across the U.S. and the U.K. In the fall of 1990, the Cure released Mixed Up, a collection of remixes featuring a new single, "Never Enough." Following the Disintegration tour, O'Donnell left the band and the Cure replaced him with their roadie, Perry Bamonte. In the spring of 1992, the band released Wish. Like Disintegration, Wish was an immediate hit, entering the British charts at number one and the American charts at number two, as well as launching the hit singles "High" and "Friday I'm in Love." The Cure embarked on another international tour after the release of Wish. One concert, performed in Detroit, was documented on a film called Show and on two albums, Show and Paris. The movie and the albums were released in 1993.
Thompson left the band in 1993 to join Jimmy Page and Robert Plant's band. After his departure, O'Donnell rejoined the lineup as a keyboardist, and Bamonte switched from synthesizer duties to guitar. During most of 1993 and early 1994, the Cure were sidelined by an ongoing lawsuit from Tolhurst, who claimed joint ownership of the band's name and also sought to restructure his royalty payments. A settlement (ruling in the band's favor) eventually arrived during the fall of 1994, and the Cure shifted their focus to the task at hand: recording a follow-up album to Wish. However, drummer Boris Williams quit just as the band prepared to begin the recording process. The group recruited a new percussionist through advertisements in the British music papers; by the spring of 1995, Jason Cooper had replaced Williams. Throughout 1995, the Cure recorded their tenth proper studio album, pausing to perform a handful of European musical festivals in the summer. The album, titled Wild Mood Swings, was finally released in the spring of 1996, preceded by the single "The 13th."
A combination of pop tunes and darker moments that lived up to its title, Wild Mood Swings received a mixed reception critically and commercially, slowing but not halting the momentum gained by Wish. Galore, the Cure's second singles collection focusing on the band's hits since Standing on a Beach, appeared in 1997 and featured the new song "Wrong Number." The Cure spent the next few years quietly -- giving a song to the X-Files soundtrack, Robert Smith appearing in a memorable episode of South Park -- re-emerging in 2000 with Bloodflowers, their last album of original material for Fiction. Designed as the final installment in a heavy goth trilogy that stretched all the way back to Pornography and included Disintegration, Bloodflowers was well received and a respectable success, earning a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. The next year, the Cure closed out their contract with Fiction with the career-spanning Greatest Hits, which was also accompanied by a DVD release of their most popular videos. During 2002, they spent some time on the road, capping off their tour with a three-night stand in Berlin, where they played each album of their "goth trilogy" on a different night; the event was documented on the home video release Trilogy.
The Cure signed an international deal with Geffen Records in 2003 and then launched an extensive reissue campaign in 2004 with the rarities box set Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978-2001 (The Fiction Years); double-disc expanded editions of their earliest albums soon followed. Also in 2004, the band released its first album for Geffen, an eponymous effort recorded live in the studio. Heavier but not necessarily harder -- and certainly not gloomier than Bloodflowers -- The Cure was partially designed to appeal to a younger audience familiar with the Cure through their influence on a new generation of bands, many of which were showcased as opening acts on the band's supporting tour for the album. The Cure underwent another lineup change in 2005, as Bamonte and O'Donnell left the group and Porl Thompson came back for his third stint. This new, keyboard-less lineup debuted in 2005 as the headlining act at the benefit concert Live 8 Paris, then headed out on the summer festival circuit, highlights of which were captured on the 2006 DVD release Festival 2005. The Cure popped up on various festivals over the next two years, playing a more extensive European tour in early 2008, as they completed their 13th album. Originally conceived as a double album, the record was split in two prior to its release, with the lighter, poppier material released first as 4:13 Dream in October 2008.
Siguiendo la serie de mis canciones favoritas de 2011 (hasta llegar a la 25) y no encontrando una versión digna para colgar de Ben Ottewell (puesto 2º) y War on Drugs (3º) me voy directo al 4º.
The Roller es una magnífica canción pop (una vez más MUY influenciada especialmente por John Lennon) y que decanta la victoria de Liam sobre Noel Gallagher en su guerra particular en el 2011. El tema no desentonaría nada en cualquiera de los grandes discos de Oasis. Aquí está The Roller....
11 ene. 2012
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Returning home after their Josh Homme-directed voyage into the desert, Arctic Monkeys get back to basics on their fourth album, Suck It and See. The journey is figurative: Suck It was recorded not in Sheffield, but in Los Angeles, with their longtime producer James Ford, who conjures a sound not unlike the one he captured on the band’s 2007 sophomore set Your Favourite Worst Nightmare. Homme may be gone but he’s not forgotten, not when the group regularly trades in fuzztones and heavy-booted stomps, accentuating their choruses with single-note guitar runs lifted from the Pixies. Ultimately, all these thick tones provide color on a set of songs trimmed of fatty excess and reliant on sturdy melodicism, arriving via the guitar hooks and sung melodies. Naturally, in a setting without frills, Alex Turner's lyrics are also pushed to the forefront, more so than they were on Humbug, and he shows no signs of slack, still displaying an uncanny ear for conversational rhythms and quick-witted puns. If Suck It and See is missing anything, it’s a powerhouse single. “Brick by Brick” contains a crushing riff and “Don’t Sit Down Because I Moved Your Chair” pulses with an insinuating menace, but neither are knockouts, they’re growers that get stronger with repeated spins. And in that sense, they’re quite representative of the album as a whole: Suck It and See may be at the opposite end of the spectrum from Humbug -- it’s concentrated and purposeful where its predecessor sprawled -- yet it still demands attention from the listener, delivering its rewards according to just how much time you’re willing to devote.
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Otro tema estelar de su último álbum y que lleva su mismo nombre, Magnífica grabación de la WDR (a pesar de pequeños fallos en la sincronización de voz e imagen) . Atención al cambio a mitad de tema , grupo folk-rock se convierte en sinfónico con claras referencias a Jon Anderson y Yes. Genial.
10 ene. 2012
7 ene. 2012
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Few new wave groups were as popular as Culture Club. During the early '80s, the group racked up seven straight Top Ten hits in the U.K. and six Top Ten singles in the U.S. with their light, infectious pop-soul. Though their music was radio-ready, what brought the band stardom was Boy George, the group's charismatic, cross-dressing lead singer. George dressed in flamboyant dresses and wore heavy makeup, creating a disarmingly androgynous appearance that created a sensation on early MTV. George also had a biting wit and frequently came up with cutting quips that won Culture Club heavy media exposure in both America and Britain. Although closely aligned with the new romantics -- they were both inspired by Northern soul and fashion -- Culture Club had sharper pop sense than their peers and they consequently had a broader appeal. However, their time in the spotlight was brief. Not only could they not withstand the changing fashions of MTV, but the group was fraught with personal tensions, including Boy George's drug addiction. By 1986, the group had broken up, leaving behind several singles that rank as classics of the new wave era.
The son of a boxing club manager, Boy George (b. George O'Dowd, June 14, 1961), found himself attracted to the glam rock of T. Rex and David Bowie as a teenager. During the post-punk era of the late '70s, he became a regular at London new romantic clubs. Along with his cross-dressing friends Marilyn and Martin Degville (a future member of Sigue Sigue Sputnik), George became well-known around the London underground for his extravagant sense of style, and Malcolm McLaren invited him to join an early version of Bow Wow Wow. George briefly appeared with the band as Lieutenant Lush before leaving to form In Praise of Lemmings with bassist Mikey Craig (b. February 15, 1960). Once guitarist Jon Suede joined the group, they changed their name to Sex Gang Children. Within a few months, the band met Jon Moss (b. September 11, 1957), a professional drummer who had previously played with Adam & the Ants and the Damned.
By 1981, Boy George had renamed the group Culture Club and Suede had been replaced by Roy Hay (b. August 12, 1961), a former member of Russian Bouquet. Toward the end of the year, they recorded a set of demos for EMI, but the label turned them down. Early in 1982, the band landed a contract with Virgin Records, releasing "White Boy" in the spring. Neither "White Boy" or its follow-up, "I'm Afraid of Me," made the charts but the British music and fashion press began running articles about Boy George. In the fall, Culture Club released their breakthrough single, "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me," which rocketed to the top of the charts. Shortly afterward, the band's debut, Kissing to Be Clever, climbed to number five on the U.K. charts and the non-LP single "Time (Clock of the Heart)" reached number three. Early in 1983, Kissing to Be Clever and "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me" began climbing the U.S. charts, with the single peaking at number two. "Time" reached number two in the U.S. shortly after the non-LP British single "Church of the Poison Mind," attained the same position in the U.K. "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" became a Top Ten hit in America that summer.
By the time Culture Club's second album Colour By Numbers was released in the fall of 1983, the band was the most popular pop/rock group in America and England. "Karma Chameleon" became a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic, while the album reached number one in the U.K. and number two in the U.S. Throughout 1984, the group racked up hits, with "It's a Miracle" and "Miss Me Blind" reaching the Top Ten. In the fall, the group returned with its third album, Waking Up With the House on Fire. While "The War Song" reached number two in the U.K., the album was a disappointment in America, stalling at platinum; its predecessor went quadruple platinum.
Following a brief tour in February, Culture Club went on hiatus for 1985, with Craig, Moss, and Hay pursuing extracurricular musical projects in the interim. During the year, Boy George -- who had previously denounced drugs in public -- became addicted to heroin. Furthermore, his romance with Moss, which had always been rocky, began to disintegrate. All of these problems were kept hidden, but it became evident that something was wrong when Culture Club returned to action in the spring of 1986. Though their comeback single, "Move Away," became a hit in April, its accompanying album From Luxury to Heartache stayed on the charts for only a few months. Rumors of George's heroin addiction began to circulate, and by the summer, he announced that he was indeed addicted to the drug. In July, he was arrested by the British police for possession of cannabis. Several days later, keyboardist Michael Rudetski, who played on From Luxury to Heartache, was found dead of a heroin overdose in George's home. Rudetski's parents unsuccessfully tried to press wrongful death charges on Boy George.
While Boy George was battling heroin addiction, and his subsequent dependence on prescription narcotics, Culture Club broke up. George confirmed the group's disbandment in the spring of 1987, and he began a solo career later that year. While his solo career produced several dance hits in Europe, George didn't land an American hit until 1992, when his cover of Dave Berry's "The Crying Game" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name. In 1995, George published his autobiography, Take It Like a Man. Culture Club reunited in 1998, issuing the two-disc set VH1 Storytellers/Greatest Hits.
by Bruce Eder
Among aficionados of the girl group sound, there can't be five acts more beloved than the Crystals. Their best-known songs, which include "He's a Rebel," "Uptown," "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Then He Kissed Me," and "There's No Other Like My Baby," are among the finest examples of the best that American rock & roll had to offer in the period before the British Invasion; and decades into the CD era, the group's records are still prized in their original vinyl pressings even by non-collectors, who seem to recognize that there was something special about the Crystals' work. The group was originally a quintet consisting of Barbara Alston (born 1945), Dee Dee Kennibrew (born 1945), Mary Thomas (born 1946), Patricia Wright, and Myrna Gerrard, organized by Benny Wells while they were still in high school. All of whom had started out singing in churches; Barbara Alston was Wells' niece, and although she later became known as their lead singer on many of their records, Alston was actually recruited as a backup singer by her uncle. Under Wells' guidance, they began performing in more of a pop vein, and one of the gigs that they got was cutting demos for the publisher Hill & Range, which brought them to the Brill Building in midtown Manhattan. It was there, while they were rehearsing, that they chanced to be heard by Phil Spector, who at that time was just starting up his own label, Philles Records. He was in the market for new talent and the Crystals -- who, by that time, had lost Gerrard and added La La Brooks to their lineup as lead singer -- were just what he was looking for, sort of. He liked their sound and their range, but he didn't initially like Brooks' voice and insisted on Alston taking the lead, somewhat reluctantly on her part.
In September of 1961, the slightly reconfigured group cut their first hit, "There's No Other Like My Baby," which rose to number 20 nationally. It was a promising beginning, putting the group, Spector, and his new label on the map; although another song cut at about the same time, "Oh, Yeah, Maybe, Baby" (which featured Patricia Wright on lead), pointed the way to the group's future, with its understated yet boldly played string accompaniment. In early 1962, the Crystals recorded a Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song called "Uptown," using an arrangement that was a tiny bit lighter on the percussion (except for castanets, of which it had many) but pushed the guitar and the strings out in front more than "Oh Yeah, Maybe, Baby" had. Barbara Alston's strong-yet-sensuous vocals enunciated lyrics that were as steeped in topical subject matter, especially about the frustrations of life in the ghetto, as they were in romance. This gave "Uptown" a subtly two-pronged appeall; it was a gorgeous pop record, but also a new kind of pop record, eminently listenable yet serious in its subtext. No, it wasn't "Blowin' in the Wind," but it seemed to evoke a social realism that heretofore eluded the pop charts. "Uptown" reached number 13 nationally. Its production marked a major step forward in the making of rock & roll singles in its production, and heralded a newer, bolder era in pop music and R&B, very much of a piece with such hits as the Drifters' "Up On the Roof," but with an undercurrent of frustration that the latter song lacked; it all pointed the way toward the more sophisticated and socially conscious kind of songs that Sam Cooke would soon be generating.
It was at this point, in the wake of "Uptown," that the history of the Crystals gets a little more complicated. It wasn't until June of 1962 that they had another single ready to go, and it engendered all kinds of problems that "Uptown" had avoided. If that song had gotten a serious lyric across with an elegant and quietly passionate setting, "He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss)" (co-authored by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, no less) was the reverse, presenting a disturbing lyric about infidelity and the physical abuse of a woman by a man, in a dark, ominous manner. Barbara Alston and company gave it everything they had, and Spector came up with a surprisingly subtle, bolero-like arrangement, but it was a lost cause. Radio stations simply wouldn't play it, and the public didn't like the song, period; according to Barbara Alston, the group didn't like it either, and to this day nobody understands exactly what was in Spector's mind when he cajoled them into cutting it.
The following month, Spector was back in the studio running another Crystals session, except that this time it wasn't really the Crystals that he was recording, but Darlene Love. As the owner of the Crystals' name and, as their producer, possessing the right to record anyone he wanted (or anything he wanted) and label it as being from "the Crystals," he decided to forego any further battles over who should sing lead, and forego using the group entirely for "He's a Rebel." A celebration of street-level machismo like no other, it was an upbeat number with gorgeous hooks and, with none of the baggage of its failed predecessor, became a number one hit, as well as engraining itself in pop culture history as a quintessential girl group classic. Darlene Love was the lead singer on the next hit by "the Crystals," "He's Sure the Boy I Love," as well.
It wasn't until early 1963 that the group again sang on one of their own records, "Da Doo Ron Ron," and by that time, Spector had accepted La La Brooks in lieu of Alston as lead singer. That record rose to number three in America and became their second biggest British hit, reaching the number five spot in the U.K. That placement, along with the U.K. number two position for "Then He Kissed Me" (which also got to number six in America), was very important, because at the time a lot of major British bands were about to break onto the charts at home, before coming to dominate American music a year later. "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "Then He Kissed Me" became among the most popular American rock & roll songs of the period in England, covered by all manner of acts on-stage and on-record.
The Crystals were in a seemingly enviable position, except for the fact that they and Spector were increasingly at odds over what he was doing with them. They'd been unhappy from the time when Spector began using their name on behalf of records made by Darlene Love, and every time they were obliged to perform those songs on-stage it grated against them, and in 1963 they were almost constantly touring and performing. By 1964, they also perceived Spector's growing inattention; he had lately discovered a girl trio called the Ronettes on whose music and lead singer, Veronica Bennett, he was lavishing ever more of his time and energy. Meanwhile, the Crystals were making good and interesting songs, such as the beautiful "Another Country, Another World," "Please Hurt Me," and "Look in My Eyes," the latter a bluesy ballad that showed a side of their sound that Spector seldom tried to explore. The group had released two LPs hooked around their major hits, Twist Uptown and He's a Rebel, in 1962 and 1963, respectively, that had some good songs on them, but Spector's attention and enthusiasm was increasingly directed elsewhere. Spector's seeming dismissive attitude toward the group may have been best illustrated by the most bizarre record with which he, the group, his label, or almost anyone else in the music business had ever been associated: "(Let's Dance) The Screw."
Spector had never been one to keep business partners very long -- in that regard, he was a lot like the movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn -- and in 1964, he'd settled a lawsuit against Lester Sill, the man with whom he'd started the Philles label. As a parting shot at Sill -- and, it is rumored, to fulfill the terms of a settlement that required him to pay a share of the proceeds from the next Crystals single -- he devised an otherwise un-releasable single that Philles pressed, called "(Let's Dance) The Screw." On it, Spector talked the lyrics while the Crystals sang backup, in a five-minute musical joke that is also one of the rarest records of the 1960s (supposedly only a handful were ever produced, one of which was sent to Sill).
Personal jokes by their producer were all well and good, but by 1964, following the failure of two consecutive genuine Crystals singles, the group -- with Frances Collins replacing Patricia Wright -- was no longer interested in working with Spector. The following year they bought out their contract and headed to the seemingly greener pastures of the Imperial label, where they found no success; by that time, the only girl groups that were still competitive in the music marketplace were associated with Motown. By 1966, the Crystals had disbanded, and for five years no one heard anything about the group except in airplay on oldies stations. Spector had even closed down Philles Records, and the resulting unavailability of their records except on the radio only raised the value of the old copies that were out there, and made his periodic reissues of the group's work that much more prized by fans. Then, in 1971, with the rock & roll revival in full swing, the groupmembers reunited and spent a few years delighting audiences on the oldies circuit. Various incarnations of the group resurfaced every so often in the late '70s and 1980s, but at the dawn of the 21st century, Dee Dee Kennibrew was still leading a version of the group and had even managed to get them recorded.
6 ene. 2012
by Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder
The Cryan' Shames actually were a big deal in Chicago in the mid- and late '60s, when a bunch of their singles hit the local Top Ten; some of them were small national hits as well. The biggest of these was "Sugar and Spice," a cover of a Searchers song that made the Top 50 in 1966 and was later featured in Lenny Kaye's renowned Nuggets anthology of '60s garage bands. In their original incarnation, the Shames leaned toward the pop end of garage. Borrowing heavily from the Beatles, the Byrds, and the Yardbirds, guitarist James Fairs wrote a clutch of energetic guitar pop/rockers with sparkling harmonies. After 1966, the group pursued an increasingly mainstream pop direction featuring saccharine arrangements and material. In this respect they uncannily mirrored the devolution of local rivals the New Colony Six, who also shifted from tough pop/rock to MOR in their bid for national success. But the Shames' appeal endures, partly through the efforts of reissue/archival labels such as Sundazed Records, which have kept their music available into the 21st century, and some of the original members, who have kept the band alive as a performing outfit from the 1980s onward.
They actually started out in Hinsdale, IL, as the Prowlers, a trio formed by Gerry Stone (rhythm guitar), Tom "Toad" Doody (vocals), and Dave Purple (bass, keyboards), who added guitarist James Fairs and drummer Dennis Conroy, both late of a local band from Downers Grove called the Roosters. The quintet became the Travelers, specializing in R&B and rock & roll covers, though Fairs was starting to write originals as far back as 1964. They became a sextet with the addition of Jim Pilster, a one-handed tambourine player whose artificial extremity got him dubbed "J.C. Hooke." Included in their ranks were four singers who were capable of handling lead vocals as well as harmonies, and as they already had their rock & roll and R&B sound down, they emerged as a heavyweight outfit on the local band scene, equally adept at covering the Beatles, the Byrds, or the Rolling Stones, among others. Additionally, as they discovered, Pilster's presence lent them some novelty/publicity value as "the guys with the hook," an attribute that would also benefit the Barbarians around the same time, who sported a member with a replacement appendage. According to biographer Clark Besch, they were making upwards of $180 a gig (albeit split six ways) in 1966, a good fee for a group that had never recorded. They also attracted the attention of manager Bob Monaco, who was associated with the local Destination Records label, and hoped to rectify that gap in their biography in short order.
Their new name was imposed upon them when they were notified that another band had a prior claim on "the Travelers" -- as they told Besch, the situation was described by one of the affected parties as "a cryin' shame," and that became their new name. The group and Monaco intended to make their recording debut with George Harrison's "If I Needed Someone" -- a new Beatles song not yet available in the U.S. -- but were thwarted, as the Beatles' publisher wouldn't allow the release. Instead, they grabbed up another, older British Invasion-spawned original, "Sugar and Spice," written by producer/composer Tony Hatch (under the pseudonym "Fred Nightingale") for his client group the Searchers. The number had been in the repertory of another local band, the Riddles, and they got their version out through MG Productions on a tiny local label. The resulting single, which included a proto-psychedelic Fairs original called "Ben Franklin's Almanac," became a Top Five hit locally in Chicago, and attracted the attention of Columbia Records, which bought up their contract and put the record out nationally. It easily made the Top 50 and Columbia wanted more -- the band duly obliged with "I Wanna Meet You," another Fairs original, which only made the Top Ten locally and number 65 nationally. Columbia was still interested in an album, however, and the group delivered the 12-song Sugar & Spice long-player. It was a fairly good record of its kind, mixing covers and Fairs' originals and, as it was done on a tight budget -- basically Columbia accepted the record as delivered, according to Pilster in an essay by Besch -- it also included all four single sides, plus their proposed debut of "If I Needed Someone." Although the album barely cracked the Top 200 nationally, the single and the long-player between them helped raise the band's fees more than fivefold in just a matter of weeks.
It all wasn't a bad beginning, and might have led to better things for the band, if it hadn't been for the Vietnam War and the military draft, which cost the Shames the services of Gerry Stone. Lenny Kerley, late of the Squires, was his replacement, and was soon partnered up as a songwriter with Fairs, generating a third single, "Mr. Unreliable," which made the Top Ten in Chicago. The Cryan' Shames continued to enjoy immense success locally in Chicago, without parallel sales in the rest of the country -- fortunately, they were not costing Columbia a great deal, and the Chicago music marketplace was important enough to keep the label interested. Their fourth single, "It Could Be We're in Love," recorded and released in the late spring of 1967, topped the local listings, without breaking through nationally. There were some lineup changes around this time, as guitarist Isaac Guillory came in on bass, taking over for Dave Purple, who was drafted that year. And a second album, entitled A Scratch in the Sky, issued in December of that year, actually sold somewhat better than their debut LP, reaching number 158 nationally; in contrast to the mix of garage punk, British Invasion, and folk-rock sounds on Sugar & Spice, A Scratch in the Sky was an ornate sunshine pop/psychedelic work, reminiscent of the Association or, perhaps, the Left Banke. The group saw a string of departures in 1968 and 1969, most notably that of James Fairs, and although the Cryan' Shames continued to record and perform with a new lineup -- featuring Saturday's Children alumnus Dave Carter on guitar and former Squires/Boston Tea Party member Alan Dawson on drums -- a lot of continuity was sacrificed. Dawson also left in late 1968, though not before contributing to their final album, Synthesis. They broke up in the last month of 1969. Since then, there have been reunion performances by various members and the formal reactivation of the group in the late '80s, which continued as of 2009.
5 ene. 2012
by John Bush
What's Going On is not only Marvin Gaye's masterpiece, it's the most important and passionate record to come out of soul music, delivered by one of its finest voices, a man finally free to speak his mind and so move from R&B sex symbol to true recording artist. With What's Going On, Gaye meditated on what had happened to the American dream of the past -- as it related to urban decay, environmental woes, military turbulence, police brutality, unemployment, and poverty. These feelings had been bubbling up between 1967 and 1970, during which he felt increasingly caged by Motown's behind-the-times hit machine and restrained from expressing himself seriously through his music. Finally, late in 1970, Gaye decided to record a song that the Four Tops' Obie Benson had brought him, "What's Going On." When Berry Gordy decided not to issue the single, deeming it uncommercial, Gaye refused to record any more material until he relented. Confirmed by its tremendous commercial success in January 1971, he recorded the rest of the album over ten days in March, and Motown released it in late May. Besides cementing Marvin Gaye as one of the most important artists in pop music, What's Going On was far and away the best full-length to issue from the singles-dominated Motown factory, and arguably the best soul album of all time.
Conceived as a statement from the viewpoint of a Vietnam veteran (Gaye's brother Frankie had returned from a three-year hitch in 1967), What's Going On isn't just the question of a baffled soldier returning home to a strange place, but a promise that listeners would be informed by what they heard (that missing question mark in the title certainly wasn't a typo). Instead of releasing listeners from their troubles, as so many of his singles had in the past, Gaye used the album to reflect on the climate of the early '70s, rife with civil unrest, drug abuse, abandoned children, and the spectre of riots in the near past. Alternately depressed and hopeful, angry and jubilant, Gaye saved the most sublime, deeply inspired performances of his career for "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)," and "Save the Children." The songs and performances, however, furnished only half of a revolution; little could've been accomplished with the Motown sound of previous Marvin Gaye hits like "Stubborn Kind of Fellow" and "Hitch Hike" or even "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." What's Going On, as he conceived and produced it, was like no other record heard before it: languid, dark, and jazzy, a series of relaxed grooves with a heavy bottom, filled by thick basslines along with bongos, conga, and other percussion. Fortunately, this aesthetic fit in perfectly with the style of longtime Motown session men like bassist James Jamerson and guitarist Joe Messina. When the Funk Brothers were, for once, allowed the opportunity to work in relaxed, open proceedings, they produced the best work of their careers (and indeed, they recognized its importance before any of the Motown executives). Bob Babbitt's playing on "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" functions as the low-end foundation but also its melodic hook, while an improvisatory jam by Eli Fountain on alto sax furnished the album's opening flourish. (Much credit goes to Gaye himself for seizing on these often tossed-off lines as precious; indeed, he spent more time down in the Snakepit than he did in the control room.) Just as he'd hoped it would be, What's Going On was Marvin Gaye's masterwork, the most perfect expression of an artist's hope, anger, and concern ever recorded.
4 ene. 2012
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
As one of the founding members of the Los Angeles punk band X, John Doe was one of the most influential figures in American alternative rock during the early '80s, but when he launched a solo career in the early '90s, he decided to pursue a rootsy, country-rock direction instead of continuing with punk. X's latter-day albums exhibited a rockabilly and country influence, but it wasn't until Doe's 1990 debut, Meet John Doe, that he recorded a pure country album.
Meet John Doe was recorded during a hiatus in X's career. Following the release of the 1988 live album Live at the Whisky a Go-Go, the bandmembers temporarily parted ways. Initially, Doe concentrated on the acting career he began in 1986 with Oliver Stone's Salvador, appearing in Road House and the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire in 1989. The following year, Meet John Doe was released on DGC to positive reviews, yet it didn't appeal to an audience outside of X's cult, peaking at 193 on the pop charts. Later in 1992, X began playing live again and Doe's solo musical career went on hiatus, although he continued to act in movies like Pure Country, Liquid Dreams, Roadside Prophets, Wyatt Earp, and Georgia.
Following X's 1993 reunion album, Hey Zeus!, Doe signed a solo contract with Rhino/Forward. In summer 1995, Doe released Kissingsohard, a harder and punkier album than his debut. A few months after its release, X released the live semi-acoustic set Unclogged, which would turn out to be their final album. The band split up a year later, but their original lineup (with Billy Zoom on guitar) reunited for a series of live shows in 1998 and toured periodically. Doe continued to focus on his solo career when not occupied with X or his acting career: Freedom Is... was released by the SpinArt label in 2000, the semi-acoustic Dim Stars, Bright Sky appeared on Artist Direct in 2002, and the subtle but aggressive Forever Hasn't Happened Yet arrived via Yep Roc in 2005. It was that same label that reissued Doe's 1998 KRS EP For the Rest of Us under the name For the Best of Us, the new version containing five additional songs that had been recorded during the same sessions.
Doe stayed with Yep Roc for his next two albums as well, 2007's A Year in the Wilderness and 2009's Country Club, where he was co-billed with Canadian roots band the Sadies. A new solo album, Keeper, recorded at the Way Station and New Monkey studios in Los Angeles and featuring guest appearances from Patty Griffin, Jill Sobule, Smokey Hormel, Don Was, and Howe Gelb, appeared in 2011. The album featured the rocking lead-off single "Never Enough."
by Chris Woodstra
An institution in their homeland, a two-hit wonder in the U.S., and, during the last half of their ten-year career, bona fide stars in the U.K. and most of Europe, Crowded House recorded some of the best pop music of the late '80s and early '90s. Leader Neil Finn's carefully crafted songs, meticulous eye for lyrical detail, and gift for melody are matched by few other songwriters.
Crowded House formed in 1985 when Finn dissolved Split Enz rather than carry on after his brother Tim, the group's founding member, left to pursue a solo career. Instead of carrying through with the new wave direction of latter-day Split Enz, Neil moved in favor of a stripped-down, back-to-basics combo featuring ex-Enz drummer Paul Hester, bassist Nick Seymour, and guitarist Craig Hooper. Initially, the group dubbed itself after Finn's middle name, touring Australia and recording demos under the name the Mullanes; Hooper was dropped shortly after this formative period. In June of 1985, the group headed to Los Angeles to shop for a record label, eventually signing with Capitol Records. Capitol requested that the band change its name, and the group settled on Crowded House, a reflection of the bandmembers' living conditions in L.A. They began work on their debut, enlisting the help of then-unknown producer Mitchell Froom. A partnership between the band and the producer formed, making Froom nearly a fourth member. The partnership benefited both the band and the producer -- the band was helped by Froom's direct approach and more "American" sound as well as his input as a musician, and Froom was able to build a career as a high-profile producer.
Crowded House's self-titled debut didn't gain much attention upon its release in the summer of 1986, due to insufficient promotion from Capitol Records. In wake of the weak support from Capitol, the bandmembers took matters into their own hands. Rather than setting out on an expensive large-scale tour, the group took a more low-profile route, playing acoustic sets for industry insiders and for small crowds at ethnic restaurants and in record stores. This unorthodox approach began a buzz within the industry. On the talk-show circuit, they won over American and Canadian audiences with their charm and wit as well as their wacky antics. By February of 1987, the album broke into the American Top 40, eventually peaking at number 12. The album spawned the number two hit single "Don't Dream It's Over" and "Something So Strong," which reached number seven. In Australia and New Zealand, multi-platinum success followed.
Released in 1988, Temple of Low Men was anything but a sophomore slump -- Finn's new songs were among his finest, showcasing a notable progression in his songcraft. The album's slightly darker material, however, made for a more difficult listen and, although the material was stronger, the record lacked the immediate appeal of the debut. This, coupled with Capitol's lack of promotional support, led to disappointing sales -- the album barely broke the U.S. Top 40 and the single, "Better Be Home Soon," stalled at number 42. Since hope had basically run out for the album, they abandoned plans for a major U.S. tour. A three-month break in touring revitalized the band for a well-received Australian and Canadian tour, but by mid-1989 the band had effectively broken up.
Late in 1989, Neil reunited with his brother Tim and the duo began writing songs together for the first time, with the intention of releasing the material on a proposed Finn Brothers album. The collaboration was successful and the duo was prolific, writing 14 songs in a very short time. After the initial sessions with Tim, Neil began working on a new set of songs, designed for the next Crowded House album, but he soon found the new material unsatisfactory. Neil decided to combine the better moments of the Finn Brothers project and the scrapped third album, adding his brother as a fourth member of Crowded House.
Crowded House's third album, Woodface, released in the summer of 1991, proved the decision to combine the material from the two scrapped records was sound -- the album certainly represents their finest recorded moments. Although the choice of "Chocolate Cake" as a leadoff single was both misleading and off-putting to American audiences, effectively sinking the album's chances of success in the U.S., England and Europe embraced the band for the first time. After about six months of dormancy, they began charting in the U.K. and Europe with several singles, including the smash "Weather with You." The British success of "Weather with You" helped Woodface achieve platinum status in the U.K. and led the group to several headlining concerts at Wembley Arena. Tim, for all of his invaluable contributions in the writing and recording of Woodface, proved extraneous to the band's live show. He left the band in November 1991, as the band was in the middle of its tour and just prior to its breakthrough success in England. Following the success of Woodface, both Neil and Tim were awarded OBEs from the Queen of England in 1993; the honor was bestowed for their contributions to the arts.
In early 1993, Crowded House regrouped to record their fourth album, adding American guitarist Mark Hart (who had briefly toured with the band around the time of Temple of Low Men) to the band and dropping Mitchell Froom as their producer, opting instead for ex-Killing Joke member Youth. Together Alone was released in October 1993 (January 1994 in North America) to unanimously positive reviews and solid sales in every country except the United States. Upon its release, Together Alone entered the English charts at number four; at the time, Woodface was still in the U.K. charts. After the album was released, Crowded House embarked on a successful European tour. They were beginning an American tour when Hester decided to leave the band to spend more time with his new family. Hiring a session drummer, the band rounded out the tour, eventually returning to Australia.
By the end of 1994, Neil decided to cut back on the touring to work on side projects, which included some production work for Dave Dobbyn and a second try at a Finn Brothers album with Tim. The Finn Brothers finally released their long-awaited duet album in the fall of 1995. In June of 1996, Neil officially broke up Crowded House. That same month, Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House was released, entering the U.K. and Australian charts at number one. After a handful of "final shows" in various locations, on Sunday, November 24, 1996, Crowded House played their official farewell show at the Sydney Opera House to 100,000 fans as a benefit for the Sydney Children's Hospital Fund.
In 1997, Hester formed a new band, Largest Living Things, releasing two EPs and playing regular gigs in Australia as well as hosting his own television show. Neil made his debut as a solo artist in June 1998 with Try Whistling This. In December 1999, Afterglow, an album's worth of Crowded House leftovers and rarities, was issued in Australia and New Zealand; the album was released in the U.K. during January of the following year.
Neil continued recording both as a solo artist and as part of the Finn Brothers with Tim. In 2005, Hester, after years of battling depression, took his own life near his home in Australia. A year later, the archival release Farewell to the World captured the Sydney farewell show on both CD and DVD. In 2007, Neil reactivated the band with Nick Seymour, Mark Hart, and a new drummer, Matt Sherrod. The album Time on Earth followed soon after. In 2010, the Neil and new Crowded House line-up returned with the studio album Intriguer.
3 ene. 2012
Para finalizar con el asunto de las listas ahí van los discos que más me han gustado del año 2011 facturados por artistas o formaciones internacionales. Como siempre sin ningún orden establecido de prioridad o preferencia. Año tras año se siguen editando muy buenos discos. Solo hay que buscarlos. Añado dos categorías nuevas. Reedición del año y decepción del año. La razón de esta última es que han sido tres batacazos que no esperaba por parte de artistas a los que admiro mucho. La vida es asín que diría aquel.......
CHUCK RAGAN Covering Ground (USA)
Todo lo que se diga de este trabajo es poco. Un disco real como la vida misma. Canciones cosidas con hilo de acero. Nacido en la carretera y sentido hasta el tuétano. Maravilloso.
THE CUBICAL It Ain’t Human (UK)
Vitriólicos y ácidos los de Liverpool han dado la talla con un segundo trabajo muy superior al primero. Blues, rock & roll, country & western, soul y hasta gospel pasados por un cedazo oxidado de distorsión y mala baba.
GREGG ALLMAN Laid Back (USA)
Si Gregg no editara nada más (su salud no anda muy fina) este disco seria un más que digno colofón a una carrera que permanecerá con letras de oro en la historia del rock. Clase a raudales, sentimiento a flor de piel, producción que huele a pantano y barro y una excelente selección de temas.
SOCIAL DISTORTION Hard Times & Nursery Rhymes (USA)
Madurez en su máxima expresión. Un trabajo firme y entregado. Cuando las únicas críticas que se pueden leer es que le falta “caña” servidor no entiende nada. No hay que confundir intensidad con velocidad.
MY MORNING JACKET Circuital (USA)
Su directo en el Azkena del 2006 me desarmó. Pero sus discos, excepto It Still Moves, nunca me convencían del todo. Hasta este Circuital. Experimentación bien entendida, suntuosas melodías, grandes atmósferas.
BOB WAYNE & OUTLAW CARNIES Outlaw Carnie (USA)
Disco outlaw del año. Muy superior a lo que nos ofrece en estos momentos su colega Hank III que parece andar algo perdido. Buenas letras, credibilidad interpretativa y una biografía de leyenda.
JJ GREY & MOFRO Brighter Days (USA)
Directo de lujo que demuestra de lo que son capaces en escena. Blues, soul, rock & roll, el punto justo de jam band y un selecto repertorio. El DVD que lo acompaña es sencillamente tremendo.
JIMBO MATHUS Confederate Buddha (USA)
Que todo el mundo ande loco con el último disco de Jimbo no deja de sorprender. La calidad de todos sus lanzamientos es pareja. Ojalá siga así mucho tiempo para nuestro deleite. Prueba viva de que la música de raíces es perfectamente válida en el siglo XXI.
RYAN ADAMS Ashes & Fire (USA)
Parece que el enfant terrible ha vuelto a recuperar el pulso. Solo por eso ya sería remarcable. Pero es que contiene verdaderos temazos. Esperemos que siga la racha.
EILEN JEWEL Queen Of The Minor Key (USA)
Un encanto. Su voz angelical se pasea por unas canciones sin mácula que ondean las banderas del country, el rockabilly, el swing y hasta el jazz de manera exquisita.
JACKSON TAYLOR & THE SINNERS Let The Bad Times Roll (USA)
Si Wayne se lleva el título de mejor disco outlaw del año este se merece el de mejor artefacto rock ‘n’ country. Guitarras desbocadas envolviendo galopadas eléctricas. Vaqueros con camisetas de Social Distortion, de quienes adaptaron «Ball & Chain» en su Aces N Eights del 2009, dispuestos a dar guerra.
DALE WATSON & THE TEXAS TWO The Sun Sessions (USA)
Homenaje al legendario sello y a una manera de entender la música. Y todo con temas de su propia cosecha, ni una sola versión, que podrían estar en el cancionero de sus héroes. Léase Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash o Carl Perkins.
SIENA ROOT Root Jam (SUECIA)
Otro disco en directo. Reflejo perfecto de todos los aspectos de una banda que no para de crecer. De la dureza de riffs hard a la lírica del folk o a los extensos desarrollos progresivos.
DAVE ALVIN Eleven Eleven (USA)
¿Qué se puede decir de Dave Alvin? Fundador, junto a su hermano Phil, de The Blasters. Una banda clave en el progreso del rock americano. Y con una serie impecable de discos bajo su nombre. En este recupera las sensaciones eléctricas y firma otra meritoria obra.
TEDESCHI & TRUCKS BAND Revelator (USA)
Me costó al principio. Quizás porque venía precedido por las dos mejores obras de ambos en solitario, Back To The River por parte de Susan y Already Free por parte de Derek, pero al final, como en las pelis, los buenos siempre ganan. Tienen las mejores armas de su parte en canciones del calibre de «Bound for Glory», «Learn How To Love», «Love Has Something Else To Say» o «Shelter».
ELECTRIC BOYS And Them Boys Done Swang (SUECIA)
El mejor disco de hard rock internacional de la temporada. Fresco, descarado, pegadizo y bailable. Toda una sorpresa que no esperaba a cargo de la banda de Conny Bloom.
RADIO MOSCOW The Great Escape Of Leslie Magnafuzz (USA)
El jovencísimo trío de Iowa sigue ejerciendo de arqueólogos del rock. Como escribí para el RUTA 66 “Triposidad trufada de proto hard rock y denso blues de garaje orbitando alrededor de las seis cuerdas de Griggs. Un instrumentista que exprime al máximo las capacidades sónicas de las pedaleras en voluptuosas oleadas lanzadas al espacio exterior entre convulsiones de fuzz y wha wha”. Una delicia para gourmets.
THREE SEASONS Life’s Road (SUECIA)
Otro ejercicio magistral de rock setentas a cargo de un combo nórdico. Colchones de Hammond, guitarras maestras, riffs perfectos que crean una atmósfera relajada y agradable. Para calzarse los auriculares y gozar de los mil y un detalles que ocultan tras sus composiciones.
DANNY & THE CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD Hearts & Arrows (UK)
Adictivo. Rock americano propulsado por buenas guitarras y grandes estribillos. Raíces yankis y pop británico. Una combinación que funciona. Y de qué manera. Sus composiciones se pegan como lapas. Deseando verlos en directo a finales de enero.
ELLIOT BROOD Days Into Years (CANADÁ)
Una gran pequeña banda. Con una discografía ejemplar y un encanto arrebatador. Canciones como soles y una forma muy personal de acercarse al folk, el roots y el pop.
Reedición del año:
FRANKIE MILLER That’s Who / Complete Crhysalis Recordings 1973 / 1980
No hay palabras para describir la voz de Miller. Melancólica cuando aborda el soul, raspada en el rock, triste en el blues, embriagadora en las baladas....Y una serie de obras que se encuentran entre lo mejor de la producción británica de la época. Cuatro CD’s a un precio irrisorio. Todo el mundo debería tenerlo en casa.
Decepciones del año:
THE JAYHAWKS Mockingbird Time
WILCO The Whole Love
JOE HENRY Reverie
Podría dar muchas razones. Pero me limitaré a las que considero presentes en los tres discos. Aburrimiento, tedio, escaso riesgo, repetición y una inquietante falta de empatía con el oyente. No repelen pero no los recuerdas cuando acaban. No tienes el deseo de volverlos a poner. Las canciones no penetran, no calan....Se olvidan. Y hablando de los artistas que hablamos es pavoroso.
Publicado por manel en 01:35 5 comentarios
DOMINGO 1 DE ENERO DE 2012
COSECHA DEL 2011 / DISCOS NACIONALES
Bueno, ahí van los discos que más me han gustado del año 2011 facturados por bandas nacionales y un pequeño accésit. Discos de altura. Poco o nada tienen que envidiar las formaciones patrias a muchas que vienen de más allá de nuestras fronteras. Pero mucho del potencial público de este país todavía sigue teniendo estúpidos perjuicios sobre el rock fabricado aquí. Abran sus orejas señores. Merece la pena. El listado, sin ningún orden establecido de prioridad, es el siguiente:
THE FAKEBAND Too Late, Too Bad
Podían venir de cualquier lugar de los USA pero son de Getxo. The Band, Byrds, Eagles, Dylan, melodía y guitarras. Estribillos arrebatadores y brillantez pop. El disco que deberían haber firmado en su retorno los Jayhawks en lugar del anodino Mockinbird Time.
THE SMOKERS Dirección Sur
Discazo de hard rock en castellano. Con una producción sensacional y un sonido de lujo.
JOSELE SANTIAGO Lecciones de Vértigo
Su mejor disco en solitario sin ninguna duda. Con la vuelta de la guitarra eléctrica y unos textos, como de costumbre, sensacionales.
ARENNA Beats Of Olarizu
El debut discográfico de los vitorianos ha supuesto un verdadero puñetazo sobre la mesa. Hard rock, progresivo, psicodelia y stoner en unas canciones con un sinfín de matices. Y un directo acojonante.
NU NILES Nu Niles
Un disco más, un acierto más. Rock & Roll de primera. Mario Cobo, Blas Picón e Ivan Kovacevic son unos tipos de fiar. Y el cambio al castellano todo un acierto desde mi punto de vista que se ve reflejado en este segundo trabajo en el idioma de Cervantes.
SCHIZOPHRENIC SPACERS Give’Em What They Need
Tras el estupendo Second Round las huestes de Lon Spitfire lo han vuelto a hacer. Un disco variado, quizás el que más de su discografía, y atractivo. Rock de estadio facturado desde la más absoluta independencia.
CAPSULA In The Land Of Silver Souls
Empaque, empuje, fuerza, carisma, personalidad. Rock de altas miras e influencias abiertas.
THE MEOWS All You Can Eat
La única pega de los barceloneses es su escasa continuidad. Tanto en estudio como en directo. Quizás por ello acogemos cada concierto y cada lanzamiento suyo con los brazos abiertos. Rock’ n’ Soul, Garaje, Power Pop y lo que les echen.
GUADALUPE PLATA Guadalupe Plata
Blues de ultratumba para uno de los secretos mejor guardados del género. Y no vienen del delta del Mississippi si no de las riberas del Guadalquivir.
SEX MUSEUM Again & Again
Si la veteranía es un grado que se los den todos a los madrileños. Ellos a lo suyo. A facturar discos enormes y a defenderlos en directo. ¿Quién da más?
’77 High Decibels
Les va a costar sacarse de encima el estigma de banda clónica (en este caso a AC / DC). Pero discos como este les ayudarán a hacerlo. Evolución, mala leche y la eterna llama del rock. Juventud, divino tesoro.
LOS DELTONOS La Caja de los Truenos
No va a entrar en la lista de este año ya que ha salido a finales de diciembre y, por tanto, técnicamente, es perfectamente válido para la del 2012. No ha habido tiempo material de darle las escuchas que merece pero los cántabros lo han vuelto a hacer. Y con una canción que me ha robado el corazón, «Gasoil y Chocolatinas». Tenemos todo el resto del año para escucharlo y valorarlo en su justa medida.
Publicado por manel en 05:53 10 comentarios
2 ene. 2012
by William Ruhlmann
The musical partnership of David Crosby (born August 14, 1941), Stephen Stills (born January 3, 1945), and Graham Nash (born February 2, 1942), with and without Neil Young (born November 12, 1945), was not only one of the most successful touring and recording acts of the late '60s, '70s, and early '80s -- with the colorful, contrasting nature of the members' characters and their connection to the political and cultural upheavals of the time -- it was arguably the only American-based band to approach the overall societal impact of the Beatles. The group was a second marriage for all the participants when it came together in 1968: Crosby had been a member of the Byrds, Nash was in the Hollies, and Stills had been part of Buffalo Springfield. The resulting trio, however, sounded like none of its predecessors and was characterized by a unique vocal blend and a musical approach that ranged from acoustic folk to melodic pop to hard rock. CSN's debut album, released in 1969, was perfectly in tune with the times, and the group was an instant hit. By the time of their first tour (which included the Woodstock festival), they had added Young, also a veteran of Buffalo Springfield, who maintained a solo career. The first CSNY album, Déjà Vu, was a chart-topping hit in 1970, but the group split acrimoniously after a summer tour. 4 Way Street, a live double album issued after the breakup, was another number one hit. (When it was finally released on CD in 1992, it was lengthened with more live material.) In 1974, CSNY re-formed for a summer stadium tour without releasing a new record. Nevertheless, the compilation So Far became their third straight number one. Crosby, Stills & Nash re-formed without Young in 1977 for the album CSN, another giant hit. They followed with Daylight Again in 1982, but by then Crosby was in the throes of drug addiction and increasing legal problems. He was in jail in 1985-1986, but cleaned up and returned to action, with the result that CSNY reunited for only their second studio album, American Dream, in 1988. CSN followed with Live It Up in 1990, and though that album was a commercial disappointment, the trio remained a popular live act; it embarked on a 25th anniversary tour in the summer of 1994 and released a new album, After the Storm. The trio again reunited with Young for 1999's Looking Forward, followed in 2000 by their CSNY2K tour.
by William Ruhlmann
This subset of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young featured David Crosby (b.Aug 14, 1941) and Graham Nash (b.Feb 2, 1942) relying on their sweet harmonies and strong songwriting. The duo lasted from 1972 to the more-or-less permanent re-forming of Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1977.
by Barry Weber
In the music industry, arguably the worst tragedy that can befall an artist is to die in their prime, when he or she is just beginning to break through to the mainstream and reach people on a national level. One such artist was Jim Croce, a songwriter with a knack for both upbeat, catchy singles and empathetic, melancholy ballads. Though Croce only recorded a few studio albums before an untimely plane crash, he continues to be remembered posthumously. Croce appealed to fans as a common man, and it was not a gimmick -- he was a father and husband who went through a series of blue-collar jobs. And whether he used dry wit, gentle emotions, or sorrow, Croce sang with a rare form of honesty and power. Few artists have ever been able to pull off such down-to-earth storytelling as convincingly as he was.
James Croce was born in Philadelphia, PA, on January 10, 1943. Raised onragtime and country, Croce played the accordion as a child and would eventually teach himself the guitar. It wasn't until his freshman year of college that he began to take music seriously, forming several bands over the next few years. After graduation, he continued to play various gigs at local bars and parties, working as both a teacher and construction worker to support himself and his wife, Ingrid. In 1969, the Croces and an old friend from college, Tommy West, moved to New York and record an album. When the Jim and Ingrid record failed to sell, they moved to a farm in Lyndell, PA, where Jim juggled several jobs, including singing for radio commercials. Eventually he was noticed and signed by the ABC/Dunhill label and released his second album, You Don't Mess Around with Jim, in 1972. The record spawned three hits: "You Don't Mess Around With Jim," "Operator (That's Not the Way It Feels)," and "Time in a Bottle." The latter would become Croce's breakthrough hit, shooting all the way to number one on the Billboard charts. Croce quickly followed with Life and Times in early 1973 and gained his first number one hit with "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown."
After four years of grueling tour schedules, Croce grew homesick. Wishing to spend more time with Ingrid and his infant son Adrian James, he planned to take a break after the Life and Times tour was completed. Unfortunately, the tour would never finish; just two months after "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" topped the charts, Croce's plane crashed in Natchitoches, LA. Croce and the four other passengers (including band member Maury Muehleisen) were killed instantly.
Ironically, Jim Croce's career peaked after his death. In December of 1973, the album I Got a Name surfaced, but it was "Time in a Bottle," from 1972's You Don't Mess Around with Jim which would become his second number one single. Shortly afterwards, "I'll Have to Say I Love You in a Song" reached the Top Ten. Several albums were released posthumously, most notably the greatest hits collection, Photographs and Memories, which became a best-seller. Several other compilations have since been issued, such as the 1992 release The 50th Anniversary Collection and the 2000 compilation Time in a Bottle: The Definitive Collection. Listening to the songs Croce recorded, one cannot help but wonder how far his extraordinary talents could have taken him if he would have perhaps lived a few years longer. Unfortunately, such a question may only be looked at rhetorically, but Jim Croce continues to live on in the impressive catalog of songs he left behind.
1 ene. 2012
by Jon O'Brien
Following the success of their Springsteen-esque Juno Award-winning debut album, Jackson Square, Ontario five-piece Arkells continue to pilfer the sounds of the '80s blue-collar rock scene with their sophomore effort, Michigan Left. The Boss' influence is still very much evident throughout its ten tracks, from the "Dancing in the Dark"-ish synths of "On Paper" to the rousing heartland anthem of "Bloodlines." But second time round, the Canadians have delved much further into their vintage record collection for inspiration. Inspired by the university where the band formed, the groove-laden "Where U Goin" echoes the feel-good blue-eyed soul of Hall & Oates; "One Foot Out the Door" blends the atmospheric MOR of Mike + the Mechanics with the chiming widescreen rock of U2; while on the energetic "Whistleblower," frontman Max Kerman channels the impassioned vocal tones of Michael Hutchence against a backdrop of rumbling basslines, echo-laden guitars, and call-and-response chants. As authentic as these retro offerings are, it's only when they ditch their Now That's What I Call the '80s handbook, as on the angular indie pop of opener "Book Club" and the slow-building proggy finale, "Agent Zero" (bizarrely dedicated to NBA star Gilbert Arenas), that they avoid becoming just another generic and over-earnest guitar band. With its several skyscraper choruses and super-sized hooks, Michigan Left will no doubt continue Arkells' ascension into the upper echelons of the Canadian rock scene, but there's little here likely to inspire the next generation of stadium rock stars.