Rock/Pop/Etc.

Concert Review: Peter Case and Paul Collins of The Plimsouls, The Beat and the Nerves – March 7, 2012 at the Echo, Los Angeles, CA

Peter Case performs with Paul Collins on March 7, 2012 at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA | ©2012 Assignment X

Steeped in 1950s and 1960s rock music, but channeled through the power pop sheen of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the music of Peter Case and Paul Collins is still relevant today. Whether together as The Nerves and The Breakaways or separately fronting The Plimsouls and The Beat, respectively, they had a knack for writing great hooks that have stood the test of time. Early into the eighty-minute concert by Peter Case and Paul Collins at the Echo in Los Angeles, CA on March 7, 2012 where they performed hits from their various groups, Case admitted that they wrote …Read On »

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CD Review: Van Halen – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH

Van Halen - A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH | ©2012 Interscope Records

Suggested Retail Price: $15.88 (deluxe edition), $12.33 (standard edition) Label: Interscope Records You won’t be partying like it’s 1984 when you start listening to the new Van Halen album A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH – the first featuring David Lee Roth on vocals in 28 years. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to party like it’s 1975, 1976 or 1977 – the years in which the scraps and seeds of many of the songs included here were originally conceived by guitarist Eddie Van Halen and Roth. Instead, A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH is a messy, frustrating and ultimately soulless album. It’s …Read On »

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CD Review: Foxy Shazam – THE CHURCH OF ROCK AND ROLL

Foxy Shazam - THE CHURCH OF ROCK AND ROLL | ©2012 I.R.S. Records

Distributor: I.R.S. Records Suggested Retail Price: $9.98 With so many bands refusing or unable to pay at the “Church of Rock and Roll”, it’s refreshing that Foxy Shazam isn’t afraid to dive in head-first with their fourth album, dubbed appropriately enough, THE CHURCH OF ROCK AND ROLL. While the Cincinnatti, OH band’s previous releases definitely had the hooks and in many cases, comparisons to Queen rock and bombast, it’s their latest release that truly showcases their hard-rockin’ roots, mainstream ambitions and Glam swagger. Produced by Justin Hawkins, frontman for the criminally underrated hard rock band The Darkness, there’s definitely some …Read On »

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Music Review: The 10 Best Songs of 2011 (Some Brown, a little Perry, People and a whole lot to Gaga over)

Lady Gaga performs on the AMERICAN IDOL Season 10 finale | ©2011 Fox/Michael Becker

It was a pretty eclectic year in music, and that’s reflected with the best songs of 2011. A little Adele, a bit of Kanye and some more than welcome Katy Perry. And what would a year be without a song to go Gaga over. So here’s the ten best songs of 2011. 1. Adele – “Rolling in the Deep” Undeniably powerful, soulful and sincere. Sometimes, with the right lyrics and right vocals, a song just hits home. Read the lyrics if you must, or to feel it’s true impact, simply sing at the top of your lungs, “we could have …Read On »

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Concert Review: CRACKER / CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN – December 27, 2011 – Belly Up, Solana Beach, CA

Johnny Hickman, David Lowery, Frank Funaro and Sal Maida of Cracker perform at Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA on December 27, 2011 | Photo ©2011 and courtesy Ami J. Flori

Few artists can claim they are part of one successful band, but David Lowery can cite two  – Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven (and both active) as the very eccentric home to his hybrid musical compositions that span country, rock, ska and alternative music (with a little folk thrown in for good measure). And now, Lowery continues the tradition of touring with both bands simultaneously for a brief little end of the year tour. Things kicked off on Tuesday night in Solana Beach, CA at the Belly Up as Lowery’s Camper Van Beethoven served as opening act (they also have …Read On »

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Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Five Awesome CD Sets You Can Crank Up to 11

Pink Floyd - DARK SIDE OF THE MOON | ©2011 Capitol Records

With all the Christmas songs on the radio and in the mall, corporate sponsored holiday specials taking over the airwaves and department store commercials encouraging you to BUY, BUY, BUY, it becomes harder and harder each year to find that perfect gift for someone special. That’s where ASSIGNMENT X comes in with our annual Holiday Gift Guide. We dig deep, so you don’t have to and have come up with a whole slew of books, music, games, toys and more that should satisfy the pop culture addict on your gift-giving list. So without further ado, welcome to ASSIGNMENT X’s 2011 …Read On »

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Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Five Cool Christmas-Themed Gifts

A NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS - A SNOWY SURPRISE Hallmark Keepsakes | ©2011Hallmark

With all the Christmas songs on the radio and in the mall, corporate sponsored holiday specials taking over the airwaves and department store commercials encouraging you to BUY, BUY, BUY, it becomes harder and harder each year to find that perfect gift for someone special. That’s where ASSIGNMENT X comes in with our annual Holiday Gift Guide. We dig deep, so you don’t have to and have come up with a whole slew of books, music, games, toys and more that should satisfy the pop culture addict on your gift-giving list. So without further ado, welcome to ASSIGNMENT X’s 2011 …Read On »

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CD Review: Chris Isaak – BEYOND THE SUN

Chris Isaak - BEYOND THE SUN | ©2011 Vangaurd Records

Distributor: Vanguard Suggested Retail Price: $14.88 Whenever you hear someone digging into the past for a bunch of cover songs, it usually isn’t a good sign. Yet Chris Isaak, the smooth singer behind “Wicked Games” has decided to travel back to the songs of the 1950s that were recorded at the legendary Sun Records studio in Nashville with his new set BEYOND THE SUN. And hot damn if it doesn’t work. Isaak is a rare performer, whose silky smooth and emotive vocals have always had a bit of a retro tinge to it even with his own modern sensibilities thrown …Read On »

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CD Review: Lady Antebellum – OWN THE NIGHT

Lady Antebellum - OWN THE NIGHT | ©2011 Captiol Records

Distributor: Capitol Records Suggested Retail Price: $9.99 At some point, when pop radio went bland and soulless, country artists started to adapt the hooky stylings that made them appeal to people who missed the good old days. Shania Twain perhaps paved the way with music that was country in labeling only (she was secretly a pop star, even if steel guitars were playing in the background). She even proved that theory with a two-disc set that had the songs mixed for country radio stations AND rock radio. Now, many country artists teeter on that thin line and no more blatant …Read On »

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CD Review: Erasure – TOMORROW’S WORLD

Erasure - TOMORROW'S WORLD | ©2011 Mute Records

Distributor: Mute Suggested Retail Price: $13.88 It’s amazing that Vince Clarke has been a part of not one, but three ground-breaking bands and all within the span of five years in the early 1980s. First, he jump-started Depeche Mode being one of the primary songwriters for that band’s exceptional debut SPEAK & SPELL providing such memorable tracks as “Just Can’t Get Enough”, “Dreaming of Me” and “New Life” Leaving after the release of that ground-breaking first album, Clarke then formed a partnership with singer Alison Moyet with Yaz (known as Yazoo in the U.K.). The two albums they put out …Read On »

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