Distributor: 429 Records Suggested Retail Price: $9.99 The indie music releases of 2011 has gotten off to an excellent start, with SoCal punkers Social Distortion releasing the great HARD TIMES AND NURSERY RHYMES and now Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven frontman David Lowery releasing a just as potent first solo album. Lowery makes it clear on his website, this is not an album following the break-up of either of his bands (which he tours with regularly). Instead, it’s simple a side project, which, not surprising, feels very much in synch with the work of both of his excellent groups. It’s …Read On »
Distributor: Hear Music Suggested Retail Price: $8.99 Elvis Costello has always been a prolific artist, and even as his career is going on his fifth decade in the business, he’s still cranking out amazing songs and albums at an accelerated pace (and that’s not counting all the reissues of his older albums with bonus tracks). Last year, he released his latest effort, the somewhat uneven NATIONAL RANSOM, a hodge podge of tracks that felt like cast-offs from MOMOFUKU and SECRET, PROFANE AND SUGARCANE. It doesn’t mean that it wasn’t any good, it was just stylistically and consistency-wise all over the …Read On »
It’s been some time since I’ve been excited by a new R.E.M. album. Both 2004’s AROUND THE SUN and 2008’s ACCELERATE promised greatness and a return to form, but were uneven, misshapen releases with few memorable moments. With their disc COLLAPSE INTO NOW due out March 8, the band has released its first single from that disc “Mine Smell Like Honey” which just hit iTunes and other online retail outlets. Damn, they’re back. While I’m all for a band exploring new sounds and textures, it felt like the jangly pop roots the band became famous for, gave way to more …Read On »
Distributor: Bigger Picture Group/Outlaw Saints Music Suggested Retail Price: $13.99 Although THE HOUSE RULES is his first major label release, Christian Kane has been around a good while now as a singer/songwriter. Those familiar with his music via live performance and/or independently-produced earlier records can testify that he is consistently passionate, entertaining and smooth on the ears. Good news: THE HOUSE RULES adds big-league production value to the tracks without in any way diluting Kane’s essential sound or sense of fun. Produced by Bob Ezrin and Jimmie Lee Sloas, both of whom do double-duty as musicians on the album, THE …Read On »
10 FAVORITE ALBUMS (in alphabetical order) Daft Punk – TRON: LEGACY soundtrack There were some great soundtracks this year, but damn, these techno boys created the best John Carpenter/Alan Howarth score that the never wrote. The movie may be polarizing, but this soundtrack will make you appreciate being a user. Frightened Rabbit – THE WINTER OF MIXED DRINKS A wonderful, alternative rock find. A group whose music seeps with angst and emotion, while not sounding mainstream. This is everything Arcade Fire’s THE SUBURBS album should have been. Gaslight Anthem – AMERICAN SLANG A Jersey band with a heavy Boss influence, …Read On »
It’s hard to grasp that the first two Tom Petty records – 1976’s self titled release (featuring “American Girl” and “Breakdown) and 1978’s YOU’RE GONNA GET IT! (featuring “I Need to Know” and “Listen to Her Heart”) – were not commercial successes in the states.
The U.K. loved the band, but despite those great songs, they struggled to find a stateside audience.
Whenever an artist starts scrounging around their archives for unreleased tracks, it’s usually for a box set of rarities, or even worse, a way to dredge up past glories when the current musical muse has long-since dried up.
That’s not the case with Bruce Springsteen. In the ‘90s he released an incredibly ambitious box set of B-sides and rarities called TRACKS that proved even his toss-offs were A-sides.
When I first heard Black Francis (i.e. Frank Black, i.e. Charles Thompson) was concocting a soundtrack to the classic 1916 German silent film THE GOLEM, I thought it might be a more traditional kind of score. Instead, true to his music roots, he’s created a more rock and roll soundtrack for this endeavor featuring both instrumentals and actual songs (the songs are featured here on this new CD). This results in one of Francis’ strongest and most consistent albums in years. He originally performed his score live in San Francisco – and this is the studio version of that performance.