Box sets and other special releases make fine holiday gifts for music lovers
1 Comment · Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Stumped for a last-minute gift for the music lover on your list? Here are a few of the better box sets and special music releases from 2013.
Plus, Motorheadphones debut and "Love Me Do" enters Europe's public domain
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Motorheadphones storm the headphone market with a focus on mid-range audio and a Motorhead logo; The Beatles' "Love Me Do" is now in the public domain in Europe, meaning less money for Yoko; and Americans think the current Congress is worse than cockroaches, Brussels sprouts, lice and Nickelback, but better than gonorrhea (so they've got that going for them).
by Mike Breen
Local Pop/Rock group The Newbees' postponed release party now slated for Thanksgiving eve
Early last month, local Pop/Rock masters The Newbees were scheduled to present a release party for their fourth long-player, Modern Vintage. The show was to be the second ever at the eagerly-anticipated Southgate House Revival, but the Newport club had some safety code issues and had to delay its opening at the last minute. Better late than never, The Newbees return to the Southgate House Revival (the club opening the following weekend) for a Wednesday/Thanksgiving Eve celebration of their latest effort. The show will feature music on all three stages; special guests are Sundae Drives, Les Whorenettes, Shiny Old Soul, Dave Hawkins, See You in the Funnies, Honey & Houston, Chaselounge and The Turkeys. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance through ticketfly.com or $12 at the door. Modern Vintage would be a great title for any album by The Newbees. On the new LP, the skills and songwriting exhibited by the group members, including multiple vocalists and songwriters, combine for a collection of rich, dynamic songs that seem informed by the entirety of contemporary music history (at least the melodic stuff). The songcraft of The Newbees is impeccable and Modern Vintage contains several of the band’s best tunes to date. Good songwriting can stand alone, sung a capella or with just a piano or guitar, but another of The Newbees’ greatest assets is their arrangement talents. On Modern Vintage, the members — all studio-musician-worth instrumentalists — augment the tracks with perfectly placed strings and horns, prominent keys, flawless vocals harmonies and other auxiliary instrumentation and noises. The Newbees also apparently know their way around a studio; the great production gives Modern Vintage a warm, analog feel.It’s hard to not think of the kings of melodic Rock and Pop, The Beatles, when listening to The Newbees, and not just because the members are also in one of the best Beatles tribute groups you’ll ever hear. Like the Fab Four, The Newbies have an innate knack for memorable melody, are supernaturally effective songwriters and are unafraid to use whatever tools necessary to serve the song best, regardless of the genre.Husband/wife Newbees founders Jeff (a wildly impressive guitarist as well as songwriter) and Misty Perholtz switch off on lead vocals, adding even more alluring variety to Modern Vintage (and all Newbees’ albums so far, for that matter). And it’s to the group’s credit that the eclecticism is never jarring, as the album rolls fluidly from a standout track like “Nevermore,” a swaying Soul ballad that you might mistake for a lost Aretha Franklin cut, to “Don’t Knock It (’Til You Try It),” which sounds like a mix of Lyle Lovett and The Band, to the Soft Rock sunset-fade of “Goodbye Sun.” Meanwhile, opener “Medicine Show” is a simpler, uncluttered Indie Pop nugget that Imperial Teen would have loved to have written and buoyant rocker “Up All Night” has the Power Pop pep of an early Elvis Costello track. Elsewhere, the acoustic “Hallowed” has a campfire Gospel sing-a-long lilt and hopeful closer “Find” ends the album on a note of sublime acoustic grace, gently enhanced with low-key synth swiggles and swelling orchestral strings. Modern Vintage could really just be another way of saying “timeless,” which makes it an even better fit for the title. For more info on Modern Vintage, visit The Newbees official site. Here's the album's "Medicine Show."
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Danny Boyle reveals his Olympic playlist, The Black Keys sue Home Depot and Pizza Hut for ripping them off and Beatles desecration hits an all-time low with ZhuZhu Pets Meet The Beatles.
by Mike Breen
The Beatles own the Top 5 and Jill Scott turns 40
On this day in 1964, The Beatles had the top five singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It's been said that it's an unrivaled feat that will likely never be duplicated but those sorts of records always seem to eventually be broken (especially in the the ever-evolving music biz). The kids on Glee will probably occupy the entire Top 20 this year sometime or Vanilla Ice will die and spark a massive revival, smashing any and all previous chart records. Until then, here are those Beatles singles in their chart positions the week of April 4, 1964:1) "Can't Buy Me Love"2) "Twist and Shout"3) "She Loves You"4) "I Want to Hold Your Hand"5) "Please Please Me"The group had a remarkable 12 songs on the chart that week. The other songs in the Top 100 were "I Saw Her Standing There" (No. 31), "From Me To You" (No. 41), "Do You Want to Know a Secret" (No. 46), "All My Loving" (No. 58), "You Can't Do That" (No. 65), "Roll Over Beethoven" (No. 68) and "Thank You Girl" (No. 79). The chart even contained two Beatles-inspired novelty ditties — "A Letter to The Beatles" by The Four Preps (No. 85) and The Carefrees' "We Love You Beatles" (No. 42). (Stats from the Beatles Bible.)Click on for Born This Day featuring Muddy Waters, Mike Starr, Curren$y and Jill Scott.
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Music History
at 12:54 PM | Permalink
The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's' shoot and where have all the novelty songs gone?
On this day in 2001, British Pop Art legend Sir Peter Blake sued EMI for more money for his work on a 1967 album cover. That cover is not only his most well-known piece of art — it's also one of the most well-known album covers in history. Blake and wife Jann Haworth created the collaged crowd scene on the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. And they were paid about $350 for their trouble, according to Blake's suit.The cover included cultural icons from Stan Laurel, Mae West, Lenny Bruce and Tony Curtis to Aldous Huxley, Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Carl Jung and Shirley Temple. The use of their likenesses reportedly so scared the label (which feared major lawsuits from the "celebrities"), they had to try and seek permission (whenever possible) for use. Lennon's (possibly joking) suggestion of having Hitler, Gandhi and Jesus represented on the cover also didn't go over well with the label. Gandhi was featured on the original cover, but was removed because it wouldn't be carried in India. Jesus didn't make the cut at all, coming so soon after Lennon's infamous claims of The Beatles being more famous than Him. Hitler was believed to have been edited out, though Blake recently revealed that if you look carefully, Adolf is obscured behind the Fab Four and Tarzan actor Johnny Weissmuller. Actor Leo Gorcey (one of the Bowery Boys) reportedly wanted $400 for his appearance on the cover — $50 more than what the artists' received for making it — so he was promptly axed from the pic. And Mexican actor/comedian Tin-Tan respectfully declined and asked that a "Tree of Life" be included in his place (it was, featured in the lower right corner). Here's a good run down of the others that did make the cut. And check out this video montage of outtakes from the famous photo shoot:Click on for Born This Day featuring Rick Dees and the death of the American novelty tune.
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Music History
at 12:11 PM | Permalink
Special 'Leap Day' edition!
Since this date only occurs every four years, there are fewer birthdays and notable happenings in the history books. But things have indeed occurred on Feb. 29 throughout time — even a few related to music. Here's a quick roundup:• Buddy Holly's famous glasses were found at the Mason City Sheriff's office in Iowa, buried in old files. They also found Big Bopper's watch. Both items were believed to have been worn by the pair when they died together in a plane crash in 1959. Holly's glasses are on display at the Buddy Holly Center in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas.• The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers wins Album of the Year at the 1968 Grammys. • In 1996, musician/songwriter Wes Farrell, who wrote and co-wrote songs performed by The Beatles and The Animals, many hits by The Partridge Family and Ohio State anthem "Hang on Sloopy," died on this day in 1996 from cancer.• Don't feel so bad, Sammy Hagar. Eric Clapton can't drive 55, either! The guitar god's license was suspended on this day in 2000 after he was busted speeding.• Guitarist for Punk pioneers Social Distortion, Dennis Danell, died at the age of 36 on this day in 2000, reportedly from a brain aneurysm (though Mike Ness claims it was a heart problem). And here's your song for today: a slanted Jazz freakout called "Leap Year Day" by Chicago Lounge music revivalists (they called it "Garage Jazz") The Coctails, taken from the group's Popcorn retrospective box set.Born This Day: A few psychopaths were born today — like Richard "Night Stalker" Ramirez, Aileen Wuornos (played by Charlize Theron in the film Monster) and Tony Robbins (OK, maybe the motivational-speaking superstar's just a little weird) — but there have been a few musical types born on Leap Day as well. Big Band Jazz superstar Jimmy Dorsey was born Leap Day, 1904. Rap star Ja Rule — who released a new album yesterday — turns 36 today and will celebrate in a New York state prison, where he's serving time for gun possession charges (TMZ reports he will party in jail with special meals throughout the day — corn flakes, Jamaican "patties" and "turkey stew"). Chris Conley of Emo favorites Saves the Day was born Leap Day 1980.Mark Foster, frontman for breakout stars Foster the People (if you haven't heard their hit "Pumped Up Kicks," please tell us where your bunker is located), was born today in 1984.And poet, activist, spoken word star and inventive recording artist Saul Williams was a Leap Newborn on this day in 1972. In honor of Saul's 40th b-day, here's a video for a track off of his amazing Trent Renzor-produced album The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!
by Mike Breen
The Beatles' most famous chords and Sublime's sudden end
On this day in 1967, The Beatles continued work on arguably their best song, "A Day in the Life." After a debate over how to end the track following the huge orchestral build-up (sustained choral vocals were considered, but scrapped), the group decided to simultaneously strike a massive E chord on three pianos and sustain the notes for as long as possible. Adding overdubs (and a contribution from producer George Martin on harmonium), the final resonating notes hang in the air for over 40 seconds on the recording. As the held chords faded on the pianos in the studio, the engineer had to crank the recording level, which picked up some incidental sounds (like a creaking chair and, certainly, something about Paul being dead) from the studio. That E-major chord that closes the song — and the whole Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, considered one of the best ever — is widely considered one of the most famous chords in Rock/Pop history. Which means that The Beatles are responsible for the most popular opening chord in modern music — the mysterious G7sus4-ish that kicks off "A Hard Day's Night" — and the most notable final chord with the "A Day in the Life" finale. Below is audio of BTO guitarist Randy Bachman explaining the "Hard Day's" chord mystery (frustrated guitarists should feel better about their inability to figure it out), followed by today's biggest Pop superstar performing that famed final note from Sgt. Peppers.Click the jump for "Born This Day" featuring live footage from one of the final Sublime concerts with Bradley Nowell.
by Mike Breen
Music Tonight: This weekend is loaded with quality musical events. You can start things off tonight at the Southgate House as local singer/songwriter Jason Ludwig hosts a "two-fer" release(s) party, joined by special guests The Newbees and Sassy Molasses. From the previews on his Bandcamp site (listen — then purchase the records for just $5 — here), both Lost In Love and Tanglings are phenomenal offerings. It's almost unfair that Ludwig — formerly leader of the Rock group Noctaluca — was able to produce two full-lengths as good as these (most people would die for one in a lifetime). The title track from Lost In Love is available as a free download on the Bandcamp site (the Tanglings' track "Bunkum" is also a freebie), but below is Ludwig doing an impromptu living-room performance of the track on piano. What a voice! And the songwriting and production on the new albums are equally enthralling, as Ludwig gravitates towards a more mature and melodic sound. Tonight's show kicks off at 9 p.m. and admission is $12. Those in attendance will receive a voucher for one of the free albums (and a discount coupon for the other). Click here to read C.A. MacConnell's recent interview with Ludwig for CityBeat.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The U.K., when not obsessing over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, is abuzz right now with rumors about Paul McCartney’s possible involvement in the next Olympic games, which come to London next summer. According to NME, Macca is being coy but hinted that the whispers might indeed be true — he and Ringo Starr will perform at the opening ceremonies with a “new” version of The Beatles.