STRIKTLY FOR KONNISSUERS 01-01-01

“And the smallest streams, run to the rivers
 And every river, runs to the sea
 And every little bit of love I give to another
 You know what I believe, it comes back to me”

- Rick Springfield, Karma

Official Nonsense:

·      Editor & Father Time - Kurt Torster

Babies New Year:

·        Carrie Borzillo (All Star Daily News)

·        Marty Dodge (http://www.lupusandco.com)

·        Jason Grubbs

·        Tim Henderson (Brave Words)

·        Martin Hennessy III (80's Nuts)

·        Ian McIntosh (AOR Basement)

·        Mark Orsted (Heavens Smiling)

·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

·        George Thatcher (Heart Of Rock)

·        Mike Waugh

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Kurt's Krap:

Stupid me…in last week’s top 20 there were two albums I cannot believe I overlooked: Enuff Znuff’s “Ten” and Michael Learns To Rock’s “Blue Night”. Not sure where they would place, but I just didn’t want anyone to forget about them.

Also forgot a few “thank yous” as well. Shout outs to Alex at Hard N’ Fast, Carrie at All Star, Ian at AOR Basement, Klaus at Rock Tracks and last but not least, Marty of our own SFK.

Slow news week…what else can I say?

News Bytes:

Lit will be working with uber-producer Glenn Ballard on their new album. Says lead singer Jeremy Popoff, "Nothing too poetic, nothing too political, just driving in my car, fucking whatever...you know...girl stories - just straight up rock and roll."

I’ve heard that there are tapes of recording sessions that exist with Freddie Mercury and Jeff Lynne that very well may see the light of day this year.

In related news, the new Electric Light Orchestra album, “Zoom”, has the following tracklisting: Alright, Moment in Paradise, State of Mind, Just For Love, Stranger on a Quiet Street, In My Own Time, Easy Money, Really Doesn't Matter At All, Ordinary Dream, A Long Time Gone, Melting In the Sun, All She Wanted and Lonesome Lullaby.

Check out a new House Of Shakira song, “Open Up Your Heart”, at Nyhet.

Nippon Crown will release the latest Seven Wishes album, “Utopia”, in Japan with the bonus track “Free Your Mind’. The European version on Z Records has the bonus track “Prodigal Son”. The tracklisting: Out Of Sight, Take My Heart, Holyman, Justify, Unchain The Night, Too Late For Tears, Restless Heart, Don’t Fade Away, Face That Evil and Not So Innocent.

The release of 24K'sBulletproof release has been put back until late January.

Pop greats The Rubinoos will release an album of all covers soon, featuring such tracks as “Sugar Sugar” and “Tonight” (from the Raspberries).

The new Linus Of Hollywood CD, “Let Yourself Be Happy”, will be out on March 6.

Keri Kelli, of Slash’s Snakepit, has a new website, Mau Mau.

Another week, another bit on House Of Lords. Apparently all is well now as both sides have kissed and made up.

Marillion, besides releasing a new album, will release four discs of outtakes and demos recorded over the past decade.

Danny Danzi is still hard at work on his new album, which has been rescheduled for release during August 2001. He will also be making a live appearance with his brand new backing band to coincide with the release within Europe. Danny described his new material as still melodic but with a slightly harder edge.

The new album from Richie Scarlet will be released in early spring. It includes guest appearances from Ty Tabor, Ace Frehley, Leslie West, Buck Dharma, Anton Fig, Neil Smith and Dennis Dunaway.

I’m sure most of the US readers have seen those great Discover Card ads featuring Danger Kitty. Did you know that the band is none other than Metal Shop, an LA cover band featuring Ralph Saenz of Atomic Punks?

A new video channel started up yesterday, Studio M, that is promising more variety than either MTV or VH-1, which will include country, rock, jazz and blues, top 40 and urban. They also promise live concerts and a show that combines wrestling and hard rock. They hope to be in all of the US by summer, with contracts pending with Direct TV, Comcast, Alephia, Time Warner and EchoStar. Ambitious? Yup…let’s hope they succeed.

Found an interesting website this week with it’s own radio show, Crap From The Past. Check ‘em out. Chock full of great 70s, 80s and 90s rock

Another website to check out, Alex Richter’s Hard N Fast has finally hit the net.

How about one more website? Check out the musical crosswords section over at Billboard. Addictive is an understatement.

Rare MP3 Of The Week:

From Corey Hart’s same titled album of a few years back comes an excellent and moody version of the Nazareth classic, “Love Hurts”.

Moldy Oldys:

[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Corey Hart – Corey Hart, Explorers – We Always Want, Kevin Paige – Kevin Paige, Hall & Oates – Marigold Sky, Franke & The Knockouts – The Sweetheart Collection

Kurt’s Picks:

A-Ha – Major Earth Minor Sky, WEA, 2000
[Similarities: Howard Jones, Michael Learns To Rock, Mike & The Mechanics]
My first listen to this floored me. This was not the A-Ha you may remember from their quirky pop of the 80s. This is mature, well thought out rock that has many progressive elements to it. Though nothing stands out on the first few listens, this is one of those discs you just keep reaching for, time and time again. It simply sounds so good across the board that it’s hard to pinpoint any highlights, especially when there are no lowlights. The sound of the album could be best be described as high tech AOR surrounded by acoustic flourishes that compliment rather than overwhelm the songs. On songs like “Velvet”, “Summer Moved On” and “You’ll Never Get Over Me”, the production is so clean that you can hear each and every layer as clear as the next. A stunner of an album but it won’t hit you until after a few listens.

Jude Cole – Falling Home, Watertown, 2000
[Similarities: Brett Walker, Glen Burtnick, The Wallflowers]
This is a set of songs, while nothing earth shattering or overexciting, is solid and complete. It’s an enjoyable, yet uneventful listen. I know it sounds like I’m trying to dodge the bullet and outright saying this album is bad. It’s really not. But I had a hard time getting much out of it. There are moments here and there (like the kicking “Leave Me Alone” and “Somewhere”), but mostly it has the feel of his last album, the rather dark and plodding “I Don’t Know Why I Act This Way”. Maybe my expectations for another album of upbeat fare were off target thus hampering my opinion. Disappointing only because I was expecting so much more.

Kansas – Somewhere To Elsewhere, Magna Carta, 2000
[Similarities: Yes, Styx, Dream Theater]
This may sound strange, but I have never really been a fan of this band. Sure I like a few songs, but am pretty bored over the course of an album. More of the same here I’m afraid, which is to say if you are a Kansas fan, you will love this. If you were never a fan, this album is unlikely to convert you. More songs with long endless passages surrounded by punchy arena rock bits. Vocalist Steve Walsh still sounds great though and when this album cranks it on 11, the results are pretty decent. Unfortunately for myself, those moments are few and far between. Props to the band though for the totally out of character, Journey/Doobie Brothers-like “Disappearing Skin Tight Blues”.

The Rubinoos – Paleophonic, Pynotic, 1998
[Similarities: The Knack, The Raspberries, Cheap Trick]
Like The Knack, The Rubinoos were one of the great power pop bands of the late 70s. And, like The Knack, they have released a relatively new album (their first in 19 years actually) that is in a word…great. Produced by the late Kevin Gilbert (or Toy Matinee), this set of eleven songs is punchy, catchy, upbeat and practically every other adjective used to describe perfectly crafted pop. I dare anyone to listen once to a song like “Amnesia” or “No More Where She Came From” and not walk around singing it for days. And it doesn’t end there as songs like the swaying “Early Winter”, the Eric Carmen like ballad “Perfect Stranger” and the unbelievably cool “Surf Trek” show a diversity not usually found in the power pop genre. Jon Rubin’s vocals are excellent and backed up admirably by original members Tommy Dunbar, Al Chan and Donn Spindt. If you have any love of short bursts of melody in the best bubblegum/AM radio tradition, than they don’t much more essential than this disc.

(Re)Views From The Hill:
[Note: these are reviews done by outside contributors and not myself – Kurt]

Steelhouse Lane: Metallic Blue, MTM
[similarities: House of Lords, TNT, Giant, Winger]
This is a pretty good album, nothing that special, but still good ear candy. It has all the retro-80s stylings. This album got mixed reviews when it initially came out in 99, but I was pleasantly surprised. The boys in SL, roped in a few high-powered songwriters in the form of Jim Huff  (Giant) and James Christian (solo, House of Lords).

Speaking of James Christian, all his stuff on here has been previously heard  on his albums either solo or with House of Lords.  Granted the two House of Lords tracks (Can't Fight Love and the title track Metallic Blue) come from "Demons' Down", a much underrated and missed album from the House of Lords. Took me 5 years to find the bloody thing. The solo track (Brighter Day) is also appeared on James' most recent outing "Rude Awakening".

The album has two weepy ballads in the form of Find your Way Home and Best Years of My Life.  Its got some seat of the pants rockers: Dr Love and Addicted.  The afore-mentioned Cant' Find Love and Feel My Love are pure Winger type rock.

All in all a pretty good album, it would have been nice if there weren't three songs I had heard elsewhere, but the SL boys made these songs their own. It will be nice to see what these guys produce with their next album. Didn't expect much from this one and was glad I did. - Marty

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

[Ian is taking a break this week.]

Feedback:

From: "T Ash" tlash1@peoplepc.com

Subject: Best of 2000
Kurt, Here is my top 10 for 2000: 

1. Journey – Arrival
2. Kharma – Wonderland
3. Iron Maiden - Brave New World
4. Geddy Lee - My Favorite Headache
5. Axel Rudi Pell - Masquerade Ball
6. The Sign - Signs of Life
7. Sammy Hagar - 10/13
8. Alfonzetti – Ready
9. Collective Soul – Blender
10. Bon Jovi – Crush (good but could have been much better)

Biggest disappointment - Styx/REO - Arch Allies...not the fault of the bands. They sounded great. The record company (CMC) did an injustice to both the bands and the fans by duplicating some of the songs. A lot of good songs got left off. This could have been a great cd.