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There will be no SFK next week as I am taking a sanity break from all the music and stuff. We’ll be back in two weeks though with a ton of new reviews of some great new stuff from Frontiers, MTM, Kivel and all the other usual suspects.
I got a letter from someone this past week
wondering if I knew how to get in touch with an old Frontiers magazine scribe
Mik Gaffney. Anyone?
I got a letter from someone this past week wondering if I knew how to get in touch with an old Frontiers magazine scribe Mik Gaffney. Anyone?
Here’s the tracklisting for the upcoming
Taxxi compilation, “Chequered Past”: Cocktail Queen, I’m
Leaving, Not Me Girl, Sex And The Suburban Suicide, Maybe Someday, Players, Girl
(New York City), Whipping Boy, Walking On Air, Best In The West, Runaway, Cold
Night, American Made, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and You’re So
Some Bon Jovi news. First, the band
will release a new radio giveaway promo CD titled “The Love Songs”
with the following tracks: "Thank You For Loving Me", "Bed
of Roses", "Always", "Never Say Goodbye"
and "I'll Be There For You". Secondly, sometime this year the
band will release a new best of compilation in Japan. Thirdly, the next set of
North American tour dates have been announced (with SR-71) opening up:
April 25 Mexico City, Mexico, Furosol
April 30 Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center
May 2 Dallas, Texas, Starplex
May 8 Grand Rapids, Michigan, Van Andel Arena
May 10 Greenville, South Carolina, Bi-Lo Center
May 11 Atlanta, Georgia, Philips Arena
May 15 Raleigh, North Carolina, Walnut Creek Amphitheater
May 17 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Corel Centre
May 19 Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, Colisee De Pepsi
July 27 East Rutherford, NJ, Giants Stadium
Some Van Halen speculations from Launch:
Dweezil Zappa says David Lee Roth is back with Eddie and Alex Van Halen
and bassist Michael Anthony, and sessions for a new Van Halen album are well
under way. Zappa told LAUNCH, "Well, I definitely know that they're
recording, and they've already finished at least five or six songs. I would
imagine that they would like to tour, but they're just gonna go ahead and take
their time and make the record. I just saw Eddie Van Halen. He's just making
sure he likes everything he's working on." Launch reported that a Warner
Bros. spokesperson declined to comment on the reunion but added that the rep
said a new VH album would be fall at the earliest. Of course, Michael Anthony
stayed mum on the new singer at NAMM only saying, “It's Van Halen. As opposed
to the last album, 'Van Halen 3,' it's more oriented toward the early Van
Halen-type sound. We will be making some announcements very soon. All I can
really tell you is we're in the studio working on new material, there will be a
new Van Halen coming out, and it sounds great."
Howard Jones releases
a new single on March 23 in the form of “Everlasting Love” from his
“Perform.00” album from last year.
The first single from the upcoming Rubber album “UltraFeel” will be a cover of the Squeeze classic “Another Nail In My Heart”.
Escape has signed a new band from
Pittsburgh, Ashes II Ashes. Expect the album, “Darker Side”,
next month. The tracklisting is: Dead Wrong, I Will Make You Mine, Death
Groove, Underground, Radio Red, Darkside, Wetter, Bury Me, Wear You Out, Maybe
You Kill, Run Man Run, 3 Blind Dates and Pass The Earplugs (If Rockin' Is
Oh the humanity! Country crooner Dolly
Parton covers Collective Soul’s “Shine” on her new album.
The Corrs will
play New York’s Radio City Music Hall on March 16.
Ex-Toad The Wet Sprocket vocalist
Glen Philips will play a series of dates in support of his new release, “Abulum”
(yes, that is the spelling). Check him out at:
Arlington, Va., Iota Club.
1/31 Annapolis, Md., Ram's Head.
2/1 New York, Shine.
2/2 Newark, Del., Deer Park Tavern.
2/3 Philadelphia, North Star Bar.
2/5 Northampton, Mass., Iron Horse.
2/6 Winooski, Vt., Higher Ground.
2/7-8 Boston, House of Blues.
2/9 Portland, Maine, The Skinny.
2/10 Rochester, N.Y., Milestones.
2/11 Pittsburgh, Club Cafe.
2/17-18 Chicago, Schubas.
release their new album, “This Is Where I Came From”, on April 17.
The title track will be the first single, due out in March. The US/Europe
version has twelve songs while the Japanese release will have fourteen.
reissue the classic Alice Cooper 1973 album, “Billion Dollar Babies”,
next month. The two-disc version contains the original ten songs plus outtakes
and live tracks from his 1973 tour.
hopes to issue a 2CD compilation from INXS later this year.
finished recording a version of “I Wanna Rock” for an upcoming Twisted
Sister tribute album to be released on Koch. Other acts include Motorhead
lineup for the upcoming Nemelrock Festival in Spain: Harem
Scarem (Rubber), House Of Shakira, Millenium, Adriangale, Rafa Martin, Eyte, 91
Suite, Ice Blue and Skyline. For aditional info visit http://www.geocities.com/nemelrock
The Ultrasound Festival has been
pushed back until September 8 & 9.
This year’s Rock Stock festival
is shaping up as such: Al Stewart, Ambrosia, Spencer Davis Group, Dave Mason
(Traffic), Vanilla Fudge, Grand Funk Railroad, Creedence Clearwater Revisited,
and Bad Company's Paul Rodgers. Other
possible acts include: REO
Speedwagon, Marshall Tucker Band, Kansas, Peter Frampton, and Journey.
The lineup for Z Rock 2001 at
Maximes in Wigan on August 26: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Humanimal, Heartland, Danny
Danzi, 24k, Arabia, Change Of Heart and Contagious.
Head over to the Luke Morley website
for a video of “Go With The Flow”.
Ex-Strangeways vocalist Tony Liddell is
the new frontman for Tygers Of Pan Tang.
The next Von Groove album will be
titled “The Seventh Day” and should be out in March.
Digi-pak release of Asia’s “Aura” will contain three bonus
tracks: “Come Make My Day",
"Under The Gun" and "Hands of Time".
to reissue the Beach Boys catalog as 2-on-1 CDs. Meanwhile, TNT will host
a tribute to former member Brian Wilson on March 29 at Radio City Music
Look for Michael
Jackson to reissue his “HIStory – Greatest Hits” as a single
disc, with new artwork and liner notes.
That Pink Floyd link from last
issue was wrong. Try this one.
Sunsinger will release an album of Starcastle
demos next month.
Supposedly Napster plans
on charging a monthly fee later on this year to being paying royalties to the
Tour dates for Dio, Lynch Mob and Armored
Wednesday, February 14th New Orleans, LA House Of Blues
Friday, February 16th Houston, TX Aerial Theater
Saturday, February 17th Austin, TX The Back Room
Sunday, February 18th Dallas, TX Bronco Bowl
Monday, February 19th Oklahoma City, OK In Cahoots
Wednesday, February 21st Cincinnati, OH Bogart's
Thursday, February 22nd Cedar Rapids, IA 3rd Street Live
Friday, February 23rd Milwaukee, WI The Rave
Saturday, February 24th St. Louis, MO Pop's
Monday, February 26th Kansas City, MO Beaumont Club
Tuesday, February 27th Lincoln, NE Royal Grove
Friday, March 2nd Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Saturday, March 3rd Tacoma, WA Temple Ballroom
Sunday, March 4th Vancouver, BC, Can. Commodore Ballroom
Tuesday, March 6th Chico, CA The Brickworks
Thursday, March 8th Sacramento, CA Crest Theater
Friday, March 9th Vehas, CA 4th & B
Saturday, March 10th Anaheim, CA House of Blues
Dan Harding’s Heavy
Harmonies MP3 Of The Week: Hi! Who the *HELL* are you??? This one was
a pawnshop gamble, and since it was still sealed I couldn't preview it before
purchase. Well, sometimes you just gotta say "What the [CENSORED]!!"
(bonus points if you name the movie). This disc is surprisingly good!
Keyboard-driven AOR with a slight westcoast bent (some of Phil Cristian's
vocal subtleties are very reminiscent of Peter Cetera). I have no idea what
other discs he put out; a look at gemm.com implies there are others. Well, here
from the 1988 release No Prisoner are a pair of tracks, Hey Andrea, and
Rare MP3 Of The Week:
It takes a lot for an artist to cover a
song and make it better than the original but Kevin Gilbert turns Led
Zep’s “Kashmir” into an upbeat arena rocker. (this will be posted
[Five discs kicking old school on the SFK
Deck O’ Death this week:]
Swirl 360 – Ask Anybody, Cheap Trick – At Budokan: The Complete Concert, Kevin Gilbert – Thud, Various – The World’s Greatest Power Pop Compilation…Really!, The Beatles - 1
Frampton – Peter Frampton, Sony
Reissue, 2000 (1994)
[Similarities: The Rembrandts, John Lennon, Joe Satriani]
Every so often you come across an old album, whether by chance or reissue, that makes you stop what you’re doing and take notice. This “comeback” album should have put Frampton back on top of the world, but short of the minor hit he had with the upbeat arena rocker “Day In The Sun”, this album made nary a whimper. It’s a crying shame too. This album is about as close to perfect as I’ve heard in quite a while. Not a note of Frampton’s underrated and extraordinary guitar playing goes to waste, especially shining on the instrumental “Young Island/Off The Hook”. And the songs are all of the pop rock variety, not unlike his classics from the 70s brought up to date. With songwriting help from Jonathan Cain, Steve Marriot and Kevin Savigar, this has quickly gained it’s way into my essential favorites. Those who may have the original album may want to pick this up as Sony has included four bonus tracks in the form of live, acoustic numbers (including “Baby I Love Your Way” and “Show Me The Way”).
Fire – The Outside, Frontiers,
[Similarities: Triumph, Rush, Xenon]
A decent mix of lite prog and straight up arena rock, not unlike fellow Canuck trios Rush or Triumph. The production is muddy and each song sounds a bit muffled. While the material is good enough when listening, it isn’t all that memorable, making this nothing more than upbeat background music as there’s no identity to be found. I dunno, in the end the whole affair left me a little cold which is unfortunate because there is a decent band brewing underneath that just needs some stronger songs to break out.
Howard – Last Man Standing, MTM,
[Similarities: Van Halen, Billy Squier, the rocking side of Styx]
This is some very good, in your face hard rock that is both unassuming and unpretentious. That’s a good thing because obviously Doug isn’t pretending to be something he’s obviously not. The former Stun Leer man has a style not unlike many late 70s/early 80s arena rockers that combined both melody and power into what’s best described as “kick ass”. From the opening of the frenzied “Higher” to the closing of his cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”, there wasn’t a moment where I wasn’t rocking along without a care. Usually I would tune out of fare like this pretty quickly, which shows you the quality of the songs within these grooves. Variety is provided by songs like the Todd Rundgren-like “Hey Money (Superstar)”, the thumping “Faith” or the soaring “Living Proof”. For whatever reasons, I wasn’t expecting much here. This was a very pleasant surprise.
Jorn – Starfire, Frontiers,
[Similarities: Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Rainbow]
This man can sing, there is no doubt. Unfortunately, the best songs on here are the covers of Journey’s “Edge Of The Blade”, Foreigner’s “Break it Up” and Deep Purple’s “Burn”, all of which give the songs their proper respect. There are two other covers, City Boy’s “The Day The Earth Caught Fire” and Jefferson Starship’s “Just The Same”, but those are decent if unimpressive. The originals, while not bad in any sense, are just very derivative of the bands he’s covering. Though the beautiful “Forever Yours” is an exception, the rest did very little for me (“End Comes Easy” is about as bad as I’ve heard recently). Certainly worth it if for nothing else than the scorching vocals and the RIPPING cover of “Burn”. [Ed note. I’ve got another beef here but not with the album itself rather than with the average melodic rock fan…will someone please explain to me why boy bands and the like are looked upon with much scorn for not writing their own material, yet someone like Jorn (or Alfonzetti) is praised when their albums are less originals than cover versions?]
Jay – Through My Eyes, JAG,
[Similarities: Saga, Styx, Journey]
Not the most original sounding disc I’ve come across, yet there was something rather innocent about this band’s progressively tinged AOR. Vocalist Jason Gonzalez sounds like the bastard child of Rik Emmett and Steve Perry and musically, this project follows suit in those singers’ bandsakes. The production, unfortunately, is pretty bad and the songs suffer because of it. The writing and playing is good but the lack of power and a bottom line really just bothers me. And it’s this very reason that I had trouble paying attention at times. It lacks oomph. For what it’s worth, I did think the songs were pretty good and with some different arrangements and production, there are some killers hiding here (the standout “Holding The Line” would be a smash with a bigger sound).
Bowman – Fresher Tin
[Similarities: Paul McCartney, Jellyfish, XTC]
Unique is the first word that springs to mind upon listening. This is grand music that is part adult contemporary, part pure pop and part baroque. With twenty songs on offer, it’s hard to imagine that not a single one of them disappoints but they don’t. KC Bowman has a lot of James Taylor in his vocals and fits the music amazingly well. Though the song titles left me scratching my head, tunes like “Palomine Cranes”, the bouncy “Capitol I” and “California In February” will have popheads foaming at the mouths. The production is crystal clear and every instrument is heard in near equal parts. This is an unbelievable album for a few reasons…one is that it’s THIS good, and secondly is that no one, and I mean no one, seems to have ever heard of him. Don’t let this guy be a secret any longer.
(Re)Views From The Hill:
[Note: these are reviews done by outside contributors and not myself – Kurt]
Baebes: Worldes Blysse, Undrentide
[similarities: Blackmore's Night, Therion, In Extremo]
Twelve babes singing mediaeval music, pretty much sums up Mediaeval Baebes. The band was formed in Germany on the Berlin cabaret circuit by former Miranda Sex Garden (remember them?) vocalist Katherine Blake in 1996. Both of these discs are awesome, melodic, ethereal and very catchy. Much of the music is sung in various variations of English (mediaeval, middle, 13th, 14th & 15th Century) as well Provencal French and old Italian. It is a mixture of old songs and excerpts of poems sung in a traditional style.
For the most part, traditional instruments
(tambourines, violin, flute, recorders etc) are used to add to effect of the
music, but in a way that is minimal and not overwhelming. Undretide contains
several tracks that feature electonica and are as a result not as satisfying
especially "Aria" and Isabella. The later album was produced by John
Cale of Velvet Underground fame. One would hope that this is not the route the
group is taking as these modern forays don't seem to work with the rest of the
music and are frankly lame.
The album does contain a song called
"Omnes Gentes Plaudite (The Drinking Song)," so it isn't all mushy
stuff! Rest assured that 12 women singing a drinking song sounds a bit different
to that bunch of barbarians in In Extremo.
It would be interesting to compare these two albums (MB's first album) to
the acapela albums of In Extremo.
Both of these albums could be considered
"romantic", and as such would make great Valentine's Day purchases.
Undrentide contains a song about the day, "Now Welcome Sumer" based on
a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. This is
very much, candles, wine and cheese type stuff, or for those without a mate
perfect music for reading William Blake's poetry or a bit Tennyson.
Heck, better yet combine both of these!
I highly recommend both of these discs for those who want a break from the traditional melodic rock. For more info on this rather odd but highly interesting group go to: http://www.mediaevalbaebes.com/index2.htm
Basement (Ian McIntosh):
The fall-out from the EU commission's
investigation into the aborted EMI-Time Warner "merger" is still
continuing and it just might have the labels in Europe a bit worried. The
commission is now investigating what it seems as price rigging in the music
industry across Europe. Everybody knows it exists, but the labels have always
got away with it before.
Our American readers would shudder to think how much is charged for CDs in Europe. In the high street, bricks and mortar stores a CD can easily cost 50% more than its equivalent in a US based store. Most of the European on-line retailers also don't really go in for significant discounting. The end result is that for most Europeans it still works out cheaper to order a CD from the US, pay for air-mail postage, and maybe pay import duty - than it does to walk around the corner and buy the same CD from their local store. Something is very wrong here! And for DVDs it's even worse, though half the time the particular DVD won't even be released in Europe.
Now before you jump up and down, I know the Commission has investigated this before, just a couple of years ago. Labels at that point managed to hide behind the (barely-concealed) lie that Europe has higher transport costs and different taxation methods. Then they said that they didn't dictate the high street prices, they set a wholesale price and it was up to the store what it sold it for. That's such bullshit - stores that heavily discount can find that the labels stop supplying them.... The whole thing is a cartel orchestrated by both the labels and the major retailers. The commission needs to investigate the whole music supply set-up....
Under the previous investigation the labels managed to present a picture which suggested that CDs in Europe were only 10% more expensive than their American counterparts. That's stretching the truth somewhat! And since then a lot of things have changed with many of the labels cooperating on manufacture and distribution to lower their overheads - but, funnily enough, the prices haven't dropped any....
The sinister thing is that I believe, the labels think they can do the same thing as the do in Europe, to the rest of the world in time. All of the recent merger activity makes the labels feel bigger than any government and more powerful. Not only do they not provide us what we want to listen to, they're going to try and find more ways to rip-off the poor listener again and again.
|From: "Richrath Lover" firstname.lastname@example.org|
Subject: REO Speedwagon Faux Pax
Name: Carl From: PEORIA, Proud Home of Gary Richrath and No Damn Richrath Street Signs
In the wake of REO conning the Gov of
Illinois to proclaim "REO Speedwagon Day" last Friday (Jan 19), I'd
like to circulate my list of REO's top achievements over the last year. I'm
REO Speedwagon Faux Pax 2000 Tour Top 10
1. For the first time in 10 years, REO
Speedwagon finally gets to play on national TV, and completely blows it. NBC
executives, not wanting viewership ratings to take a dive, require the band to
play Gary Richrath's greatest hit, "Take It On The Run," in order to
appear. Cronin's voice is hoarse beyond recognition, and he proves he can't
carry a tune when he ends up whispering and hacking through several songs.
2. Cronin's poor performance is blamed on
scheduling problems the band themselves created, and critics have a field day as
REO earns the nationwide reputation as aging rockers on the last leg of their
geriatric tour into oblivion.
3. On the coattails of Styx, who's new
label and record sales fuel a summer tour, REO's lackluster live show proves
they're all grandpa's by opening with the same song they've been using for
decades. They refuse to play anything written in the last 15 years or from their
last 3 albums, 95% of their set list are songs they wrote 25+ years ago, and
they're befuddled when people make a stampede to the exit.
4. At the Dallas Starplex in June, with
the crowd dwindling as he takes the stage, a frustrated Cronin yells "F*CK
YOU!" in appreciation to Styx fans who decide to get a jump on the crowd by
heading to the parking lot. REO winds up proudly "headlining" to an
5. REO releases a disastrous "Arch
Allies" CD on Styx's label, since their own label hasn't financed anything
but greatest hits projects for the last 10+ years. AA is pummeled by the critics
as a cheap rip off, and REO earns the unworthy distinction of being the first
band in American history to record not one, not two but THREE versions of the
same song on the same CD. Compounding the problem, the "new" CD is
widely viewed as a farce since it features songs they've already recorded dozens
of times on dozens of other compilations.
6. Cronin appears on Rockline and commits
a gigantic faux pax, claiming he wrote "Ridin' the Storm Out," one of
Gary Richrath's most famous tunes. Cronin offers no explanation for making this
unsubstantiated claim (30 years after the song was solely copyrighted to
Richrath), except to take a cheap shot at Gary.
7. In another disastrous appearance on
Rockline, a caller asks the history behind Gary Richrath's song, "Golden
Country." Instead of acknowledging Gary wrote it and Cronin wasn't even in
the band at the time it was recorded and released, Cronin makes up a fanciful
tale about citizen responsibility to vote for his pet political candidate, vying
for a gig at the White House. Even REO loyalists are outraged that Cronin would
intentionally distort the meaning of one of Gary's songs in the name of
pandering to political hacks.
8. As Karma would have it, REO winds up
canceling the last month of their tour due to vocal cord strain by Cronin, who
just can't handle it. (Cosmic paybacks are hell, ain't they?)
9. In a last ditch PR stunt, Cronin cashes
in political chips he earned by using Gary's song to plug politicians the entire
tour. REO milks their 15 seconds of fame by finagling a two block section of a
small city street on Champaign, Illinois to be named after them. Half the
original band never bother to show up, even the local newspaper forgets their
names, and Cronin tries to grandstand the limelight for a band he didn't start
in a city he never lived in.
10. Finally, this band can't even be kind
to their followers. With their warped philosophy that ANY publicity is GOOD
publicity, REO makes international headlines over how shabby they treat their
most loyal fans, and their webmaster gets fired over the incident. There's more,
but apparently nobody can talk yet since the legal case is still pending.
Yes, it's been quite a year for REO,
VH-1 Behind the Music, here they come!!!