Dakota will release their new album "Little Victories" in mid-January. Although the album was completed as far back as August last year it has taken some time for its release details to get sorted out, and it's also been re-mastered. The band are releasing it on their own label (pressing is underway as I write this) and emphasize that they are no longer connected with former label Escape Music in any way. The band are looking for further distributors (AOR Heaven and Thoughtscape Sounds are already on board) and anyone who's interested should send an email to the band at HahDaddy1@aol.com. Bill Champlin guests on the new album singing a duet called "Brother to Brother"....

Also coming from Dakota at the same time will be a live album from 1980 which will be a limited collectors' edition. That release will also celebrate the band's 20th anniversary and is sure to have a lot of interesting details included....

Japan starts off the new century with a few interesting releases before the end of this month. Andy Timmon's new one "The Spoken and the Unspoken" comes out on January 21st, as does three re-issues from Westcoast singer Bull Labounty: "Rain in my Life"; "Sunshine Memory", and "This Night Won't Last Forever". January 25th will see Jeff Kollman's new album - "Shedding Skin"- issued. While not of two much interest to me, some of you might want to know that Bob Catley's "Legends" gets a Japanese release on February 2nd, and for Japan only on the same day will be released a double CD of "The Tower" and "Live at the Gods (1998)".

Someone actually complained that I didn't do a top 10 list for 1999! Well, if it helps I can say that my two favourite albums of last year were Kim Mitchell's "Kimosabe" and Jeff Golub's "Out of the Blue". Kim Mitchell's album has only been out for a short while, but I can't stop listening to it! Great songs and all the quirky attitude you'd expect from Kim, plus some fresh sensitivities that are a little unexpected. It might essentially be a bit of a "comeback album", but it's clear that it's a musician doing what he wants to and not unnecessarily trying to corrupt his sound just to sound more "modern". And, you get guest vocal appearances from Andy Curran (ex Coney Hatch, Soho 69) and Lisa Dal Bello. Jeff Golub's album meantime is all about how jazz guitar can be bright and sassy while taking in a cornucopia of diverse influences - definitely brain food!

The proper AOR Basement URL - http://www.aorbasement.com/ is back in action properly again, so go back to using that. Right now the links page has been updated and some new reviews are on the way also.