Quantcast
HITS Daily Double
CRITICS CHOICE
AN ERIC ANDERSON CELEBRATION
4/10/18
The lack of space on the stage at New York’s City Vineyard gave Eric Andersen little reason for pause Monday night. He just lined up his guest musicians in the audience at the record release concert at for his Sony Legacy/Real Gone compilation The Essential Eric Andersen, which covers music he recorded for Columbia, Arista, Warner Bros., Smithsonian Folkways and others between 1964 and 2010. Joining Anderson, who spent more than two hours covering his history from 1965’s “Dusty Box Car Wall” up to a new song he recently recorded, were, from left, guitarist Lenny Kaye, saxophonist Robert Aaron, Jayhawks member and Legacy exec John Jackson and guitarist Steve Addabbo. The well-traveled folk musician, who told tales about Rick Danko, Lord Byron and Lou Reed between affecting performances of “Blue River,” “Violets of Dawn” and “You Can’t Relive the Past,” is heading out on a 17-city tour that stops at McCabe’s in Santa Monica on 5/5.
ARE WE NOT MEN? NO, WE'RE A BOOK
3/21/18
Gerald V Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh have raided their archives for photos, artworks and memories to tell the story of DEVO from riots at Kent State University in 1970, through punk and new wave, and onto international superstardom. DEVO: The Brand/DEVO: Unmasked is a 2-in-1 upside-down book. The Brand contains music press interviews from major British and U.S. publications; Unmasked is packed with rare and unseen photos of the band from the 1960s to the present day. Casale and Mothersbaugh contribute testimony and commentary. Besides the classic version, there is a limited run Signature edition that contains the two books as separate volumes inside a hand-crafted, rubberized clamshell box, signed by the band and containing a vintage DEVO artwork. Preorders have begun here. For old-timers looking for that perfect sipper to consume while reading the book, try one of Casale's fine pinots.
RHINO SPREADS LOVE
3/19/18
Forever Changes, Love’s beloved masterwork from 1968 that has only been fully appreciated and honored in the last 15 years, will recive a 50th anniversary release from Rhino on 4/6. The set includes the CD-debut of a remastered version made by its original co-producer and engineer Bruce Botnick, as well as the first-ever release of the mono version on CD. Also included are alternate mixes of the album, as well as a selection of rare and unreleased singles and studio outtakes. Botnick's stereo remaster of the original album also makes its vinyl debut on the LP included with this set. It was cut from high resolution digital audio by audio engineer Bernie Grundman. The DVD that accompanies the anniversary collection includes a 24/96 stereo mix of the album version of the original album remastered by Botnick. Also featured is "Your Mind and We Belong Together," a rare promotional video directed by Elektra producer Mark Abramson in 1968, and a 12 x 12 hardbound book. A pioneering psychedelic folk-rock album, Forever Changes was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008 and four years later added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Love mastermind Arthur Lee was performing the album in its entirety on tour in the three years prior to his death in 2006.
JIMI'S LATEST SIDES
3/9/18
by Simon Glickman I won't lie—it warms my heart to see Jimi Hendrix on the iTunes Top 10. The late, great artist's Both Sides of the Sky (Experience Hendrix/Legacy) collects some studio excursions from the last year or so his life; it's an impressive sampling of his stylistic range. There's some typically expressive blues (including a memorable "Georgia Blues" with Lonnie Youngblood on vocal and sax) and a number of workouts with his Band of Gypsys rhythm section of Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. Stephen Stills shows up to play organ and sing "$20 Fine" and Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" (on which Jimi switches to bass and plays an elastic, riveting solo on four strings). There's a powerful instrumental version of "Angel," here called "Sweet Angel," with some lithe vibraphone touches. Sometimes it's just Jimi and Buddy working out a song, an instructive demonstration of the latter's pocket. There's even a smidge of sitar on closer "Cherokee Mist," one of four cuts with Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. The great engineer Eddie Kramer oversaw the assembly of this set, and it's also further testament to his skill at realizing Hendrix's sonic ambitions. It may not be essential Jimi, but as a deep dive it's damn satisfying.
WEIR & LESH CATCH A PHISH
3/5/18
Phish’s Trey Anastasio spent Saturday night rolling deep into the Grateful Dead’s back catalog with Bob Weir and Phil Lesh at Radio City Music Hall, the second of six dates by the Dead’s guitarist and bassist on their first-ever duo tour. After a 70-minute opening set highlighted by Weir and Lesh riffing their way through a medley of “Cassidy” and “Touch of Grey,” the trio and drummer Wally Ingram delivered lengthy interpretations of “Playing in the Band,” “The Wheel” and “Dark Star.” They saved “Ripple” for last, which received a rather loud sing-along. The duo tour heads to Boston (3/7-8) and Chicago (3/10-11). Lesh has three festival gigs with his Terrapin Family Band—3/16-18 in Chandler, Ariz., 4/19-21 in Live Oak, Fla., and 5/25-27 in Geneva, Minn.—and a show with Steve Winwood at Port Chester, N.Y.’s Capitol Theatre on 3/14. Weir resumes touring with Dead & Co. on 5/30 with a 26-show tour that includes stops at New York’s Citi Field on 6/15-16 and Dodger Stadium on 7/7.
REVIEW: DAVID BOWIE IS IN NEW YORK
3/1/18
Photo credit: John Robert Rowlands By Phil Gallo Since 2012, the David Bowie Is exhibit has made its way to 11 venues, among them Chicago, Berlin and its starting place, London. It’s been seen by 1.79m people. Bowie wanted its tour to end where he did, in New York City, and on Friday it will open at the Brooklyn Museum for a four-month run through 7/15. London’s Victoria and Albert Museum organized the exhibit with the intention that it be like no other museum presentation it has presented. They have succeeded. It’s a compelling, immersive experience that, for fans who will undoubtedly connect with certain videos and artifacts, is quite emotional as well. David Bowie Is positions Bowie as a thinker, an integrationist who turns ideas from philosophy, literature, Little Richard and theater into music. It’s a celebration of his bold inventions of characters and costumes, and adaptations of musical styles that one would be surprised to find in a single record collection let alone one artist’s oeuvre: Philly soul, glam rock, pre-WWII German songs, electronic music and, eventually, the free jazz he listened to as a teenager. The exhibit, which includes about 100 items not shown at other stops, is set up to engage the viewer and force them to examine elements of Bowie’s life in depth. Visitors are giving headphones—which wonderfully prevents sound bleeds and makes the exhibit feel rather intimate—and in the early part of the exhibit, we hear Bowie speak about his childhood, his ambitions as an artist, where he got his ides and his thoughts about what he might have been had music not panned out. (Answer: A novelist.) Soon the audio becomes a musical soundtrack, songs paired with the visual you’re facing: Bowie performing “Starman” on Top of the Pops; a Saturday Night Live performance from 1979; “fame” on Soul Train”; videos of “Space Oddity,” “Boys Keep Swinging,” “Dancing for Blue Jean,” “Blackstar” and more. Each video is surrounded by the pertinent costumes and/or lyric sheets. For the man who coined the phrase Sound + Vision, the organizers could have just as easily used that title for the exhibit as it does focus on the relationship between Bowie’s visuals and his music. Unlike most exhibits dedicated to musicians, there are few instruments—just the EMS synthesizers used on “Heroes”; the “Space Oddity” 12-string, the banjo from Baal and the saxophone used on Pinups—no collection of album covers with metadata or chart positions on a label; no photos capturing the artist performing in clubs or in front of thousands of fans. The set up in 25 “areas” is loosely chronological—his school days are at the entrance and Blackstar artifacts fill the space before the well-stocked gift shop—but in no way does it delve into specifics about his career path or how popular one era might be compared with the next; there are more items related to his late ‘80s Glass Spider tour and the albums Never Let Me Down and Tonight and than one of his commercial peaks, the Let’s Dance album from 1983 and its Serious Moonlight tour. An uninformed visitor would be well-served to show up with a Bowie timeline or at least a Wikipedia page. By focusing on Bowie as an artist, it is an astonishing statement about change and evolution, how Bowe’s characters such as Ziggy Stardust and the Thin White Duke made an impression and then were cast off. The exhibit, which has about 500 objects and about 60 costumes, is filled with sketches and photos that reveal how album covers and stage sets came about. There’s also a collection of clips from his film roles and an area devoted to his run on Broadway in The Elephant Man. The smallest object in the exhibition is his coke spoon from the early 1970s. Toward the end of the exhibit, a room shows concert footage from multiple periods. (I could have sat there for hours), and in the final hallway, there’s a behind-the-scenes film of Bowie playing guitar and singing during a Herb Ritts photo shoot. It personalizes the collection, giving you the sense he was a playful, approachable and joyous spirit, happy to engage and share. Details on the exhibit, which has a mega-deluxe package, can be found here. Photo credits: Heroes contact sheet, Masayoshi Sukita; Aladdin Sane contact sheet, Photo Duffy; The Kon-rads, Roy Ainsworth
THE DARK HORSE
2/26/18
On what would have been George Harrison's 75th birthday, we take you back to December 2001, just after his death, compelling Bud Scoppa to recall his day with the Quiet Beatle at Friar Park in 1974. The A&M Records lot was abuzz one day in early 1974 as word spread that a bona fide member of rock's royalty was scheduled to arrive at Herb & Jerry's Camelot on N. La Brea. As it turned out, George Harrison didn't show up with the expected fanfare; in fact, we wouldn't have known he was among us if the A&M campus hadn't been so open. We peeked out of our office windows as Jerry Moss greeted George and escorted the ex-Beatle to his office near the front gate. Later, a rumor circulated that Johnny the Guard, the celebrity-challenged keeper of the gate, had refused entry to Harrison on the grounds that his name wasn't on Johnny's list. Rather than kicking up a fuss, the rumor went, George meekly walked to the Safeway next door and used a pay phone to call Moss' office to secure a pass. I don't know if it really happened that way, but I want to believe it, because that was the kind of guy George seemed to be... Story continues here
ORNETTE RETURNS ON VINYL
2/22/18
The Shape Of Jazz To Come is one of the ballsiest—and accurate—album title of all time. Released the same year as the game changers Miles DavisKind of Blue, Charles MingusMingus Ah Um and Cecil Taylor’s Looking Ahead!, Coleman’s album as well as his arrival was a shock. He lacked the apprenticeships other leaders had under their belts or documented evidence that he had a command of the canon at the time, two attributes the jazz world demanded of its bandleaders. Atlantic took a chance on Coleman and let him run free, recording six albums of challenging piano-less music with a band that included trumpeter Don Cherry, either Charlie Haden or Scott LaFaro on bass, and either Billy Higgins or Ed Blackwell on drums. Rhino, which packaged Coleman’s Atlantic recordings in the CD box Beauty is a Rare Thing in 1993, is releasing Coleman’s complete Atlantic output plus two hours of outtakes in a 10-LP boxed set on 5/11. The set, Ornette Coleman: The Atlantic Years, features newly remastered audio by John Webber at AIR Studios. The LPs are presented in replica European-style 1960s jackets in a side-loading slipcase along with a 12 x 12 booklet with new liner notes written by Ben Ratliff, plus photos from Lee Friedlander. The albums are: The Shape Of Jazz To Come (1959), Change Of The Century (1959), This Is Our Music (1960), Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960), Ornette! (1961), and Ornette On Tenor (1961) plus the compilations of outtakes The Art Of Improvisers (1970), Twins (1971) and To Whom Who Keeps A Record (1975), and The Ornette Coleman Legacy (1993.)
THIS FORD'S GOT HORSEPOWER
1/19/18
Ford Madox Ford is (in addition to the name of a famed novelist) the moniker of the edgy new project by O.G. punk firebrands Chip and Tony Kinman. The brothers, best known as the tandem musical engine behind The Dils and cowpunk legends Rank & File, combine Velvets and Chicago blues influences on the new project; they'll drop debut full-length This American Blues digitally on 2/2 (with a blue vinyl edition out 2/16) via the wonderful label Porterhouse Records. Check out their topical track "Dark American Night" below; you'll find it and another new single, "Promised," here. Porterhouse, of course, has put out some delectable X and other classic punk vinyl, and label boss Steve Kravac is a pretty spiffy artist/producer in his own right. But more about that later.
A STARMAN TRIBUTE
1/10/18
As we acknowledge the second anniversary of legendary icon David Bowie's passing, Spotify has assembled a This Is: David Bowie playlist to honor his continuing legacy. In addition to the playlist that features 71 songs from all over the wide span of his prolific career, Spotify has put together rankings of Bowie's most beloved songs, which you'll find below. You can have your own "moonage daydream" accompanied by the Starman's standards on Spotify here. Top Bowie Songs on Spotify (Global)1. "Heroes"2. "Under Pressure"3. "Starman"4. "Let's Dance"5. "Rebel Rebel"6. "Space Oddity"7. "Life On Mars?"8. "Modern Love"9. "Moonage Daydream"10. "Ziggy Stardust"Top Bowie Songs by Country on Spotify (U.S.)1. "Under Pressure"2. "Heroes"3. "Space Oddity"4. "Let's Dance"5. "Starman"6. "Moonage Daydream"7. "Rebel Rebel"8. "Modern Love"9. "Life On Mars?"10. "Ziggy Stardust"Top Cities that Listen to Bowie on Spotify (U.S.)1. New Orleans, Louisiana2. Portland, Oregon3. Somerville, Massachusetts4. New York, New York5. Berkeley, California6. Eugene, Oregon7. Cambridge, Massachusetts8. Boulder, Colorado9. Seattle, Washington10. Austin, Texas
See More Critics Choice >