METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
Under normal circumstances, an artist re-recording songs from their past with an orchestra is a ‘last refuge of the scoundrel’ sort of move, a cynical attempt at giving the fans something “new” while barely lifting a finger. In the case of Midge Ure, Ultravox frontman and co-writer of Saint Bob Geldof’s Band Aid benefit single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” the idea of an orchestral album isn’t a question of when, but rather why it took this long for it to happen. Ultravox’s music drips with melancholy – hell, they had a violinist in the band – making his entire catalog fair game for an orchestral album. The question then comes down to, “Well, shit, which songs do we choose?” It would have been very easy for Ure to take the easy way out with Orchestrated, but one glance at the track listing shows that he wants this album to matter, damn it. Several Ultravox standards are forsaken in favor of deep cuts, and Ure closes the album not with an Ultravox song, but rather the title track of his most recent solo album Fragile. For the unfamiliar, this is a brilliant move. Another smart move is the willingness to break away from the original arrangement, or at least the tempo. “Dancing with...
Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Sixty Eight Time flies, the week goes by and life keeps moving.  Thus, this episode of Radio City finds Jon and Rob intensely discussing joyful, sad and angering topics; there’s also the usual amount of humor to help ease the sobering moments and, as per usual, there’s no lack of intelligence and thoughfulness.  Among the items on this week’s agenda are the shocking deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade – and the impact of suicide that’s easily overlooked; the Washington Capitals win the franchise’s first Stanley Cup; the brand new single from Paul Weller, “Aspects”; the passing of St. Louis Cardinals legend Red Schoendist, a tribute moment to Jeff Beck and, of course, a warming “In Our Heads”. So tune in and listen – you’ll find solace, laughs and things to thing about from a fresh, objective point of view. Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Sixty Eight The podcast will be on the site as well as for subscription via iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Subscribe and let people know about Radio City, as well as Popdose’s other great podcasts David Medsker’s Dizzy Heights and In:Sound with Michael Parr and Zack Stiegler. ...
Popdose is pleased and proud to bring you the exclusive premiere of “Untethered”, the new video and first “lead” track from Black Box Theory, the latest offering from Gretchen’s Wheel (the guise of the brilliant Lindsay Murray). Says Ms. Murray about the track, “”Untethered” is about the process of recovering from a negative experience, which does not always follow a straight line. The dreaming protagonist struggles to make sense of her surroundings, which constantly shift back and forth between peaceful, comforting scenes and an assortment of absurd nightmares. She is dealing with the consequences of her own mistakes, learning from them and ultimately becoming stronger.” Powerful, intelligent pop – something you can expect from Gretchen’s Wheel.  This is a knockout – at least we think so… Black Box Theory will be released Friday, June 15th, 2018
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
Popdose is happy to introduce you to someone new – Paige Calico – and to share her latest video, “Arm Candy” – yet another of our “choice picks”! To give you a quick glimpse into her story, she’s been described as “nostalgia in its sweetest form.” Her songs are a haunting blend of self-searching and wry wit in the face of life’s peaks and troughs. Ms. Calico grew up on a lake in rural New Jersey and eventually moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. While there, she began her stint as one half of folk duo, The Dwells. They self-released two records and spent a year touring across the country in a Chevy Coachman. Eventually, they parted ways, and simultaneously she began working alongside iconic music photographer Henry Diltz, leading to her move to the golden state of California, where she now calls home.   Her sultry, smoky voice demonstrates a maturity and ease, swirling around shimmering guitars and vintage synths. Her lyrics are humble and human, examining powerful notions of life, love and uncertainty.  That eternal search has lead Paige Calico here, and from this place her journey truly begins. Of this new track/video, Ms....
Do you think boy bands began with groups like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys? Think again. There were boy bands decades ago. The Jackson 5 was just one example. The 5 Stairsteps were another. In addition to being boy bands, both of those groups were also family bands. Around the same time and from the same city as the Stairsteps was a group called Brighter Side of Darkness. They are only remembered for one single, but what a single it was. Brighter Side coalesced while the members were attending Calumet High School in Chicago. The original lineup included Ralph Eskridge, Randolph Murph, and Larry Washington. The group’s lead singer was 12-year-old Darryl Lamont. Their career as a group lasted less than three years but left behind that one indelible single. It was 1971 when Brighter Side got together on the South Side of Chicago. They had a manager by the name of Anna Preston who was serving as a mentor for the young Lamont. When she added him to the Brighter Side lineup, that’s when the magic began to unfold. At the end of 1972, they released the single “Love Jones” which was co-written by Murph, Eskridge, and Clarence Johnson who also produced the record. That’s Murph who is building the drama by talking through the song’s verses. But where the song really explodes is on the choruses that find Lamont wailing. The end result is a record that brings to mind the symphonic soul of groups like the Delfonics...
Once again, historian/author/film producer and Memphian Robert Gordon delivers a book about the music of his hometown; a musical spectrum that spans wide and deep. Along with that book, Memphis Rent Party, comes its soundtrack companion piece of the same name. For those who don’t know, a rent party is when people come together and either share/perform music, dance, and make contributions to help someone in need. The album, Memphis Rent Party, soundtrack is via Fat Possum Records and includes artists (many of whom are in the book), such as Jerry McGill, Junior Kimbrough, Furry Lewis and many others of note.  This compilation clearly definer the broadly eclectic spectrum of the Bluff City’s music.  Memphis has always been about originality, audaciousness, excitement and not trying to sound of “one city”.  And on this album, you get just that – an array of (just some of!) the flavors Memphis has to offer. Instead of listening to the CD in running order, I decided to mix it up.  So starting with the raw, tinny, live performance of Junior Kimbrough doing “All Night Long”, it teems with excitement...
High Plains today quietly released a follow-up to Cinderland, its brilliant debut and, hands down, one of last year’s best records. But, before you go all googly-eyed on me, take pause – this is not the group’s second LP proper but, instead, the digital release on Bandcamp of a tour-only cassette. And that’s an important distinction. Pilot Hill is a great little collection, true true, but it’s more of an addendum to Cinderland than it is a furthering of the group’s mission. The six-song EP is filled, more or less, with tracks like “Appaloosa,” its opener. There’s a lot of electronic texture, some swells in the soundbeds, and the occasional interjection of a weeping cello. But, while “Appaloosa” toys with structure, layering its cello leads on top of each other in a dynamic progression, other tracks don’t move as much. It’s just a little more static than some of the duo’s best work.  In that, this has more in common with Loscil’s Suns, another between-LPs affair, than it does Cinderland – appropriate, given Vancouver-ite Scott Morgan’s involvement in both recordings. Don’t completely write off this one, though. This is a release designed for subsequent listens. On my second trip through the EP, the morose piano closing “Appaloosa” took on more dimension, as did the sweet cello on “The Buttes.” And “Exmoor” is a hell of a closer, even on first spin: moody, haunted and painterly, the primary weapon of choice almost sounds like a church organ, bellowing at night. Then, the...
If you like your modern-day interpretations of 60s trash-rock booze-drenched, then you’ll want to tune into Joan and The Rivers, a San Jose-based, EP-prone trio that released two, you guessed it, EPs – Meat Sweats Vol. 1 and 2 – last month. But, wait, wait, is that a little bit too reductive? Are these guys more than the sum parts of their 60s references? Only the EPs will reveal the truths beneath. On the first, three-song disc, the trio sounds like a high-energy romp or sonic tryst among The Animals, The Sonics and Cream; on parts of the second disc, though, they echo The Clash and reference points more recent. Debate about specificity aside, though, Joan and The Rivers always seem to do more than give their rollicking songs room to breathe. While most tracks are of modest length, just three or four or five minutes, there’s a lot of texture and nuance, plenty of guitar noodling, and more bluesy laments than you could swing a dead cat at, if swinging a dead cat at things is your idea of a good time. For my taste, I like the build and aural-gasm at the end of the pleasantly titled “Yokophono,” which closes the first EP, and the reverb-soaked lead-in to the second EP; if this were one six-song collection, it’d be a nice segue. And the wonderful, tangled mess of a solo on “Zaccident” is enough thrills for a release three or four times this length. These guys are getting...
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
METAL DAD: THE BOOK IS AVAILABLE NOW. COLLECTS YEARS 3 & 4! Click here. METAL DAD shirts! Click here to get yours.
Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Sixty Seven There’s never a lack of material; never a lapse in the conversation between Jon and Rob – sure enough, this week’s installment of this spreading-like-wildfire podcast series finds the boys talking gleefully about the now-released 4th volume D.W. Dunphy’s Co-Op Communique various artists series; Rob tears into the ineptitude of New York City’s mayor; the slow death of brick-and-mortar chains and shopping malls; the series finale of “The Americans”, plus a fantastic “In Our Heads” and, as always, so much more! You never get anything less than an honest, thoughtful, rational and naturally funny discussion with Jon and Rob.  And you wouldn’t want it any other way… Radio City With Jon Grayson & Rob Ross:  Episode Sixty Seven The podcast will be on the site as well as for subscription via iTunes and other podcast aggregators. Subscribe and let people know about Radio City, as well as Popdose’s other great podcasts David Medsker’s Dizzy Heights and In:Sound with Michael Parr and Zack Stiegler.
There are only two types of music fans in this world, those who believe Propaganda’s audacious German synth pop opus, A Secret Wish, from 1985 is one of the greatest records of all time, and those who have yet to hear it. Within the Propaganda camp, two factions peacefully coexist– those who are still obsessed with the band’s one and only album, and those who have followed lead singer, Claudia Brücken on an adventurous career of wildly unique collaborations across the past four decades. This year, Brücken will delight both factions with xPropaganda, a live tour of A Secret Wish featuring co-founder/co-singer Susanne Freytag, and Beginn, a new studio album in collaboration with Jerome Froese, formerly of Tangerine Dream. Popdose recently caught up via Skype with Brücken in London and Froese in Berlin to learn how Beginn began and to bring die-hard Propaganda fans the very latest update on the potential of an original line-up reunion. Exes, Propaganda and xPropaganda To fully appreciate Beginn, let’s briefly head back to the beginning, Dusseldorf in the early 1980’s, when Propaganda launched a then teenage Brücken into international stardom. One of the common misunderstandings of A Secret Wish is that it was produced by Trevor Horn; most likely because the album’s first single, “Dr. Mabuse”, is on an all-star compilation album called...
Most people became familiar with the song “Harlem Shuffle” when the Rolling Stones covered it in 1986. The Stones version of the song leaped up the Billboard Hot 100 to the #5 spot. That record featured none other than Bobby Womack on background vocals. I’d like to think that the hit inspired people to go back and check out the original version of the song which had been recorded more than 20 years earlier. Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson met when they were members of a vocal group called the Hollywood Flames that was based in Los Angeles. Nelson sang lead on the Flames biggest hit, “Buzz-Buzz-Buzz,” which was released in 1958. At the time Byrd also had a solo career under the Bobby Day. He recorded the original version of “Little Bitty Pretty One” which became a hit for Thurston Harris in 1957. Byrd/Day had a hit of his own with “Rockin’ Robin” the following year. In 1960, Byrd and Nelson teamed up as Bob & Earl and began recording for Class Records. Unfortunately, none of their releases found success and Byrd returned to his solo career as Bobby Day in 1962. Nelson must have enjoyed the duo format and he found himself another Bob, in this case, Bobby Relf who was a veteran of L.A. groups like the Laurels, the Upfronts, and Valentino and...
Fans of early Amos Lee – in other words: well-crafted acoustic soul – mustmustMUST tune into Spencer Kilpatrick, a Reno, Nev.-based songwriter who previewed the single “Lungs” on Soundcloud just this week. Like Lee, Kilpatrick – who’s getting primed to tour nationally, starting tomorrow – has an in indescribably smooth and endearing timbre, something transient and touching between smoke and silk. And while “Dear Carolyn,” the single he self-released last month, hinted at a command of rhythm in its bluesy lament, “Lungs” outdoes it and then some, resolutely overflowing with the effects of time and a wounded soul. “Keep a close eye on me in the deep water / Fill my arms with the blame,” he moans. “Breathing ain’t that easy when you’re trying to keep the heat off you / Fill my lungs with your name.” This is powerful stuff, not the type of thin-willed folk you often hear from blues-based singer-songwriters just cutting their solo-career milk-teeth. Kilpatrick’s voice is a heartbroken vessel and it is uniquely matched with the mastery of his craft he displays. On his Bandcamp page, Kilpatrick pays homage to the lyrics of Joan and The Rivers’ Eric Smith – that band, too, has a new release — and El Camino Sutra’s Keith Damron; his work fits alongside both well, taking the minute details and making them emblematic. And, while Kilpatrick’s work with garage-soul trio Failure Machine (I’m thinking mostly of Elko) is fairly amped-up and colorful, his work here is much smaller, more intimate,...
East Coast music fans may already be planning trips to the Jersey Shore this summer, mapping an itinerary that includes the Starland Ballroom in Middlesex County, or any number of venues in Asbury Park like The Saint (a frequent musical home for Popdose writer Ken Shane), the newly renovated Asbury Lanes, or the famous Stony Pony club. There’s another attraction on the horizon that might entice you to Jersey in the summer heat. Writer Bob Makin, producer of the weekly Makin Waves column since 1988, announced that column will be an official partner for the Asbury Park Summer Concert Series this year. He is joined with the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, stalwart music magazine The Aquarian Weekly, Beasley Media Group,  and Provident Bank as supporters of the event. “I wanted to keep the admission price low so families have enough money in their pockets to enjoy the food together, so parents can enjoy the beer, and maybe they’ll do a little shopping in downtown Asbury Park, yet I wanted to keep the level of talent high,” said Makin. The lineup for the concert series includes: June 23 “The Best of Makin Waves” with Cook Thugless, The Brixton Riot, Mr. Payday, The Successful Failures and Disposable July 14 “Trenton Makes Takeover” with Hub City Stompers, The Cryptkeeper Five, Molly Rhythm, Experiment 34 and Chalk &...
The Lyric, former home to Broadway’s most expensive musical (the infamous Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), now houses Broadway’s most expensive play. But Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, all two parts and six-ish hours of it, should be there for a more extended stay. My nine-year-old daughter and I recently made a day of it, and it lived up to its advanced billing, captivating even this Muggle-ish critic. I haven’t really done the work with Harry Potter. Oh, I’ve seen all the movies (a chore after the fourth or so) and we enjoyed the theme park at Universal Studios Florida last summer. (The theming is impeccable, and the main ride a true jaw-dropper.) But Larissa has read all the books and the published script to the play (written by Jack Thorne, from an original story by director John Tiffany and magister J.K. Rowling), owns some of the merch, steeped herself in the park with her mom while I rested outside its gates, and knows the best of the films by heart. I was glad to have her, as she explained some of the finer points of the HPU (Harry Potter Universe) to me. (The Showbill has a helpful glossary and guide, though it’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to make this commitment without some foreknowledge.)
Popdose is very excited and pleased to present the video for “Ooh Girl”, the new single release from The Red Button, featuring Peter Noone on JEM Records. The Red Button, as you probably know by now, is Seth Swirksy and Mike Ruekberg, both singer/songwriters with numerous hits and songwriting credits.  Peter Noonegained prominence at the age of 15 as the lead singer of the legendary and much-beloved British Invasion group, Herman’s Hermits and still tours, performing over 120 dates a year. He also hosts “Something Good with Peter Noone” on Sirius/XM radio. Here’s a staggeringly good piece of pure pop, done – naturally – quite rightly by The Red Balloon with Peter Noone; you’ll quickly understand why we dig it!
Hello! Over the past couple weeks you’ve probably received dozens of e-mails from websites about changes to their privacy policies. But your privacy is also important to me, just as I hope mine is important to you, which is why I constantly strive to be as transparent as possible. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with my updated policy. INFORMATION I COLLECT: I record your first and last name. If no last name is forthcoming, and if you happen to be an attractive barista 15-20 years younger than me, I will search online until I find you on Facebook or Instagram. However, if no online presence can be detected, I will return to your place of employment, work up my courage over the course of eight hours, and attempt to engage you as you wipe down tables at closing time. “Hey, have you heard about that Game of Thrones random name generator?” I’ll say. “Here, I’ll do yours since you’re busy and can’t see my laptop screen from way over there. All I need is your last name and your age, because if you’re still in high school we have a problem.” I also record your birthday and will wish you a happy birthday every year on Facebook, otherwise known as my virtual memory (MVM), by typing “HBD,” an acronym that thoughtfully takes into account your busy social-media life. However, I will not collect your birth year if you opt out of providing me...