Sunday, July 27, 2014

Morrissey: "World Peace..." enters US Billboard Album Chart

The Billboard 200 chart is officially out, World Peace Is None Of Your Business debuts at #14!

Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
World Peace Is None of Your Business feels curiously bereft of Morrissey's lyrical elegance. This, like so many of Moz's moves, is certainly deliberate. There is a directness to the lyrics on World Peace Is None of Your Business that initially feels unsettling, contradicting Morrissey's long history of obfuscation and sly winks. Such broad strokes accentuate his political beliefs -- he has no desire to be part of the voting process, he stands firm on animal rights, he disdains conventional masculinity while still feeling a pull toward pugilism -- while dulling the edges of his typical wistfulness. Perhaps Morrissey decided to wield his words as blunt instruments to offset the wildly off-kilter music of World Peace. Coming after a decade of albums where Morrissey's consistency was almost a fault, the untidiness of World Peace feels rather thrilling, holding the attention even when the record doesn't necessarily work.

Producer Joe Chiccarelli -- an alt-rock vet whose credits run from Oingo Boingo to Alanis Morissette and Café Tacuba -- gives the record a big, forceful sound that is occasionally too crisp (it's possible to see the digital guitar effects push into the red on "Neal Cassidy Drops Dead"), but he also allows Moz to indulge his every whim, whether it's the ominous, churning heavy rock of the title track and "Istanbul," or the flamenco flourishes of "Earth Is the Loneliest Planet" and "The Bullfighter Dies." Elsewhere, Morrissey sticks to some tried and true -- "Staircase at the University" hearkens back to Viva Hate -- but the album is characterized by its aural eccentricities, which infect even relatively staid pop songs like "Kiss Me a Lot." Such willful weirdness is oddly endearing even when it doesn't hold together, which it often doesn't; it'll develop a head of steam that quickly dissipates as it veers in another direction, playing almost like a series of conjoined EPs.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Echo & The Bunnymen will perform at The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco
with Kelley Stoltz on Sat, Aug 2, 2014 at 9:00PM.

Legendary Liverpool band Echo & the Bunnymen are announcing their return to the U.S. for a tour in support of their 12th studio album, 'Meteorites.'
Tickets available at

Echo And The Bunnymen are still making grand, sweeping, dramatic anthems, and they’ve got an album full of them called 'Meteorites.' -Stereogum

'Meteorites' was produced by KILLING JOKE's YOUTH and features Gordy Goudie and Stephen Brennan alongside the Bunnymen's current core line-up of IAN McCULLOCH and WILL SERGEANT.

Echo & The Bunnymen - 'Market Town'

Echo & The Bunnymen - Lovers On The Run

Monday, July 21, 2014

ROLLING STONE: Best Albums of the Eighties

This has been the first rock & roll decade without revolution, or true revolutionaries, to call its own.

The Fifties witnessed nothing less than the birth of the music.

The Sixties were rocked by Beatlemania, Motown, Phil Spector, psychedelia and Bob Dylan. The Seventies gave rise to David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, heavy metal, punk and New Wave.

In comparison, the Eighties have been the decade of, among other things, synth pop, Michael Jackson, the compact disc, Sixties reunion tours, the Beastie Boys and a lot more heavy metal. But if the past ten years haven't exactly been the stuff of revolution, they have been a critical time of re-assessment and reconstruction. Musicians and audiences alike have struggled to come to terms with rock's parameters and possibilities, its emotional resonance and often dormant social consciousness.

The following survey of the 100 best albums of the Eighties, as selected by the editors of Rolling Stone, shows that the music and the values it stands for have been richer for the struggle.

10 Tracy Chapman, 'Tracy Chapman'
"There was a set of ideas that we wanted to communicate, and we felt if we were truthful and loyal to those ideas, then people would pick up on the emotion and the lyrical content that was there." The stark realism of Chapman's songwriting, combined with her warm, richly textured vocals, brought a refreshing integrity to the airwaves.

9 Richard and Linda Thompson, 'Shoot Out the Lights'
"Even in the best days of our marriage, Richard and I didn't communicate with each other fabulously well," says Linda Thompson. "I think that the reason the music was good was that we tended to save it for work." Perhaps that explains why Shoot Out the Lights is both the best and last album Richard and Linda Thompson made together.

8 R.E.M., 'Murmur'
"We were conscious that we were making a record that really wasn't in step with the times," says R.E.M.'s Peter Buck of Murmur, the group's enchanting first album. "It was an old-fashioned record that didn't sound too much like what you heard on the radio. We were expecting the record company to say, 'Sorry, this isn't even a record, it's a demo tape. Go back and do it again.'"
For the most part, I.R.S. Records liked Murmur a great deal, and so did an audience that embraced R.E.M. as one of the most significant new bands of the Eighties. From the mysterious photograph of a kudzu-covered train station on the jacket to the intriguingly off-kilter music within, Murmur quietly broke with the status quo and mapped out an enigmatic but rewarding new agenda.

7 Michael Jackson, 'Thriller'
"It felt like entering hyperspace at one point," says Quincy Jones about the phenomenal success of Thriller. "It almost scared me. I thought, 'Maybe this is going too far.'"
With Thriller, Jackson and Jones were aiming for a dynamic, balanced collection of potential hits. Jackson supplied many of the best songs on the album, writing "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Beat It" and "Billie Jean" (as well as the slight number "The Girl Is Mine," a duet with Paul McCartney). Jones went through over 300 songs in search of additional material. "I was trying to find a group of songs that complemented each other in their diversity," says Jones. "Give me a ride, give me some goose bumps. If 'Billie Jean' sounds good, it sounds even better followed by 'Human Nature.' 'Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' ' into 'Baby Be Mine.' I look at an album as a total piece."

6 Bruce Springsteen, 'Born in the U.S.A.'
Springsteen and the E Street Band had recorded seven of the songs on Born in the U.S.A. prior to the release of Nebraska in a three-week blitz in May 1982: "Glory Days," "I'm Goin' Down," "I'm on Fire," "Darlington County," "Working on the Highway," "Downbound Train" and — most crucial of all — "Born in the U.S.A."
Springsteen originally recorded the last of these on the acoustic demo tape that became Nebraska, but he quickly abandoned that version, feeling it didn't really work in that format. At the start of the May sessions with the full band, Springsteen revived the song in a new, electric arrangement. "Bruce started playing this droning guitar sound," says drummer Max Weinberg. "He threw that lick out to [keyboardists] Roy [Bittan] and Danny [Federici], and the thing just fell together.

5 Paul Simon, 'Graceland'
Released in 1986, Graceland matched Simon with a host of African artists — including guitarist Ray Phiri and his band, Stimela, and the vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The album's scintillating blend of lively beats and thoughtful lyrics, as well as its seamless fusion of the familiar and the exotic, restored Simon's career and brought African music, and particularly South African music, to a broader international audience.

4 Talking Heads, 'Remain in Light'
"A lot of people don't realize this, but Remain in Light was the worst-selling Talking Heads record ever," says drummer Chris Frantz.
"Financially, we took a beating on that one," says David Byrne. "At the time, it was a really hard sell. The reaction that we heard was that it sounded too black for white radio and too white for black radio."
Remain in Light may have been a commercial disappointment, but musically, the band's 1980 album — which combines funk, disco and African rhythms — was years ahead of its time. "It got great critical acclaim, and we felt that it kind of took popular music to the next phase," says Frantz, "which is what we always wanted to do."

3 U2, 'The Joshua Tree'
Bono wanted to explore rock & roll's American roots; the Edge wanted to continue the expressionistic experimentalism of The Unforgettable Fire. The creative tensions between them resulted in U2's best record, a multifaceted, musically mature work. "Two ideas were followed simultaneously," says the Edge. "They collided, and this record was born."

2 Prince and the Revolution, 'Purple Rain'
"Prince knew this was going to be it," says Susan Rogers, who engineered the 14 million seller Purple Rain. "He was ecstatic when he finished it."
Over five years later, the influence of Prince and Purple Rain is incontestable. He is one of just two artists (along with Bruce Springsteen) to have four albums among Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums of the Eighties. And perhaps more than any other artist, Prince called the tune for pop music in the Eighties, imprinting his Minneapolis sound on an entire generation of musicians, both black and white.
Released in tandem with the film of the same name, Purple Rain was more than simply a soundtrack, and it stands as Prince's most cohesive and accessible album. "He envisioned the film as he made the album," says Alan Leeds, vice-president of Paisley Park Records, Prince's label. 

1 The Clash, 'London Calling'
London Calling was an emergency broadcast from rock's Last Angry Band, serving notice that Armageddon was nigh, Western society was rotten at the core, and rock & roll needed a good boot in the rear. Kicking and screaming across a nineteen-song double album, skidding between ska, reggae, R&B, third-world music, power pop and full-tilt punk, the Clash stormed the gates of rock convention and single-handedly set the agenda — musically, politically and emotionally — for the decade to come.

11 Elvis Costello and the Attractions, 'Get Happy!'
13 Midnight Oil, 'Diesel and Dust'
14 Peter Gabriel, 'So'
16 Prince, '1999'
17 The Police, 'Synchronicity'
19 Lou Reed, 'New York'
20 Pretenders, 'Pretenders'


ERASURE have announced details of a brand new album, 'The Violet Flame', to be released on 22 September 2014 with a worldwide tour in autumn.

Recorded in New York and London and produced by Richard X, The Violet Flame is the band's sixteenth studio album release. The first single from the 10-track album will be released in mid July.


PET SHOP BOYS will premiere new music inspired by World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing at this year's BBC Proms which will take place at London's Royal Albert Hall on July 23rd.

'A Man From The Future' - which sees the duo backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the BBC Singers - will feature a musical 'evocation of the life and work" of Turing, who was granted a posthumous royal pardon for his conviction for homosexuality last year, although Turing committed suicide in 1954. The evening will also include an orchestral medley of Pet Shop Boys songs and
new orchestral arrangements by David Lynch's musical collaborator Angelo Badalamenti of music by Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.