Saturday, December 30, 2017

Top Ten '80s Band Releases for 2017

1. Depeche Mode - Where's the Revolution 17,495,067 views

2. U2 - You’re The Best Thing About Me 12,969,501 (Rel Sep 27)

3. Michael Jackson - Blood on the Dance Floor X Dangerous 5,039,816

4. Depeche Mode - Cover Me 3,636,974 views

5. Morrissey - Spent the Day in Bed 3,081,727 views

6. U2 - The Blackout 2,847,228 views (rel Nov 13)

7. Depeche Mode - Going Backwards 2,666,525

8. U2 - American Soul 1,431,062 views (rel Nov 20)

9. Gary Numan - My Name Is Ruin 1,133,592

10. Blondie - Long Time 1,132,609 views

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Morrissey: "Spent The Day In Bed" Enters UK Top 40

'Spent the Day in Bed' has climbed 279 places up the UK airplay chart to #34, over the last week (Oct 5th to 11th).
His first UK top 40 since 'I'm throwing my arms around Paris'.

UPDATE 13TH OCTOBER - the song is now in the Airplay Top 30 (at #29)

Morrissey also appeared on "Later... with Jools Holland" on Oct. 3. He did 3 songs including the new single 'Spent the Day in Bed'. The other 2 are 'I wish you lonely' and 'All the young people must fall in love'.

Morrissey has a new upcoming album "Low in High School," his first full-length since 2014, arrives November 17.
Track titles include “The Girl from Tel-Aviv Who Wouldn’t Kneel,” “Who Will Protect Us From the Police?,” and “Israel.”
The new album was produced by Joe Chiccarelli and recorded at La Fabrique Studios in France and Ennio Morricone's Forum Studios in Rome.

Friday, October 13, 2017

The Smiths: "The Queen Is Dead" Remastered

The Smiths' masterpiece "The Queen Is Dead" is getting the royal
remastered and expanded treatment and makes its debut on Friday 10/20!

Widely considered to be both The Smiths' finest work and one of the greatest albums ever made, The Queen Is Dead has cast a significant influence over subsequent generations since it was first released in the summer of 1986.
The album features several of the band's finest moments including the title track and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out," as well as the iconic singles "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" and "Bigmouth Strikes Again."

This reissue represents the first time that The Smiths' back catalog has been revisited in such a way.
It follows two recent limited edition vinyl singles sourced from the archives: a demo mix of "The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" which was released for Record Store Day, and a "The Queen Is Dead" (live at Irvine Meadows) 7" which debuted at #1 on the official vinyl chart in the U.K. when it was released in June.

Warner UK released a demo mix version of The Boy With The Thorn In His Side as a physical 45. The sleeve is by Morrissey, with layout by Darren Evans at Warner UK.

The B-side is a previously unissued version of Rubber Ring.
The sleeve image is Salford actor Albert Finney.

Tracklist for "The Queen Is Dead" 12 inch includes "Oscillate Wildly" plus "Money Changes Everything" and "The Draize Train."
"The Queen Is Dead" entered the UK singles chart at #85 and the vinyl singles chart at #1 on June 23, 2017.

There are three physical formats for this release – which has updated artwork – a 3CD+DVD deluxe includes
the remastered album,
a bonus CD of demos, alternates and b-sides,
a further CD: Live In Boston (recorded at the Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts on August 5, 1986) and
a DVD featuring the 2017 master of the album in PCM stereo. The DVD also includes The Queen Is Dead – A Film By Derek Jarman.

Disc One:
Original Album
– 2017 Remaster

Disc Two:
Additional Recordings

“The Queen Is Dead” (Full Version)
“Frankly, Mr. Shankly” (Demo)
“I Know It’s Over” (Demo)
“Never Had No One Ever” (Demo)
“Cemetry Gates” (Demo)
“Bigmouth Strikes Again” (Demo)
“Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others” (Demo)
“The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” (Demo Mix)
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (Take 1)

“Rubber Ring” (B-side)
“Asleep” (B-side)
“Money Changes Everything” (B-side)
“Unloveable” (B-side)

Tracks 1-7 and 9 are previously unreleased.
Track 8 was released on 7? for Record Store Day.
Tracks 10 and 11 are 2017 masters of  b-sides from The Boy With The Thorn In His Side.
Tracks 12 and 13 are 2017 masters of  b-sides from Bigmouth Strikes Again.

Disc Three:
Live In Boston (Previously Unreleased)

“How Soon Is Now?”
“Hand In Glove”
“I Want The One I Can’t Have”
“Never Had No One Ever”
“Stretch Out And Wait”
“The Boy With The Thorn In His Side”
“Cemetry Gates”
“Rubber Ring/What She Said/Rubber Ring”
“Is It Really So Strange?”
“There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”
“The Queen Is Dead”
“I Know It’s Over”
Recorded at the Great Woods Center For The Performing Arts on August 5, 1986.

A five-LP box set (good value a $91) includes all the audio listed above
(the album, an outtakes double LP, and the live album double LP).
A two-CD edition pairs the remaster with the bonus disc of demos, etc.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Tom Petty: Led the Heartbreakers, Dies at 66

from Rolling Stone

Tom Petty, frontman who led the band the Heartbreakers, was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home Sunday night and rushed to the hospital and placed on life support.
EMTs were able to find a pulse when they found him, but the hospital found no brain activity when he arrived. He died on Monday at 66 years old.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers recently completed a summer tour last Monday with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl.
The trek marked the band's 40th anniversary and found him playing rarely played deep cuts like their first album's opener, "Rockin' Around (With You)," and a selection of Wildflowers cuts. It was intended to be his "last trip around the country." He told Rolling Stone, though, that it wasn't his intention to quit playing. "I need something to do, or I tend to be a nuisance around the house," he said.

Songs like "The Waiting," "You Got Lucky," "I Won't Back Down," "Learning to Fly" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance" all dominated Billboard's rock chart, and the majority of Petty's albums have been certified either gold or platinum.

Petty, who also recorded as a solo artist and as a member of the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

His most recent release, Hypnotic Eye, debuted at Number One in 2014.

Read more:

Tom Petty's final interview: There was supposed to have been so much more

Tom Petty's daughter: Sent heartbreaking Instagram dispatches as the rock star clung to life

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Michael Jackson: SCREAM a Collection of 13 of His All-time Tracks

Sony Music confirmed the album's upcoming release, saying that "Michael Jackson SCREAM" is "a collection of 13 of his all-time most electrifying and danceable tracks including 'Ghosts,' 'Torture,' 'Thriller,' and 'Dirty Diana.' that will be released on September 29."

The highlight of the album is "Blood on The Dance Floor X Dangerous," a newly-created mash-up of five songs from remixer The White Panda.
"Blood on the Dance Floor: HIStory in the Mix," is from a collection of songs and short film released in 1997.

"The choice of tracks for SCREAM reflects The King of Pop's affection for this time of the year and its themes of costumes and disguise, darkness and light, character transformations and surprise," the press release said.
The album will also be available in CD and glow-in-dark vinyl (available October 27), each containing a poster unique to the format.

"Scream" is also the title of the hit 1995 duet by Jackson and his sister Janet, the video of which earned the Guinness Book of World Records title for most expensive music video with a reported price tag of $7 million.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Husker Du: Drummer Grant Hart, Dies at 56

by Greg Kot
Chicago Tribune

Husker Du: Even if you took away Bob Mould’s songs and just kept Grant Hart’s, you’d still have a great band — one of the most important and influential of the last 40 years.

Hart, who died Thursday at 56 of cancer, was Husker Du’s protean drummer and shared lead vocals and songwriting with Mould. After the band’s bitter late-'80s breakup, Mould went on to enjoy a celebrated solo career that is still in high gear. In contrast, Hart recorded and toured only sporadically, and in recent years his illness kept him off the road completely. But his legacy towers over indie music. It began with the band he co-founded with Mould in St. Paul, Minn., in 1979.

Mould paid tribute to his former bandmate with a lengthy farewell note on social media. “Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician,” he wrote.

Green Day covered one of Husker Du’s Hart-written songs, “Don’t Want to Know if You are Lonely,” and Billie Joe Armstrong once said, “I wanted to be Husker Du when I started Green Day.”

Husker Du formed soon after Mould met Hart at a record store a block away from Mould’s Macalester College dormitory. Hart was blasting punk rock on the store speakers, and the two started a friendship and soon after a band.

With the addition of bassist Greg Norton, the trio became one of the most punishing hardcore bands on the nascent punk circuit.

Husker Du's classic single written by Grant Hart from the album Candy Apple Grey was released in 1986.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Church: "Man Woman Life Death Infinity" the 26th album

"Man Woman Life Death Infinity" is the 26th album by the Church
and will be released on October 6th.

The album is their second with the rejuvenated line-up Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes, Tim Powles and Ian Haug.

The epic return of 2014's critically lauded Further/ Deeper blossomed into a road-hardened beast over four tours of the USA, two back home in Australia, and a new career high in front of 20,000 Spanish fans on a lap of Europe.

"Man Woman Life Death Infinity" is where the revitalized quartet's freshly tuned chemistry reaches a new potency and precision: ten songs, 45 minutes, and a quantum leap into unexplored territory as strange as it is irresistible.

"Music is like inner space and we're astronauts," says guitarist Koppes, who co-founded the Church in Sydney in 1980. "It's a spellbinding thing. It's hypnotizing. That's why people like it. It takes them into another world and we're here to open those doors."

"This is the Church's water record," says Kilbey, singer, lyricist and bassist. "I guess water is my element. I've always marveled at the sea and rivers and rain. It wasn't conscious at all but on reflection, it definitely is a preoccupation on this record. What that means, I don't know."

"Tim borrowed my son's little electronic drum kit," Haug reveals, "so we had a mutated kit, half acoustic/ half electric, and we were just firing off each other.”

"Peter is like the mad professor of guitar theory. I've learned a lot from him over the last few years but I'm not trying to analyze the harmonic integrity of anything. If it sounds good, I'll keep going down that path. I think we complement each other really well in that way."

For up to date information visit:

Another Century (Official Music Video)

Monday, September 11, 2017

Gary Numan: Releases "Savage: Songs From A Broken World"

Gary Numan releases his newest album in 4 years called "Savage: Songs From A Broken World", out September 15th.

Gary Numan will be on tour in November at the Fillmore.

My Name Is Ruin is the first video from the new album.
When The World Comes Apart
What God Intended

Monday, August 28, 2017

Spandau Ballet: Gary Kemp talks Tony Hadley’s Exit, Band's Future

by Lyndsey Parker

‘There's still creativity left in this band’

Not long ago, new wave legends Spandau Ballet, who originally disbanded in 1990 and re-formed in 2009, seemed poised for a major comeback. Their performance at South by Southwest 2014 — their first stateside concert in 28 years — was one of the hottest tickets of the Texas festival, where they also premiered their critically acclaimed documentary, Soul Boys of the Western World. The following year, Spandau launched a successful U.S. tour … and after that, fans eagerly awaited new music from these New Romantics.

No Longer a Member
But then, in July of this year, lead singer Tony Hadley posted a cryptic and seemingly out-of-the-blue message on Twitter, announcing that due to “circumstances beyond his control,” he was no longer a member of Spandau Ballet.

For now, Spandau is forging ahead and promoting their second documentary (this one about their newly remastered 1986 album, Through the Barricades, with plenty of ironic and now bittersweet scenes about the bandmates’ brotherly bond and willingness to “die for one another.” And this week, the band’s guitarist and principal songwriter, Gary Kemp, speaks about Hadley’s departure and what it means for the future of the group.

Dysfunctional Relationship
“This has been Tony’s stance for the last 20-odd years, where it’s kind of ‘makeup to breakup.’ And there’s only so long you can go in and out of a dysfunctional relationship,” Kemp says. “I actually feel much better now that maybe we don’t have to pretend or worry about it anymore.”

Kemp admits that there has “always been tension” between him and Hadley, and that they “were always poles apart — politically, artistically, socially. We were very, very extremely different people.” Kemp also says Hadley never quite got over an ultimately unsuccessful 1999 lawsuit that he, multi-instrumentalist Steve Norman, and drummer John Keeble filed over Kemp’s songwriting royalties.
However, Kemp stresses that around the time of Spandau’s 2014–2015 reunion, he felt a renewed kinship with the frontman. “Coming back together, it felt really good. … It seemed to be running rather smoothly, going well. But I think Tony had a line in the sand, and he didn’t go beyond that. And that was in his head; he didn’t express that to us at the time. We thought we were going to continue.”

Still, Hadley’s exit wasn’t as abrupt as it may have seemed to the band’s fans. “He told us in Hong Kong, on the last show of the tour [in September 2015], that he didn’t want to do it anymore,” Kemp reveals. “He said that he wouldn’t want to do it for another five years, at least — and when you get to our age, that sounds like the rest of your life! And then we had a lot of offers that came in and came in and came in and came in, and he kept saying, ‘No, no, not interested.’ So that, to me, is leaving the band. Tony’s heart was just always much more towards being a solo artist after the last tour, which was frustrating for everybody.”

Kemp looks at the renaissance that Spandau’s friendly ’80s rivals, Duran Duran, have enjoyed over the past few years, and he acknowledges that Spandau could have been in a similar position if they’d been able to take advantage of their post-SXSW momentum. “It’s a shame that Tony didn’t want that, because it was there, and we’d worked quite hard, with the leverage of the film and the tour. So yeah, it’s very frustrating. … We could have been so much more creative as a unit. But if one person doesn’t want to do it, then it makes it much harder.”

Hadley has continued to perform solo, crooning Spandau’s Kemp-penned classics. “It’s fine. Yeah, he’s still singing my songs. I mean, his solo career seems to be singing our songs, so that’s fine,” Kemp chuckles — though he adds that he’s less than thrilled that Hadley appears on so many nostalgia package tours like this summer’s “Lost ’80s Live”. “That’s the one thing that I would never, ever do, is have the name Spandau Ballet attached to any of those ’80s revues. And I suppose it’s my sadness, with Tony doing those.”

So, will Spandau soldier on sans Hadley? “If we find the right guy,” Kemp answers.

The band revealed in a Facebook Live Q&A Tuesday that they are “actively looking” and will be holding rehearsals in “a couple of weeks” to audition new singers. “We’ve got a process that we’re going through. But that’s all I’m saying.

Kemp elaborates: “I think the sound the four of us make together is exciting, and I think that sound has got a lot to do with the band members apart from Tony. … I mean, there’s plenty of groups that are not the original members, and we may well be one of them going forward. I mean, if Queen can do it.! I just saw Journey doing Dodger Stadium with a Filipino kid [Arnel Pineda] singing for them. Foreigner haven’t even got one original member left! So who knows?

“If Tony doesn’t want to do it, I think we can still plug in. I think there could be other versions of the band, and I think there’s also more new material to be had. I’m sitting in my studio now and I’ve been writing lots of stuff of late, and whether or not that ends up with a band called Spandau Ballet or not, I’m not sure. But I think there’s still creativity left in this band. … On the future side, yes, I still would like to be creative under the umbrella of the name Spandau Ballet.”

Through the Barricades
In the meantime, while fans await the band’s next move, Kemp, his bassist brother Martin, Norman, and Keeble are enthusiastically promoting the reissue of their fifth album, Through the Barricades. A rougher and more arena-rocking effort, partially influenced by their surprising friendship with Def Leppard, the album didn’t make much of dent in the U.S. due to a series of record label misfortunes (and perhaps due to American listeners and radio programmers expecting more smooth blue-eyed soul from the “True”/“Gold” hitmakers) — but it was actually bigger than Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. and Michael Jackson’s Thriller in countries like Italy. And it’s the Spandau era of which the band is most fond.

“We never came to America on that tour, but that tour was by far Spandau in its pomp. That was us at our best. … When we all got back together in 2009, the one show that we watched back, that we thought we would want to emulate to reinvent ourselves, was the Through the Barricades tour, because it’s by far the band at its best live.”

As for where a glamorous band like Spandau — with or without Tony Hadley — will fit in the current or future pop landscape, Kemp is unsure. “We were lucky enough to make music at a time when music was everything to young people. It was more important than it’s ever been and ever will be,” he says.

Perhaps that’s why it’s important to Kemp to preserve Spandau’s legacy with projects like the Through the Barricades reissue and with a possible new frontman. “I’ve been the one nurturing the heritage of the band for a long time,” he notes. “I think while I’m still around, we have to take great care of the product and make sure it’s still remembered well. I’m interested in that for myself, regardless of whether or not Tony is interested in it. It’s a shame — I would have liked to have done it with Tony, but he’s an extremely stubborn guy.”

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Marc Almond: Releases ‘Shadows and Reflections’ Album

MARC ALMOND will release a brand new album, 'Shadows and Reflections', on September 22nd in advance of a UK tour.

'Shadows and Reflections' is an album of orchestral arrangements of iconic torch songs and orchestral pop music from the 1960s and features a selection of tracks made famous by artists like Burt Bacharach, The Yardbirds, Bobby Darin, Julie Driscoll and Billy Fury as well as two brand new songs.

Marc Almond - How Can I Be Sure

Marc Almond performs Say Hello, Wave Goodbye on BBC2
A solo album of new material is scheduled for 2019.

Neil Arthur: Announces New Project, Fader

Neil Arthur announces new project, Fader,
plus a new Blancmange album and a Near Future collaboration…

BLANCMANGE's NEIL ARTHUR has announced his involvement in a new project, FADER, which is a collaboration with BENGE, who in turn is also a member of WRANGLER and JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS.

The first release from the project will be an album entitled "First Light" which is described as being "full of powerful electronic pop songs – up-tempo, dark, with flickers of beauty in the sounds and rhythms".

First Light
I Prefer Solitude
3D Carpets
Guilt, Doubt and Fear

Meanwhile Neil Arthur will release a new Blancmange album, "Unfurnished Rooms", in September and is currently collaborating with art-pop electronic artist Bernholz on his forthcoming Near Future project.

In March 2011, Blancmange reunited and released their fourth studio album, Blanc Burn.
Luscombe then left the band again, though Arthur elected to continue recording and performing as Blancmange.

Blancmange performed a UK tour in November 2013, during which they played their 1982 debut album ("Happy Families") in its entirety.
In 2015, the first single from Semi Detached, "Paddington", was released.
The "Commuter 23" album was released in 2016.

Friday, July 21, 2017

SPARKS: Release New Studio Album, 'Hippopotamus'

SPARKS release a brand new studio album, 'Hippopotamus', on September 8th.

The band will be on the road with 'The Hippopotamus Tour' in San Francisco October 20th at The Chapel with 2 shows to promote the release.

Reviewers said:
Sparks prove once again that intelligence, wit and musical competence is possible in pop music.

This song is so stupid. I love it!

First listen: Wow this is weird even for them......ten minutes later singing There's a painting by Hieronymus BOSCH! by Hieronymus BOSCH! by Hieronymus in my pool.

Friday, June 30, 2017

SHRIEKBACK: Announce First Live Performances in Twenty-five Years

SHRIEKBACK have announced three UK shows, their first live performances in nearly twenty-five years, that took place in Manchester, Glasgow and London in June.

The shows come off the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign that saw the band raise over £40,000 to invest in the logistics and equipment that playing live involves.
SHRIEKBACK intend to play festivals and set their sights on North American shows in 2018.


The Greatest Hits Acoustic by The Cure, released for Record Store Day April 22nd as a limited edition 12-inch double picture disc, and now a 2-Vinyl Set featuring their best known tracks including; “Love Song”, “Friday I’m In Love”, “Never Enough”, “Mint Car”, "Boys Don't Cry", "The Lovecats" and many more.

Available on Rhino Records.
Previously only available as a limited edition CD.

Friday, June 2, 2017

OMD: Gets Kraftwerkian, Examines Our Emoji Present In 'Isotype'

by Lars Gotrich

OMD's new song is a soaring six minutes of deeply Kraftwerk-ian vocoder-pop, a masterclass in soulful electronic from a pair that's been making music for four decades. In total OMD fashion, the new song takes a lesson from art history and applies it the modern day, examining how winky and smiling-poop icons have replaced everyday language.

"Emojis are the new Isotypes," synthesist Paul Humphreys offers in the British synthpop band's forthcoming track-by-track explanation of the new album, The Punishment Of Luxury.

An Isotype is a distillation of information into simple, visual imagery, originally developed by Austrian philosopher Otto Neurath and German Modern artist Gerd Arntz in the 1930s. For the "Isotype" video, director Henning M. Lederer turns Arntz's original images into a hypnotic zoetrope-inspired wheel of concentric-spinning symbols. It's a great visualization for OMD, which wanted to explore a 20th century art form in the context of the modern world.

"It's become a metaphor," says singer Andy McCluskey in that upcoming video. "Now you have your phone set to where, in addition to having spell check, it will thrown in emojis — whether you want them or not. The way you write is being distilled. I was playing with the idea ... where our communication values systems are being reduced to the point where you actually wonder if you're getting the point over, but it's also stripped down. It's just, 'Text me.'"

"The Punishment Of Luxury" comes out Sept. 1 via 100% Records.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poptone: Members of Bauhaus Reunite at The Rio

by Annie Zaleski

For fans of ’80s post-punk and goth, Poptone is a godsend. The new band features guitarist/vocalist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin Haskins performing songs released by their beloved groups Bauhaus, Love And Rockets and Tones On Tail.

Until Poptone’s formation, Ash never thought he would tour again. It took an inadvertent nudge from Motörhead’s late leader, Lemmy Kilmister, to change his mind. Several months ago, Ash fell asleep while listening to ambient music on YouTube via headphones—then woke up at 4 a.m. with Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” blaring in his ears.

“Waking up and hearing that, the pennies sort of dropped,” Ash says. “It was obvious that I should go back on the road after all these years of not wanting to do it.”

Ash gave the idea a day or two to marinate, then reached out to Haskins—who, coincidentally, had been considering revisiting the same material.
“We were talking about doing a DJ tour, and then I suggested, ‘Why don’t we do a live band tour?’” Haskins chimes in. “And I didn’t hear anything for a couple of days. I didn’t know that Daniel had this whole epiphany. I suddenly got this text saying, ‘Well, who’s going to play bass?’ I was like, ‘You want to do it?’ I was kind of shocked and then really excited.”

Haskins’ daughter, Diva Dompe, nabbed the bass gig by nailing the line to Tones On Tail’s most recognizable track, “Go!” (Ash says he bought Dompe her first bass guitar years ago, for her 13th birthday.)

Tones On Tail songs actually comprise 70 percent of Poptone’s setlist.
Ash says he’s “delighted” by that proportion, since he wants that band—which released just one full-length and performed sporadically during its brief time together in the early ’80s—to find a wider audience.

“I think out of the three bands, it was my favorite,” he says. “I still think that music stands up really well. [But the band] was very, very underground when it came out. I’m excited about the idea of a whole new generation of people checking it out, that band’s music.”

Poptone’s gig at The Rio in Santa Cruz on May 30th captured the roaring, abrasive darkness that made the original bands so alluring, with a setlist featuring Tones On Tail’s “Christian Says” and “There’s Only One,” along with Love And Rockets’ “Mirror People” and “Sweet F.A.,” Bauhaus’ “Slice of Life,” David Bowie, Adam Ant and Elvis Presley covers.
“We’re just playing the songs that are our favorites, and what we presume the public’s favorites to be,” Ash says. “This is definitely not a tour of playing obscure stuff that nobody’s ever heard and being arty-farty about it. We’re definitely doing something that we hope is commercially viable, something that from start to finish works.”

Intertwining cuts from these 3 bands’ discographies, plus Daniel Ash’s latest solo single, Poptone easily conquered the crowd. Favorites such as “Go”, “No Big Deal”,  “An American Dream” and “Mirror People” were certainly highlights.

Poptone recently announced a live album via PledgeMusic, and the group already has tour dates scheduled through July.
It’s a testament to how well things are going for the band, and how much “synchronicity” Ash sees with Poptone’s launch—from easily finding open rehearsal space to amassing modern gear with the proper vintage sound and feel.

Heartbreak Hotel
OK, This Is the Pops
Mirror People
Movement of Fear
No Big Deal
Love Me
An American Dream
Christian Says
There's Only One
Cracked Actor

Physical (You're So)
Flame On

Encore 2:
Slice of Life
Sweet F.A.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Jesus And Mary Chain: Live Review

Written by John Robb

The Jesus And Mary Chain played a tight set at the Fox Theater, Oakland on May 22nd.
Starting off with their new single "Amputation" the band rocked and buzzed through many of their singles like "April Skies."

The modern Mary Chain, who still make a glorious pop/noise, have something of the style and wisdom about their music as they tour their new album "Damage & Joy" where the new songs sit perfectly at ease in the set with their noisier standards.

Jim Reid stands stock still, intoning the perfect melodies and those deceptively simple, yet complex slash slogan lyrics of self loathing and love over the impenetrable wall of sound. The Mary Chain are still honing down that artful dislocation between beauty and violence that has always been the core to their enveloping spectral sound.

It’s this artful tension that creates the molten core to their music that exists beyond time and sounds as perfect now as when they emerged in 1985.

Their glacial and powerful set tonight projects something beautiful and spectral. Time has enhanced these songs – as the years roll by they are sugarcoated with the classic and if the modern Mary Chain play for well over an hour, then that’s a good thing. This is a pop music that is both classic but still full of the noise and fury of their inception but can switch to the honey dripping glistening beauty of "Just Like Honey" like a switchblade.

They still make everything feel so effortless, those glorious chord changes, those dark emotions, that inner turmoil, that claustrophobia and frustration contrasted with the sheer romance and beauty of three chord rock 'n roll or the heart break ballad strewn with tantalising noise and an avalanche of guitars like on the still astonishing "You Trip Me Up."

Jim still has a gorgeous voice – velvet and maybe Velvets smooth that slips around the melodies whilst William with his shock of silver curls like a sonic wizard cooking up layers of great sounding guitar. For a band that deal in the deceptively simple there is so much going on here. The guitars sound crystalline perfect – post Cramps fuzz with William combining Poison Ivy’s genius of simplicity and the late Bryan Gregory’s one fingered perfect feedback drones. There is surf violence, chiming post rock melancholia, spectral atmosphere or filthy sex. The Mary Chain still sound guitar-urgent and still find new places to take the six string.

The set list slips from classic to modern, the new album gets an outing as they open with "Amputation," a track that may have been around for a few years but has been vamped up for the album with producer Youth’s mystical magic touch. "Head On" still leers danger whilst "Blues From A Gun" is still a huge grinding anthem – a track that should have been huge and perhaps one the greatest goth anthems it feels even more fitting with its dark lustre being played.

Tonight the Mary Chain still feel urgent and powerful. Their live sound is quite astonishing. They sound far from tired and jaded – someone has kept their fire burning and their new album proves that they are still on a creative high. Their songs are still full of cascading melody and the band still sounds Pistols heavy. There is noise, beauty and confusion and there is the thrill of danger on the set ending Reverence with its ‘I wanna die like…’ refrain. It’s like being planted into the middle of Metal Box or the last Pistols gig in San Francisco but through the suffocating Glasgow outlying towns of the late seventies when the Reids grew up and when they briefly went to school with Ian Astbury.

April Skies
Head On
Far Gone and Out
Between Planets
Blues From a Gun
Always Sad
Mood Rider
Teenage Lust
Cherry Came Too
The Hardest Walk
All Things Pass
Some Candy Talking
Halfway to Crazy
Nine Million Rainy Days

Just Like Honey
You Trip Me Up
The Living End
War on Peace

Encore 2:
Taste of Cindy
I Hate Rock 'n' Roll

Saturday, May 20, 2017

POPTONE: Daniel Ash, Kevin Haskins

POPTONE: Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins, with Kevin's daughter Diva on bass, play the music of Tones On Tail, Love And Rockets and Bauhaus.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Daniel Ash: Playing His 'Greatest Hits' for Poptone

by Tom Reardon

We’ve been rehearsing for about six weeks in Burbank, in a studio there. It’s all sort of falling into place, touch wood. Hopefully we’re going to have a lot of fun this year. We’re doing this through October. Then after that, who knows?

Are you still based in Los Angeles?
I live near Ventura. I live in a little sleepy town near Ventura. I’ve lived here since 2000. I got out of LA about 17 years ago.

How did Poptone come about?
I woke up about 4 a.m. one night with my headphones around my neck and I had this revelation that, “Oh my god, I need to go out on the road.” It is a complete contradiction and turnaround from what I’ve been saying for years. I never thought I would play live again. I was sort of over it and suddenly, nine [now 12] weeks ago I had a complete change of mind.
I can’t explain. I had no desire [to play live], and I now I have a complete … a real desire to do it.

It was just this voice in my head saying, “Go out on the road. This is what you’re supposed to do.” It was like there was no contradiction in myself at all. I left it for a couple of days thinking, is this feeling going to pass, and it was still strong. The obvious choice was to contact Kevin [Haskins]. It just came together.

Kevin’s daughter, Diva, plays bass. Long story short, she got the job, and we’ve been rehearsing. We haven’t stopped for the last six weeks. First official gig of the tour is with you guys on May 11. We’ve got it planned out so we don’t do the whole thing in one go. We have breaks in between. That’s the civilized way to do it. I think we’re allowed to do it that way now.

Yes, I think you're right. How long has it been since you have played live?
It’s been seven or eight years since our last tour. [Love And Rockets played Coachella in 2008.] There was a lot of dust on my foot pedals.

Are you a gear guy? I've always been curious how you got such great sounds.
Oh, god no. I’m the antithesis of a gear guy. I have no interest in it all. Having said that, I’ve caught myself recently looking at gear magazines and all the new effects pedals. But, I have stuck to my old boss pedals. That’s all I really need, and a wah-wah pedal. I’m definitely not a gear head, no.

How has it been to revisit some of these songs?
Some of these songs I was sort of dreading because I thought it was going to be so hard to recreate live. Songs like “Twist” from Tones On Tail. The ones that I thought would be difficult are ending up being my favorites to play. I love “Twist.” It’s such a quirky song. Of bands I’ve been in, I would say my favorite is Tones On Tail. Always has been. It sounds like it’s from another planet, but it’s very commercially accessible.

I have to say, Daniel, that I love Tones On Tail. I love turning people on to the music so much.
I think … it stood the test of time really well. That Tones stuff could have been recorded last week and it would still sound fresh. Things like “Twist” is really fun to play live. Things like “Movement of Fear” which is very dark. Very spacious. It’s just a bass line and a vocal. Talk about minimal. It doesn’t get much more minimal than “Movement of Fear.” That Tones stuff is a lot of fun in the rehearsals. All of it, really. We haven’t chosen one song that we don’t like [playing].

Your discography is pretty huge, how did you come up with what to play?
Between Kevin and myself and Diva, we’re basically choosing the favorite tracks. It’s like, you know, the greatest hits although they weren’t exactly hits because we were always in "alternative" bands. They’re all sort of favorite songs. We’re doing Adam Ant’s “Physical” because it is just a blast to play it.

Are you doing anything from your solo work?
We're doing “Flame On” which is very Iggy and the Stooges. The Sex Pistols’ Never Mind The Bollocks was a work of art as well. That’s brilliant. It’s actually really well recorded. It’s not got that thin punk sound. Steve Jones’ guitar sound can’t be beat. It’s sort of the opposite of my sound. I try and get the guitar sounding like a razor blade. He’s got all that bottom end.

Here we go again talking about gear. I think it’s because you told me you are a musician at the beginning of the conversation. It’s hard not to talk about bits and bobs. Wobble boxes, as I call’em. The thing is not to keep talking about it. Just keep it to yourself that way nobody can steal your sound. There are certain little tricks and chords you don’t want to tell anyone about. You have to have your own thing.

We never had a T-shirt deal, for example. There is no Tones On Tail T-shirts out there. We had a deal for Bauhaus and Love and Rockets, but we never had one for Tones. We’re going to bring some on tour. People don’t know who Tones are. They’re going to find out on this tour.

I assume Diva understands she has some pretty big shoes to fill ...
I was really nervous at first. It’s in her DNA. She got it. She’s playing those bass lines really favorably. The big test for any bass player who is going to play on this stuff is to play “Go.” That’s the tough one. The sound, the inflections, the whole thing … she nailed it. We went through so many fuzzboxes to get that sound on the “Go” bass line.

You’ll never guess what got that damn sound. It was an orange boss pedal. We’ve been rehearsing six weeks solid to get it right.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

New Order: Effortless Grandeur Live

New Order played a sold-out show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley to an enthusiastic crowd on April 21st.

Tonight they’re a five piece, sans erstwhile bassist Peter Hook. Yet while the line-up has changed the music is still magical - they sound if anything even better without their ace of bass.

Last year’s Music Complete re-embraced their love of electronica and such is their love for that record they open the evening with a song from it. As the new New Order, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham open with “Singularity” there are familiar elements at play, the aesthetic remains a fusion of cinematic electronica with a world weary vocal, but the new songs are brilliant additions to their cannon.

“Plastic”, played to a film backdrop that’s pure Kraftwerk circa Autobahn in its graphics, could have been on either of their two finest records, Low Life or Technique.

As their rhythm envelops the theater, the playing of their human drum machine Morris - shaped by Joy Division producer Martin Hannett’s insistence that the band record endless takes in the studio - is wondrous. And to the left is the central cog that is Gillian Gilbert. If Morris is their virtuoso player then she’s the conductor, unshowy in her stage art but coaxing all sorts of wonderful sounds from her keyboard. Sumner is quite the frontman too.

As wonderful as the new songs are, the classics set the crowd alight. “Your Silent Face” from Power, Corruption and Lies with its ebbing intro before those elegiac strings enter the arrangement is delightful electronica.

“Bizarre Love Triangle” shows their ability to make an incredibly layered and complicated arrangement sound simple.
Then, it's “True Faith” that gets the entire theater on their feet, inspiring giddy, uncontrolled dancing and abandon. Next was “Blue Monday” and whilst they must have played it a thousand times it still sounds remarkably fresh. Then following, “Temptation” feels like a masterclass in pop music.

The encore flows into "Decades" and then the classic “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, poignant images of Ian Curtis and the words “Forever Joy Division” are projected onto the backdrop, but such is the fury of Morris’s drumming and the energy of the other players this isn’t a sentimental re-tread, they sound reborn.

The line-up may have changed, but the effortless grandeur of New Order’s music hasn’t. Tonight they did something tremendous, they gave us a beautiful reminder why music is the greatest art form.

Love Vigilantes
Your Silent Face
Tutti Frutti
Bizarre Love Triangle
Waiting for the Sirens' Call
The Perfect Kiss
True Faith
Blue Monday

Decades (Here Are The Young Men)
Love Will Tear Us Apart

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Morrissey: Involved in New Smiths 45 on Warner

"The Boy With The Thorn In His Side" (Demo Mix) / "Rubber Ring" (Early Drone Studios Version) - The Smiths, 7" vinyl is out via Rhino for Record Store Day 2017.

Warner UK released a previously unissued version of The Boy With The Thorn In His Side as a physical 45 in Europe.
The sleeve design, is by "Esteban" or Morrissey, with layout by Darren Evans at Warner UK.
The B-side is a previously unissued version of Rubber Ring.

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Order’s Gillian Gilbert: Refreshed After 10-year Hiatus

By Tom Lanham

New Order keyboardist Gillian Gilbert quietly took a long break from the group in 2001, choosing family over fame, taking care of her young daughter while her drummer husband Stephen Morris continued touring with the band. “Don’t get me wrong, I was dying to say a few things,” says Gilbert, happily returning after a mysterious hiatus for New Order’s 2015 album “Music Complete” and its current tour, which comes to Berkeley on Friday.

At first, she was stunned by how quickly she was replaced by Phil Cunningham, and she admits that it was a turbulent 10 years, including a 2007 bout with breast cancer.
But now she’s happy to report that her 17-year-old daughter Grace, who suffered from a rare spinal condition, and her sister, Matilda, 21, are fine; both are pursuing careers in music.
“I thought I’d done a good job of steering them away, but no,” she says, sighing. “And since I’ve gone back to New Order, they’ve got an even keener interest, and they’re very resentful that they don’t get to go on tour with us.”
During the break, she was a stay-at-home mom: “It sounds really boring, but I also got into cooking and cleaning the house a lot. And I got really into dogs — dog agility and obedience training with my Yorkshire terrier.”

Gilbert — who joined former Joy Division members Morris, bassist Peter Hook and guitarist-vocalist Bernard Sumner in New Order in 1980, after Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis hung himself — also stayed busy with occasional keyboard projects, including working with her old friends The Charlatans.
Her velvet-textured synthesizers were what helped transform New Order from dark to light, especially on the band’s second album, 1983’s bubbly “Power, Corruption & Lies.”
“I don’t think the guys would like to think of it as a feminine touch, but I think I added something. And when I left, I think you definitely missed that,” she says.

“Music Complete” represents Gilbert at her best. Opening with the panoramic “Restless,” it segues into “Power”-era techno-funk on “Tutti Frutti” (with Elly Jackson); sinister undulations on “Stray Dog” (with Iggy Pop); and classic anthems, such as “Superheated” (with Brandon Flowers).
“It’s all a bit mad again, but I’m glad I had that time off,” she says. “I got my head together, and I’m really enjoying it this time.”

Friday, April 7, 2017

Blondie: Releasing New Album & Tour

Blondie masterminds Debbie Harry and Chris Stein are releasing their first new album in three years.
As Stein put it, “The last two records before this were a little more electronic and computer-based, but this one is more organic and very much band-based, a little more old-school.”

Blondie announced their eleventh studio album, Pollinator, and based on how first single “Fun” sounds, it’s going to be very, very old-school. In fact, this sucker sounds like it could have easily popped up on 1978’s Plastic Letters or Parallel Lines. It’s a vintage blend of disco, new wave, and modern pop, no doubt elevated by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek who came in with the assist.

Among the album’s other guest contributors: Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes wrote “Long Time”, Sia penned “Best Day Ever”, which features guitar work by The Strokes’ Nick Valensi, Charli XCX helped out on “Gravity”, and Johnny Marr offered up “My Monster”. Elsewhere, Joan Jett sings on “Doom Or Destiny”, Bob’s Burgers comedian John Roberts helps out on “Love Level”, The Gregory Brothers appear on “When I Gave Up On You”, and the one and only Laurie Anderson pops up on a secret track also written by Charli XCX titled “Tonight”.

Produced by Grammy Award-winning producer John Congleton, who aimed to bring the outfit back to their glory days.

This summer, Blondie and Garbage are teaming up for a co-headlining tour. Dubbed the Rage and Rapture Tour, it will see the two iconic rock acts trek across North America from early July through mid-August.
John Doe & Exene Cervenka and Deap Vally will serve as openers.

The joint outing comes in support of Blondie’s upcoming, star-studded album, Pollinator, and Garbage’s 2016 record, Strange Little Birds.

Blondie and Garbage 2017 Tour Dates
07/05 – Saratoga at The Mountain Winery
07/07 – Santa Barbara Bowl

Bryan Ferry: Returning to North America in 2017

Bryan Ferry will be returning to North America in 2017!

Performing a varied set list including highlights from Roxy Music, hits from his solo back catalogue as well as fresh new music from his critically-acclaimed album ‘Avonmore’, these new dates come on the back of his 2016 tours which received rave reviews.

Chicago Tribune, “As always, Bryan Ferry was impeccable.”

Bryan plays the Mountain Winery, Saratoga on August 21.

The Specials: North American Spring Tour 2017

English ska legends The Specials will soon make their way across the Atlantic for a North American spring tour. Set to commence in early June, the jaunt will see the UK outfit play to crowds in such cities as Toronto, Brooklyn, Portland, Los Angeles, and Baltimore.

The tour will feature a new iteration of The Specials, following the deaths of both drummer John Bradbury and trombonist Rico Rodriguez in 2015. The updated lineup includes original members in Terry Hall, Horace Panter, and Lynval Golding, rounded out by Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Craddock on guitar and Gary Powell of The Libertines on drums.
(Original keyboardist Jerry Dammers currently missing in action...)

If the group’s upcoming dates are anything like its impressive appearance at Riot Fest Chicago last September, fans old and new should be in for a treat.

The Specials 2017 Tour Dates:
06/16 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
06/17 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
06/18 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl

Thursday, March 30, 2017

ERASURE: 'Love You To The Sky''

'Love You To The Sky', the first single to be taken from the forthcoming new Erasure album 'World Be Gone’.
‘Love You To The Sky’ was released as a single-track download Friday 17th March.
The 'World Be Gone’ album followed on 19th May and is available on CD, LP.

MARC ALMOND: 'Hits And Pieces – The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell'

MARC ALMOND has revealed a brand new track, 'A Kind Of Love', to support the release of a new SOFT CELL and Marc Almond compilation 'Hits And Pieces – The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell' released on CD, 2-CD and Download on March 10th.
'Hits And Pieces – The Best Of Marc Almond And Soft Cell' features the key tracks that chart the Marc Almond story from Soft Cell, through MARC AND THE MAMBAS, to his solo material.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore: ‘I Can’t Claim That the Songs Were All Written for Trump’

by Chuck Arnold

Thirty years after they gave us Music for the Masses, Depeche Mode is giving us music for the moment, taking on these troubled times on their new album, Spirit. But while their follow-up to 2013’s Delta Machine plays like a timely commentary on the state of the post-Trump world, it wasn’t conceived as such.

“It’s quite coincidental that the album has come out right now. I can’t claim that the songs were all written for Trump,” says Martin Gore, principal songwriter of the British electronic band. “It just seems like such perfect timing, because the world is in such a mess. But the majority of these songs were written in 2015-2016, so the world was in a mess then too. It’s just gotten a little worse.”

Before last year’s divisive U.S. presidential election, Gore felt compelled to tackle other political and social issues on Spirit. “We canceled a show in Kiev on the last tour because that was when things first started to kick off in the Ukraine [crisis],” he says. “And just after our tour finished, the Russians went into Crimea. And then there was the Syrian war going on — I can’t believe the world has just sat back and let that happen. In America, a constant battle was going on for rights: gay rights and transgender rights. There was the police violence against blacks. That was all happening during the writing period.”

Since both Gore and lead singer Dave Gahan live in the U.S., what was the band’s reaction after Donald Trump won the presidential election? “I think we were all just as shocked as all rational people,” Gore says. “On the day of the election I texted a friend of mine because I was a bit worried, and he said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just look at the polls.’ So that night I sat watching it, and my jaw just kept dropping and dropping and dropping. I could not believe that so many people could vote for such an idiot. After everything that he did and said — things that we have tapes of him saying — I just don’t understand. It’s crazy.”

Adds keyboardist Andrew Fletcher: “I just hope he turns out better than we think. But we’re quite worried about the direction things are going at the moment.”

Gore says the new album’s title comes from the line “Our spirit has gone” in the haunting closer, “Fail.” “That [line] is one of the themes of the record,” he says. “And I’m hoping that by saying that and pointing that out, it helps people to think, and maybe we can get some kind of spirit back.”

As for the inspiration behind the politically charged single “Where’s the Revolution,” Gore says, “I think a lot of people are very frustrated and very angry, and I think they’ve just misplaced their anger. I think the system is broken and it needs to be fixed, but with the Brexit vote and by electing Trump, some of the decisions that are being made are not helping anyone.”

Meanwhile, “Going Backwards” reflects on the regression Gore has observed in the world. “Syria is like the Middle Ages at the moment,” he says. “And America is not quite in the Middle Ages yet, but it could easily be turned back 50 years very soon.”

Elsewhere, “The Worst Crime” deals with environmental issues. “For me, the worst crime is the fact that we are just destroying the world, destroying the planet,” says Gore. “We’ve known about it for a long time, and there are still so many people who deny it and will not accept what scientists tell us. It’s the worst crime because we’re not just destroying it for ourselves, we’re destroying it for our descendants. If we carry on the way we are, there will be no world.”

On Spirit, Depeche Mode worked with producer James Ford for the first time. “We liked a lot of James’s stuff he’d done with the Arctic Monkeys and also his work with Simian Mobile Disco, which is more electronic, so we thought he’d be perfect for us,” says Fletcher. “We wanted a quite minimalist sound in general, and he did that, and he was very fast.” Adds Gore: “We felt that it was time to make a change after making three albums with Ben Hillier, even though we loved every second of making those albums. We felt that we have to challenge ourselves and create a different atmosphere. I think [Ford] is a sound magician. He’s incredible.”

Now Depeche Mode are gearing up to launch their “Global Spirit” tour on May 5 in Stockholm. As for the set list, Fletcher says, “That’s always a problem, because our back catalog is so large. We can’t play for seven hours. I think Dave might be really exhausted. But we try to pick some of the best moments from throughout our career.”

Gore is philosophical about it: “Whatever we do, there’s always some of our fans who will complain. But I think we’ve got a good set list that will keep the majority of people happy.”

Friday, January 6, 2017

'80s Artists New Releases of 2016 Most Viewed on YouTube

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dark Necessities 50,404,340 views

David Bowie - Lazarus ('Blackstar') 39,421,320 views

Pet Shop Boys - The Pop Kids ('Super') 1,135,689 views

Yello - Limbo ('Toy') 186,360 views

Simple Minds - Promised You A Miracle (Acoustic) 93,679 views

They Might Be Giants - I Love You for Psychological Reasons ('Phone Power') 93,583 views

Jesus And Mary Chain - Amputation ('Damage And Joy' 2017) 76,296 views

Vince Clarke & Paul Hartnoll - Better Have A Drink To Think 23,890 views

Andy Bell (Erasure) - My Precious One 18,474 views

John Foxx & the Maths featuring Gary Numan - Talk (Are You Listening to Me?) 8,843 views