The Who performed its landmark concept album Quadrophenia on two nights in Chicago, IL. The set list may have been known in advance, but the veteran British rockers played with conviction and fire.
With an appealing blend of classic and alternative styles, Eclectric earns comparisons to crafty pop provocateurs like Tears for Fears, Eurythmics, and Level 42.
Seventeen studio albums into its career, this is clearly a band that is not bored or running a treadmill. Some of the usual comparisons tangentially apply, including Genesis, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd. With “Sounds,” Marillion both challenges and entertains.
Although Queen are constantly on the periphery, this film explores Freddie Mercury individually. His ambitions as a solo artist extended beyond “Mr. Bad Guy” or even rock and roll. This tribute connects most deeply at a personal level, rather than relying solely upon Mercury’s stadium-sized fame.
Former Dropsonic frontman Dan Dixon is taking his audience somewhere new with PLS PLS. He’s primed to pick up a different style of listener that favors genre-tweaking indie rock and tuneful experimentation over Dropsonic’s fearsome old-school rock chops.
The improved picture quality, fresh remaster and new surround sound mixes are worth hearing, even if you played the live album as much as I did eighteen years ago. The extras are icing on the cake. For the newly curious, Secret World Live provides a compelling overview from Peter Gabriel’s heyday.
If I have to choose sides in the Zombie apocalypse, I’m throwing in with these guys. This set captures an intimate show from the band’s astonishing 50th anniversary year at Metropolis Studios in London.
Wish You Were Here represents many things in the Pink Floyd canon. Ultimately, it emerges as the band’s most focused artistic statement, even while examining the separate themes of Roger Waters’ struggle against the machinery of the music industry and the still-open wound of the absence of band founder Syd Barrett.
The Seventy Sevens’ early records garnered comparisons ranging from Echo and the Bunnymen to The Rolling Stones. That may have hampered their marketable identity, but it made them a beloved one-band jukebox to fans. Sticks and Stones captures the band’s schizophrenia at its best.
Chronology provides a compelling and worthwhile overview of Talking Heads’ career. Rather than trying to manufacture a narrative, the band’s history is told primarily through a series of musical nuggets – allowing the band to speak for itself.
In a field perhaps over-filled with unauthorized biographies, Days of Our Lives is a refreshing and illuminating look into the arc of Queen’s stadium-sized career. Benefiting from full band involvement, the documentary makes for great drama. Above all, it’s filled with ambitious and extravagant rock and roll.
Those expecting the high-octane hard rock of Deep Purple from Roger Glover’s fifth solo album will be surprised, but not disappointed.
McGraw has described the process of making this album of covers as “the art of selling out,” and he makes admirable work of it. The song selection for Popular Music runs the gamut from guilty pleasure to hidden treasure, with surprising depth and personality.
This lighthearted collection of fresh material from the “living” King of Rock and Roll plays it mostly straight, but it’s not hard to tell that those involved have their tongues planted firmly in cheek.
Condron notches at least one should-be classic with “Blurred,” which pulls an equal measure of Dream Police-era Cheap Trick glam and classic Dave Edmunds melodic roots-rock.
Of this concert film’s seventeen tracks, seven are drawn from 1978’s worthy Some Girls. Live in Texas is a time capsule from when the Stones’ flame last burned its brightest.
Like Squeeze’s recent Spot the Difference CD, Regeneration faithfully recreates Styx’s classic-rock singles with the band’s current touring lineup. This is both a treat for current fans and a means for fans to thank their heroes for soldiering on.
For conceptual depth, musical ambition and instrumental command, Quadrophenia remains unmatched among the Who’s canon. This set gives Who fans unprecedented insight into a justifiably beloved album.
This 45rpm single demonstrates afresh that the leftovers from soul providers Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings top many artists’ prime cuts. “He Said I Can” is a funky strut, while B-side “It Hurts to be Alone” reinterprets a Wailers classic recorded in 1963.
New Blood seems best suited as a gift to Peter Gabriel’s most committed fans – the devotees who are interested to see Gabriel unmake and recreate a favorite song like “Solsbury Hill,” and the ones who want to focus upon the power of his singular voice.
This independent project shows a maturity of craft and is worth a listen for fans of female singer-songwriters ranging from Carole King to Alison Krauss. The talent on display here is worth sharing beyond its hometown roots.
Motown giants The Temptations celebrate an astonishing fifty years of pop music history with The Singles Collection. This set is a treasure trove for fans unfamiliar with the Temptations’ early work and the many quality singles that dotted the group’s trajectory from hit to hit.
The appeal of Hollywood’s second Queen box is hearing the band’s familiar singles lifted from the homogenized presentation of greatest-hits packages. Taken together, these albums present a formidable band with rare songwriting and performing depth, and one which was both willing to take risks and able to get away with them.
After departing the best lineup of Deep Purple, guitar hero Ritchie Blackmore launched the heavy-hitting and mystical Rainbow with vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The band’s most potent lineup would create only one studio album, but is featured on this live set. The centerpiece is the self-contained hard rock opera “Stargazer,” which must have blown stoned minds in 1976.
Guitarist and songwriter Joey Molland of ‘70s power-pop giants Badfinger was special guest at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago. In addition to an interview with local Breakfast with the Beatles DJ Terri Hemmert, Molland joined the festival’s house band Liverpool for a concert. The set included Badfinger classics “Baby Blue,” “Day After Day,” and “No Matter What.”
The same words are often used, but they’ve never been more true. The title track to Marvin Gaye’s masterful protest album is as relevant today as it was when it was written. This set treats the landmark album with the respect it warrants.
This Midwest pop-rock staple, which introduced the power ballads “Keep On Lovin’ You” and “Take it on the Run,” is 30 years old.
These thoughts are presented as a companion to the recent review by Michael Toland.
Clouds Echo in Blue from Choir guitarist Derri Daugherty is an elegant collection of evocative, heavenly tones, tailor made for admirers of ambient instrumental projects such as those by ex-Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie, Hammock and Riceboy Sleeps.
With musical touchstones both to its own origins and its continuing evolution, the relatively compact Memories in My Head by Polish progressive metal veterans Riverside provides a tasty morsel for fans awaiting the band’s next full-length, and a good starting point for the newly curious.
Kinda Kinks‘ secret weapon was revealed when Wes Anderson included “Nothin’ in the World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout that Girl” in the soundtrack to his 1998 film Rushmore. Forty-six years following its original release, the tense and paranoid song is still capable of raising the hair on the back of your neck.
Just days before the release of their sophomore album Nothing is Wrong, rising Americana heroes Dawes loped onto the Vic Theatre stage in Chicago to play a set full of Taylor Goldsmith‘s new “heartbreak songs.”
Steve Howe’s career has ranged far and wide since recording a Chuck Berry cover in 1964, produced by legendary recording pioneer Joe Meek. Howe is best known as guitarist for progressive rock veterans Yes. Find out how The Libertines and Babyshambles may help to inform what is no longer just your dad’s “dinosaur rock,” and why there is fresh appreciation for the passion and meticulous craft that Howe and his bandmates deliver after four decades together.
The mild shock of this song’s titillating title, sung by the smooth voice of Gnarls Barkley’s worldwide smash “Crazy,” is probably its first hook. There’s a different reason for endless repeat plays, however. Naughty or not, you’d have to spin the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” to hear a catchier pop-soul single.
Yankovic wisely made a point of keeping things current with a fresh batch of funny material. “Skipper Dan” described a failed thespian, doomed to a soul-destroying life of corny jokes as a riverboat guide on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise attraction. Recent parody “You’re Pitiful” gave a more memorable upgrade to James Blunt’s maudlin “You’re Beautiful.”
Chris Arduser’s songwriting is strewn with knowing winks and personal pratfalls, for which the best consolation would probably be “at least you got a song out of it.” “Bad Decisions” is classic Arduser, a summery pop-waltz full of recrimination, wherein the protagonist is thwarted by his own worst intentions.
As comfortably dressed as songs like “Tomorrow We’ll See” and even “Roxanne” seemed to be, the true pleasure for Sting’s pop fans wasn’t necessarily hearing popular songs about prostitutes swathed in sweeping orchestral splendor.