Friday, November 30, 2007

Butch Walker interviewed and some new songs

Atlanta's 99x radio station, largely responsible for breaking The Marvelous 3's "Freak of the Week," has an interview up with Butch Walker about losing all his stuff in a California fire. Butch's friend who was at the house saved the dogs just in the nick of time. It's great to hear his positive look at the ultimate meaninglessness of rock star materialism and be positively focused. Give it a listen.

Also, Butch has some new songs/demos up over on his MySpace page.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Genesis Live CD

As you know, the '80s line-up of Genesis reunited to do a tour this past year. Just out this week is a new 2-CD set called "Live Over Europe" from this tour. And, also, early next year we'll get a DVD of the full concert. More info at

It definitely looks to be worth a listen and perhaps a buy. Check out some of the tracks from the press release:

"LIVE OVER EUROPE 2007" features 21 songs spanning the diverse eras of the group's career, from such early gems as "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)," "In The Cage," and "Carpet Crawlers" to such late-'70s classics as "Ripples," "Afterglow," and "Follow You Follow Me" to such major hits as "Invisible Touch," "Land Of Confusion," and "I Can't Dance." Joining Banks (keyboards), Collins (vocals, drums), and Rutherford (guitars) on stage were longstanding touring Genesis members Daryl Stuermer (guitars) and Chester Thompson (drums).

Happy Birthday Richard Barbieri

Happy birthday greetings to Richard Barbieri, keyboardist for Porcupine Tree.

Could Metallica be doing something right???

I will swear up and down that Metallica's first three albums are three of the greatest metal albums ever. They were my first rock concert. They are in a tie (with Jethro Tull) as the band I have seen live the most times. They were great. Were. The new video game "Rock Band" has plucked them out of the "Where Are They Now and Do We Even Give A Rip?" file.

It's cool that they licensed master tracks to both Guitar Hero III ("One") and Rock Band (2 Justice cuts and 1 Lightning cut so far). What's really interesting, though, is this news that they have reserved the right to give Rock Band their first single from their new album. Now all joking aside that the new single and album might suck musically, this is a cool idea. Imagine that instead of heading to the radio or MTV for the debut of Metallica's new song, you head to Rock Band and play the thing right from the get go. Pretty cool.

New Supergrass coming soon

Supergrass is cool and we've got new stuff on the way. From here:

U.K. rock outfit Supergrass will release its new single, "Diamond Hoo Ha Man," Jan. 14 internationally on 7-inch vinyl. A live version of the cut can be downloaded from

An as-yet-untitled new album, produced by Nick Launay, will arrive in March via Parlophone. The set is the follow-up to 2005's "Road to Rouen," which debuted at No. 9 on the U.K. album chart.

Butch Walker loses everything to Malibu fire

Producer and awesome solo rock star Butch Walker has lost "everything" to fire in Malibu. He was renting a home from Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and had just moved everything there. From this article:

"I had just consolidated my entire recording studio and house from Atlanta into the one house in Malibu," Walker, who was in New York City at the time of the fire, said in a press release. "I lost everything I've ever owned. Every master of every song I've ever recorded, every piece of recording equipment, guitars, drums and things I've collected over the years, cars, motorcycles, every family memorial, heirloom, picture, and document we ever had.... Gone. I feel like I finally know the difference between 'going back' and 'going home.'"

Reunion of the Week: Extreme!

Our friends Nuno Bettencourt and Gary Cherone have announced that they will be getting back together for not only a show, but at least one album because (in Nuno's words) "there is a massive shortage of rock and roll on this planet. It’s almost extinct. I mean the true spirit of quality rock and roll — you know, Musicianship..."

I'm excited by this, largely because I'm hoping for something better than their fourth album which was a real downer. And also because they weren't just a party band. I was always excited about the way they struggled with the questions of faith and spirituality on record. I wonder if the many years of maturing (or perhaps lack thereof) will show up at all on the new album. Here's hoping so, both musically and lyrically.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Metallica plays Dire Straits

Now the original headline for this article is "Metallica plays Garbage at Neil Young School Concert", which of course, is an attempt to mislead the reader a bit with a shocking statement. It was the only concert Metallica did this year and they happened to play a lot of cover songs including "I'm Only Happy When It Rains" by Garbage. But I found it most interesting to read that they played "Brothers In Arms" by Dire Straits. That is a beautiful, melancholic quiet song. I'd love to hear what the Metallica fellas did with that.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Blade Runner soundtrack to be released along with new DVDs

You may have heard that a massively awesome 25th Anniversary DVD set of "Blade Runner" is coming out Dec. 18. While I'm very excited about that (and almost willing to dive into HD just because of it (but I won't b/c I'm not going to participate in a format war)), I am about as equally excited to learn about a much improved soundtrack release from Vangelis. Lots of juicy details here. But I'll sum it up:

Disc 1 - Same disc as the 1994 Warner Bros. release
Disc 2 - Previously unreleased music from the film that you used to only see on bootlegs
Disc 3 - A whole new Vangelis album inspired by Blade Runner

At first, I thought this was pretty lame, recycling an old disc and I've never enjoyed "Inspired By" soundtracks. But on second thought, I am excited about Disc 2 for all the obvious reasons. And once I rip this set to my hard drive, I can sequence the tracks properly. And as a huge Vangelis fan, I gotta say any new material from him will be much welcomed. So I can't wait to hear that 3rd disc also (so glad it isn't a disc of other artists who have been inspired by the movie).

The Beatles album that might have been in 1970

Here's a fun game I found here. Use the initial 1970 solo output of all four Beatles to compile what might have been their next album if they had stayed together. Check out the link for the rules and some samples.

Friday, November 16, 2007

News Round-Up

I'm sure you already know by now that Paul McCartney has said that The Beatles catalog should be coming to online digital music stores next year.

Weezer is working on a new album to be released next spring. Coming up sooner is a very interesting sounding solo release from Weezer's Rivers Cuomo (December 18th). Be sure to watch for that.

Candlemass will be touring North America next year (so far only a May date in New York City is announced). If you've been a fan for any length of time over here in the Americas, you know this is a big deal.

The latest David Lee Roth version of Van Halen has announced more tour dates to come next year, extending what they originally planned. Good to hear they're getting along so far.

Some bummer news: The Hellacopters have broken up.

Some really, really exciting news (for me at least): Puffy AmiYumi (a J-pop girl group created by Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish) has a new album called "Honeycreeper" that is... get this... produced by Butch Walker. Can't wait to get a hold of this.

Finally, let's talk about the confusing world of Genesis box sets. Back in 1998, Genesis released Archives, Vol.1 which was to be the first of three box sets with each set focusing on a certain phase of their career. This announcement was made before everybody realized that 1997's "Calling All Stations" (and it's concert tickets) were not selling worth beans and no one cares about anything Genesis did after 1992. So, only a second box set was released in 2000 to capture the rest of the career up through 1992.

But this year, Genesis has put out a very different kind of box set in April (covering 1975 - 1982) and on Nov. 20, they'll release the follow up box set covering 1983 - 1998. The sets include the original albums and then, taking a cue from Porcupine Tree, each album is accompanied by a DVD with extras like 5.1 mixes, videos and such. Plus there's a disc of B-sides and rarities in each set.

I really like the idea of the DVDs with all the extras... this seems to be something unique to the Genesis catalog and I'd like to see/hear them. However, I'd be very weary of the versions of the original albums on these. No doubt these are "remastered". This is a marketing term that means "We've compressed the crap out of the music, totally destroying the dynamic range it once had, so that it will sound fresher and more contemporary". This is a problem that plagues Led Zeppelin's new hits package called "Mothership". Stay far away from that! I lost my source for this quote... can't remember if it was Jimmy Page or Tony Banks that said this, but when asked why this compression was being done now to classic songs, the response was "that's the fashion these days". Sad.

Anyway, to sum up, you've got one box set covering Genesis from 1967-1975 released in 1998. Then two sets released this year that cover 1975 - 1998. And then there's that 3-disc archive set from 2000 that also covers 1976 - 1992. Not sure how much material is repeated there. Still confused? Me too.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rossini, meet Ozzy

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. I loved this excerpt from this post in which he is visiting the final resting place of Rossini (turns out it wasn't as the remains had been moved):

There I was, sitting in semi-frightening near-darkness with the bones (again, NOT) of a true musical hero of mine. The skull that once contained the brain that birthed perfect crescendo after perfect crescendo lay in front of me in a crypt (NOT) and I could feel music creeping into my head. Not Rossini, but something else. It went: "Whatchoo gonna do..." duh duh - DUH DUH DUH DUH - Sabbath! It hit me like iron, man. There in front of me lie the bones (yawn, NOT) of the man who invented heavy metal. What? It's not too much of a stretch really. If Beethoven was the Led Zeppelin of the long long ago, then I'd put Rossini as yesteryear's Black Sabbath (and Wagner as Iron Madien and Rachmaninoff as Metallica - I could go on and on) without pause. Perhaps that's why people who like classical music don't care for heavy metal - they've heard it all before. Rossini was the "Spiral Architect" of a formula of quiet-loud-quiet heavy orchestral/operatic music that presaged Paranoid by a good 150 years and set the course for all of the thunderous overtures that would follow in the century after his demise. Surely at least a good half of everything "heavy" that's come since he wrote his overture to the opera William Tell could be directly attributed to Gioachino Rossini. Bazookas, jet airplanes, the Third Reich, Atlas Shrugged, John Goodman - I was on to something in front of that tomb and I knew it.

A Box of Peggs

A Box of Peggs
Dave Pegg turns 60 this month and celebrates with a career-spanning 4-disc box set called "A Box of Peggs" (limited to 2,000 editions). Quoting from here:

More than 80 tracks from Peggy's 38 years with Fairport Convention are included alongside tracks with Jethro Tull, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Steve Ashley, Dan Ar Braz, Richard Thompson, Ralph McTell and Steve Tilston to name a few.

A Box of Peggs – the boxed set cunningly masquerading as a cribbage box – is accompanied by a 100-page book which puts every track into its historical context and shows Peggy from the long-haired days of the 70s to his more conventional 2007 visage.

The boxed set includes all tracks from Peggy's one brilliant solo album – sadly now unavailable – The Cocktail Cowboy Goes It Alone.

Jethro Tull - Beethoven's 9th (2nd Mvmt)

This video is interesting for two reasons. First, it's Jethro Tull doing some of the 2nd movement from Beethoven's 9th symphony... something that's never been released on any of Tull's live albums. Second, it's a video of a Jethro Tull performance without Ian Anderson in it (at least I didn't see him). This was July 31, 1976 in Tampa, Florida. Jethro Tull is in my top 3 favorite bands ever and the 2nd mvmt from Beethoven's 9th is in my top 10 or 20 of most favorite pieces of music ever. So this was a treat for me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Beach Boys, Opeth, The Carpenters and Morbid Angel

From an old interview with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree:

I love the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson is one of my great influences. I don't want to lose that element of Porcupine Tree.

I listen to everything from the Carpenters to Andy Williams to Morbid Angel to Opeth, and everything in-between. For me, musically, when I sit down to write music, very naturally, organically all these influences and ingredients mix up together. If you describe that mix on paper you'd think it's never going to work.

If you don't have any Porcupine Tree in your collection, you are really missing some fantastic music.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Led Zeppelin concert postponed

Led Zeppelin have postponed a one-off comeback concert in London because guitarist Jimmy Page has broken his finger, the promoters said on Thursday.
The concert will now take place on December 10 and all tickets for the original concert on November 26 will be valid, a statement said.

The injury happened last weekend and Page will not be able to play guitar for three weeks, a statement quoted a specialist as saying. "I am disappointed that we are forced to postpone the concert by two weeks," said Page, 63.

"We feel that this postponement will enable my injury to properly heal and permit us to perform at the level that both the band and our fans have always been accustomed to."

The concert venue takes up to 20,000 fans and many die-hard Zeppelin fans had organized trips from around the world to attend the concert this month. Tickets were allocated by ballot and more than 1 million fans registered for a chance to see the legendary rock group.

Page will be joined by singer Robert Plant and bassist John Paul Jones, and Bonham's son Jason will be the drummer. The show will be a tribute to the late founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, who signed the group in 1968.