Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't Call It "The Comeback"

The Cars

Reggae stalwarts UB40 return after a long absence with a new album, "Who You Fighting For?" The album features covers of The Beatles' "I'll Be On My Way" soul classic, "Kiss and Say Goodbye" and original tracks.

"The solidest album from UB40 in over a decade."- All Music Guide

OMD is scheduling concerts and have a new album on the way. The quartet plans to tour extensively in Europe, remaster the Dazzle Ships album, release a DVD and release previously unreleased material.

Romeo Void's 1982 album, "Benefactor" has never been released on CD. Until now, that is. Digitally remstered, this CD release includes four bonus tracks, including a 12" single version of "Never Say Never."

Missing Persons' 1982 debut album (previously reissued in 1995), Spring Session M, is once again available and features two bonus tracks- "Mental Hopscotch" and "Hello, I Love You," which previously were not released on CD.

New Order are working on songs for the film about their late Joy Division bandmate Ian Curtis.

The new film, "Control" is based on Touching From a Distance, the book by Curtis's widow Deborah. The film is being made by director and rock photographer Anton Corbijn, who has worked with U2 and Depeche Mode.

According to Peter Hook, bass player for New Order and Joy Division, they wanted to record new songs for the film as Joy Division. Hook says the impending soundtrack, "May include new stuff. Anton wants to use songs by Joy Division so that each song becomes a video. Like the way the Atmosphere video was filmed, he wants to write videos that appear in the film."

The Manchester band are also considering playing all Joy Division sets at future gigs.They played such a set at the October tribute concert for John Peel in London.

"The Way It Is" a new song from NextWave group The Sunshine Underground may have you digging through your record collection wondering where you've heard it before. It's awfully reminiscent of Gene Loves Jezebel. And awfully good.

The Shout Out Louds are getting attention for their album, "Howl Howl Gaff Gaff" featuring Cars sounding hit, "The Comeback".

Speaking of The Cars , a reunion of sorts is planned. Unfortunately, without original members Rick Ocasek and the late Benjamin Orr. Which means only two members of the original band will participate plus, get this, Todd Rundgren taking over lead vocals.

We love the Todster but without Ric Ocasek there are no Cars. Kudos to Ric for using good judgment and not going for the easy money an otherwise pointless reunion tour will generate. And shame on Rundgren for even considering it.

-DJ Craig

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Ziggy Stardust Turns 59

A look back as Rocker David Bowie celebrates his birthday this month.

The 1960's were over. The Beatles had broken up and legends like Jimi Hendryx, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin were gone forever. The early 1970's seemed like a bad hangover resulting from an overindulgent and turbulent decade of drug experimentation, war, protest, assassination and political scandal. Aching psyches were now soothed by pop (The Partridge Family, Osmonds, Jackson 5) and mellow singer/songwriter stuff (Carpenters, James Taylor). And for those who still wanted it, hard rock (Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin).

Then David Bowie broke the mold.

After several early albums that didn't garner much commercial attention, "Ziggy Stardust" was born in 1973. Bowie reinvented himself as a flamboyant, guitar wielding, androgynous space alien bent on conquering the Earth through music. Omnipotent and self assured, he even predicts his own rise to fame in the song, "Star". The Ziggy album was an instant success, it's dramatic, electrified, space age rock energy ushered in a new era of Rock and Roll known as "Glitter/Glam".

Bowie's continued boldness in creating characters and bringing theater and a visual aspect to rock music was unlike anything before. He wore inventive costumes, cross dressed, wore makeup and was both effeminate and masculine at the same time. Unlike Elton John who hid from his sexuality, Bowie embraced his own and explored it openly, sometimes onstage.

Bowie's characters and corresponding albums and tours had elements of camp and high drama. His everchanging incarnations kept his audience guessing and enthralled: spaceman Major Tom, the anarchic Man Who Sold The World, the dress wearing Queen Bitch, rock demigod Ziggy, the apocalyptic Rebel Rebel, Aladin Sane, the Thin White Duke, and the list goes on. Never satisfied with mere commercial success, Bowie discarded personas like a snake sheds it's skin. Then created new ones.

Likewise, Bowie's fearless willingness to experiment with his music kept it creative and unique. His music spans Dylan inspired Folk, high energy Electro-rock, Disco and Soul, synthesizer and electronic drum based Pop and World Music. Rock's Chameleon smartly surrounded himself with top notch talent. Members of his ever revolving band line up have included Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robert Fripp, Carlos Alomar, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Adrian Belew, Roy Bittan, Brian Eno, Peter Frampton and Mick Ronson.

Bowie's motifs of alienation and ability to thrive outside the mainstream created a new category of rock expression. Long after the Glam era faded, it provided fodder for those wanting to explore fantasy and the dark side of life in their music. Without Bowie it's likely there would not have been a Depeche Mode, Cure, Morrissey or Duran Duran. He was THE major influence for much of the New Wave music of the 80s and beyond. Madonna, who inducted Bowie in to The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame In 1996, admitted to being "terribly inspired" by Bowie.

As a live showman, Bowie has always been on the cutting edge of performance and technology. His sound, lighting and special effects push the envelope. And there's that voice. Vulnerable without being whimpy, dramatic without being over the top. One that blended as well with Bing Crosby as it did with John Lennon or Freddie Mercury.

Bowie's later releases have not been as compelling as his earlier ones. Yet as always, he forges on trying on new sounds and ideas. David Bowie will be presented with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy at this year's Grammy awards on Feb. 8, 2006.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NextWave- Back To The Future!

There is an exciting new music movement that is not Rap, Grunge, Emo or Pop. It's called NextWave and is heavily influenced by The New Wave movement of the 1980's.

NextWave songs are synthesizer driven, feature detached vocals and otherwordly themes, much in the style of predecessors like The Cure, Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. And they're gaining in popularity.

Many Nextwave bands are receiving mass airplay, selling out concerts and moving millions of CDs. NextWavers like The Killers, Hot Hot Heat, Interpol are reviving the essence of a musical niche that was thought to have become extinct long ago.

It's enough to make you want to break out a skinny tie and "Members Only" jacket from back in the day.

Here is a suggested list of a few of the latest and greatest NextWave anthems:

Tear You Apart- She Wants Revenge
I Want to Be Buried In Your Backyard- Nightmare of You
Sometimes the Sun- The Lashes
This Isn't It- Giant Drag
Trouble With Dreams- Eels
Hysteria- Muse
Helicopter- Bloc Party
It Dawned On Me- Calla
Spent On Rainy Days- Bright Eyes
I Predict a Riot- Kaiser Chiefs
Here Comes a City- The Go-Betweens
Hidden Spaces- The Morning After Girls
Maybe I Should- I Am Kloot
We Both Go Down Together- The Decemberists
Unconditional- The Bravery
The Letter A- Black Tie Dynasty
Rebellion (Lies)- Arcade Fire
Goodbye Horses- Psyche
Out of Control- She Wants Revenge
Anyone Out There?- Rialto
Bridge to Nowhere- The Like
Goodnight Goodnight- Hot Hot Heat

Happy Listening,

-DJ Craig