Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Alex Lifeson: legendary RUSH guitarist teams with Epiphone for Les Paul Standard Axcess, and debuts two new songs today

 Nice to see Alex Lifeson's name back in the spotlight again...Robert Kinsler


RUSH Lead Guitarist and Rock & Roll Legend Alex Lifeson 
Debuts Two New Songs: 
“Kabul Blues” and” Spy House”
Alex Lifeson with his Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess.
Photo credit: Epiphone

NASHVILLE, TN (June 15, 2021) Legendary RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson and Epiphone present the new Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess electric guitar. Created by Alex Lifeson and the luthiers at Epiphone in Nashville, TN, the Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess is now available worldwide on:www.epiphone.com.
Through an extensive collaboration between Alex and Gibson, Epiphone pushed the boundaries of the classic Les Paul to create the exclusive Alex Lifeson Les Paul Standard Axcess. The guitar includes a pair of powerful Epiphone pickups - the Pro Bucker 3 bridge pickup and the Ceramic Pro neck pickup. It also includes coil-splitting options via the push-pull volume controls and a Graph Tech Ghost Floyd Rose system. Together these features give the player access to both traditional magnetic humbucker tones as well as the Ghost’s realistic acoustic tones. For added flexibility, you can blend acoustic and magnetic voices to create a rich layered sound and then route them through either a traditional mono jack or use two cables to access the individual magnetic and piezo outputs.

“The introduction of the Epiphone Alex Lifeson Axcess model based on my Gibson Les Paul Axcess model has all the same attributes and characteristics that I desired so much when we originally designed it,” says Alex Lifeson, RUSH guitarist. “The look, the sound, the playability and the utility--it’s all there for the player-at any level. I’m very proud of this guitar.” 

“We have been honored to have Alex as part of our family for decades,” says Elizabeth Heidt, Vice President of Cultural Influence. “He is an incredible, iconic artist, innovator, philanthropist, and an inspiration to so many. We are excited to partner with him on the Epiphone Axcess and to celebrate this collaboration with his fans around the world.”
To mark the occasion of his collaboration with Epiphone and the release of the new Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess guitarLifeson is proud to debut two brand new songs titled “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House.” Fans can get a first listen to “Kabul Blues” and “Spy House” in the new interview with Alex LifesonHereand listen to the songs in their entirety exclusively via AlexLifeson.comThese two instrumental songs mark the first new music from Alex Lifeson in close to a decade.

Watch the exclusive interview with Alex Lifeson, Here and the new signature video for the Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess, Here.
Above: the Alex Lifeson Epiphone Les Paul Standard Axcess.

About Alex Lifeson:
Lifeson made his mark on the music industry over 50 years ago, redefining the boundaries of progressive rock guitar. His signature riffing, copious use of effects processing and unorthodox chord structures befitted him the title by his RUSH bandmates as “The Musical Scientist.” While the bulk of Lifeson's work in music has been with RUSH, he has contributed to a body of work outside of the band as a guitarist, producerand with the release of his 1996 solo album Victor, a solo artistLifeson ranks thirdoverall in the Guitar World Readers poll of ‘100 Greatest Guitarists’ and is also included in Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.’
About Epiphone:
For over 140 years, Epiphone has been a leading innovator in instrument design with models like the Casino, the Texan, and Masterbilt Century Archtop Collection.Epiphone began as the "House of Stathopoulo" family business in Sparta in the 1870s and rose to fame during the jazz age in Manhattan before joining Gibson brands in 1957. Today, Epiphone continues to make history from its headquarters in Nashville, TNEpiphones have powered classic recordings by Les PaulThe Beatles, and The Rolling Stones along with today's top artists like Peter FramptonGary Clark Jr.Tommy Thayer of KISS, and Lzzy HaleEpiphone offers innovation, history, and a lifetime guarantee. Whether you are learning your first song in your bedroom, or rocking an arena, Epiphone has always been there, for everyone, for every generation, for every stage. For more information, visit: Epiphone.com and follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube, and Instagram.

New Music Roundup: Garbage, Holsapple & Stamey, The Bablers, 'Big Stir Singles'

June 2021 is proving to be especially rich in terms of new music releases. Here are four highly-recommended titles worth a listen...

Title: No Gods No Masters (Infectious Music)
You might like if you enjoy: Garbage, The Pretenders
Tell me more: Garbage has returned with a deluxe two-disc album Go Gods No Masters, the band's seventh studio album and first full-length effort since 2016's Strange Little Birds. This is an album that finds singer Shirley Manson, co-producer/drummer/guitarist Butch Vig, guitarist Duke Erikson and guitarist Steve Marker tackling hot topics with a no-holds-barred assault. Indeed, the opening sortie "The Men Who Rule The World," electro-goth graced "Waiting For God," dance floor-ready "Godhead" and the title track are especially powerful songs that resonate in the here and now.  From the release of the band's groundbreaking self-titled debut in August 1995, Garbage was celebrated as a unique artist able to artfully blend synth and alt rock sounds with grace and force (a style sometimes referred to by the band as "sci-fi pop"); the new track "Wolves" continues in the tradition as Manson sings "Which one of my two wolves will I give my attention to tonight? Which one will I decide to feed? Which one will I decide to fight?"   "The Creeps," "Uncomfortably Me" and New Order-mining "Flipping the Bird" are also immersed in that intoxicating fusion of disparate genres. The second disc of the special edition is loaded with bonus tracks that are terrific. My favorites include their 2017 standalone original "No Horses," a brilliant reworking of David Bowie's “Starman”, an inspired take on the Bruce Springsteen/Patti Smith nugget “Because the Night” (featuring Screaming Females) and “Destroying Angels,” the latter a 2018 single with Exene Cervenka and John Doe of the legendary Los Angeles punk band X. Information: garbage.com.

Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey
Title: Our Back Pages (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The dB's, The Finn Brothers, Alex Chilton, The Continental Drifters
Tell me more: Released as a special vinyl edition on Record Store Day on June 12, the wonderful full-length album Our Back Pages featuring Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey will be released on audio CD and on digital on June 18. Our Back Pages is a 13-track collection where Holsapple & Stamey revisit songs they helped craft while in the dB's as acoustic-styled versions that are simply spectacular. Along with their stellar lead and harmony vocals, the two artists used acoustic guitars, toy piano, a ukulele, a banjo, a harmonium and other instruments in the creation of the revisited songs recorded for the self-produced set. The two artists  who began playing music together while in grade school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the 1960s  found fame when they formed the dB's in 1978. It's almost criminal to celebrate one track on the collection without failing to acknowledge another. The rootsy "Today Could Be The Day," lovely "From a Window to a Screen," shimmering "Black and White," melodic "Picture Sleeve," opulent "Nothing Is Wrong" and wistful "Darby Hall" are among the great songs on "Our Back Pages." Information: OmnivoreRecordings.com.

The Bablers
Title: Psychadilly Circus (Big Stir Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, Badfinger, Crowded House
Tell me more: The Beatles have influenced countless artists over the past 60 years and continue to cast a huge stamp on popular music. Look (and listen) no further than Finland-based quartet The Bablers whose new album Psychadilly Circus is a bona fide celebration of the glorious sonic universe created by John, Paul, George and Ringo. The songs display their magic quickly, from the stirring "Love Is Everything," harmonies-rich "Psychadilly Circus" and expansive "Queen Of Yesterday" to the Lennon-esque "All Because Of You," celebratory "Walking On Sunny Beach" and acoustic "Child Of War." Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Arto Tamminen, guitarist Hannu Pikkarainen, bassist-keyboardist Pekka Gröhn and drummer Janne Haavisto are recognized as "the Finnish Supergroup of Pop," with all four members each holding at least one Finnish Grammy for their work outside of the band. Information: BigStirRecords.com.

Various artists
Title: Big Stir Singles: The Tenth Wave (Big Stir Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Pop rock, melodic rock, indie rock
Tell me more: Nothing like going out with a melodic bang. Burbank, CA-based Big Stir Records has just issued Big Stir Singles: The Tenth Wave, the final installment in the label's current series of audio CDs collecting their tuneful weekly singles campaign. Loaded with 22 (!) tracks, a diverse field of 11 artists are heard via their A- and B-sides issued in October and November 2020. The set kicks off with the mylittlebrother nugget "Howl" and the hard charging Nick Frater original "California Waits." The momentum and range of material remains strong to be sure; my favorite A sides on the long set also include the splendid take on John Cale's 1973 classic "October Surprise" from October Surprise, D.F.E.'s "I Sy We Take Off And Nuke The Site From Orbit" (which recalls the brilliant style and sound of Bright Blue Gorilla), a lovely version of the 1970 soul classic "O-o-h Child" courtesy of the Popdudes and sing-along "No Weapon But Love" from Icecream Hands. Great B sides featured on The Tenth Wave include Frater's melancholy foray "The Afterparty," Whelligan's sharp "Anyone Who Never Had A Heart," D.F.E.'s joyful "Yellow River," The Speed Of Sound's rousing "No Kicks" and shining Anton Barbeau & Allyson Records track "Octagon." The disc closes out with Icecream Hands' beautiful original "Can You Feel My Love." The Tenth Wave is a great introduction to the Big Stir label and its talented field of talent. Information: BigStirRecords.com.

Robert Kinsler

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Sights and Sounds: Def Leppard, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Danny Elfman, Varèse Sarabande soundtracks

This month has seen a slew of recommended releases and special collections. Here is a recap of some of the latest high-profile titles available now...Robert Kinsler 






1. DefLeppard_VinylBox3_3D copy 2.jpg 




(LOS ANGELES, CA) Today, legendary British rock ‘n’ roll icons and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame® inductees Def Leppard will release Def Leppard – Volume Three, a new limited edition box set UMe/Virgin


This set marks the third of four volumes of the band’s complete recorded output in both 180gm vinyl and limited-edition CD box sets. They contain all the recordings from the band in the 2000’s and features the original packaging on both formats. To date, X, Yeah! and Songs from the Sparkle Lounge have never been available on vinyl before.


The albums were mastered by Ronan McHugh and Joe Elliott at Joe’s Garage with assistance from Andy Pearce and cut by Greg Moore. Housed in rigid boxes the sets also contain a hard-backed book with rare photos by Ross Halfin and notes by Classic Rock Magazine’s Paul Elliott. Band members Joe Elliott, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell have also contributed to the set.


Def Leppard – Volume Three features 2002’s X, which was the groups sixth consecutive Top 20 record on the Billboard 200 chart and features songs such as “Now,” “Four Letter Word” and “Long Long Way to Go”, 2006’s Yeah!, the band’s first covers album featuring a collection of the groups favorite tracks re-recorded with the iconic Leppard sound, this is the first time this album will be available on vinyl. Also Def Leppard’s tenth studio album Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, released in 2008 the record marked the bands return to their signature sound and hitting the Top 10 both sides of the Atlantic, the album included the hit single “Nine Lives” which featured GRAMMY® Award winning country legend Tim McGraw.


Also included are B-SidesYeah! Studio Covers and Yeah! Live.  These albums have specially been compiled by Joe Elliott for this limited-edition release. B-Sides contains a rare compilation of B-sides that have never appeared on vinyl before. Yeah! Studio Covers includes some never before released on vinyl covers, Yeah! bonus disc exclusive release tracks and a compilation of the various covers recorded by the band over their career. Yeah! Live is a compilation of live recordings of covers by the band which include both tracks from 2006’s Yeah!, as well as previously unreleased live tracks from the past 30 years.


6-CD Box Set


  1. Now 
  2. Unbelievable  
  3. You’re So Beautiful
  4. Everyday 
  5. Long, Long Way to Go
  6. Four Letter Word
  7. Torn to Shreds
  8. Love Don’t Lie 
  9. Gravity
  10. Cry
  11. Girl Like You
  12. Let Me Be the One
  13. Scar



  1. 20TH Century Boy 
  2. Rock On 
  3. Hanging on the Telephone
  4. Waterloo Sunset
  5. Hell Raiser
  6. 10538 Overture
  7. Street Life
  8. Drive-In Saturday
  9. Little Bit of Love
  10. The Golden Age of Rock ‘n’ Roll
  11. No Matter What
  12. He’s Gonna Step on You Again
  13. Don’t Believe A Word
  14. Stay with Me



  1. Go 
  2. Nine Lives
  3. C’mon C’mon
  4. Love
  5. Tomorrow
  6. Cruise Control
  7. Hallucinate
  8. Only the Good Die Young
  9. Bad Actress
  10. Come Undone
  11. Gotta Let it Go



  1. Now – (Radio Edit) (B-Side – Now)
  2. Long Long Way to Go (Radio Edit) (B-Side – Long Way To Go)
  3. Kiss the Day (X – Japanese Bonus Track)
  4. 10 X Bigger Than Love (B-Side - Long Way to Go) 
  5.  Love Don’t Lie – B-Side – Now (Demo)
  6. Let Me Be the One – B-Side – Now (Demo) 
  7. Gimmie A Job – B-Side – Long Long Way to Go
  8. Now – B-Side – Long Long Way to Go (Live Acoustic Version)
  9. Long Long Way to Go – Limited Edition Bonus Track (Stripped Version)
  10. Nine Lives – Joe Only Vocal Version 
  11. Perfect Girl – Website Exclusive (Phil Collen Demo)
  12. Love – Piano Version



  1. Only After Dark – B-Side – Let’s Get Rocked
  2. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – B-Side – Have You Needed Someone So Bad
  3. Little Wing – B-Side - Have You Needed Someone So Bad
  4. Ziggy Stardust – B-Side - Slang
  5. Under My Wheels – B-Side - Goodbye
  6. Who Do You Love? – B-Side - Goodbye
  7. Rebel Rebel – B-Side - Now
  8. Led Boots – B-Side – All I Want is Everything
  9. Cause We Ended as Lovers – B-Side – All I Want is Everything
  10. Search and Destroy – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 
  11. How Does it Feel - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive (iTunes Exclusive)
  12. Roxanne – Phil’s Demo (Previously Unreleased)
  13. Dear Friends – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 
  14. Winter Song – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive
  15. American Girl – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive
  16. Heartbeat – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive
  17. Space Oddity – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive
  18. When I’m Dead and Gone – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive
  19. Stay With Me – B-Side Now



  1. Elected - B-Side Heaven Is
  2. Action – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 
  3. No Matter What – Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 
  4. Rock On – Live 2006
  5. Travellin’ Band – Radio Edit (Previously Unreleased)
  6. Now I’m Here – B-Side Tonight
  7. 20th Century Boy – 2005 VH1 Rock Awards (Previously Unreleased)
  8. All The Young Dudes – Once Bitten Twice Shy Exclusive Track 


9-LP Box Set






You're So Beautiful


Long Long Way to Go

Four Letter Word

Torn to Shreds



Love Don't Lie



Girl Like You

Let Me Be the One






20th Century Boy

Rock On

Hanging on The Telephone

Waterloo Sunset



Hell Raiser

10538 Overture

Street Life

Drive-In Saturday



Little Bit of Love

The Golden Age of Rock 'n' Roll

No Matter What



He's Gonna Step on You Again

Don't Believe A Word

Stay with Me






Nine Lives 

C'mon C'mon





Cruise Control


Only the Good Die Young

Bad Actress

Come Undone

Gotta Let It Go       






Now – (Radio Edit) (B-Side - Now)

Long Long Way to Go (Radio Edit) (B-Side – Long Way To Go)

Kiss the Day – (X - Japanese Bonus Track)



10 X Bigger Than Love (B-Side - Long Way to Go )

Love Don't Lie - B-Side Now (Demo)

Let Me Be the One - B-Side Now (Demo)



Gimme A Job - B-Side - Long Long Way to Go 

Now - B-Side - Long Long Way to Go (Live Acoustic Version)

Long Long Way to Go - Limited Edition Bonus Track (Stripped Version)



Nine Lives - Joe Only Vocal Version

Perfect Girl - Website Exclusive (Phil Collen Demo)

Love - Piano Version






Only After Dark - B-Side - Let’s Get Rocked

You Can’t Always Get What You Want - B-Side Have You Needed Someone So Bad

Little Wing - B-Side Have You Needed Someone So Bad

Ziggy Stardust - B-Side – Slang



Under My Wheels - B-Side - Goodbye

Who Do You Love? - B-Side - Goodbye

Rebel Rebel - B-Side - Now

Led Boots - B-Side - All I Want is Everything

Cause We Ended as Lovers - B-Side - All I Want is Everything



Search and Destroy - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

How Does It Feel - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive (iTunes Exclusive)

Roxanne - Phil's Demo (Previously Unreleased)

Dear Friends - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

Winter Song - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 



American Girl - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

Heartbeat - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

Space Oddity - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

When I'm Dead and Gone - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

Stay with Me - B-Side Now 





Elected - B-Side Heaven Is

Action - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

No Matter What - Yeah! Bonus Disc Exclusive 

Rock On - Live 2006



Travellin' Band - Radio Edit (Previously Unreleased)

Now I'm Here - B-Side Tonight

20th Century Boy - 2005 VH I Rock Awards (Previously Unreleased) 

All the Young Dudes - Once Bitten Twice Shy Exclusive Track 






LP SET TWO: Yeah! (2-LP)

LP SET THREE: Songs from the Sparkle Lounge

LP SET FOUR: B-Sides (2-LP)

LP SET FIVE: Yeah! Studio Covers (2-LP)

LP SET SIX: Yeah! Live






DISC THREE: Songs from the Sparkle Lounge


DISC FIVE: Yeah! Studio Covers

DISC SIX: Yeah! Live



With more than 100 million albums sold worldwide, two prestigious Diamond Awards in the U.S., 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame® inductees, Def Leppard – Joe Elliott (vocals), Phil Collen (guitar), Rick "Sav" Savage (bass), Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Rick Allen (drums) — continue to be one of the most important forces in rock music. Over the course of their career the band has produced a series of classic ground-breaking albums that set the bar for generations of music fans and artists alike. The group’s spectacular live shows and arsenal of hits have become synonymous with their name, leading Def Leppard to be heralded as an institution in both the music and touring industry. Def Leppard’s influential career includes numerous hit singles and ground-breaking multi-platinum albums—including two of the best-selling albums of all time, Pyromania and Hysteria, capturing the group’s legendary tracks, bringing together classic Leppard hits such as “Rock of Ages,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Foolin.” The band’s 2015 self-titled studio album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Top Independent Albums charts. The album also took the No. 5 spot on Billboard’s Top Current Albums and No. 10 spot on the Top 200, as well as claiming 15 top 10 debuts around the world.  For the first time, in January 2018 Def Leppard debuted their full recording catalog worldwide via streaming and download platforms. As they did with the original release of their records, Def Leppard dominated the worldwide charts again.  Chart stats saw their albums charting in the iTunes Top 10 in more than 30 countries, including Hysteria at No. 3 in the U.S., and No. 5 in the U.K.  Def Leppard had the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 records on the U.S. catalog albums chart. 










Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have released Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021), a definitive 18 track "best of" package, and a timely reminder of the breadth and depth of songs from the first decade of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. To mark the occasion, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will be appearing on CBS This Morning: Saturday, for Saturday Sessions on June 12th and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on June 17th

Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021) features the band’s two most recent releases, “Flying On The Ground” and “We’re On Our Way Now.” The tracks were accompanied by music videos directed by Dan Cadan and Jonathan Mowatt for Rankin, both of which were inspired by French New Wave cinema. Curated and compiled entirely by Noel, the tracklisting of Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021) encompasses songs from High Flying Birds’ three UK Number One albums (Noel Gallagher’s High Flying BirdsChasing Yesterday and Who Built The Moon?) and the three acclaimed EPs (Black Star DancingThis Is The Place and Blue Moon Rising). 

Since establishing Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds post the legendary success of Oasis, Gallagher has never sat still creatively. He’s mastered the art of embracing an instinctive sonic evolution and creative freedom whilst never neglecting the songcraft. From the New Orleans brass powered blast of debut single “The Death Of You And Me” to the self-produced psych-pop and space bound experimentation of Chasing Yesterday and the disco saturated, sonic veer of Who Built The Moon? at the hands of renowned producer David Holmes and the subsequent EP releases, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds have proven time and time again to be unshackled by genre and expectation. That Gallagher has so successfully married this bold and blistering approach with huge commercial success (over 2.4 million albums sold internationally with three UK Number One albums - marking a record breaking ten UK consecutive Number One studio albums across his career), coupled with relentless touring globally, is testament to Gallagher’s unerring ability to marry lazer guided melodies and fearless creativity.

Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021) is available now on the following formats:
Standard 2 CD
Deluxe 3 CD
Double heavyweight LP Formats
Limited edition Deluxe Box Set including set of deluxe vinyl, etched 7” plus 12” coffee table photo book with deluxe CD set
Online store exclusive - Double LP picture disc and cassette
Listen to Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021)
Disc 1
1. Everybody’s On The Run
2. The Death Of You And Me
3. AKA … What A Life!
4. If I Had A Gun …
5. In The Heat Of The Moment
6. Riverman
7. Lock All The Doors
8. The Dying Of The Light
9. Ballad Of The Mighty I
10. We’re On Our Way Now
Disc 2
1. Black Star Dancing
2. Holy Mountain (Remastered)
3. A Dream Is All I Need To Get By
4. This Is The Place
5. It’s A Beautiful World
6. Blue Moon Rising
7. Dead In The Water (Live At RTÉ 2FM Studios, Dublin)
8. Flying On The Ground
Bonus Disc
1. It’s A Beautiful World (Instrumental)
2. If I Had A Gun … (Acoustic Version)
3. Black Star Dancing (Skeleton Key Remix)
4. Black Star Dancing (12” Mix Instrumental)
5. The Man Who Built The Moon (Acoustic Version)
6. International Magic (Demo)
7. Blue Moon Rising (Sons Of The Desert Remix)
8. The Dying Of The Light (Acoustic Version)
9. This Is The Place (Skeleton Key Remix)
10. This Is The Place (Instrumental)
11. Black Star Dancing (The Reflex Revision)
12. Be Careful What You Wish For (Instrumental)



Credit: Sarah Sitkin

After releasing a series of singles and videos over the past few months, renowned composer Danny Elfman is releasing his new double album Big Mess today, his first solo record in thirty-seven years. “I knew from the start that this wasn’t going to be a neat, easy-to-categorize record,” says Elfman. “It was always destined to be this crazy cacophony, because that’s who I am. The Big Mess is me.” Listen to the album HERE

Big Mess was almost entirely created spontaneously during quarantine in 2020. It began as an experiment Elfman had been considering which combined aggressive rock band and orchestral strings in a way that had not been heavily explored. “Once I began writing,” he explained, “It was like opening a Pandora’s box and I found I couldn’t stop. None of it was planned. I had no idea how many songs I would write but from the start it quickly became a 2-sided project with heavily contrasting and even conflicting tones.”

Clocking in at 18 tracks, the sprawling, ambitious double album finds the 4x Oscar nominated, Grammy and Emmy Award-winning composer breaking bold new ground as both a writer and a performer. He is joined on the album by drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Weezer, The Vandals), bassist Stu Brooks (Dub Trio, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill), and guitarists Robin Finck (Nine Inch Nails, Guns N’ Roses) and Nili Brosh (Tony MacAlpine, Paul Gilbert).

The songs on Big Mess combine both harmonically complex arrangements and simple high energy driving music with biting, acerbic wit as they reckon with the chaos and confusion of the modern world. And while the anger, frustration, and isolation of it all is palpable in his delivery, Big Mess is about more than simply blowing off steam. In making the space to truly sit with his emotions and write without limitations, Elfman achieved a kind of artistic liberation on the record that had been eluding him for decades, rediscovering his voice and reinventing himself all at once in the process.

Album opener “Sorry” showcases that frenetic electricity, with driving strings and swirling vocals giving way to bruising drums and snarling guitar. Like so much of the record, the song is eerily off kilter, full of unsettled tension that threatens to explode at any moment. The sardonic “Happy” twists an upbeat pop melody into a bitter social commentary, while the searing “Love In The Time Of COVID” taps into the simmering angst of life under lockdown, and the slow burning “True” faces down hopelessness and despair head on. And a reworked Oingo Boingo song, “Insects”, transforms itself into a meditation on the greed and sickness of the American ruling class. Elfman’s vocals are gritty and growling here, and his raw unfiltered delivery only adds to the emotionally charged atmosphere. 

“I hadn’t really sung anything as myself in 25 years,” he explains, “and to my surprise, I found that I could do things now that I couldn’t have done when I was younger. It was like discovering I had a whole new voice.”

This fall, Elfman will return to the stage as Jack Skellington with a live-to-film concert experience of Disney’s timeless holiday classic “Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas”. Taking place on October 29 at Los Angeles’s Banc of California Stadium, tickets are available HERE.
Listen to ‘Big Mess’

3. In Time
4. Everybody Loves You
5. Dance With The Lemurs
6. Serious Ground
7. Choose Your Side
8. We Belong
10. Just A Human
11. Devil Take Away
13. Native Intelligence 
14. Better Times
15. Cruel Compensation
17. Get Over It

Watch the videos at the links above
(Photo Credit: Jacob Boll)

Music by Don Davis 
Music by John Powell 

(June 11, 2021 – Los Angeles, CA) – Varèse Sarabande Records is thrilled to announce its June 2021 CD Club titles: The Matrix (The Complete Edition) by Don Davis and Paycheck (The Deluxe Edition) by John Powell. These titles are available today, June 11, exclusively on VareseSarabande.com and internationally on Intl.VareseSarabande.com. The CD Club launched its official start in 1989 and has been a staple of the label ever since, relaunching classic titles from renowned composers such as John Williams and Ennio Morricone, among many others.
The Matrix (The Complete Edition):
Few blockbusters can claim to be as influential as The Matrix (1999), written and directed by the Wachowskis. From its super high concept that has wormed its way into the public’s imagination (what if we’re all just living in a computer simulation?), to Keanu Reeves’ iconic hero Neo, to the brilliant, jaw-dropping and story-based visual effects, The Matrix delivered on all fronts. Its three films grossed over $1.6 billion worldwide, and a fourth is on the way.
The Matrix demanded a score that was as unique, sophisticated and imaginative as its concept and action—and that’s exactly what composer Don Davis delivered. Davis, who scored the Wachowskis’ Bound (1996), reinvented the symphonic language of the action blockbuster by drawing on cutting-edge concert-hall minimalism and his own background as an avant-garde composer, while maintaining the energy, pace and density required of a studio action film.
From the clashing-brass “reflections,” to the racing strings, pounding percussion and flittering, repeating musical “cells,” the Matrix score fits hand-in-glove with the film’s concept of a computer-controlled reality—and offers a unique musical thumbprint that is recognizable sometimes only from a single note or chord. It is the rare commercial triumph that is also an artistic landmark.
“One thing the Wachowskis did want was something new and different. Every director will tell you they want that something new and different until they actually hear it. But I took that to heart, and it was clear that a unique approach really was right for that film. I’ve kept my hand in composing concert music from the beginning, so I was aware of what was going on in that arena. [We] were working in a style that some were calling ‘postmodern,’ which seemed to be fitting for a postmodern film like The Matrix. And I saw this as an opportunity to take it in a stylistic direction that wouldn’t work in other films but specifically did work in this film,” says composer Don Davis.
The Matrix was released by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film, and then in a Deluxe Edition that fit as much of the score as possible on one CD. By popular demand, this new 2-CD set presents the complete score. This version is also available through Record Store Day 2021 as a 3-LP set releasing on July 17. Visit RecordStoreDay.com to find a participating retailer. Liner notes feature a new interview with Don Davis conducted by Kaya Savas.
*Standard CD limited to 2,000 copies
*SACD limited to 1,000 copies

The Matrix: The Complete Edition (Regular and SACD): Original Motion Picture Score
Music Composed, Orchestrated & Conducted by Don Davis
Disc One:
  1. Logos / The Matrix Main Title (0:55)
  2. Trinity Infinity (6:00)
  3. Neo Con Brio (0:32)
  4. Follow The White Rabbit (0:15)
  5. Neo On The Edge (3:24)
  6. Through The Surveillance Monitor (0:59)
  7. Unable To Speak (1:14)
  8. Bait And Switch (3:16)
  9. Switched For Life (3:36)
  10. Switched At Birth (2:43)
  11. Switches Brew (2:27)
  12. Cold Hearted Switch (1:40)
  13. Nascent Nauseous Neo (4:00)
  14. A Morpheus Moment (1:39)
  15. Bow Whisk Orchestra (1:23)
  16. Domo Showdown (1:13)
  17. Switch Or Break Show (1:05)
  18. Shake, Borrow, Switch (0:39)
  19. Switch Works Her Boa (0:56)
  20. Bring Me Dinner (0:39)
  21. The System (0:37)
  22. Freeze Face (1:52)
  23. Switch Woks Her Boar (2:07)
  24. Cypher Cybernetic (0:59)
  25. Ignorance Is Bliss / Cyber Cyphernetic (1:51)
  26. See Who? (0:26)
Disc Two:
  1. Switch Out (3:01)
  2. Boon Spoy (1:08)
  3. Oracle Cookies (1:30)
  4. Threat Mix (6:05)
  5. Exit Mr. Hat (2:57)
  6. On Your Knees, Switch (4:43)
  7. Mix The Art (2:10)
  8. Whoa, Switch Brokers (4:01)
  9. The Cure (1:35)
  10. It’s The Smell (1:57)
  11. The Lobby (0:27)
  12. No More Spoons (1:02)
  13. Dodge This (1:08)
  14. Fast Learning (0:44)
  15. Ontological Shock (4:16)
  16. That’s Gotta Hurt (5:17)
  17. Surprise (4:06)
  18. He’s The One Alright (6:56)
Paycheck (The Deluxe Edition):
John Powell burst into film scoring with a magnificent, emotional and modern soundtrack to John Woo’s iconic hit, Face/Off (1997). Six years later, Woo and Powell reunited for Paycheck (2003), a sci-fi techno-thriller based on a 1953 short story by Philip K. Dick (Blade RunnerTotal Recall).
Ben Affleck stars as a programming engineer who undergoes a voluntary memory wipe to protect his client’s secrets—but upon going to collect his paycheck, he is given an envelope of seemingly random trinkets and items. He must use these clues to unearth the terrible secrets of his own project.
By 2003, John Powell had already scored The Bourne Identity and had his finger on the pulse of the modern action-thriller score. Paycheck blends synth and pop-rhythms with orchestral scope and, most importantly, Powell’s impeccable sense of taste. Despite almost non-stop action and suspense, he focuses on emotion and utilizes melody to elevate the proceedings.
“I’ve always wanted to do a ballet, so I had been fascinated by choreographers and dance for quite some time. I utilized that conversation with John [Woo] as an inspiration to create the drama of a danced story,” says John Powell.
He explains, “This album has everything on it. It gives me a slight panic attack looking at how much music there is on this album. It all sounds very good to me and at the same time like utter nonsense. I’ve always tried to be better at harmony. A lot of composers I admire have this incredible sense of harmonic flow and flexibility. When I achieve that on occasion, it makes me happy.”
Paycheck was released by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the film. This 2-CD set Deluxe Edition greatly expands the playing time to over 95 minutes, and features new liner notes by Daniel Schweiger, incorporating new interview comments with Powell.

Paycheck (The Deluxe Edition): Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Music Composed by John Powell
Disc One:
  1. Paycheck: Main Title From The Motion Picture (3:29)
  2. A Kiss Of Flexible Morality (1:10)
  3. Memory Wipe (0:54)
  4. A Good Life (1:05)
  5. Party Of Two (0:32)
  6. Portents Of Crystal Balls (2:11)
  7. Injection (0:32)
  8. A Second Chance (1:54)
  9. You’re Done (1:16)
  10. Freeze Frames (1:59)
  11. Hot Seat (7:39)
  12. The Ring (0:42)
  13. That’s You (0:31)
  14. Twenty Items (5:39)
  15. Lucky Number (2:01)
  16. Wolfe Pack (4:01)
  17. The Third Rail (3:28)
  18. Reservations (3:25)
  19. Mirror Message / Imposter (8:43)
Disc Two:
  1. Hog Chase, Part 1 (3:18)
  2. Hog Chase, Part 2 (4:06)
  3. I Don’t Remember (1:33)
  4. I Don’t Remember (Alternate Version) (1:35)
  5. Tomorrow’s Headlines (4:27)
  6. Return to Allcom (3:13)
  7. Future Tense (7:58)
  8. Bio Lab Bash (3:08)
  9. Fait Accompli (6:39)
  10. One Big Payback (5:37)
  11. Uma’s Tune (Bonus Track) (2:55)
Varèse Sarabande is one of the leading and most prolific producers of film and television soundtracks. The label was formed as a merger between Varèse International Records (named for composer Edgar Varèse) and Sarabande Records (named after a musical dance form). The label’s iconic logo – a frequent curiosity of fans around the globe -is actually an inkblot created by blowing a straw on a piece of paper with India ink. 
Initially a classical label, Varèse Sarabande released its first album of film music in June 1978. Since then, Varèse Sarabande has released thousands of soundtracks and new recordings of classic film scores conducted by celebrated composers with the world’s best-known orchestras. 
The label upped the ante for fans by creating the Varèse Sarabande CD Club—releasing exclusive limited-edition deluxe soundtracks featuring rare and long-requested titles. The CD Club ran initially from 1989–92 and was restarted in 2001, and Varèse continues to create Deluxe Editions of cherished scores that might otherwise never see a release. 
Since joining Concord in 2018, Varèse Sarabande continues to release new television and film scores, high-quality vinyl and Deluxe Edition soundtracks. 
Follow:  twitter.com/varesesarabande   
Watch:  youtube.com/varesesarabande