Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Music-minded Gift Guide: Blu-rays, DVDs and albums aplenty

With Christmas and Hanukkah rapidly approaching, you've come to the right place if you are looking for interesting gift ideas for that favorite music fan. I'll have more picks in another column slated to run later this week, but there are more than enough choice releases here to start filling your shopping cart...

Let's kick off with some noteworthy albums and audio box sets.

Artists: Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs
Title: Under the Covers, Vol. 3 (Shout! Factory)
You might like if you enjoy: R.E.M., The Bangles, The English Beat
Tell me more: There have been plenty of musical supergroups over the years ranging from ASIA and Bad Company to the Traveling Wilburys. When it comes to super duos, the unlikely teaming of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs has been equally special. In 2006, Sid and Susie released their musical love letter to the '60s, Under the Covers, Vol. 1, which showcased artful and exuberant versions of some of that decades best songs. With the release of a similarly-minded Under the Covers, Vol. 2 tackling '70s songs in 2009, fans had been hoping for an 1980s-mining disc and it has fully arrived via the 14-track Under the Covers, Vol. 3. Highlights here include a buoyant take on R.E.M.'s "Sitting Still," introspective reworking of the Dave Edmunds fave "Girls Talk" and captivating take on Roxy Music's "More Than This." Information:
Get Under the Covers, Vol. 3 On Amazon Here

Artist: Humble Pie Title: Rockin' the Fillmore: The Complete Recordings (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Peter Frampton, the Black Crowes
Tell me more: The late '60s and early '70s produced a number of fantastic British blues-rocks bands including Led Zeppelin and Ten Years After.  The recent release of Humble Pie's Rockin' the Fillmore: The Complete Recordings has (thankfully and about time) cast a renewed focus on the British band co-founded by Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton. The four-disc set features all audio recordings pulled from Humble Pie's four shows played over the course of two consecutive nights at the legendary Fillmore East in May 1971. Highlights include the textured versions of "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" and bone-crunching rocker "I Don't Need No Doctor." Information:

Get Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore-Complete Recordings on Amazon Here

Artist: Herb Alpert
Title: Steppin' Out
You might like if you enjoy: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass
Tell me more: Looking back at the 1960s, it's easy to believe that seminal rockers such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and the Byrds completely owned the Billboard charts. But artists working outside of rock were also able to make their mark. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, headed by Los Angeles-born trumpeter Herb Alpert, embarked on a career more than 50 years ago with the success of his 1962 hit "The Lonely Bull." Now the 7-time Grammy-winning artist is back with this unique blend of Latin-tinged pop and jazz courtesy of Steppin' Out. The 16-track disc features choice cuts from his own catalog and the Great American Songbook while he is joined by his wife Grammy-winning singer Lani Hall, as well as keyboardist Bill Cantos, drummer Michael Shapiro, bassist Hussain Jiffry, acoustic guitarist Ramon Stagnaro and a guest turn from lead guitarist Carlos Santana. Information:
Get Steppin' Out on Amazon here

Here are some of the new DVD and/or Blu-ray releases available now.

Artists: Bruce Springsteen, U2, The Police, Peter Gabriel, Radiohead, more
Title: Released! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 (Shout! Factory)
You might like if you enjoy: U2, Peter Gabriel, Sting, Radiohead
Tell me more: For anyone who caught (or missed for that matter) any of Amnesty International's Human Rights Concerts between 1986 and 1998, the great news is that Shout! Factory has released a a 6-DVD set featuring more than 1,000 minutes of concert performances and bonus features from the storied shows. U2, The Police, Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Radiohead, Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel are among the wide range of top-tier artists on the highly-anticipated collection. A companion 2-disc audio CD features highlights from the DVD collection. Information:

Get Released: The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998 (6 DVD Set) here
Get Just The CDs Here

Artist: Rush
Title: Clockwork Angels Tour (Anthem/Zoe Vision/Rounder Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Rush, Dream Theater
Tell me more: Anyone who caught Rush at any of the trio's Clockwork Angels shows in 2012 or early 2013 knows the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers' three-hour concerts were each a tour de force. Now the band's 11-month world tour in support of the Canadian outfit's wonderful Clockwork Angels concept album will live on thanks to the release of the aptly-titled Clockwork Angels Tour (available on DVD and Blu-ray). In addition to the concert itself, bonus features include a soundcheck recording of "Limelight," a tour documentary and much more. Information:
Get Clockwork Angels Tour [Blu-ray] Here
Get The CD Here

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Title: Sweet Summer Sun - Hyde Park Live (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones, Mick Taylor
Tell me more: It's hard to keep a great band down. More than 50 years after forming in London in 1962, the Rolling Stones returned home this summer to perform in front of 100,000 at Hyde Park. The two-hour 2013 concert not only featured the band playing rousing versions of some of their most beloved songs ("Brown Sugar," "Happy," "Miss You," "Gimme Shelter"), but found Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood joined by former Stones guitarist Mick Taylor (whose first gig with the group was at the original 1969 Hyde Park concert) for the blues-rock opus "Midnight Rambler" and set ending "Satisfaction." Sweet Summer Sun - Hyde Park Live showcases a legendary band that despite all the odds - and years - still can deliver in full. Information:

Get Sweet Summer Sun - Hyde Park Live [Blu-ray] on Amazon here
CD DVD Combo Here 2DVD/Blu-ray/2 CD Combo here
Just the DVD Here

Artist: Dream Theater
Title: Live at Luna Park (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Rush, Iron Maiden
Tell me more: Like Rush, Dream Theater has amassed a large and zealous following through its marathon-length performances showcasing virtuoso prog-rock chops. Filmed over the course of two nights at the Luna Park Arena in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August 2012, Dream Theater's Live at Luna Park will surely please diehard fans of the American quintet while introducing the otherworldly power of the band to listeners just discovering the power of progressive rock. Live at Luna Park boasts a potent 160-minute concert performance, as well as bonus performances, a documentary and more. Information:
Get Live at Luna Park [Blu-ray] here
Blu-ray+3CD Here
DVD Here

Artist: Joe Bonamassa
Title: Tour de Force – Live in London (JRR Adventures)
You might like if you enjoy: Walter Trout,  Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton
Tell me more: Arguably rock's most exciting living electric guitarist, Joe Bonamassa has released four DVD titles (also available on Blu-ray) filmed earlier this year capturing the ax master at four iconic London venues. Each of the performances find the freewheeling guitar hero exploring a different corner of the universe. The intimate Borderline features a hard-edged heavy rock approach, blues is highlighted at Shepherd's Bush Empire; rock 'n' roll is celebrated via a night at Hammersmith Apollo and a mix of winning acoustic and electric music (including his most beloved material) is highlighted at Royal Albert Hall. Information:

Get all 4 Joe Bonamassa Tour De force releases here

Artist: George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Title: Live at Montreux 2013
You might like if you enjoy: Chuck Berry, Elmore James, Bo Diddley
Tell me more: After more than 35 years classic rocker George Thorogood is still having as much fun as ever. As evidenced by his spirited performance with the Destroyers on the newly-issued Live at Montreux 2013 DVD (also available on Blu-ray and as an audio CD release too) the singer-guitarist was not about to waste his long-overdue debut at the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival. Kicking things off with "Rock Party" and firing right into "Who Do You Love?," his set including rollicking versions of "I Drink Alone," "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and "Bad to the Bone." The DVD also comes with a colorful booklet detailing Thorogood's history leading up to the July 2013 concert. Information:

Get Live At Montreux 2013 [Blu-ray] on Amazon here
Get it on DVD here

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