Thursday, May 31, 2012

James McCartney performs at the Coach House

My review was originally posted on The Orange County Register's Soundcheck blog on May 30, 2012. Special thanks to Bob Steshetz for the use of his fantastic photos.

Live review: James McCartney at the Coach House

There was an understandable curiosity that attracted many to James McCartney‘s first-ever Orange County performance Tuesday night at the Coach House. The good news is that the son of Sir Paul was up to the challenge, showcasing his freewheeling style and winning low-key personality across a rewarding 16-song set.

Decidedly reserved compared to his famous dad, there is no doubt McCartney shares the same enthusiasm for crafting songs that defy genre pigeonholing and thus demand serious listeners be prepared for a fascinating ride.

Backed by a strong four-man outfit, McCartney opened things with a slow blues-rock solo on electric guitar before the song “New York Times” kicked into high gear. It was the first of many times throughout the show that McCartney exhibited his top-tier talents on six strings, but ultimately it was his songs and far-reaching tenor (which draws no natural comparisons to Paul’s) that really impressed.

Between numbers he was personable and often gave straightforward details on the origins of specific tunes. His sly arrangements of them thankfully revealed much more. “I Only Want to Be Alone” unfolded with his stirring voice positioned amid an infectious drum beat and layers of guitars. Even more ambitious and affecting songcraft followed, particularly the huge soundscape that defined “Glisten” and the folk rock-to-symphonic surge unveiled in “My Friend.”

There were times where the experimental approach wasn’t needed: On the piano-anchored “Fallen Angel” and an emotive, largely faithful version of Neil Young’s “Old Man,” McCartney and company wisely used the power of the songs and instrumentation to carry the moment.

Fans eager to see where McCartney’s sound comes closest to mining his father’s may have heard a bit of Wings in the rollicking rocker “Spirit Guides.” But his overall feel is admittedly closer to sonic heroes like Robert Smith (note the neo-goth-rock of “Denial” and the haunting “Cherry Blossom Hailstorm”) and Radiohead (as on “Else and Else But Dead,” with McCartney’s use of shimmering guitar harmonics enriching the song).

The show ended with another surprise: Rather than indulge a rocking finale, McCartney came back for the encore to perform the poignant “Wings of a Lightest Weight,” a beautiful acoustic song he wrote for his late mother Linda that displays the tenderness and warmth that marks so many of his father’s finest material.

Setlist: James McCartney at the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, May 29, 2012

Main set: New York Times / Moonstar / I Only Want to Be Alone / Glisten / The Sound of My Voice / My Friend / Fallen Angel / Spirit Guides / Denial / Mix / Erratic Pulses / Old Man (Neil Young cover) / Cherry Blossom Hailstorm / Angel / Else and Else But Dead

Encore: Wings of a Lightest Weight

Music Worth Buying: Tab Benoit and Vintage Trouble

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying we celebrate singer-songwriter-guitarist Tab Benoit’s Medicine, and Vintage Trouble’s winning blend of soul and rhythm & blues on Bomb Shelter Sessions:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Inbox Update: Asia, Duran Duran, Color Theory

Any day I can announce new music from the original ASIA line-up (Steve Howe, Geoff Downes, Carl Palmer and John Wetton), as well as Duran Duran and Brian Hazard's wonderful Color Theory is a great one! Read on music friends...

ASIA set to celebrate its 30th anniversary with new studio album XXX; a deluxe box set edition of its 1982 debut album, two new DVD releases and a world tour set

ASIA will release their new studio album XXX (pronounced Triple X) on Frontiers Records on July 3rd. The new record, produced by Mike Paxman, is being hailed as ASIA's best album since its classic early 80s releases, and features original artwork by Roger Dean.

The first single taken from the highly anticipated new album is entitled "Face On The Bridge", released worldwide on May 14th. The videoclip for the new track can be seen below:

Official ASIA Web site:

A Diamond In The Mind, featuring Duran Duran live in concert, set for release on DVD, Blu-ray and CD; recorded At Manchester’s MEN Arena

Following the phenomenal success of their recent All You Need Is Now UK arena tour, and the announcement that they will be representing England as one of the headliners at the BT London Live Opening Ceremony Concert in Hyde Park, to celebrate the London 2012 games, iconic British rock band, Duran Duran, are shortly set to release A Diamond In The Mind - a stunning recording of one of the band’s recent live concert performances on DVD, Blu-ray and CD.

Slated to hit stores on Tuesday, July 10, 2012, through Eagle Vision and Eagle Records, A Diamond In The Mind was filmed and recorded at Manchester’s MEN Arena in December of last year, where the band garnered some of the finest reviews of their career.

Shot in high definition by long-time Duran collaborator, director Gavin Elder, the recording of the show will be simultaneously released on multiple formats: standard DVD, Blu-ray, CD, and the triple-pack Deluxe Edition, containing all three formats (Blu-ray, DVD & CD – MSRP $TBA) in an 8 panel digipack with bonus features, and an expanded 20 page booklet, all inside a foil blocked slip-case. The DVD, Blu-Ray and Deluxe Edition releases also feature interviews with the band, alongside behind-the-scenes footage of the 2011 tour, and bonus tracks ”Come Undone” and “Is There Something I Should Know.”

The band’s first live release in almost a decade, A Diamond In The Mind bristles with classic hits alongside new tracks taken from their critically acclaimed album All You Need Is Now which was produced by Grammy award winner Mark Ronson and hit the #1 spot on Download Charts in 15 countries (including the UK).

Known for their epic productions, amazing visuals, ground-breaking stage sets and iconic style, this is only the second time in ten years that the band have recorded one of their concerts in glorious high definition sound and vision, giving fans a rare and unique opportunity to relive the experience.

Talking from Brazil, where the band are currently on the South American leg of their world tour, keyboardist, Nick Rhodes said “We wanted to create a dynamic, interactive show, combining new technology with edgy design. The brief for our lighting designer was 'Pixel Punk'. This manifested itself in the convergence of hi-tech screens with a powerful, asymmetrical lighting rig. The primary aim was to re-invent our songs visually and introduce material from the new album as a unique sensory experience. With this in mind, the screens were populated by science fiction, supermodels, anime, psychedelic patterns and graphic design. Four massive mechanical arms were programmed to swoop down over the stage, firing beams of light, like the aliens in War of the Worlds. And the audience was integrated with the show, as live cameras were turned on them, projecting their images behind the band. Hanging high above the stage, four giant heads presented another dimension to the production, as they came alive as band members, skulls, robots and a girl transforming into a leopard.

The show is a journey. It was already our movie, but the challenge loomed to translate this into a film that tells the same story for those who were not there on the night. In this case we used many cameras, to ensure no detail escaped. We deployed both slow motion, animation and various stylized film grades, which give the performance a dreamlike quality in places; but most of all, I think A Diamond in the Mind truly captures the widescreen energy and vibrancy of what really transpired that night, when Duran Duran played live in Manchester.”

Adding to this, lead singer Simon Le Bon said; “The 2011 UK tour was particularly significant for all of us on a number of levels. In the early part of the year, I lost my voice and we were forced to cancel several months of touring, including all of our British dates. It was a really difficult time for us as a band as we had a new album out that we were just breaking in and loving playing live. When I blew my voice out in Cannes, at the film festival in mid-May, we weren’t sure when we would be able to resume and the summer wait was long and full of anxiety – especially for me. The UK shows which were finally rescheduled for December, proved to be some of the best we’ve ever done – so the year that had been rather a roller-coaster, ended on a really high note.”

Duran Duran have become one of the most iconic British bands of the last three decades. Widely recognized as THE band that defined the MTV Video generation, Duran Duran single-handedly transformed music videos from a gimmicky marketing tool into one of the music industry’s most valued assets. Fusing pop music with art, fashion and technology, exotic locations, beautiful girls and stunning special effects, they took the visual imperatives of the New Romantic movement to another level.

Today with over 80 million records sold, 30 UK Top 30 hits and 18 American hit singles, they are an unstoppable force, with no fewer than six prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Awards’ under their belt in the last few years from MTV VMA’s, the BRITS’s, the IVOR NOVELLOS, Q Magazine, the Spanish Ondas, and GQ Magazine.

DVD, Blu-ray, and Deluxe Edition Track Listing:

1.) Return To Now

2) Before The Rain

3) Planet Earth

4) View To A Kill

5) All You Need Is Now

6) Blame The Machines

7) Safe (In The Heat Of The Moment)

8) The Reflex

9) Man Who Stole A Leopard

10) Girl Panic!

11) White Lines

12) Careless Memories

13) Ordinary World

14) Notorious

15) Hungry Like The Wolf

16) (Reach Up For The) Sunrise

17) Wild Boys/Relax

18) Rio

19) A Diamond In The Mind

Bonus tracks:

Come Undone

Is There Something I Should Know?

CD Track Listing:

1) Before The Rain

2) Planet Earth

3) View To A Kill

4) All You Need Is Now

5) Come Undone

6) Blame The Machines

7) The Reflex

8) Girl Panic!

9) Ordinary World

10) Notorious

11) Hungry Like The Wolf

12) (Reach Up For The) Sunrise

13) Wild Boys

14) Rio

Eagle Rock Entertainment is the largest producer and distributor of music programming for DVD, Blu-Ray, TV, Audio and Digital Media in the world. Eagle works directly alongside talent to produce top quality, High Definition and 3D programs, both concerts and documentaries, including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen, The Doors, Jeff Beck, U2, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney and Ozzy Osbourne. Eagle is a Grammy Award winning company and has received over 30 multi-platinum, over 50 platinum and over 90 gold discs, worldwide. Eagle Rock Entertainment has offices in London, New York, Toronto, Paris and Hamburg.

New Color Theory collection set for release on June 12, 2012
Here is the email I received this morning from Color Theory:
I'm proud to present my first collection of original material in nearly two years. Adjustments Pt. 1 contains five new songs and five remixes of those songs. I can't wait for you to hear it! Special thanks to Dave Pasciuto for the amazing original cover designs.

The 10-track EP will be released on June 12, but you can pre-order it now for $6.99. Better yet, pre-order all three Adjustments EPs to get them one week before their release dates, plus exclusive progress reports and demo snippets by email along the way.

Why should you pre-order?

1. 30% off. The price will go up to $9.99 on the release date.

2. Access. It should hit iTunes on the release date (for $9.99), but it can take 4-6 months to show up on Spotify.

3. Support. Buying direct from me helps me the most, and allows me to keep making music. Bandcamp takes 10%, versus 30% from iTunes and 100% (give or take a penny) from Spotify.

Hear the new songs and pre-order here. Thanks for being a fan!


electronic indie piano pop

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sights and Sounds: Recent album reviews, Paul McCartney, Scissor Sisters, the Black Keys

I hope everybody had a nice holiday weekend. I enjoyed an amazing victory by the Angels over the Yankees last night! The Bronx Bombers were impressive, but the Anaheim Angels prevailed (that's about as much sports talk you will ever get here...)

Here are a few things to check out to set the week off right.

You can read my roundup of a number of roots, blues and Americana releases on Music Worth Buying here, including the latest albums from the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Sonny Landreth.

A media release that caught my eye over the weekend announced that Paul McCartney is making his directorial debut courtesy of a short black and white film of his song "My Valentine" that will be shown before all theatrical showings of the forthcoming The Intouchables. The release reads, in part: "The three minute short film, which came to fruition following an original idea by Stella McCartney, stars Academy Award© winner Natalie Portman (BLACK SWAN, BEAUTIFUL GIRLS) and Golden Globe© winner Johnny Depp (FINDING NEVERLAND, CHOCOLAT). Portman, who was exclusively dressed by Stella McCartney for the film, and Depp translate the lyrics of the song through sign language throughout the film each with their own distinct interpretations, and Depp adds soul midway through the film with a guitar solo, which was recorded live."

You can also view the video below:

The Scissor Sisters' Magic Hour is out today on Casablanca Records. The new album is the follow-up to 2010's Night Work, which debuted at number 1 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums Chart. For more info on the band, including their upcoming U.S. tour, visit

Finally, MTV today announced that the Black Keys will perform at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards.

The duo is set to perform their single "Gold On the Ceiling" from El Camino at the show, set to air live on Sunday, June 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT from the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City, California. For more info, visit

Saturday, May 26, 2012

James McCartney coming to Orange County on May 29

James McCartney set to headline at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Tuesday, May 29

Because the Beatles remain the single most significant force in the history of popular music, it’s no wonder that all things related to the Fab Four continue to fascinate music fans more than four decades after the quartet called it quits.
One of the most intriguing things about that is the reaction when children of John, Paul, George and Ringo perform. The world has long heard from the offspring of Lennon (half-brothers Julian and Sean), Harrison (whose son Dhani records as Thenewno2) and Starr (Zak Starkey, who has drummed for the Who since 1996).
Now comes the steady rise of James McCartney. The only son of Paul and Linda, he had previously been featured on solo albums from his parents (his dad’s 2001 disc Driving Rain, his late mom’s 1998 effort Wide Prairie). But his ambitious two-disc set The Complete EP Collection (from Engine Company Records) marks a proper introduction for the 34-year-old singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in London.
Pulling together previously digital-only effortsAvailable Light (2010) and Close At Hand(2011), plus five new songs, the combined EP package is an exciting, wide-ranging effort the spans rousing power-pop, experimental material in the tradition of Radiohead, even authentic ’50s rockabilly, yet it all somehow works as a cohesive set. While his music rarely mirrors that of the Beatles — a smart move toward establishing a separate identity — James nonetheless has the same adventuresome spirit still recognized as key to his forebears’ magical imprint.
We caught up with McCartney last week, shortly before his first-ever appearance in Orange County, California, May 29 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, followed by a May 31 gig at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood.

Robert Kinsler: I love your songs — you mix melodic pop-rock, indie, expressive ballads, experimental rock. Could you talk a bit about the diverse approach you take to songwriting, and how that connects with the lyrics or emotions of a specific song?
James McCartney: It’s whatever comes naturally at first, but it’s usually music first, then lyrics. I try different approaches, though, because sometimes you can find something for a song in a way you wouldn’t have thought. Even by singing nonsense words over a melody until things begin to take shape. But in the end it’s about having as much emotion as possible for me, musically and lyrically. Heartfelt and true, cathartic. Natural.
Even a driving romantic song like “Angel” begins very upbeat, then takes a great turn with a confessional undertone (“I have faced some hard times in my life”). How did that one come together? How much do your producers (including his father) help you get what you’re after?
Well, basically, I was writing about meeting my true love, and trying to prove my love to her. I wrote that song sitting at the top of my stairs in my flat in North London. I wanted to try to write a really good pop song that also had some depth to it, too. On the recording front, (producer) David Kahne and my dad were both really helpful in being able to bounce ideas off of, and helping me to realize the vision I had for each song.
Your version of Neil Young’s “Old Man” is particularly interesting, especially its haunting ending. How did you decide to revisit that song?
I was in Tucson, Ariz., actually. There was this night I stayed up all night and learned the song, just playing it over and over again. Tuscon is a special place for me because of my mum, and I was thinking of her that night. (Linda passed away in Tucson, where the McCartneys had a ranch, in April 1998.) It’s a great song, and this particular version just sort of came out of me. So we recorded it for the first EP, Available Light.
Your range runs from the ’50s (the bonus track “Your True Love”) to modern day (see “Glisten” and “Denial”). What were some of your biggest influences growing up?
Well, let’s see … I have so many influences, really. And it’s true, they do vary … from Kurt Cobain to Woodie Guthrie. Radiohead, PJ Harvey, the Cure, Jimi Hendrix, Hank Williams — great singers and guitar players, all in different ways.
I know your U.S. tour just started, but are you enjoying it? And how was it performing on American television programs like Late Show with David Letterman and The Rachael Ray Show. I loved your expressive guitar playing on “Wings of a Lightest Weight” on the latter.
Oh, thanks … I’m enjoying it so much. I love America. I want to continue doing it — it’s so great to be able to connect with the fans in each city we go to. It’s a great experience, and I have a great group of guys in the band. Yeah, I loved doing television … both Letterman and the Rachael Ray show. Great fun.
James McCartney plays May 29 at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, 33157 Camino Capistrano. Tickets are $15. Also see him May 31 at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood, 9009 W. Sunset Blvd., $12.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Eric Burdon, Kylie Minogue, Marissa Nadler

What do Eric Burdon, Kylie Minogue and Marissa Nadler have in common? All have new music headed our way ...have a great weekend everybody!

Eric Burdon set to release the most personal album of his career
'Til Your River Runs Dry set for release on Sept. 18, 2012

Fans can sneak peek first single, "Memorial Day" this holiday weekend

Eric Burdon photo credit: Marianna Proestou 
Eric Burdon has completed his most personal album to date, titled ‘Til Your River Runs Dry to be released September 18 by ABKCO Records. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the “100 Greatest Voices of All Time,” Burdon has long forged new ground while maintaining a commanding presence in the music marketplace as front man of The Animals, with WAR at its inception and simply as Eric Burdon. In 2012, Eric’s influence is enjoying resurgence with both new artists and superstars.

During his 2012 SXSW keynote address Bruce Springsteen said of The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place," "That's every song I've ever written. That's all of them. I'm not kidding, either. 'Born to Run,' 'Born in the USA,' everything I've done for the past 40 years, including all the new ones." At that very moment, in another part of Austin, Eric was jamming with emerging artist Brendan Benson for a Daytrotter session which will go live on, Friday May 25, 2012. Just a few hours after Springsteen’s “confession,” he and Burdon joined forces for an electrifying duet on ‘We Gotta Get Out of This Place.”

As a special and very timely preview of ‘Til Your River Runs Dry, one track from the album, aptly titled “Memorial Day,” premieres via audio stream this Memorial Day weekend. Click here to listen and feel free to share:

‘Til Your River Runs Dry features original tracks written by Eric Burdon including “Bo Diddley Special,” “The River Is Rising,” “Water,” “Wait” and and the aforementioned “Memorial Day.” ABKCO will support the album’s release with an extensive promotion and marketing campaign in conjunction with a full slate of tour dates by Burdon.

The album was produced by Burdon and Tony Braunagel and recorded in New Orleans in 2010 and 2011 in California at Playback Studios in Santa Barbara and at Ultratone Recording in Studio City where Eric recorded his last two albums, My Secret Life and Soul of a Man. The new album was mixed by Ed Cherney and mastered by Doug Sax and Eric Boulanger at The Mastering Lab in Ojai, California.

Eric recently discussed ‘Til Your River Runs Dry and its lengthy gestation period:

“I started feeling that I needed to use this album as a catharsis, to express my own truth. It took longer than any other album, not because of time spent in the studio, but because of the subject matter of the songs I wanted to put out there,” Eric explains. The result is a deeply intimate, honest self-portrait as well as unsparing look at religion, politics and the environment. “During the making of this record, we lost Bo Diddley, one of my greatest influences. There were many things I would have said to him, if I’d realized that his time was limited.”

"I traveled to New Orleans to record with the Fats Domino’s band, something I wrote when Fats was presumed missing in the days after Katrina. The whole Katrina situation touched me deeply. It’s the birthplace of all the music that I love. A friend sent me a photo of Fats being rescued and it brought me such joy. I knew I had to put in words – and music – the relief that I felt. The struggle I had writing the material for this record was intense."

"Global warming, the potential disaster of the water crisis.. too much water, too little water. I chose the title, because there are so many times in one’s life, when one feels he has nothing more to offer. But no, my river has not run dry. I offer this as a bit of hope that we, as the human race, will find new sources of replenishment and inspiration."

"I never looked for money or fame, but I always knew I had to follow my own journey. As a kid in Newcastle, it was extremely unlikely that I would have an international career as a singer, lasting 50 years. I’ve been very fortunate. I’m a survivor, who doesn’t take his good fortune for granted."

"When I started out with the Animals I never dreamed that I would grow old, much less be singing on stage at the age of 70,” said Eric. “There I was, in my twenties, singing “When I was Young,” as if I was already an old man. Now, I can look back at a life with many ups and downs, and thankfully, I can reflect on where I am and where I’ve been. I’m privileged to be able to look back at the many paths and highways that I’ve traveled. At this point in my life, I’m very comfortable in this place where I am.”
Pop Superstar Kylie Minogue releases a surprise brand new single and video, "Timebomb," exlusively available worldwide on the iTunes Store

Global pop superstar Kylie Minogue releases a brand new single and video “Timebomb’’ today (Friday, May 25), the latest and biggest surprise as part of K25 – a year long celebration of Kylie’s 25 years in music. The song is available exclusively on iTunes until next Wednesday here:

Kylie filmed an electrifying video for “Timebomb” last month in central London, causing chaos as she strolled through some of the busiest streets, leading to huge speculation about what was being filmed. The video, directed by Christian Larson, includes some of Kylie’s sexiest scenes yet – and lovers of her legendary hot pants will not be disappointed. The video is available to view at: and

Kylie will perform the song on the semi-final of “The Voice” on BBC1 in the UK this Sunday.

K25 is a year of celebrations to mark Kylie’s 25th year in the music industry. So far, as part of the celebrations, Kylie has made a surprise video available on on the 25th of every month. She has also performed ‘Anti Tour’ shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Manchester and London – small, stripped down shows in intimate venues which featured rarely performed material including B-Sides and album tracks.

Kylie will be performing at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace in London on June 4, and will also headline the BBC’s Proms in the Park concert in Hyde Park on September 8 – backed by the BBC Concert Orchestra.

Capitol Records Catalog are releasing ‘The Best of Kylie Minogue’ on CD on June 19, 2012 featuring a collection of the public’s favorite Kylie hits.

“Timebomb” video:

For more on Kylie Minogue, including news updates, photos, streaming audio and video, and downloads, please visit

Follow Kylie on twitter at

Marissa Nadler Shares Special Memorial Day Weekend Preview of New Record, The Sister, Out May 29, 2012 

Readies East Coast Summer Tour Dates

Boston-based songwriter Marissa Nadler has offered an early Memorial Day weekend listen of her new release, The Sister. Sharing the album with fans via facebook and twitter, The Sister is now streaming for a limited time only at SoundCloud and is out next week on her own Box of Cedar Records, The Sister is a companion record of eight new tracks subtly linked to last year's self-titled critically acclaimed LP and wasrecorded and produced by Brian McTear at Miner Street Studios in Philadelphia. Nadler will play select East Coast dates with Faces on Film this June including two performances in New York.
"she wears her poise like a lustrous badge." - FILTER

"The Sister' demonstrates that Marissa Nadler is well on her way to carving out a special niche in

a musical world littered with dilettantes." - BUST

"folk hypnotist...whose best work magically feels ethereal and earthen at the same time." - Stereogum

"This is a singer's album, one that luxuriates in the pure, lovely tones of Nadler's warmly intimate, darkly insistent voice." - MAGNET

Marissa Nadler in Concert

6/01 - Somerville, MA - The Armory

6/02 - New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine

6/13 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's

6/14 - Washington, DC - DC 9

6/15 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall

6/16 - New York, NY - Joe's Pub

The Sister Tracklisting

1. The Wrecking Ball Company

2. Love Again, There is a Fire

3. Christine

4. Apostle

5. Constantine

6. To a Road, Love

7. In a Little Town

8. Your Heart is a Twisted Vine

For more info, please visit:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Music Worth Buying episode: Alabama Shakes, The Jayhawks

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying, TJR champions the debut release from Alabama Shakes, Boys & Girls, while I highlight the latest disc from The Jayhawks, Mockingbird Time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Merge Records to re-issue Sugar catalog this summer

Fans of Hüsker Dü frontman Bob Mould can get amped due to exciting news about forthcoming Sugar releases set to land soon. Here is the latest news pulled from my inbox...

Merge Records to re-issue Sugar catalog on July 24, 2012

Through both his solo work and as a frontman for the legendary Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould pioneered a signature wall of guitar sound and unmistakable vocal style that has imprinted a defining influence on more than one generation—impacting artists including Dave Grohl, Ryan Adams and Britt Daniel of Spoon, all of whom paid homage to Mould by performing songs from all stages of his career at a tribute show last year at L.A.’s Disney Hall. In the three decades encompassing his career thus far, however, Bob Mould saw his greatest success during his stint as lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for iconic early ‘90s trio Sugar.

Mould broke onto the rock scene in the early 1980s as front man of the hardcore band Hüsker Dü. Hüsker Dü packed decades of creative evolution into the barely five years between the release of its first and final records, blowing eardrums and minds in equal measure while progressing from the primal breakneck caterwaul of Everything Falls Apart to the double-vinyl conceptual opus Zen Arcade to bona fide initial pop rock inroads with Candy Apple Grey before disintegrating in 1987. Mould re-emerged in 1989 as a sober and formidable singer/songwriter with his landmark solo debut Workbook, and continued working as a solo artist through the following year’s Black Sheets Of Rain.

Mould returned to a three-man band format with the 1992 debut of Sugar. With Mould on guitar and vocals, David Barbe on bass and vocals, and Malcolm Travis on drums, Sugar harnessed the sonic chaos of Hüsker Dü into a more focused pop/rock framework with increased emphasis the songs’ exciting melodies and irresistible hooks as well as the increasingly accomplished musicianship behind them. Critics and audiences alike warmed to Sugar’s fresh and innovative balance of punishing volume and pop sparkle, with many regarding this phase as their favorite of Mould’s entire career.

Sugar’s 1992 debut album Copper Blue sold over 250,000 units upon its original release and received overwhelming praise. Rolling Stone christened it “thunderous”; Vogue dubbed it “smashing”. NME would ultimately name it their 1992 Album of the Year. Currently, Mould has been commemorating Copper Blue’s 20th anniversary by playing the record in its entirety with his current band of Jason Narducy (bass) and Jon Wurster (drums).

Recorded and mixed during the same intense sessions that produced Copper Blue, the Beaster EP was originally released in April 1993. Notably darker in tone than the widescreen power-pop of Copper Blue, Beaster nevertheless boasts some of Mould’s most powerful songwriting.

File Under: Easy Listening -- the third and final album by this short-lived but brilliant trio -- was originally released in September 1994, featuring songs such as “Your Favorite Thing” that endure as mainstays of Mould’s solo performances to this day.

You can pre-order the releases via Merge Records' site here.

Watch the video below for an exciting overview of the upcoming Sugar re-issues!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 2 at Doheny Blues Festival 15: Otis Taylor, Steve Miller Band and Buddy Guy among standouts

My review originally ran on The Orange County Register site on Monday, May 21. A special thanks to photographer Bob Steshetz for the use of his great pics! You can visit his Bob By Request site here.

Steve Miller at 2012 Doheny Blues Festival.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Live review: Steve Miller, Buddy Guy, Otis Taylor keep Doheny Blues smokin’ through Day 2

The second half of the 15th annual Doheny Blues weekend (May 19-20, 2012) in Dana Point played out with a strength that gripped the first day.

The festivities began with an impressive set from singer-guitarist Ray Goren (seen on right), who at the mere age of 12 already plays his Fender like a master, and the event didn’t end until Steve Miller Band proved that the troupe’s recent creative revival continues to make its recent blues-centered shows more than a nostalgic romp. In between came plenty of other highlights, notably how Otis Taylor, at 63, brings to blues what bands like Radiohead and Arcade Fire do for rock.

It’s amazing to think how much better Steve Miller and his outstanding five-man band were in their headlining appearance Sunday night than the last time the veteran rocker performed at the Doheny Days fest on this same site in September 2000, on a bill with the late John Lee Hooker

But it wasn’t just his FM radio staples that sounded better almost a dozen years later. Since the release of two notable blues discs (2010′s Bingo! and last year’s Let Your Hair Down Down) and the death of longtime friend and harmonica great Norton Buffalo in 2009, Miller exhibits an obvious appreciation for where he’s been. He recalled playing rhythm guitar for Buddy Guy when he started out, for instance, and thanked him and all the other artists who shared the bill Sunday.

He also knows what is at stake in making the most of here and now, and has been a champion of getting young people into the blues and American music. It was great to see several teens positioned close to the stage singing along with Miller’s songs as if he was the next big thing.

His set was carefully structured to kick off with some of his biggest hits (“Jet Airliner,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Abracadabra”) and then go into an extended set of blues, during which he had lead guitarist Doug Hamblin on hand. That early Chicago feel that influenced Miller (seen on right) was highlighted in spirited renditions of obscurities and old standbys where he shared lead vocals with Sonny Charles.

“Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and “Tramp” were standouts amid that segment, the rich music ideally suited for a blues fest. Miller’s singing was fine and his guitar playing flawless whether indulging his well-known smashes or gems of old across a wonderful 100-minute set.

Other veterans in the mix Sunday also proved they remain at the top of their game.

Guy, the 75-year-old legend (seen on the left), brought his high-powered approach to the Doheny Stage a bit earlier in the day, blending dazzling technique, comedic storytelling and his booming voice — all more impressive here than at City National Grove of Anaheim last September. His version of Hooker’s “Hoochie Coochie Man” was a highlight, as he playfully turned his guitar around and scratched it against his chest, creating unique sounds and proving that his still-speedy leads aren’t the only sparks he can bring to the stage.

Taylor may have been a bit under the weather (he apologized several times for hoarseness), but that didn’t stop him and his mighty backing band from bringing their scorched-earth sound to the Backporch Stage. That area is normally a quiet place for people to relax and kick back while taking in acoustic performances, but Taylor would have none of that.

In songs that blended his intoxicating, open-to-interpretation stories with driving rhythms, Taylor (seen on left) had fans cheering and moving. His self-penned “Rain So Hard,” “Blind Piano Teacher” and a version of the rock standard “Hey Joe” (best known by Hendrix) were all potent this afternoon. Amazing fiddler Anne Harris (who plays violin like Guy wields his guitar) and the rest of Taylor’s band — an ensemble diverse and strong enough to stand out at Coachella — seemed to bring their A-game to this gig.

Other noteworthy performances included a pleasing breakfast set from singer and harmonica player San Pedro Slim; a wow-factor outing from Irvine’s own Goren, who at only 12 showed he not only plays like Jonny Lang but sings with convincing emotion while improvising on artful arrangements of the Beatles’ “Let It Be” and Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Two other sets also really smoked: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue offered up a heavy dose of funk, blues and horn-anchored soul on the Sailor Jerry Stage early in the evening, while rockabilly and American roots were celebrated during the Paladins‘ 75-minute stint on the Backporch.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sad days: Robin Gibb, Peter Jones

Over the weekend I was seemingly removed from all reality, spending almost every waking hour at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point.

Late yesterday (May 20th) I got the news that the Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb, 62, had passed away from cancer (read Ben Wener's remembrance of the singer here), and news late today came that one-time Crowded House drummer Peter Jones, only 45, also died of that disease (original band drummer Paul Hester committed suicide in March 2005 after battling depression).

Below you can watch a great video from the mid-1990s when Crowded House appeared on Jay Leno's show (Peter played in Crowded House from 1994 to 1996) and performed one of my favorite songs of that decade, "Distant Sun."

Big fun at day one of Doheny Blues Festival 15

My review originally ran in The Orange County Register's Soundcheck blog on Sunday, May 20, 2012.

A special thanks to photographer Bob Steshetz for the use of his wonderful images with this post. You can visit his Bob By Request site here.

Robust sets from Gregg Allman, Joan Osborne, Tab Benoit (seen on right) and more kept the first day of the weekend bash in Dana Point livelier than ever.

There was all kinds of talk and music-making related to braving tough times on the first day of the 15th annual Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point -- but everybody seemed to be having far too much fun to get the blues Saturday (May 19, 2012).

With sunshine spanning from morning until late afternoon and temperatures never rising above the low 70s, many of the greatest performers who set foot on stage were all smiles. In fact, I can hardly remember another festival where the talent seemed to have as much fun as the crowd.

Singer Joan Osborne (seen on the right), for one, couldn't stop grinning and laughing and thanking her backing band, the Holmes Brothers. At one point she declared: "I think I'm the luckiest girl in the U.S.A. right now." Earlier in the day, Louisiana singer-songwriter Tab Benoit also noted: "Thanks for having me -- this is an awesome party."

Officials with organizer Omega Events announced near the start of the festivities that for the first time in the history of the event both dates were sold out prior to the weekend kicking off. Further proof of the rampant good mood that washed over everyone came from a nice couple who approached me simply to say thank you for covering the festival.

How well did these good times and blues mix? Mostly fine, as evidenced by the majority of artists I caught over the course of 12-plus hours. Beginning with a breakfast set courtesy of San Diego's Red Lotus Revue and ending with simultaneously scheduled turns from Gregg Allman on the main stage and Big Pete on the Backporch stage (I caught some of each), the day overall was a blast.

And like any good party, there were some surprises.

There's an old adage that says musicians don't get out of bed before noon. How then to explain the fantastic set from Red Lotus Revue, a trio that performed a relatively early-morning set outside the front gates of the fest. Taking the stage (or should I say "asphalt") at 8:41 a.m., the group's original blues and covers of Sonny Boy Williamson were well suited for singer-harmonica master Karl Cabbage and guitarists Jimmy Zollo and Pete Fazzini. All three offered up outstanding musicianship that attracted a large crowd and plenty of cheers.

Lil' A & the Allnighters may have gotten a bit more sleep than that Revue, but the quintet launched the official opening at noon with a superb 45-minute performance on the Doheny Stage. The group's blend of Texas-style roots and Chicago blues was winning from start to finish. Highlights included a rousing instrumental take on Little Walter's "Off the Wall" and an equally reworked home run with another Sonny Boy Williamson classic, "Nine Below Zero."

One of the great things about this festival is that with three stages, it isn't difficult to seek out good sounds. So when I quickly tired of Johnny Winter on the main stage -- his fretwork was still sharp, but his vocals and his band's energy were less than ideal -- I headed over to the Backporch to catch Swedish outfit Trick Bag. Not only was the group in fine form, they had Southern California blues harp master Lynwood Slim sitting in.

And so the day went, with one great turn after another playing out on various stages. Cajun singer-songwriter and guitar great Benoit was absolutely stunning on the Sailor Jerry Stage, highlighting several songs from his excellent new album, Medicine. Whether dredging up soul-drenched Delta-style blues ballads (including a beautiful "Sunrise," his vocals front and center) or guitar-anchored blues or even funky stuff (like "Mudboat Melissa"), Benoit made plenty of new fans with his dynamic 75-minute Doheny appearance.

Los Lonely Boys (whose guitarist Henry Garza and bassist Jojo Garza are seen on right) likely impressed much of the crowd during its midday main-stage set. Sure, plenty of casual fans only went crazy when the trio performed their hit "Heaven" toward the end of an 80-minute outing, but hardcore blues fans loved "Señorita" with its multiple sections, including one in which guitarist Henry Garza combined flamenco and Stevie Ray Vaughan in the same solo.

But I missed the last part of their set so I could sprint over to the Backporch and catch the last song from Cash Box Kings. It was worth the effort, as the group offered up its authentic Chicago blues with authority while maintaining the day's spirited fun.

Rounding out Saturday's best performances was the teaming of Osborne and the Holmes Brothers, who together featured songs from the singer's recent tribute to blues and soul, Bring It on Home. The ensemble blasted through playful romps ("I Don't Need No Doctor," "Shake Your Hips"), nuanced R&B ("Roll Like a Big Wheel," "I'm Qualified") and a completely rearranged version of her mid-'90s staple "One of Us" that silenced the standing throngs pressed near the stage with its emotional power.

Allman, the still-recuperating 64-year-old Hall of Famer, here making a rare solo appearance in O.C., was the highly-anticipated closer, yet the power of his set seemed to rise and fall depending on the strength of each cut. He opened with with the wonderful "I'm No Angel," but much of the rest of his performance lacked that initial forcefulness, despite an excellent six-member band he brought along to Dana Point. Other high points included a jazz-rock version of the Allman Brothers Band's classic "Dreams" and the layered gem "Melissa."

Before calling it a night, I checked in once more at the Backporch, where singer and harmonica virtuoso Big Pete and a bunch of his talented friends (including guitarist Kirk Fletcher) had transformed the area into a hopping blues club. People were dancing on the picnic tables and weren't about to let the party end quietly.

Wonder how much more things will pick up Sunday at Doheny Blues 15, bolstered by Buddy Guy in the afternoon, new sensation Trombone Shorty in the evening and Steve Miller Band to cap off the fest.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sights and Sounds: Doheny Blues Festival, Los Lobos, Third Day, Audio Fidelity reissues

Doheny Blues Festival update

Happy Friday everybody. I hope to see many of out at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point this weekend. The weather outlook is great (70s during the day) lineup is really exciting this year, with the legendary Gregg Allman and better-all-the-time Steve Miller Band each set to headline a date at the fest. Here is a link to my in-depth preview story about the festival that ran in The Orange County Register's print edition today.

Speaking on the blues and roots music, check out my most recent Kinslerscope columns in the Desert Star Weekly to get my takes on a wide range of new music including releases from Joan Osborne, Cash Box Kings, Tab BenoitThe Jayhawks and more!

And now on some notable news items pulled from my inbox...

Los Lobos Kiko Live to be released on CD, DVD and Blu-ray

Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition to be released on CD on Aug. 21, 2012

Los Lobos is celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal album Kiko with the August 21 release of Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition on CD, and Kiko Live on CD, DVD and a 2-disc Blu-ray/CD set from Shout! Factory. The Kiko 20th Anniversary Edition features bonus material including demo versions of album tracks and live recordings, and new liner notes written by Los Angeles journalist and longtime friend of the band, Luis Torres. Kiko Live captures their February 24, 2006, performance at the House Of Blues in San Diego , CA , where the band performed the critically acclaimed release in its entirety, during a string of shows devoted to the album. Never before released or broadcast, Kiko Live also contains interviews with the band and others involved in the making of the studio album.

The Los Angeles Times premiered a performance clip of “Kiko and the Lavendar Moon” from Kiko Live on Wednesday, May 16

Released in 1992, Kiko was embraced by fans and hailed by critics as the band’s defining moment, the album that put Los Lobos back on the innovation track. The album, wrote All Music Guide, “demonstrated the breadth of their sonic ambitions.” Kiko was produced by Mitchell Froom, who received a Grammy nomination for Producer of the Year for his work on the album, and who had previously collaborated with the band on La Bamba. Dubbed “the album of the year” by the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and one of “The Essential Recordings of the ‘90s” by Rolling Stone, Los Lobos also took home an MTV Music Video Award for Breakthrough Video for “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” in 1993.

Prior to Kiko, Los Lobos had been “segregating our influences, treating them parochially,” as Steve Berlin puts it: a rockabilly tune here, a Tex-Mex there, some folk, a bit of country, an R&B tune, plenty of classic rock. This time, they decided to take all of those myriad influences out of their separate boxes, toss them into the air and let them fall where they might. “Whatever our unconscious minds’ response was to the stimuli, that was what we wanted. We let our imagination take over and didn’t try to control it.”

They began recording new original Hidalgo-Pérez compositions such as “Two Janes,” “Peace,” “Arizona Skies,” “Short Side of Nothing” and “Rio de Tenampa,” self-producing and following their instincts sound-wise. Comments the band’s Cesar Rosas, “With that album we didn’t want to be tied down to all the conventional ways of recording, so we started experimenting and making up sounds.”

To date the beloved band from East L.A. has recorded 18 albums, including their most recent studio album, 2010’s Tin Can Trust. They’ve won multiple Grammy Awards, and continue to tour regularly. Born out of the desire to have a community-conscious event celebrating food, culture and music in their hometown, Los Lobos recently held the 1st Annual Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival at Los Angeles’ iconic Greek Theatre. The festival featured performances by preeminent LA bands X and Mariachi El Bronx, among others, with special guests Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Alvin, Phil Alvin, and Flaco Jiménez joining Los Lobos on stage.

Next year Los Lobos will celebrate 40 years together, a monumental achievement in a world where bands come and go in the blink of an eye. A rare example of longevity in a volatile music world that stresses style over substance, Los Lobos’ lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984, when Berlin joined original members Louie Pérez, David Hidalgo, Cesar Rosas, and Conrad Lozano, each of whom had been there since the beginning in 1973.

“This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for 30 years to see how far it can take them,” wrote Rolling Stone, and indeed, Los Lobos is a band that continually reboots itself and expands its scope with each passing year, while never losing sight of where they came from.

“There’s this thing that still happens, this musical thing,” says Pérez. “But if you took everything away, even the music, you’d still end up with four guys who were friends and hung out and grew up in the same neighborhood. And you can’t take that friendship away from us.”

More information at

Third Day at work on its next studio project

New album being produced by legendary Brendan O'Brien

Veteran rock band Third Day has been spending a generous part of 2012 immersed in the recording of its next studio album. The forthcoming project, Third Day’s 17th career offering, is being recorded within the walls of its own state-of-the art studio, The Quarry, in Atlanta, Ga. Third Day is working with veteran rock producer Brendan O’Brien.

O’Brien is well known for his work with Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Audioslave and The Fray, among others. A former vice president of Epic Records, O’Brien has won two GRAMMY Awards including 2010’s producer of the year, Non-Classical award. In addition, O’Brien has production credits on 14 albums that have topped the Billboard 200 sales chart.

“When we were getting together as a band to talk about starting work on this project, we did an exercise where each member named his top five albums of all time. Brendan O’Brien had at least one record on all of our lists,” offers bassist, Tai Anderson.

Mac Powell, the band’s front man, shares, “Our time with Brendan has been nothing less than an amazing experience. He is one of my favorite producers. Having made so many great records with so many amazing artists through the years, I consider it such an honor to be working with him. Brendan has definitely stretched me as a songwriter and vocalist more than any other producer ever has.”

The new project follows a stellar 2011 for Third Day, which included being the first Christian artist ever to receive ASCAP’s coveted Vanguard Award, as well as wrapping up its highly successful spring/fall “Make Your Move Tour” which saw numerous sell-out performances.

Additional information on Third Day’s latest record is forthcoming. In the meantime, fans can catch the band on select concert performances throughout the summer, where it intends to begin previewing select tracks from the new recording. For a current list of tour dates, visit:

Photo above features Third Day recording at The Quarry

Photo credit: Peter Doyle

Audio Fidelity rocks the 1950s, 70s and 80s with new reissues from Elvis Presley, Jeff Beck and Jane's Addiction

Jailhouse Rock EP and Jeff Beck Group get 12-inch vinyl treatment; Nothing's Shocking goes Gold

Marshall Blonstein, president of Audio Fidelity, has announced May 22, 2012 as the release date for the reissue of a trio of legendary rock recordings. Elvis Presley's 1957 JAILHOUSE ROCK EP and Jeff Beck's 1972 album THE JEFF BECK GROUP will be issued in 12-inch vinyl editions, and Jane's Addiction's 1988 debut, NOTHING'S SHOCKING, will arrive as a numbered, limited edition 24-Karat Gold CD. All will be sold through online and brick-and-mortar retailers alike.

The King of Rock and Roll gets the royal treatment with a dual-speed reissue of his JAILHOUSE ROCK EP, which features performances of five songs from his second feature film of the same name. Side One of the disc offers the tunes at 33 1/3 rpm while Side Two plays them at 45 rpm. The selections include three Leiber-Stoller classics-the title track (Presley's ninth No. 1 single in just over a year), the ballad "I Want to Be Free" and the full-tilt rocker "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care"-as well as "Don't Leave Me Now" and "Young and Beautiful," both penned by veteran Presley scribe Aaron Schroeder ("Big Hunk O' Love," "It's Now Or Never"). Issued in November of 1957, the 45 rpm EP hit No. 1 on Billboard's EP chart and ultimately sold more than five million copies; the title-track single held the survey's top slot for seven weeks and entered the U.K. charts at No. 1.

Among the many artists who've covered "Jailhouse Rock" was Jeff Beck (on his second solo set, Beck-Ola). THE JEFF BECK GROUP was the fourth and last album by the band, which then found the super-guitarist supported by vocalist Bobby Tench, drummer Cozy Powell, bassist Clive Chapman and keyboardist Max Middleton. Recorded in Memphis with Booker T. & the MG's guitarist Steve Cropper producing, THE JEFF BECK GROUP enjoyed extensive FM airplay and a 26-week stay on the Billboard chart. Beck's considerable talent and imagination are prominently displayed on a wide array of material, from Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You" and Stevie Wonder's "I Gotta Have a Song" to Carl Perkins' rockabilly classic "Glad All Over" and a blazing cover of bluesman Freddy King's "Going Down." Beck himself penned the opening "Ice Cream Cakes," "Sugar Cane" (with Steve Cropper), "Highways" and the soulful instrumental "Definitely Maybe." THE JEFF BECK GROUP will be issued as part of Audio Fidelity's "nicely priced" vinyl Target Series.

Los Angeles' Jane's Addiction made one of the more formidable debuts of the 1980s with NOTHING'S SHOCKING. The group, comprised of vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins, generated combustible-and eventually widely popular-mix of punk-rock energy and arena-rock ambition on this 1988 album, which boasted the alternative-rock hit "Jane Says" (No. 6 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart). Produced by Dave Jerden, who had engineered albums by the Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and others, NOTHING'S SHOCKING also features two additional singles, the Zeppelin-esque "Ocean Size" and the more raucous and metallic "Mountain Song." The latter, like the album's front cover design, engendered controversy upon release, with MTV refusing to air the song's video clip as it contained nudity. The expansive, psychedelic "Summertime Rolls" and the swinging jazz interlude "Thank You Boys" revealed additional dimensions to the band, many that would be explored in subsequent albums like NOTHING'S SHOCKING's successor, RITUAL DE LO HABITUAL, and 2003's STRAYS.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Inbox Update: Sigur Rós, The Cult

Here are several media releases pulled from my inbox I wanted to share. Enjoy everybody!

Sigur Rós valtari listening party set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 17

No matter where on the planet you live, plan on keeping 7 p.m. free on Thursday, May 17. Sigur Rós will be hosting a global listening party for their forthcoming album Valtari in each time zone around the world.

Here is part of the invite I received via email: "To match the global listening party, you can use the stream to organise your own events! invite friends over! listen together - if you tweet or use instagram, tag your updates with #valtarihour to share your listening experience with other fans around the world. we want to see where and how you listen to valtari for the first time!"

For more information, visit the band's official site at:

The Cult to guest on 'Rockline' on Wednesday, May 23

Choice of Weapon to be released on Tuesday, May 22

Founding Cult members Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy will be the featured guests on the nationally-syndicated radio show ROCKLINE with host Bob Coburn on Wednesday, May 23 at 8:30 p.m.  PT/11:30PM ET. Astbury and Duffy will talk about their new album, Choice of Weapon, that will be out Tuesday, May 22, debut songs from the new release, and take listeners' calls. Fans are invited to speak with the duo by calling 1-800-344-ROCK (7625). For a station near you and for information regarding how to access the ROCKLINE broadcast online, go to

The ROCKLINE appearance precedes the kick off of The Cult's 2012 world tour, set to launch in San Diego on Friday, May 25. The tour is in support of Choice of Weapon, already getting rave reviews. Both the UK's Mojo and Record Collector gave it Four-Stars with Record Collector proclaiming it to be "their best album in years - probably decades;" Q magazine called it "brilliant," and the U.S.'s Magnet said it was "as epic and compelling as nearly anything in The Cult's '80s back catalogue."

On the 21-date U.S. trek, The Cult will be supported by Against Me! and The Icarus Line. Dates are as follows:


25 San Diego, CA - Humphreys By the Bay

26 Las Vegas, NV - M Resort

27 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore

30 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre


1 Chicago, IL - Congress Theatre

2 Windsor, ON - Great Canadian Beaverfest, Riverfront Festival Plaza

3 Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE - Indoor Stage

5 Boston, MA - House of Blues

7 Buffalo, NY - Erie Canal Harbor Central Wharf

8 New York, NY - Terminal 5

9 Hampton Beach, NH - Ballroom

10 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory

12 Washington, D.C. - The Fillmore

13 Norfolk, VA - The Norva

15 Myrtle Beach, SC - House of Blues

16 Orlando, FL - House of Blues

17 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle

19 Houston, TX - House of Blues

20 Dallas, TX - House of Blues

22 Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre

23 Hollywood Palladium, Hollywood, CA


Born out of the ashes of the UK post-punk scene, The Cult evolved to become one of the most influential and controversial rock bands of the late 20th century, selling millions of albums, headlining arenas and stadiums around the world, infusing innovative possibilities into the worlds of music and art, and quickly ascending through the ranks of the indie music world to achieve global status. The Cult, whose music transformed from punk rock to post-punk, psychedelia, heavy dance music and transcendental hard rock, became one of the handful of important bands in the U.S. post-modern and hard rock communities, and was embraced by a generation that was waking up to the influence of 60s and 70s rock icons like Led Zeppelin, The New York Dolls and David Bowie.

The constant core of The Cult is the "head and heart" of the band, vocalist/lyricist Ian Astbury and guitarist/composer Billy Duffy. Attitude incarnate, the chemistry between these two vastly different artists - equal parts genuine affection and palpable tension - remains the source of their long-standing partnership. Duffy grounds Astbury's esoteric side with a hard rock perspective, and there is no doubt that at all times, these two have each other's back. The Cult's current line up, together for six years now, is Astbury, Duffy, bassist Chris Wyse and drummer John Tempesta.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Worth Buying: Dawes, Norah Jones

On the latest episode of Music Worth Buying, I highlight Dawes’ sophomore studio album, Nothing Is Wrong, while TJR champions Norah Jones‘ latest album ...Little Broken Hearts. Enjoy everybody!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Inbox Update: Ringo Starr, Jellyfish

Ringo Starr is helping some of his "biggest friends" and legendary power pop outfit Jellyfish will be celebrated on the forthcoming release 'Live at Bogart's' courtesy of Omnivore Recordings.

Pictured on left: Baby Rhino named “Shida” Courtesy and Copyright of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. The image is what greets visitors going to

This is a crucial time for the Rhino, with many species facing extinction having been on the Endangered Species list for over 10 years. So when Ringo Starr considered changing the image on his homepage - formerly his cat - he wanted it to be a Rhino.

“I’ve always loved Rhinos. They were close to my and Keith Moon's heart. In fact in I had two huge one’s made and gave one to Keith. Mine is still here out on the grass here in England."

A handful of wonderful organizations are working towards Rhino preservation including The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Established in 1977, by Dr Dame Daphne Sheldrick in Kenya, they have hands-on practical experience and extensive knowledge of the black rhino which is unmatched. They have pioneered a hand –rearing approach for the rehabilitation of rescued orphaned Rhinos and their approach to protect and preserve the Black Rhino from extinction, as well as the increasingly threatened Elephant, has been emulated elsewhere in Africa.

For those of you based here in Southern California, a reminder that Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band (Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Rolie, Richard Page, Mark Rivera & Gregg Bissonette) will perform at the Greek Theatre on Saturday night, July 21, 2012.

For more information on Ringo Starr and on The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust please visit the following links:





Omnivore Recordings will release power pop band Jellyfish’s first official live album, titled Live at Bogart’s, on July 3rd. Recorded in 1991 in Long Beach, California, with the band on tour behind their debut album Bellybutton, Live at Bogart’s features 13 tracks. Five of these tracks are previously unissued performances, while the others, initially appearing on b-sides and compilations, have been out of the marketplace for decades. Live at Bogart’s will be available on CD, first as a limited-edition (1,500 copies) double-LP on translucent blue vinyl, followed by an open-edition on black vinyl thereafter. The double LP release will include three sides of music, with a fourth side sporting laser-etched artwork.

They had the songs—tremendous songs, with melodies and arrangements that harkened back to an earlier time when pop music was ruled by bands like Badfinger, Cheap Trick, The Beach Boys, and Big Star. This live performance captures the band minus all the frills of studio trickery and clever visuals, proving once and for all that Jellyfish was not a dog-and-pony show. They were the real deal, equipped with phenomenal songwriting, playing, instrumentation, and harmonies. Even though the group lasted for only two albums over four years, their influence has been as profound as that of any of the bands that influenced Jellyfish in the first place—all part of a power pop tradition.

In January of this year, Omnivore Recordings released Jellyfish’s debut album Bellybutton and its follow-up Spilt Milk in 180-gram, colored vinyl limited-editions of 1,500 per title, making the only two full-length studio albums in the band’s short, storied history commercially available for the first time in the U.S. on vinyl. The limited editions sold out immediately, but are currently available in an open-edition on 180-gram black vinyl.

Formed in San Francisco by singer/songwriter Andy Sturmer and singer/songwriter Roger Manning, Jellyfish rounded out the initial lineup with guitarist Jason Falkner (The Three O’Clock, The Grays) and Roger’s brother Chris Manning on bass. Following Bellybutton’s support tour, Falkner and Chris Manning left the band due to creative differences and exhaustion from life on the road. Jellyfish’s next album Spilt Milk was created by Andy and Roger with help from then session men Jon Brion (Fiona Apple, Spoon, Kanye West), Lyle Workman (Beck, Todd Rundgren) and T-Bone Wolk (Hall & Oates). After one tour in support of the record, the group disbanded in 1994.

Jellyfish: Live at Bogart’s CD and 2LP track listing:

1. Hold Your Head Up (Argent cover)/Hello

2. Calling Sarah

3. The King Is Half Undressed *

4. I Wanna Stay Home *

5. Bye Bye Bye *

6. She Still Loves Him

7. Will You Marry Me

8. Now She Knows She’s Wrong

9. Baby Come Back (Player cover)/Baby’s Coming Back

10. No Matter What (Badfinger cover)*

11. All I Want Is Everything *

12. The Man I Used To Be

13. Let ‘Em In (Paul McCartney & Wings cover)/That Is Why

* previously unissued