Thursday, October 27, 2016

She & Him share "Happy Holiday" + Album out Oct. 28, 2016

Here is some early holiday cheer courtesy of the wonderful duo She & Him



Today, She & Him share their beguiling cover of the much-loved Bing Crosby classic "Happy Holiday." Click here to listen and post! 

She & Him's eagerly awaited new album Christmas Party is out October 28th on Columbia Records. Christmas Party is the sixth album from the duo comprised of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, and is the follow up to their wildly popular A Very She And Him Christmas. Christmas Party features guest appearances by Jenny Lewis, The Chapin Sisters and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley.

Christmas Party is replete with holiday favorites - including classics like Darlene Love and Phil Spector's "Marshmallow World," Bing Crosby's "Mele Kalikimaka" and Chuck Berry's "Run Run Rudolph." But, Ward and Deschanel also may introduce listeners to the more obscure tracks such as folk-singer Vashti Bunyon's "Coldest Night of the Year" and the lesser known Sinatra track "Christmas Memories." Pop favorites such as Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and The Chipmunks "Christmas Don't Be Late" round out the celebration. Throughout the album is She & Him's signature organic stripped down take on production. 

Christmas Party will be available digitally, on CD and vinyl on October 28th. For more information visit
Track Listing:
1. All I Want for Christmas Is You
2. Let It Snow
3. Must Be Santa
4. Happy Holiday
5. Mele Kalikimaka
6. Christmas Memories
7. Run Run Rudolph
8. Winter Wonderland
9. The Coldest Night of the Year
10. A Marshmallow World
11. The Man with the Bag
12. Christmas Don't Be Late

More About She & Him
Christmas Party
By Sarah Tapscott

This Christmas season, She & Him would like to invite you to a party. The start time is precisely the moment you crave holiday nostalgia and gingerbread-fueled merriment. The dress code happens to be whatever you're wearing, though flexibility is encouraged, as a desire to dance will be likely, if not unavoidable. And you're invited to bring as many loved ones along as you please. Well, except maybe that one guy - you know the one.
Christmas Party, She & Him's second Christmas record, is a unique gathering of friends and family, where a mixture of perennial classics, happy accidents, and friendly faces create an atmosphere where the magic of Christmas not only blossoms but is rediscovered.  
It was the positive experience they had recording their first Christmas record, A Very She & Him Christmas, in 2011 that brought M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel back for another round of holiday cheer. Much like their first Christmas record, She & Him bring an organic and minimalistic approach to their holiday covers. Highly produced classics get stripped down to their most fundamental elements, a style perfectly evinced on their rendition of "Marshmallow World", originally covered by Darlene Love on the Phil Spector Christmas album. In this vein, you won't find any accompanying orchestra or full-piece brass bands on Christmas Party. Instead, She & Him rely on friends and family to lend a simple and authentic holiday vibe to this album, one where the guest list speaks for itself. 
For starters, you'll find Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley playing drums on all the tracks. Close friends and tour buddies, The Chapin Sisters, add their harmonies to back up and lead, as does indie rock darling Jenny Lewis. "She's a great singer and I'm a big fan," says Zooey. Also joining the fun are a number of Ward's friends from Portland and even Zooey's husband Jacob and their daughter Elsie. 
In the years between the two holiday records, She & Him released Vol. 3, an album of original songs, and kept their affection for covers alive with Classics, a compilation of covers of their favorite standards. Throughout these intervening years and albums, Zooey and Ward gradually culled a new collection of holiday songs to re-interpret, tucking them away like a stack of presents growing under a tree. 
It's this diverse choice of tracks that keeps Christmas Party from being a one room, one note get-together. Instead, the colorful song list takes you on a Santa-like journey, traversing the globe and dropping you down into a variety of holiday settings with friends and loved ones. The expedition kicks off with a good old-fashioned dance party where Mariah Carey's newly minted classic "All I Want For Christmas" is re-imagined and infused with a style reminiscent of the Phil Spector Christmas record. "I've always loved this song, and I was like, 'I'd love to hear it without the digital keyboards. I'd love to hear it recorded in a little more of an old school way,'" says Zooey.  
Shortly after, you're handed a glass of eggnog and welcomed into a group of friends in the jovial sing-a-long "Must Be Santa," where Jenny Lewis joins Zooey and Ward on lead as Ward's friends from Portland make up the "gang vocals". Voices are raised, along with glasses, in this high-energy call-and-repeat that even includes a surprise political reference sneakily hidden into the chorus, awaiting discovery, like a bright ornament hidden deep within a pine tree.  
Your travels continue, taking you to the warm sandy beaches of Hawaii, as The Chapin Sisters breezily harmonize with Zooey on the Polynesian favorite "Mele Kalikimaka." Next it's off to a party in the sky as you jump back on the sleigh, put on your Ray-Bans, and let Steve Shelley's drums and M. Ward's gruffy vocals kick up the cool with Chuck Berry's mad-dash anthem "Run Run Rudolph." 
Whether it's an unexpected guest under the mistletoe or a spit take at a drunken uncle's crazy yarn, every good holiday party has its surprises, and there's nothing She & Him love more than a happy accident. On Zooey and Jenny Lewis's Everly Brothers-influenced rendition of "Winter Wonderland," the track used is not only their very first take singing the song, but also includes a spur of the moment staccato giggle from Zooey. "It was totally spontaneous and we like that stuff," says Zooey. Another fortuitous surprise occurred during the recording of Irving Berlin's iconic "Happy Holiday." "My husband, Jacob, was playing jingle bells with Elsie in his arms when she started making a baby noise which happened to be in tune with the song." Her daughter's soft echoes, along with the organ, blend to create a familiar feeling of being at an ice rink with your family.
Christmas Party not only captures an organic world of sometimes unplanned whimsy, but also introduces us to new, esoteric songs and settings. "Coldest Night Of The Year" is a holiday song by folk singer Vashti Bunyan that Zooey discovered on a box set and instantly fell in love with. "Christmas Memories" is another obscure track by Sinatra that is one of Matt and Zooey's favorites."When I sing it, I think of Christmas at my grandparents' house with all my cousins and my family... I hope this can be a record that makes people feel warm and happy and think of family."
With every Christmas party, there comes a time, whether staring at the flames of the fire, rapt by their flickering, or gazing longingly at the snow as it shakes loose of the night sky, that you have a moment with yourself to reflect on the true meaning of the holidays. On Christmas Party this moment appropriately comes on the final track. "Christmas Don't Be Late", a song typically associated with The Chipmunks, is given new life as a quiet lullaby as Zooey plays it solo on ukulele. Ward observes, "She's bringing the song more soul than it has been brought in the past."
As Christmas Party comes to a close, the listener can take solace in knowing the door on this gathering is never fully shut. The sing-alongs, the happy accidents, the quiet moments with loved ones - they're all waiting for you whenever you wish to immerse yourself in the splendor of the season. As Ward himself says, "Music is one of the purest ways into Christmas." 

"Mystery Science Theater 3000:Vol. XXXVII" available on DVD November 22, 2016

In the not to distant future we get more classic Mystery Science Theater 3000, and that is a great thing!

Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XXXVII
Four DVD Box Set Features Previously Unreleased Episodes
The Human DuplicatorsEscape 2000, The Horror of Party Beach, and Invasion of the Neptune Men

Available November 22, 2016 From Shout! Factory

For MST-ies, Turkey Day celebrations go beyond the traditional large meal and watching of a football game. Once a year, they also give thanks for turkeys of the cinematic variety. This November, get ready to feast on four never before on DVD episodes: The Human DuplicatorsEscape 2000, The Horror of Party Beach, and Invasion of the Neptune Men with the release of Mystery Science Theater 3000:Vol. XXXVII  on DVD November 22, 2016 from Shout! Factory.

This 4-DVD collectible tin box set is also stuffed with bonus features, including new introductions by Mary Jo Pehl, MST Hour Wraps, August on Neptune with Japanese film historian August Ragone, Leave The Bronx: Making Escape 2000 featurette, Return to Party Beach featurette, theatrical trailers and four exclusive mini-posters by artist Steve Vance.

The first 1,500 orders placed on will receive an exclusive bonus disc featuring the MST3K Fancy Hollywood Awards Preview Specials.

Volume XXXVII  brings us The Human Duplicators, a 1965  science fiction film about an alien, the cybernetic physicist he controls and the blind girl he falls for;  Escape 2000 (aka Bronx Warriors 2and Escape from the Bronx), wherein generic and nefarious corporation gentrifies a Bronx neighborhood to death in the service of creating the city of the future. But when they kill the parents of the first movie’s hero, they are in for some action, low-budget 80s style; Teens and monsters have always had a complicated relationship status in the movies, but The Horror of Party Beach kicks it down a notch or eight, as a coastal town grapples with mutated fishmen who crash a beach party in hideous fashion; and Invasion of the Neptune Men, which stars martial arts legend Sonny Chiba as Space Chief, a superhero of sorts, in this 1961 kids movie of sorts about an alien invasion of sorts.

Volume XXXVII Bonus Features:
·         New Introductions by Mary Jo Pehl
·         MST Hour Wraps
·         August on Neptune featurette with Japanese film historian August Ragone
·         Leave The Bronx: Making Escape 2000 featurette
·         Return to Party Beach featurette
·         Theatrical Trailers
·         Four exclusive mini-posters by artist Steve Vance

About Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory, LLC is a diversified multi-platform media company devoted to producing, uncovering, preserving and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their entire careers sharing their music, television and film favorites with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s entertainment offerings serve up feature films, classic and contemporary TV series, animation, live music and comedy specials. In addition, Shout! Factory maintains a vast entertainment distribution network which delivers culturally relevant programming, movie and audio content to all the leading digital service providers in North America and across multiple platforms. Shout! Factory owns and operates Shout! Factory Productions, Scream Factory, Shout! Factory Kids, Shout! Factory Films, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Timeless Media Group and Shout! Factory TV. These riches are the result of a creative acquisition mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. Shout! Factory is based in Los Angeles, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit

Reviews: Justin Hayward, Kansas, The Heaters, The Legal Matters

Classic rock, prog rock, girl group and power pop styles are on tap thanks to four fabulous releases that celebrate timeless sounds with a 21st sensibility.

Artist: Justin Hayward
Title: Live in Concert at the Capitol Theatre (IM3 Global Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward
Tell me more: Fresh on the heels of the release of Justin Hayward's All The Way album comes the DVD release of the concert film Live in Concert at the Capitol Theatre. The DVD features the singer-songwriter/lead guitarist performing 18 songs, including favorites from the Moody Blues, solo career highlights and newer material. An amazing look back at a his 50-year music career, highlights include an Renaissance flavored "Tuesday Afternoon" (where Hayward plays acoustic guitar while Julie Ragins plays keyboards), the breezy folk rock medley "It's Up To You"/"Lovely To See You," his wonderful new 12-string guitar anchored Americana original "The Western Sky," a solo performance of the holiday gem "December Snow," and potent versions of the Moody Blues' "Question" and "I Know You're Out There Somewhere." The official "The Wind of Heaven" music video and a solo acoustic performance of "Blue Guitar" and "Who Are You Now" are included as bonus features on the title. Audiophiles can choose between Dolby Stereo and Dolby Surround 5.1. Information: or

Artist: Kansas
Title: The Prelude Implicit (InsideOutMusic)
You might like if you enjoy: Kansas, Asia, Triumph
Tell me more: Before the release of their new album The Prelude Implicit last month, it had been 16 years since progressive rockers Kansas had released an album of new material ("Somewhere to Elsewhere" was released in 2000). The good news is that the seven-member ensemble has returned with an epic album that builds on the legacy of the band's 1970s masterworks (Leftoverture and Point of No Return) via virtuoso musicianship, ornate songcraft and timely lyrics that explore love, sacrifice, faith, and mortality with poetic force that is palpable. The fusion of melodic choruses and prog rock has always worked well for the band, and that magical formula will transfix discerning listeners on "The Voyage of Eight Eighteen," "Summer," the potent "Crowded Isolation" and other cuts. Information:

Artist: The Heaters
Title: American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: The Ronettes, the Shangri-Las, She & Him
Tell me more: The 1980s music world was about much more than New Wave, neo-rockabilly, metal hair bands and college rock. The release of The Heaters' American Dream: The Portastudio Recordings is a musical glimpse back at The Heaters, a group featuring Mercy Bermudez and sisters Maggie and Missy Connell. The 10-track disc features remastered and restored songs originally recorded more than 30 years ago on a multi-track cassette recorder, with the shimmering harmonies and propulsive songs blending the magic of the 1960s and '80s masterfully. The fast-moving disc is a joy start to finish, with the retro title track, lush "Just Around the Corner," aptly-titled "Rock This Place," and tuneful "Love Will Be Hurrying To You" capturing the exhuberence of the musicians' love of the golden era of girl groups that spanned from the mid-1950s to the late '60s. Information:

Artist: The Legal Matters
Title: Conrad (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Fountains of Wayne, Crowded House, Matthew Sweet
Tell me more: Detroit trio the Legal Matters' sophomore disc Conrad is a spirited and wonderful effort that is anchored by the sterling harmonies of band mates Andy Reed, Chris Richards and Keith Klingensmith. But the threesome's great vocals wouldn't mean anything without first-rate songs and commanding musicianship, and fortunately those key components are everywhere on the 11-song Conrad. The musically textured/lyrically sharp "I'm Sorry Love," luxuriant "Minor Key" (that would be at home on a Crowded House disc), scintillating "Pull My String" and yearning "Hip Hooray" are among this writer's favorites. Information:

Robert Kinsler

Friday, October 21, 2016

Recent Releases Astound: Big Star, Temple of the Dog, The Mavericks, Bryan Adams, Thomas Dolby

Several truly great rock albums have been reissued via deluxe and expanded must-have versions, while new concert titles from the Mavericks and Bryan Adams, and an engrossing memoir from groundbreaking music maker Thomas Dolby make for a winning mix of music-minded offerings.

Artist: Big Star
Title: Complete Third (Omnivore Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Radiohead, Big Star, the Posies
Tell me more: More than 40 years after it was recorded, Big Star's "Third" LP is receiving a well-deserved deluxe and expanded treatment that inspires with every play. This 3-disc audio CD release Complete Third (soon to be available on vinyl) is sure to please every fan of the legendary Memphis-spawned power pop cult heroes, whose third album was recorded in 1974 and was deemed non-commercial and shelved resulting in the band breaking up late that year. While the third album was ultimately released commercially in 1978, and subsequently has earned its place as one of the greatest albums of all time. The newly-issued Complete Third is packed with 69 tracks; the release's three discs chronicle the path of "Third" from acoustic demos, rough and alternate mixes to the final masters. The printed material included in the package is terrific, including a wealth of photos, an essay from journalist/A&R executive Bud Scoppa, and notes from surviving Big Star member Jody Stephens, producer-musician Mitch Easter (Let's Active), Gary Louis (of the Jayhawks), Susanna Hoffs and Debbi Peterson (of the Bangles), and many more. Information:

Artist: Temple of the Dog
Title: Temple of the Dog (A&M Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone
Tell me more: Temple of the Dog released its self-titled album in April 1991, with the newly-issued 25th anniversary of the release revisiting the landmark disc featuring the legendary lineup of singer Chris Cornell (of Soundgarden fame), rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament, lead guitarist Mike McCready and drummer Matt Cameron, along with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. There are so many treasures across this wide-ranging set, but a demo of the bluesy slide guitar foray "Black Cat," live and alternative versions of the rock staple "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and an early demo of the grunge rocker "Angel of Fire" are among those I discovered. "Temple of the Dog" is available via four different configurations; a four-disc version (reviewed here) features the original album newly mixed by Brendan O' Brien, dozens of previously-unreleased tracks and demos, and live performances and videos. Information:

Artist: The Mavericks
Title: All Night Live Volume 1 (Mono Mundo Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Roy Orbison, the Mavericks, Raul Malo
Tell me more: Anyone who has ever seen the Mavericks live knows the thrill the genre-defying band brings to the concert stage with every performance. The release of All Night Live Volume 1 is an out-and-out thrill, with the quartet delivering its intoxicating mix of Americana, western Swing, early rock 'n' roll, neo-traditional country and Latin rhythms via 16 songs spanning the Miami-spawned group's career. Since reforming in 2012, singer-guitarist Raul Malo, lead guitarist Eddie Perez, drummer Paul Deakin and keyboardist/singer Jerry Dale McFadden have somehow become even more formidable as a live act than during the group's infancy when this writer first caught them in the early 1990s. On the new live set, the infectious and rich mix of styles reaches its zenith on dance-minded performances of "All Night Long," "Fall Apart," "Dance in the Moonlight" as well as via beautiful ballads such as "Back In Your Arms Again," "Pardon Me" and an affecting version of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon" all showcasing Ralo's soaring tenor. Information:

Artist: Bryan Adams
Title: Wembley 1996 Live (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Bryan Adams, Melissa Etheridge, Bobby Fuller Four
Tell me more: Captured live at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on July 27, 2016, Bryan Adams and his amazing five-member band were on fire. Fortunately, cameras were rolling and Wembley 1996 Live (available on DVD and digital) fully showcases the excitement of the Canadian rocker performing a full-length set in front of 70,000 British fans. Among the standouts on the memorable concert performance are the rousing "Kids Wanna Rock," sing-along "Cuts Like a Knife," scorching "It's Only Love" featuring Melissa Etheridge sharing lead vocals with Adams (with some fiery lead guitar work from Keith Scott) and a festive cover of the Bobby Fuller Four 1966 hit "I Fought the Law." An anthemic "Heaven" with the audience singing much of the song closes out the epic performance film. Information:

Book title: The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology
Author: Thomas Dolby
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Hardcover: 288 pages
Tell me more: Anyone who has seen singer-songwriter-keyboardist Thomas Dolby in concert knows he is a terrific storyteller. Thanks to the release of his fantastic new memoir "The Speed of Sound: Breaking the Barriers Between Music and Technology," new light is shed on one of the music world's most interesting and original architects. Recalling his rise from a struggling teenager barely making ends meet to fortuitous meetings with the celebrated likes of producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, Andy Partridge of XTC and pop icon Michael Jackson, Dolby expertly revisits his youth, the highs and lows of his musical career (including "She Blinded Me With Science") and recent success as a Silicon Valley innovator and university professor. The articulate, honest and fast-moving narrative sheds light on not only Dolby, but the myriad of fascinating personalities who are linked to Dolby's own unique journey. Information:

Robert Kinsler

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band shine in Costa Mesa

From left, keyboardist Gregg Rolie, guitarist Steve Lukather, Ringo Starr, sax player Warren Ham
(in the back),  bassist Richard Page, guitarist Todd  Rundgren and drummer Gregg Bissonette.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
On a night when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton blew a long-standing tradition of candidates being nice to each other at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York, wasn't it the perfect alternative to be on the other side of the country in a room filled with peace, love and Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band performing a two-hour concert that delivered at every turn.

Performing before a capacity crowd at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, this was an event that allowed Beatles and rock 'n' roll lovers of all tastes to indulge in a true retreat from the troubles of today. The former Beatles drummer/singer-songwriter led his terrific band comprised of truly talented players on a magical mystery tour of not only his most beloved Fab Four hits, but rock radio staples featuring the other members of his troupe. Starr could well do shows alone, singing his wealth of Beatles and solo hits for 90 minutes and please the faithful. But over the years his All Starr Band tours have become beloved for the diversity of rock and pop sounds, good vibes and camaraderie of the musicians who are like family.

Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band performing in
Costa Mesa on October 20, 2016.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
After opening with the Carl Perkins classic "Matchbox," Starr asked "Are you ready to have some fun? Are you ready for some good music?"

So while Starr was featured on classics such as the country-styled "What Goes On" and driving rocker "I Wanna Be Your Man" (both showcasing his early work with the Beatles), as well as "It Don't Come Easy" and "Photograph" (the latter two his most enduring solo career gems, both co-penned with Beatles guitarist George Harrison), it was downright cool to see Starr behind the kit as Todd Rundgren sang his wonderful 1972 hit "I Saw the Light" (which featured some shining tandem lead guitar work from Rundgren and Toto's Steve Lukather), a grooving take on Toto's "Africa" and downright hard rocking version of that band's "Hold the Line" and several Santana classics featuring that band's singer-keyboardist Gregg Rolie. The far-flung range of classics performed added to the festive and special spirit of the night.

Starr's keen sense of humor, well-known glowing personality and love of music of all kinds was showcased, particularly during a deeply affecting performance featuring Richard Page (of Mr. Mister fame), whose 2010 original "You Are Mine" allowed the ensemble to display how masterfully they could perform a song via lush and textured layers.

Among the Starr-focused songs that impressed were a wistful "Don't Pass Me By," bona fide sing-along "Yellow Submarine," affecting "You're Sixteen," and a celebration-filled closer "With a Little Help From My Friends" that segued into a bit of John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance."

It would be criminal to not mention drummer Gregg Bissonette and multi-instrumentalist/singer Warren Ham, whose collective contributions were as important as the five featured singers on the stage. A wonderful and memorable night that celebrated not only the most beloved drummer in rock, but the enduring spirit of peace, love and good music that Starr continues to cast in an uncertain world.

Robert Kinsler

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sights and Sounds: The Zombies, Sting, The Afghan Whigs

The Zombies performing selection from 'Odessey & Oracle'
at the Saban Theatre in Southern California on Oct. 24, 2015.
Photo credit: Robert Kinsler
In 2015, singer Colin Blunstone and keyboardist-singer Rod Argent reunited with fellow surviving Zombies members Hugh Grundy (drums) and Chris White (bass, vocals) for full performances of their classic 1968 album Odessey & Oracle (check out my review of the October 2015 tour date in Beverly Hills, CA). Now comes word the legendary band will do it again for a 2017 North American tour; this news is bittersweet since the Zombies say this will be the final-ever Odessey & Oracle shows. As was the case when I caught the band at the Saban Theatre on Oct. 24, 2015, the four original band members will be joined by current members Jim Rodford (bass), Tom Toomey (guitar) and Steve Rodford (drums), who play in Blunstone and Argent's current version of the band.

There will also be an Odessey & Oracle coffee table book set to be published by BMG in March 2017. For more information on all things Zombies, visit

16-Time GRAMMY® winner Sting is set to appear at The GRAMMY Museum®  inside the Clive Davis Theater at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 for a conversation about his new album 57th & 9th. He will also give a special acoustic performance at the event. All proceeds will benefit the music education  initiatives of the GRAMMY Museum.

Presented by American Express, the evening will be moderated by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. The discussion will feature a discussion surrounding Sting's forthcoming  solo album, 57th & 9th, to be released Nov. 11 on A&M/Interscope Records (available now for pre-order at all digital retailers). The discussion will be followed by an intimate acoustic performance.

His first rock/pop project in over a decade, 57th & 9th represents a wide range of Sting’s musical and songwriting styles, from the ferocious, Road Warrior-style imagery of "Petrol Head," to the anthemic, "50,000" and the raucous, guitar-driven first single, "I Can’t Stop Thinking About You." The album was recorded with Sting's long-time collaborators Dominic Miller (guitar) and Vinnie Colaiuta (drums) and includes contributions from drummer Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, Guns 'N Roses) and guitarist Lyle Workman, with backing vocals by the San Antonio-based Tex-Mex band The Last Bandoleros. Produced by Martin Kierszenbaum, the album takes its title from the Manhattan street corner that Sting crossed each day as he walked into the studios in Hell's Kitchen where the recordings were done. Sting notes that if there’s a theme in the lyrics of 57th & 9th, it’s the idea of travel and motion, most apparent in "Inshallah" and the autobiographical "Heading South On The Great North Road."

"It's about searching and traveling, the road, that pull of the unknown." Sting says. "On this album, we ended up with something that's energetic and noisy, but also thoughtful."

On Sept. 30 Sting also released The Studio Collection, a solo career-spanning vinyl box set on 180-gram heavyweight vinyl that features all of Sting's seminal A&M solo studio albums brought together for the first time.

An Evening With Sting will begin at 8 p.m. in the Museum’s Clive Davis Theater. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $125. American Express pre-sale begins Thursday, Oct. 20 at 10:30 a.m. PST. Fan Club members can also purchase pre-sale tickets beginning Thursday, Oct. 20 at 10:30 a.m. PST (visit for details). General on sale begins Saturday, Oct. 22 at noon PST. Tickets can be purchased at and all proceeds will benefit the education initiatives of the GRAMMY Museum.

In 1996, The Afghan Whigs were fresh off the worldwide success of Gentlemen.  They had toured the world, graced magazine covers, television performances, major festivals, the works.  However, their follow up album would not be Gentlemen II. It would be a pivot and a full public display of the growth and maturity of Greg Dulli’s songwriting.
Black Love turns 20 this year, and Rhino Records along with Mute Records in the UK are celebrating with a special edition that will be available for Record Store Day Black FridayBlack Love (20th Anniversary Edition) will be released on November 25 as a double-CD ($19.98) and a triple-LP ($49.98) exclusively at indie record stores and digitally on the same day. Both include a newly remastered version of the original 11-track album, plus nine previously unreleased recordings, including demos, outtakes and studio jams.  
Released in the spring of 1996, Black Love was the Afghan Whigs’ fifth studio album overall. The music was inspired by lead singer Greg Dulli’s idea to make a film noir movie. Although the film was never made, it did help inform the album’s dark tone and fuel songs like the singles “Honky’s Ladder” and “Going To Town.” The album opener, “Crime Scene Part One” was inspired by the screenplay for “The Million Dollar Hotel,” while “Blame, Etc.” reflected on the troubled life of Temptations singer David Ruffin.
Black Love (20th Anniversary Edition) includes nine previously unreleased recordings. Among the standouts are acoustic versions of “Going To Town” called: “Go To Town” and “Crime Scene Part Two.” Also included is a demo for “Faded,” which closed the original album, as well as a solo piano cover of the New Order classic “Regret.” The unreleased material also highlights the band’s creative process with “Mick Taylor Jam” and “Wynton Kelly Jam.”
Billboard Magazine’s 1996 review of Black Love stated: “A romantic with a capital R, Afghan Whigs’ auteur Greg Dulli strives for high drama above all. With ’94’s Gentlemen, he and the Whigs produced an essay on the masochism of masculinity that explored characters and emotions with uncommon depth while still rocking intensely. Black Love is even more of an epic, with Dulli painting a gripping urban tableaux of temptation and trouble. Like the Stones on “Sticky Fingers,” the Whigs fuel their ambitions with the fire of great black music, fashioning rock’n’roll of symphonic sweep and elemental passion. An indelible work from a great band.”
Fans can look forward to new music from The Afghan Whigs in 2017. The band is currently in the studio finishing their eighth studio album, and the group’s first since 2014’s Top 40 album Do To The Beast.  The forthcoming album will be released by Sub Pop Records.

Black Love (20TH Anniversary Edition)
Track Listing:
Disc One: Original Album Remastered
  1. “Crime Scene Part One”
  2. “My Enemy”
  3. “Double Day”
  4. “Blame, Etc.”
  5. “Step Into The Light”
  6. “Going To Town”
  7. “Honky’s Ladder”
  8. “Night By Candlelight”
  9. “Bulletproof”
  10. “Summer’s Kiss”
  11. “Faded”
Disc Two: The Demos
  1. “Go To Town” – Acoustic Version/Mix*
  2. “Leaving Town” – Mix 1.0*
  3. “Faded” – Demo*
  4. “Regret”*
  5. “Crime Scene Part II” – Mix 1.1 with Scratch Vocals*
  6. “Mick Taylor Jam”*
  7. “Wynton Kelly Jam”*
  8. “I Often Think Of You”*
  9. “Staring Across The Water”*
* previously unreleased

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Vote now

Rock fans can select up to five Nominees who they think should be Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Fans can visit to cast their votes (one ballot per day) for whom they want to see inducted. Voting is open now through December 5, 2016. The top five artists from the fan vote will comprise a "fans' ballot" that will be counted along with the other ballots to determine the 2017 inductees, announced in December.

I don't mind sharing the names of the artists I voted for today:

Depeche Mode

Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

The Zombies are among the rock greats that fans
can nominate to be inducted into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame in 2017. Photo: Robert Kinsler
Pearl Jam

The Cars

The Zombies

I based my selections not only on those artists whose music I still enjoy hearing, but on artists who are influential and whose sound and style was groundbreaking.

I would put The Zombies at the top of my list since they are still going strong after more than 50 years, but I understand everyone has their favorites!

Robert Kinsler