Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Morrissey unveils momentous collection of 1960s/70s classic covers; 'California Son' out May 24 on Etienne Records/BMG

Morrissey's next project sounds interesting to be sure!

The Britpop icon’s latest will include performances with members of Green DayThe RegrettesGrizzly BearYoung the GiantLP and more for the 12-song effort
Morrissey teases monumental collection with first track out today, the Roy Orbison classic “It’s Over” -- LISTEN HERE

Morrissey has returned, and he’s singing songs that made you cry and songs that saved your life. After last year’s “heartfelt” (Rolling Stone) cover of Pretenders “Back on the Chain Gang” gave fans a taste of what was to come, Morrissey is releasing a highly-anticipated covers album California Son May 24, 2019 on BMG.
California Son traverses the sonic landscape of the 60s & 70s, covering untouchable luminaries like Joni MitchellDionne Warwick, and Bob Dylan while also delving into more obscure musicians of the time, such as early gay icon Jobriath and political activist Phil Ochs. Paying equal tribute to the marginalized stars as he does household names—and taking on these covers with modern alt-rock royalty guests including Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day)Ed Droste (Grizzly Bear), Sameer Gadhia (Young the Giant), and LP — the record serves as a bridge between space, time, and rock music’s past, present, and future. 
In line with a career marked by environmental advocacy and a groundbreaking soundscape of jangly alt-rock melancholia, we see Morrissey playing to his strengths while pushing his sonic limits. The U.K. rocker conjures bombastic stadium anthems ( “Lady Willpower”), messages of environmentalist activism (“Days of Decision”), trip-hop psychedelia (“When You Close Your Eyes” with Petra Haden), and even dives into surf rock on the first track “It’s Over”, a heartbreaking cover of “The Caruso of Rock” Roy Orbison that interpolates church bells, castanets, and operatic vocals amid a sea of reverberated guitar accompanied by stirring operatic vocals courtesy of LP. The record, in short, showcases Morrissey doing what he has done best since his Smiths days: delivering harsh truths with a charming genteel.

"We love MorrisseyMorrissey's hair, and melancholy and poetic lyrics always reminded me of my dad. His version of “It’s Over” is great."  - Roy Orbison, Jr.

“When I would think of Morrissey and his music it was always with great respect and appreciation as I’m sure is the case with many of his fans. However, I soon realized when I hung out with him and he played me all the songs he was putting on this record that behind this was the heart of an audiophile and a deep fan of his own musical heroes. He is well versed in so many genres and knows deep cuts of artists I thought I knew so much about. It is inspiring to see the enthusiasm and intellect he brings to people through his own musical journey." – LP
1. Morning Starship (Jobriath) with Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear
2. Don’t Interrupt The Sorrow (Joni Mitchell) with Ariel Engle of Broken Social Scene
3. Only a Pawn In Their Game (Bob Dylan) with Petra Haden
4. Suffer the Little Children (Buffy St Marie) 
5. Days of Decision (Phil Ochs) with Sameer Gadhia of Young The Giant
6. It’s Over (Roy Orbison) with LP
7. Wedding Bell Blues (The Fifth Dimension) with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day & Lydia Night of The Regrettes
8. Loneliness Remembers What Happiness Forgets (Dionne Warwick)
9. Lady Willpower (Gary Puckett)
10. When You Close Your Eyes (Carly Simon) with Petra Haden
11. Lenny’s Tune (Tim Hardin)
12. Some Say I Got Devil (Melanie)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Todd Rundgren's Utopia 'Live At The Chicago Theatre' coming April 5, 2019

Exciting news for fans of Todd Rundgren and his early '70s-spawned group Utopia. The media release just landed in my inbox and is shared below...

Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre Blu-Ray/DVD/2 CD set available on April 5, 2019      

Todd Rundgren's seminal prog-rock, power-pop band Utopia reunites onstage for the first time in 32 years!      



After a thirty-year-plus hiatus, Todd Rundgren's Utopia graced the Chicago Theatre stage, with the hopes of promising fans an extraordinary, other-worldly concert experience. The original 70's-formed band established a stellar reputation for stretching the prog rock/pop envelope and infusing their mostly original material with verve and state-of-the-art technique. On this occasion the band featured Todd Rundgren, Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and Gil Assayas.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Todd Rundgren began playing guitar as a teenager, going on to found and front Nazz, the quintessential 1960's psychedelic group. In 1969, he left the band to pursue a solo career, recording his debut offering, Runt. But it was 1972's seminal Something/Anything?, on which he played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts, and acted as his own producer, that catapulted Todd into the superstar limelight, prompting the press to unanimously dub him 'Rock's New Wunderkind'. It was followed by such landmark LPs as A Wizard, A True Star and The Hermit of Mink Hollow, as well as such hit singles as “I Saw The Light, “Hello It's Me,” “Can We Still Be Friends,” and “Bang The Drum.”

Rundgren has performed a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of the band Utopia. He is known for his sophisticated and often-unorthodox music, flamboyant stage outfits, and his later experiments with interactive entertainment. He also produced innovative music videos, pioneered forms of multimedia, and was an early adopter and promoter of various computer technologies.

This beautiful deluxe 4 disc digipack includes a Blu-Ray, DVD and 2 CDs. Look for the vinyl companion to be released in a gatefold jacket with 2 GREEN LPs on April 19.

Track Listing

  1. Utopia Theme
  2. The Ikon
  3. Another Life
  4. Do Ya
  5. Freedom Fighters
  6. The Wheel
  7. Back on the Street
  8. Something's Coming
  9. Monument
  10. Overture Communion with the Sun
  11. Last of the New Wave Riders
  12. Road To Utopia

  13. Play This Game
  14. Swing to the Right
  15. Trapped
  16. Set Me Free
  17. Love In Action
  18. Hammer In My Heart
  19. Princess of the Universe
  20. I Will Wait
  21. Rock Love
  22. Love is the Answer
  23. One World
  24. Just One Victory

Original Release Date: April 5, 2019

To pre-order Todd Rundgren's Utopia Live At The Chicago Theatre: https://www.amazon.com/Live-Chicago-Theatre-2CD-Blu-ray/dp/B07MTJMFFM

Todd Rundgren's new book The Individualist: digressions, dreams and dissertations is available at:


April 3 - Paradiso - Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 6 - Eventim Apollo - London, UK
April 10 - Buckhead Theatre - Atlanta, GA
April 11 - Buckhead Theatre - Atlanta, GA
April 13 - State Theatre - Washington, DC
April 14 - State Theatre - Washington, DC
April 16 - Town Hall - New York, NY
April 17 - Town Hall - New York, NY
April 19 - Berklee Performance Center - Boston, MA
April 20 - Berklee Performance Center - Boston, MA
April 23 - Athenaeum Theatre - Chicago, IL
April 24 - Athenaeum Theatre - Chicago, IL
April 27 - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON
April 28 - Danforth Music Hall - Toronto, ON
May 01 - Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA
May 02 - Fillmore - Philadelphia, PA
May 05 - Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square - Cleveland, OH
May 06 - Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square - Cleveland, OH
May 09 - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA
May 10 - The Wiltern - Los Angeles, CA
May 12 - Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, CA
May 13 - Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco, CA
May 22 - Sumida Triphony Hall - Tokyo, Japan
May 23 - NHK Hall - Osaka, Japan

SoCal Spring Music Fest Preview

Inventive and rousing art installations are always a part of
Coachella. Photo: Robert Kinsler
Over the next few months music lovers have a wonderful choice of highly-anticipated festivals coming to Southern California including Coachella, Stagecoach, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Doheny Blues Festival and more.

Here is a roundup of recommended events worth attending this spring and summer.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - The most influential and groundbreaking music festival in North America, Coachella returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio the weekends of April 12-14 and 19-21, 2019. This year's Coachellafest is one of the most interesting in memory with the far-flung likes of Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala, R&B-meets-pop singer Ariana Grande, alt rockers Weezer, soul-funk singer Janelle MonĂ¡e, English rock troupe the 1975, country music songstress Kacey Musgraves and many more artists on the bill. And the inclusion of a wide variety of creative and larger-than-life art exhibitions is always part of the magic of going to Coachella. This writer has attended Coachella a dozen times and the event always offers an incredible experience. Information: coachella.com.

Dusk at Coachella. Photo: Robert Kinsler

Jason Aldean performing in Irvine,
CA, in 2012. Photo: Kelly A. Swift

Stagecoach - California's biggest (and best) Country music festival returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio the weekend of April 26-28, 2019. Mainstream country favorites Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean are the official headliners but don't be surprised if Southern Rock greats Lynyrd Skynyrd draw an equally-strong reception when they tear down the event ("Free Bird"!) on Saturday night. Other notables on the three-day bill include acclaimed singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe, Cole Swindell, songstress Cam (who impressed at the NAMM Show in Anaheim earlier this year), emerging greats the Wild Feathers and genre-defying singer Tom Jones. Information: StagecoachFestival.com.

Like Totally Festival - Those looking to attend a festival weighted heavily on the sounds of New Wave, power pop, New Romantic and early alternative rock can head to Huntington Beach for the aptly-titled Like Totally Festival. Setting up on the shores of Surf City from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, the one-day event will featuring a stellar lineup of '80s faves including the Bangles, the Smithereens, and Public Image LTD. Other notables on the bill include ABC, the Romantics, the Greg Kihn Band and Kim Wilde. Information: LikeTotallyFestival.com.

Guitarist Jim Babjak and drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens
will bring their timeless brand of rock to the Like Totally Festival
on Saturday, May 11. Photo: Bob Steshetz
Vintage Trouble is set to perform
at the Joshua Tree Music Festival
and at Doheny Blues Festival.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Joshua Tree Music Festival - The 17th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival will host a diverse lineup including Los Angeles-spawned rock 'n' soul modern day heroes Vintage Trouble, trance dance act My Baby, synth-soul's Night Glitter and local faves Desert Rhythm Project are among the musical greats bound for the Joshua Tree Music Festival, May 16-19. The four-day event is a family friendly-minded festival coming to the Mojave Desert and is being held at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground located in Joshua Tree. Information: JoshuaTreeMusicFestival.com.

Brandon "Taz" Niederauer will
perform at Doheny Blues Fest.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Doheny Blues Festival - Returning to beautiful Sea Terrace Park in the coastal community of Dana Point is one of the state's best live music events; Doheny Blues Festival will be held the weekend of May 18-19.  I've been attending the Doheny Blues Fest since the inaugural event was held in 1998. The lineup for the 2019 event is terrific. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals headline on Saturday, May 18 while Jonny Lang closes out the action on Sunday, May 19. The wide-ranging lineup includes Taj Mahal, the Robert Cray Band, Vintage Trouble, North Mississippi AllStars and British blues icon John Mayall. It's not an exaggeration to say that 15-year-old singer-guitar virtuoso Brandon "Taz" Niederauer is one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists this writer has ever seen. Still in his mid-teens, he is the equal of many of the genre's greatest-ever names and should not be missed. Information: DohenyBluesFestival.com.

Robert Kinsler

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Peter Tork Remembered

Micky Dolenz, left, and Peter Tork at the Pantages Theatre in
September 2016.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
The Monkees, from left, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz,
Davy Jones and Peter Tork.
I was so saddened to learn of the passing of Peter Tork earlier today. I have seen him perform several times over the years with the Monkees, most recently at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, CA in September of 2016. You can read my review of that concert event here.

Perhaps my favorite Monkees concert was catching Tork and company (including the late Davy Jones) at the legendary Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in July 2011. Read my review of that concert event here

Tork was only 77 at the time of his death. I know he had battled cancer about 10 years ago, but he continued to perform and was always a key part of the Monkees' performances with his virtuoso skills on several instruments including keyboards and banjo. 

You can read a wonderful tribute to the musician/actor here.

Peter Tork, left, with Micky Dolenz on July 16, 2011.

Robert Kinsler

From left, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork and Davy Jones perform at the Greek Theatre on July 16, 2011.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Johnny Marr sets new North American Tour dates this spring

Johnny Marr delivered an amazing concert at the Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles in October 2018. Read my review here. If you have not caught him in concert (or have), you know you need to get to one of his upcoming tour dates...

Johnny Marr announces North American Tour

Dates set for April and May of 2019

Smiths’ guitar legend Johnny Marr, winner of British GQ's 2018 "Man Of The Year" Lifetime Achievement Award and NME’s “God-Like Genius” award has announced he is returning to North America in the spring. The extensive coast-to-coast run includes Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit, Denver and more. Tickets are on-sale at JohnnyMarr.com and a full list of dates is below.

Last year, Marr released the critically acclaimed album Call The Comet. Recorded with his band in Manchester at Marr’s Crazy Face Factory, Call The Comet follows his previous UK Top 10 albums The Messenger (2013) and Playland (2014). Says Marr: "Call The Comet is my own magic realism. It’s set in the not-too-distant future and is mostly concerned with the idea of an alternative society. The characters in the songs are searching for a new idealism, although there are some personal songs in there too. It’s something that people like me can relate to.”
Praise for Johnny Marr’s live show:

His gruffer, but by no means unrefined, vocals lend fresh flavour to the Smiths tracks he drops intermittently into the set; his fired-up “Bigmouth”, stabbed through with trademark arpeggios, seems designed to remind us that the Smiths were as much gobby post-punk rabble as they were foppish ego cult, while “The Headmaster Ritual” could be Daytripper-era Beatles with switchblades up their blazer sleeves.” (4 Stars)
- The Guardian

Marr (was) showcasing his great new album which somehow manages to combine those perfect Marr-lodies with a whiff of early eighties post-punk melancholy but also nods to that patented chiming guitar sound that he trademarked in the Smiths. The new album is his finest solo offering yet and the gig was a celebration of this and his own back pages...a perfect example of how seamlessly it all fits together into a continuous career whole in a sweatshod celebration of a decades long quest of guitar pop brilliance.”
- Louder Than War

“...the songs themselves sounded urgent and engaged. Guitar solos
emerged with power and clarity within songs.”
- The Financial Times

04/27 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
04/28 - Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
04/29 - Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
05/01 - Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theater
05/03 - Providence, RI @ Fete Music Hall
05/04 - New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
05/06 - Huntington, NY @ The Paramount
05/07 - South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Ballroom
05/08 - Portland, ME @ Aura
05/10 - London, ON @ London Music Hall
05/11 - Detroit, MI @ Saint Andrews Hall
05/13 - Chicago, IL @ The Vic Theatre
05/14 - Milwaukee, WI @ The . Pabst Theater
05/15 - Kansas City, MO @ Voodoo Lounge at Harrah's
05/16 - Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre
05/18 - Las Vegas @ Brooklyn Bowl
05/19 - Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
05/20 - San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
05/21 - Los Angeles, CA @ John Anson Ford Ampitheatre
Watch the video for “The Tracers” HERE.
Watch the video for “Hi Hello” HERE.
Watch the video for "Sprial Cities" HERE.
Johnny spoke with Rolling Stone about Call The Comet HERE.
Order Call The Comet HERE.
Connect with Johnny Marr

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Indie Heroes Roundup: R. Stevie Moore, Gurf Morlix, Marley's Ghost, Rogers & Butler

Beyond the reach of the Billboard 200 charts are a wide range of wonderful releases worth discovering by discerning music lovers.

Artist: R. Stevie Moore
Title: Afterlife (Bar/None Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Beck, The Kinks, Brian Wilson
Tell me more: Indie hero R. Stevie Moore has followed up his stellar 2017 LP Make It Be (collaboration with acclaimed singer-songwriter/guitarist/producer Jason Falkner) with the fantastic Afterlife. The new album is a freewheeling affair that finds the Nashville-based DIY artist exploring all of the corners of his peerless pallet including power pop, lo-fi rock, post-punk, spoken word and alternative folk. The snappy "Come My Way" finds Moore joining forces again with Falkner for a Kinks-flavored rocker bolstered by Ariel Pink's lead vocals. The exuberant folk nugget "The Winner," tuneful rocker "What Should I Do With The Rest Of My Life?" art damage foray "Another Day Slips Away" and baroque rock entry "Love Is The Way To My Heart" are among the exceptional cuts on the outstanding album. The original material on "Afterlife" is weighted in favor of some of Moore's favorite recordings made over the past 15 years; the artist has now re-recorded them with producer Irwin Chusid to give them a more fully-produced studio sound. Information: RStevieMoore.com.

Artist: Gurf Morlix
Title: Impossible Blue (Rootball Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Sonny Landreth, Mark Knopfler, Billy F Gibbons
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/guitar great Gurf Morlix has that rare gift of letting his songs breathe. Like Mark Knopfler and Nils Lofgren, Morlix is able to use virtuoso guitar work in the service of authentic and fully-original songcraft. On the Austin, Texas-based artist's new album Impossible Blue all nine terrific songs rooted in amidst Texas blues and American roots music expand beyond the mere boundaries of any genre markers thanks to lyrical lines and articulated tales that draw the listener into each track. All the more impressive is that Impossible Blue was produced, engineered and mixed by Morlix! The range of material extends from the lovely "2 Hearts Beating in Time" and blues-mining "Spinnin' Planet Blues" to the wry "Sliver of Light" and moodscape of complete loss painted in "Bottom of the Musquash River." The album closes out with "Backbeat of the Dispossessed," a poignant tribute to Morlix's late life-long friend and band mate, drummer Michael Bannister; that song  like the others on this great album  unfolds like an intimate conversation and the perfect listen.  Information: GurfMorlix.com.

Artist: Marley's Ghost
Title: Travelin' Shoes (Sage Arts)
You might like if you enjoy: Greensky Bluegrass, Old Crow Medicine Show
Tell me more: The joyful and rousing spirit that shines across Marley's Ghost's new album Travelin' Shoes is palpable, with the six-member West Coast ensemble's stellar musicianship and incredible vocal harmonies impressing across the 12-track disc. On this set Marley's Ghost revisits a number of traditional gospel-flavored selections, making each classic their own. The Louisiana-styled take on "Run Come See Jerusalem," undeniable sing-along "When Trouble's In My Home" and "A Beautiful Life," and reflective heaven-looking "Sweet Hour Of Prayer" reflect Marley's Ghost's ability to fuse a number of authentic styles into their buoyant and exuberant approach. Information: MarleysGhost.com.

Artist: Rogers & Butler
Title: Diana Dors (ZIP Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Kinks, Shoes
Tell me more: The debut disc from Ed Rogers and Steve Butler (the four-song EP Diana Dors) is sure to appeal to lovers of melodic rock and power pop. With their top-tier songwriting talents, convincing tandem lead vocals and excellent musical support of a great group of players including drummer Dennis Diken (The Smithereens) and bassist Sal Maida (Roxy Music, Sparks) the disc proves to be a solid introduction to Rogers & Butler. The infectious "Diana Dors," instantly-catchy "Possibilities and "Seven Hour Man" and folk-oriented "Witness Tree" make an excellent case for a future full-length LP from the New York City-based Rogers & Butler. Information: ziprecords.com.

Robert Kinsler

Friday, February 15, 2019

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers unreleased song "For Real" debuts today

A new Tom Petty song can be heard now. Read on...




For Real,” another previously unreleased song from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, is debuting today. Throughout his storied career, Petty did everything with authenticity—putting the music and his fans first. It is this sentiment that Petty sings about in the poignant and autobiographical song “For Real.”

Listen to/share “For Real” HERE

“For Real” is featured on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: The Best Of Everything, due March 1 via Geffen Records/UMe as a supplement to last year’s critically lauded, career-spanning box set An American TreasureThe Best Of Everything was born from Petty’s long-term desire to release what he believed to be his greatest hits and strongest material across his four decades of songwriting.  

Petty’s family and band-mates rallied together once again to fulfill his dream. Rather than chronological order, the special cross-label collection was sequenced as a hard-hitting playlist giving the entire catalog equal prominence, including songs from his solo projects, songs with world-class musicians The Heartbreakers, as well as essentials from the reformed Mudcrutch. Pre-order is available HERE.

The Best Of Everything will be released simultaneously as a 2-disc CD featuring deluxe packaging, LP editions in bothblack and clear vinyl, and in all digital formats. The 38-track set also includes an additional previously unreleased song: an alternate version of the title track, which restores a never-before heard second verse to the song that was originally recorded for the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ 1985 album, Southern Accents. Listen/share “The Best of Everything (alternate version)” HERE.

The set also features an essay on Petty written especially for this collection by his close friend, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, director, author and journalist Cameron Crowe.

All recordings on The Best Of Everything are newly mastered from the original stereo master tapes and digital files by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, with supervision by Ryan Ulyate.

Moreover, Petty’s solo album Full Moon Fever has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The album is 5x platinum in the U.S., 6x platinum in Canada and celebrates its 30th anniversary this April. Full Moon Fever features “Free Fallin’,” “I Won’t Back Down” and “Runnin’ Down A Dream,” all of which are on The Best Of Everything.


Disc 1
1.  Free Fallin’
2.  Mary Jane’s Last Dance          
3.  You Wreck Me          
4.  I Won’t Back Down  
5.  Saving Grace
6.  You Don’t Know How It Feels
7.  Don’t Do Me Like That            
8.  Listen To Her Heart 
9.  Breakdown 
10.  Walls (Circus)          
11.  The Waiting
12.  Don’t Come Around Here No More
13.  Southern Accents  
14.  Angel Dream (No. 2)             
15.  Dreamville
16.  I Should Have Known It       
17.  Refugee    
18.  American Girl          
19.  The Best Of Everything (Alt. Version)

Disc 2
1.  Wildflowers
2.  Learning To Fly
3.  Here Comes My Girl
4.  The Last DJ
5.  I Need To Know
6.  Scare Easy
7.  You Got Lucky
8.  Runnin’ Down A Dream
9.  American Dream Plan B
10.  Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (feat. Stevie Nicks)
11.  Trailer
12.  Into The Great Wide Open
13.  Room At The Top
14.  Square One
15.  Jammin’ Me
16.  Even The Losers
17.  Hungry No More
18.  I Forgive It All
19.  For Real