Monday, June 24, 2019

Legends take center stage via new releases

Rock music is alive and well. Look no further than a handful of inspired and notable new titles that should be a part of any discerning fan's music library. 

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Title: Bridges To Bremen (Eagle Vision)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones
Tell me more: With the Rolling Stones having just embarked on their highly-anticipated "No Filter Tour" (which arrives in Southern California in late August), fans might want to catch up on the British band's legacy and unequaled discography via the newly-released Bridges to Bremen. Available on digital, DVD + 2CD, Blu-ray + 2CD, triple vinyl and digital audio, the multi-format release chronicles the band's Sept. 2, 1998 performance in Bremen, Germany. Performing before a relatively-intimate crowd of 40,000 fans, the Stones' 155-minute concert was filled with favorites and rarities all offered up with persuasion and firepower. Dipping back to their early '60s to get the concert started, "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Let's Spend The Night Together" provide a one-two punch. "Gimme Shelter" features some of Mick Jagger's strongest vocals of the set, and that turn is enhanced by Lisa Fisher's high-reaching vocals. Standouts keep comin. A rocking "Paint It Black," freewheeling "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)," heady "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and celebrative "Brown Sugar" are among the cuts that help make this title something special. As if that wasn't enough, there are four bonus performances from a concert in Chicago as part of that same tour  great versions of "Rock and a Hard Place," "Under My Thumb," "All About You" and "Let It Bleed." Information:

Artist: The Alarm
Title: Sigma (Twenty First Century Recording Company)
You might like if you enjoy: The Alarm, U2, Simple Minds
Tell me more: Singer-songwriter/guitarist Mike Peter has returned with yet another fantastic album. The Alarm's stellar Sigma (set for release on June 28) bristles, soars and flat out rocks with a collection of heartfelt and infectious originals that equal the band's best efforts from the '80s and '90s. "Blood Red Viral Black" finds the Alarm joined by legendary Cult lead guitarist Billy Duffy for a fiery opening. The U2-flavored "Brighter Than The Sun" finds Peter's incredible voice offering up the probing verses in a low baritone; the dramatic choruses are marked by his voice lifting to the heavens with power and fervency. The mid tempo and introspective "Time" is one of the album's standouts with Peters powerfully noting our time here is short and it's best to make each moment count. Original Alarm lead guitarist Dave Sharp returns for a earnest plea for world peace via the luxurious Equals. The album closes out with a reprise of the gorgeous "Two Rivers," the track that launched 2018's fantastic Equals (which was the Alarm's first new album in eight years). If you have lost touch with the Alarm or simply need an introduction to the troupe, listen to both Sigma and Equals, and make plans to catch the band when they tour the U.S. this summer. Information:

Artist: Collective Soul
Title: Blood (Fuzze-Flex Records/ADA)
You might like if you enjoy: Collective Soul, Gin Blossoms, Blur
Tell me more: Twenty five years after their humble beginnings in Stockbridge, Georgia, modern rockers Collective Soul are back with their latest disc, the aptly-titled Blood. The spirited anthem "Right As Rain," heavy rocker "Crushed" and evocative "Them Blues" (the latter which recalls some of Queen's genre-bending gems) confirm that singer-songwriter E Roland's instincts are as sharp as ever. Fans of the band's timeless hits (including "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and "Run") will be thrilled with plenty of other new tracks splashed across Blood such as the modern Southern rocker "Now's The Time," tuneful "Good Place to Start" and gentle "Porch Swing" that propel this terrific LP from start to finish. Catch Collective Soul on their U.S. tour this summer. Information:

Artist: Peter Frampton Band
Title: All Blues (UMe)
You might like if you enjoy: Humble Pie, Kim Wilson, Peter Frampton
Tell me more: When it was revealed earlier this year that Peter Frampton had been diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis (a progressive autoimmune disease that is marked by muscle inflammation, weakness and atrophy), the music community was unified in its concern about one of rock's most beloved heroes. The good news is that Frampton, now 69, is still strong enough to play guitar and recently embarked on an ambitious farewell tour that will run through October 2019. Frampton  a gifted singer and lead guitarist  has also issued his tribute to the blues via an outstanding 10-track disc (All Blues) that features some great guests as well. The authenticity and artistic touch of Frampton comes through in all of the tracks on this special set; there are well-known classics ("I Just Want To Make Love To You" featuring harmonica virtuoso Kim Wilson, the B.B. King signature track "The Thrill Is Gone" bolstered by Sonny Landreth's slide guitar) and under-the-radar nuggets (the sassy "She Caught the Katy," the Chicago blues-styled "Going Down Slow" featuring Deep Purple guitarist Steve Morse, and winning talk box-adorned "I'm a King Bee"). It's no wonder that All Blues debuted atop Billboard's Top Blues Albums Chart earlier this month. Information:

Artist: Travis
Title: Live at Glastonbury '99 (Craft Recordings)
You might like if you enjoy: Elbow, Snow Patrol, Oasis
Tell me more: Two decades may seem like a lifetime when measured in musical years but the release of Travis' Live at Glastonbury '99 showcases just how timeless and relevant the Scottish band's sound remains in 2019. When singer-songwriter Fran Healy, guitarist Andy Dunlop, drummer Neil Primrose and bassist Dougie Payne took to the so-called Other Stage at the Glastonbury festival in June 1999, they were relatively unknown and their career-defining album The Man Who had only been available in music stores for a month. The weather at the festival had been glorious, but that all changed When Travis launched into their original song "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?"  the skies opened up and the thrilled crowd was doused. Travis' legendary 16-song performance at Glastonbury has been released and it's a journey back in time more than worth the wait. The band's performance was powerful, with melodic and compelling material delivered with a master's touch. The edgy "Blue Flashing Light," melancholy-drenched "Writing to Reach You" and "Driftwood," glorious "Why Does It Always Rain on Me?" and driving closer "Happy" all resonate with the obvious sway they did during that fabled show back in 1999.  Information:

Robert Kinsler

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