Monday, September 30, 2019

Simple Minds 40: The Best of 1979 - 2019

One of this writer's favorite bands has a new comprehensive and well-deserved retrospective on the way this fall! Simple Minds' sound is so timeless I can't believe the band has been around for 40 years. Read my review of Simple Minds' fantastic first-ever concert in Las Vegas that I caught in October 2018. Robert Kinsler

Forthcoming Simple Minds collection celebrates 40 years of one of the most revered and successful UK bands ever



On November 1, 2019 UMe will release 40: THE BEST OF – 1979-2019, a new compilation album that covers all 40 years of legendary band Simple Minds recording career. It captures their early experimentation, cross over chart successes, right up to their new imperial phase represented by songs from 2015’s Big Music and last year’s Walk Between Worlds, which was their highest chart success in over 20 years, charting at number 4 in the UK.

Formed in the seventies, and named after a lyric – “so simple minded” – from David Bowie’s seminal 1975 single “The Jean Genie,” Simple Minds have become one of the most successful bands ever to come from the UK, selling over 60 million records worldwide, having number one singles on both sides of the Atlantic, and number one albums the world over, including five UK number one albums: Sparkle In The Rain (1984), Once Upon A Time (1985) and Street Fighting Years as well as the concert recording Live In The City Of Light (1987), and the compilation Glittering Prize 81/92.
Compiled in conjunction with the band, 40: THE BEST OF presents the very best of Simple Minds extensive catalog It is a comprehensive overview of 40 years of one of Britain's most successful bands, taking in the innovative sheen of “Promised You A Miracle” and “Glittering Prize,” the anthemic sweep of “Waterfront” and “Sanctify Yourself,” the firebrand strand of “Belfast Child” and “Mandela Day”, the colossus that is “Don't You (Forget About Me)” and “Alive & Kicking,” and bringing things right up to date with the inclusion of a new track: a cover of King Creosote’s 2014 Song, For One Night Only.
For One Night Only captures Simple Minds unique talent of taking an already fantastic song - as they did with their cover of The Call’s “Let The Day Begin” on 2015’s Big Music album - and injecting its sentiment with added urgency. The result is a clarion call to their fans the world over, which is sure to become a momentous live moment on their 2020 world tour.
The collection is a reminder of one of the most musically diverse and adventurous careers ever in British music, which saw Simple Minds record some of the most beguiling and inventive music of the post-punk period. On songs such as 1979’s “Chelsea Girls” (from the band’s debut album, Life In A Day), and “I travel, Celebrate” (1980’s Empires and Dance), “Love Song, The American” (Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call), Simple Minds set the standard for the British alternative scene.
From 1982 onwards the band produced some of their most inspiring and wide appealing work. Beginning with their 1982 classic album New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84), with several songs from the album included here, follow up album Sparkle In The Rain (“Up On The Catwalk” and “Speed Your Love to Me”), and culminating in two UK number one albums and a number one single: 1985’s “Once Upon a Time” (represented here by the aforementioned “Don’t You Forget About Me,” “Alive and Kicking” and “Sanctify Yourself”) and 1989’s “Street Fighting Years,” and the single “Belfast Child.”

Into the nineties Simple Minds continued to release albums and create gems, many of which have grown in stature amongst fans and become staples of their live set. Included here from the period are “Let There Be Love,” “See The Lights,” “She’s a River” and “War Babies.”

From left, Simple Minds guitarist Charlie Burchill, singer Sarah Brown and lead
vocalist Jim Kerr performing at the Pearl Theater in Las Vegas on Oct. 21, 2018.
Photo: Robert Kinsler
Over the past 10 years Simple Minds has rekindled the magic that made them a vital artistic force in their early days, found themselves referenced by younger artists and playing to tens of thousands of people every year, all over the world. They have been the recipient of the Q Awards Lifetime Achievement and received universal critical acclaim for their recent albums. 2015’s Big Music was described by MOJO magazine as “their best album in 30 years”, and last year’s Walk Between Worlds was acclaimed across the board and became their most successful album in over two decades, culminating in their largest US tour to date. Two songs are included from each of those albums: “Honest Town” and “Blindfolded (Big Music),” and “Sense of Discovery” and “Magic (Walk Between Worlds).”

40: THE BEST OF will be available on a 3CD deluxe edition, single CD, 2LP coloured vinyl and a 40-track digital format. It was remastered at the world-famous Abbey Road studios and has spectacular new art designed by long-time collaborator Stuart Crouch, featuring iconic symbols by Malcolm Garrett which represent the 40 years.

Love Song
I Travel
Glittering Prize
Sense of Discovery
The American
Up on The Catwalk
She's A River
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
See the Lights
Jeweller to the Stars
War Babies
Belfast Child
Promised You A Miracle
This Is Your Land
Honest Town
Glittering Prize (Acoustic)
Waterfront (Acoustic)
See the Lights (Acoustic)
Let There Be Love
New Gold Dream (81,82,83,84)
All the Things She Said
Once Upon A Time
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Chelsea Girl
Stars Will Lead the Way
For One Night Only - New Track
Theme for Great Cities
Life in A Day
Sanctify Yourself
Mandela Day
Speed Your Love to Me
Alive and Kicking

Love Song
I Travel
Glittering Prize
Sense of Discovery
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
See the Lights
Belfast Child
Promised You A Miracle
Honest Town
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Chelsea Girl
Stars Will Lead the Way
For One Night Only - New Track
Sanctify Yourself
Mandela Day
Alive and Kicking

Chelsea Girl
I Travel
Love Song
Promised You A Miracle
Glittering Prize    
Someone Somewhere in Summertime
Don't You (Forget About Me)
Alive and Kicking
Sanctify Yourself

     SIDE THREE   
Belfast Child
Mandela Day
See the Lights
Stars Will Lead the Way
Honest Town
Sense of Discovery
For One Night Only  New track

To celebrate their 40th anniversary, Simple Minds embark on an 11-month world tour in early 2020. Beginning in Europe in February, they tour the UK in April.
As they turn 40, Simple Minds legacy is something to be proud of as their story continues to evolve.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' is celebrated with essential 50th Anniversary edition

When it comes to rock and popular music, there are The Beatles and then there is everyone else. A newly-expanded deluxe edition of the Fab Four's final studio album Abbey Road is a stunning reminder of the timeless magic created by the creative collaboration between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and famed producer/"5th Beatle" George Martin throughout the 1960s. 

Artist: The Beatles
Title: Abbey Road - 50th Anniversary Edition (Capitol)
You might like if you enjoy: The Beatles, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Badfinger
Tell me more: Fifty years after its original release in the United Kingdom on September 26, 1969, The Beatles' final album Abbey Road has been released as an essential Deluxe Anniversary Edition complete with new stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos mixes. The four-disc version includes 40 essential tracks  featured on three audio CD discs and a Blu-ray disc. After getting the new edition on the day of its release, this writer immediately immersed himself in the new stereo and 5.1 surround mixes; cheers to both 2019 mix producer Giles Martin (the son of the original album's producer George Martin) and 2019 mix engineer Sam Okell for retaining the original character of the album while somehow finding a way to bring out the distinctive vocals and musical nuances of each classic song without thrusting the remastered release into "the loudness war" that has ruined a parade of recordings in recent years.

There are a slew of wonderful previously-unheard tracks; in particular, fans of George Harrison will love the intimate home demo of "Something," a freewheeling early take of his "Old Brown Shoe" and an animated alternate version of "Here Comes The Sun." 

So many of the tracks include playful bits of banter of The Beatles in the studio, often working out the songs and providing insight into their creative process and signature personalities. Listeners will hear the band on early and alternate tracks of many of their final creations, including alternative cuts of "Come Together," "Her Majesty," Maxwell's Silver Hammer" "Sun King," "Octopus's Garden" and "The End." Great stuff.

The edition's packaging is a worthy follow-up to the deluxe edition of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band released in May 2017 and the six-disc Super Deluxe edition of The White Album released in November 2018. Housed in a slip-sleeved 12-inch by 12-inch 100-page fully-illustrated hardbound book, "Abbey Road" includes a foreword penned by Sir Paul McCartney, images of handwritten lyrics, previously-unseen photos (many taken by Linda McCartney) and in-depth notes capturing the period that gave rise to the album.

Listening to Abbey Road anew is to realize that The Beatles' final hour found the group as great as ever. 


Robert Kinsler

Friday, September 27, 2019

Sights and Sounds: Grace Potter, The New Pornographers, Waylon Jennings & Merle Haggard

The 50th Anniversary deluxe reissue of The Beatles' Abbey Road is obviously grabbing lots of attention in the music universe today, but there are some other notable news items worthy of your attention too.

Make sure to check out Grace Potter's great new song "Release," just out today. The song is off her forthcoming album Daylight set for release next month...Robert Kinsler

New Grace Potter Track 'Release' Out Today 

Forthcoming album DAYLIGHT
due on October 25, 2019

Grace Potter
Photo Credit : Pamela Neal
LOS ANGELES, CA - September 27th, 2019 - Grace Potter's stark and powerful new piano ballad "Release" is available today. The new song off her forthcoming album Daylight "can only be described as holy," says ESQUIRE in a recent interview with the acclaimed singer/songwriter. Daylight, Potter's first new album in four years, is due for release via Fantasy Records on October 25th, 2019. Tickets for Potter's recently announced North American headlining tour are on-sale starting today. The tour kicks off January 8th, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina and will hit theatres in major cities nationwide. Full routing below. For ticket information, head t
An acclaimed songwriter and electrifying performer, Potter has been described by SPIN as "one of the greatest living voices in rock today." Over the course of her career, the Burlington, VT native has commanded stages around the world including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Rock in Rio and her own thriving music festival, Burlington's Grand Point North, which just celebrated its ninth year. 
The major touring throughout 2020 will support the release of DaylightProduced by her husband Eric Valentine, (Keith Urban, Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5) Daylight is a soul-inflected, deeply personal collection of songs that capture a particularly tumultuous period in her life - from the breakup of her band and a divorce - to more joyful events like a new marriage and the birth of her first child.
Grace wrote the album's 11 tracks with the help of renowned songwriter Mike Busbee (Pink, Maren Morris) who co-wrote the powerful first single "Love is Love," which PASTE asserted is "the kind of song that'll stop you dead in your tracks," "Everyday Love," and "Release." The gorgeous new track "Release" was written while Potter was in the process of moving out of her home. The song transmits a quiet sorrow but ultimately finds its resolution in a lyric supplied by Busbee ("I hope that someday/The sun will shine again/And you'll release me too").

Longtime collaborators Benny Yurco and Matt Musty contribute guitar and drums respectively with Benmont Tench and Larry Goldings on keys as well as Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig from Lucius providing background vocals.
In addition to "Love Is Love", Potter recently released another brand-new track from the album called "Back To Me," which ESQUIRE called in a feature length profile, "a triumphant soul-burner." Watch her mesmerizing 3-song acoustic performance for PASTE HERE.

Pre-order Daylight  HERE
Grace Potter - 2020 Tour Dates
January 08                  Charleston, SC @ Charleston Music Hall
January 09                  St. Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live
January 10                  Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
January 11                  Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
January 12                  Key West, FL @ Sunset Green Lawn
January 15                  Jacksonville, FL @ Florida Theatre
January 16                  Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
January 17                  Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
January 18                  Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
January 19                  Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
January 22                  Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
January 23                  McKees Rocks, PA @ Roxian Theatre
January 24                  Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
January 25                  Washington, DC @ Anthem
January 28                  New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
January 29                  Portland, ME @ State Theatre
January 30                  Albany, NY @ The Egg
January 31                  Boston, MA @ House of Blues
February 01                New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
February 04                Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue Theatre
February 05                Grand Rapids, MI @ The Intersection
February 06                Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
February 07                Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
February 08                St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
February 09                Des Moines, IA @ Hoyt Sherman Place
February 12                Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
February 13                Oklahoma City, OK @ The Jones Assembly
February 14                Houston, TX @ House of Blues
February 15                Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits Live at Moody Theater
February 18                Birmingham, AL @ Iron City
February 19                Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
February 20                St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
March 12                     Vancouver, BC Canada @ Commodore Ballroom
March 13                     Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
March 14                     Seattle, WA @ Showbox
March 15                     Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theatre
March 18                     San Diego, CA @ Observatory NorthPark
March 19                     Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre
March 20                     Stateline, NV @ MontBleu Resort Showroom
March 21                     Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
March 24                     Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
March 25                     Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
March 26                     Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
March 27                     Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
March 28                     Denver, CO @ Mission Ballroom

The New Pornographers’
In The Morse Code of Brake Lights out today via Collected Works/Concord Records

Photo credit: Ebru Yildiz
In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights, the highly anticipated new album from critically acclaimed group The New Pornographers, is out now via the band’s own Collected Work Records imprint in partnership with Concord Records.
In celebration of the album, the band is adding a number of dates to their U.S. tour, kicking off their west coast run January 30 at Seattle’s Neptune Theater. The band is also adding a second date in Washington, D.C. following their sold-out show at the 9:30 ClubSee below for a complete itinerary, tickets are available for purchase at
Most recently the band premiered the tracks “One Kind of Solomon” (Listen HERE), “The Surprise Knock” (listen HERE) and “Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile” (listen HERE and watch the Mitchell deQuilettes-directed video HERE). Upon the album’s announcement, Stereogum raved that the “power-pop all-star team are back in action” while hailing the “long-running power-pop army of melodically gifted mostly-Canadians.” SPIN praised “One Kind of Solomon” as “a chaotic arena-rock number, with heavy drums immediately reminiscent of bands like U2 and Arcade Fire. Soon enough, shimmering guitars and keyboards peak through a wall-of-sound mix mostly composed of multi-tracked drums and vocals.”
Album art and track list follow below, and the record is available for purchase HERE.
“I was about two-thirds of the way through the record when I began to notice that lyrically so much of it was pointing toward car songs,” notes Newman. “The opening track is ‘You’ll Need a Backseat Driver,’ and that was a metaphor that seemed to be running through other songs, too. Next to the love song, I feel like the car song is one of the most iconic kinds of songs in pop music, from Chuck Berry to the present. There was so much of that throughout it that I started thinking: ‘Oh, no, there’s too many references to cars on this record!’ And then I thought, ‘No, that's good—people might think it’s a concept album.’”
The New Pornographers have released seven studio albums to date including their most recent, Whiteout Conditions. The first album released on their own imprint, Collected Works Records, in partnership with Concord Records, the album received widespread acclaim and was hailed as “rich with new wave synths and closely blended harmonies” by Pitchfork, while Rolling Stone praised its “uplifting three to four minute indie-pop numbers, imbued with lush vocals.”

1. You’ll Need A Backseat Driver
2. The Surprise Knock
3. Falling Down The Stairs Of Your Smile
4. Colossus Of Rhodes
5. Higher Beams
6. Dreamlike And On The Rush
7. You Won’t Need Those Where You’re Going
8. Need Some Giants
9. Opening Ceremony
10. One Kind Of Solomon
11. Leather On The Seat
September 27
Madison, WI
Majestic Theatre
September 28
Urbana, IL
Pygmalion Music Festival
September 29
Columbia, MO
Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival
October 1
Minneapolis, MN
First Avenue
October 2
Chicago, IL
Vic Theatre
October 3
Detroit, MI
Majestic Theatre
October 5
San Francisco, CA
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
November 4
Boston, MA
November 5
Washington, DC
9:30 Club (SOLD OUT)
November 6
Washington, DC
Lincoln Theatre
November 7
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Steel
November 8
Philadelphia, PA
Union Transfer
November 10
Saxaphaw, NC
Haw River Ballroom
November 11
Asheville, NC
The Orange Peel
November 12
Atlanta, GA
Buckhead Theatre
November 14
North Adams, MA
Mass MoCA
January 30
Seattle, WA
Neptune Theatre
January 31
Portland, OR
Roseland Theater
February 3
Los Angeles, CA
The Fonda Theatre
February 4
San Diego, CA
The Observatory North Park
February 5
Phoenix, AZ
The Crescent Ballroom
February 6
Santa Fe, NM
Meow Wolf
February 8
Dallas, TX
Canton Hall
February 9
Houston, TX
White Oak Music Hall
February 10
Austin, TX
February 11
Oklahoma City, OK
Tower Theatre
February 12
Kansas City, MO
The Truman
February 13
Omaha, NE
February 15
Englewood, CO
Gothic Theatre
February 16
Salt Lake City, UT
The Depot

New West Records to release Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard performances as part of its 'Live From Austin, TX' series on November 15, 2019

Available on vinyl for the very first time 

New West Records will release two separate archival performances from Country music legends Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard as a part of its acclaimed Live From Austin, TX series on November 15th, 2019. Both live recordings were originally filmed for the legendary PBS television series Austin City Limits and will be issued on vinyl for the very first time.  The recordings have been remastered from original sources and feature liner notes from Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona.  
Waylon Jennings Live From Austin, TX ‘84 documents his first ever appearance on the legendary program, recorded in August of 1984.  The 14-song set features seven Top 10 singles, including two #1 singles, “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” and “I Ain’t Living Long Like This.”  From his liner notes to Waylon Jennings’ Live From Austin, TX ‘84, Terry Lickona states, “Looking back, why did it take ten years to finally lure Waylon Jennings to the Austin City Limits stage for his first performance? Like everything else about the man, he did things his own way - when he was damn good and ready.”
Waylon Jennings Live From Austin, TX ‘84 will be released on 180g Standard Black Vinyl, 150g Blue Splatter Colored Vinyl Limited to 500 copies available at Independent Retail, and Limited 150g ‘“Outlaw Swirl” Colored Vinyl available exclusively from Vinyl Me Please.  Waylon Jennings Live From Austin, TX '84 is available for Pre-Order Now Via New West Records
Merle Haggard Live From Austin, TX ‘78 also documents his very first Austin City Limits performance, recorded in January of 1978.  The 14-song set features five #1 Country singles including “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive,” “Sing Me back Home,” “Cherokee Maiden,” “Farmer’s Daughter,” and “Workin’ Man’s Blues.”  It also features classic Bob Wills songs with Merle on fiddle. 
From his liner notes to Merle Haggard Live From Austin, TX ‘78, Lickona offers, “When he stepped onto the Austin City Limits stage for the very first time on that brisk January day in 1978, Merle Haggard was at the top of his game. It had been over a decade since his first national hit, ‘Sing A Sad Song,’ and not that long after ‘Okie from Muskogee’ had firmly planted his music in the public consciousness. He had already been declared ‘Entertainer of the Year’ by both the Country Music Awards and Academy of Country Music – in the same year (1970). He had just released A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (Or My Salute to Bob Wills), which sparked a revival of interest in western swing. And with his band, The Strangers, it’s no stretch to say that he had the best live show in country music of his day.”
Merle Haggard Live From Austin, TX ‘78 will be released on 180g Standard Black Vinyl, 150g Red Splatter Colored Vinyl Limited to 500 copies available at Independent Retail, and Limited 150g “Orange Blossom” Colored Vinyl available exclusively from Vinyl Me Please.  Merle Haggard Live From Austin, TX '78 is available for Pre-Order Now Via New West Records
The Austin City Limits archives hold more than 400 concerts, many of them one-of-a-kind performances of rare television appearances by some of the world’s most acclaimed artists. In Addition to DVDs, separate live, audio-only CDs are also available for many of the performances.  New West Records’ Live From Austin, TX series, presenting more than 50 critically acclaimed titles and multiple Gold and Platinum-certified releases, continues its impressive run. Previous releases include Merle Haggard, Jerry Lee Lewis, R.E.M., Steve Earle, Guided By Voices, Widespread Panic, Dwight Yoakam, Fats Domino and many more. 
Waylon Jennings Live From Austin, TX ‘84 Track Listing 
1. Are You Ready For The Country
2. Clyde
3. I Can Get Off On You
4. People Up In Texas
5. It's Not Supposed To Be That Way
6. Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand
7. You Asked Me To
8. Dreaming My Dreams With You
9. Good Hearted Woman
10. I May Be Used (But Baby I Ain't Used Up)
11. Let’s Turn Back The Years
12. Honky Tonk Heroes
13. I Ain't Living Long Like This
14. I've Always Been Crazy

Merle Haggard Live From Austin, TX ‘78 Track Listing 
1. Working Man Can’t Get Nowhere Today 
2. Silver Wings 
3. I’m A Lonesome Fugitive 
4. Sing Me Back Home 
5. Orange Blossom Special 
6. Old-Fashioned Love 
7. Brain Cloudy Blues 
8. Ramblin’ Fever 
9. Long Black Limousine 
10. Cherokee Maiden 
11. San Antonio Rose 
12. Misery 
13. The Farmers Daughter 
14. Workin’ Man Blues