Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Legendary artists, newcomers profiled on new releases

A career-celebrating multi-format title from British hard rock troupe Def Leppard, an EP of rediscovered early tracks from Northern Ireland's Two Door Cinema Club and the adventuresome debut from New York trio VickiKristinaBarcelona are available now. 

Artist: Def Leppard
Title: London to Vegas (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
You might like if you enjoy: Def Leppard, Queen
Tell me more: Those who pick up Def Leppard's latest release will see the band in not one but two full-length performances. The first performance, "Hysteria At The O2," finds the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers celebrating their 1987 album Hysteria with a concert set revisiting that multi-platinum album from start to finish before a hometown crowd in London in December 2018. To be sure this is an important outing for the quintet, and the members of Def Leppard (singer Joe Elliott, guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell, bassist Rick "Sav" Savage and drummer Rick Allen) offer up powerful arena rock-ready takes of classics including "Love Bites," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," "Animal," "Gods of War" and the rest of Hysteria before delving into other moments in their history for choice cuts including the set-ending "Let's Get Rocked," "Rock of Ages" and "Photograph." 

Def Leppard performs a mini-acoustic set during the 'Hits Vegas'
performance. Photo credit: Kevin Nixon
The second performance "Hits Vegas"  filmed at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood a few months after the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019  features a far-flung set offering some choice deep cuts from the band. The hard-rocking "Die Hard The Hunter," harmonies-drenched "Too Late for Love," ambitious "Billy's Got a Gun" (bolstered by the tandem lead guitar work of Collen and Campbell) and "Paper Sun" as well as the acoustic-styled "Let Me Be The One" and "We Belong" are delivered with power and perfection. The hits are here as well, including terrific runs through "Foolin'," "Bringin' On The Heartbreak," "Rocket," "Action" and "Armageddon It." Bonus features include interviews with all five members of the band discussing the legacy of Hysteria and preparing for the concert events in London and Las Vegas. "London to Vegas" is available as a deluxe 2Blu-ray+4CD, 2DVD+4CD, and via digital formats. Information: eagle-rock.com.

Artist: Two Door Cinema Club
Title: Lost Songs (Found) / (Glassnote Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Two Door Cinema Club
Tell me more: Followers of Two Door Cinema Club are in luck. The acclaimed Northern Ireland-based outfit has released Lost Songs (Found), a seven-track EP of rarities and B-sides pulled from the band's early days. The gem here is "Tiptoes," a lost demo originally intended to be featured on the band's groundbreaking debut LP Tourist History released in early 2010. That mesmerizing cut features a hypnotic guitar line that soon offers the perfect counterpoint with Alex Trimble's soaring lead vocals capped by an explosive chorus. Other alluring tracks include the explosive opener "Not In This Town," luxuriant "19," anthemic "Impatience is a Virtue" and the dance-minded original demo of "Something Good Can Work." Information: TwoDoorCinemaClub.com.

Artist: VickiKristinaBarcelona
Title: Pawn Shop Radio (Storysound Records)
You might like if you enjoy: Tom Waits, Emmylou Harris, world music
Tell me more: An eclectic parade of sounds is displayed across Pawn Shop Radio, the debut release from New York-spawned VickiKristinaBarcelona featuring Rachelle Garniez, Amanda Homi and Terry Radigan. The talented singer-songwriters/multi-instrumentalists join forces here as they cover a full selection of Tom Waits songs on a musical mission sure to please discerning listeners. Armed with their stellar and sharp vocal harmonies, enthralling arrangements and the use of a diverse cadre of instruments (including banjo, accordion, harmonium, coconuts, and bottles), the results here are glorious. Defying convention at every turn works in favor of VickiKristinaBarcelona. The '60s girl group stylings of "Cold Cold Ground," Memphis soul-tinged "Way Down in the Hole," rousing Cajun celebration "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and Delta blues-meets-bluegrass "Gun Street Girl" are among the standouts on the rich collection. The trio earns all kinds of kudos for Pawn Shop Radio and their ability to blend the wide range of styles together into an inviting mix. Information: vkbband.com.

Robert Kinsler

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