Tuesday, February 28, 2023

The Alarm forges 'Forwards' with brand new album on June 2, 2023

Great news that there will be more music from Mike Peters and The Alarm in early June 2023!...Robert Kinsler

Mike Peters of The Alarm

The Alarm performing at The Gathering. Photo credit: Stuart Ling

Forges Forwards With New Album
Out June 2, Title Track and Video Out TODAY
THE ALARM "Forwards"
Link:  https://youtu.be/T71c6IG1gpo

FEBRUARY 28, 2023 (Wales, UK) – THE ALARM’s Mike Peters is returning to life after a year dominated by pneumonia and a serious leukemia relapse, announcing a triumphant new album, Forwards, out June 2, 2023 and a video for the title track, out today. 

“I literally took my guitar into [the] hospital with me,” says Peters. “I was on the ward for such a long time, I started writing these songs in between IV sessions and the first people to hear the music were the very people who were trying to keep me alive.”

In between hospitalization periods, Peters took the band into the recording studio with producer George Williams (Babyshambles, Coloursøund) and—although barely able to speak due to the debilitating effects of chronic illness—he was able to focus the sessions on creating the music for ten new, life affirming Alarm songs.

“I’ve been to places only deep suffering can take the human spirit and, in the darkness, I clung onto every piece of light I could find to work my way back to life. This was the energy that drove me to write and record Forwards.

Forwards is alive with melody and invention and destined to contend for a top place amongst The Alarm’s extensive discography, one that boasts over 17 Top 50 UK singles and worldwide record sales of over six million. The previous three Alarm albums have all made the British Rock Album Chart Top 10 with Equals hitting number 2 in 2018, Sigma topping the chart in 2019, and Omega climbing to number 8 in 2022.

“A lot of artists have to kill to make a record like Forwards and with the challenges that came my way in 2022," he says."I certainly had to kill or be killed to realize the ambition in these songs. It was literally life or death making this record. I’ve already taken so much from life, that when I was in the hospital stricken with chronic illness, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be spared another opportunity to live. Fortunately for me, I was granted more time on earth and the challenge remains as ever, to make the most of every single second – forwards.”

The first order of business post-hospital was The Alarm’s triumphant return to the stage with the sold-out annual event The Gathering, which had been suspended in recent years due to the pandemic. More than 1,500 fans attended The Gathering. “People traveled from Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, USA, Australia, all over Europe and from various parts of the United Kingdom,” reports The North Wales Pioneer Newspaper. "The weekend has been the ultimate tonic for me. I’m back. The future has opened wide again for me,” Peters told the newspaper.

Forwards cover art 

1. Forwards
2. The Returning
3. Another Way
4. Love and Forgiveness
5. Next
6. Whatever
7. Transition
8. Love Disappearing
9. New Standards
10. X

Forwards is being released physically on both CD and Vinyl with the LP release featuring two different record sleeves and colored vinyl configurations. A classic green and white star white vinyl edition (Mike’s healing color combo), is being made available to outlets everywhere along with a unique Metallic Green vinyl limited edition available exclusively to independent record stores only.

Forwards is also being released in all digital formats including Hi-Res and Dolby Atmos editions. 

Described by Bono of U2 as “the second greatest rock and roll band in the world”, Mike Peters has been the driving force behind The Alarm for over forty creative years of new music making, and dedication to presenting the band’s classic songs in ways both imaginative and inventive.

Monday, February 27, 2023

New Music: Gorillaz, Paul McCann, Fringe Benefit

New titles featuring Coachella-bound Gorillaz and Irish singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Paul McCann as well as a marvelous reissue of the self-titled release from Fringe Benefit are well worth discovering.

Title: Cracker Island (
Warner Records/Parlophone)
You might like if you enjoy: Damon Albarn, Bad Bunny, Beck, Tame Impala
Tell me more: Gorillaz' eighth studio album Cracker Island is another enthralling journey showcasing singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Damon Albarn's otherworldly talents fusing art pop, electronica, hip hop and other styles into a signature brew as accessible as it is artistic. On this disc he directs the world's most beloved virtual band to stratospheric heights with collaborations that surprise and expand the project's sonic reach. Surprises abound; just listen to the shimmering "Oil," a track featuring the duel vocals of Albarn and Stevie Nicks. "Silent Running" is a majestic mid-tempo track co-written by Albarn and producer Greg Kurstin featuring guest vocalist Adeleye Omotayo. The hypnotic trip hop romp "New Gold" features the tandem talents of Tame Impala and Bootie Brown to up the quotient. Bad Bunny brings a palpable Latin zest to "Tormenta." The collaboration with Beck, "Possession Island," is a decidedly gorgeous song with a soundscape complete with 
mellotron, synthesizer, vibraphone, pump organ and acoustic guitar providing the perfect musical backdrop for the song. Even in the absence of outside notables, the magic is fully on display; the trippy "The Tired Influencer," dance-minded "Baby Queen" and dreamy "Skinny Ape" reflect the sparkling joyfulness that immerse the listener across Cracker Island. Information: gorilla.com

Paul McCann
Title: Alter Ego (Kool Kat Musik)
You might like if you enjoy: Jason Falkner, Beck, Tom Petty, Roger Joseph Manning Jr.
Tell me more: Paul McCann's new album Alter Ego is a beautiful and deeply affecting listen inspired by the Irish artist's emotions surrounding the death of his father in late 2018. The themes explored across the 12-track album include loss and love, with McCann extending his expert musical touch to other areas of grief including anger and confusion as well. Recording the album during the global pandemic was a challenge, but this singular moment in time also afforded McCann the opportunity to reach out to a number of legendary musicians to guest on the project; guitar great Jason Falkner (St. Vincent, Beck, The Grays), keyboardist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish, Beck, Air), Charlotte Hatherley (Bat for Lashes, Ash) and Gary Lucas (Jeff Buckley, Captain Beefheart) all guested on Alter Ego. The strong opener "The World Keeps Turning" offers up a melancholy-draped soundscape with layers of nuanced guitar and burgeoning vocal textures adding to the magic. The driving "Lost In This Moment" is an immediate connection; the alluring original blends reflective lyrics and a propulsive power pop sound that lures in the listener with a single listen. The lovely acoustic Baroque ballad "Love Is All That Matters" and explosive melodic rocker "Divide and Conquer" are other early standouts on the album. The funk-flavored "Where Has The Music Gone," elegant "Red River Run," ambitious "Call Off the Dogs," euphoric "Something Has Changed" and progressive closer "Weight of the Bow" impress on the disc's last half. Information: KoolKatMusik.com

Fringe Benefit
Title: Fringe Benefit (Kool Kat Musik)
You might like if you enjoy: Badfinger, Power pop, Paul McCartney, The Hotshots
Tell me more: Fringe Benefit  a Dorset, England-spawned outfit whose self-titled debut was released via Capricorn Records in 1977  is back again thanks to a newly-issued deluxe edition of Fringe Benefit by Kool Kat Musik. This writer was sadly unaware of the 45-year old gem until I heard the disc's soaring lead-off track "All In Vain" and was instantly hooked. The album's musical riches definitely extend beyond that timeless track; the tuneful Burt Bacharach-mining "Darling" and "Wanna Be With You," psychedelic blues-meets-prog rock foray "Was God an Astronaut," uptempo rootsy reading of Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" and enchanting "Let A Light Shine" collectively make a compelling case for adding Fringe Benefit to your music library. The Kool Kat audio CD edition features four previously unreleased bonus tracks. 
Information: KoolKatMusik.com

Robert Kinsler

Saturday, February 25, 2023

'Music Is Still Good' - Mamas Gun and Maple Mars

Check out the latest episode of "Music Is Still Good" where TJR champions the sounds of British soul band Mamas Gun while Robert Kinsler celebrates the return of power pop greats Maple Mars. Watch the episode HERE.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Guitar greats Ace Frehley and Eric Steckel thrill at The Coach House

Ace Frehley at The Coach House on Feb. 23, 2023.

Who: Ace Frehley, Eric Steckel

Where: The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, CA

When: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023

Review by Robert Kinsler

Photos by Bob Steshetz

Guitar-minded music lovers at the Coach House on Thursday night were definitely in the right place. Original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley headlined the night, while rising fret master Eric Steckel impressed with a memorable opening set.

While the so-called "Space Ace" has not been a regular member of Kiss since 2002, the 71-year-old Frehley has kept busy recording with Frehley's Comet and as a solo artist. 

From left, bassist Ryan Cook, drummer Matt Starr, guitarist Ace Frehley
and guitarist 
Jeremy Asbrock performing at The Coach House on Feb. 23, 2023.

Frehley's 90-minute outing at the Coach House allowed the New York City native to showcase material from throughout his 50-year career. Additionally, he brought along a killer band to add top-tier firepower to help drive the proceedings 
 guitarist Jeremy Asbrock, bassist Ryan Cook and drummer Matt Starr really helped fully deliver Frehley's signature hard rock material to an enthusiastic audience spanning from young children and excited teens to Baby Boomers. 

Bassist Ryan Cook with Ace Frehley.

After taking the stage, the quartet opened with the 1974 Kiss classic "Parasite," the thunderous attack set the tone for what was to come. Frehley's guitar playing was a key part of every track performed, with inventive solos enhancing a number of the tracks 
 including on the crunchy "Snow Blind" and punkish "Speedin' Back to My Baby" early in the night. 

A fun element to Frehley's set was how often his palpable attitude conjured up the classic arena rock era: "We're going to kick your ass whether you like it or not" was his simple introduction to the aforementioned "Speeding' Back to My Baby." 

Later on, during his extended 10-minute solo showcase, there was a point where smoke leapt out of his electric guitar for good measure!

While Frehley shared lead vocal duties with several members of his band, his forceful baritone was showcased on the blistering "Rip It Out" and "Rock Soldiers," the latter a particularly dazzling arrangement bolstered by a number of guitar fills.

Along with "Rock Soldiers," this writer's favorite cuts were a mighty take on "Detroit Rock City" (with Cook handling the vocal duties wonderfully), the high octane aptly titled "Rocket Ride," infectious "Shock Me" and ambitious seven-minute version of the 1974 Kiss nugget "Cold Gin."

The night ended with with a powerful version of "Deuce," a song Frehley noted "is still one of my favorite Kiss songs." 
To cap it, Frehley added: "Thank you San Juan Capistrano. You guys how how to rock and roll."

Eric Steckel in action at The Coach House.

I think I speak for everyone who arrived at the Coach House early on Thursday that Eric Steckel didn't disappoint. A bona fide guitar hero, the Pennsylvania-born singer-songwriter/guitar master along with bandmates Jos Kamps (bass) and Tony Boyd (drums) unleashed a welcome torrent of fiery blues-rock over the course of 35 fast-moving minutes. 

From left, bassist Jos Kamps, Eric Steckel and drummer Tony Boyd.

Steckel impressed with several originals including the Southern-fried "Tennessee," as well as the heavy blues-meets-rock sortie "Run and Hide." He ended his set with the fantastic "Solid Ground," an eight-minute sonic marathon that began slowly with Steckel playing his guitar alone. The song's power burgeoned and was highlighted by a thrilling duel between Steckel and Kamps, along with a ferocious finale with all three players racing in unison to a glorious conclusion.

From left, bassist Jos Kamps with Eric Steckel.

Drummer Tony Boyd keeping time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Travis announce 'The Invisible Band (Live)' Record Store Day exclusive Vinyl release coming April 22

Record Store Day is coming April 22 and there are a number of strong releases set to be available that day, including this great title from Travis! (you can read my 2007 review of Travis when the band performed at House of Blues Anaheim HERE)...Robert Kinsler






Following the 20th anniversary reissue of their critically acclaimed album The Invisible Band, multi-platinum selling Scottish rockers Travis return with the release of a special live album The Invisible Band (Live)The album will be released on vinyl on April 22nd, as part of Record Store Day 2023, and across streaming services on April 21st via Craft Recordings.


Recorded live at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall on May 22nd, 2022 during their celebrated The Invisible Band in Concert anniversary tour, the live album sees the art school band play the seminal album front to back for the first time ever. “Playing The Invisible Band live was a lot of fun. There are so many memories folded into these songs for us and for everyone who came to the shows,” Fran reflects of the tour. “The tracklisting on this album worked really great live so we decided to record and film the final show in Glasgow. There is always a chance I'll get a sore throat when I know there is a taping coming up, but thankfully it all went without a hitch. I think it was the best we played the album that night.”


The announcement comes alongside the release of a captivating performance of one of the album’s standout hits, ‘Flowers In The Window (Live)’, which is available to stream or download today. “‘Flowers In The Window’ is one of our evergreen songs,” singer Fran Healy notes. “There are a couple of ways we play it during a show. The way we play it most is the busk, with us standing round the one microphone. On this tour we decided to do the full band version, which is the album version with Andy on piano duties.”


Returning to the studio with The Man Who’s co-producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Beck, Paul McCartney) for The Invisible Band, Travis crafted a near-perfect 45-minute album praised by magazine for having some of “the best and most fully crafted” songs of their career to date.


Lead single “Sing” remains the band’s highest-charting single in the UK (No.3), while its follow-ups, “Side” and “Flowers In The Window,” saw the band consolidate their indie-pop formula, helping The Invisible Band to match its predecessor’s No.1 position in the UK album chart, while taking Travis into the US Top 40 and Top 10 in Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Italy and Norway. The Invisible Band 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Box set is available HERE.


Released for the only time on vinyl for RSD 2023, this special 2-LP package comes on clear vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and includes exclusive unseen photography from Ryan Johnston. Pay a visit to your local independent record shop on Record Store Day (Saturday 22nd April) for the chance to pick up a copy. A list of participating shops can be found HERE. The album will also be released across streaming services on April 21st, and is available to pre-save HERE.

Photo Credit: Ryan Johnston


About Travis:

Formed in Glasgow in 1990, Travis (Fran Healy, vocals, guitar; Andy Dunlop, lead guitar; Dougie Payne, bass; Neil Primrose, drums) came of age during Britpop’s heyday, but always stood at a remove from that scene’s barely contained mania. When the Britpop hangover kicked in at the end of the ’90s, Travis’ gentle, uplifting songs were the perfect antidote for the chaos of the preceding years. From its title on down, Good Feeling set the mood: an upbeat album unafraid to wear its emotions on its sleeve. By the time Travis took to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage in 1999, delivering a career-defining performance, they were poised to become household names, opening the door for a new generation of introspective songwriters to come through.


Entering the new millennium as one of the biggest bands in the UK following the success of sophomore album, 1999’s The Man Who (now certified 9x platinum, with over 2.7 million albums sold in the UK), Travis spent the remainder of the ’00s developing their sound without ever forgetting their core commitment to songwriting. The Invisible Band (2001) consolidated the group’s status as the grown-ups’ indie rock band of choice, while 2003’s 12 Memories revealed a newfound electronica influence. 2007’s The Boy With No Name was the band’s most eclectic album to date, and, in the years since, the group have only continued to build on their enduring appeal. 2008’s Ode to J Smith included the fan-favorite single ‘Something Anything’, while Where You Stand (2013) and Everything At Once (2016) returned Travis to the UK Top 5. Travis’ emotionally charged and deeply heartfelt ninth studio album, 10 Songs (2020), marked another new chapter in the band’s extraordinarily prolific and unflappable career.


Watch Travis videos in HD here. For more info, visit TravisOnline.com and follow on FacebookInstagramTwitterYouTube and TikTok.



About Craft Recordings

Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most essential collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its storied repertoire includes landmark releases from icons such as Joan Baez, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, Isaac Hayes, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, R.E.M., Joan Sebastian, and Traveling Wilburys. Plus, the catalogue recordings of celebrated contemporary acts including A Day to Remember, Evanescence, Alison Krauss, Nine Inch Nails, Taking Back Sunday and Violent Femmes, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogues issued under the Craft banner include Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Musart, Nitro, Panart, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Vanguard, Varèse Sarabande, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft is also home to the Billie Holiday and Tammy Wynette estates which preserve and protect their respective names, likeness and music through day-to-day legacy management of these cultural trailblazers.


Craft Recordings is the catalogue label team for Concord. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com and follow on FacebookTwitterInstagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Monday, February 20, 2023

New Music: The Rolling Stones, Steve Stoeckel, Ron Sexsmith

New titles featuring The Rolling Stones, Steve Stoeckel and Ron Sexsmith are well worth discovering.

The Rolling Stones
Title: GRRR Live! (Mercury Studios)
You might like if you enjoy: The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, classic rock
Tell me more: The Rolling Stones celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2012 and 2013 by embarking on the aptly-titled "50 & Counting Tour," a 30-show trek that took the legendary British troupe across North America and Europe. On Dec. 15, 2012, The Rolling Stones took the stage at New Jersey's Prudential Center for the final of four shows staged in the New York City area. That event was filmed and professionally recorded for a good reason; a number of notable guests joined the band further elevating the efforts of singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, drummer Charlie Watts and their strong touring troupe. Now that memorable concert has been re-edited and the audio remixed. GRRR Live! is truly a stunning event that focuses on The Rolling Stones as a live band and the stylish architects of many of the most beloved classic rock cuts of all time. The 23-track set includes a spirited "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)," "Gimme Shelter" (featuring Lady Gaga sharing lead vocals with Mick Jagger), a delightfully countrified "Dead Flowers," a rollicking take on Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" with the Black Keys," and marathon run through "Midnight Rambler" with former Rolling Stones lead guitarist Mick Taylor. The event's final stretch included Bruce Springsteen adding firepower to a powerful "Tumbling Dice," a hard rocking "Brown Sugar," and remarkably nuanced performance of "You Can't Always Get What You Want." The DVD + 2CD edition reviewed in this column has several bonus performances filmed at the Dec. 13, 2012 show that add weight to the package, including a rollicking take on "Respectable" with guitar great John Mayer and a fiery reading of Chuck Berry's 1958 original "Around and Around." Released on Feb. 10, GRRR Live! is available in a number of different formats: 3LP black, 3LP colored white, 3LP red, 2CD, DVD + 2CD, Blu-ray + 2CD (the Blu-ray and digital versions will include Dolby Atmos). Information: RollingStones.com.

Steve Stoeckel
Title: The Power Of And (Big Stir Records)
You might like if you enjoy: The Spongetones, Paul McCartney, Crowded House, Irene Peña, Jamie Hoover
Tell me more: Steve Stoeckel  a founding member of acclaimed Power Pop Hall of Fame greats The Spongetones  is set to release his marvelous solo debut The Power Of And on Feb. 24. The wonderful 15-track disc features a parade of enticing tracks including the propulsive opener "Laura Lynn," gorgeous Baroque ballad "Birds," rousing '60s-flavored "Mod Girl," wistful "Strange Cameo," luxurious duet "Why" with songstress Irene Peña, and tender folk rocker "Hummingbird." The self-produced album also features the particularly ambitious "The Emerald Sea," a standout which effortlessly fuses Celtic folk with modern rock stylings with artful perfection (just listen to the tandem dance featuring pennywhistles and searing electric guitar work). The album's final offering is a bewitching modern rocker titled "Whistling Past Graveyards," an original that was the last collaboration between Stoeckel and Spongetones drummer Chris Garges before the latter's untimely passing in February 2022. Big Stir Records' first full-length release of 2023, The Power Of And will be available on audio CD and via all digital platforms on Friday, Feb. 24. Information: bigstirrecords.com.

Ron Sexsmith
Title: The Vivian Line (Cooking Vinyl)
You might like if you enjoy: Elvis Costello, Burt Bacharach
Tell me more: Acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith is back with The Vivian Line, his first album since 2020's Hermitage. There is a genuine warmth across the acclaimed artist's 17th album, but the songs  both lyrically and musically  impress with burgeoning force with each subsequent listen. The yearning opener "A Place Called Love," nostalgic Baroque pop gem "What I Had In Mind," literate "Flower Boxes," sumptuous "Outdated and Antiquated" and joyful "One Bird Calling" are early standouts on the album; the Kinks-flavored "Country Mile," jazzy "This, That, And the Other Thing," poignant "When Our Love Was New" and "Ever Wonder" are late disc highlights. Information: RonSexsmith.com.

Robert Kinsler

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Craft Recordings announces seven exclusive titles for Record Store Day 2023

Announcements related to Record Store Day 2023 include the release of seven exciting titles courtesy of Craft Recordings. Titles come from the illustrious likes of Violent Femmes, Travis, Chet Baker and Jonathan Richman...Robert Kinsler



Releases include a 40th-anniversary Violent Femmes picture disc, the first US mono reissue of Chet Baker’s Chet,

Jonathan Richman’s long-out-of-print country album,

and a sensuous journey of the mind, courtesy of Jazz Dispensary


Also available is a collectible soundtrack for How to Train Your Dragon 2, a Latin psych-funk rarity from Flash & The Dynamics,  

plus Travis’ The Invisible Band (Live), captured in Glasgow


Los Angeles, CA (February 16, 2023) – Craft Recordings announces its exclusive line-up of titles for Record Store Day 2023, taking place on Saturday, April 22, at participating independent retailers. From long-out-of-print rarities and cult classics to psychedelic treats and beloved soundtracks, these seven LPs will thrill music fans of all ages. Among this year’s offerings is an exclusive picture disc that celebrates the 40th-anniversary of the Violent Femmes and their 1983 self-titled debut (which features such enduring hits as “Blister in the Sun” and “Gone Daddy Gone”), plus the first vinyl reissue of Jonathan Richman’s acclaimed 1990 LP, Jonathan Goes CountryAlso available, via our sister label Varése Sarabande, is an expanded and collectible motion picture soundtrack for 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, featuring music by John Powell and Sigur Rós’ Jónsi.

Other highlights include the first-ever American mono reissue of Chet Baker’s 1959 instrumental classic, Chet, as well as Flash & The Dynamics’ The New York Sound—a long-out-of-print 1971 Latin psych-funk rarity. Fans of Travis, meanwhile, will enjoy The Invisible Band (Live), which finds the Scottish band celebrating the 20th anniversary of their bestselling album with a hometown concert. Rounding out the list is the latest installment of the sought-after Jazz Dispensary series, Hotel Jolie Dame, which transports listeners to a fabulous party through psychedelic rarities and unexpected cuts from Dizzy Gillespie, Dorothy Ashby, Cal Tjader, and more.


For more information on our titles, including how to find your nearest participating Record Store Day retailer, visit craftrecordings.com. 


Violent Femmes — Violent Femmes (1-LP; 40th Anniversary Picture Disc)

Formed in the early ’80s by Gordon Gano (vocals, guitar), Brian Ritchie (bass), and Victor DeLorenzo (percussion), Milwaukee’s Violent Femmes gained buzz in 1981, after an impromptu opening set for The Pretenders. Before long, they were playing underground clubs across the country, drawing praise from critics and catching the attention of Slash Records (home to The Germs, X, and The Blasters), where they released their self-titled debut.

Teeming with teenage angst, punk sensibilities, and the trio’s own special brand of jittery folk-rock, Violent Femmes became a cult favorite. While the album featured such enduring Gen X anthems as “Blister in the Sun,” “Please Do Not Go,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” and the urgent “Add It Up,” it failed to chart, initially. Over the years, however, sales remained steady and by 1991, nearly a decade after its release, the album finally broke into the Billboard 200 and earned a Platinum certification. Thanks to song placements in My So-Called Life, Reality Bites, and Grosse Pointe Blank, that momentum only continued.

Now, as the band commemorates four decades together, Violent Femmes and its influential songs still remain in the zeitgeist. In 2014, Popmatters called the folk-punk pioneers “one of the most important rock bands of the 1980s, if not the past quarter-century,” while Pitchfork called the trio “the greatest mixtape band of its era.” Limited to 6,000 copies worldwide, this collectible pressing kicks off the band’s 40th-anniversary celebrations and marks the very first Violent Femmes picture disc – mimicking the classic cover image on Side A and the jacket’s reverse side on Side B.

Stay tuned for special announcements throughout the year as the Violent Femmes celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Violent Femmes Tracklist:


Side A

1.   Blister in the Sun

2.   Kiss Off

3.   Please Do Not Go

4.   Add It Up

5.   Confessions

Side B

1.   Prove My Love

2.   Promise

3.   To The Kill

4.   Gone Daddy Gone

5.   Good Feeling



Chet Baker – Chet (1-LP; Mono, 180-Gram Black Vinyl)

Few musicians have embodied the romantic, and ultimately tragic, jazz figure as totally as Chet Baker (1929–88). With his hauntingly gorgeous trumpet stylings and innovative approach to jazz vocals, the fast-living “Prince of Cool” was instrumental in defining the sound of West Coast jazz. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Los Angeles, Baker began his career in the early ’50s, cutting his chops alongside such established artists as Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, and Gerry Mulligan. By the end of the decade, when he signed with the New York-based Riverside Records, Baker was a bonafide jazz star, while Hollywood was captivated by his chiseled looks.

His third album for Riverside, 1959’s Chet, was an outlier in Baker’s catalog. Up to this point, the musician generally incorporated vocals into his recordings, using his voice as an instrument – whether singing or scatting. Instead, Chet was entirely instrumental and found the horn player exploring a selection of classic ballads. Recorded at New York’s Reeves Sound Studios in December 1958 and January 1959, the introspective set features an all-star line-up of Bill Evans (piano), Kenny Burrell (guitar), Herbie Mann (flute), and Pepper Adams (baritone saxophone), plus drummers Connie Kay and Philly Joe Jones. Baker’s lyrical work on the trumpet is on display throughout the album, as he interprets standards like Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” Rodgers & Hart’s “It Never Entered My Mind,” and Kurt Weill’s “September Song.”

This special edition of Chet marks the first mono version of the album to be released in the US since 1959 and features AAA remastering with lacquers cut from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Limited to 10,000 copies worldwide, the album is pressed at RTI and presented on classic, 180-gram black vinyl.

Chet Tracklist:


Side A:

1. Alone Together

2. How High The Moon

3. It Never Entered My Mind

4. ’Tis Autumn


Side B:

1. If You Could See Me Now

2. September Song

3. You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

4. Time On My Hands

5. You And The Night And The Music

Various Artists — Jazz Dispensary: Hotel Jolie Dame (1-LP; Psych-Sunset Orange Marble Vinyl)

The latest edition in the sought-after Jazz Dispensary series, Hotel Jolie Dame, transports listeners back to the summer of 1978, where a party awaits deep in the heart of the French Riviera at Hotel Jolie Dame. This fantastical resort welcomes cosmic groovers of all forms to check in for a day (or a week) of love, abandonment, and sunshine, while a psychedelic soundtrack – featuring unexpected cuts from Dizzy Gillespie, The BlackbyrdsDorothy Ashby, and more – keeps the vibe elevated all night long. Limited to 5,000 copies worldwide and pressed on Psych-Sunset Orange Marble vinylHotel Jolie Dame features original jacket art by the Auckland-based graphic artist, Callum Rooney, whose psychedelic designs have been used by the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Mastodon, and A Place to Bury Strangers, among many others.

Hotel Jolie Dame opens with “A Beginning Dream,” an instrumental slice of 1969 sunshine pop, courtesy of Triste JaneroThe magic continues with Uruguayan/American fusion group, Opa, and their far-out 1976 suite, “Tombo / La Escuela / Tombo / The Last Goodbye.” As the sun sets and the moon begins to rise, guests are greeted with “Ozone Madness,” a supremely funky number from Dizzy Gillespie and Lalo Schifrin’s 1977 collab, Free RideThe Blackbyrds’ ultra-smooth “Summer Love,” off their 1974 self-titled debut, closes out Side A.

Opening Side B is a cinematic cover of James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” recorded in 1973 by vibraphonist Cal Tjader. The night progresses with Flora Punim’s otherworldly 1973 song, “Light as a Feather,” followed by the whimsical “In the Heart of a Rose,” off 1968’s The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean Jacques-Perrey. As the sun rises, harpist Dorothy Ashby’s 1958 rendition of “There’s a Small Hotel” echoes through the hallways, leaving one to wonder if it was all a dream. The only way to find out is to flip the record over again… and drop the needle back in the groove.

Jazz Dispensary: Hotel Jolie Dame Tracklist:

Side A

1. Triste Janero: A Beginning Dream

2. Opa: Tombo / La Escuela / Tombo / The Last Goodbye

3. Dizzy Gillespie: Ozone Madness

4. The Blackbyrds: Summer Love

Side B

1. Cal Tjader: Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

2. Flora Purim: Light As A Feather

3. Jean-Jacques Perrey: In The Heart Of A Rose

4. Dorothy Ashby: There’s A Small Hotel

Travis – The Invisible Band (Live) (2-LP; Clear Vinyl)

Formed in the ’90s at Glasgow School of Art, Scottish quartet Travis released their debut album, Good Feeling, in 1997. In 1999, with the success of their sophomore album, The Man Who, and its breakout hit, “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?, Travis ushered in a new generation of UK alt-rockers.

In the summer of 2001, Travis returned with their highly anticipated follow-up, The Invisible Band, hailed by NME as “timeless, simply expressed, inescapably real feelings…one of the finest voices in British pop.” Produced by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Paul McCartney, U2), the broadly acclaimed album was brimming with introspective earworms, including the hit singles “Sing,” “Side,” and “Flowers in the Window.” One of Britain’s best-selling albums of the decade, The Invisible Band spent four weeks at No.1 in the UK, remained on the Billboard 200 for seven weeks, and earned the band a BRIT Award for British Group of the year.


But that isn’t the end of the story for the band, who today are still releasing studio albums and playing sold-out shows. In 2022, Travis embarked on a 20th-anniversary tour, celebrating the enduring appeal of The Invisible Band. In May, they played a hometown concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall—one which prompted The Scotsman to declare, “Travis still inhabit [the album’s] songs with conviction,” adding that the 21-year-old LP “sounds oddly fresh. ...The world-weariness aching through the bones of their big anthemic hits…sounds perfectly suited to a bunch of musicians in their forties who have been at this for decades—at it together, undivided after all this time, which is some achievement.”


For fans who weren’t able to attend the show, The Invisible Band (Live) captures that special evening, as the band performs every song on the album to a packed house of fans. Only available on RSD Exclusive vinyl and digital formats. Limited to 5,000 copies worldwide and pressed on clear wax, this 2-LP release marks the only physical edition of The Invisible Band (Live). As a special bonus, the vinyl package includes exclusive unseen tour photography from Ryan Johnston.


The Invisible Band (Live) Tracklist:

Side A:

1. Sing

2. Dear Diary

3. Side


Side B:

1. Pipe Dreams

2. Flowers In The Window

3. The Cage


Side C:

1. Safe

2. Follow The Light

3. Last Train


Side D:

1. Afterglow

2. Indefinitely

3. The Humpty Dumpty Love Song

Jonathan Richman – Jonathan Goes Country (1-LP; Red Cowboy Boot Vinyl)

For more than 40 years, singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman has garnered accolades and a cult-like following, thanks to his authentic storytelling, candid observations on life, and spirited lo-fi recordings. Emerging in the early ’70s as the quirky frontman of the Boston proto-punk band, the Modern Lovers, Richman led several iterations of the group, all while moving farther away from the harder, electric sounds of his earlier days. By the late ’80s, he was primarily a solo act.

1990’s Jonathan Goes Country found Richman venturing into new territory, as he interpreted classic country hits, wrote Western-inspired originals, and gave some of his older tunes a country makeover (including “The Neighbors, “Corner Store,” and “You’re the One for Me”). Recording the album in Springfield, MO, Richman recruited roots rockers The Skeletons to serve as his backing band. Together, they covered classics like “[A] Satisfied Mind” (made famous by Porter Wagoner) and Marty Robbins’ “Man Walks Among Us.” They also offered up instrumental renditions of Tammy Wynette’s hit, “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad” and Carole King/Gerry Goffin’s “I Can’t Stay Mad at You” (a Skeeter Davis classic). New material by Richman included “Rodeo Wind,” “Reno, and the offbeat opener, “Since She Started to Ride,” featuring a cameo by The Buckaroos’ Tom Brumley on steel guitar.

Returning to vinyl for the first time since its release, Jonathan Goes Country features AAA remastering, with lacquers cut from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Limited to 5,000 copies worldwide, this special edition also boasts Red Cowboy Boots-colored vinyl (a nod to the album’s jacket design).

Jonathan Goes Country Tracklist:


Side A

1. Since She Started to Ride

2. Reno

3. You’re the One for Me

4. Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad

5. I Must Be King

6. You’re Crazy for Taking the Bus

Side B

1. Rodeo Wind

2. Corner Store

3. The Neighbors

4. Man Walks Among Us

5. I Can’t Stay Mad at You

6. Satisfied Mind

Flash & The Dynamics – The New York Sound (1-LP; 180-Gram Purple Vinyl)

Much has been documented about the pioneering music that came out of the United States in the ’60s and ’70s, amidst the social and political strife of the era. But the scene wasn’t just about the Summer of Love or Woodstock. There was another movement happening in the Latin neighborhoods of New York City, as cultural barriers loosened. Beginning in the mid-60s, musicians were filling the clubs with an irresistible combination of soul, R&B, and Afro-Cuban dance rhythms. By the turn of the decade, the style—known as “boogaloo”—had evolved, often integrating socially conscious lyricism (in both English and Spanish), rock and funk influences, and a heavy dose of psychedelia.


That sound is captured in Flash & The Dynamics’ The New York Sound—a 1971 rarity from the Fania Records vaults. The album—which marks the band’s sole LP—blends traditional Latin melodies with distorted guitars, soulful psychedelia, and plenty of funky rhythms. Listeners will be transported to another era with jams like “Everybody’s Got Soul,” “Guajira Sicodélica,” and the trippy instrumental, “Electric Latin Soul.”

Returning to vinyl for the first time in decades, The New York Sound features AAA remastering, with lacquers cut from the original master tapes by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Limited to 3,500 units worldwide, this special edition has been pressed on 180-gram purple vinyl at RTI for an optimal listening experience.


The New York Sound Tracklist:


Side A

1. Guajira Sicodélica

2. Electric Latin Soul

3. Yo Te Quiero

4. Nena

5. El Son de la Loma


Side B

1. Changó

2. Campesino

3. Everybody’s Got Soul

4. Borinquen

5. Santa Isabel de las Lajas


John Powell – How to Train Your Dragon 2: Music from the Motion Picture (2-LP; Red Multi-Color Splatter Vinyl)

In 2010, DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon arrived in theaters, launching one of the decade’s most popular animated franchises. The trilogy, based on the book by Cressida Cowell, begins in a fictional Viking town, which is prone to dragon attacks. Hiccup, a young dragon-slayer-in-training, wounds a rare Night Fury dragon. Instead of killing the creature, he befriends it, helping to heal dragon-human relations along the way. The story continued in 2014’s highly acclaimed sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Voiced by an all-star cast—including Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, and Kristen Wiig, plus Cate Blanchett, Djimon Hounsou, and Kit Harington—the film marked the largest global box office success of the $1.65 billion grossing trilogy.

Bringing the story to life is the music of John Powell, who established the archetype for modern animation scoring through his work on Shrek, Kung Fu PandaDr. Seuss’ The Lorax, the Rio franchise, and many others. The composer, who earned an Academy Award® nomination for the first Dragon film, created a world that is gloriously symphonic, enhanced with Irish instrumentation. The score is deep in classical tradition, while conveying emotion and nuance for modern audiences, particularly around the joy of flight. The soundtrack also features the talents of Icelandic singer Jónsi (Sigur Rós), who returned to collaborate with Powell. New to the second film is the Scottish bagpipe group, Red Hot Chili Pipers.

Presented by Varèse Sarabande across two LPs in a gatefold jacket, this collectible edition of How to Train Your Dragon 2 is pressed on red multi-color splatter vinyl and follows RSD 2021’s green multi-color splatter pressing of the first How to Train Your Dragon soundtrack. In addition to extensive liner notes featuring interviews with composer John Powell and director Dean DuBois, this exclusive version features the film’s theme song, “Where No One Goes” (performed by Jónsi)Limited to 3,500 copies worldwide.

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Music from the Motion Picture Tracklist:


Side A

1. Dragon Racing

2. Together We Map the World

3. Hiccup’s the Chief / Drago’s Coming

4. Tooothless Lost

5. Should I Know You?

Side B

1. Valka’s Dragon Sanctuary

2. Losing Mom / Meet the Good Alpha

3. Meet Drago

4. Stoick Finds Beauty

5. Flying with Mother

Side C

1. For the Dancing and the Dreaming

2. Battle of the Bewilderbeast

3. Hiccup Confronts Drago

4. Stoick Saves Hiccup

5. Stoick’s Ship

Side D

1. Alpha Comes to Berk

2. Toothless Found

3. Two New Alphas

4. Where No One Goes

5. Into a Fantasy


About Craft Recordings 

Craft Recordings is home to one of the largest and most essential collections of master recordings and compositions in the world. Its storied repertoire includes landmark releases from icons such as Joan Baez, John Coltrane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, Isaac Hayes, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, R.E.M., Joan Sebastian, and Traveling Wilburys. Plus, the catalog recordings of celebrated contemporary acts including A Day to Remember, Evanescence, Alison Krauss, Nine Inch Nails, Taking Back Sunday and Violent Femmes, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include Fania, Fantasy, Fearless, Musart, Nitro, Panart, Prestige, Riverside, Rounder, Specialty, Stax, Vanguard, Varèse Sarabande, Vee-Jay and Victory, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation—ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft is also home to the Billie Holiday and Tammy Wynette estates which preserve and protect their respective names, likeness and music through day-to-day legacy management of these cultural trailblazers. 


Craft Recordings is the catalog label team for Concord. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramTikTok, and YouTube.