Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Stranglers Four CD Boxed Set featuring their classic 1990s albums out July 7, 2023

It's great to see in the wake of the passing of keyboardist Dave Greenfield passing away in May 2020 (he had contracted COVID-19), that the legacy of The Stranglers is being celebrated via an exciting box set coming this summer...Robert Kinsler

Mercury Studios presents THE STRANGLERS







New York, NY (May 31, 2023) — Over the course of five decades, pioneering English rock band The Stranglers – one of the longest surviving bands to emerge from the 1970s UK punk rock scene – have crossed genres and fanbases, amassing 23 UK top 40 singles and 19 UK top 40 albums.

On July 7, 2023, Mercury Studios is proud to release The Stranglers, a four CD-boxed set compiling four of their classic 1990s albums: About Time (1995), Written In Red (1997), Coup de Grace (1998), and the live album Friday The Thirteenth: Live At The Royal Albert Hall (1997). These albums, which were all previously released by Eagle Records in the 90s, are now being packaged together for the very first time.

Originally brewed in the mid-70s UK pub rock scene, The Stranglers held a certain distinction from their local scene peers. They were ahead of the curve of the UK punk explosion, and though they could channel the aggressive spit-and-snarl of the time, they also harbored a unique musical hunger that kept them unchained to a singular genre. Exploring the wells of art rock, 60s psychedelia, new wave, goth, and pop music, their sound was a blend of underground influence and melodic pop sensibility.

This is evident on these crucial 1990s releases, which featured the line-up of Paul Roberts (vocals), Jean-Jacques Burnel (bass, vocals), John Ellis (guitar, vocals), Dave Greenfield (keyboards, vocals), and Jet Black (drums). About Time, their 12th studio album, peaked at #31 on the UK album charts and boasted hits “Golden Boy” and “Lies and Deception.” This was followed by Written In Red, which includes single “In Heaven She Walks” and a cover of The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Summer In The City”, “

Friday The Thirteenth features the band performing a sold out show at the famed Royal Albert Hall in London. The set list features hit tracks like “Golden Brown”, “Skin Deep”, and “No More Heroes” given an emphatic new reinterpretation as the band are backed by the Electra Strings – an eighteen-piece string orchestra. In addition to their hits, The Stranglers deliver a sizzling version of The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night.”

Whether a veteran fan or a new listener discovering the band’s music for the first time, this boxed set provides an eclectic, full-bodied presentation of The Stranglers’ music during this time period.

About Mercury Studios: 
Mercury Studios is a multi-faceted content studio established to develop, produce, globally distribute and invest in innovative, music-rooted storytelling across a range of media including film, television, podcasting, publishing and live-streamed performance. Taking its name from the iconic Mercury Records label, Mercury Studios is powered by Universal Music Group and creates an open space for experimentation to unleash and amplify both emerging and established artists. With offices in London and Los Angeles, Mercury Studios harnesses its established relationships with best-in-class talent from music and film, seamlessly bridging the two worlds to create a completely distinctive community of trailblazers driven by original IP, innovation and collaboration.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Friday, May 26, 2023

Toad the Wet Sprocket announces 'Bonus Edition' of highly-anticipated 'All You Want' collection

I just saw this news on Toad the Wet Sprocket's official Twitter feed. Here are the details about "All You Want" and how to get the new collection...Robert Kinsler 

'All You Want' Bonus Edition cover artwork

All You Want (Abe's Records) is a collection of new recordings of fan favorites including Toad the Wet Sprocket's biggest hits including "All I Want," "Walk On the Ocean," "Fall Down" and "Something's Always Wrong," among others. The standard edition (out today, May 26, 2023) includes 11 tracks. The Bonus Edition (the artwork appears above) includes 19 tracks. Pre-order the Bonus Edition on audio CD or vinyl now via the band's official website HERE.

Toad the Wet Sprocket at The Coach House on Jan. 28, 2020.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

The band states: "Like most bands who recorded for major labels, we didn t actually own many of the recordings we did during that time. 'All You Want' is us reclaiming our past for ourselves. While making this album, we got to look under the hood at the parts we'd written so long ago, pull apart some of the magic of the originals, and in some cases, update arrangements, tempos or attitudes that we thought we could improve upon with the benefit of a little hindsight."

Read my most recent concert review featuring Toad the Wet Sprocket HERE.

Bonus Edition tracklisting for All You Want is below:

Architect of the Ruin

Come Down

California Wasted

The Moment

Good Intentions


Transient Whales


Starting Now

Best of Me (a new song)

Crazy Life

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted

All I Want

New Constellation

One of Those Days

Something's Always Wrong


Fall Down

Walk on the Ocean

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Tina Turner Remembered

and Robert Kinsler discuss the passing of acclaimed singer Tina Turner and her incredible legacy. Watch the episode HERE

Essential R.E.M. titles returning to vinyl on July 14, 2023

For those who have not heard R.E.M.'s "Around The Sun" and "Collapse Into Now,", really do highly recommend those albums...Robert Kinsler





2004’s chart-topping Around the Sun includes the singles

“Leaving New York,” “Electron Blue,” and “The Outsiders”


The band’s acclaimed final studio album, 2011’s Collapse Into Now, includes “Überlin,”

“Oh My Heart,” and “It Happened Today”

Los Angeles, CA (May 16, 2023)–Craft Recordings celebrates the enduring legacy of R.E.M. with vinyl reissues for two long out-of-print titles from the second half of the band’s celebrated career: 2004’s Around the Sun and 2011’s Collapse Into NowThe chart-topping Around the Sun includes such highlights as “Leaving New York,” “Aftermath,” “Electron Blue,” and “Wanderlust,” plus “The Outsiders.”Collapse Into Now, which marks the band’s 15th and final studio album, includes the singles “Überlin,” “Oh My Heart” and “It Happened Today.” Arriving July 14 and available for pre-order today, both albums were cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at Memphis Records Pressing. 


Additionally, fans can find limited editions exclusively at the 2-LP Around the Sun will be available on an Opaque White color variant, while the 1-LP Collapse Into Now can be found in Milky Clear vinyl, along with exclusive official merchandise.


One of the most revered acts to emerge from the American underground, Athens, GA’s R.E.M. was formed in 1980 by Michael Stipe (vocals), Peter Buck (guitar), Mike Mills (bass), and Bill Berry (drums). An influential force in the post-punk college scene, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers and multi-GRAMMY® Award winners rose to become one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands in the world, thanks to their idiosyncratic blend of brash tunefulness and poetic lyrics on such best-selling albums as Out of Time (1991)Automatic for the People(1992)and Monster (1994).


By the turn of the millennium, the band had ventured into new sonic territory, exploring electronic textures and the use of synthesizers with albums like Up (1998) and Reveal (2001). R.E.M.’s 13th LP, Around the Sun, continued that evolution. Written as America grappled with the 9/11 attacks and the Iraq War, the album reflected the somber tone of the era and found the band blending political commentary with meditations on love, loss, and a fast-changing world.


Marking the band’s final collaboration with producer Pat McCarthy (The Waterboys, U2) and their first with drummer Bill Rieflin, Around the Sun features the singles “Leaving New York” (a Top 5 hit in the UK and No.1 on Billboard’s AAA chart), “Wanderlust,” the melancholic “Aftermath,” and the trippy “Electron Blue.” Other highlights include the politically charged “Final Straw” and the poignant “Outsiders,” featuring guest vocals by rapper Q-Tip. Praised by Blender for its “arresting musical moods” and “strong choruses,” Around the Sun topped the album charts in the UK, Germany, and Sweden, among other territories, and landed at No.13 on the Billboard 200.


Not long after the release of their following album, Accelerate (2008), the members of R.E.M. collectively decided to conclude their time together with one final album. Produced by Jacknife Lee (The Cars, Taylor Swift, U2), Collapse Into Now was recorded over the course of a year in Berlin, New Orleans, and Nashville. For their 15th studio effort, the band took a broader approach to their writing, allowing for an expansive collection of songs that spoke to universal themes.


Among the highlights is “Discoverer,” one of Michael Stipe’s only autobiographical songs. Featuring an appearance by Patti Smith (who also lends her voice to closer “Blue”) the song serves as a love letter to New York City. “It’s about realizing that the city offers you this unbelievable potential and opportunity; all the things you are looking for in your teens and your twenties,” Stipe told Interview Magazine. The album also includes the joyful “Mine Smell Like Honey,” plus singles “Überlin,” “Oh My Heart,” and the soaring “It Happened Today,” featuring guest vocals by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and The Hidden Cameras’ Joel Gibb. The breakneck “Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter,” meanwhile, finds Stipe duetting with Peaches, with a special appearance by longtime Patti Smith guitarist, Lenny Kaye.


While the band chose not to tour behind the album, they partnered with a variety of prominent filmmakers and artists (including Sam Taylor-Wood, Jim Herbert, and James Franco), who directed music videos for each track. Speaking to Interview, Stipe explained, “The idea was to present a 21st-century version of an album. What does an album mean in the year 2011, especially to generations of people for whom the word album is an archaic term? I wanted to present an idea of what an album could be in the age of YouTube and the Internet.”


Released one year after R.E.M.’s 30th anniversary, Collapse Into Now served as a triumphant cap to the band’s celebrated career, landing in the Top 5 in the US, UK, and across Europe, and drawing praise from outlets around the globe. Uncut noted that the album “bristles and fizzes with invigorating quantities of wit and fury,” while Under the Radar declared, “You’re listening to a legendary band utterly revitalized, operating at the peak of their formidable powers.” The Village Voice hailed the album’s “signature balance of folky and punky,” while Spin mused that it “sounds like a familiar friend – reliable in all the best ways, but still capable of quietly insinuating surprises.”


Click here to pre-order Around the Sun and Collapse into Now.


Around the Sun Vinyl Tracklist


Side A

1.      Leaving New York

2.      Electron Blue

3.      The Outsiders


Side B

1.      Make It All Okay

2.      Final Straw

3.      I Wanted To Be Wrong


Side C

1.      Wanderlust

2.      Boy In The Well

3.      Aftermath


Side D

1.      High Speed Train

2.      The Worst Joke Ever

3.      The Ascent Of Man

4.      Around The Sun



Collapse Into Now Vinyl Tracklist:



1.      Discoverer

2.      All the Best

3.      Überlin

4.      Oh My Heart

5.      It Happened Today

6.      Every Day Is Yours To Win



1.      Mine Smell Like Honey

2.      Walk It Back

3.      Alligator_Aviator_Autopilot_Antimatter

4.      That Someone Is You

5.      Me, Marlon Brando, Marlon Brando And I

6.      Blue



About R.E.M.:

One of the most revered bands in popular music history, R.E.M. pioneered the alt-rock movement of the ‘90s, influencing future acts like Radiohead, Nirvana, Pavement, and Pearl Jam. Formed in 1980, the group enjoyed an extraordinary three-decade-long run of creative vitality and multi-platinum sales before amicably disbanding in 2011. Despite great success, the band members never lost track of their core values – remaining outspoken in their views about political, social, and environmental issues, and never wavering when it came to artistic integrity. Throughout their career, R.E.M. released a total of 15 studio albums, won three GRAMMY® Awards, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.


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 and follow on Facebook, Twitter, InstagramTikTok, and YouTube.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Pure Imagination Festival brings a myriad of sights and sounds to Prescott

Pure Imagination Festival

Who: Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Allison Russell, Capital Cities, more

Where: Watson Lake Park in Prescott, Arizona

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023

For more Information:

Review by Robert Kinsler

Photography by Daryl Weisser

Leading up to the arrival of the Pure Imagination Festival in Prescott, AZ on Saturday (May 20), almost every day earlier in the week saw the arrival of strong afternoon showers identified with the so-called "Monsoon Season" (which typically doesn't arrive in the area until June 15).

A view of The Brummies performing on the Bucky's Stage against the
Granite Dells backdrop at the Pure Imagination Music Festival in Prescott, Arizona.

Indeed, around the time the gates opened at 11 a.m. at Watson Lake Park, showers loomed and then fell not long after (400 or so miles away in Pasadena, CA, the Cruel World Festival came to an abrupt end when a severe weather alert halted Iggy Pop's performance with an announcement for fans to immediately evacuate the Rose Bowl. Sadly, headliner Siouxsie of Siouxsie and the Banshees' first scheduled U.S. performance in 15 years never materialized).

Singer-guitarist Johan Glidden performing with his band at Pure Imagination.

Just as magical as the heavenly setting that includes Watson Woods and dramatic boulders of the Granite Dells that greeted eager concertgoers, the skies over Watson Lake cleared before Prescott-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Johan Glidden took the stage at 12:30 p.m. And despite ominous forecasts on my smartphone, no more rain fell during the festival and sunshine was a welcome hallmark during much of the event.

Johan Glidden at the piano.

Glidden attracted a good-sized crowd to the Subaru Stage with his inviting and melodic style of folk rock centered on exceptional songcraft. Backed by a terrific three-member band, Glidden proved himself to be an engaging frontman armed with a great voice and solid skills on guitar and piano.

Glory Arellano performing with Johan
Glidden at the festival.

Among the memorable songs showcased during his 30-minute set was a poignant new track "Dust To Dust" enhanced by the sublime singing and violin work of his sister Glory Arellano, as well as a beautiful new track "Double Yellow Lines" anchored by his lovely falsetto-adorned lead vocals and the beautifully-rendered original "Flying Over Neverland," the latter a compelling look at the move into adulthood. 

Musical diversity was a key part of the magic of Pure Imagination. Additionally, a wide range of vendors offered everything from great food and drinks to festival merchandise, jewelry, and eye-catching tie-dye shirts.

Members of the Hopi Tribe performing at
Pure Imagination.

After Glidden's set, members of the Hopi Tribe (a sovereign nation located in northeastern Arizona) performed two musical pieces bolstered by dancers dressed in traditional attire. With the powerful rhythms of a beating drum and exuberant chants of several men from the tribe, dancers 
 both young adults and children  moved together artfully on the Subaru Stage.

Rachael Plays Guitar performing on Bucky's Stage.

Rachael Plays Guitar was the first artist to perform on Bucky's Stage. The ensemble's sound tapped into several styles including reggae, jazz and folk, with Rachael's strong soprano vocals and guitar skills as well as the virtuoso chops of her band mates (including trumpet player Stephy Leigh Griffin ) elevating the songs played at the festival. Note: Rachael Plays Guitar is scheduled to headline at their album release party at The Elks Theatre in Prescott on Saturday, Aug 26. Learn more via the artist's Facebook page HERE

Jared James Nichols is a powerful singer and
lead guitarist.

Singer-songwriter/guitarist Jared James Nichols provided the most hard rocking set of the festival, bringing his signature blues-rock brew in what he acknowledged was his "first time in Prescott." A masterful showman whose fret work is especially impressive since he plays without a pick, Nichols would frequently play flashy solos while his drummer and bassist created a driving rhythm to propel the songs. Standouts included "Honey, Forgive Me," "Threw Me to the Wolves" and a genuinely ferocious cover of Mountain's 1970 hit "Mississippi Queen."

From left, John Davidson and Jacob Bryant of The Brummies.

The Brummies
drove 25 hours to get from their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee to perform at Pure Imagination and didn't waste a second of their 43-minute set as they showcased a myriad of indie rock superpowers. The quartet's winning sound combined rock and pop stylings stretching from the 1960s to the '00s, with the crowd really enjoying the band's energetic approach too. 

Jacob Bryant enjoying the moment.

Singer-guitarists John Davidson and Jacob Bryant, as well as drummer Trevor Davis and a touring member on bass guitar impressed on the melodic reggae-tinged "Sunshine," fast indie rockers "After Midnight" and "Wrong Idea" (where the band's rapid-fire approach drew favorable comparisons with Two Door Cinema Club), and aptly-titled new song "Cosmic Space Girl." The band's final selection, the procrastination-themed "Do It Tomorrow," was a free-for-all with almost a dozen dazzlingly-dressed dancers joining the Brummies on the stage to elevate the fun quotient. 

Dirtwire features the talents of Evan Fraser, left, and David Satori.

Dirtwire's David Satori on the Subaru Stage at Watson Lake Park.

Evan Fraser at festival.

 was the most groundbreaking artist that performed at the fest this year. The duo comprised of David Satori and Evan Fraser 
 who met in 2012 while both were students at the California Institute of the Arts  brought a genuine wow factor to the event. To label them as "country electronica" or "swamptronic" is accurate but what lifted the set was their ability to create and perform instantly-winning material enhanced by their powers to perform not only on the likes of percussion, keyboards and slide guitar, but a megaphone, banjo, nagonis (West African guitars), Mbira (a finger-plucking traditional instrument from Africa) harmonica and many more. Those instruments are blended with modern technology that was evident during Dirtwire's 45-minute outing. A truly riveting set that had many in the crowd dancing and swept up in the intoxicating sound. Learn more about Dirtwire via the band's official website HERE.

Ponderosa Grove performing at the Pure Imagination Music Festival.

Ponderosa Grove singer Candace Devine
moving with the music.

Ponderosa Grove performed a set of material rooted in classic rock, soul and R&B. Singer Candace Devine's impressive vocals used in the service of great songs would be enough on their own to celebrate the group's appearance, but Drew Hall and Joshua Taylor displayed their own stellar strengths as singers and guitarists. The troupe displayed its top-tier approach via a number of songs including "High Road" and "Save My Soul," the latter featuring some masterful guitar work from both Hall and Taylor. It should also be noted that Devine  via her company Further West  is the president and founder of Pure Imagination, which held its inaugural festival on May 21, 2022. 

Capital Cities performing before an enthusiastic crowd at dusk.

Capital Cities
' indietronica sound fueled a dance party in front of Bucky's Stage with Sebu Simonian and Ryan Merchant leading the group through uptempo dance favorites "Kangaroo Court," "Vowels" and the set-closing "Safe and Sound."  

Lucinda Williams and Her Band performing at Pure Imagination.

Lucinda Williams in Prescott on May 20, 2023.

Lucinda Williams is widely regarded as one of America's greatest living songwriters. The 70-year-old songstress certified her acclaimed status during a bewitching 10-song performance. Backed by a solid four-man band, Williams hit artistic pay dirt at every turn. The rollicking roots rocker "Protection," affecting country folk classic "Drunken Angel" (with its euphoric chorus) and "Lake Charles" were early standouts. The power of the set continued with the rocking "Let's Get the Band Back Together," a freewheeling cover of Memphis Minnie's "You Can't Rule Me," sweeping "Out of Touch" and a truly driving version of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" that became a sing-along with the crowd to end her set. 

David Hidalgo, left, and Steve Berlin of legendary band Los Lobos.

Los Lobos multi-instrumentalist / singer Cesar Rosas.

Los Lobos tearing it up at the Pure Imagination Music Festival.

Los Lobos
 always brings such as positive and uplifting spirit to the band's live sets it's no wonder they were selected to perform at Pure Imagination. The six-member East Los Angeles-spawned collective performed a mix of songs sung in Spanish and English. Among the memorable cuts was a fervent version of the '50-styled "Evangeline," brisk "Shakin' Shakin' Shakes" from their By the Light of the Moon album, timeless "Will the Wolf Survive?" and rousing take on Ritchie Valens' "Come On, Let's Go."

Nappy Roots entertaining the crowd at Pure Imagination.

Allison Russell
Other artists who performed during the last half of the festival were pioneering hip hop group Nappy Roots and rising songstress Allison Russell. A highlight of Nappy Roots' set was an original reworking of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car," while Russell and her group impressed on their opener "Hy-Brasil" with its a cappella vocal opening and the lovely "You're Not Alone."

Capping the day-long event was a performance by Ziggy Marley and his large ensemble of musicians and singers. The eight-time Grammy winner's feel-good vibes and eternal message of peace through the power of reggae music was in tune with the positive spirit experienced throughout Pure Imagination.

Below are some more great images taken by photographer Daryl Weisser at the festival.