Flamin’ Groovies – Fantastic Plastic (Sonic Kicks/Severn) review

Grizzled power pop veterans return to remind us what a killer rock record sounds like

Roots rock revivalists? Power pop purists? The Flamin’ Groovies have been both during their long career that stretches back to the late Sixties.

Longtime guitarist/vocalist Cyril Jordan teamed once again with vocalist/guitarist Chris Wilson, reuniting the frontline that produced such great albums as Shake Some Action and Flamin’ Groovies Now, convening  for their first new studio long-player since 1979, called Fantastic Plastic. Continue reading Flamin’ Groovies – Fantastic Plastic (Sonic Kicks/Severn) review

#309 – Jay Aston of Gene Loves Jezebel – New Album – Dance Underwater

UK’s Gene Loves Jezebel formed in the early 80’s and had their biggest success in the US with songs like 1986’s “Desire” and “Jealous,” which hit #1 on the Alternative charts in 1990.

Now, the band is back with their first new record in 14 years, Dance Underwater, which contains a killer single, appropriate for the time, “Summertime.”

We talk with Jay Aston about bringing the original lineup of the band back together for this new record, and working with David Bowie’s producer, Tony Visconti.  Plus, he sheds light on the difficulties of having his brother, Michael, tour with his own version of the band and the confusion that it causes fans of their music.


Various Artists – Now that’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems (Sony/UMG) review

Journey and Usher on the same collection?  This is party music, 2017

As a mobile DJ, I’ve seen a shift in pop music. It used to be that Top 40 fans were satisfied with just that – the music that occupies the Top 40. But, that is no longer the case. Younger music fans are a lot more in tune to music that their parents (and even grandparents) listened to. For proof, check out Now That’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems, one of the most unique collections ever assembled in this series. Continue reading Various Artists – Now that’s What I Call Tailgate Anthems (Sony/UMG) review

Deep Purple – A Fire in the Sky (box set) (Rhino)

New 3-CD box set grabs at least one track from every Purple album

Deep Purple are often lumped in with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as pioneers of heavy metal. Yet, as a brand-new, 3-disc box set, Fire in the Sky, shows, they’ve not only outlived the two other bands, they’ve also continued to put out amazing music throughout their long career. The band released a great new album, Infinite, earlier in the year and are hitting the road once again. This new set celebrates not only their longevity, but also the high quality throughout their career. Continue reading Deep Purple – A Fire in the Sky (box set) (Rhino)

#308 – Paul Kelly – New Album – Life is Fine

Australian singer/songwriter Paul Kelly has tackled a lot of different musical projects over the last few years – he’s recorded a soul album, a duet album with Neil Finn of Crowded House, he put music to Shakespeare’s poetry and did a record with guitarist Charlie Owen of songs played a funerals.

His latest project, Life is Fine, returns Kelly to his rock roots. And, he’s planning on touring the States with a full band for the first time in 13 years. We talk to Kelly about this return to rock. Plus he tells us the story behind “Leah The Sequel,” which picks up where a Roy Orbison song left off back in 1962.

#307 – Eric Carmen of the Raspberries

Out of Cleveland Ohio came Raspberries. Led by Eric Carmen, they scored a monster hit in 1972 with “Go All the Way.” Carmen guided the band through four studio albums before embarking on a successful solo career in the mid Seventies, scoring hits like “All By Myself” and “Hungry Eyes,” and writing hits for other people, including “Almost Paradise” for Ann Wilson & Mike Reno.

Finally, in 2004, the four original Raspberries reunited to commemorate the grand opening of the House of Blues in Cleveland.  Now, that historic night has been made public, with the release of Pop Art Live, a 2-CD live set featuring 28 songs – everything the band played that historic first night, made available through Omnivore Recordings.

We chat with Carmen about putting that reunion together, and why this recording sounds so much better than ones released before.  Plus, he talks about the Raspberries’ hit “Go All the Way” being included on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack.


Bash & Pop – Friday Night Is Killing Me (Omnivore) review

A post-Replacements side project that still satisfies

At their peak, the Replacements were everything we loved about rock n’ roll: furious, unpolished, unpredictable, and a hell of a lot of fun. But leader Paul Westerberg knew the fun wouldn’t last forever, and tried to steer the band toward legitimacy. Yet, no one really wanted the class clowns to start wearing suits, and their last couple of studio albums suffered as a result. After the band fizzled out, Westerberg continued to soften his approach for his subsequent solo albums.

Then, in 1993, an unlikely thing happened – ‘Mats bassist Tommy Stinson strapped on a guitar, stepped to the mic, and put a band together called Bash & Pop that recalled some of the greatest moments of his classic, former band. Their debut album, Friday Night is Killing Me, has just been reissued by Omnivore Recordings with an entire disc of rarities. Continue reading Bash & Pop – Friday Night Is Killing Me (Omnivore) review

Raiders of the Lost Ark – Original Soundtrack Vinyl Release (Concord Music Group)

One of the greatest scores in movie history, back in analog!

John Williams will forever be linked with the music he composed for the Star Wars’ series of movies. His “Main Title” opened all seven of the films, and continues to give us goosebumps each time we hear it. Yet, he’s done countless other scores (Jaws before, E.T. and Harry Potter after, just to name a few more). Arguably his second most popular composition is “Raiders March,” which later became synonymous with the theme for Indiana Jones. That piece of music was first introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. The expanded soundtrack has just been reissued on vinyl from Concord Music Group. Continue reading Raiders of the Lost Ark – Original Soundtrack Vinyl Release (Concord Music Group)

Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore) review

Finally, the live album Raspberries’ fans  have been waiting for

When Eric Carmen reunited with the Raspberries for a series of shows in 2004-2005, it gave thousands of fans a chance to see the fathers of power pop in concert for the first time in 30 years. A live disc, Live on Sunset Strip, came out in 2007, commemorating the reunion. Yet, that album was missing something. I was lucky to catch another Cleveland concert in 2005, and I can tell you, it was phenomenal. Finally, here comes Pop Art Live, a true document of what the Raspberries were capable of in concert. Continue reading Raspberries – Pop Art Live (Omnivore) review

Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music) (review)

Smokin’ lead guitars, gritty vocals – there’s a lot to like here

When Gregg Allman passed away earlier in the year, it may have signaled the end of the Allman Brothers, but thanks to band’s like Florida’s Tucci, their spirit lives on.  The four-piece has just released their latest album, Olivia.

The album benefits greatly from the presence of Larry McCray, who lends his fantastic vocals and stinging guitar to the majority of the album.  The disc opens with the blues shuffle of “High Roller,” where McCray and Steve Tucci trade off licks.  Saxophonist Shawn Murphy steps to the mic for “Olivia,” which features some very nimble slide work from Ira Stanley.  “I Don’t Need It” is a fantastic, minor blues, which spotlights some fine, Hammond B3 work from Donnie Richards. Continue reading Tucci – Olivia (Hideaway Music) (review)

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