Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

14Dec/0810

New album available now from Jules Shear!

So I'm sitting around tonight, and I had a thought that has come around occasionally in recent months:

What the heck is Jules Shear up to?

If you're asking me who Jules is - here's a couple of stats - As a songwriter, he wrote "All Through The Night" for Cyndi Lauper, and "If She Knew What She Wants" for The Bangles. For those of you that watch the tellyvision, Shear came up with the concept and was the original host for MTV's Unplugged, back when they had the cooler guests like The Smithereens, Graham Parker, Michael Penn, Joe Satriani, The Alarm, Syd Straw, etc. To say Jules had a good idea with that Unplugged thing would be an understatement. Hopefully he gets some sort of check for all the bucks that show brought in over the years.

Jules Shear - If She Knew What She Wants (MTV Unplugged)

Joe Satriani - I Believe (MTV Unplugged) w/ Shear intro

It's been a little while since his last album Dreams Don't Count in 2006....and holy crap, wasn't that album appropriately titled for the year that was 2006 for me? My sarcastically cynical side loves that my music collection has such a good sense of humor waiting to unload when my personal life totally goes to sh*t.

Anyway, Jules did a short run of tour dates to support Dreams Don't Count, and I missed 'em, so I've been itching for another potential chance to finally see him for the first time.

His official website hasn't been updated in a long time, and I was surprised to see two new tracks on his Myspace page from a new album More, listed in the bio section as "coming soon." The two new tracks "Thick Cut Grass" and "I'm Coming Back" are the most rockin' tunes I've heard from Shear in years! Shear also has a new record deal with Funzalo Records.

Jules Shear - More

The best news of all? A Google search revealed that More is available now, and for those of you that like the instant gratification, you can grab the DRM-free MP3 download from Amazon.

After hearing the two new tunes, I'm sold!

Curiously, Shear is now billed as "Jules Mark Shear" for the new release. Here's an updated bio that tells more about the new album:

“I’m howling at the moon and the moon is howling back…”sings Jules Shear on his surprising and rockin’ new album, More, which will be released on Funzalo Records in July 2008. On More, Jules worked with producer/engineer extraordinaire, Sean Slade (Radiohead, Hole, Dinosaur Jr.). Joined by legendary producer Paul Kolderie (Spacehog, Radiohead, Uncle Tupelo) on bass, Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Viglione, and Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The Lemonheads, Dirty Vegas) on guitar, More is a meatier, more aggressive album for Shear, incorporating his gift for lyrics and melody, with an edgier sound. The title track, More, is an undeniably sexy song, while songs like Comin’ Back, The Tide Had Turned and Table and Chairs contain those Jules Shear hooks that he is known for. From beginning to end, Jules Shear’s new album will leave you wanting exactly what the titles says….MORE!
For those not familiar with Jules Shear, or who may have ‘heard the name’, Jules is singer/songwriter from Philly, PA. He has recorded almost twenty albums, and written hit songs for the likes of Cyndi Lauper and The Bangles. He also conceived the idea for and hosted the first 13 episodes of the MTV series Unplugged.
Shear's uncanny ability to avoid repeating himself is all the more remarkable in light of the longevity of his recording career. His career started in the 80’s in Los Angeles, where he started out in the country-rock combo Funky Kings. They recorded one album and then Jules moved on to form Jules and the Polar Bears.
In 1983, he released his first solo album, the critically acclaimed Watch Dog (produced by Todd Rungren) which sled to a series of consistently impressive releases including The Eternal Return, the stripped down Demo-Itis, the primarily acoustic album, The Third Party, and the very ambitious The Great Puzzle and Healing Bones. In 1997, Shear recorded a project entitled Between Us. This album was a set of original duets with an eclectic assortment of vocal partners, including Rosanne Cash, Paula Cole, and Margot Timmins of Cowboy Junkies. He also collaborated on Raisins In The Sun, with legendary producer Jim Dickinson and Chuck Prophet, a project that was compared by Entertainment Weekly to The Traveling Wilburys.
Shear's varied catalogue and captivating live performances have won him a devoted fan base that includes numerous fellow artists, many of whom have recorded his compositions. The group includes Cyndi Lauper (who scored a Top Five hit with his "All Through the Night"), The Bangles (who had a hit with his "If She Knew What She Wants"), Alison Moyet (whose cover of Shear's "Whispering Your Name" was a U.K. smash), The Band, Roger McGuinn, 10,000 Maniacs, Curtis Stigers and Jeremy Toback. Fairport Convention co-founder Iain Matthews even recorded an entire album of Shear compositions, 1988's Walking a Changing Line. Shear was the subject of a song by 'Til Tuesday, "J For Jules", after the end of his relationship with that band's singer, Aimee Mann. He also co-wrote the title track of that album, Everything's Different Now, with Matthew Sweet.

"As I get older, I care more about the timeless aspect of making records, and less about making my records sound 'current' or 'competitive' I'm still always looking for that same thrill I got when I was a kid, when I'd hear something great on the radio and be completely blown away by it. I try to keep in touch with that feeling and let the rest of it fall by the wayside. At this point, I kind of realize that I'm not gonna end up on the cover of Rolling Stone, and that I've got a deeper reason for doing this.”

"I'm not interested in getting that one big hit and then being able to retire; I still want to be making records when I'm an old guy," concludes Shear, "My feeling is that if you keep doing good work, good things will happen.…… nothing bad has ever happened to me as a result of putting out a record. So I feel like I'm ahead of the game."

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