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

29Apr/1030

Your favorite live album.

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The folks at The Top 13 posted a list this week of their picks for the top 13 "essential live albums."  Being a list lover, The Top 13 website has become a recent favorite of mine, even though the thought of assembling my own personal top 13 list of essential live albums sends my head spinning.  Where to begin?

While I'm not going to go 13 albums deep with you here, I am going to share a few of my favorites with you, actually - let's just make it one, otherwise we'll be here all day.  I have always loved live albums, and those albums eventually led me to live bootlegs, the discovery of which sent me into full-on overdose, realizing that I could now potentially acquire a live show from each of my favorite tours for a band.

It began with tape trading, quickly followed by CD-R trading, all via snail mail.  And then it was time for the mother lode - using that high speed internet connection to download full-res wav files of shows via BitTorrent.

But before all of that, there were live albums.

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26Apr/100

Show of the Week: New Pornographers Listening Party @ The Happy Dog

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Our pals at Sixty Seconds of Heaven are at it again, inviting us all to come out and hang out at a cool place.

I Rock Bill certainly nailed it when he hopped into the wayback machine to remind us all of the olden days of midnight sales, listening to new albums with friends, or *gasp*, listening to new albums with the general public at these events that they called creatively enough, "listening parties."

Matt @ Sixty Seconds of Heaven apparently remembers those days too, and has an invite out to all interested music fans, to join in on a new musical experience Thursday night at the Happy Dog beginning at 6pm.  The event will be your first chance to hear Together, the new album from The New Pornographers which will hit stores the following Tuesday (5/4).

There will be giveaways and drink specials, including vinyl, a signed poster and tickets to see The New Pornographers in Columbus at the Newport on 6/13.  AND - the first 20 people will receive an exclusive numbered "Spring Get Together Playlist" mix made by Carl Newman.

Sounds like a fun evening to us - get your RSVP in now to gettogethercleveland@gmail.com!

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24Apr/102

Dire Straits – Alchemy – official trailer for upcoming video reissue

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The classic Dire Straits concert film Alchemy finally makes its way onto DVD and Blu-ray on May 3rd in the UK and other territories, with a U.S. release date set for June 8th.

Here's the official trailer:

The legendary live concert is released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The picture of the original record have been restored by restoration specialist and live concert director Dick Carruthers (Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison). The audio was mixed by Chuck Ainlay, winner of the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album (Brothers In Arms - 20th Anniversary edition).

  1. Once Upon a Time in the West
  2. Expresso Love
  3. Romeo & Juliet
  4. Private Investigations
  5. Sultans of Swing
  6. Two Young Lovers
  7. Tunnel of Love
  8. Telegraph Road
  9. Solid Rock
  10. Going Home - Theme from 'Local Hero'

Bonus (79 min) - Live TV Performances

  • Tunnel Of Love [8:53] The Old Grey Whistle Test 29/11/1980
  • Sultans of Swing [9:43] The Old Grey Whistle Test 16/05/1978
  • Documentary BBC Arena: Dire Straits [58 mins] 22/12/1980

A deluxe edition of the DVD with 2 CDs containing the audio portion can also be purchased.

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23Apr/106

Road trip for Smithereens/Pat DiNizio fans?

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I've heard good things about The Smith Bros, and can you pass up the chance to see Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio with The Smith Bros as his backing band for $5 on a Thursday night near Columbus?  More importantly, can I pass up that chance?

The Smith Bros are hosting "Rock on the Road" presented by Pop Garden Radio on Thursday, April 29th and headlining the event is Pat Dinizio of The Smithereens. The Smith Bros. will be hosting this show at The Lazy Chameleon. They will also be performing with Pat Dinizio as his backing band and playing their own original music. The Vague from Columbus, Ohio will also be performing that evening!

Hmmmm.....

Of course if you're in Columbus, for five bucks, this one's pretty much a no-brainer.

Here's some bio information for The Smith Bros, and you can stream tunage via their Myspace page.

Smith Bros is a power pop quartet that formed under the bond that Pat Dollenmayer and Mike Clark had over the love of A.M. pop radio. Hearing anything from The Hollies to The Raspberries on A.M. radio fueled a love for power pop and hook laden songs that drove Mike and Pat to form a band to play in that style. Smith Bros is now influenced by many power pop bands that are out today as well as the power pop groups that played in the 70's and 80's. Mike plays bass and sings, Pat plays guitar and sings, and they are rounded out with Kris Phillips on drums. The Smith Bros. are often joined by Eric Fritsch on the guitar. They write original music that is compared to anything that is Brit Rock to Teenage Fanclub and Fountains of Wayne.


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23Apr/10135

Setlist: Mark Knopfler – The Fabulous Fox Theatre – St. Louis – 4/22/10

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The Fabulous Fox Theatre is a St. Louis venue that brings no hype with its name - it really is fabulous, and on the level of some of the most beautiful venues I've had the pleasure of visiting through the years.  Attending a concert at the Fox is a majestic experience, on par for me personally with the times that I've been to shows at Radio City Music Hall in New York - just a beautiful old venue with acoustics that are perfectly suited for live music.

The Fox was built in the 20's by William Fox as a forum to screen the films of the Fox Film Corporation, and to provide a venue for elaborate stage productions.  It was one of a total of five Fox Theatres built in the 20's (the Atlanta location is one of the most famous of the five), and at the time, it was the second largest theater in the United States with a capacity of 5,060.  After closing in the late 70's, The Fox later was fully restored at an estimated cost of at least 3 million dollars, and eventually reopened in 1982.

Rock music gurus will recognize the Fox as the location for St. Louis native Chuck Berry's 60th birthday concert, captured in the concert film Hail! Hail! Rock 'n Roll.  If these walls could talk, you can bet that they'd tell some bitchin' stories.

So when Mark Knopfler announced a set of 2010 tour dates to promote his latest album Get Lucky, I knew that The Fox would be the primo venue to experience an evening of Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits favorites.   It's been nearly two years since I last saw Knopfler at the Fraze Pavilion in Dayton, OH, on the Kill To Get Crimson tour.  Knopfler is one of those guys that each time that I get lucky enough to see him, I'm never sure if it will be the last time.  With a guy like Knopfler, you never know when he might decide that it's time to go riding off into the sunset.  Setlist wise, he never really rocks the boat with unexpected choices (although the inclusion of "Prairie Wedding" from Sailing to Philadelphia in tonight's setlist was one of several surprises in tonight's set), but although Knopfler/DS fans might grumble about the lack of variety in selections from the Dire Straits catalog, I'll never pass on the opportunity to see "Telegraph Road" live.

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22Apr/100

Clutch

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File this one under "releases that I really can't wait for!"

Just in case the trailer wasn't enough for you, here's some additional eye candy to go along with it....

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21Apr/1024

What you need.

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It's morning time.

I wake up, surf a bit through the new posts in my Google Reader, and notice a new post from Slicing Up Eyeballs (those guys again!) regarding a new INXS greatest hits compilation.

Now, while I would normally tune out and move on, I have to read it, because I'm a crazy nut for all things INXS.  I don't need another INXS greatest hits compilation - because I've already got three of them - but as it turns out, I do need this one.

Platinum: Greatest Hits screams "crappy needless repackaging of a bunch of stuff that I've already got," and for 16 tracks, that sentiment rings true.  But then, you notice the rest of the contents - a double live album titled Seriously Live (wait...didn't Phil Collins already use that one?)  - 26 live tracks hand picked (of course they were) by the surviving members of INXS and longtime band associate Chris Murphy.

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20Apr/1011

New music from Toad The Wet Sprocket?

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One of my favorite music writers on the internet is a fellow named Mike Ragogna, who writes a great weekly music column for The Huffington Post that usually shows up sometime near the top of each week.  Mike's column features new release news, the latest press releases and best of all, really extensive interviews with a variety of musical and pop culture subjects.

I could geek out more, but let's get to the point - a recent dispatch from Ragogna features a great chat with Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips.  During the conversation, Phillips talks about the legacy of Toad The Wet Sprocket and notably, the possibility of new music from Toad:

MR: Might there be a new Toad album down the line?

GP: It's possible. Certainly after last year's experience, really honestly, we all felt great about it. It took us about 15 years to get to that point. We've got a lot of history. Whether we could turn that into something that is artistically viable, moving forward? There's a whole lot of reason to do it because people apparently want it, and it would be an economically good decision. It needs a delicate balance. We need to be very careful about the next steps we make. And I have, I think we all have a whole of creative outlets that we're extremely happy with. Dean and Todd have been co-writing in Nashville. Todd's been producing people. Dean has been working on film stuff. Randy has been playing with a number of people. It's like everybody has creatively-fulfilled lives. So, I think it's a possibility, but I mostly see it as other people's desire.

MR: You know, some acts have put their toes in the reunion studio album water by releasing live albums.

GP: Yeah, and I think we're going to do some re-records pretty soon. We got our publishing back for the sake of easy licensing. We're probably going to go in the studio just to do soundalikes of our own material, not to sell, but for use in licensing. So, I won't say never. And we may find we just have an incredible time.

Ragogna also rounds up some Toad thoughts from bassist Dean Dinning and drummer Randy Guss for an article that overall, gives you nearly everything you could possibly want to know about Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band that Ragogna terms as "everyone's favorite group" in the interview title.  If that's not a true statement, it certainly should be.

Toad The Wet Sprocket

I'm reminded often of a record store customer that I had at one point, who came walking up to the counter with a copy of A Decade of Steely Dan.  "This is a great album - there are a lot of really good songs on here."  My silent thought:  but of course there are - it's a frikkin' greatest hits album!  Although I'm primarily an album guy, I do appreciate and enjoy a really well-assembled and thought out greatest hits compilation. As compilations go, you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than P.S.: A Toad Retrospective, which for my money is a picture-perfect representation of Toad the Wet Sprocket's career.

I'm encouraged to hear word of possible new recordings, and if they could turn out a disc along the lines of Phillips' Winter Pays for Summer, that would be a win in my book!  (And by the way, if you don't own that album, it's well worth the $3 bucks that it will cost you to acquire it used at Amazon.  Winter is the next best thing to a Toad album, until the day when/if we finally see a new Toad album!)

You can find Toad on the road once again this summer for a series of scattered tour dates - check out a list of upcoming dates via the band's Myspace page.

The band's classic album Pale turns 20 this year, and my good comrade Michael Parr wrote up a nice piece recently for Popdose, with news of forthcoming deluxe reissues for both Pale and Bread and Circus (both of which are currently out of print).  Can't wait!

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19Apr/108

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight!

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It's time for another 80's music bulletin, this time courtesy of our good pals at The Winchester here in Cleveland:

JUST ANNOUNCED: - WANG CHUNG - Everybody have fun on Sat 7/3!

That's right, if you've been waiting patiently for the chance to "Wang Chung," you'll have the opportunity to do it at The Winchester on July 3rd, one of a number of tour dates scheduled as part of the group's pending Abducted By The 80's summer tour (inspired by the band's new song of the same name), which will make its way through the United States in June and July.

Wang Chung, ya'll

Wang Chung, y'all

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19Apr/1013

Concert Review: Ben Folds & Matt Pond – House of Blues – 4/15/10

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The hardest job in music might be opening for Ben Folds. The piano man has well over two decades of performance experience under his belt – and a loyal fanbase that hangs on every one of his lyrical turns-of-phrase and thundering chords.

Last Thursday night in Cleveland, the warm-up spot fell on the shoulders of Matt Pond. Pond’s latest album (under his band moniker, Matt Pond PA), The Dark Leaves, is a lush affair full of strings, honeyed guitars and wistful melodies. Live, however, he opted for a stripped-down arrangement featuring just him and Leaves collaborator/guitarist Chris Hansen.

Crammed into the front of stage left -- Folds’ piano dominated the center part of the stage – the pair ran through a half-hour set of midtempo tunes. Pond’s closed-eyes and gently swaying body often made him resemble a young boy at a choir recital; reed-thin Hansen, with just a guitar and amp at his disposal, functioned as his silent, trusty sidekick. While the sincerity and beauty of these songs was never in doubt, the mellow vibe soon made the songs run together -- and the attention of the audience wander.

Folds is a dynamic, in-your-face performer who compensates for his sparse instrumentation with sheer charisma. Pond, in contrast, prefers to let his music speak for itself – a strength of his catalog, for sure, but a detriment when trying to engage a crowd waiting for a headliner. It’s hard to say if Pond won over any new fans; the indifference to his opening slot dominated.

Ben Folds

Folds’ performance – a mixture of sincerity, satire and dead-on character assessment -- was predictably good. This review sums up the night well. Having seen Folds multiple times (most of them when he’s performed solo) it’s still an awe-inspiring thing to see him command the stage with just his music and banter. His self-deprecating wit hasn’t mellowed despite his massive popularity (if anything, this helps contribute to the relatable, fun vibe of these shows), and his storytelling continues to be razor-sharp.

Songs from Folds’ last solo release, Way to Normal, came across much better than they did on record, perhaps because he’s had several years to work out the kinks. Highlights for me included “Annie Waits,” “Zak and Sara” and, of course, the massive sing-along to “Rockin’ the Suburbs” and the Ben Folds Five gem “One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces.” Every Ben Folds show I attend, I rediscover a song of his I love. This night was no exception.

- review by A. Zaleski

Setlist:

Free Coffee
Annie Waits
Sentimental Guy
Effington
Time
Landed
All U Can Eat
Brainwasched
Gone
Bitch Went Nutz (Fake Version)
Levi Johnston’s Blues *
Picture Window * ( * = new tracks co-written with author Nick Hornby)
You Don’t Know Me
Still Fighting It
Zak and Sara
Steven’s Last Night in Town
Hiro’s Song
The Luckiest
Mess
Hiroshima
Rock This Bitch
Emaline
Secret Life of Morgan Davis
Army
Not the Same
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

Encore:

Rockin’ the Suburbs
Song for the Dumped

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