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

29Jun/101

Rush “Beyond The Lighted Stage” documentary in stores today!

Written by:

This past weekend, I was out of town.  While I was away, I had the DVR set to tape the VH1 Classic broadcast of Classic Albums featuring Moving Pictures and 2112 by Rush.  After clearing some weeds out of the flower beds tonight (METAL!) and a bit of dinner, it seemed like a good time to officially chill out for the day, and watch a bit of Rush on the television.

Turn DVR and television on, select Classic Albums program for viewing....and suddenly I'm watching The Top 100 Hard Rock Songs of All-Time (or something like that) instead?

But....but......the SCREEN says Rush: Classic Albums!

What happened?  What the hell, VH1 Classic?

Apparently, the Classic Albums broadcast was scrubbed at the last minute for reasons unknown.

Drat.

Luckily, today was still a good day for Rush fans, with the DVD/Blu-ray release of Beyond The Lighted Stage - the great new officially sanctioned Rush documentary that screened recently in theaters and made its television debut on VH1 Classic over the weekend.  Having seen it in the theaters, I can tell you that it is one of the best rock docs that I've seen in quite a while.  And the home video release is stacked stacked stacked with extras.

You can nab the DVD or Blu-ray as of right now and you'll be awfully glad that you did!

P.S. - conveniently, tonight also happens to be the opening night of the Rush tour!

How 'bout some random Rush video?  You got it...

more
29Jun/1041

Return of the Metal Gods

Written by:

A bonafide metal band beginning with 1974’s Rocka Rolla, the release of British Steel in 1980 brought Judas Priest to the masses.  A seminal album, it contained “Breaking the Law,” “United,” “Metal Gods,” and the song that sealed the deal, “Livin’ After Midnight.”

The 30th Anniversary edition that I blasted out contains a remastered version of the original album on compact disc, a DVD which includes a concert performance of the entire album plus more Priest classics recorded live in Florida, and a 30 minute interview special, “The Making of British Steel.”

An alternate 30th Anniversary “deluxe edition” contains the remastered album and the DVD along with the Florida concert in audio format.

What you would expect is what you get; a nice remastering job that has the old-school feel of a lively vinyl copy, an energetic concert that looks good and sounds great in 5.1 surround, an A-1 performance by the band, and a proper amount of insight into the making of what has proved to be the hallmark of the Priest catalog.

This package is a reminder that Judas Priest is, all apologies to Lou Reed, a true metal machine.  A relentless locomotive of sound, the bottom is rock solid thanks to Ian Hill and Scott Travis on bass and drums.  Guitarists K.K. Downing and Glenn Tipton are absolute masters who grind, rip and shred their way through each song, reinforcing their reputation as one of the greatest tandems of all time.

If you’re looking for a full metal flashback 21st century style, grab some British Steel.

more
28Jun/103

I don’t like Mondays…except for this one!

Written by:

You know what?  You're right.  Mondays do suck, except when you get some really good news from J. Geils Band and Rhino Handmade.

An expanded reissue of "Live" Full House?  Featuring 23 previously unreleased performances?  Double disc?

Hell yeah!

Click here to pre-order your copy now. UPDATE: Arrrrrgh.  It looks like this title has been delayed/postponed for the moment.  I'll update here with more details when I hear something...

more
25Jun/102

Contest: Win the new Black Sabbath “Classic Albums” DVD

Written by:

We're officially 900 posts deep here at Addicted to Vinyl as we march towards our third year of existence (February 2011, for those that are keeping track).

To celebrate, we've got the chance for you to pick up a copy of the new Classic Albums DVD featuring the classic (of course it is!) album Paranoid by Black Sabbath.  Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album, the DVD (also available on Blu-ray) features new interviews with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, and includes over 40 minutes of bonus features for a total running time of 97 minutes.

Check out a trailer:

Black Sabbath - exclusive clip from 'Classic Albums: Paranoid' from RawknRoll on Vimeo.

If you'd like to win a copy, send us an email with Sabbath in the subject line for your chance to win!

more
23Jun/107

Singing Songs About the South Land

Written by:

Did you ever wish a few of  your favorite artists would get together and write some great songs?  Ignoring the still-lingering phenomenon that launched in the 90s of superstar duets and filling your album with guest appearances so it will sell, there aren't many substantive efforts out there for my tastes.

But I'm smilin' as wide as a river today after listening to the new Jason and the Scorchers album Halcyon Times.

What we have here is the next phase in the ongoing collaboration between the Scorchers and one of the greatest bar bands to have ever spit on a stage, the Georgia Satellites.

Former Sats frontman Dan Baird steps up to lend a pile of help in the form of guitar, vocals, and ever-valuable creative assistance. The result is a 21st century throwdown that evokes ghosts of old Scorchers and Satellites along with a mess of fresh “rawk and roll” that feels right and sounds even better.

Going back to their days as clients of Praxis Management and Jack Emerson, who is acknowledged in the liner notes, the two bands were like cousins who aimed to knock down the barriers and get down to rockin'.

25 years after the fact, the Scorchers and Baird do that in abundance here, reaffirming their rightful places as members of the rock and twang hall of fame.

The first Scorchers release since 1996’s Clear Impetuous Morning, Halcyon Times is the culmination of a renewed energy the band found when rehearsing and performing for shows associated with their receipt of a Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance from the Americana Music Association in 2008.  Duly inspired, Jason delivers a great batch of songs both lyrically and vocally.

The album’s opener, “Moonshine Guy,” sets the tone with its subject who “Roars for the Stones/Hates the Doors/Thinks the Beatles sing for girls/He’s a moonshine guy in a six-pack world.”

From there, we head to the hills to hear a miner’s lament (“Beat on the Mountain”) and move on to Vietnam and Iraq (“Land of the Free”) before coming back to memory lane (”Golden Days”) among other points of introspection and disbelief ("Better Than This” and “When Did It Get So Easy To Lie To Me?”).

Original Scorcher guitar-god Warner Hodges, who doubles as the lead slinger in Dan Baird's Homemade Sin, is en fuego throughout, raining down walls of thunder (“Getting Nowhere Fast,” Moonshine Guy,” “Better Than This”) alongside of more controlled bursts of melodies ( “Mother of Greed,” “Twang Town Blues”).

The current rhythm section consisting of Al Collins on bass and drummer Pontus Snibb is aggressively tight, bringing a spirited urgency that pushes but doesn’t overpower.

Hodges and co-producer Brad Jones just turn it up and let the guys blast away for the most part and that works just fine. Recorded live in the studio, the feel comes through and puts the listener center stage for all of the fun.

This is a record that doesn’t smell like a comeback, a reunion, a last-ditch attempt or anything of the sort.  It’s a collection of 14 really good songs that put a kick in the ass of every poser/popstar out there who thinks they know how to rock, or country-rock.  Long live the old-school rawkers.

more
21Jun/105

Summer Rock Fun: Catch 10 shows for 10 bucks per show

Written by:

Live Nation is pulling out all the stops for the last 10 days of No Service Fees June by offering fans a $10 ticket deal for a new show each day for the next 10 days.  For Cleveland folks, if you're reading this right now (Monday evening), you can grab yourself a pair of lawn tickets to see Styx, Foreigner and Kansas on Saturday night at Blossom.

Tuesday's offer is a fist full of metal featuring The Scorpions (farewell tour, last chance to see these dudes!), Great White (okay, not really metal) and '80s metalers Shok Paris (horns up!).

I don't know about you, but these guys make me nervous.

The remainder of the special $10 discounted shows range from Lilith Fair (definitely worth 10 bucks to see Sarah McLachlan!) to Creed.  Question: Will they be paying us $10 bucks to go see Creed?  No?

For a list of the daily $10 specials nationwide, click here.

more
20Jun/100

Bruce, Jackson, Bonnie, Shawn and David…

Written by:

...performing a classic Don Henley song, and while that's technically correct, I'm sure Bruce Hornsby had a few inner thoughts about the introduction by Jay Leno.  I've always regretted not making the road trip to catch this tour.

zero
19Jun/108

Video: Jon Anderson and the beginnings of Yes

Written by:

There's some new video online courtesy of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame featuring longtime Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.  For those of you that missed Jon's performance with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra of Cleveland last month, you'll really enjoy this.  On the weekend before the CYO performance, Jon stopped by the Rock Hall for an afternoon of Q&A and performance with Rock Hall Director of Education Jason Hanley.

These Rock Hall events with Jason are always a treat, because he has not only the knowledge to justify the title that he holds, but he's also a music fan (kinda important, right?), and his interviews are always compelling stuff to listen to.  In this clip, Jon spends some time discussing the early days of Yes and specifically, his first encounter with Steve Howe.  Rounding things out, Jon performs a bit of "Starship Trooper."   Regrettably, because this session was in the afternoon, I missed it - so I really enjoyed seeing this clip!

On a side note, I did make it out to see Jon with the Contemporary Youth Orchestra on that following Monday night, and WOW.  I had seen the CYO on video via the Styx DVD release, but that didn't even begin to prepare me for the experience of seeing the CYO in person.  What a wonderfully inspiring experience for this music fan, at a time when there's so many negatives about the music industry, the Contemporary Youth Orchestra and conductor Liza Grossman are all good!

If you haven't seen the CYO yet (it took me 15 years!), I invite you to go check them out, and see if you can find something cynical to say about what they're doing.  On this night, Jon Anderson might have been the featured performer, but the CYO youth were without a doubt, the star performers on the stage.

more
16Jun/103

Talkin’ Mojo

Written by:

This week has been an important one for music fans, with the release of Mojo, the first new album of studio material from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 8 years.  A week like this is one that's full of debate - is it good? does it suck?  What do you think?  These are not easy questions to answer and as crazy musical freakazoids, we listen, and we discuss.

Would you buy a used car from this man?

I guess it's been a couple of weeks since I heard the album, and when I first listened to it, it left me completely cold.  I was listening at work, in the background, and with 15 tracks, nothing jumped immediately to the surface.  Worse, it felt long and about 9 tracks into the album, I shut it off and moved on to something else.  I was bummed.  On the heels of The Live Anthology, which had such great potential to suck (hello, positive thinking!), but ended up being awesome, Mojo was a disappointing wet rag. (And how many people were waiting for a blues album from Petty?  That's always a slippery slope for any artist.)  Anticipation, deflated.  I read reviews from folks that shared various parts of how I was feeling about the album, but I also was reading reviews from people that I trust, elated with the album.  What was I missing?

The second listen brought better results - "First Flash of Freedom," which had been the lone bright spot during my initial listen, would be joined by a few more tracks that I deemed to be solid.  Certainly, there is plenty of Mike Campbell awesomeness on this album, and you've got Benmont, being Benmont - two guys that never ever let you down.  With each additional listen, Mojo was coming together more and more as an album to my ears.

Listening to the album tonight on the drive home, the final pieces fell into place.  Perhaps there should be a requirement that albums from folks like Tom Petty, are albums that demand in-car listening with the volume turned way up, to make that proper first impression.  Because really, listening to it at proper volume, Mojo suddenly became a different album.  It's still too long - I'd shave two tracks ("Jefferson Jericho Blues" and "Candy") from the first seven tracks, and already, it's a better listen.  Perhaps those are two of your favorites, but for me, they are two of the tracks in the first half of the album that feel contrived, while the other five feel like real songs that Petty and the Heartbreakers actually believe in.  Although there are longer tracks like "First Flash of Freedom," there are also shorter beauties like "No Reason To Cry," that I could easily listen to for much longer, but in the case of the latter, it terminates shortly before the three minute mark.  "The Trip to Pirate's Cove" is a typical Petty stroller, that ambles along for five minutes in dreamland - total bliss (Petty describes it musically as "a little short film").

According to this interview with Mike Ragogna, Petty says that he played 18 or 19 tracks for the label, before settling on the final 15 track sequence that makes up the album.  And "sequence" is an important word - listening to the album, you can definitely hear the time that they spent figuring out the proper sequence as you listen to the transition between tracks like "First Flash" and "Running Man's Bible."  I think that if they would have shaved Mojo down to a formatted sequence of 10 songs, chances are good that a move like that would have eliminated some of what feels like extra fat on this album.

I guess that Mojo is proof that first impressions aren't everything - as difficult as this was on the first pass, the songs on Mojo already hold up better for me than Highway Companion (2006), an album that I "enjoyed" almost immediately.  Petty's albums with the Heartbreakers albums for me have been a series of diminishing returns since Echo (1999) and The Last DJ (2002), with She's The One (1996) being the last Heartbreakers "album" that I really loved.  And about that Mudcrutch album - now that's an album that I feel was under-rated, and had it been labeled as an album of Petty and Heartbreakers material, it's possible that the collective minds of music fans (who missed it because of the Mudcrutch tag) might have melted.

As a band, Petty & The Heartbreakers certainly have nothing left to prove - something which I realized, watching the Classic Albums special for Damn The Torpedoes.  It's a true pleasure to listen to these gents make music, and while there might be a bit too much of it on this album for my taste, I'm grateful for the opportunity.  Now that I know what their "mojo" is all about, I'll be looking forward to July 20th, when the band will touch down for another Cleveland area visit at Blossom Music Center.

more
16Jun/100

Bettie Serveert in Cleveland (and beyond)

Written by:

How long has it been since I cared about a Bettie Serveert album?  That's a good question.  The last time that I saw the band live was in 1993 at the old Peabody's Down Under, touring in support of Lamprey.  I bought a couple more albums after that one, and then, I tuned out.  Their new album Pharmacy of Love is fantastic.  Did you like Lamprey and Palomine?  You'll love Pharmacy.  I'm not saying that they're stuck in the '90s, but with Pharmacy, they've certainly made a quality album that finally caught my ear.

And in even better news, the band is hitting the road to promote Pharmacy of Love with a nice set of tour dates that will bring them back to Cleveland (I'm not sure how long it's been since they've been here, but the web tells me that they were here as recently as 2003 at the Grog) on September 29th for a show at the Grog Shop.

In fact, the Cleveland show is the tour opener for a month's worth of touring that will wrap up in New York City at the Bowery Ballroom on October 29th.

I'll leave you with a couple of older favorites....

zero