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By Andy Argyrakis
Weekend Report: Blackmore's back (yet again)
Friday, October 12, 2007
The name Ritchie Blackmore is most readily associated with Deep Purple's late 1960s/early 70s breakthrough period in Britain, which eventually led to worldwide acclaim. Following his first exit from the band, the famed slinger is also known for founding Rainbow (featuring Ronnie James Dio on vocals) and being named number 55 on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list. The latest chapter in the switch hitter's career revolves around Blackmore's Night, which may seem relatively new to the general public, but thanks to a dedicated niche of hardcore fans, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.
Thus far in its tenure, the band's played a slew of traditional clubs all around the globe, but is most known for performing in several castles throughout Germany, Italy, Poland, England and Scotland (amongst many others). The six-piece Renaissance rockers sweep through the States playing tunes from last year's The Village Lanterne, plus previewing the forthcoming CD/DVD projects Paris Moon (out November 6 on Eagle). This weekend includes tonight's performance at Frauenthal Theater in Muskegon, Michigan (www.startickets.com), Sunday's show at Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio (www.kentstage.org), winding into next week's October 18 appearance at Chicago's House of Blues (www.ticketmaster.com).
"Our set list changes every night, which means there are a lot of things for the band to remember," singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Candice Night tells Concert Livewire. "Usually the first three or four songs are the same and then we start looking over at Ritchie- either with baited breath or fear- to find out what's next. If we're indoors in a theatre or club, the audience pulls us one way or another. If we're in a castle with tall stone walls, we'll play quieter songs with a resonance that's echoes naturally. So we may do something from a Blackmore's Night CD, something from Ritchie's 40 year catalogue, some folk- whether that be Baez or Dylan- or tavern songs because it's difficult to choose one genre!"
Early Kravitz details, Summers spills studio ambitions
Thursday, October 11, 2007
As The Police's lengthy reunion tour goes on, so does guitarist Andy Summers's book tour in support of One Train Later: A Memoir. According to an Associated Press article from his Dublin signing stop, the slinger's once again hinted that the band could record again after its worldwide concert outing wraps up in early 2008. If all goes according to that plan, the project would mark The Police's sixth overall studio CD (and first since 1983's Synchronicity). The rumors have swirled since the trio reconvened earlier this year, but based on its continuous refinement on the road, Summers suggested a trip to the studio would seem like the next natural step.
It may be a bit early to think about February 5, 2008, but that's the day Lenny Kravitz just set to drop his next disc (which will certainly come before anything new from Sting and company). It's Time For a Love Revolution (Virgin) will be his first new effort in three years and will once again focus on peace promoting themes under a rock, soul, funk and jazz dynamic. The fourteen track collection also finds the versatile performer playing multiple instruments, writing, producing and arranging the entire affair.
Hard rockers Monster In the Machine (signed to Emotional Syphon Recordings under Korn guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer) just unveiled touring plans behind the recently released Butterfly Pinned. October finds the relative newcomers teaming up with the like-minded Rockfour throughout America, while late November into December features a Stateside run with Team Sleep (featuring Chino Moreno of Deftones).
It's all about the rainbows of Radiohead
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Yesterday may have been the record business' regular street date, but Radiohead's latest CD (and first outside of a major label) actually drops today. Aside from the shifting the calendar ever so slightly and skipping out on the EMI system for an independent release, the group's seventh studio title In Rainbows also steers away from traditional distribution all together. Instead, the online release can be digitally downloaded directly from the band's website at www.radiohead.com in a completely DRM-free MP3 format. And here's the ultimate kicker- purchasers can set their very own price (no matter how substantial or small)!
For those preferring a hard copy of the project, a special edition Discbox is also available at a pre-assigned fee, featuring a double vinyl and double CD installment of the album, plus an exclusive enhanced CD with extra new songs and artwork, (along with a download code to tide them over until the snail mail arrives). Aside from throwing music moguls for many major curveballs, this innovative model is the first on a major scale to combine this type of technological angle with direct marketing to a band's core fan base. Plus, die-hards have already heard several of these tunes on Radiohead's most recent tour timed alongside the release of Thom Yorke's solo album.
The track listing for the download release is "15 Step," "Bodysnatchers," "Nude," "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi," "All I Need," "Faust Arp," "Reckoner," "House of Cards," "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" and "Videotape." The boxed set also features "MK1," "Down Is the New Up," "Go Slowly," "MK2," "Last Flowers," "Up the Ladder," "Bangers and Mash" and "4 Minute Warning." Outside of its own website, Radiohead also plans to release this disc to brick and mortar stores in early 2008, though no date is currently set.
Street Date: A Rock and Roll Jesus
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
At this stage of his career, is there anything Kid Rock could do that wouldn't seem predictable to his bad boy persona and irreverent amalgamations of rock, rap and everything in between? Probably not, but he sure does try to throw in everything from under the kitchen sink into A Rock and Roll Jesus (Atlantic) his first all new studio album in four years. While his white trash ways are apparent, there's a slightly new twist on Kid's tried and true formula, which tips the scales even closer to southern tinged classic rock than ever before. Apparent muses include Bob Seger (who's album cover he aped last time out) and Creedence Clearwater Revival, a move that's likely to throw longtime listeners for a loop, but possibly attract even more of a country crowd.
Speaking of similar album artwork, She Wants Revenge reprises the same girl in a tank top and short shorts, but switches the color scheme from white to black on This Is Forever (Geffen). As implied in that flip-flop, the band's 80s inspired dance rock takes a darker twist as well, including the brooding titles "Written In Blood" and "She Will Always Be A Broken Girl." The disc has Joy Division written all over it, but hopefully its aftermath won't be nearly as tragic.
Continuing its series of remix albums, the Pet Shop Boys combine original material and treatments of other artists on Disco 4 (EMI Int'l). From its own stable, expect 2006 cuts "Integral" and "I'm With Stupid," plus the older David Bowie duet "Hallo Spaceboy." The pair also twists up The Killers' "Read My Mind," Madonna's "Sorry" and Yoko Ono's "Walking On Thin Ice."
Blunt's sophomore score, Yoko gives peace another
Monday, October 8, 2007
Enigmatic entertainer Yoko Ono is reviving her and late great husband John Lennon's quest for the globe to "Give Peace a Chance." Unlike the initial round of protests geared around television campaigns (including the couple's infamous bedroom interview), she turns to the world wide web for the biggest online peace demonstration to date. Ono's urging fans to put "Imagine Peace" banners on websites, post the message on their computer desktops, print posters, pass out fliers and spread the message in literally any way possible. "If one billion people in the world think peace, we'll get peace," she suggests, citing www.imaginepeace.com/download.html as the ultimate source of promotion.
Though relative newcomer James Blunt had a lot of pressure to beat the sophomore slump, he defied typical trends and landed at the top spot in several countries. The singer/songwriter's recently released All the Lost Souls (Custard/Atlantic) raced to number one in the UK, Canada, France, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and New Zealand. Though America didn't fair quite as well, a #7 slot was still achieved thanks to an astounding 24% of his sales coming from digital formats (yet another example of the industry's shifting cycle).
Close followers of Crowded House and Neil Finn may know the name Liam Finn for opening the group's latest tour and performing as a side member in the band (plus he just so happens to be Neil's son). Yet the New Zealander is quickly stepping into his own, scoring a Stereogum "Band To Watch" nod and four shows at this month's upcoming CMJ Music Marathon. The expansive round of touring comes in early support I'll Be Lightning (Yep Roc), slated for release January 22, 2008.
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