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HOWARD JONES/Best 1983-2017 (3CD) reviewed!

     While he  achieved a lot of chart success early in his career (1983 to 1989) and still tours and releases new music, Howard  Jones’ musical legacy has been somewhat overlooked since his heyday. While he certainly hasn’t been forgotten, he has become increasingly difficult to categorize… which is both a good and bad thing. He’s been labelled a Synthpop artist, a teen idol, a New Waver and an Electropop pioneer while also being  lumped into the Adult Alternative category. Some have even pointed out his Jazz-influenced  chord progressions and R&B leanings. In all honesty, Howard Jones is all of this and more.  And thankfully, Cherry  Red has just released the three CD BEST 1983-2017, which really  showcases Howard’s many talents. A set this comprehensive reminds the listener  that Howard Jones is much more than an “’80s relic”. He was never a one-trick  pony and this release backs that statement up. […]

By | August 11th, 2017|News|Comments Off on HOWARD JONES/Best 1983-2017 (3CD) reviewed!

BRONSKI BEAT: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Steve Bronski!

     It has been 33 years since Bronski Beat arrived on the music scene with their remarkably emotional debut single “Smalltown Boy.” Jimmy Somerville’s soaring falsetto was quite a wonder to behold but the music performed by Steve Bronski and Larry Steinbachek was equally enthralling. Equally enchanting, the band’s debut album THE AGE OF CONSENT was Synthpop at it’s finest. Inspired by classic Disco and the Electronic Music scene that was sweeping the UK, the trio blended their influences into a wondrous brew. Add in their thought-provoking lyrics that focused on gay-related issues and you had a band that not only made you dance but also made you think. Surprisingly, in 1985, at the height of the band’s popularity, Somerville abruptly quit, leaving Bronski and Steinbachek to carry on without him. The following year, the band returned with new vocalist John Foster and released the Pop-errific sophomore album TRUTHDARE DOUBLEDARE. Although “Hit That Perfect Beat” and “C’mon! C’mon!” were hits, the album didn’t fare as well as their debut and the band left their label (London Records). Foster left the fold and Bronski and Steinbachek’s continued to work together throughout the rest of the ‘80s and into the ‘90s. They released their third album, RAINBOW NATION, with new vocalist Jonathan Hellyer and additional musical assistance from Ian Donaldson. However, the band quietly split in 1995 shortly after that album’s release. […]

By | August 11th, 2017|News|Comments Off on BRONSKI BEAT: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Steve Bronski!

Five MUST-HAVE releases on Wounded Bird Records!

 For nearly 20 years, Guilderland, NY-based Wounded Bird Records has been quietly reissuing a plethora of CD titles that are generally geared for collectors but most definitely appeal to causal music lovers as well. Not a label to focus on one genre, Wounded Bird has just about every musical style covered – from OC punks Agent Orange to Jazz legend Joe Zawinul. In between, you’ll find releases by the golly-ricious Jim Nabors, Hard Rock heroes Montrose, former Eagles members Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt and way too many others to list. In the early days, Wounded Bird was a straight reissue label – no bonus tracks or liner notes. However, over the years, they’ve started adding bonus material to some of the releases, which makes them even more exciting. Sadly, most every release on the label is limited so when they are gone, they are gone – no re-pressings! What does this mean to you? It means that you should buy whatever you can RIGHT NOW because it won’t be around forever. And you know what happens when Wounded Bird CDs go out of print, right? The prices skyrocket and you end up kicking yourself because you didn’t pick it up when it was affordable. Well, I’ve done you a favor and I’ve gone through the active Wounded Bird catalog and I’m going to tell you about five currently in-print titles that you seriously need to pick up right now before they get deleted and up up trading for beaucoup bucks online! You can thank me later. […]

By | June 13th, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Five MUST-HAVE releases on Wounded Bird Records!

KASHIF/Help Yourself To My Love: The Arista Anthology review!

Kashif Saleem – formerly a member of Funk giants B.T. Express – was at the forefront of synth-fueled smooth R&B in the early ‘80s. He was one of the first artists to embrace modern technology when it came to creating Soul and Funk music yet he still managed to make it sound human and heartfelt. While his name may not be as well-known as many of his technology-loving contemporaries like Stevie Wonder, Kashif helped usher in a new kind of sound that changed the course of Soul and HELP YOURSELF TO MY LOVE: THE ARISTA ANTHOLOGY is all the proof that you need. Spanning the years 1983-89, this is ‘80s electronic Funk/Soul/R&B at its finest. […]

By | June 9th, 2017|News|Comments Off on KASHIF/Help Yourself To My Love: The Arista Anthology review!

BMX BANDITS FOREVER review!

For over three decades, BMX Bandits has been creating some of the most melodic, thoughtful Pop music of the Alt-Rock era. From their humble independent beginnings in Scotland during the C86 movement up through their albums on Creation Records in the ‘90s and beyond, Duglas T. Stewart and the boys & girls in the band have never steered away from their Pop purpose. Unafraid to show their humor and sensitive sides, the Bandits’ albums could go from whimsical to reflective without batting an eyelid. The Bandits have always managed to play with your emotions using plenty of charm and wit. While their albums have been pretty eclectic affairs over the years, the band’s revolving line-up (with Duglas being the only constant member) has continued to shine even if they weren’t always in the spotlight. And with at least nine albums and a few dozen singles behind them, BMX BANDITS FOREVER might be their most truthful and honest musical statement to date. […]

By | June 9th, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on BMX BANDITS FOREVER review!

HAIRCUT 100/Paint And Paint (Deluxe Edition) review!

Haircut 100 was quite the band in 1982. Their debut album, PELICAN WEST, was the product of six very different personalities that came together to create one fantastic album. From Latin to Funk to Pure Pop, the album blended the band members’ musical influences perfectly. The thought that the album was created by a group of kids just barely into their 20s was quite astounding. Even today, that timeless album is just as thrilling as it was when it came out 35 years ago. The lads in H100 were in the midst of recording their second album when lead singer/songwriter Nick Heyward left to pursue a solo career. For a brief moment, it seemed like that was the end of the line for H100 members Marc Fox, Les Nemes, Phil Smith, Graham Jones and Blair Cunningham. Thankfully, the lads still had something to say… […]

By | June 9th, 2017|News|Comments Off on HAIRCUT 100/Paint And Paint (Deluxe Edition) review!

TODD RUNDGREN: An EXCLUSIVE interview!

  LET’S DO THIS: Todd Rundgren talks about WHITE KNIGHT      Todd Rundgren needs no introduction. His ‘legendary’/‘iconic’ status is  well-deserved. End of story.      WHITE KNIGHT, Todd’s 2017 release,  finds Rundgren continuing to move forward, but this time he’s brought a few of  his musical friends with him. While technically an album of collaborations, WHITE  KNIGHT is most certainly not a ‘duets’ album… in the traditional sense,  anyway. Every guest on the album – including Daryl Hall, Robyn, Donald Fagen (Steely Dan), Joe Walsh,  Trent Reznor, Joe Satriani, Moe Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness), John Boutte and  others – brings their own personality to the party, making each track feel  different from the last. While Rundgren may be the name on the album cover, he  allows every collaborator to make their presence known. Totally modern and  relevant, WHITE KNIGHT still features Todd’s distinct musical thumbprint  and is a pleasure from start to finish.      Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to track Todd  down while on tour and have a chat about WHITE KNIGHT and the magic behind  it… […]

By | May 22nd, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on TODD RUNDGREN: An EXCLUSIVE interview!

MODERN ENGLISH/Take Me To The Trees review!

If your only encounter with Modern English is “I Melt With You,” then you need to sit down, kids, because there is more to this British outfit than meets the ear. The band’s moody and artsy Post-Punk beginnings were a perfect match for 4AD, the label that released their first three albums. However, by the second album, 1982’s AFTER THE SNOW, the band had matured and were writing better songs, moving away from their dark past and gaining a lot more confidence in the process. That second album contained some of their best moments to date including “Someone’s Calling,” “Life In The Gladhouse” and, of course, “I Melt With You.” The latter song became one of the tracks that truly defined the ‘80s and became a blessing and curse for the band. Modern English next album, RICOCHET DAYS, was nearly as good as AFTER THE SNOW but did not contain a hit like “I Melt With You” and the band found itself falling out of fashion. Another album – STOP START – came and went and the band split. Over the years, vocalist Robbie Grey and various line-ups of the band have recorded and toured as Modern English, even releasing some very fine albums along the way, In 2010, four of the five original members – Grey, Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), Michael Conroy (bass, vocals) and Stephen Walker (keyboards – reunited for a few tours and received a hero’s welcome by fans. Seven years on, have finally delivered TAKE ME TO THE TREES, the first studio album since 1984’s RICOCHET DAYS to feature these four core members. While the band wisely continues to avoid attempting to re-write “I Melt With You,” they certainly haven’t lost the desire to re-explore dark places with melodic flair. […]

By | May 22nd, 2017|News|Comments Off on MODERN ENGLISH/Take Me To The Trees review!

JUSTIN HAYWARD/Moving Mountains (reissue) reviewed!

     While not the only lead vocalist  in The Moody Blues, Justin Hayward is the most recognizable. His silky smooth voice can be heard on nearly all  of their hits including “Nights In White Satin,” “Your Wildest Dreams,” “Tuesday  Afternoon,” “The Voice,” and many others. One of Rock’s finest front men, Justin  Hayward has also released a handful of fantastic solo albums over the years  that have come and gone without much notice by [...]

By | May 10th, 2017|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on JUSTIN HAYWARD/Moving Mountains (reissue) reviewed!

THE ADVENTURES’ The Sea Of Love (Expanded Edition) reviewed!

The Adventures rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Irish Punk/New Wave band Starjets. Vocalist Terry Sharpe and latter-day guitarist Pat Gribben formed the Pop-oriented outfit (along with Pat’s wife Eileen, Spud Murphy, Tony Ayre and Paul Crowder) and released their debut album in 1985. Depending on which country you were in, the album was called THEODORE AND FRIENDS (in the UK and Europe) or THE ADVENTURES (in the U.S.). While essentially the same album, each version featured different mixes of the core tracks (“Send My Heart,” “Another Silent Day”, etc.) and different artwork. The album’s shimmering, glossy production accented Gribben’s melodic flair and Sharpe’s vocals. The addition of Eileen’s vocals added a nice depth to the harmonies, of which there were plenty on display. While the album received good reviews and they earned significant airplay on both sides of the pond, The Adventures didn’t achieve the success they so richly deserved. […]

By | April 3rd, 2017|News|Comments Off on THE ADVENTURES’ The Sea Of Love (Expanded Edition) reviewed!