AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: DALE WATSON/CALL ME LUCKY

The term ‘Honky-Tonk’ means different things to different people. For some, Honky-Tonk is raw and raucous sub-genre of Country Music. For others, it is a smoky bar with beer-stained floorboards, rowdy patrons, and the constant flow of Country Music. From juke boxes to live music performed by local and traveling musicians, Honky-Tonk bars gave birth to a distinctive style of Country Music. Then again, one can say that Honky-Tonk music helped establish the spirit of a Honky-Tonk bar. So, in this case, it doesn’t matter which came first – both the music and the drinking establishments are now intrinsically linked to each other. However, a bar cannot easily hitch itself to a truck and move from town to town like a Honky-Tonk musician can. This means that the spirit of Honky-Tonk must exist within the music and it is up to the many traveling minstrels to spread its ‘gospel’.  And this brings us to a man who preaches that gospel better than anyone out there: Dale Watson.  […]

By | February 15th, 2019|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: DALE WATSON/CALL ME LUCKY

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BOB MOULD/SUNSHINE ROCK

Forty years ago, a Rock artist’s longevity was not something that was guaranteed. The first Rock ‘n’ Roll boom of the ‘50s had been swallowed by the late ‘50s/early ‘60s teen idols. Then those heart throbs were dethroned by the British Invasion. That joyful racket was overcome by the Summer Of Love/Hippy scene of 1967. And so on… Like any industry, the new kids were constantly replacing the old guard, who would then reluctantly slip into the shadows and wait for nostalgia to make them momentarily relevant again. The four Beatles (among others) made it work but a lot of their contemporaries had been left behind, lost in a time warp and destined to play the oldies circuit for the rest of their careers. By 1979, artists and the industry were more understanding when it came to making hit records and extending an artist’s career. However, the Punk movement was initially viewed as a novelty by the bigwigs and while the industry capitalized on Punk’s commercial appeal, they certainly didn’t expect any of the artists to last beyond a two or three-year window, just like any other musical movement that came along since the days of Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. Over time, we have learned that nearly every artist from every genre was capable of something much more than their “15 minutes of fame”. As for the unruly Punk kids, Bob Mould was going to break the mold (semi-pun intended)… […]

By | February 8th, 2019|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BOB MOULD/SUNSHINE ROCK

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: GUIDED BY VOICES/ZEPPELIN OVER CHINA

It has been written many times elsewhere, but it must be said again: Robert Pollard is the most prolific artist in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll. When you look back on bands like The Beatles, who put out two albums and a handful of singles per year in their early days, Pollard makes them look like slackers. While his main band, Guided By Voices, and all of his other projects may not have had the cultural impact that the Fab Four had, Robert has still made a huge impact on the Alternative and Indie music scenes. Not only has he influenced a new generation of singer/songwriters, he’s also inspired them to create music as art and music as expression. And while he may not have intended to be a DIY pioneer, he has certainly become one.  I guess that is what happens when you’ve been making music on your own terms for four decades.  While Pollard & Co. have been releasing music since the ‘80s, they don’t belong to any decade – the albums remain timeless. […]

By | February 1st, 2019|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: GUIDED BY VOICES/ZEPPELIN OVER CHINA

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: PARLIAMENT/MEDICAID FRAUD DOGG

George Clinton is the mad scientist of Funk. He assembles some of the most talented and unique musicians in R&B, Soul, Funk and Rock and creates a sound that is miles ahead of any contemporary Funk band on the scene. Case in point: musicians today are just catching up with what George was doing with Funkadelic nearly 50 years ago. And since Funkadelic always had a fluid line-up over the years, their sound was always evolving. However, Clinton was a prolific leader that felt the need to push his brand of Funk forward. Reaching back into formative years, he reformed his late ‘50s Doo Wop group The Parliaments, renamed them Parliament, and Cosmic Funk was born. […]

By | January 25th, 2019|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: PARLIAMENT/MEDICAID FRAUD DOGG

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SHARON VAN ETTEN/REMIND ME TOMORROW

Fourteen years after she released her handmade debut CD-R, singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten is finally receiving the critical accolades that she has always deserved. While the long journey may have destroyed a more impatient artist, Van Etten has taken it all in good stride. In fact, she’s enjoyed the ride. “I’ve always been a fan of the slow build.” Sharon says. “Whether it be with my career, or my songs, or life.” Along the way, music hasn’t been the only thing on her plate – Van Etten has also pursued an acting career that landed her gigs on Netflix’s THE OA and on David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS revival.  In short, Sharon Van Etten has not been idle in recent times, she’s just been very, very patient. […]

By | January 18th, 2019|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SHARON VAN ETTEN/REMIND ME TOMORROW

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: CHRIS BUTLER/GOT IT TOGEHTER!

Even though you might not recognize his name, you are more than likely familiar with the work of Chris Butler. While his studio work with Tin Huey, Richard Lloyd, the dBs and other bands might have passed some of you by, you will most certainly recognize his higher profile recordings with The Waitresses. Chris Butler was the guitarist and songwriter for the Akron, Ohio-based quirky New Wave outfit and was responsible for penning their hit single “I Know What Boys Like,” as well as their theme song to the cult TV series Square Pegs and the perennial holiday favorite “Christmas Wrapping.” What some may not realize is that while his most high-profile band may have split in 1984, Chris Butler has continued to create experimental music that is entirely unique and charmingly quirky. Akron, Ohio is the birthplace to some of Rock music’s most inventive outfits including Devo and The Bizarros (Cleveland’s Pere Ubu easily fits into the same musical mold). Each of these bands used Rock’s fundamental basics as a jumping off point but turned it all upside down and inside out. There was obviously something in the water because Butler’s music occupies the same head space as those bands. Over the years, he has written and recorded music that challenges the listener, defies logic, and sounds remarkably fresh after repeated listenings. It is as if the music changes shape with each spin – once your brain settles on the song’s hook, you discover a new layer and that song suddenly becomes fresh again. […]

By | December 14th, 2018|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: CHRIS BUTLER/GOT IT TOGEHTER!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: LAURA JANE GRACE/BOUGHT TO ROT

Whether or not you immediately recognize her name, musician/author/activist Laura Jane Grace has been on the international music radar for over two decades. As leader of Punk outfit Against Me!, Laura has blended honesty, Punk, audio blunt force trauma and Rock ‘n’ Roll into a fiery brew. Originally hailing from Gainesville, Florida, Laura and her Against Me! mates may not sound like the Rock legends that emerged from her hometown – Tom Petty and The Eagles’ Don Felder and Bernie Leadon to name a few – but she has certainly become a force to be reckoned with.  […]

By | November 9th, 2018|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: LAURA JANE GRACE/BOUGHT TO ROT

Shake ‘n’ Pop: BILLY BREMNER’s Singled Out reviewed!

Rockpile remains one of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s most respected but commercially overlooked bands. In terms of credibility, how could you go wrong with a band featuring Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Billy Bremner and Terry Williams? While Rockpile recorded albums that were credited to either Edmunds or Lowe, they only recorded one proper studio album under their collective name – 1980’s SECONDS OF PLEASURE – before the band split up. Nick and Dave continued their successful solo careers while Terry joined Dire Straits. The band’s secret weapon – guitarist/vocalist Bremner – also pursued a solo career as well as working with The Pretenders (that’s him playing lead guitar on “Back On The Chain Gang”), Shakin’ Stevens, and many others. He did appear on Lowe and Edmunds’ solo albums as well. While not as high profile as his former bandmates, Bremner has released four solo albums over the years and worked with a multitude of other artists. Often overlooked on his own merits, the best of Billy’s solo material has finally been compiled on the excellent SINGLED OUT collection courtesy of RPM/Cherry Red. […]

By | November 6th, 2018|News|Comments Off on Shake ‘n’ Pop: BILLY BREMNER’s Singled Out reviewed!

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: WILLIAM SHATNER/SHATNER CLAUS

“Christmas: the final frontier. This is the musical voyage of William Shatner. Its holiday mission: to explore strange yule music. To seek out and inject new life into old traditions. To boldly go where no Shatner album has gone before. This is SHATNER CLAUS!” […]

By | October 26th, 2018|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: WILLIAM SHATNER/SHATNER CLAUS

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: YOKO ONO/WARZONE

     Much has been written about Yoko Ono over the years and, sadly, not all of it positive. However, if you look back over the 50 years that she has been in the public consciousness, she has always been a force for good. A superhero of sorts. From being a positive light that guided John Lennon out of his darkness to being an outspoken advocate against gun violence, Yoko has lent her name, her money and her time to many great causes over the years. Yet, the press has dragged her name through the mud so many times that their personal agendas have been adopted by the public as facts. While I’m sure it has been hurtful and confusing to Yoko, she has stood tall and continues to be a strong force in activism and art. […]

By | October 19th, 2018|News|Comments Off on AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: YOKO ONO/WARZONE