Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday's Rockin' Roundup - Chris Cornell Edition

As I am sure most of you reading this are aware, there was sad news in the music world this week as we learned of the passing of Chris Cornell. Details surrounding the death were still being investigated as of this writing, but evidence and reports point to an apparent suicide. I was stunned when I heard the news and deeply saddened since. I know I did not personally know the man, but his music and his voice brought so much joy to my life. I was a huge Soundgarden fan during the height of their fame, and the first Audioslave album navigated me through some dark times in my life. Eventually I will write the Reflections On…Audioslave post that I have on my “to write” list, which will explain that navigation in much more detail.

Since hearing the news of his death, I have been listening to a lot of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Chris Cornell solo work. Each song I listen to holds a special memory in my head and a special place in my heart. I was fortunate enough to see Soundgarden live once, with Nine Inch Nails (another post that I should write), and I am now more grateful than ever that I got to see him perform live. Superunknown, Down on The Upside, and the aforementioned Audioslave were all soundtracks to my life at one point or another.

This edition of Friday’s Rockin’ Roundup is dedicated to Chris Cornell. He was a vocal talent unlike any I’ve listened to and he will be missed. May he rest in peace.

Here’s the Chris Cornell Tributes that rocked:

The New York Times wrote a detailed obituary on this legend that is worth reading. Their tribute to Chris Cornell is a touching remembrance on all the joy that Cornell brought to people across the world.

The Washington Post also gave a touching tribute to the legend that follows his career from the early days in Seattle all the way through the current tour.

Gizmodo posted their take on the passing of Chris Cornell, but also on the unexpected passing of celebrities in general. The article discusses the “strange new ritual” that fans go through when remembering a fallen hero---diving through the internet for social media posts in the celebrities’ final moments. An interesting quick read that reflects how tributes have changed over the past decade.

USA Today gathered a lot of the early tweets from musicians that paid tribute to Cornell. It’s clear that he meant a lot not just to fans, but also to his peers.

A legend has passed. He will be missed, but his music will be remembered for ages

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday's Rockin' Roundup - Playoff Hockey Edition

Welcome to another edition of Friday’s Rockin’ Roundup where I roundup all the cool happenings in the world of music. And while I’ve been trying to keep up on my favorite bands and music there’s been a little distraction going on called the NHL Playoffs. Regular readers probably remember that I am a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I started watching hockey because of Mario Lemieux---one of the greatest Penguins ever.

The Penguins have had an exciting post season thus far and they just beat the Washington Capitals in an exceptional game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. If they win their next series against the Ottawa Senators, the Penguins will go to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row. Last year they won it all and I am hoping that they will repeat their championship performance this year. The first game of their next series is Saturday night. I will be glued to my television, rooting for a Penguins victory.

And while I was busy watching the coolest sport on Earth, here what’s rocked this week:  

The Gaslight Anthem are a band that I absolutely adore. They are currently on an indefinite hiatus, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly seeking out the latest news about the band. Mostly I do it in the hopes of hearing that they are coming out of hibernation and working on a new record. Being that the band is from New Jersey, NJ.Com took the liberty of ranking all the Gaslight Anthem songs from worst to best. And while I don’t necessarily agree with all the rankings, I love that they put this up for debate. If you are a fan of the band, this is a must-read article. And if you aren’t familiar with the band, NJ.Com was kind enough to include a You Tube video for each song so you can sample them for yourself.

They aren’t the first band to try the fan first technology, but they are the first band that brought it to my attention. Ticketmaster launched what they call “Verified Fan” earlier this year and Linkin Park is using the technology to help real fans get tickets to their show. The concept is simple---the more you are willing to do for the band, the higher your chances are of scoring presale tickets. Join the fan club, tweet about the band, promote them on Facebook, and/or pre-ordering their latest album are all ways that you can improve your standing. The concept was created to help battle the scalping bots and I think that it’s a step in the right direction. It may not solve the re-selling of tickets at overinflated prices permanently, but it’s good to see that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are trying.

Evolve will be available on June 23rd. This will be the third album from Imagine Dragons. Their first two records were impeccable, so expectations for disc number three are high with me. Their tour starts in late September and runs through the fall. Presale tickets will be available starting next week. I am going to try my best to catch one of their shows. I’ve never seen Imagine Dragons in concert, but I hear they are amazing.

U2 kicks off their 30th anniversary tour tonight. The first concert takes place in Vancouver and U2 will be touring North America for the rest of the spring. The Joshua Tree will be played in its entirety and I am revved up to see this concert. I haven’t seen U2 live since 2005, so this is going to be a special treat for me. I know that I will be checking the Vancouver set list come tomorrow morning.

Sir Paul McCartney has added more shows to his summer/fall tour. Additional nights have been added in the NY/NJ area as well as Chicago and Detroit. Tickets are on sale today, so if you want to see McCartney you’d better get to Ticketmaster now and get some!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's The Guru Listening To - May Edition

Welcome to this brand new monthly feature, What’s The Guru Listening To? I get asked this question a lot. What am I currently enjoying and what would I recommend? And since time is severely limited these days, it gets harder and harder to post a full review of the outstanding music that I am discovering (or re-discovering). Hence the birth of this new column. Every month I will fill you in on the latest song, album, or band that I am obsessed with.  

Here’s what The Guru is listening to this month:

The Shins – Name For You
I first heard this song on The Spectrum and immediately fell in love with it. I haven’t stopped listening to it since. The Shins are an American indie rock band from New Mexico that have been around since 1996 and hit their stride in 2004. Oddly enough, I’ve never heard their music until now. Better late than never I suppose. “Name For You” is the fantastic lead track from their latest album, Heartworms. Honestly, I haven’t listened to the rest of the album (yet), but this one song is worth the price of adding this gem to your collection.

Considering that I just saw this band live at M3, it makes sense that I am listening to a lot of Junkyard lately. Before my trip to Maryland I listened to their debut album a few times. Now that I am back, I am still listening to their debut album, but I am also enjoying their new release, High Water. This is the band’s first album in 26 years. That’s a long time between releases, but Junkyard proves that they still have what it takes to rock and roll. If you like your hard rock sleazy with a touch of blues, check out Junkyard---and buy a copy of their new CD.

Breathe (2 AM)  – Anna Nalick
I asked my Amazon Echo to play music one morning and this song came on. I immediately stopped everything that I was doing and listened to the entire song. Then I listened to it 3 more times before I resumed working. This is an amazing ballad by an extremely talented artist. I can’t get enough of this song and I have a feeling I am going to continue to play this one for months and months. I realize now that this song is 12 years old and that I am late to the party, but it’s okay. Sometimes being late pays a higher reward.

The Strumbellas – Hope
I just can’t get enough of this album! I discovered The Strumbellas by watching a Lumineers video. When that video ended a song by this band came up next and I decided to check it out. I was simply blown away. They’ve been around since 2008, but it is this album, Hope, that is giving them much deserved attention. Almost every song on this record is perfect. If they continue to make music this good, I can see a very bright future for this Canadian Indie Rock band.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats
I can thank my good buddy Rob Rockitt for this one. He texted me one day out of the blue and told me that I had to check this band out. Naturally, when Rob recommends something, I try to listen to it right away, because it’s usually gold. Well, this album was platinum! Even though I can stream it on Amazon music, I still went out and bought the CD so that I can have it with me wherever I go. With songs like “S.O.B.,” “Howling At Nothing,” and “I Need Never Get Old,” Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats is one amazing record. I’ve played it dozens of times over the last two weeks, sometimes putting it on a constant loop. It is just that good!

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lindsey Buckingham And Christine McVie Announce New Album

Longtime members of Fleetwood Mac, Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie have joined together to record their first-ever album as a duo. Simply titled LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM/CHRISTINE McVIE, the 10-song album will be released by Atlantic Records this summer, followed by a run of special U.S. concerts. The first single “In My World” will be available this Friday, April 14, on all digital and streaming services.

The album will be available June 9 on CD, LP, and all digital and streaming services. The  U.S. tour will begin on June 21st.  

The collaboration began three years ago, when McVie rejoined Fleetwood Mac for the group’s “On With The Show” tour.   The pair went in to record new material prior to rehearsals for the tour and their natural creative chemistry was reignited.  According to Buckingham, “We were exploring a creative process, and the identity of the project took on a life organically. The body of work felt like it was meant to be a duet album. We acknowledged that to each other on many occasions, and said to ourselves, ‘what took us so long?!!’” 

Working their natural singer songwriter skills together came easily for the duo.  Said Christine McVie, “We’ve always written well together, Lindsey and I, and this has just spiraled into something really amazing that we’ve done between us.” 

Sessions for the album took place at The Village Studios in Los Angeles, which is where Fleetwood Mac recorded several of their classic albums, including Tusk. Buckingham and McVie were joined in the studio by fellow bandmates Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, who supplied much of the dynamic rhythmic engine.

"It's a huge honour for East West and WMG to partner with two of the best artists in rock history who've written, recorded and performed some of the most popular and enduring music of all time. ‘Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie’ is a very special collaborative album that showcases both of their stunning talent,” said Dan Chalmers, President Rhino, East West & ADA UK. " We're very proud of our long and ongoing relationship with the band and confident that this record will be loved and enjoyed by Fleetwood Mac and music fans the world over."

Track Listing

1.      “Sleeping Around The Corner”
2.      “Feel About You”
3.      “In My World”
4.      “Red Sun”
5.      “Love Is Here To Stay”
6.      “Too Far Gone”
7.      “Lay Down For Free”
8.      “Game Of Pretend”
9.      “On With The Show”
10.  “Carnival Begin”

June 21, 2017
Atlanta, GA
Chastain Park
June 23, 2017
Nashville, TN
Ascend Amphitheatre
June 24, 2017
Raleigh, NC
The Red Hat Amphitheater
June 26, 2017
Vienna, VA
Wolf Trap
June 28, 2017
Boston, MA
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
June 30, 2017
Philadelphia, PA
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
July 2, 2017
Detroit, MI
Fox Theatre
July 3, 2017
Chicago, IL
Northerly Island
July 5, 2017
Toronto, ON
Budweiser Stage
July 19, 2017
Woodinville, WA
Chateau Ste. Michelle
July 21, 2017
Murphys, CA
Ironstone Amphitheatre
July 22, 2017
Las Vegas, NV
Park Theatre
July 25, 2017
Phoenix, AZ
Comerica Theatre
July 27, 2017
Denver, CO
Paramount Theatre

Tickets to the general public are on-sale now, please check local listings.