interview_antibalas-forblog

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with ANTIBALAS’ Martin Perna

WHERE THE GODS ARE IN PEACE:

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: WHERE THE GODS ARE IN PEACE is just about to be released. How are you feeling about the way the album turned out and the reaction to it so far?
MARTIN PERNA: We are happy with the way the album turned out, or else we wouldn’t have put it out. It was a lot of work and represents several years of effort working through some problems that would have sunk most other bands. We had some members graduate to other projects not long after our last record in 2012, and this album proves both to ourselves and people who listen to us that we have more juice than ever.

Read More

charlieparr_dog

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: CHARLIE PARR/DOG

 

     Singer/songwriter Charlie Parr has returned with an album that mixes his Folk roots with plenty of heart and soul. Although he may sometimes write as an observer, his songs put him square in the eye of the storm. Parr writes songs that are extremely personal yet universal at the same time.  Listening to DOG, you’ll stumble across people that you feel that you already know, places that you are sure you’ve been and feelings that you most definitely have experienced.  This is a world where both feet are firmly planted on the ground. You can feel the heat of the sun and smell the beer-soaked floorboards. This is an album that pulls no punches.  Life is hard and then you die but in between, there is light in the darkness. However, that light may be only fleeting at times. But that is understandable because Charlie experienced some truly dark moments before making the album.

Read More

album-cover-sheila-e-highrez

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: SHEILA E / ICONIC: MESSAGE 4 AMERICA

SHEILA E. may have become a household name thanks to her work in the mid-‘80s with Prince but she was – and is – much more than that! The daughter of iconic percussionist Pete Escovedo, she began her career in the mid-1970s as a percussionist and singer for The George Duke Band. After leaving the group in 1983, Sheila began a successful solo career that started with her critically acclaimed 1984 debut album The Glamorous Life. More than just a Prince-groomed diva, Sheila E. has continued to amaze and delight her fanbase with albums that blend a potpourri of styles into something that can only be described as ‘the Sheila E. sound’. This multi-talented musician – often referred to as The Queen of Percussion – is back with one of the most important albums of her career- ICONIC: MESSAGE 4 AMERICA.

Read More

interview_sheilae_forblog

An EXCLUSIVE interview with SHEILA E!

COME TOGETHER:

Guided by the forces of family, faith, and music, Sheila E. has made a name for herself as one of the most talented musical icons over the decades. With a fearless nature and a passion for sharing her gifts with others, Sheila truly follows the beat of her own drum. In anticipation of the release of her new album, ICONIC: MESSAGE 4 AMERICA, Sheila took time to discuss her latest work, her hopes, and her legacy.

Read More

51qnwanxphl

THE INMATES/The Albums 1979-1982 (3CD set) reviewed!

     In the late ‘70s, the Rock world was being turned on it’s head by Punk and New Wave. The pretentious ‘old guard’ (i.e. Prog rockers, Folk singer/songwriters, Pop stars, etc.) were
handed their walking papers by the press, who latched onto the shouty, belligerent Punk kids. By ’79, you were more likely going to read about the exploits of Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash before you’d stumble upon a review of ELP’s latest live gig. And by that time, reviews of ELP, Yes and the like were leaning towards scathing.
     However, while the press fell over themselves to discover the latest Punk craze, Pub Rock and British Rhythm & Blues was also a happening thing.  Dr. Feelgood were already established and Nine Below Zero were on their way to becoming legendary. While not always recognized as such, The Inmates were certainly one of the best of the Pub/R&B bunch (in fact, they still are!). With Cherry Red’s three CD box set, THE ALBUMS 1979-1982, The Inmates are finally receiving the credit and attention that they deserve. Containing the band’s first three studio albums (plus bonus tracks), this is a long over-due look at the band’s excellent early output.
51osxmiefml

OMD/The Punishment Of Luxury album reviewed!

     OK, let’s get this out of the way: anyone expecting a new Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) full-length filled back to front with songs tailor-made for radio are going to be sorely disappointed.  However, if you are looking for a classic OMD album that blends commercial pop smarts with their darker experimental side are going to be over the moon.  THE PUNISHMENT OF LUXURY (TPOL) is that album and so much more! While their 1983 release DAZZLE SHIPS may have  pushed the experimental envelope too far for some of their fanbase, TPOL strikes the perfect balance between Synthpop maestros and Electronic Music pioneers.

Read More

51bvw7rvasl

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.

Read More

61tjqjfqy4l-_sl1000_

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.

Read More

charleypride_interview_forblog

An EXCLUSIVE interview with Country Music icon CHARLEY PRIDE!

     For half a century, Charley Pride has been one of Country Music’s hardest working and most beloved entertainers. Ever since his 1966 debut single on RCA, “The Snakes Crawl At Night,” he has forged a path that has been consistent and rewarding to his fans and those that love traditional Country Music. With over 50 Top Ten Country singles to his credit – 29 of those reaching #1 – Charley is one of the most successful Country vocalists of all time. Against all odds, he has outlasted nearly all his contemporaries from the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s and he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. MUSIC IN MY HEART, his first album in six years, is an album steeped in Country tradition yet still sounds fresh and invigorating. With this album, Charley has delivered one of the most consistently excellent albums of his career. Now, if only Country radio still celebrated the traditional sounds of artists like Charley Pride…
Produced by Billy Yates and featuring songs written by Merle Haggard (“The Way It Was In ‘51”), Bill Anderson (“You Lied To Me”) Ben Peters & Justin Peters (“Natural Feeling For You”) and many others, MUSIC IN MY HEART is an essential listen for those that love Charley’s classic recordings as well as his more recent output on the Music City Records label. Tracks like “It Wasn’t’ That Funny,” “New Patches,” “I Just Can’t Stop Missing You” and the previously mentioned titles will remind you of the days when Country Music was about life, love and loss and less about glamor and gloss. MUSIC IN MY HEART is an instantly lovable and timeless collection of songs that will no doubt be considered a classic in Charley’s catalog.
Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to catch up with Charley Pride and spend a few minutes chatting about the album and more.

Read More

shania-now

The return of SHANIA TWAIN!

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Thursday, June 15, 2017) – International superstar Shania Twain is set to release her brand new album NOW on Sept. 29. Three decades into her storied career as the “top-selling female country artist of all-time,” Shania confidently embraces the moment on her triumphant fifth full-length album on Mercury Nashville and her first album since 2002. Assuming the role of sole songwriter for the first time and overseeing production as a co-producer, this is the woman the world knows and loves at her brightest, boldest and best. NOW, offered as both a 12-track standard and a 16-track deluxe, is available for preorder now and includes an instant download of the album’s lead single “Life’s About to Get Good.” The joyful new tune premieres today on country radio platforms around the globe.

Read More