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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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FASTBALL: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Miles Zuniga

Maximum Velocity:
The Return of FASTBALL
    Over two decades after the release of their  debut album, Austin-based trio Fastball is just getting started. Still
comprised of Miles Zuniga  (vocals/guitar), Tony Scalzo (vocals/bass) and Joey Shuffeld (drums), Fastball has nothing left to prove. They’ve achieved everything that  all bands strive for when they first get together – a record deal, tours, hits  (1998’s “The Way” is their biggest so far) and respect. Now that they’ve been  able to step away from the spotlight for eight years, they sound refreshed,  focused and re-energized. But please don’t call STEP INTO LIGHT a  comeback album. Comebacks are often desperate attempts at replenishing the bank
accounts by taking advantage of fans’ fond memories. Fastball is merely picking up the bat, taking a swing and knocking another one out of the park. STEP  INTO LIGHT is a fantastic album that reminds people just how good this band has always been. In fact, it may be their most consistent full-length  platter to date. The boys have a home run on their hands and they’ve left their  contemporaries – new and old – in the dust. Again.
    Stephen  SPAZ Schnee was able to pitch some questions to Fastball member Miles  Zuniga, who graciously took the time to throw back some answers…

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GLEN CAMPBELL says ADIÓS with final studio album

Los Angeles – April 14, 2017 – Legendary singer and guitarist Glen Campbell’s final studio album, ADIÓS, , will be released June 9 on UMe, capping off an extraordinary career that has spanned more than five decades and 50 million albums sold. The album will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally and is available for pre-order beginning today.

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ROBYN HITCHCOCK: An EXCLUSIVE interview!

Always Pistachio:

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: Your self-titled album is about to be released. How are you feeling about the journey to make this album and the reaction to it so far?
ROBYN HITCHCOCK: Well, the people that normally like my records like this one, so far. And that’s it really – if you like this one, you’ll probably like the others. If not, I’m not your flavor. That’s why the record is simply my name. The journey? Well it was the lucky coincidence of my moving to Nashville at the same point that Brendan Benson was getting in touch, asking if I’d like to come and record with him there.

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An EXCLUSIVE interview with JUDY COLLINS

Love Letters:

     Judy Collins is an American treasure. From her early Folk recordings – her debut album was released in 1961 – up through her brush with the Pop charts in the latter half of the ‘60s and into the ‘70s, she has possessed one of the most beautiful voices in Pop music. With hits like “Both Sides Now,” “Chelsea Morning” (both penned by Joni Mitchell) and Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns,” Collins has built up a catalog of remarkably timeless recordings that never seem to age – much like the singer herself. Her gentle, moving performances have inspired generations of performers spanning all genres. Whether she is performing a song she composed or interpreting someone else’s musical creation, the song becomes Judy and Judy becomes the song. And fifty-six years after she made her recorded debut, Judy’s voice sounds better than ever. If you have ever fallen under the spell of Judy Collins, I’m fairly certain you are still hypnotized by her talent.

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RIGHT SAID FRED/Exactly!: SPAZ reviews the new album!

     Right Said Fred may be considered a ‘one hit wonder’ in the U.S., but I’m here to tell you that they are much more than that. Their worldwide hit “I’m Too Sexy” has become a slice of Pop Culture and is still used in advertisements, films and TV shows. The mere mention of the song title will inspire people to spontaneously sing a line or two out loud no matter who else is around.  However, as I once wrote over at allmusic.com: “If you’ve never heard anything by Right Said Fred apart from ‘I’m Too Sexy,’ then you are missing out on one of the best dance-pop bands of this generation. To base your opinion of the band on that one song is like judging The Beatles entire catalog on a song like ‘Yellow Submarine.’ Sure, it’s fun and catchy, but there is so much more to the band than that one piece of pop fluff.” In other words, if you haven’t  heard anything else by RSF, then it is time to change that.

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An EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH WESLEY STACE (aka JOHN WESLEY HARDING)

wsnewpromo1

DAVE RAYBURN: The new album is titled WESLEY STACE’S JOHN WESLEY HARDING, and is your second record under your given name that you’ve reverted back to. I understand that, among several factors involved in choosing the title, there was a bit of a nod to Jeff Lynne in the mix. Can you elaborate?
WESLEY STACE: I can. My last album, SELF-TITLED, was the first released under my real name, Wesley Stace, but I felt the word didn’t quite get out, so I thought it was worth clarifying. Secondly, I happened to see the new version of ELO. For whatever legal reason, they are billed as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO”, presumably partly to differentiate it from any other rogue version of ELO. This reminded me that, though I had, in a sense, broken up John Wesley Harding, I didn’t want any interlopers touring under that name, playing my songs and pretending to be me, when I was elsewhere being me too, playing those same songs (better). With WESLEY STACE’S JOHN WESLEY HARDING, I am reminding you that this version of John Wesley Harding is the only version that counts. And finally, I wanted to differentiate myself, once and for all, from the Bob Dylan album of the same name. I have many times been mistaken for this album, due to a certain similarities between the name of this artifact, an LP from 1967 made of vinyl and cardboard, JOHN WESLEY HARDING, and my erstwhile performing name, John Wesley Harding. Obviously, it’s a ridiculous mistake, but still. So this isn’t Bob Dylan’s JOHN WESLEY HARDING; it’s Wesley Stace’s JOHN WESLEY HARDING.

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