Friday, December 14, 2018

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

CHRIS BUTLER
GOT IT TOGEHTER!

12.14.18


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.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

ARTHUR ALEXANDER'S One Bar Left reviewed!




ARTHUR ALEXANDER
ONE BAR LEFT

Available NOW

Power Pop is a touchy subject. Everyone that is familiar with the genre has their own definition of what Power Pop is. Half of those people will challenge other people’s opinions while the other half don’t even want to discuss it – they just want to enjoy the music.  But that is just the genre’s fanbase – the artists themselves are a different story. Some embrace the Power Pop community while others try to distance themselves from it, not wanting to be attached to a genre that still thrives under the radar but seldom rises to the top of the charts. For a musical genre that is so simple, there is so much confusion surrounding it.

IAN McNABB's Our Future In Space reviewed!




IAN McNABB
OUR FUTURE IN SPACE

Available NOW


No matter which Rock ‘n’ Roll era you are talking about (from the ‘50s to modern times), many of the truly original artists lose a bit of their shine over time. An artist that made great albums in their early twenties are not necessarily creating musical magic by the time they hit their fifties. In fact, some of them gave up creating new music and turned into nostalgia acts within two decades of their debut album. A lot of that has to do with the public’s waning interest in new product – they only want to hear the ‘oldies but goodies’ and are only mildly interested/amused in the artist’s new material. There are exceptions to that… and I’m fairly certain that you, the reader, have a few examples.  Mine is Ian McNabb.  From his early ‘80s work with The Icicle Works up through his 1994 Mercury Prize-nominated HEAD LIKE A ROCK album and beyond, Ian McNabb has not only continued to make great music, he has far exceeded his initial promise and continues to release some of the finest music of our generation.

Friday, December 7, 2018

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: XXXTENTACION/SKINS


XXXTENTACION
SKINS

12.7.18

XXXTentacion was one of modern Hip Hop’s most controversial figures. In his short life – he was shot and killed at the age of 20 in June, 2018 – he achieved more fame and infamy than most rappers twice his age. Active on the Hip Hop scene for just a handful of years. XXXTentacion – real name Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy - left behind a small but beloved catalog of what some have referred to as Soundcloud Rap. Essentially, Soundcloud Rap is a lo-fi movement that relies on heavily distorted bass and intentional lack of polish in the sound. While that description may work well with XXXTentacion’s contemporaries, it certainly only describes a small portion of what X’s sound was all about.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

HOWARD JONES: Deluxe expanded editions reviewed!




HOWARD JONES

HUMAN'S LIB
(2CD + DVD)

DREAM INTO ACTION
(2CD + DVD)

(Cherry Red Records)

Howard Jones was a unique voice in the ‘80s. While his hits were extremely memorable (and still receive a lot of airplay all around the world), his albums were a lot more sophisticated than his singles would lead you to believe. Like Nik Kershaw and Level 42, Howard’s music was informed by Jazz and World Music, which added more texture to his recordings. Although his singles were driven by delicious Pop melodies, Howard preferred to experiment with sounds, structures and arrangements which ensured that his music would continue to evolve over time. More than just a flash in the pan, Howard created intelligent Pop music that is ripe for reappraisal. Cherry Red Records is giving listeners the opportunity to immerse themselves into Howard’s early years with the expanded reissues of his first two albums HUMAN’S LIB (1984) and DREAM INTO ACTION (1985).

Friday, November 30, 2018

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: ROCKABYE BABY! LULLABY RENDITIONS OF TOM PETTY


ROCKABYE BABY!
LULLABY RENDITIONS OF TOM PETTY

11.30.18

When Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers released their self-titled debut album in 1976, there were no indications that Petty would become one of the most important and successful figures in American Rock ‘n’ Roll for the next four decades. Initially lumped in with the Power Pop movement, Petty was eventually embraced by FM rock programmers and by the time of the band’s 1979 album DAMN THE TORPEDOS, he was a bona-fide Rock ‘n’ Roll star. Over the course of his career, he became one of the biggest selling music artists of all time, shifting more than 80 million in the process. Not only did Tom Petty win multiple Grammy and MTV awards, he also received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and was inducted – with The Heartbreakers - into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001. Apart from all that success with his band as well as a solo artist, he was also a member of Pop/Rock supergroup The Traveling Wilburys (with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne). Not bad for a skinny kid from Gainesville, Florida with big dreams…

Thursday, November 29, 2018

THE ADICTS/Albums 1982 - 87 (5CD) Box Set Reviewed!



THE ADICTS
THE ALBUMS 1982 - 87
(5CD)
(Captain Oi/Cherry Red Records)



Alongside The Ramones and The Misfits, The Adicts are one of the highest selling Punk bands in the world of merchandise. From t-shirts to badges, the familiar grinning ‘joker’ face of vocalist Monkey (AKA Keith Warren) can be found in almost every record store you walk into and at just about any Punk gig in town. For a band that didn’t necessarily connect with a large American audience during their ‘heyday’ in the ‘80s, that is quite a feat. Ironically, they seem to be more popular in the U.S. now than at any time in their career. The U.S. masses may have been a little late in embracing them but there’s a reason for that: The Adicts’ back catalog is unique and utterly timeless. They were a Punk band, pure and true, yet they had no problem wearing their Pop influences on their sleeves. If you haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing them yourself, Captain Oi and Cherry Red Records have made it easy to start playing catch up with the excellent five CD box set THE ADICTS: THE ALBUMS 1982 – 87.