Friday, September 20, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BRUCE COCKBURN/CROWING IGNITES



Artists and their art evolve. The youngster that strummed their first chord into a four-track recorder decades ago has matured in so many ways since then - physically, emotionally, and artistically. However, without realizing it, their audience refuses to let the artist grow – they want them to stay the same as when they first connected with them. While we all know better now, there was a time when teens all over the world were dismayed when The Beatles grew facial hair and served up “Strawberry Fields Forever” to the masses in 1967. The kids wanted the same band that Ed Sullivan introduced them to three years earlier. Thankfully, audiences quickly adapted to the Fabs’ growth as a band. The same can’t be said for so many other artists over the years. Audiences can be so fickle sometimes…

LOUISE MANDRELL/An EXCUSIVE Q&A


PLAYING FAVORITES:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with 
LOUISE MANDRELL

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: Your long-awaited album PLAYING FAVORITES is now released. How are you feeling about the way the album turned out and the reaction so far?
LOUISE MANDRELL:  I’m very proud of PLAYING FAVORITES.  I recorded songs that were special to me. My biggest surprise is how many people have reached out with their stories and memories relating to these songs.

MICHAELA ANNE: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A!


CHILD OF THE WIND:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with 
MICHAELA ANNE


STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: DESERT DOVE is just about to be released.  How are you feeling about the album and the reaction to it so far? 
MICHAELA ANNE: I’m feeling really grateful and excited! The response so far has been really positive. I’ve also been seeing a lot of feedback that makes me feel like people are already “getting” what I’m trying to put out there. This record feels different for me and the closest thing I’ve made to feeling like “me” internally so it’s exciting but vulnerable and nerve-wracking to share.

Friday, September 13, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: KXM/CIRCLE OF DOLLS


KXM
CIRCLE OF DOLLS
(Rat Pak Records)

9.13.19


For decades, Rock supergroups have been embraced by music fans and derided by critics. In general, the whole idea of a supergroup has been misunderstood.  Sure, there are those that come together strictly because it makes financial sense for each of the band members… and their management team. However, there are still plenty of supergroups that do it for the right reasons – artistic expression. Just because musicians are in successful bands doesn’t mean that they are always able to funnel all their ideas and energy onto their main band’s records. Sometimes, they have to turn to solo or side projects in order to release creative steam. In the process, they call on their musician friends and, before they realize it, they are a supergroup. This phenomenon has been going on for decades – including legendary jams by The Dirty Mac (John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell) and commercially successful bands like Asia and The Traveling Wilburys. You can add KXM – featuring Dug Pinnick, Ray Luzier, and George Lynch - to that list…

Friday, September 6, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BAT FOR LASHES/LOST GIRLS

BAT FOR LASHES
LOST GIRLS
(Bat For Lashes/AWAL)

9.6.19


Before the collapse of print media, every kid in the UK followed music rags like NME and monthly magazines like Q and Record Collector. However, British music critics took great pleasure in building an artist up before pulling the stool out from under their feet and watching them fall from grace. It seemed to happen almost monthly – a band’s debut single was voted ‘best song of the year’ and by the time their first album was released, the critics would savage it before moving on to the next victim. Thankfully, by 2006, their critical power wasn’t as strong because the internet was giving the audience more choice and more power. It was then that both critics and music lovers became enamored by Bat For Lashes, a new artist that appeared – fully formed - seemingly out of nowhere. For once, everyone seemed to agree that this artist was something unique and special.

Friday, August 30, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BON IVER/I,I


BON IVER
I,I
(Jagjaguwar)

8.30.19


Sometimes, an artist’s career trajectory is carefully planned. From label contracts and recording budgets to marketing strategies and touring schedules, the build up to a debut album is often less about music and more about business. However, there are always exceptions to every rule and singer/songwriter Justin Vernon is one of those exceptions. The origins of his band, Bon Iver, and their 2007 debut album started almost by accident and the subsequent commercial success of the band has always been about the music and nothing else. Sure, critical success and two Grammy Awards are always good for ‘business’ but for Vernon, it has always been about the music. And to think that it all started in a cabin in Wisconsin…

Friday, August 23, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: REDD KROSS/BEYOND THE DOOR


REDD KROSS

BEYOND THE DOOR


8.23.19


We are so very lucky that Redd Kross exists. Formed by brothers Jeff and Steve McDonald in 1978, the band has gone through numerous line-up shuffles – plus a few name changes (from The Tourists to Red Cross to Redd Kross) - over the decades. However, the band’s love of classic Pop, Punk and Rock ‘n’ Roll and their fascination with everything pop culture has made them one of the most beloved bands by anyone ‘in the know’. Better yet, they appeal to a wide spectrum of fans – from Punk to Power Pop. Redd Kross fans might be the same ones you’ll see at a Black Flag show or a Cheap Trick gig. And more than likely, the band’s fans own records by Annette Funicello, adore Peter Sellers movies, and prefer Quisp over Quake cereal. Redd Kross represent the fun side of life. There might still be heartbreak and sorrow in Redd Kross’ universe but nothing that a Buzzcocks 7” single can’t cure!