Friday, June 14, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: MIKE ADAMS AT HIS HONEST WEIGHT/THERE IS NO FEELING BETTER


MIKE ADAMS AT HIS HONEST WEIGHT
THERE IS NO FEELING BETTER
(Joyful Noise)

6.14.19

Up through the ‘80s, the term ‘Pop Music’ was not a derogatory term. Technically, it is shorthand for ‘Popular Music’ and didn’t refer to one particular genre. , Pop Music could refer to a Rock band that played songs with substance and melody. The Beatles are a perfect example of what one used to refer to as Pop Music makers. That term could also be applied to the teen idols and the one hit wonders like Frankie Avalon, Edison Lighthouse, and other artists known for a catchy chorus we all remember decades later. None of those artists sounded alike but they easily fell into the Pop Music category. In more recent times, Pop Music has been used to define the current state of the Top 40 – manufactured, paint-by-numbers music written by committee and enhanced by Auto-Tune. Well, I’m here to take the term ‘Pop Music’ back and apply it to artists that best exemplify what Pop Music was, is, and shall always be.

MINDI ABAIR & THE BONESHAKERS: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A!



STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: Your 2018 album NO GOOD DEED is just about to be released. How are you feeling about the way the album turned out and the reaction to it so far?
MINDI ABAIR: This album is deep to me. It feels like the band has gelled … we complete each other’s sentences musically and play together so effortlessly at this point. We joined forces as Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers at the beginning of 2015, but I had played with Randy Jacobs for 20 years before that, and Rodney Lee has been in my band for 17 years. Third Richardson is from my hometown. I hear the camaraderie and the friendship and the sheer abandon we have playing together, and I love it. We chose songs we loved, whether we wrote them or someone else did, and we played them like only we would.

Friday, June 7, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AURORA/A DIFFERENT KIND OF HUMAN (STEP 2)



AURORA

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HUMAN (STEP 2)

9.7.19


Norway isn’t just the hotbed of Black Metal, you know. While that genre has kept a handful of Norwegian musicians gainfully employed, the country has also given us some artists who remain popular throughout the rest of the world. Mentioning Classical composer Edvard Grieg is a given, but many other influential artists hail from Norway including a-Ha, Jan Garbarek, Royksopp, Terje Rypdal, Jaga Jazzist, production team Stargate, and Anni-Frid ‘Frida’ Lyngstad, one of the two A’s in ABBA. With each passing year, Norwegian artists make their presence known outside their homeland and Aurora Laura Aksnes, who releases music under the name Aurora, is now making waves as she dances on the cup of international stardom.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

MICHAEL NESMITH/SONGS (12CDs) review: SPAZ explores the musical universe of Michael Nesmith!




MICHAEL NESMITH
SONGS (12CDs)
(Edsel Records)

Available NOW!


THE LONG REVIEW:

Fifty-three years after he stepped into the limelight with the release of The Monkees’ debut single in August of 1966, Michael Nesmith remains a musical enigma. The story of The Monkees has been told so many times – perhaps TOO many times - so I’ll respectfully skip over most of the details. One thing I will mention is how Nesmith seemed slightly out of step with the Pop charts yet completely in step and confident of his own musical vision. While Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones handled the bulk of the lead vocals for The Monkees’ glorious hits, Nesmith added a sophisticated depth to the album tracks he wrote and/or produced. Although the most naturally gifted as a songwriter in the band, his lead vocals were not featured on a Monkees A-side until 1969, the year he graced the topside of two singles in a row!

Friday, May 31, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: APEX MANOR/HEARTBREAK CITY


APEX MANOR
HEARTBREAK CITY
(Merge Records)

5.31.19


It has been eight years since Southern California-based Apex Manor released their last album. Eight years is a long time between albums. In that same span of time, The Beatles wrote and recorded their entire catalog (not to mention making movies and touring). Fleetwood Mac was able to knock out everything from their 1975 self-titled release to their 1982 album TANGO IN THE NIGHT in just under eight years. Popular children’s music band The Wiggles issued nine studio albums, toured the world, and filmed a TV series within their first eight years of their existence. Wait… did I just mention The Wiggles? Oh, dear.  Let’s circle back to Apex Manor and the eight-year stretch between albums…

Friday, May 24, 2019

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: DIPLO/EUROPA!

DIPLO
EUROPA
12" Colored Vinyl
(Mad Decent)

Available NOW!

Born Thomas Pentz, Jr., DJ and producer Diplo is a Grammy-winning man-about-town. Not only has he released music under his own name, he’s also a member of Major Lazer, LSD (with Sia and Labrinth), Silk City (with Mark Ronson), and Jack Ü (with producer and DJ Skrillex). He’s also known for his work with M.I.A., Gwen Stefani, Die Antwoord, Britney Spears, Madonna, Shakira, Beyoncé, No Doubt, Justin Bieber, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Trippie Redd, Chris Brown, CL, G-Dragon, Bad Bunny, MØ, Poppy, and Bausa. To say that Diplo is a prolific artist would most certainly be an understatement.

Monday, May 20, 2019

TOPIC RECORDS' 80th Anniversary: An EXCLUSIVE interview!


In Celebration of Topic Records’ 80th Anniversary:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with 
Glen Johnson 
(Project Manager with Proper Records Ltd who oversees Topic Records)


STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: Topic Records, the world’s oldest independent label, is celebrating their 80th Anniversary in 2019. While the machinations of the music business have changed over the years, has Topic’s core musical focus remained the same?
GLEN JOHNSON: Ostensibly, yes.  The emphasis has always been on preserving the voices and songs which may have otherwise gotten lost and to create a space for those that hear those songs to make new recordings of their own.  So, there’s an archival element coupled with a curatorial one.