Thursday, December 7, 2017

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: KEITH HARKIN/IN THE ROUND

    
KEITH HARKIN

IN THE ROUND

12.8.17


     IN THE ROUND is an intimate and personal live album recorded by Keith Harkin, best known as a founding member and lead soloist of Celtic Thunder, the Irish sensations who have sold over a million albums worldwide. Prior to the release of IN THE ROUND, Harkin released two solo studio albums - KEITH HARKIN (2012) and ON MERCY STREET (2016) – plus the Christmas album NOLLAIG (2016), which debuted at #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart. While Celtic Thunder’s theatrical live performances are the stuff of legend, Harkin’s live performance on this release is stripped down to acoustic guitar and vocals. IN THE ROUND lets Harkin’s voice and the songs’ melodies do the talking.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

SPAZ chats about GUMBY!




"He was once just a little green slab of clay..."


For six decades, Gumby has been entertaining audiences of all ages. In this video, Stephen SPAZ Schnee talks about NCircle Entertainment's glorious Gumby DVD releases!


Monday, December 4, 2017

HENRY PRIESTMAN & LES GLOVER: Introducing The Band


(Photo: Brian Roberts)


HENRY PRIESTMAN 
&
LES GLOVER:

Introducing The Band


     As they age, a songwriter can take a few different routes: keep attempting to write the same way you did when you were younger, adapt your skills to follow musical trends or let your songwriting talents mature with you. Henry Priestman chose the latter option. In his younger days, he was the energetic, Power Pop/New Wave keyboardist/songwriter vocalist with Liverpool quartet Yachts. Once he’d outgrown that, he was briefly a member of deep-thinking Pop combo It’s Immaterial before forming Pop/Soul outfit The Christians. In less than a decade, Henry’s writing style went from quirky and snappy to sophisticated and smooth. He could still write an ace melody but over time, he found a different way of expressing himself, musically. Twenty years after the release of the Christians’ debut album (and three decades on from Yachts), Henry released his debut solo album. On 2008’s THE CHRONICLES OF MODERN LIFE, his writing style had become more reflective and heartfelt without losing any of the humor or melodic flair that has always been a part of his impressive back catalog. His belated follow-up album THE LAST MAD SURGE OF YOUTH traveled the same path. Each of his solo albums are sung from the point of view of a 50+ year old man that is comfortable in his own skin, not a man desperately trying to hold on to his past. And because of that, Henry Priestman is one of the last honest songwriters of our generation. (NOTE:  I’ve not even mentioned his songwriting for other artists and session work, which is extensive. There’s a chance that you might actually own a record that he’s been involved with so start checking those liner notes, folks!)

Friday, December 1, 2017

CHINA CRISIS' Deluxe CD Editions reviewed!

     
CHINA CRISIS

DIFFICULT SHAPES & PASSIVE RHYTHMS 
SOME PEOPLE THINK ITS FUN TO ENTERTAIN 
(Deluxe 2CD Edition)

WORKING WITH FIRE AND STEEL  
POSSIBLE POP SONGS VOLUME TWO 
(Deluxe 3CD Edition)

FLAUNT THE IMPERFECTION
(Deluxe 2CD Edition)

     Although China Crisis may not have made a huge dent in the American charts, this Liverpool-based outfit managed to record a series of wonderful albums and singles throughout the ‘80s and beyond. However, that is not really surprising since Liverpool is a city known for it’s rich musical heritage. Best known as The Beatles’ home town, Liverpool was a breeding ground for many great acts during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s including Deaf School, Yachts, The Icicle Works, OMD, A Flock Of Seagulls, The Wild Swans, Original Mirrors, The Lotus Eaters, The Teardrop Explodes, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, It’s Immaterial, Echo & The Bunnymen and the many different variations of Wah! (featuring Pete Wylie). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! I’m sure anyone reading this can list off a few dozen other bands from the era! And like their Liverpudlian contemporaries, China Crisis was – and is - an utterly unique band. From experimental instrumentals to glorious Pop hits, this is a band that has never been afraid to forge their own path.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH/A DECADE OF DESTRUCTION

     
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH

A DECADE OF DESTRUCTION

12.1.17

    Music genres come and go (and come back again) but Heavy Metal has never left us. For nearly 50 years, the Metal genre has continued to smash its way through the music industry like the Incredible Hulk smashes through a brick wall. Over the years, it has morphed into many different subgenres but straight-ahead Metal remains the most popular form of heavy music. It all started in 1968 with Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. (Led Zeppelin has long been associated with Heavy Metal but, in hindsight, the band was an entity unto itself and shouldn’t be classified as a Metal act.) Now, at the dawn of the genre’s 50th Anniversary, Five Finger Death Punch is one of the most popular Heavy Metal bands in the land. Formed in 2005, the Los Angeles/Las Vegas-based band has certainly made their mark in the music business, building a fan base of dedicated followers that continues to grow a decade after they released their debut album THE WAY OF THE FIST (2007).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SCOTTY BAKER: Introducing The Band


SCOTTY BAKER:
Introducing The Band

     When one thinks of Australian music, Rockabilly is not the first musical style that comes to mind. People outside of Oz may initially think of AC/DC’s Hard Rock riffage or Men At Work’s breezy New Wave/Pop but very few know about the Land Down Under’s affection for Country and Roots music. While many Aussie artists are influenced by traditional Australian Roots and Folk alongside ‘foreign’ sounds from the UK and America, there are those that go straight for the jugular and delve into the musical roots of American Country and Rock ‘n’ Roll. Singer/songwriter Scotty Baker is one of those artists.
     Somewhere between the time Country & Western Music became a phenomenon in the early 1950s and the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll at the midpoint of that decade, Rockabilly was born. Essentially a combination of the sounds of Rock and Hillbilly music (hence the name), Rockabilly became the breeding ground for hundreds of artists including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and other artists signed to Sun Records (and other independent labels across the U.S.). These are the artists that inform the music of Scotty Baker and his fabulous new album LADY KILLER, an emotionally charged slice of Rockabilly that feels authentic, passionate and full of energy. Like his first two albums – JUST LIKE THAT (2010) and I’M CALLING IT (2014) – LADY KILLER is filled with fantastic songs straight from the pen of Baker himself. While most would compare him to early Johnny Cash (and rightly so), his music also possesses the emotional depth of Roy Orbison, which is perhaps the most important aspect of his recordings. Scotty Baker doesn’t just play Rockabilly or Country - he lives within the music he creates. He is an artist that adds his own stamp to the tried and true Rockabilly formula and truly shines in the process. LADY KILLER is a Rockabilly treasure that comes from the heart and that is what makes it special.
     Stephen SPAZ Schnee was able to send off some questions to Scotty, who graciously took the time to answer them.