Tuesday, November 21, 2017

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: AWAKENING BEYOND

     

AWAKENING BEYOND

11.24.17

     Tina Turner has been a crucial piece of pop culture since the late ‘50s when she began working with Ike Turner. Throughout the ‘60s, she was an electrifying performer, touring around the world and recording hit records. Her career calmed down in the ‘70s but by 1984, when she released the album PRIVATE DANCER, she became the worldwide superstar that she was always meant to be.  By the dawn of the millennium, she stepped out of the limelight and has not released a full-fledged Pop or Soul album since 1999’s TWENTY FOUR SEVEN.

Friday, November 17, 2017

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BLOODSHOT RECORDS' 13 DAYS OF XMAS!

    


     I’m either the right guy to be writing a review of a ‘new’ Christmas release… or I’m the wrong guy. You see, I’m a connoisseur of Christmas music and I’m extremely picky about the holiday music that I listen to.  I don’t care who performs the song or in what style – I’m looking for the FEELING of the season in the song. And for someone who loves Christmas music, there’s very little that has tickled my fancy since the ‘70s.  There are exceptions but my favorites tend to be random singles (XTC, Band Aid, Status Quo, etc.) and very few albums. Sure, I appreciate the attempts to create a new classic Christmas album but it is very obvious to me when it is merely a cash-grab by the artist or the label. Or almost as worse - when an artist is only interested in celebrating their own voice and not the holiday they sing so joyfully about. So, sadly, I now approach every Christmas album with trepidation and fear. And suddenly, Bloodshot Records’ 13 DAYS OF XMAS landed in my lap and I needed to take some anxiety medication before I could even listen to it….

LEWIS BLACK: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A


BLACK TO THE FUTURE:

An EXCLUSIVE Q&A 
with 
LEWIS BLACK

STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: BLACK TO THE FUTURE has just been released on DVD and CD. How are you feeling about the way the whole project turned out?
LEWIS BLACK: I am thrilled and couldn’t be happier, especially since this is the first time I’ve produced a DVD and CD on my own label.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE COUNTRY SIDE OF HARMONICA SAM: Introducing The Band



When one listens to contemporary Country Music these days, it bears little resemblance to the traditional sound that helped define the genre decades ago. When Hank Williams, Faron Young, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Johnny Cash sang, you could almost smell the beer-soaked wooden floorboards of the old honky tonks coming through your radio. Nowadays, when you listen to contemporary Country Music, all you can smell is the mall. For better or worse, Country Music has gone through many changes over the years and remains one of the most consistently popular – and profitable – genres of music in the U.S. However, while it has been pushed out of the limelight in the States, the traditional Country sound of the ’50s and ’60s remains hugely popular in Europe. Many iconic Country & Western artists that have long since been forgotten in their homeland are revered in countries they probably never set foot in. Ray Price, Marty Robbins, Don Gibson, Marvin Rainwater, Stonewall Jackson and Hank Snow are just a few of the pioneering artists that are seldom remembered by a generation of Americans who were born after the Urban Cowboy-inspired Country resurgence in the ’80s. We must now look to these European countries if we want deluxe reissues and box sets from these Trad Country acts, who seldom have more than a single disc ’hits’ collection available here in the U.S. of A.


Monday, November 13, 2017

SQUEEZE: Spaz reviews THE KNOWLEDGE!

SQUEEZE
THE KNOWLEDGE

Available NOW!

Up through their fourth album, EAST SIDE STORY, in 1981, Squeeze albums were usually pretty immediate, hook-wise. The band would hit you with a bunch of gloriously melodic songs - penned by Glenn Tilbrook (music) and Chris Difford (lyrics)- that you would fall in love with on first listen. However, things changed when SWEETS FROM A STRANGER was released the following year. There were certainly songs that grabbed your attention right away but roughly half the album took a few spins to sink into your system. It was as if the songs were meant to be absorbed instead of heard. For the most part, every Squeeze album since then (including the DIFFORD & TILBROOK album) has followed that very same pattern. The pay-off has always been the same – complete and utter joy - but Tilbrook’s melodies seem to have taken on much more depth as he matured as a songwriter.  The chord progressions are uniquely TIlbrookian and the later songs have many more layers than classic tracks like “Is That Love” or “Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)”. Revisionist history tells us that Squeeze albums were always great on the first listen but in all actuality, many have been ‘growers’. And that usually means that the album has legs and is not likely to fade from your consciousness anytime soon. Tilbrook’s ever-expanding box of chords, various producers and labels and a revolving line-up has made it difficult for some to keep up with Squeeze, but the journey has been worth it. So, how does their 2017 album THE KNOWLEDGE measure up?  Read on, my friends…

Friday, November 10, 2017

L7: An EXCLUSIVE Q&A with DONITA SPARKS!


L7: PRETEND WE'RE DEAD


(The Documentary)

Available NOW!


STEPHEN SPAZ SCHNEE: L7: PRETEND WE’RE DEAD is finally available. How are you feeling about the project and the reaction to it so far?
DONITA SPARKS: Well, I’m relieved it’s going out into the world because a lot of work went into it, especially from the producers Blue Hats Creative: getting the footage and photos together, interviews with the band members and guest stars, music clearances, etc. This has been years in the making. I’m touched by the reaction to the film by those you have seen it. It hits home with a lot of different people. In the screenings that I’ve attended there’s laughter where there should be, and complete silence during the heavier stuff. Musicians in particular relate to the ride.

AMPED™ FEATURED ALBUM OF THE WEEK: BUFFY SAINT-MARIE/MEDICINE SONGS

BUFFY SAINT-MARIE
MEDICINE SONGS

Available NOW!


When spinning singer/songwriter Buffy Saint-Marie’s 2017 album MEDICINE SONGS, you’ll realize that the art of protest music is NOT dead – it was just waiting for Buffy to release a new album! Mixing her early stark, acoustic Folk roots with Native American rhythms and a contemporary sound, this is an album that demonstrates her ability to remain true to her roots while also moving forward as an artist.