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Heaven Upside Down'
Heaven Upside DownThe Pale Emperor was the exposition, an introduction to a renaissance in our hero s storied existence. Heaven Upside Down is the climactic scene where our hero paints the town red with the blood of tourists - relentlessly chasing, taunting and eviscerating the traitors and betrayers. The tourist, traitor, and betrayer could be you.1. Revelation #12
2. Tattooed In Reverse
3. WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE
6. Saturnalia (Vinyl Version)
7. JE$U$ CRI$I$
8. Blood Honey
9. Heaven Upside Down
10. Threats Of Romance$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Return Of SaturnJust like the heavenly occasion which inspires its name, Return of Saturn, the latest album from Southern California rock band No Doubt, is best experienced with both feet firmly on the ground, and with eyes and ears held wide open.
The album's title refers to the notion that in the first 29 years of someone's life (the same time it takes the planet Saturn to orbit the Sun), a person is only beginning to understand himself or herself, which, singer and songwriter Gwen Stefani explains, helped her to discern her own place in life as she turned 30 years old. I wrote the song 'Artificial Sweetener', Gwen says, which has the line, 'the Return of Saturn, assessing my life, second guessing.' From the time you're born till the time Saturn returns to that point is a time of reassessment and a growing period, where you second-guess everything, and you clear out things that are going to be in the way of moving on in your life. I really did feel like I was going through a transitional phase in my life as I made this album. I think the name Return of Saturn is relevant in the sense that it shows how we've grown as a band, and as songwriters.
The culmination of two years of creative blood, sweat and tears for the quartet, Return of Saturn is a bold and exciting coming-of-age saga. An intimate view of the world as seen by a group of musicians and friends who watched their humble worlds turned literally upside-down by the unexpected (though well-deserved) success of No Doubt's third album, Tragic Kingdom. While that youthful recording reflects the concerns and observations of a band at the edge of possibility, Return of Saturn represents that same group looking collectively inward. What they saw and what they created those two years, will surprise and fascinate you. Who am I, and how did I get to this point in my life, when I thought I was going to be something completely different? -- that pretty much sums up the subject of this album, says Gwen.
Return of Saturn was recorded in two Los Angeles studios during 1998 and 1999. Twelve of the album's 13 songs were produced by Glen Ballard, (Alanis Morissette, Aerosmith), whose contribution was a key ingredient in the album's creation. In our band, everyone has such strong opinions that if you put the four of us in the room together you could have some troubles, says bassist Tony Kanal. But if you get somebody as experienced as Glen, not only as a producer but as a songwriter, you can bounce ideas off him and get some really cool objective answers, and it helps level the creative playing field.
One song on the album, New (also heard on the GO soundtrack) was produced by the band with Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads, Live). It was fun to start with a clean slate and create something brand new, says guitarist Tom Dumont, who also wrote much of the album's music. We hadn't really done much writing on the road, so when it came time, we had to come up with the entire record. Every time we wrote a song it was like having a baby. It's such a good feeling to sit down with an acoustic guitar and a tape recorder, and later to have created something really cool.
In light of the international success of Tragic Kingdom (more than 15 million copies sold worldwide, including over 11 million in the U.S.), the four band members were bound to be subject to any number of outside influences and pressures when it came time to make their follow-up.
But as it turned out, the band was able to turn any outside distraction to their ultimate benefit, beginning with pre-production and writing sessions at a rented Hollywood Hills house. I remember being in a very open, optimistic mood, says Tony, getting the house up in the hills, and just feeling like we had time to do it right. There was no deadline to deliver a record, so I remember not feeling pressure. It just felt like a good place to be, creatively.
Drummer Adrian Young agrees: We were just more conscious of the fact that we're following a huge record, and we need good songs, but I don't know what kind of album we wanted, or expected to make. It was very experimental most of the time. In fact, we didn't have any predisposition about it. That's always a good way for us to approach the music. We've always been across the board, stylistically, and I'm glad we didn't lose that part of the band, he says.
Songs on Return of Saturn like Marry Me, Simple Kind of Life and the album's first single Ex Girlfriend show vocalist Gwen Stefani in a reflective and unashamedly romantic mood, traits which she says are often overlooked in her hectic life. I think I am a romantic at heart, but my life in a lot of ways these days doesn't reflect that, she remarks. So I have this inner conflict about it, and this guilt about it. I'm very hopeful that someday those things will happen in my life, because it's all I've ever dreamed of. But right now it seems like my life doesn't have any room for it, and I won't make any room for it because I'm so passionate about what No Doubt is doing right now.
The music on each of No Doubt's three previous albums (1992's No Doubt, 1995's Beacon Street Incident, Tragic Kingdom) runs the stylistic gamut, mixing in as many influences as the band members can think of, and this collection is no different. Tom says the band has few rules when it comes to songwriting. We discovered a way to write on songs like Just a Girl and Spiderwebs and some of the older ones, which we incorporated when we started this album, and that was that there were no preconceived ideas at all. We would sit down in a room with a tape recorder and acoustic guitars and start improvising things. All the songs were written very spontaneously, starting from a blank slate every time.
The truth is, I feel like I've been turned inside-out after writing this album, adds Gwen. It's everything that I have been in the last two years, which have been really hard years for me. I just feet this sense of accomplishment, and this lightness has come over me since the album has been finished. It's so rewarding to be done and feel so proud of it, I can't wait for people to hear it.LP1
2. Simple Kind of Life
4. Six Feet Under
5. Magic's in the Makeup
6. Artificial Sweetener
7. Marry Me
2. Too Late
3. Comforting Lie
4. Suspension Without Suspense
5. Staring Problem
6. Home Now
7. Dark Blue$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Lady In Gold (Bone Vinyl)Limited Edition Of 500 Copies Pressed On Bone Colored Vinyl
Very few modern bands are lucky enough to have such a unique, individual and inimitable style as well as blessed with such an incredible voice at the forefront, so it's very rare that a group representing traditional blues-rock can come along with all these characteristics and whip up such excitement in 2016.
BLUES PILLS contain all these elements to create extraordinary music that sounds original and new but respects those long-held rules of blues and rock and roll tradition. Although, it's the individual characteristics of the band that makes this music electrifying; the steady bass of Zack Anderson, thumping rhythm of AndrÉ Kvarnström, technical and yet improvisational guitar of Dorian Sorriaux and the sensational soaring vocals of frontwoman Elin Larsson that set this band apart.
The psychedelic sounds of the band may hail back to the prosperity of the 1960's and 1970's and it's true their distinctive sound may include a few ingredients of the past; a pinch of late 60's Americana, a sprinkling of blues, a heavy serving of rock 'n' roll, a big squeeze of soul but it's all shaken up into a brand-new cocktail of sound, and served into this heavenly new blend we call BLUES PILLS.
That's why it seems to be a sign of destiny that the stars aligned for this exceptional group to be born in 2011, only one year later the striking, soulful and organic sound of first single 'Black Smoke' was fascinating countless listeners - followed up by the EP "Bliss". When in 2014 the self-titled album was released, the whole genre was turned upside down and BLUES PILLS were charting across Europe and continually selling out larger venues. Now the fans are calling on BLUES PILLS to present their second album "Lady In Gold".
"'Lady Gold' is a character symbolizing death", explains singer Elin Larsson of the intriguing album title. "We wanted to get away from the typical stereotype of the Grim Reaper."
The mystical and dark references of the album title are echoed throughout a lot of the album - there's the ode to the female "Keeper Of The Soul" on spiritual sounding title track 'Lady In Gold' and talks of failed salvation from a deceitful messiah in the soul anthem 'Little Boy Preacher'. There's emotive blues ballads in 'I've Felt A Change' and 'Burned Out' and empowering post-heartbreak tales in 'Won't Go Back' and 'Rejection'.
Similarly to the self-titled debut "Lady In Gold" was produced in Sweden by producer Don Alsterberg and it captures everything that's made them one of the most talked about rock bands of the past few years.1. Lady In Gold
2. Little Boy Preacher
3. Burned Out
4. I Felt A Change
5. Gone So Long
6. Bad Talkers
7. You Gotta Try
8. Won't Go Back
10. Elements And Things$24.99Colored Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Bringin' It (Awaiting Repress)Iconic bassist Christian McBride has been doing what the title of his upcoming big band album implores for years: Bringin' It. This highly anticipated release, which follows the Christian McBride Big Band's 2011 Grammy® Award-winning debut, The Good Feeling, puts his status and skills as an all-around entertainer on full display. With a list of growing accolades including his recent appointment as Artistic Director at the Newport Jazz Festival, hosting shows on SiriusXM ("The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian") and NPR ("Jazz Night in America," as well as frequent online contributions to various programs including "All Things Considered"), speaking engagements, and occasional DJ performances under the alias DJ Brother Mister, he's more than just a bandleader: Christian McBride is transcending that title to something more complete.
If it is true that jazz is a sponge for musicians to absorb and then squeeze out what they hear to produce their own sound, McBride has been "bringin' it" for quite a long time. From his amazing quintet, Inside Straight, to his avant-garde leaning quartet, New Jawn, the contemporary sound of his fusion group, A Christian McBride Situation, to the critically acclaimed music he's made with his trio, the bassist has always disseminated his own unique 360-degree view of jazz.
While the music played by the Christian McBride Big Band is on the cutting edge of 21st century large ensemble music, the orchestra's presentation, like its sound, respects the past while looking forward. Danny Ray, the legendary stage announcer for James Brown, travels with the group to give the leader an old-school intro before playing his thoroughly modern music. "I love having the show aspect of it as well, with Danny Ray there, and being able to create somewhat of a show while also having Melissa there as our vocalist."
That would be Melissa Walker, who graces Bringin' It on two tracks: "Upside Down," originally done by Brazilian superstar Djavan, and the unlikely slick arrangement of "Mr. Bojangles." In addition to maintaining a career in jazz, Walker is also the co-founder of Jazz House Kids, the award winning jazz education center and she's Mrs. Christian McBride.
Only two tracks on this 11-song set were not arranged by the leader: the "Upside Down" arrangement was contributed by Norman Simmons, while "Optimism" is from the person he's known the longest in his band, trombonist Steve Davis. Davis has the distinction of being the very last Jazz Messenger that Art Blakey hired before he died in 1990.
"I saw that last Jazz Messengers band that Steve was in," McBride remembers. "Blakey was a huge influence on me and because of that, Steve and I share the same compositional and arranging DNA. You see, even though I've been influenced by every great big band and every great arranger I've ever heard, three of my greatest influences - not just as composers but also as improvisers - are Freddie Hubbard, Wayne Shorter and Cedar Walton. I mean before, after and during the period when they were with Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers."
McBride played bass for Freddie Hubbard's quintet for nearly three years starting when he was 18. One of the songs he loved to play with the legendary trumpeter was "Thermo." A few years ago he brought this arrangement to a gig with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. When the four trumpeters had to work hard to go over the riffs in the tune, McBride felt a certain pride. "I just thought that Freddie was somewhere up in heaven laughing," says McBride.
Perennial poll-topping arranger Maria Schneider has also been an influence on McBride. He cites times when he'd just bug her for hours, peppering her with questions, particularly on a recent trip to Europe. He honors her with his rendition of "I Thought About You." "She has an arrangement of 'Giant Steps' where she arranged the melody over a D pedal so I said let me try something like that," McBride recounts. "That's where that came from. She really gave me a lot of information and has been a great influence on me."
Another aspect that has helped the bassist find his voice as an arranger is the fact that, except for drummer Quincy Phillips, this is the exact same band that recorded with him six years ago. "These guys know my sound. They know my style. They know what my compositional and arranging DNA is. I've been able to keep the exact same unit, so like Duke Ellington used to do, I can write for my guys because I know their sound and style.
"As for my originals, they all have been recorded with my small groups," he continues on about the tracks "Gettin' To It," "Youthful Bliss," and "Used'ta Could." "As an arranger I'm still in the early stages of my development so it seems to me the best way to really make my hopeful ascension into a better arranger is to obviously take a song I've already written and try to add to that and make it a worthy large ensemble song."
While the Wes Montgomery smoker "Full House" isn't a McBride original, it is part of his development as an arranger - it's a big band chart he first created for guitarist Russell Malone at Jazz Aspen in 2009. He says he's tweaked it since then for his go-to guitarist Rodney Jones. For the McCoy Tyner classic "Sahara," the bassist channeled his 20+ years of playing with the legendary Chick Corea, for which McBride won two of his five Grammys. Another one of his Grammys came from a co-op project with Tyner. "I always thought of Chick, in his early years, as being a branch from the tree of McCoy Tyner, if you will," he commented.
McBride's work ethic is evident in the challenge he set for himself on the steamy old ballad "In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning." "I decided to torture myself by writing that arrangement in the key of B. To me that's a very pretty key, but it is a very hard key for a double bass because I get to play no open strings," McBride explains. "When I play it live, every bass player in the house comes to me and says, 'is that in B? Why do you do that?' Maybe it's because I'm crazy, but I really wanted to do something difficult and keep myself on my toes."
Planning to keep this group simmering while he simultaneously resurrects his Inside Straight band and introduces his new trio, Tip City, McBride is most excited to embrace the golden age of big bands while they continue bringin' it with more gigs and their first European tour. "With my big band I try to combine all of my journeys and goals as a musician and then try to put it in a wrapper of show business," the five-time Grammy® Award-winner comments. "I really think in that sense I'm following something of a big band tradition."1. Gettin' To It
3. Youthful Bliss
4. I Thought About You
6. Upside Down
7. Full House
8. Mr. Bojangles
9. Used 'ta Could
10. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning
11. Optimism$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now