Posts

Nouvelle Vague - Should I Stay or Should I Go? (Kwaidan Records, 2024); Call Me A Fan

Image
Photo courtesy of Nouvelle Vague Music I knew I'd run into these guys before, possibly on their first album, which I kind of liked. What I wasn't prepared for was, in reading the press surrounding the release of their new album,  Should I Stay or Should I Go? , was the fact that they've been at it now for twenty years and that this is their eighth album.  Nouvelle Vague was formed in France to do cover versions of post-punk and new wave classics (hence the name). They intended to cover these songs in a bossa nova style. This band has no lead singer; they prefer to assign female vocalists on a song by song basis. I'm no expert in new wave or the British singles chart, but a listen to their new record reveals that it is not a tribute to The Clash or even political bands of that ilk. It is covers of some nicely chosen British and European hits going back to the 1970s. I could name some examples. but I don't want to spoil the opportunity to listen to it as I did, witho

Billy Joel - Turn the Lights Back On (2024, Columbia Records), First New Record In Over 30 Years; Check Out His Interviews With Stephen Colbert and Howard Stern

Image
  Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images Have you heard the new Billy Joel record, "Turn the Lights Back On"? "Turn the Lights Back On" is the first new popular recording released by Joel in over thirty years. This blog didn't even exist when the last Billy Joel album, River of Dreams , was released in 1993. Note:  River of Dreams was Joel's last album of popular songs, he did release a classical album after that .  I could never understand how someone so amazingly talented as Billy Joel (just consider his discography) could just flip a switch and turn it off and leave it off for over thirty years. Part of what made that possible, performing live concerts, might also have had the opposite effect. Joel begins to answer that question and many more during this week's conversation with Howard Stern; more on that below. The song starts with just piano and voice and on first listen, it sounds like there is no way that all this time could have passed. When the meani

The Best Music of 2023, Album of the Year: The Who, Who’s Next : Life House (Super Deluxe); Plus My Picks for the Top Thirty Starring (in the Top Ten, alphabetically) Jonathan Butler, Cat Power, Louis Cato, Everything But The Girl, The Hooters, Amos Lee, Stephen Marley, Duke Robillard, The Rolling Stones and Taj Mahal and Much More

Image
  Photo courtesy of the band Welcome to my year end list. Sifting through the new releases each week, using multiple sources, is a lot of work. Boiling that down to a list of thirty is tougher still. It would be nice if there were a gate keeper with anything like my preferences, but I have not found one yet. This list is likely to be nothing like any other year end list that you will see, not NPR, not the NY Times, not Rolling Stone, not even WXPN. That said, I thank you for reading this list and my comments about each of the entries.  About my list, the artists' age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, country of origin, all have no bearing on their inclusion. My criteria is pretty simple. As I may have mentioned in the past, I want to hear singers with a strong voice, one that shows a little personality. I'm looking for production that allows every instrument to be heard clearly (instrumental albums are welcome, too). What I don't want to hear are wishy-washy voca

The Best Christmas Music of 2023; Check Out Holiday Gems from The Gothard Sisters, Samara Joy, The Philly Specials, Seth MacFarlane, Johnny Mathis, Gregory Porter, Kate Rusby, Straight No Chaser, Chet Atkins, Linda Ronstadt and many more.

Image
Garret Roberts, Beaver County Times   Greetings! It's that time of year again. It's probably no revelation if I point out that it comes around faster each year.  If you think about it, most of the albums are recorded in the middle of the summer in order to come out now. Years ago, I used to be fairly strict about not listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, that is until I began writing about it. In order to keep up, some years I would begin listening to Christmas music as early as right after Labor Day. When people would hear me listening to Christmas music in September, October, even November, they usually comment (sometimes derisively) something to the effect of, "You must really like Christmas music." Mostly, it wasn't worth the true explanation, so I'd say something like, "Guilty as charged." My main reasoning there is that it's all true. I found that I really do love Christmas music.  I was going to go into my pet peeves about