Sunday, December 23, 2007

Albums of 2007

Album of the year is never easy and this year in no exception: The Hold Steady, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, The Weakerthans ... but this years winner has to be:

1. Grinderman - Grinderman: Nick Cave and selected Bad Seeds create a side project for some down and dirty blues based noise. Not an easy record, but this really shouldn't be this good. Raw, funny, fuzzy, genius.

The rest of my top 20, in no particular order, are:

2. The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls in America:
I have to thank JR for turning me on the THS. He named it as a favourite from last year (came out in US then and in the UK this year). Pub rock wrote large, THS are an everyman band. However, make no mistake they have the songs too.
3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic: Bruce rocks again. Like many I had worried that he another great rock album in him, but this is excelllent stuff. Not really a duff track on the whole thing.
4. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour: Like the Hold Steady, a band with a habbit of writing catchy songs with quirky lyrics. Almost as good a Reconstruction Site, which I consider praise indeed.
5. Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade: An album about Earle's move to New York. So this is a lot less angry than Revolution Starts Now. It is a marvelous record though
6. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero: NIN have always been a bit hit and miss but this may just be Trent's best outing.
7. Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling: I had believed that MCC's best days were well and truly behind her, but this album has pleasingly proved me wrong. Listen to Houston and One with the Song if you don't believe me.
8. Ryan Adams - Lost Highway: This album just sounded better and better as the year went on.
9. Queens of the Stoneage - Era Vulgaris: The rock album of 2007. I Just like it.
10.Kate Rusby - Awkward Annie: Another artist returning to form after a couple of perfectly fine, but unexciting releases.
11. PJ Harvey - White Chalk: a short and quite dreery record on the face of it, but there is a beauty and power in the sparceness of this material not seen since Harvey's debut, Dry
12. Public Enemy - How you sell soul to a souless people who have no soul: Pretty much a return to form for Chuck D, This album sparkles and helps remind you why PE were THE rap band.
13. Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta: Gypsy punk at its best. Fun bright, a good party band.
14. Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter: Duet with Bruce Springsteen, and more great tunes from the man who Ryan Adams thinks is a genius.
15. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times: There are a couple of dire songs on this album , but the rest of it is really rather good, and has been one of the biggest 'growers' of the year for me.
16. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace: Still looking for the FF to make their 'great' record. This like their other albums contains some very good stuff, but still falls away a bit too much for my liking.
17. Funeral for a Friend - Tales Don't Tell Themselves: Wales' finest delivered there most focussed album to date.
18. Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers: No new ground, but more fun then recent offerings.
19. Rilo Kiley - Under the Backlight: Actually reminds me of early Liz Phair in places this record. Not a bad thing.
20. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand: A collection of old country/blues numbers reinterpreted by Page and Krauss. It works pretty well, with their voice complementing each other nicely. A good album to relax with.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gigs of 2007

My gig of the year this year was pretty much a no-brainer, it has to be Prince.

1. Prince - O2 Arena: Yes, he may be a weird fucker off stage but put him on stage and the guy just has it (whatever 'it' is). This gig was at the tail end of his 21 night stint in London, and the general consensus was that the guy rocks. Yes, there are some duff songs - but this was mainly a Prince plays the 'hits' concert and some of those songs are pretty damn good.

And the rest - in no particular order - were:

2. The Hold Steady - Borderline / Shepherds Bush Empire / Electric Ballroom: Yes, Ok, so I am cheating a bit here, by counting all three HS gigs as one entry. If you still haven't either got into this band or seen them live, where have you been?! Recording a new album and due back in the UK in Summer 2008. If you like bands to look like they are enjoying and love what they do on stage, I urge you to go and see them.

3. Scorpions - Apollo Hammersmith: Seriously, who would have thought I would be standing in front of Rudi and Klaus again after all these years. I had pretty much given up on the Scorps in the mid 90s; but nostalgia took hold and I booked a ticket to then find out that not only were MSG supporting, but that Uli Roth would be performing a few numbers with the band. Yes, pre Lovedrive material in the set. Suddenly, things were looking up. The Gig itself presented the sorry stake that Michael Schenker is now in - too pissed and off his face on smack to be able to stand during the MSG set. A true shame. The Scorps themselves however reminded me, 15 years on since the last time I'd seen them, why I always rated them as a live band. I may even be there the next time on this evidence.

4. The Weakerthans - Mean Fiddler: I LOVE this band. This was almost as good as the first time I saw them. One of the best bands of the last decade.

5. Ray Davies - Roundhouse: It can be easy at times to forget just how many great tunes Ray Davies has written. Indeed, how many certified Classic tunes he has written. This gig brought it all home, and the classic Kinks numbers were interspersed with some newer stuff and some entertaining banter. Legend.

6. Ryan Adams - Apollo Hammersmith: I had been wanting to see Adams for a couple of years now, and had somehow managed to miss him on a number of occasions. But, it was worth the wait. Great songs, great harmonies, a tight band (nice to see Neal Cassel). Interestingly sparse stage lighting which wasn't to everyone's taste, but focussed you even more on the music. Two and a half hours of pleasure.

7. Lucinda Williams - The indigO2: No 'Essence' , no 'Car Wheels on a Gravel Road' , my two favourite songs, but Williams is a great performer, and anyone who can throw 'Riders on the storm' into their set without it sounding stupid is obviously going to be on to a winner. COME ON !

8. Crowded House - Wembley Arena: They were great, and they still are great. Neil Finn is a wonderful songwriter, and hearing these songs live was a pleasure.

9. Aimee Mann - The indigO2: First off support act, Jenny Owen Youngs, was one of the finds of the year. Funny, quirky (anyone who can do a folk version of Nelly's 'Hott in Here' deserves to be heard!) and definitely someone to watch 2008/09. Mann herself wasn't really here to promote an album (although did debut a couple of tracks from the new one that comes out in 2008). Now seen her many times, and never disappoints.

10. Kate Rusby - Blackheath Halls: Silver Christmas Trees on stage, and a Christmas themed gig consisting of a set of around half material from Rusby's albums and half of folk versions (alternate tunes) of Christmas carols. All this performed on acoustic guitar, violin, bass, squeezebox, and (for a few numbers) a 6 piece brass band drawn from the armed forces. It sounded great, and demonstrated why rusby is one of the most popular performers on the modern Folk scene. What sets Rusby apart is her rapport with the audience, and her ability to put a smile on your face.

Honourable mention: Shawn Colvin - Shepherds Bush Empire

Monday, December 17, 2007

Singles of 2007

Picking singles is the hardest thing these days, with track downloads, and I have no doubt missed some horrible pop tunes that should be on here, but this list is still pretty good. These are in no particular order, after the top 5, which have all been my favourite of the year at some point in 2007, and I still couldn't decide who should have the overall crown.

1. Cassette - The Smartest Bomb : I am probably on a the few people that actually bought this, but I love it. It is very 80s in its sound, but it just really works for me.
2. Bruce Spingsteeen - Radio Nowhere : The first signs that the Boss was back and playing some classy, catchy rock again.
3. Funeral for a Friend - Into Oblivion (Reunion) :
4. Foo Fighters - The Pretender : Let's make no mistake, when the FF are good, they are very good; and this single is true class.
5. Public Enemy - Harder than you Think : Not sure where they've sampled the horns from on this, but couple with Chuck D in full flow, this was one of the stand out tracks on PE's latest album.

6. Kings of Leon - Charmer : KoL do their best pixies impersonation
7. Groove Armada - Song 4 Mutya : I know, let's right a tune about an ex-Sugababe and then get her to sing it too - madness. One of the best pop records of the year.
8. Ryan Adams - Two/Halloween Head : Great tunes, great songwriter, great album.
9. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black : Well, it looks like she may now have gone to rehab. personal problems aside, this song (from one of the best records of 2006) is still a great slice of 60s influenced soul.
10. Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running Whilst the album still disappointed me a bit, this is still great.
11. Avril Lavigne - Girlfriend : Yes, it is very annoying, but I still liked it despite myself.
12. Kelly Clarkson - Never Again : Pat Benatar reborn
13. PJ Harvey - When under Ether : John Peel would have liked it, I do.
14. Grinderman - No Pussy Blues : Well, precisley.
15. The Hold Steady - Chips Ahoy : Whoahhh ...
16. Jenny Owen Youngs - Fuck was I : A pleasnt surprise as support for Aimee Mann.
17. McQueen - Running out of Things to Say : As I get further down this list, i know the feeling. A good honest all female rock band deliver a good tune.
18. Manic Street Preachers - Your Love Alone : Another one of those songs that i really wanted to hate this year, but it is so damn catchy that i sing it every time.
19. Queens of the Stone Age - 3s & 7s : Just a great rock song.
20. Good Charlotte - Keep your Hands off my Girl : I don't like GC. No really. I think they suck. However, I had to admit that this song got under my skin for quite a while earlier this year.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Funeral For a Friend @ Astoria 08/12/2007

Whilst I am not a huge fan of welsh rockers, FFF, I do think they are one of the better band of the ilk around these days, so felt they could be worth a punt live. Of course this being a Saturday at the Astoria, meant that the gig had to be done and dusted by 9.45pm so that G.A.Y. could take over. As a result FFF were on stage by around 8.20.

First the complaints. Singer Matt Davies can hold a tune, so why have his vocals drowned in the mix so much? Also, for me anyway, the set list could have been better.

speaking of the Set List, I cannot replicate it here (although I will list the songs I remembering being played, if for no other reason than the forum people on their site apparently don't want people talking about them on there as it may spoil the surprise. What a load of bollocks.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Todd confirms 'Arena Rock' record

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has Todd talking about the new record "It will be a concept album. Essentially, I'm going to do an arena rock record. Hopefully it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy," he says, laughing. "It's big hook, big chords, sing-along choruses and arrangements are designed to echo through an ice rink. It's a bigger challenge than it seems like. Sing-along ability is not something that is automatic. There has to be something anthemic about the music and the subject matter."

They also have him comment on producing Bat, Skylarking, and We Are an American Band.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Weakerthans @ Astoria 2 (Mean Fiddler) 25/11/2007

It's November which must mean it is the Weakerthans, who I believe I have only ever seen in November on each of the three occasions I have managed to catch them, but I digress. Touring with a new album (at last) to promote - 'Reunion Tour' - it was great to see that John K Samson and the boys still rock live. Licking off with a duo of 'Our Retired Explorer'/'Civil Twilight', I knew from the off this was going to be a good one. I was not disappointed.

JKS is not the most chatty front man, but we did learn that a trip to a London gallery had inspired 'Night Windows'; and that 'Tournament of Hearts' was about that great sport curling (never played but it was prime time on sunday afternoons in Scotland when i was growing up). Also any man who can write lyrics such as "yes a penguin taught me French back in Antartica" (Our Retired Explorer) has my respect.

Set list was base heavily around the new album and the previous record ' Reconstruction Site' (which was fine by me) Still we still had space for the likes of 'Aside', 'Left and Leaving', My Favourite Chords and 'Pamphleteer'

Highlights included 'The Reasons'; 'Plea from a Cat Named Virtute' / 'Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure'; 'Reconstruction Site'; 'Tournament of Hearts' and one of my favourite turn up to 11 songs, 'Aside'

My girlfriend - not overly impressed with them on record - thought that they came alive as a live band ... and sounded like REM. Er, well, yes I suppose in some instances they do sound like REM at their best.

Great gig, hope they're back again soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bourgeois Todd

Retro Dan has an interview with Brent Bourgeois (Bourgeois Tagg) who has this to say on working with Todd.

retroDan: Since you’re a music producer yourself, i thought it’d be interesting to hear your take on all the major producers you’ve worked with in your career- namely Todd Rundgren, Danny Kortchmar, Charlie Peacock?

Brent: Todd Rundgren is much more of a musical influence than an ‘in the studio’ influence. He taught me something very important: to be really honest lyrically. His chord changes and melodic sense have obviously influenced my writing as well. As a producer in the studio, he was a disappointment. His idea of a compliment was a heavy sigh and something like, “That didn’t bother me.”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hold Steady & Weakerthans

Pitchfork has an interview between Eddie Argos of Art Brut, and Craig Finn of the Hold Steady. Finn talks about the new album ( coming late Spring/Summer 2008) and touring the UK. He also mentions the excellent John K Samson of the Weakerthans ...

Craig Finn : That's one of the greatest things. If someone like John Darnielle (of Mountain Goats) says "God, that's a great lyric," you feel, "Whoa!" That's a great compliment. Where it's not like some college journalist saying "this album rocks!", you know? It carries a lot of weight. Like, John Samson from the Weakerthans, another one of my favorite lyricists. Right now.

Friday, November 23, 2007


The Guardian has been compiling a 1,000 albums you should hear before you die list "it's not is the best 1000 albums of all time. Instead, it's a cross-genre, cross-era look at some great music" Todd makes it in with Something/Anything " Rundgren not only produced and arranged this double LP, he wrote it all and played every instrument on three of the four sides. I Saw the Light opened the "pop" side, followed by the "experimental", "hard rock" and "musical" sides. The third solo album from the Philly whizkid is a masterclass in eclecticism"

Also this made me laugh from the Washington Post.Music editor and Post Rock blogger David Malitz in a special pre-Thanksgiving edition of 'the chat'. This is from the transcript:

A statistic: Todd Rundgren is overrated by 95% of the .01% of the population who know who he is.

David Malitz: I like the way your brain works. We need more statistics. Where does that "bang on the drum all day" song rank in songs-you-can't-get-out-of-your-head list?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ryan Adams and the Cardinal @ Hammersmith Appollo - 16/11/2007

After the amount of times I have missed Mr Adams on his recent visits to these shores, it was great to be able to catch him (and the Cardinals) at last. Being sat down in the Circle was not ideal, but hey, what can you do.

So, was it worth the wait? I'd have to say a resounding yes. I have been getting well into this years release, 'Easy Tiger', of late so was in the mood. Adams is not exactly the most chatty person on stage - and my girlfriend did complain that he didn't do enough to 'work' his audience - but that's fine when the music is so good you can let it speak for itself. Another ove which put the focus on the music was the very low lighting chosen by the band - who were performing almost in darkness - in the shadows, one might say for the majority of the set. Again, this didn't bother me, and indeed it made for some quite cool lighting effects late on.

So, what did they play? Well a 2 hour set with a 30 min encore:

Peaceful Valley
Beautiful Sorta
Rescue Blues
Stars Go Blue
Off Broadway
Goodnight Rose
Sun Also Sets
Let It Ride
Freeway To The Canyon (Neal Casal)
Please Do Not Let Me Go
Bartering Lines
Wild Flowers
Cold Roses
Why Do They Leave
Everybody Knows
Goodnight Hollywood Blvd.
You Don't See Me Crying (Neal Casal)
Halloween Head
Graboff Joke/Happy Birthday Spacewolf
Rip Off
A Kiss Before I Go
Shakedown on 9th St
I See Monsters

Dear John
Blue Hotel
I Taught Myself How To Grow Old
Easy Plateau

HIghlights? Actually quite a lot of them: Dear John, A Kiss Before I die, Two, Cold Roses, NIghtbirds, Rip off, Let it Ride, Stars go Blue ...

Great stuff. The band were tight, the harmonies great.

Downside? Usual wankers in the audience 'whooping' and shouting out bollocks, and of course all those people who always seem to end up near me that seem to come to gigs to have a chat, and obviously have to raise their voices to make themselves heard over those annoying people down on the stage.

Blogged with Flock

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Comeback Kids

I thought it was time to give over a few lines to two "giants" of music past and present, who both returned from the wilderness (if not the tabloids in one of the cases) this past couple of weeks. I speak, of course, of The Eagles and Britney Spears.

Let's start with Brit. Obviously, all has not been well in the land on Brit over the past few years - marrying K-Fed kind of gave that away. So, partied, she had the kids, she partied, she went out minus underwear, she shaved off all her hair, she lost custody of the kids blah blah blah.

So, all eyes were on her when news of a musical comeback hit the headlines. Her performance of her debut single of the new opus at the MTV awards, failed to remove thoughts that she was still out of it; although most admitted 'Gimme More' was actually ok, for what it was. The album too has gotten a surprisingly warm reception. Is it deserved???

Well, I'll admit this isn't the car crash I thought it might be, but it is still a collection of tunes that could have been on Rhiannon's album and many other artists (Rachel Stevens for example) besides. The songs a slickly produced with Brit's voice treated to once again try and hide/enhance the fact that she can't really sing. But, there is some quite fun stuff here all the same: 'Piece of Me'; 'Break the Ice'; and 'Ooh Ooh Baby' - which seems to have a Glitter Band drum sound (sample?) are all songs I would like to see released as singles.

So, mostly crap, but some moments of fun.

The Eagle's meanwhile, left it 28 years between albums. The good news is that it sounds just like the Eagles. The bad news is that it sounds just like the Eagles. Also to make up for the time-gap, we get a double CD and 21 tracks. This is a shame right off, as all this succeeds in doing is highlighting how much of the combined record is sub standard filer.

This is not to say it is all bad, far from it, but - for me - there is just not enough quality on here. You could (and they should have) make one reasonable record out of the material here, if you grabbed tracks like How Long, Somebody, Business as Usual, Fast Company, Last Good Time in Town and Long Road out of Eden.

Find online and just download the tracks you like would be my advice for both records.

Friday, November 02, 2007

McQueen @ Camden Barfly - 31/10/2007

Wednesday night, so it must be heavy metal. Having been reasonably impressed with McQueen's debut album, I thought it was worth parting with £6.50 to catch them live. I must admit I wasn't expecting much, but I was presently surprised to find that McQueen manage to be quite entertaining live (although a bit less of the rock cliche speak by lead vocalist Leah wouldn't go a miss).

Anyway, The Line went Dead, Running out of Things to Say, Love for Sale, Neurotic etc all sounded really rather good. The next record should tell us whether or not the band will ever headline bigger venues.

Due to standing in a bar drinking Pete and I missed the first of the support acts but arrived in time to catch Fresh Fabrik, a hungarian hard rock band. They seemed like a nice enough bunch, but can't say I left wanting to rush out and buy any of their music.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ray Davies @ Camden Roundhouse

I have almost gone to see Ray Davies play on a number of occasions, but never quite made it, so when this opportunity came along I jumped at the chance - and I am glad I did. For just about 100 minutes, in a set comprise mainly of Kinks songs - with a few of his better solo numbers thrown in - it was a complete joy. Davies is, without a doubt, one of the best songwriters the UK has produced and in one truly golden period wrote or co-wrote a batch of timeless classics, all of which made the set tonight: Tired Of Waiting, All Day And All Of The Night, Good Times Gone, Sunny Afternoon, Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, Days, Waterloo Sunset, You Really Got Me, Lola ... every one of them, songs that most songwriters would have killed to have written.

Things were made even better by the fact that Ray really seemed to be having a good time, and looked like - even at 64 - he still fancied himself a rockstar.

For me it all kicked off brilliantly with I'm Not Like Everybody Else from the Kinkdom album - not a song I ever thought I would hear live, and hardly let up for the 100 mins. Other personal highlights were Tired of Waiting, All Day and All of the Night, Waterloo Sunset, and the title track of the new album, Working Man's Café.

Of course there was also Lola, and on the online BBC version of the gig (it was taped for BBC's 'Electric Proms' series - I appear singing my heart out for a few fleeting seconds ... for those who can view it (Uk only I'd guess) its about 1 hour 30 and approx 43 seconds in ...

The addition of The Crouch End Festival Chorus for a number of the later classics added some additional voices to the mix, and we also go Razorlight's Johnny Borrell - a man who mistakenly thinks he's a genius - actually getting to share the stage with a real one. A cracking night.


# I'm Not Like Everybody Else
# Good Times Gone
# Til The End Of The Day
# A Well Respected Man
# The Tourist
# Sunny Afternoon (with Johnny Borrell)
# Working Man's Café
# Morphine Song
# One More Time
# Come Dancing
# 20th Century Man
# Celluloid Heroes
# Tired Of Waiting
# All Day And All Of The Night
# Dedicated Follower Of Fashion (with The Crouch End Festival Chorus)
# Days (with The Crouch End Festival Chorus)
# Shangri-La (with The Crouch End Festival Chorus)
# Waterloo Sunset (with The Crouch End Festival Chorus)
# Lola
# Imaginary Man
# You Really Got Me

Friday, October 26, 2007

Love Junkie

Retroblog ( a personal favourite blog find of 2007) has an interesting interview with Moe Berg, talking about life after The Pursuit of Happiness, life in general, and of course working with Todd. "In terms of a Todd mix tape, I wouldn’t even know what to pick. “Drunken Blue Rooster” would be the first song and “Fade Away” would be the last. In between, it would depend on the day".

What would you put in between? what 10 tracks would fit in between these 2?

Still with Todd, he gets a mention in this interview with Dominique Leone in the san fransisco bay guardian's blog, and in Compuerworld's famous geek list

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Penate turns doen Todd for Abbiss

Apparently London singer/songwriter Jack Penate (who happens to be from Blackheath, a mere 5 minutes walk from where I live) turned down an offer to have Todd (of whom he is a fan) produce his debut album "Matinee" opting instead for Jim Abbiss (who also happens to be a Todd fan), who has helmed sets by Arctic Monkeys and Editors.
You can buy Jack's album on eMusic

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Boss Rock

I've been a bit slow getting around to Bruce, but after a week of the new album 'Magic' on almost constant repeat on my iPod (brief interludes of the also excellent new Steve Earle CD) I can now say, that this really is a fine record. It is without a doubt his most commercial/mainstream offering since the often overlooked Tunnel of Love album, and continues on with the joyous feel of last year's also rather excellent Seeger Sessions album.

Kicking off with the excellent 'Radio Nowhere', this is an album that is a lot of fun. The most interesting thing for me over the week has been how my favourite tracks on the album have actually changed, and how songs that I didn't really rate as much at the start - such as 'Gypsy Biker' (a hint of U2 in this one) and 'Devil's Arcade' - have started to come into there own. Also the title track has grown in stature to become one of the best cuts on the record.

Elsewhere, the production is quite interesting - esp. in relation to Bruce's voice, where on a number of songs - esp. 'Girls in Their Summer Clothes' and 'Your Own Worst Enemy' he actually reminded me a lot of Ian McNabb, ex Icicle works singer (check out his excellent Head like a Rock album from 1994). There is a lot of Clarence Clemons sax on this record, which is always what makes an E-Street band record stand out, and listening to him and Bruce on 'Livin in the Future' harks back to 70s Springsteen records.

All in all, I have to say, this will be a contender for album of the year, as there just isn't a duff track to be found on it. Favourite track? Today it's 'Last to Die' , 'Your Own Worst Enemy', 'Magic', and 'Radio Nowhere' for tomorrow, who knows ....

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stay at Todd's House in Hawaii

Retroblog has a fun interview with Michelle Rundgren about live in hawaii, todd, comedy, and the opportunity to rent the rundgren house and choose and item from Todd's wardrobe!

Meanwhile it is US Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame time again, which means more moans and more folks lamenting Todd's continued absense from nominations. Fox News (sorry, but it is a good piece. I know I will probably go to hell all the same); The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Harp Magazine comment.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Foo Fighting

I have been living with the new Foo Fighters album this week (the week delay for Bruce and Steve helped a lot). It is another good record, but my usual disappointment is also present with any new FF record ... you hope it is going to be their classic, but they never really deliver and recently have been a bit flat. On the bright side, this record sees them reunited with producer Gil Norton who helmed what remains, for me, their best work "The Colour And The Shape"

Thinks kick off in fine form, with 'Pretender' (a candidate for single of the year). Cut from the same cloth as 'Monkey Wrench' and 'All my Life', it quite frankly rocks. From that point onwards it is a mixed bag, that arguably never quite lives up to the promise of the opening track. This is not to say there isn't other fine stuff here: 'Summers End' is a cracking CSN/Bryds sounding tune, and 'Long road to Ruin' takes elements from that pedigree too. Acoustic Instrumental, 'The Ballad of the Beaconsfield Minors' is a beautiful piece (about the
Beaconsfield mine collapse in Australia in 2006). Elsewhere, 'Statues' and 'Stranger things have Happened' also provide some nice pop sensibilities.

As for the rest, with the possible exception of album closer, the piano ballad 'Home' , it's a bit - well, you know, perfectly fine, but is really just filler for these ears.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Future of Music Policy Summit

A site that I often look at for IT/Internet news mentioned Todd this week. Arstechnica commenting on the final sessions of the Future of Music Policy Summit , said Pinky Gonzales, speaking for promotional service echomusic , pointed to Todd 'as a precedent for a possible patronage system to support music. Through the PatroNet system in the '90s, Rundgren had funded production of at least one CD through the financial contributions of more than 2,000 fans. Gonzales noted that this kind of model can especially work well for older bands on a "long tail" business model and can be combined with demographic tracking to help a band focus their appeal'.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Prince at O2 Arena 13/09/2007

I have to confess I have always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the small purple one, but when he announced his 21 nights in London gigs at the O2, I knew I had to go. Playing in the round on a stage the shape of the squiggle (the same as at the Superbowl) Prince cast away gimics, strange shaped guitars (he was back with his trusty Telecaster), and the purples, and peaches (the man was in black and whites all night) and just played the music.

Was he any good?

Well, where I was sat - quite high up - the sound quality was not the best (the venue's acoustics are pretty poor, esp on louder numbers) I'd have to say he was pretty fucking good. Forget about the man on record, live he really does know his stuff. Also, I have no idea what 'IT' is, but Prince has got it. He has an energy and a presence on stage, so at odds with his off stage persona, that it is quite amazing.

The set list was something like this:

Let's Go Crazy
I Feel For You
Controversy /Housequake chant
Prince & The Band
What A Wonderful World (including a line from Elton's 'Your Song')

Piano Set
Little Red Corvette
I Would Die 4 U
Under The Cherry Moon (instrumental)
Love Is A Losing Game (with Shelby)
Satisfied (intro only)
Diamonds and Pearls (to chorus)
The Beautiful Ones (up to paint a picture)
Sometimes It Snows In April

U Got The Look
Take Me With U
Purple Rain


Long & Winding Road (with Elton John)
Crazy/Can't get you out of my head (Shelby singing)
Nothing Compares 2 U
If I Was Your Girlfriend

Synth/Sampled set
Started with Elton song 'Bennie & The Jets'
DMSR (tiny snipet)
Sign 'O' The Times (couple of verses)
When Doves Cry (couple of verses)
Alphabet Street
Darling Nikki (intro)
Raspberry Beret

Lights up ten mins later Encore

A Love Bizarre
Chelsea Rodgers

Yes, Elton John was not only there but joined Prince on stage. To be honest I wish he hadn't as he really murdered 'Long and Winding Road'.

It is hard to pick favourites from the set, although from a guitar loving Prince fan I have to say the Piano segment was really rather good; although the man can play a mean guitar too - 'You got The Look' and 'Guitar' both very good for that.

All in all, a top night. 2 hours and I could have sat through 2 more (which as it happened he played at the after show party I didn't attend - Grrr).

If you get a chance to see him, I'd take it.

Todd about to start work on new album

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has a nice little interview with Todd, where he says his current solo gigs are "before I go off to sequester myself to record a new album."

Also of note was his look back on his eclecticism:

"I have a low threshold of boredom," Rundgren says. As a live performer, "I'm not long for any sort of gig that starts to turn into just a job. ... I'm not likely to do the same sort of presentation for more than 18 months or two years at a time before I have to dream up something else."
And as a recording artist, "Even though I've had records that were commercially successful, I wasn't disciplined enough to follow 'em up with more of the same," he says with a laugh.

Rundgren's 1972 opus "Something/Anything?" defined him as a singer-songwriter with a knack for timeless pop songs such as "I Saw the Light." But he immediately followed it with the disjointed and psychedelic "A Wizard, A True Star."

"People thought I was purposefully sabotaging my career," he recalls, but "I had a new awareness in my head and I had to try to represent it." Experiments often fail, "but that's also the way you get lucky accidents which may eventually characterize your music. ... My unabashedness and my willingness to incorporate all sorts of different influences ideally characterizes me, keeps me from sounding too much like any one of those influences."

Richard Thompson tips hat to TR

The Rocky Mountain News has a 10 questions for Richard Thompson piece where the great man mentions that other great man, Mr R:

Your Web site is amazing: Fans can buy exclusive music, hear free music, see videos, send you questions, etc. In one of the videos you call yourself a "folk rock dinosaur," but you're actually way ahead of the curve, don't you think?

"I was quite late coming to it, to tell you the truth. Everyone had a Web site but me 10 years ago. Todd Rundgren was one of the pioneers, offering downloads. Every month he'd give you a new track. In a year you'd have 12 tracks and he'd send you the artwork. He was the first one who struck me as being really Internet savvy. I probably took some ideas from him."

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hot Chip

According to Pitchfork  Hot Chip have a limited edition 12" due this month with "Shake a Fist"--  featuring  a sample of Todd - 'intro/sounds of the studio' from Something Anything .


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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hold Steady

News and US tour dates here

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Foo Good

My girlfriend's favourite song at the moment, and I have to admit it rocks.

A Fistful of Fandago - 229/Club Fandango - 08/09/2007

I had Diane to thank for spotting this one. It was the final night of 4 multiband nights at the International Student's Union or 299/Club Fandango. Six band divided over 2 stages in the small linked venue.

Room One Stage:

Electric Soft Parade
Misty's Big Adventure
The Kissaway Trail

Room Two Stage

Eugene McGuiness
Tim Ten Yen

We missed Tim Ten Yen, but arrived about a third of the way through The Kissaway Trial's set. And very entertaining they were too. Must confess this bunch of Danes were new to me. Having now listened to some of their recorded stuff, they rock a bit more as a live act, but if Bloc Party and  the Wannadies work for you then worth checking out.

The same cannot be said for Eugene McGuinness, a singer songwriter with a nice turn of lyrics but still a set of weak songs.

Back in Room One, we had a band that are sort of one part Beafheart, one part Blockheads, with a sprinkling of Arthur Brown. Yes folks, Misty's Big Adventure are are strange experience - the quote one enlightened chap beside us - 'look they've got birds playing trumpet and saxaphone'. Indeed they do, and a very pleasnt sound they make doing so too. Strangely enjoyable.

Back to Room Two headliner, Absentee, an interesting 4 piece  sporting a Kings of Leon (1st album) look and with a lead singer with one of the deepest rock voices I have heard in a good while. They tried out some new stuff to get feedback to see if worth including on new album, and impressed me enough to keep an eye on future stuff from them, and to download their first album from eMusic.

And so to the selling point for getting me to go. I really like the first two ESP albums, so a chance to catch them live (inc everyone else for £10, was too good to miss). And fun it was too. Some good banter, some great songs, esp 'Start Again'. A perfect end to a really enjoyable evening.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Avant Pop

What is avant pop? Paul Grimstad takes a look and finds a space for a Mr R  

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Hold Steady at Camden Electric Ballroom 30/08/07

Another Hold Steady gig, another venue, another great night (although perhaps Craig and I should have drank a bit less - it effected him less on stage mind you!).

Anyway. Things were different this time around, with the band moving away from the 'ok, let's just play all of BAGIA and a few other songs' approach that they took with the Borderline and Sheps Bush gigs earlier in the year - although I think opening with Hot Soft Light instead of Stuck Between Stations was a mistake (for me anyway). Having spoke to a few people the set list seemed to be something like this: -

Hot Soft Light
Banging Camp
Chips Ahoy
Stuck Between Stations
Cattle and the Creeping Things
Massive Nights
Party Pit
You Can Make Him Like You
Stevie Nix

I kind of get hazzy around this point and came back to reality with

Your Little Hoodrat Friend
Southtown Girls
How A Resurrection Really Feels

[I think Chill out Tent got another airing in my 'blind' patch]

The Encore consited of
? another failing memory moment for me, followed by
First Night
Most People Are DJs
Killer Parties

All cracking stuff, and if you don't believe me, the Independent thought so too. Also hints at end of gig that this might not be their last London gigs of 2007 ...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Hold Steady

Camden Electric Ballroom tomorrow night ... we had some massive nights ....

The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour

Whilst it is not officially out until 25 September, the new Weakerthans album is out there and yes I did go get it (although I do also have it on pre-order in hard-copy CD from Amazon).

Four years since the band's third - and best album - Reconstruction Site, so the new album has been a long time coming. Thankfully, I can tell you, it is worth the wait. True, it is not as good a RS, but it is still pretty damn good, and John Samson's lyrics continue to amuse and challenge - not many albums where Curling (one of the few sports us Scots are any good at) and Ice Hockey both get songs (Tournament of Hearts, and Elegy for Gump Worsley); that you get songs from the perspective of a Bus Driver (Civil Twilight) and a Cat (Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure). The latter a fine companion piece to Plea From A Cat Named Virtute from the RS album.

What's more Civil Twilight, Sun in an Empty Room and (current single) Night Windows could all be hits [ok, so not likely in the UK, but, one can but hope].

There should be a UK date or two in December to look forward to. In the meantime I recommend you all buy the album.

Track List:
01. Civil Twilight
02. Hymn of the Medical Oddity
03. Relative Surplus Value
04. Tournament of Hearts
05. Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure
06. Elegy for Gump Worsley
07. Sun in an Empty Room
08. Night Windows
09. Bigfoot!
10. Reunion Tour
11. Utilities

The Boss is Back

The Guardian has a link to a free download of 'Radio Nowhere' a track off the new Bruce Springsteen album Magic due out in October. I agree with one review that describes it as a Zevon-esq guitar based rocker. Quality.

Now, to try and get tickets for Dec19th gig in London ...

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Rooney like Todd

Interview with Robert Schwartzman from the band Rooney in Filter Magazine

There are a whole bunch of reunion tours going on right now…do you have a favorite?

I love Duran Duran. I don’t know if they’re out right now, but I know they were out a year ago. I’d love to see The New Cars.

Oh yeah…with Todd Rundgren.

Yeah, Todd Rundgren singing. Awesome. He’s one of my favorite fucking artists. John Fields, who made our record, is the hugest Todd Rundgren fan. I mean SCARY huge. Knows everything.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sorry, I just don't get it

You know that feeling when everyone is talking about the new hot thing and how great it is, and you hear it and go, nope, don't get it? (any band Pete Doherty's ever been in for example). I have been having that feeling again these past few weeks about Kate Nash. Some clever lyrics but the whole mockney singing/talking thing is just annoying. Also, I hate anyone on principle who can make me start warming to Lily Allen. It's just not right, so stop it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Todd gets the habit (ok, bad pun)

Didn't know until read this today that Todd covered Thelonious Monk's Four in One back in 1984 on the album "That's the Way I Feel Now: A Tribute to Thelonious Monk"

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Albums of 2007 - the halfway runners and riders

As usual I thought it was time to pick the 10 albums that have tickled my fancy most thus far in 2007. How many have the staying power to still be there come the end of the year? - Who knows. The following are in no order, but I must confess that The Grinderman and NIN albums are probably the two that have most impressed me thus far.

1. Grinderman - Grinderman: This really shouldn't be this good, and this enjoyable
2. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero: Bit flat for me live, but this may just be Trent's best outing.
3. Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling: I had believed that MCC's best days were well and truly behind her, but this album has pleasingly proved me wrong.
4. Ryan Adams -  Lost Highway: Not his best, but his second best is better than most people's best.
5. Queens of the Stoneage - Era Vulgaris: I Just like it.
6. Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter
7. Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full: Obviously drinking Starbuck's Coffee has done the trick.
8. McQueen - Break the Silence: 4 young ladies making a, pleasingly, British rock sound.
9. Funeral for a Friend - Tales Don't Tell Themselves:
10. Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers: No new ground, but more fun then recent offerings
(The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls in America : Yes, this could be considered cheating if I include it, but it's not my fault this wasn't officially released in the UK until this year. So it's unofficially officially in the top 10 in place of one of the above. And did I mention I am going to see them for the third time in 6 months on 30th Aug)

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jill Sobule - San Fransisco

The excellent Jill Sobule via Mydamnchannel (which has some nice stuff with Slash and Duff too).

Downnload MP3 of the track and another track called 'Mom' here

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Aimee Mann at Indigo02 - 27/07/07

This was the 4th time I have seen Aimee live, and whilst she was great once again, she has never been better than the first two times I saw her (esp the first time in 2000 with husband Michael Penn and comedian Patton Oswalt). Still, let's not look backwards.

The gig started off with a nice little set by Jenny Owen Youngs (she remembered to tell us who she was just before she left the stage!). Her debut album is a mostly average singer-songwriter offering; but live she has a humour and a sense of fun that help raise some of the weaker songs above their recorded status. This is not to say she doesn't have a few great tunes: 'Drinking Song'; 'From Here' and 'Fuck I was' are all top draw. Add to this a very entertaining cover of Nelly's 'Hot in Herre' (to the tune of Oasis' Wonderwall) and I think it safe to say she made a number of new fans. She is a star in the making.

Aimee was in a fun mood too - even if she wasn't sure whether or not the venue was still in London or not. The set consisted of a mix of old and new including two of her finest moments: - '4th of July', and by popular request (and complete with fluffed lyrics) ' Other end of the Telescope'. Also she played 'Momentum' (from the Magnolia soundtrack) which she hasn't played live before, mainly because she considers it a novelty track - sounded good though. In an ideal world I would have liked a few more of her rockier numbers, but her thanking us for the Beckhams just about made up for that.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Scorpions at Hammersmith Apollo - 30/07/07

The last time I saw the Scorpions live was 17 years ago. They were very good. Why the gap to seeing them again? I'm not sure: a general indifference to most of the material they have released since Savage Amusement most likely. Anyway, a few weeks ago on the spur of the moment I decided I needed a 'Heavy Metal' night out, so the Scorps fitted the bill. Things got more interesting when I read that Michael Schenker would also be on the bill as support with MSG. Cool.

I little research this afternoon revealed that young Micky has been back to his getting smashed ways and this had even lead to a fight with older brother Rudy just a few days ago. I also learned that Uli Roth was on the road with the boys and joining them for a few classics in the middle of the set. An interesting night beckoned.

And so to the gig.

I arrived a bit late so had missed half the MSG set. This turned out to be a blessing. Michael Schenker was having enough problems standing up, never mind playing guitar. Let us not forget this man is a fine guitarist. It was sad and embarrassing to watch. Like a bad version of Spinal Tap, which not even a few classic UFO songs could save. Michael remains a troubled soul.

But then, all was right with the world, and the Scorpions hit the stage for a set that lasted 2 hours 20 mins including encore. Kicking off with Hour 1 off their latest record (they also played 321, and Humanity off this album) it all came flooding back - the Scorpions are a fine live band. We got, the Zoo; Coast to Coast; Bad Boys Running Wild; Holiday; Big City Nights; Leaving You; Dynamite; Tease Me, Please Me; Love 'em or Leave 'Em; Deep & Dark. All pretty good, but wait ...there is more.

In the middle of this we got Uli on stage to run through: Pictured Life; Speedy's Coming; Dark Lady; We'll Burn the Sky; and (a shortened) Fly to the Rainbow. Now, one old guitar god might have been having problems knowing where the fuck he was, but Uli showed he can still play a mean guitar, and it was a treat to hear these old pre 80's Scorps tunes again. We even go another - a personal favourite - In Trance thrown in during the encores, which also featured: Still Loving You, Winds of Change; and finishing off with a fine, Rock you like a Hurricane.

I remember when I was younger, and during the 80's when if asked I would have said the Scorpions were my favourite band, and that I wanted to be Rudolf Schenker. Tonight, I remembered why. The Scorpions still rock, and Rudy remains a joy to watch on stage. I still want to be him.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Omaha World Herald has a nice interview with the always entertaining Henry Rollins

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

International Feel

Todays' Guide  in the Guardian has a piece on Simian Mobile Disco (Jas Shaw and James Ford) - Ford produced the last Artic Monkey's album, an the Klaxons album - where they talk about their secret DJ-ing tunes guaranteed to revive flagging house parties. One of them, 'International Feel' by Todd.

According to James "He's one of those maverick 1970s producers who went well OTT on his records, but A Wizard a True Star is one of my favourite albums. I suppose this is the tune-after-the-last-tune, the lights up fuck off home tune. Although it could be more 'wow, I've never heard that on a big system, it sounds amazing, what is it?'"

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Gig Review

Nashville Scene reviews a New Cars Gig and concludes "What could have been a wham-bam retro snoozefest was elevated to a thoroughly respectable performance by little touches such as Elliot Easton’s stellar guitar work and Rundgren’s undeniable stage presence. (No more jokes, though, Todd.)". They also have this

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Girls wanna rock

Since I reviewed the latest avril Lavigne album not too long ago, I thought it only fair to also cover some of the competition. Kelly (American Idol) Clarkson, Paramore and McQueen, this is your time!

It seems strange listening to the Kelly Clarkson album, as I am hit with the feeling that whilst Lavigne seems to be slowly getting worse as each album goes by, that Clarkson is going the other way and slowly getting better. 'Since you been gone' was a great pop tune off her last album and this new one throws some more decent tunes our way in a performance that reminds me a bit of Pat Benatar - and when I say this , believe me it is praise indeed, as was - and remain - a fan a Pat, the original queen of female based pop/rock. Kicking off with the excellent, 'Never Again', there is also a number of other tracks worthy of attention including: 'Hole', 'Don't waste your time', and 'How I feel' - this really isn't all that bad. And in a time where avril is admitting she stopped working with a co-writer because they didn't write hits together, we have Kelly holding out to keep her album more rocky and less full of ' hits' written for her.

Paramore have just released their second album, 'Riot'. It doesn't really add a lot to their debut, 'All we know is falling', so if you like all the other 'emo' bands out there, you will probably like them too. At their best I could imagine singer Haley taking over vocals for Funeral for a Friend. It all sounds a bit samey, but single, 'Misery Business' is fun.

And so to McQueen. A young female four piece from the UK, and a band that Metal Hammer called "This band look great, sound awesome, and could quite possibly be the most important female band this country has produced over the last 30 years!!!..." Ok, in a country that hasn't produced anyone of any sort since Girlschool this is not as big a compliment as it sounds but ... I have to confess I am a fan of their straight forward, no messing, and mostly short songs. We have the straight rock of 'Neurotic' and 'Break the Silence' and the more commercial tinged 'The line went dead' and 'Running out of things to say' and more besides, a nice little record that sounds, well, British. The pick of the three.

Monday, July 09, 2007


The Weakerthans new album,'Reunion Tour', is finished and will be released on September 25th. Ian Blurton acted as producer. Full North American and European Tours to back up the release too - excellent news.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Hold Steady at Shepherds Bush Empire 02/07/2007

The gig started with us being deafened by The Steers, a band who obviously grew up listening to the same records as the Ordinary Boys (with some Blur thrown in). The volume (God, I sound old) and the mix made it hard to decide if they were actually any good or not, and made a number of their songs sound the same. I think this is probably a shame, and that they may be worth keeping an eye on over the next 18 months.

And so to the Hold Steady. Playing to a capacity crowd just over 2000 (singer Craig Finn claimed it may have been their biggest headlining gig audience anywhere in the world. As he said - after apologising to those in balcony ("not used to having anyone up there") it's not bad for a band that were deemed 'too American' for an UK audience) they kicked off with the powerful threesome of: Stuck Between Stations, The Swish, and (new single) Chips Ahoy. My companion for the evening, Alison (who replaced Pete who seemed to think a holiday with his girlfriend was more important ) was immediately bopping around and smiling. And the great songs just kept a coming. The band played the whole of the Boys and Girls in America album (including 'Chill out Tent' which had been missing from the Borderline gig earlier this year) as well as Barfruit Blues, Little Hoodrat Friend, How a Resurrection Really Feels and of course, Killer Parties (although we missed on the dragging people onto stage - a downside of bigger gigs?) . Highlights? Hard not to enjoy the natural sing-a-longs of Chips Ahoy, Massive Nights, and You Can Make him Like You; but great to hear Chill Out Tent and How a Resurrection Really Feels live.

All in all, a lot of fun, with the band, lead by the manic Craig Finn, seeming once again to be really enjoying the process of playing live for people. A great band.

Let there be Geek!

Evening Standard/This is London review and it seems the band had time for a warm up gig last night too.


Elliot talks Cars to Hub "If all we wanted was a ringer or someone who could step in and think of Rick, I wouldn't ask someone the caliber of Todd to do the job. We have higher standards and expectations for this band."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Todd on DRM and the music industry

The latest issue of the IEEE's Spectrum Magazine has an article on DRM which includes a number of quotes from Todd.

'Rundgren believes traditional record companies are on a path to extinction. To survive, he says, they'll have to become more entrepreneurial, promote their artists better, and recoup their investments in artists by sharing in performance income or other ventures, not through selling recorded music.'

“The reality of the music industry,” he said in a phone interview from Raleigh, N.C., “is that artists don't see money from their recordings; we capitalize on music we have recorded by going out and performing live. It is actually more worthwhile to give your music away—and make it up in terms of ticket sales.”

Todd on DRM and the music industry

The latest issue of the IEEE's Spectrum Magazine has an article on DRM which includes a number of quotes from Todd.

'Rundgren believes traditional record companies are on a path to extinction. To survive, he says, they'll have to become more entrepreneurial, promote their artists better, and recoup their investments in artists by sharing in performance income or other ventures, not through selling recorded music.'

“The reality of the music industry,” he said in a phone interview from Raleigh, N.C., “is that artists don't see money from their recordings; we capitalize on music we have recorded by going out and performing live. It is actually more worthwhile to give your music away—and make it up in terms of ticket sales.”

Sunday, July 01, 2007

New Albums/Downloads

The new purchases from June:

Kelly Clarkson - My December
Bon Jovi - Lost Highway
The Hooters - Hooterization
The Housemartins - Best of
Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris
Jack Savoretti - Between the Minds
Therapy? - Troublegum
Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full
White Stripes - Icky Thump
Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English
Kate Rogers - Seconds

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Charlotte Hatherley - Hoxton Bar & Grill 27/06/2007

When I bought the Charlotte Hatherley album earlier this year my first thought was that it was one of the worst records I'd heard in some time. Thankfully, I have never been a first impressions are alway right person, so I gave it more time and found that it was in fact a pretty decent record. I must however confess to thinking that her voice is rather weak and weedy, a fact that didn't fill me with great expectations when the opportunity to see her perform an acoustic set live presented itself (as it turned out Hatherley was also accompanied on electric guitar by 'charly').

How wrong could I be. Playing a set that cherry picked the best tracks off the current album ( I want you to know, Behave, Be Thankful, Wounded Sky, Siberia, as well as throwing in old favourite Basardo and a few well choosen covers: Simon Dupree and the Big Sounds’- Kite, a Wire song that I recognised and have shamefully forgotten the title of ; and Kim Wilde’s - Kids in America, this was surprisingly good. The voice actually holds up well live and the song choices didn't leave time to get bored in the 55 minute set. Good stuff.

The support act we're a nice discovery too - Godwits. They are a 5 piece normally, but we got two band members (guitar and violin) for this acoustic night. I really liked their sound, and the song Fires has been in my head today. A band to watch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Part of the regular Thursday night at the club 'The Glitz', this week was Depeche Mode themed, with virtually all the music played by the DJ's outside of the sets by the band being by DM. Each band also threw in a cover or two in the spirit of the evening. I must confess I have gone along primarily to see Cassette, who have released one of my favourite singles of 2007 - The Smartest Bomb. They also turned out to be the best band of the evening in my opinion, wonderfully 80's synth heaven. Global Citizen was a bit odd. Musically not at all bad, but the bad Gary Newman esq. vocals really didn't do much for me and I was happy when his set had finished. The Problem Being all have different 80's haircuts and want to RAWK ... They were ok in a Sigue Sigue Sputnik naff kind of way, but I wont loose any sleep if I don't see and hear them again.

Gilbert and Sullivan

Neil Justin of PopMatters picks his top 10 musical moments and has a spot in it form Todd.

Pat Metheny, Todd Rundgren and Taj Mahal, “Sunday Night” (1989): Those who saw NBC’s late-night experimental series are bound to agree with me that it was the finest musical show ever because it took more chances than a Flying Wallenda. I’ll never forget the night the band dressed up in sailors’ uniforms while unlikely geniuses teamed up for a medley from “HMS Pinafore.” Gilbert and Sullivan would have been proud

Shawn Colvin - Sheperds Bush Empire 18/06/2007

Shawn Colvin is 51. Hard to believe looking at her sat on stage at the Empire. She delivers a 75 minute set with 15 minute encore filled full of her beautifully crafted folk-pop. The Set draws mainly from her excellent current record, These Four Walls and her Grammy award winning A Few Small Repairs. [I must confess I would personally have liked a bit more from Whole New You and Steady On - still yearn to hear Something To Believe In live].

Highlights in the main set included: Fill me Up; Wichita Skyline and of course Sunny Came Home. In the encore you could not fault her very entertaining cover of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy and wonderful rendition of Amy Grants's If These Walls Could Speak.

This was the second time I had seen Colvin having previously seen her support Mary Chapin Carpenter (a great gig by the way). Good value.

Also worthy of a mention was the support act Jack Savoretti, a 22 year old whipper-snapper who with singer-songwriters back being 'cool' could become a huge star. He seems amiable, is good looking enough for the ladies, and write a pretty decent tune or two too. One to watch.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Contact music has news of the release next month of the Under The Influence Of Giants debut album. The band features Jamin Wilcox (Willie Wilcox's son) on drums (of course)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Todd - Todd is 59 today. Also a happy one to the wondeful Kris Kristofferson, who is 71, and Cyndi Lauper, who amazingly is 54 already.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Whole Lotta Love

Steven Tyler interviewed by today's Daily Mirror, talks about Liv and Todd

“Now she’s doing movies all the time I still don’t see much of her,” says Steve. “I surely have regrets about not being there for Liv when she was growing up. It just happened that when I courted Bebe, Liv’s mum, I was stuck in a spot that sounds like the middle section of Whole Lotta Love. You know the one? I was in the way outosphere. I was in the sweet spot, hanging between the lines. Very long lines.”

Nowadays, he and Rundgren are pals, although Tyler admits he’s a little jealous of his old rival.

“Yeah, I’m envious that he owns all that property in Hawaii!” he laughs.

Meanwhile, Today's Times has an interview with BC Camplight who, it comments, "Christinzio’s music is like being run over by a runaway truck stuffed with care bears, glitter and, hell, a few gold-potted rainbows. Like his heroes Brian Wilson and Todd Rundgren, his ambition is nothing less than to create “perfect pop”.

Monday, June 11, 2007


Nice interview with Liv in Australia's Herald Sun

Washington Post review the latest offering from Sea and Cake - 'Everybody' and comments that the track "Up on Crutches's" sunny pop-soul recalls early-'70s Todd Rundgren.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

New Albums/Dowloads

The new purchases from May:

Twisted Sisters - Best of
Scott Walker - The Drift
Fishbone - Still Stuck in Your Throat
Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers
Linkin Park - Minutes to Midnight
Funeral for a Friend - Tales Don't Tell Themselves
Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
Lush - Ciao! 1989 -1996
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna - Are you the Destroyer?
Tracey Amos - Who are we Really?
Revolutionary Youth League - RYL EP
Cassette - The Smartest Bomb EP
Race Card - Race Card
Amanda Kaletsky - Between You & Me

Friday, June 01, 2007

Todd Fink

Blogcritics has an interview with Todd Fink of The Giving Tree Band who reveals "I've been around music and instruments my whole life. My parents love music and even named me after one of their favorite musical artists, Todd Rundgren. My dad played multiple instruments and taught me a lot on guitar in childhood. I gravitated to the guitar right away".


JamJunky is the site that allows songwriters to get feedback on what others think of their creations. As an artist, you can upload your song, along with any details including tempo, key, lyrics, the song’s inspiration, and liner notes. Then you can send the page to friends to check out and comment on. If you’re feeling confident and want more feedback, you can leave your song open to the criticism of the JamJunky community. (via Profy.Com )

Monday, May 28, 2007

Longview at The Legion, Old Street, London 24/05/2007

Went over to The Legion pub on Old Street last thursday with Diane to see a few bands. Longview were the headline act with with Autokat and Working For a Nuclear Free City in support.

Autokat started off really bad but got a bit better as they went on, NFC were dire, and Longview were not too bad - in a Embrace/Coldplay sounding kind of way. The overuse of pipped in background vocals to make the lead singer sound better did start to get on my nerves a bit, and they are a bit samey (an opinion reenforced by listening to their album)

But, they seem to have a small but dedicated following - Michael, Diane's ex that came along being one of them. Don't think I'd go out of my way to see any of the bands again, but at least i wouldn't leave anywhere where Longview were playing.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Nick Jameson, now most likely to be recognised for appearances in Lost and 24 but was originally in the band American Dream - which happened to be Todd's first production work for someone other than himself - gives Todd a mention.

Also another gig review. This one from Birmingham.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Linkin Park - Minutes to Minute

First off the title makes me think of Iron Maiden's - Two Minutes to Midnight. Boy, I used to love that track. Still ok, but not the classic I remembered.

But enough. A few weeks ago I looked at Avril Lavigne's latest record - her third - and lamented how she seemed to be getting worse rather than better. Hello Linkin Park.

I love Hybrid Theory. There, I've said it. Listened to it again recently and I still think it is an excellent record. Just before the second album came out I actually said to my flat-mate that I hoped they'd split up and not release another record because they would not make a better record that Hybrid Theory. And then came Meteora ... and guess what? Sides 3 and 4 of Hybrid Theory were ok, but a lot of it wasn't really that great (with the exception of 'Faint' the only track I would actually have put on Hybrid).

So ... New album ... Rick Rubin ... over 14 months to create ... and, it really isn't very good. I will say they are trying to move away from the whole 'Nu Metal' thing - Shadow of the Day owes a lot to U2's With or Without You ! - and not just do Hybrid sides 5 & 6, but it doesn't really work for me. There are a few ok tunes - and sadly I'd argue that they are the most old LP sounding - What I've Done, No More Sorrow, In Between and In Pieces.


Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers

It was 1989 when I first heard and saw the Manics. I was in my first year at Swansea University. They rocked. It still took a couple of years for their first proper album to come out - Generation Terrorists. This great album was followed by two more before Richey Edwards went missing/committed suicide. But the first post Richy album, Everything Must Go, was pretty good ... and then...

It all went tits up musically for me. What followed were three very poor records. To be honest I had given up hope of another decent record. So, imagine my surprise when Send away the Tiger's came along. This is without a doubt the best thing the manics have done since Everything. Yes, some of it sounds a lot like other manics tunes and they seem to have been listening to GnR's Sweet Child o Mine too; but the first half of this album is pure pop/rock magic. The title track kicks things off, followed by a typical manics rocker, Underdogs, before hitting the wonderful first single Your love alone is not enough. Indian Summer, The Second Great Depression follow, keeping up the quality, before Rendition starts the downward slide.


Worst Track - I'm Just a Patsy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

New Toddness

Apparently Todd is STILL writing that autobiography ...

Rundgren also has been writing a high-concept autobiography -- slowly, he says, because it reminds him of "a big homework assignment." Each page of the book can be read separately and will contain three distinct elements: a factual account of something that happened, his fantasy recollection of that same experience ("what I idealistically remember," Rundgren says) and a philosophical summary of what he learned from it. "It's not really chaptered," he says. "Sometimes I think I need a concept to do just about anything."

I remember when I joined Patronet for a year, a few years back, this was a coming soon item!

Meanwhile the Palm Beach Post has a nice interview with a mention of Bourgeois Tagg too.

The Herald Times has a piece on Toby Myers who apparently watched the first-ever broadcast of “Saturday Night Live” in Todd Rundgren’s living room with Rundgren and Bebe Buell

Monday, May 07, 2007

New Albums /Downloads

Just bought the new Manic Street Preachers CD. Opinion to follow in a few days.

James Marsters live at Union Chapel, London 04-05-2007

Not my usual kind of gig, but as a Birthday present to my flat mate in December of last year I arranged tickets to see Mr Marsters (known to many TV fans as Buffy's, Spike). Now funny enough I had already seen Mr Marsters on stage before - several years ago when he came on stage at a Four Star Mary gig.

For a while he had a band called Ghost of the Robot, but he disbanded then a couple of years ago and started performing solo and mostly acoustic.

What surprised me most (and for anyone who heard James sing in 'Once more with feeling' the classic Buffy musical episode will know what I mean) is how well he sang. He actually has a pleasant voice, especially on the quieter numbers. He is still not the greatest songwriter in the world, but there was some good stuff in there all the same.

Able support was supplied by Dan Akio Sherwood - who also displayed a nice sense of humour. If David Gray's guitar based stuff is your thing, then check the man out.

The Crowd was a rather strange collection, mostly made up of 'stalkers/fans' of Mr Marsters himself I felt rather than his music necessarily. Still, they, he, and us all seemed to have a pretty good time.

New Albums /Downloads

The new purchases from April:

Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing
Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
The Hold Steady - Live at Lollapalooza 2006
Blonde Redhead - 23
Charlotte Gainsbourg - 5.55
Jill Sobule - Underdog Victorious
Hayseed Dixie - Weapons of Grass Destruction
Magnum - Spirit: A History
Amadeus - Film Soundtrack

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Todd rocks the Filmore

Todd's gig opening the Fillmore Philadelphia sounded like it was fun - he even played "Slut" of all things. The Phili Inquirer has the low down

Todd Videos

Found this cool little links page.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

NIN - Year Zero

Now I suppose there is a view among some NIN fans that the last album White Teeth was a bit too mainstream Rock and not enough industrial/electronic sounding and true NIN-like (indeed the recent live set's lack of material from this record may reflect that). Personally I thought/think that White Teeth is a good record, but then I like to Rawk!. But, I digress

We now have Year Zero, the first of what is rumoured to be part one of a two-piece concept album release. Lyrically Trent has Re-imagining the US as a police state in 15 years

Musically we are back in the very electronic realm. Lyrically it's the usual Trent mixture of good and bad."I pushed the button and elected him to office/He pushed the button and he dropped the bomb" (Capital G)

The album kicks off with brief instrumental "Hyperpower!" which moves nicely into the slow-building "The Beginning of the End" (one of the album's best songs) before rushing headlong into lead single "Survivalism". Much depression and misery follow - as you'd expect.

I don't believe I am about to say this, but this could actually be Trent's finest hour. For me this album contains far less filler than any previous outing.

Album's highlights for me are: "Violent Heart", "Great Destroyer", "Capital G", "Me, I'm Not", "In this Twilight" and "The Beginning of the End"

Certain to feature in many 'best of' year polls. A great album.


Friday, April 27, 2007


The Pontomac News talks to Todd

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Avril Lavigne - The Best Damn Thing

I still remember the first time I heard Avril Lavigne - On a listen post at a Virgin store in Chicago. The album was only just out in the States and still a long way away from appearing in the UK, but being a lover of pop/rock and an old fan of the likes of Pat Benatar, Patty Smyth (Scandal) and that ilk, the first bars of Losing Grip had me interested. When this was followed by Complicated, Sk*ter Boi and I'm With You, I thought, quite like it (indeed I would say that Losing Grip and I'm With You remain her musical high points). Bought it. She then followed this up with Under My Skin. Already I was starting to think, not so sure. And now we have Best Damn Thing.

It is hard not to conclude that Avril is going backwards musically, at least unless you're under the age of about 12, in which case you'll probably think this is the best album ever. To be fair it isn't that the album is bad exactly, it is just more of a case that whereas after the first album came out everyone would say that Ashlee Simpson, Katy Rose, Fifi Dobson, Kelly Clarkson et al sounded like Avril, that is no longer the case and I think Avril would kill to have a song like Clarkson's 'Since You've Been Gone' on this current album.

But not to be all negative. Runaway is pretty good, Girlfriend is (to use the name of another song on the album)Contagious; One Of Those Girls is a fun pop tune and Innocence is the better of the ballads. If it's pop punk by numbers your after then Everything Back But You will be for you. It's Sum 41-ness isn't for me and hard to say if this ,bland ballad, When You're Gone or the truly dreadful I Don't Have To Try is the worst thing on here.

According to Music Week BDT shift 60,500 copies in it's first week to give Lavigne her third number one album. Last album under my skin also debuted at number one on sales of 87,500 (and went on the sell 594,000 so far in UK). The Funny stat is that debut album Let Go shifted a massive 74 copies on its first week of release in the UK (current sales sit at 1,720,000)

Expect Hot, and Best Next thing to among future singles.


Friday, April 20, 2007

DMGI Announces New Music Acquisitions

"DMGI continues to build its catalog with high quality content from legendary artists, including unreleased, rare, and never-before-heard tracks," said Mitchell Koulouris, Chief Executive Officer of DMGI. "Today's announcement of previously unreleased work by these artists underscores our commitment to acquiring and making available great music to fans and music enthusiasts around the world."

Todd Rundgren/Utopia: The Todd Rundgren and Utopia archive features approximately 2,000 never-before-released live recordings, demos, out-takes, and alternate versions from 1977 to 2000. It also includes a significant array of never-before seen video footage as well. Rundgren, both an accomplished songwriter and producer whose hits "I Saw the Light," "Can We Still Be Friends," "Hello, It's Me," and "Bang the Drum" vaulted him from a cult following to stardom, formed Utopia in the mid-1970s. The archive includes never before seen or heard rare audio and video performances from both Rundgren as a solo artist and Utopia. The first of these previously unreleased audio and video performances will be released in the summer of 2007.

Press Release

Todd to Rock


Rundgren's next venture ... He'll make a CD that is a tribute to 1970s arena-rock, a time he believes was a good one for rock-'n'-roll. "It was the overlap between progressive rock and the stuff AC/DC or Yes might do," he said. "The Mahavishnu Orchestra was selling out arenas in those days. Mostly, it is a case of when I see something not being done, I feel I am more useful if I am filling that gap no one is covering."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Seems even Liv's therapist had problems coming to terms with her two dads problem

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mutya Beuna - Live at Borderline 4/4/07

In one of those (why not) moments I went to see ex Sugababe Mutya Beuna last night at the Borderline. Dragged Pete along. Not exactly a long set - around 45 mins including encore, but tickets were only £7, so still not too bad.

The girl can sing. They did always say she was the Sugababe with the best voice. Musically she's not really my bag, kind of soul by numbers for the most part, but there were a couple of stand out tracks: The current single (which borrows Lenny Kravitz's - It ain't over til it's over') Real Girl; the upbeat and (live at least) rocky 'Strung Out'; and 'Just a little Bit'.

On last night's evidence she should be set for a successful solo career.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Avril wants to be my girlfriend

You can tell I am not at work with too much time on my hands. New Avril Lavigne song/video - girlfriend. Is is me or does this remind you of Hey Mickey by Toni Basil at times? Chessy (yes); Crap? (quite possibly) am I already humming the bloody thing? (oh yeah).

And I only thought of this today, but she kind of reminds me of Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars)

EMI agree to go DRM free and 256kbps

Steve Jobs was in town today (London) and the rumour mill had it that he was here to announce the availability of the Beatles back catalogue online. It wasn't that, however it was more importantly news that EMI (as suspected to be fair) is going to be the first of the Majors to take the DRM off their music they sell through iTunes (or at least for 'premium' material). What does that mean? as far as the UK goes:

79p/$0.99/€0.99/ single track- with drm and at 128kbps quality
99p/$1.29/€1.29 single track- no drm and 256kbps quality
Album prices unchanged with no drm and all at 256kbps quality

Well done EMI. Great news for album buyers (as no price increase) and even for those single track buyers, the quality will be doubled. Of course, the true way to go is the way of our russian friends as far as choice in format/quality goes, but this is a welcome start. At least they have decided not to take the blanket approach that all their customers and potential customers are music pirates (at long last).

The question now is will EMI licence sites such as eMusic (if they wanted access to their catalogue) to sell their drm free music as part of their subscription bundles?? I would guess not - for now.

Now once the rest of the majors follow suit (and they all will within 2007) we can then start to to address the issue of price, which still need to fall in relation to the cost of a CD (with all the additional value, cover-art, liner notes, lyrics and other info that is still mostly lacking for download versions costing almost as much and at far inferior sound quality)

Click here to listen to an audio webcast of the announcement press conference with EMI Group CEO Eric Nicoli and Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and click here for the press release and photos

Marion Raven

The very lovely Marion Raven, who is currently on tour with Meatloaf, Kaz and Co has an album on its way and the first single off the album 'Heads Gonna Roll' is already appearing with a video that is a 14 year old male rock fans dream - yes we have nudity.

This song was co-written by Nikki Sixx

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Be in my video - Placebo

Ever wanted to be in Placebo Video? Here's your chance. Head over to motionbox, download the lyrics and the instrumental version of the track from the site, and simply film yourself singing along to their new single RUNNING UP THAT HILL.

Brian Molko says, "This is a great opportunity to get the fans involved in one of our videos.
"Knowing our fans, as visually diverse as they are, we expect some very creative feedback. (It) could make very interesting viewing and we look forward to it."

New Albums /Downloads

Another new bit for this blog. Each month a list of new things physically bought/downloaded the previous month.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Grinderman - Grinderman
Paramore - All We Know is Falling
Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling
The Arcade Fire - The Neon Bible
Lucinda Williams - West
David Bowie - Outside
Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
Dean Martin - Live at the Sands Hotel
Emma Burgess - Swim
20 Minute Loop - Yawn + House = Explosion
Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter
Mandi Perkins - Broken Window

Saturday, March 31, 2007


So Nick Cave was sitting around one day and decided it was time for a side project away from the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds albums, so he grabbed a couple of the very same Seeds to join him in Grinderman - a wonderfully raw record that dispenses with Cave' usual piano balladry and just concentrates on rocking. And boy does it. Blues rock with lots of fuzz and distortion.

Kicking off with the shouting Get it On which moves smoothly into the wonderful No Pussy Blues and the woman who just "didn't want too".

There really isn't a dud track on the whole thing, although Depth Charge Ethel, Honey Bee and When my Love Comes Down are current favourites.

Some cracking lyrics here too, take these from the album's closer Love Bomb "I been listenin' to the Woman's Hour, I been listenin' to Garden Question Time/ But everything I try to grow, I can't even grow a dandelion." Brilliant.

The first essential purchase of 2007.