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Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:55am

40 years ago, Jethro Tull thrilled their fans by revealing that they were in the midst of working on a new project entitled WarChild. Less an album than a full-fledged event, Ian Anderson and company had big plans for not only a new studio album but also a feature-length motion picture and a soundtrack album. Unfortunately, due to the band’s inability to find financing for their film, the only thing that ever saw formal release from this grand affair was a 10-song album, but at least it provided them with a bit of solace when it climbed to #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and found its way into the top 15 in the UK.

If you’re a Tull fan who’s often been lost in thought about what you may have missed out on seeing and hearing, you’re in luck: you can now pick up a copy of WarChild: The 40th Anniversary Theater Edition, a two-CD / two-DVD set. The CDs include the original 10-track album, a collection of 11 so-called “Associated Recordings,” three of which are previously unreleased, and 10 orchestral pieces which had been written for the soundtrack, nine of which are previously unreleased. As for the DVDs, those will provide you with the opportunity to see the promo for “The Third Hoorah,” as well as footage from a photo session and press conference in ’74 where the band first announced the WarChild project. Oh, and lest we forget, there’s also an 80-page booklet which takes an in-depth look at what was intended to come to fruition, including a film script synopsis, track-by-track annotations by Anderson, and rare and unseen photographs from the era.

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 4:38pm
Joni Mitchell

When Joni Mitchell hit the big 7-1 back on November 7, we put together a playlist in celebration of the famed Canadian singer-songwriter, talked a bit about her life and times and general awesomeness, and oh so casually mentioned how we were only a few short weeks away from the release of a new four-disc box set bearing “about as Mitchell-esque a title as you could hope for.” Well, the wait is over: Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting to be Danced is now in stores…and, c’mon, were we right about that title, or were we right?

As our press release for the collection revealed, the collection was first conceived as the music to a ballet about love, but after spending 18 months trying to distill everything she’d written about love—and the lack of it—down to a single disc, Mitchell opted to abandon the ballet. “I wanted the music to feel like a total work—a new work,” she explains in the liner notes to the set. “No matter what I did, though, at that length, it remained merely a collection of songs.”

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 4:15pm

It’s been a good year for fans of Athens, Georgia’s favorite sons…or didn’t you see our 73 posts about the release of R.E.M.’s Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2002 Sessions? Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but just in case you haven’t heard about it…

No, no, we’re only joking. This time we’re here about a different release by the band, and this one is even more exciting: it’s REMTV, a six-DVD set that’s just hit stores and digs deep into the connection between R.E.M. and MTV by providing hours upon hours of footage of Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry from their earliest appearances all the way up through their dissolution in 2011. Heck, it’s not even limited to MTV: there’s also a pair of performances by the band on Nickelodeon’s Livewire from way back in 1983, their VH-1 Storytellers episode from 1998, and their 2008 appearance on The Colbert Report, all thoughtfully included as a result the various networks all being members of the Viacom family.

Not to toot our own horn, but we honestly can’t imagine that it won’t be at the top of every R.E.M. fan’s holiday gift list…unless, of course, they’re so excited about the prospect of watching it that they just have to run out and buy it for themselves. And that’s a very real possibility once you’ve checked out the list of contents, which includes live performances, award show highlights, television appearances, and – here’s the cherry on top – REM on MTV, a brand new documentary by Alexander Young which details the shared history between the band and the network.

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 11:48am
Aquarium Drunkard Presents

A late November feast of folk, rock, and country sounds, much of it gospel-tinged, all of it burnished in afternoon light. Expect occasional flurries, scattered leaves, and warm ovens. Foil-wrapped casserole dishes and those gold-brown canisters that Folger’s Crystals used to come in. Drunken uncles and grandma’s gravy. Cranberry as a condiment, cold turkey for breakfast. Pedal-steel twang. Thick scarves. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Tunes for keeping the engine warm, prayerful pleas for saying grace, and plenty of laidback Seventies stuffing to go round.

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 11:38am
The Association, Insight Out

This week’s Mono Monday release is the album that helped The Association survive the sophomore slump of 1967’s Renaissance by virtue of one of its singles taking the group to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 for the second time in their career.

First of all, we should clarify that our use of the phrase “sophomore slump” is only in regards to the commercial success of Renaissance, which already had a hard row to hoe in the wake of the band’s debut album, And Then…Along Comes The Association, which hit #5 on the Billboard Top 200 and provided the band with their first top-10 single (“Along Comes Mary”) and their first chart-topper (“Cherish”). The Association’s decision to make Renaissance a completely self-penned album was certainly a way of taking their career into their own hands, but songs like “Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies” and “No Fair At All” just didn’t grab listeners as readily as the material on their debut effort.

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 2:00pm

If you thrilled to the sounds of shoegaze in the 1990s, wept when Ride disbanded, and have been treating the possibility of the band ever reuniting like a daydream, then it’s time to smile: guitarist Andy Bell, singer Mark Gardener, bassist Steve Queralt and drummer Laurence Colbert are apparently now in a different place, as they’ve announced that they’re getting back together and doing a series of tour dates while even going so far as to tease the possibility of the foursome writing and recording some new music together.

"It's going to be really cool,” Bell assured New Musical Express. “As we were all still friends, we always thought when the time was right we'd do it. And now the time is right."

"I guess it's something that's something that's always been there, chipping away like some little devil on your shoulder," Gardener told XFM. "There's a lot of unfinished business there. I can't imagine anything better than playing with Ride again."

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 1:42pm
Dr. John

74 years ago today in New Orleans, the man known as The Night Tripper was born, and…wait, hang on, we’d better check our facts to be sure they’re accurate.

Right place? Check. Right time? Yep.

Perfect. Then we’re good to continue onward and offer our birthday greetings to Mac Rebennack, otherwise known as the one and only Dr. John.

When you consider that his family has been rooted in New Orleans for several generations, it’s no wonder that Rebennack’s music sounds the way it does, but his inspirations are myriad, including minstrel tunes, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, and Professor Longhair. Still, it was a close encounter with the latter musician when the future Cajun physician was just into his teens that proved to be the most influential, both on his music and his fashion sense. Rebennack found his way into a gig as a producer for Ace Records when he was 16, but his interest in music far outweighed his studies, leading him to drop out of Jesuit High School and begin pursuing a full-time career in music.

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 12:55pm

The sound!

The legendary track on "McCartney" is "Maybe I'm Amazed."

I was immediately enraptured by "Every Night," I came to love "Teddy Boy," but now my favorite is "That Would Be Something."

How could an album so slight seem like such a masterpiece today?

Starting with "The Lovely Linda" and ending with the almost bizarre instrumental "Kreen-Akrore," "McCartney" sounds like what it was, an album cut alone, outside the spotlight. It's like a vision into Paul's soul.

"That would be something
It really would be something"

Friday, November 21, 2014 - 12:46pm
Rhino Comedy Hour

When one examines the various sitcoms that have appeared on the TV landscape over the history of the medium, there’s no shortage of stars who found their first taste of fame as stand-up comedians, but there’s really only one who’s managed to take a stammer and turn it into a career that’s been going strong for 54 years now.

If you lived through the ‘60s, then your first awareness of Bob Newhart almost certainly came via his comedy albums, but if you came up during the ‘70s or any decade thereafter, then you may only know him from his sitcoms. Be it The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart, Bob, or even the oft-forgotten George & Leo, Newhart spent the better part of a 25-year period as a constant figure on prime-time television, and although he’s not had his own series since George & Leo wrapped in 1998, he’s never really been away, having turned up on ER, Desperate Housewives, NCIS, TNT’s The Librarian movies, and – lest we forget – won the first Emmy of his career for one of his three appearances on The Big Bang Theory. But while TV has kept Newhart in the public eye, there are far too many folks who are kinda sorta aware that he’s a stand-up comedian without ever having actually heard him do stand-up.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 4:13pm
Joe Walsh

It’s Joe Walsh’s 67th birthday today, so we’re going to go ahead and make the obvious joke: life’s been good to him so far.

Walsh was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1947 but spent various portions of his childhood in Columbus, Ohio, New York City, and Montclair, New Jersey, and with a mother who was a classically trained pianist, he was certainly around music from the very beginning, but it wasn’t until high school when he started making the motions that would steer him toward his own career in music, beginning with playing oboe in the school band. From there, he joined The Nomads, officially kicking off a life in rock ‘n’ roll that continues to this day.