New this week in the Rhino Room at iTunes:
Collapsing Lungs, Colorblind: If the name “Olivia Newton Bundy” doesn’t mean anything to you, then it’s likely the band Collapsing Lungs won’t ring a bell, either, but Bundy – a stage name, of course – was one of the founding members of Marilyn Manson back when Marilyn Manson was a proper band rather than just a guy. (You know, kind of like Alice Cooper.) After departing the Manson family – see what we did there? – Bundy started Collapsing Lungs, an amalgam of hip-hop and heavy metal which caught the ears of critics but did very little from a commercial standpoint. If either the musical concept or the background of its creator strikes you as intriguing, then consider giving it a shot. It’s pretty infectious stuff.
Screw it. I’m sticking with the ‘90s again this week. 1990, suit up.
26 years ago today, Debbie Gibson earned the second #1 hit of her career with a ballad that served as the soundtrack to many a first kiss in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, even if it might be better remembered by Family Guy fans as the song Stewie sang when he auditioned for American Idol.
As the first single for her sophomore album, Electric Youth, a tremendous amount of weight was placed on the shoulders of “Lost in Your Eyes,” but given that her previous #1 hit had also been a ballad (“Foolish Beat”), there was certainly reason to believe that following in its footsteps wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world…and, indeed, it wasn’t.
Gibson, however, had already gotten a feel for how well audiences liked the song from having introduced it to her live set during the Out of the Blue tour, and in a 2014 interview with Billboard, she recalled the crowds’ reactions.
Van Halen’s First Six Albums to be Remastered Directly from the Analog Master Recordings and Set for Release in Spring
Van Halen will release its first-ever live album to feature original singer David Lee Roth. Recorded on June 21, 2013 at the famed Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, TOKYO DOME LIVE IN CONCERT includes 23 songs, spanning all seven of the band’s albums with Roth. It will be released as a double CD; four-LP set on 180-gram vinyl; and digitally beginning March 30/31, 2015.
35 years ago today, Roberta Flack released an album which – given its title – you’d think was an album’s worth of duets with Donny Hathaway, but it isn’t. There are a couple, yes, but the reason it isn’t filled with them from start to finish…well, that’s a sad tale, to be sure.
The album entitled Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway was, as you’d expect, intended to be a sequel to the 1972 collaboration between the two R&B singers, an effort which earned the duo a #1 R&B hit (“Where Is the Love”), a top-10 R&B hit (“You’ve Got a Friend”), and an additional top-30 R&B hit (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”). The two had known each other since attending Howard University together, creating a comfort level which was evident when they were singing together, but Hathaway’s struggle with depression – later diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia – led to estrangement between him and Flack at various points during their careers. It wasn’t until 1978 that they recorded together again, but given the success of the end result, “The Closer I Get to You,” they decided to take another shot at recording a full album.
45 years ago today, jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris recorded an album which, based on its cover, could well have been subsidized by Sunkist. We don’t remember seeing the company’s name anywhere in the thank-you section, but if you’ve got some better explanation for artwork features a sax player with an orange for a head standing on a beach with oranges in front of him, we’re all ears.
What’s that? You say it probably has something to do with the fact that Come On Down! was recorded in Miami? Well, sure, that could have something to do with it. In fact, you’re probably right. That actually makes a lot more sense. (Note to self: remove Sunkist conspiracy theory from Come On Down! Wikipedia page ASAP.)
Twenty one tracks for as many miles from the coast of Ventura to Ojai, CA. Sounds for the drive and beyond. Windows down.
30 years ago today, The Smiths topped the UK Indie Singles chart for the fifth time…and for the fifth time, they managed to do it with a song that wasn’t, at least as of when the single was released, actually available on an album yet.
“Hand in Glove”? Released May 1983. “This Charming Man”? October ’83. “What Difference Does It Make” was the first single actually intended as a teaser for their self-titled debut, but the single came out in January 1984, and The Smiths didn’t hit record store shelves until February ’84. And in May, when most bands would’ve still been busy pimping tracks from the album they’d released a mere three months prior, they were releasing a new, otherwise-unavailable single: “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” which probably could’ve been a direct quote from their label, even if it did prove to be the band’s fourth #1 on the Indie Singles chart. If you want more of an idea of just how much emotional trauma was caused to Rough Trade by The Smiths’ desire to keep releasing new, non-album singles, go read Tony Fletcher’s A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, but for now, let’s talk about that fifth #1.