Exclusive Music, Playlists, Merch & More

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 12:57pm
Van Halen

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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 11:43am
Roberta Flack

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.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 - 11:24am
Eddie Harris

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.)

Monday, March 2, 2015 - 6:53pm
Aquarium Drunkard Presents

Twenty one tracks for as many miles from the coast of Ventura to Ojai, CA. Sounds for the drive and beyond. Windows down.

Monday, March 2, 2015 - 12:46pm
The Smiths

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.

Monday, March 2, 2015 - 12:37pm
Everly Brothers

54 years ago today, brothers Don and Phil Everly ascended to the top of the British charts for the third time in their career, this time with a song written by the buddy of a certain Mr. Holly.

Composed by Sonny Curtis, the longtime friend of Buddy Holly who spent time as a member of The Crickets both before and after Holly’s death, “Walk Right Back” was first presented to Don Everly before it was even finished. In an interview with Jim Liddane of the International Songwriters Association, Curtis explained that he was actually in the midst of a stint in the U.S. Army when he got a three-day pass and down to Hollywood to meet up with up with his fellow Crickets, who were backing the Everlys at the time.

“(Jerry Allison) told me to sing the song for Don – actually, I had only one verse written – and Don called Phil down, and they worked out a gorgeous harmony part,” said Curtis. “So they said, ‘If you write another verse, we’ll record it. Anyway, I went back to base and write a second verse and put it in the mail to them, and the next morning I got a letter from (Allison) to tell me that the Everlys had already recorded the song before they got my letter: they had simply recorded the first verse twice…and that’s the version that was released, and that’s the version that was the hit!”

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 4:14pm

Today is the 34th birthday of Josh Groban, a guy who’s sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. As such, you’re probably pretty sick of listening to his music, right?

No, of course you’re not, which is why we’ve compiled a playlist of 20 songs from his back catalog as a tribute to the birthday boy. Give it a spin, won’t you?

Having said that, however, we also thought we’d use the majority of this space to pay tribute to a side of Groban’s career that doesn’t get nearly as much attention: his work as a comedian.

No, he’s not a stand-up comedian – although his between-song banter at his concerts does often have the audience in stitches – but Josh Groban is a pretty funny guy, and since we suspect that a lot of you may not have known this about him, we’ve put together a collection of clips to spotlight his comedy chops.

Friday, February 27, 2015 - 3:10pm

20 years ago, Jewel Kilcher – the “Kilcher” is silent – released her debut album, Pieces of You, to general indifference.

No, seriously.

Not that it didn’t eventually go platinum 12 times over, of course, but if you look back at Jewel’s chart history, you can see how the Pieces of You story unfolds, and it’s a considerably longer tale than you might’ve realized.

Although the album first landed on record store shelves on February 28, 1995, to say that it was something less than an overnight success is a significant understatement: the first single from the album, “Who Will Save Your Soul,” didn’t even see release until June of the following year. Once that happened, though, the buzz on Jewel began to build. After that song resulted in her first top-20 single (it topped out at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100), she scored an even bigger hit with the follow-up single, “You Were Meant for Me,” which went all the way to #2, and she matched its success with “Foolish Games.”