Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 2:11pm

New this week in the iTunes Rhino Catalog Room:

Big Mountain, Unity / Free Up: Were it not for the success of the soundtrack to Reality Bites, it’s highly possible that Big Mountain would only be remembered today for having scored a minor hit in 1992 with “Touch My Light,” but as it is, most people know them because of their reggae-fied cover of Peter Frampton’s “Baby I Love Your Way,” which became a top-10 hit in 1994. You can find that track on Unity, along with “I Would Find A Way” and “Sweet Sensual Love.” Those interested in expanding their knowledge of Big Mountain beyond their biggest success may also wish to check out 1997’s Free Up. Precious few were interested in buying what the band was selling by that point, but if you’ve been desperately searching for a reggae cover of Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver,” you’ll be pleased to know that your quest is at an end. Why they released their take on Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” as a single instead, we can’t begin to guess.

Force M.D.’s, Love Letters / Touch & Go / Step to Me / For Lovers and Others: Force M.D.’s Greatest Hits / Let Me Love You: The Greatest Hits: If you attended a school dance at any point during the mid-1980s, then it’s inconceivable that you aren’t already familiar with the Force M.D.’s most substantial success, “Tender Love” (even if “Love Is a House” was a #1 R&B hit, far more people heard “Tender Love” as a result of that song hitting #2 on the Adult Contemporary charts), but now that the group’s entire Tommy Boy catalog is available digitally, it’s high time you dug a bit deeper into what they have to offer. Sure, either of the greatest-hits collections would probably the best place to start (although Let Me Love You is the more substantial of the pair), but if you like smooth, soulful, dancefloor-friendly sounds, you can’t really go wrong with any of these albums. Also, while we here at Rhino cannot officially confirm the existence of alternate dimensions, we’d like to believe that, if there are such things, there’s one out there where “Are You Really Real?” – from 1990’s Step to Me – was as big a hit as Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 3:32pm

If you’re bummed at the news that Linda Ronstadt’s health is such that she’s had to bow out of attending her own induction at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, that’s certainly your right as a fan, but if it helps ease the pain a bit, she actually seems more excited about her new compilation, Duets, than the HoF honor…or at least that’s how it sounds in her interview with Randy Lewis in today’s L.A. Times:

"It's nice," she said apprehensively from her home in the Bay Area, then sheepishly explained, "It's just something I never gave one thought to. Other people seem to be way more interested [in the Hall of Fame induction] than I am. It's like other awards that have come my way: I'm delighted to get them, and I'm very grateful. But I didn't work for that reason."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 3:49pm

New this week in the iTunes Rhino Catalog Room:

Melvins, Stag – Not quite punk, not quite metal, and really only grunge by association (they influenced the movement more than they were an actual part of it), Melvins – if you want to risk their ire by putting a “the” in front of their name, you go right ahead – never really managed to take their post-Nirvana major-label deal with Atlantic and turn it into huge chart success, but they still managed to make a trio of albums that caught a few new ears. Stag is the last of the bunch, and while it might not be as iconic as their Atlantic debut, Houdini, it’s certainly not a shameful way to wrap up their stint, either. In fact, it’s one of the more fascinating albums in their discography, thanks to the guys really seeing what they could accomplish in a studio setting. Some of it is awesome (“Bar X the Rocking M”), some of it just downright bizarre (“Captain Pungent”), but it’s rarely less than interesting.

The Stooges, Fun House – The expanded edition of this Stooges classic has been available for awhile now, but if you’re still just a beginner when it comes to exploring Iggy and his bandmates’ sound, this standard edition is definitely the better way for you to go. Just be sure to crank it up as loud as your volume controls will take you.


Monday, March 31, 2014 - 6:11pm

With the arrival of the long-anticipated Ronnie James Dio tribute album, This Is Your Life, finally hitting stores tomorrow, it seems an apropos time to look back at the life of the man who’s getting this impressive tribute and remember what he was all about.

Dio – born Ronald James Padavona – actually started his music career in the late 1950s, first as a member of the Vegas Kings, a band which changed its name numerous times in their relatively short career, also going by Ronnie & The Rumblers, Ronnie and the Redcaps, and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets before evolving into the Electric Elves, the Elves, and finally Elf. After three Elf albums, much of the band’s lineup was recruited to join Ritchie Blackmore’s new endeavor, Rainbow, and the rest – at least for Dio – is history.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 12:41pm

Show the world you can slay like Pantera. Grab your guitars and crank it up to 11 on any Pantera song of your choice (unique takes & instruments are also welcome!) Upload your covers to YouTube, tag them #panteracoversfromhell and invite your friends to like your video on YouTube. 10 of the most popular videos will make it to our exclusive heavy metal showdown on beginning Friday, April 18.