Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Beatles Catalog Back on Vinyl

In 2009, new remastered versions of The Beatles' studio albums were released on CD to replace the 80s versions which featured sub-par sound for the world's most popular musicians. In 2010 they were finally released digitally on iTunes. Since then they've been talking about re-releasing them to vinyl like the original albums obviously were, and it finally happen on November 13th. Every studio album, plus Past Masters will be released to vinyl using the remastered sound both individually and in a limited edition box set. The box set includes a huge 252-page book and collector case. But of course for those who don't want to spend a fortune, you can just buy your favorite albums separately. These are the stereo versions, mono versions will be released in 2013.

Each album will be identical to the original albums, for example The White Album will feature the cards and poster that came with the LP when it was released in 1968. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band will come with the cutouts, and the Magical Mystery Tour album will have the 24-page book which featured a comic based on the film. The film is also being re-released to blu-ray and DVD with bonus footage and interviews. If you don't know what to buy for someone this Christmas, one or more of these vinyl records make a great piece of memorabilia.

Vinyl Record sales have been increasing each year in the 2000s, and obviously will increase further with this release appealing to collectors, people who want the albums with the vinyl sound or just those who want the large artwork. Over the past few years only Abbey Road was available on vinyl, and was the best selling vinyl record each year. There is obviously a demand for Beatles vinyl records, so it will be interesting to see how much of a boost this gives.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

No Doubt & Green Day Return

Two different bands who came together as youngsters in the late 1980s, rose to massive fame to help define music in the 1990s, then continued with success in the 2000s are back with their first new albums of the 2010s. For Green Day, their new album ¡Uno! comes just three years after their last effort. Its a different story for No Doubt, who last released a studio album in 2001.

Push and Shove
Push and Shove - No Doubt. The band took a hiatus from 2004 to 2008, during which Gwen Stefani released two solo albums and all of the band members had some babies. Push and Shove began in 2010, but didn't really get going until 2011 and 2012. However, the wait was well worth it for fans of the band, and you can hear why they didn't want to rush out an album to the masses. The 80s pop and ska sounds are still here, but it doesn't sound dated as the band found a way to keep it fresh. They're still just Southern California rockers who want to make you dance no matter what mood you're in. Oh, and Gwen's abs still look insanely good. The album, plus their old ones,are all on sale for $5.99 on Amazon MP3 this week only.
Top Songs: "Settle Down", "Looking Hot", "Push and Shove", "Undercover".

¡Uno! - Green Day. Uno! is without a doubt a throwback album. After reaching a massive level of success with their politically charged rock opera American Idiot in 2004, they kept the theme going with 21st Century Breakdown in 2009. Its a solid album, but obviously was seen as the less successful sequel. ¡Uno! goes back to basics with quick hitting power-pop/punk songs that resemble their 90s work. They crafted so many songs that it will be followed by two more albums - ¡Dos! on November 13, 2012 and ¡Tre! on January 15, 2013. ¡Uno! and every other Green Day album are on sale for $5 this week only on Amazon MP3.
Top Songs: "Oh Love", "Carpe Diem", "Fell For You", "Rusty James".

Oh, and you can't mention the album without Billie Joe Armstrong's drunken tirade at the iHeartRadio festival, where he humorously proclaimed, "I'm not fucking Justin Bieber you motherfuckers!" He's since checked into rehab and will hopefully get better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

NFL Replacement Refs

The NFL ref drama been boiling for a while. The regular refs of the NFL are in a lockout, and the league doesn't want to up their salary even though they make billions of dollars. Players and fans have been calling for the NFL to settle it, and its about to get much louder after tonight's Monday Night Football game on ESPN between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.

A controversial end where two players came down with the ball was given to Golden Tate and the Seahawks, even though it seemed like it was an interception since Jennings of the Packers had the ball against his chest. However, before Jennings was down Tate had his hands on the ball, so does tie go to the receiver? To be honest I don't care, the Packers also scored because of some bad calls that went against the Seahawks, but that's the point. The game is being marred by awful calls on all sides.
Monday Night Football
Jennings holding the ball, Tate reaching in
Now its not like the regular refs have never made a bad call. Two or three years ago my Dolphins were robbed when a Steelers fumble at the end of the game was actually given to the Steelers who scored because of it, when it should have been Miami ball. Many people just said "Well the Dolphins should have scored more touchdowns and fewer field goals. If you leave the refs to decide the game than its your own fault." The same can be said for this Packers-Seahawks game even though there will be a bigger uproar since the NFL is using replacement refs. Another example being Super Bowl XL, which was heavily criticized for mistakes from the regular officials that could have cost the Seahawks that game.

So the funny thing is when the regular refs do return, people will end up complaining about some of their bad calls as well. But it's obvious they need to return, the replacements make far more terrible calls than normal. The NFL needs to stop being so greedy and put the best product they can out there. Even though the regular refs are flawed, they are still superior. When the XFL is trending on twitter, you're doing something wrong, NFL.

Friday, September 21, 2012

New Music - September 18, 2012

This past Tuesday began a pretty busy week for the music industry, with various albums being released from consistent hit makers. Its that time of year when artists want to get albums out ahead of the Holiday season, when sales for the struggling music business are strongest.

The Truth About Love
The Truth About Love - Pink (or P!nk). Pink was always more than just another pop singer. She dabbles in other territories, with most of her songs having a rock edge while still being pop songs that can make anyone want to get up and dance. "The Truth About Love" is her sixth studio album, and just like her previous albums is being well received by critics and fans. The album is heavy on the dance-rock tracks, featuring plenty of guitars and catchy choruses. Eminem guests on the song "Here Comes The Weekend." The album is on sale for $5 this week only on Amazon MP3, along with her previous studio albums (I'd recommend the underrated "Try This" from 2003, which features heavier rock thanks to Rancid singer/guitarist Tim Armstrong).
Top songs: "How Come You're Not Here", "Try", "Beam Me Up", "The Truth About Love".

Battle Born
Battle Born - The Killers. The Killers return after a brief hiatus with their fourth album "Battle Born." While not as strong as their first album "Hot Fuss", its still a solid effort overall and can easily become some fans' favorite. The sound most closely resembles "Day & Age" from 2008, filled with that shimmering and modernized new wave 80s sound. The album kicks off with some electronic beats, but quickly breaks out the guitars, a mix you will hear throughout. Brandon Flowers sounds as good as ever, which wasn't in doubt anyway.
Top songs: "Runaways", "Miss Atomic Bomb", "Battle Born", "Flesh & Bone".

The Spirit Indestructible
The Spirit Indestructible - Nelly Furtado. Considering the massive success of her 2006 album "Loose", this one is flying under the radar, and probably shouldn't be. The lead single "Big Hoops" is flawed and shouldn't have been the lead single, but the majority of the tracks are strong. What she managed to do well on this album is create songs that aren't your typical pop songs, and better than most of what you'll hear on Top 40 radio. Like her first two albums it contains variety, with songs featuring elements from all different genres-Pop, R&B, Rock, Hip Hop, Dance and a guest appearance from rapper Nas.
Top songs: "Parking Lot", "Miracles", "Circles", "Bucket List".

Monday, September 17, 2012

New Fall Shows 2012

As always with the fall, we see the return of football and premieres of brand new television shows. There are a bunch of interesting ones that you may want to keep an eye on this season. And as always, some will succeed and some will fail. I'm already expecting Animal Practice to fail...though people do love to see animals, so it could oddly work.

Revolution (NBC) - Revolution just premiered on NBC, and could become the next Lost, or possibly do for NBC what Heroes originally did before it went off track. NBC is looking for a new hit scripted show, especially with The Office & 30 Rock in their final seasons. I enjoyed it and thought the one hour premiere moved by very quickly. There is more action than I expected, which was fun to watch in prime time TV. I'm thinking the show might strive to be like The Walking Dead, with a good mix of action and character development. And just enjoy the show, don't wonder why people aren't harvesting solar or wind power. Maybe they'll answer that in a future episode.

The Mindy Project (FOX) - Mindy Kaling from The Office has scored her own sitcom, which will be airing with New Girl on FOX. Kaling wrote some of the most memorable episodes of The Office, so her own series is well deserved. Its generating some good buzz with critics, so I expect this to be a hit for FOX. Her character's basis is that she always wonders why her life isn't like the romantic comedies she loves so much.

The Neighbors (ABC) - This is the oddball of the season. Its about a family who moves to a new neighborhood in New Jersey, one in which everyone is an alien...from outer space. I think its interesting since there hasn't really been a good sitcom with this fantastical theme probably since 3rd Rock From the Sun. We'll see how this one does, airing in a block with hit Modern Family. Jami Gertz is the main star and could carry the show. She's been consistent since her career started 30 years ago, so she can pretty much handle any role.

666 Park Avenue (ABC) - ABC's latest Sunday Night series is about an upscale apartment building in New York City, which is possessed by some supernatural beings. When you sign your lease, you are signing your soul away. Sign me up for this one.

American Horror Story: Asylum (FX) - Okay, this isn't technically a new series, but the second season will be an entirely new arc, which was the plan from the beginning. Jessica Lange will be returning in a new role, playing an evil nun. Wouldn't have it any other way, Lange was the standout character from the first season. We'll see if they can top the previous season.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rolling Stones New Songs; 50th Anniversary

Fans have been speculating about what The Rolling Stones have been up to in preparation of celebrating their 50th Anniversary. First it was announced that they will be playing four live shows in November at the O2 Arena in London and at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, two at each venue. They also have a new documentary called "Crossfire Hurricane" spanning their 5 decades that will air November 15th on HBO. Directed by Brett Morgen, all four members (Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts & Ronnie Wood) will be talking about their history in the film. Expect some background on their albums, and of course the normal "sex, drugs & rock 'n roll" stories.

ESPN has also licensed 16 Rolling Stones songs to be used on every NFL Monday Night Football telecast during the 2012 season, calling it "Legend to Legend." Expect some classic hits and some deeper tracks that may not be as well known when watching Monday Night Football this year.

It was also announced today that the band will be releasing two new songs recorded in Paris, their first since the last studio album "A Bigger Bang" came out in 2005. The two new tracks, "Gloom and Doom" & "One Last Shot", will be included on a new career spanning 50-song greatest hits album titled "GRRR!" This will take the place of 2002's "Forty Licks", which has been out of print since switching music labels. Fans probably wanted a full new album, but i'm sure any new songs will be well received. For those who already have most of their music and don't need a greatest hits album, you can download just "Gloom & Doom" and "One Last Shot" on Amazon or iTunes.

There will also be an 80-track super deluxe edition with all sorts of goodies for fans including a poster and bonus CD.  A vinyl box set for the die hard fans will be out as well. "GRRR!" will be released on November 13th, 2012 to coincide with the HBO documentary "Crossfire Hurricane" and the four live shows. Quite the autumn for Rolling Stones fans. The creative album cover for "GRRR!" was designed by Walton Ford.