Monday, December 20, 2010

Invasion of the "Best of" columns...

It's that most wonderful time of the year... time for our writing crew to unleash their "Best of 2010" columns on an unsuspecting world! Kanye is all over these lists, as are Big Boi and Janelle Monae, not to mention quite a few unusual and/or quirky choices... but then, that's the fun of the whole exercise. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Iron Maiden Explores The Final Frontier

Veteran British heavy metallers Iron Maiden are back with a new (75-minute!) album, and Sean McCarthy is all over the review. Sean also wanted to make sure you all get a chance to take in the outer space-themed video the boys from Maiden put together, which you'll find below... cool stuff.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Artist Spotlight Shines on Sly & The Family Stone

Before Sly & The Family Stone came along, there was music you could dance to, and music that made you think. Once they had made their undeniable, indelible mark on the music scene, the two characteristics would never again be thought of as mutually exclusive.

Beginning today and running through this Friday, Staff Writer David Bowling shines the Daily Vault's Artist Spotlight on some of the highs and lows of Sly & The Family Stone's catalog, a tenure marked by tremendously influential albums full of socially conscious songs backed with infectious beats, and also by the mercurial and ultimately self-destructive nature of bandleader Sly Stone.

It's quite a ride, and it starts today with David's review of the band's breakthrough sophomore album Dance To The Music. They did, we did, and the rest is music history.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Music Copyright Enforcers

Fascinating article in the New York Times the other day about the nuts and bolts of music copyright enforcement. I'm not sure what was more interesting, the ride-along look inside the life of a copyright enforcer, or the total cognitive dissonance displayed in the poll results cited, wherein people expressed strong support for artists being compensated fairly for their work, while expressing strong resistance to giving up their own money for said product. It's like the old saying about people who want top-notch government services but don't want to pay for them: "Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that guy behind the tree."

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Diana Ross

As we roll into August, it's time for another Artist Spotlight. This week on the Daily Vault, Staff Writer Mark Millan schools us in the solo catalogue in one of the most memorable voices to emerge from Motown... Diana Ross. Check in every day this week for a new review of an album from the remarkable Miss Ross's solo catalog.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Attack of the earworm

You've been there. You're going through your day, a normal day like any other, when all of a sudden, for seemingly no particular reason, a song pops in your head... AND WILL NOT LEAVE.

It seems this phenomenon now has a name, or at least the media is trying to give it one. Presenting... the earworm*.

*P.S. And damn you for getting the chorus to "Come Sail Away" stuck in my head!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Moving Pictures+Tour+New Album: Rush Keep Busy

Rush announced this week the upcoming release of their 20th studio album, titled Clockwork Angels, to be released some time in 2011. Rush has been busy recording in Nashville with producer Nick Raskulinecz who helmed their acclaimed 2007 release Snakes & Arrows. The first single from the album, "Caravan" will be released June 1, 2010 as a single backed with another new song "BU2B". The single will be available from Amazon and the usual digital music sources.

This news comes on top of the announcement of a 39 date tour beginning June 29. Along with new music, Rush will play the classic album Moving Pictures in it's entirety.

As if that wasn't enough...
RUSH: Beyond The Lighted Stage, an award winning documentary about the band by independant filmamkers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn has received glowing reviews, and will makes it's TV premeiere to U.S. audiences on VH1 on June 26, 2010, and go into general release on June 30th.

But don't take my word for it. Alex Lifeson and Geddy Lee appeared on CBC The Hour to discuss the film and the new album.
Rush Interview Part 1
Rush Interview Part 2

Rush Official Site

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hold Steady now... new music is on the way

The Hold Steady return with more gut-wrenching, hope-inspiring, Springsteen-flavored, uber-poetic rock and roll, as the entire new album Heaven Is Whenever streams on NPR.

(With thanks to DV alumna Julia Skochko for the tip.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Type O Negative Singer Peter Steele Dies At 48

Bassist and lead vocalist Peter Steele of doom metal outfit Type O Negative died of an apparent heart attack yesterday, he was 48. The burly 6'7" frontman was known for his deep, sonorous voice and macabre lyrics. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Steele was a founding member and the principal songwriter during the band's 20-year career.

Type O Negative found great success in the '90s on the strength of their unique sound and Steele's knack for picking the most unlikely cover songs, including Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl" and Seals & Crofts' "Summer Breeze." Steele had spent the earlier part of this decade dealing with drug and legal problems, but a new album in 2007 and well-received tours put the band on an upswing, and a new album had been planned. His bandmates report he "had been enjoying a long period of sobriety and improved health."

I had the pleasure of seeing Peter and the band perform on two occasions, and his unique and original presence in the world of music will be sorely missed.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Linda Ronstadt

Her band became the Eagles, her boyfriend became a presidential candidate, and later in her career, she herself became a singer of traditional Spanish songs. But what Linda Ronstadt will always be remembered for is crossing over from country to the pop charts with a series of classic mid-70s singles. This week, Staff Writer David Bowling turns the clock back and shines our Artist Spotlight on five albums from Linda Ronstadt's very successful 70s run. Check it out...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse: An Appreciation

Another musical voice silenced, another moment to reflect.

I wasn't personally acquainted with the music of Mark Linkous or his musical alter ego Sparklehorse -- but I was definitely moved by Assistant Editor Melanie Love's appreciation of his life's work.

R.I.P.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Alex Chilton remembered

I've never owned an album by either Alex Chilton or his ironically named group Big Star, but I was sad nonetheless to hear that he passed away the other day at 59. Not because I was a fan of his, but because I was a fan of so many other groups who proudly declared themselves his musical disciples.

From the Gin Blossoms to the Posies to R.E.M., any power-pop/guitars-and-harmonies band worth its salt in the last 30 years cited Big Star and Alex Chilton as major influences. The Replacements -- another group that many bands I like cite as an influence, even though I don't care for them -- even recorded a song called, simply, "Alex Chilton." Whether you were a fan or not, you can't deny that the man's passing is a major loss to an entire generation of musicians who followed in his rhyming, chiming, guitar-rich footsteps. R.I.P. Alex.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

OK Go says bye bye bye to EMI

But wait, OK Go fans -- there's more. Not content with having issued possibly the coolest music video in the history of the universe, nor with eloquently laying out the imminent demise of the bygone-era recording industry on the op-ed page of the New York Times, OK Go has taken a really bold step.

They quit. Not music, silly, and especially not the music videos which have evolved into such an integral part of their artistic identity -- no, they quit their label. Buh bye, EMI, nice knowing you.

Don't worry too much about the boys, though. In addition to their viral videos, fabuliciously different new album, and upcoming tour, in the next month they'll be appearing on Carson Daly (4/16), David Letterman (4/28), Steven Colbert (4/29), and Jimmies Kimmel (4/1) and Fallon (5/4).

Label? Who needs a label?

P.S. Love the very low-key, polite, and classy-in-a-silk-screened-dogs-playing-poker-sort-of-way "onwards and upwards" video on their site as well.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Best. Music. Video. Ever. (Since their last one, anyway)

The boys from OK Go have done it again. Watch first, then check out the equally cool backstory.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Live Album Lives

Of all the retrospectives we've ever done, one of the hardest to schedule out was the Concert Classics retro from November 2008. There were just so many worthy albums to consider, and so many different ways of approaching the whole thing. I mean, a number of the greatest acts ever to walk the stage (I'm thinking especially of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin) never put out a live album that lived up to the exhilaration of seeing them in concert. And some of the best live albums in rock history were released by bands whose studio work (and success) never quite matched up to the sheer power they were capable of delivering on stage.

In the latter camp falls one of the last albums to be trimmed off of our Nov. '08 schedule, one that arguably should have made the cut -- UFO's 1978 classic Strangers In The Night. I'm not out to settle the argument here... but I did finally finish the review.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Gloria Estefan

After five and a half years, we recently put our monthly artist retrospectives on hiatus. But the desire to cover multiple albums by a single artist never went away, and so we're now pleased to launch a new twist on an old idea. Our new occasional "Artist Spotlight" feature will offer our writers the platform to cover three to five albums at a time by the artist of their choice, with the reviews running sequentially. First up is Mark Millan, with four reviews this week of the artist he playfully refers to as his "Miami vice" -- the one and only Gloria Estefan. Join us!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Birthday

Look out world -- The Daily Vault is a teenager.

Yes, it was 13 years ago today, on January 13, 1997, that DV Founder Christopher Thelen switched the virtual lights on and started cranking out a daily stream of reviews that has yet to cease. Chris' inaugural review of ex-Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones' solo disc Fire And Gasoline set the tone and form for 13 years of in-depth examinations of music that delves into the history of the artists and the album, placing the music firmly in context.

We could go on, but we'd really rather not, because when you get down to it, it's always been about the same thing -- the music. And so, let's get back to it.