(Photo by Eric Allen © Popmartzoo)
Music City met Sin City when Las Vegas rock band The Killers performed at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Sunday night. Dressed in black and armed with lasers, a projection screen backdrop, and a keyboard bedecked with an illuminated lightning bolt, lead singer Brandon Flowers was on fire as he tirelessly ripped through the dynamic set like a man determined to leave his perpetual mark upon the world famous venue’s stage.
The band members fed off the sold out crowd’s zealous reaction as they delivered a 21-song set list culled from their four album discography, and included a guest appearance by Brad Paisley, and a cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now,” which was preceded by Flowers’ proclamation, “Tiffany stole this song from Tommy James and the Shondells, but tonight we’re stealing it back.”
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After losing steam trying to create a worthy follow up to the seminal hit “Need You Now,” Nashville’s multi-Grammy-winning Lady Antebellum returns with a vengeance on the plucky threesome’s fourth release, Golden.
Imparting honest lyrics with spot-on harmonies swathed in infectious melodies, Golden is ultimately a shining example of what Lady Antebellum does best. With its seamless mingling of poignant ballads and upbeat tunes, it’s a stone cold winner from country music’s top trio.
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Greetings fellow music bloggers and cohorts. I’ve just added a new page titled Eric’s Picks, which is intended to highlight recent music releases I consider to be essential listening. Click here to view the page now!
Depeche Mode has progressively become more esoteric with each new release over the past decade, and Delta Machine, the pioneers of synthpop’s thirteenth effort, is no exception. The set opens with raised expectations, but Martin Gore’s lyrics quickly tap his usual arsenal’s vein of longing, lust, and guilt, albeit this time with an ostensibly more reflective slant.
Those envisioning a return to form like the band’s glory days of Black Celebration, Music for the Masses, or Violator, will ultimately be disappointed, but Depeche diehards who are willing to settle for an updated A Broken Frame or Exciter will revel in Delta Machine’s austerity.
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To describe Stereophonics’ career as a musical roller coaster ride full of peaks and valleys is an unequivocal understatement. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to deny Kelly Jones’ uncanny knack for crafting weighty lyrics delivered in his signature raspy tone. It’s also a distressing injustice the Welsh rock band is all but ignored in the United States after nearly breaking into the American stream of consciousness in 2005 with their best-known song to date, “Dakota.”
Intensified with string arrangements by Bond film composer David Arnold, Graffiti on the Train is equally a welcome return and essential listening, proving the band is still relevant and has yet to fully reach its creative zenith. The album closes with the stripped down “No-one’s Perfect” (which could easily win the award for Jones’ best vocal performance), but Graffiti on the Train is the closest any Stereophonics album has come to perfect in nearly a decade.
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Although rock and Josh Groban have rarely, if ever, been used in a sentence together, All That Echoes is a rewarding fusion of pop, rock, and classical music theories. With the assistance of veteran producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) manning the board for his latest and first release since 2010, Groban delivers his biggest sounding and most significant set.
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The first “great” new release of 2013 has arrived by Nashville indie rock band The Great Affairs. Front man Denny Smith and company kick off the new year right with this infectious, 7-track EP, that’s guaranteed to filch your soul and rankle inside your mind until it drives you bat shit crazy. Key tracks include the Tom Petty-esque “Sherrybaby,” the scorching “Fists & Guitars,” and “Gone,” which recalls 1970s era Rod Stewart. The only downside to this release is that it’s not a full album (although the special edition CD additionally includes seven demo tracks), but The Great Affairs’ 4 is a surefire cure for the winter blues and your ailing rock n’ roll heart.
As one year ebbs and a new one begins, it always seems apt to reflect on the bygone before hurling full speed ahead into the future…
Sadly, the music industry mourned the loss of some legendary and iconic individuals in 2012 including: Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, Earl Scruggs, Dick Clark, Levon Helm, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Marvin Hamlisch, and Etta James. It’s always tragic to see such a long list in any given year. Although they are gone, their contributions will be remembered and honored posthumously.
The past year also saw some decidedly notable musical contributions from Tori Amos, Kenny Chesney, Susanna Hoffs, Matthew Perryman Jones, Madonna, Alanis Morissette, and Carrie Underwood, as well as the high octane trilogy delivered with a gutsy 1-2-3 wallop from Green Day.
Now we look ahead to 2013, which promises to deliver some highly anticipated new releases from David Bowie, Cher, Josh Groban, Darius Rucker, Stereophonics, Brad Paisley, Depeche Mode, Mariah Carey, Lady Antebellum, U2, Tim McGraw, and Lady Gaga.
As we bid adieu to 2012 and to those we lost along the way, at least we can look ahead to 2013 with a renewed spirit and high expectations of good things to come on the musical horizon.
With the inescapable return of the holiday season, another eclectic batch of Christmas music releases is heaped upon us, for better or worse. Some of these Christmastime offerings may fill you with comfort and joy, while others could have you wishing for an early spring and pondering if this really is the most wonderful time of the year. [Read Full Feature]
Coldplay’s Live 2012 (the band’s first concert film since 2003), is a visual and aural experience unlike anything attempted during the group’s previous treks around the world. Coldplay Live 2012 was filmed in Paris, Montreal, and Glastonbury and was directed by Paul Dugdale, fresh from recently lensing Adele’s Live at The Royal Albert Hall.
Coldplay Live 2012 documents the band’s current and massively successful Mylo Xyloto Tour, which is still in the midst of galloping across the globe. The tour, which is the band’s most dazzling spectacle yet, is meticulously captured here on this live DVD/CD/Blu-Ray and undeniably demonstrates Coldplay has matured into world class live performers. Raising the bar by leaps and bounds above their previous outings, Coldplay Live 2012 is destined to go down in music history as the moment when the band fully hit its stride.
Rich with larger-than-life performances (most notably “Yellow” and “Charlie Brown”) ranging from intimate theatres to gargantuan sold out stadiums, the tour film is a visual color-fest highlighting the band’s luminous paint-soaked stage and featuring throngs of passionate fans drenched in neon confetti and armed with computer controlled, multi-colored, LED wristbands. The film also incorporates black and white documentary style footage (divided equally between each group member), which profusely enhances the experience instead of merely being an inessential diversion. Coldplay’s Live 2012 succeeds in creating what U2 attempted to achieve with Rattle and Hum.
Although Coldplay will be on hiatus in 2013 before beginning work on their sixth studio album (tentatively scheduled for 2014), this 96-minute concert film (plus the two bonus performances “The Scientist” and “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart”), along with its accompanying live CD, is visually stunning and musically remarkable enough to keep your eyes and ears enthralled for unlimited repeat plays during the interim. Coldplay Live 2012 manages to forever capture the moment when Coldplay rises above mere greatness to become one of the world’s best live acts.
For those not fortunate enough to possess a ticket to the Mylo Xyloto Tour, this is the next best thing to being there for all of whom are willing to eagerly follow the band’s musical evolution. Coldplay Live 2012 may very well be considered paradise indeed.
© 2012 Popmartzoo