Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rare CD: My Chemical Romance "Like Phantoms Forever"

"One of the single-rarest My Chemical Romance items of all time. This is the much rumored-to-exist "Like Phantoms Forever", an EP that was made to promote the band in the late summer/fall of 2002 when they were playing their first out of New Jersey shows.

...there are only 100 of these in existence (this is hand-numbered in red ink, number 74),"

TRACKS:
1) vampires will never hurt you
2) this is the best day ever
3) jack the ripper (a live Morrissey cover)

12-18-07: Sells for $521.27 on ebay (31 bids)

Rare CD: U2 "Special Collection 1980-1987"


The weather outside is frightful...

U2 "Special Collection 1980-1987" JAPAN Promo CD RARE!!
VERY rare U2-Special Collection 1980-1987 Japanese In Store Promo Sampler CD INDUSTRY EDITION - NOT SOLD IN STORES!

Track Listing: 1)Out of Control 2) I Will Follow 3) Gloria 4) October 5) New Year's Day 6) Two Hearts Beat as One 7) 11 O'Clock Tick Tock 8) Sunday Bloody Sunday 9) Pride (In the Name of Love) 10) The Unforgettable Fire 11) With or Without You 12) I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For 13) Where the Streets Have No Name 14) Red Hill Mining Town

12-23-07 sells for $2651 on ebay (20 bids).
12-24-07 sells for $3000 on ebay (buy it now option exercised).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Review: Loverboy "Just Getting Started"

Never in a million years would I have predicted to be so crazy about a record by Loverboy. I almost laughed at the thought of them trying to stage a comeback in this day and age, but I am beside myself with how great this CD is...seriously, this one ranks as one of the best CDs of 2007. It is a AOR dream come true in every sense. I'm - ahem - lovin' every minute of it.

The boys have retooled themselves, but just like the Scorpions earlier this year, Loverboy have wildly succeeded in doing the impossible...reinventing themselves to sound like a modern rock outfit while retaining the qualities their long time fans love them for. The production on this record is top notch and completely modern sounding. Mike Reno still sounds incredible after all these years, and even sounds younger and more vibrant here than ever before.

But for me, as always, it comes down to the songs. I own no other Loverboy CD - not even one of their many recycled greatest hits collections - but this one is loaded with tracks that would be killer singles at radio in a more sensible music market. In a sense, this CD could be a greatest hits collection. Every track on this largely upbeat record has a great hook and anthem chorus.

There is not a single bad track in the bunch, but standouts for me include the title track, "Fade To Black," the hilarious "One of them Days," and peppy "Lost Without You." I also like the closing track "Stranded," which features Phil Colin from Def Leppard on backing vocals.

I can't recommend this one enough...cast your prejudice aside and enjoy the ride. Congrats to Mike Reno and the boys.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Review: The Summer Obsession "This Is Where You Belong"

I really wasn't expecting much from this CD, but wow! what a pleasant surprise. This lot of perky pop punk tracks is full of enough hooks and crunch to keep any melodic rocker happy. The band hails from Florida and released this debut CD in August 2006. The drummer (Chris Wilson) used to be in Good Charlotte, and you can definitely hear some resemblances between them and Summer Obsession. Other comparisons that come to mind include The Click Five and Simple Plan. I am finding that I dig a lot these "neo" alt rock outfits - their music won't change the world, but it does make you feel good and get your toes tapping.

I've read that a founding guitarist left the band, but they were working on a new record. I hope his departure does not manifest itself as a sophomore jinx. Time will tell, but I will certainly check out their next effort.

The Summer Obsession on MySpace. Official site.

Check out video for "Death Said" (which got to 96 on the Billboard chart):

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rare CD: KBCO Studio C Retrospective

If you see a CD out there with KBCO on it, grab it. It is typically a one of a kind limited edition or tracks you'll not find anywhere else. People will pay handsomely for these rarities...

"This is a very collectible CD from the radio station that issues top notch limited edition live compilation CDs each year"

This "Retrospective" CD sold recently for $162.52 on ebay (4 bids)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Rare CD: Radiohead "Drill" EP - 4 Track CD

Another rare one from Radiohead that fans must be crazy about, released in 1992 by Parlophone (6312). This is actually the first Radiohead release ever.

TRACK LIST:
1. PROVE YOURSELF
2. STUPID CAR
3. YOU
4. THINKING ABOUT YOU

12-14-07: One sells for $325 on ebay (21 bids)

Rare CD: Dave Matthews Band "Recently"

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND Rare 1994 RECENTLY 4tk Promo-Only CD

"Here is the rare, circa 1994 DMB promotional CD, called 'Recently'.
INDUSTRY EDITION - NOT SOLD IN STORES! Features 4 tracks, all great Radio Edits, only available on this disc!Limited U.S. edition, issued by Bama Rags Records (BAMA 002)."

12-14-07: One sells for $385 on ebay (23 bids)

Rare CD: "Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey"

"This cd was sold on [Colin Meloy's] solo acoustic tour some years back. I got this cd signed in person by Colin at Headliners in Louisville at a Decemberists show. This cd is very rare...only 1000 of these cds made. These tracks were recorded at Colin's home and the artwork was done by Carson Ellis."

12-14-07: Bidding got up to $114.50 on ebay (16 bids), but reserve was not met.
12-19-07: Above CD sells for $96.01 on ebay (7 bids).
1-15-08: One sells for $107.51 on ebay (5 bids).
1-22-08: One sells for $100.99 on ebay (3 bids).

Rare CD/DVD: Tool "Salival" - ERROR

There is one sure fire way to make the price of a product increase: made a few typos. That is what happened with this combo CD/DVD from Tool. Check it out:

"This item is THE SUPER RARE 1ST PRINTING [Decembern 12, 2000] with the typos and printing errors in the booklet...

The first pressings of Salival contain typographical errors. Later editions do not have these typos.

1) Aloke Dutta and Paul D'Amour's names are misspelled as Aloke Dutto and Paul D'Mour.
2) "Pushit" and "Stinkfist" are listed as two words.
3) "Message to Harry Manback II" is spelled "Messege to Harry Manback II."
4) The playing order of the videos are in reverse order.
5) The track ordering of "Merkaba" and "You Lied" is incorrect.
6) Also...The front of the booklet included with the package has a small glossy square on its front.

Again this is an EXTREMELY rare item that any true collector must have."

12-12-07: One sold for $115.00 on ebay (10 bids)
12-13-07: Another sold for $120.00 on ebay (22 bids)

Rare CD: Brent Spiner "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back"


Yes, that is Data! He is functioning within normal parameters, moonlighting as a lounge singer. Brent Spiner actually has a very pleasant singing voice, which was showcased in various episodes of Star Trek - The Next Generation (so I'm told!). Brent does his best Sinatra on this CD, which was released in 1991 by Bay Cities. The CD is rare and out of print, and is probably craved by Trekkers and others who like this genre. A bonus for the Trekkers: some tracks include other cast members from TNG.

12-11-07: One sells for $56.23 on ebay (15 bids)

12-14-07: One sells for $51.12 on ebay (2 bids)

1-27-08: One sells for $46.00 on ebay (8 bids)

2-4-08: One sells for $53.00 on ebay (7 bids)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rare CD: Christmas With The California Raisins

These are some expensive raisins. I'm sure most of you remember this fad from the late 80s...stupid animated raisin commercials. I never knew they milked this for a Christmas CD. If you actually own one, and aren't too embarrassed, you could sell it ebay now for a handsome profit. Christmas With The California Raisins was released in 1988 on Priority Records.

Check if anyone is selling a copy on Amazon.com.

12-12-07: One sells on ebay for $67.00 (45 (!) bids).
1-27-08: California Raisins "Sing the Hit Songs" sells for $24.50 on ebay (11 bids)

Rare CD: HIM "Live and Undercover"

HIM, the gothic rock guy, has several rare CDs out there. Here is one that "features" cover tunes from the Backstreet Boys and Depeche Mode (these are selling points?!)

Anyway, the CD recently went for $102.50 on ebay (46 bids).

Rare CD: Soundtrack "Romancing the Stone"

"This is the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the 1984 film 'Romancing the Stone' starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. The CD is from the Varese Sarabande CD Club (VCL 0702 1012) and was limited to only 3000 copies. This one is factory sealed and has long been sold out."

On Amazon.com, it is currently running $150 for a used copy. Check now.

12-11-07: One sells on ebay for $102.50 (13 bids)!

Rare CD: Dave Matthews Band "Jimi Thing"

"4-track promo only CD single #RDJ 64258-2
Like all early DMB CDs this one is getting very hard to find!
The condition is near perfect inside and out (1 miniscule mark on disc)"

The tracks are:
1) Jimi Thing (edit version) 4:53
2) All Along The Watchtower 7:04
3) Christmas Song 5:33
4) Jimi Thing (album version) 5:57

12-11-07 - one sold for $96 on ebay (10 bids). That's almost $25 a track!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rare CD: Radiohead "Com Lag" [Special Ed]

"...one of the most rare Radiohead CD's ever released by EMI records. This is a special edition version of 'Com Lag' that includes SIX bonus tracks [16 total]. The cover and artwork is different that the original 'Com Lag'.

Released in 2004 by EMI records in VERY limited qty. UPC code is 0724357676823. Made in EU."

12-5-07: Sold on ebay for $560.33 (19 bids)!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rare CD: Commodores "Caught in the Act"

This Commodores album, "Caught In The Act" was originally released on Motown in 1975. The CD reissue is out of print and very rare (MOTD-5240).

12-5-07: Sells on ebay for $113.49 (2 bids).

Rare CD: Counting Crows "By the Time We Got to Woodstock"

"This album was independently released by PotatoDog records in 1999, and features live performances of their songs on tour stops in July 1999 leading up to their performance at Woodstock '99. This CD was available only via an online sale, and sold out quickly. I believe only 1000 copies were manufactured, making this one of the rarest Counting Crows CDs out there."

12-3-07: One of these CDs sold for $178.49 on ebay (23 bids)

Rare CD: The Family "The Family"

This group called "The Family" from the 80s were the original to record the Prince song "Nothing Compares 2 U" before Sinead O'Connor hit it out the park.

"Catalogue number: WPCP-3646
Tracks: 1 High Fashion 2 Mutiny 3 Screams of Passion 4 Yes 5 River Run Dry 6 Nothing Compares 2 U 7 Susannah's Pajamas 8 Desire"

It is very rare, in fact this one that sold on ebay for $152.00 is a Japanese import.

Rare CD: "Predator" Soundtrack

Surprisingly, there a many soundtracks on CD that people will pay an arm and leg for...no pun intended for the one above. "It's not a tumor!"

Listed as: "ALAN SILVESTRI - VARESE CLUB CD - RARE SCORE"
Sold for $177 on ebay (21 bids). If I paid that much for a single CD, I'd probably be terminated.

UPDATE (1-31-08): One sells for $187.50 on ebay (38 bids)


4-21-08: One sells for $255.00 on ebay (12 bids)

Rare CD: Eddie Money "Where's the Party" and "Playing For Keeps"


There are two Eddie Money CDs that have been long out of print and fetch a decent price on ebay. "Playing For Keeps" can get you $30 if you're lucky, and "Where's the Party" can usually get you even more.

A copy of this one recently sold for $46.00 on ebay (13 bids).

2-18-08: One sells for $79.45 on ebay (27 bids).

3-3-08: One sells for $50.99 on ebay (15 bids).

Used on Amazon.com now for $59. Check now.

12-20-07: "Playing for Keeps" sells for $29.66 on ebay (23 bids).

1-27-08: "Playing for Keeps" sells for $29.00 on ebay (9bids).

Used on Amazon.com now for $44.96. Check now.



UPDATE: 4-13-08
"Playing for Keeps" sells for $51.89 on ebay (15 bids)

"Eddie Money CD "Playing for Keeps" Bryan Adams, Journey
FOR AUCTION IS USED CD IN GOOD CONDITION EDDIE MONEY "PLAYING FOR KEEPS" RECORD LABEL COLUMBIA RECORDS CATALOG NUMBER CK 36514 YEAR OF RELEASE 1980/1988 UPC BARCODE NUMBER 7464-36514-2 MADE IN USA DISTRIBUTED BY CBS PRODUCED BY RON NEVISON CD IS FROM EARLY ORIGINAL U.S.PRESSING ON COLUMBIA NINE SONGS AND 36 MINUTES OF AMERICAN POP/ROCK FROM BROOKLYN NEW YORK"

Rare CD: VALENTINE "Valentine"

9 24404-2 Giant/Reprise Records USA, 1990
"An essential masterpiece of AOR from legendary singer Hugo's first major band! Keys all over the place, excellent song writing and guitars, sing-along choruses and of course Hugo's amazing vocals! He's well known for sounding exactly like Steve Perry of Journey to many! Out of print for years now and harder to find every day!"

12-01-07: This one sold for $60.00 on ebay (16 bids)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Free mp3: Dave Stephens

"In an effort to spread the word about his music, Dave is offering these free downloads of his two albums. After downloading, please tell a friend and direct them to this page so that they too can enjoy these albums. Physical copies of these albums can be purchased from The Dave Stephens Online Store at: www.davestephens.ca/store.html
For more information about Dave, please visit his official website at
www.davestephens.ca.
Link: click here.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rare CD: Tongue Lash "Tongue Lash"

"This Mega-rarity was released in 1995 on Thunderpeel Records. This Boston-based band's CD was put out in very limited quantities. Excellent AOR/Melodic Hard Rock that should be in every elite collector's hands."

Sold on ebay for $511.01 (12 bids).

UPDATE (12-10-07): something fishy here...another one sells for only $36.77 on ebay (3 bids). What's up with that?
UPDATE (12-14-07): One sells for $42.99 on ebay (1 bid).
Note both of the above are from the same seller.
UPDATE (2-1-08): One sells for $153.00 on ebay (12 bids).

Rare CD: Brandi Carlile Band "We're Growing Up"


This is quite possibly one of the the most insane rare CD purchases I've seen in my history of following this stuff. "This CD was released locally (2003) in the Seattle area only, about a year before her major label debut was released." [Columbia Records signed Carlile in late 2004].

For those who don't know, ask a girl about Brandi...her songs have been frequently played on Grey's Anatomy.

Brandi Carlile Band CD goes for $710 on ebay (49 bids).

UPDATE: (1-3-08) One sells for $365.90 on ebay (32 bids).

The same CD also is available with an alternative cover:


The alternate cover version recently sold for $51.05 on ebay (15 bids) (12-21-07)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rare CD: Neil Young "Chrome Dreams"


I am not sure what the deal is on this one. Evidently an unreleased CD that is released!

According to the ebay listing: "Super rare unreleased album from 1977. Released in the 90's on the Remasters label" OK.

Whatever the story behind this is, it had 16 bids and went for $137.50 on ebay.

Rare CD: Tori Amos "Past the Mission"

There are evidently a lot of Tori Amos fans out there ready to shell out big bucks for some of her rare promo material. This CD is one of them. "Past the Mission" features the title track and several live tracks:

1 - Past The Mission
2 - Winter [Live at Manchester Free Trade Hall 3.1.94]
3 - The Waitress [Live in Boston, The Sanders Theatre 3.31.94]
4 - Icicle [Live in LA, Wadsworth Theatre 3.22.94]
5 - Past The Mission [Live in Chicago, Vic Theatre 3.24.94]
6 - PSA
7 - PSA

One of these recently went for $122.50 on ebay. That comes to about $17 a track.

Rare CD: Sadistic Intent "Resurrection"


This EP CD released in 1994 (Dark Realm Records) will fetch a healthy price on ebay. A recent auction sold this Sadistic Intent CD for $102.50. According to one Amazon.com review, the release is one of the "darkest releases in death metal."

UPDATE (12/16/07): Another sells for only $22.59 on ebay (8 bids) by the same seller.
UPDATE (1/20/08): Another sells for $81.00 on ebay (15 bids).
UPDATE (1/28/08): Another sells for $61.00 on ebay (12 bids).

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Review: Tyketto "The Last Sunset: Farewell 2007"

With exception of the die-hard fans, most of us will probably admit to being a little skeptical when a band announces the sudden "discovery" of lost or forgotten early or live recordings. So here we have the hard rock AOR masters, Tyketto, pulling this one out of their hat. "The Last Sunset: Farewell 2007" is marketed as "a collection of unreleased tracks, album demos, and live recordings." Sounds bottom of the barrel scary.

But the stereotype does not apply with this release...the Tyketto boys have delivered yet again and put out a "lost" recordings compilation that truly feels like a time capsule (circa 1988-1992). Having these tunes cranking out of your speakers just makes you want to grow the mullet back out and hit ebay for some spandex. Wow! Tracks like "Big Wheels" and "Till the Summer Comes" sound like they could have been on their AOR masterpiece "Don't Come Easy." Another standout is "Is Anybody Watching Me," which sounds like a follow-up to their classic acoustic-driven ballad "Standing Alone."

Even in the linear notes (also nicely done), vocalist Danny Vaughn writes, "Let's be honest, the reason these songs never got heard is because we never felt they were quite good enough." Their classification of these tracks as their sub par crap is testament to how awesome their "A-list" stuff was. But I thoroughly enjoyed most of their D-list throwaways.

As one might expect for such a record, some tracks are better produced and in more of a final form than others. But Danny never disappoints on vocals, and the trademark big chorus hooks are still present in these unheard tracks. I enjoy the "new" stuff better than the demos. The demos are interesting to hear, providing insight as to how certain beloved songs evolve, but it is hard to appreciate them more than once when biased by the well known version.

Fans of Tyketto rejoice...this is a "leftovers" CD worth picking up.

iPOD-worthy: 1-6, 9

Tyketto site.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rare CD: Dave Clark Five "History of..."

This 2CD collection of Dave Clark Five tracks is a really nice find (Hollywood Records, 1993). You'll be surprised just how great many of their non-radio hits are as well. Why the Dave Clark Five has not been inducted into the Hall of Fame is beyond me. This set almost always goes for $50-100 on ebay. One recently sold for $71.00 used.

Prices for used copies on Amazon.com are all the place, averaging from $49 to $150.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Review: Hurt "Vol. I"

Hurt stormed onto the hard rock scene in 2006 with this debut, which they were quick to follow up on in 2007 (guess the title). They are difficult to describe, and that can be a good thing. It is near impossible to find a unique sounding band these days. They struck me, at least on this record, as a hodgepodge of post-grunge and alternative rock. I can hear some Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and Cold. Dense, thick guitars and equally thick vocals constitute most of the darkened atmosphere that permeates every track, but I give them props for incorporating some remarkably good orchestration in many places. The singer is clearly talented, but when he slips up to the excessive growling, it just ruins it for me. Doom and gloom, slow and plodding. It gets old fast.

"Rapture" and "Falls Apart" were released as singles, and were decent choices. I prefer "Unkind" - a nice heavy riff mixed with a likable chorus with harmonies to boot. Another cool track is the acoustic-driven change of pace, "Danse Russe". Other than that, there is not much here for fans of AOR and melodic rock. Hurt is interesting to listen to, but not a band that will probably see repeated spins in my player.

Hurt on MySpace. Official site.

iPOD-worthy: 7, 8

Check out the video for "Rapture":

Friday, November 23, 2007

Review: Cold "A Different Kind of Pain"

Cold is a heavy guitar-driven rock band that had a respectable hit with 2003's "Stupid Girl" from the album, "Year of the Spider." The band was then strangely ignored by its label and suffered a sudden lack of promotion just as things were -ahem- warming up for them. After some personnel changes, Cold got back into the studio to cut this record, "A Different Kind of Pain." (Lava Records (Atlantic)).

The lyrical content is presumed to center around Scooter Ward's (vocals) sister, who was fighting cancer at the time. Songs like the title track, "When Angels Fly Away" and "God's Song" would seem to be consistent with this rumor. It is a sad and moving record when listened to with this perspective in mind. The first single, "Happens All the Time" is one of the more melodic tracks despite its heavy themes and should have been much bigger at radio.

Cold seems to be surrounded by bad breaks. It is a shame, as this record showed a lot of promise for the developing band. But this one appears to be their last record, as they announced one year ago that they had disbanded. You can track what Scooter is up to these days at the MySpace link...watch for his new project, "When November Falls." I wonder if this speaks to the fact that Cold disbanded in November?

Cold at MySpace. Official site.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11

Check out the video for "Happens All the Time":


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Hot tip: Trim your mp3s

mp3DirectCut is freeware that you can download and use to crop your mp3 files:

"mp3DirectCut is a fast and extensive audio editor and recorder for compressed mp3. You can directly cut, copy, paste or change the volume with no need to decompress your files for audio editing. This saves encoding time and preserves the original quality, because nothing will be re-encoded. The built in recorder creates mp3 on the fly from your audio input. Using Cue sheets, pause detection or Auto cue you can easily divide long files."

This one is worth check out, folks. I've used it many times to get rid of pointless intros or outros on otherwise iPOD-worthy tracks. Also an excellent tool to separate that "bonus" track from the last official track listed on the CD.

Review: Foreigner "Mr. Moonlight"

Foreigner is legendary...few bands have released more consistently good AOR singles over the course of two decades. But, all too common with highly successful bands, individual egos start to swell and there is no longer enough room in the studio for so many big heads. The feuds between lead singer Lou Gramm and guitarist Mick Jones are equally legendary, and we fans were deprived of a third decade of Foreigner's brand of rockin' AOR. By 1988, the band was dissolved and Gramm and Jones did their own thing. Jones flopped with a new incarnation of Foreigner using Johnny Edwards (releasing "Unusual Heat" in 1991). Gramm flopped with his new band, Shadow King (1991). By 1992, perhaps with egos now back in check and wallets in need of a refill, Gramm and Jones put their differences aside to reform Foreigner and record a comeback/reunion album.

But the 90s in general were not kind to AOR bands, and "Mr. Moonlight" suffered for it. But the record is just a victim of circumstance...on its own, "Mr. Moonlight" is a solid Foreigner record. The production is great and Gramm's chops were, as always, fantastic. The songwriting is not as strong as the biggest Foreigner records, but tracks like "Rain," "White Lie," and "All I Need To Know" are slices of AOR heaven. The beautiful, moody ballad "I Keep Hoping" should have been a hit. It is a crime the band had to go out on a whimper.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 7, 9

Foreigner on MySpace. Official site.

Link to the music video for the single, "Until the End of Time"

Review: P.O.D. "Testify"

As a fan of MELODIC rock, it should be obvious that bands infusing rap with rock (rapcore, as the kids call it now) just don't do it for me. However, there are some I not only tolerate, but enjoy very much, such as Saliva and Chronic Future. I enjoyed P.O.D.'s single "Alive" when it was popular a few years ago, so thought I'd check out their 2006 effort, "Testify."

By and large, the CD is uneven, with genres from rap, rock, and even reggae clashing. However, there are a couple of stand out tracks that appeal to those of us who champion something called melody. "If You Could See Me Now" and "This Time" are highlights. I also enjoyed "Let You Down," which sounds like something Tears for Fears would do if they grew testicles.

Incidentally, "Testify" is the last record the band made for Atlantic. They put out a Greatest Hits record with Rhino and now have signed to Columbia. It will be interesting to see how the changes in labels shapes the band in the upcoming year.

P.O.D. on MySpace. Official site.

iPOD-worthy: 3, 4, 7, 9

Check out the single from this CD, "Goodbye for Now", which almost cracked the Billboard Top 40 (stalled at #47):

Review: Scorpions "Unbreakable"

I was pleasantly surprised with the latest Scorpions release earlier this year, "Humanity Hour 1" (read why). Steve (from Heavy Metal Addiction) told me that I would also like "Unbreakable" (2004, Sanctuary Records). I finally found a used copy for cheap and got to check it out this week. Steve's recommendation was right on and while I still prefer "Humanity Hour 1", "Unbreakable" is a terrific record.

As on this year's release, the Scorpions sound older and wiser (I mean that in a good way!). The production on "Humanity" is superior to what I hear on "Unbreakable," but the Scorps sound strong and not dated. The record just got better and better as it progressed, and I found myself enjoying the latter half more than the beginning...the record is consistent and flows effortlessly. Ballads are scarce, and the rockers are anthems. The talents of these rock veterans are really shining in this new millennium, and I truly hope they are not finished making music yet. To me, they sound better than ever. For the fans of catchy melodies, just out the instantly likable tracks "Someday is Now" (7) and "My City, My Town" (8), "Can You Feel It" (10)

iPOD-worthy: 2, 3, 7, 8, 10-13

Check out "Deep and Dark":

Friday, November 16, 2007

Review: House of Love "Audience with the Mind"

Sometimes when you dip into the $1 bargain bin you get what you pay for...and I have to say that is my conclusion regarding House of Love's 1993 CD, "Audience with the Mind." I risked my 100 pennies on the chance that some of the tracks would rival their best known single, "I Don't Know Why I Love You" off their self-titled (a.k.a. "Butterfly") release. I could not be more disappointed.

I can only dig this type of music for a few tracks, then it gets stale. The ingredients are good...acoustic guitar driven rock with just the right dose of psychedelia...but the recipe just results in a bland, half-baked mess. The low monotone of this rather limited lead singer doesn't help create any excitement. Fans of The Church or The Stone Roses should dig their sound, but they would probably agree with me that the songs just aren't there on "Audience with the Mind."

Official site.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 6

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rare CD: "ONXRT: Live from the Archives"

This series of one of a kind live performances from popular artists can really go for big bucks on ebay. ONXRT: Live from the Archives (currently 10 volumes) are compilations of various artists doing their thing live at Chicago radio station WXRT, and thus can't be heard elsewhere. These recordings are done for charity, and made in limited pressings with little to no chance they'll be re-issued. The lower volumes currently go for much more than the newer ones, which are still available at various bookstores and coffeeshops in the Chicago area. More info.

Two copies of VOLUME I recently sold on ebay at $102.50 a piece. Link to the other one. Strange they should both end on the same exact dollar figure!

PS: One of my favorite tracks I've heard so far in this series is Matthew Sweet's acoustic take on his hit "Girlfriend."

UPDATE (12-9-07): Volume II sells for $57.00 on ebay (14 bids)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Review: 30 Seconds To Mars "A Beautiful Lie"

I was not too impressed with the mixed debut from the hard rock band 30 Seconds To Mars, but this follow-up is something to write home about. While still far from a masterpiece, it is much more consistent and contains some tunes that stick with you well. "A Beautiful Lie" came out in 2005 and over the course of 2 years, spawned 4 Modern Rock hits: "Attack," "The Kill," "From Yesterday," and the title track.

The lead singer Jared Leto has some great chops that mesh well with the heavy, driving guitars. The screaming is unnecessary, though, and ruins some of the tracks for me. But the biggest problem: beyond the singles there is not too much I won't be skipping over during a replay of this CD. Those tunes are just loud without a cause...or just go plodding into rock boredom.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 3, 6, 7

30 Seconds To Mars on MySpace. Official site.

Check out an mellow acoustic version of "The Kill":



Then wake up with the album version:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Review: Ingram Hill "Cold in California"

Ingram Hill is a folk rock band hailing from Memphis. In 2004, they released "June's Picture Show" to moderate success, thanks to two catchy singles, "Will I Ever Make it Home" and "Almost Perfect." After 3 long years, we're treated to another offering of 11 new tracks from this talented band. Fans of the 90s pop rock greats Better Than Ezra, Gin Blossoms, and Toad the Wet Sprocket should take note.

"Cold in California" is a worthy follow-up to the 2004 record, full of more of the same melodic rocks that make you want to sing along. I found this release to be just as consistently enjoyable as "June's Picture Show," maybe even more catchy. They really seemed to treat almost every song as if it were going to be a single. As a result, nearly every track is going on my iPOD.

Ingram Hill on MySpace.

Here's an acoustic version of the first single, "Why Don't You":

Friday, November 2, 2007

Rare CD: Tool "10,000 Days In Minnesota"


This is a very rare CD featuring 9 live tracks by Tool performing at Orpheum Theater (MN) in 2006. It was put out as "promotional" on GBB Records. An import copy from Germany recently sold on ebay for $157.70.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Review: L.E.O. "Alpacas Orgling"

Bleu + Mike Viola + Andy Sturmer (Jellyfish) + Hanson (!) + many others in power pop = what?

As you may surmise from the band name, you get E.L.O. reincarnated! You won't believe your ears. This record is a true time machine and will take you back to the pop rock genius of E.L.O. And they are not a cheesy tribute band doing lame E.L.O. cover tunes...these are all originals, written as if someone unearthed a time capsule of a new E.L.O. Greatest Hits package that never saw the light of day.

It is astonishing how much they have managed to sound like Jeff Lynne without Jeff Lynne. "Alpacas Orgling" (2006) is virtual pop perfection from beginning to end. Just skip over the useless "Overture" and stop after track 8. Well, there is a cover of E.L.O.'s big hit "Don't Bring Me Down," but it is one of those "bonus" tracks way at the end of the record...which is a pet peeve of mine. There is no need to do this...just make it a track already so we don't have to cue to the damn thing.

All the shimmering pop brilliance of E.L.O. is captured in this effort: lush harmonies, orchestral backing, and downright catchy melodies. Thankfully, the disco-infused E.L.O. is not present...just the straight up pop rock form. If you were not a fan of E.L.O., you probably won't dig this record too much. If you were a fan, you'll be rejoicing.

iPOD-worthy: 2-8.

L.E.O. at MySpace

News: Goo Goo Dolls update

Goo Goo Dolls Headed For The Future

"The Goo Goo Dolls Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 -- The Singles" comes out Nov. 13, featuring 14 chart entries since "Name" gave the band its first Hot 100 berth in 1995. The album includes chart-toppers such as "Iris" and "Slide" as well as "Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" from the "Transformers" film soundtrack. A "Vol. 2" is slated for February with B-sides, rarities, remixes and some new tracks."

Better news...the boys might be going back to the more aggressive sound, which I've been waiting for since 2000:

"I want the next record to have a little more of an edge on it," Rzeznik explains. "I don't want the rough edges taken off so much. The band's gonna play live on it more, not so many overdubs. When we were on tour we recorded every single show and we would listen back, and the difference between the band on record and the band live was ... I want it to sound more like we do live. It's a lot more energy. It's a more aggressive sound."

Story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rare CD: Stone Fury


From the YouTube web site, which hosts some videos from these guys: "Stone Fury released 2 albums in the mid-80's and then broke up. Lenny Wolf went on the front Kingdom Come and Bruce Gowdy went on to Unruly Child."

The first CD, "Burns Like A Star" (1984) is currently selling for over $70 used on Amazon. Average ebay price is $53.

The second CD, "Let Them Talk" (1986) is currently selling for nearly $200 used on Amazon. Average ebay price is $21.

UPDATE (11-5-07) - "Burns Like A Star" sells for $61 on ebay.
UPDATE (12-16-07) - "Burns Like A Star" - Japan import sells for $56.50 on ebay (16 bids)
UPDATE (1-3-08) - "Burns Like A Star sells for $69.00 on ebay (16 bids)
UPDATE (2-25-08) - Japanese import "Burns Like A Star" sells for $175.49 on ebay (19 bids)

Music video for "Break Down The Walls":



Music video for "Life Is Lonely":


Friday, October 19, 2007

Review: Meat Loaf "Bat Out Of Hell III"

No one needs an introduction to Meat Loaf, the atypical rock star most famous for his original 1977 opus, "Bat Out Of Hell." Despite several other releases in the 80s, Meat Loaf pretty much found himself shoved into the back of the fridge with a half eaten rotting block of cheese. The 90s "sequel" to the 1977 blockbuster record brought Meat Loaf back into the limelight in a massive way. But once again, the follow-up efforts could not hold a candle to Bat II, and Meat Loaf was getting colder by the minute. The logic behind entitling the next record "Bat III" was more transparent than Saran wrap.

And you know what? It should have worked. This is a damn good album. Meat Loaf pours his heart and soul into this baby and recruited some of the biggest folks in the industry to record it. Shamefully, despite a solid debut at # 8 on the album charts in 2006, the CD has only gone gold and yielded no hit singles.

In the Meat Loaf tradition, he tries to deliver an album of epic proportions. Huge, sweeping songs with unexpected bridges and twists keep things interesting. The hooks are very strong for most of the songs, with backing vocals and harmonies galore. The songs are so dramatic one could argue it is to a fault and just too over the top. And some of the ultra-heavy rockers just stick out like sore thumbs, making the record as a whole inconsistent. For example, I can't shift gears from the heaviest song the Loaf has ever done ("The Monster Is Loose") to his cover of the Celine Dion (!) song, "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" (video - don't worry...it's the Meat Loaf version).

Bottom line: when the song works, it really works. Meat Loaf sings his lungs out and if you've enjoyed the theatrical sounds of the previous Bat records, you will like most of this one.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11
Meat Loaf on MeatSpace...I mean MySpace. Official site.

Name that Tune

What a man was two thousand years ago
Means nothing at all to me today


Clue.


Answer.

Free mp3 - Tommy Conwell "Walkin' on the Water"

Before his well known record "Rumble" in 1988 (read), Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers released "Walking on the Water" on Antenna Records in 1986. Some of these tracks found their way onto "Rumble". I don't think it was ever released on CD, and even the cassette tape must be a hard to find rarity (it is currently going for a ridiculous $2400 on amazon.com...that is NOT a typo of one too many zeroes).

Since most people can't shell out this kind of dough (and since most people probably don't even have a tape player anymore), the Young Rumblers have made it available here to download.

Review: Tommy Conwell & the Young Rumblers "Rumble"

I was in one of those 80s Philly blues bar band moods (who doesn't get into that mood every now and then?), so I popped in some Tommy Conwell. This exceptional guitarist was an underrated figure in the 80s, but managed to capture at least 5 minutes of fame with the rock hit "I'm Not Your Man" in 1988 (video). The album from which it came, "Rumble" stalled at 103 on the charts, but should have done much better. There are more than a handful of good singles on "Rumble," which has a consistent sound throughout. In the days of vinyl, this would be referred to as a "side 1" album because the first half of the songs are the best of the bunch.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

On a side note, reading about what this "former" rock star is up to now was interesting:
“My son still thinks that I’m a rock star,” Tommy laughs. “I play the carnival at his school every year.”

Review: Eddie Money "Right Here"

This was nowhere near as boring and dull as I thought it might be! The "Money man" released "Right Here" in 1991, which was DOA in part due to the rise of grunge. AOR was in rapid decline, and AOR is Eddie's specialty. Everyone seemed to be routing for this underdog during his famed comeback in the mid-80s, but he started losing his hold on the charts by 1990.

Eddie's had an enviable career in music and "Right Here" would have been a huge record if it arrived a few years earlier. Instead, it peaked at a lousy 160 on the album charts with only the single "I'll Get By" (video) cracking the top 40. This power ballad is not what I would have released first, and we all know, for better or worse, that the first single can make or break a record. It would have been better as a 2nd or 3rd single.

While the tunes do sound dated, the melodies and harmonies are surprisingly good. You get what you expect lyrically from Eddie Money, as evidenced in the dribble from the failed second single, "Heaven in the Back Seat." But putting that aside, I had fun listening to this record.


iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

On another note, there is a "companion" EP release to this featuring Money doing several tracks acoustically, called "Unplug It In" (1992). He also pulls some others from his catalogue for acoustic renditions, even "Trinidad" from 1980's "Playing For Keeps." It is worth checking out.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rare CD: Tommy Shaw "Girls With Guns"

Tommy Shaw, no stranger to fans of AOR, left Styx in 1983 to pursue a solo career. His first solo effort, "Girls with Guns" (1984, as if you couldn't tell the date by the cover!) is out of print and often fetches a remarkable price on ebay. For example, a used copy recently sold for $76.

On Amazon today, the cheapest this CD was going for is $69 (1996 A&M release). Check now.

And if you are allergic to money, the reissue by Spitfire in 2000 is going for $550! Check now.

UPDATE (10-31-07): Another sells for $80 on ebay using "But it Now" option.
UPDATE (11-15-07): Another sells for $80.50 on ebay.