Endless U.K. Music Scene Update
Joe Boyd Alert!
On March 11th at Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan, former Hannibal Record’s label owner, record producer, concert promoter, author, radio host, and music legend Joe Boyd will be doing a reading/talk/performance that’s billed as Live and Direct from 1967! Robyn Hitchcock and Joe Boyd “Chinese White Bicycles.” On May 12th and 13th the Joe Boyd-produced New York Celebration of Kate McGarrigle at Town Hall, will occur, featuring Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Martha Wainwright, and Emmylou Harris, with more guests to be announced. In our May issue, we will have an extensive and exclusive rare interview with Boyd.
Radiohead Go Out On a Limb
Radiohead’s newest album, King of Limbs, the group’s first since 2007’s In Rainbows, was released on February 18th as a digital download only. The album will be released on March 28th in the states on TBD as a physical CD. While it doesn’t match up to In Rainbows and hasn’t been released with the same fanfare and paradigm-changing hype, it’s still a wonderful recording and confirms again that Radiohead is simply the most important band on the music scene today. The techno rhythms that have continued to shape the sound of the group are even more prominent than in the past. The music and lyrics also continue to reflect a world of spiraling alienation and perhaps inevitable apocalypse. In fact, The King of Limb, even more than In Rainbows, sounds like the soundtrack to end of the world. Yet, there’s something thankfully cathartic about the music. One point that must be made about this and the group’s previous album is how underatted Phil Sleway, the group’s drummer, is. While Thom Yorke’s vocals often become the focal point of the group’s sound, Selway sets the tone for the rest of the music. Hopefully, the band will tour behind the album. This music seems ideally suited to live concerts, since it’s essentially very sparse and simple.
The Metallic Side of the Sphere
The Orb’s new album would be a nice followup to the Radiohead album on your iPod. England’s ambient king’s new album Metallic Spheres (Columbia) is billed as The Orb featuring David Gilmour. The Pink Floyd guitarist adds a nice, spacey, rock touch. There is a limited-edition, 2-CD edition that includes a 3D60 version of the album. The disc offers a 3 Dimensional sound while listening through a conventional two-channel sound system. This version sounds particularly cool on headphones.
It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll
On March 14, the 26th Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. This year’s inductees include Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, Jac Holzman, Art Rupe and Leon Russell. One of the best things the people who run the organization have done of late is release CD’s and DVD’s from various induction ceremonies as well as the 25th Anniversary Concerts through Time Life. The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts have been released as a 4-CD box set and a 3-DVD set. These were the concerts held on October 29th and 30th, 2009, at Madison Square Garden and include a lineup heavy on American artists, from Jerry Lee Lewis to Bruce Springsteen. There are lots of great collaborations, tributes and special guests. Also recently released is Live Legends, a 3-DVD set. The DVD’s include 45 performances from the entire history of the annual ceremony. There are also four hours of behind-the-scenes and rehearsal footage and induction speeches. One can choose from three different packages that include similar material to the Live Legends package. There are a nine-DVD and a single-DVD package from 2010 and one that was released in 2009 that is a four-DVD package.
A Classical Shade of Sting
Since 2006 Sting has been recording non-pop/rock music that has classical leanings, including the collaborative Songs From the Labyrinth, the holiday/winter release If On A Winter’s Night and the classical take on songs from the Police entitled Symphonicities, all on the classical Deutsche Grammophon label, all of which we have covered in previous columns. Sting took the Symphonicities album on the road and his latest release from the tour is Sting Live In Berlin. The set includes the full concert on DVD with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and an abbreviated version on CD. A Blu-ray version of the full concert also has been released.