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Side One

When he’s not finger-snappin’ in his power pop band The Bears or weaving complex guitar figures live and in the studio with Robert Fripp and King Crimson, Adrian Belew further refines his muse with the occasional solo album. Described as a conscious attempt to work in a power trio format for the first time, Side One finds Belew performing a range of instruments in the company of Primus bass guitarist Les Claypool and Tool drummer Danny Carey. The resulting nine track 33 minute 2005 CD is a devastating sonic assault touching on a wealth of classic Belew maneuvers—combining a Crimson-esque complexity with Belew’s unique ability to recreate the intensity of late ‘70s Bowie or Talking Heads. Describing the M.O. of Side One, Belew adds, “In a power trio you almost have to overplay. It forces ingenuity and puts a lot of pressure on each player, but I enjoy that. What’s challenging as the vocalist and guitarist is that sometimes I am triggering guitar loops while I’m playing. We call it ‘belewyps.’ I’m my own rhythm guitar player.” Belew intends to further his interest in the D.J. mode of drum loops and synth pads on a late 2005 release of Side Two and then plans to reunite with Claypool and Carey for more songs on the eventually planned Side Three. Describing his planned tour show casing material from all three CDs, Belew promises to hook up with an unknown bass guitarist and drummer in an effort to give a couple of musicians a break, much like the late, great Frank Zappa did for him



Everyone Is Here

Being six years younger than brother Tim Finn, younger brother, guitarist Neil Finn seemed like the new guy in Split Enz back in the late ‘70s, at least until he started writing some of their biggest hits. Of course, it was years after those classic early Phil Manzanera produced Split Enz albums for Chrysalis, Neil achieved stardom with Crowded House. Re-teaming with Tim at various junctures, both have been keeping the Enz legacy alive. Their 2005 CD on Nettwerk, Everyone Is Here is produced more like space age ELO/Badfinger style pop than the quirky "guitaristic" art-rock band that made Mental Notes back in ‘76. Quibbles aside, on killer songs like “Part Of Me, Part Of You” their unique songwriting talents exquisitely rise again, displaying a knack for rock orchestration and pop know-how. The layered pop sound on Everyone Is Here is enhanced with the appearance of fine musicians like string arranger Tony Visconti, Mitchell Froom, steel wiz B.J. Cole, Jon Brion (guitar) and Matt Chamberline (drums). /

Has Been
(Shout! Factory)

He may have been immortalized as the esteemed Captain Kirk on Star Trek, yet on his 2004 CD William Shatner bears his mortal coil with some bizarre results. On Has Been, Shatner’s first album in 35 years, he once again features his unique spoken word voice backed up on a batch of freshly recorded tracks recorded recorded in Nashville with pop luminaries such as Ben Folds (co-producer and songwriter), Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, drummer Matt Chamberlain and guitarists Jon Auer, Adrian Belew and John Mark Painter. At his best, Shatner’s spoken word vocals are truly harrowing, especially on the Shatner / Folds track “It Hasn’t Happened Yet”, while on the track “You’ll Have Time” Shatner turns a truly ominous set of lyrics into a near comic experience. Back in the ‘60s Shatner’s acting and effective voice transformed a whole generation as well as changing the way a whole generation watched television. Older, yet wiser, on Has Been 'ol Bill truly lives up to his near mythic legacy. Another early 2005 release from Shout! Factory is The ‘60s Rock Experience, a four CD set dedicated to the fabled rock music boom of the ‘60s. So many of the great AM and FM radio classics that shaped a generation are gathered under one roof and is a testament to the greatest musical renaissance of the century. Southern rock superstars The Marshall Tucker Band are given a tribute with a 2004 double CD set on Shout! Factory that celebrates thirty years of music making. Covering eighteen studio albums on assorted labels, Marshall Tucker Band: Anthology The First 30 Years features 33 Southern rock favorites and is the most comprehensive best-of to date from the MTB. In addition to their MTB CD set, the label has also released Marshall Tucker Band’s first ever DVD, Live From The Garden State.


Just For A Thrill

According to rock bass icon Bill Wyman, “I’m proud of the 31 years I was in the Rolling Stones. But I’m really proud of the six years I’ve had the Rhythm Kings because it’s a unique band. I can’t emphasize more that this band is totally unique because of the variety of music we play.” On the fifth Rhythm Kings CD, Wyman enlists top support from big names like Albert Lee, Dire Straits founder Mark Knopfler, Tommy Emmanuel, Andy Fairweather Low and Martin Taylor on guitars and vocals, keyboard icon / vocalist Georgie Fame, pianist Chris Stainton and many others on Just For A Thrill. In keeping with Wyman’s rootsy approach to music making, the band tackles a number of originals and standards, flavoring the music with a little bit of soul, blues, R&B, boogie woogie, ballads and more. Wyman tastefully handles all the bass work and even lends his unique vocal skills on several cuts including a rousing cover of the George Harrison classic “Taxman” and there’s also a new cover of the Stones’ 1964 classic “Down Home Girl.” In addition to his great work with The Rhythm Kings, Wyman has written four books and even owns a restaurant called Sticky Fingers, to which he adds, “I’m a baby Leonardo da Vinci. You know how wonderful he was in a whole variety of things. I’m a bit like that in a very minuscule way. I just like that variety in my life, but...I can’t paint.”


A Tribute To Brian Wilson
(Varese Vintage)

Released in 2005 by L.A. based Varese Sarabande, A Tribute To Brian Wilson is a tasty tribute CD produced, arranged and performed by Cameron Michael Parkes. No relation to Van Dyke Parks, the younger Parkes is a self-proclaimed Brian Wilson fanatic and he waxes prolific on his love of all things Wilson in the liner notes with a fitting intro and track by tracks insights. The CD even features photos of Parkes recording at Brother Studios back in ‘77. Producing himself, Parkes states he “recorded this labor of love in my ‘spare time,’ usually in the wee hours of the morning”, and on his tribute he summons up 21 classic Wilson penned songs—from the early ‘60s surf-rock vibe of the Brian Wilson / Jan Berry classic “Gonna Hustle You” all the way up to and including set closing take on Wilson’s 1990 Phil Spector-sized masterpiece, “The Spirit Of Rock And Roll.”

(Inside Out)

If at first you don’t succeed, and you then release an album as good as Octane, then you more than live up to legend of a term prog-rock supergroup. Following the departure of key composer and lead singer Neal Morse, the quartet of released guitar ace Alan Morse, Nick D’Virgilio (drums, vocals), Ryo Okomoto (keys) and Dave Meros (bass) released the tentative Feel Euphoria in 2003 and with the 2005 release of Octane they once again hit new heights on record. Alan’s brother Neal is still missed, but now with the quartet lineup finding Nick in the role of lead singer and drummer, the band nail a new pop-prog hybrid sound filled with catchy hooks and dramatic prog-rock overtures. The outstanding CD cover art takes note of the group’s vintage yet newly streamlined, unleaded approach. For their eighth album, Spock's rocks on high Octane.

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