HuffPost Exclusives: R.E.M. and Cory Chisel, Plus Bruce Hornsby Interview, Big Star Box, Paolo Nutini Live, This Week's New Albums, and more...

R.E.M. will be releasing, a 39-song, two CD set containing "working rehearsals" from 2007. I was lent a track that captures the band's energy and insightful views.
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On October 27th, R.E.M. will be releasing Live At The Olympia, a 39-song, two CD set containing "working rehearsals" from 2007. Taken from five nights of live "tests" at the Dublin venue and culminating in the group's Accelerate album, these recordings document R.E.M.'s "experiment in terror" during which the band played before friends, family, fan club supporters, and lucky fans from across the globe. "We were just trying to do something we hadn't done before," says guitarist Peter Buck, "which meant there was no relaxing during the set. Every second we were playing something we didn't know all that well, which was kind of good. There were all sorts of terror elements going on during that show." A CD/DVD variant also will debut with backstage footage directed by filmmakers Vincent Moon and Jeremiah. As a teaser for the upcoming release, the Huffington Post was lent the audio track for "Mr. Richards" that captures the band's energy and insightful views.

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Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons -- "So Wrong For Me" Video

On September 29, the multi-talented Cory Chisel releases his Black Seal album Death Won't Send A Letter, a record filled with his unique alternative folk-rock that is rich in lyrics and rootsy, American images (available on iTunes now). With guests Jack Lawrence and Brendan Benson from The Raconteurs and guitarist Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, Chisel and company's CD features "Born Again," the album's first single and leadoff track, plus "So Wrong For Me," its new emphasis track. "Wrong"'s video now debuts on the Huffington Post with a little history and commentary by the artist:

"This was shot by our good friend John Christian Adams while we were recording at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles prior to moving to Nashville for the remainder of the album. We're so used to having John around that you really don't ever notice him filming. 'So Wrong For Me' is such an important song for me in particular. The original demo that Adriel Harris and I did for that tune just seemed impossible to match. So much so that when we released our debut EP Cabin Ghosts last year, we decided to release just that original demo. It was the only song off of that EP that we felt must be on the record so the stakes were really high. It's a song best kept spare so that the lyrical content really resonates. And the simple playing by Blake Mills, Little Jack, Patrick Warren and Matt Chamberlain is just beautiful."

Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons - Death Won't Send A Letter

1. Born Again
2. Calm Down
3. Longer Time At Sea
4. Angel of Mine
5. My Heart Would Be There
6. Curious Thing
7. So Wrong For Me
8. What Do You Need
9. Love Is Gone
10. Tennessee
11. Mockingbird

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers - Levitate

Beyond calling Bruce Hornsby "a remarkable pianist," the New York Times added, "The America in his music is one of countless connections and intersections...that's still wide open and welcoming." That's a pretty good introduction to Hornsby's latest album, Levitate, his Verve Forecast debut and first "solo" (kind of) project since 2004's Halcyon Days. His two more recent, critically acclaimed collaborative efforts--the bluegrass-driven Ricky Scaggs & Bruce Hornsby, and the jazzy Camp Meeting recorded with Christian McBride and Jack DeJohnette--showcased Hornsby's musical diversity; but Levitate's thirteen tracks return the three-time Grammy®-winner to the singer-songwriter/story-filled Americana that was at the heart of his most classic recordings. Levitate also is elevated by its musical ensemble made up of Hornsby's touring group the Noisemakers (guitarist Doug Derryberry, bassist JV Collier, drummer Sonny Emory, keyboardist John "J.T." Taylor, and Bobby Read on reeds), guest Eric Clapton (on "Space Is The Place"), and co-writing collaborators Robert Hunter, composer Thomas Newman (through a unique "arrangement"), and his old friend, Chip deMatteo.

Mike Ragogna: The recorder wasn't on yet, I didn't get you. Okay, let's start.

Bruce Hornsby: I'm the enigmatic and inscrutable. You can't really get me.

MR: But I just did. And so did Verve. What's the story behind your label switch?

BH: I was signed in 1985 by RCA. Clive Davis dropped me after eighteen years in 2003, and then I signed with Columbia/Sony, and they merged with BMG, so all my catalog is at one place. I was with Sony Legacy, then signed with Verve, my third label in my ... good lord ... twenty-four years of doing this.

MR: Verve is pretty rich in history, it having been the home of so many great jazz and folk legends. It seems like the perfect label for your recordings.

BH: I signed with Verve over two or three other labels because we just felt that it was the right place. When we went to them, they instantly responded to the record, plus there was an historical reason ... Bill Evans is one of my all time piano heroes, and he recorded for many years on Verve Records. When it came time to pick the CD cover art, they came up with something fancy for the label, personalized to me, and I said, "No, no, I just want the old Verve label like Bill Evans At Town Hall." When I was on Columbia with Halcyon Days, I said I just want an all red label. I'm just a sentimental ol' bastard in that way...

MR: Cool perks when you're on a cool label. So, what's behind Levitate?

BR: The goal for this record -- the raison d'etre, I guess, was I felt we never made a studio record that captured the sound of our band, the Noisemakers. As you see, this is the first record called Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. From note one of the first song, especially on the first four songs, I wanted it to feel like our band playing, and it was recorded the old fashioned way -- a bunch of guys in a room playing together. The record, to me, splits up into three different four-song segments, the first four ending in a sort of anthemic ballad, "Continents Drift," the second four ending in another one, "Here We Go Again," and the final four ending with a funny song about the South, "In The Low Country." The songs in the middle mostly tended to be, not so much live, but with modern loops and production techniques. "Levitate" and "Invisible" don't have the sound of our band, really, but the first four and the last four are the sound of the Noisemakers.

MR: Many of these songs are great social commentaries and even historical docs, such as "Black Rats" that combines the two. I think it's safe to say it's the best wiseass ode to pestilence ever written.

BH: I think that's a great way of putting it. It is a wiseass way of deflating the whole "Isn't Our History So Great!" scenario. So many people like to whitewash history. And also, it's a funny truth. People talk about our great Revolutionary War where we beat the redcoats. Well, you know, we probably wouldn't have done it if Cornwallis' army hadn't been so f***in' sick! You know, it was from whatever they had -- "standing weekly on Yorktown battlefields with measles and small pox," set to rhyme with "parasites decimated the red army of Cornwallis and his flock." So, right, it is a wiseass way of deflating some of those myths or just the way people think of U.S. history.

MR: You're always there with that line where people can go, "What? What did he just say?" like at the end of the track.

BH: It's funny, I felt like I had to put an addendum in the tag because I didn't want people to think that I thought this was such a good thing that we defeated the Indians in the 1600s. So I wrote the last "Where were the black rats when we needed them the most, there were slave owners to infect and the Joe Mengeles of the American West" sort of referring to the American holocaust of the Indians. I would think they would get the cynicism right away with the intro that goes, "In our beautiful pursuit of manifest destiny, we give ourselves great credit, we thank the good Lord so earnestly," I mean, you've got to realize it right away, it's like, "oh, okay..."

MR: Who's rapping with you on "Prairie Dog Town"?

BH: I'm in there saying, "Watch your dry bones," but the main voice there is a longtime voice from our records. His name is Floyd Hill, he's about 77-years-old, and he's the most trash-talkin'-est cat and one of the greatest people I know. Actually, on my record Big Swing Face, "June" as we call him -- his name is Floyd Hill Jr. -- had a great part in a song called "No Home Training," and he talked a load of craziness. The "best" and dirtiest stuff we didn't use, but we came close to the line on that one. I don't know anybody else who can sound like that, you know, there are just some people who have a certain "sound," and he has an amazing one, and I always wanted it on my records. On "Black Rats," he's also the guy going, "Jamestown!"

MR: Then after the fun and games, "Cyclone" gets more philosophical, especially with lines like, "I've got no answers of my own, and none have been provided."

BH: You know those are Robert Hunter's lyrics with a couple of additions from me.

MR: And the chorus sounds a little influenced by The Band.

BH: I love Levon, I performed at his Midnight Ramble last Fall up in Woodstock. He's an old friend, and Robbie Robbertson and I wrote a song together for his record Storyville in '92. Those guys are old friends of mine, and obviously, I love The Band. I totally hear it too, I can totally hear it as being "Band-ish."

MR: The next song, "Continental Drift," is another heartfelt track, and the 3/4 versus 4/4 timings are pretty seamless. Intentional?

BH: That's one of my supposed clever tricks that I'm proud of. It starts in waltz time, then it goes into 4/4 gradually. To me, it's fairly seamless, but fun. I'm a lifelong music student, and I'm always looking to find interesting ways of doing things in the songs whether it's harmonically or, in this case, rhythmically.

MR: And then along comes "Paperboy." Creepy.

BH: Yeah, that's my Arnold Schoenberg meets The Beatles song. I'm really into 21st century classical music with its very dissonant, chromatic, harmonic language, and I'm constantly inflicting that music on my poor, unsuspecting audience. On the last record, I had a fairly dissonant moment in a song called "What The Hell Happened To Me," and with this one and the song "Michael Raphael," I'm dealing with more chromatic/melodic material. I'm really proud of those two songs in that way, and I'm finally utilizing this language in my music and in my songwriting more.

MR: There's more of that dissonance in your title track which is an old movie theme inside out. Did you work on this with Thomas Newman?

BH: I didn't do it with him, I just took his music and turned it into a song, so it's sort of "money for nothing" for Tom. [Laughs] I was glad he liked it. He could have said, "Nah, forget about it, I don't like it, please don't use this." But he liked what we did. I just loved that theme in The Shawshank Redemption score, and so I thought it would make a good song. I put this beat to it and wrote the song ... it's very simple, there's not much to it. It's doing its loop, and I think the verse is sort of my Righteous Brothers melody. I can here Bill Medley singing it.

MR: When your topics or characters are especially American, you seem to approach them with a lot of the same spirit as another Newman ... Randy. And "Michael Raphael" pretty much matches his humor. Is he an influence?

BH: Randy Newman's one of my heroes, I've always loved what he's done. I rediscovered him about ten years ago with his box set, and I love his last two records, especially Bad Love, the one he made for Dreamworks. So anyone who says they hear Randy Newman in my stuff, I'm all for that, I love him. The lyrics on "Michael Raphael" were written by my old childhood friend, Chip deMatteo.

MR: Did you and Chip work on anything when you were kids?

BH: We had our own company -- Zappo Productions -- in junior high school and high school, and we'd book only the worst bands in our town. We reserved the right to name them, so we had such bands as "The Uncommon Cold" and "The Soul Basketball." Anyway, he wrote (the lyrics on) "Continents Drift," "Paperboy," "Simple Prayer," and "Michael Raphael."

MR: On that last title, what motivated you to write about an Italian Renaissance painter turned musical producer?

BH: [Laughs] It's about the archangels Michael and Raphael, and the reason we wrote that is the producer of the play we're writing--by the way, some songs on this record are from our musical that's called SCKBSTD--is named Michael Raphael. So we wrote this just to mess with him. That's Chip deMatteo's inane cleverness.

MR: Who's overseeing SCKBSTD?

BH: Kathleen Marshall is signed on which is a coup for us because she's one of the great Broadway directors. She has really helped develop the play, and it's still in development ... I still don't think we have a strong ending yet, but it's close.

MR: Are you able to nix anything you don't like?

BH: I definitely have a lot of input, so sure.

MR: What's going on exactly in "Here We Are Again"?

BH: "Here We Are Again" is a time-travel fantasy using physicists' language in the lyrics, and harmonically, it has that little trick that takes it out of standard diatonic writing. It's a love song utilizing physics, oddly enough. I don't write many love songs, I never considered myself to be that good at it. I think it's hard to write a really good one after all the years of thousands of them. But every now and then, if I feel I've got an interesting slant on it or way into it, I'll write one. "Here We Are Again" is also for the musical.

MR: Then you've got "Space Is The Place" which sounds like jazzy rock romp with a little Parliament thrown in.

BH: Parliament, wow! Funkadelic! You know, my bass player and drummer J.D. Collier and Sonny Emory are both huge Parliament/Funkadelic fans, and they really brought that fact to life when they played on it. We had the song lying around and we recorded it with just some loops and machines, and it wasn't that great. I played it for them, and interestingly enough, I had this Jane's Addiction record that one of my sons liked. I played it for them and said, "This is the felling I'd like for this song." And so they played that and transformed the song, hence, their songwriting credit because I think their contribution on a groove level really made the song come to life. And that's Eric Clapton playing guitar on it.

MR: By the way, "In The Low Country"? Ridiculously addicting.

BH: Hey, we love our Bobby Labonte and the WWF. It's about Williamsburg or lots of places in the South, really.

MR: As far as other projects, you recently participated in The Village compilation on Savoy/429 Records. How did that come about?

BH: It's a Village folk scene tribute record they're putting out soon. They asked me if I was interested in being a part of it, and I always loved the John Sebastian song, "Darling, Be Home Soon." So I asked them if it was okay if I submitted that, they said yes, and I said, "Okay, I'm in."

MR: How does the guy behind "The Way It Is" and "Look Out Any Window" feel about the current fracus over healthcare?

BH: I'm always surprised that people trust corporate America more than they trust the government. Corruption is rampant everywhere, but I don't think that corporate America or insurance companies have given us anything that has the impact of or compares with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the G.I. Bill, Head Start or the Peace Corps for God's sake! I don't understand this knee-jerk hatred of government involvement when compared to the alternative.

MR: It's such a misinformation campaign by these corporations and their political allies that's actually been successful on many levels. On the other hand, you've got the democrats who refuse to bring their weapons to the war.

BH: I think the democrats and liberals in general have been cowed for years by the venom and vitriol of the republican campaigns to, for instance, turn the word "liberal" into a four-letter word. So now, lots of people like to call themselves "progressives." You know, "liberal" means being broad-minded and open to things. It's gradually changing, but it takes a while to realize there's nothing wrong with saying you're a liberal--it's actually a beautiful thing. It's been so demonized, and it's interesting because "conservative" has meant opposition to the Civil Rights movement, you know? It was conservatives who were opposing it, though my conservative friends will say, "Well, they were democrats." Okay, but that's disingenuous because everyone knows that democrats in the South, up until the Civil Rights Act was passed, were conservative. So to say that is misleading, and my conservative friends, when pushed, will go, "Okay, that's right, the conservatives were the democrats."

MR: Switching gears a little, how do you feel you've grown as an artist since your early records?

BH: My whole approach is about improving and growing and evolving. I think anyone who's stayed with us has seen the gradual evolution, and anyone who's missed a big chunk and comes back to it will go, "Hmm, this is not what I expected." That's pretty much the reaction I generally get, which is nice. I think that if someone listens to this record and listens to the first record, it's unrecognizable. Like the singing ... it sounds like a different person.

MR: All those years ago, were you surprised at how big a hit "The Way It Is" became?

BH: Of course. You know, it was a fluke. It was a wonderful accident that occurred on BBC Radio in England. A guy over there heard it, put it on, and it instantly became a hit. Everyone at RCA thought it was a b-side, so that was a shock and a beautiful surprise. And then it just went from there. We had the other two hits and we could have kept releasing singles from that album, but we just stopped because we were ready to make the next record that had "Valley Road" and "Look Out Any Window" which were also hits. It's funny, we didn't think of ourselves as a Top Forty group at all, we just thought we were an American group utilizing accordions and violins, pianos and guitars. But then we went a long way in a hurry, and we found ourselves opening for the Grateful Dead, Steve Winwood, John Fogerty, and the Eurythmics, and that was a whole new arena for us. We had to grow up, we had an adult dose of learning how to deal in the big arena. That was the most difficult year I had, quite frankly.

MR: In Nashville in the eighties, your music was the talk of the industry.

BH: A lot of Nashville piano players would say to me years later, "Hey, thanks a LOT, motherf***er ... for about ten years, all I'd get was, 'Can you make it sound more like Bruce Hornsby?'" It was unfortunate for those guys, and I've apologized to them profusely for years for their having been inflicted with that.

MR: The next question comes from a friend of your family's, Al Albert's son Graham. "Who is your favorite Norwegian soccer goalie?"

BH: [Laughs] That would have to be Aiden Brown. I knew his dad when I was a kid. He went to William & Mary, played football and was always over at our house, and he was a friend of my parents who took him under their wing. So it's great to see young Aiden all these years later. His little brother Chris came to private school here and ended up in Boston College as a goalie too. It was the illustrious jock Brown family.

MR: You and your brothers are big sports fans too, right?

BH: Yeah, that's right, we'd shoot a little ball, sure. And now one of my sons plays, and his brother is a runner. We're always competing at something.

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers - Levitate


1. The Black Rats Of London
2. Prairie Dog Town
3. Cyclone
4. Continents Drift
5. Paperboy
6. Invisible
7. Levitate
8. Here We Are Again
9. Space Is The Place
10. Michael Raphael
11. Simple Prayer
12. In The Low Country

Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky

At the time of its release, Big Star's album #1 Record was supposed to fulfill the prophecy of its title, it being cleverly dubbed so for marketing purposes while revealing a tad of the foursome's humor. But Big Star's debut -- starring former Box Top member Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel -- never rose to such heights, and the group's Bell-less follow up Radio City (as in the venue such a phenomenally successful band naturally would play) commercially glimmered even less. A third album, Third/Sister Lovers, barely made it out of the gate and was all but an Alex Chilton showcase. However, over the years, history has recast Big Star in a different light, as a seminal band that influenced everyone from R.E.M. to Matthew Sweet, practically inventing the power pop genre along the way. To celebrate the group's very real contribution to popular music, on September 15, Rhino is releasing three discs of those three albums' key tracks, alternate versions, demos, rare mixes, as well as a fourth disc that contains various live performances of the Stars at Memphis Lafayette Music Room. The following are some sentiments and reminiscences on the band:

Interview With Original Big Star Member Jody Stephens:

Mike Ragogna: At the time, did you think that #1 Record was going to be an important one?

Jody Stephens: Right after we worked up the first song, I went, "Damn, that's a great song!" Then there was our first adventure into the studio together and that process ... getting things mixed, and the revelation while hearing those things that it was becoming an important record to me. Outside of that, you know, none of the records were hits. We would have ads at particular radio stations -- I think WBCN in Boston -- and we were getting some really great press. John King was the publicist and marketing guy at Ardent. He made sure the right music journals got the record.

MR: And there was consistent critical acclaim, right?

JS: The reviews were wonderful, that was all pretty exciting. But at some point, Stax took their distribution deal to Columbia and that just didn't work out.

MR: All fingers seem to point at the distribution deal being the main problem.

JS: We'd do these records and be really proud and excited about them, and it was enough for me to hold them in my hands. Both Andy and I were going to school at the time, and Big Star was not really a full time venture for any of us. From my understanding, no one was really interested in managing us, and their were no booking agents who were stepping up and booking the band. So we had a lot of time to kill, Andy and I went to school, and we had part time jobs and stuff.

MR: Did you tour a little to support the record?

JS: Emphasis on the word "little." After the release of the first album, Chris, Andy, Alex and I all piled into a minivan with another band and did some gigs around Mississippi and maybe Alabama. Andy dubbed it "The BC Tour" because they were cities like Corinth and Athens and all Greek names. And we played City Park in New Orleans. But that was about the extent of that touring.

MR: How about touring for the second album?

JS: Andy, Alex and I flew up to New York to play Max's Kansas City, where we traded sets with Ed Begley Jr ...

MR: These days, you and Alex are joined by The Posies' Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer and still play out, right?

JS: The four of us get together, and the last time we played in the States was in October 20, 2008 at the Filmore in San Francisco. Last year we played Shepherd's Bush in London, and then a date just north of London. This year, we played in Málaga, Spain, then we went back to London and played a date in Hyde Park with Junior Sticks, and now we're booked to play the Masonic temple in Brooklyn on November 18, so that will be our third date for the year.

MR: Is touring still fun?

JS: I can't imagine doing this if it wasn't fun. It's such a gas playing that it makes it all worthwhile.

MR: Who have you played with over the years since Big Star?

JS: I played in a band The Suspicions, they were kind of a power pop or power punk band. I played with a guy named Keith Sykes, some cover bands, and I sat in with Matthew Sweet on a record, and Elliott Smith. I just did some overdubs with the Afghan Whigs, Bill Loyd, and was a band member of Golden Smog on the Weird Tales record.

MR: What were the internal dynamics of Big Star after #1 Record? Was there any drama due to the great expectations?

JS: Being in a band is much like in a marriage, and you share things that are intimate. You're about as vulnerable in sitting down to be creative with someone as you are being in a relationship with someone in terms of love. So, there were typical moments when there'd be a rub in personalities. But there was no real tension that was chronic between Chris and Andy, or Chris and Alex, or any of us really.

MR: Why did Chris Bell leave the group?

JS: Chris left the band, I think, because he was disappointed with the results of #1 Record and also with the fact that the press focused on Alex given that he'd had success with The Box Tops. It was only natural for music writers to focus on Alex because of that success. I think Chris saw himself, maybe, as living in that shadow, and didn't really care to do that. So Chris left the band, it wasn't about band chemistry at all or personalities, it was more about that.

MR: And you and Alex played on Chris' album?

JS: Yeah, we all remained good friends. Alex wound up singing on a few things of Chris' like "You And Your Sister," and there are some other interactions included on the (I Am The Cosmos) reissue that's coming out. I played drums on some tracks, and even Andy participated.

MR: Over the many years that have passed since the early Big Star days, you've stayed pretty active playing music. That's pretty impressive these days.

JS: I'm lucky enough that I can be in music and I get a paycheck every couple of weeks. But even as Big Star, I don't know that we all could make careers out of being in it.

MR: Do you have any advice for new bands as they try to have a life in music?

JS: I'd say play the music that strikes your fancy. Play stuff that comes out of you without a whole lot of thought about it...that just comes naturally. And have a good time with it, because making a career out of it is even more difficult these days. Learn all the social networking on the internet. So, have fun with it, if you're able to make a living at it, that's great. If not, well, you have something entertaining to do.

Jon Auer of Big Star and The Posies:

"The Posies started while I was still in my teens. I moved around a lot when I was a kid but basically grew up in a small college town called Bellingham, about 80 miles north of Seattle, Washington. When I finished high school, I moved to Seattle to get a shot at better Posies gigs and landed a job at a record store. A manager at the shop heard me play some of my Posies music on the in-house stereo system one day and forcibly walked me over to the vinyl section and handed me a copy of Big Star's reissued Radio City, said it was 'on him.' He told me to go straight home after work and drop the needle on 'September Gurls,' which I did.

"Ever hear that cliché about meeting someone for the first time and you feel like you've met them before, maybe even known them your whole life? It might sound corny, but that was definitely my experience. 'September Gurls' was undeniable. It was such a perfect pop song, a superlative performance and recording. Still is.

"Beyond that, I've been very touched by the darker, moody elements of Big Star, especially things like 'Daisy Glaze' and 'Nightime.' In my book, it's essential to include 'I Am the Cosmos' by Chris Bell which has been a profound influence as well. It's just an out-of-the-emotional-park number, a spiritual as far as I am concerned. It may be the most heartbreaking song of all time. My last solo CD Songs from the Year of Our Demise arguably reflects these kinds of songs: the melodic married with the melancholy. It's a perfect marriage if you ask me."

Ken Stringfellow of Big Star and The Posies:

"Big Star opened a huge door for me, where something truly avant garde and alternative could be made with structure, pop appeal, and top class recording quality. Not an underachievement to be appreciated to be glimpsed through the patina of shoddy recordings or half-assed playing, these records let their light shine unabashed...and still managed to miss connecting with an audience in their initial run. This added to my equation of what to aspire to, and what not to take personally should my shiny attempts at similar perfection (attemps, I said) see a similar fate."

Big Thoughts on Big Star from New York rock critic Rob Kemp:

Mike Ragogna: Rob, what do you love most about this group?

Rob Kemp: As much as most folks lionize Alex Chilton, I love Big Star best when Chilton collaborated with Chris Bell on #1 Record. Bell was pretty much the Robert Johnson of power-pop: the second side of #1 and I Am the Cosmos are every bit as haunted and soulful as King of the Delta Blues Singers. Although the band were dyed in the wool British invasion fans, it couldn't help but sound a good deal more soulful than, say, Badfinger or the Raspberries: growing up in Memphis in the 1960s is gonna have that effect.

MR: What do you think was Big Star's contribution to music?

RK: It seems like power-pop nerds and younger musicians have identified with Big Star for twenty years, and as such, have been invested with the perception that "they coulda been contenders." That's powerful mythology, but not as powerful as the band's music often is.

MR: Which bands do you think were the most influenced by Big Star?

RK: Obviously, there's the Replacements, Cheap Trick (they recorded "Out in the Street" as the theme for That '70s Show) the DBs, and every power-pop band ever post 1973. But I swear to God that Motley Crue's Mick Mars quoted "Try Again" in a guitar solo once, so I reckon he liked 'em!

What. You thought there wouldn't be an audio exclusive? Click on the arrow for a previously unreleased live version of "In the Street":

Big Star "In the Street" (Live)

click to play

Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky


Disc 1
1.Psychedelic Stuff - Original Mix - Chris Bell*
2.All I See Is You - Icewater
3.Every Day As We Grow Closer (Original Mix) - Alex Chilton
4.Try Again (Early Version) - Rock City
6.The Ballad Of El Goodo
7.In The Street - Alternate Mix*
8.Thirteen - Alternate Mix*
9.Don't Lie To Me
10.The India Song - Alternate Mix*
11.When My Baby's Beside Me - Alternate Mix*
12.My Life Is Right - Alternate Mix*
13.Give Me Another Chance - Alternate Mix*
14.Try Again
15.Gone With The Light *
16.Watch The Sunrise - Single Version
17.ST 100/6 - Alternate Mix*
18.The Preacher - (Excerpt) - Rock City*
19.In The Street - Alternative Single Mix*
20.Feel - Alternate Mix*
21.The Ballad Of El Goodo - Alternate Lyrics*
22.The India Song - Alternate Version*
23.Country Mourn
24.I Got Kinda Lost - Demo
25.Back Of A Car - Demo
26.Motel Blues - Demo*

Disc 2
1.There Was A Light - Demo*
2.Life Is White - Demo*
3.What's Going Ahn - Demo*
4.O My Soul
5.Life Is White
6.Way Out West
7.What's Going Ahn
8.You Get What You Deserve
9.Mod Lang - Alternate Mix*
10.Back Of A Car - Alternate Mix*
11.Daisy Glaze
12.She's A Mover
13.September Gurls
14.Morpha Too - Alternate Mix*
15.I'm In Love With A Girl
16.O My Soul - Alternate Version*
17.She's A Mover - Alternate Version
18.Daisy Glaze - Rehearsal Version*
19.I Am The Cosmos - Chris Bell
20.You And Your Sister - Chris Bell
21.Blue Moon - Demo*
22.Femme Fatale - Demo*
23.Thank You Friends - Demo*
24.Nightime - Demo*
25.Take Care - Demo*
26.You Get What You Deserve - Demo*

Disc 3
1.Lovely Day (aka Stroke It Noel) - Demo
2.Downs - Demo
3.Jesus Christ - Demo*
4.Holocaust - Demo*
5.Big Black Car - Alternate Demo*
7.Jesus Christ
8.Femme Fatale
9.O, Dana
10.Kizza Me
11.You Can't Have Me
13.Dream Lover
14.Big Black Car
15.Blue Moon
17.Stroke It Noel
18.For You
20.Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
21.Kanga Roo
22.Thank You Friends
23.Take Care
24.Lovely Day*
25.Till The End Of The Day - Alternate Mix*
26.Nature Boy - Alternate Mix*

Disc 4 - Live at Lafayette's Music Room, Memphis, TN
1.When My Baby's Beside Me*
2.My Life Is Right*
3.She's A Mover*
4.Way Out West*
5.The Ballad Of El Goodo*
6.In The Street*
7.Back Of A Car*
9.The India Song*
10.Try Again*
11.Watch The Sunrise*
12.Don't Lie To Me*
13.Hot Burrito #2*
14.I Got Kinda Lost*
15.Baby Strange*
17.There Was A Light*
18.ST 100/6*
19.Come On Now*
20.O My Soul*

*Previously unreleased

Paolo Nutini Live At The Wiltern

You really had to see this show to understand what this Scottrocker and his mates musically have put together, their having conquered The Wiltern in Los Angeles with opening act Anya Marina last Friday night. This is like nothing you've ever heard, it being an amalgam of Cab Calloway mini-moochings, Paul Simon Graceland rhythms, E Street Band stage camaraderie, dirty boogies, Aryan soca, Memphis country, Van Morrison and early rock 'n' roll howlings, and a raw energy that doesn't give a flip about promoting singles over having a damned good time. Purely based on feel and spontaneity, the band moves, spins, poses a little, and plays its collective ass off. The 22-year-old and his young non-hooligans (or young-hearted as in the case of his outrageously good harp-buster) genuinely seemed to enjoy each other's company as they rocked, and this boys club had a real "presence" very reminiscent of the great acts of the sixties. Though Paolo was absolutely the focus, there was so much else to be watching on stage--including the well-timed, subtle lighting effects and the billowing '50s "lamme" curtain that back-dropped the band. Actually, the whole show felt like it was of another era with the stage vibing like a mid-twentieth century high school gym, and Paolo's swagger and raspy, raucous vocals abducting the assembly and dumping them at the local pool hall.

The entourage rocked through many of the songs from These Streets, the new album, Sunny Side Up, and tracks that appeared in Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, CSI: Miami, and that addicting Puma commercial. When Paolo and company eventually ended their set, the audience genuinely didn't want this party to end, and after about three minutes of clapping, stomping, expected rowdiness (plus a stage-left roadie stoking the crowd further with a quick "get it louder" hand gesture), the lads returned for their fat encore after which Paolo again thanked the audience as the players exited carrying bottles of their well-earned hops-based libations. This show, like much of Paolo's recorded output, was high octane, and if you catch him and his brothers on tour, you will not be disappointed since this is extremely entertaining.

Paolo Nutini's Wiltern Set List:

Alloway Grove
High Hopes
Loving You
Mellow Down
Growing Up
Worried Man
Funky Cigarette
Coming Up Easy
Pencil Full Of Lead
(Hi Di Hi) / Mexico
New Shoes
No Other Way
These Streets
Jenny Don't Be Hasty
Last Request

Paolo Nutini's Band:
Gavin Fitzjohn - trumpet/sax/keys
Seamus Simon - drums
Michael McDaid - bass
Dave Nelson - guitar/percussion
Donny Little - lead guitar/ukelele
Fraser Speirs - harmonica

Hey, here's a little taste of the gang at T In The Park:

This Just In...

KROQ debuts "Sex On Fire" by That Noise
Apparently, Sunday night at 9:05 Pacific Time, the phone blew up at KROQ with calls coming in from all over the country requesting That Noise's cover of the Kings Of Leon song "Sex On Fire." Hey record companies, how are you missing this one?

Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift?
A very strange moment at the VMAs. No matter how one feels about Taylor Swift's win, that doesn't mean sore losers and egomaniacs get to ruin that moment for her. The music business should act better than Joe Wilson, no? At least Lady Gaga distracted us from Kanye's obnoxia.

This Week's New Albums...

Air Supply - The Singer And The Song
All-4-One - No Regrets
Anvil - This Is Thirteen
The Band Of Heathens - One Foot In The Ether
Peter Bernhard - Straight Line
Big Pun - The Legacy: The Best Of Big Pun
Big Scoop - Tech N9ne Presents Big Scoop Monsterifik
Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky (box set, see above article)
The Black Dahlia Murders - Deflorate
Rob Blackledge - Inside These Walls
Butterfly Boucher - Scaryfragile
Cain's Offering - Gather the Faithful
Cy Coleman - The Best Is Yet to Come: The Songs of Cy Coleman
Kurt Carr - Playlist: The Very Best of Kurt Carr
Dada Life - Just Do the Dada
Dappled Cities - Zounds
Marié Digby - Breathing Underwater
Dodos - Time to Die
The Elms - The Great American Midrange
Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic
Renée Fleming - Verismo
Ace Frehley - Anomaly
Gordon Gano and The Ryans - Under the Sun
Gary Go - Gary Go
Vern Gosdin - Late & Great: The Voice
The Grates - Teeth Lost, Hearts Won
Honor Society - Fashionably Late
Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers - Levitate (see above interview)
Infected Mushroom - Legend Of The Black Shawarma
Jefferson Airplane - Playlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Airplane
Lyfe Jennings - Playlist: The Very Best of Lyfe Jennings
Mason Jennings - Blood Of Man
George Jones - Playlist: The Very Best of George Jones
Jupiter One - Sunshower
Kid Cudi - Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
Kittie - In The Black
Chris Knight - Trailer II
Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky
Living Colour - The Chair in the Doorway
The Lovemakers - Let's Be Friends
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
John Mayall - Tough
Donnie McClurkin - Playlist: The Very Best of Donnie McClurkin
Megadeth - Endgame
Men At Work - Playlist: The Very Best of Men At Work
Moneen - The World I Want To Leave Behind
Muse - The Resistance
Orange - Phoenix
Outloud! - Outloud
The Pointer Sisters - Playlist: The Very Best of Pointer Sisters
Porcupine Tree - The Incident
Q-Tip - Kamaal the Abstract
The Rifles - Great Escape
Royal Bangs - Let It Beep
Rubik - Dada Bandits
Tom Russell - Blood and Candle Smoke
Santana - Supernatural: Legacy Edition
Savoy Brown - Too Much Of A Good Thing: The Savoy Brown Collection 1992-2007
Shadows Fall - Retribution
The 69 Eyes - Back In Blood
Shudder to Think - Live From Home
Simian Mobile Disco - Temporary Pleasure
Nina Simone - Playlist: The Very Best of Nina Simone
Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats - Meet the Meatbats
Something To Burn - Transitions
Sonos - SonoSings
Stars Of Track And Field - A Time For Lions
Sunny Day Real Estate - Diary
Super 400 - Sweet Fist
David Sylvian - Manafon
Toad the Wet Sprocket - Playlist: The Very Best of Toad the Wet Sprocket
Trick Daddy - Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug
Uncle Kracker - Happy Hour
Barry White - Number Ones
Ying Yang Twins - Ying Yang Forever
Yes - Something's Coming: The BBC Recordings 1969-1970
Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson - Break Up

The Press Releases You Need To Read Right Now (or later, that works too)...


Inaugural Vintage of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Sinatra Family Estates is proud to announce the release of its first vintage, "Come Fly With Me," a limited-production 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (500 cases). The wine is being produced from a 5-acre vineyard site in Napa Valley. "We spent several years seeking out the right vineyard land for this project and are delighted with the quality of fruit it is producing," said Sinatra Family Estates managing partner John Schwartz. The wine exhibits a deep ruby color with flavors of cedar, tobacco leaf, blueberry, and black currant, with beautiful tannins and a nice fleshy finish.

Each vintage of the Cabernet Sauvignon will pay tribute to the music and artistry of Frank Sinatra. The initial vintage celebrates the classic "Come Fly With Me," recorded by Sinatra in 1957. The album of the same name became Sinatra's first-ever #1 on the Billboard charts and was nominated in 1959 for an Album of the Year Grammy. The wine label is highlighted with a classic 45 rpm, embossed with the logo of Reprise Records, Frank Sinatra's own record company founded in 1960. The fedora is in orange, Frank's favorite color.

"Dad often ended his concerts with a toast to the audience that said, 'May you all live to be 100 and may the last voice you hear be mine.' With the launch of Sinatra Family Estates, we toast our father," says Nancy, Tina, and Frank Sinatra, Jr.

About Sinatra Family Estates
Privately held Sinatra Family Estates is a collaboration between the family of the legendary icon Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Enterprises, and partners Danielle Price (Executive Director of Wine for Wynn Resorts and owner of Coup de Foudre Winery) and John Schwartz (owner of Amuse Bouche Winery, Napa Valley).


Ready, the new album from Songbook Entertainment/Atlantic recording artist Trey Songz, has made a phenomenal chart debut, entering Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" tally at #2. The album - which includes the hits "I Need A Girl," "LOL :-) (Feat. Gucci Mane and Soulja Boy Tell 'Em)," and "Successful (Drake & Trey Songz)" - also exploded into the #3 spot on the overall SoundScan/Billboard 200.

What's more, Ready is proving a digital blockbuster, debuting at #2 on this week's SoundScan "Digital Albums" chart. The Deluxe Version and the standard edition of "READY" are currently standing tall at #1 and #2 respectively on iTunes' "Top R&B/Soul Albums" chart. In addition, the album's Deluxe Version is ranked at #11 on iTunes' comprehensive "Top Albums" tally.

Hailed by the late, great Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun as "among the most promising R&B artists we have had on Atlantic since we started the company 60 years ago," "READY" officially establishes Trey Songz among the pantheon of R&B greats. The album - which follows 2007's breakthrough sophomore set, "TREY DAY" - sees the Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter teaming with an array of accomplished collaborators, including Eric Hudson, Bryan-Michael Cox, Johnta Austin, Carlos "Los DaMystro" McKinney, and Trey's longtime producer, Songbook Entertainment founder Troy Taylor. From the player's anthem, "Neighbors Know My Name," to the Mary J. Blige-inspired "One Love," Trey draws on a range of styles to craft an extraordinary album guaranteed to thrill his already fervent fanbase while happily surprising all newcomers.

Ready is highlighted by Trey's top 5 rap smash, "Successful (Drake & Trey Songz)." Originally found on Drake's hit mixtape, "SO FAR GONE," the track now includes a brand new verse from Trey and is first available for purchase on Ready. A companion video is currently in rotation at BET, FUSE, and all MTV properties, including MTV, MTV2, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, MTV Tr3s, and VH1 Soul.

"LOL :-)," the album's most recent single, is blowing up now at Urban Mainstream radio outlets nationwide. The track follows Trey's recent smash single, "I Need A Girl." Produced by the Grammy Award-winning team, Stargate (Flo Rida, Ne-Yo, Beyoncé), the track was a top 5 Urban Mainstream hit earlier this year. The "I Need A Girl" companion video was recently added at MTV, while remaining in major rotation at MTV2, MTV Jams, MTV Hits, and MTV Tr3s. The clip is also a top 5 video at VH1 Soul, where it is currently in "Power" rotation.
Recently named the "Hottest R&B Singer In The Game Right Now" by, Trey celebrated last week's arrival of Ready with an intimate performance at New York City's Highline Ballroom. "Trey Songz transfixes like no other R&B singer of the day," declared the New York Times' Jon Caramanica in his rave review of the show, further praising Trey as "dapper, charming and utterly confident." The superstar singer is now poised to hit the road as headliner on the upcoming "BET Live! 106 & Park Tour." The coast-to-coast trek - which also features Mario, Day26, and Sean Garrett - will launch on September 29th at Los Angeles' House of Blues and then travel the country through mid-November (see attached itinerary).
As if all that weren't enough, Trey will be among the luminaries performing at the upcoming VH1 Hip-Hop Honors 2009, slated to tape later this month at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. The star-studded event - which this year commemorates the 25th anniversary of Def Jam Records - will then premiere on VH1 on Tuesday, October 13 at 9PM ET/PT (check local listings).


Jer Coons' new tour dates are announced today. After the Speak record release show at Higher Ground in his hometown of Burlington, VT on September 25, Jer will head out on his first large national tour. The initial run of 16 dates will be followed by west coast shows later in 2009. Jer just finished a run of east coast dates supporting Colin Hay of Men at Work.

Two decades into life, Jer's dedication to his songwriting is about to payoff. The young Vermonter will release his debut CD Speak on September 29. From the graceful power chords of the title track that open the album to the closing, endearing ballad "The Only Trace," listener's can hear Jer's persona within each song. There are no "album tracks" as they all stand alone as well-executed pop songs, crafted with maturity and an ear for melodies. His backing band of musicians - all Vermonters as well - keep the songs instantly engaging. And they are great players that can play the tracks as well live as they did on the album.

Though Speak isn't out until fall, the world got a little taste of Jer Coons this June. His first slick and impossibly catchy single "Legs," was featured on the Hollister June in-store play list. While other artists have songs that find their way into a store, most don't get the same reaction. As the song played through out the day in over 6,000 stores, his MySpace plays skyrocketed to over 4,500 per day with "Legs" alone getting 3,000+. All this traffic has turned Jer into the 3rd most popular artist on MySpace from the Green Mountain State after Phish and Grace Potter. At the same time he sold over advance 4,000 singles across the month of June on iTunes. All this is without any other promotion.

"I've been waiting my whole life to make this album," Jer says with a grin. It truly shows. As his debut release, Speak really seems twenty years in the making. The melodies, the lyrics, the production and most of all, Jer's personality sync together perfectly to create a unique brand of Vermont pop.

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