Welcome to the Blackout!

Welcome to the Blackout (Live London ’78) is a live album by David Bowie recorded on the Isolar II Tour. It had a limited vinyl release on 21 April 2018 for Record Store Day. A more widely available CD edition is due to follow on 29 June 2018, along with digital releases for download and streaming.

Check out Sound and Vision (previously unheard!). I think this release is better than my beloved Stage:
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The album was recorded live by the RCA mobile unit during the Isolar II tour at Earls Court, London on 30 June and 1 July 1978 by Tony Visconti, and was mixed by Bowie and David Richards at Mountain Studios, Montreux, from 17-22 January 1979.
The performance of “Sound and Vision” on 1 July 1978, the live premiere of the song, was previously released on the 1995 compilation album, RarestOneBowie, as was the included version of “Be My Wife”.

Track listing

Side 1

  1. “Warszawa”
  2. “‘Heroes'”
  3. “What in the World”

Side 2

  1. “Be My Wife”
  2. “The Jean Genie”
  3. “Blackout”
  4. “Sense of Doubt”

Side 3

  1. “Speed of Life”
  2. “Sound and Vision”
  3. “Breaking Glass”
  4. “Fame”
  5. “Beauty and the Beast”

Side 4

  1. “Five Years”
  2. “Soul Love”
  3. “Star”
  4. “Hang On to Yourself”
  5. “Ziggy Stardust”
  6. “Suffragette City”

Side 5

  1. “Art Decade”
  2. “Alabama Song”
  3. “Station to Station”

Side 6

  1. “TVC 15”
  2. “Stay”
  3. “Rebel Rebel”

Personnel

  • David Bowie – vocals, chamberlin
  • Adrian Belew – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Carlos Alomar – rhythm guitar, backing vocals, music director
  • George Murray – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Dennis Davis – drums, percussion
  • Roger Powell – keyboards, Moog Taurus bass pedals, synthesizer, backing vocals
  • Sean Mayes – piano, ARP String Ensemble, backing vocals
  • Simon House – electric violin

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High Fidelity – Costello in the 80s

Elvis Costello in 1983

High Fidelity – Costello in the 80s

  1. High Fidelity
  2. I Hope You’re Happy Now
  3. Lover’s Walk
  4. Man Out of Time
  5. New Amsterdam
  6. Brilliant Mistake
  7. This Town
  8. A Good Year for the Roses
  9. Blue Chair
  10. Human Hands
  11. From a Whisper to a Scream
  12. Great Train Robberies
  1. Everyday I Write the Book
  2. I Wanna Be Loved
  3. The Loved Ones
  4. Crimes of Paris
  5. Veronica
  6. The Long Honeymoon
  7. Human Touch
  8. Beyond Belief
  9. Strict Time
  10. Pills and Soap
  11. Almost Blue
  12. Our Little Angel
  13. Watch Your Step
  14. Shipbuilding

Total running time: 1:29:57

Tracks taken from the following albums:
Get Happy!! (1980)
Trust (1981)
Almost Blue (1981)
Imperial Bedroom (1982)
Punch the Clock (1983)
Goodbye Cruel World (1984)
King of America (1986)
Blood & Chocolate (1986)
Spike (1989)

This 25 track collection covers the albums, artistic phases, evolutions and bouts of fancy of the The Bespectacled One in the 1980s – arguably Elvis Costello’s most artistically rewarding decade. Coming off as one of the most important artists of the new wave era in the late 70s, Elvis expanded his sound with the unstoppable soul rock of Get Happy!! and Trust, covered his favourite country numbers on Almost Blue, created his Sgt Peppers masterpiece Imperial Bedroom then went all pop in the mid-80s. Back on track his first solo outing was the stripped back King of America and the reunited Attractions classic Blood and Chocolate. This reformation was short lived as he would pursue a solo career pretty much from the eclectic  Spike onwards. From there on in his output, generally without the Attractions, would become more and more expansive and collaborative.

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Roger Waters – Melbourne Concert

Back in the late-70s & early-80s the only exposure I had to Pink Floyd were lengthy listening sessions with a friend and his battered copy of Dark Side of the Moon, without fail the climactic Brain Damage/Eclipse finale would always give us the shivers.  Earlier still, I was terrified of my older brother’s copy of Wish You Were Here and the wordless album gatefold sleeve and accompanying mysterious Storm Thorgerson imagery. It wasn’t until 1987 when my personal love affair with all things Floyd really geared up. I can pinpoint the exact moment: it was September 1987 and they had just released their ‘comeback’ album A Momentary Lapse of Reason. I had just finished school and my part time job was funding my vast record collection (The Doors, Bowie, Stones etc). It was there and then my Pink Floyd obsession skyrocketed and never landed.

At that time I was in the fortunate position of being in a state of ignorant bliss. For me Pink Floyd was a faceless iconic brand. A singular entity. I had no idea who the main players were, their rift, let alone Syd Barrett. I didn’t care either. All I knew was the (former) bassist Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, and their amazing guitarist and singer David Gilmour had released a solo album in 1978 (cause my bro’ had that too), but the detail was otherwise new to me. I don’t think the general record buying public knew or cared about this sort of thing either. All I cared about was that it was a new Pink Floyd album. Waters, unfairly, would later call A Momentary Lapse of Reason “a pretty fair forgery”, but at the time for me, it looked like a Floyd album, and sounded like a Floyd album. And I loved it.

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Then in 1988 Pink Floyd released an Australian-only box set called The Box, containing all of the albums released between 1975-1988. Perfect for me. It is now common knowledge this collection of music is some of the greatest music the 20th Century has to offer, so along with my new pink vinyl copy of Dark Side… and the superb Meddle rounding out my collection, what a treasure trove this was to cherish for a lifetime.

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My obsession did not stop there, it continued into associated solo materiel too. As much as I admired Dave for his chops and sublime vocals, I developed a major liking to all things Roger. I bought The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking which was a huge game changer for me and an album I still rate incredibly highly. The increasingly contemptuous Waters-penned albums like Animals, The Wall and particularly The Final Cut fascinated me no end, and I grew to love them more and more. I even bought Radio KAOS (I’m one of those rare enthusiasts that actually likes it), and devoured that. These albums rounded out my Floyd requirements nicely, creating the perfect balance. My familiarisation with all of this materiel led me to realise Pink Floyd also had a guy who screamed when he sang, and took on subject matter like his deep personal feelings, politics and World War II. I thought it was all atmospherics and ethereal instrumentals with vocals a la Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Now I could not get enough.

the box

Over time I came to realise what we all now know: megalomaniac Roger, the creative driving force behind the band’s conceptual masterpieces, bitterly splintered with the rest of the band who bravely continued on without him, while Roger pursued the steep uphill climb of a solo career for which I think we can safely now say, with this top 1 arena ticket (the Us + Them world tour), he has well and truly reached the summit, and is now a household name. Which brings me to the Melbourne show 11 Feb 2018.

Where to begin? Arena shows are not really my bag these days but there’s no getting around it when it comes to this kind of performer. A mother and daughter next to me bragging about previous Floyd and Waters experiences, and of all people the highly conservative Alice Cooper of which they were huge fans notwithstanding, my buddy and I settled in ready to be blown away. Rather than one conceptual performance as we had previously seen with The Wall show (a tour I missed), here Waters delivered something of a best-of selection.

Openers Speak to Me and Breathe were quickly followed by Meddle’s One of These Days. A huge screen delivered stunning classic Floyd imagery: animated clocks for Time, Breathe (reprise) and Great Gig in the Sky, rounding out the Dark Side set nicely. Other well known tracks taken from The Wall and Wish You Were Here were tastefully interspersed with decent new album materiel (Is This the Life We Really Want? from 2017) and more laser precision visuals, before a 20 minute intermission. How very 1970s.

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Intermission consisted of smashing our way to the bar for water where I spied enough Pink Floyd t-shirts to loop the globe, although none quite as good as mine then back in time for Part 2 where it was immediately clear this was what we had come for. A huge Battersea Power Station rose up out of the audience for Dogs (an all time personal favourite song) using a combination of laser and giant screens, and for a big Animals fan it was truly an amazing spectacle. The follow up was another Animals classic: Pigs (Three Different Ones). This turned out to be a huge and somewhat gruelling Trump-bashing marathon. It was sort of beneath Roger to do this. We all know Trump is a dangerous dummy. Do I need that shoved down my throat at a gig like this? Not sure. Roger has certainly updated the lyrics well for 2018 as it was originally an attack on Mary Whitehouse, a ghastly censorious figure from the 1970s. Anyway, the Alice Cooper ladies next to me up and left so I guess they were Trump fans. Go figure. My feeling was there was no one more into this political bombast than Waters himself. He was parading around the stage, arms aloft, fists of fury pumped, urging us to do the same, but receiving nothing more than a level of indifference (don’t forget this was in Australia). A touch heavy handed for this Floyd fan.
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Then it was back on track with classic crowd pleasing Dark Side numbers to round out the set (Us and Them, Money) before a gigantic rainbow prism engulfed the auditorium, a rather breathtaking sight, and a clearly emotional Waters delivered the knock out punch of Brain Damage/Eclipse.
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For the encore Waters appropriately gave us Mother and Comfortably Numb from The Wall, having wisely dropped Vera and Bring the Boys Back Home. The guitarists, band and backing singers were spot on both musically and vocally.
I regularly listen to a highly entertaining podcast call WTF by Marc Maron and he interviewed Waters in 2016. The main thrust of his lasting legacy  was to be a major contributor to the theatricality of arena rock. This high-tech spectacle, accompanying the brilliant music he made with Pink Floyd perfectly demonstrated his unrivalled brilliance and prowess in that department.
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Bowie – Modern Day Masterpeices

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It’s a good time of the year to post Bowie – Modern Day Masterpieces. This two-part, 30 track collection covers Bowie materiel from 1984-2016:

Part 1 (mp3)

  1. Blackstar – Blackstar (2016)
  2. Where Are We Now? – The Next Day (2013)
  3. Absolute Beginners – Absolute Beginners Soundtrack (1986)
  4. Looking for Satellites – Earthling (1997)
  5. The Pretty Things Are Going to Hell – Hours (1999)
  6. Nite Flights – Black Tie White Noise (1993)
  7. Sue (Or In a Season of Crime) – Blackstar (2016)
  8. Time Will Crawl – Never Let Me Down (1987)
  9. The Next Day – The Next Day (2013)
  10. Loving the Alien – Tonight (1984)
  11. The Motel – Outside (1995)
  12. I Can’t Give Everything Away – Blackstar (2016)
  13. Heathen (The Rays) – Heathen (2002)
  14. Strangers When We Meet – The Buddha of Suburbia (1993)
  15. You’ve Been Around – Black Tie White Noise (1993)

Part 2 (mp3)

  1. Jump They Say – Black Tie White Noise (1993)
  2. Love is Lost – The Next Day (2013)
  3. The Heart’s Filthy Lesson – Outside (1995)
  4. I Have Not Been to Oxford Town – Outside (1995)
  5. This is Not America – The Falcon & the Snowman Soundtrack (1985)
  6. Never Let Me Down – Never Let Me Down (1987)
  7. I’m Deranged – Outside (1995)
  8. If You Can See Me – The Next Day (2013)
  9. Sunday – Heathen (2002)
  10. You Feel So Lonely You Could Die – The Next Day (2013)
  11. Bring Me the Disco King – Reality (2003)
  12. Voyeur of Utter Destruction – Outside (1995)
  13. Dirty Boys – The Next Day (2013)
  14. Thursday’s Child – Hours (1999)
  15. Lazarus – Blackstar (2016)
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Bowie – Let’s Dance demo

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An early demo of ‘Let’s Dance’ has been released to celebrate what would have been the 71st birthday of David Bowie. Check it out below.

The track, which featured on the 1983 album of the same name, was recorded a year previously after Chic founder Nile Rodgers headed to Bowie’s Switzerland home to work on new songs that the music icon had penned.

After joining forces with bassist Erdal Kizilcay and engineer David Richards, they then headed into Montreux’s Mountain Studios to record an early stripped-back demo of the track.

Now, the demo has been released for the first time in 35 years after it was mixed by Rodgers – and it’s a far cry from the fully rounded sound that would eventually end up on Bowie’s seminal 1983 album.

The demo also includes Bowie’s visible delight at nailing the vocal take, with the music icon remarking ‘That’s it, that’s it! Got it, got it!’ at the end of the track.

 

Listen to the demo here.

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Duderama – Alfa Romeo (2017)

Surface to Air records presents Alfa Romeo, simultaneously the most quintessential and adventurous avant-rock outing from Duderama to date. Free to stream or download in your favourite format for a limited time only. So get yours. Today.

Also available for download at Duderama’s bandcamp page.

© Surface to Air records, 2017.

All songs and instruments by Messrs Brwn & Stck.

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Bob Dylan and The Band – The Best of the Basement Tapes (1967)

Bob Dylan and The Band- The Best of the Basement Tapes

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It was the birth of lo-fi. Dylan and the Band holed up in Big Pink, West Saugerties, New York from June to October 1967 to record a number of original songs, traditional numbers, and covers. The results were rough. Over time, the murk created its own mystique. The results were ready, and most importantly the results were brilliant.

After floating around in bootleg form for years, a selection of those recordings were eventually released by The Band (and Dylan) as 1975’s The Basement Tapes which also included some updated tracks recorded by The Band. And in 2014 the official Bootleg Series Vol.11: The Basement Tapes Complete collection was released, containing over 100 songs and alternate takes, snippets, goofs, and simply majestic moments from these famous home recording sessions.

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Haven’t trawled through the entire The Basement Tapes Complete as yet? Here at Pierce’s Press we’ve done the hard yards for you. Here is an alternative take on The Basement Tapes – a carefully selected and sequenced 17 track “Best Of”, containing the creme of the crop – the brilliant music these guys created, which has only recently seen the light of day in officially released format. Get Your Rocks Off to this.

  1. She’s On My Mind Again
  2. I’m Your Teenage Prayer
  3. The Auld Triangle
  4. Young But Daily Growing
  5. Tupelo
  6. Still in Town
  7. Big River (Take 2)
  8. Goin’ Down the Road Feeling Bad
  9. 900 Miles From My Home
  10. King of France
  11. My Woman She’s A-Leavin’
  12. Get Your Rocks Off
  13. All American Boy
  14. One Man’s Loss
  15. Dress it Up, Better Have it All
  16. Mary Lou, I Love You Too
  17. Silent Weekend

Bob Dylan and The Band- The Best of the Basement Tapes

Recorded in The Band’s shared house back in the late-60s, the famed Big Pink. The basement was accessible by way of a garage door out the front. On one of the reel-to-reel tapes keyboardist Garth Hudson wrote “Bob Cellar.” But “The Cellar Tapes” doesn’t sound as good, does it?

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Big Pink, West Saugerties, New York

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The Kinks – Top 50 Songs

The Kinks Top 50 is now available on Spotify:

Listen here.

 

 

Pierce's Press

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You may have missed them along the way, they always seemed second fiddle to the likes of the Beatles and the Stones, or during the wave of like-sounding garage whimsy of 90s pop – Blur et al. The Kinks early singles, and the run of albums from 1966’s Face to Face through Something Else and Village Green Preservation Society to 1969’s Arthur, or the Decline And Fall of the British Empire, is spectacular as any, establishing Ray Davies as one of the strongest songwriters in Britain and keenest observers of British society, cementing the band’s influence and legacy.

And their catalogue is as intriguing as any in the rock landscape. From their jagged full length debut in 1964, through unimpeachable catchy hits, buzzing distillations of sneering vocals and strutting riffs, blown-out distortion, fuzz boxes, to perfect English pop and misguided conceptual fluff, through to new wave reinvigoration records all without…

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Tom Petty

Its seems appropriate this week to post Perfect Petty, a compilation of tracks lifted from the first five faultless Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers records. The man was a rock and roll institution with a signature sound, who never made a bad album. The rock landscape will miss Tom.

Perfect Petty

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  1. Breakdown – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
  2. Don’t Do Me Like That – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  3. You Got Lucky – Long After Dark (1982)
  4. American Girl – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
  5. Here Comes My Girl – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  6. The Waiting – Hard Promises (1980)
  7. Even the Losers – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  8. Fooled Again – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
  9. Refugee – Damn the Torpedoes (1979)
  10. Change of Heart – Long After Dark (1982)
  11. Nighwatchman – Hard Promises (1980)
  12. Anything That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)
  13. I Need to Know – You’re Gonna Get It (1978)
  14. A Thing About You – Hard Promises (1980)
  15. Listen to Her Heart – You’re Gonna Get It (1978)
  16. Deliver Me – Long After Dark (1982)
  17. You’re Gonna Get It – You’re Gonna Get It (1978)
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Neil Young Hitchhiker

Neil Young – Hitchhiker

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Another year, another abandoned Neil Young album unearthed. Recorded in a single nocturnal session with long time producer David Briggs in 1976 in Malibu, California, Hitchhiker captures Young during a particularly unpolished yet productive period. The stark materiel on the album however was rejected by his then record company Reprise, and the album abandoned. Young later used re-recordings of eight of these songs on a series of future albums between 1977’s American Stars ‘n Bars and Decade, as well as Comes a Time (1978), Rust Never Sleeps (1979) and Hawks and Doves (1980). Elsewhere the title track appears on more recent outing Le Noise (2010) and only two songs here are only now see the (official) light of day. This wonderful collection shows just how fertile and adventurous a songwriter, faults and all, Young had become by the mid ’70s.

Hitchhiker Track List

1. “Pocahontas”
2. “Powderfinger”
3. “Captain Kennedy”
4. “Hawaii”
5. “Give Me Strength”
6. “Ride My Llama”
7. “Hitchhiker”
8. “Campaigner”
9. “Human Highway”
10. “The Old Country Waltz”

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