All posts tagged: Robert Plant

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CD REVIEWS: Led Zeppelin, “IV” and “Houses Of The Holy” (reissues)

I don’t know how to find the right words for two albums that were almost “standard issue” when I was a teen and starting to move towards playing guitar and getting into “serious” rock (after a youth-filled power pop foundation).  EVERYONE  had IV; you had to.  It had fucking “Stairway To Heaven” (which, admittedly, I’ve grown to cringe at whenever I hear it).  It had “Black Dog” and “Rock And Roll”.  It had “The Battle of Evermore” and “Misty Mountain Hop”.  Did I love it when I heard it; did it inspire me?  No, but I went along with everyone else and said “oh yeah”.  Houses Of The Holy was the next album for me to discover and it was an eye-opener.  From the weirdly angular (but instantly memorable) riff of “Dancing Days” to the magnificent opening acoustic whirlwind of “Over The Hills And Far Away” – this was a Zeppelin album I embraced. So now, over 36 years since I first had and absorbed these records, I’ve revisited them, thanks to the latest re-issue …

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The Vinyl Diaries: Aerosmith, “Done with Mirrors”

Remember when Aerosmith’s Music from Another Dimension was supposed to be the band’s return to rockin’ form, a Seventies-style throwback to the groovin’, Stonesy, Yardbirdsy, slap-happy lewdness of Toys and Rocks, complete with the full-album return of Jack Douglas, who’d been behind the boards for those early high-water marks? Remember when, with the exception of Douglas’ return, it wasn’t any of those things? Did we believe them? How could we believe them? How could we believe that Perry, Tyler, and the other three dudes (who don’t get to wander the catwalk), could channel their most triumphant moments as young men, into the creepy, over-slick mannequins they’ve become in their dotage? How could fans view the record as anything other than a cash-grab in the wake of Tyler’s American Idol experiment, or as an excuse to light out upon another headlining shed tour? And how could fans view the ballad “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”—a duet with Carrie-freakin’-Underwood—as anything other than a thumb in the eye, a knee to the groin, and a full-body coating of methanethiol …

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DVD Review: “¡Released! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998”

The crossroads between youth culture and Amnesty International came together in the mid-70s with a series of concerts that included members of Monty Python, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, as well as music by various recording artists, including Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Bob Geldof and Sting. Several concert films were made and were eventually collected into a DVD box set called The Secret Policeman’s Balls, released by Shout! Factory in 2009. Shout! Factory takes the next step in working with Amnesty by releasing Released! The Human Rights Concerts 1986-1998, a 6 DVD box set containing concerts and performances that have long sat in a vault. Inspired by those Secret Policeman concerts, and with the memory of 1985’s Live Aid fresh in the people’s minds, Amnesty International’s Jack Healey organized a six-city tour in 1986. Called “The Conspiracy of Hope Tour,” Healey and legendary tour promoter, Bill Graham, worked together in bringing together a group of recording artists to help spread the message of Amnesty across America. The tour culminated in an all day celebration of …

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High Sierra Highlights: Top 10 of 2013

High Sierra Music Festival is easily one of the happiest places on earth. People return year after year (after year). They bring their kids. They fill up inflatable pools. They make signs that light up and camp with dozens of friends and family who fly in from all over the country. They stay up all night and then all day and then all night again. It’s a hard party to deny, and High Sierra has cultivated a magic over the years that instantly binds people to the experience.

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Popdose Exclusive World Premiere: Gabriella Cilmi ‘Vicious Love (Acoustic)’

Could this be the music geek equivalency of The Big Bang Theory? Last week, the breathtakingly beautiful (but smart as a whip, so there goes that analogy) Gabriella Cilmi befriended POPDOSE during a very candid, engaging and revealing SKYPE interview conducted from her recording studio in London. When we heard she went back into the studio to record a new song exclusively for us — and by that we mean you: the loyal POPDOSE reader — we thought she was playing an April Fool’s joke. Thankfully — no tricks, just a treat for the ears. This just might be the greatest honor POPDOSE has achieved since the day Alan O’Day (‘Undercover Angel’) recorded the ‘Theme From Mellowmas.’ In our interview, Gabriella told us about ‘Vicious Love,’ a track that will appear in a new form on her upcoming third album. Last year, she recorded a stripped down version of the song that appears in our story. This week, she stripped it down even further for an exquisite acoustic take. Just guitar and her signature contralto, laid even more …

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Sweeter in Her Story: The Ultimate Gabriella Cilmi Interview — Free MP3 Download

What would you say to one of your favorite musicians if you were given the chance to hang out for a while? For me, this would be Aussie singing sensation turned European pop star Gabriella Cilmi — for her, it would be Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Who fared better? Read on and judge for yourself. POPDOSE was given the opportunity to hang with Ms. Cilmi (pronounced “chill me”) via SKYPE from the recording studio where she’s putting the finishing touches on her third album. It was so refreshing to chat with an artist while she’s deep in the creative process — the results of which you can enjoy for free with a track giveaway below — instead of during the typical press junket. The absolutely charming Ms. Cilmi laughed throughout our 33 and 1/3 minutes together. Perhaps this was because of my sparkling wit and charm; more likely, she’s like this all the time. Then again, I bet her bandmates were miming to her though the studio glass. Even if you’re new to the …

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Popdose at Kirkus Reviews: “Light and Shade”

For almost 80 years, Kirkus Reviews has served as the industry bible for bookstore buyers, librarians, and ordinary readers alike. Now Popdose joins the Kirkus Book Bloggers Network to explore the best — and sometimes the worst — in pop-culture and celebrity books. This week, one of rock’s most mysterious figures opens up — to a degree… Despite a renewed media presence — a new concert film hitting theaters this Wednesday, Brad Tolinski’s new book Light and Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page reaching bookstores later this month — it’s not quite right to say that Led Zeppelin is back, simply because they never really went away. True, it’s been thirty-some years since the band’s breakup following the death of drummer John Bonham, and the surviving members have reconvened only a handful of times since, for one-off events like the 2007 Ahmet Ertegun Tribute Concert captured in the aforementioned documentary Celebration Day. But the band has remained a staple of rock radio, and lead singer Robert Plant’s solo career burnishes the old mystique even when he’s …

The Very Guest Of… Kirsty MacColl

The patron saints of Popdose are an unconventional bunch, to be sure. The big joke among the staff at the annual board meeting, held in Matt Wardlaw’s palatial estate, is that when we finally launch our own music festival, we will reunite Sugarbomb, and our headlining act will be the System. (This after a heated debate, spearheaded by Jason Hare, over the manner in which we honor Michael McDonald. We settled on the honorary title of Chairman of the Beard.) Another artist for whom the staffers share a near-universal love is the late, great Kirsty MacColl, who was tragically killed in late 2000 in a suspicious boating accident shortly after she released one of her best albums, the Cuban-influenced Tropical Brainstorm. (The belief is that a high-ranking Mexican government official was driving the boat that struck her, but a low-level assistant was paid to take the fall in exchange for a reduced sentence.) We pour out a 40 in her honor every December 18.

What makes this all the more tragic is that there were years during MacColl’s prime where she was forbidden from making records, thanks to legal hassles surrounding the dissolution of her label, Stiff Records. (Making this even more irritating was her previous label, Polydor, shelving her second album Real due to lack of interest.) This was good news, though, for anyone working with her then-husband, producer Steve Lillywhite, because MacColl was saying ‘yes’ to every session gig she could find just to get the hell out of the house. Eventually, MacColl was allowed to record on her own again, but thankfully, she continued to help out her mates on the side. Here is a collection of songs that feature the unmistakable vocal stylings of one of England’s finest.

(Special thanks to Kirsty’s fan page for providing me with a comprehensive list of her session work, and to Popdose colleague Will Harris for contributing some of the more off-the-radar songs.)

Jona Lewie, “You’ll Always Find Me in the Kitchen at Parties” (from On the Other Hand, There’s a First, 1978)
You have to think that Ian Dury was a fan of this one. Unapologetically British, with bizarre flashes of whimsy, Kirsty delivers a deadpan vocal in the chorus that is alleged to be her first studio session recording.

Matchbox, “I Want Out” (from the album Crossed Line, 1983)
This didn’t appear on CD until 2005, on the three-disc From Croydon to Cuba anthology, though it originally appeared on Matchbox’s 1982 Crossed Line album. It’s a killer single, though, a rockabilly-ish rave-up with MacColl splitting lead vocals with singer Graham Fenton.

Mix Six: “Phil Collins, Session Drummer”

DOWNLOAD THE FULL MIX HERE There was a time — maybe 25 years ago — when mentioning Phil Collins in the pantheon of frickin’ awesome drummers was greeted with thoughtful nods. Nowadays?  Not so much.  The reaction you’ll probably get from folks who don’t know how good Phil is behind the kit would run the gamut from a snicker to a sneer.  In a way, I don’t blame them.  After all, if you look at Phil’s creative output since the mid-’90s, it’s a story of an aging rocker whose slide into adult contemporary sludge is a bit tragic.  Tragic because the ballad-heavy output of hits Phil produced eclipses the complexity of his earlier work that demonstrates what a talented guy he was on the drums.  Phil’s been around long enough to know that what makes for a great drummer is not flash, but knowing when to add that bit of spice to a song that will really make it shine. My good friend Scott Malchus and I are both drummers. Because we both spend (and …

CD Review: Buddy and Julie Miller, “Written in Chalk”

It certainly wouldn’t be accurate to say that Buddy and Julie Miller have bad luck. After all, each of them has had wonderful career as songwriter and performer. They’ve each had fine solo albums. A variety of country artists have had success with their songs, including Lee Ann Womack and Dierks Bentley. Buddy has played guitar on tour with Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, and more recently Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, and he’s produced albums in the studio he built in their Nashville home for Allison Moorer, Solomon Burke, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Together, Buddy and Julie have played inspirational shows all over the country. But back to that luck thing. Written In Chalk (New West Records) is only the couple’s second album together. The first, Buddy and Julie Miller, was released exactly one week after September 11, 2001. Then, just days before this new album was released, Buddy was admitted to a hospital in Baltimore complaining of chest pains. He needed immediate bypass surgery, and though he’s coming along fine now, he is temporarily …

Dw. Dunphy On… Bonus, Baby!

A funny thing happened in the middle of the 1990s: Record labels looked into their vaults and found that most of their best selling titles had been in circulation for awhile on CD and, as one would expect, weren’t as exciting to the buying public anymore. Remember that in the initial run of the compact disc labels were suddenly flush with cash, old assets were getting new sales life and all was right with the world. Once they had reached the tipping point where most consumers had CDs of Rumours, Dark Side of the Moon, Sgt. Pepper’s, etc., they had a crucial decision to make. Shall we now go out into the great, wide world of new music acts and fill our rosters with exciting, up and coming talent? Nah, too much work. Let’s reissue those old CDs again, only this time, we’ll stuff the back nine with B-sides, unreleased tracks and live cuts. It sounds crass, but don’t knock it. It works. The labels did get a kick-up of interest through this process of …