RSD Black Friday: USA, Tangerine Dream, Zappa

Record Store Day: Black Friday returns with a salute to the United States of America, a serving of Tangerine Dream and psychedelic musings from Frank Zappa, Procol Harum, the Doors and the Dead. Also on the psychedelic/'60s menu are reheated treats from the Byrds, Jerry Garcia, Sun Ra and ... Mr. Spock. Releases are on vinyl and are "Record Store Day exclusives" unless noted. Shopping begins at your local indie bright and (too) early Nov. 24. The United States of America oscillated its way to minor-league fame in the psychedelic year of 1968 -- then promptly broke up. The lone self-titled album was produced by David Rubinson. Featuring no guitar and heavy on experimental sounds, Joe Byrd's group drew on classical and vintage America genres. The brew came spiked with a dose of … [Read more...]

Moody Blues on threshold of Rock Hall

Psychedelic classicists the Moody Blues have made the short list for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is the first nomination for the long-running English band, first eligible for the Hall way back in 1989. The Rock Hall's lack of recognition for the Moody Blues had long been perceived as a snub similar to those of leading progressive rock acts Yes (inducted in 2017) and King Crimson. Also making the list for 2018 were the Zombies, whose "Odessey and Oracle" is considered a landmark album of the psychedelic music era. This is the third nomination for that British band, best known for the hits "She's Not There," "Tell Her No" and "Time of the Season." Other acts of interest among the 19 nominees include the Detroit radical combo MC5 ("Kick Out the Jams") and British art rocker … [Read more...]

Criterion preps restored ‘Monterey Pop’ set

D.A. Pennebaker's "Monterey Pop" gets a second encore in the Criterion Collection come December -- this time featuring a new 4k restoration. Janus Films' upgraded version of "Monterey Pop" premiered in cinemas last June as part of the seminal music festival's 50th anniversary. The new Criterion discs are set for a Dec. 12 release. The Criterion Collection first gave "Monterey Pop" its due back in 2006 with a carefully crafted DVD box set. Then, the connoisseur label returned to "Monterey" in 2009 with a Blu-ray featuring high definition video and surround sound. The latest version -- again, "The Complete Monterey Pop Festival" -- comes as a "collector's set" with two discs of the documentary film and extras, as well as another disc with the companion concerts "Jimi Plays … [Read more...]

Dead & Co., King Crimson fall in for tours

The golden road continues to woo Dead & Company. The Grateful Dead spinoff band announced a 15-concert extension of its 2017 touring activity, beginning with a two-night stand at Madison Square Garden in New York. Other major cities include Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas and New Orleans. And more tour stops are set for Austin, Philadelphia, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, King Crimson's big band returns to the road, with a 22-date fall adventure that stretches from Austin on Oct. 19 to Milwaukee on Nov. 26. Other major ports of call include Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, New York and Cleveland. King Crimson spent June and July on the road with its rapturously received "Radical Action" concerts featuring a trio of stage-front … [Read more...]

Can bassist Holger Czukay dies; sonic pioneer

German avant-garde musician Holger Czukay, best known for his work with the German band Can, has died. He was 79. Czukay, who studied for several years with composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, co-founded Can in 1968 after finding inspiration in the psychedelic music of the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, as well as the experimental recordings of Frank Zappa. Can's music, often improvised and far from commercial, cast a vast influence over adventurous bands from the 1970s to the present day. Its music has been widely sampled and featured in movies big and small. Czukay also engineered most of Can's important recordings, notably "Tago Mago" and "Ege Bamyasi." Can's "Vitamin C" is perhaps its most enduring song, dominated by Czukay's bass and Jaki Liebezeit's drums. It figured prominently in … [Read more...]

Live Yardbirds tracks coming home to roost

No bull: The long-lost Yardbirds live recording of 1968 is making a comeback. Due Nov. 5, "Yardbirds '68" contains the Anderson Theatre recordings of late March 1968. That NYC set -- complete with bogus audience cheers reputedly taken from bullfights -- was released in 1971 as "Live Yardbirds: Featuring Jimmy Page" and later withdrawn after protests from group members. "Yardbirds '68" also contains eight "studio sketches" tracks from the period. The new 18-track album was produced by Jimmy Page. The mastering is credited to John Davis, who worked with Page on the Led Zeppelin remasters of several years back. The Anderson Theatre songs are highlighted by "Dazed and Confused" -- the famed psychedelic Led Zeppelin track developed while Page was a Yardbird -- as well as his guitar … [Read more...]

Steppenwolf keyboardist Goldy McJohn dies

Goldy McJohn, keyboard player for the classic lineup of Steppenwolf, has died at age 72. McJohn's overamped Lowrey organ work drove Steppenwolf hits such as "Magic Carpet Ride," "Born to Be Wild" and "The Pusher." He played on the band's first seven albums. McJohn co-founded Steppenwolf with singer John Kay in 1967. The band moved from Toronto to Southern California, where it found success as one of the heavier acts of the psychedelic era. Steppenwolf came to fame as the organ was featured in a number of successful rock bands, most of them British. McJohn was considered one of the best keyboard men on the psychedelic music scene. "When I listen to my old stuff, I think, 'Who the fuck is playing the keyboard,'" he said in 2011. The keyboard player's other bands included the … [Read more...]

‘Satanic Majesties’ gets 50th-year deluxe set

The Rolling Stones' "Their Satanic Majesties Request" can't get no respect. Still. The wannabe rival to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" receives its own 50th anniversary release Sept. 22, coming on the heels of an ambitious rerelease of the Beatles' psychedelic masterpiece. But while "Sgt. Pepper" was celebrated at the half century mark with surround sound, a new stereo mix, a plethora of alternate tracks and generational hoo-hah, the Stones' album returns to market with a modest yet respectable offering. "Their Satanic Majesties Request: 50th Anniversary Special Edition" features SACD and LP versions of both mono and stereo versions of the 1967 album. The stereo LP and SACD appear to have a brand-new mix while the mono dates back a year. Fans looking for studio rareties … [Read more...]

Hendrix family re-ups with Sony Music unit

The Jimi Hendrix family has renewed its licensing deal with Sony Music Entertainment. The partnership dates back to 2009 and covers the "ongoing curation" and output of the late guitarist's catalog and archives. Legacy Recordings, SME's catalog division, and Experience Hendrix LLC have released a steady stream of albums drawn from Hendrix's unreleased recordings and live work. They include "Valleys of Neptune" (2010), the box set "West Coast Seattle Boy" (2013), "People, Hell and Angels" (2013) and "Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69" (2016). The releases, though not without attendant controversy, brought order to what had been a crazy quilt of albums released in the decades after the musician's death. "Sony, through Legacy Recordings, has proven their … [Read more...]

Mothers, Doors, Spirit rereleases heat up Q3

Frank Zappa and Mothers, the Doors, David Gilmour and the Beach Boys help keep the Summer of Love alive in 2017. Here's a roundup of the best psychedelic/1960s music due for rerelease in the third quarter. The Mothers of Invention's second album, "Absolutely Free," will cost you $35 as it returns in a 50th anniversary edition Sept. 29. The group's second album comes in a two-LP package: three sides host the audio; the fourth has a laser etching of bandleader Frank Zappa. Witness the strange and the borderline psychedelic on numbers such as "Plastic People," "Call Any Vegetable," "Son of Suzy Creamcheese" and, of course, "Invocation and Ritual Dance of the Young Pumpkin." The "Absolutely Free" album comes "mastered by Bernie Grundman and cut directly from the original analog master … [Read more...]

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