MIDGE URE: Solo – 3TEN Austin City Limits Live: Austin, TX

Midge Ure, lead singer of Ultravox and solo artist came to Austin for a solo acoustic show at 3Ten Austin City Limits Live in downtown Austin. The weather was great, not too much traffic and away I went to the show.

I did miss the opening act; Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather, but I was really excited to see Ure who I have been a fan of since the early ’80s. The venue is small, intimate and was perfect for this show. Dark atmosphere, cool air blowing on me from the air conditioning system and my growing excitement all made it thrilling and made the hair stand up on my arms when Ure came on stage. With a perfect amount of story-telling, jokes and some aw-shucks moments, Ure thrilled the crowd with songs from Ultravox and his solo career. as well as a beautiful rendition of Fleetwood Mac’s “Man Of The World.” Ure told the crowd about listening to the song on the radio when he was small back when the UK had one radio station and how much he loved this song. He asked for people to help him sing-along with “The Voice,” but said that if you didn’t know it, please don’t do it, which got a large laugh from the crowd. With his mix of songs, he wove a set of beauty and heartfelt singing that was a pleasure to witness. “Dancing With Tears In My Eyes” actually had some tears in my eyes since the raw emotion that Ure gave to the performance was striking. It was actually supposed to be the last song, but he got caught up in it and admitted that he forgot to leave the stage. After a lot of laughter, we were treated to the final song, “One Small Day,” and a standing ovation later, it was sadly all over…except for the buying of the souvenir t-shirt of course.

Having never seen Ultravox live, nor been able to see any of Ure’s previous solo shows, this was a delight and is something that I will never forget. The perfect venue, perfect sound, and perfect performance…what more could you ask for?

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Ferentz and The Felons: Hudson County EP

Ferentz and the Felons is a contemporary rock band based out of Hudson County, NJ. Their music has a hint of folk, a touch of blues, and rock.

The EP has two songs on it, the title track and “Ash Moon,” and gives the listener a nice overview of what they are capable of. “Ash Moon” is a peppy track that gets your heart racing and really sticks with you with its driving beat and excellent playing. I can’t get enough of the track and loved it from first listen. The title track is a mellow song with heartfelt lyrics and a yearning vocal performance that pulls at your soul. The band shows its skills with the emotion and tension in the song and it just kills.

Two tracks, only two, but damn…what tracks! This is a band to watch and a band that will garner fans when they hear these songs.

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/search?q=Ferentz+and+the+Felons

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TOMORROW’S EVE: Mirror of Creation III – Project Karros

This band from Saarbrucken, Germany has put together their brand new fifth album and third part in their Mirror of Creation series of records. This prog band has elements of classic ‘80s bands mixed with more modern sounds and it works out well.

The album has soaring vocals throughout that just bring back the ‘80s and bands that really had vocalists who put their all into melody and really let loose. The band is tight with ripping guitar playing, flowing bass and bombastic drumming that gives such power to these songs. The production is great, with a crisp sound that gives the listener a chance to hear the emotion behind the incredible playing. Maybe not as prog rock sounding as what most people think, ambling songs, lilting, pretentious music, this has experimentation in sounds and hard and heavy mixed into the songs in such a way that if you like hard music, you will be able to get into this. Not one spoiled song, nothing out of place, everything played with conviction and energy, just what I wanted from them and they delivered in spades.

With so much going for them, it’s a no-brainer, you need to get this album, play it loud, this isn’t any quiet fest kiddos, and this is a killer. I hope that they don’t take too long in following this up and that they just keep on going with the same force as on this one. As they say on the killer opening track, “Welcome To The Show.”

Also posted: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/search?q=Tomorrow%27s+Eve

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PETER & THE TEST TUBE BABIES: The Albums 1982-87 (6 CD Box Set)

PETER AND THE TEST TUBE BABIES-THE ALBUMS 1982-87-IMPORT 6 CD WITH JAPAN OBI O23

Ninety-one tracks on six CDs box set featuring the entire P&TTB recorded output between 1978-87…how can you go wrong? The first disc is the debut live album, Pissed & Proud, that hit No.2 in the Indie Chart in 1982. The Mating Sounds Of South American Frogs is on Disc 2 that hit No.7 in the Indie Chart in 1983. Disc 3 features 26 rare non-LP cuts by the band including the Indie Chart hit singles “Banned From The Pubs” (No.10), “Run Like Hell” (No.2), “Zombie Creeping Flesh” (No.2) and “Blown Out Again” (No.40). The 18 track demos collection Loud Blaring Punk Rock is Disc 4, a No.7 Indie Chart Hit. Disc 5 features the Rotting In The Fart Sack EP (No.3) plus the “Wimpeez” (No. 8) and “Keys To The City” (No.19) singles, whilst Disc 6 is the brilliant Soberphobia album from 1987, an Indie Chart No.11 hit. Each disc comes in a cardboard wallet with its original LP art and the clamshell box also contains a 20-page booklet featuring pictures of all the records, rare clippings from the band’s archive and detailed liner notes.

All I can say is wow! So much punk rock goodness and fun that it’s almost too much…almost. I have been a fan for years and have a few of these already, but with better sound, and having all of this music in one spot, how could I refuse? As much as I enjoyed the first live album, their first album proper really grabbed me and I still play the hell out of it today. Such a great true first album of studio tracks that the energy and fun still get the heart racing today. The third disc has a ton of great non-album songs on it, and truth be told, some of their best songs, that it is a hard disc to put down., I mean “Banned From The Pubs” is such a classic. The third CD has a lot of great songs but pales only because I wanted more of the studio music, not demos, but I still like it. Disc five brings back the studio tunes, some live stuff, but a whole lot of humour that will leave a smile on your face. The last CD has more of a smooth sound, still punk, but more pop, and even more catchy, but still great, that it might have made the diehards not too happy, but it’s a great bunch of songs that keep the sound of the band going in a positive direction and still is better than most so-called punk nowadays.

With improved sound, great info in the booklet and great packaging, this is the collection to get. You will laugh, you will want to shout along with the band, exactly the way that the band would love you to do. Result!

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HAZEL O’CONNOR: Sons And Lovers – Expanded Edition

Sons And Lovers is packaged in a deluxe digipack with a richly illustrated lyric booklet containing an introduction from Hazel O’Connor herself. This expanded edition of Hazel’s landmark post-punk album contains three versions of the lead UK top ten single “D- Days,” (the album version, the better known Tony Visconti remixed version and the lesser known alternate version dating from 1981). Hazel O’Connor’s second album followed her movie role in, and soundtrack album for, the feature film Breaking Glass and included songs written mostly before that project. This album produced by Nigel Gray (who had been the producer The Fall and The Police), is referred to by Hazel as being: “really my first album of songs, but it had to wait to be recorded after I’d completed Breaking Glass. The five bonus tracks included in this deluxe package are two live tracks from a 1980 live concert at the Dominion Theatre in London, a reworking of the album track “Ain’t It Funny” and a cover version of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City” which features Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran who, at that time, was O’Connor’s support act. These tracks were originally featured as the B-sides of the 12” single of “Time (Ain’t On Our Side),” the second track to be taken as a single from the album. Another bonus track rarity is the very first version of “Time Is Free” that had been the B-side of Hazel O’Connor’s pre-Breaking Glass debut 1979 single.

Although not very well known here in North America, I was such a fan of new wave and British music that I had heard of her, just not heard her music since no one played it on the radio, and not a video to be seen, so why would I want this album? I did want it because I was just so crazed by the new wave scene, that I had to get as much as I could, and of course this being before the internet, I had to scour the record shops for this until I finally found it, and used too. Someone else knew of her but didn’t want it, so what, I wanted it and purchased it right away. I loved the edgy and tight playing of the album and still do to this day. “D-Days,” the lead single from Sons And Lovers, did get onto the charts in the UK, returning her to the top ten. The song was a perky, anti-poseur song based on her going to the Blitz club and seeing the preening crowd. The song has a good dose of energy and Punky/New Wave instrumental attack that I never tire of hearing. Strangely, the album didn’t set the charts on fire, even though it had a hit song on it, it just never connected with the masses and put the damper on the success that she had previously had. The album had a lot going for it and the songs were catchy and full of energy. The real treat is the bonus songs, especially if you like cover versions; her cover of Bowie’s “Suffragette City” is great and the bonus for Durannies is Simon Le Bon singing with her.

A great package, chock full of info in the booklet and with the added bonus songs, a treat for fans and something for those curious about her music. I think I will put this one in the car and listen to it on the way to work…can’t get enough of it.

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BRONSKI BEAT: The Age Of Remix

A strictly limited edition 3-disc dance remix companion set to the recent Bronski Beat release The Age Of Reason. Steve Bronski has been the driving force behind Bronski Beat for 35 years. This album features their most recent singer; the powerful soul-pop, multi-octave ranged Stephen Granville. The Age Of Remix reorientates Bronski Beat’s recent The Age Of Reason album; itself a contemporary remake of Bronski Beat’s landmark debut album The Age Of Consent. Featuring no less than twenty-five all new and previously unreleased remixes from a plethora of current dance floor remixers. The third disc in this deluxe 3 1/2 hour set is a bonus continuous mix by Sordid Soundz, also known as Bronski Beat programmer Ian Donaldson, which itself contains some exclusive snippets of further previously unreleased mixes.

I remember watching the video shows after school in the early ’80s, waiting to see the newest clips and the exciting new sounds that seemed to come out every week, and low and behold, I saw “Smalltown Boy” by Bronski Beat. What a different and interesting synthpop sound, plus the video and song had meaning to it, the pain and suffering of a gay man growing up. I was fascinated and couldn’t wait to hear more from them. I saw the album in the store, picked it up and was a fan, then the video for “Why” came out and it was great. Now Jimmy Somerville is no longer with the band and has had a great solo career, and only Steve Bronski is left, but he has got a great new vocalist that takes the songs, and adds his own twist to them and does a terrific job with them. So many remixes, so many to choose from and you will definitely find one that appeals to you, I love the ones based on “Smalltown Boy” and “Why,” but I am biased since those songs are so massive and remind me of my youth. The songs are upbeat, full of energy and will cause booty shaking to happen, whether you want it to happen or not. The band did a great job finding remixers and picking great mixes for this collection.

This will get you dancing and loving the songs all over again, and will hopefully get people that weren’t there the first time, to hear them in this collection and get the message and the love for the band. Just so you know, the third CD is one long song that cannot be skipped to the next song, so just put it on and shake your thang…all night long.

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