Haircut One Hundred "Paint And Paint" (1984)

Haircut One Hundred were a fairly short-lived English band from the early-'80's new wave era. The sextet's 1982 album Pelican West -- their only album released in the U.S. -- spawned two American radio hits in "Love Plus One" and "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)", which were infectiously droll ska-influenced pop numbers with irresistable hooks and horns. "Fantastic Day" (a U.K. Top 10 single) and "Calling Captain Autumn" are almost as good, but most of the other songs on Pelican West are less catchy and memorable, especially when they venture into funk territory (where "Love's Got Me In Triangles" plods). Although it falls short of essential new-wave classic status, the album is still a pleasant happy-go-lucky pop offering, particularly well-suited for late-summertime listening. In any case, Haircut One Hundred have reunited (not for the first time) as of 2023, with a lineup featuring four of the six members who pl

Detroit with Mitch Ryder "Detroit" (1971)

The city of Detroit, Michigan has spawned many a rock legend since the 1960's. Over the last six decades, the Motor City has provided the world with a wild managerie of colorful characters, creative risk-takers, and gritty garage rockers -- some of whom (like Bob Seger and Jack White) evolved into musical refinement and commercial success, while others (like the Stooges and the MC5) are legendary for having been too wild for the mainstream. The man who first put Detroit on the rock and roll map and paved the way for later Motor City rockers was Mitch Ryder (who was born as William Sherille Levise, Jr. in 1945). Influenced by the city's Motown soul scene, Ryder added his own high-energy rock and roll intensity to his brand of blue-eyed soul. With his '60's backing band known as the Detroit Wheels, Ryder scored three Top 10 singles between 1965 and 1967, the best-remembered one being "Devil With A Blue Dress On" from 1966. Ryder never matched that success after

Last Exit...with Sting

The three members of The Police seemed like an unlikely trio to form a reggae-influenced new wave band, when you consider the previous work that each of them had done. Guitarist Andy Summers had a career dating back to the '60's, when he played with r&b outfits (such as Zoot Money's Big Roll Band) and psychedelic bands (such as Dantalian's Chariot). Drummer Stewart Copeland had previously played on two albums with progressive rockers Curved Air. And what about Sting? The singer and bassist, who was born Gordon Sumner in Wallsend, England, had previously been a jazz musician who played with three bands who recorded for the U.K. Wudwink label. In 1972, Sumner played bass on a mostly instrumental album with a British jazz collective called Newcastle Big Band, as well as on a single with a group called the Phoenix Jazzmen (who were fronted by a singer and trumpeter named Ronnie Young). After leaving those relatively old-fashioned jazz bands behind, Sumner then co-fo

Nico "Live At The Library Theatre '80" (2023 Record Store Day LP)

For Record Store Day 2023, a limited edition LP was issued featuring a 1980 live recording by Nico, the late German chanteuse who was best known for singing on the first Velvet Underground album in 1967. Live At The Library Theatre '80 was limited to 2,000 copies, and pressed in translucent light-blue vinyl. The LP documents a concert performed by Nico (aka Christa Päffgen) in the small theatre beneath the Manchester Library in England. The sound is very understated, suitably scaled for such a tiny venue, as Nico sings in her eerie, unmelodic voice accompanied mostly by low-volume harmonium. Notably, the recording quality is remarkably clear, in contrast to two other recent Record Store Day live Nico releases . Besides renditions of two of the Velvet Underground songs she was known for (an acappella "All Tomorrows Parties" and a cocktail lounge piano version of "Femme Fatale"), the set list is otherwise drawn from Nico's solo albums from many years earlie

Ivy "Apartment Life Demos" (2023 Record Store Day LP)

For Record Store Day 2023, an alternate version of Ivy's 1997 album Apartment Life was issued, limited to 2,500 LP copies and pressed in very translucent "Coke Bottle Clear" vinyl. Apartment Life Demos contained the track-for-track demo recordings of the album's 13 songs, including the Japanese-only bonus track "Sleeping Late" (which is also included on the recent 25th Anniversary Edition issued by Bar/None Records), with inner-sleeve liner notes by Andy Chase which describe each song's creative development. Ivy was an alternative pop trio based in New York, consisting of the late Adam Schlesinger (also of Fountains Of Wayne and Tinted Windows), fellow multi-instrumentalist Adam Chase, and French-born singer Dominique Durand. Ivy received critical acclaim for the six albums they recorded between 1995 and 2011, but met with little commercial success. To wit: Apartment Life was their second full-length album overall, but was the only one released on A

Third Man Records vinyl exclusives, Part 55: White Stripes “Elephant XX” (2023)

The 55th set of exclusive vinyl items offered to members of Third Man Records’ Vault service was mailed out to the members in April of 2023. For those who are unaware, Third Man Records is the label owned by Jack White, who is the leader of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather, and is now a solo artist. The Vault service promises to deliver exclusive vinyl-only records (usually one full-length album and one 7” single) to its members every three months. The 55th Vault package featured a 20th anniversary edition of the White Stripes’ Elephant album from 2003, consisting of two LP’s with new mono mixes of the album's 14 tracks, as well as a 7-inch single containing demo versions of two of the songs, a DVD featuring bonus video material, and a picture book full of related visual memorabilia. The 2003 Elephant album was a major breakthrough on all fronts for the Detroit-based indie-rock duo, charting in the Top 10 in the U.S. and several other countries, and go

"Rare Birds - 'A Flock Of Seagulls' B-Sides, Edits and Alternate Mixes" (2023 Record Store Day LP)

For Record Store Day 2023, the BMG label is issuing a B-sides and rarities compilation LP from A Flock Of Seagulls, in a limited edition of 1,025 copies. Rare Birds - 'A Flock Of Seagulls' B-Sides, Edits and Alternate Mixes will be pressed on transparent vinyl, with a reworking of the original cover art from the English new wave band's self-titled 1982 debut album A Flock Of Seagulls , one of the true landmark recordings of the early-'80's new wave genre. The tracks on this LP are not as "rare" now as they were before 2023, because all twelve of the tracks were reissued on the 2023 U.K. Deluxe Edition of the debut album, which is available digitally. To be exact, the first 12 tracks on the second CD of the Deluxe Edition are the ones included on this limited edition vinyl release. The LP mainly consists of B-sides and single edits from the singles which were released to promote the debut album, as well as the band's non-album debut single "(I

Rossington Collins Band "Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere" (1980)

Earlier this month, the world lost the last surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Gary Rossington, the man who played the slide guitar on "Free Bird" and co-wrote "Sweet Home Alabama", died at the age of 71 on March 5, 2023. Rossington survived the tragic 1977 plane crash that killed band members Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines, as well as backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve Gaines’ sister) and a road manager, just three days after the release of the album Street Survivors . Rossington suffered from many health troubles in the 45 years in between, but he was the one constant member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, having rejoined the newer version of the band which formed in 1987, and participating in every subsequent lineup. The only time Rossington was not a member of Skynyrd was during the time when there was no Skynyrd. During the time between the band's 1977 breakup and 1987 reformation, Rossington co-founded the Rossington Collins Band with his fellow surviving Skynyrd