Review: Slow Dream – Loren Nerell

Loren Nerell’s love affair with ambient music and its endless diversities have its roots firmly fed by the music of Tangerine Dream, who themselves, have had immeasurable influence on many of ambient composers in the history of the style.

Nerell is well studied in the art of sound manipulation, and experienced in the recording of several albums of ambient sounds, especially in the art of Gamelan music, a style of Bali sound. On his seventh solo release, Slow Dream, Loren Nerell steps into the nether regions of the mind to soundtrack the unknown worlds of dreams.
Slow Dream contains four compositions that are each unique, and uniquely eerie in their expressive attempt to softly provide, not a story, but a tone that replicates the misty, intangible dream worlds that we occupy.

“Mentalon”, the first of the four, is a nearly half-hour ‘lost path’ trek through uncertain curtains, behind which we know nothing that exist. The droning tones are soft, and increasingly familiar but never let up nor venture too far from the close walled corridors that it implies you are walking through.
It’s followed by the 10-minute “Slow Dream”, a foreboding piece that is reminescent of Tangerine Dream works, yet retains Nerell originality. It fills the dream world with billowing dark clouds, cool to the face, devoid of life, as you walk through them.

This effective album is completed with “A Sense of Presence” (19:28), and a beautiful but short “Persistence of Dream Imagery”.
It is recommended that you can listen to this drifting off to sleep, or at low volumes throughout the day for a calming effect. I would suggest a complete ‘closed-eyes’ session with this album, preferably before heading off to bed. Regardless of your listening methods, the experience is mesmerizing, more so the deeper attention you pay to the composed sounds.

In Nerell’s dreamscapes, you are truly alone.  Sometimes, that’s a place we need to be.

Release Date: July 17, 2012

—Matt Rowe

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 08/14/2012

Epic Records plan the release of Sticks and Stones from Cher Lloyd, scheduling a release date of October 2.  This US Edition will add in a bonus track.

Glass Note Records will add a Deluxe Edition of Babel by Mumford & Sons to the release calendar, adding three bonus tracks.  Expect this one on September 25.

Legacy Recordings have scheduled the new Heart album,  Fanatic, for October 2, on LP and CD.

The Truth About Love, the latest album from Pink, will arrive from RCA Records on September 18.  This album will be available in both CD and LP.

Island Records plan to issue a Deluxe Edition version of 4th Street Feeling by Melissa Etheridge on September 4th.  The Deluxe Edition packs in a coaster and guitar pick, packaged in a six-panel digipak.

The 25th Anniversary of Document by R.E.M. is on the calendar for September 25.  It will be made available in both CD, and LP forms.

Edsel Records from the UK is offering five early Steve Miller classic album reissues with Brave New World (1969); Sailor (1968); Your Saving Grace (1969); Children Of The Future (1968); and Number Five (1970).  These are slated for August 27.  [Thanks to Stephen Talia]

The new album from The Wallflowers,  Glad All Over,  is planned for CD and LP on October 2 via Columbia Records.

Aimee Mann comes back with a new album, Charmer,  scheduled for September 18 on both CD and LP.

Blue Note Records will release Born To Sing: No Plan B from Van Morrison on October 2.

The new album from Taylor Swift has been announced.  Red is scheduled for October 22.

Long Wave from Jeff Lynne (ELO), is currently planned for October 9.  On October 9 (of course),  Frontiers Records will release a “best of” featuring ELO hits.   The album will be called Mr Blue Sky.

The 45th Anniversary for the release of Velvet Underground and Nico is planned for a massive Super Deluxe Edition set for October 30.

Island Records will release Battle Born by The Killers with a scheduled date of September 18.

Days of Punk

I’m often engaged in lively debate about music.  Over the last few days, someone I know wondered about my views on Punk music.   Well,  as we all know,  that’s asking a lot about a particular type of music respected by many.   In addition, punk music has several offshoot styles that further flavor its sound.

I will openly admit that I don’t know as many Punk bands as I should as my love for it is measured in variable ways.  I could argue that Sex Pistols were the greatest in their raw field.  But that’s the obvious choice.  Some have great love for The Ramones,  a band that I gave up to Pop/Punk after the second album.  Love them but not much after the second.

This,  of course,  makes me curious.   As readers, Which Punk bands are your favorites?  Is it hard core, Pop, or ‘mix and match’ Punk that catches your fancy?  And, since we’re here, an important album by a Punk band.

Review: The Complete Scepter Singles – B. J. Thomas

The music of B.J Thomas has been quite resilient over the decades since they were first recorded. The fact that Real Gone Music is releasing a collected set of Thomas classics is clearly indicative of that.  And how many of you remember hearing the fast arriving hits from B.J. Thomas as the songs played through car radios and tiny AM units? Plenty of you, I know. I was one of them.

On the 2CD collected Scepter (Thomas’ label) set,  you will discover a whopping 46 tracks, all compiled from the issued singles released on Scepter Records.  Many of these singles are memorable classics including B. J. Thomas’ best known,  “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”.  That one was a #1 hit, largely due to the Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid film.  But if you found Thomas early on, like I had, you might have been a fan before that hit spilled from radios everywhere.

“The Eyes Of A New York Woman” was a charted hit in 1968, followed closely by the bigger hit, “Hooked On A Feeling”, which reached #5.  After Raindrops,  a very close string of hits rewarded B. J. Thomas with enough excellence including “Everybody’s Out Of Town” ; “I Just Can’t Help Believing”; “Most Of All”; “No Love At All”; “Mighty Clouds Of Joy”; “Long Ago Tomorrow”; a personal favorite of my own, “Rock And Roll Lullaby”, which showcases Thomas’ incredible vocal range and talent; and “That’s What Friends Are For”.

The rest of the songs found on The Complete Scepter Singles include early and later hits not mentioned, some obscure and some just as well charted as those previously mentioned.  Some of them represent B-sides.  All represent the vocal work of a timeless artist.

The 2CD set is rounded out by a well assembled 12-page glossy stock booklet that is home to a 5-page essay, photos, and a complete track-list with full credits.

Billy Joel Thomas would continue his hits after his Scepter years with “(Hey, Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Did Somebody Wrong Song” and an excellent string of Gospel albums.  But leading up to these,  Thomas’ Scepter years were rich with great songs that still please effortlessly.

This set is a treasure to have.

Release Date: June 19, 2012

–Matt Rowe

TAPSheet: Release Notes – 08/08/2012 (US Report)

Island Records have Arc Of A Diver on the calendar for a 2CD Deluxe Edition reissue.   This magnificent Steve Winwood classic is scheduled for October 9.

Deutsch Grammophon plan to release Gold Dust from Tori Amos, on CD, DD, and a CD/DVD Special Edition on October 2.

UMe will release Love Songs For The End of the World by Rick Springfield on October 9.

Hear Music will release a 2CD/1DVD set of Live In New York City by Paul Simon on September 18.  It will also be released as stand alone BD and DVD Editions.

Hip-O Records plan the release of On The Air: Her Best TV Performances featuring Patsy Cline,  expected on October 2.

Push and Shove, by No Doubt, is scheduled for September 25 via Interscope Records.

Cooperative Music plans the new Martha Wainwright album, Come Home To Mama, for October 16. Also on LP.

Verve Select has slated the 65th Anniversary Edition of Satchmo At Symphony Hall: The Complete Performances for reissue on October 16.

Polydor Records have set September 25 as the release date for Best Of Live At The Apollo: 50th Anniversary Edition of this James Brown collection.

Filter US have the 4th Volume of Music Is Awesome featuring the cool music found on Yo Gabba Gabba stage showcases on October 9.

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release a DVD version of Live In Texas ’75 featuring The Who, on September 25.

Concert One will release YESSPEAK, a DVD featuring YES,  on October 2.

ZZ Top will release La Futura on vinyl LP on September 11 via Universal Republic.

Is it J Geils Band? Or Not?

Fresh off the news that J Geils Band would be touring the US for a set of dates, I run across a news piece (Vintage Vinyl News) that reported John Geils is suing the band mates. Well, make that ex-band mates. Somewhere, somehow, Seth, Peter, and the others decided that touring with the band’s founder and namesake wouldn’t work out because of ongoing legalities.

What?!

What is this band without J. Geils’ guitar, his presence? The J. Geils show was one that I’ve anticipated for such a long time. To finally reach the prize and find it incomplete is another disappointment in a growing line of disappointments with band mates unable to reconcile differences for the sake of their fans.

Grand Funk without Mark Farner; KISS without Ace Frehley and Peter Criss; Yes without Jon Anderson; Journey without Steve Perry; Wishbone Ash without Martin Turner; Pink Floyd without all the components pieces; Faces without its pieces. The bloody list goes on. Far too long.

I understand that we have differences. And that sometimes those differences are deep. But when fame is achieved and loyalty is acquired, sometimes it is required to set things aside (even if you can’t talk to each other during the tour). This inability to “get along” is a time bomb cancer. If it is that bad, okay! But the group that brought the magic should allow all the proper pieces to perform together.

Guess which show I won’t be attending.

DAMMIT!

The Best Songs

Doing the Steely Dan poll (inspired by Record Show rookie, Scott B., who attempted to buy every Steely Dan LP he could lay hands on), and enjoying many of your comments, I gathered that, like me, many of you had a defining song that you felt was the band’s best. At least, the song chosen was your favorite.

For Steely Dan, as previously stated, I think “Reeling In The Years” was the band’s best overall achievement. I even enjoy “Do It Again” better than anything that came after it. Many of you went elsewhere.

Of course, we can debate this all day (and I really wish life allowed those pleasures), but I thought we could expand a bit and tell each other which song by any band best represents that band.

It’s an anything goes kind of discussion. It might get really interesting if one attempted an ambitious route by choosing the suggested best song by, say, The Rolling Stones, which I’ll do in a bit. But even should you choose a Beatles (“Hey Jude”), a Who (“Baba O’Riley”) a Led Zeppelin (“Black Dog”), a Wishbone Ash (“Ballad Of The Beacon”), or even an Aerosmith (“Train Kept A Rollin'”), it should be quite fun to read the chosen song(s).

Do as many as you want to do.

As for my all-time favorite Rolling Stones song, it’s “Tumbling Dice” from Exile On Main Street.

And yours is/are?

Ian Hunter To Deliver When I’m President (New Album)

There isn’t really a whole lot of new release news out there. What there is, you have very likely already read about, a lot from here. But there is a very nice piece of release news for fans of Ian Hunter.

On September 4, Slimstyle Records will release the 11–track new album by the ex-Mott The Hoople  front- man, which will – crazily – be called When I’m President. When I’m President should be the expected brilliance from Ian Hunter, who has, over the course of 40 years, provided more than a fair share of memorable songs.

I hope that this little piece of news makes you as pleased as I am. It’s been three years since the release of Man Overboard (2009), so it’s time for some new Ian Hunter.

Poll: Best Steely Dan Album

Since the release of Can’t Buy A Thrill in 1972, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker has represented Steely Dan as the band’s chief components. After the all too brief tenure of Steely Dan, which effectively ended in 2003 with the issuance of Everything Must Go, only Fagen and Becker have recorded and individually at that.

Can’t Buy A Thrill provided the he wonderful “Reeling In The Years” (loved by me to this day), and the equally excellent “Do It Again“. The following albums, Countdown To Ecstasy (1973); Pretzel Logic (1974); Katy Lied (1975); The Royal Scam (1976); Aja (1977); Gaucho (1980); and the rejoined Two Against Nature (2000), and the previously mentioned shop-closer, Everything Must Go, were , for the most part, great works from a great set of songwriters and performers.

What remains of Steely Dan are warm memories, and a grand selection that is revered by many fans today. Which brings us to the inevitable TAP tradition of polling to find the great representing album that says Steely Dan in completeness.