Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I just wanted to pass on a quick recommendation.  While I can't say it totally resembles Jeff Lynne's producing, there are traits about this album's tracks that, for me, pacify the gaping holes between Jeff Lynne releases.  

This is M. Ward.  I saw him play live last Friday and he was quite good.  His new album "Hold Time" was released a week ago and has several standout tracks.  Jailbird and Never Had Nobody Like You (almost a T.Rex clone) currently have me hooked.

He produced the album, wrote most of its tracks, and plays much of it.  ELO worshipper Jason Lytle is one of the guest musicians.

While on this topic, Sarah McLachlan's new song U Want Me 2 has some familiar rings to it, 2.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Former ELO bassist Kelly Groucutt has died of a heart attack at the age of 63.

News links: BBC

NME    antiMUSIC.com     Associated Press    

From Phil Bates    Bev Bevan     

Kelly Groucutt Official Website announcement.

While there will always be debate about how the ELO story plays out, there's not much debate on Kelly's popularity among fans.  He was outright the most accessible member of that band.  It was Kelly Groucutt who kept the ELO torch lit from the 1990s on and seemingly was the most passionate about it.  It was because of him that so many fans stayed passionate all these years... and still are.
Imagine how many shows ELO Part II played since the early 90s, how many fans wanted to meet the band members after concerts, and how many times he was gracious to let that happen... over and over again.  Think of how many records and CDs have his autograph because he always took enough time to sign everything.  Do you know how many pictures of him with fans are floating around out there?  Thousands, at least.  He had outright friendships with several fans I know personally.  Kelly gave so many fans a rare distinction others will never have.
All of the right and wrong aside, we all lost a very charismatic member of our family today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


The great Blu-Spec experiment continues.  Sony Music Japan is issuing A New World Record on the new Blu-Spec CD format on March 25.

I'm rooting for the whole catalog on Blu-Spec now...

Sunday, February 8, 2009


If my prediction holds, and I hope it does, Coldplay will have an awesome night at the Grammys tonight.  Maybe not a complete sweep, but close.  If there's any band I feel has earned it, it's this one.  The marketing around Viva La Vida was unconventional and genius.  For me, they have managed to become the only band since ELO to keep me completely engaged this long.  

Since last May/June:
  • They've released (by my count) 27 tracks.  27.  
  • The lead off album track was a free download (on their web site) for a week.
  • The album's signature track was available for purchase prior to the albums release.  This isn't a new idea, but at least it wasn't a free 30 second clip. 
  • There was a vinyl 7" made available with an exclusive session outtake.
  • The 12" vinyl version of the album had a promo CD of the album enclosed.
  • To celebrate their tour's launch, they released another song (a short little ditty) as a download-only track on their web site... for free.  (The song ended up being performed by the band in the middle of the audience in the back of whatever venue it was.  A thrill for the cheap seats.)
  • They made music videos (remember those??) and offered one on iTunes for a week... for free.  One of their videos was a first ever "video cover version."
  • Their live appearances on TV weren't necessarily centered around the "single of the moment." The "venue" dictated which song was used.
  • They issued a promo CD for Lost! with a unique Instrumental version.  There were just enough of them made so any resourceful fans could find one.
  • A re-release of their album (later in the year) added an 8 track EP: 5 new songs, 3 remixes.
  • One of the best tracks on the album, Lost!, was issued on Violet Hill's CD single in "acoustic" form weeks before the album.  I learned the song before I got the album and was never, I mean never, so floored than when I heard the album version at last.
  • Their latest single, out last week, has an outtake called The Goldrush.  The lyrics were printed in their tour's concert program suggesting it may have originally been planned as another hidden or bonus track for the album.  It may have been edited out and put here instead... but it's another example of how good even the outtakes are.
And they did all of that while carrying out 2008's most successful concert tour in the world.

I have dreams that Jeff Lynne projects yield nearly this much.  But Jeff Lynne projects don't get Coldplay's budget, do they? The link I personally find between the two is the quality of their recordings.  Anytime both make records, every sound is extremely well thought-out and laid-out.  

So, my money's on a big night for Coldplay.  If that doesn't happen, oh well.  At least they're a rare example of how fans became a top priority... and how so many fans were willing to actually shell out money to hear more.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


In terms of this new ELO release in Japan, there's not much to add from the Discovery Blu-Spec comments earlier.  Currently, this version of the Out of the Blue remaster is the best sounding available.  The improvement is slight, but I have to admit, to my ears, there's one track seems to benefit the most from this new format: Latitude 88 North.  I hear a few more details (or is it stability) in this version.

Anyway, if you buy one, take care of the case.  It's an extra thick jewel case that houses the deluxe remastered booklet, Blu-Spec info sheet, black & white lyrics booklet and (unique to any other release) a standard CD fold insert (because the deluxe OOTB booklet isn't standard CD size) of the album cover art on the front, the inside of the spaceship on the flip side.