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The Bangles – Sweetheart of the Sun – review

The new album Sweetheart of the Sun by the Bangles is out in stores today. The new release is the follow-up to their 2003 Doll Revolution album. But for some, Sweetheart of the Sunmay feel like a follow-up to Matthew Sweet’s collaboration with Susanna Hoffs (Under the Covers Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) especially since Sweet co-produced & engineered the record and all. The loose, retro vibe carried over from the Under the Covers sessions is a natural fit for a band like the Bangles since they’ve always been heavily influenced by 60′s rock.

Hoffs, Vicki Peterson and Debbi Peterson have never sounded more relaxed and comfortable than they do here. Maybe without the pressures of a major label, the band is finally free to create music for themselves and not for high-volume sales. Introspective lyrics, jangly guitars and sweet three-part harmonies, all make for a lovely listen. The girls hook you in with the tuneful opening chords of “Anna Lee” and won’t let you go until 40 minutes later with the lingering notes at the end of their Todd Rundgren cover, “Open My Eyes”.

It’s great to see this group back together again after the long hiatus but I do have to admit that I miss the presence of original bassist Michael Steele. but it is what it is. And you may not be aware of this but this year marks the 30th anniversary of the band! holy cow!

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Bob Geldof – How to Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell

The title of Bob Geldof’s upcoming album made me smile. “How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell” sounds more like a seminar or guide book than a pop/rock album. But it comes as no surprise from a man full of contradictions. Geldof is probably more known for his philanthropy and personality than his music so it’s nice to see him back at it again.

The new album has been getting great reviews over in the UK and is scheduled to be released here in the U.S. on March 15th through Mercury/Vagrant Records. To celebrate the release, Geldof will be performing at SXSW in Austin, Texas on March 17th.

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New guidelines for posting comments

As some of you already know, we recently had a rash of rude, obnoxious and just plain uncool comments here on retroblog. And like most bloggers, I like getting comments for the most part but when some oddball starts posting nonsense or starts harrassing others, it just gets on my damn nerves. Why should I empower these idiots by providing a platform that allows them to post whatever crude remark comes into their pea brain with absolutely no accountability for their actions? I guess in the Wild Wild Web it was inevitable and so I had to start placing all comments under moderation. I really didn’t want to do it but after what has been happening the last few weeks, it seems like the best thing to do. What this means is that your comments will have to be approved before they appear on the site. And just to make things crystal clear, I thought I’d post some guidelines on what I consider an appropriate comment on a blog.

1) First of all, the comment needs to be on-topic. In other words, you should be posting something about the subject at hand and not about what you ate last night at Wendy’s (well, unless THAT was what the blog was about. heh). If you want to post something off-topic or want to address another user, please use the forums to do so and not on the blog.

2) Your comment should be coherent and should add some value to the blog. If it’s something like “You rock dude!” or “you’re full of crap!” don’t count on your post showing up here.

3) Be respectful to the blogger and the other commenters on the site. I’m open to other points of view. We don’t HAVE to agree on every subject. We’re all human so we’ll never see eye to eye on every issue. But if you are going to disagree on something, please put some thought behind your statements and add information to back up what you’re saying. If you’re going to criticize, please be constructive about it and not throw a hissy fit. We’re all adults here so let’s act like it.

4) Don’t be crude. No foul language and no harassing other individuals here. Now don’t let this discourage you from commenting here. I’m all for comments and feedback. But I feel that this process needs to be put in place to keep the site healthy and in good running order. Thanks for your understanding.

Update: After receiving feedback from all my regular commenters here, it appears that I may have overreacted in this situation. So, for now, I’ve opened comments back up for those that have “previously approved” comments. New commenters/visitors will still be moderated. Also, I’m going to be more proactive to placing those that don’t abide by these guidelines back into the “moderated” category.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes DVD to be released

Eagle Rock Entertainment has recently announced the next installment of their Classic Albums series for DVD and blu-ray. This time around, the focus will be on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 1979 Damn the Torpedoes album.

I personally love the format of the Classic Albums series. The original album producer along with band members usually sit at the mixing desk and go through the multi-tracks and explain the process of how the songs were recorded. You can’t get that level of detail anywhere else. Kudos to the director and producers of the series for not incorporating MTV-style hyper-editing or dumbing down the info. The show is a straight-forward documentary that will please the fans that prefer content over style.

I’m looking forward to this release. “Damn the Torpedoes” was a significant album in Petty’s career which featured the hits “Refugee” and “Don’t Do Me Like That”. Can’t wait to see it. Look for it in stores starting August 3rd 2010.

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Sting – Symphonicities – CD review

I suppose the knee-jerk reaction to Sting‘s latest endeavor is to simply dismiss the whole thing and say he’s scraping the bottom of the creative barrel. And yes, it’s true Sting hasn’t released an album’s worth of original material since 2003′s Sacred Love which might indicate some sort of writer’s block. But whatever the case may be, Symphonicities is surprisingly an enjoyable listen. It’s far from being a perfect record, mind you, but even with the flaws, there’s just something about hearing a full orchestra reinterpret these ol’ tunes that make you wanna hit the repeat button again. and again. Maybe I’m just like the rest of Sting’s ever-aging fanbase who are all inclined to nostalgia but there’s just no denying the power of well-written melodies featured in songs like “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” and “Roxanne”.

The new arrangements vary in quality though. Some are very inventive including the new versions of “I Burn For You” and “We Work the Black Seam” but others are unimaginative and basically play it safe like “Englishman in New York” (almost a carbon copy of the original down to the hip-hop drum break in the middle which is a bit lazy in my opinion), “I Hung My Head”, “When We Dance”. But in the end, let’s just say the album is some damn fine ear candy for the middle-aged. and there’s nothing wrong with that.