Throughout their 40-odd-years’ career, U.K. SUBS always found a way to surprise their listener and never be boring. If there’s been anything predictable about this band, it was high-octane punk performance and alphabet-running record titles. Yet, with “Z” already in the past, the veterans’ creativity should find a new outlet, and while 2016’s "Friends & Relatives" delved into the ensemble’s family tree, “Subversions” which will be released on June 22nd, is a covers album. Among the pieces given the SUBS overhaul – as the title suggests – are not only such obvious choices as “1969” and “Kick Out The Jams” but also unexpected cuts like pieces from QOTSA’s repertoire or from the group’s colleagues SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS’ cache of songs. So yes, surprises are still abound.
It’s been three decades since the only album by 3 – a band comprised of Robert Berry, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer – saw the light of day. Negative critics’ reaction notwithstanding, “…To the Power Of Three” remains a connoisseur delight and is a favorite with many a fan. The trio toured and planned a second record, yet it didn’t happen, and what had been written for it ended up on Robert’s “Pilgrimage To A Point” which drew less attention than the music contained within deserved. Fast forward to 2015, and Berry and Emerson reignited their joint creativity, composed a number of pieces and were ready to lay those down in a studio, when Keith moved on from this mortal coil, and the project – now christened 3.2 – seemed to be abandoned, until Robert finally decided to finish what would be titled “The Rules Have Changed” by recording all parts himself, based on cassettes from the days of yore and fresh ideas outlined with Keith.
This January saw the release, on Esoteric Recordings, of two classic CURVED AIR albums – an expanded edition of their 1970 debut “Air Conditioning” and 1974’s “Air Cut” that was properly remastered but didn’t feature any extra material. Continuing the band’s reissue programme, the label has 1972’s gem “Phantasmagoria” scheduled to hit the shelves on July 27th. This time, there’s not only a few bonus tracks added to the audio disc – including a single cut that appears on CD for the first time, and two songs with non-English lyrics – but also a DVD with the quintet’s TV performances from Europe. In one word, essential.
DIALETO‘s "Bartók in Rock" was one of the highlights of 2017, the year when this Brazilian band celebrated their 20th anniversary. Besides reimagining classic pieces, the album was made remarkable by the presence of violinist David Cross, most famous for his stint with KING CRIMSON. The very same year the veteran and the group played on-stage – the Bartók material as well as Cross’ solo numbers and, of course, a few of KC gems. Recorded for posterity, their show will be released on CD on June 4th, but “DIALETO – Live With David Cross” has been available since May 2nd as a download. Should be a great performance.
Together with the Holland brothers, Lamont Dozier was an integral part of Motown’s Hit Factory, churning and producing classic after classic for the likes of FOUR TOPS, Marvin Gaye, THE SUPREMES and even THE MIRACLES (who has their own songwriting genius in Smokey Robinson). “You Keep Me Hangin’ On’,” “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “Mickey’s Monkey”: Lamomt had a hand in penning of those and many more gems which would be covered by dozens of artists. Moving on to their own labels, Invictus and Hot Wax, Dozier continued on delivering, before dabbling in performing, yet it’s composing that’s always been his main strength, and his name deservedly appeared in the credits for the “Buster” movie where the veteran collaborated with Phil Collins.
Lamont never stopped, and now he’s released“Reimagination”: an album of stripped-down versions of Dozier’s songs – some of those, of course – with a few featuring such heavy guests as Todd Rundgren, Graham Nash and Cliff Richard, although chanteuses Rumer, Lee Ann Womack and the amazing Jo Harman also add their charm to the record.