Home New Release

Atlantic recording group Simple Plan have unveiled details of their long awaited, new release. “TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM” – the multi-platinum band’s fifth studio full length and first new album in five years – will be available on February 19. Pre-order information will be announced shortly. Tickets for an extensive European tour go on sale this Friday, December 4.

From Simple Plan: “We are really excited to announce the first tour in support of our new album “Taking One For The Team, coming out on February 19th! These European shows will be the first of many international tours that we’ll be announcing. We can’t wait for our fans to hear the new album and to be back on the road.”

“TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM” is preceded by a trio of new songs, all featured on the forthcoming release. “Boom,” “I Don’t Want To Be Sad,” and the album’s lead single “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed (feat. Nelly)” are currently available at all DSPs. “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed (feat. Nelly)” is proving to be another multi-format hit for the Canadian pop-rockers. The companion video for “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed (feat. Nelly)” was inspired by the popular 90’s TV series “Baywatch” and is highlighted by cameo from the show’s star David Hasselhoff.

“TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM” marks Simple Plan’s first new full length album since 2011’s internationally successful “GET YOUR HEART ON!” Produced by Brian Howes, that album found the ever-inventive combo joined by an array of like-minded artists, including All Time Low’s Alex Gaskarth, Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and UK songstress Natasha Bedingfield. “Jet Lag,” the collection’s lead single, was an immediate worldwide smash, earning chart success and commercial milestones including 2x platinum certification in Canada.

“Summer Paradise” – the album’s next single, released in two distinct versions featuring Somali/Canadian rapper K’Naan and GRAMMY® Award-winning dancehall superstar Sean Paul – proved even more successful, ascending to the top 10 in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Sweden, and Venezuela and earning gold, platinum, and multi-platinum sales in Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.

“GET YOUR HEART ON!” also drew critical applause from all corners. People awarded the album three-out-of-four stars, noting that the band “explore new ground…yet remain edgy.” Entertainment Weekly commended Simple Plan for “augmenting their fidgety guitar assault with suburban reggae and club-friendly drum machines,” further hailing “Jet Lag” as “a loud and surprisingly lovely pop-punk pounder.” “The group sound recharged,” declared Alternative Press in its three-and-a-half starred lead review, praising the collection’s “buoyant energy” and “airtight power-pop hook(s).”

Simple Plan has earned widespread acclaim and a global fan following for their genre-defying blend of classic punk energy and modern pop sonics. Since coming together in 1999, the Montreal-based combo has achieved worldwide sales in excess of 7 million, with releases including 2002’s RIAA 2x-platinum debut, “NO PADS, NO HELMETS…JUST BALLS,” 2004’s platinum-certified follow-up, “STILL NOT GETTING ANY,” and 2005’s “MTV HARD ROCK LIVE.” 2008’s “SIMPLE PLAN” proved an international blockbuster upon its release, reaching the #1 spot on the iTunes Store’s “Top Pop Albums” chart while also scoring top 3 successes in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, and the band’s native Canada. Furthermore, the album premiered in the top 10 in such far-away lands as Hong Kong, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, and Germany, with top 20 debuts in Spain, Finland, and France.

In addition to their studio forays and frequent touring, Simple Plan has long been involved in philanthropic efforts spearheaded by their own Simple Plan Foundation. Created in 2005, the Simple Plan Foundation supports a variety of social and medical organizations dedicated to helping young people in need. The Simple Plan Foundation has raised over 1.5 million dollars in donations to date.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – better known as ELP – one of the most influential bands of the progressive rock era, have signed their 40-million-album-selling catalogue to new model music company BMG. It is the biggest new catalogue deal to be struck by BMG since it announced this summer that Peter Stack, founder of respected catalogue company Union Square Music acquired by BMG in 2014, would become its worldwide Head of Catalogue.

The ELP deal includes rights to at least 17 albums by the super-group, including the groundbreaking top 5 debut album Emerson, Lake & Palmer (1970), UK Number 1 Tarkus (1971) and probably their best known album Brain Salad Surgery, which reached Number 2 in 1973. It brings together rights previously split between North America and Europe, with BMG now holding rights for the World excluding South East Asia. Significantly, it promises a prestigious reissue campaign, with BMG gaining access to the prized ELP archive including original master tapes, demos, alternate versions, radio sessions, videos, rare photos / memorabilia and bootlegs, from artists who helped define ‘album rock’.

ELP were formed in 1970 by flamboyant keyboard player Keith Emerson (formerly of The Nice), singer and guitarist Greg Lake (formerly of King Crimson) and drummer/percussionist Carl Palmer (formerly of Atomic Rooster). Blending jazz and classical music with a wide-screen hard-rock style, ELP were one of the torchbearers of the progressive rock sound and were one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1970s. By 1974 they were as big as Led Zeppelin as a live draw.

Their first seven albums, all now to be re-issued by BMG, reached the UK Top 10 and US Top 20. Their third album, a live interpretation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibition, recorded at Newcastle City Hall and released in 1971, achieved the unprecedented feat of propelling a complete classical work into the UK Top 10.

Although fundamentally an albums band, ELP scored a UK Number 2 single in 1977 with their version of Aaron Copland’s ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’. BMG has also secured rights as part of the deal to Greg Lake’s evergreen ‘I Believe In Father Christmas’ which reached Number 2 in the UK in 1975 and so celebrates its 40th Anniversary this year.

Peter Stack, BMG Executive Vice-President Global Catalogue Recordings said: “ELP have created an extraordinary body of work which helped to define progressive rock, and we are delighted that they have placed their faith in BMG. We will give this catalogue the respect it truly deserves and can promise some exciting times ahead for both existing and future fans of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.”

ELP manager Stewart Young said: “ELP and myself are looking forward to the opportunity of working with BMG. This agreement brings our catalogue under one roof for the first time for the world outside South East Asia. BMG shares our belief that these works should be treated with the upmost respect, with reissues which offer the kind of quality that our fans deserve.”

At last! TMBG is returning to the world of kids stuff! You might have heard some of the tracks previewed on Dial-A-Song, but we can now confirm the arrival of a fantastic set of 18 new songs called Why? What kind of album is Why? Well, it’s not bad for you but it’s not good for you either. It’s just about fun, like TMBG’s first kids album No! Why? is memorable songs in family-friendly package with none of that pandering aftertaste.

Like previous TMBG kid productions it’s a family affair with John Flansburgh’s wife Robin “Goldie” Goldwasser singing a couple of tracks, while bassist Danny Weinkauf, joined by his daughter, steps up to the mic for the song Elephants. Alison Cowles, the daughter longtime video animation collaborator David Cowles (The Mesopotamians, We Live in a Dump, Science is Real) has contributed all the illustrations for the album. Right out of the gate TMBG hits the listener with the odd brilliance of “Oh You Did” through the folkie charm of “Out of A Tree,” the full rocking of “Or So I Have Read” the perky “I Just Want to Dance,” and wrapping things up with the optimism of “Then The Kids Took Over.” Why? has everything to delight both kids and parents.

Award-winning journalist, author, broadcaster and blogger Dalton Higgins’ sixth book Rap N’ Roll: Pop Culture, Darkly Stated, a collection of pop culture essays, launches on December 4th at A Different Booklist bookstore located in Toronto’s Annex neighborhood.

Coming on the heels of 2012’s Far From Over: The Music and Life of Drake – carried in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame & Museum collection in Cleveland – which clinically sheds light on the Drake phenomenon, and 2009’s Hip Hop World – which is carried in Harvard University’s hip hop archive, and led to a 2010 Hip Hop Scholar of the Year award nomination courtesy of Washington DC’s WBLINC – Rap N’ Roll is Higgins’ first art house-styled collection of writings that cover a wide range of topics including music (reggae, punk, rap), race, technology, public transportation (TTC), Jamaican culture, skin bleaching, performance enhancing drugs and the publishing industry itself.

“I’ve been blogging and writing essays about popular culture in magazines since 1995 from the vantage point of someone who is a global citizen yet distinctly African Canadian,” says Higgins whose pioneering work in the area of music presentation and criticism has taken him across the United States, Denmark, France, Australia, Germany, Colombia, England, Spain and Cuba among other destinations. “The fact that I am equally versed in hip hop as I am in hockey tends to confound some readers, but it’s 2015 and my prose simply signifies the voice of a first Generation Canadian lending their distinct point of view on a plethora of things affecting contemporary culture. Honest discussions about race, culture, hip hop, athletics and technology is what needs to happen more and is what tends to wet my reading audiences whistle.”

Reggae. Punk. Race. Hip hop. Technology. Counterculture. Toronto. Rap N’ Roll: Pop Culture, Darkly Stated is all of these things. And then some. Available in both hardcover and softcover glossy full colour format, Rap N’ Roll is a theoretical culmination of some of the more provocative topics and subject matter that Higgins has written about in North American periodicals over the last 20 years. Is rap the new rock n’ roll? Is the traditional book publishing industry on its deathbed? If you live in Toronto, has the TTC acronym come to stand for Totally Terrible Crap? Are Iggy Azalea and Macklemore the future of hip hop, and is MAGIC! the future of reggae? How did Jamaica become so tallawah despite its small size? Was sprinter Ben Johnson a PED futurist given the Lance Armstronging and A-Rodization of professional sports? Higgins also tackles tough topics related to cultural appropriation and digital culture with the honesty and precision of a seasoned veteran.

Frank Zappa’s 1979 double album, Sheik Yerbouti, is newly remastered from the original analog masters for worldwide vinyl reissue on December 11 by Zappa Records/UMe. The 2-LP, 180-gram vinyl is presented with replicated original artwork.

Frank Zappa’s first release on his own Zappa Records, Sheik Yerbouti‘s 18 tracks include the European smash hit “Bobby Brown,” the disco-inspired (and GRAMMY®-nominated) “Dancin’ Fool,” and the Peter Frampton-inspired “I Have Been In You.” Zappa produced the album from several 1977 and 1978 concerts recorded in the U.S., U.K., Germany, and Sweden with some studio elements.

In his 1979 Sheik Yerbouti review for Rolling Stone, David Fricke appreciated Zappa’s myriad talents and the album’s humor: “… it reaffirms (at least for the faithful) Zappa’s chops as a bandleader and rock & roll wit who doesn’t have to be socially relevant to get a laugh.”

With more than two million copies sold worldwide, Sheik Yerbouti continues to be one of the most popular albums of Frank Zappa’svast recorded catalog.

Frank Zappa: Sheik Yerbouti [2-LP vinyl]

Side One
1. I Have Been In You
2. Flakes
3. Broken Hearts Are for Assholes
4. I’m So Cute

Side Two
5. Jones Crusher
6. What Ever Happened to All the Fun in the World
7. Rat Tomago
8. We’ve Got to Get into Something Real
9. Bobby Brown
10. Rubber Shirt
11. The Sheik Yerbouti Tango

Side Three
12. Baby Snakes
13. Tryin’ to Grow a Chin
14. City of Tiny Lites
15. Dancin’ Fool
16. Jewish Princess

Side Four
17. Wild Love
18. Yo’ Mama

Timbre Press today announces the release of Stories of Music, a multimedia book that features works from more than 40 contributors—many who are award-winning authors and artists—from 11 countries. Focused on capturing music’s impact on the human experience, the stories explore music’s role in healing, community, family and cultural traditions, musicianship, and travel.

Readers will learn how rock and blues music helped to heal the war-torn country of Bosnia, about the tradition of candombe drumming in Uruguay, and about the history of musicians who travelled on foot—from the balladeers of Victorian England and the Delta bluesmen of the early 20th century to present day musicians who participate in the Massachusetts Walking Tour. Along with these and other stories, the book includes photography from around the world, poetry readings, and original music from more than 10 artists, including a song that was performed to honor first responders at Ground Zero.

Holly E. Tripp, who compiled and edited Stories of Music, says, “Music is something we all have in common. It transcends religion, race, language, and even time. This universal nature of music is what I wanted to capture in this collection, and it was important to create a reader experience that would mirror the depth and dimensions of music itself.”

In an effort to help increase access to music, the publisher will donate 10 percent of book proceeds to nonprofit organizations Hungry for Music and Music & Memory. Hungry for Music supports music education and cultural enrichment by acquiring and distributing quality musical instruments to underserved children who have willing instructors and a hunger to play. Music & Memory brings personalized music into the lives of the elderly or infirm through digital music technology, vastly improving their quality of life.

Stories of Music includes a foreword from Music & Memory’s founder and executive director, Dan Cohen, MSW. The book is presented in print with a free web edition for accessing the audio and video works. The print book (ISBN: 978-0-9969327-0-7, paperback, 176 pages) is available for $29 at www.storiesofmusic.com.

Janis: Little Girl Blue, the new Janis Joplin documentary helmed by Oscar-nominated director Amy Berg, has started its limited theatrical run, which will be followed by airings on PBS’ American Masters series.

Berg worked with the support of Joplin’s family on the film, which offers previously unseen glimpses of the singer’s personal life. Speaking with Billboard, Berg underlined her reasons for taking on the project while praising Joplin’s tremendous cultural impact.

“She put women in rock on the map. She literally was the first female rock star and she did it in such a strong way and we’re still reaping the benefits of that today,” Berg argued. “And I think her music is just as relevant today as it was in 1968-69.”

Janis: Little Girl Blue had its theatrical premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, and begins its official roll-out Friday in New York before spreading to Los Angeles on Dec. 4. A premiere airdate for its American Masters broadcast has yet to be announced, but according to the film’s official site, fans can expect to see it in “early 2016.”

“Joplin’s own words tell much of the film’s story, through a series of letters she wrote to her parents over the years, many of them made public here for the first time (and read by Southern-born indie rock star Cat Power),” reads part of the official synopsis. “This correspondence is only one element of the stunning, previously unseen material Berg discovered during the seven years she has spent working on Janis: Little Girl Blue. New audio and video of Joplin in concert and in the studio … and even footage from her emotional return to Port Arthur for her 10th high school reunion, add depth and texture to this remarkable story.”

Via Ultimate Classic Rock

Sam Phillips, founder of the label Sun Records, didn’t care much about making flawless recordings. Instead, the man who discovered Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison and a host of others rejected perfection in favor of spontaneity and individuality.

“Sam would say, ‘I hate that word, perfection. It should be banned from the English language,'” music writer Peter Guralnick tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “He didn’t care about the mistakes; he cared about the feel.”

In his new book, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, Guralnick chronicles Phillips’ work at Sun and his lasting impact on the music industry.

Guralnick describes Phillips as “a visionary” who worked to introduce the African-American music of his day to a broader white audience: “His vision from the very beginning was that music, and specifically African-American music, could conquer all of the prejudice, all of the race prejudice, the class prejudice, the divisions, the categories into which music — like everything else in American life — was divided.

“I think he’s as original and as strikingly individuated and as determinedly motivated an artist really as anybody I’ve ever written about,” Guralnick adds.


22nd January will see the release of a new Steven Wilson album “4 ½”, so titled because it forms an interim release between Steven’s recently released fourth album Hand. Cannot. Erase. and the next studio album.

4 ½ comprises 6 tracks with a total running time of 37 minutes. 4 of the songs originated during the sessions for Hand. Cannot. Erase., and one from the recording sessions for the previous album The Raven that Refused to Sing. The final track is a version of Don’t Hate Me, a song originally recorded by Porcupine Tree in 1998, and is based on a live recording made on the recent tour of Europe with additional recording later done in the studio. The vocals on this new version are sung as a duet between Steven and Ninet Tayeb.

Also appearing on the album are members of Steven’s band over the last few years; Adam Holzman, Nick Beggs, Guthrie Govan, Dave Kilminster, Craig Blundell, Marco Minnemann, Chad Wackerman, and Theo Travis.

4 ½ will be released by Kscope on CD, 180 gram vinyl, and blu-ray, with all formats housed in a beautiful die-cut sleeve photographed by Lasse Hoile and designed by Carl Glover. The blu-ray (audio only) edition includes high res stereo, a 5.1 mix of the album, and a bonus 5.1 mix of the new version of Lazarus (recently included on the Transience vinyl compilation). The vinyl edition will include a download code for the album in a choice of FLAC or mp3. The album will also be available digitally on 22nd January from iTunes, Amazon, Google Play & Apple Music.

The Beatles: Photographs from the Set of Help!
by Emilio Lari

In 1964, Italian photographer Emilio Lari was 24, newly arrived in London and looking for work. Back in Rome, he’d shot promotional stills on the set of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, starring Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, and for The Bobo, featuring Peter Sellers and Britt Ekland.

Now he was hoping to do the same in Britain. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for him to hear about a new film just going into production: A cheap black-and-white comedy meant to cash in on that latest fad, the Beatles. Lari went around to see the film’s director, Sellers’ old friend Richard Lester, and got invited to the first day of shooting. He was on the set of A Hard Day’s Night only that day, but Lester liked his photos and invited him to do more work on his next film, which turned out to be the Beatles’ Help!

In vivid color and crisp black and white, this book shares dozens of the results. There are great candid and posed shots of the Beatles, many unseen for years or never published, throughout. Musicians will enjoy the close-up images of the band with its famed guitars: George Harrison with his Gibson acoustic, John Lennon with his Rickenbacker, Paul McCartney with his violin-shaped Hofner bass. We’ve seldom seen these instruments so closely and looking so shiny and new. The same is true for the pictures of the Beatles themselves. They look so young, fresh and lively that it’s hard to believe the pictures are more than 50 years old. There are shots of the band clowning with the camera crew between takes and, in a two-page sequence, candids of Paul and George in the back of a limo sharing an inside joke. Paul is collapsing into laughter, his hands over his face as George looks on, a sly smile across his face. Maybe they were stoned. The Beatles famously said they spent much of “Help!” slipping away between shots to share joints. In any event, they look happy – young men at the top of their game and the height of fame.

In another photo, John clowns around wearing a long black wig and flashing a peace sign. It’s a startling image. This was John in 1965 flash-forwarding to his look of a few years later, during the midst of his peace campaigns with Yoko Ono. In fact, with the long black hair, he looks more like Yoko than himself. Lari didn’t accompany the Beatles for later scenes of the film shot in Austria and the Bahamas, so this isn’t a full document of the making of “Help!” That’s not a shortfall. It’s an excellent collection of one photographer’s intimate view of the Beatles, featuring mostly unfamiliar and very compelling images of history’s most famous band. – John Firehammer

See more photogeaphs at Wink.