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YOUR TOP 20 IS
MUY GRANDE
How will the Grammys affect who follows Ariana? (2/14a)
SONG REVENUE CHART: FEMALE POWER
Ari! Halsey! Billie! (2/15a)
UMG POSTS $7B YEAR,
WITH SALE ON TRACK
Who wants a piece of this? (2/15a)
FLIPOVER FRIDAY: NEW ARRIVALS AT iTUNES AND APPLE MUSIC
A pair of dynamic duos leads the pack. (2/15a)
HITS LIST KEEPS FALLING ON MY HEAD
These rainmakers are anything but all wet. (2/15a)
THE WINNERS
What the Grammys tell us about a changing landscape.
COMMITTED TO ROCK
The biz players who are determined to get the volume back up.
MANAGEMENT DO-SI-DO
Big changes among big acts.
THE NEW SUPERSTARS
The old pop rules just don't apply.
Critics' Choice
UMe REVISITS ZAPPA'S '76 NYC TRIP
1/25/19

Starting in 1974 and continuing into the early 1980s, Halloween in New York meant a visit from Frank Zappa and his revolving collection of astoundingly talented cohorts. His concerts at The Palladium  were legendary—comical, theatrical, outrageous and, of course, outstandingly musical—and word of mouth alone made tickets to each year’s runs highly coveted.

In 1976, he opted to switch up holidays and pushed his NYC run to four nights between Christmas and New Year's Eve after performing on Saturday Night Live on 12/11. (The week of Halloween he was in Philly appearing on The Mike Douglas Show to promote the release of Zoot Allures.) 

Hits were not the draw at the time: All of his Palladium runs pre-dated “Valley Girl” and most of the shows came before his disco ditty “Dancing Fool” had anti-dance crowd singing “I may be totally wrong but I’m a fool.”

During his lifetime, Frank died in 1993, only one of the Palladium sets was ever released, Zappa In New York, culled from the 1976 shows and released in 1978 after censors blocked its release due to “Punky’s Whips.” 

Zappa Records/UMe is revisiting those 1976 shows with a suite of expanded anniversary editions of Zappa In New York that will be released 3/29.

The expanded versions will be available as a five-CD box set, triple LP set and digitally. The five-disc collection will be housed in a limited-edition metal tin shaped like a NYC street manhole cover and includes a replica ticket from one of the shows. The four additional discs are loaded with relevant vault nuggets and more than three hours of unreleased live performances from the Palladium concerts.

Frank’s band at the time comprised Ray White on vocals and guitar, Terry Bozzio on drums and vocals, Eddie Jobson on keyboard, Ruth Underwood on percussion and synthesizer, Patrick O’Hearn on bass and vocals and David Samuels on timpani and vibes.  The brass section featured Randy Brecker on trumpet and Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone, Lou Marini on alto sax, Ronnie Cuber on baritone sax and Tom Malone on trombone. The sets included such faves as “Dinah-Moe Humm,” “The Purple Lagoon,” and “Cruisin’ For Burgers.”

The Zappa In New York 40th anniversary editions are available for pre-order now and all digital pre-orders will receive an instant grat download of the unreleased rarity “The Purple Lagoon/Any Kind of Pain.”

A POSIES BOOTLEG
1/21/19

by Simon Glickman

Posies co-founders Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer showed up to L.A.'s Bootleg Theater as an electric duo on 1/20, sans rhythm section but plugged in and prepared for a deep dive into their catalog. 

The Seattle-bred Posies seemed poised, back in the early '90s, to ride the decade's amped-up rock revival to fame and fortune, offering as they did a Beatles/Big Star-infused take on the alternative sound of the era. They weren't grunge, but they could sling huge, buzzy, psychedelic guitar rock—while singing incandescent harmonies.

Alas, the band was a little too smart (and sweet) for the room, despite making a couple of damn-near-perfect records and several others that, while less hard-hitting, were filled with strong songs. (They also teamed up with surviving Big Star members for a string of beautiful shows and recordings.)

The depth of the pair's material was certainly on display at the Bootleg, as Jon and Ken dove into early tracks both well known ("Dream All Day," "Solar Sister," "Suddenly Mary") and obscure ("Definite Door," "Everybody Is a Fucking Liar," "Believe in Something Other [Than Yourself]"). The chemistry they've honed over 30 or so years was well in evidence, and their gorgeous vocal blend hasn't aged a day. Their stage banter, meanwhile, tended toward the ultra-nerdy (Star Trek references abounded, as well as riffs on possible franchise movies by arthouse directors), which was about right for the audience.

Ken sat at the piano for several songs, expanding the evening's sonic palette, and opener Simone White (whose folky, incantatory approach recalled early Joni Mitchell filtered through Steeleye Span) chimed in with some additional harmonies.

They didn't play "Golden Blunders" or about 10 other old favorites over the course of the set, but it was a rare pleasure to hear deep tracks performed intimately and with such zest. The Posies are due to deliver an album of new material soon; we'll tell you all about it when it arrives. In the meantime, you might want to check out Omnivore's lavish reissues of the band's releases.

PINK SWEAT$ WILL SOON BE ALL THE RAGE
12/11/18

You may have read about Human Re Sources artist/songwriter Pink Sweat$ in our recent New & Developing Artists rundown; you’re likely to hear quite a bit more about him soon. The 26-year-old Philly native developed his considerable songwriting versatility working with artists ranging from Nashville’s Florida Georgia Line to hip-hop breakout Tierra Whack and pop breakout MAX; on his own he’s racked up 13m Spotify streams and press love (New York Times, Fader, Hypebeast) thanks to jams like “Honesty” (the twisty video for which has earned 1.7m+ YouTube views and appears below),  “No Replacing You” and “Would You.”

What all these stats don’t tell you is that dude has some serious old-school R&B mojo, complete with a truly pure falsetto, and a distinctive, fearless style. Check it.