Archive for October, 2011



Coldplay’s fifth studio album Mylo Xyloto is an emotional artistic leap of faith into the 21 Ist century.

And as you jump into it, Johnny Buckland, Chris Martin, Guy Berryman, and Will Champion will be right there with you.

This band knows what they want and have taken 3 years to make sure their fanbase “gets it”

As song titles would suggest, It Hurts Like Heaven, Paradise and Every Teardrop is a Waterfall the band has built an album that is dramatic but shot full of hope

For every person that feels like their world/our world is out of reach and out of touch, Coldplay have given you a blanket of songs and hope that even though it’s us against them or you versus the world.

It’s Gonna Be Allright

Check out Us Against the World, where “the devil is talking with those angel eyes or Charlie Brown,”where my heart gets smashed to smithereens’ it’s profound stuff but Chris Martin and the band have their audiences back.

As each song  unfolds, the huge pop of Paradise and mega anthemic Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall  Coldplay are making music that is big on melody, and big on letting their audience in on it

On Princess of  China where Rhianna joins the band the synths and beat smashes up against a killer vocal interchange. It can’t miss .

Up In Flames is tender and almost sounds like a young Brian Wilson mid 60’s. Simply gorgeous.

This is such a layered album that as you may have noticed on the band’s Letterman appearances the core four have used a lot of backing tracks to make the sound HUGE.

It does not hurt the recording, but it’s something I’m not  fond of when I see a band performing in concert

Mylo Xyloto is big on emotion and atmosphere and will sell big numbers

JOHN EMMS is read in 104 countries..A veteran music journalist, musician and radio host.


check out John and his roots/rockin band THE SHAFTMEN















Backed by a soulful band of  musicians Maria Muldaur’s new album Steady Love is downright inspiring.

Let me make this clear. Muldaur’s voice  has none of it’s seductive phrasing.

In fact, some younger female singers can learn a heck of a lot just by listening to her new cd.

In fact, if your not up on the floor when Muldaur struts on the gospel track An Eagle Stirreth in Her Nest, or grooves you on Rain Down Tears you may want to check your pulse

To be fair Muldaur has sung a lot of styles of music. Folk, jug band, gospel, jazz etc.  But my fave of Muldaur’s is R & B followed closely by blues roots music. 

The core band of Dave Torkanowsky on keys, guitarist Shane Theriot, bassist Johnny Allen and drummers Kenny Blevins/Shannon Powell are  very supple and mindful of Muldaur’s vocal prowess.

Just check out Muldaur’s take on Elvin Bishop’s I’ll Be Glad or the super slinky take on the Bobby Charles classic Why Are People Like That. With Theriot’s galvanizing note bending and the band up and in the pocket it does not get any better folks.

Elsewhere on Soulful Dress, Get You Next to Me or on Rick Vito’s I Am Not Alone where Muldaur shares the sweet harmony with Jenni Muldaur you simply can’t miss.

THIS CD will make my top 10 list for 2011. As a sidenote, this is one of the best sounding cd’s I have heard this year. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio host. Visit John at



















The HOLLIES Look Through Any Window spanning 1963-1975 is one of the best retrospectives I have seen.

Most of the film focuses on the Graham Nash/Allan Clarke era of the British Invasion from 1964 till 1969 with both men interviewed on film and narrating.

It gives the viewer amazing insight into the band and the mid 60’s era.

However after Nash left to join Crosby Stills and Nash the Hollies had huge hits with Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, The Air That I Breathe and the magnificent He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother 

Easily one of the best parts in the film is the Hollies in the EMI Studios at Abbey Road recording harmonies for On a Carousel.

It simply is breathtaking at how well these guys could sing and how well the band could play.

The film also shows that Hollies members  drummer Bobby Elliott and guitarist/vocalist Tony Hicks in particular are excellent players. In addition Terry Sylvester and Bernie Calvert were also well ingrained into  the band’s sound 

An absolute must have film for any fan of the British Invasion and The Hollies!

Cream-Live at Royal Albert Hall makes it way to blu-ray this week. One thing you notice is that even after 40 years of not gigging as a unit Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce have a chemistry that is taut but just so happens to spill into this one off gloroius groove that only happens when these 3 outstanding players are on the same stage

Outstanding versions of Outside Woman Blues, Sleepy Time Time and Clapton’s guitar solo on Stormy Monday take you into Jam Land with very hip results.

In addition the band rips into different and solid versions of their hits Sunshine of Your Love, Badge, White Room, and Crossroads.

Recorded over 4 nights in May of 2005, this concert is a snapshot of the band in their sixities and quite different than when the band was only 25 years old and blowing out venues with 20 minute songs.

It would have been nice to see what would have happened over let’s say a 10 or 15 date world tour. 

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio host. Check John’s cool stuff on this page or link to



Why should you buy the new Pink Floyd remasters? 

Quite simply for new fans this will be a mind blowing experience. If you have only heard the band on your radio or Apple iTunes then you will be in for an amazing  journey of timeless music with the Discovery Editions.

If your an older dedicated fan you will more and likely enjoy the new booklets, artwork, remastered sound and will devour the Immersion CD/DVD/BLU-RAY/Memorabilla Box Sets.

Here is what I have on the new remastered Discovery Editions/studio albums.

 The Piper at the Gates of Dawn-Their 1967 debut with Syd Barett on guitar and doing almost all of the songwriting. An absolute psychedelic masterpiece of “Brit”  electronic/rock and pop. Stunning remaster by James Guthrie compared to the sound from my original vinyl album. Get it.

Ummagumma-From 1969, a two cd  set with again upgraded and very cool mixes on the ‘live” album. The ‘new band rips  into the Syd Barett material but now with David Gilmour on lead guitar and vocals. Here is where Pink Floyd made their mark as a band to reckon with in a live context. Superb set.

The studio side is much more experimental with all four members contributing.

Wish You Were Here-From 1975, this upgrade has a very cool photos, an excellent booklet and of course without a doubt one of their most timeless sets of music. Some call it a masterpiece, even though I prefer Dark Side of the Moon. Interplay between the band and Gilmour’s guitar work is mind blowing. Superb work from the whole band including piano/keyboard man Richard Wright. Get it!

Obscured by Clouds-This 1972 film soundtrack for the La Valee movie precedes Dark Side of the Moon by less than one year. Very interesting material, but for major fans of the band.

The Division Bell-Original release was from 1994. The second album without Roger Waters

For me this was stronger work than most people give it credit for. Of course it is not as strong as The Wall, Dark Side etc, but Richard Wright is in fine form and lyrics by Polly Sampson with Gilmour are excellent in a number of places. Drummer Nick Mason shines and these songs  stand up in Gilmour’s live shows. Get It!!

Look for more of my Pink Floyd Discovery Edition reviews of  the new EMI remasters over the next month.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host and musician. Visit John at




Wake up and listen. The Kooks want you to grow with them.

Sure, they may have tinkered with their sound a bit.

But, whatever way you look at it,  Junk of the Heart is a modern, intelligent pop album that gets better with repeat listens.

If you want to click through your Apple Iphone 5 or jabber away on facebook your not going to “get it”.  Try loading this cd into your vehicle, going for a drive and crank up the volume.

Think LCD Soundsytems’s feel on Drunk Girls mixed with mid period Supergrass and a Brighton pub on Saturday night and you will get an idea of the groove here.

The title track is a relationship song  driven by an  infectious vocal hook. If  given the time of day this track could be a monster North American radio fave.  

How’d You Like That tries a bit too hard to be likeable  pop, but Rosie is strong song born out of a very different groove that could have been mid 70s Kinks material if the Kinks were 25 years old in 2011.

That’s good folks.

Elsewhere the retooling of the band’s sound is killer on “F**k The World Off and the incredible  Badfinger-meets Gaz Coombe’s feel of  Is It Me which asks “”Is it the times were living in”

I say yes.

If you can’t be moved by songs like Killing Me or Mr Nice Guy your on the wrong planet.

The only problem I can see is how the four can pull off some of the more ambitious tracks on this cd in a live context.

Strong work by songwriter/vocalist Luke Pritchard, yet the whole band finds space. Personally, more use of Hugh Harris’ guitar lines would have been nice, but that’s a minor quip.

JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, musician and radio host..Visit John at or check out his reverbnation link here

October 2011