Tag Archives: The Zombies

50 Years of The Zombies

Fifty years? Yikes! But they did get together in 1961.

But how does a new Zombies albums come out with so little fanfare? Oh yeah…radio. Right. Lady Gaga, American Idol, country pop stars. No Country For Old Men indeed. No matter how great they were…and are.

Video: Colin Blunstone talks about the reunion.

Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent are joined by Tom Toomey, Steve Rodford and Jim Rodford (well, so much for that Kinks reunion). Looks like they will be touring a lot to support the album, and frankly, they sound great. But don’t take it from me – listen for yourself.

Video: “Any Other Way” (live)

Grab a copy here.

The Zombies official website

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Top Ten Albums of 2010 – #4

I first came across The 88 when I heard one of their songs and thought a band was channeling The Kinks. Little did I realize that a few short years later, this band would be backing Ray Davies on tour, essentially standing in for my favorite band of all time. And although you might not know the band nor the names of anyone in the group, you’ve no doubt heard their music peppering the soundtracks of many television shows and films.

Video: “Theme from “Community

Their knack for hooks and melody exudes an inescapable charm, and lead singer Keith Slettedahl darts around the scale with the ease of Fred Astaire on a dance floor. The current lineup (with keyboard player Adam Merrin,  bassist  Todd O’Keefe and drummer Anthony Zimmitti) is a tight-knit unit, and their sound is as strong on a delicate ballad as a full blown rave-up. I really like the way the keyboards are used on this album, adding flavors from garage rock to piano pop to the music hall DNA The Kinks mined in the early 70s.  

Video: “All ‘Cause of You” (live)

I felt they were on quite a roll from album to album but thought the last one (This Must Be Love) was a bit of a dip. A solid record, it just was more sedate than the other efforts; I think they’re at their best when playing more uptempo fare. So this eponymous album, their fifth, was a return to form in my book and one of the best listens of the year.

Fans of Fountains of Wayne, The Zombies, XTC, The Kinks…hell, anyone with a pop heart will eat this stuff up. Great vocals, great songwriting – go buy their records so you won’t have to sit through tripe like Gossip Girl.

Video: “They Ought To See You Now

Listen to tracks at Amazon – on sale for $5 today!

The 88 homepage

The 88 on MySpace


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Under The Radar: Dion Watts

As always when circling back to some old and obscure favorites, I find that I’ve missed some subsequent projects. Absolute Fiction, Carnival of Souls, The Scam…how did I miss three bands?

In a way, that’s good news for me – more to enjoy! In a way, bad news for you – the title I referred to below doesn’t even exist anymore. But several of the songs are available for free download at his site. I think if you enjoy artists like Semisonic (and solo efforts from Dan Wilson), The Zombies, John Wesley Harding, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Keane, or any of the more melodic pop artists, you’ll find something to like here. Many songs are very light and airy; some of the band material is a bit more uptempo.

You can read more about Dion Watts here and listen at the links at bottom, but it sounds like the very things that I was attracted to about his music remain intact. Here’s what I wrote a decade ago as part of my MP3 Files column for Cosmik Debris

Dion’s record is the first one I received that is printed on the MP3.COM “label”, the concept itself gets mixed reviews from me. The Digital Automatic Music (DAM) CDs are predominantly low-priced and contain two sets of tracks – one for your CD player and a set of digital files for your computer – along with artwork, video, lyrics and other goodies (the contents differs from artist to artist; this CD seems to only have a song list and a photo).

So you’re in good shape if you’re at the computer (unless you don’t have Winamp or some other program set as your default CD player, in which case your computer wrestles with itself for a while). The actual CD booklet, however, has a cover shot and very plain track listing on the back plate; everything else is generic information about MP3.com or a blank page. Bummer for those non-computer listens.

But what counts is inside, and Something Always Happens is loaded with great pop tunes. I first heard “I Wanna Be With You”, which is an irresistible sing-along pop track with jangly guitars and a great chorus. Watts’ vocal style is old school AM radio stuff, sometimes light and airy (“The Bluest Eyes”, a prom song if there ever was one), sometimes more pronounced like a John Wesley Harding on tracks like “God’s Cruel Joke On Me” (which almost sounds like a JWH title, doesn’t it?). “She Used To Love Me” is another solid hook backed by a great vocal, while the layered vocals on “Ashlee” and Overnight” are a nice touch. Watts plays and sings just about everything here, and pop fans should have a field day.

Dion Watts on MySpace

Listen and download tracks here.

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T.G.I.F. – Ten Timetripping Tunes

Quality won’t be HDTV, folks, but I’m just thanking the higher power that these clips are available at all. These were staples of my teenage diet; I watched these puppies spin around at 45 RPM more often that I can remember, and I still get excited when I hear them. Forty years later, my inner dashboard drummer (a/k/a “Tappy Joe“) will still abandon the steering wheel in a heartbeat to recreate the drum fills that start at 1:38 in “Psychotic Reaction“. (And why not? It’s great stuff!)

So whether this is a blast-from-the-past jukebox or you are popping your timetripping cherry with me into unchartered waters, trust me that you’ll enjoy this half-ish hour of fun.

(And don’t look at me all weird because it’s mostly black and white – do you really think Rod Serling did his best work in color?)


The Count Five: “Psychotic Reaction

The Left Banke: “Walk Away Renee

The Blues Magoos: “We Ain’t Got Nothin’ Yet

The Zombies: “She’s Not There

Status Quo: “Pictures of Matchstick Men

The Knickerbockers: “Lies

The Outsiders: “Time Won’t Let Me

The Box Tops: “The Letter

Paul Revere and the Raiders: “Kicks

and, of course

The Easybeats: “Friday On My Mind

Dime? Quarter? This one if free, my friends! Keep rocking and enjoy the weekend.

Dime? Quarter? This one if free, my friends! Keep rocking...

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Filed under Features and Interviews, Music, Reviews