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RANCID

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RANCID PUNK
RANCID
RANCID BAND
Biography: 

One of the cornerstone bands of the '90s punk revival, Rancid's unabashedly classicist sound drew heavily from the Clash's early records, echoing their left-leaning politics and fascination with ska, while adding a bit of post-hardcore crunch. While some critics dismissed Rancid as derivative, others praised their political commitment, surging energy, and undeniable way with a hook. And, regardless of critical debate over their significance, the band's strengths made them perhaps the most popular neo-punk band after Green Day and the Offspring. Their third album, 1995's ...And Out Come the Wolves, made them a platinum-selling sensation and an inescapable presence on MTV and modern rock radio. While they never translated that success into an enormous blockbuster record (like the aforementioned bands who hit the mainstream first), that wasn't necessarily their ambition, choosing to stay with the independent punk label Epitaph and the creative freedom it allowed them. That decision helped them retain a large, devoted core audience as revivalist punk-pop began to slip off the mainstream's musical radar. 


Rancid were formed in 1991 by San Francisco Bay Area punk scenesters Tim Armstrong (guitar/vocals) and Matt Freeman (bass). Lifelong friends and longtime punk fans, the two had grown up together in the small, working-class town of Albany, near Berkeley; they'd also played together in the legendary ska-punk band Operation IvyArmstrong as "Lint" and Freeman as Matt McCall. After Op Ivy disbanded in 1989, Armstrong and Freeman spent a few weeks in the ska-punk outfit Dance Hall Crashers, as well as DownfallFreeman later briefly joined the hardcore band MDC. Meanwhile, Armstrong was waging a battle with alcoholism (but, fortunately, winning), and to help keep his friend occupied, Freeman suggested they escape their day jobs by forming a new band, which became Rancid. The duo added drummer Brett ReedArmstrong's roommate and a familiar presence on the Gilman Street scene where Operation Ivy had cut their teeth. Just a couple of months later, Rancid were performing live around the area, and in 1992 they released a five-song debut EP on Lookout! Records. 

The EP caught the attention of Brett Gurewitz and his well-respected Epitaph label, which signed Rancid to a highly favorable contract guaranteeing them a generous amount of creative control. The band's eponymously titled, first full-length album arrived in 1993, pursuing an up-tempo, hardcore/skatepunk style with few hints of early British punk. Rancid had been seeking a second guitarist, and Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong even played live with the group at one show. They pursued Lars Frederiksen, a Bay Area resident who'd joined a later incarnation of U.K. Subs and was performing with the band Slip; Frederiksen initially declined Rancid's invitation to join, but when Slip disbanded, he quickly changed his mind and came along on Rancid's first tour. Frederiksen made his recording debut on the early-1994 EP Radio Radio Radio, a side dalliance on Fat Wreck Chords. Released later that year, Let's Go was the album that made Rancid's name in the punk underground. It marked the beginnings of their fascination with the 1977-era London punk scene, particularly the Clash, and it also provided their first widespread exposure when MTV picked up on the video for the single "Salvation." Let's Go quickly went gold, and with the breakout mainstream success of Green Day and the Offspring that year, major-label interest in Rancid quickly escalated into a full-fledged bidding war (even Madonna's Maverick imprint got in on the action). Ultimately, Rancid decided that no major could offer them the level of decision-making power that Epitaph had given them, and stayed right where they were. 

Rancid scored a major success with their next album, 1995's ...And Out Come the Wolves, whose title was a reference to the near-predatory interest in signing the band. The Clash fetish was even more pronounced, augmented with a greater interest in the original Two-Tone ska revival the Clash had helped influence (bands like the Specials). "Ruby Soho" was a major MTV and radio hit, and "Time Bomb" and "Roots Radicals" were hits in their own right. The album went platinum and made Rancid one of the most visible punk bands around. They played the 1996 Lollapalooza Tour, and afterward took a short break, their first since becoming a quartet. During that time, Freeman played with former X singer Exene Cervenka in Auntie Christ, while Armstrong set up the Epitaph subsidiary Hellcat; he and Frederiksen both began doing production work for other bands they hoped to spotlight. 

Rancid returned in 1998 with the even more ska-heavy Life Won't Wait, a guest-star-loaded affair that featured members of ska bands the Specials and Hepcat, Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, dancehall reggae star Buju Banton, and Agnostic Front vocalist Roger Miret. While it didn't cross over on the level of ...And Out Come the Wolves, it demonstrated that Rancid retained a substantial fan base. For the 2000 follow-up, their second self-titled release, the group largely scrapped its ska-punk side, recording a visceral, hardcore-influenced album that blasted through 22 songs in under 40 minutes (in contrast to its two lengthy predecessors). Perhaps for that reason, Rancid received a highly positive response from the punk community. The band's installment in the BYO split series arrived in March 2002 alongside NOFX, each band covering six of the other's songs. Rancid's next full-length, Indestructible, followed a year later; though technically released through Hellcat, the album was their first that got additional support from a major label via Warner Bros. The highly personal album (songs were inspired by the deaths of family and friends, and Armstrong's bitter 2003 divorce from Distillers frontwoman Brody Dalle) hit number 14 on the Billboard charts, as "Fall Back Down" did well on radio and MTV. 

Following the record's release, Rancid went on something of a hiatus, its members working on various side projects: Armstrong continued work with the Transplants, his band with Rob Aston and blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, and collaborated with various artists, including Pink; Frederiksen further played with his side band Lars Frederiksen and the Bastards; Freeman briefly joined Social Distortion from 2004-2005. By the spring of 2006, a revitalized Rancid regrouped; they toured worldwide starting that summer to the delight of fans. Several shows, however, had to be postponed and rescheduled after Frederiksen collapsed on-stage in Montreal, apparently suffering a seizure. Soon enough, though, he was back and the band continued on. Rancid promised a new record for the following year, and Armstrong released his first solo album, A Poet's Life, that fall through Epitaph by releasing songs online for free download over the course of several months. With the band getting back on track, it then came as a shock in November 2006 when Reed announced he was leaving Rancid after 15 years; the split appeared to be amicable and he was soon replaced behind the kit by ex-Used drummer Brandon Steineckert.

Source: Steve Huey, All Music Guide

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Vinyl Frontier: Retro Reviews Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Review by Andrew David James

The 1980’s were a strange time. In the UK politically it was an ugly era, full of spite and polar opposites. Internationally it was likewise. Culturally there was an air of upward mobility in the air that was faintly ridiculous but the effect of this is evident to the present day. Musically, it wasn’t the great decade some might have it be.

Panic At The Disco

Biography: 

The members of Panic! at the Disco had barely graduated high school when their full-length debut, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, transformed the suburban Las Vegas teenagers into national emo-pop stars. The band had materialized several years earlier, when friends Spencer Smith (drums) and Ryan Ross (guitar) began covering blink-182 tunes together. After tiring of playing another group's material, the duo recruited two additional classmates, guitar/vocalist Brendon Urie and bassist Brent Wilson, and the newly-formed quartet decided to model its name after a line in Name Taken's "Panic". Crafting pop-influenced songs with theatrical touches, quirky techno beats, and perceptive lyrics, Panic! at the Disco posted several demos online that soon caught the attention of Decaydance Records, the Fueled by Ramen imprint headed by Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. Even though the band had yet to play a live show, they subsequently became the first band signed to the label.

With their record scheduled for a release in September 2005, Panic! at the Disco joined the successful Nintendo Fusion Tour and hit the road alongside Fall Out Boy, Motion City Soundtrack, Boys Night Out, and the Starting Line. The band continued to tour into early 2006, while their single "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" found its way into TRL hearts and the Billboard Top 40. Proving to be a popular lineup, the Nintendo tour (which also featured Hellogoodbye, "Acceptance," and the Academy Is...) consistently sold out venues across the country. Wilson was fired from the group mid-year; undaunted, Panic! pressed on with their friend Jon Walker on board for a full summer tour that culminated with appearances at Lollapalooza, Reading, and the Leeds festival. The guys picked up "Video of the Year" at MTV's annual VMA ceremony, beating out heavy hitters like Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a collector's box set version of Fever (featuring random Panic paraphernalia and a DVD) came out just in time for the 2006 holiday season. After additional tour dates, the band announced that they were eliminating the exclamation point from their name, a sign that seemed to foreshadow the mature, less emo-driven rock featured on Pretty. Odd. Released in March 2008, the sophomore album peaked at number two in the U.S. and showcased an evolving band whose tastes had grown to encompass The Beatles' psychedelic pop. The group supported the album with another string of show dates, one of which was captured on the CD/DVD release ...Live in Chicago.

artistdirect.com

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LENNY KRAVITZ

LENNY KRAVITZ TOPLESS
LENNY KRAVITZ SMOKING
LENNY KRAVITZ LIVE
LENNY KRAVITZ
Biography: 

American “retro” rocker, Lenny Kravitz’s style has been compared to such greats as Prince and Jimi Hendrix. His career boasts multi-platinum albums, four consecutive Grammy awards for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and over 40 million album sales globally.

Kravitz’s influence also reaches his peers. His collaborative efforts read more like a Hollywood A-List party - Jay-Z, Aerosmith, Mick Jagger and P. Diddy amongst others.

In the 80s, Kravitz worked under the stage name Romeo Blue. He developed a demo but was told he wasn’t “black enough” to compete with the RnB styles that dominated the radio airwaves at the time. Undeterred and without a label, Kravitz decided to started work on an album and managed to attract the attention of Virgin Records.

Within a few years, he traded the Shakespearian nom de plume for a freshly signed Virgin Records contract and released his debut album Let Love Rule in 1989 to mixed reviews.

In the first few years of the 90s, Kravitz spent writing and producing for other artists including Madonna’s Justify My Love but also experienced his first chart success with second album Mama Said. This album featured a song titled It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over and collaborations with Guns 'N' Roses’ Slash and BeatlesOffspring, Sean Lennon.

In 1993, Are You Gonna Go My Way was released and reached #12 on the Billboard charts and won Kravitz a BRIT award. He followed up with Circus in 1995 which hit #10 despite it only having two moderately successful singles.

In 1998, Kravitz exploded onto the mainstream music scene with his fifth album, suitably named 5, thanks to the hit single Fly Away. This song helped make the album multi-platinum, featured on advertisements and secured Kravitz his first Grammy in 1999.

Success continued in 2001 with an award-winning, cover version of the Guess Who’s American Woman for the second Austin Powers movie soundtrack.

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Kravitz subsequently released three more studio albums and became more involved in other projects like political activism, acting and collaboration. He also established his own record label named Roxie Records and a design company aptly named Kravitz Designs. In an era of throwaway music careers, Kravitz has proven his critics wrong with a three decade long career that continues to flourish.

Juanita Appleby

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C.E.O CHAT...WHATS COMING UP !!

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Never been a stamp collector, but boy can I understand the thrill of finding some hidden gem or being offered unique content to display or auction.  Beatles autographs with great provenance are exciting enough, but coupled with Four Tops, Monkees, and Madonna signatures, to name but a few is special indeed. We already have some amazing Saxon memorabilia and this morning were offered some 20 rare early Queen photos  all should be available  to bid for within the next few days. 

Prince

Prince Rogers Nelson
Biography: 

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in June 1958. Born to a jazz singer mother and a pianist father, it seems only natural that the young Prince inherited an aptitude for music.

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During the early 70s, he played in his cousin’s band. When he later composed songs for them, he drew on influences such as Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone. As well as singing on some tracks, he would also contribute his considerable talents on guitar and piano.

In 1976, he recorded a demo which started a bidding war among record labels. The victor was Warner Bros. Records. Two years later, he released his solo album ‘For You’ on which he played all the instruments. By the time his second album - ‘Prince’ - came out, he had recruited a backing band and was invited to support Rick James on his tour in 1980.

1982 saw the release of double album ‘1999’. The album was his most successful yet, launching his mainstream international career. Prince built on his success with his film and soundtrack ‘Purple Rain’, accompanied by his new backing band The Revolution.

Ever wondered how the ‘Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics’ labels first came about? While listening to Prince track ‘Darling Nikki’ on her daughter’s stereo, Tipper Gore was shocked to hear its sexually-charged lyrics and called for clearer labelling on record covers to advise parents on potentially unsuitable content.

The ‘Parade’ album was released in 1986, giving Prince further international chart success with the single ‘Kiss’. The legendary Tom Jones teamed up with Art of Noise two years later for a cover of ‘Kiss’ which breathed new life into the crooner’s career. In fact, Prince is responsible for revolutionising other music careers: The Bangles scored a massive hit with the Prince-penned ‘Manic Monday’, and Sinead O’Connor recorded a haunting rendition of ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ in 1990.

Critics heaped praised on albums such as ‘Sign ‘O’ the Times’, ‘Lovesexy’ and ‘Diamonds and Pearls’, and his flamboyant dress and performances have made him as much of an 80s icon as Madonna and Michael Jackson. During the 90s, Prince changed his name to a symbol representing male and female. He struggled with creative limitations imposed by his record company, resulting in him daubing his face with the word ‘Slave’.

Perfect Pose: Prince

In 2007, Prince had a 21-night sell-out residency at London’s O2 Arena. Allegedly, the star had rehearsed in excess of 200 songs before the run and varied the setlist of the gigs according to his mood. Today, he continues to make music and capture the imagination of critics and fans alike.

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MADONNA

madonna
MADONNA HEAD SHOTS
MADONNA HEAD SHOT
MADONNA ON STAGE
Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone
Biography: 

Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone was born in Michigan in August 1958. She was raised a Catholic and was the third of six children. As a child, she took ballet classes and after graduating high school, she was offered a dance scholarship at the University of Michigan. The young Madonna later moved to New York to pursue a career in dance. Through her dance work, she made contacts in the music industry and began sending out demos.

After catching the attention of Sire Records, she secured a recording contract and released her first single ‘Everybody’ in April 1982. An eponymous debut album followed and Madonna gained a growing fan-base.

Madonna went from US cult to worldwide phenomenon with the release of her second album, ‘Like A Virgin’. Her distinctive look started fashion crazes for lace gloves, leggings and chunky belt buckles. ‘Into The Groove’ became the biggest single from the album, with buoyed sales from its inclusion in her film ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’.

In 1985, Madonna met – and married – actor Sean Penn, to whom she dedicated her next album ‘True Blue’. Singles such as ‘Open Your Heart’, ‘La Isla Bonita’ and ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ cemented Madonna’s reputation as a force to be reckoned with in popular music.

After embarking on a hugely successful world tour and appearing in films ‘Shanghai Surprise’ and ‘Who’s That Girl?’, Madonna began work on her follow-up album ‘Like A Prayer’, which was released in 1989, the same year as her divorce to Sean Penn. She signed a deal with Pepsi for $5m and the album’s title track made its worldwide debut on the TV commercial. However, Pepsi was forced to pull the ad after seeing the music video, which featured burning crosses and stigmata. This led the Vatican to urge Catholics to boycott the star’s Blonde Ambition tour.

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Madonna later courted more controversy over the release of her sexually explicit book ‘Sex’ which coincided with her follow-up album ‘Erotica’. Her success waned during the mid 90s. However, Madonna won a Golden Globe in 1996 for her role in ‘Evita’ and in 1998, she released her album ‘Ray of Light’ to much acclaim.

Her continuing success into the 21st century comes from releasing albums such as ‘Music’ and ‘Confessions on a Dancefloor’ and high-grossing world tours like ‘Reinvention’ and ‘Sticky & Sweet’. No-one can deny that Madonna has left an indelible mark in music history and popular culture.

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BRITNEY SPEARS

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Britney Spears Side Profile
Britney Spears Bald
Britney Spears Fur
Britney Spears Innocence
Britney Jean Spears
Biography: 

‘The Princess of Pop’ doesn’t really come close to summing up this American music star. Not a day goes by where a picture of Britney doesn’t appear in the tabloid news, and some may say this has gone to her head faster than a cheap razor.

Britney Jane Spears, as she was born in 1981, has been in the spotlight, being linked to artists such as Madonna and Whitney Houston from the age of just 8. Between the ages of 11 and 13 she became a member of The Mickey Mouse Club, where she featured on the Disney channel following her big break featuring in various commercials.

Her breakthrough success came in 1998, when she released her first single ‘Baby One More Time’ through Jive Records, after her demo was snapped up due to her ‘commercial voice and appearance’. Her album, of the same title, shortly followed, alongside a string of TV appearances, magazine photo shoots and sell-out tours. The album topped the US charts, and similar success followed in the UK and Europe.

Her singles continued to top the charts, and she became one of the biggest media sensations of our time, often criticised for her claims of being a virgin following her sexiness in her videos. This didn’t stop the teen star however, and her second album, the aptly named ‘Oops! ... I Did It Again’ was released in May 2000. Her relationship with ladies man Justin Timberlake was now the main focus of the public eye.

Spears claimed her self titled third album, released in 2001, showed her new-found maturity, although through stories published about her, this is certainly debatable. In 2004, ‘The Zone’ was released, featuring collaboration with rival pop-princess, Madonna.

It was after the release of this album that Britney somewhat, went off the rails. She had a string of relationships, marriages, shaved her head and lost custody of her children. Despite this, in 2009 she is making a comeback, and is looking better than ever. Well, anything beats a skinhead!

Source: Carly Page

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BJORK

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Bjork Live
Bjork In The City
Bjork Japanese Doll
Bjork Swan Dress
Bjork Guomundsdottir
Biography: 

Björk first came to prominence as one of the lead vocalists of the avant-pop Icelandic sextet the Sugarcubes, but when she launched a solo career after the group's 1992 demise, she quickly eclipsed her old band's popularity. Instead of following in the Sugarcubes' arty guitar rock pretensions, Björk immersed herself in dance and club culture, working with many of the biggest names in the genre, including Nellee HooperUnderworld, and TrickyDebut, her first solo effort (except for an Icelandic-only smash released when she was just 11 years old), not only established her new artistic direction, but it became an international hit, making her one of the '90s most unlikely stars. 

 
Though the title of Debut implied that it was Björk's first-ever solo project, she had actually been a professional vocalist since she was a child. When she was in elementary school in Reykjavik, she studied classical piano and, eventually, her teachers submitted a tape of her singing Tina Charles' "I Love to Love" to Iceland's Radio One. After "I Love to Love" was aired, a record label called Falkkin offered Björk a record contract. At the age of 11, her eponymous first album was released; the record contained covers of several pop songs, including the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill," and boasted artwork from her mother and guitar work from her stepfather. Björk became a hit within Iceland and was not released in any other country. 
 

Björk's musical tastes were changed by the punk revolution of the late '70s; in 1979, she formed a post-punk group called Exodus and, in the following year, she sang in Jam 80. In 1981, Björk and Exodus bassist Jakob Magnusson formed Tappi Tikarrass, which released an EP, Bitid Fast I Vitid, on Spor later that year; it was followed by the full-length Miranda in 1983. Following Tappi Tikarrass, she formed the goth-tinged post-punk group KUKL with Einar Orn Benediktsson. KUKL released two albums, The Eye (1984) and Holidays in Europe (1986), on Crass Records before the band metamorphosed into the Sugarcubes in the summer of 1986. 

The Sugarcubes became one of the rare Icelandic bands to break out of their native country when their debut album, Life's Too Good, became a British and American hit in 1988. For the next four years, the group maintained a successful cult following in the U.K. and the U.S. while they were stars within Iceland. During 1990, Björk recorded a set of jazz standards and originals with an Icelandic bebop group called Trio Gudmundar Ingolfssonar. The album, Gling-Gló, was released only in Iceland. By 1992, tensions between Björk and Einar had grown substantially, which resulted in the band splitting apart. 
 

Following the breakup of the group, Björk moved to London, where she began pursuing a dance-oriented solo career. The previous year, she had sung on 808 State's "Ooops," which sparked her interest in club and house music. Björk struck up a working relationship with Nellee Hooper, a producer who had formerly worked with Soul II Soul and Massive Attack. The first result of their partnership was "Human Behaviour," which was released in June of 1993. "Human Behaviour" became a Top 40 hit in the U.K., setting the stage for the surprising number three debut of the full-length album, Debut. Throughout 1993, Björk had hit U.K. singles -- including "Venus as a Boy," "Big Time Sensuality," and the non-LP "Play Dead," a collaboration with David Arnold taken from the film Young Americans -- as well as modern rock radio hits in the U.S., and in both countries she earned rave reviews. At the end of the year, NME magazine named Debut the album of the year, while she won International Female Solo Artist and Newcomer at the BRIT Awards; Debut went gold in the U.S. and platinum in the U.K. 
 
 
During 1994, Björk was relatively quiet as she recorded her second album with Nellee HooperTricky808 State's Graham Massey, and Howie B of Mo' Wax Records; she also released a remix EP, co-wrote the title track for Madonna's Bedtime Stories, and performed on MTV Unplugged that same year. "Army of Me," the first single from Björk's forthcoming album, was released as a teaser single in the spring of 1995; it debuted at number ten in the U.K. and became a moderate alternative rock hit in the U.S. Post, her second album, was released in June of 1995 to positive reviews; it peaked at number two in the U.K. and number 32 in the U.S. Post matched its predecessor in terms of sales and praise, going gold in the U.S. and helping her earn her second BRIT Award for Best International Female Artist. Post yielded the British hit singles "Isobel" (number 23), "It's Oh So Quiet" (number four), and "Hyperballad" (number eight), yet her singles failed to make much headway on American radio or MTV. Late in 1996, Björk released Telegram, an album comprised of radical remixes of the entire Post album, in the U.K.; Telegram was released in America in January 1997. 

Homogenic, her most experimental studio effort to date, followed later that same year and spawned many remix releases in the next few years to follow. In the spring of 2000, she was named Best Actress by jurors at the Cannes Film Festival for her work in Lars von Trier's Palme d'Or-winning Dancer in the Dark. Selmasongs, her score for the film, reunited Björk with her Homogenic collaborator Mark Bell and arrived in the fall of 2000, just in time for Dancer in the Dark's U.S. release. The full-length follow-up, Vespertine, was released one year later. She released a Greatest Hits collection and the Family Tree box set late in 2002. After performing a few dates in 2003, Björk geared up for a busy 2004, which included the release of her all-vocals and vocal samples-based album Medúlla and a performance of one of its songs, "Oceania," at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The soundtrack to Drawing Restraint 9, a film by multimedia artist Matthew Barney, arrived in 2005 and also featured contributions from Will Oldham. 2007's Volta returned to the more playful, percussive side of Björk's music and included collaborations with TimbalandToumani DiabatéAntony Hegarty, and an all-female Icelandic choir. 

Sources: artistdirect

This information is provided as a brief overview and not as a definitive guide, there are other sources on the net for that. If however you have a story or information that is not generally known we would love to hear from you. Content@rokpool.com

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