January 21 – Chart Finale 2 : Going Out With A Bang

Eleven years to the day after one of the big alt rock bands of the ’80s launched what would be their final top 40 American hit onto the charts (The Police with “Wrapped Around Your Finger” which we looked at on today’s other post), another one of the biggies of the ’80s alt rock scene did the same. R.E.M. hit the U.S. top 40 for the final time this day in 1995 with “Bang and Blame.”

Which is surprising given that they were red-hot at the time and we often look back at the ’90s as being the decade when “alternative” rock became the dominant, mainstream version of it. And while it might have been true of album-buyers and the thriving number of alt-rock based radio stations, it probably wasn’t so true of mainstream radio nor the diminishing number of consumers who were still buying physical singles, be they vinyl or CD types.

Bang and Blame” followed “What’s the Frequency Kenneth?” as the second single off the band’s Monster album, which took many by surprise given that it was loud, brash and grunge-inspired, following on the heels of two, well “monster”-selling largely acoustic records, Out of Time and Automatic for the People. Part of that was the desire to do a large tour for the record, something they hadn’t done since the ’80s, and wanting some new songs fitting a big sports stadium type show befitting a band Rolling Stone at the time described as “one of the most successful on the planet.” A mantel which might have been weighing heavily on Michael Stipe who still didn’t adore the spotlight, at least when off-stage. The same magazine, in its review of the album chided “Bang and Blame” for beginning to “sound not unlike the proverbial rock star, whining about all those fans who just won’t let (Michael Stipe) alone.” Cashbox looked at it more positively, declaring “the propulsive rhythm of this track should also prove enticing even to non-fans.” Interestingly, it’s the only R.E.M. song where Michael Stipe’s sister, Lynda, is credited, as a backing vocalist.

It seemed they were right, the rhythm, imaginative, split-screen, fast-changing video and sing-along chorus made it their last overall big American hit, getting to #19. It became their fifth to top the Billboard Alternative Rock chart. Elsewhere, the reaction was better as their fanbase seemed to shift outside their nation’s borders. It got to #15 in the UK but in Canada was a #1 song. More to that point, while it was their last top 40 at home, they’d score ten more in Canada over the following decade and a remarkable 17 more in Britain before calling it quits in 2011.

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January 18 – Crispian Threw Different Musical Genres In The Shaker

Take a little post-punk rock, a little Deep Purple, a little of George Harrison’s mysticism, stir in a dash of Blur and throw in some Silver Screen trappings and you could have… a mess. Or, if you’re lucky, you might have Crispian Mills, the prime shaker of Kula Shaker. Mills is 50 today and we say Happy Birthday to the guy who’s a fairly big deal in his Britain…but almost anonymous anywhere else.

Crispian was born and raised in London, the son of actress Hayley Mills. As such, he traveled a lot as a kid and grew up with the likes of Laurence Olivier and Richard Attenborough visiting the house. No surprise his first real goal as a kid was to be a film-maker. But as he he his tween years, he’d gotten more interested in music. He recalls the first record he bought was “Stand and Deliver” by Adam and the Ants, and that shaped his tastes for awhile. Until he came across an old Deep Purple record. “I’d grown up listening to Boy George and Duran Duran on the radio,” he said, and then he heard Deep Purple and the Kinks. “’You Really Got Me.’ Chung! This is your destiny!”. He soon got a guitar and began to learn it.

All the while, he was becoming increasingly interested in Eastern/Indian spiritualism, eventually becoming a vegetarian and following the Hare Krishna movement. All of which influenced the band he started in the ’90s, Kula Shaker. Indeed, even their name is a play on words, being derived from a 9th Century Indian emperor many had revered as a god, King Kulashekara. The band mixed together contemporary Britpop, a dash of classic rock guitar and a splash of psychedelia with at times introspective or spiritual lyrics… occasionally even in Sanskrit, as on the hit “Tattva.” Mills assembled a quartet for the band, but was the dominant force, playing guitar, harmonica, tambourine and even ukulele at times as well as being the lead singer and writer. As to the lyrics, he says “you can sing about things like premature teenage sex or you can sing about everlasting universal truths,” which was his choice, although it didn’t stop them from doing a cover of Deep Purple’s “Hush”, which ended up being a top 10 hit in the UK.

A top 10 there was not unusual for Mills or Kula Shaker early on. Between 1996-98, they scored five straight, including “Hush” and “Hey Dude” which both charted to #2 there. No surprise then their first album, the one-letter titled K, was a #1 hit, going double-platinum and being the biggest-selling debut there since Oasis’. Elsewhere though, they remained a bit of a mystery. In the States, they hit the Billboard top 200…barely. K peaked at #200 for one week. That despite various enthusiastic reviews from publications like USA Today, which declared it “takes cues from the early Britpop and Eastern devotional music to create its thoroughly captivating mystical pop.” the band itself describe their sound as “super-charged, spirit-jangling, mind-expanding protest rock.”

Since then Kula Shaker have put out five somewhat less successful albums, the most recent being last year’s 1st Congregational Church of Eternal Love and Free Hugs, which charted only in Japan oddly enough. Mills himself has indeed ventured into some film-making. He currently lives in Bath with his wife, model Jo Branfoot and their three kids.

January 14 – Turntable Talk 10 : Achtung, It’s The Poetry Of Bono

Welcome back to Turntable Talk! Thanks to all the regular readers and welcome to any new ones. Briefly, on Turntable Talk we have a number of guest columns from other music fans and writers, sounding off on one particular topic. To kick it off in 2023, our topic is They’re a Poet Don’t You Know It... we look at a song that made a great impact on our contributors for its lyrics.

Today we have Lisa from Tao Talk. There she showcases a lot of fine modern poetry, so a category about lyrics and wordsmiths should be right down her alley…

Poetry in Lyrics – Achtung Baby (album) by U2

This is another one of those daunting prompts from Dave, like the one asking us to choose a favorite year in music. Lyrics are probably what leaves the lasting impression in music for me, with many exceptions. Also like other prompts Dave has given us, the song I wanted to use came to me immediately, “One” from U2’s Achtung Baby. Yet dissonance percolated for me, as the album is permeated with the “it’s complicated” poetry of love. Yes, I could have gone for the low-hanging fruit of the plea for world peace in “One” and called it good; but I was in the mood for a fermented cornucopia to sip and pass the bottle.

When Dave gave me the OK to use a whole album of lyrics instead of just one song, I had a very specific purpose in mind. Since we are supposed to be looking for poetic lyrics, I decided to choose favorite poetic lines from each song on it and compose a found poem from them. It took some time to listen to them while reading the lyric list found on the internet (the included ones I have from the CD are too small for these eyes to read anymore) to make sure they were accurate (some tweaks were needed.) Then I spent some time choosing my favorites. It didn’t take me long to see that many of them are presented in couplets. I also noted that about a third were proclaiming the most positive aspects of feeling in love, including excitement, anticipation, freedom, ecstasy, adoration, and timelessness. The other two thirds express varied emotions evoked from it, including anguish, embarrassment, resentment, discouragement, confusion, wistfulness, blame, and existentialism.

I’ve broken up the couplets in some cases and arranged the lines with positive aspects first, then the more complicated aspects. At the end, I kept the section from,Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses” intact as I didn’t have the heart to break it up.

Her skin is pale like God’s only dove
Screams like an angel for your love

I’m ready for the shuffle – ready for the deal
I’m ready to let go of the steering wheel

We’re free to fly the crimson sky
The sun won’t melt our wings tonight

Time is a train – makes the future the past
Well, my heart is where it’s always been
My head is somewhere in between

The night is bleeding like a cut

Standing in the station
My face pressed up against the glass

Well, you left my heart empty as a vacant lot
For any spirit to haunt

Love is clockworks and cold steel

You act like you never had love
And you want me to go without

You gave me nothing – now it’s all I got

In my dream I was drowning my sorrows
But my sorrows, they learned to swim

Sunrise like a nosebleed

Love is a temple – love the higher law

If you want to kiss the sky, better learn how to kneel
On your knees, boy!

You ask me to enter – then you make me crawl

Have you come here to play Jesus?
To the lepers in your head

To touch is to heal – to hurt is to steal

In dreams begin responsibilities

I disappeared in you – you disappeared from me
She wears my love like a see-through dress

I gave you everything you ever wanted

Between the horses of love and lust
It wasn’t what you wanted

And a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle

You bury your treasure where it can’t be found
But your love is like a secret that’s been passed around

your face of melting snow

Ah, the deeper I spin
Ah, the hunter will sin for your ivory skin
Took a drive in the dirty rain
To a place where the wind calls your name
Under the trees, the river laughing at you and me
Hallelujah, heaven’s white rose
The doors you open I just can’t close

youtube link for “Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses

When I look at the above nuances of the greatest force in existence and remind myself that Bono and The Boys have spoken to each one, through the lyrics and the word made manifest in the music, I have take a moment to give a prayerful thanks to each one of them.

Thanks again, Dave, for inviting me to write to the prompt and for giving me some leeway in the parameters.

Song and Source information:

Achtung Baby

Writer: HEWSON, EVANS, CLAYTON, MULLEN
Copyright: Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
https://www.lyricsondemand.com/u/u2lyrics/achtungbabylyrics.html

If you want to read more about this iconic album, here are three first class reviews:

Allmusic’s

Achtung Baby Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Rolling Stone’s

Achtung, Baby

Elysa Gardner

Spectrum Culture’s

David Harris

Revisit: U2: Achtung Baby


January 12 – It Was A Day To Circle On Your ’90s Calendars

If you were a mover or shaker in the rock world, this was a day to mark on your calendars back in the 1990s. That’s because January 12 was a day the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame enjoyed using for its induction ceremonies.

The ceremonies are of course, lavish shows designed to showcase the Best of Rock, with the annual inductees being officially inducted in, usually three months or so after they had been announced. Typically, a star who has followed in their footsteps makes a speech, followed by the artists themselves, and fitting for a Rock hall, they all perform two or three of their hits in concert at the end. It’s quite an event.

Though the actual physical building only opened in Cleveland in 1995, the idea for it was begun back in 1983, and they started inducting people into it in 1986. And during the ’90s, they picked this day for the 1993, 1995 and 1998 ceremonies. The 1993 was held in Los Angeles, but the other two were at its “usual” site, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The ’95 was the first to be televised (on MTV as it were, back when they still remembered the “M” in their name was “music”); it’s surprising they missed out on the golden opportunity to showcase the museum/Hall and a great show for the first seven years.

In recent years, there’ve been a number of complaints about the choices as the Rock Hall both runs out of its catalog of old rock greats to honor – most already have been – and tries to diversify to satisfy younger, more mulit-racial or multi-national audiences. However, in the ’90s it was quite still new and the roster was a powerhouse each year.

In ’93, the list of honorees included Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Doors and Van Morrison, not to mention the great voice of Etta James. And that was only part of the fun; the list of presenters was impressive too, with ZZ Top honoring Cream, Bruce Springsteen talking about CCR and Eddie Vedder welcoming in the Doors. Mind you, the ’93 show was perhaps remembered for its controversy and one man’s pettiness more than anything else. When it came time for CCR to play, John Fogerty – the voice of and songwriter for them – refused to play with the two living members, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford (Fogerty’s brother Tom, the fourth member, had passed away three years prior) and got them barred, choosing to play with Springsteen and Robbie Robertson instead.

The ’95 show was equally talent-laden with the Allman Brothers, Al Green, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and Neil Young being welcomed in, by the likes of Melissa Etheridge (Joplin), Eddie Vedder again (Neil Young) and Willie Nelson (the Allmans). And in ’98, the quintessential soCal stars of the late-’70s made it in together, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Sharing the bill with them were Santana, the Mamas and Papas, and rock pioneer Gene Vincent; Jimmy Buffett brought in the Eagles and Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac. Interestingly, the Hall included all seven members of the Eagles throughout their years and founding members Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, long gone by the Rumours era, with Fleetwood Mac. At times it’s been known to only include a “classic lineup” of some bands, excluding a number of members.

The 2023 induction ceremony won’t be for quite a few months; the ’22 edition only took place last November 5. Tears For Fears, Alanis Morissette, Kate Bush and – I only report it, not pick it – Mariah Carey are predicted as the most likely recipients.

January 4 – Forgotten Gems : R.E.M. (With Natalie Merchant)

Happy birthday, Michael Stipe! The one-time R.E.M. frontman turns 63 today. What better day to take a look at a new Forgotten Gem to start the year. R.E.M. put out many great tunes, but few would be described as “forgotten’, however 1993‘s “Photograph” might be. It certainly flew under the radar despite their huge following at the time, and despite it featuring another popular artist to boot – Natalie Merchant of 10 000 Maniacs. She would soon quit that band and go on to solo success.

It’s perhaps no surprise that Stipe and Merchant would record together; they’d been “friends” for a decade by that time. The duo gave a lengthy interview with Britain’s The Independent once, in which they shared their mutual fondness and admiration for each other.

Stipe said “I knew of Natalie before I met her. In Athens, Georgia, where I live, everybody was talking about this girl who danced like a whirling dervish and sang in a band called 10000 Maniacs.” They met shortly thereafter, though not too successfully…”it was a horrible party”, he remembered adding “I’m incredibly shy.” He approached her, said Hi…then escaped, sitcom style, through the bathroom window. Their second meeting, before one of her concert’s in her hometown (more or less) of Buffalo. “I was wearing a pair of Victorian bloomers and a pyjama top and Michael was wearing his pyjamas, so we made a pretty funny-looking couple when we went out to a vegetarian restaurant,” Merchant remembered, as well as “we talked about music and had a great time.” He said “I remember thinking that Natalie possessed rare knowledge” as well as a “really wicked sense of humor (even though) in the press she’s often portrayed as a bit of a ‘saddo’.” For her part she loved his words, his appreciation of art…as well as “I thought Michael was really sexy and had a crush on him.”

Which leads to the well-known but curious idea that they were a romantic couple for several years, odd only because Michael has come out as gay. “We went on to become lovers,” Merchant told the paper, putting a definitive answer to rumor. The pair remained friends and she credits him with telling her not to sell her publishing rights; “to this day I still own all my publishing,” she notes.

So…”Photograph”. It was recorded in 1992 with the songs from Automatic For the People, but sadly didn’t make it onto the record, or at least not for decades. Some expanded versions of the album on its 25th Anniversary release do include it, which might make it worth the extra price by itself. It’s credited to all four members of R.E.M. and Merchant and is anything but a throwaway. It’s melody is strong, Natlaie’s harmonizing and backing vocals add an unexpected layer to the song and Michael’s lyrics are among the most straight-forward yet touching of his career; dealing with finding an old phoograph of an unknown girl. “Looking into an angel’s smile, captivated all the while, from the hair and the clothes she wore, I would place her between the wars.”

Photograph” first appeared on the 1993 benefit album Born to Choose, which also included songs by Soundgarden, Matthew Sweet and others.

December 19 – One Last Thump Of The Tub

A last hurrah for anarchy? What allmusic calls the “unlikeliest success story in modern rock“ spent it’s final day at #1 on Billboard Modern Rock chart this day in 1997 “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba was indeed an improbable, yet smash hit. The song had topped that list for seven weeks and also hit #1 on Canadian and Australian singles charts.

Unlikely indeed, as the Leeds, England punk band (initially influenced by the likes of PIL and Adam Ant but leaning towards more eclectic and techno sounds in the ’90s) had been around since the early-’80s with no international attention, although a few of their albums had some success on UK Indie charts. Unlikely too since their first album was entitled Pictures of Starving Children Sell Records and basically was a direct criticism of Live Aid. They viewed that as a “cosmetic publicity stunt” to self-promote Bob Geldof . More unlikely since “Tubthumping” came out on EMI, a company the anarchist band had specifically criticized previously. They got the idea for the song while drinking (or “pissing the night away” to borrow from the lyrics) in a Leeds pub. Boff Whaley of the band says it’s about “the resilience of ordinary people” while a “tubthumper” is a politician. After Alice Nutter of the band commented that they like it when police were killed, one can imagine a lot of “tubthumping” going on to get them out of the public eye. And when she urged fans to steal the CD from big stores rather than buy it, EMI were likely happy to be rid of the band four years later! They eventually broke up in 2012.

The song which replaced it at #1 on the Modern Rock chart sounded like it might’ve been the very platform of a “tubthumper” the band despised – “Everything to Everyone” by Everclear!

December 18 – Gabriel Built Up A Head Of ‘Steam’ 30 Years Ago

Peter Gabriel hit the top of the Billboard modern rock charts with “Steam” this day in 1992. It was his second one to go to #1 on that chart; he’d likely have had several more if the publication had begun the chart a few years earlier as it didn’t exist when hits like “Sledgehammer” and “Solsbury Hill” were released. It also charted to #32 overall in the States.

The upbeat single, which Gabriel describes as being about an affair between a sophisticated lady who knows everything except herself and a dude who knows nothing but her (think Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl” the sequel?) was a top 10 hit in his native Britain and a #1 hit in Canada and was drawn from Us, his sixth solo album after leaving Genesis. This was the first album on his own Real World Records label (through much of the planet, although Geffen released it in the U.S.) a company he created to promote world music, something he’d long been fascinated with. Nobel Peace Prize laureates recently awarded him a Peace Award for his ongoing work with Amnesty International and his outspokenness about human rights causes.

Unfortunately, Gabriel’s musical career seemed to be losing “Steam” at that point. Since that time, he’s put out only three new albums in over 25 years and had one meagre top 40 single in either the UK or Canada, while being shut out in the U.S.

December 16 – Tea Party Bigger In Brisbane And Burnaby Than Boston

Let them drink coffee”? Today marks the 249th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. If you’re American and had a history class or two in school, you probably know that was an incident at the Massachusetts port in 1773, in which some colonists dressed up like Indians and took over a ship which was bringing in tea belonging to the British East India Company and threw it overboard. Some 342 crates of tea were dumped into the harbor while British naval officers looked on and presumably asked “did anyone bring any crumpets?” It was a protest against heavy taxes the British had imposed on tea, and many other commodities, sold in the 13 colonies; eventually it all led up to the Revolutionary War and independence. So ends your History in a Nutshell lesson for today… but you’re probably asking “what does that have to do with music?”

Well given the day’s history, what better time to look at the Canadian band named The Tea Party?

The Tea Party are an Ontario-based trio started in 1990 by high school friends Jeff Martin, Stuart Chatwood and Jeff Burrows. However, turns out they didn’t nab the name from the American history books but rather from the Beat Generation of the ’50s. “Tea parties” were parties Beatsters Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and Alan Ginsberg would have to rail against the Establishment. And smoke a large quantity of hash.

The band was clearly led by Martin, who was the main writer, singer and guitarist. Chatwood played bass and keyboards where needed, while Burrows drummed. Their musical influences were varied, but clearly included a lot of Classic Rock like the Doors. But making them a tad different than other contemporaries who were making “new old rock” (if that is a thing) was a strong interest in Middle Eastern and south Asian music. By the mid-90s, Martin was using a sitar at times and Burrows had dumboks, an old style of Indian drum. Allmusic sums them up as “a towering stage presence and a sound that combines blues, industrial and progressive rock with Middle Eastern influences.”

They put out an indie EP in 1991 which generated a little attention at home, and got them signed to EMI. With them they put out six albums before suddenly calling it a day in 2005 when Martin decided to move to Ireland and go solo, which caught the other two a bit off guard. They posted a message at the time to fans saying “we are sincerely sorry about the way this was handled.” Along the way though, they’d become popular…in two countries. At home in Canada they ran off four straight double-platinum albums in the ’90s, won three Much Music awards for favorite videos with songs like “The Bazaar” and had good amounts of airplay on rock and alt rock stations with eight top 40 singles, like “Temptation” and “Lullaby”, which got to #3 in 2001. They’d also found a market in video games, with several of their songs getting used in games like Road Rash. Chatwood in fact went to work creating video game soundtracks as well as being a radio DJ after the band split up.

Curiously, they also took off in Australia, where three of their albums hit the top 10 in the ’90s. Whether a cause or effect of that, the Tea Party have toured Down Under a full dozen times.

Martin’s solo career didn’t exactly take off, and in 2011 the band decided to play a few reunion shows in Canada. Along the way he told one crowd “we are the Tea Party and we are here to stay!” and maybe he wasn’t kidding. They’ve been together since, putting out three more albums and a 2021 EP, plus a few standalone “singles” like their cover of Morrissey’s “Everyday is like Sunday.”

One more bit of trivia about the Tea Party. Curiously, its possible their 2011 reunion came about because of American politics! Around that time, there was a branch of the Republican party which dubbed itself “the Tea Party.” They were ultra-conservative and in favor of things like smaller government, lower taxes and cracking down on commies and Liberals. Well turns out there was something of a bidding war to buy the website domain teaparty.com from that Toronto band. The Republican sect wanted it, allegedly the Democrats did too as a way of reducing their opponents online reach. Even beverage companies like Lipton were said to be interested, assuming they’d get a lot of accidental hits from Right-wingers who might be thirsty too. Reportedly Martin & Co. were offered a million dollars for the domain but for whatever reason they had, they turned it down. However, it would seem while the three of them talked business, they decided to get back to music. Music which Sarah Palin probably wouldn’t approve of.

December 5 – Goo Goos Slid Into Madonna Song And Sales Territory

A day for Goo Goo Dolls fans to go ga-ga about. First, it’s main man John Rzeznik’s birthday – we wish him a happy 57th ! And on this day in 1998, one of their biggest and best songs slid into the American Top 40 – “Slide.”

Rzeznik started the Goo Goos in Buffalo way back in 1985, along with his friend Robby Takac. Together they’ve been the only two constants in the band through the nearly 40 years. Although they started out as raw punk, and their first four albums did very little, they smoothed out their sound a little as they matured and found success in 1995 with their A Boy Named Goo album and the single “Name.” They had the backing of a major label, Warner Bros. and a rising star producer in Rob Cavallo (who’d done a couple of tracks with them on the previous record and had worked with Green Day as well as with Prince on one record) for their next effort, Dizzy Up the Girl. It paid off in a big way.

The first single off the album, “Iris” was a smash hit and while “Slide” didn’t quite match that one’s sales, it was a significant hit that helped make them a household name, for at least a brief time.

Like the rest of the songs on the album, Rzeznik wrote and sang it, and while it wasn’t necessarily autobiographical, it was written from a scenario he could understand. He says it was about “a Catholic girl who becomes pregnant,” (“priest is on the phone, father hit the wall, your Mom’s disowned you”) “and discusses with her boyfriend how they should react to it.” Sort of a male counterpoint to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” if you will. Rzeznik grew up in a staunchly Catholic home in western New York.

Whatever the background, “Slide” seemed to have a great chorus and hook and seemed upbeat and optimistic. Fans on this side of the ocean certainly thought so as well; it was a #1 hit on Billboard‘s Alternative Rock chart (their third), and peaked at #8 as a single, their third top 10. In Canada it was a #1 hit. So popular was it that they even performed a version of it with Elmo on Sesame Street, calling it “Pride” that time around. Overseas reaction was more tepid though, with it reaching #29 in Australia and #43 in the UK. Together with “Iris”, it pushed Dizzy Up the Girl to 5X platinum, by far their biggest-seller.

Goo Goo Dolls put out their 13th studio album this summer, Chaos in Bloom, but thus far major commercial success or Spotify-crashing hits haven’t yet bloomed from it.



November 23 – Odd Hit Was A Piece Of Cake

Not quite rock, not quite hip-hop, not quite Mariachi (although they’ve been described as all of those), Cake are a unique sort of band and on this day they scored their first top 40 hit with this one in 1996. “The Distance” eventually would be used in ads for Amazon.

In 2011 they finally got a Billboard chart-topping album with Showroom of Compassion but may have peaked with Fashion Nugget, from which this single arose. The single described by allmusic as “suburban, melodic white-funk” was a top 10 hit in Australia and a top 30 hit in the UK and made the album one of two platinum-sellers for them in the U.S. The single itself reached #4 on American alternative rock charts and eventually was certified double-platinum, making it their biggest hit even though they’d later have a #1 hit on the Alt Rock charts with “Never There.”  “The Distance” introduced us to the band’s trademarks – John McCrea’s monotone sing-song delivery, Vince DiFiore’s trumpet flourishes as well as those cool, retro-50’s looking album covers!

The Sacramento band is still officially active, over 30 years in and has been teasing fans with an expected release of their seventh studio album , tentatively entitled Age of Aquarius , for some time. However, there are no updates about it on their website…but that’s not out of keeping for Cake. Currently the website has a picture of a pig and a quote from Rhode Island politician David Cicilline : “It’s no secret Live Nation-Ticketmaster is an unchecked monopoly” on its homepage. The news page has links to stories about the reemergence of Chestnut trees and recycling. Quirky, for sure, but we hope Cake has a little bit more of The Distance to travel for us.