Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. Review

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London musician Steven Wilson should be a familiar name to many music fans. Originally the leader of the modern progressive art rock band Porcupine Tree, Steven has really taken himself to a higher level with his remixes and mastering of classic rock albums, including state of the art surround mixes for some of the biggest rock albums ever made, including 5.1 mixes of King Crimson, Yes, XTC and Jethro Tull. However, it is his steadily growing solo career that has caught the attention of critics and fans. When Wilson does something, he does it big. His latest release, Hand. Cannot. Erase. is a beautifully dark artistic statement that tells a story. Loosely based on the true story of Joyce Vincent, a girl who had friends and family yet died in her London flat and wasn’t missed or discovered for 3 years. This is a concept record that is musically on a level with Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It draws musical inspiration from that album, as well as other influences, like Kate Bush and modern progressive art rock. The story itself is dark like The Wall but more focused, without some of the seedy scenes. Don’t worry, the album isn’t a music downer, it combines many styles, and fans of Steven’s previous work won’t be disappointed. He’s made a great concept album that also happens to feel and sound like the best Porcupine Tree and solo album of his career. This is truly a high water mark for an artist that has already given us a plethora of fantastic music. Hand. Cannot. Erase. goes from magnificent piano interludes and orchestration to progressive rock riffs and pounding drums, all while maintaining continuity and listen-ability.  Steven is a multi-instrumentalist and critically acclaimed producer, so it will come as no surprise that audiophiles will want to break out an expensive pair of headphones to soak up all the sound.

Find out more here:

Buy here:  Hand Cannot Erase

Top Ten Albums of 2014 - Extended to the Best 20 records of 2014!


For the first time since I started making a year-end top ten or top 20 list I had a hard time even finding 20 new releases that I really liked. Don’t get me wrong, the 20 albums listed below are good, many are even great, but with the exception of the top 10, they just don’t live up to years past. I’ve heard some of my music critic peers say what a great year for music this was and unfortunately I just didn’t hear it. I will be the first to admit that my year was consumed with a new job and family and I may have missed some great releases. I hope to remedy that in 2015 by getting the ObviousPopCast back up and running! That said, if you haven’t heard the following releases please do yourself, your ears and your heart a favor and give them a listen!

  1. The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers
  2. Steve Taylor and The Perfect Foil - Goliath
  3. Eno-Hyde - High Life
  4. Beck - Morning Phase
  5. Sloan - Commonwealth
  6. Secret Powers - 6
  7. U2 - Songs of Innocence
  8. Cliff Hills - Song Machine
  9. Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness - Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  10. Bleachers - Strange Desire
  11. Imogen Heap - Sparks
  12. The Drums - Encyclopedia
  13. Moon Hooch - This Is Cave Music
  14. Clockwork Orchestra - A Fish For A Heart
  15. Husky - Ruckers Hill
  16. Dan Wilson - Love Without Fear
  17. The Choir - Shadow Weaver
  18. TV On The Radio - Seeds
  19. Jukebox the Ghost - Jukebox the Ghost
  20. Mike Doughty - Stellar Motel

BEST REISSUES OF 2014: Trip Shakespeare - "Applehead Man" & "Are You Shakespearienced"

BEST MOVIE OF 2014 (by a long shot!): Guardians of the Galaxy

BEST BOOK OF 2014: The Magicians Trilogy Boxed Set

ObviousPopCast - Episode 38 - A Plethora of New Music!

Episode 38 of the ObviousPopCast is now ready for mass consumption! A veritable plethora of new music awaits! Featuring new songs from The Feeling, Aaron Sprinkle, Polyphonic Spree, The Suburbs and more! What are you waiting for? You can stream or download it right now as a high quality MP3, and most importantly, it's free!


To stream it now click play:


Download it now: ObviousPopCast Episode 38

 Add it to your iTunes podcasts: CLICK HERE

(If you use the link to download it to iTunes, it may go into your podcast folder or possibly be listed in the main music library under the title: ObviousPop or the artist name: Dr. Tony Shore.)


Song – AlbumArtist

Lazer Gun Show - Lazer Gun Show Single -  Hey Geronimo

Partner In Crime - Pop Motion Animation - Greg Pope

Born Under a Good Sign - Si Sauvage - The Suburbs

River of Lead - Water & Guns - Aaron Sprinkle

Hearts Like Ours - In Rolling Waves - The Naked and Famous

Wave Forms - Ski Mask - Islands

Heaven High - Heaven High - Lifesavers

Save Us - New - Paul McCartney

Sugarcandy Mountain - Alls Well That Ends Well - The Candle Thieves

You Don't Know Me - Yes, It’s True - The Polyphonic Spree

That Is Why (Live on air in Holland, March 17th,1993) - Radio Jellyfish - Jellyfish

Blue Murder - Boy Cried Wolf - The Feeling


The Best Albums of 2013


Best of... Top Ten CDs... Top 20 Albums... It's that time of the year again! Actually, it's already 2014, but I like to make sure I haven't missed anything and there were a number of great releases that came out in late 2013. Yet, no matter how long I wait to finalize the year-end list I always discover something that I missed, but that's all part of the fun! Here are my top 20 albums of the year. I have even ranked them. It was no easy task but it had to be done. Please enjoy the list and if there's anything here that you haven't heard you should definitely check it out!

The ObviousPop Best Albums of 2013

  1. Daniel Amos - Dig Here Said The Angel

  2. Aaron Sprinkle - Water and Guns

  3. Bleu - To Hell With You

  4. OMD - English Electric

  5. Wintergatan - Wintergatan

  6. Midlake - Antiphon

  7. Kyle Andrews - Brighter Than The Sun

  8. The Duckworth Lewis Method - Sticky Wickets

  9. Gungor - I Am Mountain

  10. Daft Punk - Random Access Memories

  11. Capital Cities - In a Tidal Wave of Mystery

  12. Paul McCartney - New

  13. The Feeling - Boy Cried Wolf

  14. White Lies - Big TV

  15. Everything Everything - Arc

  16. The Suburbs - Si Sauvage

  17. The Candle Thieves - All’s Well That Ends Well

  18. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City

  19. Brendan Benson - You Were Right

  20. Islands - Ski Mask

New Song from Jeff Lynne! "Stream of Stars"

Jeff_lynneAmerican Hustle is a hot new critically acclaimed film. I haven't seen the movie yet but I do own the soundtrack! It's one of the best soundtracks I've heard in years and features a number of classic tracks and a rare ELO tune. But the best thing about it is a brand new track from Jeff Lynne of ELO fame. This is not a cover or a remake, it's a fantastic new song entitled "Stream of Stars"...a great song from a fantastic soundtrack.


ObviousPopCast Episode 37 - New Music Now!

PodcastAnd we're back! Episode 37 of the ObviousPopCast is here for you to hear! A massive amount of new music just waiting to be discovered! Listen to new songs from White Lies, Daniel Amos, Paul McCartney, Michael Penn and more! I know we said the last episode was our best ever, but we lied! THIS episode is our best yet. You can stream or download it right now as a high quality MP3, and most importantly, it's free!


To stream it now click play:


Download it now: ObviousPopCast Episode 37

 Add it to your iTunes podcasts: CLICK HERE

(If you use the link to download it to iTunes, it may go into your podcast folder or possibly be listed in the main music library under the title: ObviousPop or the artist name: Dr. Tony Shore.)



Name – AlbumArtist

New - New - Paul McCartney

Radioactive - Night Visions - Imagine Dragons

Safe and Sound - In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery - Capital Cities

Kids In Toyland - Kids In Toyland - Fresh Body Shop

Why Can't I Be Me Without You? - Hey! Hello! - Hey Hello

Coming Off Pretty - The House of Jed - The House of Jed

On Your Way - Girls Soundtrack Volume 1 - Michael Penn

Oh My Love - Oh My Love [Single] - Brendan Benson

Jesus Wept - Dig Here Said the Angel - Daniel Amos

Sticky Wickets - Sticky Wickets - The Duckworth Lewis Method

Romancer - Evil Arrows - Evil Arrows

There Goes Our Love AgainBig TV – White Lies

Colored By¡Alarma! [Deluxe Reissue] – Daniel Amos


NEW MUSIC! Episode 36 of the ObviousPopCast - Listen now!

PodcastEpisode 36 of the ObviousPopCast is finally ready for your consumption! New music marinated to ear tingling perfection! Listen to over 50 minutes of brand new music from Kyle Andrews, OMD, Bleu, The Duckworth Lewis Method and more! In the immortal words of St. Thomas Aquinas, "This could very well be our best show ever." You can stream or download it right now as a high quality MP3, and best of all, it's free!


To stream it now click play:


Download it now: ObviousPopCast Episode 36

 Add it to your iTunes podcasts: CLICK HERE

(If you use the link to download it to iTunes, it may go into your podcast folder or possibly be listed in the main music library under the title: ObviousPop or the artist name: Dr. Tony Shore.)



Artist – Song Title – Album Title

[bed music] Wintergatan - Sommarfagel - Wintergatan

Hawaii: Part II - Isle Unto Thyself - Hawaii: Part II

Orchestral Maneuvers In the Dark - Atomic Ranch - English Electric

The Killers - Spaceship Adventure - Yo Gabba Gabba! The Super Music Friends Show

Bleu - The Bottom Of My Heart - To Hell With You

[bed music] Daft Punk - Contact - Random Access Memories

Secret Friend - Who Am I? - Time Machine

Kyle Andrews - The Way To WonderBrighter Than The Sun

The Duckworth Lewis Method - It's Just Not Cricket - Sticky Wickets

[bed music] Wintergatan – The Rocket - Wintergatan

Family Of The Year - Living On Love - Loma Vista

Pretty & Nice - Stallion & Mare - Golden Rules for Golden People

Everything Everything - Cough Cough - Arc

[bed music] Wintergatan – Valentine - Wintergatan

Holmes - Mr. Blue Sky (A Capella) - Covers

Michael Carpenter - We Don't Talk Anymore - Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock

An American Underdog - Thunder Island - Drink A Toast To Innocence: A Tribute to Lite Rock

[bed music] Wintergatan – ParadisWintergatan


Bob’s Vinyl Revulsion

VinylheadphonesOur favorite music industry blowhard is, of course, Bob Lefsetz. Everyone who’s anyone in music reads Bob’s missives (or as many of them as possible while still having a life). Sometime Bob posts multiple times per day via his email list/blog. The amazing thing is how often his opinions are on target and well written. Unfortunately his output and ego are so enormous that when he misses, it’s cringe inducing. He also goes through streaks where his ego driven opinion blinds him to common sense, logic or reality. This is all magnified by the sheer length and high-octane word count of many of his posts/articles. That won’t stop me from being a fan though. Some of those moments are cringe inducing, but his writing is beyond great, and like a deadly car crash in a high-speed chase, it’s still entertaining and hard to turn away. Bob has a fan-base that reads like a who’s-who of music royalty and he loves to name drop. It’s entertaining and we can all be a part of it by reading, and even emailing him.

Bob recently had a post called “Bugging Me” (yes, he’s that obvious in his role as curmudgeon) where under the heading “The Vinyl Revolution” he stated, “It's a hobby. Like stamp collecting. Albeit with a lot more press. Just because you spinners are yelling at the top of your lungs that does not mean the rest of  us care. While you're at it, why don't you bring back dial telephones,  typewriters, cathode-ray TVs, pagers...” Sometimes I wonder if he really is being that bothered by this, or if he’s trolling for reactions. I think he’s trolling, but I’m not going to lash out, I’m just going to point out…why he’s so off base and on the wrong side of this one. Bob’s credo (when it suits him) is that the industry failed and is always failing because it won’t embrace new technology and trends. I agree and truly believe that is a correct statement. The problem is that he carries that opinion like a club through an antique store trying to kill a fly. Oblivious to what is right, true or good.

The album as a work of art is now lost on him, and many others. It’s great to wax poetic about how music moves you, but what about that experience on the headphones when you listened to your favorite album all the way through while studying the jacket, lyrics and liner notes. Do you want to know one of the reasons no one can stand to listen to music for the entire length of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” anymore? It’s because of the digital format. But you can listen to an entire concept record like The Wall on LP while looking at the nice big artistic double gatefold album and reading the lyrics without ear fatigue…if you own it on vinyl and are playing it on a turntable. Can you do that digitally? You can try, but digital music causes ear fatigue and you better own a great monitor and have very young, healthy eyes to read along staring at your monitor for that length of time.

I get the fact that the pops and clicks scare away some folks from vinyl, but if you keep it clean it’s cool, and it is much more listenable because it’s analog. Sorry Bob, comparing vinyl to the rotary phone is not accurate. The rotary phone was in no way better than phones today, except maybe for the fact that it may not have caused cancer and didn’t need a battery. At any rate, an album is an art form that includes the packaging and the lyrics, not to mention being able to listen all the way through on headphones is a big plus. Why criticize people who appreciate album art and packaging? Nice to know you don’t care about that, I’m just surprised because I really thought you would. I also think the majority of your readers do care about the album as a format and the album as art. I do and I am proud of it. Is it a hobby? It can be and I think record collecting is a great hobby. I find it very odd and perplexing that Bob does not think it’s a good hobby. Is his point that it’s a fad so why should anyone care? Well, it’s a “fad” that’s outlasted and been around longer than all other formats. Will it supplant the singles driven digital market? No. But come on Bob, seriously, is anyone claiming that? No one that I know of is remotely making that claim. I don’t hear any one claiming that it’s the future of music delivery either, so why the negative post? Why are you against people saying how great vinyl is? That’s what the majority of people I respect in this business think. It promotes the album as a whole work of art; it encompasses packaging with room for more art, lyrics and liner notes than any other format, and has a warmer sound that is more natural to the human ear. I love iTunes and Band Camp and downloading new music, but I am thankful for the vinyl revolution that is keeping the album as an art form alive and well.

I encourage you to subscribe & read Bob’s blog:

(Most of the time) it’s amazing. For some reason he doesn’t get why some people like the vinyl. Weird.