Elvis Costello & The Imposters premiered recently in a special high-definition pay-per-view concert performance of “The Spectacular Spinning Songbook.” The one-hour extravaganza—which will be broadcast on cable systems across the country throughout May and June—has him performing surprise songs with surprise special guests. The songs are picked by his audience, who come up one by one and spin the big wheel. “Around and around she goes and where she stops nobody knows,” barks Costello.

This marks the first time his game-show styled concert (that he’s been performing since 1986) has been seen on cable television. This high-definition $9.99 pay-per-view special will be followed May 24 by a video-on-demand edition. Both editions are carried by cable systems on their PPV Event or VOD channels, distributed to cable by iN DEMAND (the TV home of Howard Stern).

Times and dates can be found at indemand.com/product/view/287566 or the on-screen guides for most cable systems across the country.

Filmed recently at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, the show features Costello’s longtime keyboard man Steve Nieve, drummer Pete Thomas and bassist Davey Faragher.

 

Otherwise, from Las Vegas, is about more than just their breakout “Soldiers” single. On True Love Never Dies (Century Media), all 14 tracks (including three half-minute instrumental dreamscapes) are substantial and satisfying. Lead singer Adrian Patrick can really sing but when he goes into overdrive on his tonsil-bleeding shout-outs, there’s a sense of drama that infuses the mix with heightened suspense. In the quick guitar intro to “Scream Now,” a short electric burst from his brother, Ryan Patrick, bleeds into that heavy rhythm section of bassist Flavio Ivan and drummer Corky Gainsford to achieve a gut-punch that paves the way for Adrian’s feverish vocals (“there’s no way to stop the burning/you can’t control the yearning now”). This is music to take out your inner frustrations on—because it feels so good to do so. Hell, why scream and shout about shit you can’t control? Let Otherwise do it for you! True Love Never Dies is a tribute to the fallen cousin of these brothers who had those words tattooed on his neck. It’s one hell of an impressive debut. Half these songs have anthemic qualities both lyrically and in their majestic sweep. “I’d rather be blind than to see your eyes/I’d rather be deaf than to hear your lies/I’d rather be broke than to sell my soul/I gave you my all but you’ll never know” is from “I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures)” and although ostensibly it’s to a girl, it certainly could also be to an ex-boss or an ex-president. And to think I almost gave up on this kind of music a few years ago!

 

To say that Alo is quirky would be an understatement. Like some youthful version of Steely Dan, the California quartet—Steve Adams, bass; Dave Brogan, drums; Zach Gill, keyboards/ukulele and Lebo, guitar/pedal steel (they all sing)—is smart, funny, endearing and irresistible. With a pop sense like Squeeze but funkier, they’re instantly accessible yet after 10 years together, are still under the radar. The music is smart. Left-of-center pop for progressives: folk music for shut-ins who like to enjoy themselves alone in the dark. “Dead Still Dance” might be their meditation on the afterlife and there’s no telling what goes on between “Cowboys And Chorus Girls” but each of the 10 gems on Sounds Like This (Brushfire Records) is distinct, memorable and catchy as hell.

 

Patrick Appello’s The Last Rose Of Summer (self-released, patrickappello.com) is what you might call “Romantic Guitar.” The guitar he plays is a reconstructed 1846 Rene Lacote and the sounds he coaxes out of that antique ax are from Franz Schubert (1797-1828), Johann Kaspar Mertz (1806-1856) and Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829). It’s a trip back in time; a sweet reverie of an album that sets a mood for languorous summer days of reading or lovemaking. Simply beautiful.

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