The Japanese edition of ‘Soft Commands’, featuring the two bonus tracks from the European release and two more bonus tracks, is available on Cd Japan (thanks to Carsten via kenstringfellow.com!) for $23.
The bonus tracks are covers of the Association’s ‘Never My Love’, Neil Young’s ‘Down to the Wire’, R.E.M.’s ‘New Test Leper’, and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Knocks Me Off My Feet’.
Today on Rykodisc – the release contains two extra tracks, covers of “Never My Love” and “Down To The Wire.”
I have been doing a lot of press for the int’l version of Soft Commands (with two more tracks than the US version), to be released by Rykodisc Oct. 11…all over Europe, plus S. Africa, and more to come. In between REM tours I will be hitting as many places as possible…stay tuned for those details. In the meantime, I have been here in Europe with REM making various radio and TV appearances, so far in Italy and the UK but Sweden and Germany will be visited this week as well. Check remhq.com for details on that….or check local listings! I will be reunited with my computer when I get back to the US at the end of this week, so I will update the tour dates, etc.–with REM, Posies and KS solo all performing soon there are a lot of them!!
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the international version of Soft Commands has had its release date pushed back to Oct. 11. This version has the two bonus tracks (Never My Love and Down to the Wire, cover versions of the Association hit and Neil Young) and will be released by Rykodisc in Europe, Australia/NZ, Asia, S. America, etc. etc. Rykodisc is also releasing the new recordings by Big Star and the Posies that will be released next year.
During the Soft Commands tour this summer, I stopped by the XM Satellite radio studios and recorded a few performances plus an interview for ‘the Loft’ program. It will air on XM at noon eastern time on Sept 13, and be replayed that night at 9pm ET, 9/16 at 3pm and 9pm ET, and 9/18 at 6pm ET.
I also visited WUGA in Athens this week and taped a few songs for broadcast at a future date…
“just wanted to let those of you outside the u.s. and canada know that ken’s album will be coming out on ryko in late september. there are two bonus tracks (both covers). we’ll be attempting to line up shows around all the other activity ken’s got on his plate. i’ll keep you posted as details are confirmed.”
(posted by Barbara Mitchell to the dear23 list.)
This time Shatner has teamed up with Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) for what he states are “…thoughts and experiences of mine that very few people have heard before.” He adds, “I wanted to share them with my loved ones.”
Recorded in Folds’ Nashville studio, Has Been features eleven tracks with select songs featuring Folds (also on piano), Henry Rollins on “I Can’t Get Behind That,” Aimee Mann, Brad Paisley, and Lemon Jelly. The band includes guitarist Jon Auer (The Posies), bassist Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing), and drummer Matt Chamberlain (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple).
Click here for a tracklisting and more info.
Another Soft Commands review – ‘Stringfellow Avoids Soft Rock Stigma’
Ken’s third LP implements the lush, gauzy hue its title suggests, seemingly embracing more of a kinship with the first Christopher Cross album and Don McLean’s “American Pie” than the Posies’ “Dear 23” on tracks like the piano-heavy “Known Diamond,” “Cyclone Graves” and the gorgeous intro “You Drew.” However, a closer listen to this album will also find Stringfellow exorcising his recent obsession with reggae on “You Become the Dawn” and its subsequent dub plate “Dawn of the Dub of the Dawn.”
Stringfellow is one of the most underrated songwriters of our generation, and while “Touched” may still remain his all-timer, “Soft Commands” could most definitely be considered his textbook.
The Washington Times reviews Soft Commands.
by Scott Galupo
Mr. Stringfellow sings his heart out, giving the illusion of contentment. Really, he’s singing about merely the concept of love, the promise it holds of making one humble and “less than useless.”
Less than useless: It’s far from walking on air, but it’s credible. The satisfying thing about “Soft Commands” is that Mr. Stringfellow so easily juggles both the high and the low, the miserable and sublime of being useful – that is, in love.
The Oregonian reviews Soft Commands.
For all his considerable gifts, Stringfellow’s big break has proved elusive.
“Soft Commands” sounds like the work of a man attempting to correct for this fundamental error in judgment. It’s Stringfellow’s first disc with properly large-sounding Singer-Songwriter Production, encompassing a dozen new songs written in locations around the world — New York, Stockholm, Paris (Stringfellow’s occasional home, after marrying French girlfriend Dominique Sassi) — and reflecting the restlessness that characterizes his tireless work ethic.
For all its sonic clarity, the boldness of the production doesn’t serve the songs well. For every “Cyclone Graves” (Stringfellow’s best song since the Posies’ 1993 “Frosting on the Beater” album), there’s also “Don’t Die,” a maudlin meditation on suicide set to a Squeeze-style backing track that fails to capture any of Stringfellow’s typical charm.
Ken Stringfellow Soft Commands (Yep Roc)
Posies co-founder, R.E.M. cohort and Big Star confederate Ken Stringfellow is deep into his second decade of creating sterling pop music. Soft Commands is his third solo release of intricately arranged, intimate songs that mine Bacharach, Bread, the Beach Boys and at least one Beatle (McCartney, of course). Written and recorded all over the world, from Seattle to Senegal, the album unfolds like a travelogue, with spartan piano ballads in between mini-symphonies with a few surprise stops along the way, like Stringfellow’s baroque mandolin on “Any Love,” the brisk electronic rhythm underneath “For Your Sake” and the blue-eyed soul-steeped “Let Me Do.” Occasionally, the multi-instrumentalist gets a bit precious (the Doors-y darkness of “Je Vous En Prie,” the dub experiment of “Dawn of the Dub of the Dawn” and the boy’s choir and reggae verses of “You Become the Dawn”), but Stringfellow’s clear, composed croon forgives all sins.