Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fog's rollin' in off the East River bank...

...well, not quite - it really is rather warm and sunny. But I thought I should have as the title of this particular blog entry, the first line from the wonderful S & G's 'Bleeker St'.
Why ? This was to be my first port of call in my first visit to New York City in over 2 years.
It was an obvious beginning, for me, this time. A last minute trip to stay with friends in New Jersey happened just days ago, and within the timeframe of my little holiday, will be at least 4 visits into the city. Bleeker St holds a certain atmosphere for me, the streets, the people, the Record Shops (you were waiting for that bit, weren't you ?).
After deciding to decorate my hosts front porch in NJ with Scottish Flags to announce my arrival (much better than actually telling them I'm coming to visit, of course) and a day or two to let that damnable time difference / jet lag phenomenon sort itself and my bodyclock out, I was ready to pound the pavements (sorry, sidewalks).
Much hadn't changed, I was thankful for that. Rebel Rebel is a great little shop, their reputation enhanced in my little brain by their window display of the new tribute Serge Gainsbourg Album, right in the centre. Inside, too much to look through in the time I had, and too much to buy unless I hit big on the NJ Lottery, but a nice browse through nonetheless. Further on up Bleeker St, another Record / CD store which I won't name as it gets very low points in the helpful staff stakes, but merits a mention here only because they were playing T.Rex as I walked in. My favourite haunt was, as it always has been, a great store called Generation Records on Thompson St.
A veritable treasure trove of the normal to strange to bizarre, to promos and bootlegs and T-shirts to Vinyl to, oh, everything else in between. Even more popular now, it seemed, amongst many young and not so young lads because of the rather striking beauty of the girl who worked in the upstairs part of the shop. She had an audience of guys hanging round pretending to be interested in what she was saying about music whilst not being able to take their eyes off her. It really was very, very entertaining. I was one of them.
A trip too, to the Diner I usually now haunt on my trips Stateside, up near 34th St. This was the place frequented my myself and my Roxy buddies at various times in the Summer of 2001 when going to see Roxy Music just across the road at Madison Sq Garden. Old habits die hard.
A satisfying day pounding those sidewalks left me pretty damn tired, and I headed off back with the commuters into the Garden State, and the wonderful hospitality of my hosts.
On the music front a day or two later, Rich Phoenix and I visited Vintage Vinyl in Edison, NJ, a haunt of some years back, though, these days, their Vinyl section is rather small compared to the DVD and CD sections - a sign of the times. Great store though.
In days to come, visits to Lambertville, a fave little town of mine in deepest NJ, and a further visit to New York City this Wednesday, to take some pics, be a tourist, the usual thing.
Planned trips otherwise include the Guggenheim, Strawberry Fields, and Coney Island.
Meanwhile, back at AZ towers in the UK, Mr Lloyd holds the fortress until next week.
Have a nice day, y'all...

Johnny Reece

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Here Comes The Flood

'Here Comes The Flood', as the Peter Gabriel song said.
No, no panic, just a bit of a problem at AZ Towers where various outside faults left us paddling around. Luckily everything is either on wall shelves or plinths etc, a good 3 ft above sea level. So, no real damage. Hence the late update - apologies !
And whilst I do the mop-up, our intrepid Scottish explorer Mr Reece is happily esconced at AZ NJ Studios, over the pond. Ah, tales to come from Johnny of his travels, we are sure of that. News reaches me of a major several hour trip into Bleeker St (a favourite haunt) to check out a few music shops which he is oh so fond of. Keep an eye on this blog too for 'A Scotsmans Travels' over the next 10 days or so. This does mean, naturally, there will be a minimum of 2 jointly hosted programmes to come on The Album Zone, with Johnny and Rich spouting forth about Music, New York, New Jersey, Life, the Universe, and Everything. And much more.
These will be aired both on RTI and Radio Seagull, in April.
Our shows meanwhile, continue on all the usual outlets and frequencies.

Thanks too, to a Zonehead benefactor (who wishes to remain nameless) but has put his wallet where his faith and musical taste lie, to keep our Live365 account active, purely to enable us to broadcast 'live' from AZ Towers in London, once, sometimes twice, per week.
Hey Zoneheads, how can we turn that one down ? Sure, the new rules are a major bind, though do not affect 'Live' Programming so much. It's the pre-records which cause the problems, so, we'll say a huge thanks, and 'Live' only is where we will be on 365 at various times, and of course it is right here on this Blog where you will discover, in advance, exactly when.

More gossip and travel tales to appear here shortly, courtesy of Mr Reece.

Have a nice day, y'all.

Steve Lloyd PR The Album Zone

Monday, March 06, 2006

And that was that...

And that, as they say, was that...

Funny old day. A quiet Sunday morning began with an early phone call to the Lloyd household from our own Mr Reece, who casually said "You know Steve, I think I'll finish off the 365 thing by going 'Live' tonight for a couple of hours".
Eh ? You said what ? Oh, ok then.
It took me by surprise. But then again, thinking about it, best to go out with a bang, not a whimper. Johnny didn't see the point in just letting a few songs go round and round for a while then switching it off.
That's not The Album Zone way of things at all, is it ? So, a frantic last minute newsletter was drafted out to AZ Subscribers, a quick note on the Blog, and away we go...
There was little time to prepare. Very little time indeed.
Johnny insisted I didn't come in to help, but to just enjoy a day with the family, and tune in later. So, I did.
Lots of vintage out-takes and bits and pieces were found (though not nearly as many as he wanted to have time to find, he admitted later). 10pm duly arrived, and everything sprung into action. A new email address for one night only, and the music flowed. Or should that be the Wine ? Oh, naturally, Cabernet Shiraz for company, too. A few favourites aired, chit-chat back and forth with the regulars who were emailing in from various parts of the globe, and all was well. A few (well, a lot) of cheeky comments suddenly appearing on the player window from time to time too. Naughty ! (but nice, and very amusing, too). Well, what the hell. If you're going to close 1 of your 4 broadcast outlets, yet one which has been going for 5 years, you might as well have a lot of fun at the same time.
One listener emailed promptly in and offered to pay to keep the channel open if we could do the occasional 'live' thing instead, once or twice per week. A very kind offer, but naturally he didn't realise that the AZ crew is spread around various geographical locations. Not that easy to nip down to AZ Towers to do a Live Programme if you are based in Nottingham, Copenhagen, or even New Jersey. But it did strike a chord with Johnny, who thanked him for the offer, but promised there was no need, as we'd be back with another server, around late April 2006, enabling the 24/7 'AZ to the World' ideal to flourish once again. But the occasional Live thing may be something we will look into, for the odd special event. Where would you hear news on that ?
Well, right here on this AZ Blog, that's where. So, keep those eyes peeled, folks.
It was strange for me, listening back to AZ 'Live', yet knowing it was only for 2 hours, but knowing it would go suddenly horribly silent.
Johnny said afterwards, no matter how many broadcasts, special events etc have to close down, each one has it's own feeling. He'd experienced all this some years before of course, on many of those special 28 day licences that Radio Caroline had in the 90s. But yes, this was different. He was completely alone in the Studio for a start, he insisted on that. I could almost feel the mood change, never mind hear it. All good fun for an hour and a half, with the odd 'defiant' song thrown in. Then it changed a little, with some angry lyrics no doubt aimed directly at the hearts and consciences of the powers that be, and an absolutely blasting defiant 3 minutes which really got to me if I'm honest, then suddenly this was rather wonderfully counter balanced by complete melancholy for the final 3 minutes, all ending with the sound of a lilting childs musical box, fading, slowly, ever so slowly, into the background, to be replaced by total and complete silence. Now, that's the way to finish.
Afterwards, friends, spouses, romans and countrymen, all gathered round at AZ Towers for a noisy and rousing final 'Cheers' !!!
I asked Johnny afterwards, how it felt to close that particular outlet down.
"A roller-coaster", he said. "Great fun to begin with, and quite a laugh, then a bit of anger, but I was actually very sad at the end. Yet it's another beginning too, these things always are. We've got a lot to look forward to, with the broadcasting outlets we have".

It may have been goodbye 365, but it's still Hello World, as ever.

Steve Lloyd PR The Album Zone

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Final Broadcast via Live 365 tonight - 'LIVE'

THE ALBUM ZONE 'LIVE' to the world this evening :

Hello kiddies, and welcome to the weekend.
As most of you know, due to the new RIAA and DMCA rules which prevent any station broadcasting full pre-recorded programmes via Live365 due to no such software being available to now make them compliant (so much for Free Radio, ironic eh ?), the last Album Zone programme via this service will be broadcast 'Live' from our studios in London, on Sunday evening, at 22.00 hours UK time, by Johnny Reece.
If you can be there, with your ears pegged back, please do. The programme duration will be 2 hours.
Just go to : www.live365.com/stations/albumzone2001 to access this Live Programme, this evening.

Unfortunately, hundreds of stations have been forced to leave 365 because of the software problem combined with the new broadcasting regulations, but hopefully they, like us, would gladly return to Live365, to broadcast 24/7 once again, if they eventually have the software to enable us to be compliant with the new, yet rather archaic rules governing radio broadcasts from within the United States.
Time will tell - but for the moment, there is little point in paying for a service which we cannot use properly to our liking, and will instead concentrate our focus on the Programmes we already supply to other Radio Stations around the world, such as RTI, Radio Seagull, and Radio Waddenzee.

We aim to be back on air 24/7 around the world by late April, from servers in Europe.
You'll find all the details on this, posted right here on this Blog, when the time comes.
Meanwhile, don't forget, we are already worldwide on the Net, and on various FM and AM frequencies in Europe too, via those Stations mentioned above, so, in effect, we are switching off just 1 of our 4 broadcasting outlets - and this will be replaced shortly.

We hope you can tune in this evening, at 22.00 UK time (23.00 CET, 17.00 EST).

Following this Programme, we will switch our server via Live365 off.
Stay tuned to this Blog for all Album Zone news, including the full Programme Schedules via Radio Seagull and Radio Waddenzee, which I will publish here this week.

Steve Lloyd PR The Album Zone

email : music@albumzone.net
Blog : http://thealbumzone.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

THE ALBUM ZONE Programmes via RTI : The Schedule

Hi, as promised, here is the forthcoming Programme Schedule, featuring all Album Zone Programmes via RTI, through March and April 2006.
Our 2 hour Programmes are broadcast on Wednesday and Saturday evenings via RTI at these hours :
22.00 hours (UK time), 23.00 hours (CET) or 17.00 hours (EST).
These Broadcasts are all worldwide via www.rti.fm.

Further RTI broadcast details are as follows :

RTI Broadcasts on the Eurobird Satellite:
Free To Air owners should use the following: 12.523H 27500 2/3.

RTI Broadcasts on the Sky Satellite :
Sky Digital owners should first go to ADD CHANNELS then:
12.523H 27500 2/3 (N.B. An EPG number will follow soon)

RTI broadcasts on 1350AM to Central and Northern Europe
RTI broadcasts on 94.2 FM (Poprad) and 94.8 FM (Kosice) in Slovakia
RTI broadcasts on-line worldwide via www.rti.fm using a standard media player, 24 hours a day.

THE ALBUM ZONE Programme Schedule via RTI is as follows :

Every WEDNESDAY evening : Johnny Reece

Every SATURDAY evening as follows :

4th March : Richard Bismarck

11th March : Gil Legine
18th March : James Barclay
25th March : Zoe Street
1st April : Rich Phoenix (Happy Birthday, big guy !)
8th April : Johnny Reece
Further details TBA.

I will publish Full Schedules for our Broadcasts via Radio Seagull and Radio Waddenzee tomorrow.

Steve Lloyd PR The Album Zone