Heart bursts into 2012 with new album, box set, autobiography and concert dates

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After issuing just one album — 2004’s Jupiter’s Darling — between 1993 and 2010, Heart is now set to release its second studio project in two years. Frantic, due this fall, follows 2010’s Red Velvet Car. But that’s not all.

Heart is also prepping a rarities-packed box set — including tracks that didn’t appear on the band’s major label rleeases — as well as a new biography, and a new string of live dates. All of that according to guitarist Nancy Wilson, who was interviewed Sunday on the Eighties Experience radio program on KSBR in southern California.

Heart will play in Anaheim on February 25, and already has subsequent dates posted on the band’s Web site through September. The tour will not, apparently, include an UK or European festivals.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Heart. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

HEART – RED VELVET CAR (2010): The first thing that’s evident from listening to Red Velvet Car is that in contrast to Clapton, the Wilson sisters are as rooted in the present-day sounds as they are to the music of the past, and maybe even more so. The second thing is that Ann Wilson’s voice is finally beginning to falter a bit: she’s lost some of her incredible range and there’s a residue of rasp in it that wasn’t there before. Those are two things that put this album below the level of their last one, 2006’s Jupiter’s Darling. On the other hand, Nancy’s power acoustic guitar remains in fine form, and she can still more than hold her own when battling crashing electric guitars for sonic space.

HEART – GREATEST HITS (1998; 2011 Audio Fidelity Remaster): The distractions when it comes to Heart (gender politics, obvious curtsies to Led Zeppelin, wall-to-wall 1980s power-ballads, etc.) are swept away with this single turned-up-to-11 instrumental interlude during “Magic Man.” I’m struck all over again by guitarist Roger Fisher’s ever-increasing distortion, just before a smeared prog rock-influenced keyboard descends from the heavens. Heart’s “Magic Man” (a No. 9 hit in 1976) has, right there inside of it, this brilliant piece of in-the-moment, well, magic — unlikely to happen again in the age of auto-tune, but buried for decades in a muddy pre-digital mix. Now, this small joy has been spit-shined into a revelatory moment, and it’s almost worth the price of admission itself. This band, you quickly realize all over again, wasn’t led by a couple of Girls Who Rocked. They were, simply, rockers. And very good ones, at that.

DEEP CUTS: HEART, “LOVE ALIVE” (1977): Coming right after the hard-charging “Barracuda,” the sisters ease up on the tempo a bit but not at all on the quality. “Love Alive” runs only a little over four minutes, but it’s a three-parter. The soft beginning kicks off with a winsome acoustic guitar motif, played in tandem by Nancy and (most probably) Roger Fisher. As Ann’s gentle, controlled and low-octave vocals begin, some Indian percussion joins in as well. Her first and second and verse is separated by a short flute interlude…also performed by Ann. Hard rock can sometimes get a little rough around the edges, and it needs a woman’s touch to smooth it out just a tad. There’s probably no women better for that job than the Wilson women when they are on their game like they are for “Love Alive.”

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
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