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The Best New Oldies Albums of 2014 (Robert Fontenot)

Rockers never stop rocking, but should they? Find out why you just might want to check out new releases from some of your favorite WAKY artists...Scroll down to the end of today's music news for the reviews...
 

The Latest Music News from Wakyland...


Journey will be returning to the road soon.  The group will launch a series of dates with the Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power in Austin, Texas on March 5th, and play a couple of shows with Santana in Mexico at the end of March.  Their "Journey Las Vegas" engagement at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino begins April 29th, including nine performances through May 16th.  The group's full schedule is posted at JourneyMusic.com.

Elton John's "Million Dollar Piano" show is bringing the singer much more money than the title suggests.  He can apparently earn a million dollars in just two nights.  TMZ.com says the rocker is the highest paid performer in Las Vegas, making more than 500-thousand-dollars per concert.  His latest deal with The Colosseum at Caesars Palace reportedly gives Elton 88-percent of the ticket revenue.  The cheap seats sell for 55 dollars, while VIP passes cost one-thousand dollars.

Elton signed on for another three years at The Colosseum last fall, and officially began the engagement last Friday.  He'll continue staging "Million Dollar Piano" shows through 2017.

Ted Nugent has a special performance coming up.  The rocker is slated to deliver the national anthem at the 15th annual Golden Moose Awards, taking place at  The Venetian in
Las Vegas Thursday night.  Ted is also a nominee heading into the event.  He and his wife Shemane Nugent are in the running for Fan Favorite Hosts for their Outdoor Channel series "Ted Nugent: Spirit of the Wild."  They captured the nod in 2013.  Last year the honor went to "Buck Commander," which features several hosts including country singers Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean, "Duck Dynasty's" Willie Robertson, and others.  And this year fans can watch the Golden Moose Awards online.  The event will be streamed live at OutdoorChannel.com/GoldenMooseAwards, starting at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.

 Tom Morello and Serj Tankian are joining forces to honor Randy Rhoads.  They're streaming their cover of Ozzy Osbourne's hit "Crazy Train," which Osbourne wrote with Rhoads for his "Blizzard of Ozz" album back in 1980.
The track is part of the upcoming covers compilation, "Immortal Randy Rhoads: The Ultimate Tribute."  Morello tells "Rolling Stone" Rhoads is his favorite guitar player of all time.  He says he had his poster on the wall as he practiced eight hours a day, and even named his firstborn son after him.  "Immortal Randy Rhoads" -- which also features contributions from Bruce Kulick, Tim "Ripper" Owens, Dweezil Zappa, and more -- is due out March 3rd.

The Grateful Dead are giving fans another way to celebrate their 50th anniversary.  They plan to release a new "Best of the Grateful Dead" compilation March 31st ahead of the reunion shows set to take place over the July 4th weekend in
Chicago.  The 32-track collection will be available on CD or as a high definition digital download.  It features highlights from all of the Grateful Dead's studio albums, and promises to cover "key waypoints" on the band's "mystical musical journey."  Pre-order information and more details about the band's "Fare Thee Well" anniversary shows are available at Dead.net.
 

 
John Mellencamp is ready to take his show on the road.  The singer-songwriter is set to launch his "Plain Spoken" tour.  The extensive trek includes 80 dates, which will keep him busy through early August.  Mellencamp will be playing more than one show in several cities.  He has two-night stands set for  
Chicago, Nashville, Minneapolis, and Clearwater, Florida.  Mellencamp will play four shows in New York City -- two at Carnegie Hall and two at the famed Apollo Theater.  He'll also head north of the border, and make a number of stops across Canada.

The tour begins and ends in Mellencamp's home state of Indiana.  He'll kick things off in South Bend Wednesday night, and bring the trek to a close in Indianapolis on August 4th.  Shows will also feature opening sets from Carlene Carter.  Mellencamp is touring behind his latest album, "Plain Spoken."

 
Arlo Guthrie is ready to hit the road and celebrate his landmark song, "Alice's Restaurant."  The folk legend says in a new Facebook post that he's had "plenty of time off," and is now "getting itchy to get back to work."  However, he also admits he has quite a lot ahead of him.  The singer says he's "going to be very busy" for "the next year and a half," and will only get "a few short breaks here and there."  Arlo is kicking off his "Alice's Restaurant 50th Anniversary Tour" Wednesday with a show in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Concerts will feature performances of the 18-and-a-half-minute monologue along with other hits and fan favorites.

The trek includes nearly 50 confirmed shows, with dates set through early May.  But Arlo says his team is "still putting the last half" of the tour together, so he has "no idea yet" where he'll be performing "too far in the future."  He adds that he's looking forward to seeing "so many old friends out there across the country" and wherever else he might visit over the course of the run. Hall and Oates will be playing a slightly different kind of theater next month.  The duo's Dublin concert from last summer is set to be screened in movie theaters around the country for one night only, February 19th.  Daryl Hall described the sold-out gig in Ireland as the "perfect storm for a band, a concert and an audience."  Tickets to one of the 300-plus screenings of "Daryl Hall and John Oats: Recorded Live in Dublin" are available at FathomEvents.com.

Led Zeppelin is sharing a taste of what fans can expect on the expanded edition of "Physical Graffiti."  The "Rough Mix" version of the track "Houses of the Holy" is streaming online now.
The early take places greater prominence on Robert Plant's harmonies and John Paul Jones' bass, and also features a different drumming style from John Bonham.  Guitarist and producer Jimmy Page tells "Rolling Stone" "House of the Holy" was unlike anything being done at the time, and calls it "totally of its own."  The "Physical Graffiti" reissue also includes different versions of Zeppelin classics like "
Kashmir" and "In My Time of Dying."  It's due out on CD, vinyl, and digitally February 24th.

Glenn Hughes says California Breed actually came to an end well before last week's formal announcement.  In a new Facebook post the rocker cites June 2nd, 2014 as the pivotal date -- that's when drummer Jason Bonham left the group.  Only two weeks earlier California Breed had released their debut album, and Hughes explains that the group had just put tickets on sale for U.S. and European tours.  He says he "felt it necessary to commit to these shows," in part because they "needed to play and promote" their record.

Glenn adds that he's "supremely grateful" to drummer Joey Castillo, who filled in for Bonham on the road.  But the singer says he "couldn't commit" to a second album.  Hughes explains that California Breed was him, Bonham, and guitarist Andrew Watt, and "there was no way moving forward without all three original members."  However, Hughes isn't just sitting idle.  He says he currently has three projects in the works -- "two musical and one movie."  Glenn is promising "more details" as things "move forward."

Drummer Dallas Taylor of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame has passed away at the age of 66. 
"Variety" reports that Taylor's wife, Patti McGovern-Taylor, announced his death via Facebook.  After gaining success with his 1960s rock band Clear Light, the Denver native joined forces with Crosby, Stills and Nash, performing the drum work on their self-titled debut album in 1969.  Taylor also performed with the group when Neil Young joined their ranks for the 1970 album, "Deja Vu."  He later played on Stephen Stills' self-titled solo album, before signing on as the drummer for Stills' group, ManassasTaylor also played with Van Morrison and Paul Butterfield.

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is paying tribute to his late girlfriend by supporting others in her industry.  "Women's Wear Daily" says the rock legend has established a scholarship in L'Wren Scott's name for Central Saint Martins' masters degree program in fashion design.  The scholarship covers the recipients' tuition, and will also help pay the students' other expenses.  L'Wren did not attend the London school, but had been good friends with the director of CSM's masters level fashion program.  The L'Wren Scott scholarship will go to one CMS fashion student each year for the next three years, starting this fall.
 
Rick Springfield's butt is not responsible for a New York woman's injuries at one of his concerts.  That's what a jury in Syracuse decided Friday at the end of the so-called butt injury trial.  Springfield had been accused of falling on the plaintiff during a show in 2004 and knocking her unconscious when his rear end hit her head.  But Syracuse.com says the jury needed just an hour of deliberation to rule that the rocker was not liable for any damages.  Springfield said he's "incredibly relieved," adding that results like this are positive for everyone because there are "too many lawsuits in this country."

The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir says he thinks the band's upcoming 50th anniversary concerts are "going to be big fun."  The rocker tells "Billboard" that group members "only started talking" about doing something to mark the occasion six months ago, and after considering "a number of options" they settled on a three-concert run at Chicago's Soldier Field.  While the upcoming shows are set for the same place almost exactly 20 years after the Dead gave their last performance with founding frontman Jerry Garcia, Weir says that fact didn't influence their plans.  He explains that it was a geographic decision.  Bob says they were thinking about the traveling their fans would have to do to get to the shows, and chose Chicago because it's centrally located within the U.S.

Weir is also downplaying the idea that the upcoming shows will be the band's last.  He admits he doesn't know what the future holds for the Grateful Dead, but says he hopes this summer's shows aren't "the last time."  The Grateful Dead's 50th anniversary concerts at Chicago's Soldier Field are set for July 3rd through the 5th.  The band's lineup will feature surviving members Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann with keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and Phish frontman Trey Anastasio.

Bruce Springsteen was back in New Jersey this weekend.  The Boss took the stage Saturday night for the Light of Day charity concert in Asbury Park as the event's poorly-kept secret guest.  Springfield was spotted during the sound check, leading fans to suspect that he would eventually be making his first public live appearance in his home state since last year's Light of Day.  This year's six-hour concert featured a wide variety of New Jersey musicians, and raised money for Parkinson's disease research.

Fleetwood Mac is having a tough time living up to their tour's "On With The Show" name.  The Omaha "World Herald" says the group only played 16 of their planned 24-song set at their concert in Lincoln, Nebraska Saturday night, because drummer Mick Fleetwood became sick.  Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham both apologized from the stage as they ended their show early.  Stevie said that "Mick is really sick," explaining that he was vomiting backstage.  She added that Fleetwood Mac would "come back" to Nebraska, and at that time fans would "get one an a half full-on shows."  On Saturday group still delivered nearly 90 minutes of music, including such hits as "Seven Wonders" and "Landslide."

Fleetwood Mac later issued an official statement, saying Mick "became ill with the stomach flu."  The group added that they don't intend to cancel any dates.  Their next scheduled show is in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday.

Nazareth and their new frontman are going their separate ways.  Linton Osbourne announced on Facebook Friday that he is no longer a member of the group, adding that it "didn't work out" for him or for Nazareth.  The news comes less than a week after the band postponed a string of U.K. tour dates due to Osbourne's ongoing vocal cord ailment.  Linton thanked his former bandmates for giving him the opportunity to play with the band, and praised all the Nazareth fans he met along the way.  He also thanked the man he replaced, founding frontman Dan McCafferty, for his support and encouragement.  McCafferty was forced to retire in 2013 due to his own health issues.

Aerosmith is heading to movie theaters around the country for one night only.  The group's performance at last year's Download Festival in the U.K. is scheduled to be screened February 26th.  Tickets to "Aerosmith Rocks Donington 2014" are available now at FathomEvents.com.  The film is expected to be released on DVD as well, although no official plans have been revealed at this point. 

The cast to the upcoming movie "Elvis & Nixon" is growing.  Sky Ferreira is making progress in her foray into acting.  "The Hollywood Reporter" says ndie pop singer SkyFerreira has joined the cast of the film, starring Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon.  "Elvis & Nixon," which is currently shooting in Atlanta, will recount the true story of Elvis Presley and President Richard Nixon's 1970 meeting.  Sky will be taking on a minor role, as the love interest of Elvis' best friend Jerry Schilling, who made the trip to WashingtonDC with the King.  Others added to "Elvis & Nixon's" supporting cast include Colin Hanks, Johnny Knoxville and Alex Pettyfer.

Glen Campbell's daughter admits she was thrilled and surprised to learn of her father's Oscar nomination.  Glen's final recording, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," which he wrote with producer Julian Raymond for his documentary "Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me," is among the tracks in the running for Best Original Song.  Following the announcement Ashley Campbell took to Facebook, saying she was "feeling so stunned."  She added that she "couldn't be more proud" of her dad and "everything he's accomplished in the face of so much adversity."  Ashley also expressed her appreciation and admiration for Raymond.  Ashley said Julian is "an amazing, talented, big hearted man," and she "couldn't be prouder to know" him.  


Stevie Wonder is dropping the needle for another spin on his "Songs in the Key of Life" tour.  He played his legendary 1976 album in full during the first leg of the trek in November and December.  And now he's announced plans for a second leg starting March 17th in Denver.  The eleven-date outing will bring Wonder through the Midwest and eastern part of the country before coming to a close in Brooklyn April 12th.  Tickets go on sale January 23rd and 24th through Live Nation.

Before he hits the road, however, Wonder will be honored with a Grammy tribute concert.  "Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life - An All-Star Grammy Salute" will feature performances from Coldplay's Chris Martin, Ed Sheeran, Usher, Willie Nelson, and more.  The special will be taped February 10th, and will air on CBS February 16th.
 
Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top, and Starship are all heading out on the road.  Fleetwood Mac is continuing their "On With The Show" trek -- their first run with keyboardist Christine McVie in more than 15 years.  The group will kick off the second leg of the tour in St. Paul, Minnesota Friday night.  ZZ Top, meanwhile, is returning to action after being sidelined last summer.  The band had to cancel some dates and postpone others after bassist Dusty Hill suffered a hip injury.  The Texas trio is getting their 2015 road work started in their home state, with a two-night stand in San Antonio Saturday and Sunday night.

Starship is honoring the group's lengthy legacy with their tour, which they're launching this weekend in Canada.  The current incarnation of the band stems from the Jefferson Airplane, which formed in 1965 and in the early '70s evolved into Jefferson Starship.  Starship plans to pay tribute to their predecessors with their run of shows, which begin in Belleville, Ontario Friday night.

 

The man who formed The Runaways has died.  "The Los Angeles Times" says Kim Fowley, the legendary and notorious music manager and producer, passed away Thursday at his home in West Hollywood.  He had been battling bladder cancer.  Fowley was 75.  Over the course of his lengthy career Kim worked with a number of artists, including Gene Vincent, the Beach Boys, Warren Zevon, and Helen Reddy.  But he's best remembered for launching the careers of Joan Jett, Cherie Currie, and Lita Ford, putting them together in one of the first all-female rock bands, The Runaways.  And with The Runaways, Fowley also became known for his Svengali-like managerial style, which fueled the band's short but memorable run. Fowley died Thursday morning at the age of 75.

A vest once belonging to the late Janis Joplin is among the big ticket items available in an online auction.  The singer's brown suede fringed vest is being sold along with a turquoise and silver belt and other items the singer gave to a then-14-year-old fan in
Alabama back in December 1969.  Bidding on the lot has surpassed 36-hundred dollars.  Also generating interest is a copy of Yoko Ono's book "Grapefruit," signed by John Lennon, with bids of more than two-thousand-300-dollars.  Bidding has also been strong on an original 1969 Woodstock poster, which will likely sell for more than ten-times its 200-dollar reserve.


 

 
 

Marianne Faithfull, "Give My Love to London."

Marianne is the kind of survivor Mick Jagger should have been: she bends where her Sixties boyfriend breaks, using her tribulations as fuel even when (especially when?) she brings them on herself. It's the reason she can hold a song down emotionally even as her voice fades, her sheer status as the grand dame of broken souls giving her the authority to declaim the emotional horrors of the world, both in her own words and in others'. So it seems only natural that what may be her finest hour comes just after Faithfull, one of rock's most famous ex-junkies, begun fighting off the effects of a broken hip without the use of painkillers. Her fellow dark realists are here, with Nick Cave, Roger Waters, and Steve Earle all contributing, but she can also tear the meat out of songs as seemingly facile as the Everly Brothers' "The Price of Love" and Hoagy Carmichael's "I Get Along Without You Very Well." London's greatest triumph, however, may be its sonic canvas, Spectorian in its worldly moments and deathly quiet in its personal ones, perfectly delineating the overlap of her obsessions: folk, polite British pop, roots rock, and European cabaret.

 

 

Robert Plant, "Lullaby and...the Ceaseless Roar."

Lots of Zeppelin fans assume that Robert Plant's latest and most dramatic swerve away from hard rock stems from the fact that, at age 66, he simply can't replicate his old banshee howl, but with every passing year, it becomes clear why he keeps turning down all those possible Zep reunions: he's simply not interested in the style anymore. Making an entire late-period career out of the atmospherics that used to hold his old band together seems like building a house out of grout, but in fact it's more freeing than ever, and it leads the former lemon squeezer to go on a musical archaeology dig, looking for the common ancestry between European folk, American blues, and Middle Eastern everything. His latest is perhaps the first to avoid rock trends entirely, and like his Alison Krauss duets, it allows him to perfect the secret weapon he brought when getting the Led out: not the sound of his voice, which still sounds fine in a croon, but the painterly impressionism of his musical worldview.

 

 

Ian McLagan, "United States."

Who would have thought that the former (Small) Faces pianist/organist would age more gracefully than his old lead singer? It doesn't have the emotional depth of his last album, 2008's Never Say Never, which found him facing the tragedy of losing his wife om a car crash, but that's fitting: released just a few months before his death, Ian McLagan's unexpected farewell is an appropriately low-key, bare-bones affair, just his electric and acoustic pianos, a pickup band, and ten unassuming songs that last less than half an hour all together. But this is Ian, and his shaggy dog love songs have the old magic, the kind of bluesy pub-rock that suggests he made peace with the world before he left it. The occasional boogie-woogie inflections practically call out for Rod the Mod, but the smart and simple popcraft also makes this Paul McCartney's least presumptuous record in decades. A class way to go out.

 
 

Stevie Nicks, “24 Karat Gold (Songs from the Vault)”

When Fleetwood Mac's mystic spirit says "from the vault," she's only partially hyperbolizing: all but one of these songs (15 on the deluxe edition!) are newly-recorded demos of songs left off of Mac and Stevie solo albums, one of them dating all the way back to 1969. For most artists, this would mean a hit-or-miss, stylistically confusing collection, but it turns out Nicks has been keeping her realist side on a leash all these years so that she can fit in her witchy woman musings. The result is her most emotionally vulnerable yet defiant album since her solo debut, 1981's Bella Donna, and perhaps ever. To that end, producer Dave Stewart gives her the Petty Lite production of that album, calling in pros like Waddy Wachtel and Benmont Tench -- only the title cut sounds like a Rumours bonus track, and aside from the paper thin rock out "I Don't Care" and the Vanessa Carlton cover, everything here would impress even a casual Stevie fan. Nothing stuns like "Edge of Seventeen" or wails like "Stop Dragging My Heart Around," but if you prefer the prickly, earthbound Nicks of "Dreams" and "Stand Back," this is the album you've been waiting for.

 
 

Neil Diamond, "Melody Road"

Despite his undeniable talents as a songwriter, the "Jewish Elvis" has always been an entertainer first and foremost. Why else would he have been blessed with that voice? Rick Rubin's very rubinesque recent reboot of Neil Diamond's essence helped clear away several decades of cultural glop to reveal what his hardcore fans could always hear, but Neil was meant to play on a big emotional stage, and so now that Capitol's taken him on after 40 years, they've assigned producer Don Was to recapture the glory of his greatest years on Uni. If you're not sure what that entails, you'll find out soon enough -- the first few songs on Melody Road call to mind "Cracklin' Rosie," "Song Sung Blue," and "I Am... I Said," and while the arrangements are necessarily a little more subtle than the early '70s would ever allow, for about an hour it sounds like the old Neil is back on the radio again, perhaps more countrypolitan than we remember ("Forever in Blue Jeans" also threatens to break out a lot) but still in fine voice. We missed you, buddy.
 
 

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Rock and Roll Time”

The Killer's umpteenth comeback isn't nearly as exciting a trip through his past as his recent autobiography, but it stands out from his recent releases anyway -- despite the title and the cover, this isn't the Sun Records hellraiser fighting his way back to the top but the '60s Jerry, disgraced yet defiant, the Smash Records country crooner exploring the various details of his surprisingly complex personality. (Recording at Sun with guests at an absolute minimum helps this aesthetic a lot.) Rock and roll has long absorbed any lessons Jerry Lee had to offer it, musically and stylistically, and so when he leans into the crowdpleasers, both his and others', he merely sounds like a survivor. The country ballads, on the other hand, are unapologetic and deadly serious, as they used to be after everybody wrote Lewis off. Maybe that's why he wanted to remind everyone he could not only rock, but still be free.

 
  

Bob Seger, “Ride Out.”

It's hard to know what exactly is up with Bob Seger. His first new album in eight years is likely to be his last, and it's half covers to boot, yet reports are that he's got dozens and dozens of good songs in the vault. And while he sounds, at 70, perfectly able to make you believe that rock and roll never forgets, he may be forgetting rock and roll; he recorded this one in Nashville, and the country influence bleeds over into the borrowed songs, from John Hiatt to Kasey Chambers to Steve Earle to Wilco. Yet Ride Out captures a restless Seger, and as a transitional album it's often fascinating, an attempt to leave the Silver Bullet sound behind once and for all. What is a bar band leader, even a ferocious and insightful one, without a bar band? Hopefully we get one more chance to find out.

 


It's ELVIS Week!!!


 

Elvis Presley fans are gathering in Memphis to celebrate the King's birthday.  On Thursday, the late rock icon would have turned 80, but the festivities are beginning a day earlier.  On the eve of the anniversary, Presley's Graceland mansion will host a special reception and tour.  Just before midnight, fan club members will meet at the gates of Graceland for a gospel tribute to Elvis.  The "Elvis 80th Birthday Celebration" continues Thursday with the annual Elvis Birthday Proclamation Ceremony, officially declaring January 8th, 2015 Elvis Presley Day.  Other activities and events include an auction, an "Elvis Birthday Dance Party," special tours, and an Elvis movie screening.  The "Elvis 80th Birthday Celebration" runs through Saturday.  More details are available at Graceland.com.


Steven Tyler is heading to the desert to join in this year's Super Bowl festivities.  "The Wall Street Journal" says the Aerosmith frontman is slated to headline "Rolling Stone" magazine's party January 31st, the night before the big game in Glendale, ArizonaTyler will be taking the stage at a smaller venue in nearby Scottsdale.  In the meantime, he's also expected to spend some time working on a new solo album.  He recently said he plans to visit Nashville during the first half of 2015 to start writing some songs and see what develops.

Daryl Hall says he's owed money, and he's taking legal action to get it.  TMZ.com says the rocker has filed a lawsuit against Rural Media Group, which was behind his appearance in last year's Tournament of Roses Parade.  The Hall and Oates singer took part in the event as a solo act, performing with his band on a float named "You Make My Dreams Come True."  Hall says Rural Media Group agreed to cover all his costs relating to the event.  He claims he shelled out more than 87-thousand dollars, but has yet to be reimbursed. In the suit Hall also voices his objections to the company's Rose Parade DVD, which includes his music and his picture on the cover, which is selling for 29-dollars-and-99-cents.  Rural Media Group broadcasts Hall's web series, "Live From Daryl's House."

Sting's Broadway musical "The Last Ship" will dock later this month.  The struggling production is seeing an early bow despite Sting's attempt to reverse course by joining the show's cast himself.  A semi-autobiographical musical based on the Police frontman's childhood growing up in Newcastle, England, "The Last Ship" opened on Broadway in late October to mixed reviews.  Ticket sales have increased since the singer took on the lead role in the production early last month but are still far below sales generated from hit productions such as "Wicked" and "The Lion King" in comparison.  Sting is expected to continue in the role of shipyard foreman Jackie White until the musical's final performance on January 24th.  

Journey will be setting up camp in Sin City later this year.  The band has announced a nine-date residency at the Joint in Las Vegas' Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.  A spokesperson for the hotel says they're excited to add Journey to the list of acts who have booked stints at the venue in the past, including Guns N' Roses, KISS, Motley Crue and Def Leppard.  "Journey Las Vegas" is scheduled to run April 29th through May 16th.  Tickets go on sale to the general public January 16th via AXS.com. 
 
Kanye West and Paul McCartney are teaming up on a new track.  The rapper and the rock legend unveiled "Only One" on New Year's Eve, which features McCartney on keyboard.  The song is written from the perspective of Kanye's late mother Donda, who died in 2007 from surgery complications.  A spokesperson for West called the single the first publicly available recording from the "prolific musical collaboration."  The single is available on West's website or via the iTunes store.