Thursday, April 28, 2011

'Rave On Buddy Holly' celebrates rock icon's 75th birthday

Photo Credit: Popperfoto GettyImages

Oh Boy! Just got this in my inbox and this sounds like quite the wide-ranging and eclectic tribute! While you wait for the release of this disc, check out the 2009 tribute to Holly from Smithereens lead singer Pat DiNizio; the disc is aptly-titled "Pat DiNizio & Buddy Holly" and is available at


Daringly Original Tribute Collection Features My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Modest Mouse, Nick Lowe, Florence + The Machine, Cee Lo Green, Paul McCartney, Kid Rock, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Julian Casablancas and more - Available June 28, 2011 From Fantasy Records /Concord Music Group

In his short-lived but extraordinary life, Buddy Holly left behind a body of work so enthralling, his enduring influence is nearly impossible to overstate. The melodic joy and fierce independent streak at the core of his artistry is profoundly felt on Rave On Buddy Holly, a 19-song collection of indelible Holly covers by a rich assemblage of current musical visionaries and creative kindred spirits. Fantasy/Concord will release Rave On Buddy Holly June 28, 2011.

Rave On's striking collection of musicians share Holly's insurgent rebel spirit and outsider point of view. The artists cross generations and styles, collectively and defiantly embracing Holly's distinctive rough and tumble inventiveness. Very few songwriters could inspire passionately personal, fearless cover versions from performers such as My Morning Jacket, Cee Lo Green, Justin Townes Earle, The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, She & Him, Modest Mouse, Paul McCartney, Julian Casablancas, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Fiona Apple and John Brion, Graham Nash, The Detroit Cobras, Kid Rock, John Doe, Karen Elson, Nick Lowe and Jenny O. Which is part of what makes this much more than a mere "tribute album."

Rave On Buddy Holly steers clear of the reverent re-creations typically found on similar projects; the artists clearly felt free to explore radically new interpretations. Florence + The Machine bring an industrial New Orleans vibe to "Not Fade Away" (with help from Bayou icon Ivan Neville on keys). The Black Keys' elemental accompaniment touches the emotional core of "Dearest" while Modest Mouse takes "That'll Be the Day" into truly avant-garde territory. Cee Lo Green's exquisite vocals, for example, echo among handclaps and percussion on his epic reading of "Baby, You're So Square." Paul McCartney's take on the originally lilting "It's So Easy" is a raw, propulsive excursion filled with boisterous spoken ad-libs. Lou Reed lays down a blazing "Peggy Sue," replete with overdriven guitars and loopy keyboards. The romantic underpinnings of Holly's music are cleverly revealed in Rave On's multiple male-female pairings: Apple and Brion, Reed, Elson and (husband/producer) Jack White and She & Him.

Known for his work with such directors as Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson and Todd Haynes, esteemed film-music supervisor Randall Poster was sought out to produce and oversee the project. "As the tracks from various contributors were gathered for the album," explains Poster "we seemed to be gathering pieces of a complex and original puzzle ... that traces back to the roots of rock and roll and shapes so much of the music that followed."

Poster gives special recognition to producing partner Geyla Robb and her overall influence on Rave On's exceptional blend of tender toughness. Poster also credits the album's richness to the various track producers, such as Matt Sweeney, Joe Henry, Jack White and C.C. Adcock.

A true pop pioneer whose astonishing tunes boasted rock 'n' roll punch, irresistible hooks and boundary-pushing sonic sweep, Buddy Holly would be 75-years-old on September 7th of this year. Sadly, of course, he died in 1959 at age 22. But Holly's music never died, and has exerted a profound influence on virtually every part of the pop music soundscape. His sparkling hooks, tender lyrics and elegantly concise compositions set the bar for all the rock, country and pop tunesmiths who followed in his brilliant wake. A bold affirmation that proves his music, on the eve of his 75th birthday, is more relevant than ever, Rave On Buddy Holly tips its collective hat with love and appreciation.

For the latest Rave On Buddy Holly information, please visit:

'Rave On Buddy Holly' track listing:
1. "Dearest" - The Black Keys (2:06)
2. "Every Day" - Fiona Apple & Jon Brion (2:19)
3. "It's So Easy" - Paul McCartney (4:35)
4. "Not Fade Away - Florence + The Machine" (4:02)
5. "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" - Cee Lo Green (1:31)
6. "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" - Karen Elson (2:25)
7. "Rave On" - Julian Casablancas (1:55)
8. "I'm Gonna Love You Too" - Jenny O. (2:11)
9. "Maybe Baby" - Justin Townes Earle (2:06)
10. "Oh Boy" - She & Him (2:18)
11. "Changing All Those Changes" - Nick Lowe (1:41)
12. "Words Of Love" - Patti Smith (3:20)
13. "True Love Ways" - My Morning Jacket (3:25)
14. "That'll Be The Day" - Modest Mouse (2:15)
15. "Well...All Right" - Kid Rock (2:09)
16. "Heartbeat" -The Detroit Cobras (2:20)
17. "Peggy Sue" - Lou Reed (3:19)
18. "Peggy Sue Got Married" - John Doe (3:57)
19. "Raining In My Heart" - Graham Nash (3:30)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Season Two of 'Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...' set for June 7

'Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...' Season Two to be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 7, 2011 via Video Services Corp. and MVD Entertainment Group

Includes landmark performances and rare interviews with
Bono and The Edge of U2, Bruce Springsteen and many others....

Video Services Corp. (VSC) and MVD Entertainment Group (MVD) will release Elvis Costello's Sundance Channel hit, Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... Season Two on June 7, 2011 in standard DVD and Blu-ray formats. The two-disc sets feature all seven episodes of the second season of the show, plus over one hour of bonus features.

Viewers will share in the passion of seven intriguing episodes of chords and conversation with superstar singers and songwriters, including: Bono and The Edge Of U2, Bruce Springsteen
Neko Case, Sheryl Crow, Ron Sexsmith, Jesse Winchester, Nick Lowe, Richard Thompson, Allen Toussaint, Levon Helm, Mary-Louise Parker, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, and Ray Lamontagne.

Shot in 2009 at the storied Harlem's Apollo Theater and Toronto's Masonic Temple, Costello and his band The Imposters wow their audience with jam sessions in between Costello's colorful and creative discussions. The press has loved it:

"an engaging showcase for a curious mind" (No.1 pick) Time Magazine
"the appeal has much to do with Mr. Costello's intergenerational coolness." The New York Times
"we love the show!" Rolling Stone

Mr. Costello is thrilled by the caliber of musicians who come on his show. "Our guests have been faultlessly generous with their time, their reflections and their music," he says.

Bonus features include: the behind-the-scenes documentary Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...Inside Notes hosted by co-Executive Producer David Furnish and four bonus songs from Elvis & The Imposters and guests not seen in the original broadcast versions.

The response we've had to the show is so gratifying - not only from people who've seen it, but all the artists who've come on with Elvis have been thrilled to be a part of something that's genuinely - and passionately - about music," said co-Executive Producer and guest star Sir Elton John.
Conceived and developed by creator/Executive Producer Stephen Warden, SPECTACLE is co-produced by Toronto's Tri-Fi Productions Inc. (a partnership of SpyBox Media, Prospero Pictures and Reinvention Entertainment) and Sir Elton John and David Furnish's Rocket Pictures.

Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... contains behind-the-scenes stories and rare audio performances. It is like having your own video library of the history of cool music.

"Elvis Costello takes his performances and interviews a step further than most, capturing music history and memorable anecdotes from A-list music legends," said VSC President Jonathan Gross. "As a DVD boxed set, it works both as an emotionally involving television series and as a must-see episode in the history of popular music."

The retail price of Spectacle: Elvis Costello With... is $29.95 for the DVD and $39.95 for Blu-ray.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coachella Day 3: The Strokes, Duran Duran, Jack's Mannequin & more!

It is one thing to endure the heat and fatigue (my poor feet!) with so many hours spent standing or running from stage to stage, but I don't recommend getting sick at Coachella.
On Sunday afternoon, I suddenly got both a terrible sore throat and a head cold to match.
But there is no way I was going to let the last day of Coachella 2011 escape my sights, so here is my report on day 3.

Eliza Doolittle (in a photo I snapped using my Sony bloggie) may have had the misfortune of performing early in the day on Sunday, but that didn’t keep a small and enthusiastic contingent from getting to the Gobi tent to catch one of her first-ever shows in the U.S. The 23-year-old London-born singer-songwriter is already a bonafide star in the U.K. with her self-titled debut a smash since its release in July 2010. (It drops stateside on Tuesday, April 19.)

Her fast-paced 40-minute set proves the Brits have unearthed another gem in the manner of Lily Allen and Kate Nash, one with a knack for writing and singing bouncy pop that blends winsome melodies with bits of jazz and Motown R&B. The hits (in England) she performed on Sunday delivered fully at Coachella, the breezy “Rollerblades” and whistle-anchored “Skinny Genes” true standouts.

The crowd, much of which likely shifted next to Mojave for the first big West Coast appearance from an even bigger breakout British star, Plan B, moved and cheered inside Gobi with good reason, ushering in a refreshing new talent.

Getting featured on the Coachella Stage was not a chance that Jack's Mannequin was going to waste on Sunday.

The quartet, headed by Orange County's own Andrew McMahon, had previously performed in Indio on the smaller Outdoor Theatre stage back in April of 2007. That day, like the one on the third day of Coachella 2011, an enthusiastic crowded braved searing temperatures in the middle of the day to soak in the band's piano-anchored alternative rock.

The quartet's reputation and following has continued to grow over the past four years, but McMahon seemed genuinely blown away by the large crowd positioned in front of the stage.
"It's such an honor to get to play here at Coachella," said McMahon at one point in the set.
While many young modern rock bands are content to let loud energetic performances and driving heavy rhythms be their primary method of connecting with an audience, what sets Jack's Mannequin apart continues to be melodic songcraft and how the always-engaging McMahon uses his mighty voice and piano playing to provide something far greater than a mere rock show. The fact that members of his band increasingly add so much to his songs (notably guitarist Bobby "Raw" Anderson, whose work on "Spinning" was especially strong, has pushed Jack's Mannequin from "very good" to "great."

Sure McMahon pounded on the keys (or danced on them from time to time as he stood on his grand piano and even stepped across the keyboard itself for dramatic effect), but it were those wonderful songs fueling the thousands of Coachella-goers singing along on the choruses of "Bruised," "Dark Blue" and "La La Lie" (with McMahon adding some great work on the harmonica on the latter) that gave the 50-minute set the might of something extra special.
With a new Jack's Mannequin album in the final stages of completion, the band shared the new "My Racing Thoughts," a rousing rocker with an undeniable chorus that will be sing-along moment the next time the band rocks out at Coachella.

After watching the high-octane Jack's Mannequin set where I was positioned under a burning sun, I was ready to kick back in the shade (not that the Gobi tent was anything approaching cool) and catch the genre-bending folk-rock of Angus and Julia Stone. Though the brother-and-sister outfit from Australia may draw comparisons with musical ancestors like Mazzy Star and The Church, the duo's dramatic 35-minute outing on Sunday demonstrated the Stone siblings are no mere imitators. Backed by a fantastic three-member group, the sound created on stage was equal parts Americana, indie folk-rock and post-goth electronica-tinged rock. In short, both ambitious and intimate.
In its opening moments, the song "And the Boys" showcased Julia's delicate and affecting voice; as a uptempo rhythm was added the song became more and more hypnotic.
The duo's laid-back approach was anything but when they performed "Private Lawns," a beautiful song with Julia's voice dancing with and around the hypnotic beat provided by the drummer while her brother added some nice lead work on his guitar. Julia then elicited well-deserved cheers when she picked up a trumpet and played a short but effective solo.

Death From Above 1979 is not exactly what the doctor ordered for this patient. I listened to the band's entire performance, mostly unimpressed with the noise rock.

The contrast between Death From Above 1979 and Duran Duran, the latter whose set followed on the same Coachella Stage, couldn't have been more stark. From the moment that Duran Duran took the stage, it was clear that this was not a show that anyone would forget.
After charging out of the gate with an energized version of "Planet Earth," singer Simon Le Bon declared: "We've been looking forward to this show for weeks and weeks, and it's gonna go off."
Indeed, even the oft-heard "Hungry Like a Wolf" that followed that promise was powerful on this night, and fit smartly into a set where Le Bon, bassist John Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and drummer Roger Taylor focused on tunes from the band's recently-issued disc All You Need Is Now. Highlights were plentiful, with the uplifting title cut off All You Need Is Now, string section-anchored "Ordinary World," driving "Girl Panic!" and inspired "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" among my favorites of the band's 65-minute set.

It was interesting to see the contrast between Duran Duran and the band that followed on the main stage, New York's Strokes. Although the Strokes' songs and sounds have an urgency and tempo to make them a natural to play in a prime slot, the group makes little effort to connect with the crowd other than via its driving music. But that didn't keep the faithful from dancing around on the expansive field while the group played "Hard to Explain," "Someday" and "Games."
Coachella 2011 ended for me on a definite high note. I left the Strokes a bit early and caught Neon Trees' full set in the Gobi tent. As sick as I was, I was glab I stood in and took in the high-octane alternative dance-rock set from singer Tyler Glenn and company.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coachella Day 2: Arcade Fire, Felice Brothers, Cults, Francis and the Lights & more!

The Felice Brothers thrilled a small but enthusiastic crowd in the Gobi tent late Saturday night.

I am just getting up. I was at the fest yesterday at 11 a.m. when they opened the gates and didn't leave until after Arcade Fire wrapped up their incredible set just after 1 a.m. this morning. Here is a rundown of the proceedings.

Francis and the Lights performed on the Outdoor Theatre stage in the scorching heat on Saturday. Featuring singer-keyboardist Francis Starlite and his backing three-man band, the quartet turned in a fun-filled set that began with relatively few people positioned in front of the stage. By the time the act finished up a mere 30 minutes later, a large crowd was moving and dancing to the sounds of the infectious tunes.
Francis and the Lights' set brought to mind the '80s soul-pop of Hall & Oates.
Francis had plenty of impressive and distinctive dance moves, and the crowd went crazy as he alternated between dance steps and riffs on an electronic keyboard. One of the best songs he performed was a newly-penned track, "Betting On Us," that had him belting out his vocals against a musical backdrop blending '80s pop and Euro-dance.

Technical woes kept San Diego's Cults from starting on time, and feedback kept the duo (singer Madeline Follin and guitarist-keyboardist Brian Oblivion) from sounding their best. Backed by a solid four-man band, the team nevertheless forged on and performed a winning set of eight songs rooted somewhere between the vocal pop of the 1950s and modern retro sounds of the She & Him.
Although Cults didn't impress like She & Him did in Indio last year, the duo showed plenty of promise, notably on "The Curse," a song where Follin's sweet soprano soared in a melody stripped out of the middle of the 20th century and positioned in a sea of distorted and echo-drenched guitars at a Cure concert.

After catching the full set from Cults, I had to file an early review for the Register. So by the time I finished getting that off, I was only to catch the last couple of songs from Foals. Boy, am I glad I did. The Oxford, England-based alternative rockers were tearing things up in the Mojave tent and a capacity crowd was clearly impressed. Even in the back of the tent, everybody was moving around and it was very exhilarating despite the afternoon's high temperatures.

One thing about this year's mix of artists performing at Coachella is that Americana-styled acts are definitely represented. Jenny and Johnny (Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis and singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice) performed in the Mojave tent, featuring about a dozen songs over the course of 45 minutes. The duo released a full-length album titled I'm Having Fun Now in 2010, and played many songs off that disc at Coachella, including the driving "Scissor Runner" and beautiful "Animal," the latter with the two singers' voices blending in wonderful harmony.

Opening with the epic "The Birds," an eight-minute opus that is the first song on the band's latest CD Build a Rocket, Boys!, Elbow would prove to put on the most memorable performance I had caught up to that point of this year's fest. With an explosive sound that blended the expanse of U2 and power of Oasis with the artful approach of '80s Peter Gabriel, I found myself totally captivated by the Guy Garvey-led band's 50-minute showcase. The entire set was terrific, with songs such as the title cut off the group's latest disc and the amazing "Station Approach" among the great songs Elbow performed. A full moon positioned over palm trees behind the open air tent added to the magic of the band's unforgettable performance.

Although I had to get over to the press tent to interview Andrew McMahon (of Jack's Mannequin) by 8 p.m. or so, I still went by the Gobi tent to catch a bit of the performance by Electric Touch. The band performed a late '70s-early '80s style of rock that reminded me of Aerosmith. I left after the band performed an commercial rock-reworked version of the Beatles' "Come Together."

Although my chat with Andrew would ultimately run a bit long, I did get to see most of Mumford & Sons' brilliant set. My favorite songs were the Celtic-tinged "Little Lion Man" and the set-ending performance of "The Cave," with the Americana-styled troupe using dynamics and a rousing approach to unleash its sound on the receptive audience packed by the Coachella stage.

After watching Elbow and Mumford & Sons perform two incredible back-to-back sets at Coachella a bit earlier, I wondered if I would get lucky with a third consecutive winner courtesy of New York’s Felice Brothers. With a mixture of Bob Dylan-meets-Gram Parsons country-folk songcraft and modern art-damage experimentalism, I had nothing to fear.

Before a relatively small but enthusiastic crowd inside the Gobi tent, the quintet brought an arsenal of fiddle, accordion, electronic keyboards, bass, guitar and drums to carve out, beat out and shout out something very raw and beautiful. It’s incredible that brothers Ian and James Felice, plus pals Christmas Clapton, Greg Farley and David Turbeville, didn’t play any instruments when they set out to form a band in 2006.

On Saturday night, the outfit made their debut appearance at Coachella and definitely didn’t waste the opportunity. Opening with the powerful “Fire at the Pageant” (off the band’s fourth full-length album, Celebration, Florida, due May 10), the group employed equal parts freewheeling performance and group-shout vocals as well as front-and-center electronics to achieve a sound moving Americana squarely into the 21st century.

Other memorable songs included the unsettling jazz-tinged “Ponzi” and the sparse “Back in the Dancehalls” (the latter intoxicating with its blend of Moby electronica and Dylan folk authenticity). The band closed with the mighty “River Jordan,” a song whose wide-ranging lyrics and layers of cascading sounds brought the depth and power of Neil Young & Crazy Horse to mind. Good stuff indeed.

I had been looking forward to Arcade Fire's headlining appearance on Saturday night since the Coachella 2011 bill was announced earlier this year. There is something about watching a great band perform at the top of their game, and Arcade Fire's 90-minute concert was a chance to share in that happening that is rare even for regular concertgoers. Singer Win Butler and the rest of the talented group performed each song as if it was the key moment in the night. Although songs from the latest disc The Suburbs formed the core of the performance (the ferocious "Month of May" kicked the set off), Arcade Fire performed a track listing that likely pleased everybody. Highlights from the group's debut and sophomore effort (notably Funeral's wonderful "No Cars Go") fueled the outing too.
The highlight of the much-hyped event was during the crowd favorite "Wake Up," when countless giant glowing balls descended from a box hanging above the polo grounds, casting their surreal light into the night as they floated down. All the while, the music and performance from the stage added to the magic.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Coachella Day 1: An Overview

Artwork is a big part of Coachella, including the "reelMobile" (a reel-to-reel tape player on wheels) and the Asian-styled Pagoda where people can gather together while seeking shelter from the desert sun.

Those who go to Coachella simply because they want to see a single act, or because they simply want to "hang out" or try to catch a celebrity sighting (I almost walked into Paul McCartney last night! Now that got even me star struck!), really do miss out. Take my day 1 experience at the fest.
It began with checking out some of the impressive artwork positioned around the Empire Polo Club in Indio, but included a number of entertaining and energetic performances during the heat of the day, magic of twilight as the sun turned to a yellowish glow in the west and finally in a welcoming cool night.
The Rural Alberta Advantage launched proceedings on the Outdoor Theatre with a hard-hitting set under a blistering sun at 1:15 p.m. (right on time).
Performing its intoxicating blend of indie rock, folk and electronica (thanks to several songs that utilized only drums and keyboards), singer-songwriter-guitarist-keyboardist Nils Edenloff fought off a cold as he led his threesome (keyboardist Amy Cole, drummer Paul Banwatt) through 13 songs over the course of 35 minutes.
Highlights of the set came quickly, with my favorite song "Tornado '87." Edenloff explained that the song was a true story of a terrible twister experience he has as a child.
"Muscle Relaxants" allowed Edenloff and Cole to blend their voices, while Banwatt's incredible drum playing served as the lead instrument, bounding over and around the acoustic guitar and keyboards.
"Drain the Blood" was a driving rocker, not an easy feat as the Alberta-raised Edenloff played his sweat-soaked acoustic guitar like his troupe was the day's headliner.
Maybe before long they will be.

Performing on the Coachella Stage in front of a big crowd, the Los Angeles-based Ozomatli may have been a stranger to some in the huge crowd at 3:30 p.m. but was likely a band they felt they knew well when things came to an emotional close an hour later. Not many outfits play a sonic stew that includes rock, urban hip-hop, funk, reggae, merengue and East Los Angeles R&B, but Ozomatli played all that in typically-winning fashion.

The group's momentum built in intensity as the set moved along. A version of "City of Angels" kicked things off strongly enough. But by the time the group got to "Saturday Night" positioned near the end of the set, the eight-member band had somehow mixed up rap, riff-rock and dance music to the delight of a crowd challenged to dance and jump around in the desert heat.
After Ozomatli's set came to an official end, the band members went into the crowd - instruments in hand - in an embrace that capped a special performance.

Perhaps the strongest performance of the day I caught was the last two songs from The Drums. Performing in the Mojave tent, the group had a large crowd totally caught up in their '80s-sounding dance-rock concoction. My short listen had me drawing comparisons between them and Echo & the Bunnymen.

I can't say I loved Ms. Lauryn Hill's entire set. I thought she got off to a sluggish start, but things did pick up about four songs into her run. I kind of felt that same way about Cold War Kids. After watching the quartet perform just over 15 minutes, I extracted myself from a packed audience at the Outdoor Theatre and headed to see Interpol back at the Coachella Stage. The band put on a great show, blending its goth-rock sound mined from the Cure, Church and Bauhaus with modern rock across 50 minutes. I was not quite as impressed with the Black Keys, although that may have as much to do with me being seated so far away (I finally took a break to get off my feet after 10 hours of walking/standing pretty much non-stop).
Before heading out, I caught the day 1 headliner, Kings of Leon. I had previously seen the band a couple of times, but that was a few years back when they opened for U2. They have definitely expanded their sound and now embrace arena rock in a big way. That was clear across the band's 70-minute set, complete with a flashy fireworks finale.

Looking back at day 1, Interpol and Rural Alberta Advantage were the best full sets I caught, but of course I only caught a fraction of all the musical action. Well, today I'll be back at it. I'll post tomorrow morning to let you know what I saw.

Coachella Day 1: The Rural Alberta Advantage

Photo info: Rural Alberta Advantage singer-songwriter Nils Edenloff led his band through an impressive 35-minute set to kick things off on the Outdoor Theatre stage on April 15, 2011.

Power trio indeed.
The Rural Alberta Advantage launched proceedings on the Outdoor Theatre with a hard-hitting set under a blistering sun on day 1 of Coachella 2011. And not an electric guitar in sight!
Performing its intoxicating blend of indie rock, folk and electronica (thanks to several songs that utilized only drums and keyboards), singer-songwriter-guitarist-keyboardist Nils Edenloff fought off a cold as he led his threesome (keyboardist Amy Cole, drummer Paul Banwatt) through 13 songs over the course of 35 minutes.
Highlights of the set came quickly, with my favorite song "Tornado '87." Edenloff explained that the song was a true story of a terrible twister experience he has as a child.
"Muscle Relaxants" allowed Edenloff and Cole to blend their voices, while Banwatt's incredible drum playing served as the lead instrument, bounding over and around the acoustic guitar and keyboards.
"Drain the Blood" was a driving rocker, not an easy feat as the Alberta-born Edenloff played his sweat-soaked acoustic guitar like his troupe was the day's headliner.
Maybe before long they will be.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Coachella bound, Roy Orbison exhibit, Dada and Former Miss South Gate play Saturday

I'll be leaving for Coachella 2011 in a couple of days, but I wanted to highlight a number of items that have arrived in my crowded inbox this week. For those of you heading to Indio for Coachella, I hope we get a chance to say "Hello." For those who won't be searing in the sun, I hope you get to celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday (April 16th) by picking up some favorite music and maybe even catch a show too.

Okay, on with the news...

The GRAMMY Museum Presents Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock & Roll
New Exhibit to Explore the Iconic Artist “Behind The Glasses”

On April 29, 2011, The GRAMMY Museum will debut a new exhibit, Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock-n-Roll. Housed on the Museum’s fourth floor, the exhibit will explore the life and legacy of music legend and cultural enigma Roy Orbison. The exhibit is launching in celebration of Orbison’s 75th birthday year.

“Roy Orbison has one of the most haunting and emotional voices in the history of American music,” said GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli. “His too brief, yet brilliant career still lives today, and deserves to be heard. We’re pleased to re-introduce his music to his fans who recall the genius of his work, as well as introduce him to a new generation of fans.”

Best recognized around the world for his otherworldly voice and black sunglasses, Roy Orbison was both Rock & Roll pioneer and prototypical singer-songwriter, beginning with his first high school band (The Wink Westerners) and shifting into mass consciousness in the 1960s with a string of singles for the Monument label that defined an artist and helped launch a label.

Orbison soon became one of the few established hit-makers from the late 1950s and early 1960s to not only hold his ground, but to actually increase his popularity in the wake of the British Invasion. He maintained his popularity through music which displayed an extraordinary variety of themes, structure, tempo and rhythm and an authentic, emotional connection that transcended mere craft, exemplified in his signature classic, "Oh, Pretty Woman," recorded on August 1st, 1964. Orbison was the recipient of multiple GRAMMY Awards and received the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998.

Bringing together more than 40 diverse artifacts, rare photographs and more, the exhibit features items from the private collection of Orbison’s widow, Barbara, and family. On display, visitors will see a wide-ranging array of items, including:

* Orbison’s prescription black-framed sunglasses
* Handwritten set list, signed by Orbison
* Several of Orbison’s guitars
* Handwritten lyrics and letters
* Orbison ticket stubs, concert posters, fan memorabilia
* And much more…including an exciting selection of biographical films and archived footage

"I am honored The GRAMMY Museum is remembering Roy, a man, who has so often been a total mystery. Now the world will have a glimpse into his life and a chance to know him through more than his music," said Barbara Orbison, Roy ’s widow.

Roy Orbison: The Soul of Rock-n-Roll will be on display in The GRAMMY Museum’s Special Exhibits Gallery – where temporary exhibits are showcased on a rotating basis – through November 28, 2011.

Additionally, Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is celebrating Orbison with the long-awaited release of Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection (1960-64), a 2-CD/1-DVD set including all the “A&B Sides” recorded by Orbison for the groundbreaking Monument label during an electrifying peak from 1960-1964. Restored to pristine mono mixes for the first time since their original 7" vinyl releases, Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection (1960-64) presents the classic catalog the way it's meant to sound.

The GRAMMY Museum is located at 800 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite A245 , and Los Angeles , CA 90015 . With an entrance off of Figueroa Street , the Museum resides within the L.A. LIVE campus, at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street in downtown Los Angeles .

About The GRAMMY Museum
Paying tribute to music's rich cultural history, this one-of-a-kind, 21st-century Museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY Award. The GRAMMY Museum features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests can experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only The GRAMMY Museum can deliver.

DADA, Former Miss South Gate to perform at The Coach House on Record Store Day

Fans of the Gin Blossoms, Matthew Sweet, Eric Clapton and John Mellencamp will all find something to admire in the well-crafted, melodic rock of Former Miss South Gate.
The latest project to feature celebrated singer-songwriter-guitarist Brian Stewart (best known for his work with Beyond 7), Former Miss South Gate also features drummer Ruly Hinojosa and bassist-singer Norm Antonini. The group will open for another one of rock’s most acclaimed trios, Dada, at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 16.

As showcased on Former Miss South Gate’s new debut, Greatest Hits Vol. 1, the band’s straightforward rock blends the best instincts of the outfit’s classic rock heroes with the energetic approach of modern-day guitar-rock champions such as John Mayer.
Highlights on Greatest Hits Vol. 1 include the blues-tinged “Cheatin’ Kind,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers-styled “Not Tonight” and Texas blues gem “Baby (Can You Hear Me).”
Stewart has long been one of the Southland’s best electric guitar players. His slide work is both artful and affecting (as evidenced on “Happens All The Time”), while his fusion of expressive rhythm work and lead soloing is effortlessly fused in “The One” and on the inspired “Smoke.”

Headlining the night will be Dada, the influential outfit that exploded on the modern rock scene in the early 1990s with hits such as “Dizz Knee Land” and “Dim.” The masterful band is set to release a new album and will likely feature songs from that forthcoming effort at the Coach House on Saturday night.
Lantern District, Former Miss South Gate and Dada will perform at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, at 8 p.m. on April 16.
Those wanting to get an early listen to Former Miss South Gate’s commercial release can visit the band’s official Web site at For more information on Dada, visit
Tickets are $20.
Information: 949-496-8930.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Upcoming concerts: Michael Ubaldini, Meat Puppets, FISHFEST 2011

Michael Ubaldini will perform at Pepperland Music in Orange on Record Store Day at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 16.

With the arrival of Record Store Day (RSD) on Saturday, April 16, music fans should plan on visiting their favorite music shop to nab one-day exclusives with limited edition LPs, 45's and cd's. Pepperland Music in the city of Orange, CA will have an added attraction to get music lovers through the front door; Americana singer-songwriter Michael Ubaldini will perform at the store at 1 p.m. The Fountain Valley-based artist will be here in honor of RSD and to support his new album, Last of the Honky Tonks by Michael and the Lonesome Playboys. Ubaldini will be selling and signing copies of his new album, which won't be available officially until later this month. Michael has won many well-deserved awards including several for the Orange County Music Awards.
Pepperland Music, 850 N. Tustin Avenue, Orange, CA, will be celebrating RSD from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 16.
For more information, click here to be taken to the Pepperland Music Web site.
Speaking of Ubaldini's upcoming free performance this weekend, here are some other concert notes that have landed in my inbox in recent days.

Legendary rock trio Meat Puppets announce spring and summer tour dates supporting the relese of their 13th LP, Lollipop -
out April 12, 2011 on Megaforce Records - including a run of dates with Slightly Stoopid!

Produced by band leader Curt Kirwood, and recorded at Spoon's HiFi Studio in Austin Lollipop features the indelible Kirkwood brothers back at work and back at play on 12 powerful new original cuts. Readers here in Orange County will want to note the band is scheduled to perform at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa on June 15.

For more information, including all of the group's tour dates, visit

FISHFEST 2011 to Benefit Free Wheelchair Mission

Top Christian Music Artists MercyMe and Third Day to Co-Headline Daylong Festival at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Saturday, June 25th

LOS ANGELES/ORANGE COUNTY - 95.9 FM KFSH Radio today announced that top Christian music artists and American Music Award winners MercyMe and Third Day will co-headline the 2011 FISHFEST to benefit Free Wheelchair Mission. The 10th annual FISHFEST day long festival features three stages of music with the David Crowder Band, and Tenth Avenue North on the main stage. OC Supertones will headline the alternative rock festival stage featuring John Mark McMillian, Jake Hamilton, and Jamie Grace. Local artist Jana Alayra will star on the children's music stage. The 2011 FISHFEST to benefit Free Wheelchair Mission will take place Saturday, June 25 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine.

"We are excited to celebrate our tenth FISHFEST anniversary, this event is the highlight of our year," said Chuck Tyler, Director of Programming, KFSH-FM Radio. "Having both MercyMe and Third Day headlining the festival, with the David Crowder Band and Tenth Avenue North on our main stage, we're pulling out all the stops to make this year's show is the best one yet."

Since their debut in 2001, Grammy nominated American Music Award Winner MercyMe has sold over 6 million CD's and DVD's, while being one of few Contemporary Christian music groups to have had all of their recordings certified Gold or Platinum, as well as garner 23 No.1 multi-format Christian radio singles.Multi-platinum-selling rock band Third Day garnered 25 No. 1 singles across multiple formats including Grammy nominated, American Music Award and Grammy and Dove Awards.

More than 15,000 Fish fans are expected to attend this year's event making FISHFEST a sell-out for the third year in a row. Fish fans will also enjoy meet and greets with many of the performers plus Fish personalities Bob Shaw, Lara Scott, Big Wave Dave, Bruce Barker, and Jim Governale. There will also be a kid's activity area, with bounce houses, and lots of food booths all in a fun festival style setting.

FISHFEST fans can listen to win tickets on 95.9 The Fish KFSH-FM during giveaways starting on April 11th. A special online pre-sale for tickets takes place starting April 14th, details on the pre-sale can be found at Tickets go on sale to the general public, April 16th from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater box office, and starting at 12:00 p.m. online at

For more information about 95.9 FM KFSH, please go to

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Candy Golde, Steve Earle, Pet Shop Boys, Smiths tribute and Record Store Day releases

This may well be my last post before I dive into Coachella, which hits Indio on Friday of this week. But I didn't want too much time to pass without sharing the announcement of several exciting releases coming up. And if you aren't going to be at Coachella next weekend, make sure to celebrate Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16. More details can be found in the Steve Earle-related item later in this post...

With more than 100 years of accumulated rock ‘n’ roll history as a foundation, Candy Golde is the Midwestern musical collaboration of Nicholas Tremulis, Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick) John Stirratt (Wilco, The Autumn Defense) and Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day). The distinctive blend of blues groove, power pop, Americana and alternative shows itself in the self-titled 5-song Candy Golde EP, to be released by Ten O Nine Records on May 10, 2011.

Mastered by Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, CANDY GOLDE contains four originals including the single “Trouble’s Coming Down” and a cover of Paul Simon’s “Boy in the Bubble,” and will be available as limited edition 10” vinyl and digital download. From the opening track,“The Hold Steady,” which invokes a little INXS and a lot of crunchy, synthy ‘60s rock, to the slower, somber sway of “Why and Where,” the sense of musical authenticity is evident, as is the empowered songwriting that comes with age, experience and an unencumbered recording environment.

Tremulis is the seasoned troubadour, his lyrics bursting with stories of the streets and his vocals spewing soul. Tremulis (with the Nicholas Tremulis Orchestra) has shared the stage and studio with Keith Richards, Billy Corgan, Marianne Faithful, Mavis Staples, Ronnie Spector, Los Lobos, The Neville Brothers, Steve Earle, Bonnie Raitt, Ian Hunter, David Johansen and long-time cohort Alejandro Escovedo.

Carlos’ unmistakable robust, solid drumming provides the backbone of Candy Golde. In addition to almost forty years with Cheap Trick, he is involved with a myriad of projects from marching bands to the recent Tinted Windows. He also guested at the smash Waltz charity series put on by Tremulis, backing up Jeff Tweedy and Gary Louris (Jayhawks).

Stirratt’s dexterous bass muscle was developed in fifteen years with Wilco. He is the only founding member, alongside Jeff Tweedy, to contribute to all the band’s releases which have garnered 6 Grammy nominations and a Best Alternative win for A GHOST IS BORN in 2005. Stirratt is also in The Autumn Defense (with fellow native New Orleansian/Wilco member Pat Sansone) and records with his sister Laurie Stirratt.

Rizzo, co-lead singer of Candy Golde, is known for his signature dazzling guitar notes and moves in Eleventh Dream Day. On the strength of its continued fervent underground fanbase and critical acclaim, the band just released its tenth record, and continues to perform live. Rizzo also records with Tara Key for Thrill Jockey Records.

For more information, please visit Candy Golde at





April 7, 2011 -- New York, New York -- Steve Earle will release a limited edition 7 inch single in celebration of Record Store Day on Saturday, April 16, 2011. The A-Side is Earle's version of the Hank Williams song that is the title of both Earle's new studio album and debut novel, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive. The song was the last single released during Hank Williams' lifetime in December of 1952. The B-Side is Earle's celebrated original "This City" which has garnered both Emmy and Grammy Award nominations as it was written for HBO's Original Series Treme (in which Earle appears as a cast member). "This City" also closes Earle's T Bone Burnett-produced new album released by New West Records on April 26, 2011. The 7 inch single is a hand-numbered edition of 2,600 copies on translucent red vinyl with black swirl. The cover of "I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" will be available digitally as a bonus track, and exclusive in physical form to this 7 inch release.

After many years of touring solo and acoustically worldwide, Steve Earle will be touring in support of the album with his electric live band, The Dukes (and Duchesses) featuring Allison Moorer. The tour will start on June 9 in Seattle, WA (see confirmed dates below).

Earle's long anticipated debut novel, I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on May 12. The novel imagines the troubled life of Doc Ebersole as he is haunted by the ghost of his former patient and friend, Hank Williams. Patti Smith stated, "Steve Earle brings to his prose the same authenticity, poetic spirit and cinematic energy he projects in his music. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is like a dream you can't shake, offering beauty and remorse, redemption in spades." Steve Earle will also be reprising his role of Harley during the second season of HBO's celebrated original series Treme. Treme will premiere on Sunday, April 24.

In support of his new album and book, Earle is offering a free download bundle that includes an MP3 of the new song "Waitin' On The Sky" and a PDF of the first chapter from the novel. The download is available to everyone who is currently a "fan" of Steve Earle or becomes a "fan" of his Facebook page available at
A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. 1986 saw the release of his debut record, Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts and immediately established the term "New Country." What followed was an extremely exciting and varied array of releases including the biting hard rock of Copperhead Road (1988), the minimalist beauty of Train A Comin' (1995) the politically charged masterpiece, Jerusalem (2002) and the Grammy Award Winning albums The Revolution Starts...Now (2004), Washington Square Serenade (2007) and Townes (2009). I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive is Steve Earle's 14th Studio Album and will be available as a single compact disc, deluxe CD/DVD set, digitally, as well as 180 gram vinyl.
Steve Earle I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive Tour Dates (more TBC):
June 9th Seattle, WA The Moore Theatre
June 10th Portland, OR Crystal Ballroom
June 11th Spokane, WA Fox Theatre
June 13th Bozeman, MT Emerson Cultural Center
June 16th Telluride, CO Telluride Bluegrass Festival
June 18th Missoula, MT Wilma Theater
June 19th Medicine Hat, AB Esplanade Arts & Heritage Center
June 20th Edmonton, AB Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
June 22nd North Battleford, SK Gold Eagle Casino
June 23rd Swift Current, SK Living Sky Casino
June 24th Calgary, AB Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
June 26th Vancouver, BC The Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts
June 28th Nanaimo, BC Port Theatre
June 29th Victoria, BC Royal Theatre
July 1st Boise, ID Egyptian Theatre
July 4th Tucson, AZ Rialto Theatre
July 6th Houston, TX House of Blues
July 7th Austin, TX Paramount Theatre
July 9th Ft. Worth, TX Billy Bob's
July 11th New Orleans, LA House of Blues
July 12th Mobile, AL Saenger Theater
July 14th Birmingham, AL Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center
July 15th Atlanta, GA Botanical Gardens
July 16th Somerset, KY Master Musicians Festival
July 17th Bloomington, IN Buskirk-Chumley Theater
July 19th Chicago, IL Vic Theatre
July 22nd Chautauqua Bayfield, WI Lake Superior Big Top
July 23rd Minneapolis, MN Pantages Theatre
July 26th Lexington, KY Lexington Opera House
July 27th Cincinnati, OH 20th Century Theatre
July 28th Columbus, OH Southern Theatre
July 30th Detroit, MI Majestic Theatre
July 31st Kent, OH Kent Stage
August 5th Ithaca, NY State Theater
August 11th Tarrytown, NY Tarrytown Music Hall
August 13th Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
August 14th Alexandria, VA The Birchmere
August 17th Boston, MA Bank of America Pavilion
August 18th Upper Darby, PA Tower Theater
August 20th Toronto, ONT Molson Amphitheatre
August 26th Ottowa, ONT Ottawa Folk Festival

Pet Shop Boys' new single “TOGETHER” to be released April 12 on Astralwerks

(­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­April 11, 2011, New York , NY )-- Pet Shop Boys will release their latest single “Together” on April 12th through Astralwerks. This track will be accompanied by new versions of “Glad All Over” and “I Cried For Us” plus exclusive remixes.

“Glad All Over” is a version of the early 60s hit by The Dave Clark Five which Pet Shop Boys performed in Chris Lowe’s home town of Blackpool, UK last summer. The song has become a victory anthem for Blackpool FC UK football club, which rose to the Premier League this year. This new studio version was arranged and produced by Pet Shop Boys and Tim Powell.

“I Cried For Us” features Neil Tennant singing a song by the late Kate McGarrigle, mother of Rufus Wainwright, at her memorial concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London last June in an arrangement by Pet Shop Boys. Chris and Neil produced this studio version which was mixed by Pete Gleadall.

Pet shop Boys will also release an accompanying video for “Together” directed by Peeter Rebane. The song accompanies visually stunning choreography intended to tell the entire story through the dancers as a centerpiece. Perfectly composed by choreographer Mäar Ago, many different styles of dance are showcased, including Russian Cossack, waltz, ballet, and even break dancing.

Since first meeting in London in 1981, Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe have sold more than 50 million albums around the world. This past March, they released music for their first ever full-length ballet, The Most Incredible Thing, through Astralwerks. The ballet is collaboration with choreographer Javier De Frutos and Britain ’s leading contemporary dance theatre, Sadler’s Wells and is based on a Hans Christian Anderson story of the same title.


Digital One-track Video

One-track digital single:

Together (Ultimate Mix) (3:29)

Two-track digital single:

Together (Radio mix) (3:29)

West End Girls (Grum Remix) (5:32)

Three-track digital single:

Together (Pepptalk Mix) (6:43)

Together (Ultrabeat Remix) (3:38)

West End Girls (Grum Dub Mix) (5:31)

Four-track digital single:

Together (Ultimate Mix) (3:29)

Together (Extended Mix) (6:53)

Glad All Over (3:24) - this is a cover version of the 1964 Dave Clarke Five hit

I Cried For Us (3:46) - a song from Kate & Anna McGarrigle's "Love Over & Over" album that Neil Tennant sang at her memorial last year

For more information:

American Laundromat Records has announced the label's newest tribute compilation… Please, Please, Please: a tribute to The Smiths. The CD will feature newly-recorded covers by The Wedding Present, Greg Laswell, Doug Martsch (Built To Spill), William Fitzsimmons, Trespassers William, The Rest, The Leisure Society, Joy Zipper, Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls), Tanya Donelly, and many other outstanding artists.

The label is now offering three exclusive limited-edition, pre-order bundles that range from $13.00 (CD & Promo Pin) to $35.00 (CD, 7” Vinyl, T-Shirt, Free Digital Download, Promo Pin, and Album Preview prior to release date).

For more information, visit

Ron Sexsmith dazzles with songcraft at Largo

Photo credit: Natasha Bardin

Ron Sexsmith closed out the first leg of a U.S. tour in support of his latest album Long Player Late Bloomer with a splendid show at Largo @ The Coronet in Los Angeles on Friday (April 8) night.

After hearing the Canadian artist perform almost two dozen original songs before a sold-out crowd, it's clear that 12 albums into Sexsmith's recording career he ranks as one of the best songwriters of the modern rock era.
While widespread success has eluded the Juno Award winner in this country - despite a seemingly-endless string of wonderful recordings - that is finally starting to change thanks to some exposure on influential radio stations like KCRW 89.9 and a 2010 documentary "Love Shines" that won honors at SXSW last month in Austin. That film offers up an exploration of Sexsmith's skills as a songwriter and chronicles the making of his latest album.

Fast forward to his show in the intimate Largo @ The Coronet, and the magic of introspective tales wrapped up in accessible and artful musical layers that reveal more with each listen played out like a classic film.
Indeed, the full length of his journey as a songwriter with the sparse "Wastin' Time" (off his 1995 self-titled debut) and similarly-affecting "Strawberry Blonde" (with mandolin courtesy of Tim Bovaconti enhancing Sexsmith's unique acoustic guitar play) helped provide the back story leading up to his richly-orchestrated songs on more recent collections (notably 2004's Retriever and 2007's Time Being).

Country-tinged tunes ("Get In Line"), a beautiful baroque ballad ("Nowadays"), artful Crowded House-meets-George Harrison pop ("Love Shines," "Believe It When I See It") and genre-defying pop-rock (the upbeat "Middle of Love") each allowed Sexsmith and his fine 4-man band to get a little closer to the intangible and ghostly muse Sexsmith commands.
While his fast-paced 90-minute set didn't allow him to highlight many of his best songs ("Wishing Wells" was not played Friday), "Hard Bargain," "Secret Heart" and "Hands of Time" provided additional evidence in showcasing his wide-ranging approach as a songwriter and singer.
Near the end of his concert, Sexsmith told the crowd that he hoped to bring his current tour back to the U.S. soon. It would be great if that future outing brings Sexsmith's brilliant variety of songs somewhere to Orange County.

Opening the show was singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose. Armed with a distinctive soprano voice, and confessional material delivered via a traditional country sound that recalls Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn, highlights of the Nashville-born artist's six-song set included the melodic "For the Rabbits" and "Learnin' to Ride."

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Robbie Robertson's 'How to Become Clairvoyant' gets 'deluxe' treatment



Robertson Performs Lead Single "He Don't Live Here No More" On "The View" today

The deluxe edition of Robbie Robertson's How To Become Clairvoyant (429 Records/Macro-Biotic Records) is available now exclusively at Best Buy stores and It will be available for the next month only. In addition to the full length CD, which Goldmine calls "Robertson's best yet," the deluxe edition includes a bonus CD with demos of five of the album's tracks - lead single "He Don't Live Here No More," "The Right Mistake," "Fear of Falling," "This Is Where I Get Off" and "Madame X" - plus an outtake of "Houdini," a song from the How To Become Clairvoyant sessions that does not appear on the album.

Today (Wednesday, April 6, 2011) Robertson will perform his Top 10 single "He Don't Live Here No More" on "The View" and guest on the nationally syndicated radio show "Rockline." He appeared on "Late Show with David Letterman" last night.

"For all of the now-legendary songs that Robertson penned, he tended to shy away from writing about himself, which makes the revealing nature of his first album in more than ten years such a wonderful surprise," said Relix. "How To Become Clairvoyant finds Robertson tackling personal topics such as his breakup with The Band ('This Is Where I Get Off'), the guitarists who inspired his innovative sound ('Axman') and his early days backing Ronnie Hawkins ('When the Night Was Young')." The Detroit Free Press called it "compelling" and Rolling Stone singled out How To Become Clairvoyant as one of 2011's hottest new albums in its Spring Music Preview:

For more information on Robertson, visit:

Monday, April 04, 2011

Get Your Ears in Gear: The Cars are coming


New album 'Move Like This' available May 10, 2011 from Hear Music/Concord Music Group

The Cars have announced an initial string of concerts across North America, due to begin Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at Seattle's Showbox SoDo. The set list will draw from the band's remarkable career and include songs from their eagerly awaited new album Move Like This, set for release by Hear Music/Concord Music Group on May 10, 2011.

Move Like This, produced by Garret "Jacknife" Lee and The Cars, finds the beloved band - Ric Ocasek, Greg Hawkes, Elliot Easton and David Robinson - brimming with confidence and creative energy, in full charge of their considerable power and enduring influential artistry. Previewing the new album and debut single, "Sad Song," Rolling Stone affirms "It's as if they never left." The magazine calls Move Like This "A total recall of the precise swagger, art-rock minimalism and chrome-gleam pop" that defines The Cars.

The project's genesis came in the fall of 2009 as Ocasek considered how to proceed with his latest batch of songs. He realized that his best option was the three players with whom he had the most symbiotic relationship. Ocasek reached out to Hawkes, Easton, and Robinson, each of who were excited at the opportunity to play together again. "It totally clicked immediately," Ocasek says. "Everybody got right into it, as if we had never stopped playing. After two days I thought, 'Oh yeah, this is going to be cool.'"

Even as the band fell naturally back into rhythm, Hawkes says, "We tried hard to keep it from just being a nostalgia thing. We definitely wanted to bring a modern slant to it."

Producer Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, The Hives, Weezer) added, "The Cars have always had a futuristic sound," added Producer Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, The Hives, Weezer), "and this is something we wanted to keep - tight, taut and lean. There's a freshness and clarity to The Cars and Move Like This that most new bands don't have. That's pretty special."

Easton said, "The years melted away and within minutes we were up to our usual mischief. We had a blast making the record and I think that shows in the music."

Looking forward to the upcoming live performances, Robinson said, "We have such a great catalog of songs to choose from. The new songs should blend in nicely."

The Cars - North American Spring Tour:

5/10 in Seattle, WA @ Showbox @SODO

5/12 in Los Angeles, CA @ The Hollywood Palladium

5/13 in Oakland, CA @ Fox Theatre

5/15 in Denver, CO @ The Fillmore

5/17 in Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

5/18 in Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theatre

5/20 in Toronto, ON @ The Sound Academy

5/23 in Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

5/25 in New York City, NY @ Roseland

5/26 in Boston, MA @ The House of Blues

To hear songs, play videos and get news on The Cars, please visit:


Friday, April 01, 2011

What's next? New releases from The Rolling Stones, Sade, Sarabeth Tucek

New music is coming, with special digital reissues, and new albums that include celebrated classic artists and new music heroes.

ABKCO Rolling Stones Titles in High Definition
Now Exclusively From

The Next Installment of the Legendary Studio Compilation and Live Albums Remastered as Hi Def Downloads

ABKCO Records and HDtracks announce the second installment of the super high definition digital downloads of the Rolling Stones original catalog of ground-breaking studio, compilation and live albums in sparkling fidelity FLAC formats. These Rolling Stones gems are offered in both 176.4kHz/24-bit and 88.2kHz/24-bit and both versions are DRM-free.

Four additional ABKCO Rolling Stones albums on HDtracks have been released, made available exclusively from online store at

Eighteen more ABKCO Rolling Stones titles will subsequently be released. This campaign follows in the footsteps of last month’s highly successful ABKCO Records/HDtracks release of four classic Sam Cooke albums from ABKCO’s catalog in 88.2kHz/24-bit.

The four new Stones albums include Out Of Our Heads (US) which features the Stones’ covering R&B and soul classics – “Hitch Hike,” “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” “Good Times” and “Cry To Me.” Aftermath (US), the Stones’ first true stereo album and the first to feature all Jagger-Richards compositions including the classics “Paint It Black,” “Under My Thumb” and Lady Jane.”

Mick Taylor made his first appearance as a band member on a studio album with the 1969 release of Let It Bleed. A panoply of guest musicians and vocalists including Ian Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, Jack Nitzsche, Ry Cooder, Leon Russell, Al Kooper, Bobby Keys, Byron Berline, Rocky Dijon, Merry Clayton, Madeline Bell, Doris Troy, Nanette Newman and The London Bach Choir also contribute to the landmark album that includes "Gimme Shelter," "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Midnight Rambler." December’s Children, includes US and UK Top Ten hits: “Get Off Of My Cloud” (US & UK#1) and “As Tears Go By” (US#6), and two live tracks from their March 1965 British tour: “Route 66” and “I’m Moving On”

Forthcoming releases in the series include: Out of Our Heads (UK), Aftermath (UK), Between The Buttons (both UK and US versions), Beggars Banquet, The Rolling Stones Singles Collection,Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, Their Satanic Majesties Request, The Rolling Stones (US version a/k/a England’s Newest Hit Makers), Hot Rocks, More Hot Rocks, The Rolling Stones Now!, Got Live If You Want It!, Big Hits (High Tide & Green Grass) (UK version), Through The Past, Darkly (UK version), Metamorphosis, Flowers and a compilation of three UK EPs – The RollingStones, Five by Five and Got Live If You Want It!.

Jody Klein, ABKCO Music & Records CEO, remarked, “The release through HDtracks of these ABKCO Rolling Stones titles means that fans can enjoy the sheer raw power of the music exactly the way the band recorded it and intended it to be heard.”

“This ABKCO Rolling Stones collection in high resolution is a combination of the utmost care in re-mastering, the best technology in A/D conversion and the highest resolution files available on the web. Our goal is to bring out every musical nuance that occurred at the original recording session and deliver it to your home for your musical enjoyment,” says David Chesky, HDtracks co-founder.



2CD Set Includes 29 Songs with Four New Tracks

Sade are back with The Ultimate Collection to be released on May 3, 2011, just in time to make it the essential Mother’s Day gift. The must-have, 29-track, two-disc album will include four new, never-before heard songs including a remix to “The Moon And The Sky” (featuring Jay-Z). The Ultimate Collection also features 15 tracks that were not included on Sade’s 1994 “Best Of” album. Here for the first time, fans can find all of their favorite Sade classics including songs Lover’s Rock and Soldier Of Love.

Disc 1

1. Your Love Is King

2. Smooth Operator

3. Hang On To Your Love

4. The Sweetest Taboo

5. Is It A Crime

6. Never As Good As The First Time

7. Jezebel

8. Love Is Stronger Than Pride

9. Paradise
10. Nothing Can Come Between Us

11. No Ordinary Love

12. Kiss Of Life

13. Feel No Pain+

14. Bullet Proof Soul+

Disc 2

1. Cherish The Day

2. Pearls

3. By Your Side+

4. Immigrant+

5. Flow+

6. King Of Sorrow+

7. The Sweetest Gift+

8. Solider Of Love+

9. The Moon And The Sky+

10. Babyfather+

11. Still In Love With You**

12. Love Is Found**

13. I Would Never Have Guessed**

14. The Moon And The Sky (Remix Featuring Jay-Z)**

15. By Your Side ( Neptunes Remix)+

+ Not on Best Of

** Never Released Before

Sade recently announced, the second leg of their ultimate summer tour kicking off on June 16, 2011, marking their highly anticipated return to the world stage in 10 years. Fans who pre-order The Ultimate Collection will have exclusive early access to tickets in select markets. For complete presale and ticket on sale information, visit Tickets for the newly announced dates go on sale to the public beginning April 2nd at and

Known for their one of a kind timeless sound, Sade has enjoyed phenomenal success both internationally and stateside throughout the span of their twenty-seven year career. Since the release of their debut album, Diamond Life in 1984 the band has seen all five of their studio albums land in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Album Chart selling a total of more than 50 million albums worldwide to date. They’ve been nominated for American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and have won four Grammy Awards – first in 1986 for Best New Artist, then in 1994 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group for “No Ordinary Love”, again in 2002 for Best Pop Vocal Album with Lovers Rock and most recently in 2011 for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group for “Soldier Of Love”.

Sarabeth Tucek Announces Sophomore LP
'Get Well Soon' out On May 24 On Ungawa

"A set of songs that are often as disquietingly spare as they are beautiful" UNCUT (4 STARS)

"A treatise on death and loss in a dozen songs" Q MAGAZINE (4 STARS)

“Heartbreaking” MOJO

“A timeless little wonder” BBC

“Absolutely amazing.″ NME (8/10)

“You may have just found your new comedown queen. Let every gentle note and piercing word move you slowly and surely to tears” TIME OUT LONDON

“Amazingly accomplished” SUNDAY TIMES

“Her rich, sad voice makes her rise above the pack” DAILY TELEGRAPH
Sarabeth Tucek is set to release her sophomore LP, Get Well Soon, on May 24th on Ungawa Records. It’s a stunning record that, although not a concept album as such, forms a narrative based around the death of Sarabeth’s father, or as she beautifully describes it “an impressionistic rendering of a time ruled by grief”. The 12 tracks were “sequenced and resequenced for weeks” in order for the story to emerge and the end result sees not one wasted word or unnecessary note; all we’re left with is “just pure feeling”.

Sarabeth was born to a psychiatrist and a psychologist in Miami, but grew up in New York. She was a latecomer to music, her first calling being acting. However, after a few years in Hollywood, her singing and songwriting was encouraged by people on the music scene she fell in with. She first made an impression singing backing vocals on Smog’s 2003 album Supper and then in the film ‘Dig!’, where she sings a song she had just written called "Something For You". The Brian Jonestown Massacre went on to cover the song (retitled "Seer"), but Sarabeth’s own version became her debut single, on Sonic Cathedral, back in February 2007.

This stark and simple song won her legions of fans and her self-titled debut album followed a few months later (on the Echo label) to rapturous reviews. Produced by Ethan Johns and Luther Russell, its understated style was an inspiration to a number of singer-songwriters who followed in Sarabeth’s wake, including Laura Marling, who approached Johns to produce I Speak Because I Can after hearing it.

However, despite everything seemingly going so right, at home everything was going wrong. “Some very bad things happened during the first record and after,” recalls Sarabeth. “It was as if all that had ever troubled me, hurt me, came back just as I was embarking on what should’ve been the happiest time of my life. It all came back and said, ‘Not so fast...’

“I don’t think my mind could handle all the good coming its way. It was unfamiliar terrain and I didn’t know how to traverse It. Predictably, my drinking got out of control and that led to a couple car accidents, jail and legal troubles.I wanted to leave LA anyway, but now I felt I sort of had to. I hoped that by coming back home to New York I would be able to forge some kind of redemptive break from the past. To forgive myself.”

The move has informed much of the music on Get Well Soon. The warmth of the West Coast has gone, replaced by a much rawer sound, all recorded over an intensive 15-day period in a basement in Southampton, Pennsylvania. “We recorded this record in a house where we also lived,” Sarabeth explains. “My friends Robert and Peter from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recorded ‘Howl’ there. It’s owned by the Nicgorski family who are all very musical: Billy, who offered me the basement, and his brother have played in lots of bands, their sister Maria sings on ‘State I Am In’ and their father Wally spent his mornings on the front porch singing in his rocking chair. Making a record where I am singing to and about my father and seeing and hearing their dad out there every morning served up a pretty strong and bittersweet feeling for me.”

“I think we managed to capture a unique mood down in that basement,” adds producer Luther Russell. “As guests in someone’s home we got a feeling that might not have happened in a regular studio. Sarabeth wanted to be somewhere totally unfamiliar; the material was incredibly personal to her, so she had to feel right about where she did it. My job was to capture that feeling, and fast. The plan was to mix it in LA, but it turned out that all the magic was there in the rough mixes I did as we went along – so that is what you hear. I think that’s why it’s such an immediate record, because it really was completed in those two weeks... but with a lifetime of preparation, of course.”

The rawness of the recording reflects the subject matter and provides the perfect accompaniment to Sarabeth’s voice, which seems stronger, more confident and more crystalline than ever, like Karen Dalton or a less histrionic Cat Power, as she deftly conveys her grief with an eloquent, understated majesty. The musical reference points of the first album – Neil Young, Dylan, The Velvet Underground, Big Star – are still there, but somehow amplified, and Sarabeth is definitely not looking towards the current music scene for inspiration. “It’s odd how placid a lot of music seems now; so washed out in sound and feeling,” she says. “It’s like antidepressant music to take antidepressants to. I don’t really give a shit. I am more likely to buy a new book now than a new record.”

This would explain the number of literary references on Get Well Soon. The opening track "The Wound And The Bow" is named after a book of essays by Edmund Wilson, in which Sarabeth discovered and subsequently became obsessed with the myth of Philoctetes, a play by Sophocles in which the protagonist suffers a wound so grotesque that he is left alone on an island to live in a cave and tend to his injuries. The title of "Exit Ghost" was taken from the Philip Roth novel, but he appropriated it from ‘Hamlet’, where it is written as a stage direction. “The scene when Hamlet sees his father’s ghost became lodged in my head,” explains Sarabeth. “And his subsequent madness I understood in a more personal way.”

The narrative ends with the title track and a resolution of sorts. “I feel like I’m either the patient or the doctor, somebody always has an ache,” she says. “When I wrote the title track I had a friend of mine on my mind. She was so sad... just inconsolable and it was painful to see her like that. The title is a reminder to keep myself well. It’s hard to explain the ferocity of the grief I experienced when my father died. I really felt like it was going to kill me, so to be here... well, I just wanted to remind myself of what I survived.”

1. The Wound And The Bow
2. Wooden
3. A View
4. The Fireman
5. Smile For No One
6. Things Left Behind
7. State I Am In
8. At The Bar
9. Rising
10. The Doctor
11. Exit Ghost
12. Get Well Soon


New releases keep me listening: The Submarines, Ron Sexsmith, Colin Hay, Duran Duran

When it comes to keeping up - make that "catching up" - with all the latest releases, it is impossible to listen to it all.

But there are four new discs I want to write about that truly have arrived a bit under the radar but have found repeated spins in my CD player.

Indie pop duo The Submarines will release their third full-length album, the aptly-titled Love Notes/Letter Bombs, on April 5 (Nettwerk Productions). I've listening to this tuneful and delightful disc a number of times and it showcases the growing songcraft of Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti in spades (or should I say "hearts"). The couple artfully and intelligently chronicle the complex nature of a relationship like only a real life husband-and-wife can.

And while the self-produced disc has plenty to say about the power of love, it is ultimately the zealous melodies, winning performances and accessible songs (including the wistful "Ivaloo" and sweet electronica-tinged "Tigers") that will have listeners making Love Notes/Letter Bombs their own.
For more information on The Submarines, visit:

Why isn't Ron Sexsmith a household name among modern music lovers? Like the extremely-talented likes of dada, Aimee Mann and his fellow Canadian master Bruce Cockburn, there are some artists who are truly original while releasing music that fully delivers on the promise of glowing reviews from discerning critics.

Sexsmith's latest full-length studio disc, Long Player Late Bloomer, is the latest in a line of wonderful albums released by the Toronto-based singer-songwriter since the early 1990s.

Sentimental without sap, melodic without a trace of bubble gum, Sexsmith's superb voice and confessional gems play out one after another across the 13 fantastic tracks on Long Player Late Bloomer. From the infectious folk rock of "The Reason Why" to the George Harrison-mining "Believe It When I See It" to the upbeat neo soul-tinged "Middle of Love" and affecting "Late Bloomer," there is nothing but magic on this release.

When your fan base includes notables such as Elvis Costello, the Kinks' Ray Davies and Sir Paul McCartney, shouldn't your songs fill the radio airwaves? Sexsmith's songs certainly should.


Men At Work was then, Colin Hay is now.
Indeed, the native of Scotland who found fame as the lead singer of Australia's favorite musical export in the early 1980s is now firmly based in Topanga Canyon in Southern California and is at the forefront of confessional singer-songwriters who translate their own journey through life into song.

On his latest disc, Gathering Mercury, Hay provides a poignant sonic portrait of the recent death of his father (the acoustically-beautiful "Dear Father"), his own place in the world ("Invisible") and the alienation that has come to personify the digital age (the folk rock standout "Send Somebody"). While Gathering Mercury pulls in many sounds (rock, folk, Latin, reggae), it is Hay's emotive tenor that is the perfect glue to bring it all together.


While the abovementioned Hay has moved far beyond his roots with Men At Work, the four original members of Duran Duran (bassist John Taylor, drummer Roger Taylor, keyboardist Nick Rhodes and singer Simon Le Bon) have put new life into the synthpop sound they pioneered in the early 1980s.

On the band's newly-issued All You Need Is Now, driving rhythms, inventive keyboard textures and Le Bon's far-reaching pipes conjure up some of the band's best material from 1982's Rio. Songs such as the propulsive "Blame the Machines" and dynamic "Other People's Lives," as well as the beautiful electronic ballad "Leave a Light On" are among the highlights on the Birmingham-bred group's best disc since 2004's wonderful Astronaut.