Friday, August 31, 2012

James Maddock with David Immergluck

From the Mailbag
New & Right Now!

So, here's the deal. I can't begin to listen to, digest or publish everything we receive. About once or twice a month in 2012, I open new mail and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll publish it. This week, we introduce new music I received in person on summer tour. I think you'll find this is one hell of a live release from two greats - and that David Immergluck, of Counting Crows, is probably one of the most skilled strings players going. He sent me an email last week. I agree with him, you should check this record out...

IMMY WRITES: "Here’s a photo of us mid flight at Rockwood Music Hall, NYC (where James Maddock is a flagship mainstay, as well as a good chunk of the eastern seaboard). When I first saw him perform, I recognized a kindred spirit and superior singer songwriter...I KNEW I had to play with him!"

David Immergluck and James Maddock at Rockwood

IMMY WRITES: "James Maddock had a band called Wood on Columbia Records ten years ago (Springsteen was a huge fan)...I met James (a British transplant, from Leicester) in NYC about 4 years ago and we immediately started playing/carousing together as often as time allowed. I played on his last solo record (the excellent “Wake Up And Dream”), but I loved what we were doing so much as a live duo I eventually felt the need to document it, hence the live Jimmy/Immy CD..."
EDITOR'S NOTE: This CD was recorded on a day off between Counting Crows shows!

OUR VERDICT - This is a really good album. I'm not especially familiar with James Maddock so this is a great way for me to enter his world. I suspect that for many of his fans, this record is the chance to get into David's music and maybe, consequently, the Crows. The record is full of richness of the live performance of two seasoned performers. A lot of ground gets covered here. (There are a couple of knowing storytellers, a could of heartbreakers and some love songs. All are really quite good!) These two toured a bit in the year prior and that time together clearly shows here. This is something I've had on in the background all week long and it never gets old. Highly Recommended! - Ryan Spaulding

($9.99 itunes)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thoughts on Bob Dylan

The Brand New Video
It's Worth Talking About

GTRES photo

I don't talk about Bob Dylan much. I guess I don't feel I need to. He's the best and ultimately probably the most pivotal single human being for music for the last 100 years. You can debate me; neither of us will win, so there's no point. So let's move on.

Dylan is special in a really unique way and music and songwriting are only part of it. He got started down this path, I think, with so much of his early life being steeped in folk story and narrative. It's like the mix of where culture and music and humanity meet. It's a magic theoretical place that exists as much in time and in one's head that in any zip code.

cover date: March 4, 1971

The bottom line with any old folk tale is that somebody got the raw end of the stick and they learn something about themselves and the world. In a very real sense this is a morality tale. I suppose you could also call them fables. And I guess that's pretty much the basis for the blues, too. Bob has always been especially adept at taking these varied influences sifting them through some unseen internal process and creating something that's highly relevant and right without being pushy and challenging and controversial without being wrong. He grew up with myth and lives in our world. And this world has paid attention almost from the first instant.

Barry Feinstein photo

And part of this special-ness has nothing at all to do with Dylan himself. It's the way that he inhabits the hearts of others. He continues to stimulating other human beings to do and think and reflect because of what he does. There's only a handful of these folks every thousand years or so. We are lucky to have much of what this man says and produces available to review at our discretion. So for us, the task is always making sense out of what sense can be made and applicable in our lives and, conversely, discerning which parts are just colorful art. There are no wrong answers here, but we should be paying attention.

Jerry Schatzberg photo

This brings us, of course, to the new music video Bob Dylan released yesterday via the Guardian in the UK. Of course this is news and Dylan's use of a newspaper only enforced that fact. The story begins as any other but the love-struck romeo in the video is misunderstood and rejected by his target - a street savvy modern woman who wants nothing to do with a stalking stranger and his pathetic rose. And from there, his attempts to woo her (really not effectively doing the same thing time-and-again) cause him real hardships. He rejects society's rules, anything to capture her and she will have nothing of it.

The reviews for Duquesne Whistle have been interesting. "Shockingly Violent" is a repeated theme I've read.. But watch again. Yes, bad things happen to the protagonist but nothing is really remotely out of the realm of possibility. Unchecked ignorance and innocence are flaws. The young man does steal flowers (repeatedly) from an old man and he does get arrested by the police. In the process, he intentionally harms a man during his escape attempt. This man ends up returning the favor in kind. There are consequences in this life. And such things can already happen without reason. There are costs to following our dreams and though paid, we don't always get what we want.

In the video, Dylan plays the part of the entouraged performer, seen only walking the streets with his diverse grouping of hangers-on. A guy needs a couple of hands to carry his guitars right? It would be a mistake to say this is Dylan playing himself, he's just playing a character. It is also notable that the street-walking performer is surrounded by a especially diverse age and ethnic background selection of "supporters." I think this was done in this video to accomplish an element of unexpectedness but perhaps, more important on reflection, it helps to underscore the fact that the "Dylan Character" is alone in a crowd. He's supported but the street-walking performer has no friends.

And since the video is about flawed character and accurate endings, we see that the Performer doesn't even pause to look at the horribly beaten kid on the street,... he steps right over him.

Clear as day, in a series of minutes, Dylan has illustrated his own narrative (a version of it at least) from start to finish. Dylan started out the kid with the rose. He didn't have to get beaten down as severely as the video's subject did, but he took his knocks. The distractions were there. We realize that to live in this complicated world that we must lose some of those fantasies to survive. But now as Dylan has further time to reflect, he knows that there must be some middle ground...

Will Duquesne Whistle be the first stone of a monumental career-level album? (Dylan's already made several.) Tempest is coming. We will have to wait and see. I wouldn't bet against Dylan, though. And you shouldn't either.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

James Iha, For The Win!

New Music of Note
The return of an Artist

Aliya Naumoff photo
ONE OF OUR FAVORITES HAS RETURNED - I guess the first thing you need to know is that James Iha is more than just a Smashing Pumpkins guitar player... Having left the band some twelve years ago, Iha has released his own material, worked with some of the biggest names in music, collaborated and produced and opened his own studio. Happy to relay that Iha’s new album, Look to the Sky, is slated for release on Sept 18. A taste is below...

Written and recorded at Stratosphere Sound in NYC, the studio owned by James and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, Look To The Sky showcases James' talent as a musician, songwriter, lyricist, arranger, and producer.

After a recent successful performance at this year's Fuji Rock Festival, James will return to Japan this September for a run of tour dates followed by a string of East Coast US shows. He re-emerges right here in Boston at Church on October 4th. Keep the date locals. [Tickets] The rest of the limited East Coast Tour Dates below. More are expected to be announced.

Sept 22 - Kyoto, Japan
Umekoji Park
Sept 24 - Osaka, Japan
Club Quattro
Sept 26 - Tokyo, Japan
Club Quattro
Oct 4 - Boston, MA
Oct 5 - New York, NY
Mercury Lounge
Oct 6 - Hoboken, NJ
Oct 7 - Philadelphia, PA
World Café Live
Oct 8 - Washington, DC
U Street


Monday, August 27, 2012

Evolfo Doofeht - You Light Me Up

You Have Got to Listen to This!

Instantly Infectious Grooves that are just impossible to not move to. Evolfo Doofeht defines a modern sound fusing classic funk, with high-energy dance music. The group of self-described "funk gypsies" leave the audience begging for more. That much is evident from this new video which offers enough hooks and grind to keep us dancing long into the Fall. The band have a new EP that they will be giving away free to fans in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for that. This group is definitely One to Watch.

Funk Gysies Evolfo Doofeht

Evolfo Doofeht
Music / Web / Fb / Tw

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Smoke Fairies - Blood Speaks

On Further Review

Smoke Fairies are Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies. They hail from Chichester, a cathedral city in West Sussex that is approximately as picturesque as it sounds and a fairly improbable place to find the emergence of such a creative, eclectic duo. Both sing, write and play vintage hollowbody electric guitars, a combination that neatly enables their distinctive blending of English folk and American blues. A year in New Orleans and another in Vancouver have shaped their sound, but their second album bears the mark of London, too.

They never subscribed to the schoolgirl mannerisms of Laura Marling et al, but their singing is more than ever that of women not girls. No winsome wailing here; rather their singing is robust, powerful and unyielding, unapologetically strong.

The sonic landscape is stronger too; punchy, Mick Fleetwood-esque drumming drives opener Let Me Know. The crips, tremolo-laden guitars slice through a soup of reverb much as on (debut album) Through Low Light and Trees, the atmosphere still ethereal, evoking the morning mists of their namesake dew-laden hedgerows.

Second track “Awake” layers on the fingerpicked hollowbody electric guitars; it’s all very Fairport Convention at times. They channel Sandy Denny and Joni Mitchell, but not in a crass way. I’m not the only one to see a June Tabor comparison, particularly in their phrasing.

The Three of Us crashes its way into the quiet that follows, then cascades into a raucous chorus that’s bigger, noisier than anything that’s gone before. More like Sandy hanging out with Led Zeppelin than anything, it’s potent stuff. Reminiscent too of the best bits of Kami Thompson’s Love Lies in its petulant stomp, the song is driven by a slide guitar riff that betrays their time in New Orleans.

The album progresses in this vein; quiet moments punctuated by loud ones, expertly crafted, delicate reflections on English cities and wide open American spaces, scattered with stabs of drums and guitars. Their remarkable musical maturity occasionally serves to make them seem lyrically naive by comparison; at times, it’s all too conversational for the gravitas of the accompaniment. Hideaway begins, “I’ll hide away where you can’t find me / Cos I need to keep the fire in my fight” and continues with laboured light/fire metaphors for 4 minutes. Likewise, Film Reel runs the risk of seeming hackneyed in its sepia-tinted nostalgia. But these flaws are insignificant in the face of the power and intelligence of the rest of the record.

Blood Speaks is a fascinating album. It wears its influences on its sleeve, proud and unabashed, yet it’s a record that no-one else could have made. It’s not perfect, but it’s very, very interesting. A complimentary piece to their first album, it suggests that Smoke Fairies are a potent creative force capable of remarkable things.

Sep 26 -Hare & Hounds Birmingham, United Kingdom
Sep 27 -Brudenell Social Club Leeds, United Kingdom
Sep 28 -Trades Club Hebden Bridge, United Kingdom
Sep 30 -The Cluny Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Oct 01 -Pleasance Theatre Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Oct 02 -Oran Mor Glasgow, United Kingdom
Oct 03 -The Duchess York, United Kingdom
Oct 05 -Deaf Institute Manchester, United Kingdom
Oct 06 -Engine Room Lincoln, United Kingdom
Oct 07 -Rescue Rooms Nottingham, United Kingdom
Oct 08 -Portland Arms Cambridge, United Kingdom

Smoke Fairies
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Elvis Costello will always be one of our favorites. Along with all of his fantastic songs through the years, Costello's biggest impact may be on his peers - the other musicians and bands in your music collection. Today is Elvis' birthday and we thought we would celebrate in style! This really cool Elvis Costello set was recorded with the Attractions at Winterland in San Francisco, CA on June 7, 1978. I love "Blame It On Cain", this show's "Chelsea" and "Watching the Detectives." Hell, going back now and re-listening this morning - they all sound pretty damn good!

Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Live at Winterland

San Francisco 1978

Costello's Momofuku, 2008
Our Review!!

Elvis Costello's Best of Collection
Some lucky fans get rare, unreleased material!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law

Someone You Should Know

the joy formidable
Web / Fb / My / Tw

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Brand New from Bodega Girls!

Just Released This Week!
Someone You Should Know

SO NEW - Boston's
BODEGA GIRLS recently teamed up with producer Isom Innis (Foster The People) and producer/guitarist Anthony Rossomando (Mark Ronson, Klaxons, The Libertines) on the new track, "Surf's Up America." Recorded at Converse's Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn earlier this summer. Download it HERE.

Web / My / Fb / Tw

One Million Notes Will Be Used!

RSL Presents...
live at Great Scott
Allston, MA

Tuesday 8/28/12

Fresh off a European tour that won them high praise and thousands of fans, sound exploration champions AM & Shawn Lee return to Boston for this special date with RSL next week. We've paired the band with two of Boston's finest live acts, the three sets coming together in a showcase for which we assure you One Million Notes will be used and that none of them shall be harmed!

The music of AM was first brought to RSL's attention some three years ago. AM had just released the smart, ironic and entirely cool "Future Sons & Daughters" (RSL's Best of 2009) - a soul and lounge masterpiece album which has stayed with me ever since. Having the chance to bump into AM a couple of times here and there or tour the last few years I have been pleased to hear the best parts of his earlier meanderings have bled over into his new project, but with some exciting differences. "Celestial Electric" was the name of AM's new record with co-conspirator Shawn Lee (who also has a
new album of his own!). It's a marvelous record and one that accurately encompasses their current live set which is massive, unfolding, unpredictable and brilliant.

I talk a lot about how great musicians are today, kids, I realize this; but this is one of the best live acts going... Both Shawn Lee and AM are actively creating new music, changing their creative bent - easy set is an open canvas.

Shawn Lee and AM

Aug 24 The Satellite, Los Angeles, CA
Aug 25 The Copper Door, Santa Ana, CA
Aug 28 Great Scott, Boston, MA
Aug 29 New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY
Aug 30 Montserrat House, Washington, DC
Aug 31 Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
Sep 02 Bumbershoot, Seattle, WA

- AM & Shawn Lee -
Albums / Web / Fb / Tw

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library is the world’s only male-fronted, all-female, librarian-attired, downtempo, indie, ensemble-pop act featuring intricately constructed, tongue-in-cheek tortuous songs with an emphasis on narrative. Keeping with this show's theme of surprisingly inventive and whip-smart music, MJEML are truly one of a kind... In the last 16 months the group has quietly made a very big impression with listeners. "Michael Epstein, the brains behind all this musical genius, integrates parts of his life to make music that moves from genre to genre without any borders." – MAGNET

The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library

Their recently recorded Daytrotter Session was a way for thousands to hear them in the live setting, something you can do for youself this night!

- Michael J Epstein Memorial Library -
Albums / Web / Fb / Tw

When I knew that we would be getting AM & Shawn Lee for this showcase one of my very first thoughts was to check THE BYNARS schedule for their availability. The three-piece released their debut record last year but already have an extensive record of doing jangly, hooky pop the right way. The sets are full of guitar and synth, their lyrics smart and their intent: to blow the minds of audiences. Their music has found it's way on my mix tapes, and I think you'll soon find, as I have this this band is definitely doing thing right...

The Bynars

ONE TO WATCH - The Bynars' exploration of technology and the limitations of the stage is inspired. Last year the band released a fan-interactive VIDEO and did a promotional photo shoot for the group while watching a Star Wars marathon. (I kid you not!) This is definitely a band to keep your eyes on in the year ahead. I expect great things from The Bynars.

- The Bynars -
Albums / Web / Fb / Tw

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Blondfire = En Fuego

RSL's Artists on the Move!
Sounds You Need to Know

We told you about this sibling duo of Bruce and Erica Driscoll, out of Los Angeles, about ten months ago. (You have to check out the amazing music video by French Director Aurelien Levitan.) Well since then, Blondfire have licensed material for tv and movies their stuff has done nothing but climb charts, getting serious airplay: Sirius Alt-Nation, KCRW, KCSN, KROX (Austin) and KNDd (Seattle) as well as KROQ and 98.7's "Locals Only" shows... That got them on, in Filter and on You get the idea. Well, this week they got a deal with Warner Bros. Records and released a new song. Warner tells us a new full-length will emerge at some point next year...

I love it when good things happen to good, talented people... Congrats guys!

Web / Fb / My / Tw

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Remembering Joe Strummer

Sounds Worth Remembinger
Has it Really Been a Decade??

Aug 21, 1952 - Dec 22, 2002

Joe Strummer and the Mescalaros - Rudie Cant Fail
free live download!

Monday, August 20, 2012

{WARPED TOUR} Yellowcard

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12

{WARPED TOUR} Pierce The Veil

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12


Album / Web / Fb / Tw

{WARPED TOUR} blessthefall

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12


Album / Web / Fb / Tw

{WARPED TOUR} Cherri Bomb

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12


Albums / Web / Fb / Tw

Sunday, August 19, 2012

{WARPED TOUR} Memphis May Fire

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12


Album / Fb / Tw / Rise Records

{WARPED TOUR} All Time Low

Photographic Evidence
by Kira Doucette

Hartford, CT 7/22/12


Albums / Web / Fb / Tw