Friday, March 29, 2013

AM & SHAWN LEE cover Joe Jackson


It's no secret that multi-instrumentalists AM & Shawn Lee dig deep into obscure musical wells, gaining approval from other like-minded audiophile obsessives and vintage Sound Library revivalists. However, these influences aren't simply plugged into a computer program and spit out through modern-day technology: the instruments are played, the vocals are sung, and the songs are written, giving the music a very physical process that has become apparent with the duo's growing live fan base.

The pair return with a new album in May. La Musique Numérique (French for "digital music”), continues their dynamic time-traveling trip down memory lane and then takes those analog sounds and recreates them live (without sampling) and brings them into studio where they craft new music. It's been two years of magic for the band. The last year has seen them blow up in Europe and the United States is (finally) beginning to catch on. One of the best live shows I see all year long, every time I see them. In my humble opinion, one of the best contemporary acts on the planet. You'll see. Here's their cover of Joe Jackon's "Steppin' Out" (1982) which appears on the new record!

AM & Shawn Lee - Steppin' Out

AM & Shawn Lee: 
Sounds of Summer Tour 2013

6/13: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
6/14: Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
6/16: Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
6/18: Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
6/19: Boston, MA @ Church of Boston
6/20: Brooklyn, NY @ Knitting Factory
6/21: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
6/22: Rochester, NY @ Lovin’ Cup
6/26: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
6/27: San Jose, CA @ Pagoda
6/28: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
6/29: San Diego, CA @ The Griffin

AM & Shawn Lee
Web / Facebook 
AM twitter - SL twitter

Best of 2011 List

Today's Sign of the Apocalypse


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (full album stream!)

Bands You Need to Know

In Stores on April 2nd

In anticipation of their April 2 release of Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, fans will have a chance to see COLD WAR KIDS perform an intimate set at Amoeba Records (Los Angeles, CA) on April 1 at 6:00 PM. On April 2 the band will return to "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" for a three-song outdoor stage performance, including the album's first single, "Miracle Mile." Cold War Kids' headlining US Tour kicks off Wednesday, April 3 at Gothic Theatre in Denver, CO.

Latest Show Information
April 3 Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
April 4 Slowdown, Omaha, NE
April 5 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN  SOLD OUT
April 6 Metro, Chicago, IL  SOLD OUT
April 9 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
April 10 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA  SOLD OUT
April 11 9:30 Club, Washington, DC  SOLD OUT
April 12 Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA  SOLD OUT
April 13 Webster Hall, New York, NY  SOLD OUT
April 15 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC  SOLD OUT
April 16 Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN
April 17 The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
May 16 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
May 17 Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC
May 18 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
May 23 Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
May 24 Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA  SOLD OUT
May 25 Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA  SOLD OUT

Hanni El Khatib supporting

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sigur Ros in Boston

Thoughts on Shows
The Scene: 
Agganis Arena 03/27/13
Boston, MA

LAST NIGHT - As the sun set over the Boston skyline, the crowd queued outside the Agganis Arena were abuzz with anticipation of the show that was to unfold.. Icelandic band Sigur Ros were finally back in town after five long years. The ambient music of opener Tim Hecker could have been mistaken for PA music as the stage was shielded by curtains on three sides. Hecker never was to be seen and the dark venue only added to the mystery as audience filed to their seats.

At 8:30 with the curtains still up, dark silhouettes appeared on the stage. The band played Yfirborð and Ný Batteri shielded by the curtain. It added to the build up that would continue for the duration of the 16 song 100 minute set. The band, now a trio, was accompanied by a touring guitar player and percussionist that seemed to work to various instruments on the stage. A horn and string section added even more to their already massive sound.

photo by Tynie Pixels

A stunning light show with gorgeous images (sparks falling to wind blowing the grass) continued to set the mood. Audience members, myself included stuggled with opening my eyes to see it all, or closing them and really be taken to that next level. The audience was respectful, hesitant to erupt from their seats, or even offer an ill timed “woooo” not wanting to disturb the mood. As the main set drew to a close fans were slowly starting to stand.

The always perfect Popplagið closed out the show. The long and swirling vocals grow and grow over the thunderous drums. By the final chord, those that were sitting were on their feet, and those on their feet were three feet off the ground. Always sad to see them take their bow at the end as I know its over, but it is still one of my favorite moments. One of the most unique and stunning live bands out there today did it again, and never dissapoint.

Setlist 3/26/13 Boston:
1. Yfirborð
2. Ný Batterí
3. Vaka
4. Hrafntinna
5. Sæglópur
6. Fljótavík
7. E-bow
8. Varúð
9. Hoppípolla
10. Með Blóðnasir
11. Olsen Olsen
12. Kveikur
13. Festival
14. Brennisteinn
15. Glósóli
16. Popplagið

New Album in June.

Web / Fb / Tw

FILM - Emperor is a study of war, love, contradiction

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review

Picture this scenario. It's Japan, 1945, a place and a time in which makes being a visiting American, difficult to say the least. You’re visiting a country that just went to war with yours, at the end of which, your nation wiped two of their cities clear off the map, and leaving many others little more than charred, rubble-strewn wastelands. Suffice it to say the cartographers as well as the citizenry are pretty pissed at you. The purpose of your visit? To determine if the leader of this country is responsible for their participation in the war, and if so, to bring him to justice. Making things difficult for you? The Japanese people regard this leader as a living god, and are prepared to lay down their lives in his defense.

In “Emperor,” directed by Peter Webber (“Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “Hannibal Rising”), the U.S. Army has been dispatched to Japan to help rebuild the nation and investigate the role which Emperor Shōwa played in the decision to go to war. If these seem like contradictory goals, settle in, because that’s the running theme in this film. General Douglas MacArthur (Tommy Lee Jones), is the supreme commander of the Allied Forces and the man placed in charge of the rebuilding efforts as well as the investigation. Jones portrays the general as a man who doesn’t care about government, though he has aspirations about one day occupying the White House.

The actual investigation gets handed off to Brigadier General Bonner Fellers (Matthew Fox), partially due to his backstory: lengthy time spent in Japan and his prior relationship with Aya Shimada (Eriko Hatsune), a Japanese exchange student and his girlfriend back in college.

Throughout the movie, Fellers shows an intimate understanding of Japanese culture, language and helps determine how to navigate its political and military system. But much like his commanding officer, Fellers has his own objectives for his return. His former sweetheart Aya had returned home to Japan prior to the war to be with her ailing father, and remained there. Fellers never heard from her and fearing the worst, spends much of his time there trying to find out if she’s still alive. He retains a stoic mask during the movie, but underneath, you can tell how desperate he is to find his lost love.

The cinematography in this film sets the scenes perfectly. Much of the shots of the ruined Japanese cities take place at night, where Fellers and other soldiers pass among the starving populace. These people have nothing left, making due with huts made of the debris of their homes and providing for their families with small gardens, a mirror of the Victory Gardens grown by American families during the war. One notable scene depicts a large, still standing billboard with the image of a Japanese soldier. The fact that it was among the few edifices left standing, serves as a reminder that even in defeat, the people of Japan remain proud - perhaps even willing to pick up the fight once more.

Much of the scenes of the U.S. Army are filmed with brown or tan backgrounds, matching their uniforms and, quite frankly, their attitudes. Aside from Fellers, it seems none of them give a damn about helping the Japanese—they’re out for blood, plain and simple. Flashbacks of Bonner and Aya are brightly lit, with vibrant colors. They’re a perfect couple and seeing what they went through in the flashback scenes was heartbreaking.

There’s a palpable tension in “Emperor,” whether it’s from the deadline imposed on the military, Bonner’s search for his lover, or the obstacles the Americans face dealing with the Japanese. The plot is straightforward enough, though at times it loses steam. The really interesting parts come in Feller’s search for Aya, while the investigation definitely takes a back seat.

Fox and Hatsune’s acting is what drives this movie. Hatsune is a woman torn between a strong loyalty to her family and country, and a love that lasts for years and stretches across oceans. One of the reasons she comes to America in the first place is because she’s apparently too outgoing for a Japanese woman, yet another contradiction piled up in “Emperor.” Fox on the other hand, is very reserved, pretty at odds with the rest of his American brethren. But this is just a mask. He’s actually pretty emotional, and when the dam burst, it burst bad. In this way, he’s kind of like the rest of the Japanese cast. They maintain a very stoic demeanor, but this hides a heart that beats for their land. I’d say Fox is far more at home in Japan then his own country.

Contradiction is main theme of “Emperor,” and there’s a lot of twists and turns, both in the course of the investigation, and in the trip down memory lane of Bonner and Aya’s relationship. Both hold an equal importance, and unlike some historical movies with a romantic angle, the audience isn’t buried in the love story.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Outlaw Photo Tease #2!

shots by 5342 Studios

The Outlaw Roadshow
Saturday, March 16
Rusty's in Austin, TX




(12 more bands, a lot more photos!)

also recommend checking out:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Burning Jet Black

Names to Know 2013
New Music Video

"In the future, robots will perform all the music we listen to. Thumping bass and electronic blips will destroy all the pure emotion and visceral experience of the music we once knew. Meanwhile, in the here and now, Burning Jet Black is fighting hard against this automatic (re)/(de)volution. Fingers dancing on the fretboard, legs shaking on the kick drum...and sweat dripping off their brows, and the genuine heat of the crowd. This is music with a pulse...and the heart to keep it beating..." 

Burning Jet Black
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

Magazine Girl  NEW!

Iceland & Boston joined forces with Reykjavik Calling!

Photos by Anne Cook
Words by Julie Stoller

The Paradise Rock Club
Boston, MA - 3/9/13  

Each year a few of Iceland's most interesting and innovative emerging musicians come to Boston as part of A Taste of Iceland - these performers are paired with their Boston musical counterparts for magical one-off collaborations. The show is free to the public showing live audiences what Iceland can offer but also depicting new sides to familiar local faces and sounds. A Taste of Iceland is presented by Iceland Naturally in partnership with Icelandair, Reyka Vodka, WERS 88.9fm Boston and many others. This year, two Iceland/Boston duos were spotlighted: Ásgeir Trausti + The Adam Ezra Group and Sóley Stefánsdóttir + Kris Delmhorst.

Ásgeir Trausti at The Paradise Boston

Ásgeir Trausti - Leyndarmál

Singer-songwriter Ásgeir Trausti only just released his debut album, Dýrð í dauðaþögn, last September, but already he has become quite a sensation is his native Iceland. At just 20 years old, Ásgeir's sound is incredibly sophisticated and refined. You know an artist has something special when a song elicits an emotional response, even when you don't understand the language. He has training in classical guitar, which is evident in his lovely acoustic playing style. He comes from a musical family and in fact, his father and a friend contributed lyrics to his debut album. Produced by Gudmundur Kristinn Jonsson, a guitarist in the Icelandic reggae band Hjálmar, the album was nominated for the 2012 Nordic Music Prize, and the lead single, "Sumargestur," was number two on the Tónlist, the official Icelandic Singles Chart. An English version of the album is in the making, but if you're a purist and prefer the original Icelandic lyrics, the Icelandic version is available from In addition to his solo music, which is in a wonderfully melodic folk vein (with a touch of contemporary electro at times), he also the guitarist for the Icelandic indie rock band The Lovely Lion.

The Adam Ezra Group at The Paradise in Boston

Collaborating with Ásgeir Trausti was the Adam Ezra Group, which is an interesting pairing. As much as the Icelandic musician seems deeply a part of his Nordic culture, this Boston band is deeply immersed in the American experience, with a gritty, rootsy feel that informs their music. At times they have a country-flavored acoustic folk vibe, and at other times they're just straight-up, hard-driving, road traveled rock. I'm surprised to see they only released their debut album in 2011, because they sound like they've been playing together a hell of a lot longer than that. Indeed, they've been quite busy these past few years, touring with The Avett Brothers, Rusted Root, Deer Tick, Jason Mraz, Los Lobos, Dwight Yoakum and many others. Their most recent recording, released back in December, is Daniel The Brave. It's a collection of acoustic songs that sheds light on the more introspective side of this fine band, and showcases Ezra's songwriting prowess.

Sóley returned to Boston for Reykjavik Calling

Sóley: I'll Drown

This is Sóley Stefánsdóttir's second appearance in Boston - she performed at the Paradise last year as well. A singer-songwriter and pianist who performs with the Icelandic indie collective Seabear, she also has a background in composition. She released her debut solo album, We Sink, in 2011. Sóley has a sweet, delicate and dreamy voice but there's also a playful quirkiness that comes through strongly in her songs and performance. This is what endeared me to her immediately. Last year, she performed a brief but wonderful set with Dave Monroe of Air Traffic Controller. This time, she'll be performing with singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Massachusetts-based Kris Delmhorst.

Kris Delmhorst at The Paradise

Kris Delmhorst has been performing since 1996 as a singer-songwriter, and has been part of Boston's folk scene. She's a multi-instrumentalist, performing on guitar, fiddle, viola, cello, piano, organ, bass and mandolin. Her debut album was Appetite, released in 1998. She collaborated with Sean Staples and Ry Cavanaugh as The Vinal Avenue String Band, and with her husband, fellow singer-songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, on the 2003 album Redbird. Her most recent full-length solo album of original songs was Shotgun Singer, and in 2011, she put out a cover album of songs by The Cars, with whom she developed an early musical affinity. Now based in western Massachusetts with her husband and young daughter, her American perspective and Sóley's Icelandic roots made for a fascinating collaboration.


At the end of the evening, all the artists performed together  

Sunday, March 24, 2013


The Best of SXSW 2013
Photographic Evidence 
by 5342 Studios

Rusty's in Austin
March 13, 2013

Eagles of Death Metal is an American rock band from Palm Desert, California, formed in 1998 by best friends Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme. Despite their band name, Eagles of Death Metal is not a death metal band. The story goes that a friend was introducing Josh Homme to the death metal genre. When he played a song by the Polish band Vader and made a claim that the song was within the death metal genre, Homme then referred to Vader as "The Eagles of Death Metal". After hearing this phrase, he wondered what a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band would sound like. With that, the band was born.


 Albums / Web / Fb / Tw

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Walter Sickert - Soft Time Traveler

On Further Review 
One To Watch in '13

BEST OF 2013 ALBUM SELECTION - This website and everything and all our efforts to promote and indicate have ultimately been made to cheer on the over-achieving underdogs out there. And, of course, to share unexamined greatness. It's most rewarding, really perfect I mean, when both of those elements come together at the same time. For years now, the eccentric and gifted Walter Sickert has drawn like-minded souls (artistic folks on the outskirts, friends with vision who too-often going unseen) and has helped found a community of supporters and friends to celebrate music and life together. I saw Sickert and The Army of Broken Toys for the first time some three to four years ago and two thoughts remained with me: this is a really odd frenzied live show - and it immediately occurred to me that the group were really quite damn good at playing music.

And as the world whirled and twirled on its axis, The Broken Toys were ceaseless in their creative production. Quietly, this multi-disciplined talent flourished under each other's watch, growing as a family.. The art has been stunning - and it's all capped off with the new double record, "Soft Time Traveler" (April 16 Global release, but Tonight in the band's hometown Boston). This massive undertaking (18 songs that spring off the page) is easily one of the best albums I have heard so far in 2013. It's a gorgeous, rustic homemade stew with local grown vegetables and wild goat. (Just listen and you'll see what I mean.)

Walter Sickert is an eccentric, sure, but his work is genius.

NEW! Droog And Devotchka NEW!

Soft Time Traveler was produced and engineered by Joel Simches. (Assistant Engineer Randall Billian.) It was recorded at Watch City Studios in Waltham, MA, where Walter and the rest of the Broken Toys found a homey collection of odd antiques including a functioning wax cylinder player and vintage Victorian embalming paraphernalia. The music matches. Here Sickert and company leap and skip effortlessly from genre to genre, jumping through time. They invoke Tom Waits with "Devil's In The Details," worshiping at a gypsy church with Gogol Bordello on "Survive Songbird" and dancing a melodic, stringed waltz with Devotcha throughout (Nick Urata's Devotchka are actually referenced in song on the record) and I love Droog and Devotchka which reminds me (amazingly) of The Smiths and Belle and Sebastian. All chances taken here are rewarded. A winning breakout for this wild bunch!

Buy the Record. 
Must-see live show!

Soft Time Traveler is the culmination of the last few years of work for this band. And the record exceeds all expectations. This is the Sickert and his band at the very best. In June, The Army of Broken Toys will play NXNE 2013 in Toronto exposing their trademark sound to thousands of new fans.

The Army of Broken Toys
photos by Caleb Cole

Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston, MA 02134
$14 Ruby Rose Fox, The Field Effect, The Rationales
Set time: 11: 00 p.m.

Walter Sickert & the 

Army of Broken Toys:
AlbumsWeb / Fb / Wf / Tw

Friday, March 22, 2013

Crown Plaza

By Julie Stoller

Typically when a person experiences a difficult breakup, they hide away in their apartment and drink themselves into oblivion. When Nima Kazerouni of Los Angeles' up-and-coming band So Many Wizards broke up with his longtime girlfriend, he went to the Los Angeles International Airport. Not to fly off to some distant land, but to live in his father's office somewhere in the bowels of the sprawling airport, within view of the Crown Plaza, and to write music. The result was Chem Waves Volume 1. In its first track, "Reactor," are the pensive thoughts of a man moving ghostlike through his new life. He appropriately titled this solo project Crown Plaza. There's a feeling of restlessness and impermanence in both the location and the music.

Kazerouni's main band, So Many Wizards, has an exuberant dreamy pop vibe, and is decidedly more upbeat. This may seem strange, given Kazerouni's upbringing in a war-torn Iran, but having escaped the violence to settle in Southern California, it is perhaps understandable that he would want to move away from that traumatic experience and escape into his musical dreams. Originally a "bedroom artist," he combined forces with fellow UCLA alumnus to form the band. He has since become part of the supportive Eastside L.A. music community, helping other musicians in the area and frequently performing at underground venues such as The Smell and Pehrspace. They released their debut album, Warm Nothing, in August of last year on JAXART Records.

Nima Kazerouni

Album / Crown Plaza - Fb /
So Many Wizards - FbTw

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cold War Kids cover The Band

April 3 Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
April 4 Slowdown, Omaha, NE
April 5 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
April 6 Metro, Chicago, IL
April 9 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
April 10 Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA
April 11 9:30 Club, Washington, DC
April 12 Union Transfer, Philadelphia, PA
April 13 Webster Hall, New York, NY
April 15 Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, NC
April 16 Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN
April 17 The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA
May 16 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
May 17 Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, BC
May 18 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
May 23 Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA
May 24 Henry Fonda Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
May 25 Belly Up Tavern, Solana Beach, CA

Hanni El Khatib supporting

New Album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
is out on April 2nd

Cold War Kids
Web / Fb / Tw 

Best of 2011 List

The Outlaw Roadshow #1 in Photos

shots by 5342 Studios

The Outlaw Roadshow #1
Saturday, March 9
Rusty's in Austin, TX

See also the photos from
Outlaw Roadshow #2


more about K Phillips


Flying Mountain
more about Golden Bloom
* just added to NXNE 2013!





official poster for the March 9 Show by Man on Fire Design

Website / Facebook / Tweet 
Photos from The Outlaw Roadshow #2