Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Cult to return with new album, 'Choice of Weapon'

The Cult are set to release Choice of Weapon, their ninth studio album, on May 22nd. The record is their first full-length work in five years, though the band has kept active by putting out a few new songs and live recordings in recent years. 

Choice of Weapon was co-produced by Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, U.N.K.L.E.) and longtime collaborator Bob Rock (Metallica, Aerosmith), and was recorded in several studios, including the band's own Witch Mountain as well as spots in New York City, Los Angeles and the California desert.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Widespread Panic Cover "The Ballad of John and Yoko"

Widespread Panic debuted a cover of The Beatles “The Ballad of John and Yoko” at The Fillmore in Silver Springs, MD last Wednesday...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On the turntable this Sunday...The Nightfly

The Nightfly is the first solo album by Steely Dan co-founder Donald Fagen, released in 1982. It was one of the first fully digital recordings of popular music.  Although The Nightfly includes a number of production staff and musicians who had played on Steely Dan records, it is notably Fagen's first release without longtime collaborator Walter Becker.
Unlike the majority of Fagen's work before this point, The Nightfly is almost blatantly autobiographical. Many of the songs relate to the cautiously optimistic mood of his suburban childhood in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and include such lyrical topics as late night jazz deejaysbomb shelters, and tropical vacations.
The Nightfly was certified Platinum in both the US and UK, and produced two popular hits with "I.G.Y. (What a Beautiful World)" and "New Frontier". It also received several 1983 Grammy Award nominations. This relatively low-key but long-lived popularity led the Wall Street Journal in 2007 to dub the album, "one of pop music's sneakiest masterpieces."
The Nightfly was recorded shortly after Steely Dan's final album before their extended hiatus, 1980's Gaucho. It was Donald Fagen's debut solo album, and also the first music project of his adult life not to include longtime musical compadre and co-conspirator, Walter Becker.
A message in the liner notes of The Nightfly reads: "Note: The songs on this album represent certain fantasies that might have been entertained by a young man growing up in the remote suburbs of a northeastern city during the late fifties and early sixties, i.e., one of my general height, weight and build. - D.F."
The Nightfly was recorded in 1982 at Soundworks Digital Audio/Video Recording Studios and Automated Sound in New York City, and at Village Recorders in Los Angeles. Production was done by Gary Katz and the album was engineered by Roger Nichols; both men had worked on every single Steely Dan record up to that point. Many of the musicians had also played on Steely Dan records, including Jeff PorcaroRick Derringer and Larry Carlton. Similar to the Aja and Gaucho albums, a large number of studio musicians were employed, with the liner notes crediting 31 musicians as having played on the record.
The album's cover artwork features a photo of Donald Fagen as a deejay wearing a collared shirt and tie, speaking into a microphone (an RCA 44DX). Before him lies a turntable (16 inch '50s model, with a Para-Flux A-16 tonearm), an ashtray, and a pack of Chesterfield King cigarettes. Visible on the table with the record player, is the cover of the 1958 jazz album Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders (also credited in the liner notes). On the wall behind Fagen is a large clock, indicating that the time is 4:09.
Gale Sasson and Vern Yenor are credited with the cover's set design. George Delmerico acted as art director, and the picture was taken by noted art photographer James Hamilton. The Wall Street Journal writes, "The cover adds another layer of autobiography. On the front, we see Mr. Fagen as a crew-cut deejay on the graveyard shift. On the back is his audience, a single lighted window in a row of tract homes -- or maybe the artist as a young man, drinking in inspiration."
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau(A)[5]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[6]
Uncut5/5 stars[7]
The Nightfly was met with almost universally positive reviews. Rolling StoneThe Village Voice and Uncut all gave the album high marks. Jason Akeny of AllMusic rated The Nightfly at 4 and 1/2 out of a possible 5 stars, calling it "lush and shimmering, produced with cinematic flair by Gary Katz; romanticized but never sentimental... crafted with impeccable style and sophistication."
In February 2010, Vatican City's L'Osservatore Romano appointed The Nightfly to its official Top 10 Albums list. EQ Magazine rated The Nightfly as among the Top 10 Best Recorded Albums of All Time, alongside The Beatles's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beach BoysPet Sounds.
The Nightfly reached the #11 position on the US Billboard Charts, and the #24 position on the US Billboard R&B charts. In the UK, the album was certified Platinum in 2004, despite only reaching #44 on the charts following its release. It has also gone Platinum in America.
Paul White, editor-in-chief of Sound On Sound magazine, said The Nightfly "is always a good reference for checking out monitoring systems and shows what good results could be obtained from those early digital recording systems in the right hands." But the music isn't limited to recording studio tests, Clive Young of Pro Sound News called Fagen's I.G.Y. the "Freebird" of Pro Audio, citing that almost every live sound engineer uses the song to test the front of house system's sound response.

Notable cover versions

A number of prominent artists have covered songs from The NightflyHoward Jones covered "I.G.Y." in 1992, while Mel Tormé included "The Goodbye Look" on his 1988 album Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dektette – Reunion, as well as recording "Walk Between the Raindrops" on another album. Tormé also reportedly covered "Maxine" at some of his live shows in the 1980s.
All songs by Donald Fagen, except where noted:
  1. "I.G.Y." – 6:03
  2. "Green Flower Street" – 3:42
  3. "Ruby Baby" (Jerry LeiberMike Stoller), Arranged by Donald Fagen – 5:39
  4. "Maxine" – 3:49
  5. "New Frontier" – 6:21
  6. "The Nightfly" – 5:47
  7. "The Goodbye Look" – 4:50
  8. "Walk Between Raindrops" – 2:33 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

LCD Soundsystem film "Shut Up and Play the Hits' premieres at Sundance

(Article originally published in Rolling Stone, By Dan Hyman)

Before making James Murphy the centerpiece of their latest film, directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace had never met the LCD Soundsystem frontman. The filmmakers were fans of the band, but it was the timing and casual nature by which Murphy brought LCD to a close that captivated their attention. "Why would you do that?" Lovelace recalls thinking to himself about Murphy's decision to break up the group, arguably at the height of their popularity.
That lingering question of "why" lies at the heart of the two U.K. filmmakers' new documentary, Shut Up and Play the Hits. The film, which premiered this past weekend at Utah’s Sundance Film Festival, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the final days of LCD Soundsystem – and Murphy’s subsequent emotions – and includes pristine, never-before-seen footage of the band’s massive bow-out concert last April at Madison Square Garden.
Shortly after wrapping up their first co-directorial effort, 2010's No Distance Left to Run, a film that follows Britpop vets Blur throughout their 2009 reunion tour, Southern and Lovelace learned of Murphy's plan to retire LCD Soundsystem. While both men knew they wanted to work with the LCD frontman, making a film was just one of many ideas they would eventually run by the Brooklyn-based singer. "We were just having really open discussions," Southern says. "There was no firm plan of 'Oh, we're gonna make this film or that film.' It happened organically as we got to know James a bit better." 
Ultimately, it was agreed upon that the filmmakers would shadow Murphy during, leading up to and after LCD's final concert. For grieving fans, the emotional apex of the film is undoubtedly its visual chronicle of the band’s spectacular final gig – including tear-jerking renditions of LCD staples "All My Friends" and "Losing My Edge.” But the directors were also equally invested in capturing Murphy’s every-man persona: As such, the film bounces between MSG concert footage and shots of the singer – an extrovert onstage – performing menial tasks the morning after disbanding his most widely-adored creation. The camera follows Murphy as he makes coffee, sends email and walks his Boston terrier Petunia. For Southern, this contrast was deliberate: he hoped to juxtapose Murphy “the guy on stage” with the man who enjoys life’s "small moments."
To shoot the film, and more specifically, the concert footage, Southern and Lovelace employed old-school filmmaking tactics:  they didn’t use a live-feed or monitors. The directors couldn't see what each camera was capturing as the band performed at MSG. Southern says this retro approach helped the film accomplish a deliberately “in-the-moment” aura.
Leading up to the film’s premiere, many LCD fans have been wondering what the future holds for Murphy, and whether one even exists for his old band. In interviews last week at Sundance, Murphy was vague: he said he already misses his band, but doesn't "regret" calling it quits, and in another chat, he explained that he's still writing music  – often a song a day – but that it generally disappears shortly after being created.
Both Southern and Lovelace agree that while shooting their film Murphy appeared content with his decision to end LCD Soundsystem ("At [the time of filming] he had decided it was the right thing to do," Lovelace says). But they also hope that fans will come to their own conclusions. "The film is about making the audience contemplate rather than telling them how [Murphy] feels," Southern says. But he’s quick to provide words of caution. "It might make people question whether [ending LCD Soundsystem] was the right decision."

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lcd-soundsystem-film-shut-up-and-play-the-hits-premieres-at-sundance-20120127#ixzz1kkfWCE1e

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Music Review: moe. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs is the quirky title of moe.’s tenth studio album, which was released earlier this week.  Despite the whimsical question of the album’s title, moe. has continued to answer by conjuring up new and fresh sounds with each studio release.  It’s easy to overlook moe.’s skills as a songwriting unit, after all, they are one of the premier jambands around,  but after repeated listen to the new album, I am reminded of how brilliant the Buffalo, NY quintet truly is.

Many of the songs included on the album have been in the band’s repertoire for years, but the effect of different perspectives leaves their most common road-worn classics sounding new and fresh.

While moe. may not be breaking new ground on this album, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs is still full of the ferocious guitar riffs, intricate rhythms and allegorical storytelling that fans have come to know and expect.

The jams throughout the album may be short on length, but they’re certainly not short of energy, as evidence on songs like “Haze” and “Rainshine.” The circus tantrum, “Chromatic Nightmare,” and the pop joyride, “One Way Traffic,” both of which add novel dimensions to moe.’s signature rock aesthetic, further energize the album.

Guitarist/vocalist, Chuck Garvey’s “Suck a Lemon”—inspired by fans during a Halloween show—closes the album. In it, the band breaks into a raucous chorus of “la la,” thereby answering the question, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE LA LAs: Clearly, moe.’s still got them.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Doors' L.A. Woman 40th Anniversary Edition

Fans of The Doors are in for something special. The group's final album--1971's L.A. Woman, with the hits "L.A. Woman," "Love Her Madly" and "Riders On The Storm"--is being celebrated with a special two-CD release from Rhino and a behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The L.A. Woman 40th anniversary edition (Rhino 2-CD) features a never-before-heard song, "She Smells So Nice," which captures the band--organist Ray Manzarek, guitarist Robby Krieger, drummer John Densmore and late singer Jim Morrison--joyfully barreling through a full-throttle original before segueing into the blues standard "Rock Me." As the song closes, Morrison can be heard chanting, "Mr. Mojo Risin'"--an anagram of his name that was made famous during the bridge of "L.A. Woman." Recently discovered by producer Bruce Botnick while reviewing the L.A. Woman session tapes, a teaser clip of "She Smells So Nice" can be heard here.

In addition to "She Smells So Nice," the second disc of the L.A. Woman reissue includes eight never-before-heard versions of songs from the album. Alternate takes of "L.A. Woman," "Love Her Madly" and "Riders On The Storm" offer a fresh view on this landmark album, which was the group's sixth straight Top 10. The studio chatter between the songs is a revelation, transporting listeners to The Doors Workshop: the West Hollywood rehearsal space where they recorded the album with Botnick.

Rhino will also release L.A. Woman: The Workshop Sessions, a double LP featuring all of the previously unreleased material found on the CD collection on three sides of vinyl, with the fourth side featuring a laser etching of the original "Electric Woman" art originally included with the L.A. Woman album.

Mr. Mojo Risin': The Story of L.A. Woman (Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD/Blu-ray) is told through new interviews with Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore as well as Elektra Records founder Jac Holzman, original manager Bill Siddons, engineer/co-producer Bruce Botnick and others. The high-definition video also features live and studio performances as well as rare archival photos. This fascinating documentary contains rare footage of The Doors in the studio and on stage. The documentary was made with the full involvement, approval and cooperation of The Doors.

CD Track Listing

Disc One

1. "The Changeling"
2. "Love Her Madly"
3. "Been Down So Long"
4. "Cars Hiss By My Window"
5. "L.A.Woman"
6. "L’America"
7. "Hyacinth House"
8. "Crawling King Snake"
9. "The WASP (TexasRadio and the Big Beat)"
10. "Riders On The Storm"
Disc Two: All Selections Previously Unissued

1. "The Changeling" – Alternate Version*
2. "Love Her Madly" – Alternate Version*
3. "Cars Hiss By My Window" – Alternate Version*
4. "L.A.Woman" – Alternate Version*
5. "The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)" – Alternate Version*
6. "Been Down So Long" – Alternate Version*
7. "Riders On The Storm" – Alternate Version*
8. "She Smells So Nice"
9. "Rock Me"*
LP Track Listing

Side One

1. "The Changeling" – Alternate Version*
2. "Love Her Madly" – Alternate Version*
3. "Cars Hiss By My Window" – Alternate Version*
4. "L.A.Woman" – Alternate Version*
Side Two

1. "The WASP (TexasRadio and the Big Beat)" – Alternate Version*
2. "Been Down So Long" – Alternate Version*
3. "Riders On The Storm" – Alternate Version*
Side Three

1. "She Smells So Nice / Rock Me"*
* Previously unreleased

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yonder Mountain String Band Spring Tour 2012

Following their Cabin Fever tour, Yonder Mountain String Band will hit the road again this Spring for a series of dates. Kicking off in late March at Liberty Hall in Lawrence, KS the band will play through April across the Midwest and the South before closing out on the West coast.

Pre-sale tickets are on sale now.

Here’s a look at Yonder Mountain String Band’s spring tour dates:

03/29 Lawrence, KS—Liberty Hall
03/30 St. Louis, MO—The Pageant
03/31 St. Louis, MO—The Pageant
04/03 Tulsa, OK—Cain’s Ballroom
04/04 Oxford, MS—The Lyric
04/05 New Orleans, LA—House of Blues
04/06 Austin, TX—Stubb’s BBQ
04/07 Dallas, TX—House of Blues
04/10 Flagstaff, AZ—Orpheum Theatre
04/11 Salt Lake City, UT—The Depot
04/12 Stateline, NV—Montbleu Resort
04/13 San Francisco, CA—The Fillmore
04/14 San Francisco, CA—The Fillmore
04/17 Sacramento, CA—Harlow’s

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wes Montgomery "Bumpin' On Sunset"

I can only imagine my Mom winding around the hills of Pennsylvania in 1966 in her convertible green Triumph two seater listening to Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' On Sunset." In my mind its filled with moving 35mm slides of all the Kodachrome colors imaginable.  My many early music memories and interests come from her piano and love of music.
Happy Birthday Mom.

If you haven't heard the song listen to it here.
 It was originally released on the album Tequila on the Verve label. 

Wes Montgomery

Here is a 1965 video of Wes in action playing "Four on Six from his 1960 album The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery.

Michael Smith,The Showbiz Kids

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On the turntable this Sunday...The River

The sources of The River go back into earlier parts of Springsteen's recording career. "Independence Day", "Point Blank", "The Ties That Bind", "Ramrod", and "Sherry Darling" were leftovers from his previous album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, and had been featured on that 1978 tour, as had parts of "Drive All Night" as a long interpolation within "Backstreets". "The River" had premiered at the September 1979 Musicians United for Safe Energy concerts, gaining a featured spot in the subsequent documentary No Nukes.
[The River] was a record that was sort of the gateway to a lot of my future writing. It was a record we made after Darkness on the Edge of Town. It was a record made during a recession - hard times in the States. Its title song is a song I wrote for my brother-in-law and sister. My brother-in-law was in the construction industry, lost his job and had to struggle very hard back in the late 70s, like so many people are doing today. It was a record where I first started to tackle men and women and families and marriage. There were certain songs on it that lead to complete records later on: "The River" sorta went to the writing on Nebraska, "Stolen Car" went to the writing on Tunnel of Love. Originally it was a single record. I handed it in with just one record and I took it back because I didn't feel it was big enough. Wanted to capture the themes I had been writing about on Darkness. I wanted to keep those characters with me and at the same time added music that made our live shows so much fun and joy for our audience. So, In the end, we're gonna take you down to The River tonight.

Originally, the album was going to be a single set entitled The Ties That Bind and released in late 1979. According to Dave Marsh, tracks of this unreleased album were to be:
Side One: 1. "The Ties That Bind" 2. "Cindy" 3. "Hungry Heart" 4. "Stolen Car" 5. "Be True".
Side Two: 1. "The River" 2. "You Can Look (But Don't Touch)" 3. "The Price You Pay" 4. "I Wanna Marry You" 5. "Loose Ends".
Springsteen added darker material after he'd written the title track. Indeed, The River became noted for its mix of the frivolous next to the solemn. This was intentional, and in contrast to Darkness, for as Springsteen said during an interview, "Rock and roll has always been this joy, this certain happiness that is in its way the most beautiful thing in life. But rock is also about hardness and coldness and being alone ... I finally got to the place where I realized life had paradoxes, a lot of them, and you've got to live with them."
"Hungry Heart" was Springsteen's first U.S. pop singles chart top ten hit single, reaching #5. (Springsteen had not intended the song to be for himself, having initially written it for The Ramones; manager/producer Jon Landau convinced Springsteen to keep the song for himself.) The album hit number one on the U.S. pop albums chart, a first for Springsteen, and sold 1.6 million copies in the U.S. between its release and Christmas. Sales faltered with "Fade Away", which only reached #20.
The album was followed by a lengthy tour of North America and Western Europe during 1980 and 1981. Several of the album's up-tempo rockers became concert staples for decades to come, including "Cadillac Ranch", "Ramrod", and "Out in the Street", as did "Two Hearts" (with Steven Van Zandt acting as the second 'heart').
"Stolen Car" and "Wreck on the Highway", the closing tracks on the original LP's sides three and four, bore quiet, haunted arrangements that presaged much of the musical direction Springsteen would take in the future.
"Point Blank" took its title from a 1967 movie starring Lee Marvin.
Since its release, The River has been certified quintuple platinum by the RIAA in the U.S., making it one of Springsteen's best-selling albums. In 2003, the album was ranked number 250 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
"Drive All Night" and "Stolen Car" played a key role in setting the tone of the 1997 film Cop Land.
"Drive All Night" and "Out In The Street" were used in the 2007 film Reign Over Me, and the album was mentioned multiple times throughout the movie.
On November 8, 2009, near the end of the Working on a Dream Tour, Springsteen and the E Street Band performed The River in its entirety for the first time at Madison Square Gardenin New York City.