Fans already know this I'm sure, but for those who don't know, singer/songwriter Tori Amos is releasing her 10th studio album. The album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, is set to arrive on May 19. The deluxe version of Abnormally Attracted to Sin will come with a DVD of videos that correspond with each track on the album. The footage was filmed over the past year on HD and Super 8.
Joan Jett and Blackheart Records are releasing her classic record, I Love Rock N' Roll, on vinyl, in May. For those of you who don't already own the vinyl version from back in the day or the grooves are so worn on your copy that you need a new one, now's your chance to get it! They're offering a package deal that lands you the album, baseball jersey (women)/tee shirt (men) and a tote bag. Hey, do men carry tote bags? I'm being serious. Do they? I don't know ... my curious mind begs me to ask such silly questions. At any rate, tote bags are handy accessories, the album rocks and Joan Jett is friggin' bad ass cool. What more can you ask for?
Vertical Hold, the new record by Blimp, was brought to my attention a few days ago. So, I gave it listen. This is one of those records I put in my Sunday listening category ... fairly mellow. There's a California alt-country, Gram Parsons vibe going on. This is most evident on the tracks "In Front of Me" and "Jack and Bonneville." "Tiny Tiny" dips its toe into laid back funky waters complete with bluesy slide work. "Sweetheart" is a retro folk jazz number that brings images of dancing barefoot around your screened in back porch with your sweetie, after an evening of watching fireworks and sipping on some sweet tea.
While "Tiny Tiny" initially drew my attention, it's the albums closing track, "Don't Tell Me," that has ended up catching my ear the most. Check it out for yourselves.
Pimps of Joytime, Brian J (guitar/keyboards/vocals), Hagar Ben Ari (bass/vocals), Mayteana Morales (samples/percussion/vocals) and Chauncey Yearwood (percussion/vocals), were recommended to me. I had a listen because well, I'm game for checking out something at least once. The first thing I discover is Pimps of Joytime are full of flavor. They have a wicked blend Afro-Latin, funky, soul with some jazz thrown in to season the pot even further. Think Sly & The Family Stone or The Meters. This is old school funky stuff that you can dance and get sweaty to but, at the same time it's modern sounding.
I got around to picking up Setting Fire to the Great Unknown the newish (September '08) full-length debut by Greycoats. Having heard comparisons to Radiohead (casual listener) and Coldplay (to date, can barely tolerate) I was a bit leery of picking up this release. But I'd heard a couple of songs and decided to give the record a chance.
The first words that come to mind while listening to Setting Fire to the Great Unknown are epic and sweeping. One moment you're swept up in a melodic moment with crisp dreamy vocals. The next moment you're caught up in dramatic feedback filled intensity.
I was instantly taken with the strikingly beautiful "Watchman, What Is Left Of The Night?" This song is followed by the one, two punch of "Make Me Like The Moon" and "Spiritual." "Make Me Like The Moon" is filled with feedback and surging rhythms. "Spiritual" on the other hand has a low-key gospel appeal that builds up to a feedback ringing finish. There's a delicate soulfulness in the vocals. You can imagine sitting in a candle lit room, on the floor, on overstuffed pillows while listening.
It was announced today that more artists have been announced for George Wein’s JAZZ FESTIVAL 55. The festival takes place, August 7 - 9 in Newport, RI. Mos Def and Ernest Ranglin have been added to the stellar line-up of artists. Other additions to the 2009 line-up are Vandermark 5, Branford-Joey Duo, Claudia Acuña, North Carolina Central University Big Band, Millennial Territory Orchestra, Rashied Ali-Charles Gayle-William Parker’s “By Any Means” and Alfredo Rodriguez.
The Line Up
FRIDAY, AUGUST 7 ~ 8:00 pm International Tennis Hall of Fame, 194 Bellevue Avenue
Etta James and The Roots Band
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8 ~ 11:30 am – 7:00 pm Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Avenue
Branford Marsalis Quartet
Joshua Redman Double Trio
Cedar Walton All-Stars with Lew Tabackin & Curtis Fuller
Vijay Iyer Trio
Marsalis Music Presents Miguel Zenón
North Carolina Central Big Band
SUNDAY, AUGUST 9 ~ 11:30 am – 7:00 pm Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Avenue
Dave Brubeck Quartet
Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band
Joe Lovano UsFive
The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis
Conversation with Christian McBride
Millennial Territory Orchestra
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band
Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition
Rashied Ali-Charles Gayle-William Parker’s “By Any Means”
I picked up Love The Future, the debut full-length release from D.A. Wallach and Max Drummey, better known as the duo Chester French. It should be noted that I have a soft spot for Chester French. How could I not? I look at them and think, 'they look like my somewhat nerdy, younger brothers who happen to make music, are smart and damn good at marketing.' Well, that is if I had younger brothers! At any rate you just wanna hug 'em and give 'em ice cream. But, I digress.
Love The Future lets the world in on what fans already knew, Chester French doesn't really fit into a predefined category. The Tejano? styling's of their "Introduction" kicks things off. If you didn't already know, then you were pretty much clued in at that point that you were in for some sort of musical diversity. "C'mon (On My Own)" is up next and it's a solid pop rock bit. It's what comes after that, that's worth the price of the album on it's own. "Bebe Buell," is hands down my favorite song on the album. This addictive number mixes dirty guitar work some serious clap along keyboard driven pop music. If I weren't already hooked on Chester French, this song would have hooked me.
"Fingers," another favorite of mine, is like a cross between The Beatles and Tony Orlando. What? Am I the only one who thinks that? Well, this wouldn't be the first time that I've made questionable comparisons. Something about the song reminds me of 70's TV variety shows. They've managed to create imagery in my head that can only be found in those old variety shows. I can just see them now, fully costumed, dancing around a sound stage in some delightfully cheesy choreographed musical skit that has nothing to do with the song. One would reckon I'm going to say that's a bad thing but, I'm not! I have very fond memories of watching all 750 different music/comedy variety shows that aired in the 70's during my formative years. Hold up, that makes me sound really old! At any rate, it's a bang up orchestrated pop song.
Where the brilliant "String Interlude" is a brief but dramatic string filled break, the equally brilliant "Country Interlude" is anything but country with it's various effects and instrumentation's. Musically, it's rather creepy sounding going from mad guitar to what sounds like a xylophone (vibraphone?) that beckons you to soft shoe, back to the mad buzzing guitar. Yeah, there's a trip that's just waiting to happen with this song and a good pair of headphones.
"Beneath The Veil" has a rockabilly vibe. At the same time, it has a bit of a retro "these boots are made for walking" dance beat to it. I'm not sure I've ever heard a tap dance solo in a song that didn't involve a Broadway show and $150 tickets. But there's one in this song. This is where that somewhat nerdy part comes in. People go to shows and yell out guitar/bass/drum solo but NOBODY ever yells out tap dance solo! Are D.A. and Max trying to start a trend? If anyone can inspire people to go to a show and start yelling out for someone to bust a mad tap dance solo, it's Chester French. I do like the song, by the way.
"Beneath The Veil" is followed by two other goodies, "Neal," with it's sax and piano bits and "Not Over You." Everyone knows the catchy "The Jimmy Choos" and "She Loves Everybody." They're both here and just as catchy as ever.
Love The Future is a enjoyable piece of work. It embraces many styles, mixes them all together and does so without sounding like a train wreck.
Back in July of 1975, Lou Reed released the double album Metal Machine Music. Reed is now revisiting the concept of that work with his Metal Machine Trio. On Thursday, April 23 and Friday, April 24 at Blender Theater at Gramercy, Reed (guitar/electronics), along with Ulrich Krieger (tenor sax/live-electronics) and Sarth Calhoun (live processing/Fingerboard Continuum) will be performing A Deep Night of Noise. You're not going to get the typical "Sweet Jane," "Walk On The Wild Side," "White Light/White Heat" or other legendary songs that made him a music icon. These will be improvised non-vocal shows. Fans of Lou Reed and avant-garde works should enjoy these gigs. Tickets for both shows can be purchased HERE and it should be noted that they're half-price with a valid student ID when purchased at Blender Theater at Gramercy or Irving Plaza.
I mentioned in an earlier post that dates for folk and jazz festivals in Newport had been announced by music impresario George Wein. Today, ticket sale dates have been announced for George Wein's FOLK FESTIVAL 50, which will take place July 31 – August 2, and George Wein's JAZZ FESTIVAL 55, which will take place August 7 – 9, in Newport, RI.
Confirmed artists for FOLK FESTIVAL 50 are festival co-founder Pete Seeger, The Decemberists, Arlo Guthrie, Fleet Foxes, Joan Baez, Neko Case, Judy Collins, Campbell Brothers, The Avett Brothers, Josh Ritter, Gillian Welch, Del McCoury, Iron & Wine, Tao Rodriguez Seeger, Balfa Toujours, Elvis Perkins in Dearland, Tim Eriksen & Shape Note Singers, Langhorne Slim, Ben Kweller and Low Anthem.
Confirmed artist for JAZZ FESTIVAL 55 include Tony Bennett, Branford Marsalis, Etta James, Esperanza Spalding, Dave Brubeck Quartet, Vijay Iyer Trio, Cedar Walton with Lew Tabackin & Curtis Fuller, Christian McBride Group, Roy Haynes Quintet, Joshua Redman Double Trio, Hiromi, The Bad Plus joined by Wendy Lewis, Michel Camilo, Joe Lovano, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Miguel Zenon, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band and the Rodriguez Brothers.
Southern blues rock band Hill Country Revue, Cody Dickinson (guitar/drums/piano/washboard), Chris Chew (bass/vocals), Ed "Hot" Cleveland (drums), Daniel Coburn (vocals/harp) and Kirk Smithhart (guitar/vocals) will release their debut studio album, Make A Move on May 12.
Fans of Better Than Ezra have new music to look forward to. The band, Kevin Griffin (vocals, guitar), Tom Drummond (bass) and Michael Jerome (drums) will release their new album Paper Empire on May 12.
This Saturday, April 18, is Record Store Day! Once a year, independently owned record stores and artists join together to celebrate the art known as music. There are hundreds of artists making appearances and or performing, DJ's spinning tunes, meet and greets, special releases and all kinds of stuff.
Real record stores are sadly a dying breed so it's important to support your local indie shops. These are the places where the staff knows and loves music. A good deal of these shops you can still get your hands on vinyl. You try going to Best Buy to dig through vinyl while sitting on the floor. What's that? They don't have vinyl? How about non-bestselling CD's older than five years old? No? Oh yeah, silly me what am I thinking?! Go ask your local indie store. If they don't have it, they'll order it if it's in print and if all else fails someone in that store can likely tell you where to find it.
Here's a list of shops in the NYC area that are participating. For additional participants, shops in other states and more information, visit www.recordstoreday.com.
Nashville band Paper Route, Chad Howat (bass, piano, programming), JT Daly (vocals, keyboards, percussion), Andy Smith (vocals, guitars, harmonica) and Gavin McDonald (drums), are set to release their full-length debut Absence on April 28.
They are also touring in support of the upcoming release of Absence. There are plenty of opportunities to catch them in the New York area. They'll be with Copeland at Southpaw in Brooklyn on April 20 and at The Crazy Donkey in Long Island on April 22. Then, they'll be back in the area on June 2 with Young Love at Bowery Ballroom in Manhattan.