Monday, November 28, 2011

What I Did This Summer: Newport Folk Festival, Day 2

Today we have a look at day two of the 2011 Newport Folk Festival. The legendary festival was a great mix of classic an
d modern folk.

On the main stage where we spent most of our time, we got the soulfulness of Amos Lee, had one heck of a party with Miss Wanda Jackson and a musical journey with the Carolina Chocolate Drops who one minute played traditional folk from the 20's to beat boxing the next even tossing in a cover of R&B pop song "Hit 'em Up Style (Oops!)." Also on the main stage, Elvis Costello, headliner Emmylou Harris and the David Wax Museum who played one of the smaller stages as contest winners the previous year.

Meanwhile, over on the Quad stage, Middle Brother killed and The Secret Sisters charmed. At the Alex and Ani Harbor Stage, my guest blogger, Addison Braver Walsh, loved The Head and the Heart and I might have squealed a little bit and definitely sang along when Brown Bird, after an already impressive set, launched into the classic "Jackson" to close their set.

If you missed it or want to re-live it, this is what it looked like!

Fort Stage

Emmylou Harris
(more photos HERE)Above, folk legend Pete Seeger backstage with Harris.

Elvis Costello

Amos Lee
(more photos HERE)
Wanda Jackson
(more photos HERE)

Carolina Chocolate Drops
(more photos HERE)
David Wax Museum
(more photos HERE)

Quad Stage

The Secret Sisters
(more photos HERE)

Alex and Ani Harbor Stage

The Civil Wars
(more photos HERE)
Mountain Man
(more photos HERE)

In case you missed it, this is what we had to say about...

Wanda Jackson

Middle Brother

The Head and the Heart
by guest blogger Addison Braver Walsh

Brown Bird

Day 1 What I Did This Summer: Newport Folk Festival, Day 1

Friday, November 25, 2011

What I Did This Summer: Newport Folk Festival, Day 1

This summer we once again visited the legendary Newport Folk Festival in scenic Newport, RI. The weather was great, the people were great and the music, of course, was fantastic! For those of you that missed the sold-out festival or perhaps want to re-live it, this is what it looked like!

Fort Stage

The Decemberists
(more photos HER
Gillian Welch joined by David Rawlings
(more photos HERE)

Earl Scruggs
(more photos HERE)

Gogol Bordello
(more photos HERE)

The Wailin' Jennys
(more photos HERE)

Quad Stage

Mavis Staples
(more photos HERE)

Freelance Whales
(more photos HERE)

River City Extension
(more photos HERE)

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
(more photos HERE)

During their set, the sound went wonky and cut out. Plucky and professional lady that she is, Sallie Ford and her band made a quick set-up change and continued while the folks that handle the technical stuff sorted things out.

Alex and Ani Harbor Stage

Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three
(more photos HERE)

The Audience

Day 2 What I Did This Summer: Newport Folk Festival, Day 2

Friday, November 11, 2011

What You May Have Missed: Blackbells at Mercury Lounge

Blackbells: October12 @ Mercury Lounge, New York, NY

Last month I went down to Mercury Lounge to catch Brooklyn based band the Blackbells. Their new EP, IxI had been released the previous day so it was time to celebrate it! The audience was lively; they came ready to party. The Blackbells were excellent hosts with their all up in your ears, face melting rock 'n' roll. It's always a pleasure to have your face melted ... thank you fellas.

If you haven't picked up the EP, you should! If you missed the show, this is what it looked like!

More Photos HERE

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Sheriffs of Nottingham Kickstarter Project Ending Soon

Memphis rock band The Sheriffs of Nottingham are working to finish their new record, Have Mercy. They launched a Kickstarter project and there are 3 days left for them to reach their goal. If you're not familiar with their music, check out a stream of "Sticks and Stones" from the upcoming record below. If you dig it and want to show 'em some love head over to their Kickstarter page located HERE, and make a pledge.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Q & A: Lisa Bianco

One of my favorite rockin’ women, Lisa Bianco, has a new record, Momentum, coming out. It will be available Tuesday, November 15 via iTunes and other digital retailers. And for those who like to actually hold their music, physical copies will be available at On Momentum, Bianco has blended pop, alternative and punk into seven songs of melodic ear pleasure. With an upcoming record release show, Friday, November 11 at Bowery Electric, 7:30PM, I thought we should do a little Q&A with Bianco.

Quirky NY Chick (QNYC): Momentum, I think, is a bit harder edged than your previous record. Was that an intentional move or just a natural progression?

Lisa Bianco (LB): I think a bit of both. After my last album Post Data, I wanted to write different. I learned so much from the last album that I think it's natural to build on that. Or bring out some elements you discovered on that last album. I was writing so much on my acoustic guitar (kind of necessary since I live in an apartment). So instead I just plugged into Garage Band and headphones so I could be cranked how I want it at all times, lol. You write different that way and there's a resonance with electrics you don't get on acoustics. That resonance is sometimes responsible for the song ideas that some out. I also didn't want "mid tempo" to be the death of me. Ha. So I was writing more up songs. In fact "Erase You" started real slow on an acoustic guitar as an exercise to get out of writers block. I just decided that it would be really cool a lot faster...and it became a song; same thing with "Low." Originally "Low" was this strummy acoustic number. I knew that it wasn't quite right...but I knew there was a good song in there. So when my producer, Bryan Rusell, and I got together for pre pro we tore the song apart and tossed back and forth ideas of presenting it different. It's a dark song so we went for this deep picking and blasting chorus. The general rule for this album was throw out the book and do everything opposite to what you'd maybe normally expect to do. That's kind of how Bryan works. No predicable clichés and less is more.

Friday, November 4, 2011

S.C.U.M. Releases New Video

S.C.U.M. have released a video for their upcoming single, "Faith Unfolds." It was directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The single is scheduled to be released on January 13. Check out the video below.

This year has seen the band truly arrive in emphatic style. Live and on record S.C.U.M effortlessly bring together each band member’s individual listening habits in psychedelia, space-rock, avant-garde and ambient soundtracks to form a pop trip that neatly balances the innovative with the rapturously danceable to great effect. The band has toured with The Kills and played alongside Portishead in the UK.

S.C.U.M is Thomas Cohen (vocal), Bradley Baker (machines), Samuel Kilcoyne (moog), Melissa Rigby (drums) and Huw Webb (Bass).

PYYRAMIDS Release New Record & Video

PYYRAMIDS, the new collaboration by Tim Nordwind of OK Go and singer Drea Smith released their new record, Human Beings earlier this week. I've put this record on my recommend list. The alluring vocals and catchy rhythms will have these songs stuck in your head all day and on repeat play. Check out the video for "That Ain't Right" and download the song as well as stream the rest of the album using the handy widget at the bottom of the post.

From the mystical, unGoogleable beyond comes PYYRAMIDS, a new collaboration by OK Go's Tim Nordwind and singer Drea Smith. Living in the dark, atmospheric grotto midway between the dance floor and the mopey teenage bedroom of the mind, PYYRAMIDS' six-song debut will be available on October 31st from Paracadute, the full-service 21st century record label OK Go founded on their 2010 parting from Capitol. Befitting the band's cross of banging beats with underground pop, PYYRAMIDS arrives on that most idiosyncratic of formats, 10-inch vinyl.

PYYRAMIDS comes as a reinvention for both players and steps into new, wild territory. For Nordwind, the guy with the bass, beard, and glasses in OK Go, PYYRAMIDS' expansive textures find him far from the bright indie pop and all-inclusive videos that have made OK Go one of the most recognizable - not to mention most-watched - acts of the digital age. (Though that doesn't mean PYYRAMIDS won't try their hand at videos.) For Smith, formerly the saucy half of the electro-pop duo He Say She Say - and a stint with Lupe Fiasco - it brings her songwriting into a place of bold new maturity without sacrificing the force of her singular presence. For both, it is an unlikely partnership entirely befitting of the new age.