Friday, August 28, 2009

U.S. Royalty Set To Play NY & Releases EP

DC band U.S. Royalty released their debut EP, Midsommar, on August 25 while the 7" vinyl version of the album will be available on October 6. The digital download will include a bonus track, the Bo Flex remix of "Keep It Cool." Speaking of cool, you can grab the first track off the record, "Every Summer," HERE and check out the video below.

For those in the New York area, U.S. Royalty have a couple of shows coming up so you can check them out live. They'll be on the LES at Mercury Lounge this coming Wednesday, September 2. Then, they'll be across the bridge in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg on October 24.

Track Listing
  • Every Summer
  • Where Are You Now
  • Keep It Cool
  • Rats
  • Keep It Cool (Bo Flex remix)

Audio Fiction To Play Brooklyn

New York based pop rock band Audio Fiction are playing their first Brooklyn gig of the year. They'll be over at Public Assembly this coming Tuesday, September 1. They're melodic, dramatic, cheeky and fun. That's a recipe for a good live show.

I've mentioned Audio Fiction several times here since seeing them perform back in March. The band, Kristin Wilson Ryan (vocals), Darren Korb (bass), Charles Park (guitar) and Mark O'Toole (drums) have a record out simply titled Audio Fiction. If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, give it a spin. It's a good listen.

The record is a nice mix of pop and rock. Y'all know I'm a guitar fan and Park laces these songs with some wicked guitar bits especially live. He does good guitar face too, by the way. I dig "Wishful Thinking" which stood out when I saw them perform it. I think the majority of us can identify with this song ... digging someone who doesn't know you even exist. "Ever Wonder" and "Suffocate" both of which have wicked guitar. The latter of the two is my favorite song on the album and rocks itself into somewhat of a dance mode. It's a solid album from a delightful live band.

Track Listing
  • Race The Hourglass
  • Kite High
  • Johnny Go
  • Way Out
  • Days Like These
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Ever Wonder
  • Suffocate
  • All I Have
  • I’m Alive

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Video: Love Grenades - Young Lovers

I feel like getting down with my bad self. So to help me get moving, I turned to the Love Grenades. They're a Los Angeles group and they have some catchy songs. My favorite is "Tigers In The Fire" which is the title track to their EP. Tigers In The Fire was released at the end of last year but it's still fun. Check out the video for the catchy, somewhat infectious "Young Lovers" below.

"Young Lovers"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Langhorne Slim Set To Release New Record

Be Set Free, the upcoming record from Langhorne Slim is scheduled to be released on September 29. You can grab "I Love You, But Goodbye" from the album HERE.

Slim is also hitting the road this fall. For those in the New York area, he'll be at The Bell House in Brooklyn on October 15. Those of you outside New York, check out his MySpace page for dates.

Track Listing
  • Back to the Wild
  • Say Yes
  • I Love You, But Goodbye
  • Land Of Dreams
  • Cinderella
  • Be Set Free
  • For A Little While
  • Sunday By the Sea
  • Leaving My Love
  • Yer Wrong
  • Blow Your Mind
  • So Glad That I'm Coming Home
  • Boots Boy

QNYC Meets Star & Micey Virtually ... Sorta... Well, Not Really

I came to hear about Memphis based band Star & Micey via Twitter some months ago. I'd never heard of them but they started following me. I liked their name. How could I not? So, I made the following mutual. No formal tweetroductions (that's what introductions in the land of Twitter are called) have been made so I'll do it now. Hi Star & Micey, how are ya? I'm Quirky NY Chick ... QNYC for short, nice ta meet ya fellas. How are things down in Memphis?

Ah, virtural social outlets ... one stop shopping for stuff to check out and meeting new folks.

Well anyway, because I'm lazy, um, I mean a busy chick, I just now got around to checking out their brand of indie folk pop music. Hey, I may be slow, but at least I got around to checking them out! And, you know what? It turns out I like what I've heard so far. Star & Micey consists of Joshua Cosby (guitar/lead vocals), Geoff Smith (bass/vocals), Nick Redmond (lead guitar) and Doug Walker (organ/keys). I'm going to assume Walker isn't full-time as there's a cheeky "when willing" next to his name. But, I could be wrong, it has been known to happen from time to time. Guitarist Luther Dickinson makes an appearance on the song "So Much Pain" ... y'all know him, he's the bad ass guitar player from North Mississippi Allstars and The Black Crowes.

Star & Micey's self-titled debut album is slated to come out on October 20 and I look forward to checking it out. In the meantime, you can get a taste of what's to come using the handy widget below.

<a href="">So Much Pain (with Luther Dickinson) by Star & Micey</a>

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

R.E.M. To Release Live Album

Every time a quirky chick tries to put R.E.M. nice and neatly away on her shelf of "I'm over that phase" stuff, they come flying down, whack her on the head and make her listen ... again! I like R.E.M.. I seem to go through the R.E.M. phase on a regular basis. And, I'm not ashamed to admit my geek girl Mike Mills love fest issues. However, that's a story for another time. I digressed.

October 27, R.E.M. will release the double live album, R.E.M. Live At The Olympia. The set contains thirty-nine songs recorded at Dublin's Olympia Theatre where they tested out new songs, over five nights, for their 2008 studio record Accelerate. The discs gives fans the chance to hear the Accelerate songs in the earlier stages of development.

For those who like a little extra, there will be a special edition two CD & DVD set containing a film of the Dublin shows. Check out the handy, dandy, yet snazzy widget below. You can see the video for "Living Well Is The Best Revenge" and check out other R.E.M. goodness.

Track Listing
Disc 1
  • Living Well Is The Best Revenge
  • Second Guessing
  • Letter Never Sent
  • Staring Down The Barrel of the Middle Distance
  • Disturbance At The Heron House
  • Mr. Richards
  • New Test Leper
  • Cuyahoga
  • Electrolite
  • Man-Sized Wreath
  • So. Central Rain
  • On The Fly / Maps And Legends
  • Sitting Still / Driver 8
  • Horse To Water
  • I’m Gonna DJ
  • Circus Envy
  • These Days
Disc 2
  • Drive
  • Feeling Gravity’s Pull
  • Until The Day Is Done
  • Accelerate
  • Auctioneer
  • Little America
  • 1,000
  • Disguised
  • Worst Joke Ever
  • Welcome To the Occupation
  • Carnival of Sorts
  • Harbor Coat
  • Wolves Lower
  • I’ve Been High
  • Kohoutek
  • West of the Fields
  • Pretty Persuasion
  • Romance
  • Gardening At Night

The Beatles Get Digitally Re-mastered

Beatles fans rejoice! The original Beatles catalogue has been digitally re-mastered for the first time and will be unleashed upon the world on Wednesday, September 9. This is also the date the much anticipated The Beatles: Rock Band video game will be released. To make the day all the more Beatle-rific it's worldwide Beatles Day. Hey, is that a take off of work holiday?

So, over at Abbey Road Studios, that's in London for those who live under a rock or just plain didn't know in which case you should have all of your rock 'n' roll records confiscated as punishment for lack of rock trivia knowledge but, I digress. Anyway, over there at Abbey Road a team of engineers spent four years hunched over ancient, I mean vintage equipment while using new fangled, modern day, state of the art technology, re-mastering the analogue master tapes. They painstakingly fiddled around with the catalogue keeping the authenticity and integrity of the original recordings intact thus making everything all nice and spiffy for Beatles fans the world over.

They replicated the original UK album art for the CD's including expanded booklets containing the original liner notes as well as newly written notes and rare photos. Each disc will also have a brief documentary about the album but only for a limited time. For those who like those nifty packages known as box sets, there will be two boxed collections available the same day.

The stereo collection contains all twelve Beatles albums in stereo, Magical Mystery Tour and Past Masters Vol. I and II which are now combined to make one title. This is the first time the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on CD. These discs are available individually or in the box set. All but the Past Master disc contains a mini-documentary.
  • Please Please Me (CD debut in stereo)
  • With The Beatles (CD debut in stereo)
  • A Hard Day's Night (CD debut in stereo)
  • Beatles For Sale (CD debut in stereo)
  • Help!
  • Rubber Soul
  • Revolver
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (also includes 1987 notes, updated, and new intro by Paul McCartney)
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • The Beatles
  • Yellow Submarine (also includes original US liner notes)
  • Abbey Road
  • Let It Be
  • Past Masters (contains new liner notes written by Kevin Howlett)
The mono collection contains ten of the albums with their original mono mixes with an additional two discs of mono masters which is I guess you could call the equivalent of Past Masters. The discs in this collection are only available in the boxed set making it more for the collectors or the hardcore fans. As a bonus, Help! and Rubber Soul will include the original 1965, previously unreleased on CD, stereo mixes. Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour and The Beatles are making their mono mix CD debuts.
  • Please Please Me
  • With The Beatles
  • A Hard Day's Night
  • Beatles For Sale
  • Help! (CD also includes original 1965 stereo mix)
  • Rubber Soul (CD also include original 1965 stereo mix)
  • Revolver
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Magical Mystery Tour
  • The Beatles
  • Mono Masters
That's a whole lotta Beatles to dig into. Mark your calendars so you can enjoy a day dedicated to one of the most famous bands in rock history and re-live, re-discover, discover and sing-a-long with John, Paul, George & Ringo.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Matisyahu Offers Light

I've been spinning Light, the new record from Matisyahu for a bit now and trying to formulate words for this post. I suppose I should start by saying that I began looking forward to checking out Light, which hits stores this coming Tuesday, August 25, since I'd heard that it didn't rely as heavily on the reggae sounds that he has become known for. Being a minimal fan of reggae, this was a positive for me though I've been hearing rumblings that this is a negative for many. Of course rumblings generally happen when an artist ventures to expand, grow or change even in just a small way from what people initially became fans of. I have a respect for Matisyahu for remaining and maintaining himself regardless of musical stylings. I like that he's fun and positive without the whole overbearing, shove it down your throat, preachiness that often accompanies positive messages from those who choose to proudly display their faith.

But, fear not, the reggae sounds are still there though. They just aren't occupying the whole record nor are they as in your face. The record overall seems more reserved and subtle sound wise. Light has more of a crossover appeal than Matisyahu's previous works. I'm undecided as to how I feel about that having been a fan of artists who have crossed over. On one hand you're happy that the "rest" of the world has seen the light while proudly wearing your badge of honor for knowing about it before it caught on. But, at the same time, you feel a bit of loss.

On first listen I found myself facing a bit of irony. That first listen, I found myself immediately being drawn to the more reggae, hip-hop flavored songs. After that first listen however, I attempted to put any previous knowledge of Matisyahu out of my head and just listen. The first songs that really caught my ear and had me hitting the back button was "On Nature," though I could have done without the children singing bit, and the acoustic soul "I Will Be Light" which reminds me a little of Ben Harper. My opinion, "I Will Be Light" is worth the price of the album all on its own. The other stand out tracks for me were, "So Hi So Lo" and "Motivate" which has some nice guitar bits and will get you up and moving around.

When I first listened to "Darkness Into Light" I really liked it. After a few listens, I still like it but not as much. There's something about the music that I can't put my finger on that just gets on my nerves about halfway through. The music is upbeat and danceable but for some reason it just kind of bothers me. The thirteen song disc ends with "Silence." This song didn't really grab me when I first heard it but after hearing it a few times, it is becoming one of my favorite songs on the record and works well as an ending.

I find myself enjoying the stripped down songs more and more with each listen. While Matisyahu doesn't have a powerhouse voice, I'd be interested in hearing a straight up, outright acoustic EP. Though it's not the most flexible of instruments, he does have a nice texture to his voice.

I like Light. But, it is a more commercial sounding effort. Some hardcore fans may have trouble digesting the slightly more accessible sounds. At the same time, I don't think those same fans would tell you it's a bad album. They would probably just recommend his previous efforts first. For those new to the Matis experience, I would probably recommend picking up Live At Stubb's along with Light. For my tastes, I think he has found the right mix between doing what he does best and exploration.

Matisyahu already has a massive "in the know" following. I think his following is about to get even bigger with the release of Light.

Track Listing
  • Smash Lies
  • We Will Walk
  • One Day
  • Escape
  • So Hi So Lo
  • I Will Be Light
  • For You
  • On Nature
  • Motivate
  • Struggla
  • Darkness Into Light
  • Thunder
  • Silence

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Video: Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons - Born Again

Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons have a new record, Death Won't Send A Letter, coming out on September 29. You can grab the first single "Born Again" HERE. The song and the video, which you can watch below, features Brendan Benson and Patrick Keeler of The Raconteurs.

If you're in the New York area, Chisel will be at City Winery on August 25. And, he'll be at Zankel Hall, that's at Carnegie Hall for those not in the know or who confuse easily, on October 10.

Video: Those Darlins - Red Light Love

The delightfully fun Those Darlins have put out a video for their song "Red Light Love." The video was directed and illustrated by Jessi Darlin, animated by Teddy Gage with additional art work by Nikki Darlin and Sheriff Lin.

Those Darlins are on tour so check out their website for dates as well as other info.

Hockey Gets Remixed

Hockey gets a remix ... well, Hockey the band that is. The Portland band is offering up a remix of the song "Song Away." Check out "Song Away (Jack Beats' Anger Management Remix)" HERE.

Also, check out the video for "Song Away."

The Phenomenal Handclap Band Remixed

New York group The Phenomenal Handclap Band are offering up a remix of their song "15 To 20." You can check out the David E Sugar 5 10 Replay Remix HERE. Of course, the studio version of the song can be found on their self-titled debut. They're a fun band to see live.

The Summer Set To Release First Full Length Record

Arizona band The Summer Set are scheduled to drop their first full length record, Love Like This (Razor & Tie), on October 13. They're full of sun shiny fun-ness and catchy pop rockiness. If you're unfamiliar with their sound, check out their cover of Usher's "Love In This Club" from their EP Meet Me On The Left Coast HERE.

For those in the New York area, you'll have a chance to catch The Summer Set live. They'll be at The Gramercy Theatre with Cartel and This Providence on October 27.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Port O'Brien Set To Release New Record

California band Port O'Brien are gearing up for the release of their third album, threadbare, which is scheduled to reach the happy little hands of fans on October 6. You can check out "My Will Is Good" from the upcoming record HERE.

For those in the New York area looking to catch Port O'Brien live, they have two dates. They'll be on the LES at Mercury Lounge on October 14 and across the bridge in Brooklyn on October 16 at Union Hall. For both of these dates they'll be with Sea Wolf and Sara Lov.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Talking To Walls Take On NYC

Talking To Walls: August 15 @ Desmond's Tavern, New York, NY

Connecticut rockers Talking To Walls came back to New York this past Saturday and I was finally able to witness them! It wasn't the full band with amps on eleven this go 'round though. It was just a couple of the lads, Brian Kelly (vocals, guitar) and Nat Webb (guitar, vocals) doing a intimate, yet lively and extremely fun acoustic set.

For those who haven't experienced Desmond's, it's a small pub, with a small back area for the stage making everything all up in your face personal. That's just perfect for an acoustic set. Up until Saturday, I had only experienced Talking To Walls on record. As a result of seeing them live, I discovered a some things. Well, actually, I didn't just discover this but seeing it live made it stand out more. The first thing, they're really good live ... full of fun and charm. Okay, yeah, the live part I just discovered but the fun and charm bit I already knew about. I've probably mentioned this before but I like when people smile on stage. Well, not random pointless smiles. I enjoy seeing musicians have a good time on stage and when they have genuine smiles, it's infectious. These guys smiled a lot and it was catching.

The second thing, Kelly has an incredibly strong voice with a great tone. I already knew he had a good voice but hearing it up close and acoustic made it more noticeable. You can't hide anything in such an intimate setting. Being so close to musicians and acoustically to boot, gives one a sense of seeing an artist naked to the world. Kelly showed that he can hold his own quite well stripped down for the world to see.

The third thing I discovered, Webb is a hell of a guitar player. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, QNYC, you're a guitar lovin' chick. How did you not notice this before? I noticed! I knew he was good. But, Webb isn't a flashy, kick you in the teeth, hey look at me, show off type of guitar player. He's a more subtle player. Prior to this show I listened to Talking To Walls as a whole, not breaking it down to individuals. Saturday, I had the opportunity to focus on and experience his pure raw talent and it was a pleasure.

Most of the set consisted of tracks from The Megan EP and the free acoustic EP, A Long Stilt Walk both of which can be found on their website. They kicked off their set with "Walkaway" and ended with a rousing version of "Song For Megan" which you know made me happy as I've raved about this song since I heard it for the first time. Really, if listening to Megan doesn't make you feel good and smile then something's wrong with you. Lucky for all in attendance that I was holding my camera or I may have gotten up and flailed around like a nut, scaring folks and causing overall alarm in the general vicinity of Desmond's. I also have to make mention of the stunning version of "Crossed My Mind" that was done. If I wasn't already a fan of the song, they would have won me over with that performance. This makes my list of songs you must hear live. The other must hear live song that I'm currently diggin' is "New England."

They were joined onstage by their friend Mike Morello (whose set I unfortunately missed) for a brilliantly fun rendition of Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." This song was particularly fun for me as Brian and I discovered some time ago, via our online communications, that we share similar music tastes ... most of it good, some of it questionable, but, all of it fun to talk about. He's probably one of the few people who knows how truly dorky some of my music collection is. At any rate, Poison and their ilk were a topic of conversation for us at some point so it was terrific to hear that cover.

I know bars have this thing about TV's but it was rather annoying that the staff at Desmond's didn't make sure the volume was turned down when the band hit the stage. Perhaps most bands don't do acoustic sets there so it didn't occur to them, who knows. Morello I believe it was, took matters into his own hands and put America's Most Wanted on mute ... thank you. You'll be happy to know that no one at Desmond's matched the fugitive descriptions that were airing though Kelly did seem a bit nervous for a moment or two until he realized he wasn't being featured ... that episode airs next week. What? You know I couldn't resist having some fun with that! At any rate, I would also like to give thanks to the bartender who trooped downstairs to find me a can of Coke after I decided the ginger ale from the tap tasted off.

Talking To Walls put on a great show. I'm glad I finally had a chance to see them live and I look forward to seeing them again, electric or acoustic. Check them out if you and they are in the same general vicinity or even if they're not. Heck, it's summertime ... take a road trip to see them. You'll have fun ... I did!

The videos ...
"Song For Megan"

"Every Rose Has Its Thorn"

Set List
  • Walkaway
  • Rollercoaster
  • Cherry Red Heart
  • New England
  • Take Me Home
  • Fine Man
  • Crossed My Mind
  • We Were Not So Tall
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn
  • Song for Megan

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jazz Festival 55

George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55: August 9 @ Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI

This past Sunday, I ventured out to Fort Adams State Park with my camera to take in George Wein's CareFusion Jazz Festival 55. This was the last day of the three day event and this is what I saw.

Joe Lovano was the first artist to play the main stage Sunday. He was joined by Esperanza Spalding who performed her own set the day before.

Then I popped over to check out The Rodriguez Brothers who were enjoyable.

I caught some of Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band's set. We all know I'm not a drum fan but I rather liked Blade's work. And found the band enjoyable.

I went back over to the main stage to see Michel Camilo.

Rudresh Mahanthappa and festival founder George Wein chatting in the media tent before they were each whisked off to their interviews. Mahanthappa played the opening set over on the Harbor stage earlier.

I then went around to catch a couple of songs of the solo piano set by Alfredo Rodriguez.

I moved on to check out some of Steve Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra. I wasn't expecting to even remotely like them but what I saw wasn't too bad.

It was then back over to the main stage to check out Roy Haynes who was joined by special guest Ron Carter.

I stuck to the main stage to see Dave Brubeck who seemed to be in really good spirits.

It was then off to another stage to see the James Carter Organ Trio. They were the highlight of the day for me.

I then went over to check out By Any Means. Drummer Rashied Ali was unable to perform as he wasn't well and couldn't make it. His brother Muhammad Ali filled in for him though.

After that was The Bad Plus with Wendy Lewis. They were a little to experimental sounding for me so I didn't stick around long enough to catch Lewis hit the stage.

Antonia Bennett did a short set before her father took the stage. She didn't inherit her father's entertainment gene. She was lacking in stage presence in my opinion. I found her rather boring to be honest.

Closing the festival was Tony Bennett. I'm not a Bennett fan and expected to completely hate his set. Well, much to my surprise, I didn't hate it. While I'm still no fan, I did find him entertaining.

Dave Brubeck joined Bennett onstage for one song, "That Old Black Magic." They both seemed to be enjoying themselves during the song.

All in all it wasn't a bad day. The sun refused to cooperate and it was a bit chilly out but I rather enjoyed myself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Black Crowes Set To Release New CD

The Black Crowes are scheduled to release a new CD Before The Frost... on September 1. The fan friendly band is also releasing an exclusive second record, ...Until The Freeze, via download code which will be included in Before The Frost... as a thank you to fans for two decades of continued support.

Both records were recorded over five nights in upstate NY. While they're both studio recordings they were recorded in front of a small audience of fans making them a part of the intimate studio experience.

Before The Frost... features eleven new and previously unreleased tracks including "I Ain't Hiding" which can be found HERE. ...Until The Freeze features eight originals and a cover of Stephen Stills "So Many Times."

If you're a vinyl fan, you can pick up the limited edition version of Before The Frost...Until The Freeze on September 1 too. I haven't seen the packaging for the vinyl but I'm sure it'll be fun. I still adore my Three Snakes singles box set and a few other unique packages I acquired over the years.

After being somewhat disappointed by Warpaint, I'm looking forward to this release based on "I Ain't Hiding." If the rest of the record sounds like this, I'll be a truly happy camper. I can't believe it's been nearly twenty years since I fell in love with Shake your Moneymaker. It seems so long ago since I had the Crowes on constant repeat ... so long ago that I used to travel around to see them play.

Speaking of seeing them play, they're on tour. The Black Crowes will be making a stop in NYC the day after their record release. They'll be at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park Wednesday, September 2.

Track Listing

Before The Frost…
  • Good Morning Captain
  • Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)
  • Appaloosa
  • A Train Still Makes A Lonely Sound
  • I Ain't Hiding
  • Kept My Soul
  • What Is Home
  • Houston Don’t Dream About Me
  • Make Glad
  • And The Band Played On
  • Last Place That Love Lives
…Until The Freeze (Free Download Album Track Listing)
  • Aimless Peacock
  • Shady Grove
  • Garden Gate
  • Greenhorn
  • Shine Along
  • Roll Old Jeremiah
  • Lady Of Avenue A
  • So Many Times
  • Fork In The River

Juliette Lewis Explores Terra Incognita

Juliette Lewis has a new record coming out. Terra Incognita is set to be released on September 1! The album is available for pre-order HERE. I for one can't wait to get my happy little hands on a copy. Lewis has hit the road and is on the bill with The Pretenders and Cat Power until the beginning of September then she'll hope across the pond for some European dates.

Lights On In NYC & Brooklyn

San Diego band Lights On are making their NY debut in a big way. They'll be lighting up NY with four shows, two nights in Manhattan and two nights in Brooklyn. If you're hanging about the LES or across the bridge in BKLYN, check them out. You'll get to hear songs from their upcoming 5 song EP, Waiting For The Heart To Beat if you do.

On the LES, Lights On will be at Club NME at The Annex on Thursday, August 13 at 8PM and the following night at Pianos, Friday, August 14 at 8:30PM. In Brooklyn, they'll be at Union Hall on Saturday, August 15 at 8:30PM and Bruar Falls, Sunday, August 16 at 9PM.

Check out "John And Anne" from the upcoming record HERE.