The B-52s use Fellini masterpiece as inspiration on new album Funplex – song to be featured on The L Word Feb 10th

THE B-52S USE FELLINI MASTERPIECE AS INSPIRATION ON NEW ALBUM ‘FUNPLEX’ (MARCH 25TH, ASTRALWERKS)

SONG TO BE FEATURED ON THE L WORD FEB 10TH

“Juliet of the Spirits” a song on The B-52s upcoming album ‘Funplex’ (3/25, Astralwerks), was inspired by the surreal 1965 Frederico Fellini film of the same name. According to vocalist Kate Pierson the band turned to the Italian auteur’s masterpiece “for lyrical inspiration, since his movies have always been an influence on our look and our hair!” The protagonist Juliet is a stifled housewife who finds her own independence with the help of a free-spirited neighbor and her own philandering husband. Here, Pierson, Fred Schneider, Keith Strickland and Cindy Wilson use their own dynamic wordplay, rousing melodies and unmistakable harmonies to create this standout song:

Juliet I can feel your glow
Of passions ready to explode
Secrets you’ve kept should all be told
Like blossoms ready to unfold

Juliet you’re not afraid anymore
Juliet- Juliet I’m not afraid anymore

Recorded in their native Athens, GA with producer Steve Osbourne (New Order, Happy Mondays, Doves, KT Tunstall), ‘Funplex’ is The B-52s first studio album in 16 years. All 11 songs find the band in vigorous, forward stance, while staying true to their party-rock style. Check out “Juliet of the Spirits” in the February 10th episode of Showtime’s The L Word.

Dragon in Stiilletos – Dragonette live

Dragon in Stiilletos

Dragon in Stiilletos - Dragonette liveBy Gena Perala/Photo by Avi Leigh Bader

She: Singer Songwriter, He: Bassist/Producer for ‘The New Deal’. They, met at a music festival – slept together at some point, started making music together at some point, he broke up with his, then girlfriend at some point, and they got married… at some point.

Joined forces with drummer Joel Stouffer and guitar player Simon Craig to form electro pop band “Dragonette”.

Recently on tour, promoting their first album “Galore”, I caught Dragonette at the Plaza. After checking them out online (their photos are amazing by the way) and listening to a couple of their tracks, I was hopeful that they would be better live. I don’t, not like them, but they’re not great. Lead Singer, Martina Sorbara started as a ‘Singer Songwriter gal’ and it’s easy to hear why. I love the timber of her voice. It’s so smooth and strong, really enjoyable. Her voice reminds me of Emily Haines from ‘Metric’ (as does their music) and Nina Personn’s from ‘The Cardigans’ – not bad company. Unfortunately however, I’d rather listen to The Cardigans and Metric than I would to Dragonette. Their electro pop provides nothing new, aside from maybe the great thought they put into their visual presentation, which in the end doesn’t carry the day. Dragonette is a decent band, with a decent sound – they definitely give ‘er, live, and they are all very nice to look at, but simply don’t quite cut it. They are just ok. I wouldn’t write them off completely after one album though, I have a feeling this band has the ability to evolve (Dan Kurtz did produce ‘Monarch’ one of Feist’s early albums) and if they hope to keep playing together, they better do so. After low sales Dragonette was dropped from Mercury Records in 2007 but still retains a deal with Universal. Their next album will give us an idea which direction this band might be headed…the curb? Or back on tour?

Ultimately, I’d rather listen to Metric.

The Shondes dramatic debut receives early praise from Spin, CMJ, Amplifier and more, Brooklyn based politically charged quartet compared to Sleater-Kinney, Patti Smith and Rasputina.

The Shondes dramatic debut receives early praise from Spin, CMJ, Amplifier and more, Brooklyn based politically charged quartet compared to Sleater-Kinney, Patti Smith and Rasputina.

“…radical politics, inspired riffs, textured harmonies and pure sex appeal” – Curve Magazine

“Seamlessly fusing art and politics” – Punk Planet

“Hard-driving, politically savvy rock ‘n roll” – Flavorpill

“A powerful new sound” – Heeb Magazine

The Shondes, a Brooklyn, NY quartet taking its name from the Yiddish word for “shame” or “disgrace” has already earned considerable praise (contrary to the group’s self-deprecating moniker) for its recently released debut album, The Red Sea. The disc, produced by Pere Ubu bassist and producer Tony Maimone (They Might Be Giants, Book Of Knots) was released in mid-January and met with a wellspring of enthusiastic press.

Spin.com recently featured The Shondes as its “Artist of The Day”. The band’s NYC album release party was glowingly reviewed by CMJ. New York Press featured The Shondes in an in-depth article . Likewise, reputable outlets like Alternative Press and Amplifier have taken interest in the band.

The Shondes’ dramatic rock has been compared to Sleater-Kinney, Patti Smith and Rasputina, due to the group’s clever merging of classical music, traditional Jewish folk and punk rock into a compelling whole. The Shondes — Temim Fruchter (drums/vocals), Louisa Solomon (bass/vocals), Ian Brannigan (guitar) and Elijah Oberman (violin/vocals) — quickly gained popularity in its native city thanks to its complex melodic song structures combined with rich, intertwined vocals. Despite the apparent fixation on an erroneous quantifier relating to the band members’ identities (falsely describing them as “3/4 trans,” perhaps because it makes a catchy press hook, when paired with the factually correct “3/4 Jewish”), The Shondes have been receiving acclaim for their seamless fusion of fierce political conviction and serious musicianship. “We’re proud to continue the tradition of political, queer and feminist punk,” says drummer Temim Fruchter.

The Shondes’ songwriting fuses the various musical traditions of feminist punk, classical, Jewish and queercore, while the band’s vocal melodies move effortlessly from anthemic to haunting — textured by the distinct qualities of each of their voices. The result is a unique sound that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. The high energy of its live shows bring audiences along for the ride, with audience members often singing along and swaying to the punchy rhythms and soaring melodies.

From its formation, The Shondes has maintained a rigorous tour schedule including two national tours, a midwest mini-tour, regular east coast dates, and festivals such as North by Northeast and Homo A Go Go. The group has shared the stage with indie luminaries Electrelane, Erase Errata, Amy Ray, Mecca Normal, Joe Lally of Fugazi and Lesbians on Ecstasy, among others. The band also organizes events, often in partnership with local activist organizations, such as the Jews Against the Occupation Chanukah Ball and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s Valentine’s Day Party.

The Red Sea Album Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

01. Don’t Look Down (MP3)
02. Your Monster
03. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (MP3)
04. Winter
05. Let’s Go (MP3)
06. I Watched the Temple Fall
07. At the Water
08. What Love Is
09. The Mother and the Colony
10. Don’t Whisper
11. The Start of Everything

Black Lips conquest continues with exclusive new ITunes EP, new video, tour dates and Yahoo! Contest

BLACK LIPS CONQUEST CONTINUES WITH EXCLUSIVE iTUNES EP, NEW VIDEO, TOUR DATES, AND YAHOO! CONTEST

iTUNES LIVE SESSION EP OUT NOW, AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY ON iTUNES HERE: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=271166007&s=143441

“VENI VIDI VICI” VIDEO AVAILABLE HERE: http://www.vicerecords.com/video/VVV-with_1Mbps_Stream-edit.mov

FEBRUARY/MARCH US TOUR DATES BELOW

VICE Records’ workaholic garage rockers Black Lips have just released an exclusive iTunes Live Session EP recorded this past summer while the band was in San Francisco. Available exclusively on iTunes, this EP provides yet another glimpse at the band’s storied live experience. The EP can be purchased here

Tracklisting for the iTunes Live Session EP:
1. Bad Kids
2. Lean
3. O Katrina!
4. Cold Hands
5. Lock and Key

Black Lips have also been chosen as one of four artists featured in Yahoo’s User’s Choice program. This is a voting program in which four artists are pitted against one another to win the most votes. The artist with the most votes goes to Yahoo’s Santa Monica studio to tape a performance and interview. If you’d like to hear more of them be sure to cast your vote here: http://music.yahoo.com/promo-29644410.

Directed by Edward Tegethoff and the Black Lips themselves, their new video for “Veni Vidi Vici” (from their album Good Bad Not Evil, VICE Records) captures all the swagger the band is known for while highlighting some notable landmarks in their hometown of Atlanta, GA. Filmed on an old Super 8 camera the band found at a thrift store, parts of “Veni Vidi Vici” were filmed at Oakland Cemetery, where “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell is buried. Continuing on that theme, another scene was filmed at the hotel where Clark Gable stayed for the Atlanta premier of “Gone With the Wind” as well. These fine Southern gentlemen can be viewed here: http://www.vicerecords.com/video/VVV-with_1Mbps_Stream-edit.mov.

Tour dates (w/ links to buy tickets below):
2/4/07 SEATTLE, WA NEUMOS
2/5/08 PORTLAND, OR DANTES
2/6/08 EUGENE, OR WOW HALL
2/8/08 SAN FRANCISCO, CA GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL
2/9/08 POMONA, CA GLASSHOUSE
2/10/08 COSTA MESA, CA DETROIT BAR
2/13/08 SAN DIEGO, CA CASBAH
2/14/08 LOS ANGELES, CA EL REY
2/22/08 NEW ORLEANS, LA ONE EYED JACKS
2/23/08 AUSTIN, TX EMOS OUTSIDE
2/24/08 DALLAS, TX THE LOFT
2/25/08 LAWRENCE, KS BOTTLENECK
2/26/08 OMAHA, NE WAITING ROOM
2/28/08 MINNEAPOLIS, MN 7th STREET ENTRY
2/29/08 MADISON, WI MEMORIAL UNION/U OF WISCONSIN
3/1/08 CHICAGO, IL LOGAN SQUARE
3/2/08 MILWAUKEE, WI TURNER HALL
3/4/08 COLUMBUS, OH THE BASEMENT
3/5/08 OBERLIN, OH CLUB DIONYSUS
3/6/08 DETROIT, MI MAGIC STICK
3/7/08 PITTSBURGH, PA MR SMALLS
3/8/08 BUFFALO, NY MOHAWK PLACE
3/10/08 NEW YORK, NY BOWERY BALLROOM
3/11/08 BROOKLYN, NY MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG
3/13/08 CAMBRIDGE, MA MIDDLE EAST
3/14/08 PHILADELPHIA, PA JOHNNY BRENDAS
3/15/08 WASHINGTON, DC BLACK CAT
3/16/08 CHAPEL HILL, NC LOCAL 506
3/20/08 NASHVILLE, TN MERCY LOUNGE
3/21/08 MEMPHIS, TN HI TONE
3/22/08 ATLANTA, GA THE EARL

The OaKs start to burn — band brings its forest of sound from Orlando to Afghanistan to NYC for an appearance on Public Radio International’s “Fair Game.” Press day announced amid fawning early notices for upcoming album Songs For Waiting.

The OaKs start to burn — band brings its forest of sound from Orlando to Afghanistan to NYC for an appearance on Public Radio International’s “Fair Game.” Press day announced amid fawning early notices for upcoming album Songs For Waiting.

Band lyricist Ryan Costello details the story behind “Masood” — the hypnotic, hopeful tale of an Afghani teen and a mythic hero. Fans of Paul Simon’s Graceland, Steve Earle, Wilco, Sufjan Stevens abide.

“The OaKs have earned an enthusiastic following due as much in part to their cunningly complex music arrangements as to their epic, humanitarian-based back story.” – Metromix

Orlando-based band The OaKs continues to build momentum leading up to the release of its sophomore album, Songs For Waiting, recently playing to a sold-out hometown crowd eager to hear the band’s affecting new material in a live setting. The group will be in New York on January 29th to tape its public radio debut on Public Radio International’s Fair Game with Faith Salie.

The OaKs will also be available that day to meet with the press to discuss its new album, bandleader Ryan Costello’s time spent living in Afghanistan, and what makes its music so spiritually inspiring. Contact Fanatic’s Vai Godhania (print media) and Andy Silva (new media) with your interview requests.

Additionally, The OaKs has released a short video depicting its at-home recording journey.

One of the major surprises of CMJ 2007, Orlando band The OaKs is set to release its sophomore album Songs For Waiting on March 4th, 2008. The profound and stirring album is the follow-up to the band’s Our Fathers and The Things They Left Behind which caught the ears and minds of many fans and scribes in 2007 with its unique blend of Graceland’s polyrhythms, Steve Earle’s politics, Wilco’s urgency, and Sufjan Stevens’ orchestrations.

The story behind The OaKs’ music is just as interesting as the sounds. In late 2003, just two years after 9/11, The OaKs’ Ryan Costello sold everything he owned, joined a humanitarian organization and moved to Afghanistan. Costello lived there for two years, working in the Central Afghan Mountains with returned refugees, teaching them creative agricultural techniques and becoming fluent in their native language, Farsi. Late at night, while the dust storms blocked out the stars and rattled the windows, he would sit and work out impressions of what he had seen and heard that day on his acoustic guitar. Costello also documented his time in Afghanistan with a series of moving portraits which can be viewed at ryancostello.com.

After returning to the United States, Costello joined back up with his long-time creative and songwriting partner Matthew Antolick, who was drumming full-time in a Moroccan band. Antolick and Costello began working out Costello’s melodic ideas and lyrical concepts, home-recording in Antolick’s apartment what eventually became Our Fathers and The Things They Left Behind. Exploring themes of self-sacrifice and introspection over roots-folk and jazzy melodic layers, Our Fathers… was an original breath of fresh air in the independent music scene.

The release of Our Fathers… drew immediate attention to The OaKs in Orlando’s press and music scene, and the attention quickly went national as Paste Magazine featured Costello and The OaKs in its July 2007 cover story “Can Rock Save the World?” (LINK). The OaKs also partnered with Global Hope Network on the release of Our Fathers…and agreed to donate 50% of the profits from each CD or track download to aid widows and recently-returned refugees from Afghanistan.

As the attention grew, Costello and Antolick realized immediately the difficulty of translating their multi-tracked compositions into a live setting as just a duo, and began working to put together a band of diverse musicians who could make the compositions come to life on stage. They were soon joined by Jeremy Siegel, a classically trained bassist steeped in Led Zeppelin and Bootsy Collins riffs, and also fluent in classical and jazz trombone. Tim Cocking came next — a piano major and audio engineer as dexterous on his keyboard and accordion as he is on his trumpet, and Greg Willson, a seminary student wielding a mandolin and electric guitar and playing the breathiest Stan Getz-style saxophone they had ever heard. Their lineup was completed shortly thereafter by Melissa Reyes, a singer-songwriter whose alto voice and folk harmonies perfectly complement Costello’s high vibrato. From the first guitar riff at The OaKs’ debut show at the 2006 Anti-Pop Music Festival, it was apparent that these people were meant to be making music together – the energy in the room was electric, and the reviews were raving.

Out of this natural chemistry was born many new songs over the winter of 2006/2007. Inspired by the unique talents of each new band member, Costello and Antolick began writing songs that would showcase the bands rhythmic tightness and diverse instrumentation. The result is Songs For Waiting. On the album, Costello delves into the life of one of his complicated mythic heroes, Dietrich Bonheoffer, a German Lutheran minister who was executed for attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler (“The Two Calls [of Dietrich Bonheoffer]”). In “Masood”, Costello paints a composite portrait of a teenage friend he had in Afghanistan who took on the mantle of his family after his father passed away, and of Akhmad Shah Masood, an Afghan war hero who was killed in the war of 2002.

Costello also draws from one of his favorite southern authors Carson McCullers (No Country For Old Men) in “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter” (LIVE at CMJ, 2007), writing about searching for truth amidst brokenness. He writes of his more personal experiences with spirituality and failure in the prayerfully repentant “Here I Am Again,” and with friendship across the divide of global conflict in “War Changes Everything.”

Inspired by Costello’s lyrical and melodic depth, Antolick pulled drumming inspiration from everything from Moroccan polyrhythms and bebop jazz, to John Bonham’s spacious power. The OaKs honed these tracks in the living room of Costello’s wood-floored 1950’s style house, and at live shows across the state of Florida, until the melodic complexity and rhythmic tightness of the music exceeded anything the band had done before.

In late July of 2007, Costello put in for part-time employment at his social work job and The OaKs began recording Songs For Waiting. Using the warm, full sound of Costello’s old house, he and Antolick were determined to use no artificial reverb on the new album, instead using room micing techniques to mix the elements together in the style of their favorite 1960’s jazz and rock albums. Even synthesizers were played through amplifiers and speakers and run into the room to give them the woody ambience of Costello’s house. Over the next few months The OaKs employed trumpet, trombone, sax, Hammond organ, bells, synths from the 70’s and 80’s, acoustic and classical guitars, electric and acoustic bass, a plethora of shakers, tambourines, and hand-drums, and a Wurlitzer electric piano from 1959.

In mid-October Antolick, Costello, and keyboardist Cocking began mixing the new album. Using as few modern mixing tricks as possible, including no artificial reverb or delay, they carefully arranged each song. Throughout the mixing process they were mentored and guided by Alan Douches of West West Side Music, whose hand has been on great recordings from Paul Simon’s Graceland to Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House and Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois.

Finally, after over four long months, The OaKs’ Songs For Waiting was finished on November 8th, 2007. The new album is scheduled for release on March 4th, 2008.

The OaKs Live:
01/29 New York, NY Press Day
01/29 New York, NY Public Radio International – Fair Game w/ Faith Salie
02/01 Tampa, FL New World Brewery
02/23 Daytona Beach, FL The Bank

Songs For Waiting Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

View The Album Trailer HERE

Release Date: March 4th, 2008

01. The Two Calls (of Dietrich Bonheoffer)
02. Masood (MP3)
03. Old Bones
04. Pike County
05. After the Fires
06. The Attraction of the Pilgrim
07. Here I Am Again
08. War Changes Everything
09. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
10. Song for Waiting

More about The OaKs’ song “Masood”:

It was early December, 2004. 26-year-old Ryan Costello had just moved into a new house on the west side of Kabul with a South African family, having lived there only one month. With only a scant knowledge of the local language, Farsi, Costello began walking the streets near his house during the day determined to make friends in the neighborhood. After several days of hanging out with and taking photographs of the local school age children, he was invited by a middle aged man into his mud-walled shop and offered tea. Not knowing the local custom of declining invitations at least three times, Costello said “yes”, which surprised the man who frantically looked around, realizing he had no tea to serve. At that moment another, younger man with a beard and leather jacket who had been standing in the corner of the shop spoke up, “You must come to my house and have tea with us.”

Just a few hundred feet away Costello approached an old rusty gate racked with bullet holes and walked into a courtyard where the shell of a blown-out building stood. Up the winding stairs and into a carpeted living room, with thin cellophane over the gaping hole blown in the wall, Costello sat and waited. After a few minutes, in walked a young boy, around sixteen-years-old, with clear eyes and a wide smile. “Hello – welcome. My name is Masood.”

Thus began a close friendship between Costello and Masood. Taking him deep into the heart of the city’s swarming bazaars, Masood helped Costello buy a Chinese bicycle for 20 American dollars. Masood and his brothers took Costello all over the ancient city, from the mined mountains on the outskirts of the city where the faithful gather holy water from a sacred spring to the bird bazaar where birds from all over Asia are traded and sold. Their unlikely friendship grew deeper, as did Masood’s English and Costello’s Farsi. Masood shared his life story, how his father had been a renowned judge before the war and how they lived in a large house, which they now huddled in the remains of.

One sub-freezing night in the middle of winter, Masood showed up on Costello’s doorstep with red, worried eyes. “Can I use your phone to call my brothers out on the west side of the country?” After some prompting, Masood shared with Costello that his father was near death with an undiagnosed illness. Masood took Costello in the cold night to his house, up the stairs and into a small back bedroom, where Costello saw Masood’s mother, brothers, and sister huddled around his father who lay on a cot on the floor, a loud rattle in his chest. Masood invited Costello to come and sit with him next to his father, and they sat together for some time. Masood asked if Costello would pray over his father, and, raising his hands in the Afghan custom, he did. That night, Masood’s father passed away.

The next day began 40 days of mourning. Masood came over to get Costello one early morning soon after, and Costello walked into their courtyard to find relatives from all over Afghanistan had come to pay their respects for Masood’s father. Many of them walked up to Costello and thanked him in broken English for coming to spend time with him in his last hours, and for praying for him.

Costello and Masood continued their close relationship for two more years after this, until Costello left for America. Masood changed after his father died, becoming more sober and pensive. He shared with Costello the weight he felt on his shoulders to rise up and provide for his family and to take on their name.

Three years later, as Costello sat around in his living room in Florida one summer strumming on his classical guitar, he began working on a song that would weave in the story of Masood with another Masood who was killed in late 2001, Ahmad Shaw Masood. An Afghan mythic hero who rose up mighty armies to fight first the Russians and then later the Taliban, Masood from an early age carried himself as a warrior and a walking message to his people never to let themselves be ruled from without. Called “The Lion of Panshir”, Masood gave hope to his people in a hopeless time. As a composite of one personal friendship and one mythic story, Masood came to be one of the centerpieces of The OaKs’ new album Songs For Waiting.

Radar Bros front man, Jim Putnam, releases his new side project Mt. Wilson Repeater April 15th on Eastern Fiction

RADAR BROS FRONT MAN, JIM PUTNAM, RELEASES HIS NEW SIDE PROJECT “MT. WILSON REPEATER” APRIL 15TH ON EASTERN FICTION

After ten-plus years fronting the Los Angeles’ based, critically praised outfit Radar Bros. Jim Putnam now brings his acclaimed talent for composition, melody and engineering to his new project Mt. Wilson Repeater. On this self-titled, debut album we find Jim playing multiple instruments (drums, guitar, bass, keyboards) and recording every track himself – utilizing many of the recording techniques learned from his father, renowned engineer Bill Putnam. Combining full creative control with an extensive musical background, Jim provides an accessible, yet adventuresome listening experience – a seamless welding of electronic and acoustic worlds.

Track-listing:
1. Canmtady
2. Out Country Way
3. Island In The Sun
4. Pencils/Pens
5. Basketball Song
6. All Night Every Day
7. The Conversation
8. Everyone Say Hello
9. In The Teeth of A Whale
10. Maid Marion
11. Tether In The Haze

On Jim/Radar Bros:
“I feel like our own-Los Angeles’s own, your own, that is-Radar Bros. have been on the verge (of something big[ger]) for about a dozen years or so now. That’s got nothing to with them, as they go about their business, but sad that we sometimes chronically fixate on what comes Next and seek to confer Next Big Thing status on bands, instead of appreciating what is here in the now, what has been right here all along” – LOSANJEALOUS (2008)

“Putnam packs multiple layers of sound into shimmering mirages of song. As always, you’ll hear shades of misty Pink Floyd, psych-trippy Beatles and the wavering Neil Young. The songs have a ruminative warmth and casualness to them, yet crystalline production allows you to hear every element.” – SPLENDIDZINE (2005)

“So climb outta that hammock and put down that glass of Country Time. Get in your car. You needed to pick up some more fertilizer today anyway. Stop off at your local record shop, and pick up a copy of And the Surrounding Mountains. I promise, it’ll be worth your while.” – PITCHFORK (2002)

“Their latest CD, The Singing Hatchet, was one of my favorite discs the year it was released. When I heard it was done in a home studio, I was impressed yet not surprised, as it made perfect sense that the laid-back vibe of the CD could only come from a home studio or a humungous recording budget…” – TAPE-OP (2001)

Songwriter by day, DJ by night — Grammy award winning Dirty Vegas front man Steve Smith commences a string of gigs around the US including a performance at the Sundance Film Festival.

Songwriter by day, DJ by night — Grammy award winning Dirty Vegas front man Steve Smith commences a string of gigs around the US including a performance at the Sundance Film Festival.

Boston press day scheduled with shows in LA, SF and NYC to follow in support of debut solo album This Town featuring guest appearances from actor John Savage, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson and X-ecutioner Rob Swift among others.

“If you find yourself a fan of bands like Coldplay, Death Cab For Cutie, or even Travis, you should check out what Steve Smith has created. Underneath this DJ lies a musician who had a calling to record this CD, a dream about one of the songs, and the enthusiasm to go through with it. These are the types of musicians I respect.” – Brian McIrish, Blog Critics

Dirty Vegas front man Steve Smith has taken a hard right turn from the sound that earned him two Grammys and helped him reach platinum sales. At least it would seem that way when comparing the electronica of his hit “Days Go By” with the delightful fusion of folk and rock sounds that comprise his solo debut This Town, out February 18th via the artist’s own G.A.S. Recordings (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) via RedEye Distribution. The first 2500 copies of the record even include an acoustic version of “Days Go By” which listeners should A/B with the original to get the clearest picture of Smith’s evolution. Another bonus cut, “Late Nights and Street Fights”, which was chosen to be the main title theme for the FOX-TV hit series, Standoff is also included at the tail end of This Town.

Stream the entire This Town record HERE

While Smith’s stylistic shift in sound may seem cut and dried on the surface, it actually serves to reveal that he has been a songwriter at heart the entire time. This Town is about as heartfelt as an album can get, blending folk, rock and electronica with Smith’s inherent songwriting ability into a steady stream of memorable, affecting tunes about Smith’s physical and spiritual relocation from London to Boston . This Town draws the listener in from the start with an inspiring monologue by acclaimed actor John Savage (The Deer Hunter, Hair), introducing a narrative that will repeat throughout the rest of the album. Life is tough. Or, as Savage says so plainly at the beginning of the album: “Sometimes, being a genius is just getting up in the morning.”

Smith will be out on the road through much of the remainder of January and February performing DJ sets as well as acoustic renditions of This Town tunes in major markets as he continues to drum up attention for the record. Especially exciting is Smith’s upcoming show as part of the Sundance Film Festival’s awards party. See below for a complete list of dates, and be sure to schedule some time to chat.

Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas Live:
01/23 Park City, UT BMI Private at Sundance Film Festival (Acoustic set)
01/24 Montreal, QUE at Time (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
01/25 Ottawa, ONT at Heaven (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
01/26 Park City, UT Official Sundance Film Festival at Park City Racquet Club (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
02/01 Washington, DC at Five (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
02/02 Toronto, ONT at Circa (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
02/05 Boston, MA at Z-Square (Press day followed by acoustic set)
02/08 Los Angeles, CA at Hotel Café (Acoustic set)
02/09 San Francisco, CA at Ruby Skye (Dirty Vegas DJ set)
02/18 New York, NY at Pianos (Acoustic set)
02/20 Boston, MA at Middle East (Acoustic set)

This Town Track Listing:

Stream The Album HERE

View Album Trailer HERE

Release Date: February 18, 2008

01. This Town
02. Hit Me Up (MP3)
03. Restless
04. Universe
05. Morning Jane
06. Smile
07. Comedown Queen
08. Sleep Like A Lover
09. Better Off That Way
10. That Town
11. Bonus Track: Late Nights & Street Fights (Theme from the FOX-TV show Standoff)
12. Bonus Track: Days Go By (Steve Osbourne Acoustic Mix)

More about Steve Smith and Dirty Vegas:

14-year-old Steve Smith was waiting for his piano teacher to arrive when he spotted the school drums and jumped on the kit. He was lost in the moment when the door burst open and the horrified teacher asked, “wouldn’t you prefer to sign up for drum lessons instead?!” Cue a cheeky grin!

Born into a South London working class home in the early 70’s, Steve was the youngest of five. He grew up with his ear pressed to his elder siblings’ doors where he gleaned everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. As his teenage devotion to percussion grew, so did his passion for Latin musicians, specifically Santana and Tito Puente.

In 1988, acid house exploded in the UK and Steve found himself swept up in a wild new era of electronic music. He began to experiment with sampling the classic tracks he loved his whole life. A well-known house DJ, Andy Nichols, started a band that aimed to blend house music with live musicians. Steve instantly had the perfect introduction to playing live shows in front of huge crowds.

In the late 80s, rabid dance fans flocked to the illegal South-East England rave scene despite frequent raids by police and scaremongering stories in the papers about the supposed “drug culture.” But that did not concern Steve, who devoted every weekend to playing with Andy Nichols’ band or as a live percussionist at house clubs. He began to receive invitations to recording sessions and playing on club tracks. He became increasingly fascinated with the world of samplers and 909 kick drums. Still, while completely immersed in electronic music, he always held tightly to his childhood love for the Bruce Springsteen songs that had come from his sisters’ bedroom, and the sweet tones of Stevie Nicks that had blared from his brothers’ old stereo.

Steve steadily built a reputation as an excellent Latin percussionist and held residencies at legendary clubs, including Ministry of Sound. He toured alongside DJ’s like Sasha and Paul Oakenfold, and was ultimately offered a residency at the world famous ‘Pacha’ on the clubbing mecca island of Ibiza.

It was the summer of 1999. Steve had just split with his long-term girlfriend. With nothing to lose he packed up and drove from London to Ibiza with everything he owned. Days were spent with an acoustic guitar on stunning beaches, and nights in the infamous ‘Manumission’ and ‘Space’ clubs. He played alongside the top DJ’s in the world – studying how certain tracks caused reactions in crowds unlike those at any rock concerts he’d ever attended.

Inspired by the island of Ibiza as creative artists David Bowie, Mike Oldfield, Mario Testino and Errol Flynn before him, Steve spent the summer composing songs. As 1999 drew to a close, Steve headed into the studio for a session with Paul Harris, a DJ friend, who had been playing around the London ‘Milk Bar’ scene since 1990. Paul had just started working with a young producer named Ben Harris (no relation). While they were recording, Steve picked up an acoustic guitar and played them a song he called, “Days go by.” Paul and Ben loved it, and started to play around with the tempo. They recorded the song, called themselves Dirty Vegas and pressed 1500 vinyl copies. The track spread like wildfire through clubland – suddenly Steve had an Ibiza dance anthem.

Steve, Paul and Ben found themselves swept up in a rock and roll dream world of major label signings and world tours. “Days Go By” climbed the charts, and was licensed to a television commercial for Mitsubishi, ultimately garnering the band three Grammy nominations, and the award for best electronic song, in 2003.

Throughout his years with Dirty Vegas, Steve continued to write songs on his acoustic guitar. He knew that one day he would record his own album. Personal, sweet and intimate, some of those songs finally make an appearance in the track-listing of his first solo effort, This Town.

Dirty Vegas disbanded and Steve reunited with his girlfriend. He felt it was time for a radical change. Boston always had a magnetic energy for him when he played there and he felt a need to encourage that feeling. A move to the USA in 2006 got his creativity flowing and just like Ibiza a few years before, Steve started to soak up the musical heritage of his surroundings.

Semi-biographical songs, such as “This Town,” are about his move from London, while “Smile” (dedicated to Steve’s late father) came to him in a dream. In an amazing coincidence, Steve saw violinist Jay Ungar play at a local church in the small town where he had recently taken residence. After the performance he asked Jay, who has appeared on many famous movie scores, if he would play on the song. He told Jay it would be an honor since his father’s favorite piece was James Horner’s score for the film Legends of The Fall, on which Jay had played violin.

Another coincidence brought him together with Anthony Saffery, the former sitar player from the UK band Cornershop, who had also relocated to the Boston area and had become a producer. Together they booked time in the legendary studio, Camp Street (formerly known as Fort Apache) and began long and intense recording sessions: the outcome of which are the tracks that are Steve’s first solo effort, meaningfully titled This Town.

On his album, Smith collaborates with an assortment of talents, including producer Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The X-ecutioners), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (James Horner Orchestra), and Rob Swift (The X-ecutioners, Quincy Jones).

Steve can still be found spinning electro house sets at clubs around the country and around the world, but these days he might be just as likely to be strumming a guitar in a coffee shop, or playing percussion on a rock stage, in support of his new solo path. This Town is set for release on Smith’s own label, G.A.S. Records (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) on February 18, 2008.

Jay Reatard hits the road hard

JAY REATARD HITS THE ROAD HARD

Headlines Reggie’s in Chicago, Opens for Black Keys, Heads to Australia, Takes over South By Southwest
Memphis punk/garage rock savant Jay Reatard will be opening dates for the Black Keys this spring, starting March 27 in Tuscon, AZ. and finishing up April 15 in Royal Oak, MI. All of this comes after shows in Australia and includes a headlining performance at Reggie’s in Chicago, and a slew of performances scheduled for SXSW.

There is no denying the wildly prolific skum scenic genius of Jay Reatard. With 18 full lengths under 8 different bands released since 1998, including The Reatards, The Lost Sounds, Angry Angles, and The Final Solutions, Matador Records will be releasing six Jay Reatard 7″ singles in 2008. Reissues from In The Red and and Goner to follow. Tour dates and link to download below.

Jay Reatard is one drug overdose or insane-asylum visit away from working himself into legend. Rampaging through 15 songs in less than 30 minutes, Visions is all killer, no filler, a modern lo-fi nugget as violent and urgent as it is enjoyable. Highly recommended.
Houston Press

TOUR DATES:
Fri Feb 22 Chicago Reggie’s Rock Club
Thu Mar 6 Sydney The Annadale AUSTRALIA
Fri Mar 7 Melbourne E Brunswick Club AUSTRALIA
Sat Mar 8 Brisbane Club Phoenix AUSTRALIA
Sun Mar 9 Meredith Golden Plains Festival AUSTRALIA
Mon Mar 10 Melbourne The Tote AUSTRALIA
Wed Mar 12 – Sat Mar 15 South By Southwest, Austin
Thu Mar 27 Tuscon Rialto Theater with Black Keys
Fri Mar 28 Tempe Marquee Theater with Black Keys
Sat Mar 29 San Diego House of Blues with Black Keys
Sun Mar 30 Pomona The Glasshouse with Black Keys
Tue Apr 1 Los Angeles Wiltern Theater with Black Keys
Wed Apr 2 San Francisco Warfield Theater with Black Keys
Fri Apr 4 Portland Crystal Ballroom with Black Keys
Sat Apr 5 Seattle The Showbox with Black Keys
Sun Apr 6 Vancouver Commodore Ballroom with Black Keys
Wed Apr 9 Denver Ogden Theater with Black Keys
Fri Apr 11 Minneapolis First Avenue with Black Keys
Sat Apr 12 Chicago Riviera Theater with Black Keys
Sun Apr 13 Indianapolis The Vogue with Black Key
Tue Apr 15 Royal Oak, MI Royal Oak Theater with Black Keys

PELICAN HEADS SOUTH! NEW 2008 TOUR DATES!

PELICAN HEADS SOUTH! NEW 2008 TOUR DATES!

Chicago metal masters, Pelican, will kick off the new year proper with 15 new opportunities to see them shred, starting in their hometown and winding their way across the south and mid-atlantic US (see tour dates below). Their 2007 release, City of Echoes, earned Pelican the June cover of revered metal magazine Decibel and garnered praise from Alternative Press, Billboard, Spin, Revolver, URB, Thrasher and more. Hard at work across the globe all year long, bands such as High on Fire, Russian Circles, Fatal Flying Guilloteens and Priestbird joined Pelican on the road in support of COE to create many amazing live shows in the US and abroad. While fans will have to wait until 2009 for the next Pelican studio release, the forthcoming DVD release, After the Ceiling Cracked +3, comes out on Hydra Head this February and features live footage recorded and mixed by Justin Broadrick of Jesu.

Interviews, music, bio, art and more available upon request.

PRESS ON CITY OF ECHOES:

True believers, get ready to be born again. City Of Echoes has a broader palette than its three predecessors- but mostly, it puts the metalback in instrumetal. – ALTERNATIVE PRESS

There is epic music and there is epic music. Chicago instrumental quartet Pelican is proudly guilty of producing the latter, penning tunes so ambitious and triumphant that your everyday life seems insignificant in comparison. – XLR8R

Completely instrumental, louder that hell, and more solid that an Amish barn.-VICE

Pelican is at the forefront of bands currently making a kind of thinking person’s heavy metalSThe way Pelican’s shifting instrumental songs move seamlessly between fierce rampaging and almost pastoral beauty shows that something good can come from exploring the space between Black Sabbath and Brian Eno. – SALON.COM

PELICAN TOUR DATES:

2.28.08 Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
2.29.08 Dekalb, IL The House
3.1.08 Bloomington, IN Rhino’s All Ages Music Club
3.2.08 St. Louis, MO The Gargoyle
3.4.08 Memphis, TN Hi Tone Cafe
3.5.08 Birmingham, AL Bottletree
3.6.08 Pensacola, FL Sluggo’s – Langerado Music Festival
3.7.08 Gainsville, FL Common Grounds
3.8.08 Clewiston, FL The Big Cypress Reservation
3.10.08 Orlando, FL The Social
3.11.08 Jacksonville, FL Jack Rabbit’s
3.12.08 Atlanta, GA Drunken Unicorn
3.13.08 Charlotte, NC Casbah at Tremont Music Hall
3.14.08 Charlottesville, VA Outback Lodge
3.15.08 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall

Bing Ji Ling produces Tussle’s latest, channels Elvis Costello through Luther Vandross on his own upcoming EP June Degrees In December, a between-the-sheets classic in the making.

Bing Ji Ling produces Tussle’s latest, channels Elvis Costello through Luther Vandross on his own upcoming EP June Degrees In December, a between-the-sheets classic in the making.

Bing tickles the keys and channels early Prince, Mick Hucknall, and Earth, Wind & Fire, while bringing his funk squarely into the 21st century” – XLR8R

“Some cats are born in the wrong decade. Others are late on purpose, to cast light on past riches and link them to the present. Bing Ji Ling, funky soul brother of the 21st century is that and more” – Planet Magazine

“Bing is funkier than Fudgie the Whale with a blunt in his blowhole. If Sly was a one-man family or if Beck and Prince took a double dip, it would taste something like this.” – Pitchfork

Bing Ji Ling is the nom de plume of one Quinn Luke, a NYC-based producer/musician with a rich legacy of work behind and in front of him. His new EP, June Degrees In December, a work of stunning, soulful talent, marks the finest chapter in his career. He’s the man with The Vintage Sound and Modern Appeal.

As a member of legendary skater-cum-musician Tommy Guerrero’s group, Luke has toured the world, wowing crowds at festivals such as Fuji Rock in Japan. As Coppa, a duo comprised of Luke and legendary crate-digging haven Groove Merchants’ Chris Veltri, Luke has also produced a series of 12-inch singles that have earned the praise of Space Disco tastemakers such as Prins Thomas and Todd Terje. Recently, he produced art funk outfit Tussle’s critically hailed Telescope Mind after which he formed a duo entitled Expanding Head Band with Tussle songwriter Alexis Georgopoulos. The duo’s first releases are to appear on DFA, Smalltown Supersound and Lo Recordings. He has also remixed Honeycut and Curumin (Quanum Projects) and Romanowski (Trouser Trout) and has collaborated with The Rondo Brothers (Fortune Records) and Tommy Guerrero and Blackalicious (Quanum Projects). Luke also DJ’s regularly at NYC hotspots such as 205 Club and the Gold Bar and has recently joined NYC’s Band of Thieves on keyboards.

As Bing Ji Ling, Luke has released two full-length albums on his and former production partner Merkley’s Kreme Kul Records. June Degrees In December is the first release on his own To The Curb Productions. If the aforementioned projects have been hypnotic abstractions of funk and soul, as Bing Ji Ling, Luke brings the real deal. Bing Ji Ling reveals honeyed vocal stylings with a range that would impress Mariah. Hear his cover version of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” (originally released on Ubiquity Record’s Rewind 3 compilation) on MySpace for proof. Stylistically, one can detect traces of Prince, Shuggie Otis, Rare Groove, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, D’Angelo, Maxwell and Beck.

Named for the Chinese words for ice cream (Luke spent a year in Shanghai and became fluent in Mandarin during his residency), Luke’s performances took this concept to legendary lengths. Live shows at venues such as Bowery Ballroom and Knitting Factory (NYC), Viper Room (LA), the Warfield (SF) and Liquid Room (Tokyo) included a small army of “Ice Cream Ladies” handing out the sweet treat, Bing in full regalia, and the band in 1950’s era Good Humor Ice Cream Man uniforms. The debut Bing Ji Ling album included contributions from No Doubt’s drummer Adrian Young and Luke’s right-hand man Merkely. Press coverage included XLR8R, Swindle, and ReUp Magazine.

In 2007, Luke relocated from San Francisco to New York. And with that came a renewed sense of purpose. June Degrees In December marks both a continuation of Luke’s pure “soul pop” ecstasy and something of a departure. If vintage soul and funk and an over-the-top persona defined Luke’s first releases, June Degrees finds Luke bringing his taste for yacht rock and 80s R&B into the mix and a tempering of the extreme aspects of his persona.

Appropriately titled, it’s the equivalent of a warm breeze during these winter months. A reverie for future good times. Opener “Kathalina” coaxes an island sound that would make Michael McDonald and Maroon 5 blush. The sultry jam that is the title track is a summer between-the-sheets classic in the making. “Be Here With You” suggests a meeting of Elvis Costello’s “Every Day I Write The Book” and Freddy Jackson or perhaps Luther Vandross.

Luke has the kind of melodic sensibility most would kill for (which says nothing of his musical chops and taste for vintage instruments.) Utilizing a small arsenal of gear which includes Fender Rhodes piano, analog synthesizers, all manner of percussion and bass, drums and guitar, Luke coaxes a warm, familiar sound that sounds fresh.

The cover art features one Luke’s favorite painters, Black Dragon. As a collector of outsider folk art, Luke has developed an idiosyncratic palette. It’s the perfect cover for June Degrees and is another striking example of Luke’s unique and visionary sensibility.

Bing Ji Ling Live:
02/17 New York, NY Rockwood Music Hall

Selected Discography:

* Bing Ji Ling
* Fire and Ice Cream (Krëme Kul)
* Doodle Loot Doot Doodle A Doo (Krëme Kul)
* Rewind 3! (Ubiquity)
* Soul Mosaic (Ubiquity)
* Tommy Guerrero From The Soil To The Soul (Quannum)
* Future Primitive Party In My Pants (Future Primitive)

June Degrees In December Track Listing:

Stream The Album HERE

Release Date: March 4, 2008

01. Kathalina (MP3)
02. June Degrees In December
03. Be Here With You
04. This Song Is For You
05. Home