Tedeschi Trucks Band Announces New Record Made Up Mind

How can a band that’s merely three years old sound so timeless? That’s a question you will undoubtedly ask yourself when listening to the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Made Up Mind, due from Sony Masterworks August 20th. Their third full-length release, Made Up Mind is the highly anticipated follow-up to 2011’s Grammy-winning debut Revelator and last year’s scorching live collection, Everybody’s Talkin’.

But the answer to the above question is simple: When the dynamic vocalist and guitarist Susan Tedeschi and her guitar virtuoso husband Derek Trucks merged their talents and constructed a new, 11-piece juggernaut, they were pooling many years of experience and collective musical knowledge. Derek-who has also been a mainstay of the legendary Allman Brothers Band for more than a decade, and leader of The Derek Trucks Band-first slung a guitar over his shoulders at age 9 and is currently ranked number 16 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. Susan is a roots music powerhouse who was nominated for five Grammys on her own, including Best New Artist in 2000, before the formation of TTB (as their fans have come to know them). Made Up Mind is where all of the instrumental, vocal and songwriting prowess of music’s greatest power couple-and that of their superb bandmates-truly meshes in a big way.

“We knew we wanted to be a little bit bolder with this record, not be afraid to do whatever we felt was really great,” says Tedeschi, who first met Derek in New Orleans in 1999 when her previous band was opening for an Allman Brothers Band tour. “We’re all friends and family. Now we’re finally making the music we want to make. It’s really an exciting time.”

Adds Trucks, “What I noticed most while making this record was there was more confidence. On Revelator everyone was still feeling each other out. Then, after a few years on the road, with a live record along the way, everyone unleashed and played a little freer. We didn’t want to force the sound and tell it what it was going to be. We wanted to see where it took us. Once we hit the studio for Made Up Mind, we didn’t even have to think about it.”

Made Up Mind is nothing less than a quantum leap forwardfor TTB. If Revelator and Everybody’s Talkin’ were all about finding their way, the new effort is where they emerge as a fully formed band for the ages. Throughout the course of the album it becomes increasingly apparent that Susan Tedeschi has evolved into one of the most dauntingly commanding vocalists in contemporary music, her serious lung power exploding on standout tracks such as the über-funky “Misunderstood” and just as convincingly digging into the core of poignant, tender acoustic ballads like “Calling Out to You” and “Idle Wind”. Derek Trucks has indisputably matured into one of the monster guitarists of our time, tearing up barnburners like the title track “Made Up Mind” with his masterful slide and lead licks while showcasing his easier, more subtle touch on the bluesy “Do I Look Worried”.

Co-produced by Jim Scott (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilco) and Trucks-Made Up Mind was recorded in the band’s home base of Jacksonville at Derek and Susan’s Swamp Raga Studios. Working closely with Scott, who also engineered and mixed the album-and with whom Derek co-produced Revelator-Trucks’ ever-expanding expertise as a studio production whiz is displayed continually and definitively in the choices he made throughout the sessions. For Trucks, the studio has become another instrument to master, and Made Up Mind leaves no doubt that his skills as a producer now rank right alongside his expertise as a player and songwriter.

Although Tedeschi Trucks Band bears the names of its co-leaders, each of its components-Kofi Burbridge (keyboards, flute), Tyler Greenwell (drums, percussion), J.J. Johnson (drums, percussion), Kebbi Williams (saxophone), Maurice Brown (trumpet), Saunders Sermons (trombone & vocals), Mike Mattison (harmony vocals) and Mark Rivers (harmony vocals)-is operating at full throttle on Made Up Mind. There are no weak links-everyone here is contributing equally. Those keeping count will notice that that adds up to 10 musicians-the new release marks the first time that TTB has recorded since the departure of its original bassist, Oteil Burbridge. Rather than replace him immediately, the group has utilized the services of several bass players on the album (Pino Palladino, Bakithi Kumalo, George Reiff and Dave Monsey), and has been rotating bassists at their gigs as well.

Most of the tracks on Made Up Mind were penned by Tedeschi and Trucks with various co-writers-including Doyle Bramhall II, Eric Krasno, Gary Louris and John Leventhal, all of whom also contributed to TTB’s debut Revelator. The maiden single from the album, “Part of Me,” a vocal duet between Susan and trombonist Sermons, stands out as a particular highlight, reminiscent of the classic R&B emanating from the Memphis and Muscle Shoals soul scenes of the ’60s and ’70s. The title track “Made Up Mind”, authored by Tedeschi, Trucks and Oliver Wood, is a balls-out soul-rocker in the tradition of early Bonnie Raitt and Delaney & Bonnie. This one, says Susan, “is an empowerment song: I know you want to see me, you want to do this, but I’m on my own and I’ve branched out now. It could be anything from a child growing up and getting out to a woman moving on, or the kind of thing where this person has made a change. It’s sort of a rebirth.”

Or, as Derek adds, it could be about the current state of TTB: “It makes a statement that this band knows what it wants to do and is here to stay. Take it or leave it, this is what it is,” he says.

With their increasingly articulate and affecting songcraft, unparalleled musicianship and an honest, gutsy sound that incorporates multiple stylistic influences and can only result from hard work and openness to ideas, it’s a given that many more will make up their minds to take Made Up Mind than to leave it.

Sony Masterworks comprises Masterworks Broadway, Masterworks, OKeh, Portrait, RCA Red Seal and Sony Classical imprints.

Tracklisting

1 Made Up Mind

2 Do I Look Worried

3 Idle Wind

4 Misunderstood

5 Part of Me

6 Whiskey Legs

7 It’s So Heavy

8 All That I Need

9 Sweet And Low

10 The Storm

11 Calling Out To You

Steve Earle & The Dukes (& Duchesses) – The Low Highway album review

Grammy-award winning artist, Steve Earle has done it again with his talented band, Steve Earle and The Dukes. Their newly released album, “The Low Highways,” is a lesson filled and well produced gift to what’s soaring in today’s folk and country music. This “when push comes to shove,” themed record is an overall life lesson enhanced with many instruments, ranging from the banjo to the electric guitar and fiddle. Where sympathy meets nitty gritty reality, Steve Earle and The Dukes tell their stories in the most auditory way.

The album titled track “The Low Highway,” sets the general tone or the record. The world is filled with cruelty and calamity but we must remain hopeful. It’s a struggle but life is just that. It’s up to us to make it positive. It is our choice to see the glass half full in situations. Steve Earle and The Dukes make listeners feel as if they are children listening to their elder’s wisdom filled and nonchalantly told stories. The country music adds nothing but a brilliant dress to what this band has to say.
To know we cannot run from issues means we somewhat have accepted that. In an aspect, we challenge our issues with that mere thought. “That’s All You Got?” is a tune listeners jive to in their times of sorrow. We’ve been hit before so being hit again won’t be any fuss! The quote “Bring it on!” wonderfully flies into ones head while listening to that beautifully played harmonica on the track. The liberating lyrics with the catchy music make the song nothing short of golden.

“21st Century Blues,” really digs into the issues of today, the issues of the US, especially. The song emphasizes the sad reality of how many don’t truly care about what’s going on around them and how that influences others to do the same or lack there of. The lyrics encourage listeners to step up to the plate and be revolutionary in this world of followers. The calmness and knowing voice of Earle makes this track a chilling and impacting play you don’t want to miss out on hearing.

We all get fed up and notice when we try too hard, we end up in places we simply, don’t want to be in. Going with the flow brings about many of life’s treasures. No one is set up to fail and “Love’s Gonna Blow My Way,” preaches that. Listeners learn that when you go out your way too much for any one thing, you may get less than the best. Steve sings about his self-control and patience. When one focuses on bettering them selves, all positive things will just attract. Good things come to those who wait but don’t wait too long to buy “The Long Highway,” it truly is a must-hear.

The Postal Service – Give Up (Re-issue) album review

It’s a strange and rarely afforded task, that of writing about and critiquing reissues. Even if one is completely unfamiliar with the band, the fact that they are popular enough to warrant a reissue in the first place means that they have seeped so far into popular culture that the music is ingrained in your subconscious, even if you didn’t know it. And, upon brushing that nerve, you’re headed for nostalgia at freeway speeds, if not for the music itself, than its place in time. This is true of The Postal Service’s only full length album, 2003’s Give Up, and especially true of single “Such Great Heights,” which, even if you didn’t know that’s what you were listening to, it appeared in so many commercials and soundtracks that you were listening to it.

Ten years later, we have also been inundated with all the indie synthpop that The Postal Service inspired; some good, some bad, but all of it chipping away at the uniqueness the album originally presented. (Though certainly, they had their own influences as well.) This allows listeners to focus on other elements, which, unfortunately, bring to light the album’s weaknesses, namely the penchant for sickly sweet, wide eyed puppy love lyrics, and an almost entirely boring second half.

Its role as a cultural time capsule is most interesting feature, however. Popular art is often the best glimpse into the climate of a society, and Give Up seems a perfect example of that. The record’s densely textured, busy, happening musical bed continually feels at odds with the breathy melancholy and narrow range of lyricist Ben Gibbard’s delivery. There is a depressed exhaustion that hangs over the entire album, despite the relentlessly positive synth beats, courtesy of Jimmy Tamborello. This dichotomy appears to define the generations coming of age in the immediate wake of 2001; while the world changes at an alarmingly rapid rate, where nothing pauses for even a moment, emotions have been worn down to the point of numb observation, eyes glassy and mouth agape. The first half of “Sleeping In” hits this perhaps too heavy-handedly, but the theme runs the entire album.

For its part, the reissue features a 15 track second disc, as well as the entire original album remastered. (Why?! An absurd waste of label time and money; the second disc offers more than enough incentive to pick up the release.) Two brand new songs kick off Disc 2, and while they will certainly satisfy rabid fans, they sound cold and hollow employing the exact same formula as a decade ago. The rest of the disc is filled out by the band’s 2 EP releases, covers of John Lennon and Phil Collins (among others), covers by Iron &Wine and the Shins, and that god-awful plague to music- remixes, which are never welcome nor necessary.

As far as reissues go, this is the way to go, especially for a band that didn’t really go anywhere after this.

Alex Calder – Time EP review

Alex Calder comes to us with his debut EP, Time via the Brooklyn based label Captured Tracks. Previously the drummer backing Canadian cohort Mac DeMarco, this Edmonton hailing singer/song writer presents us with a candid but foggy illustration of himself on display in these seven tracks.

At times he resembles a tighter, more well-spoken Sonic Youth, but not necessarily a more normalized approach, just slightly more accessible. Accessibility can be a dirty word among the indie crowd, but Alex finds a good balance between the dissonant atmospheres and his adoration of the pop song structure.

The opening track “Suki and Me” is a fragmented recollection of young lovers on a journey together, or rather, whatever they do becomes an adventure. The phrasing feels so broken and awkward at times, but this only adds to the song’s aesthetic as the guitars ring out in a breezy but dirty manner. Before you know it, you’re reminiscing in Alex’s memories and not your own.

“Light Leave Your Eyes” might feel like a more traditional take on spacey shoegaze, were it not for the tempo changes that have a tendency to sweep you off your feet. When the drums drop into the guitar riffing in a somewhat joyful manner it may be hard to fight off the urge to go for a walk in the park at twilight.

This sense of exploration and nature is a feeling harnessed by most of the tracks on Time. Almost effortlessly Alex taps into previously inexplicable feelings of a cool summer night with just enough dirt to make it believable. A night drive, a barbeque, a walk in the woods, or a first date; all of these would be apt imagery for Alex Calder’s debut, but you wouldn’t be far off in sensing in all of these interpretations that there is just that one additional element that makes everything feel slightly off. Its this wild card that makes his sound unique to him.

I’m not sure that the style hes crafting would be better suited for anything other than an EP. An LP might have overstayed its welcome, but there is enough of a unique setting to Alex’s songs that kept me coming back for more. The dissonance, however, may weigh to heavily on the side of annoying depending on your taste. On some tracks its nothing but sublime, but others seem to require a more acquired taste, at least before the poppy and pleasant, but still slightly unsettling, chorus rides back into the foreground.

Even though you may be reminded of several other artists over the course of Time, you’d be hard pressed to find another Alex Calder. What more could you ask of a musician, let alone of their first release?

Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart album review

Genre is a funny thing – generally up to interpretation with tons of crossover, it’s hard to say what “is” and “isn’t” to be classified as this or that type of music, and rarely does anyone actually agree on it. But genre is generally a useful tool for describing a band or artist, giving an idea of what they probably sound like. So when I heard the newest album from Frank Turner, lauded as the bootstrap-success folk-punk sensation, I was slightly perplexed.

At the risk of sounding like a punker-than-thou elitist bastard, I’m not positive I’d call Tape Deck Heart “folk punk.” The pretty mandolin in “Losing Days” sounds closer to a scruffy Dashboard Confessional than Against Me!, the piano accompanying the chorus of “Polaroid Picture” a little more Jack’s Mannequin and a little less Andrew Jackson Jihad.

Perhaps I’m being overly pedantic, but it takes more than a “goddamn” here and “fuck you” there to classify as a punk artist – something of which fans of Turner’s former band, Million Dead, are well aware.

Tape Deck Heart is not a punk album, folk prefix or otherwise, but, in a way, more. From the incredibly catchy opener “Recovery,” Turner starts spilling his feelings through intelligently-articulated stories of heartbreak and love gone wrong. “Plain Sailing Weather,” one of the strongest tracks on the album, sees Turner shouting that, given one fine day, “[he] can fuck up anything,” and in “Anymore,” he almost whispers, his voice full of sadness, that he “doesn’t love you anymore.”

Though it’s largely touted as a breakup album, other topics covered are tattoos (in the aptly named “Tattoos”), the bonds of being in a band (“Oh Brother”) and, probably the biggest break from the musical and topical mold, Turner’s favorite pastime – the punk rock show. “Four Simple Words” starts slow with vaudeville-esque piano, but with a cry of OI! OI! OI! OI! breaks into the “punkiest” thing on the album, reminiscent somewhat of The Living End (without the rockabilly influence).

Littered with pop culture references and fantastically catchy instrumentation, Tape Deck Heart never quite settles into a rut – and that’s perfect. Tied together with clever lyrics and Turner’s surprisingly upbeat voice (even when singing about the darkest of subject matter), the album is entertaining and interesting from start to finish, and whether it’s “folk punk” or not, it’s good.

Sasquatch 2013 Day Four: Rain won the fight… but music won the battle.


**CHVRCHES

Part of the quintessential festival experience is enjoying the time you get with the random people you meet and, often but not always, the people camping next to you. Don’t get me wrong, it sometimes happen that you’re so terrified of your new camp-mates that you avoid your own tent, but on this weekend, the planets aligned: really though, there was a planetary conjunction visible over the weekend where Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury could be seen near the horizon in the western hemisphere, but the nerd in me digresses. Our tent-neighbours were one of the opening acts on Sunday, Wake Owl, their management team, a group of guys from different parts of Washington State, and a couple who worked for one of the sponsors. All contributed to a spectacular weekend but when it started to rain and the idea of a wet day watching the final day of music seemed not all that important anymore, it’s great neighbours that really motivate those of little faith. Festivals bring together such an unbelievable collection of music from all genres that the place is constantly brimming with anticipation of the next great act. With that in mind, the rain jackets were donned, a beer or two was consumed, and the gates opened for the final day of Sasquatch Music Festival.


**The Wild Feathers

The Nashville based Wild Feathers opened the Yeti stage, and, as per my morning ritual of reviewing and sending off the previous days recap, I was in the Media Area next to said stage. Stepping out onto the (covered) patio, Tyler Burns, Joel King, Ricky Young and Preston Wimberly I witnessed the boys lay done some heavy guitar and impressive vocals making noise enough to fill the bigger stages had they been given the opportunity. Clearly Nashville boys at heart, bits of country, folk, and the occasional hint of the blues they rocked into “Backwoods Company” early in their set and although slowing down the tempo afterwards closed out strong with their single, “The Ceiling” pleasing not just their die-hard fans but a number of strays that found their way to where the loudest sounds were coming from that morning.


**P.O.S.

The next act I escaped the shelter of the Media Area for was one of the most surprisingly funny and yet easily one of the hardest hitting shows of the day; Minneapolis based rapper, punk-rocker, musician, and all-around talented guy, Stefon Alexander, better known to most as P.O.S. Charismatic and witty right from the get go you could tell that no matter where this multi-talented man plays a show, there are bound to be hard core fans in attendance. It should be mentioned at this point that the stage had gotten incredibly wet by this point and with the amount of energy P.O.S. was putting out with awkwardly great dance moves, running, and jumping, he had a small slip (literally, although recovering with class) leading to the idea that maybe he was better off, and safer, rapping from IN the crowd! Jumping off stage, he took to the audience, climbing over barriers and moving press and security out of the way and began laying hard into some of his lyrically powerful tracks, at times performing them specifically for different fans that were rapping every word right back at him. He opened with “Bumper”, a dance-inducing track that feels too short only because the groove hits so well and your dance moves are only just beginning, and with some great banter in between songs, launched right into funky-ass track after another including, “Weird Friends”, “Fuck Your Stuff”, and then closing out with “Get Down”. The closer had the largest crowd of the day so far going crazy, dancing with every ounce of energy they had inspiring Stef to show off a new dance move of his own, The Little Cowboy, which, as mentioned before was awkwardly amazing and made twice as great by the fact that he openly admitted afterwards “… I’m a terrible dancer, guys. But sometimes you just gotta dance!” A show that was as much fun as the musical influences behind it were varied, P.O.S. could do no wrong this day and likely created many more of those hard core fans that will no doubt catch everything related to this man (and he has a number of side projects, all worth checking out) anytime he’s within driving distance of them. I had the opportunity to sit down with Stef earlier in the day so be sure to head back here soon to read all about the surprising things this man has planned for the future.

Back on the Yeti Stage, the Canadian folk band The Barr Brothers did everything they could to battle the technical difficulties the rain was creating for sound techs all over the Gorge. Some unfortunate spikes in the audio had them moving away from the mics from time to time but that didn’t stop them from tossing out gem after gem from their debut self-titled album. The opening track of the album made for a great opening track for the set and every knew by the time “Beggar in the Morning” finished that Andrew and Brad Barr, Sarah Page, and Andres Vial weren’t about to let anyone rain on their parade… festival. Sorry. It had to be said at least once. Charging through “Ohh Belle” and “The Devil’s Harp” with great guitar solos, some really talented harmonica used just right, and of course, Page on a massive harp with which she’s classically trained, well, technical difficulties be damned, this group is in it to win it and the folk world better be ready for them because I know I can’t wait for a new album to drop soon (no hints were given, but a boy can hope).


**Cake

Over on the main stage, although I missed an earlier performance by Imagine Dragons (with an apparently car-sized drum amongst a multitude of percussion instruments), I made sure to catch the always interesting, always weird, and always entertaining Cake. I showed up just as “Love You Madly” began and things you probably can’t even picture began happening all over: Batman danced with a pink gorilla and large men who’ve never done more than tap a toe found themselves twirling and flailing their arms to their heart’s content. And that was just on the lawn, lord knows what was happening in the pit. So I moved into the pit. Frontman John McCrea spoke passionately about releasing their newest album Showroom of Compassion (their sixth) on their own independent label and, “… thanks to the 75 of you that still purchase musical content we did just fine!” Playing a number of new songs including “Long Time” and “Sick of You”, fan participation was not an issue, at one point dividing the audience down the middle and having them sing contrasting lyrics created a symphony of sound that you could tell made every member of this unique group on stage pleased as punch. Although I’m sure the illicit drugs I saw freely being passed around only heightened the experience, these guys put on one wild and wonderful show even for those of us only slightly drunk. With red jeans and a blue hoody, McCrea was completely laid back and at home on the main stage even stating “… what should we play next… since we don’t use a set list, I guess we should figure that out…” then turning around, he clearly discussed just that with the band. Their debut single, recorded back in 1993, “Rock and Roll Lifestyle” was just as satirical and relevant as ever causing a ripple effect of laughter and awkward neighbour checks as the irony of the lyrics set in and many realized they were being politely but poignantly mocked with lines like “… is it you or your parents in this income tax bracket?”. The guys closed with a great country-rock style hit called “Stickshifts and Safety Belts” and I’m sure that when most of the audience came down from their trips they’ll know they just witnessed a classic performance from a timelessly necessary band.

Over on Bigfoot I caught the tail end of the Twin Shadows performance. A group I wasn’t familiar with until walking up to the show I have to say that my first impression (of the three songs I caught) was the feeling that this new wave, American singer/songwriter, George Lewis, Jr., would feel comfortable on any soundtrack from roughly 1982 thru to today. Catchy hooks with a moody, down-tempo vibe leading into synthesized dance beats and falsetto vocals created a feeling of melancholia that has you pinning for a lost love and excited to fall for whoever comes around the corner and into your life next.

With the unfortunate knowledge that I would only be able to catch one last act before having to hit the road home, Alt-J won out over The Lumineers as I’ve had their debut album, An Awesome Wave on repeat for a number of months now and needed to hear this unique new music in person. A couple of moody and hypnotising tracks got their set started as deep purples and moody blues bathed the stage in soft lighting right up to the point a driving beat hit in “Something Good”; one of the many singles causing a stir off the aforementioned album. Although, in all honesty, not a single member of this band looks old enough to drink while visiting the United States, Gwil Sainsbury, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton, and Thom Green played an incredibly tight set for a crowd of thousands that couldn’t get enough of the almost technical way that these four perform their idiosyncratic and genre-defying songs. Possibly their biggest single off the album was “Fitzpleasure” and from the first note, everyone in attendance seemed to know what was coming: a sing-a-long to lyrics that most closely resemble gibberish to those unaccustomed to the vocal styling of Newman but that didn’t start from a full out dance party starting and continuous clapping to the entrancing beat. Once their other smash hit, “Breezeblocks” began, the collective minds of the masses had been fully blown and I knew it wasn’t going to get much better; it was time to call it quits.

Although sad to have missed Postal Service‘s festival closing performance, I knew that their incredibly successful, radio friendly (because absolutely everyone I know that’s ever heard it, loves it, regardless of age, sex, or… height?) single “Such Great Heights” (see what I did there…) would’ve been the highlight of the show and sent everyone packing with the knowledge that they were fortunate enough to witness some of the biggest bands in the world come together for another absolutely incredible weekend in The Gorge. The cornucopia of music being played over four days was staggering to say the least and the phrase, “I don’t know how any band is gonna top that performance…” seemed to be screamed out after nearly every show. Highlights you ask? Well, if you ask me, the Brits stole the show this year: Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, The XX, Alt-J, and of course Mumford and his Sons. That being said, spending an afternoon chatting with P.O.S. then watching him absolutely take over the festival at the time made one of the biggest impressions on me and was the first story I told when asked the inevitable, “So… how was your weekend” to which, after no thought at all, I could generally surmise with: unforgettable.

Check out Chelsea Chernobyl’s photos of Sasquatch 2013 Day Four

The Luyas set to tour with Julian Lynch & release Paper Bag Sessions

Montreal’s The Luyas are set to tour Canada and the United States with Julian Lynch in support of 2012’s acclaimed album Animator. Lynch will sit in with The Luyas who will return the favour by morphing into his band during his performance. A full list of dates can be found below.

“The cool thing about this tour is that we’ll all get to play twice,” says the band’s Jessie Stein. “The Luyas are going to be Julian’s band and he will be sitting in on our set. It will be great to get to play twice every night, and stretch out a bit musically. Julian’s music is so patient and layered and beautiful. We are really excited to share these stages with him.”

Watch The Luyas perform ‘Chanelling’ in The Antler’s Minus Green Lab Studio in New York City here as part of the Paper Bag Sessions.

Recorded and produced at the Treatment Room by band member and experimental brass player Pietro Amato and mixed by Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes at his Breakglass Studios in the band’s hometown of Montreal, Animator is a cathartic sophisticated collection of songs. As melodically compelling as it is artistically rich, Animator is intuitive, seductive, moody and textural. It slowly unfolds its beauty and trusts the listener to stay with it.

Just as dance pioneer Loïe Fuller, whose image graces the album cover, beguiled the world with the Dance Serpentine, the songs on Animator have a hypnotic effect. Sarah Neufeld and Amato’s arrangements of string and horn float throughout, fragile and fleeting. Stein’s gentle vocals have an eerie insular feel. Mathieu Charbonneau and Mark Wheaton’s rhythm section put you in a trance. Fleets of strange noises dot the horizon. Like Portishead or the Silver Apples, the Luyasexist in the world to communicate something original yet fundamentally relatable without resorting to nostalgia.

The band’s riveting live show has been charming fans since the release of 2011’s Too Beautiful To Work, and they’ve toured the world with the likes of the Antlers, the Dodos and Blonde Redhead. The Luyas are ascending a trajectory of artistic vision and creativity, and asking if we, too, are curious.

Tour Dates
06/04/13 Montreal, QC – PLANT
06/05/13 Boston, MA – Great Scott
06/07/13 Kingston, NY – BSP Lounge
06/09/13 Manhattan, NY – Mercury Lounge
06/10/13 Philadelphia, PA – PhilaMOCA
06/11/13 Washington, DC – Paperhaus
06/12/13 Baltimore, MA – Golden West
06/13/13 Brooklyn, NY – Northside Fest @ 285 Kent
06/14/13 Toronto, ON – Sneaky Dee’s (NXNE)
06/16/13 Columbus, OH – Kafe Kerouac
06/18/13 Bloomington, IN – The Bishop
06/20/13 Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
06/21/13 Madison, WI – Make Music Madison
06/24/13 Ottawa, ON – Ottawa Explosion @ Le Temporaire

Animator | Tracklisting
01. Montuno
02. Fifty Fifty
03. The Quiet Way
04. Face
05. Your Name’s Mostly Water
06. Earth Turner
07. Talking Mountains
08. Traces
09. Crimes Machine
10. Channeling

Stereophonics return to the US for tour dates

One of the most durable and consistently successful bands ever to come out of the U.K. band scene, Stereophonics return to the U.S. August 20th with the release of their chart topping U.K. album Graffiti on the Train; their eighth studio album, out on their own Stylus Records.

Released earlier this year in the U.K., Graffiti on the Train entered the U.K. charts at number 3 and has remained in the Top 20 ever since. Affirming that this is their best album in a decade, the album has quickly gone gold and is well on its way to platinum status.

Written by lead vocalist and guitarist Kelly Jones and produced by Kelly Jones and Jim Lowe, Graffiti on the Train is the final piece in the puzzle for a newly refined and cinematic Stereophonics, a band that has London’s Sunday Times calling this album their “least conventional yet”, praising its “newfound lightness of touch” and confirming “The album contains Jones’s best work of his career.”

A storyteller first and foremost Kelly Jones unravels storylines and sketches characters with poetic finesse – inspired by the screenplay he has been working on of the same name, Graffiti On A Train is a fascinating, filmic LP unlike anything the group have attempted in the past. Loosely telling the story of two friends who flee the country after a tragic accident, the record is both reflective and surprisingly fragile.

We find Jones at the helm of all the videos from this album, which he has both written and directed including the first U.S. single, ‘Indian Summer.’ Upon release in the U.K. earlier this year, ‘Indian Summer’marked the band’s 26th Top 40 hit on the U.K. charts.

As one of the best live bands imported from the U.K. in the last twenty years, North America will be treated to select tour dates and an Indian Summer to be remembered. At a recent U.K. show, John Earls of the Daily Star noted, “Girls sat on their boyfriends shoulders, Welsh flags were held aloft, beer was thrown everywhere and the singalongs kept coming.”

Having spanned decades of success selling over 9 million career albums and currently sitting at the top of U.K. album charts, this return to the other side of the pond is a tour not to be missed. Their U.S. tour kicks off in Philadelphia on September 19 at Union Transfer. See below for complete tour itinerary.

Stereophonics are: Kelly Jones- vocals/guitar, Richard Jones-bass, Adam Zindani -guitar and Jamie Morrison – drums.

Stereophonics North American Tour Dates:

September 19 Philadelphia – Union Transfer

September 20 Boston – House of Blues

September 21 New York – Terminal 5

September 22 Washington DC – 9.30 Club

September 24 Montreal – Corona Theatre

September 25 Toronto – Danforth Music Hall

September 27 Detroit – St Andrews Hall

September 28 Chicago – Vic Theatre

September 29 Minneapolis – First Ave

October 1 Denver – Bluebird Theatre

October 4 Seattle – Showbox

October 5 Vancouver – Commodore

October 6 Portland – Wonder Ballroom

October 8 San Francisco – Fillmore

October 10 Los Angeles – Henry Fonda

October 13 Mexico City – Corona Festival

Graffiti On The Train Tracklisting:

1.We Share The Same Sun

2.Graffiti On The Train

3.Indian Summer

4.Take Me

5.Catacomb

6.Roll The Dice

7.Violins And Tambourines

8.Been Caught Cheating

9.In A Moment

10.No One’s Perfect

The Boy Least Likely To – The Great Perhaps album review

The Boy Least Likely To’s The Great Perhaps is a sonically childlike trip through the broken heart. The Boy’s third effort, The Great Perhaps is, similar to their albums in the past, quirky and light-hearted, but decidedly less successful in marrying its childlike charm with more mature themes. At its best The Great Perhaps juxtaposes their youthful sound with adult lyrical content quite charmingly, at its worst veering on tastelessness and gimmick.

Jof Owen and Pete Hobbs formed The Boy Least Likely To in 2002, and have remained refreshingly outside of the ups and downs of the indie pop world ever since. Their first record, The Best Party Ever found The Boy’s quite a lot of success with many ad placements including General Motors and Apple, sharing the same childlike themes and tinkling production as The Great Perhaps. However, it was decidedly more refined, more mature.

The Boys find their stride halfway through the album with the ballad “Michael Collins.” It’s melodies are reminiscent of Pink Floyd, and the lyrical content is the most deeply developed on the album. On the other end of the spectrum is the track “Even Jesus Couldn’t Mend My Heart.” Thematically this song is a bit of a conundrum, with the prevalent Jesus reference, but that may be a matter of taste. Owen and Hobbs take the juxtaposition between heartbroken lyrical content and childlike (reminiscent of video-game sounds of my childhood) production too far on this one; it feels tasteless.

As a complete work, The Great Perhaps is a charming effort from a comfortingly out-of-the-loop duo. They are not concerned with trends or ebbs and flows of indie pop music, simply progressing from album to album in their own way. They get to a catchy and charming point for the last half of the record, “The Dreamer Song” is a definite standout with its soaring melody and nostalgic vibe, even a Beach Boys influenced harmony. I just wish that they got to this charming point sooner.

New Found Glory – Mania album review

New Found Glory are putting the punk in “pop punk” with their latest release, Mania. The 6-song EP is a Ramones tribute album, as indicated by its title which harkens back to the Ramones compilation album Ramones Mania, and features covers of classics like “I Wanna Be Sedated” and “Rock and Roll High School.”

If nothing else, the album is loyal and accurate. The covers featured on Mania are pretty much exact copies of the original tracks — simply a little more polished, although this is at least partially attributable to advances in recording equipment, no doubt. Jordan Pundik’s vocals, characteristic of the pop-punk NFG helped found in their melodic yet slightly whiny quality, are perfectly suited for mimicking the vocal stylings of Joey Ramone. Pundik may be in his mid-thirties but classic lines like “I don’t care about history” are nevertheless believable — a sign that New Found Glory has managed to replicate not only the audio characteristics of the Ramones, but also the never-grow-up attitude of the punk-rock movement as well.

It’s hard to say whether this is something to be lauded though. The album as it stands is a great copy of the original material, but it kind of makes you wonder what the point of the project is. There are no surprises on the album at all — even the static feedback on “Do You Remember Rock and Roll High School” has been reproduced. Someone could have digitally remastered these tracks by the Ramones and it would likely have pretty much the same effect. That being said, as the fathers of pop-punk, New Found Glory have done a lot of innovating in their lifetime and perhaps can be afforded this one instance of indulgent fandom. Here’s hoping its the exception to the rule.