September 24, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

I was recently talking to a merch guy at The Bluebird, and was stoked to find out that CU Denver has a neat-looking degree program in Music Industry Studies with their very own student-run record label. Equally cool are the breadth of courses offered at Berklee (not Berkeley) School of Music. I always thought Berklee (in Boston) was just a high-falutin music performance school, like if you’re really really good on the cello, you go there. But they also have courses in songwriting, music business, music production, film scoring etc that you can take online.

They’ve got a cool new contest where you can win one course online through Berklee via a promotion for the artist’s service TuneCore, which helps musicians distribute their tunes online. It’s an interesting pairing; check it out, it only runs through tomorrow. I already have all the degrees I am gonna get (I think), but I am tempted.

We’re All Stuck Out In The Desert
Johnathan Rice

A friend recommended I listen to this guy after he recently swung through town opening for gf-Jenny Lewis’ Rilo Kiley. I’d heard his name (I always say it extra-breathy in my head with that seemingly-bonus “h” in the first name) but never listened to him before now. Wow, I like this guy: Scottish-roots, New York-dwelling Rice has an addictive, warmly catchy sound with the feel-good lyrics of the summer: “We’re all stuck out in the desert, and we’re gonna die.” Right on. He’s toured with Neal Casal of The Cardinals — see the video of them performing this song in grand festival style at Hyde Park. Further North is his sophomore album, and it’s out now. If he looks vaguely familiar, it might be because played Roy Orbison in Walk The Line. So cool.

Can’t Change Me (French version)
Chris Cornell
In honor of Chris Cornell rescheduling his date with Denver (it’s November 20th at the Fillmore), I want to share this fantastic French version of his solo song “Can’t Change Me” from his 1999 solo album Euphoria Morning. Cornell has an absolutely breathtaking set of pipes (even though yes we can admit he’s stretching them a bit after all these years) and when you combine it with a gorgeous Romance language? Ridiculous and so much fun — sexy, dangerous fun.

Modern Diet
The Redwalls

Fresh-faced Chicago retro powerpop group The Redwalls finally have an album completed and a release date! In just one month, we can all enjoy their first full-length album released since they parted ways with Capitol. Now on Mad Dragon Records (which is a student-run label from Drexel University, how cool), they have a pow-pop-bang new self-titled joint out on October 23. This first sample feels a bit more Eighties-danceable feel to me than the straightforward ’60s guitar fuzz of the past. I absolutely love their sound, love their output. They are currently on tour with Rooney and I plan to see them next month when they swing through here; they put on an excellent show.

The River (Springsteen cover)
Josh Ritter
This cover is one that has set the masses a-buzzin’ the few times that Idaho singer/songwriter Josh Ritter has performed it. Ritter gets the Springsteen (and Dylan) comparisons all the time, but still it’s a daunting task to cover this song. He earnestly and beautifully nails it. This was a bonus encore track not streamed online from the WXPN free noontime concert back in August. Friends who were there say it was absolutely magical, and that you could have heard a pin drop. Stream the rest of the main set here, and do yourself a favor by picking up his new album, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter. [photo credit]

Let My Love Open The Door
Joe Purdy duet with Pete Townshend

The Attic Jam series is something I’ve been meaning to write a post on, and still intend to once I find full audio from these amazing sets. Pete Townshend and his ladyfriend Rachel Fuller have hosted several of these jam-session evenings blending Pete’s performances with some of their favorite up-and-coming songwriters, as well as established artists. They’ve welcomed everyone from Billy Corgan, E from Eels and Ben Harper, along with guys like Willy Mason and California folk artist Joe Purdy. Joe is a bit of an anomaly in that he doesn’t want to be signed, but prefers to self-release — over 10 albums since 2004. He gives his stuff away for free, and has had his tunes show up on Grey’s Anatomy, my beloved LOST (come on, Feb 08!) and House. I like that refreshing spirit and the homey sincerity of his voice on this wonderful collaboration.

June 28, 2007

New Redwalls tour dates, independent EP released

When I saw The Redwalls with OK Go at the Bluebird Theatre in 2005, it was an awesome, power-pop-filled evening. The Redwalls are a foursome out of Chicago, fronted by a pair of brothers, with finely-aged sound that far exceeds their 20-something years of living. They were signed with Capitol, but recently parted ways with the label following the completion of recording some new material. Capitol let them keep those demos, which have just been released as an independent EP: The Wall to Wall Sessions. They also just announced some tour dates (following their string of shows opening for Oasis last year) — I definitely recommend catching them live if you can. I wrote last year:

When I first heard “It’s Love You’re On” by The Redwalls, I absolutely thought they were some forgotten ’60s band I’d never heard before – pleasing vocal harmonies, catchy hooks, a fantastic crunchy sound. This Chicago quartet (vocalist/guitarist Logan Baren, vocalist/bassist Justin Baren, vocalist/guitarist Andrew Langer, and drummer Ben Greeno) ranges in dewy-fresh age from 20 to 22 years old, but sound much more mature to me musically.
I was blown away seeing them live. Four young guys, shaggy dark hair, tight pants, pointed boots – straight-up British Invasion brought back to life (oh wait, did it ever die?). They looked so young; I remember telling my friend Heidi that I felt like we were at a high school talent show (albeit one of very high caliber). These kids have stage presence and swagger galore — although, really, who at 22 opening for all these great bands wouldn’t swagger just a tad?

Go see them live (dates below) and enjoy this sample off the new EP, which is available to purchase here. An interesting song –much bigger than the catchy little songs of their earlier efforts– sounding kind of like the Beatles fronting Joshua-Tree-era U2?

Song #1 – The Redwalls

Jun 27 – Southgate House Newport, KY
Jun 28 – Magic Stick Detroit, MI
Jun 29 – Lime Spider Akron, OH
Jun 30 – Southpaw Brooklyn, NY
Jul 2 – Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, PA
Jul 3 – T.T. the Bear’s Cambridge, MA
Jul 4 – Maxwell’s Hoboken, NJ
Jul 5 – Iota Club and Cafe Arlington, VA
Jul 6 – Beachland Ballroom, Tavern Cleveland, OH
Jul 7 – The Basement Columbus, OH
Jul 12 – Mirimar Theatre Milwaukee, WI
Jul 13 – Triple Rock Social Club Minneapolis, MN
Jul 14 – High Noon Saloon Madison, WI
Jul 15 – Copper Rock Coffee Company Appleton, WI
Jul 21 – Sheffield Garden Walk Chicago, IL
Aug 2 – Sticky Fingerz Chicken Shack Little Rock, AR
Aug 5 – Lucky Devils El Paso, TX
Aug 9 – The Roxy Theatre Hollywood, CA
Aug 10 – Cafe Du Nord San Francisco, CA
Aug 11 – Mt Tabor Legacy Portland, OR
Aug 15 – Hi Dive Denver, CO
Aug 16 – Grand Emporium Kansas City, MO
Aug 17 – Off Broadway St. Louis, MO
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March 26, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Language changes its meaning over the years, and things that were completely kosher 50 years ago now make me drop my head into my arm and laugh silently. The website YesButNoButYes has has collected the “Top 15 Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels” with some choice examples. Whether it’s Robin “exposing himself” to Batman or wives being kissed and not heard, take a look and have a good chuckle. [thx Yeti!]

While you’re over there, check out their list of Top Ten Female Streakers, which uses words like “dangly bits” and chastens one 19 year-old streaker for “breaking the two cardinal rules of female stripping – 1) trim well, and 2) never cartwheel.” Oh, heavens.

Edge Of The Night
The Redwalls
I was a bit saddened yesterday to read that rad-retro Chicago band The Redwalls (previous rave) have broken up with Capitol Records. Even after parting ways, The Redwalls call their former label “honorable” because “the record which we wrote in the early months of 2006 and recorded in 42 days in a small town in Sweden, is now solely in the possession of the band (If you don’t understand the significance of this than you’ll have to trust us). A record is a statement that stands permanent, it is the culmination of where a bands been and where they are at . . . Look forward to the new record and to an EP that will precede it, as we look forward to sharing it with all of you.”

This looks to be a sample of the sounds recorded last year, and me gusta mucho. It reflects a fuller and more mature sound from these guys, with some interesting experimentation (maracas?) that still captures that ’60s pop harmony goodness. Kind of a ‘Beatles Take Paraguay’ vibe. Also check the big U2 sounding track called “Song 1″ on their MySpace. I hope they are snatched up quickly by a label with a good ear for talent, because these brothers have it.

Yeah Alright
The Richmond Sluts
Yell-out-loud dirty ’70s rock with a double punk/surf edge from San Francisco band the Richmond Sluts, who now appear to be defunct (but you try Googling richmond sluts for information on the band, without getting links to bendy women from Virginia). This delightfully crunchy song screams of driving too fast, playing music too loud, and maybe even dancing too close to leave room for the Holy Spirit. It’s off their self-titled 2001 album, and the Bono-riffic album cover has a girl that can stand alongside the Superdrag chick from Head Trip In Every Key in badass rocker chick irresistibility.

Screen Door

This kind of reminds me of the stomp of The 22-20s and the zip of that great Benjy Ferree track I posted recently, all rolled up into something fresh. New from paradoxically-Pennsylvanian band Illinois, from their EP What The Hell Do I Know? (out now). Clocking in at only 2 minutes long, this will nonetheless definitely get you tapping your toes and rolling down the windows, singing along with the sympathetic-for-the-devil “whoo-whoo” bits.

Hot Girls In Good Moods
Butch Walker & The Let’s Go Out Tonites
This song is an explosively soaring glam-rock party in a box. Butch Walker (chameleon-like musician/producer) checks T. Rex, echoes David Bowie, and wraps up all that swagger into a package that’s just plain fun. Even if you think you don’t like stuff like this, it’s kind of like the Eagles of Death Metal effect — I just can’t help myself. Check the lyric about music-geek love at its finest: “Straddles me lovely while she’s scratchin my back, while she’s singin all the words to my hidden track…” Absolutely calls for being the leadoff track on your next “going out” mix, from the aptly titled The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and The Lets-Go-Out-Tonites (2006).

Music (featuring Lauryn Hill)
Joss Stone
I’ve not previously been swayed by Joss Stone‘s rowly yowly charms, but this is one fine track off her newest effort, which pal Bruce is raving about as “so damn funky it’s like one of those classic Chaka Khan or Rufus records and has the velvetspeakers on full blast.” I always take his word for things, and you should too. From the new (oddly titled) Introducing Joss Stone. Anything that gets Lauryn out of hiding is a-okay in my book.

September 6, 2006

It’s a good week to live in Chicago

All you cool cats who live in the Chicagoland area have some good FREE shows with native bands coming your way in the next few days (well, either free or “don’t be a cheap bastard/small donation for a good cause” shows):

The Redwalls are headlining the Park West Carnivale, benefiting the Children’s Memorial Hospital. This event is an outdoor street festival featuring music, entertainment and food and celebrates world cultures. The event runs Saturday & Sunday, September 9 & 10, 2006.

The Redwalls headline the festival on Saturday 9/9 at 8pm.Ticket price is a $10.00 donation, the festival will be located on Halsted between Fullerton and Lill Streets in Chicago. This is an all-ages event. Come out and support.

Thursday, September 7 @ 1pm
Seattle’s is setting up shop from September 7th – 9th at Engine Studios in Chicago and they’ve invited The M’s in for an on-air performance. They are making the most of the opportunity by bringing the horn & string sections. That’s right, The M’s as an 11-piece.
Space is extremely limited, so go here: now and sign up.

Thursday, September 7, 7pm- 9pm
KEXP In Chicago – The Darkroom, KEXP Listener Party.
As if the studio appearance wasn’t enough, KEXP keeps the generosity coming with another free show and they once again ask The M’s to take part. They will.

Both shows are, obviously, recommended or else I wouldn’t be posting about them. Sheck it out!

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April 20, 2006

Happy Birthday Joan Miró

Check out the cool Google logo today for Catalan surrealist artist Joan Miró, born today in 1893:

Miró was a master of the surrealist movement, along with contemporaries Dali, Magritte, and Kahlo. Of the approach, Miró said: “Rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting, and as I paint, the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work . . . the first stage is free, unconscious. . .”

“Miró’s floating biomorphic shapes, hovering, vibrating, advancing, and retreating, are suggestive of musical tones made visible. The tempo is light and graceful, the mood playful and humorous.”
– from Art Through The Ages, Gardner

Colorful Revolution – The Redwalls

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January 30, 2006

The Redwalls: Rare track & Oasis tour

One of the freshest sounding releases I bought last summer was De Nova from The Redwalls, whom I mentioned a few days ago in my post about OK Go. Some of you expressed an interest in learning more about them, so here you go (look how easy that was).

When I first heard “It’s Love You’re On” by The Redwalls last February, I thought they were some ’60s band I’d never heard before – pleasing vocal harmonies, catchy hooks, a great crunchy sound. This Chicago quartet (vocalist/guitarist Logan Baren, vocalist/bassist Justin Baren, vocalist/guitarist Andrew Langer, and drummer Ben Greeno) ranges in dewy-fresh age from 20 to 22 years old, but sound much more mature to me, musically.

I was blown away seeing them live. Four young guys, shaggy dark hair, tight pants, pointed boots – like straight-up British Invasion brought back to life (oh wait, did it ever die?). They looked so young; I remember telling my friend Heidi that I felt like we were at a high school talent show (albeit one of very high caliber, minus the teenage band names like Janitors Against Apartheid and Liquid Courage). These kids have stage presence and swagger galore (although, really, who at 22 opening for all these great bands *wouldn’t* swagger just a tad?).

The Redwalls are opening for Oasis on five shows this March. If you live in Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville, or Houston, for the love of all that’s holy go check them out! They’ll be huge.

I just got emailed a rare Redwalls track from the vault, off the Japanese import version of De Nova. Enjoy!

Memories – The Redwalls

BONUS: For another little sample of their sound, here is one of my favorite tracks off De Nova. I highly recommend their album:

It’s Alright – The Redwalls

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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