Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Stagecoach Festival review: Day 1 (afternoon)

My review originally appeared in the OC Register's Soundcheck blog.

photo by Robert Kinsler
There's no need for horses at Stagecoach. The second that gates open, concertgoers carrying blankets and chairs stampede over to the primary Mane stage to stake their claim on a primo viewing spot. It's quite a sight. 

Over at the Toyota World of Wonders tent (aka the Gobi tent at Coachella) several carnival-type activities have kept early arrivals busy.

A line of guys and gals vying to get their names on a "heavy lifters" board from trying to pull a Tundra truck was short. No surprise there: Who wants to zap all their energy when the temperature is in the mid-90s? 

Relaxing in the Palomino tent was a far less strenuous activity. That's where Brett Shady kicked off the festival's music proceedings with his top-notch band. 

photo by Robert Kinsler
The L.A.-based singer-songwriter (pictured, left), a former member of Northern California indie rockers Golden Shoulders, turned in a highly satisfying set culled from his excellent 2010 effort The Devil to Pay.

His easygoing Americana music set was characterized by rich harmonies, often reminiscent of the Band (on songs such as "Somebody Else" and "Waltz for a Girl in South Carolina"), as well as tasteful electric guitar solos (on "Jerome, AZ") and a sense of honesty that evoked Jackson Browne. 

Robert Ellis followed Shady in Palomino with a solid solo acoustic guitar performance.

On his concept album Photographs, Ellis groups the songs into two halves like a vinyl record: dark, folksy finger-picking ones and tributes to classic country artists. The former category translated well live, especially on "Comin' Home" and "Westbound Train."

photo by David Hall
He also offered up a couple of George Jones covers, no doubt the first of many tributes to the late county legend as this weekend festival progresses. 

Haunted Windchimes, a quintet out of Pueblo, Colo., played acoustically, too, gathering together at the center of the Mustang stage and sharing a microphone. 

Their old-time country music was often delicate (as on "Earthquake" and "Cryin' Like the Rain") yet more forceful when needed (as with "Lordy Lordy" or the call-and-response vocals of "Say You're Sorry"). Adeptly rotating lead-singer chores, the band dedicated its Leadbelly cover "Ship to Zion" to Jones.

View more photos by David Hall at

New Fleetwood Mac music out now

Fleetwood Mac, currently on tour in North America, released an EP of new material today titled “Extended Play,” exclusively for purchase on iTunes.
It includes three new songs: “Sad Angel,” “It Takes Time” and “Miss Fantasy,” written by Lindsey Buckingham and produced by Lindsey Buckingham and Mitchell Froom. A fourth cut, “Without You,” was written by Stevie Nicks and co-produced by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
The latter was a lost song from the Buckingham/Nicks days which was rediscovered when someone posted an early demo of it on YouTube. First single, “Sad Angel” was just released to radio. “Extended Play” is the first recording of new Mac music since the release of “Say You Will” over a decade ago.
“We all felt that it would be great to go into the studio and record new material before embarking on this tour and the result has been remarkable – our best group of songs in a long time. It’s a work in progress but we’re so enthused by what we’ve done that we thought we’d share some of it with our fans in the form of an EP now…We’re performing two cuts, “Sad Angel” and “Without You” in the show and the response has been terrific, ” commented Buckingham.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Coachella Festival #2 - Best of the Lot

Who made the biggest impact at the second Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. last weekend?

Here's my top 10 list...

1. Franz Ferdinand
2. Blur
3. Vampire Weekend
4. The Postal Service
5. Johnny Marr 
6. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
7. The Three O'Clock
8. Palma Violets
9. Vintage Trouble
10. New Order

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coachella Festival #2 review: Day 3

My review originally appeared in the OC Register.
Photos by Kelly Swift, unless indicated. 

It was late Sunday afternoon at Coachella when Mike Ness of Social Distortion introduced the song “California (Hustle and Flow)” by asking the audience where they had come from. “From what I hear, most of you are from Southern California, right?”

Over near the VIP area, the loud response was definitely in the negative.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the most successful and popular events of its type in the world, drawing concertgoers from multiple countries outside America.

Some people complained that this year’s dual weekend lineup was lackluster, but the wide-ranging smorgasbord of musical talent, as always, had something for everyone. (Except country. But those enthusiasts will pack Stagecoach at the same Indio location next weekend.)

XL Recordings
Vampire Weekend made the strongest mark Sunday, the NYC band nabbing the enviable sunset slot on the main stage and turning in a terrific set.

Earlier tunes “A-Punk,” “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” and “Campus” sounded sharp, but ones from forthcoming album Modern Vampires of the City (due May 14), like the rave-up “Diane Young,” elegant and piano-based “Step” and the ambitious “Ya Hey” (with spoken-word interlude), showed the young guys have more than worldbeat melodies up their collective sleeves. Multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Rostam Batmanglij ably guided fresh musical textures onstage, heavy on electronics.

Immediately after that, I managed to witness a good chunk of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds live for the first time on the main stage and wasn’t disappointed. Night time is  perfect for experiencing the Aussie goth-rock veteran and his large band. A contemplative “Jubilee Street,” from moody new album Push the Sky Away, might not have been the wisest choice to lure people over from other points on the polo grounds, but it was still transfixing. (I wonder what the children’s choir, waiting to sing at the end of it, thought of Cave’s odd lyric: “I got a fetus on a leash.”)

The discordant title track from 1984’s From Her to Eternity was riveting as Cave ventured into the crowd and the string section swelled in intensity; “Red Right Hand” proved equally shiver-inducing. “Deanna,” another '80s nugget, was a total barnburner and “Jack the Ripper” found the baritone singer prowling the stage and playing a few quick piano bars at various times.

Catching the last half of OMD in the Gobi tent was a must, especially since the synth-pop group just put out another solid studio release (English Electric) and came across exceptionally well during a headlining solo show at L.A.'s El Rey Theatre last week (see review elsewhere on this blog). 

Coachella was no exception, and I thought spry co-singer Andy McCluskey (pictured, left) had one of the best comments among performers here all weekend: Before "If You Leave," their hit single from the flick Pretty in Pink, he said, “We sold our souls to Hollywood and you loved us for it!”

With some time left before Red Hot Chili Peppers closed the festival on the main stage, I wandered into the Mohave tent just as Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard was in the midst of the incantation "Sanvean," sung in a pseudo-language. Some female fans - including one in a Middle eastern-type headdress - writhed around, obviously mesmerized.

Once her musical partner Brendan Perry returned to sing lead on the group's best known song "The Ubiquitous Mt. Lovegrove" (a No. 8 alt-rock hit in '93) and finish the eight-song set, I was equally entranced. 

The Red Hot Chili Peppers' show was a dazzling audio-visual assult, putting the big screens to good use. There were plenty of mini-jams going on. The band front-loaded the set with such hits as "Dani California," 'Scar Tissue," "Can't Stop" and their vigorous cover of Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." 

Singer Anthony Kiedas and bassist Flea bantered about their favorite places in California, even mentioning the Inland Empire.

Earlier on the main stage, New Jersey’s the Gaslight Anthem played a compelling set.

Though raspy-voiced singer/guitarist Brian Fallon strictly concentrated on the music and barely acknowledged the crowd, the rock band still forged a true connection thanks to the inspiring Springsteen-ish lyrics and ringing guitars of opener “Mae,” powerful “Film Noir” and “45” and the title track to latest album Handwritten (a feel-good-to-be-alive song).

Surprisingly, they also pulled out a faithful cover of STP’s “Plush” as well.

Alex Clare’s fresh take on blue-eyed soul and dubstep went down well at the sweltering, packed Mojave tent. The bohemian Brit seemed amused by the reaction. His intense delivery elevated “Relax, My Beloved,” “Whispering” and “Hummingbird” well above their recorded versions, and Clare’s slow-jam handling of Prince’s “When Doves Cry” simmered. 

Subject of the new compilation The Hidden World Revealed (out in June), L.A. band the Three O’Clock were one of my most anticipated reunions at Coachella. Having missed their '80s heyday, I was in power-pop bliss at the Gobi tent, where the group's three founding members (assisted by the 88’s Adam Merrin on keyboards) showed that their old chops are firmly intact.


Lead singer/bassist Michael Quercio (above) kept the mood light and humorous. Standouts among the too-short set included an enthralling “With a Cantaloupe Girlfriend” – during which Louis Gutierrez literally squeezed the feedback out of his electric guitar – and the sublime harmonies of “I Go Wild” and “On My Own.”

Coachella Festival #2 review: Day 2 (evening)

My review originally appeared in the OC Register. 
Photos by Kelly Swift, unless indicated. 

Having been to a dozen previous editions of Coachella, I know you can always be assured of seeing people in some of the most outlandish attire around. That's especially true near the expanded Sahara tent, where everyone writhes to their heart's content to EDM music.

I spotted two guys in green head-to-toe "Morph Suits" there who could've easily sprung from a superhero flick. Another young man wore an apron emblazoned with an image of Michelangelo's David.
New Order used similar artwork on the cover of their great 1989 album Technique, but didn't play anything from it during a solid Saturday performance that ended at 1 a.m.

Instead, the influential Manchester synth-pop band's set in the packed Mojave tent mostly focused on earlier material like "Bizarre Love Triangle" (during which leader Bernard Sumner shuffled around), "True Faith" (prefaced by a newish intro) and dance floor classic "Blue Monday" (ambience provided by two scantily clad fans invited onstage to shimmy about).

Battling minor sound glitches throughout, Sumner complained a few times about the high decibel levels floating all the way over from Phoenix's set. Maybe he was also irked about being stuck in Mojave when they played the main stage here last time around, ahead of Nine Inch Nails in 2005.

New Order started off with a rocking "Crystal," with an accompanying video about a pseudo band, where the Killers got their name, shown on a backdrop. It was one of many dazzling images evoking different phases of the band's career.

Highlights among their nearly 90-minute show included a melancholy "Regret," the melodica-infused "Your Silent Face" (with some regal synth lines by recent returnee Gillian Gilbert), the epic display of musicianship in "The Perfect Kiss" and standard encores of Joy Division's "Atmosphere" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart." 

(Founding bassist Peter Hook sure was missed on those last two and his replacement Tom Chapman seemed to over-compensate at times, as if to say "look at me!").

Preceding New Order on the same stage was Franz Ferdinand (pictured, left). The Scots' brand of angular guitar rock was just plain incendiary, the best performance of the day by far – 50 minutes that went by in a flash.

Road-testing a handful of strong new material for a forthcoming album, they also played to a capacity crowd, albeit a little wilder one.

Gregarious frontman Alex Kapranos probably broke a record for mentioning the name Coachella the most times. He and fellow guitarist and backing singer Nick McCarthy and the rest of the band tore through faves "This Fire," "Take Me Out," "No U Girls," "Do You Want To?" and "Ulysses" with a vengeance.

Best of the new lot was the dance-rock-leaning track "Can't Stop Feeling," incorporating the instantly recognizable Giorgio Moroder synth line from Donna Summer's "I Feel Love."

One of the festival's most anticipated acts as was the Postal Service, previously a studio-only entity. The indie electronic act's lone album, Give Up, went platinum, is one of the most successful in Sub Pop Records' history and just came out in a deluxe 10th Anniversary reissue edition.

Over on the main stage, the foursome delivered a thoroughly enchanting set, characterized by Ben Gibbard's introspective lyrics and Jimmy Tamborello's melancholy soundscapes. Until seeing them live, I hadn't realized Gibbard played drums as well as guitar and piano. 

A luxurious handling of "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight," the magical aura of "We Will Become Silhouettes," the plangent "Sleeping In" (where Gibbard and singer Jenny Lewis played electric guitar facing each other) and the atmospheric calm of "Recycled Air" made the strongest mark in the wide open expanse at the Empire Polo Club. 

British outfit The Selecter was only active in its original early '80s incarnation for a few years, but the ska band later became a pioneer for women in the genre that had a direct influence on both local successes No Doubt and Save Ferris. 

Pauline Black (pictured, left) has led her version of the group for several years now and they just put out the album String Theory.

The tight eight-piece ensemble drew a moderate crowd to the Gobi tent and provided streamlined support for Black's still rich and soulful pipes.

Key examples? The feisty calling card "Too Much Pressure" (plenty of skanking going on for that one), "Missing Words," the trilling vocals of "On My Radio" and "Train to Skaville."

Totally fun.

Coachella Festival #2 review: Day 2 (afternoon)

My review originally appeared in the OC Register. Photos by Kelly Swift. 

Dropkick Murphys have always taken pride in their hometown of Boston, a fact that has shown up in lyrics on virtually all of the group's albums over the years.

But, as might have been expected given the marathon bombing and aftermath since the band's set last weekend, that allegiance took on new meaning during the Celtic punk band's fiery return to Coachella Saturday afternoon.

"A big thank you to everyone for showing such incredible support to the people in Boston," Bassist/singer Ken Casey said halfway into the set, just before tearing into "Your Spirit's Alive," written for a friend who passed away five years ago. "It's very fitting this week," he added.

Taking the stage to a traditional Irish tune sung by Sinead O'Connor, the group (with Josh Wallace, pictured above) launched with the fast and furious "For Boston," off 2001's Sing Loud, Sing Proud. From there, it was one blitzkrieg, bagpipe-enhanced tune after another from gravelly voiced frontman Al Barr & Co., in a changed-up set list that included "Broken Hymns," "The Boys Are Back" (during which the singer mixed it up with fans and a slam pit commenced) and the title track from latest release Rose Tattoo.

Violent Femmes singer Gordon Gano also joined them on fiddle for a traditional Irish tune, and they closed with their rousing take on Woody Guthrie's "I'm Shipping Up to Boston."

Just a few years ago, members of Violent Femmes weren't speaking, instead caught up in a lawsuit over the use of band's music in a TV commercial. But spurred in part by the 30th anniversary of their eponymous debut LP, a modern rock radio classic, as well as Coachella organizers' knack for reunions, they're back together.

On the main stage, the folk-leaning trio sounded as good as ever while playing that angst-ridden acoustic staple from front to back. (Gano thought he accidentally skipped one when he finished "To the Kill," though it had come after "A Promise" as it should. "That's not the way I hear it in my head," he joked.)

Half the songs got a enthusiastic reception, thanks no doubt to heavy KROQ airplay back in the day. Standouts included the jaunty "Blister in the Sun," a dynamically frantic "Add it Up," the xylophone-driven "Gone Daddy Gone" and, after the album had been finished, the ebullient call-and-response number "American Music."

Earlier in the day, the Wombats began their set late (having been in San Francisco just this morning) and it was cut short.

Fortunately, the Liverpool alt-pop trio made the most of their time with an exuberant performance, highlighted by the appealing mid-period Cure-ish "1996," a more aggressive "Jump into the Fog" and the angular rock of crowd singalong "Let's Dance to Joy Division."

Coachella Festival #2 review: Day 1 (evening)

My review originally appeared in the OC Register.

Anglophiles enjoyed a wealth of musical riches as the first afternoon of Coachella Weekend 2 turned into evening.

Blur, closing on the main stage this time instead of the Stone Roses – as was the plan all along, not, as Rolling Stone initially reported, an unprecedented schedule shake-up – turned in a sharp 75-minute set.

It varied only slightly from their other appearance here, adding 1997 album cut  “Death of a Party” but nothing else from a set list that suggested more alternatives.

The Britpop band, whose ’90s albums all sold respectably in America, reunited its original lineup in 2009 (with Graham Coxon on guitar) and finally re-emerged stateside last weekend in Indio.

Bolstered by a three-piece horn section and backing vocalists on selected tracks, the quartet’s rich sound was easily heard above the din emanating from elsewhere on the grounds.

Opening with the bouncy New Wave-ish hit “Girls & Boys” and then the propulsive “There’s No Other Way” got fans amped up early. Frontman Damon Albarn (pictured left) indulged some leaps and ventured into the crowd at various points as Coxon often injected jagged guitar shards into cuts like “Out of Time” and an extended “Coffee & TV”).

British actor Phil Daniels returned for his spoken cameo on the fun, jaunty “Parklife.” A dramatic “This is a Low” and the gospel-tinged “Tender” were highlights, both conveyed with more passion than last weekend. It was easy to get swept away by the grandeur of “The Universal.” Finally, “Song 2” capped things off explosively. Overall, a welcome return.

Another U.K. group back after a long absence is the Stone Roses, who reformed last year at home. The influential foursome notched several Top 20 singles and a pair of smash albums in England during the late ’80s/early ’90s but only made minor inroads on these shores.

At Coachella, they drew less people than Blur, but their fans were more boisterous.
The set was merely satisfactory, including epic-length versions of “Fools Gold,” “Made of Stone” and “I Am the Resurrection” that mostly served as a display of John Squire’s classic rock riffs. Ian Brown’s vocals were low in the mix and he seemed perturbed that people weren’t dancing enough. Still, “This Is the One” and “She Bangs the Drums” retained their anthemic glory.

Earlier, I managed to catch the end of highly touted young U.K. folk artist Jake Bugg and was definitely impressed by “Taste It” and “Lightning Bolt.”

photo by Kelly Swift
After decades of hearing the Smiths’ guitar lines played by Morrissey’s musicians, it was a thrill to finally witness some played here by the master himself, Johnny Marr.

The packed Mojave tent was awestruck to behold great versions of “Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before,” “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and the spiraling “How Soon Is Now?” 

With a rose in his teeth, Marr and his crackling band started with a stomping “On the Right Thing, Right,” from brawny new solo album The Messenger. Among the other highlights were “Upstarts” and “New Town Velocity.”

Over at the Outdoor Theatre, the skittering synths on Divine Fits’ Gary Numan-esque “Salton Sea” (how very apt) immediately drew me in, and “Flaggin’ a Ride” and the downcast “Shivers” proved just as compelling. Singer/guitarist Britt Daniel dedicated the latter to Nick Launay - he produced their '12 debut, one of my picks for albums of the year - who was watching from in front. 

Palma Violets’ brand of garage-rock went down a storm before a small, yet devoted crowd in Mojave. The young London band came off like an intoxicating mix of the Walkmen, Manic Street Preachers and early Stones. Bassist/singer Alexander Jesson serves as ringleader onstage, easily garnering crowd participation. They fared best on “Best of Friends” and “14” from just-released album 180.

Yet another small but devoted audience turned out in the same tent for veteran L.A. art-rock duo Sparks. Making a rare Southern California festival showing in support of new live album Two Hands, One Mouth, the set reached all the way back to their early ’70s efforts.

The piano-and-vocal format accentuated Russell Mael’s theatrical bent and his brother Ron’s classical flourishes on “Beat the Clock,” “No. 1 Song in Heaven” and others. Some songs were even spruced up with a modern EDM sheen that could have fit in the nearby DJ-friendly Sahara tent.

Coachella Festival #2 review: Day 1 (afternoon)

Over the course of three days at the second Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif. last weekend, I managed to catch partial or complete sets from 36 acts. Here is the start of my coverage, which originally appeared in the OC Register.

photo by Kelly Swift
The first intruiging sounds I heard while making my way toward the Gobi tent early Friday afternoon emanated from IO Echo, a Los Angeles-based grungy goth band that has opened for NIN and scored the James Franco flick Rebel.

Female lead singer Ioanna Gika twirled and ran around the stage draped in a shiny silver wrap of some sort (it actually looked like a bin liner).

Her wail recalled Siouxsie Sioux at times, while the musicians conjured up a Deftones-style squall.

Even more impressive was L.A. transplant Lord Huron, led by vocalist Ben Schneider. The seven-member alt-folk group drew a good-sized crowd to the Mojave tent, where they adeptly crafted a distinct rustic atmosphere. Several songs were led off by percussive bells and other handheld noisemakers.

Opening with "Ends of the Earth," from debut album "Lonesome Dreams," the reverb-drenched group harmonies, plus a mix of electric/acoustic guitars came across like a winning hybrid of My Morning Jacket and Dawes.

Schneider delivered impassioned vocals and pounded a single drum, making "She Lit a Fire" - with appropriate lyrics about "driving through the desert" - all the more powerful.

Another Southern California band, the Neighbourhood, has been getting plenty of attention lately, thanks to current Top 10 alt-rock single "Sweater Weather."

Performing to a large and enthusiastic crowd on the Outdoor Theater stage (one gal waved a sign sporting an image of a doctored Bill Murray from Stripes), the group proved only mildly interesting, just like when I saw 'em at the much more intimate Constellation Room late last year opening for Paul Banks.

Still, frontman Jesse Rutherford drew attention by crowd-surfing amid the moody "Float," got the crowd to wave their hands during "Alleyways" (both from major-label debut I Love You, out Tuesday) and told of how the band's seeds were sown while seeing Arcade Fire at Coachella a few years ago. "Sweater Weather" went down a storm.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dead Can Dance news

Dead Can Dance will appear on KCRW-FM/Los Angeles show Morning Becomes Eclectic on April 19 and close the Mojave Stage at the Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif. on April 21

The group's new release In Concert is in stores now. Comprised of a selection of recordings from Dead Can Dance’s 2012 US tour, it is available on CD and an extended digital edition in North America, 

Culled from Anastasis, the first DCD studio record in 16 years, as well as the catalog, a triple live LP version is set to be released shortly.

“I would say without hesitation that this has been the most rewarding tour that we have ever undertaken,” notes Brendan Perry. “On one level it has been an absolute pleasure to perform in such beautiful locations with such a wonderful band and crew, but also to be able to connect on a personal level with the many devoted admirers of our art both old and new. It would seem in our case absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder and it has been an absolute joy to be given the opportunity to be able to share our music in the ultimate setting of the living work.”

Dead Can Dance’s current year long world tour is their first since 1995 and features 85 shows across four continents. Performing to over 400,000 people, the band have appeared at some of the world’s most iconic venues including Sydney’s Royal Opera House, London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Beacon Theatre.

Rod Stewart webcast event for new album

This sounds very exciting! Can't wait to see it online...

On April 25, Capitol Records will kick off the celebration for Rod Stewart’s new studio album Time, with a rare and intimate free concert event by the two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer from the Troubadour in West Hollywood.
Fans should visit for details on how to score access to the show. In addition, everyone can see his performance on VEVO and YouTube.  
Stewart will take the stage and will be performing a selection of tracks from Time as well as some of his classic hits. Following the concert, Rod will participate in a fan Q&A and discussion about his new music and inspiration behind his new songs. 
Fans who are not at the Troubadour concert can also be part of the event beginning April 27, when the show will be available on-demand globally on VEVO and YouTube in multiple countries. The streaming event will also include exclusive unseen footage including pre-show interviews, b-roll and more. 

Time marks Stewart’s long-awaited return to his songwriting roots and features 11 new songs which he wrote and produced. The album is Stewart’s 28th studio album and will be released May 7 in the U.S. and Canada.

Ben Folds Five live album due in June

Ben Folds Five, have confirmed the release of their first-ever live album Ben Folds Five Live, on June 4 via Sony Music Entertainment. 

Recorded in 2012-13 on their first tour in more than a decade, this new set - available on CD as well as double vinyl - is comprised of live versions of some of the band's most beloved classics.

Soon after the release of the album, Ben Folds Five, along with Barenaked Ladies and Guster will embark on the "Last Summer on Earth 2013" tour. Dates are below.

Ben Folds Five Live was recorded while the band was out touring in support of their latest record, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind. It was released in September and debuted in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200, making it the highest debut of their career. It is the band's fourth record and first in 13 years.

The tracklisting for Ben Folds Five Live:

1. Jackson Cannery (The Warfield, San Francisco CA, 1/31/13)
2. Erase Me (The Warfield, San Francisco CA, 1/31/13)
3. Selfless, Cold and Composed (House of Blues, Boston MA, 10/13/12)
4. Uncle Walter (Kool Haus, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 10/5/12)
5. Landed (The Warfield, San Francisco CA, 1/31/13)
6. Sky High (The Barton Theatre, Adelaide AU, 11/16/12)
7. One Chord Blues/Billie's Bounce (The Wiltern, Los Angeles CA 1/26/13)
8. Do It Anyway/Overture-Heaven on Their Minds (O2 Academy, Brixton UK, 12/4/12)
9. Brick (The Warfield, San Francisco CA, 1/31/13)
10. Draw A Crowd (Capitol, Port Chester NY, 10/9/12)
11. Narcolepsy (Hitomi Kinen Hall, Tokyo JP, 2/16/13)
12. Underground (Mielparque Hall, Osaka JP, 2/22/13)
13. Tom and Mary (O2 Academy, Brixton UK, 12/4/12)
14. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces (The Warfield, San Francisco CA, 1/31/13)
15. Song for the Dumped (The Barton Theatre, Adelaide AU, 11/16/12)

Ben Folds Five (Ben Folds-piano, Darren Jessee-drums, Robert Sledge-bass) were among the most distinctive and inventive bands of the alternative era, beloved for their kinetic live shows and piano-powered popcraft. The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind made it plain that the years apart have only served to amplify the band's already estimable gifts.

2012's "Last Summer on Earth Tour" was met with huge praise. Back by popular demand, this year's tour is set to kick off June 17 at the Verizon Theatre in Dallas.

"Last Summer on Earth 2013" tour:

June 17 - Dallas, TX  via Verizon Theatre
June 19 - Denver, CO  via Red Rocks
June 20 - Salt Lake City, UT  via USANA Amp
June 22 - Santa Barbara, CA  via Santa Barbara Bowl
June 23 - Los Angeles, CA  via Greek Theatre
June 25 - Saratoga, CA  via Mountain Winery *
June 26 - Saratoga, CA  via Mountain Winery *
June 28 - Boise, ID  via Botanical Gardens
June 29 - Seattle, WA  via White River Amp
June 30 - Missoula, MT  via Big Sky Brewing Company
July   3 - Fargo, ND  via Newman Field **
July   5 - Columbus, OH  via LC Pavilion
July   6 - Cincinnati, OH  via (Venue TBA March 29)
July   8 - Lansing, MI  via Commonground Festival
July   9 - Chicago, IL  via Charter One Pavilion *
July 11 - Toronto, ON  via Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
July 12 - Detroit, MI  via DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 13 - Nashville, TN  via The Woods at Fontanel
July 15 - Columbia, MD  via Merriweather Post Pavilion
July 16 - Boston, MA  via Bank of America Pavilion *
July 18 - Philadelphia, PA  via Mann Music Ctr
July 19 - Uncasville, CT  via Mohegan Sun Arena
July 20 - Holmdel, NJ  via PNC Bank Arts Center
July 21 - Bangor, ME  via Waterfront Park
July 23 - Lenox, MA  via Tanglewood
July 25 - Charlotte, NC  via T W Cable Uptown Amp
July 26 - Alpharetta, GA  via Verizon Wireless Amp
July 27 - Charleston, SC  via Family Circle Stadium
July 28 - Raleigh, NC  via Red Hat Amphitheatre
July 30 - Brooklyn, NY  via Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Prospect Park Bandshell 

*= BNL & BF5 only
** = BNL & Guster only

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Empire of the Sun tour dates, new album details

Empire of the Sun's second album, Ice On The Dune, will be released in the U.S. on June 18 via Astralwerks. The band will make its U.S. television debut that evening, performing on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

It will also play U.S. festivals Electric Daisy Carnival, Sasquatch!, Electric Forest, Kanrocksas, Summerfest and Made in America.


"Alive," the album's first single, is available now. 

Track listing
Concert Pitch
Ice On The Dune
I'll Be Around
Old Flavours
Surround Sound
Keep A Watch

Tour Dates

5/17-18 - New York, NY @ Citi Field - Electric Daisy Carnival New York
5/24-26 - Joliet, IL @ Chicagoland Speedway - Electric Daisy Carnival Chicago
5/25 - George, WA @ The Gorge Amphitheatre- Sasquatch! Music Festival
5/30 - Sydney, AUS @ Opera House - Vivid Festival
5/31 - Sydney, AUS @ Opera House - Vivid Festival
6/27-30 - Rothbury, MI @ Double JJ Ranch & Resort - Electric Forest
6/28-29 - Kansas City, KS @ Kansas Motor Speedway - Kanrocksas
6/26-7/7 - Milwaukee, WI @ Henry Maier Festival Park - Summerfest
8/9 - UK @ Wilderness Festival
8/11 - Budapest, Hungary @ Sziget Festival
8/31-9/1 - Philadelphia, PA @ Fairmount Park - Made in America Festival

Rogue Wave returns with new album, summer tour

Rogue Wave will head out on the road for a string US shows this summer following the release of their fifth studio album Nightingale Floors (Vagrant Records) out June 4.

Led by core band members Zach Rogue and Pat Spurgeon, these shows will be the first for the band in three years. Complete list of tour dates below. 

The first track from the upcoming album, "College," was recently released.

Rogue Wave tapped John Congleton (David Byrne & St. Vincent, Explosions In The Sky) to produce the record. With the assistance of touring bassist Masanori Mark Christianson, Peter Wolf Crier's Peter Pisano (guitar), Sea Of Bees' Jules Baenziger (vocals), and Mwahaha's Ross Peacock (synth manipulation) Rogue, Spurgeon, and Christianson channeled their energies into 10 songs that include "No Magnatone," "College," "The Closer I Get" and "Everyone Wants To Be You." 

"The thing I like about the new album is I can envision playing all of the songs live," says Rogue. "For Permalight, it was like, 'How will we do this?' That's not a good sign. For this, it's like, 'How are we going to play all of them?' And that's exciting."

Tour Dates
6/12 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
6/13 - Boulder, CO - eTown
6/14 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room 
6/15 - St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House ^
6/16 - Indianapolis, IN - Radio Radio ^
6/18 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer #
6/19 - Washington, DC - Black Cat ^
6/20 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair^
6/21 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg ^
6/22 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
6/23 - Pittsburgh, PA - Mr. Small's Theatre ^
6/25 - Toronto, ON - The Mod Club ^
6/26 - Detroit, MI - The Majestic Theatre ^
6/27 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall ^
6/28 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall ^
6/29 - Minneapolis, MN - Fine Line Music Cafe ^
7/12 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
7/13 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent *
7/16 - Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret *
7/17 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's
7/18 - Portland, OR - The Wonder Ballroom *
7/20 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre *
7/21 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern *

^ with Caveman
# with The Boxer Rebellion, Fossil Collective
* with Hey Marseilles