Thursday, June 30, 2016

Beatles exhibit to debut at Grammy Museum/LA

courtesy Bob Bonis Archive/Grammy Museum
On July 1, Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles! opens at the Grammy Museum at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. 

Fifty years ago The Beatles came to America for one final tour. Their journey in America began on Friday, February 7, 1964, when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr arrived from the UK at the newly named John F. Kennedy International Airport.

With cameras flashing and reporters jostling, the Fab Four were whisked into Manhattan amid the screams, shouts and tears of New York-area teens who braved the cold for a mere glimpse of the band. Then, that Sunday, the veritable king of the television variety show, Ed Sullivan, introduced them to a captivated American audience of more than 73 million viewers - a television record at the time. And just like that Beatlemania was upon us.

Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles! brings us back to the early '60s when rock & roll was re-energized - some say saved - by four lads from Liverpool. The exhibit covers the period from early 1964 through mid-1966 - the years Beatlemania ran rampant in America. During this time the band affected nearly every aspect of pop culture, including fashion, art, advertising, media, and, of course, music.

On display are many Beatles-related pop culture artifacts from the period, as well as correspondence, instruments, posters, photographs, interviews, interactive displays, and an oral history booth in which visitors can leave their own impressions of The Beatles. Curated by the Grammy Museum at L.A. LIVE and Fab Four Exhibits, Ladies and Gentlemen...The Beatles! provides fresh new insight into how and why The Beatles impacted America in the 1960s - and beyond.

There are several Beatles-related programs in conjunction with the new exhibit opening in July. Go to for details on these and a wealth of other events.

Taking Back Sunday news

photo by Greg Hunter
Taking Back Sunday vocalist Adam Lazzara has said many songs on Tidal Wave - the band's seventh studio album due Sept. 16 via Hopeless Records - have references to water.

Now a video for the title track – a pastiche of live performance footage of the song from this summer’s ongoing Taste of Chaos tour - is available to view:

"Tidal Wave" will be included as an instant grat track with the pre-order here ( Physical and vinyl pre-orders can be purchased here ( The song can also be heard on Spotify (

Track listing:

1. Death Wolf
2. Tidal Wave
3. You Can't Look Back
4. Fences
5. All Excess
6. I Felt It Too
7. Call Come Running
8. Holy Water
9. In The Middle Of It All
10. We Don't Go In There
11. Homecoming
12. I'll Find A Way To Make It What You Want

Currently on the Taste of Chaos tour with Dashboard Confessional, Saosin, The Early November (with a rotating cast of guests like Motion City Soundtrack and Saves The Day among others), Taking Back Sunday formed on Long Island in 1999, and has sold millions of records and landed a pair of Top Five Billboard chart positions.

Taste of Chaos tour dates:

Jul 02 Revention Music Center Houston, TX
Jul 03 Cedar Park Center Cedar Park, TX
Jul 05 Sumtur Amphitheater Papillion, NE
Jul 06 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO
Jul 07 The Great Salt Air Magna, UT
Jul 08 Revolution Event Center Garden City, ID
Jul 09 Xfinity Arena Everett, WA
Jul 10 Cuthbert Amphitheater Eugene, OR
Jul 12 Concord Pavilion Concord, CA
Jul 13 Rotary Amphitheater Fresno, CA
Jul 14 Comerica Theatre Phoenix, AZ
Jul 15 The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, NV
Jul 16 San Manuel Amphitheater San Bernardino, CA

Taking Back Sunday is Adam Lazzara (Vocals), John Nolan (Guitars, Vocals), Eddie Reyes (Guitars), Shaun Cooper (Bass), and Mark O’Connell (Drums).

Latest 'Pursuit of Tone' episode on AUDIENCE Network to feature Billy Duffy

Tune in to AUDIENCE Network for "Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone 'Billy Duffy'" airing Friday, July 1, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT (DIRECTV Ch 239/U-verse Ch 1114).

The guitar player and co-songwriter for the platinum-selling rock group The Cult is interviewed for the documentary series.

In the episode, Duffy covers a wide variety of from his early goals, why he considers "finding your own sound" to be the most important pursuit as well as the transformational effect The Sex Pistols had on him after seeing the legendary group perform in Manchester, U.K. and much more.

"Guitars are just a bit of wood with strings on it, it's about the person playing it."
--Billy Duffy

Watch an exclusive clip as Duffy describes meeting producer Rick Rubin for the first time in New York and working on the The Cult's classic album Electric up now on
Guitar Aficionado magazine (here) and (here).  

See the trailer for "Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone 'Billy Duffy'" airing Friday, July 1, at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on AUDIENCE Network DIRECTV Ch 239/U-verse Ch 1114 (

Produced by Bob Rock and co-written by Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy, The Cult's third record of three in nine years, aptly titled Hidden City marks the closing chapter on the album trilogy the band had built with 2007's Born Into This("The Fall") and 2012's Choice of Weapon ("Dark Night of the Soul") preceding it.

Hidden City ("Rebirth") features Astbury's signature baritone and blood-soaked lyrics paired with Duffy's smouldering, textured guitar tones, creating a musical environment that is fearless and peerless. It is within this archetype that their music takes shape and learns to breathe.

e Cult will head out for a North American tour starting July 8 that encompasses headlining shows, festival appearances and dates with Guns N' Roses (see itinerary below).

For The Cult information, visit:,,, and

The Cult tour dates:

Quebec City, Quebec City
Quebec City Festival

Ottawa, ON
Ottawa Blues Fest

Montreal, QC

Lethbridge, AB
Enmax Centre

Calgary, AB
Fort Calgary (Festival)

Winnipeg, MB
Club Regent Event Centre

Thunder Bay, ON
Fort Williams Historical Park (Festival)

Atlanta, GA
Georgia Dome
*w/Guns N' Roses

Orlando, FL
Camping World Stadium
*w/Guns N' Roses

New Orleans, LA
Mercedez-Benz Superdome
*w/Guns N' Roses

San Antonio, TX
The Aztec Theater

Arlington, TX
AT&T Stadium
*w/Guns N' Roses

Chester, PA
Talen Energy Stadium (Festival)

Houston, TX
Houston Open Air

Louisville, KY

Bun E. Carlos recruits eclectic singers for solo CD

Veteran rock drummer Bun E. Carlos just released his solo album, Greetings From Bunezuela!
Bun E.'s version of The Who's "Armenia City in the Sky" features vocals from John Stirratt (Wilco, The Autumn Defense).

The album also features Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices), Xeno (original Cheap Trick vocalist), Hanson, Alejandro Escovedo, Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum), John Stirratt (Wilco), Nicholas Tremulis, Alex Dezen (Damnwells), Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day), and members of Candy Golde and the Monday Night Band.

Do Something Real," a cover of a Robert Pollard song featuring Pollard on vocals, was released right before Carlos' April induction into the 2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with longtime band Cheap Trick.

Track listing:

Do Something Real (Robert Pollard) - feat. Robert Pollard
Armenia City In The Sky - (The Who) feat. John Stirratt
Him Or Me (Paul Revere & The Raiders) - feat. Hanson
I Love You No More (The Blackstones) - feat. Alex Dezen
Tell Me (The Rolling Stones) - feat. Alejandro Escovedo
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry (Bob Dylan) - feat Dave Pirner
Let The Mystery Be (Iris DeMent) - feat. Xeno
Idea (The Bee Gees) - feat. Robert Pollard
Les Cactus (Jacque DuTronc) - feat. Nicholas
I Can Only Give You Everything (Them) - Rick Rizzo
Slow Down(Alejandro Escovedo) feat. Alejandro Escovedo
Count On Me (Fra Lippo Lippi) feat. Xeno
I Don’t Mind (Alex Dezen) - feat. Alex Dezen

American Authors new album in stores Friday

Brooklyn’s American Authors are releasing their new album What We Live For, Friday on Dirty Canvas/Island Records. It features the summer hit and title track “What We Live For.” 

They recently played the Vans Warped Tour in Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston, immediately following their sold out spring headline run.

The video for “What We Live For” is a commentary on the state of gun violence in the US.

In a statement to Billboard, the band writes:

"In January of 2016 we came up with a concept for a music video that worked perfectly with our song "What We Live For." We wanted to show you a powerful memory between two people whose love for each other, abruptly came to an end due to gun violence. In March 2016, we filmed it.

Everyone has so much to live for, including the 1000s of victims that die from gun violence in our country every year. We must ask ourselves, why do we keep allowing this to happen? How do these violent people get these weapons of mass destruction? And, what can we do to stop them?

We here at American Authors believe in strengthening our gun laws, and we feel that coming together to find a solution to these everyday atrocities is more important than any constitution or amendment, because finding happiness and living our lives as long as we can, is our inherent right as people."

HERE to watch the video for “What We Live For.”

American Authors’ RIAA triple-platinum #1 hit “Best Day Of My Life” continues to resonate in the sync world as well as multiple placements for “Go Big Or Go Home,” “Nothing Better,” and most recently “Right Here Right Now” that was featured in a national TV campaign.  

What We Live For is the follow-up to Oh, What A Life, American Authors’ RIAA certified Gold debut album of 2014, which reached to #3 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart and to date the band has over 500+ million streams and 300+ million YouTube views.

American Authors are Zac Barnett (vocals), James Adam Shelley (guitar/banjo), Dave Rublin (bass), and Matt Sanchez (drums).

Track listing:

1. What We Live For
2. Born to Run
3. Pride
4. Right Here, Right Now
5. Nothing Better
6. Replaced
7. Go Big or Go Home
8. Mess With Your Heart
9. No Love
10. Pocket Full of Gold
11. Superman
12. Mind Body Soul

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A quick chat with Steve Grand

Before his performance this past Saturday at the Yost Theater in Santa Ana, Calif. (review is elsewhere on this blog), I had the chance to sit down with Steve Grand and ask a few questions...

Q: Is this your first time playing in Orange County?
A: Yes.

Q: Where is the closest place you've performed around here before now?
A: Long Beach

Q: What other Pride events have you played this month?
A: Detroit, Pittsburgh, Providence, Grand Rapids. 

Q: Since the Pulse nightclub tragedy in Orlando, have you noticed a change in atmosphere among the concertgoers?
A: There's more of an emotional intensity and somberness overall.

Q: Over the past few months, you've recorded some stripped down pop music covers by Justin Bieber and Zayn that you've been doing in your live sets and put them up on for your followers to purchase. What prompted that decision?
A: I wanted to give fans something to keep and enjoy. I'm all set up to do it. People seem to like 'em. 

Q: Now that "All American Boy" has been out for a year, are you happy with how it turned out and was received?
A: Yeah. I've already moved onto the next one. It will be more acoustic-based and focused this time around. No guitars...I've been recording on my own and hope to have a new song out in the next few months. 

Q: What is up next for you?
A: I have some shows in P-Town and am really looking forward to it. 

Upcoming tour dates:

7/6-8 Provincetown, MA...The Art House
7/23 Bay City, MI...Great Lakes Bay Pride
8/20 Akron, OH...Civic Theatre
9/9 Nags Head, NC...OBX Pridefest 

The long awaited return of Jah Wobble

Jah Wobble has announced his first U.S tour in over a decade. The tour kicks off this September in New York City. See tour dates below.

On Aug. 29, Jah Wobble And The Invaders Of The Heart will release their new album Everything Is No Thing. To date they have shared the track "Cosmic Love" and you can listen to it here. "Cosmic Blueprint" is also available on this link.

Since his emergence with PiL in 1978, Jah Wobble has drawn on musical styles such as dub, jazz and world music.
Everything Is No Thing was co produced by Youth, who noted it was "one of the most favorite sessions I've ever done and a great honor to work with this unique and influential artist."

The Invaders Of The Heart "firm" is Marc Layton-Bennett on drums, George King on Keys and Martin Cheung on guitar. Further contributions come from Aurora - providing vocals on Cosmic Love, Sean Corby on trumpet and Doxus - who plays sax and "just about steals the show" for Jah Wobble.

Everything Is No Thing also gave him the chance to put his bass to Tony Allen's drums, an artist Jah Wobble had wanted to work with for years. Finally, following Youth's suggestion, the legendary Nick Turner (Hawkwind) completes the highly accomplished line up.

Jah Wobble, a talented painter, also created the Everything Is No Thing front cover, explaining, "I often paint strange geometrical shapes. It sort of co-relates to my bass playing."

Pre-order the album via Amazon here or iTunes here.

U.S. Tour Dates:

9/21 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
9/22 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
9/23 - Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel
9/24 - Chicago, IL - Empty Bottle
9/25 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club
9/28 - Seattle, WA - The Crocodile
9/29 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
10/2 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echoplex

Track listing:

1.Cosmic Blueprint
2. Cosmic Love
3. Deposition
4. Infinity In The Void
5. Mandala
6. Freedom Principle
7. Symmetrical / Asymmetrical
8. We-Me
9. Everything Is No Thing
10. Spheres , Spirals & Pyramids

Earliest Beach Boys sessions subject of new compilation

In September of 1961, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Carl Wilson and Dennis Wilson stepped up to a microphone together for the first time at the home of Hite and Dorinda Morgan to demo the Beach Boys’ first three songs.

Between that September date and March 1962, before signing a seven-year contract with Capitol Records on May 24, 1962, they committed nine songs to tape under the direction of the Morgans.

Some iconic, others obscure — “Surfin’,” “Luau,” “Lavender,” “Surfin’ Safari,” “Surfer Girl,” “Judy,” “Beach Boy Stomp” (aka “Karate”), “Barbie,” and “What Is A Young Girl Made Of”— every surviving take, false start, master take and studio banter during these historic recordings is gathered on this landmark collection, Becoming The Beach Boys: The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions.

 On Aug. 26, Omnivore Recordings will release Becoming The Beach Boys: The Complete Hite & Dorinda Morgan Sessions, the first-ever release of all of the group’s earliest recordings.

In these 62 tracks, with more than 40 previously unissued, the genesis of one of the greatest vocal groups of the 20th century can be heard. The liner notes detail the origins of the band and their earliest songs, and the booklet includes photos of the early rare records drawn from these recordings, as well as tape boxes from the sessions. The set is fully authorized by the Beach Boys.

From the liner notes by Jim Murphy, author of the book Becoming The Beach Boys, 1961-1963: 

“Appropriately enough, “Surfin’,” the Beach Boys’ first effort, released in late November 1961, had its origin near the ocean. During a Saturday morning fishing trip on the Redondo Beach Pier, Mike and Dennis noted there were guitar instrumentals conjuring the feel of surfing, but no one had yet sung about it. ‘I remember Dennis and Michael going to the beach, and when they came back they were talking about making a song about surfing,’ Carl recalled. ‘That’s the first thing I remember as far as the reality of a group actually forming.’”

With a career spanning 55 years, the Beach Boys have sold more than 100 million records, charted over 80 songs worldwide, had 36 U.S. Top 40 hits, and are widely recognized as one of the most critically acclaimed and influential bands of all time. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 and the album Pet Sounds has been preserved in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

In 2001, the group received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. According to Murphy’s notes, “Here in these seminal recordings are the nascent Beach Boys, the premier vocal group of American popular music, and this is where it all began.”

Track listing:

Disc One
1. (Demo) 2. (Takes 1–2) 3. (Take 3) 4. (Take 4) 5. (Take 5)
6. (Take 6) 7. (Take 7) 8. (Take 8) 9. (Master)

10. (Demo – Take 1) 11. (Demo – Take 2) 12. (Demo – Take 3) 13. (Takes 1–2)
14. (Takes 3, 5–6) 15. (Take 7) 16. (Takes 8–11) 17. (Take 12) 18. (Master)

19. (Rehearsal – Take 1) 20. (Rehearsal – Take 2) 21. (Rehearsal – Take 3)
22. (Take 1) 23. (Take 2) 24. (Take 4)

Surfin’ Safari
25. (Takes 3–4) 26. (Takes 5–6) 27. (Take 10) 28. (Overdub – Take 1 on Take 60
29. (Overdub – Take 2 on Take 10) 30. (Stereo Overdub)* 31. (Master)

Disc Two

Surfer Girl
1. (Take 1) 2. (Take 2) 3. (Take 3) 4. (Take 4) 5. (Take 5)
6. (Take 6) 7. (Master) 8. (Overdub – Lead Vocal)

9. (Take 1) 10. (Take 2) 11. (Overdub – Takes 1–2) 12. (Overdub – Take 4)
13. (Master) 14. (Demo – April 1962 Guitar Solo)

Beach Boy Stomp (aka Karate)
15. (Take 1) 16. (Rehearsal – Take 2) 17. (Overdub – Take 1 on Take 1)
18. (Overdub – Take 2 on Take 1) 19. (Master)

20. (Overdub – Take 1)* 21. (Takes 2–4)* 22. (Take 5)*
23. (Take 7)* 24. (Single Master) 25. Album (Master)

What Is A Young Girl Made Of
26. (Demo) 27. (Overdub – Take 1)* 28. (Overdub – Take 3)* 29. (Overdub – Takes 4–5)*
30. (Overdub – Take 6)* 31. (Overdub – Take 7)* 32. (Master)

All Tracks Performed by The Beach Boys Except “Barbie” and “What Is A Young Girl Made Of” Performed by Kenny And The Cadets
All Tracks Mono except *

The Zombies to tour Western U.S.

photo by Andrew Eccles
Legendary British psychedelic pop band The Zombies has announced new U.S. tour dates this September.

It will be performing songs from last year's Still Got That Hunger, as well as many hit singles.

The release of Still Got That Hunger marked a historical moment on the Billboard charts, as The Zombies’ critically acclaimed album Odessey And Oracle re-entered the Billboard 100 forty-eight years later at the same time as Still Got That Hunger.

This past February, The Zombies 1960's hit single "She’s Not There" was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.

The band continues its major resurgence with their upcoming U.S. tour dates. The tour features founding and current members, vocalist Colin Blunstone and keyboardist Rod Argent, alongside bassist Jim Rodford (formerly of Argent and The Kinks), Rodford’s son Steve Rodford on drums, and session guitarist Tom Toomey.

Tour dates:

Sept 2 – The Rose, Pasadena, CA
Sept 3 – The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA
Sept 4 – Libbey Bowl, Ojai, CA
Sept 5 – Sausalito Arts Festival, Sausalito, CA
Sept 7 – Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA
Sept 8 – Belly Up, Solano Beach, CA
Sept 9 – Gordie Brown Showroom at The Golden Nugget, Las Vegas, NV
Sept 10 –The Rialto Theatre, Tucson, AZ
Sept 11 –Talking Stick Resort, Scottsdale, AZ*
Sept 14 – Boulder Theater, Boulder, CO
*with Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals

About The Zombies:
The second U.K. band following the Beatles to score a #1 hit in America, The Zombies infiltrated the airwaves with the sophisticated melodies, breathy vocals, choral back-up harmonies and jazzy keyboard riffs of their 1960’s hit singles “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No.”
Ironically, the group broke-up just prior to achieving their greatest success – the worldwide chart-topping single “Time of the Season,” from their swan-song album Odessey & Oracle, ranked #100 in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time.’ To this day, generations of new bands have cited The Zombies’ work as pop touchstones, and the band continues to be embraced by new generations of fans.

Following the break-up of the original band, Blunstone went on to develop an acclaimed solo career, and Argent rocked ‘70’s arenas with his eponymous band, but the legend of The Zombies continued to take on a life of its own. By the start of the new Millennium, Blunstone and Argent were inspired to resurrect The Zombies. The media excitedly welcomed their return, leading to a 2011 performance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.

2013-2016 has marked a major resurgence for the band, with two U.K. and five U.S. tours (including stops at SXSW in Austin, NYC’s Central Park SummerStage, Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival and Milwaukee SummerFest)…the American release of their new album, Breathe Out, Breathe In… the debut on VEVO of their first-ever music video for “Any Other Way”… a PBS Special filmed on the legendary Austin City Limits stage….Eminem’s sample/cover version of “Time of the Season” on his comeback album… the Keira Knightley "She's Not There" campaign for Coco Chanel… The release of 2015’s Still Got That Hunger… and the announcement of their first nomination to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame

The Mavericks go indie label route for live album

These guys must be seen in concert to fully appreciate. I'm looking forward to hearing the forthcoming live album. Read more from the press release below...

The Mavericks, one of the most independent-minded bands in the history of American music, have gone full indie, launching their own record label and announcing two new releases in the year ahead.

Mono Mundo Recordings is a partnership that brings together the Mavericks, Nashville distribution and marketing innovators Thirty Tigers and the band’s trusted Ventura, Calif.-based co-producer Niko Bolas.

A live album (All Night Live, Vol. 1) is set for release in October 2016, and a studio project set for spring of 2017.

All this follows the Mavericks’ renewal in 2011 after a hiatus, which led to the most fruitful creative period in their career: The band came blazing back with 2013’s In Time and 2015’s Mono, earning two Grammy nominations and winning the AMA’s Americana Group/Duo of the Year award in 2015.

The new label, which puts the Mavericks entirely in charge of their own artistic and business destiny, finds the veteran group as dedicated as ever to its work, its fans and its renowned live shows.

“This was a thought we had sitting on our back porch when we were having conversations about what was going to happen with the band,” says founding member and lead singer/songwriter Raul Malo. “It was always in the back of our mind to do our own label, in partnership with somebody. This is the right parties coming together at the right time.” Malo, who is regarded as one of the finest singers of his generation, adds that the move is exciting and empowering. “It feels like we can do what we want now. I’m really looking forward to this time in the Mavericks’ life.”

David Macias, president and founder of Thirty Tigers, says Mono Mundo Recordings is exactly the kind of progressive, artist-driven project that his company has specialized in for more than a decade. “We find great joy in giving artists the back end support to execute their own vision and these guys have an incredible vision both musically and on the business side,” Macias says. “There’s such craft and soul and vitality to what the Mavericks do, it’s a thrill to go fight for it.”

“They’re doing absolutely everything that they want to musically with a bunch of people that believe in them musically,” says Bolas, the band’s producer/partner, whose track record includes albums with Neil Young, Warren Zevon and LeAnn Rimes.

The Mavericks, founded in Miami by Malo and drummer Paul Deakin, upended expectations in the early 1990s when their blend of Cuban grooves and Bakersfield-inspired twang hit the airwaves through the support of MCA Records and producer Tony Brown. They’ve won several CMA and ACM Awards plus a Grammy Award in 1995, charting numerous singles and albums while earning accolades as one of the finest live bands in the business.

Thirty Tigers is a Nashville based entertainment company, founded in 2002. Following a decade of rapid growth, it has offices in Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina and London. Its collective experience in the music industry ranges from record retail to the film industry to major labels.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Steve Grand, Ricky Rebel concert review: Santa Ana, Calif.

photo by Mindy Schauer/OC Register
This past Saturday in Santa Ana, Calif., Steve Grand made his first Orange County area appearance and definitely impressed the crowd by taking an organic approach.

The singer/songwriter/keyboardist came to prominence with 2013’s self-financed viral hit video “All American Boy.” It drew major media coverage and has since attained more than 5 million views.

Last year, Grand, 26, put out his terrific debut release of the same name, which was co-produced by San Clemente-based Aaron Johnson (The Fray). The album bowed at No. 3 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart and is among Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns (not released on a major label) to date.

A celebratory, summer-themed “Stay” launched the captivating 50-minute set at the Yost Theater. "Soakin' Wet" and "Whiskey Crime" were both playful fun, while the stripped down "Boy" single gave Grand a chance to display his sultry vocals and instrumental prowess with a piano solo.

Citing Elton John as a big influence onstage, he did a spirited cover of “Bennie and the Jets.” Although it only seemed to register with older patrons, some latter day remakes went over better with younger crowd: a dramatic “Pillow Talk” (Zayn Malik), the tender “Sorry” (Justin Bieber) and riveting “Style” (Taylor Swift), the latter containing some shrewd, male-oriented word changes.

Elsewhere, the dramatic, smoldering “All American Boy” was a sing along highlight. Grand previewed his next album (likely to be “more acoustic based and no guitars,” he said, in a pre-show interview) with the promising intimate ballad “Don’t Let the Light In.”

Cloaked in a rainbow flag during the EDM-leaning closer, "We Are the Night," Grand sang lyrics which resonated deeply for many people following the recent Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida: “today could be our last/we’ll just live as we are/unmoved by the darkness we face.”

Overall, the performance was well worth the wait.

Also on the bill was Ricky Rebel. He brought the house down with an exciting half hour set that featured choreographed dancers. A former member of late ‘90s boy band No Authority - which was discovered by Michael Jackson, signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records and toured with Britney Spears and Destiny’s Child – Rebel was more recently associated with My Chemical Romance.

Backed by the three piece band, the blue-coiffed vocalist did some acrobatic (and sexually suggestive) moves. His glam rock/dance style frequently brought to mind Adam Lambert, Orgy and Marc Almond.

Adding a theatrical flair, Rebel donned a crown and cape for the hard-hitting “Savior.” Other songs from 2014’s “The Blue Album,” such as “Star” and "Boys and Sometimes Girls,” were equally vibrant.

But the true standout was the cover of David Bowie’s (what else?) “Rebel Rebel,” where he sported a Ziggy Stardust-inspired outfit and mimicked the infamous Mick Ronson making-out-with-guitar move.

A version of my review appeared in the OC Register.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Yellowcard to say farewell

photo by Joe Brady
As a longtime fan/media supporter, dating back to pre-'Ocean Avenue' days, I'm looking forward to the new music and hope to catch them on tour. Read more from the press release...

Yellowcard's final album, a self-titled effort, will arrive Sept. 30 on Hopeless Records and the final world tour kicks off in October.

“We wanted to have the chance to share our farewell with as many fans around the world as we could, and now is the right time to do just that,” said the band in a unified statement.

“After countless discussions and months of thought, we have decided that it is time for Yellowcard to come to an end," they continue. 

Yellowcard, the album, was a very personal journey for the band that was self-produced by singer Ryan Key and guitarist Ryan Mendez with Neal Avron serving as executive producer. 

“The motivation behind this was to make sure these songs came from a place that was deeply rooted in us,” they explain, about taking the reins and crafting it from top to bottom. “We wanted to push ourselves to create a lasting finale for this incredible story on our own. It is also why we chose to self-title the album. We were lucky to still have our friend and mentor, Neal Avron, on board as executive producer. We’ve made one of the strongest records of our career and a fitting final creative piece.”

Pre-orders for
Yellowcard are live now at which includes an instant download of the opening track “Rest in Peace”. Pre-sale VIP packages for the tour are also available now. Public on sale will begin June 28.

As the band spends their summer on the Vans Warped Tour before launching into their final stretch, they are especially appreciative to the fans that have been there every step of the way.

“We will be forever grateful to Yellowcard fans all over the world for the opportunities you have given us. We have played shows for nearly two decades on six continents and had the chance to keep recording the music we love year after year. While it is with sadness that we say goodbye, it is with gratitude and amazement that we look back on a career we can be proud of, and were so very lucky to have had.”

Yellowcard is Ryan Key (vocals, guitars), Sean Mackin (violins), Ryan Mendez (guitar), and Josh Portman (bass).

Final tour dates:
Oct. 6 San Antonio, TX The Aztec Theater
Oct. 7 Austin, TX Scoot Inn
Oct. 8 Dallas, TX Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill
Oct. 9 Houston, TX House of Blues
Oct. 11 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
Oct. 12 Tempe, AZ The Marquee Theatre
Oct. 14 Las Vegas, NV Brooklyn Bowl
Oct. 15 Santa Ana, CA The Observatory
Oct. 16 San Diego, CA House of Blues
Oct. 18 Los Angeles, CA The NOVO
Oct. 19 Ventura, CA Majestic Ventura Theater
Oct. 21 Santa Cruz, CA The Catalyst
Oct. 22 San Francisco, CA The Regency Ballroom
Oct. 23 Sacramento, CA Ace of Spades
Oct. 25 Portland, OR Roseland Theater
Oct. 26 Seattle, WA The Showbox
Oct. 28 Salt Lake City, UT The Complex
Oct. 29 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
Oct. 31 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
Nov. 2 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
Nov. 3 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Nov. 4 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Nov. 5 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit
Nov. 7 Boston, MA House of Blues
Nov. 9 New York, NY PlayStation Theater
Nov. 11 Huntington, NY The Paramount
Nov. 12 Philadelphia, PA Electric Factory
Nov. 13 Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
Nov. 15 Baltimore, MD Baltimore Soundstage
Nov. 17 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore Charlotte
Nov. 18 Jacksonville, FL Mavericks at The Landing
Nov. 19 Atlanta, GA The Masquerade – Heaven Stage
Nov. 20 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
Nov. 22 Lake Buena Vista, FL House of Blues

Shovels & Rope set fall tour, new album

Shovels & Rope - Cary Ann Hearst, Michael Trent - has announced the release of their new album Little Seeds, due Oct. 7 via New West Records, along with a fall tour (see list of dates below).

Like most of the Americana husband and wife duo's previous material, Little Seeds was recorded in their Charleston, SC home studio, and produced by Trent. The pair wrote all the songs and played every instrument. Little Seeds is the follow up to their acclaimed 2014 release Swimmin’ Time, which debuted in the top 20 on the Billboard 200, #5 on the rock chart and #6 on the independent chart.

The duo has appeared on Conan, Austin City Limits, PBS Bluegrass Underground and twice on The Late Show with David Letterman. Shovels & Rope has performed at almost every major U.S. festival, including Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk, Sasquatch, Hangout and more.
Tour dates: 

September 29 – Knoxville, TN – Bijou Theatre
September 30 – Indianapolis, IN – Vogue
October 3 – Iowa City, IA – Englert Theater
October 5 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
October 6 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 7 – Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
October 8 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre
October 10 – Detroit, MI– St. Andrew’s Hall
October 11 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
October 13 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
October 14 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
October 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
October 17 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg
October 18 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
October 19 – New York, NY – Bowery Ballroom
October 21 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
October 22 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
October 23 – Charleston, WV – Mountain Stage
November 2 – Los Angeles, CA – Fonda Theatre
November 3 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
November 4 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
November 5 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
November 9 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
November 11 – Bellingham, WA – Wild Buffalo House of Music
November 12 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo
November 13 – Missoula, MT – The Wilma
November 15 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
November 17 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
November 18 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
November 19 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Time for a new live CD from ASIA

The British Live Performance Series from Rainman Records release a live album today (Friday) from 1980s supergroup ASIA today.

It marks the series' eighth installment, with previous live sets from Glen Campbell, Joe Jackson, Belinda Carlisle and more.

ASIA was formed by musicians with a proven pedigree from Seventies mega bands King Crimson (singer John Wetton), Emerson Lake and Palmer (drummer Carl Palmer), Yes (guitarist Steve Howe) and Buggles (keyboardist Geoff Downes). Their music sold millions of records worldwide, thanks to such pop and AOR hits as "Heat Of The Moment," "Only Time Will Tell" "Sole Survivor" and "Don't Cry." 

Carl Palmer once called ASIA: "English rock with a technical side - sophisticated rock mixed in with melodies and singles." Sums 'em right up.

Track listing:

1. Wildest Dreams
2. Sole Survivor
3. Don't Cry
4. Voice of America
5. Time Again
6. Praying For A Miracle
7. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
8. Only Time Will Tell
9. Days Like These
10. The Heat Goes On
11. Go
12. Heat Of The Moment
13. Open Your Eyes


Drowners' second album available now

I was very impressed by the guys' debut album and subsequent performance at Coachella '14. Can't wait until they start a full U.S. tour. Get an update below...

Frenchkiss recording group Drowners release their new album "On Desire" today (Friday). It was recorded and mixed by Claudius Mittendorfer.

The band first came together in summer 2011 when singer/guitarist Matthew Hitt left his native Wales and resettled in New York City. Soon after, he hooked up with Jack Ridley III (guitar, vocals) Erik Lee Snyder (bass) and later, Daniel Jacobs (drums).

Drowners officially emerged in 2013 with the "Between Us Girls" EP that that led to signing with NYC's influential Frenchkiss Records. Full length debut "Drowners" arrived in January 2014.

Nearly two years of non-stop international touring included 2014's Coachella and support dates alongside Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, The Vaccines, Temples, and Foals.

Track listing:

1. Troublemaker
2. Cruel Ways
3. Human Remains
4. Someone Else Is Getting In
5. Dreams Don't Count
6. Conversations With Myself
7. Trust The Tension
8. Another Go
9. Pick Up The Pace
10. Don't Be Like That

Upcoming shows:

7/29 Schubas...Chicago, IL
7/30 Lollapalooza...Chicago, IL

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

David Bowie film 'Labyrinth' to have special U.S. screening

Tickets are now available for audiences to revisit the classic fantasy “Labyrinth” in select U.S. movie theaters when Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment bring “Labyrinth 30th Anniversary” to the big screen on Sunday, Sept. 11 and Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. local time (both days).

To celebrate 30 years of Jim Henson’s imaginative adventure, this event will also feature a special introduction from Jennifer Connelly as well as exclusive, all-new content.

Tickets for “Labyrinth 30th Anniversary” can now be purchased online by visiting or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in nearly 500 movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network. For a complete list of theater locations visit the Fathom Events website (theaters and participants are subject to change).

Directed by Jim Henson, with George Lucas as executive producer and a screenplay by Monty Python’s Terry Jones from a story by Dennis Lee and Henson, “Labyrinth” stars David Bowie, Academy Award winner Jennifer Connelly (Best Supporting Actress, “A Beautiful Mind,” 2001), and a collection of creatures brought to life by Henson’s Creature Shop, in the story of a girl (Connelly) who must journey through a maze to save her little brother from the Goblin King (Bowie).

Following the theatrical re-release, the beloved fantasy will come to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital on Sept. 20 including an all-new collectible Blu-ray Digibook packaging and limited edition gift set.

Meat Loaf reteams with Jim Steinman for upcoming album

Meat Loaf is readying the release of his new album “Braver Than We Are” on Sept. 16 for 429 Records.

Working closely again with longtime collaborator Jim Steinman—as on multi-platinum selling albums “Bat Out of Hell” and “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell”—Meat Loaf has recorded 10 songs with Steinman, producer Paul Crook and The Neverland Express. 

The Express includes John Miceli (drums), Paul Crook (guitars, loops, synths), Randy Flowers (guitars, vocals), David Luther (sax, B3 organ, strings, horn arrangements), Justin Avery (piano, synths, strings, backing vocal arrangements), Danny Miranda (bass), Stacy Michelle (vocals) and Cian Coey (vocals).

Guest musician Ricky Medlocke provided the slide guitar solo on “Train of Love.” The tracks on “Braver Than We Are” were written by Steinman, featuring the first song he ever wrote. While Crook produced the album, Steinman acted as creative consultant throughout the recording process, working alongside Paul and Meat Loaf from beginning to end. 

First radio single “Going All The Way,” streaming now at, showcases a reunion with vocalists Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito, decades after their first performances on the smash hit “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” 429 Records will release “Braver Than We Are” digitally, on CD and vinyl in Europe on Sept. 9 and the U.S. and rest of the world on Sept. 16.

“Braver Than We Are” is Meat Loaf’s fourth album featuring songs exclusively written by Steinman. With a painting featuring Meat Loaf and Jim together for the first time gracing the cover, the album hearkens back to their hugely successful collaborations “Bat Out of Hell” (1977) and “Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell” (1993), which together sold over 67 million units. 

Track listing:

Who Needs The Young
Going All The Way
Speaking In Tongues
Loving You Is A Dirty Job
Only When I Feel
Skull of Your Country
Train of Love

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Passenger news

British singer/songwriter Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, announces his new studio album, Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea, set for release on Sept. 23.

Lead single “Somebody’s Love” is available now, along with the official video for the track.

Passenger will be in the U.S. and Canada for a short run of shows and festival dates (see below), with a full North American tour in early 2017.

Young As The Morning, Old As The Sea sees Rosenberg once again co-produce alongside Chris Vallejo, this time at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios in Auckland, as well as Linear studios in Sydney.

The landscapes in both New Zealand and on a recent trip Mike took to Iceland lent inspiration to the album, with themes of relationships and the passing of time that are at once personal and universal. The album was written alongside musicians Ben Edgar (guitar), Rob Clader (bass), Peter Marin (drums) and Jon Solo (keys).

Track list:

1. Everything
2. If You Go
3. When We Were Young
4. Anywhere
5. Somebody’s Love
6. Young As The Morning Old As The Sea
7. Beautiful Birds (featuring BIRDY)
8. The Long Road
9. Fool’s Gold
10. Home

Tour dates:

July 29 Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival  
Aug 4 Brooklyn, NY @ The Roulette (Sold Out)
Aug 6 Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Festival
Aug 9 Vancouver, BC @ St. James Hall (Sold Out)
Aug 14 San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel
Aug 16 Los Angeles, CA @ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Sold Out)
Aug 19 Lyons, CO @ Rocky Mountain Folk Festival

We Are Scientists' new album out now

photo by Shervin Lainez
We Are Scientists, the Brooklyn-based pop rock troupe have returned with their fifth album, ‘Helter Seltzer’, available now via iTunes, CD, and limited edition teal-colored vinyl) via 100% Records.

Watch the video for 'Buckle'
Watch the video for 'Too Late'
Watch the video for 'Classic Love'

For ‘Helter Seltzer,’ We Are Scientists asked their ex-keyboard player Max Hart to produce. Max had just finished a three-year stint as the keyboardist for Katy Perry, including her performance at the 2015 Super Bowl. Max rented a studio space in Brooklyn, outfitting it with gear he had accumulated over the course of a decade. Recording commenced that March and the results were mixed by Chris Coady (Future Islands, Beach House). 

"We've always made overtures toward being a pop band, but we've generally had the inclination to obscure those pop leanings in grit and chaos — to screw them up with fuzzed-out tones and raucous performances," says guitarist and vocalist Keith Murray.
"It's made us really think about what our musical genre is. We're not punk — we're too interested in making our songs as pretty as possible. We're not straight-up rock — our tastes are too left-of-center. We're not indie-rock — our heads aren't far enough up our own butts. So finally, after putting as much time into thinking about it as we're apt to — about ten minutes, over beers — we decided that our genre is 'Helter Seltzer.'"

"Declaring a new genre is obviously douchey as hell, though, and impossible to deliver with a straight face," adds bassist Chris Cain, "so we did the noble thing and just made ‘Helter Seltzer’ the album title. It's especially apt for us these days, though. The songs here are more effervescent than we've ever managed to deliver, but they've still maintained a measure of that ‘Helter Skelter’ element — no matter how fizzy and refreshing the tunes are, they've always got a bit of that seamy, scuzzy, 'cult on Spahn Ranch' vibe. We therefore consider this album, as a vessel of both sweet pop tunes and seltzer outreach,” concludes Chris. “To be a work of undisguised philanthropy on our part."

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of 'With Love And Squalor', the band recently performed the classic album in its entirety at their Irving Plaza show in NYC and will do so again at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles in July.


July 8 - Spokane, WA - The Bartlett
July 9 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile Cafe
July 10 - Vancouver, BC - Cobalt
July 11 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
July 13 - San Francisco, CA - The Chapel
July 14 - Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room
July 15 - San Diego, CA - Voodoo Room-House Of Blues
July 16 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre ***
July 17 - Las Vegas, NV - Bunk House

*** celebrating 10th anniversary of 'With Love And Squalor'