Thursday, September 21, 2017

Two new albums coming soon from pop legend Johnny Mathis

Columbia Records has announced legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis will release his new album, Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook on September 29. The eagerly awaited album features 11 inspired Mathis interpretations of prevailing current songs that comprise the modern great American songbook, all imbued with the iconic vocalist’s indelible touch.

The new album is available for pre-order here: Fans who pre-order the album will receive the instant grat track “Hallelujah,” originally recorded by Leonard Cohen.

Produced by Grammy winning music greats Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds and Clive Davis, Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook features a matchless array of modern day ‘standards’ christened by Mathis’ intuitive delivery, (full track listing below). 

Among the songs included are “Hello,” originally recorded by Adele, “Happy,” originally recorded by Pharrell, the aforementioned “Hallelujah,” originally recorded by Leonard Cohen, “You Raise Me Up,” originally recorded by Josh Groban, “I Believe I Can Fly,” originally recorded by R. Kelly, “Just The Way You Are,” originally recorded by Bruno Mars, and “Run To You,” (featuring Kenny G) originally recorded by Whitney Houston.

One of the seminal voices of popular music, Johnny Mathis has attained unparalleled achievement as a recording artist and live performer in an incredible career that has spanned more than six decades. Universally recognized for his inimitable artistry and signature renderings of the American song catalogue, his vast stylistic range has encompassed romantic interpretations of jazz and pop standards, music composed for stage and film, contemporary pop hits, and holiday music both sacred and secular, enduring as one of the most acclaimed traditional pop vocalists in music history.

Track listing:

1. Hallelujah
2. Once Before I Go
3. Blue Ain’t Your Color
4. You Raise Me Up
5. Say Something
6. Just The Way You Are
7. I Believe I Can Fly
8. Remember When
9. Happy
10. Hello
11. Run To You (feat. Kenny G)

In related news...

Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, is set to release The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection, the definitive Johnny Mathis career-spanning box set, on December 8.

The 68-disc set comes as a part of the continued celebration of the enduring musical achievements of Johnny Mathis (who first signed with Columbia Records in 1955.) Legacy has worked closely with Mathis on the curation of his Columbia catalog, pouring through the label's deep archive of studio and live material, restoring and remastering tracks for digital release.

Within this vast career-spanning boxset, Legacy Recordings has included 62 Columbia albums that have been remastered (25 of which are available on CD for the very first time), two previously unreleased albums, a 2-disc collection featuring 40 previously unreleased songs as well as Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook.

Skinny Lister expands latest album

London-based rock band Skinny Lister has announced a new double-CD version of its third critically acclaimed album, The Devil, The Heart & The Fight, with new artwork, live tracks and three brand new songs.

New tracks “Thing Like That” and forthcoming festive single “Christmas Calls” lead the second CD of the new package before treating the listener to the frenetic energy of their live performances from the band's biggest sold out London show to date at the Scala, and from the Roundhouse during Frank Turner's Lost Evenings Festival both in May 2017. This two-CD re-release will be out Friday, October 27 on Xtra Mile Recordings (Frank Turner, Against Me!), and pre-order is up now through the Xtra Mile store, iTunes and Amazon.

Check out the band playing “Hamburg Drunk” from the Roundhouse HERE with on-the-road footage taken from the weekend they performed at Hurricane, Southside and Glastonbury Festivals.

The bonus disc also features acoustic sessions from Paste in New York and the Xtra Mile Outside Broadcast truck. The disc also features four tracks of live band banter, and ends with a lo-fi version of new track “Boy Ashore."

Tour dates: 

20 - Dallas, TX - House of Blues (Cambridge Room)
21 - San Antonio, TX - The Paper Tiger
23 - Phoenix, AZ - The Valley Bar
24 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
25 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent
27 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir
28 - Seattle, WA - Barbooza

02 - Salt Lake City, UT - Metro Music Hall
03 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
05 - Kansas City, MO - The Riot Room
06 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
07 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
08 - Pittsburgh, PA – The Club at Stage AE
09 - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
10 - Cambridge, MA - Middle East Downstairs
11 - Philadelphia, PA - Underground Arts
13 - Washington, DC - Rock & Roll Hotel
14 - Nashville, TN - The Basement East
15 - Mobile, AL - Merry Widow
16 - Houston, TX - Warehouse Live
17 - Austin, TX - SXSW

The Devil, The Heart & The Fight Deluxe track listing:

CD 1
01. Wanted
02. Geordie Lad
03. Tragedy in A Minor
04. Devil In Me
05. Injuries
06. Reunion
07. Beat It From the Chest
08. Hamburg Drunk
09. Grace
10. Charlie
11. Fair Winds & Following Seas
12. Carry

01. Live Intro
02. Thing Like That (new song)
03. Christmas Calls (new song)
04. Band Chat - Roundhouse
05. Wanted (Live at London Roundhouse)
06. Hamburg Drunk (Live at London Roundhouse)
07. This Is War (Live at London Roundhouse)
08. Band Chat – Sessions
09. Injuries (Paste Session)
10. Tragedy In A Minor (Paste Session)
11. Geordie Lad (XMROB1 Truck Session)
12. Band Chat - Bootlegs
13. John Kanaka (London Scala Bootleg)
14. Cathy (London Scala Bootleg)
15. Bold As Brass (London Scala Bootleg)
16. Band chat – Boy Ashore
17. Boy Ashore (new song)

Little Big Town tour news

After launching a historic sold-out year-long residency at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium, Grammy Award-winning vocal group Little Big Town announced they will bring their critically-acclaimed harmonies to arenas nationwide starting Spring 2018 with The Breakers Tour.

The highly-anticipated multi-city run begins in February. Additional stops will be announced at a later date. 

Tickets for The Breakers Tour go on-sale everywhere Friday, September 22nd at 10am local time. Two enhanced ticket experiences, the ‘Happy People’and ‘The Breaker’ experiences, will be offered throughout the tour. Additional experiences include a meet & greet with Little Big Town, a Q&A; session, exclusive merchandise, and more. To purchase tickets and for more informationon all ticket experiences, visit

Little Big Town’s landmark year to date includes the release of their chart-topping album The Breaker (2/24)- which debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and Top 5 on the Billboard 200 All Genre chart-as well as the group’s fifth ACM Award win as Vocal Group of the Year. Additionally, the Multi-Platinum selling Country group was recently inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame and earned their 26th career CMA Award nomination, including nominations for Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year and Music Video of the Year categories.

Their critically acclaimed album, The Breaker, as well as their recent headlining Ryman Residency, “Little Big Town at the Mother Church,” have garnered the reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year praise for their four-part harmonies and progressive sound that has produced hits such as "Boondocks," "Bring It On Home,""Good As Gone," and "Little White Church," as well as their #1 singles "Pontoon," "Tornado," "Day Drinking," and most recently, the history-making best-selling country single of 2015,"Girl Crush,” and this year’s multi-week #1 single, "Better Man."

2018 Tour dates:

Oklahoma City, OK
Chesapeake Energy Arena

Austin, TX
Frank Erwin Center

Grand Prairie, TX
Verizon Theatre - Grand Prairie

Columbus, OH
Schottenstein Center

Rosemont, IL
Allstate Arena


Toledo, OH
Huntington Center

Wilkes-Barre, PA
Mohegan Sun Arena

Uncasville, CT
Mohegan Sun

New York, NY
Radio City Music Hall

Reading, PA
Santander Arena

Washington, DC

Green Bay, WI
Resch Center

Duluth, MN
Amsoil Arena

Grand Forks, ND
Ralph Engelstad

Grand Rapids, MI
Van Andel Arena

Cedar Rapids, IA
U.S. Cellular Center

Sioux City, IA
Tyson Events Center

Minneapolis, MN
Target Center

Milwaukee, WI
BMO Harris Bradley Ctr

St. Louis, MO
Chaifetz Arena

Greensboro, NC
Greensboro Coliseum

Greenville, SC
Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Atlanta, GA
Infinite Energy Arena

Saturday Night Fever film and soundtrack to get deluxe reissue

This should be very interesting. Read all the details from the press release below...

In 1977, Saturday Night Fever captured and propelled a global cultural movement like few movies before or since, with its iconic, Bee Gees-led soundtrack driving the film’s dancefloor action. A worldwide smash upon release and an essential modern classic for all time, ‘Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ spawned four No. 1 singles and won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

On Nov. 17, Capitol/UMe will release the illustrious soundtrack’s 40thAnniversary Edition in expanded commemorative configurations including a super deluxe box set that pairs the remastered album and remixes with the film’s 4K-restored 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut.

“Forty years ago, Saturday Night Fever was released and the impact that came from it, even today, is inexplicable. It was inexplicable even then,” writes the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb in his new essay for Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack) 40th Anniversary Edition.

The ‘Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition box set features two CDs with the remastered original album and four Serban Ghenea remixes, the remastered album on heavyweight 180-gram 2-LP vinyl in a gatefold jacket with faithfully replicated original album art, and a Blu-ray disc with the film’s 4K-restored 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut and Theatrical Version, plus bonus features.

For the collectible box set, it adds a 23-page book with newly-written essays by Barry Gibb,Saturday Night Fever music supervisor and soundtrack producer Bill Oakes, director John Badham, and the film’s score composer and musician David Shire, as well as Bee Gees photos and stills from the film, plus an exclusive turntable slipmat, a set of five art prints,and a reproduction of the original Saturday Night Fever movie poster. The soundtrack’s new 2-CD and digital 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition pairs the remastered album with the four new Serban Ghenea remixes.

Preorder ‘Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition box set and Deluxe Edition: 

Composed and performed primarily by the Bee Gees, the legendary album’s mega-hits include “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “More Than A Woman,” and “If I Can’t Have You.” Certified 15-times multi-platinum by the RIAA for U.S. album sales totaling more than 15 million, ‘Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ has sold more than 40 million copies around the world. The album topped the U.S. album charts at No. 1 for 24 consecutive weeks and remained on Billboard’s albums chart for 120 weeks, also holding the No. 1 spot on the U.K. album charts for 18 consecutive weeks. In 2004, ‘Saturday Night Fever(The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame® and it was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry as a culturally significant work in 2013.

For Saturday Night Fever’s 40th Anniversary, the film’s director John Badham worked with Paramount Pictures to restore the film in 4K resolution using the original negative, and to update the film’s surround sound mix to further enhance viewers’ enjoyment of its incredible soundtrack. During this process, he added scenes to the R-rated theatrical version that round out character and plot, making the 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut the definitive representation of his original vision.

With John Travolta’s electrifying Academy Award®-nominated performance, the Bee Gees’ explosive soundtrack and, of course, the unforgettable dancing, Saturday Night Fever captured the angst and brio of the time, making an indelible impact on popular culture. Forty years later, the film about a Brooklyn kid with no prospects who lives for Saturday night continues to be revered and celebrated.

The Bee Gees – brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb – have earned their stature as one of the world’s most popular and bestselling groups of all time. Having recorded 22 studio albums and for numerous soundtracks, including the monumentally successful Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees infused popular culture with dozens of worldwide hit singles that featured their singular and highly influential three-part harmonies. They achieved nine Number Ones and 23 Top 10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, including “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Night Fever,” and “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever, and hit charts around the world with many other classics, including “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” “I Started A Joke,” “Lonely Days,” “Words,” and “You Win Again.”

Among the honors bestowed upon the Bee Gees are five GRAMMY Awards®, as well as The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Legend Award, and President’s Award; five American Music Awards; a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music; and a Legend Award from the World Music Awards. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, BMI Icons, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the Dance Music Hall of Fame. All three brothers were appointed Commanders in the Order of the British Empire in 2001.

‘Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack)’ 40th Anniversary Edition 180g 2LP vinyl available now: 

Also available now: The Bee Gees’ Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits: 

Saturday Night Fever (The Original Movie Soundtrack) 40th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition
[2-CD / 2-LP / Blu-ray box set]

CD 1
1. Stayin' Alive [performed by Bee Gees]
2. How Deep Is Your Love [performed by Bee Gees]
3. Night Fever [performed by Bee Gees]
4. More Than a Woman [performed by Bee Gees]
5. If I Can't Have You [performed by Yvonne Elliman]
6. A Fifth of Beethoven [performed by Walter Murphy]
7. More Than a Woman [performed by Tavares]
8. Manhattan Skyline [performed by David Shire]
9. Calypso Breakdown [performed by Ralph MacDonald]
10. Night on Disco Mountain [performed by David Shire]
11. Open Sesame [performed by Kool & the Gang]
12. Jive Talkin' [performed by Bee Gees]
13. You Should Be Dancing [performed by Bee Gees]
14. Boogie Shoes [performed by KC and the Sunshine Band]
15. Salsation [performed by David Shire]
16. K-Jee [performed by MFSB]
17. Disco Inferno [performed by The Trammps]

CD 2
The Serban Ghenea Mixes
1. Stayin' Alive
2. Night Fever
3. How Deep Is Your Love
4. You Should Be Dancing

2LP Vinyl
1. Stayin' Alive (Bee Gees) 6. A Fifth of Beethoven (Walter Murphy)
2. How Deep Is Your Love (Bee Gees) 7. More Than a Woman (Tavares)
3. Night Fever (Bee Gees) 8. Manhattan Skyline (David Shire)
4. More Than a Woman (Bee Gees) 9. Calypso Breakdown (Ralph MacDonald)
5. If I Can't Have You (Yvonne Elliman)

10. Night on Disco Mountain (David Shire) 15. Salsation (David Shire)
11. Open Sesame (Kool & the Gang) 16. K-Jee (MFSB)
12. Jive Talkin'  (Bee Gees) 17. Disco Inferno (The Trammps)
13. You Should Be Dancing (Bee Gees)
14. Boogie Shoes (KC and the Sunshine Band)

Saturday Night Fever 40th Anniversary Director’s Cut by John Badham [4K-restored under supervision of director John Badham]

Saturday Night Fever Theatrical Version [4K-restored under supervision of director John Badham]

- Audio Commentary by director John Badham [Theatrical Version Only]
- '70s Discopedia [Theatrical Version Only]
- Catching the Fever
- Back to Bay Ridge
- Dance Like Travolta with John Cassese
- Fever Challenge!
- Deleted Scenes

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Lone Bellow's new album out now; currently on the road

The Lone Bellow's third studio album Walk Into A Storm is out via Descendant Records/Sony Music Masterworks. The album was produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell) and recorded in Nashville, TN.

Recently the band made an appearance at Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where they performed "Time's Always Leaving" and "Deeper In The Water" and were on CBS THIS MORNING SATURDAY. A music video is out for their first single, "Time's Always Leaving," featuring actor Marc Menchaca, who has been seen in Generation Kill, Homeland, and currently in Netflix's Ozark. Watch the video here.

The group just hit the road in support of their new album (see dates below). 

It's been three years since Then Came The Morning was released. The album was produced by The National's Aaron Dessner and nominated for an Americana Music Award. The Lone Bellow appeared on Kimmel, Letterman, Conan, CBS This Morning, Later...with Jools Holland and James Corden in support of the album. In the years since the release the band left Brooklyn and moved to Nashville, TN.

Track listing:

1. Deeper In The Water
2. Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy
3. May You Be Well
4. Come Break My Heart Again
5. Feather
6. Walk Into A Storm
7. Time's Always Leaving
8. Can't Be Happy For Long
9. Between The Lines
10. Long Way To Go

Tour dates:

Sept 20 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO
Sept 21 - Central Park Summerstage - New York, NY#
Sept 23 - Farm to Fork Festival- Sacramento, CA
Sept 29 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC ^
Sept 30 - Riverfront Park Concert Series - Lynchburg, VA
Oct 01 - Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH^
Oct 02 - Opera House - Toronto, ONT^
Oct 03 - El Club - Detroit, MI^
Oct 05 - Lincoln Theatre - Columbus, OH ^
Oct 06 - Dave Finkelman Auditorium - Middletown, OH ^
Oct 07 - Headliners Music Hall - Louisville, KY^
Oct 08 - Deluxe at Old National Center - Indianapolis, IN
Oct 10 - Thalia Hall - Chicago, IL^
Oct 11- Thalia Hall - Chicago, IL^
Oct 13 - Majestic Theatre - Madison, WI ^
Oct 14 - The Englert Theatre - Iowa City, IA ^
Oct 15 - Fine Line Music Cafe - Minneapolis, MN ^
Nov 01 - Bijou Theater - Knoxville, TN*
Nov 02 - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA*
Nov 05 - Iron City Birmingham - Birmingham, AL*
Nov 06 - Charleston Music Hall - Charleston, SC*
Nov 07 - Neighborhood Theatre - Charlotte, NC*
Nov 09 - Haw River Ballroom - Saxapahaw, NC*
Nov 10 - 9:30 Club - Washington D.C.*
Nov 12 - Infinity Hall Hartford - Hartford, CT*
Nov 14 - State Theatre - Portland, ME*
Nov 15 - House of Blues - Boston, MA*
Nov 16 - Higher Ground - South Burlington, VT*
Nov 17 - Union Transfer - Philadelphia, PA*

#Supporting The Head And The Heart
*w/ The Wild Reeds
^w/ Mt. Joy

Cut Copy news

photo: Jimmy Fontaine
"Black Rainbows," a track from Cut Copy's forthcoming album, Haiku From Zero, is available now at all digital retailers HERE. Pre-order the digital album HERE  
Listen to "Black Rainbows" on YouTube HERE.

NPR Music is offering fans an exclusive "First Listen" to Haiku From Zero in the week leading up to its Sept. 22 release. Fans can stream the album NPR declares "magnificently ambitious" in its entirety HERE through Sept. 21.

Haiku From Zero - Cut Copy's first proper studio album in nearly four years and first for Astralwerks - was produced by Ben Allen (Deerhunter, Animal Collective, Neon Indian).

A 7" of "Standing in the Middle of the Field" featuring an exclusive, unreleased b-side will be available to those who pre-order the vinyl edition of Haiku From Zero at select U.S. record stores. To find a participating store, visit Cut Copy also shared a remix "Standing in the Middle of the Field" by Ara Koufax; listen on SoundCloud HERE.

Cut Copy will support Haiku From Zero with a North American headline tour that kicks off in November in Santa Cruz, CA. The run will include a November 24 show at Terminal 5 in New York City. See below for itinerary. Tickets are available at Prior to the tour's launch, Cut Copy will perform at several U.S. festivals, including CRSSD and Austin City Limits.

Initially a bedroom recording project by Whitford, Cut Copy evolved into a full-fledged band with guitarist Tim Hoey, drummer Mitchell Scott, and bass player Ben Browning. The quartet's studio albums also include In Ghost Colours and 2011's Zonoscope, which won two ARIA Awards and was nominated for a GRAMMY.

The band's songs have been licensed for use in television, games and commercials, including FIFA 18, Chevrolet, Netflix, Amazon and Levi's® #LiveinLevis campaign. DJing and mixes have also been a big part of Cut Copy's identity - from the band's famed Fabric mix, Fabriclive.29, to the 2014 Melbourne dance compilation, Oceans Apart.

In addition to headlining massive sold-out shows, the band has gained prime slots at prestigious festivals such as Coachella, Ultra and Lollapalooza in the U.S.; Primavera in Spain, Pitchfork in Paris; Summer Sonic in Japan; and Big Day Out in Australia.

10/1 - San Diego, CA @ CRSSD Festival
10/3 - El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
10/5 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Jones Assembly
10/7 - Austin, TX @ Zilker Park - Austin City Limits
11/9 - Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Club
11/12 - Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
11/14 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall
11/15 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
11/16 - Lawrence, KS @ Granada
11/17 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
11/18 - Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
11/21 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
11/22 - Montreal, QC @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre
11/24 - New York, NY @ Terminal 5
11/26 - Boston, MA @ Royale
11/30 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
12/1 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
12/2 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
12/3 - Charleston, SC @ Music Farm
12/5 - Orlando, FL @ The Plaza Live
12/6 - Miami, FL @ North Beach Bandshell

A new holiday album due from Alabama

Alabama is scheduled to release American Christmas via BMG on Oct. 6. This album marks the band’s first newly recorded Christmas album in 21 years. It will be available at Cracker Barrel, retailers and online at all digital service providers including Amazon, iTunes and Spotify.

Recorded at Sound Emporium in Nashville, the album is a collection of favorites including “Away In A Manger,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells,” as well as four new songs contributed by the band. The album also includes an updated version of the trio's holiday classic “Christmas In Dixie,” which celebrates its 35th Anniversary this year.

“To all our fans: Christmas is a special time for Alabama. We hope it is for you. From our hearts to you, we give you this Christmas gift. Thank you for the love and support, all these years,” said Jeff, Teddy and Randy, “Merry Christmas!”

This follows their critically acclaimed studio album Southern Drawl, which marked the band’s first collection of new music in well over a decade.

Track list:

1- "Ain't Santa Cool"
2- "Go Tell It On The Mountain"
3- "Silent Night"
4- "Why Can't Christmas Day Last All Year Long"
5- "Away In A Manger"
6- "Christmas Joy"
7- "First Christmas Without Daddy"
8- "Winter Wonderland"
9- "Greatest Gift"
10- "Jingle Bells"
11- "Remember Me"
12- "(I Wanna) Rock N Roll Guitar"
13- "Christmas In Dixie"
14- "Sure Could Use Some Christmas Around Here"
15- "Auld Lang Syne"

Fans can pre-order the album here:

OMD will return to tour North America in the spring; new album out now

After releasing 13th studio album The Punishment of Luxury earlier this month, OMD saw it debut at #4 in the U.K. Now the duo has announced a full North American tour for 2018. They recently did performances on Good Day New York and Soundcheck WNYC.

The band are offering a VIP experience on all US shows; a rare chance for fans to meet the band, attend soundcheck and receive exclusive merchandise including a signed set list from the show they attend. Check it out here. Tickets For North American tour on sale to the general public 9/22.

View the beautiful animated video of the track:
‘La Mitrailleuse’ HERE
Order the album HERE

Tour Dates:

3/6 Washington D.C., Black Cat
3/7 Philadelphia, PA, Theatre Of The Living Arts
3/9 Boston, MA, House Of Blues
3/10 New York, NY, Terminal 5
3/12 Toronto, ON, Danforth Music Hall
3/14 Detroit, MI, Majestic Theatre
3/16 Chicago, IL, Vic Theatre
3/17 Milwaukee, WI, Northern Lights Theatre
3/18 Minneapolis, MN, First Ave.
3/20 Denver, CO, Ogden Theatre
3/21 Salt Lake City, UT, The Depot
3/23 Vancouver, B.C., Commodore Ballroom
3/24 Seattle, WA, Showbox @ The Market
3/25 Portland, OR, Wonder Ballroom
3/27 San Francisco, CA, The Regency Ballroom
3/29 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern Theatre
3/30 Anaheim, CA, The House Of Blues
3/31 San Diego, CA, The House of Blues
4/2 Phoenix, AZ, The Van Buren
4/5 Dallas, TX, House Of Blues
4/6 Austin, TX, Emos
4/7 Houston, TX, House OF Blues
4/9 New Orleans, LA, Civic Theatre
4/10 Atlanta, GA, Center Stage
4/12 Orlando, FL The Beacham
4/13 St. Petersburg, FL The State Theatre
4/14 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live

An interview with Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara

photo: Pamela Littky
Having formed as teenagers in the late ‘90s, Tegan and Sara put out second album “This Business of Ours” via Vapor Records (run by Neil Young’s manager) in 2000.

Four years later, the siblings received a gold record and Juno Award nomination for “So Jealous” in Canada.

Moving into a pop-oriented direction for 2012’s jubilant “Closer” resulted in their first big Stateside hit.

It went gold, topped the dance chart and helped alluring album “Heartthrob” sell more than 200,000 copies with opening stints for fun. and Katy Perry. Then they finally won three Junos.

A collaboration with The Lonely Island on the platinum-selling “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” soundtrack in ’14 was nominated for an Academy Award and drew a whole new crop of fans. Sara Quin said even people who don’t recognize their name know that tune.  

“It was such a fun experience," she related in a recent phone interview from her home in LA. "We learned so much. It was cool and weird to go and perform it at the Oscars. That is something we’ll never forget. I’m also glad it didn’t define our career either.”   

Tegan and Sara’s impressive 2016 album “Love You to Death” saw them team up with producer Greg Kurstin again. This past February, he won Grammys for his work on it plus releases by Adele, Sia and Ellie Goulding.  

“Greg was really careful to make sure he didn’t sanitize the songs from what makes them Tegan and Sara…He made a landscape out of what we had already done. I really appreciated that. I feel he really gets that each artist has their own DNA and if you remove that, the song isn’t really going to sound like them. I was so proud of him.”

Music videos were done for all the recent tracks, with a puppet-based homage to 1980s TV series “Miami Vice” (“Dying to Know”) and a vibrant visual ode to L.A. streets (“U-Turn”) being two of the most ingenious.

“I’m super happy with how they all turned out,” said Quin. “The best part of doing all those videos was getting to work with so many cool artists. We really made an effort to engineer 10 really different pieces from people whose vision we admired.”

Soon, the women will mark the 10th anniversary of seminal album “The Con,” with an acoustic tour. Produced by then-Death Cab member Chris Walla, the original CD featured members of The Rentals and AFI. Quin said all the momentum leading up to it – a tour with The Killers, song placements on “Grey’s Anatomy” and The White Stripes covering “Walking with a Ghost” – helped make it a success.

“We were able to capitalize on the new audience that was chomping at the bit, ready to hear what we were doing next.” Tegan and Sara felt “a symbiotic moment between us and the audience that we were performing for. That’s really special. It’s always going to be one of those records that had an impact.”

Although firm details on an upcoming tribute album to “The Con” should be announced soon, Quin said the project was “a way for us to put the focus on [acts] that maybe even some of our fans don’t know. Tegan and I spent a ton of time trying to curate unusual pairings. Instead of letting people pick a song, we thought, ‘Who would be an interesting person to cover it?’”

The tribute album will help draw attention to the Tegan and Sara Foundation. Launched last year, it focuses on “economic justice, health and representation for LGBTQ women and girls.” A portion of proceeds from “The Con: X” tour and album will go to the organization. Additionally, Tegan and Sara return here when Mothership – A Women’s Festival and Retreat takes place in Thermal on Oct. 13-15 in conjunction with TASF.

A version of my interview originally appeared in SCNG newspapers.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Surfer Blood tackles various 'Covers' on special LP

On Oct. 13, Surfer Blood will put out 'Covers.' It features the band taking on Mudhoney, Pavement, Outkast, and more. Joyful Noise will be issuing this special vinyl-only limited edition of 1000 copies. They will be available through mail order and at upcoming tour dates.

Covers follows Surfer Blood's fourth album Snowdonia. On Covers and Snowdonia, founders John Paul Pitts (vocals, guitar) and Tyler Schwarz (drums) are joined by newest band members Michael McCleary (guitar, vocals) and Lindsey Mills (bass, vocals). All four are long-time friends and alumni of the same high school in West Palm Beach, Florida. 

Track listing:

1. Box Elder (Pavement)
2. Hey Ya (Outkast)
3. Death and the Maiden (Verlaines)
4. World of Pain (Cream)
5. I Melt With You (Modern English)
6. Little Fury (Breeders)
7. Summer Song (Chad & Jeremy)
8. Good Enough (Mudhoney)
9. Hey Sandy (Polaris)

Tour Dates:

Wed 10/11 Savannah, GA The Jinx
Fri 10/13 Pittsburgh, PA Cattivo
Sat 10/14 Akron, OH Musica
Sun 10/15 Columbus, OH Rumba Cafe
Tue 10/17 Grand Rapids, MI The Stache at the Intersection
Wed 10/18 Champaign, IL Canopy Club
Thu 10/19 DeKalb, IL The House Cafe
Fri 10/20 Green Bay, WI The Lyric Club
Sat 10/21 La Crosse, WI Cavalier Theater
Sun 10/22 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s
Mon 10/23 Columbia, MO Rose Music Hall
Tue 10/24 Bowling Green, KY Tidball’s
Thu 10/26 Gainesville, FL High Dive
Fri 10/27 Orlando, FL The Social

An interview with Matthew Sweet

photo: Evan Carter
Modern technology, a major relocation and personal loss all influenced Tomorrow Forever, Matthew Sweet’s first studio album in nearly six years.

Among the veteran rock musician and Nebraska native’s strongest solo efforts to date, it features Rod Argent (The Zombies), Gary Louris (Jayhawks), Debbi Peterson (The Bangles), Ric Menck and Paul Chastain (Velvet Crush), Val McCallum (Jackson Browne), Jason Victor (Steve Wynn) and John Moremen (Orange Peels).

Sweet is best known for such gold-selling 1990s albums as Girlfriend and 100% Fun and modern/mainstream rock radio hits like the former’s title track, “Divine Intervention,” “The Ugly Truth,” “Sick of Myself” and “Where You Get Love.” More recently, Under the Covers, his impressive three-volume duet collection of decade-spanning pop/rock interpretations with Bangles singer Susanna Hoffs, drew critical acclaim.

Tomorrow Forever was recorded at the multi-instrumentalist’s home studio, just outside Omaha, where he moved after spending 20 years in Los Angeles. Most of the new album’s contributions came via email. It was released through Sweet’s own Honeycomb Hideout label via Sony/RED and funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign.

During the process of making Tomorrow Forever, Sweet’s mother passed away. As a result, death informs several lyrics (the melancholy, Beatlesque closer “End is Near,” a sublime “You Knew Me”). But there’s also upbeat power pop (“Carol”), Neil Young & Crazy Horse-styled rockers (“Bittersweet,” “Off the Farm”), enthralling guitarwork that evokes George Harrison (“Haunted,” highlighted by Argent’s stately piano lines) and the rustic “Country Girl.”

The physical formats (180-gram gatefold vinyl, CD) are a must-have for diehard fans, since the artwork beautifully incorporates Harlequin oil paintings by Jean Maio. Sweet and wife Lisa have a large collection of Maio and Margaret Keane works; the couple even served as research consultants on Tim Burton’s Golden Globe-winning Keane biopic “Big Eyes.”

I caught up with Sweet, via phone, while at home on a short break between tours.

Q: Some songs on Tomorrow Forever recall the best moments from Girlfriend and 100% Fun. Were you in a similar sonic mindset while recording it?
A: Not really. I’d done this Kickstarter thing, so I had the fire under me to put some good feeling into it. It never occurred to me people would think it harkened back [to those efforts]. That was just an interesting effect that I didn’t see coming.

Q: You really went a real creative tear this time around, recording 38 high-quality songs that weren’t demos.
A: There were so many that unlike the usual [process], I drafted various friends and family to hear the whole amount of songs. The goal was to pick their favorites. It was interesting, because in the end, we all had sort of the same top 15 songs. Then everybody had another few they felt really strong about that got them up to 20 songs. I put together another batch as a satellite album called Tomorrow’s Daughter that has 12 songs beyond the 17 on the main record. That was given to Kickstarter supporters who had purchased demo downloads because I never ended up making demos. I thought I’d give ‘em these extra songs. Soon we’ll figure out some way to release that second album of stuff. Right now, we’ve just been focusing on the main album.

Q: You’ve utilized the drumming talent of Ric Menck dating back to Girlfriend. What is it about his rhythmic style that pairs so well with your songs?
A: The first time I played with Ric was in Lincoln, Nebraska. We went to somebody’s rehearsal space. He really had a classic backbeat thing that was really strong. I’d never really played with a drummer who had the energy that Ric had. Ever since then, he’s been my favorite drummer to work with. Now we’ve been touring together for so many years, we’re kind of like brothers.

Q: Debbi Peterson also played on a few songs. Since you’d co-produced The Bangles’ underrated 2011 album Sweetheart of the Sun, was she already in the back of your mind to use on the rest?
A: Debbi’s drumming is always really strong. I did just think, ‘Ric can’t do it, I’ll see if Debbi will.’ Honestly, I didn’t expect anyone to want to travel out here to [Nebraska] and record. We can do everything else over the internet. With drums, I need to guide them through my ideas so that I’ll have what I need to build up the song. She was willing to come out here. That particular batch of songs had a whole lot of slow things. A lot of it is on Daughter. Some of those made it on the main record. The most upbeat thing we did was “Come Correct,” which came out really well and had a [distinct] feeling because of her drumming.

Q: When you sent songs out to the various musicians to add their magic, didn’t you basically give them free reign and once you got the results back, you were pleased with everything they came up with?
A: I was always happy and ‘magic’ is a good way to put it. I think when you get something pure from someone who’s a musician, they’ll do naturally what they’re good at, you know? One of the earliest lessons I think I learned in the studio was ‘don’t take someone and try to force them to be a certain way.’ Instead, get people who have their ‘thing’ and let them do it. That had brought me really good results over the years and worked really well [here]. I think saying, ‘Play what you feel,’ yielded really good stuff.

Q: On several tracks, there are four guitarists including yourself. When it came to the solos, how did you end up metering those out?
A: I mostly gave different songs to different people in terms of solos. Mostly there aren’t people doing a solo that I had to pick between. In fact, the song that I had both James and Victor do was “The Searcher,” a sort of surf song. Even though they both played their take on it, I ended up using them as a back and forth thing, even though they never heard what the other one did. It works like a call and response thing. Mostly, I didn’t have that. Whoever had the song and could put a solo on it, did. On some songs, Val played around solos that were already there or along with them, things with the electric slide guitar. Some main parts. A lot of things, he and John mixed together and it’s pretty cool. John had done his parts and Val came in and did this overlay kind of thing.

Q: “Hello,” with Rod Argent’s majestic piano work and an amazing outro guitar solo, is definitely a highlight. Were the lyrics (“I am from the future/From when exactly I’m not sure”) inspired by sci-fi at all?
A: I do love sci-fi and physics in general. I’m sort of an amateur physics nerd.

Q: Yeah, I read in the bio that “Entangled” was inspired by physics.
A: I don’t plan to make a song about ‘X.’ Just the little ideas and thoughts about them come into songs as I’m writing lyrics. I have been asked about [references to] time on this album. Most of it, I’ve been doing for a long time. It’s a little bit of me that comes up now and then in the songs.

Q: Is the optimistic jangly “Music for Love,” where you sing, “Any way I can/I will make music for love” a personal mantra for you at all?
A: The guy in the song could be me or whatever. But I thought it was a little bit sad or desperate, where he feels like he has to make music to get love. It’s more like, ‘will work for food’ and ‘will make music for love’ - meaning he’s discovered there’s only this one way he can get love. Say I was a person who experienced my life and the only way I could feel love is from fans liking my music. That’s not the case. In the song, it was a little bit of me imaging this kind of alternate guy who never really got love the way he needed it when he was young. So he’s spending his adult life doing this thing in this weird exchange. People can take it in whatever way they want and that’s fine with me. We’ve been playing it live and it seems to go over really well.

Q: The album artwork, with the color paintings, really jumps out at you.
A: What’s really nice is the vinyl. The package is just gorgeous because it is the biggest display of the art.

Q: Nowadays, when more and more people are streaming music instead of buying physical product, is the album artwork still as important as it’s always been for you?
A: It is. It was an important part when I was young and listened to records. It is weird how minimized those things are these days by just the sheer amount of information on all topics. For the people who are still getting vinyl, people that are still buying CDs, it is important. So, I do try to make it something I think is [worthwhile].

Q: Have you been encouraged by the uptick in vinyl sales over the past few years – especially among younger music fans?
A: I think it’s really cool. When my last couple of records came out on vinyl, they did really well. This time, we vastly under-ordered the vinyl. It sold out so quickly, we had a bit of a shortage during July…It’s still an awesome feeling to have it, then going out to these record stores and seeing people line up, buy that vinyl and have me sign it - a really concrete thing that really harkens back to the old days.

Q: In 2014, you guested on an episode of “The Simpsons,” alongside Sammy Hagar and Will Forte. How did it come about and what was the experience like?
A: It was awesome. Through a friend of a friend, I kind of know some comedy writers who have worked for ‘The Simpsons’ over the years. One of the guys there approached me and asked me to do music for this episode where Homer has a garage band with the neighbors. It was a dream come true for me because I’m originally a bass player. I got to do all the bass parts as Homer did the scenes where he gets enamored with the bass.

Music videos: 

Trick (Live, New York City)


Sick of Myself

Remaining fall tour dates:

9/19 Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts
9/20 Hudson, NY @ Club Helsinki
9/21 Wilmington, DE @ The Queen
9/22 Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall
9/23 Port Washington, NY @ Landmark on Main
9/24 South Orange, NJ @ South Orange Performing Arts Center