Friday, March 31, 2017

Out now: Aimee Mann's 'Mental Illness'

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Aimee Mann’s new album Mental Illness is out now via her own SuperEgo Records. You can watch Mann discuss the making of the album here:

The music video for her track “Patient Zero” was directed by Daniel Ralston, who says, “I believe 'Patient Zero' is a song about Hollywood disappointment. I wanted to make a video about the same thing, on a smaller scale. James Urbaniak plays The Dresser on a fictitious (but very serious) play called The Hermit. Bradley Whitford plays The Actor at the heart of the performance. The two men become friends, the Dresser is given a gift, their friendship ends. It's about being able to let go of the things we want but can't have.” The video also stars Mann, Matthew Weiner, Tim Heidecker and Rich Sommer as The Actor's Friends.

You can watch/share the video here:

Mental Illness boasts an almost all-acoustic format, with a “finger-picky” style inspired by some of her favorite ‘60s and ‘70s folk-rock records, augmented by haunting strings arranged by her longtime producer, Paul Bryan. Additional players include: Jonathan Coulton on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, Jay Bellerose on drums, Jamie Edwards on piano, John Roderick as a co-writer and Ted Leo (who recently joined her in a joint side project, The Both) as a background singer.

On this eleven-track album, the Oscar-nominated, Grammy-winning singer remains a student of human behavior, drawing not just on her own experiences to form the characters in the songs but tales told by friends.

“I assume the brief on me is that people think that I write these really depressing songs,” Mann says. “I don’t know—people may have a different viewpoint—but that’s my own interpretation of the cliché about me. So if they thought that my songs were very down-tempo, very depressing, very sad, and very acoustic, I thought I’d just give myself permission to write the saddest, slowest, most acoustic, if-they’re-all-waltzes-so-be-it record I could…I mean, calling it Mental Illness makes me laugh, because it is true, but it’s so blunt that it’s funny.”

In support of the release, Mann confirms a headlining North American tour this spring, with stops in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia and more. Tickets can be purchased See below for complete tour details.

After several albums with Til Tuesday, Mann began her solo career in 1993 with the album Whatever and made a name for herself through her independent success and the founding of her record label, SuperEgo Records. In addition to her solo albums, she has appeared on many film soundtracks, most notably the song score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, with “Save Me” landing her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song.

In 2014, Mann joined up with Ted Leo for a more rock-oriented duo project, releasing a self-titled album under the name The Both. Other extracurricular activities since Charmer ranged from playing herself on the hit TV series Portlandia to performing for President Obama and the First Lady at the White House. Named one of The Huffington Post’s “13 Funny Musicians You Should Be Following On Twitter,” Mann has gained a diehard social media following for her quick wit and stinging observation.

Track listing:

Goose Snow Cone
Stuck In The Past
You Never Loved Me
Lies Of Summer
Patient Zero
Good For Me
Knock It Off
Philly Sinks
Simple Fix
Poor Judge

Tour dates: 

April 20—Washington, DC—Lincoln Theatre
April 21—Philadelphia, PA—Keswick Theatre
April 22—New York, NY—The Town Hall
April 23—Boston, MA—The Wilbur Theatre
April 25—Albany, NY—The Egg Center For The Performing Arts
April 26—Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall
April 28—Ann Arbor, MI—The Ark
April 29—Chicago, IL—Park West
April 30—Milwaukee, WI—Pabst Theater
May 2—Madison, WI—Barrymore Theatre
May 3—Saint Paul, MN—Fitzgerald Theater
May 5—Boulder, CO—Boulder Theater
May 6—Salt Lake City, UT—The State Room
May 8—Missoula, MT—The Wilma
May 9—Seattle, WA—Neptune
May 10—Portland, OR—Revolution Hall
May 12—San Francisco, CA—The Fillmore
May 13—Los Angeles, CA—The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Concert review: Panic! at the Disco, Saint Motel, MisterWives in Los Angeles

photo: Matt Masin
Brendon Urie crafts catchy tunes with a flair for the ultra-dramatic. On Tuesday at The Forum, the most memorable moments came when Panic! at the Disco’s magnetic front man tones things down a bit and played piano.

Since last year, the band has been touring steadily for 2016’s solid “Death of a Bachelor,” on which Urie played a bulk of the instruments. It debuted atop Billboard’s album chart and spawned four hits at rock and alternative radio.

Although Urie got sick last week, required a steroid shot and ironically did the opposite of 2005 debut CD title “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” he sounded no worse for wear in Inglewood.

Featuring a towering stage set (the best I’ve seen at an arena lately), the place was packed and predominantly filled with teenage girls and young women. Many of them shrieked and sang along loudly throughout the evening.

Right before the 90-minute show started, a countdown clock stirred up everyone’s excitement. Then the B-52’s guitar riff to “Rock Lobster” signaled a vibrant “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” (Panic! samples the 1979 tune; soon after, Urie sang about that era on the powerful “Golden Days”).

A frenetic “LA Devotee,” about the allure of Los Angeles, was the second of eight songs performed from “Bachelor” and enlivened by two horn players. As church images were projected on the screens during “Hallelujah,” some fans raised their arms as if they were actually at a service.

Urie’s first piano excursion came amid the baroque pop of “Nine in the Afternoon,” an early highlight. Following a truly incendiary “Miss Jackson” (complete with fire plumes), Urie’s warped humor came through via a nightmare video scenario featuring early Panic! benefactor Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy. Suddenly the singer appeared at the back of the venue on an elevated white piano for a stark “This is Gospel.”

Recalling his childhood in Las Vegas, Urie talked about how his parents put on records as the kids did their chores and that’s when Urie became enamored with Billy Joel. Urie sat behind a black grand piano for a credible, faithful cover of “Movin’ Out.”

The swing-leaning “Crazy=Genius” featured a manic delivery by Urie, as he sang about Brian Wilson and math equations floated across the screens. An electronic-tinged “Let’s Kill Tonight” saw Urie ably take over drum duties and continue as Bruno Mars and Rihanna tunes played.

Yet the show’s defining moment came when Urie paid tribute to the LGBT community on a propulsive “Girls/Girls/Boys.” As he sang “love is not a choice,” images of pride marches, entertainers and icons of the equality movement such as Elton John, George Michael, Ellen DeGeneres and Harvey Milk flashed on the screens. Concertgoers illuminated multi-colored hearts with their cellphones. Urie held up a pride flag and a girl in my section was draped in another. Afterward, the singer said, “What you do inspires me. This display of love matters.”

Urie introduced the next song as by “one of my favorite gay human beings,” before channeling the late Freddie Mercury on the perfect, Panic! concert staple cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” complete with video effects (a recorded version is on 2016’s “Suicide Squad” soundtrack). There, as during previous tunes, Urie put his falsetto to good use.

Toward the end, Panic! did its early and most successful hit “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” Urie sang the rapid-fire verses with vigor and got a wildly enthusiastic response.

Misterwives did a buoyant 45-minute opening set that was very well received. The NYC-based alt-pop band was a joy to watch, especially firebrand singer Mandy Lee, who was clad in a mini fur coat. The musicians never stood still and occasionally did synchronized moves. They previewed some tracks from their forthcoming sophomore album “Connect the Dots,” due in May; the contemplative, tropical rhythms of “Drummer Boy” and haunting dub-influenced solidarity song “Oh Love” fared best. Meanwhile, “Imagination Infatuation” was a frothy delight and spirited minor hit “Our Own House” – with a percussion solo – recalled prime No Doubt.

Saint Motel had no trouble attracting attention from early arrivals with its fun half-hour set. Wisely utilizing live horns like its tour mates, the L.A. alt-pop group impressed from the start with the alluring “Cold Cold Man.” Images and sounds from the golden age of TV were wisely tied into the concept of stellar latest album “saintmotelevision.” Among the standouts: “Sweet Talk,” where A/J Jackson’s billowy vocals soared; the infectious dance of recent hit “Move”; a fast and jazzy, sax-driven “Destroyer” and the slinky grove of 2014 international hit “My Type.”

My review originally appeared at

Tour update: Wilco, Jason Mraz, Amos Lee

photo: Zoran Orlic
Wilco has announced an early summer tour in the lead up to the band’s own Solid Sound Festival, which takes place at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA on June 23-25.

Tickets for upcoming shows are on sale Friday via Three-day passes for Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival are also available now via

Created by Wilco in 2010, Solid Sound features three days of music, comedy, art and family programming and takes place at MASS MoCA - the largest contemporary art museum in America - located in the scenic Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

Wilco headlines two nights and are joined by Television, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Robert Glasper Experiment, Dawn of Midi, Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones, Kevin Morby, Joan Shelley, Big Thief, Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers, Deep Sea Diver, Andy Shauf, Alloy Orchestra, Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids, Kacy & Clayton, Daniel Bachman, Nancy and Beth, Jeff Parker Trio, The Shaggs, and Max Hatt & Edda Glass. Wilco member’s side projects including Tweedy, The Autumn Defense, On Fillmore, The Nels Cline Four and Quindar will also perform.

Solid Sound’s always-popular comedy stage features three distinct sets on Saturday, June 24 from MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center. Hosted by John Hodgman in production with Pretty Good Friends, performers include Michael Ian Black, Eugene Mirman, Aparna Nancherla and Nick Offerman plus Jean Grae's The Show Show with DJ Quelle Chris.

Tour Dates:

June 7 Meadow Brook Amphitheatre Rochester Hills, MI
June 8 Stage AE Pittsburgh, PA
June 11 Iroquois Amphitheater Louisville, KY
June 13 White River State Park Indianapolis, IN
June 14 Coronado Performing Arts Center Rockford, IL
June 16-17 Eaux Claires Eau Claire, WI
June 18 Riverside Theater Milwaukee, WI
June 23-25 Solid Sound Festival North Adams, MA

Jason Mraz has announced a series of early summer live dates. The shows begin June 16.  For complete details and ticket information, please log on to

The live performances culminate with a very special birthday celebration at Los Angeles, CA’s Hollywood Bowl on Mraz’s birthday, Friday, June 23, marking his third headline show at the Bowl following two previous sold out appearances.

Recently, Mraz teamed up with participants from LIVE ART--an equally inclusive program supported by the Jason Mraz Foundation for both students with and without disabilities, of all ages, who use performing arts to share messages of acceptance, compassion and empathy--for a moving performance of his classic “I Won’t Give Up” at the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

"The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Winter Games was by far the most beautiful live concert experience I’ve ever been a part of,” said Mraz. “I am so honored to have been considered worthy of the task. I made some great new friends and left Schladming in awe; inspired by the athletes, coaches and families from around the world. They made a fan for life."

Mraz, an ardent advocate of arts education, recently wrote about the vital importance of the arts in a Huffington Post column.

TOUR 2017

16 Tucson, AZ Centennial Hall
17 Albuquerque, NM Sandia Resort & Casino
18 Telluride, CO 44th Telluride Bluegrass Festival
20 Salt Lake City Red Butte Garden
23 Los Angeles, CA “The Birthday Party And Concert At The Hollywood Bowl”
24 Murphys, CA Ironstone Amphitheatre at Ironstone Vineyards

Critically acclaimed troubadour Amos Lee announced the dates for his North American summer headline tour. Following a successful spring run, he hits the road again this summer with performances in major markets across the Midwest and East Coast. Tickets are on sale now. 

His latest album is Spirit. Lee performed a three-song set on CBS Saturday last weekend. Watch “Vaporize,” “Till You Come Back Through,” and “Walls.” Lee's 2013 album was Mountains Of Sorrow, Rivers Of Song, while previous offering, Mission Bell, went to #1 on the Billboard Top 200. 

Amos Lee SPIRIT Buy Here:


July 16 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre +^
July 24 Rochester Hills, MI Meadowbrook Amphitheatre*
July 25 Cincinnati, OH PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center*
July 27 Cleveland, OH Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica*
July 28 Pittsburgh, PA Stage AE*
July 29 Camden, NJ XPoNential Music Festival - Amos Lee & Friends feat
Preservation Hall Jazz Band w/ Spoon
July 30 Wilkes-Barre, PA F.M. Kirby Center
August 1 New Bedford, MA Zeiterion Performing Arts Center
August 2 Concord, NH Capitol Center
August 5 Port Chester, NY The Capitol Theatre
August 6 Huntington, NY The Paramount
*w/ Lake Street Dive
+w/ The Colorado Symphony Orchestra
^w/ Joseph

The long-awaited return of Slowdive

UK shoegaze pioneers Slowdive will unveil a self-titled fourth album, out May 5 via Dead Oceans, and new single, “Sugar For The Pill,” which follows the release of “Star Roving.” 

The band did a live stream of their show on March 29 at London’s The Garage, the venue in which the band played their final London show in their original incarnation in December 1993. 

Recorded at the band’s Oxfordshire haunt, The Courtyard, the songs were mixed at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Sound by Chris Coady (Beach House). Throughout, the group dynamic was all-important.

“When you’re in a band and you do three records, there’s a continuous flow and a development. For us, that flow re-started with us playing live again and that has continued into the record,” notes principal songwriter Neil Halstead.

The video for “Sugar For The Pill,” produced by in/out, takes its inspiration from the Slowdive album artwork which is itself a still from Harry Smith’s cult classic animation Heaven and Earth Magic - the vast spiritual narrative that has influenced so many artists since it was originally released back in 1957.

Slowdive is Neil Halstead (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Christian Savill (guitar), Nick Chaplin(bass), Rachel Goswell (vocals) and Simon Scott (drums, electronics). Their debut album, Just For A Day, was released in 1991 by Creation Records and was followed by the band’s now revered 1993 album Souvlaki and 1995’s Pygmalion before they disbanded.

In the 22 years of their virtual disappearance, compilation albums have been released and the core members of the group have gone on to join other musical endeavours. In 2014, the band announced that they’d reunited and more new music would follow.

Watch Slowdive’s “Sugar For The Pill” Video –

Listen to Slowdive’s “Star Roving” –

Pre-order Slowdive –

Track listing:

1. Slomo
2. Star Roving
3. Don’t Know Why
4. Sugar For The Pill
5. Everyone Knows
6. No Longer Making Time
7. Go Get It
8. Falling Ashes

Tour Dates:

Mon. March 27 – Glasgow, UK @ Art School – SOLD OUT
Tue. March 28 – Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Arts Club – SOLD OUT
Wed. March 29 – London, UK @ The Garage
Thu. March 30 – Bristol, UK @ The Fleece – SOLD OUT
Fri. March 31 – The Hague, NL @ Rewire Festival
Sun. April 2 – Paris, FR @ Trabendo – SOLD OUT
Mon. April 3 - Berlin, DE @ Festsaal -- SOLD OUT
Sun. April 30 – Fort Worth, TX @ Fortress Festival
Tue. May 2 - St. Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre
Wed. May 3 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater # -- SOLD OUT
Fri. May 5 - Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall # -- SOLD OUT
Sat. May 6 – Montreal, QC @ L’Olympia
Sun. May 7 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club # -- SOLD OUT
Mon. May 8 - Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel # -- SOLD OUT
Tue. May 9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
Wed. May 10 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
Thu. May 11 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
Sat. May 13 – Santiago, CL @ Fauna Otono
Sun. May 14 – São Paulo, BR @ Balaclava Fest
Fri. June 2 – Oxford, UK @ O2 Academy
Sat. June 3 – London, UK @ Field Day
Fri. June 16 – Sun. June 18 – Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby
Fri. July 7 – Madrid, ES @ Mad Cool Festival
Fri. July 21 – Sun. July 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
Thu. Aug. 31 – Salisbury, UK @ End of the Road Festival

Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows to hit the road together again

Multi-platinum selling bands Matchbox Twenty and Counting Crows have announced “A Brief History of Everything Tour 2017,” which starts in July and runs through early October.

Tickets and VIP packages are available to the general public March 31. For complete details, please and

"No matter what I will ever do, nothing feels like home as much as playing these songs with these guys and it never will," says Matchbox Twenty lead singer-songwriter Rob Thomas. “And I can’t wait to spend another summer out there on the road with the Crows.” Thomas previously teamed with Counting Crows for a hugely successful 2016 summer co-headline tour.

“To be honest, we took a vote after last year and decided to spend every summer with Rob from now on,” says Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz. “Can. Not. Wait.”

This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of Matchbox Twenty and their breakthrough debut album “YOURSELF OR SOMEONE LIKE YOU,” currently certified 12x platinum by the RIAA for sales well in excess of 15 million worldwide. Fueled by such classic singles as “Real World,” “Back 2 Good” and the #1 smash hits “Push” and “3AM,” the album proved a worldwide sensation and instantly established Matchbox as global superstars. 

Since then Matchbox Twenty has achieved cumulative worldwide album sales over 30 million and earned multiple #1 singles including “Bent”, “Unwell” and “If You’re Gone” along with countless accolades including five GRAMMY® nominations, four American Music Award nods, and the 2004 People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Musical Group.” 2007’s “EXILE ON MAINSTREAM” yielded RIAA-certified Platinum and #1 single “How Far We’ve Come,” while the band’s most recent album “NORTH” exploded into the #1 position on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 upon its 2012 release – Matchbox Twenty’s first-ever chart-topper and #1 debut. Matchbox Twenty is: Rob Thomas, Paul Doucette, Kyle Cook, and Brian Yale.

Counting Crows – Adam Duritz (vocals), Jim Bogios (drums), David Bryson (guitar), Charlie Gillingham (keyboards), David Immergluck (guitar), Millard Powers (bass), and Dan Vickrey (guitar) – have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide after exploding onto the music scene with their multi-platinum breakout album “AUGUST AND EVERYTHING AFTER” in 1993. The band released their seventh studio album, “SOMEWHERE UNDER WONDERLAND,” in September 2014. Known for creating unique and innovative concerts, Counting Crows is recognized as one of the pre-eminent touring live rock bands.

TOUR 2017

12 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena
14 Edmonton, AB Rogers Place*
16 Vancouver, BC Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena*
18 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre
19 Ridgefield, WA Sunlight Supply Amphitheatre
21 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
22 Paso Robles, CA California Mid State Fair
24 Murphys, CA Ironstone Amphitheatre
26 Reno, NV Grand Theatre at Grand Sierra Resort
28 Chula Vista, CA Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
29 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
31 Los Angeles, CA The Forum

2 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
4 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheatre
6 Oklahoma City, OK Zoo Amphitheatre
7 Rogers, AR Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
9 Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
12 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
13 Atlanta, GA Lakewood Amphitheatre
15 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
16 West Palm Beach, FL Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
19 Jacksonville, FL Daily’s Place
20 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
22 Raleigh, NC Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
23 Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
25 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
26 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion
28 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
29 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
31 Wantagh, NY Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

2 Hartford, CT The Xfinity Theatre
3 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
6 Toronto, ON Budweiser Stage*
8 Boston, MA Xfinity Center
9 Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
11 Darien Center, NY Darien Lake Amphitheater
12 Pittsburgh, PA KeyBank Pavilion
14 Mount Pleasant, MI Soaring Eagle Casino Resort
16 Welch, MN Treasure Island Resort & Casino
17 Chicago, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
20 Cleveland, OH Blossom Music Center
21 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
23 Detroit, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
24 Indianapolis, IN Klipsch Music Center
26 St. Louis, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
27 Kansas City, MO Starlight Theater
30 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

1 Dallas, TX Irving Music Factory
*tickets on sale April 7th

Gorillaz news

Gorillaz are back. The successful virtual band will return with a new studio album titled Humanz, to be released by Warner Bros. on April 28.

Produced by Gorillaz, The Twilight Tone of D /\ P and Remi Kabaka and recorded in London, Paris, New York, Chicago and Jamaica, Humanz comes 7 years on from the release of albums The Fall and Plastic Beach. Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar), Russel Hobbs (drums) and 2D (vocals) are - as always - joined by a stellar line up of featured artists which includes Jehnny Beth (Savages), Danny Brown, Benjamin Clementine, De La Soul, D.R.A.M., Peven Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Zebra Katz, Kelela, Mavis Staples, Vince Staples, Popcaan, Pusha T, Jamie Principle and Kali Uchis among others (see below).

A six-minute Jamie Hewlett-directed epic animated film, featuring four Humanz tracks - being ‘Saturnz Barz’ in full, plus highlights of ‘Ascension’, ‘Andromeda’ and ‘We Got The Power’ - is now available to watch here: The film - ‘Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)’, supported by YouTube - also affords an extraordinary cutting-edge VR video (360-3D)— watch here:

An interactive VR version is set to be released on Daydream in April.

The 14-track album Humanz is available on standard CD, vinyl and as a digital download, as well as a 19-track 2-CD Deluxe. A limited edition Super Deluxe Vinyl Box Set featuring additional alternative versions of all 14 album tracks will also be available (more details below).

Gorillaz played the complete album live for fans for the first time, at a secret London location on March 24. The group will headline the recently announced, sold-out Demon Dayz Festival at Dreamland Margate on June 10. Full details of dates scheduled for later in the year, will be announced soon.

Track listing:

1. Ascension feat. Vince Staples
2. Strobelite feat. Peven Everett
3. Saturnz Barz feat. Popcaan
4. Momentz feat. De La Soul
5. Submission feat. Danny Brown & Kelela
6. Charger feat. Grace Jones
7. Andromeda feat. D.R.A.M.
8. Busted and Blue
9. Carnival feat. Anthony Hamilton
10. Let Me Out feat. Mavis Staples & Pusha T
11. Sex Murder Party feat. Jamie Principle & Zebra Katz
12. She’s My Collar feat. Kali Uchis
13. Hallelujah Money feat. Benjamin Clementine
14. We Got The Power feat. Jehnny Beth

Bonus material on Deluxe:

15. The Apprentice feat. Rag’n’ Bone Man, Zebra Katz & RAY BLK
16. Halfway To The Halfway House feat. Peven Everett
17. Out Of Body feat. Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz & Imani Vonshà
18. Ticker Tape feat. Carly Simon & Kali Uchis
19. Circle Of Friendz feat. Brandon Markell Holmes

With interludes narrated by Ben Mendelsohn

The Super Deluxe Vinyl Box Set of the new Gorillaz album Humanz is presented across 14 individual pieces of different coloured 12” vinyl), packaged in individually art-worked sleeves. Each piece of vinyl features an album track, backed with an exclusive alternative version.

The box also includes a 54-page, cloth-bound, foil-blocked, hardback book featuring exclusive Gorillaz artwork by Jamie Hewlett plus a download card, all housed in a bespoke 12” vinyl case.

This format is expected to ship in late-summer, with a download code to be sent on album release on April 28.

Gorillaz is singer 2D, bassist Murdoc Niccals, guitarist Noodle and drummer Russel Hobbs. Created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, their acclaimed eponymous debut album was released in 2001. The BRIT and Grammy Award winning band’s subsequent albums are Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010) and The Fall (2011). 

Gorillaz have won the coveted Jim Henson Creativity Honor and are recognised by The Guinness Book Of World Records as the planet’s Most Successful Virtual Act. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Doheny Blues Festival: 20 announces complete lineup

For many years, I had wanted to check out and cover Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, Calif., but for one reason or another, never got the opportunity - until 2015. What a revelation! The event, held May 20-21, will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Here's the full lineup... 


Joe Walsh
Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience
Robin Trower 
Canned Heat
Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers 
Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters
Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter
Casey Hensley
Nico Duportal & West Coast Connection
Whiteboy James & Blues Express
Big George & the Bluetones


Melissa Etheridge's Memphis Rock and Soul Revue (pictured above) 
Chris Isaak
Mavis Staples
JJ Grey & Mofro
Samantha Fish
Junior Brown
Moreland and Arbuckle
Bobby Rush
John Primer, Henry Gray, Bob Corritone
Adrianna Marie & Her Groovecutters 
The Mighty Mojo Prophets

Current prices are $75 General Admission single day, $140 GA 2-day; VIP pass single day $150, Gold pass single day $250.

The return of Saint Etienne

The Home Counties are an embarrassing place to come from. The name itself suggests that somehow the rest of Britain isn't 'home', not even London.

It's where John Major's vision of cricket and warm beer was meant to exist, but it's not really like that at all, and it never has been. The Home Counties are a land of bootleg DVDs at car boot sales, Waitrose bags for life, parking disputes, bored teenagers in semis inventing ghost stories, squaddies causing trouble at all-you-can-eat buffets, train drivers in eyeliner and suburban rebels, a place where Tony Hancock and Spike Milligan drew inspiration.

Saint Etienne grew up in the Home Counties. Here are sixteen new songs they have written about a day in the life of this doughnut of shires that ring the capital, punctuated by bursts of BBC radio to remind you what time it is, and all connected by train journeys - main lines, branch lines, commutes, escapes.

It begins with SOMETHING NEW, and a teenage girl creeping through the front door after staying out all night. It stops at WHYTELEAFE, and imagines what might have happened if David Bowie had remained David Jones of Bromley, stuck with a desk job. It summons up the Enfield Poltergeist on HEATHER, and the anarchy of Essex's Plotland settlers on SWEET ARCADIA. TRAIN DRIVERS IN EYELINER wonders what the railway network might be like if it was organised according to ASLEF's taste in music.

The love/hate relationship people have with 'home' is particularly acute in the Home Counties. Yet Saint Etienne understand that, if you squint, it could be almost utopian - here are the post-war new towns, much of the country's modernist architecture, and the non-league football heroes of Sutton United, Leatherhead, Harlow Town. Three of the Beatles lived here. So did the Prodigy, the Zombies, Depeche Mode, Dr Feelgood and, naturally, Saint Etienne, small town groups looking to the capital but audibly inspired by municipal housing, box hedges and ring roads.

The album was produced by Shawn Lee of Young Gun Silver Fox, with support from Augustus (Kero Kero Bonito), Carwyn Ellis (Colorama, Edwyn Collins), Robin Bennett (The Dreaming Spires), Richard X (Girls On Top / Black Melody) and long-time collaborator Gerard Johnson (Denim, Yes). It was recorded in central London. Sarah, Bob and Pete commuted to the studio every day for six weeks.

The cover of the album was designed by renowned artist Scott King (
Saint Etienne have also announced a number of festival and headline shows over the summer, including a performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London. Saint Etienne will also be touring the U.S. in September / October. Dates will be announced shortly.

Tour Dates:

May 26 - Hebden Bridge, UK -Trades Club
May 27 - Oxford, UK - Common People Festival
May 31 - Barcelona, SPA - Primavera
June 2 - London, UK - Royal Festival Hall
June 3 - Cardiff, UK - Tramshed
June 4 - Birmingham, UK - Town Hall
June 6 - Bexhill, UK - De La Warr Pavillion
June 8 - Newcastle, UK - Sage
June 9 - Edinburgh - UK - Queens Hall
June 10 - Sheffield, UK - City Hall
June 11 - Manchester, UK - RNMC Concert Hall
August 20 - Glanusk Park - Green Man Festival

Pre-order "Home Counties" on iTunes 

Track Listing:

1. The Reunion
2. Something New
3. Magpie Eyes
4. Whyteleafe
5. Dive
6. Church Pew Furniture Restorer
7. Take It All In
8. Popmaster
9. Underneath The Apple Tree
10. Out Of My Mind
11. After Hebden
12. Breakneck Hill
13. Heather
14. Sports Report
15. Train Drivers In Eyeliner
16. Unopened Fan Mail
17. What Kind Of World
18. Sweet Arcadia
19. Angel Of Woodhatch

'A Grammy Salute to the Bee Gees' set to air in April

The 40th anniversary of the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees themselves will be celebrated with an all-star TV special— "Stayin' Alive: A GRAMMY Salute To The Music Of The Bee Gees"—on Sunday, April 16 (8:00-10:00 PM, ET/ PT) on CBS.

Surviving member and co-founder Barry Gibb also performs a selection of hits from Saturday Night Fever — which won Album Of The Year at the 21st Annual GRAMMY Awards and was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 2004. The tribute special also features appearances by Cynthia Erivo, John Travolta, and Wilmer Valderrama.

The list of performances:

Medley: "Stayin' Alive," "Tragedy" "How Deep Is Your Love," "Night Fever"—Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly, Little Big Town, Andra Day
"To Love Somebody"—Keith Urban
"Massachusetts"—Ed Sheeran
"Lonely Days"—Panic! At The Disco
"Tragedy"— Tori Kelly
"How Can You Mend A Broken Heart"—John Legend & Stevie Wonder
"Islands In The Stream"—Kelsea Ballerini & Thomas Rhett
"Immortality"—Celine Dion
"Night Fever"—DNCE
"If I Can't Have You"—Demi Lovato
"More Than A Woman"—Jason Derulo & Tavares
"How Deep Is Your Love"—Little Big Town
"Love So Right"— Andra Day
"I Just Want To Be Your Everything"—Nick Jonas
"Too Much Heaven"—Pentatonix
"Emotion"—Katharine McPhee
"Jive Talkin'"—Barry Gibb
"You Should Be Dancing"—Barry Gibb
"Stayin' Alive"—Barry Gibb & Ensemble

Adam Ant extends world tour

Following his “Kings of the Wild Frontier” tour earlier this year that saw Adam Ant play his landmark album to over 50,000 fans in sold-out venues throughout North America and the UK, Adam has announced his North American ANTHEMS - The Singles tour for September, 2017, with special guest L7 joining him at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Adam will play his classic chart-topping singles as well as rare singles, B sides and personal favorites. For more information, visit

VIP presale tickets for ANTHEMS – The Singles tour are available now and tickets will be on sale to the general public on March 24 at 10 am local time. In addition, watch for special presale opportunities through American Express now through March 23 at 10 pm as well as through Spotify on March 23 from 10 am to 10 pm.

World Tour Dates: 

Performing ANTHEMS – The Singles in the UK

Friday, May 5, Newcastle, Arena
Saturday, May 6, Edinburgh, Playhouse
Sunday, May 7, Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
Tuesday, May, 9, Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
Wednesday, May 10, Manchester, Bridgewater Hall (Second show added)
Friday, May 12, Birmingham, Symphony Hall
Saturday, May 13, Birmingham, Symphony Hall (Second show added)
Sunday, May 14, Bristol, Hippodrome
Tuesday, May 16, Plymouth, Pavilions
Wednesday, May 17, London, Royal Albert Hall
Thursday, May 18, Brighton, Centre
Saturday, May 20, Bournemouth, Int. Centre
Sunday, May 21, Leicester, De Montfort Hall
Monday, May 22, Ipswich, Regent Theatre
Wednesday, May 24, Watford, Colosseum
Thursday, May 25, Southend, Cliff’s Pavilion
Saturday, May 27, Leeds, Arena
Sunday, May 28, Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall

Performing ANTHEMS – The Singles in the USA

Wednesday, September 6, Fort Lauderdale, FL, Parker Playhouse (Broward Center PAC)
Friday, September 8, Clearwater, FL, Capitol Theatre
Saturday, September 9, Orlando, FL, The Beacham Theatre
Sunday, September 10, Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre Performing Arts Center
Wednesday, September 13, New York, NY, Beacon Theatre
Friday, September 15, Detroit, MI, Sound Board @MotorCity Casino Hotel
Saturday, September 16, Cleveland, OH, House of Blues
Sunday, September 17, Pittsburgh, PA, Palace Theatre
Tuesday, September 19, Baltimore, MD, Baltimore Sound Stage
Wednesday, September 20, Richmond, VA, The National
Friday, September 22, Charlotte, NC, Fillmore
Saturday, September 23, Atlanta, GA, Variety Playhouse
Sunday, September 24, Nashville, TN, War Memorial Auditorium
Tuesday, September 26, Denver, CO, Paramount Theatre
Thursday, September 28, San Francisco, The Masonic
Saturday, September 30, Los Angeles, Greek Theatre, with special guest L7

Performing Kings of the Wild Frontier and More in Australia and New Zealand

Monday, October 9, Powerstation, Auckland, New Zealand
Tuesday, October 10, Opera House, Wellington, New Zealand
Thursday, October 12, Tivoli, Brisbane, Australia
Friday, October 13, Enmore Theatre, Sydney, Australia
Sunday, October 15, Palais Theatre, Melbourne, Australia
Monday, October 16, Metropolis, Fremantle, Australia

Neil Diamond celebrates 50th anniversary of single with hits album, tour

On March 31, UME and CMG will release Neil Diamond 50-50th Anniversary Collection, a 3 CD set that marks the 50th anniversary of the Grammy Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member’s first hit “Solitary Man.”

The chart-topping single began Diamond’s trajectory as a legendary songwriter and celebrated performer with a time span that has now marked five decades and counting. To commemorate this anniversary, Diamond will embark on a World Tour that kicks off on April 7.

A career spanning retrospective of 50 Neil Diamond selections, t
he new collection includes material off albums ranging from his earliest 1966 album The Feel Of Neil Diamond through his latest critically acclaimed album Melody Road. Liner notes were done by David Fricke and there's a booklet containing photos that chronicle the artist’s vast career.

World Tour Dates:

Friday, April 7, 2017
Fresno, CA
SaveMart Center

Sunday, April 9, 2017
Salt Lake City, UT
Vivint Smart Home Arena

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
St. Louis, MO
Scottrade Center

Friday, April 14, 2017
Omaha, NE
CenturyLink Center

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Oklahoma City, OK
Chesapeake Energy Center

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Nashville, TN
Bridgestone Arena

Friday, April 21, 2017
Louisville, KY
KFC Yum! Center

Sunday, April 23, 2017
Tampa, FL
Amalie Arena

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
BB&T Center

Friday, April 28, 2017
Charlotte, NC
Spectrum Center

Sunday, April 30, 2017
Atlanta, GA
Philips Arena

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
New Orleans, LA
Smoothie King Center

Sunday, May 21, 2017
Des Moines, IA
Wells Fargo Arena

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
St. Paul, MN
Xcel Energy Center

Friday, May 26, 2017
Indianapolis, IN
Banker's Life Fieldhouse

Sunday, May 28, 2017
Chicago, IL
United Center

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Cleveland, OH
Quicken Loans Arena

Friday, June 2, 2017
Detroit, MI
The Palace of Auburn Hills

Sunday, June 4, 2017
Rochester, NY
Blue Cross Arena

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Toronto, ON
Air Canada Centre

Friday, June 9, 2017
Baltimore, MD
Royal Farms Arena

Sunday, June 11, 2017
Uncasville, CT
Mohegan Sun Arena

Thursday, June 15, 2017
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

Saturday, June 17, 2017
New York, NY
Madison Square Garden

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Philadelphia, PA
Wells Fargo Center

Thursday, June 22, 2017
Bethel, NY
Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

Friday, July 14, 2017
Wichita, KS
INTRUST Bank Arena

Sunday, July 16, 2017
Houston, TX
Toyota Center

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Dallas, TX
American Airlines Center

Friday, July 21, 2017
Denver, CO
Pepsi Center

Monday, July 24, 2017
Vancouver, BC
Rogers Arena

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Seattle, WA
Key Arena

Friday, July 28, 2017
Portland, OR
Moda Center

Sunday, July 30, 2017
San Jose, CA
SAP Center

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Sacramento, CA
Golden 1 Center

Friday, August 4, 2017
Phoenix, AZ
Talking Stick Resort Arena

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
San Diego, CA
Valley View Casino Center

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
The Forum

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Los Angeles, CA
The Forum

Friday, March 17, 2017

311 paint a musical 'Mosaic'

photo: Brian Bowen Smith
I'm looking forward to hearing the new material. Read below for the latest news from the press release...

311 are set to return with their 12th studio album titled Mosaic, due out worldwide this summer 2017 on BMG. The multi-platinum band's first single "Too Much To Think" premiered at Alternative radio last week.

Watch the lyric video for the song (here) and the group will launch a 40-show North American summer tour in June in Cleveland. The new album is available to pre-order now at Tour pre-sale tickets and VIP bundles are on sale March 14. Tour info at Watch and share the lyric video for "Too Much To Think" (here)

The 17-song Mosaic was produced by John Feldmann (Blink-182, Panic! At The Disco, etc.) and Scotch Ralston (who produced 311's Transistor, Soundsystem and Stereolithic albums). With Mosaic, 311 are approaching their 10th consecutive Top 10 album debut on the Billboard Top 200 Albums Chart.

311 will hit the road summer 2017 for an eight-week headlining tour of North America. Marking the group's 18th consecutive summer headlining the U.S, the outing features special guests New Politics plus The Skints / Passafire (on select shows). 311 will also make headline appearances at several festivals and radio events. The full tour itinerary (June 22-Aug 20) can be found at

Here's a quick Q&A:

Why is the album titled MOSAIC?
NICK HEXUM (singer/guitarist): "We wanted a title that pointed to our collective nature. Something that referred to the eclectic style of our music and the bond between the band members and our fans-and this title really captures that."

CHAD SEXTON (drums): "We wanted to include our fans in the concept of this record. We have a very symbiotic relationship with our fans that see us year after year. We wanted to find a word or phrase that would describe our fan base, our band and our music and to tie it all into a concept that could be presented in the album artwork as well. Where we landed was perfect....MOSAIC. As one definition states: "a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole." We feel this word can accurately describe our band, music and our fan base together. For us, it's still a celebration. For the simple fact that if people have different sets of ideas and opinions, likes and dislikes, and are able to get along and come together over the one bond they share (music) - there is no satisfaction like the joy experienced when this happens. It's a celebration over the triumph of our differences and it's the main concept we've been presenting throughout our entire 27 year journey-UNITY."

How would you describe the album's overall sound?
NICK HEXUM: "A menagerie of styles created by five friends and our extended musical family at our best! Innovation, fun, chops, and heart."

P-NUT (bass), adds "Fresh, Hard and Satisfying... Future-rock at our best... We'll always be forward-thinking and flipping the script on ourselves."

HEXUM continues, "The key word for this set of tunes is innovation. We went in some new directions, which will surprise people. Music is a never-ending journey. I'm always proud of how diverse the styles are that we include in our music. MOSAIC is our most adventurous collection yet. Some of our highest energy jams ever. Funky grooves, dub riddims, party anthems, heartfelt sincerity, it's all in there. I think the dynamics are the newest feature. Having builds inspired by very modern music raises the intensity to new heights."

The cover artwork for your new album MOSAIC is made up of thousands of photos submitted byfans?
NICK HEXUM: "The MOSAIC cover captures the spirit of the collective nature that is 311-band & fans together to form something greater than the sum of its parts."

Why 17 songs on MOSAIC?
CHAD SEXTON: "We know the trend these days is to release shorter albums or even just singles-but this album is dedicated to our longtime fans and we wanted to give them everything. The album is 17 songs that we're really proud of-and that really capture the musical range of 311. While we've been mixing the album there have been several moments that reminded me of Transistor (311's seminal 4th album). MOSAIC definitely takes some steps forward into more modern territory, but there are distinct reminders of where we come from in the songs.Something about blending an older 311 style with a newer 311 style is really exciting to us and I think it will be for the fans too." pre-orders for MOSAIC include codes for first access to summer tour pre-sale tickets & VIP packages. Plus prize giveaways and access to behind-the-scenes news, photos and videos of the making of the album. The album Pre-Order offers Digital, CD, Vinyl & Autographed bundles.

Incubus news

Incubus, celebrating in 2017 the 20th anniversary of their major label debut album, have gone live at with iTunes and as the official store for exclusive music bundle pre-orders of 8, their eighth studio album, arriving April 21 on Island Records. 8 includes tracks that were co-produced and mixed by Skrillex (see below for full details). On April 25, Incubus will appear on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!.

iTunes pre-orders of 8 will include two instant grat tracks: “Nimble Bastard,” the new single from Incubus, and “Glitterbomb.” “Nimble Bastard” was launched with an iHeart Radio world premiere and live appearance on KROQ's Kevin and Bean program in Incubus’ hometown, Los Angeles. “State Of The Art” will go up as the next instant grat track on March 31; “Undefeated” will follow on April 7. “Nimble Bastard” and “Glitterbomb” will also be available as stand alone tracks for streaming partners.

​Tickets are now on sale for Incubus’ first major headline North American summer tour since 2015, with support by Jimmy Eat World and Judah & the Lion. The tour will open in July and wrap up six weeks later. Each pair of mobile/internet concert tickets sold will include a copy of the 8 album. For more ticket information see

​On April 3, Incubus will join Daya, Halsey, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore, Skrillex, Tinashe, and Zedd at WELCOME!, a special fundraising concert for the ACLU at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The event, which started as a call-to-action on Twitter in response to the recent immigration ban, was organized by artist/DJ/producer Zedd.

​“Nimble Bastard” is the first new single from Incubus since “Absolution Calling,” from their Island debut EP, the Top 10 Trust Fall (Side A). Prior to that, Incubus – Brandon Boyd (lead vocals), Mike Einziger (lead guitar), Chris Kilmore (turntables, keyboards), Ben Kenney(bass), and José Pasillas II (drums) – played two weeks of shows in Australia (including the Soundwave Music Festival with Faith No More and Soundgarden), Japan, and Singapore.

Incubus “8” Pre-order:

Apple Music:
Incubus Store:

Track listing:

1. No Fun
2. Nimble Bastard
3. State Of The Art
4. Glitterbomb
5. Undefeated
6. Loneliest
7. When I Became A Man
8. Familiar Faces
9. Love In A Time Of Surveillance
10. Make No Sound In The Digital Forest
11. Throw Out The Map.

Tour dates:

​6 ​West Palm Beach, FL ​​Perfect Vodka Amphitheater
​7​ Tampa, FL ​​Mid Florida Credit Union Amphitheater
​8 ​Atlanta, GA ​*​Lakewood Amphitheater
​11​Charlotte, NC ​*​PNC Music Pavilion
​12 ​Bristol, VA ​​Jiffy Lube Live
​14 ​Holmdel, NJ ​​PNC Bank Arts Center
​15 ​Syracuse, NY ​**​Lakeview Amphitheater
​16 ​Bethel, NY ​**​Bethel Woods
​18 ​Mansfield, MA ​​Xfinity Center
​19 ​Wantagh, NY ​​Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
​20 ​Camden, NJ ​​BB&T Pavilion
​22 ​Toronto, ON ​*​Budweiser Stage
​23 ​Clarkson MI ​​DTE Energy Music Theater
​25 ​Cleveland, OH ​​Blossom Music Center
​26 ​Burgettstown, PA ​​Key Bank Pavilion
​27 ​Cincinnati, OH ​​Riverbend Music Center
​29 ​Tinley Park, IL ​*​Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
​30 ​Noblesville, IN ​​Klipsch Music Center


​1 ​St. Louis, MO ​*​Hollywood Casino Amphitheater
​2 ​New Orleans, LA ​​Bold Sphere at Champion Square
​4 ​Houston, TX ​​Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
​5 ​Austin, TX ​​Austin 360 Amphitheater
​6 ​Dallas, TX ​***Starplex Pavilion
​9 ​Salt Lake City, UT ​​USANA Amphitheater
​11​ Chula Vista, CA ​​Sleep Train Amphitheater
​12 ​Phoenix, AZ ​​AK-Chin Pavilion
​14 ​Los Angeles, CA ​​Hollywood Bowl
​16 ​Mtn. View, CA ​*​Shoreline Amphitheater
​18 ​Portland, OR ​*​Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
​19 ​Seattle, WA​*​White River Amphitheater
​*no Judah & the Lion
​**​with Atlas Genius, no Judah & the Lion
​***no Jimmy Eat World

Andy Summers offers up some 'Triboluminescence'

Andy Summers rose to fame in the late 1970s and early 1980s as the guitarist of the legendary award-winning, multi-million-selling rock band The Police, recognized as the most successful and critically acclaimed group of the era. Summers’ innovative guitar sound was a key element of the band’s popularity, creating a new paradigm for guitarists that has been widely imitated in the decades since.

Not one to ever rest on his laurels, Summers launched a prolific solo career that continues to this day, positioning him on the cutting edge of musical innovation – all the while following his passion for music as he keeps diligently busy writing, touring and recording in the studio.

As a guitarist, songwriter and composer, Summers new album Triboluminescence - due out March 24 by Flickering Shadow Productions on all digital platforms - proves to be his most introspective work to date and is a collection of nine new tracks reflecting the style that Summers has evocatively dubbed “New Exotic.”

"'Triboluminescence' is actually a scientific word that means creating light from dark, which I believe is a great metaphor for any creative act and, especially, music,” stated Summers. “I felt compelled to follow up the record I made last year, Metal Dog, where I was trying to go into a new territory — with not just a straight-ahead jazz or jazz fusion or rock or pop, but something very much my own genre. This record results from a lifetime’s worth of receiving influence, digesting it, and trying to create a new voice. I feel like I’m taking the Metal Dog album and moving on from there and trying to expand the writing, the tonal palette and this idea that I have about creating new music.”

And new territory it is. Summers draws upon all his musical influences from around the globe and takes the listener on a sonic journey that begins with the opening track, “If Anything,” a majestic, sonorous piece featuring Summers’ guitar with endless layers of rich tone and never-ending sustain. The journey moves to the title track, “Triboluminescence,” with its exotic, looping Indonesian Gamelan-like sounds that evoke the feeling of being in a village in Bali, and then to “Adinkra,” which is influenced by West African music, with Summers playing all the drums and percussion.

Triboluminescence once again builds on the sonic and artistic framework of his lauded 2015 set, Metal Dog. The nine tracks on Triboluminescence all feature Summers’ rich, lush, multi-layered, rhythmically and spatial signature guitar tones that draws the listener in track after track.

Track listing:

1. If Anything
2. Triboluminescence
3. Adinkra
4. Elephant Bird
5. Shadyland
6. Haunted Dolls
7. Gigantopithecus
8. Pukul Bunye Bunye
9. Garden of the Sea

Concert review: Jason Isbell in Anaheim, Calif.

photo: Danny Clinch
When I discovered Jason Isbell would be making a rare appearance in Orange County, Calif., I knew it was a "must see" concert. 

Three years ago, I caught the acclaimed Alabama singer/songwriter for the first time at Stagecoach and was blown away by his brief set there.

For the past decade, Isbell has been putting out solo CDs with honest lyrics about everyday situations that are so vivid, they often cut to the core. No wonder he's won half a dozen Americana Music Association Awards and two Grammys (the latter for last year's "Something More Than Free" album).

This June, a new studio effort, "The Nashville Sound," arrives in stores. It finds Isbell re-teaming with celebrated producer Dave Cobb and marks the first appearance by longtime backing group the 400 Unit in six years.

In Anaheim, Isbell and the band drew a packed crowd to House of Blues, which opened a few weeks prior. They kicked off the excellent 90-minute, 16-song main set with some bright, ringing guitars on "Stockholm" and fans immediately sang along loudly. "Flying Over Water" continued the strong initial sequence from 2013's "Southeastern" - among my top 10 albums of that year - and featured the first of several stinging electric guitar solos by Isbell. "24 Frames" was colored by Derry deBorja's sweet swelling organ sounds and lead guitarist Sadler Vaden's tasty slide work.

Before the picturesque "Different Days," Isbell talked about his surroundings. "This is in a strange area. It's weird as hell...It's clean and safe here, like a tiny Toronto." After the quiet tune ended, he joked, "that's the most Canadian of all my songs."

Following a truly resonant "Alabama Pines," Isbell called an audible and said he wanted to hear deBorja on accordion. So they did a spirited "Codeine," off 2011's "Here We Rest." The bleak situation detailed in "Speed Trap Town" had a Steve Earle-type reality and a searing solo from Vaden.

Later, the appealing and fun "If it Takes a Lifetime" and darkly riveting "Cover Me Up" (where Isbell began solo acoustic, then was gradually joined by the other musicians as the audience howled with approval) were among several highlights. But it was a transcendent "Decoration Day" toward the end, which boasted a Crazy Horse vibe, that saw the band pull out all the stops.   

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Concert review: Andrew McMahon headlines new House of Blues Anaheim

Talk about a perfect launch.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness kicked off its North American tour with a fantastic hometown concert Sunday at House of Blues.

Arriving onstage to space shuttle chatter, the band got right down to business and did a spirited “Fire Escape.” The effervescent single is top 10 at alternative radio and getting regular airplay on KROQ/106.7 FM.

That nod to NASA related to the artwork for physical copies of solid second album “Zombies on Broadway,” which was released last month. The cover pictures half of McMahon’s head in a space helmet; he’s also shown wearing a full astronaut suit elsewhere. In interviews, the singer/pianist has said the image “represents who you are, who you want to be and how they meet in the middle.”

New York City played a key role in the album’s creative process. McMahon spent some time there, collaborated with a wider range of songwriters, upped the pop quotient and brought guitars into the mix (they were almost nonexistent on the 2014 self-titled debut).  

Here in Anaheim, the vibrant 90-minute, 19-song show encompassed most of the “Zombies” material and half the previous album. A stomping, dramatic “Canyon Moon” saw McMahon briefly go into the crowd, work both sides of the stage and jump atop his instrument (all three activities would be repeated throughout the night).

Before “Walking in My Sleep” and its delightful ascending harmonies, McMahon noted that, as a South O.C. resident, he could drive to the new venue and admitted to being “terrified” about the large (2,200) capacity, “but you sold it out.”

McMahon could barely contain his excitement during a lush “High Dive” and the bubbly “Island Radio.” The crowd roared with approval when a syncopated piano line signaled “Dark Blue,” by McMahon’s previous group Jack’s Mannequin.

A stripped down take on Empire of the Sun’s “Walking on a Dream” described by the front man as an “inspiration for almost every recording session I’ve done since it came out,” utilized simple piano, a lone drum and accordion. Another striking moment came via “Swim,” the dramatic Jack’s Mannequin ballad about McMahon’s battle with cancer (To date, his Dear Jack Foundation has successfully matched 60 bone marrow donors; concertgoers could sign up as potential matches in the House of Blues lobby).

A particularly strong run consisted of an ebullient, synth-laden “Shout Out of a Cannon,” the giddy dance/pop-leaning “So Close” and “Synesthesia.” The latter featured pictures of a space shuttle projected on the space helmet/NYC backdrop and a multi-colored tarp was spread over the crowd; McMahon wrapped it around himself like a cape.    

For the encores, McMahon floated across the crowd on an inflated duck (!) during “Don’t Speak for Me,” played harmonica on the uplifting singalong Mannequin tune “La La Lie” and elevated the energy level even more on the gold-selling top 10 hit “Cecilia and the Satellite.” All told, the set was a joy from start to finish.  

Aussie electro-pop band Atlas Genius (pictured left) - led by the Jeffery Brothers – were equally brilliant.

Their dazzling 45-minute opening set spotlighted songs off 2015’s “Inanimate Objects” (“Molecules,” “The Stone Mill”) and 2013’s “When it Was Now” (infectious hit “Trojans,” ‘Electric”), plus a surprisingly effective take on Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”

Earlier in the evening, San Louis Obispo alt-rock band Night Riots had no problem captivating the audience, especially with a riveting leader like Travis Hawley. They impressive mightily songs from last year’s sturdy “Love Gloom” album - “Nothing Personal,” “All for You” and “Breaking Free” (which is getting played on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation channel).

As for my first to the new House of Blues, I was very impressed – especially by the décor, crisp sound, overall spaciousness upstairs, very friendly staff and awesome Foundation Room (where I caught acoustic duo Kismit perform credible takes on Florence + the Machine's "The Dog Days Are Over" and The Turtles' "Happy Together" between main stage sets).

I decided to try out the Market Cauliflower Tempura - Sambal Oelek aioli with ponzu sauce. The fried vegetable was scrumptious and a generous portion. It had a light taste and was quite filling. The ponzu sauce was not too tart, but I pretty much stuck with the cheddar cheese dipping sauce.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness opens for Billy Joel at Sun Trust Park in Atlanta on April 28, then returns to Southern California to headline May 3 at The Belasco in Los Angeles (sold out) and May 5 at House of Blues in San Diego (sold out). For the full tour schedule go to

A version of my review originally appeared at
Photos by Kelly Swift