Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ingrid Michaelson news

Pop singer songwriter Ingrid Michaelson will tour to support new album, Stranger Songs, out June 28 and available for pre-order here. It was inspired by Netflix series Stranger Things and its release will immediately precede the show’s third season premiere on July 4.

Earlier this month, she debuted the single “Missing You" which quickly became her first-ever #1 most-added single at Hot AC radio. Currently top 40, it is available to stream/download here.

Tickets to most of the tour dates, as well as a limited number of exclusive VIP packages, will be available to the public starting May 31 at 10 am local time through

“I’ve already made seven records, I have a lot to say. But I’ve said it so much from the brain and mind and soul of Ingrid Michaelson - I wanted to create something through a different lens,” shared the singer-songwriter.

“There’s something about Stranger Things that’s really comforting, it brings me back to my childhood. It’s the best kind of escapism and I find myself seeking that now more than ever. I took inspiration from the show and the characters and all these ideas started to come to me. Every song on the record includes a reference from the show, some more specific than others, but all of the themes are universal – these are feelings everyone has.”

Earlier this year it was announced that she will develop the new musical adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ best-selling novel, The Notebook. An award-winning film version directed by Nick Cassavetes was released in 2004, starring Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams, James Garner and Gena Rowlands.

Tour dates:

September 24 Washington DC 930 Club
September 26 Nashville TN Marathon Music Works
September 27 Atlanta GA Buckhead Theater
September 30 Austin TX Emo's
October 3 San Diego CA The Observatory North Park
October 4 Los Angeles CA The Wiltern
October 9 San Francisco CA The Fillmore
October 11 Portland OR Roseland Theater
October 12 Seattle WA The Showbox
October 14 Salt Lake City UT Union Event Center
October 16 Denver CO Ogden Theatre
October 18 Minneapolis MN The Orpheum
October 19 Chicago IL Vic Theatre
October 20 Detroit MI Majestic Theater
October 22 Boston MA House of Blues
October 25 Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
October 28 New York NY Webster Hall
October 29 New York NY Webster Hall

Steve Earle tour news

New West
Steve Earle & The Dukes have announced additional Summer 2019 Tour Dates in support of their critically acclaimed new album Guy. A return to New West Records, the 16-song set is comprised of songs written by one of his two primary songwriting mentors, Guy Clark.

Guy appears 10 years after Earle's Grammy Award-winning album Townes, a tribute to his other songwriting mentor, Townes Van Zandt. Guy was produced by Earle and recorded by longtime production partner Ray Kennedy. 

The Summer tour will feature a taping of PBS music series Austin City Limits on July 2. The broadcast episode will air this fall on PBS as part of Austin City Limits’ milestone Season 45. Steve Earle & The Dukes will also appear at the Outlaw Music Festival in Dallas, TX, Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic in Austin, TX, an appearance as part of the Grand Ole Opry performance at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, a two-night stand at the famed Los Angeles, CA venue The Troubadour, and end in Nashville, TN as a part of WRLT Lightning 100’s Live On The Green Summer Concert series. Please see all dates below.

Guy is available on compact disc, across digital retailers, standard black vinyl, limited edition blue vinyl available at Independent Retailers, and is also available directly via NEW WEST RECORDS.

Tour dates:

May 31st - Indianapolis, IN Egyption Room at Old National Centre
June 1st - Franklin, OH JD Legends
June 2nd - Chicago, IL Old Town School of Folk Music
June 4th - Louisville, KY The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts/Brown Theatre
June 6th - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
June 7th - Orlando, FL Plaza Live
June 8th - Clearwater, FL Capitol Theatre
June 9th - Atlanta, GA The Buckhead Theatre
June 11th - Charlotte, NC McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square
June 13th - Manchester, TN Bonnaroo (Grand Ole Opry @ Bonnaroo)
June 14th - Rocky Mount, VA Rocky Mount Harvester
June 15th - Cumberland, MD Tri State Wing Off
June 16th - Dewey Beach, DE Bottle & Cork
June 18th - Annapolis, MD Ramshead
June 19th - Durham, NC The Carolina Theatre
June 20th - Hampton, VA The Vanguard
June 22nd - Tappan, NY 6th Annual Rockland-Bergen Music Festival
June 23rd - Charleston, WV Mountain Stage
June 25th - Joliet, IL Rialto Square Theatre
June 27th - Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
June 29th - Owesboro, KY Romp Festival
July 2nd - Austin, TX Austin City Limits Taping
July 3rd - Dallas, TX Outlaw Music Festival
July 3rd - Austin, TX Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic
July 5th - Houston, TX Heights Theater
July 6th - Lake Charles, LA Golden Nugget Casino
July 9th - Edgartown, MA Old Whaling Church
July 11th - Jim Thorpe, PA Penn’s Peak
July 13th - Guelph, ON Hillside Festival
July 14th - Craven, SK Country Thunder
July 16th - Sudbury, ON Fraser Auditorium
July 17th - North Bay, ON North Bay Capitol Centre
July 18th - Bala, ON Kee to Bala
July 19th - Kemptville, ON Kemptville Live
July 20th - Hammondsport, NY The Pavilion at Point of the Bluff Vinyard
July 28th - Fisher River, Manitoba Leigh Cochrane Memorial Visitor Center
July 30th - Cross Lake, Manitoba Cross Lake Arena
August 1st - Bayfield, WI Big Top Chautauqua
August 2nd - Minneapolis, MN Music in the Zoo
August 3rd - Saint Michael, ND Spirit Lake Casino & Resort
August 4th - Billings, MT Pub Station Ballroom
August 6th - Bozeman, MT Rialto Theatre
August 8th - Challis, ID Braun Brothers Reunion Americana Music Festival
August 9th - Boise, ID Egyptian Theatre
August 10th - Seattle, WA Nordstrum Recital Hall
August 11th - Portland, OR Oregon Zoo Amphitheater w/ Lukas Nelson
August 14th - Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
August 15th - Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
August 16th - Monterey, CA Golden State Theatre
August 17th - Crystal Bay, NV Crystal Bay Club & Casino
August 19th - Solana Beach, CA Belly Up
August 20th - Mesa, CA Ikeda Theater at Mesa Arts Center
August 22nd - Denver, CO Paramount Theatre
August 23rd - Sioux City, IA Anthem @ Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
August 30th - Knoxville, TN World’s Fair Park
August 31st - Mt. Vernon, KY Renfro Valley
September 1st - Nashville, TN WRLT Live on the Green

Jon Pardi prescribes some 'Heartache Medication'

I reviewed Pardi last summer with Luke Bryan at Dodger Stadium and saw him this past February in Ontario, Calif. with Dierks Bentley.

Read the LA review here:

A couple of these songs mentioned below were previewed at the latter show and I was impressed...

Details on platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jon Pardi's upcoming album Heartache Medication, due Sept. 27, have been announced. The title track is available (HERE).

The new album - produced by Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Ryan Gore - is the follow up to the #1 charter California Sunrise, which featured multi-Platinum, chart-topping hits “Dirt on My Boots,” “Head Over Boots,” “Heartache on the Dancefloor” and “Night Shift.”

Tickets for Pardi's tour will be available to purchase starting May 31. Pre-order the album and buy tickets to the upcoming HEARTACHE MEDICATION TOUR here.

Track listing:

1. “Old Hat” (Jeff Hyde, Matt Jenkins and Ryan Tyndell)
2. “ Heartache Medication” (Jon Pardi, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby)
3. “Nobody Leaves A Girl Like That” (Bart Butler, Marv Green and Jimmy Yeary)
4. “Ain't Always The Cowboy” (Brandon Kinney and Josh Thompson)
5. “Me And Jack” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins, Bart Butler and Luke Laird)
6. “Don't Blame It On Whiskey (Featuring Lauren Alaina)” (Eric Church, Michael Heeney, Luke Laird and Miranda Lambert)
7. “Tied One On” (Bart Butler, Chase McGill and Jamie Paulin)
8. “Oughta Know That” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Luke Laird)
9. “Tequila Little Time” (Jon Pardi, Rhett Akins and Luke Laird)
10. “Buy That Man A Beer” (Clint Daniels, Justin Lantz and John Pierce)
11. “Call Me Country” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Driver Williams)
12. “Just Like Old Times” (Jon Pardi, Jeff Hyde and Michael Heeney)
13. “Love Her Like She's Leaving” (Bart Butler, Dean Dillon and Jessie Jo Dillon)
14. “Starlight” (Jon Pardi, Bart Butler and Jeffrey Steele)

Out Friday: A new EP from Kristian Bush of Sugarland

Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer, Kristian Bush will release Summertime Six Pack on May 31. 
It was written over the past few years. Five of the six tracks have never been released, with “Flip Flops” previously appearing on his Southern Gravity album (2015). In addition, Bush is joined by Dan Tyminski, on one song. 

Track listing:

Dashboard Hula Girl
Coppertone and Chlorine
Bar With A Pool In It
In Between Disasters
Everybody Needs Their Beach (feat. Dan Tyminski)
Flip Flops

About Kristian Bush:

Kristian Bush is half of platinum-selling country duo Sugarland. His debut solo album, Southern Gravity featured the Top 20 country single "Trailer Hitch." Recently signed to Wheelhouse Records/BBR, his newest single, "Sing Along," is at radio now.

The performer started his career with folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim in the early '90s. He and partner Andrew Hyra released a much-lauded pair of albums for Atlantic Records (their 1994 self-titled debut and 1995's Bloom), earning multiple Top 5 singles on the AAA charts, rotation on VH1 and a worldwide tour slot supporting Melissa Etheridge in 1995.

Kristian founded Sugarland in 2002. He and singer Jennifer Nettles landed sales of over 22 million albums worldwide, five No. 1 singles and various Grammys, AMAs, ACM Awards, CMT Music Awards and CMA Awards. In October of 2012, they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

To date, Kristian has won six BMI Awards for songwriting and in 2011, founded the music publishing company and songwriting collective Songs of the Architect. He made his solo debut in 2013 at the inaugural C2C: Country to Country Festival, held at the O2 Arena in London. His first release as a solo act, “Love or Money,” debuted in the UK and Europe the following week. The song is now featured in the hit mobile game My Singing Monsters, where Bush lends his voice to the green furry "Shugabush."

In 2016, Kristian wrote and performed "Forever Now (Say Yes)," the theme song for the hit TLC reality series Say Yes To The Dress. And in 2017, his songs anchored the world-premiere musical Troubadour, which he co-wrote with acclaimed playwright Janece Shaffer. The musical debuted at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, starring Radney Foster and Zach Seabaugh.

Most recently, Kristian teamed with BBR Music Group labelmate Lindsay Ell to produce her debut EP, Worth the Wait, as well as her forthcoming full album, The Project.

Kristian is an active member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a proud Service Ambassador for Points of Light, a frequent performer on the Grand Ole Opry, and regularly appears as part of the CMA Songwriters Series in cities around the world. He is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, where he still resides.

LIVE's 'Throwing Copper' to get deluxe reissue; touring with Bush

Since I write one of the Radioactive Records label biographies for the original album, I can't wait to experience this reissue.

Both LIVE and Bush sounded sharp as ever when I saw their brief sets at The Roxy in March. Read the press release below for more info...

On July 19, Radioactive/MCA/UMe will mark the 25th anniversary of LIVE’s sophomore album Throwing Copper with a deluxe multi-format reissue. The Super Deluxe 25th Anniversary Throwing Copper box set edition not only features the album with bonus tracks on 2LP black vinyl, and a 12-page booklet with an in-depth interview with the band chronicling the era of the album, but it also contains 2CDs with a 26-track lineup that includes LIVE’s previously unreleased, explosive eight-song performance at Woodstock ’94 on a separate disc.

The 25th anniversary Throwing Copper collection will also be made available in a deluxe digital version, as well as a standalone 1CD set as well. Pre-order Throwing Copper now and listen to the Bonus Track of “Hold Me Up” here

Initially released on April 26, 1994, Throwing Copper topped the Billboard 200 Albums chart a year after its initial release, featured a pair of No. 1 Modern Rock singles (“Lightning Crashes,” “Selling The Drama”) and has been certified 8x multiplatinum by the RIAA, having sold over 8 million copies. Produced by Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), it was recorded at Pachyderm Recording Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. 

“Throwing Copper is big songs, big feelings, big dynamics,” observes vocalist Ed Kowalczyk. “It was us taking the cart and throwing it way ahead of the horse, and we hoped the horse would eventually catch up. We had a ‘let’s build it and hope they come’ attitude.” Adds bassist Patrick Dahlheimer, “While touring for Mental Jewelry, the rooms were getting bigger, and I wanted our new music to fill those places and beyond. With Throwing Copper, I just knew it had to be more grand.”

From there, LIVE scored a key slot at Woodstock ’94 on August 12, 1994, in addition to their first appearance on Saturday Night Live on January 21, 1995, and a set for MTV Unplugged on February 15, 1995 — all factored into Throwing Copper’s ascent to the top of the Billboard albums chart on May 6, 1995.

“When you listen to it now,” guitarist Chad Taylor says of their notable Woodstock ’94 appearance, “the crowd is so loud, they literally overcome the sound of the band at times. It’s magical! As I was mixing the audio for this re-release, it was giving me chills. Because I realized it was the band is in its primal infancy — the true birth of LIVE.”

The hit “Lightning Crashes” took LIVE and Throwing Copper to the next level. “Everyone in the band felt ‘Lightning Crashes’ could be a big single,” admits drummer Chad Gracey. “That was based on, one, the greatness of the song, but also, two, the way bands at that time would build to their album’s big ballad. We thought if we could get two singles out and then ‘Lightning Crashes,’ it could be successful and huge.”

Kowalczyk humbly recognizes how Throwing Copper continues to elicit indelible, deep-rooted feelings to this day.“The fact that these songs have become part of our fans’ DNA — that this album still matters to them and there’s still such an emotional connection — that is the real accomplishment,” he concludes. “All of the other things are great, that there are all of these trophy moments to reminisce about. But at the end of the day, the process and the journey and the music transcend all of those.”

As mentioned here recently (, fans can catch LIVE onstage this summer as co-headliners of The ALTIMATE Tour with Bush and Our Lady Peace.The ALTIMATE Tour's early launch event happened at The Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles on March 12.

Preorder LIVE’s Throwing Copper here

Track listing:

Throwing Copper – 25th Anniversary (Disc 1)

1. The Dam At Otter Creek
2. Selling The Drama
3. I Alone
4. Iris
5. Lightning Crashes
6. Top
7. All Over You
8. Shit Towne
9. T.B.D.
10. Stage
11. Waitress
12. Pillar Of Davidson
13. White, Discussion
14. Horse (Hidden Track On Original Release)
15. Hold Me Up (Bonus Track)
16. We Deal In Dreams (Bonus Track)
17. Susquehanna (Bonus Track)

Woodstock ’94 (Disc 2; previously unreleased)

1. Iris
2. Top
3. The Beauty Of Gray
4. Selling The Drama
5. Shit Towne
6. Lightning Crashes
7. I Alone
8. Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)
9. White, Discussion

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Paul McCartney news

Following last week’s kick-off of this year's North American leg of his Freshen Up Tour, Paul McCartney has confirmed updated releases of four albums capturing performances spanning from his 1975-1976 return to U.S. arenas with Wings to his intimate 2007 set at Amoeba records in Los Angeles. The albums — Amoeba Gig, Paul Is Live, Choba B CCCP, Wings Over America — will be released July 12 via MPL/Capitol/UMe digitally, on CD and on both black and limited edition color vinyl.


Amoeba Gig is the first full length commercial release of Paul’s surprise free concert at Hollywood’s Amoeba Music on June 27, 2007. To date only four songs have seen wide release as the Amoeba’s Secret EP, two of which were nominated for Grammy Awards in 2008: "That Was Me" for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and "I Saw Her Standing There" for Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance. A few years later in November 2012, an extended 12-song excerpt of the Amoeba show titled Live in Los Angeles – The Extended Set was made available free to premium members for a limited period. And come July 12, 2019, a full 21-song recording documenting possibly the most intimate L.A. show Paul has ever played will be made available to the public for the first time. 

It includes “The Long And Winding Road,” “I’ll Follow The Sun” and “I’ve Got A Feeling,” Flaming Pie’s “Calico Skies,” plus Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox,” Jan Garber’s “Baby Face” and “Here Today.” Additionally, the LP will include an exclusive soundcheck recording of “Coming Up."

Amoeba Gig has been newly remixed by Paul’s engineer Steve Orchard and will be available in configurations including CD, 2 x 180g black vinyl, and limited edition color vinyl (LP1 - clear, LP2 - hazy amber transparent).


Recorded during the U.S. and Australian swings of the tour in support of 1993’s Off The Ground, Paul Is Live (pictured above) is Paul's fifth live album. Originally released that same year, the album is famous for the multiple meanings and clues embedded in its title and cover art, all of which play on the “Paul Is Dead” conspiracy/hoax. In addition to a wealth of Wings and Beatles classics, covers of Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight” and Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City” and more, Paul Is Live also offers a peek behind the curtain: Three songs improvised on the spot and exclusive to the album, all recorded during rehearsals in various locations over the course of the tour.

Paul Is Live has been newly remastered at Abbey Road Studios and will be available in configurations including CD, 2 x 180g black vinyl, and limited edition color vinyl (LP1 - opaque baby blue, LP2 - plush peach white opaque).


The live-in-studio Choba B CCCP (Russian for “Back In The USSR”) was released in the Soviet Union in 1988, making Paul the first Western artist to issue an album exclusively for that market. In a conscious decision to get back to his roots, Paul spontaneously spent two days covering his favorite hits from the 1950s. The sessions produced 22 songs in total (and one of the outtakes being a version of The Beatles' "I Saw Her Standing There”). Choba B CCCP was a deeply personal album and a way to acknowledge fans who had supported him and The Beatles since the start.

“When I was very young I asked my dad if people wanted peace,” Paul explained at the time. “He said to me, ‘Yes, people everywhere want peace – it’s usually politicians that cause trouble.’ It always seemed to me that the way The Beatles’ music was admired in the USSR tended to prove his point, that people the world over have a great deal in common. In releasing this record exclusively in the Soviet Union, I extend the hand of peace and friendship to the people of Russia.” Choba B CCCP was released in the rest of the world following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Choba B CCCP has been newly remastered at Abbey Road Studios and will be reissued as the original 11-track Russian release. It will be available in configurations including CD, 180g black vinyl, and limited edition opaque yellow vinyl.


Rare #1-charting triple live album, Wings Over America was part of a 1976 tour that saw Paul and the band perform to more than 600,000 people at 31 shows in the US and Canada, ending with three nights at The Forum in Los Angeles. It was the only Paul McCartney & Wings (Linda McCartney, Joe English, Denny Laine and Jimmy McCulloch) North American tour and Paul’s first U.S. tour since The Beatles. Wings Over America was last reissued in 2013 as part of the Paul McCartney Archive Collection series winning the Grammy Award for Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

Wings Over America will be available in configurations including double CD, 3 x 180g triple vinyl, and limited edition color vinyl (LP1 - transparent red, LP2 - transparent green, LP3 - transparent blue) both come with original souvenir poster.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

311 album, tour coming this summer

photo: BWR PR
Multi-platinum rock band 311 have released the first two tracks – “Good Feeling” and “Don’t You Worry” – from their upcoming album, VOYAGER (BMG).

Click HERE to listen and HERE to watch lyric video for “Good Feeling” and HERE for “Don’t You Worry.”

Both “Good Feeling” and “Don’t You Worry” are available as instant downloads by clicking HERE to pre-order VOYAGER ahead of its June 28 release. In addition, everyone who pre-orders the album is automatically eligible to win numerous 311 prizes, including concert tickets, meet & greet passes, handwritten lyrics, autographed goods, etc.

VOYAGER is 311’s 13th studio album and features (appropriately enough) 13 new songs - four of which were recorded with Grammy-nominated producer John Feldmann (Blink-182, Panic! At the Disco) and nine of which were recorded with longtime collaborator/live engineer Scotch Ralston, who produced 311 albums Transistor, Soundsystem and Stereolithic.

The new album was mixed by Grammy winner Neal Avron (Weezer, Twenty One Pilots, Linkin Park) and 311 drummer Chad Sexton, who’s done mix work on several previous 311 releases.

VOYAGER is the second consecutive 311 album to feature production work by both Feldmann and Ralston following 2017’s Mosaic, which entered The Billboard 200 at No. 6, making it the band’s 10th straight Top 10 album.

About naming the album VOYAGER, 311 vocalist/guitarist Nick Hexum says, "Our albums have become almost like a captain's log documenting our band’s ongoing voyage through musical styles, while also capturing our feelings and life experiences. With each album, 311 continues to voyage, explore and push our musicality into new dimensions."

Below are Hexum’s comments on “Good Feeling” and “Don’t You Worry”

“Good Feeling”

“The song title says it all - being about the best stuff in life; celebrating joy with loved ones. This song is an antidote to all the fear, anger, and division so prevalent in society today. Musically the song is equally influenced by the pounding rhythms that SA and I discovered when exploring the dancehall street scenes in Jamaica, as well as Paul Simon’s world beat records like Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. This song is a three-minute party jam meant to feel like a vacation.”

“Don’t You Worry”

“We all go through highs and lows. And lows can often lead to confusion, despair and loneliness. Don’t You Worry is about how a friend should react when we sense someone is going through a hard time: ‘Don’t You Worry, you can count on me to help you through your dark hours.’ It’s a song validating personal connection and leaning on one another to turn things for the better.”

311 have also revealed VOYAGER’s cover art, which was created by UK artist Sam Williams of MagicTorch – click HERE to view.

As with every 311 album, VOYAGER features 311’s unique hybrid sound of rock, reggae, pop, hip hop and funk that the band have come to blend so seamlessly.

"I think this album is very eclectic, from simple songs to wild studio adventures that get into weird, stoney outer-space material,”says Hexum. “It’s another step forward for us and we love the adventure, love the journey, love the process and we can’t wait for people to hear it.”

Along with a setlist packed with classic hits and fan favorites, 311 will be playing select tracks from the new album on their upcoming Summer Tour 2019, a 34-date amphitheater tour that will feature Dirty Heads and special guests The Interrupters, Dreamers and Bikini Trill. All shows are now on sale. See tour dates below.

311’s feature film - Enlarged to Show Detail 3, was in 240 cinemas nationwide for a one-night showing on 311 DAY (March 11). Over 16,000+ fans turned out to watch the film, which was largely focused on the band and fan relationship with live show footage and behind the scenes content. The special LA screening with the band took place at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

Tour dates:

Tue Jul 02
Huber Heights, OH
The Rose Music Center at The Heights

Wed Jul 03
Mt Pleasant, MI
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

Fri Jul 05
Clarkston, MI
DTE Energy Music Theatre

Sat July 06
Tinley Park, IL
Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre

Sun Jul 07
Duluth, MN
Bayfront Festival Park

Wed Jul 10
Bonner Springs, KS
Providence Medical Center Amphitheater

Fri Jul 12
Noblesville, IN
Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center

Sat Jul 13
Burgettstown, PA
KeyBank Pavilion

Sun Jul 14
Hartford, CT

Thur Jul 18
Mansfield, MA
Xfinity Center

Fri July 19
Hershey Park, PA
Nitro Circus at Hershey Park

Sat Jul 20
Darien Lake, NY
Darien Lake Amphitheater

Tue Jul 23
Gilford, NH
Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion

Wed Jul 24
Holmdel, NJ
PNC Bank Arts Center

Fri Jul 26
Wantagh, NY
Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Sat Jul 27
Columbia, MD
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Sun Jul 28
Raleigh, NC
Coastal Cred Union Music Pk / Walnut Creek

Tue Jul 30
Atlanta, GA
Cadence Bank Amp. at Chastain Park

Wed Jul 31
Charleston, SC
Volvo Car Stadium

Fri Aug 02
West Palm Beach, FL
Coral Sky Amphitheatre

Sat Aug 03
Tampa, FL
MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre

Sun Aug 04
Jacksonville, FL
Daily’s Place

Tue Aug 06
Houston, TX
White Oak Music Hall Lawn

Wed Aug 07
Austin, TX
Austin360 Amphitheater

Thu Aug 08
Dallas, TX
The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory

Sat Aug 10
Phoenix, AZ
Ak-Chin Pavilion

Sun Aug 11
Chula Vista, CA
North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre

Fri Aug 16
Sacramento, CA
Papa Murphy’s Park at Cal Expo

Sat Aug 17
Portland, OR
Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Sun Aug 18
Auburn, WA
White River Amphitheatre

Tue Aug 20
Salt Lake City, UT
USANA Amphitheatre

Two Door Cinema Club news

Hard to believe that it's been over five years since I saw the band headline The Greek in LA ( I'm looking forward to hearing all the new material...

Two Door Cinema Club have released ‘Dirty Air’, another track from their fourth full-length studio release ‘False Alarm’, out June 21 via Glassnote Records. Listen/share the song here.

The album was recorded with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, REM, The Killers).

“I love the pop thing,” frontman Alex Trimble says of the album. “I love experimenting and going to different places, I love doing things that are a little bit wonky and I love the idea of doing something we haven’t done before, why can’t we do all of those things at once? That’s what it was, doing whatever felt right… It sounds like Two Door Cinema Club – not a Two Door Cinema Club there’d ever been before but that’s what I love. We can always do something new but it always feels like something we’ve done.”

Earlier this month, the band unveiled the music video for 'Satellite,' which was directed by Eion Glaister (Catfish And The Bottlemen, Beirut) and finds the three piece beamed to out of space, with frontman Alex Trimble playing the beleaguered captain of the galaxy’s grooviest battleship. The tongue-in-cheek adventure references everything from Star Wars to Battlestar Galactica.

“We had a wonderful script to work with and the luck of working with Eoin Glaister on this video. It was great fun shooting aliens and licking their heads!!” say the band.

Track listing:

1. Once
2. Talk
3. Satisfaction Guaranteed
4. So Many people
5. Think
6. Nice To See You
7. Break
8. Dirty Air
9. Satellite
10. Already Gone

N, American tour dates:

Monday, September 9: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
Friday, September 13: New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom
Sunday, September 15: Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
Monday, September 16: Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Wednesday, September 18: Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Saturday, September 21: Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Sunday, September 22: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
Friday, November 1: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
Saturday, November 2: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
Monday, November 4: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
Wednesday, November 6: Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
Friday, November 8: San Diego, CA @ The Observatory - North Park
Saturday, November 9: Phoenix, AZ @ The Van Buren
Tuesday, November 12: Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
Wednesday, November 13: Austin, TX @ ACL Live at the Moody Theater
Thursday, November 14: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Rickie Lee Jones gets some new 'Kicks' with old tunes

Rickie Lee Jones' forthcoming album Kicks, due out June 7 via her own label OSOD (other side of desire)/Thirty Tigers, spans two decades (1950s-70s) of pop, rock and jazz. It was previewed by “Lonely People,” which arrived at radio last month. The song is available as an instant grat track with the purchase of the pre-release of the album.

The connection between 1970s rock and '50s jazz was no leap for Jones. “It is all part of what I heard growing up,” she says. “The radio played everything. 1960’s AM radio was the primordial zone for our musical life today. As a kid I heard R&B, country, rock, and the most sophisticated singer-songwriters of the day forming their genre. Radio was a college education for a budding musician because these songs are all playing on my internal radio all the time, it’s not a stretch for me to put them together on an LP. Really, I just love to sing.”

Kicks was created entirely in New Orleans, using local musicians, mixers and studios. Produced by Jones with her bandmate, vibraphonist Mike Dillion, it features 10 songs (see track listing below). The album cover is by artist Peregrine Honig.

Track listing and original artist/release date:

“Bad Company” (Bad Company, 1974)
“My Fathers Gun” (Elton John, 1970)
“Lonely People” (America, 1974)
“Houston” (Sanford Clark, 1964; made famous by Dean Martin, 1965)
“You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” (Russ Morgan, 1944; made famous by Dean Martin, 1960/1964)
“Nagasaki” (Ipana Troubadours, 1928; most famous by Benny Goodman Quartet, 1952)
“Mack The Knife” (Louis Armstrong, 1956; made famous by Bobby Darin, 1958)
“Quicksilver Girl” (Steve Miller Band, 1968)
“End Of The World” (Skeeter Davis, 1962)
“Cry” (Ruth Casey, 1951; made famous by Johnnie Ray and the Four Lads, 1951)

An interview with Cage the Elephant

photo by Neil Krug
If you’ve tuned to a modern rock radio station at some point lately, there’s a good chance you’ve heard Cage the Elephant. Members of the Kentucky band first started playing together in high school. By 2009, they had emerged with a platinum-selling self-titled debut disc which spawned the big swampy rock hit “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.”

Since then, the six-piece group has continued to be a major player on the national music scene and now holds the record for most alternative song chart toppers in the 2010s. “Ready to Let Go” recently reached that summit again. It was inspired by singer Matt Shultz coming to terms with the dissolution of his marriage while on a trip to Pompeii.  

On impressive fifth studio album Social Cues, Cage the Elephant went further on a musical limb that ever before, utilizing an orchestra arranged and conducted by David Campbell (Beck Hansen’s dad), a chorale, horns, programming and more.

Shultz started writing some of the new songs from the perspective of a murderer after watching the Netflix documentary series “I am a Killer.” Keeping in a similar grim vein, the music video for “Ready” is rife with blood for symbolism.

This July, Cage the Elephant hits the road with co-headliner Beck and Spoon. They have partnered with A dollar from every ticket sold will be donated to each tour city and support local food security initiatives as they work towards ending hunger in their communities. I rang up guitarist Brad Shultz for a chat in Nashville, where band is currently based.

Q: The band’s summer tour should be a ‘must-see’ event for alt-rock fans. You’ve never toured with Beck; how about Spoon?
A: No. We’ve hung with them a few times. I really respect a band that's been around as long they have and consistently put out the records they have, which I think speaks for itself.

Q: With your brother Matt as the front man, Cage the Elephant has gained a reputation for incendiary live shows. Do you think his unpredictability has helped the band gain more attention? He’s almost like a young Iggy Pop at times.
A: He’s definitely a gigantic part of our live show. I think Matt has really committed himself to the art of the front man and really looking at that as more of an art form than just being a wild guy on stage nowadays.

In fact, for the last six months or more, he's been in New York studying this Japanese dance called butoh. He’s being taught by one of the top instructors in the world. Those [type of] dancers are in our music video for ‘Ready to Let Go.’ We’re probably going to incorporate them into the live show. We’re going to do really minimalistic, but impactful moments within the show this go-round. I think we're going to strip back the stage as a whole. We want more than lights flashing.

Q: Have it be more substantial.
A: Something that’s going to be more intentional and make more of an artistic statement, rather than just being a flashy element to draw someone's attention. We are trying to understand how we can mix theater into our live set - but not be too theatrical.

Q: For Social Cues, the band worked with producer John Hill. Did you admire projects he’d done for other alternative artists in the past?
A: One of the biggest factors in us wanting to work with John Hill were the Santigold records that he did [Santogold, Master of My Make Believe]. He just embodied so many characteristics of the production values that we were in line with…Also, the fact that he's worked all over the board - from acts like Santigold to…

Q: Portugal. The Man; Bleachers.
A: Portugal. The Man, to even more in the hip-hop world. And he's had his hand in multiple genres. So that was another big factor. We really wanted to bring the hip-hop swag to our drums.

Q: I noticed that.
A: I think our bass player also really loved the tUnE-yArDs record that Hill made [2014’s Nikki Nack]. It was weird. Usually we disagree on everything, but on this, we found common ground [laughs].

Q: How did the studio process with Hill differ from Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, who oversaw your last studio effort Tell Me I’m Pretty?
A: There was more of a reflection period making this record…It wasn't just jamming in a room, which is primarily how we had made our previous records…This was more like building a beat with a live band.

Q: Did the acoustic Unpeeled album and tour have an impact on Social Cues since there are string arrangements on some of the new songs?
A: Definitely.

Q: There’s a more prominent backing vocal presence too.
A: Yeah. Really, it opened our eyes to the possibility that we could do that.

As far as the string arrangements, we did a lot of them ourselves on Unpeeled, but once we saw the possibilities, then we took a big, deep dive into [listening to] composers. That led us down a crazy path, which David Campbell was at the top of our list. There was only one other person that we reached out to before him, and that was Ennio Morricone.

Q: Really? That was an audacious request.
A: We were just shooting for the stars on this record, you know? We wanted to try the wildest things in our minds, so we reached out to him. He’s 90 years old. We actually kind of passed the first round, and then we didn't hear much back.

Q: Morrissey got Morricone to arrange a song for his 2006 album, but few rock acts have secured his talents since then.
A: We knew it was going to be kind of impossible.

photo: Citizen Kane Wayne
Q: Speaking of the sky being the limit, after the band had reached a stumbling block on finishing “Night Running,” you randomly suggested contacting Beck for assistance, right?
A: Yeah. The crazy thing is that song is five or more years in the making. I originally wrote that song around the time period right after we finished Melophobia. I wrote it and then I showed another artist the song. They wanted to do it. Then Matt got really dramatic and was like, ‘How could you do this to me!? I would never give a song away without showing you first’ [laughs]. All that sort of stuff.

So, I pulled the song from the artist. I took it to Dan’s when we were recording Tell Me I'm Pretty and it never amounted to anything. I was irritated out to prove a point [laughs]. I took the song and at one point, I was going to do it with John [Gourley] from Portugal. The Man. Then Matt, again, was like, ‘Oh dude, I want to do that song.’ You know, whatever. This was like the last-ditch effort song on the record. But I had always believed so much in the track that I'd tap it for every record.

Q: Was there a reggae vibe from the start?
A: Yeah. Before, it was still dub reggae with a psychedelic tinge, but it didn’t have the West African-style guitar and the drums weren’t as hip-hop. It was more of a demo. But anyway, it just turned out to be that the timing wasn’t right for that track.

Q: Had the band ever shared a stage with Beck at any radio station concerts over the years? Did you know him very well?
A: We ran into him at an iHeart [Radio] thing. It was the first time we’d ever met him and I put it out to him, ‘We should do something together sometime.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, that sounds cool’ or whatever, just in passing.

Flash forward two years later and Matt was having trouble with the verses. We had the choruses done lyrically and vocally, but the verses, for whatever reason, he just couldn’t find a groove that he felt was natural and not cheesy.

Matt didn't want to go ska on it and he didn’t want to do something super cheesy and do a [disservice] to the vibe of the track. He was limiting himself in that. On a whim, I was talking about Beck to my manager, and I said, ‘You know what? I wonder if Beck would want to do ‘Night Running?’” We sent him the song and didn't know if it was going to [amount to anything]. Within 24 hours, he sent us back two verses and I think he said he had four more verses all with a different cadence and stuff like that. It’s pretty crazy. I guess that speaks to how much of an artistic powerhouse that guy is. And here we are.

Q: That song and “House of Glass” are prime examples of how the band took more chances stylistically on the album.
A: I think we took a big swing overall for the whole record. ‘Ready to Let Go’ is one foot in Tell Me I'm Pretty, one foot in this new record. After we get out of the studio, there’s always a handful of songs that we have after this little writing spree. Usually, a couple of those end up on the next record. That was one of those songs. It’s an OK representation of what the record is. It does, with the feel of the drums and everything on that song, embody pieces of what this record is as a whole. This record is so much more dynamic.

Q: While making the album, you guys switched instruments and played ones that you weren't accustomed to. How did that work out?
A: Typically, we had stuck to the formula: I play guitar, Nick plays lead guitar, Matt sings, Daniel plays bass, Jared plays drums and Matthan plays keys. This one was more of a collaborative free-for-all. It was like whoever came up with the best part on any instrument, we didn't want to really limit ourselves…

Q: To a standard guitar/bass/drums format.
A: Exactly. And each member sticking to their specific instrument, per se.

Q: Between them, Nick and Matthan play a bunch of instruments – Mellotron, celeste, cello, clavinet, vibraphone, pedal steel – which add up to a richer Cage the Elephant sound this time around.
A: That’s another thing John is really good at. He’s very knowledgeable in cool, weird instruments that we wouldn’t normally have thought of to fill the void in the song. Where we would maybe put a guitar lead line, John would say, ‘We have guitar in this part,’ and we’d try to use something else to make the song more dynamic and to have a little bit more depth.

Q: Regarding the title track to the new album, is the synthesizer sound a subtle nod to David Bowie?
A: Yeah, I think there’s definitely nods to Bowie on this record as a whole, particularly his Berlin years; the stuff that he did with Brian Eno.

Also, on this record more than any, we wanted to continue to expand upon our sound and really define who we are as a band. We have continually tried to find what our voice is as a whole. I think it’s always a constant battle to find that. It always changes too. Art reflects your life.

Q: While writing the songs, were you listening to any other albums? Matt says he usually tries to block outside influences while writing the lyrics.
A: On this one, more than ever, I think we were not. In fact, we were listening more to horror movie soundtracks. You could probably hear a little tinge of that.

Q: Especially on “House of Glass” and its sinister vibe.
A: ‘Tokyo Smoke’ has horror movie vibes. Even just the record as a whole is a very dark. It has a lot of horror movie undertones.

Q: Finally, thinking back to 2017: How did it feel to win the Grammy Award for Tell Me I'm Pretty?
A: It was so unexpected that we did not write an acceptance speech. We probably go down as the worst acceptance speech of all time. Matt thanked his shoes. For some reason, I thanked Chance the Rapper. He had just won an award. We forgot to thank so many people that were involved and important to the project. It was a disaster, as far as the speech goes, but winning the award – that’s always a great honor.

A version of my interview originally appeared at

Johnny Marr concert review: Anaheim, Calif.

photo: Josh Gardner
On Sunday night, the “Game of Thrones” and “American Idol” finales kept countless people around America glued to their screens. But in Orange County, Calif., a couple thousand music fans at the House of Blues were transfixed by a different phenomenon: Eighties alternative rock guitar god Johnny Marr.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the Manchester, England native helped define that decade’s sound during his short, but influential tenure with The Smiths. After their dissolution, Marr either recorded or served as tour guitarist for the Pretenders, The The, Bryan Ferry, Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Electronic, Talking Heads, Modest Mouse, The Cribs and others.

Marr put out The Messenger, the first solo album under his own name, in 2013. Playland followed a year later. Last summer, Call the Comet arrived. The intriguing and futuristic latter release stands tallest among the three (all reached the UK chart top 10). Not quite a concept album, Comet contains what Marr calls his own magic realism and revolves around an alternative society where the characters are searching for a new idealism. A few months ago, the artist unveiled a new synth-laden single, “Armatopia,” which was influenced by ecology and current state of society.

The sold-out Anaheim show featured several selections off Comet, a generous helping of Smiths material, Electronic hits and older solo songs. Marr and the three-piece band - including co-producer and former Johnny Marr + the Healers member James Doviak - opened their excellent 20-song, 105-minute set with an ominous-sounding “The Tracers.” Marr immediately walked to the stage edge and prominently displayed some dexterous fretwork (there would be plenty more examples later).

Longtime enthusiasts quickly got boisterous and sang along loudly when Marr launched into some chiming strains on the first Smiths number of the night, “Bigmouth Strikes Again.” He bent down while playing and even humorously inserted himself into the original lyric “now I know how Joan of Arc felt” to a rousing response. While possessing a lower vocal timbre than Morrissey, the singer/guitarist still did an adept job at handling the lead role during old Smiths tunes.

photo: Josh Gardner
A pulsating “Armatopia” was totally infectious as Marr sang about kissing off history and dancing “to the sound of time running out.” He gestured dramatically while doing “Day In, Day Out”; the hypnotic synth sound and ringing guitar solo were reminiscent of The Smiths’ Strangeways, Here We Come (long cited as a favorite by Marr and this writer). The foreboding drum machine-driven “New Dominions,” inspired by pioneering English industrial acts like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, was delivered in riveting fashion. Mixing a slow nuanced buildup with a powerful crescendo, the alluring, nearly six-minute-long “Walk Into the Sea” proved to be another highlight.

“This is what the weekends are like in Manchester,” said Marr, introducing Electronic’s “Getting Away with It.” The fresh rhythmic and melodic revamp on the 1990 hit worked wonders. Seemingly touching upon the Comet theme (but also possibly joking around) onstage, Marr described “Hey Angel” as being “about my friends on the astral plane.” Marr was mischievous before “Getting Away with It.” After asking if anyone had any requests and the expected audience yells, he mentioned that they had done a Steve Miller Band cover in the past. That tune wasn’t touched, but Marr sure had fun on the Electronic hit single’s free-flowing arrangement. One concertgoer near me suddenly turned to his friend and said, “that was better than the record.”

Marr projected plenty of rock swagger and was a very expressive vocalist throughout the evening. The main set concluded with the always exciting Smiths epic “How Soon is Now?” No offense to Morrissey’s longtime axe man Boz Boorer, but there’s something extra special about seeing the original guitarist recreate what many consider to be his studio masterpiece in concert.

Come encore time, Marr and the musicians did a perfectly credible take on Depeche Mode’s “I Feel You” (a Record Store Day 2015 release), the wonderful “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” (complete with a loud audience singalong and two stage crashers) and jaunty “You Just Haven’t Earned it Yet, Baby.”

Johnny Marr ends his North American tour for Call the Comet tonight at John Anson Ford Theater in Los Angeles. All photos by Josh Gardner taken at House of Blues Anaheim courtesy HOB Entertainment Inc.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The return of Pennsylvania alt-pop band The Ocean Blue

photo: Darin Back
This band's debut was one of the first albums I ever reviewed for my college newspaper, Viewpoints, at Riverside City College. Happy to hear they're back...

The Ocean Blue will release their first new album in over six years - Kings and Queens/Knaves and Thieves, on June 21 via Korda Records (a Minneapolis-based cooperative label the band helped launch). Billboard premiered the video for first single “Kings and Queens,” also out ahead of their tour.

Watch / Share: “Kings and Queens

History: The Ocean Blue arrived as the 1980s drew to close, and their debut record emerged on Sire Records (Madonna, The Cure, The Smiths, Talking Heads, the Ramones, etc) in 1989. The band of four teenagers from Hershey, PA quickly achieved widespread acclaim and Top 10 Modern Rock/College Radio & MTV airplay, with hits like "Between Something and Nothing" and “Drifting, Falling.”

Sophomore album Cerulean included another alt-rock charter “Ballerina Out of Control,” and was followed by the release of their highest charting pop album, Beneath the Rhythm and Sound and fourth record for Mercury/PolyGram, See The Ocean Blue.

After a busy decade of recording and touring, the band left the majors in the late 1990s. In 2013, The Ocean Blue released their first full length record in over 10 years, Ultramarine on Korda Records. In 2015, the band worked with Sire Records and Shelflife to reissue their first three Sire albums on vinyl.

Frontman David Schelzel is also part of 5 Billion in Diamonds led by producer/drummer Butch Vig and including alumni of Spiritualized, Soundtrack of Our Lives, Echo & the Bunnymen and more.

Get tickets to the tour dates below here.

Track listing: 

1. Kings and Queens
2. It Takes So Long
3. Love Doesn’t Make It Easy on Us
4. All The Way
5. Blue Paraguay, My Love
6. F Major 7
7. The Limit
8. Therein Lies The Problem With My Life 
9. 9 p.m. Direction
10. Step Into the Night
11. Frozen

Tour Dates:

6/22: Lancaster, PA @ Tellus360
6/23: Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
6/27: Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
6/28: Portland, OR @ Holocene
7/26: Minneapolis, MN @ The Fine Line
7/27: Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
8/23: Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
8/24: Norfolk, VA @ NorVa
9/5: Lima, PERU @ Coco's Club
9/6: Arequipa, PERU @ El QuinQué
10/4: Washington, DC @ Union Stage
10/5: Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java
11/1: Detroit, MI @ The Magic Bag
11/3: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
11/17: Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
12/6: Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Music Hall