Monday, October 31, 2011

E Street Band's Lofgren solo album due

Five years have passed since the release of Nils Lofgren's last studio album of all-new songs. His forthcoming release Old School has been in the works since the end of Bruce Springsteen's Working on a Dream Tour in late 2009. It covers a variety of topics and has a tribute to Ray Charles.

"These songs reflect characters with some radical feelings and beliefs," states the singer in a press release. "They're definitely thought-provoking."

The CD -- due out on Dec. 6 -- will be his eighth studio release on Vision Music, the label also responsible for 2008's The Loner - Nils Sings Neil (an homage to Neil Young, whom Nils started his career with over four decades ago).

"Old School has many different types of songs and feels... some rough, bluesy tracks to haunting acoustic songs," continues Lofgren. "There's some interesting and controversial characters in these songs and I look forward to everyone's reaction."

The self-produced album starts off with the title track, which features ex-Foreigner lead singer Lou Gramm. Then there's "Amy Joan Blues," where Paul Rodgers guests, while "Ain't Too Many Of Us Left" has Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sam Moore.

Sam Moore comments about the collaboration, "It hit me when I was in the studio with Nils that we've lost so many of our friends, peers and colleagues in the past few years...The Big Man, Billy Preston, Wilson Pickett, George Harrison, Solomon Burke, Johnny Cash, Isaac Hayes. It hit me how true it is that there 'ain't too many of us left.' I was flattered and honored that Nils asked me to join him to pay a little honor and remind everyone in some way to remember our dear but departed friends and loved ones."

"Ain't Too Many Of Us Left" has been made available as a free download at for fans to enjoy and the entire CD can be pre-ordered on the site as well. 

As an integral member of the Bruce Sprngsteen's E Street Band since 1984, Nils has remained consistently busy as part of the group, and as a solo artist.

In addition to songwriting and performing, Nils also devotes time to his online guitar school (, which has garnered tremendous response from guitar players all over the world. Beginner lessons are offered in English, Spanish and Italian...

In early September, Nils released "When You Are Loved" (via free download on his site), a 9/11 song that honors heroes, victims and families.

1. Old School
2. 60 Is The New 18
3. Miss You Ray
4. Love Stumbles On
5. Amy Joan Blues
6. Irish Angel
7. Ain't Too Many Of Us Left
8. When You Were Mine
9. Just Because You Love Me
10. Dream Big
11. Let Her Get Away
12. Why Me

Album review: honeyhoney

Billy Jack
(Lost Highway)
Grade: A
Earlier this year, Americana act The Civil Wars released a wonderful full-length debut album. Now honeyhoney - another male/female duo in the genre - just unveiled their edgier, but equally impressive first major label effort, Billy Jack.
Ben Jaffe and Suzanne Santo first crossed musical paths in L.A. during the late 2000s. The pair put out the Loose Boots EP in ’08, produced by Jude Cole (Lifehouse) and released on Ironworks Music - the indie label he runs with Kiefer Sutherland. Several bands latched onto the honeyhoney track “Little Toy Gun” and started covering it on YouTube.
With a smoky voice that sometimes recalls Norah Jones, Santo also possesses a Gretchen Wilson-styled bad girl feistiness that crops up in the lyrics. The solemn “Don’t Know How” (co-written with Josh Rouse) is colored by simple acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo and unobtrusive drums, while upbeat stomper “I Don’t Mind” should appeal to Mumford & Sons fans. A pedal steel-infused “Glad I’ve Done What I Did” revisits Neil Young-circa-Harvest territory.
Coincidentally, it’s followed by the seething shuffle “Ohio” (not that one). The Buckeye State fascination continues on rollicking album highlight “Let’s Get Wrecked,” about bad intentions (getting laid, stoned and hitched) across the country, alongside electric guitar and harmonica blasts.
Other standouts include the sweet She & Him-leaning “Old School Friends,” revolving around a reunion and getting drunk in the woods. Then there’s the desperate “Thin Line,” where possibilities of whisky, men and raisin’ hell are pondered. Banjo dominates the sound until it veers into early White Stripes territory. Definitely one to watch.

Black Friday: Record Store Day

Universal Music Enterprises has announced a series of limited edition "Back To Black" individually numbered 10" vinyl releases from Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pete Townshend for Black Friday (Nov. 25). 

Soundgarden - Before The Doors: Live On I-5 Soundchecks:

"I will always be thankful to independent record stores for providing me with an encyclopedic source for an education in popular music. Especially of rare, import, indie, local, and experimental records, artists, and genres." - Kim Thayil

Following Soundgarden's successful 2011 summer tour is this companion piece to the band's first-ever live album, Live On I-5, from earlier this year. Recorded during their 1996 tour, it features "No Attention," "Never The Machine Forever" and a version of the Doors' "Waiting For The Sun," taken from their soundcheck at Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, CA, on Dec. 5, 1996; "Room A Thousand Years Wide" taken from PNE Forum in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec. 7, 1996; and "Somewhere" taken from their soundcheck at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, CA, on Dec. 4, 1996.

Nirvana – Nevermind: The Singles:

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind. For the first time, all four of the original singles from the album are being reissued in a box set - the first time Nirvana's music has ever been pressed on 10" vinyl. Featured are the band's singles "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (edit) with its B-sides "Drain You" (LP version), "Even In His Youth" and "Aneurysm"; "Come As You Are" (LP version) with the B-sides "Endless, Nameless," "School" (live) and "Drain You" (live); "Lithium" (LP version) featuring the B-sides "Been A Son" (live), "Curmudgeon" and "D-7" (taken from a John Peel session); and "In Bloom" (LP version) featuring live versions of "Sliver" and "Polly." Each single comes in a slipcase picture sleeve and includes the original artwork. 

Pete Townshend - The Quadrophenia Demos 1:

Quadrophenia is one of the most widely recognized albums of The Who's career because of its classic depiction of mod culture, its renowned imagery, the magnificent music and powerful performances. The first of two EPs will feature six demos from the forthcoming "Director's Cut" box set of Quadrophenia, out Nov. 15.

Included are demo versions of "The Real Me," recorded in October 1972; "Cut My Hair," written in June 1972; "Punk," recorded in November 1972; "Dirty Jobs," recorded in July 1972; "Is It In My Head," recorded in April 1972; and the never-before-released track "Anymore," recorded in November 1971.

The Quadrophenia Demos 1 is the first of two exclusive releases with the second, a five-track companion 10" EP, scheduled for release on Record Store Day in April 2012. It will be the first time any of these tracks appear on vinyl and will not be made available elsewhere. The combined two releases encompass 11 of the demos from the forthcoming box set and provide a unique insight into the creation of this landmark album.
All three titles will be made available at Record Store Day-participating stores worldwide. A list of all participating stores can be found at in the U.S. and internationally.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Nada Surf studio album due in January

Last year, I did an interview with Nada Surf, so I'm really looking forward to hearing their new album. Read more about it in the press release below...

Barsuk Records has announced the release of Nada Surf's The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy on Jan. 24, 2012. NPR debuted the first track, "When I Was Young." Fans can share and re-post the free download from

Stars is Nada Surf's seventh record and first with all-new material in four years. The band will perform a day-of-release show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom.

Nada Surf's lineup is still Matthew Caws (vocals, guitar), Daniel Lorca (bass) and Ira Elliot (drums), though this time, as on if i had a hifi and the tour that followed, they invited guitarist Doug Gillard (Guided by Voices, Death of Samantha) to join in. Chris Shaw (Wilco, Brendan Benson) produced, having worked with the band before when he mixed their hit song, "Always Love."

Unlike all of the other Nada Surf records, Stars was made with a distinct attempt to capture their live sound.

"We've always played faster and a little harder live," Caws says, "but we'd play so carefully in the studio. With this album, we made a conscious decision to preserve what it felt like in the practice room, when you play with that new song energy. Just embrace it and not worry whether we're overdoing it, kind of get all the thinking out of the way."

Author Jennifer Egan told Minnesota Public Radio this year that she listened to the band's music for inspiration while writing her 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Visit from the Goon Squad. "What they write about is very subtle moments of everyday life. They make it all look and feel very easy and natural."

Among The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy's songs is "When I Was Young," a look at the disconnect between youthful wishes and adult realities. Naturally, Caws takes the least grim possible position: that we're lucky enough to age into a place where the world we want is ours for the taking."

Nada Surf had made all but their first record outside of New York, figuring they'd avoid distractions. But if you want to preserve the energy of the practice room, why not record in the practice room?  For Stars they set up shop in their rehearsal space in Lorca's long-time loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The place is nicknamed "The Sitcom" because it regularly hosts a revolving cast of colorful characters and some legendary parties. There were some issues though - "We couldn't do vocals late at night," says Caws, "because the music from the bar downstairs would come through the floor."   

"Making this album was such a joy, the most fun we've had with a record," Caws continues. "For many years I'd only write if I had something troubling going on in my life and I needed to break through, but now I wanted to get past writing about just myself. That new outlook, for me, is the engine for making this record."

David Cook/Gavin DeGraw concert review: Pomona, CA

A version of my review originally appeared at:

Although David Cook was the first rocker to win the seventh season of “American Idol” in 2008, few people realize how aggressive the Missouri-raised singer/guitarist’s music actually can be until they see him live.
That power was clearly evident during a rousing 70-minute set on Wednesday at Fox Theater in Pomona. Gavin DeGraw was the de facto headliner, but Cook stole the show. 
Following the “Idol” win, Cook’s self-titled, major label bow sold more than a million copies, as did two singles. A few others went top 20 at various radio formats (though not alternative or active rock – two genres he hews closest to). Solid sophomore release “This Loud Morning,” produced by Matt Serletic (Matchbox Twenty, Santana), ups the grungy pop quotient with lyrics revolving around a life/sleep cycle. 
Those who followed Cook’s personal journey on “Idol” will be interested in the recent news about his participation in the Honda LA Marathon next March, to raise funds for Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2). The charity hits close to home for the performer, since his brother Adam died from a brain tumor. For more info, go to 
At the Fox, Cook opened with the hard-driving “Circadian,” the first of eight selections from “Morning.” Gritty vocals and a Foo Fighters-style sonic assault (there were three electric guitarists, counting the front man) made “Kiss on the Neck” an early standout. Surprisingly, it included a few lines of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” 
Plenty of older women and their husbands were in attendance at the less-than-filled venue. “Heroes” was bolstered by throttling guitars, drummer/backing vocalist Kyle Peek’s thrashing rhythms and it segued into Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova.”
Later, the uplifting sentiment of “We Believe” found the lead singer in total wail mode, while “Come Back to Me” was full-on drama. After announcing “this is one of my favorite songs, by one of my favorite bands,” Cook and the group launched into a faithful, yet forceful take on Muse’s “Stockholm Syndrome.”
Piano/acoustic guitar-led ballad “Goodbye to the Girl” was a nice breather from the onslaught. More chunky guitars led the way on “Bar-ba-sol” and a psychedelic-tinged “Light On,” where they were joined by Peek’s pre-school aged son on guitar. Finally, Cook ended with the solo acoustic ballad “Fade Into Me.” There was a minor exodus of concertgoers once Cook finished. 
Singer/songwriter/pianist Gavin DeGraw is best known for his first CD, 2003’s platinum-certified “Chariot.” It spawned the hits in the title track, “Follow Through” and “I Don’t Want to Be” (the theme song to TV drama “One Tree Hill”). His self-titled second album went gold. 
This past summer, DeGraw made national news after getting assaulted outside a music club he co-owns in Manhattan’s East Village and hit by a taxi. He suffered minor injuries and had to cancel tour dates with Maroon 5, but reportedly made a quick recovery.
Fourth album “Sweeter” finds DeGraw collaborating with outside songwriters like Ryan Tedder for the first time and emphasizing more sensuality in his trademark blue-eyed soul music. The single “Not Over You” recently went top 20 at Hot AC radio.
Starting with the techno-lite of “Candy,” DeGraw did most of the new album, which comprised half the 70-minute set. It took several songs for him to really get into a comfortable groove. “Chariot” was dispatched early, prompting loud howls from fans. At various times, DeGraw started off playing a black grand piano, then stood up to sing at the microphone, returned to the instrument or visa versa.
Smooth electronic drums/keyboards paved the way into a snatch of The Script’s “Breakeven” and Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” before DeGraw’s own compelling “Follow Through.” Previously content to let the music do the talking, he suddenly did a long introduction about the genesis of writing “Spell it Out.” Played alone on piano, the moment was stirring. Getting a late dose of energy, DeGraw worked both sides of the stage on “Run Every Time” and a joyous “I Don’t Want to Be,” sung with authority. 
Carolina Liar delivered a satisfying half hour of pop/rock music to early arrivals. Led by vocalist/guitarist and South Carolina native Chad Wolf, the LA-based band is rounded out by three Swedish musicians. Scandinavian hit master Max Martin (P!nk, Katy Perry) helmed their 2008 major label bow “Coming to Terms,” which featured the alt-rock hits “I’m Not Over” and “Show Me What I’m Looking For” (the latter sold in excess of 600,000 downloads). New album “Wild Blessed Freedom,” came out last month and found the group re-teaming with Martin and his equally successful protégé, Shellback (Maroon 5, Usher).
Wolf, who looked like Kid Rock’s younger brother, was relentless at prompting crowd participation in Pomona. Highlights included the ‘80s synth-pop vibe of “Last Night,” the chiming “Drown,” the dynamic buildup of “Show Me” and piano ballad “Beautiful People.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Airborne Toxic Event, Built to Spill, Tokyo Police Club concert review: Los Angeles

A version of my review originally appeared at

The Airborne Toxic Event leader Mikel Jollett surveyed the Gibson Amphitheatre audience and marveled, “we’re a long way from Spaceland.”
That small club – renamed The Satellite in 2011 – was an integral part of the Silverlake indie rock scene and the place where TATE first cut their concert teeth five years ago. Sunday night, the Los Angeles alt-rock quintet did an amazing job headlining the third annual LA 101 festival, where Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation topped the bill last year.
Taking a similar approach as their December '09 concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall (later released as the stunning “All I Ever Wanted” on DVD+CD and Blu-ray), TATE pulled out all the stops in Universal City.
The Herb Alpert School of Music Orchestra from CalArts in Valencia enriched several songs and a young female choir bookended the 90-minute set. An eagle and two shorn trees (think of the cover art to the 2007 self-titled debut disc) adorned the stage. 
“It’s good to be back home again,” exclaimed Jollett while a few dozen musicians kicked off the title track to latest album “All At Once” and attained a glorious uplift. “Half of Something Else” found TATE violinist Anna Bulbrook’s graceful violin lines taking the spotlight. 
A pair of rude teenage male fans, apparently infatuated with Bulbrook, continually yelled out her name and professed their admiration for the group. Once during a quieter segment, their outbursts threw off Jollett and he had to stop a song midway through. The singer/guitarist took the interruption in stride. 
One of the best things about watching TATE live is how the members – especially guitarist Steven Chen – routinely switch instruments and are so adept at it. Jollett pointed that out at the end of the evening, joking that he thought Chen might pull out a theramin at one point (the lineup is rounded out by drummer Daren Taylor).
Affecting ballad “A Letter to Georgia ” found CalArts alum Noah Harmon on stand-up bass; the stark, sway-worthy “All for a Woman” was simply marvelous. Longtime fans loudly voiced their approval during stomping rocker “Happiness is Overrated” and “Does This Mean You’re Moving On?” 
Recent top 20 modern rock hit “Changing,” boasted a high flying atmosphere and the band members continued to interacted with each other. Bulbrook triggered accordion sounds on the ominous, Celtic-influenced war denouncement “Welcome to Your Wedding Day.” Jollett did a forceful vocal delivery on his lyrics inspired by news of Afghan nuptials turned deadly via an accidental American Predator drone attack and said, “there’s nothing wrong with questioning your leaders – that’s democracy.” 
The orchestra returned for big hit “Sometime Around Midnight,” providing an added regal sheen to the sound. For the encores, Jollett and Bulbrook started off the rarely-played, poignant folk-styled ballad “The Graveyard Near the House” before the band joined in. A vibrant and fun “Missy” saw everyone onstage and a brief detour into Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law.” The set ended appropriately enough, sometime around midnight.
Earlier in the afternoon, three up-and-comers performed outdoors on the grassy Gibson concourse area before a sparse crowd. Food trucks, booths and ping pong tables kept people occupied. Following Oceanside group Drowning Men was alt-folk singer/songwriter Jenny O. from Long Island , N.Y. So far in 2011, she has landed a plum spot among the high star wattage tribute album “Rave On Buddy Holly,” shared a stage with Ben Harper and Leon Russell and is working on her first album helmed by producer Jonathan Wilson (Benji Hughes, Dawes). Live, she was too demure to make much of an impact. 
Electric Guest had no such problem. The unsigned LA electronic-soul act, fronted by a charismatic Asa Taccone (brother of Lonely Island comedy/music troupe member Jorma), opened for Foster the People over the summer and had its yet-to-be released debut album produced by Danger Mouse. Boasting a falsetto voice that recalled Jimi Somerville of Bronski Beat and smiling ear to ear, Taccone was all over the small stage and frequently switched between three keyboards to play the enticing, groove-laden tunes. Definitely one to watch    
Inside the Gibson, Long Beach-based Delta Spirit got the main stage proceedings off to a rambunctious start with the driving pace and swelling organ of “Bushwick Blues” (from 2010’s “History From Below”). Singer Matt Vazquez occasionally let loose in a Joe Cocker-esque howl. He and the other musicians seemed more comfortable than last spring at Coachella. That ease translated into a better version of the drone-dominated, percussion heavy “White Table.” Other rocking Americana-tinged tunes, such as “Tear it Up” and the new “Other Side,” recalled My Morning Jacket (whom they tour with in December). 
Built to Spill was an odd fit amid the LA 101 lineup. Young TATE fans looked puzzled and bored. A few even yelled for the veteran alt-rock band from Boise to stop during an hour-long set rife with extended guitar solos. Due to a murky sound mix (can anyone in SoCal mix a bass guitar that doesn’t overwhelm everything?), Doug Martsch’s quiet, fragile voice could barely be heard over the noisy din of three electric guitars. 
Jagged tremolo guitarscapes on “Stab” (off 1994’s “There’s Nothing Wrong with Love”) and the mind-bending sonic maelstrom of “Wherever You Go” were impressive, but it all became a blur after awhile. Some welcome pop influences cut through on “Distopian Dream Girl” and the slow-churning “Stop the Show” gradually built in intensity, yet there was an overwhelming feeling that the performance was business as usual. 
Canadian buzz band Tokyo Police Club turned in a delightful 45-minute set that was the second only to TATE in the exuberance department. Frontman and bassist David Monks has a laid back cadence to his voice that falls between Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas. The quirky indie rock music on fine second album “Champ” is totally infectious; it translated well in concert too. 
Highlights included the punchy, reverb-laden guitar waves of “Favourite Colour,” “End of a Spark,” the jaunty organ-laden “Tesselate,” percolating synths/stabbing guitar tandem on “Frankenstein” and high flying harmonies throughout “Wait Up (Boots of Danger).” I would’ve liked to see them include selections from the new “10 Songs 10 Hours 10 Days 10 Years” collection, where they take on everyone from Jimmy Eat World and LCD Soundsystem to Kelly Clarkson and Miley Cyrus. Maybe next time. Can’t wait to see these guys live again.      

Friday, October 21, 2011

Etta James' final album due next week

Here's news on Etta James' new album. A longtime resident of my hometown, she has been ailing recently. I hope this album gets some attention and she will be able to enjoy it. Read more in the press release below... 

For over half a century, Etta James has all but defined the role of the quintessential rhythm & blues vocalist. She transcends all musical categories and styles with a recording career that spans more than five decades. On Oct. 25, James will release The Dreamer, her new album through Verve Forecast.

This release not only marks her first album in five years, it will be her final studio album before she retires, capping off an incredible fifty-year recording career.  James remarks, "I wish to thank all my fans who have shown me love and support over all these years.  I love you all."

The album features her one-of-a-kind renditions of Otis Redding's "Cigarettes and Coffee," Bobby "Blue" Bland's "Dreamer," Ray Charles' "In The Evening," Guns N' Roses' "Welcome To The Jungle" and more (see track listing below).
James has been a musical force and a major hitmaker since the 1950s, earning numerous accolades - including six Grammy Awards. In 1993, James was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2001 she was inducted by both the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall Of Fame. She also is immortalized in Hollywood with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Throughout her career, James created a remarkably deep and diverse catalog of R&B, blues, soul, pop and jazz recordings. James crossed all musical genres and styles and has been cited as a major influence by a wide range of singers from Janis Joplin to Irma Thomas to Christina Aguilera and Adele.

  1. Groove Me (King Floyd)
  2. Champagne and Wine (Otis Redding/Roy Johnson/Alan Walden)
  3. Dreamer   (Jerry Zaremba)
  4. Welcome To The Jungle (William Rose/Saul Hudson)
  5. Misty Blue (Bob Montgomery)
  6. Boondocks (Karen Fairchild/Wayne Kirkpatrick/Kimberly Roads/Phillip Sweet/Jimi Westbrook)
  7. Cigarettes and Coffee  (Jerry Butler/Jay Walker/Eddie Thomas) no Otis as writer
  8. In The Evening (Ray Charles)
  9. Too Tired (Maxwell Dixon/Sam Ling/Johnny Watson)
  10. That's The Chance You've Got to Take (Johnny Watson)  
  11. Let Me Down Easy (James Milton Campbell Jr.)

Special 'LA Woman' single by The Doors for Black Friday

For Record Store Day’s Black Friday 2011, The Doors will unveil a limited edition, four-disc vinyl boxed set that spotlights L.A. Woman.

The collection includes 7” vinyl singles for three of the album’s most iconic tracks, each backed with a b-side featuring an unreleased, alternate take of the same song. A fourth 7” contains unreleased studio chatter recorded during sessions for this historic album giving an inside peek of the band at work on their final masterpiece.
Numbered and limited to 4000 sets worldwide, the singles box will be available exclusively at participating independent record stores via Rhino/Elektra Records on Nov. 25 for $49.98. For a directory of participating stores, please visit
“There will always be a need for indie record stores – and for vinyl. I think vinyl’s making a comeback, actually - it just sounds so much better!” says guitarist Robby Krieger.
“Our music was made with an independent spirit, and we believe in independence – of the mind, the heart and the soul,” says organist Ray Manzarek. “L.A. Woman is 40 years old, and we look back fondly, with deep appreciation, on 40 years of that special exchange between an independent record store and a customer searching for something new that can open their hearts, minds and souls!”   
The collection contains 7” singles for “Love Her Madly,” “Riders On The Storm” and “The Changeling,” each presented in a sleeve featuring original artwork from an international single release from the era. To complement the music, the set also includes an exact replica of a poster Elektra used to promote the album around the original 1970 release. The poster was designed by Carl Cossick, who also designed the instantly recognizable die-cut album cover used for L.A. Woman, and features the provocative, crucified “Electric Woman” image featured in the original vinyl sleeve of the album.
“Record stores are a place of community; something we as humans desperately need.  Yes, the web is an electronic community, but you can't feel, smell, or touch on the Internet,” says drummer John Densmore.
The fourth 7” offers rare insight into the group’s creative process with two “Inside The Workshop” selections that capture previously unheard studio dialogue from Morrison, Manzarek, Krieger, and John Densmore as they recorded the album in Hollywood with producer Bruce Botnick. The first side features band dialogue from the recording of “Riders On The Storm” while the second side spotlights the band discussing their cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake.”
This material provides a first listen to some of the unreleased material that will be included in the upcoming deluxe edition of L.A. Woman, set for release from Rhino in early 2012.   
Track Listing:
Side One
“Love Her Madly”
Side Two
“Love Her Madly” – Alternate Version*
Side One
“Riders On The Storm”
Side Two
“Riders On The Storm” – Alternate Version*
Side One
“The Changeling”
Side Two
“The Changeling” – Alternate Version*
Side One
Inside The Workshop – “Riders On The Storm”*
Side Two
Inside The Workshop – “Crawling King Snake”*
* Previously unreleased

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Coldplay ramp up activities as album release nears

Coldplay will celebrate the Oct. 24 release of its new album, Mylo Xyloto (Capitol Records), with a series of U.S. television appearances. The band will be the musical guest on “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 12. Coldplay will also appear on “The Today Show" this Friday and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” (10/27).
The iTunes Store ( is exclusively streaming one song from Mylo Xyloto each day leading up to the album's release. Fans can also pre-order Mylo Xyloto on iTunes now and the single "Paradise" will begin downloading immediately. “Paradise” and “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall,” the album’s first single, have already sold nearly a million downloads combined.
Mylo Xyloto will be available in digital, CD and vinyl formats and as a special limited edition Pop-Up album. It was produced by Markus Dravs, Daniel Green and Rik Simpson, with additional composition by Brian Eno. 

In related news, Coldplay will do the livestream music series, "American Express Unstaged" on Wed., Oct. 26. The performance will be livestreamed globally from Spain's famous arena, Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid, at 1 p.m. PST, through It will be available on mobile devices via VEVO and YouTube apps for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Android.

"American Express Unstaged" brings together popular and iconic musical artists with renowned film directors. Coldplay will be paired with award-winning filmmaker and celebrated photographer Anton Corbijn (U2, Depeche Mode, "Control"). 

Known for his masterful use of black and white and striking imagery, Corbijn has been tapped to provide fans with a visually stunning digital viewing and in-venue experience. This will be the sixth installment within the "American Express Unstaged" music series and the first performance from a venue outside of the United States. The program has featured such recognized musicians as Arcade Fire, John Legend & The Roots, Sugarland, Duran Duran (see my review of that show elsewhere on this blog-George) and My Morning Jacket.

Speaking from South Africa where the band is preparing for the "American Express Unstaged" performance with sold-out stadium shows in Cape Town and Johannesburg, lead singer Chris Martin said: "Anton Corbijn has been a big hero to us for a long long time so we're thrilled to be beaming this concert out to the world through his lens. We can’t wait to share this experience with him and with all of our fans watching ‘American Express Unstaged’ around the world. It's going to be big."
American Express Cardmembers and music enthusiasts can find pre-show digital features and one-of-a-kind content that further blurs the line between an at-home and in-concert experience at, including the exclusive "American Express Unstaged" trailer. 

Coldplay fans will be able to enjoy a special looped rebroadcast of the "American Express Unstaged" performance throughout the night, immediately following the livestream at Following this rebroadcast, the full-length concert will also be available during a limited 48 hour window, via on-demand.

MuteMath reveal tour dates

MuteMath will kick off its first tour of 2012 on Jan. 26; the alt-rock band just released their new album Odd Soul on Teleprompt/Warner Bros Records.

The Grammy-nominated group - Paul Meany (vocals/keyboards), Roy Mitchell-Cardenas (bass), Darren King (drums), Todd Gummerman (guitar) - will also appear on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on Nov. 4.  

 An Odd Soul VIP Package for the 2012 tour dates are on sale now through: For $75, purchasers will receive:

1 general admission ticket to the Odd Soul Tour
1 gatefold vinyl copy of Odd Soul (previously unavailable) + a CD copy 
1 Odd Soul Tour t-shirt (with tour dates on back) 
1 "first in line" pass guaranteeing early entrance to any show on the tour 
1 high-quality MP3 copy of Odd Soul to be delivered as a digital download
1 Odd Soul instrumental album to be delivered as a digital download (available for the first time in this package)
1 Making Of the "Blood Pressure" music video to be delivered as a digital download (available for the first time in this package)

Only limited quantities of the VIP package will be available.

"Blood Pressure," the first single from Odd Soul, is climbing the charts at alternative radio, while the video premiered on MTV, MTV2, MTVu, MTV Hits and MuteMath have been selected as VH1's "You Oughta Know" artist for the month of November. The band, which received a "Best Short Form Music Video" Grammy Award nomination in 2007 for its single "Typical," conceived, coordinated and shot the "Blood Pressure" clip in less than 24 hours. It was edited entirely by drummer Darren King. Check it out here:

"Blood Pressure" and Odd Soul are already receiving critical praise. The NY Post called the track "fantastic" and Alternative Press praised the album as "brimming with raw, bluesy riffs and psychedelic guitar squeals...[they] explore emotional depths both sonically and lyrically, bringing a new sense of urgency to their music. 4 ½ stars."

Watch a performance of "Blood Pressure" on Jimmy Kimmel Live:  

2010 headlining tour dates:
1/26 Houston, TX             House of Blues
1/27 Austin, TX                 Stubb's
1/28 Dallas, TX                 House of Blues
1/29 Tulsa, OK                  Cain's Ballroom
1/31 Denver, CO              Gothic Theatre
2/02 Los Angeles             Club Nokia Live
2/03 San Diego, CA         4th and B Concert Theater
2/07 San Francisco, CA   The Regency Ballroom
2/08 Sacramento, CA      Ace of Spades
2/10 Seattle, WA              Showbox SoDo
2/11 Spokane, WA           Knitting Factory
2/12 Boise, ID                    Knitting Factory
2/14 Salt Lake City, UT    Club Sound
2/16 Kansas City, MO     Beaumont Club
2/17 Chicago, IL                House of Blues
2/18 Minneapolis, MN   First Avenue
2/28 St. Louis, MO            The Pageant
3/01 Grand Rapids, MI     The Intersection
3/02 Detroit, MI                    St. Andrew's Hall
3/03 Columbus, OH            Newport Music Hall
3/04 Cleveland, OH      House of Blues
3/07 Boston, MA                  House of Blues
3/08 New York, NY            Best Buy Theater
3/09 Philadelphia, PA            Trocadero
3/10 Washington D.C.    9:30 Club
3/11 Norfolk, VA                The Norva
3/14 Charlotte, NC             Amos' Southend
3/16 Ft. Lauderdale, FL            Revolution
3/17 Orlando, FL                House of Blues
3/18 Atlanta, GA                  The Tabernacle

Stagecoach Festival 2012 details announced

Details on Stagecoach were just announced. There are a few acts to get excited about. For me, it is the noteworthy reunions. Read on...

The Stagecoach Country Music Festival returns for the sixth year in 2012, newly expanded with a third day of music. Headliners include Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. The event  takes place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. on April 27-29.  
Tickets go on sale Fri., Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. PST at Three-day weekend passes start at $149 for a limited time and layaway options are available. The festival also offers reserved seating, camping and RV packages.  For complete details on available ticketing and onsite camping/RV options, please visit the website. Children 10 and under will be admitted for free.
Here is the initial lineup (subject to change): 
Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Alabama, Martina McBride, Kenny Rogers, Luke Bryan, The Mavericks, Sara Evans, The Band Perry, Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers, Chris Isaak, Justin Moore, The Jayhawks, Eli Young Band, The JaneDear Girls, The Del McCoury Band, Brett Eldredge, Aaron Lewis, Ralph Stanley & His Clinch Mountain Boys, Uncle Monk, JD Crowe & The New South, Sara Watkins, Sunny Sweeney, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones, The Unforgiven, Greensky Bluegrass, Split Lip Rayfield, Elizabeth Cook, JD Souther, Old Man Markley.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins reissues on the way

On Nov. 29, EMI Music in North America will reissue the Smashing Pumpkins' first two albums -- "Gish" (1991) and "Siamese Dream" (1993) in CD, deluxe 2CD/DVD, vinyl LP, and digital configurations.

Both albums, each with bonus content and special features that were curated from the band’s archives by founding member Billy Corgan, have been remastered for the first time from the original master tapes. 
With the full support and guidance from the band, EMI’s global catalog reissue campaign will last through 2013. It will encompass all the albums and B-sides from 1991-2000, with other release dates to be announced.

As the Smashing Pumpkins get the fully remastered treatment via these reissues, the band is excited to be moving forward by creating new music. After touring America and Europe this fall -- the trek wraps Dec. 8 in Lisbon -- they will release "Oceania," “an album within an album,” as part of their in-progress 44 song work "Teargarden by Kaleidyscope." Featuring 13 new songs, "Oceania" will be released in early 2012.
In the first two reissues' liner notes, Billy Corgan reflects on why these albums were hard-won triumphs for the band and discusses the origins of the songs. In 'Siamese,' he says: “We start the album out with ‘Cherub Rock’ which is basically my big F.U. to the indie world. If you read the lyrics, that was basically me railing against the hipper than thou New York indie mentality.”
Here are the special features about both reissues:
  • Deluxe versions will each include a bonus disc of rare and previously unreleased audio content.
  • Deluxe versions also contain a never-before-released live show from the Metro in Chicago on DVD. The 10-song live show in "Gish" is from 8/25/90; the 17-song live show in "Siamese" is from 8/14/93. Both DVDs feature introductions by Joe Shanahan, owner of the Metro in Chicago.
  • The "Gish" bonus disc will include new Butch Vig mixes of the original SubPop single tracks “Tristessa” and “La Dolly Vita.”
  • Vinyl has been mastered specifically for the format.
  • Housed in special lift-top box packaging, the deluxe versions feature liner notes and track by track commentary from Billy Corgan, never-before-seen collages and photos, postcards and more. For additional details, go to