Tuesday, July 20, 2010

James returns!

While the band James might not instantly register in your ear, I can almost guarantee that you've sung along with their mega-popular, widely covered song Laid. It was originally on the album of the same name back in 1993, and while the band were never to hit the charts with anything as catchy, they soldiered on for a while until calling it quits in 2001. The group reformed later in the 2000's, and are set to let loose their first release in the U.S. in quite some time, the two disc The Morning After The Night Before, as well as a string of tour dates that you can check out below. While I haven't heard any of the new music (some of it is available in the UK already...and Brits want to comment?), I'm eager to check out how the boys fare.

Here's an old b-side in the meantime.

James - Stolen Horse : I Know What I'm Here For Single (disc 2 )

Visit their website, their label Decca Records, and become their friend on MySpace.

Upcoming tour dates

09.20 - Fort Lauderdale, FL @ The Culture Room
09.21 - Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House Of Blues
09.22 - Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
09.24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero
09.25 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
09.27 - Washington DC @ 9:30 Club
09.28 - New York, NY @ Webster Hall
09.30 - Toronto, CA @ Queen Elizabeth Theater
10.01 - Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Theater
10.02 - Chicago, IL @ Vic Theater
10.04 - Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
10.05 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
10.07 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10.08 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Room
10.09 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox At The Market
10.11 - San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
10.12 - Anaheim, CA @ House Of Blues
10.13 - Los Angeles, CA @ Music Box
*With Special Guest Ed Harcourt

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Big Bang

Well over a year ago I wrote about the star heavy collaboration project The Spirit of Apollo that the duo known as N.A.S.A. put together. Well if the cornucopia of musicians did it for you, then you'll probably want the check out The Big Bang, a remix album that also includes three new tracks, including the one below, I Wanna Be Your Lover.

If you didn't check out their debut album, expect an eclectic mix of dance beats, Brazilian funk, and electronic elements that make for some hot floor fillers. The remixes just take them those extra steps to ensure total body participation.

Visit their website, their label Anti-, and become their friend on MySpace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Soul - Why Don't You Stay

in a moment of weakness
when your guard was down
you've been tempted by some new guy in town

we had a love that was real
with an unbreakable seal

now you've packed up
all your cares and woe
you say your love has died and now you must go

we had a life to be proud of
a life that was blessed with love

why don't you stay
and let me love you

The Flaming Ember - Why Don't You Stay : Why Don't You Stay 7"

The Flaming Ember - Westbound #9 : Why Don't You Stay 7" B-side

Find them both on The Best of Flaming Ember.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Lay Low

If you were to tell me that Lovisa Elisabet, the woman who is Lay Low, hails from Iceland, I would not believe you after listening to her album Farewell Good Night's Sleep. Honestly, if you were to line up ten albums in front of me and ask which one best channels Americana and roots music the best, this album would take the prize I think. Forget the fact that Lovisa sings in English with no discernible accent, the feel of this album is Patsy Cline all the way. That should come as no surprise though considering she cites Patsy, Dolly Parton, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams Sr., Red Foley, Loretta Lynn, Hank Lochlin, Skeeter Davis, and The Carter Family as her influences.

Listening to this album just makes me feel like I should be sitting on a big wrap-around front porch on a hot, muggy summer day in a swinging seat with a pitcher of lemon aid next to me. Yeah, it's kind of like that.

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.


Patsy Cline - I Fall to Pieces : Showcase

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Soul - Come Get to This

girl, you've been gone away a long time
i nearly went out of my mind
when you're gone, i miss your love
when you left me, baby you did me wrong
ah baby, come here, let me caress you
ah ah baby your letters, ah tell me what you missed
come here, sugar, and get to this
ah baby, i want you here
i want to do something freaky to you
i want you to feel just what i felt ah
oh come baby, get to this

Marvin Gaye - Come Get to This : Come Get to This 7"

Marvin Gaye - Distant Lover : Come Get to This 7" B-side

Find them both on Let's Get It On.

Friday, July 09, 2010

NLarge Your Parties!

DON RIMINI - NLARGE YOUR PARTIES (TRAILER) from Someone Factory on Vimeo.

It's Friday night and hopefully you're whooping it up more than I am sitting here at home. If like me you're stuck without any options, here's a track to make your living room feel like the place to be. It's from electro producer Don Rimini, a man who I've bumped before in these parts a few times, and his latest floor filler EP is titled NLarge Your Parties.

and an older favorite:

Visit his website, his label Mental Groove, and become his friend on MySpace.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Martha sings Édith

In celebration of the Tour de France finally entering France, today I'm going to share Martha Wainwright's latest release, Sans Fusils, Ni Souliers, A Paris. Martha Wainwrights Piaf Record. What is the connection you might ask? Well, Martha's latest album is a tribute album on which she sings the songs of the great French singer Édith Piaf. Your next question might very well be, well who is Édith Piaf, which is certainly a fair question to ask and one which I had to ask myself.

The answer to that question is one full of twists, turns, and sordid moments, so I won't even try to boil down her life into a paragraph or two here. Read about it on her Wikipedia page and I promise you that you won't regret taking the time. Piaf was born in 1915, raised in part by prostitutes in a french brothel, was accused of being an accessory to murder, and stumbled from one romantic disaster to another. Along the way she grew to become one of France's most popular singers. Really, the details would make excellent material for a Lifetime Channel movie, heck possibly even a mini-series.

So how does Martha Wainwright tie into all this? Well in 2009 she recorded the 15 songs that would eventually comprise this album live over the course of three nights in New York at the Dixon Palace Theater. All of them were sung by Piaf, who Wainwright has listened to since she was eight. And as a disclaimer for those of you who it might turn off, all the songs are sung in their native French. Don't let that discourage you though from listening to their retro cafe bistro air that will make you feeling like you're sitting in Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night some time in 1940. For a perfect example of this, listen to La Foule (the crowd) below.

and the original:

Visit her website, her label MapleMusic Recordings, and become her friend on MySpace.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


When I found out about Kate Nash's sophomore album My Best Friend Is You coming out earlier this year in April, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Her debut, Made of Bricks, was one of my favorite albums of 2008 ( I wrote about it way back here). Unfortunately, much like the Pipettes follow-up efforts (although with no original members are they still really the Pipettes?), Nash's change of direction made me miss the old her. That's where another Kate come in: Kate Miller-Heidke.

Much like Nash's first album, Kate Miller-Heidke's album Curiouser was out in her home country of Australia for a while before coming across the ocean, in this case the Pacific. Unlike Nash, Curiouser is Miller-Heidke's second album. On it you'll find her wonderfully quirky vocals (she was trained in opera), wittily sharp lyrics, and distinct songs that will stick out individually as unique works and not just more tracks of the same. The overall feel of the album very much reminds me of Nash's first (hence the drawn out connection at the beginning of this post), and hopefully this Kate will stick with the sound and not completely alter her style, a folky, slightly electronic, poppy feel that's infectious.

Visit her website and become her friend on MySpace.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Win a copy of Fela! on Broadway

"Water No Get Enemy" from FELA! Original Broadway Cast Recording from Fela Kuti on Vimeo.

Fela Kuti's name has appeared MANY times in my posts, and I've written several specifically about him (or his son in one case) as well. That being said, when I found out that there was going to be a Broadway show written about his life, I was thrilled. When I found out that there was a cast soundtrack being released, it made it a little less painful not having had a chance to actually get to see the show yet. When I heard the recording, it made me want to go see the show 10X as much. It's that powerful.

I first mentioned the musical in November of last year when I wrote about the reissue of The Best Of the Black President from Knitting Factory Records. At the time I was hoping on getting into NYC to see it in December. Unfortunately that never happened, but listening to the cast recording has me making plans to see it this summer for sure. It's a mixture of Kuti songs and original numbers that tell the story of the man behind Afrobeat, and the backing musicians are the group Antibalas, so you know that they know what they're doing! It's got me super excited both about the show and about Kuti's music in general again.

Can't get into NYC to catch the show? Well leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and you'll be in the running for a copy of the Broadway Cast Recording. I'll pick a winner next Mondayish and send it to you pronto!

check out this original number from the show:

and a Fela Kuti original that the cast performs on stage:

Visit the album's label Knitting Factory Records and the show's official website.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Jazz Brunch Jam - for the ears and eyes

Happy 4th everyone. Not a lot of time to write today, but wanted to share a pair of jazz selections that have been on my plate lately. One is to listen to: Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project, and one is to watch: Icons Among Us: Jazz In the Present Tense.

First off let's start with Herbie. He's one of my favorite jazz artists for his longevity and willingness to adapt and grow. His latest release teams him up with superstars from ALL over the world: India Arie, Jeff Beck, Pink, John Legend, The Chieftains, K'Naan, Los Lobos, Dave Matthews, Chaka Khan, Wayne Shorter, and many, many others. Each of the ten songs here feature at least one of these artists; some of them join together Herbie with three other artists. The album's message in many ways reminds me of another album I wrote about late last year, the Playing for Change foundation's benefit album Songs Around the World (an album which I absolutely love and bought four copies of to give as Christmas presents). It's a positive message of love and unity, and one that the songs on the album were made to deliver, songs like John Lennon's Imagine and the Civil Rights staple A Change Is Gonna Come. And although not necessarily jazzy from beginning to end, with Hancock's presence I felt it alright to include in this week's Jazz Brunch Jam.

Herbie is also out on tour right now. Check out dates below for a chance to catch him. And for those of you who check out the album and truly love it, there is a documentary outlining the making of the album.

Want to win a copy of it? Just leave a comment (or email me) with your name and email address and I'll choose a winner next Sundayish.

Visit his website and become his friend on MySpace.


The other exciting selection I have to share with you is one for you to watch and is entitled Icons Among Us: Jazz In the Present Tense. For many people, jazz is considered a dead genre, one that sells comparatively few albums and is gasping its last breaths on life support. Thankfully, for jazz listeners, this simply isn't true, and this documentary is here to prove it. Over the course of the DVD, the present crop of today's fresh jazz musicians is brought before us, artists who are pushing what we consider to be "jazz" in new directions. New artists (from all over the world, not just the United States) featured include Marco Benevento, Terence Blanchard, Ravi Coltrane, Robert Glasper, Nicholas Payton, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Donald Harrison Jr., Anat Cohen, Esperanza Spalding, and Medeski Martin and Wood. Interspersed among the new talent are snippets from these artists' influences, including Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, and of course, Herbie Hancock.

As you meet each new artist, some of which I had been familiar with (artists who's I've previously written about like Robert Glasper and Esperanza Spalding), and others who are new and investigation worthy (Marco Benevento and Anat Cohen), you get a chance to hear their motivations and aspirations and listen to live performances of their music. All together, the documentary's producers worked through seven years of interviews with over seventy five jazz artists to put this together, and although the documentary works its way through a TON of artists, it still feels like you get a good sense of who each of them is, where they are coming from, and where they want to take jazz to. Although I don't have a copy of this to give away, I HIGHLY recommend it both for its own merit as well as its ability to turn you on to some artists that you might not be familiar with. Head over to Amazon to order yourself a copy. Here are a few tracks from artists featured:

Marco Benevento - Ila Frost : Between The Needles & Nightfall

Robert Glasper - For You
: Double Booked

Esperanza Spalding - I Adore You : Esperanza


Herbie Hancock tour dates

July 5 - Vienna State Opera House - Vienna, Austria
July 6 - Incheba - Bratislava - Slovak Republic
July 9 - Auditorio de Peniscola - Peniscola, Spain
July 10 - North Sea Jazz Festival, Amazon Ahoy Complex - Rotterdam, Holland
July 12 - Theatre De La Mer - Sete, France
July 14 - Schloss Park - Neu Hardenberg, Germany
July 15 - Volkspark - Mainz, Germany
July 16 - Montreux Jazz Festival - Montreux, Switzerland
July 17 - Umbria Jaz Festival, Arena Santa Giuliana - Perugia, Italy
July 21 - Nice Jazz Festival - Nice, Italy
July 22 - Molde Jazz Festival - Molde, Norway
July 24 - Jardines de Cap-Roig - Cap-Roig, Spain
July 25 - Esceario Puerta Del Angel - Madrid, Spain
August 6 - Buffalo Place Rocks The Harbor, Buffalo, NY
August 7 - Lowell Summer Music Series, Lowell, MA
August 8 - Jazz Fest -Ft. Adams State Park -Newport, RI
August 9 - Tanglewood Koussevitzky Music Shed, Lennox, MA
August 10 - Spaulding Auditorium, Hanover, NH
August 13 - Mann Center for the Performing Arts, Philadelphia, PA
August 18 - Chene Park Music Theater, Detroit, MI
August 20 - Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Milwaukee WI
August 21 - Symphony Center, Chicago IL
August 22 - Ryman Auditorium, Nashville TN
August 25 - Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek, CO
August 26 - Center for the Arts, Jackson Hole, WY
August 28 - Mt. Baker Theater, Bellingham, WA
August 29 - Woodland Park Zoo Amphitheatre, Seattle, WA
September 1 - Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA (Herbie Hancock: Seven Decades - The Birthday Celebration)