Friday, December 29, 2006

The Best Albums of 2006 That You May Have Overlooked

We here at Earvolution have decided that the Best Albums of 2006 idea has probably run its course. Let's be honest, you don't need us to tell you that Bob Dylan, The Raconteurs and Pearl Jam put out great albums; that The Hold Steady, Cold War Kids and Wolfmother had breakout years and Gnarls Barkley put out the Song of 2006.

What we can do for you is list, in no particular order, a handful of albums that though worthy, many not have received the attention they deserved.

U-Melt: The I's Mind

U-Melt spent 2006 establishing themselves as one of the hardest-working bands on the jamband touring scene. Shortening the solos, U-Melt successfully brought the fun and intensity of their live shows into the studio. Zac Lasher talked to Earvolution about the new album and more here.

Tea Leaf Green: Rock 'N' Roll Band

A companion to the identically titled DVD, Tea Leaf Green's live album gave long time fans a high-quality audio version of the San Francisco rockers' best songs and offered new listeners a perfect introduction to their sound. More on the DVD/CD releases here and our exclusive "embedded" weekend interview with TLG from the Dave Matthews Randalls Island Getaway is here.

Block: The Last Single Guy

The star-crossed love child of Beck and Lou Reed, the New York singer-songwriter poetically captures the fading beauty of the Big Apple, ruing the day that Avenue A turned into a "punk theme park." Read our full album review here.

Willy Porter: Available Light

Born of loss, Porter celebrates life on Available Light. Containing a nice dose of Porter's inimitable guitar, it's his songwriting, especially on the post September 11 elegy "One More September," that stands out. Check out our full album review here.

Carolina Chocolate Drops: Dona Got A Ramblin' Mind

The sounds of the Carolina foothills as channeled through a trio of twenty-somethings that know the era only through history books . . . and their mentor, legendary fiddler Joe Thompson.

More on the album here.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: Nothing But The Water

How can you not love a girl who demands her J.J. Cale records back from her ex? And, who looks better in an Earvolution t-shirt? Technically a 2005 release, this album got the remastering and rereleasing treatment for 2006. Anchored by a transcendent title track, Potter & The Nocturnals get bluesy, funky and little gospel on their debut disc. More on the band here.

Foundry Fields Recordings: prompts/miscues

Bleak musings on a post-apocalyptic future never sounded so enjoyable. Front man Billy Schuh's airy voice gives even the direst of visions an optimistic slant.

More on the album here.

Radio Birdman: Zeno Beach

Australia's version of The Ramones wakes from a lengthy slumber and comes up with one of the freshest albums of the year. The veteran rockers crisp, in-your-face songs prove that hard driving rock isn't solely the province of the young.

More on the album here.

Vernon Reid & Masque: Other True Self

Exploring jazz, funk and avant-garde, Reid brings the rock instrumental album out of the doldrums. With Leon Gruenbaum alongside, Masque interprets Depeche Mode and Radiohead and give life to Reid's excellent originals. Vernon Reid spoke to Earvolution about the album and much more here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown: 1933-2006

James Brown: Rest In PieceCome here sister.....Papa's in the swing
He ain't too hip...about that new breed babe
He ain't no drag
Papa's got a brand new bag

Come here mama....and dig this crazy scene
He's not too fancy....but his line is pretty clean
He ain't no drag.
Papa's got a brand new bag

He's doing the Jerk....
He's doing the Fly
Don't play him cheap 'cause you know he ain't shy
He's doing the Monkey, the Mashed Potatoes, Jump back Jack,
See you later

Come here sister
Papa's in the swing
He ain't too hip now
but I can dig that new breed babe;
He ain't no drag
He's got a brand new bag

Oh papa! He's doing the Jerk
Papa...he's doing the Jerk
He's doing the twist ... just like this,
He's doing the Fly ev'ry day and ev'ry night
The thing' the Boomerang.
Hey....come on
Hey! Hey.....come on
Hey! Hey....he's pu tight...out of sight...
Come on. Hey! Hey!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mp3s, News and Notes

Seems everyone wants a piece of Justin Timberlake and Timbaland these days. Duran Duran is the latest to court the dynamic duo for a project. Hey, those boys may be old, but they're not dumb!

If you haven't heard them by now, there are some cool collaborations out between of The Buena Vista Social Club & Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dido, Jack Johnson, Franz Ferdinand, Sting, Bono, Maroon 5, The Kaiser Chiefs, The Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the collection called Rythms Del Mundo go to the Music Rising charity. You check out some of the collaborations here: Dancing Shoes (Arctic Monkeys), Fragilidad (Sting), Killing Me Softly (Omara Portuondo).

Ari Hest has a cover out of Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies." Ari's full length The Break In (recorded with Mitchell Froom) is set for a March 2007 release.

Lots of folks are sending us their holiday songs. Here's one from Ken Tizzard.

Our buddy Rinjo Njori has a new blog "Slave to Shuffle" where he's streaming a handful of songs a day with some commentary on each.

The Democrats may not have Ted Nugent, but they've still got a cool house band for their upcoming celebration concert to mark Nancy Pelosi becoming the first woman elected Speaker of the House.

Scotland continues to be a source for new music. If you missed them, Driveblind played on the Craig Ferguson show, check out the YouTube clip here.

Finally, Schultz Says:

London's High Court awarded Procol Harum keyboardist Matthew Fisher 40% of the copyright in the group's enduring classic "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." Since its release, the copyright had been held by Gary Brooker, Procol Harum's lead singer. In claiming entitlement to half the copyright, Fisher pointed to his creation of the song's memorable organ riff; an argument the High Court agreed with, finding the organ solo "a distinctive and significant contribution to the overall composition." As Fisher waited 40 years to assert his rights, the Court awarded him future, not past, royalties.

Brooker and his attorneys see the decision as a time bomb set to detonate and destroy the entire music industry. In a statement through his attorneys, Brooker pleaded that, "the repercussions of this decision are so far-reaching that any musician who has ever played on any recording in the last 40 years may now have a potential claim of joint authorship."

Somewhere in Europe, the heirs of Johann Sebastian Bach must be scratching their heads . . . and contacting their attorney. (Yes, yes, I know -- public domain. Never let a fact ruin a good finishing line).

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Britney Spears Most Controversial Celebrity?

Apparently Britney Spears has been named the "Most Controversial" celebrity of 2006 by CNN's "Showbiz Tonight." Controversial? Stupid is more like it. Of course, if that were the title of the award she'd lose out to Mel Gibson and Michael Richards.

Speaking of Britney...her ex Justin Timberlake tore it up on Saturday Night Live the other night. No wonder he's earning so much love from indie hipsters these days and stuff like his "Dick in a Box" skit are bound to earn even more props from those predisposed to not like JT's tunes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Noel Gallagher Praises Arctic Monkeys & Accuses Green Day of Stealing

We're so used to seeing Noel Gallagher of Oasis slamming others (like calling U2 wankers) it's always a shocker to see him say nice things about someone. Seems Noel is a bit of an Arctic Monkeys fan, or at least respects their work. In the upcoming January edition of Stuff Magazine, when asked about the young band Noel says:

"Good lads, good tunes, good attitudes, good spirit. Noisy, loud and fast. I like 'em." Of course, Noel, being Noel, wasn't so charitable to everyone. In the interview he also calls Pete Doherty overrated and says Green Day ripped off "Wonderwall" for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams."

That's more like the Noel we've heard in the past.

Monday, December 18, 2006

U2: Window in the Skies

In case you haven't seen it yet, U2 has a video circulating for the song "Window in the Skies" off their latest greatest hits record U218 Singles. The video has some classic footage of Zappa, Elvis, Sinatra, Bob Marley, Johnny Cash, Nirvana and many more. Watch it on YouTube here.

The video reminds me of the Rattle and Hum days when they paid homage to their musical heroes. Some took it as U2 trying to put themselves on the same level of various legends like Dylan, but hopefully a few decades later people realize that despite Bono's massive ego these guys actually are music fans too.

Guns 'N Roses Mini-Reunion

Original Guns 'N Roses guitarist Izzy Stradlin joined his fellow Indiana Hoosier Axl Rose on stage last night at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Izzy, who has appeared at a quite a few shows already on this tour, reportedly played a handful of songs.

Izzy still continues to release solo records, although I wish he'd kept the Ju Ju Hounds together, and despite his penchant for ducking publicity also maintains a website for his projects. He's even got a video circulating on YouTube for the song "Hammerhead."

Given Izzy's songwriting ability, as evidenced by the GNR catalog, Axl would be wise
to continue to cultivate that relationship. Who knows maybe Izzy can help Chinese Democracy turn into an actual record?

MP3s, News and Notes

The Trainwreck Riders, who in addition to having a great band name, have a very well done video for a "holiday" track called "Christmas Blues" - check it out on YouTube and you can listen all you like to the mp3 here.

Aberdeen City is also in the holiday spirit. They've put together their own Christmas diddy "Just Like Christmas," which you can download here, along with what they say is a "never-released late night driving version of 'God is Going To Get Sick of Me'".

Barry Gibb has bought Johnny Cash's old house and has decided he's a country singer. Not sure that disco polyester is actually country...just sayin.

After a year in Memphis, the 6th Annual Ponderosa Stomp music festival returns home to New Orleans.

The Kaiser Chiefs announced a North American tour for 2007 with the first stop at NYC's Roseland Ballroom. Hey, its never too early to begin promotion!

Speaking of early promotion, Grant Lee Phillips will release his latest record, Strangelet, on March 27th for Zoë / Rounder Records. R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck helps out a bit on the project.

Kristin Hersh of Throwing Muses and 50 Ft. Wave fame adds another record to her solo discography with Learn to Sing Like a Star - you can download "In Shock" here.

Brooklyn's Ranier Maria, depsite naming their last record Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, has apparently broken up. I had the please of catching their show and briefly meeting Caithlin and crew this summer in Philadephia. Good band, I hope they stay in music in some form or another.

The American Beauty Project lineup is set and Jen Chapin, Railroad Earth, Jay Farrar and a host of others will celebrate and perform the Dead's American Beauty and Workingman's Dead at a during a free set of shows in NYC on January 20th and 21st.

Pete Doherty reportedly says he misses Carl Barat - but but not for the music. Meanwhile, his lady love Kate Moss may have "banned" Doherty's duets with another woman.

"Oh, Honey It Was Paradise": Lou Reed Brings Berlin To Brooklyn

Lou Reed BerlinBy: David Schultz

In 1972 Lou Reed, the iconoclastic leader of the Velvet Underground, kick started his solo career with Transformer and its hit single "Walk On The Wild Side." In line with his truly individualistic flair, Reed followed up Transformer with Berlin, arguably the most depressing album ever recorded.

Using the stark, frank language that has always characterized his work, Reed populated Berlin with characters that are either on the edge or well past it. Initially reviled by critics, Berlin even baffled Reed's staunchest fans. Over the years, popular opinion caught up with the genius of Reed's unflinching narrative. Today, Berlin customarily appears amongst comprehensive lists of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. Following in the footsteps of Roger Waters and Brian Wilson, who respectively gave cover-to-cover performances of Dark Side Of The Moon and Smile during their recent tours, Reed has returned to Berlin, gathering the album's original producer Bob Ezrin, musical producer Hall Willner and stage director Julian Schabel to resurrect the classic album.

In lovingly reproducing Berlin, which featured Jack Bruce on bass and Steve Winwood on organ, Reed left no note untouched. For the slate of shows at St. Ann's Warehouse in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn, Steve Hunter joined Reed, recreating his guitar solos and riffs from the original album. In addition to the returning Hunter, Reed enlisted long time band members bassist Fernando Saunders and drummer Tony "Thunder" Smith, former band member Rob Wasserman on stand-up bass, Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, keyboardist Rupert Christie, a brass section led by trumpeter Steven Bernstein, a string section featuring cellist Jane Scarpantoni and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

Reed has a penchant for paying little regard to his older material: when the mood strikes him, he's been known to rush through lyrics or modify them on the fly. For the Berlin performances, he's not only hitting all his cues, he's playing with a renewed energy. Cutting through the hushed silence that accompanied the drawing of the curtain, the show opened with a brief overture comprised of the chorus of "Sad Song." Reed walked onto Julian Schnabel's sparse but ornate set during the delicate piano strains of "Berlin" and immediately recaptured the song's bygone decadence. Reed primarily played rhythm guitar, leaving the leads in the hands of Hunter, who played them on the album. With cameras occasionally stationed in his lap, Hunter played with relish, invigorating "Caroline Says - Part 1" and "How Do You Think It Feels." Reminiscent of the days when Andy Warhol showed movies on the Velvet Underground, domestic scenes filmed by Lola Schnabel were projected onto the set's back wall during "The Kids" and "The Bed," contrasting and giving pathos to the songs' desolate, harrowing imagery.

After the featured performance, Reed and the band returned sans orchestra and brass for a brief closing set comprised of Velvet Underground classics "Sweet Jane" and "Candy Says," disappointingly finishing with Reed’s later-era "The Rock Minuet." Given their choice, the predominantly Baby Boomer audience would have likely cheered triumphantly throughout the entire performance. However, the theater-style environs, which provided excellent acoustics, combined with Reed's authoritarian demeanor and legendary short temper had the crowd a bit cowed, wavering between reverence and wild appreciation. With Reed's approval, they got a chance to cut loose during "Candy Says." After being relatively silent during Berlin, Antony took center stage on the Velvet's classic, his ghostly falsetto transcending the four decade old tune. After a couple verses, Reed gave an awed expression to Antony and then the crowd before gesturing them to give the singer his due.

After his four night stay at St. Ann's Warehouse, Reed will bring Berlin to the Sydney Festival in Australia for a three night run in January of 2007. In leaving Germany off of the schedule, you can only wonder where Reed will take New York when he gets around to recreating it sometime in the future.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Music For Troops

Music For Troops Music For Troops is registered 501(c)3 non profit that sends donated music to our Troops at home & away from home. The organization was founded by performer / songwriter, Cat Hughes. Cat has sent over 200,000 copies of her songs to US troops stationed around the world.

Music is donated from the entertainment industry at large and sent to our troops free of charge in a secured multimedia transfer method. Bands can upload songs for giveway and get a tax break. Not in a band? Donate a few bucks to help out a great cause.

Mp3s, News and Notes

The preliminary line-up for the 10,000 Lakes Festival includes Bob Weir & RatDog, Trey Anastasio, Umphrey's McGee, Gov't Mule, Little Feat & The Derek Trucks Band.

Slate will premiere the new Bob Dylan video for "Thunder on the Mountain," from his latest Modern Times tomorrow. The video features archival footage of Dylan performing over the past four decades and Slate will also be hosting a contest where you can try to identify the years various pieces of footage were shot with the winner getting a guitar signed by Dylan.

Mp3s worth checking out -

Kristoffer Ragnstam: "Breakfast By The Mattress"

The Slip: "Even Rats"

Jeremy Enigk: "Been Here Before"

Robbers On High Street: "The Fatalist"

Pablo: "Loser Crew"

CinematicsGlasgow's The Cinematics - a band I think we'll hear a lot more of in 2007 - will include this cover of Beck's "Sunday Sun" on their debut full length A Strange Education is due out in February and the lads hope to do some extensive US touring in support. That's a show I will surely try to catch. Viva Scotland!

Keller Williams is about to kick off a winter tour and announced his new record will hit stores February 7th - dream will feature appearances from various luminaries including Béla Fleck, Bob Weir, Martin Sexton, Michael Franti, Steve Kimock, The String Cheese Incident and Victor Wooten.

Lizard King's Latest: The Pierces

The PiercesLizard King Records US, the new branch of the UK label which signed The Killers in 2004 and smartly broke them in the UK first, is launching a roster of new acts here in the States. The Pierces (sisters Catherine and Allison) will be the first out of the gate for Lizard King Records US. The ladies recently completed a jaunt in Europe opening for Albert Hammond, Jr., on part of his time away from The Strokes.

The Pierces upcoming record Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge was produced by Roger Grenawalt (Ben Kweller, Adam Green) and will hit stores in February 2007. Meanwhile you can check out two tracks here: Boy in a Rock 'n' Roll Band and Go To Heaven.

If you are in the New York area you can catch them live December 22 at Maxwells in Hoboken and January 5th at the Mercury Lounge.

New Music Coming from America

AmericaNew music from America - yes, that America - will hit stores on January 16th when Burgundy Records releases Here & Now, a 2-CD set. Founding members Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell team up with indie rock producers Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne) and James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins) to record 12 new songs, featuring collaborations with Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and members of My Morning Jacket, Fountains of Wayne and Nada Surf. You can listen to "Ride On" featuring Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and Adam Schlesinger here:
Windows Media / Real / Quicktime

On growing up listening to America, Jim James of My Morning Jacket says "I used to lay on the living room floor, when my family was out of town at the ocean and I couldn't go cuz I had some stuff to do for school...and just cry my eyes out to America, and think of all the fun my family was having at the ocean. [Songs like] 'Tin Man,' 'Ventura Highway,' 'Lonely People,' 'Sister Golden Hair,' (Windows Media / Real / Quicktime) many jams. They are premier architects of harmony. They built temples in my brain as a child and the ruins are still there."

Shawn Colvin: These Four Walls

Shawn ColvinBy: David Schultz

The late nineties ushered in a new wave of recognition for female singer-songwriters, peaking with the Lilith Fair Festivals. Shawn Colvin, one of the stalwarts from this era, celebrated her 50th birthday earlier this year. On These Four Walls, her first studio album in five years, Colvin shows she hasn't lost her penchant for skillful songcraft. Rejoining her musical partner John Leventhal, the album features a pleasant collection of Colvin's uncomplicated arrangements.

Hardly an album of confinement, These Four Walls sees the reflective Colvin adding the perspective that comes from age. Still in strong voice, Colvin conveys innocence and empowerment in the smoky "I'm Gone" and gorgeously adapts Paul Westerberg's "Even Here We Are" into her own style. Colvin's guitar and sweetly refined voice form the centerpiece of this essentially timeless album. She runs the gamut from light and airy on "Fill Me Up," folksy on "Summer Dress," country-blues on "Tuff Kid" and the classic fifties style on "Venetian Blue." The cover of The Bee Gees' "Words," reportedly dashed off in one take, sounds like its burst from Colvin's soul, closing the album with a stunning burst of emotion.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Raapper Wants Pink Floyd on Next Record

Rapper Lupe Fiasco wants to do the seemingly impossible: reunite Pink Floyd. And, moreover, the ambitious hip-hopper wants them to reunite for his project.

Undaunted by history and statements made by key band members, Lupe thinks he can get it done:

"'American Terrorist' wasn't going to be on the album, because we heard Chick Corea doesn't like hip-hop," Fiasco told "But we went the extra mile to make sure he heard the rest of the record and could see that there was no cursing, and that there was positivity. We were taking extra care with his work and not putting any garbage out there. It's that same approach with Floyd. I'm really serious!"

I'm sure he is. In fact, I may ask Pink Floyd to be on my next record. Ok, I don't make records, but if these guys are available I may have to start. Or, maybe I'll ring Paul and Ringo...yeah, that's the ticket.

Guns N Roses Cancel Show

Tonight's scheduled Guns N Roses show at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, CA has been cancelled. There was no explanation offered for the cancellation, but the Gun's website had this brief statement:

"Sincere apologies go out to all the fans in Fresno who bought a ticket. We hope you can make it to the band's show in Oakland, CA at the ORACLE Arena (formerly Oakland Arena) on Friday night the 15th of December, which will proceed as scheduled. Refunds for the Fresno show are available at point of purchase."

Meanwhile, anyone left waiting for the infamous Chinese Democracy record is well...still waiting. As Schultz says, believe it when you see it.

Arctic Monkeys Will Put On Own Festival

The Arctic Monkeys have been a major sensation, yet they still are often booked into relatively small venues that quickly sell out leaving some fans out in the proverbial (or depending on the season, literal) cold. Growing tired of that result, the lads are taking matters into their own hands and will put on their own 50,000+ ticketed festival next summer.

Matt Helders tells NME: "People always say they can't get tickets to our gigs, so hopefully there won't be any problems this time. We've got control of it, we can do what we want really." "We've always fancied the idea of having our own event. Just something where we can pick the bands and just have a day where we can do a bigger gig - so we can get away without doing arenas."

Tickets for the July gig will go on general sale on Friday December 15 at 12.30pm. You can register on their official website to gain access to a pre-sale the day before. In addition to announcing the festival, to be held in Manchester, the Monkeys say their new record will be out by next spring.

Block: The Last Single Guy

By: David Schultz

Jamie Block, who performs under his last name, has been a bit of a mainstay on the New York singer-songwriter circuit for quite a few years. He flirted with success in the late 90s, releasing his debut album on Glen Ballard's Java Records.

Earlier this year, Block released The Last Single Guy, his first album in nearly 8 years. Coming onto the market with little fanfare, the sparse but poetic album slipped through the cracks. Right about the time that it might otherwise be fading into obscurity, DJ Claudia Marshall of New York City's WFUV has been making a one-woman effort to revive interest in Block's worthy effort.

Although not strictly a do-it-yourself effort, The Last Single Guy has the same warm quirky feel that Beck infuses into his work, getting the same mileage of simple repetitive beats. Block's voice may not be expressive but his lyrics are. When it comes to looking at the present in terms of what's missing from the past, Block can surely turn a poetic phrase. Over most of the album, Block sings in a dry deadpan voice a la fellow New Yorker Lou Reed; the delivery perfectly matches the mood of the songs. In "Avenue A," he mourns the transformation of the once hip area into "a punk theme park;" on "Molly Malone" he updates a timeless folk song into an urban locale and closes the album by giving an ironic twist to the old standard "Show Business." In an era where DJs have little opportunity to introduce their audience to music that might otherwise escape their attention, Marshall's efforts to find an audience for Block deserve recognition and hopefully enough positive feedback to encourage other DJs to repeat the gambit.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cleaning Out the In Box: Mp3s, Videos & News

Matisyahu will be a guest host on Sirius' reggae channel (32) "Reggae Rhythms" starting Friday, December 15, and airing through sundown on on Saturday, December 23 – the duration of Hanukkah.

Keegan DeWitt and the Sparrows will be at the Knitting Factory in NYC this Thursday night. Keegan says they are also doing a record release show January 12th with Roman Candle (V2 Records) at Sin-e.

If you're in the Philadelphia area, you can check out the Pawnshop Roses on NBC affiliate WCAU's "The 10! Show" this coming Thursday morning, December 14th.

Oslo's Bonk, who have toured Europe with the Hives and Franz Ferdinand, has a new video for the track "Homecoming" and are set to hit the US and SXSW in 2007.

Eryc Eyl says: "Paranoid, desperate and utterly danceable, the music of the Photo Atlas blends the angularity of Fugazi, the gut-punch of At The Drive-In and the relentless rump-shaking of the Rapture into a dangerously sexy dancefloor detonator." Check out the track "Handshake Heart Attack" here.

Bent Left and Outlaw are coming East on their "KC Punks Invade" tour and have a couple NY dates: The Bug Jar on Wednesday, Jan. 3 - 219 Monroe Ave. in Rochester and Friday, January 5th at Sputnik - 262 Taaffee Place in Brooklyn.

Speaking of Brooklyn, Odd Czar is throwing a cd release bash this week on December 14, 2006 @ Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, with special guests: The Attorneys.

Simon Dawes just did a handful of dates with Wolfmother. Their live video for "Awful Things" is up on YouTube and you can check out a previously unreleased track called "Everybody Knows" here.

Speaking of Wolfmother, another band who knows the glory of old school rock is Earl Greyhound. You can catch them twice in NYC this week: the 14th @ Snitch & the 16th @ Delancey.

Sierra SwanSierra Swan has an interesting voice. She's signed to Linda Perry's Custard label (through Interscope) and you can check out her video for "Copper Read" here. Sierra has also teamed up with Aimee Mann on "Get Down To It" - listen here.

My Morning Jacket, The New Pornographers and Cat Power have been added to the Langerado Festival, which already boasts OAR, Trey Anastasio, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Tea Leaf Green and a couple dozen more great bands.

Mariah Carey Confused with Mary Carey?

Photo Credit Mary Carey MySpace ProfileFormer California gubernatorial candidate and current porn star Mary Carey has encountered resistance to her attempt to trademark her name. Pop diva Mariah Carey has reportedly threatened legal action if the adult film star persists in her efforts to register her mark, citing the possibility of confusion in the market place.

Getting past the entertainment value of the battle of the Careys, perhaps there's something here we can all get excited about. As the trademark law protects the use of similar and potentially confusing marks within the same field and Mary Carey seems to have no interest in a music career, could Mariah Carey be contemplating moving on from Glitter to a new type of film where her poor acting won't be a hindrance?

(Note to Mariah Carey's extremely litigious and potentially overly literal-minded attorneys: this is what is called humor).

Monday, December 11, 2006

Meat Loaf: Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose

Meat LoafBy: David Schultz

You would think that the key to the success of any album entitled Bat Out Of Hell would rest on Meat Loaf's shoulders. Given that Meat Loaf's bombastic voice sounds the same on Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose as it does on the trilogy's two prior chapters, the time may be ripe to talk about the significance of Jim Steinman's contribution to the storied franchise. Even though the Meat Loaf name is emblazoned above the title of all of his albums, Bat Out Of Hell has always symbolized the winning combination of Meat Loaf singing the songs of Jim Steinman. It's a recipe that has worked to such perfection that any of their separate musical efforts have paled noticeably in comparison. Whether from poor health or a differing attitude towards the project, Steinman appears on The Monster Is Loose in spirit only with the album suffering in his absence.

During his 2005 summer tour, Meat Loaf introduced the Steinman-penned "Only When I Feel" as a track written for the new album. Not only is that track absent from Bat III, none of the Steinman songs appear to be created with this project in mind. Bat Out Of Hell III scavengers Steinman's back catalog of material, cherry-picking compositions written for other projects: some songs were earmarked for a Batman musical, others appeared in MTV's production of Wuthering Heights; "Bad For Good" first appeared as the title track on Jim Steinman's 1981 solo album and "It's All Coming To Back To Me Now" (originally intended for Bat Out Of Hell II) has been recorded by Celine Dion.

With half the album containing Steinman leftovers, the other half finds producer/songwriter Desmond Child doing his best to imitate Steinman. A capable substitute for Steinman on the production end, Child's attempts to replicate Steinman's songwriting style and structure fall short. On "Blind As A Bat" and "If God Can Talk," Child comes closest to crafting songs ideally suited for Meat Loaf's voice and style. However, misfires like "The Monster Is Loose" and "Monstro" try to bring Meat Loaf into the 21st Century and sound more like Bat Out Of Hell parodies. The allure of the first two Bat Out Of Hell albums derived from their near-Broadway musical, Wagnerian opera scope of the music, Steinman's ability to couch potentially sophomoric material in resonant ways and Meat Loaf's singular skill in delivering the whole package. Too much of Bat Out Of Hell III, especially Child's songs, forgoes that formula. In trying to modernize his sound by bringing in guitarists Steve Vai and Brian May in featured roles, Meat Loaf moves too far away from what made Bat Out Of Hell a marketable brand.

It can't really be said that this album has been rushed to the market: it's been thirteen years since Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, but it feels like it's put together hastily. Instead of sounding like the final chapter of a thirty-year saga, the odds and ends feel of The Monster Is Loose comes across more as a bonus disc of lost tracks and leftovers. The album's penultimate track, "The Future Ain't What It Used To Be," captures the Bat Out Of Hell magic, showing that Meat Loaf remains the best vehicle for Steinman's songs. If there's a Bat Out Of Hell IV, let's hope they remember that.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rodrigo Y Gabriela Add Winter Tour Dates

Rodrigo Y Gabriela have added some new shows:

12/13 Philadelphia / WXPN show at TLA.
12/14 Denver KBCO show (with Guster.)
12/15 Seattle @ Chop Suey
12/16 Chicago @ The Hideout
1/26 Los Angeles @ The Troubador

An NYC date is said to be announced soon. You can also check out some of their stellar guitar work on this new clip for the song "Tamacun": Windows / Quicktime / Real.

Norah Jones is "Thinking About You"

Norah JonesNorah Jones has a new record titled Not Too Late coming out January 30th, 2007. She's released a new single from the record called "Thinking About You" that you can check out here: Windows Media / Quicktime / Real

Not Too Late was produced by songwriting partner and bassist Lee Alexander. The record also features a couple of notable guests including singer M. Ward, organist Larry Goldings, and Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler.

The Bassist From Another Planet: Victor Wooten Descends Upon Irving Plaza

Photo from VictorWooten.comBy: David Schultz

Victor Wooten has to be from Mars: human beings simply don't play bass like he does. Typically, the otherworldly bassist can be found playing bass with Bela Fleck as one of the Flecktones, but when not playing with the banjo led collective of eclectic musicians, Wooten bides his time as a musician's musician. Kicking off a wintry Manhattan December, Wooten brought his Soul Circus, which included his older brothers Regi and Joseph, to New York City's Irving Plaza.

Throughout his two hour set, Wooten blithely incorporated his bass into many different styles. Any band relying heavily on their bass player will find their way into light jazz and that's where Wooten began his show. For the most part Wooten kept the show very upbeat, running through the funky, self-affirming "Victa" early in the show, bouncing through a lively "My Life" later in the evening. With the exception of Saundra Williams who fronted a smoky rendition of "Summertime" and "Ain't No Sunshine," Wooten's band relied more on their musicianship than vocals.

Wooten surrounded himself with an impressive band, mostly consisting of members of his family. After introducing his older brother Regi Wooten to the crowd as the man who taught him how to play, “The Teacher,” as Victor calls him, gave proof that the entire family might not be of this world. Taking lead on guitar, Regi led the band through a funky rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir," a fun romp through Jimi Hendrix' "Fire" before concluding his otherworldly spot with an Eddie Van Halen-like guitar solo. A similar attempt to spotlight Joseph Wooten on keyboards failed to produce the same fireworks.

In general, a twenty minute bass solo will cause the most adventurous audiences to cringe. In this case, it's what everyone came for and Wooten didn't disappoint. Holding off on the inevitable showcase until the end of the show, Wooten worked his magic with drummer Derico Watson and a looping machine providing minimal accompaniment. Running through many different techniques, Wooten left no doubt that the nickname "the Michael Jordan of bass" is more than fan-inspired braggadocio.

Photo from

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My Morning Jacket Shines In NYC

By: David Schultz

My Morning Jacket has reached the stage of buzziness where they can simply do no wrong. Lauded in nearly every musical circle for the last couple of years, My Morning Jacket has killed at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival with a 3½ hour midnight set, brought crowds to the arena early during their summer stint opening act for Pearl Jam and have had fellow rockers Grace Potter & The Nocturnals running ragged to catch them play over the summer. All windows of immunity someday close, usually with an accompanying backlash. For My Morning Jacket, still riding the critical and commercial success of their 2005 release Z, that time has not yet come; nor does it seem imminent. Sometimes the world works out right.

Photo by Kevanne

MMJ have owed a visit to the Big Apple for quite some time. Due to complications from pneumonia befalling lead singer and guitarist Jim James, the Louisville, Kentucky rockers had to bail out of their last scheduled appearance, a New Year's Eve show at Madison Square Garden with the Black Crowes and North Mississippi AllStars. They made the most of their return by quickly selling out the roomy Roseland Ballroom. Unlike some other sold-out shows at the venue, Roseland felt sold-out: on the outside, the scalpers seemed a bit more prevalent and a lot more confident in their ability to unload extras; on the inside, the standing room - a little more claustrophobic, the beer lines - a little lengthier, the balconies and raised side stage - a little more populated.

Entrancing on record, My Morning Jacket are equally captivating on stage. Casting ominous silhouettes behind a gigantic translucent screen, the band opened the show appearing larger than life, easing into their opener, "One Big Holiday." A flute away from looking like Ian Anderson, Jim James was the focal point of the show; the crowd hanging on his every movement while he bounced, loped and swayed across the stage. While lead singers and front men always garner the most attention, they are nothing without a quality band behind them. Along with James, charter members Patrick Hallahan (drums) and Two-Tone Tommy (bass) and relatively recent additions Carl Broemel (guitar) and Bo Koster (keys) create an intriguing mix of sleepy psychedelia and dreamy blues. James' haunting voice deftly creates the same aura as Neil Young, giving a doleful feel to surreal carnivalesque dirges that call to mind Robbie Robertson and The Band. On "Off The Record" they incorporate a reggae beat before devolving into a seventies-era Stones groove. Going back even farther, their set closer, "They Ran," adhered to the more restrictive structure of the sixties soul standards, relying on James' vocals to convey the song's power.

On some level, MMJ look like a raw, hairy group of savages but there's a lot of finesse to the songs, especially how they play them. When they jammed, they met at the drum stand, much like Pearl Jam used to do in their formative years. Playing off each other as well as playing with each other, James and Broemel used Two-Tone's rumbling bass to take "Dondante" to lofty dimensions. During the relatively sedate encore, capped by impassioned if not hurried runs through "Mahgeetah" and "Anytime," Broemel showed true versatility. Remaining primarily on guitar for the main set, he contributed heavily to the country-blues feel: beginning the encore on the pedal steel guitar accompanying James on a duet of "Tonight I Want To Celebrate With You" and then breaking out the saxophone for "Nashville To Kentucky."

The cavernous Roseland Ballroom, which doesn't always provide the best acoustics, was not the best match for My Morning Jacket's straightforward style. On the surface, it felt that some intangible was missing from the performance. However, My Morning Jacket doesn't lack passion, they don't lack skill, they don't lack for quality songs and they surely don't lack for a mighty crowd response. Rather, the nagging feeling resulted from the fact that MMJ's gimmick-free style of playing each song as hard as they can didn't belong in a ballroom, they belonged in a much larger arena.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Crossing The Diamond With The Pearl: Interview With U-Melt's Zac Lasher

By: David Schultz

2006 has been an extremely eventful and productive year for Zac Lasher, Rob Salzer, Adam Bendy and George Miller, collectively and better known as U-Melt. After securing February's New Groove of the Month from, U-Melt closed out April's Jammy Awards show with one of their signature high-octane late-night sets. Later in the year, U-Melt celebrated the late September release of their second studio album, The I's Mind, with, what else, an after-hours show at New York City's Knitting Factory. In addition to lighting up the Big Apple, U-Melt has been exponentially broadening their fan base through constant touring, headlining clubs as well as pairing up with their brethren in Tea Leaf Green and moe. As the year comes to a close, U-Melt will be beginning 2007 as it began 2006: ringing in the New Year on stage in New York City with a set starting right around the same time most other celebrations will be winding down.

On The I's Mind, U-Melt effectively captured their sprawling, free-ranging sound within the confines of the studio. Out of necessity, the songs are shorter than their live counterparts but they hardly feel edited. Highlighted by the interplay between Lasher's lofty, soaring keyboard rolls and Salzer's precise, focused guitar solos, The I's Mind is nice showcase for the band, nicely showcasing the various twists and turns that are identified with U-Melt. On the whole, The I's Mind has the feel of an early Phish album: the opener "Air" and "Different Things" come with a nice catchy hooks; "Escape" and "Cloud Box" feature numerous interesting musical passages and "415" shows that not every song needs to be amped up in order to groove.

In addition to giving U-Melt their distinctive sound with his oftentimes luxurious keyboards, Zac Lasher also assists in giving the band its voice as one of their songwriters. Always open, friendly and humorous, Lasher's not just a student of the music but a keen observer of the scene that surrounds it. Over an increasingly rare break in U-Melt's schedule, Lasher took some time to answer some of Earvolution's questions about U-Melt's new album, the never ending tour schedule and their evolution into the kings of late-night.

Earvolution: Over the last couple years, U-Melt's catalog has grown pretty rapidly. How did you go about selecting the songs to include on The I's Mind?

Lasher: We definitely had a lot of options . . . which was really nice. We started thinking about the track listing at the beginning of the year when we were rehearsing some new songs. We noticed that our recent writing was all going along a certain theme, so we put those songs aside to save for the next album. Then we looked at what we had left over and worked from there. There were certain songs like "Air," "415," "Different Things" and "Cloud Box" that we knew we wanted to get on this one. Then we looked at our other options and decided what would fit best with those songs. We wanted to create something that flowed while, at the same time, being all over the place - which is pretty much what we try to do with our live shows too.

Earvolution: Many of the songs on The I's Mind have traditionally run twenty minutes or so on stage. In crafting studio versions of the songs, did you encounter any difficulties in reining the songs in to fit on the disc?

Lasher: It really wasn't that challenging. Songs like "Air," "415" and "Funknine," we just kept the solo sections short as opposed to really taking our time with them. "Different Things" is exactly as we play it live . . . there's never any jam in that song; "Cloud Box" was recorded as it was written: we put a jam in it when we play it out, because it's a nice kind of groove and mood to improvise on, but when I wrote it I didn't intend it to be a 15 minute thing with a long jam in it. I think the same goes for "Escape."

Photo Credit: Ted WongEarvolution: Did you approach the recording of The I's Mind differently from The Unbelievable Meltdown? What were the differences?

Lasher: For one thing we had Josh [Parrish, sound engineer] on board, which made a huge difference in the overall sound of the album. We all had a much better idea about what we were doing in the studio though, and were certainly more comfortable. As for the approach, for the first album we pretty much did everything like we would live. For this one, we played some parts to a click track and did a lot more editing. Some songs were recorded in separate sections and then pieced together in post. We didn't do that for the first album, but that allowed us to sync up effects and synth parts and such. We paid much more attention to the vocals on this one too.

Earvolution: It seems as if U-Melt has been on a constant tour over the past eighteen months. What effects has the road had on U-Melt's music? Have the demands of the road taken any sort of physical/mental toll on the band?

Lasher: It's had a huge effect on our performance. I think that the only way to get good at playing in front of people is to play in front of people. You also learn a lot about the songs by playing them for an audience. You learn what works and what doesn't - well, you do if you're paying attention. I wouldn't say it's taken a toll on the band . . . we're always pretty burned out by the end of the year, but then we take a couple months away from touring to recharge.

Earvolution: What's your favorite part of being on tour?

Lasher: Aside from the hours upon hours spent in a van with 4 other dudes? It's definitely all the great people I get to meet. We've got this really cool little community forming around the music, and watching that happen is really the coolest thing in the world. I really feel that the music is only a part of the big picture. The music isn't the end - it's just the conduit for the real purpose of a band: to establish connections between people. I see the music as a beacon around which people who are on a common wavelength can gather, ya know? I look at bands like The Dead and Phish - to a lesser degree moe. and Panic and Pearl Jam - these bands that spend a decade or more touring and touring and touring . . . they have these communities that form around them . . . people meet, ideas are exchanged, bonds are formed, people get married, have kids, and then before you know it, these bands have contributed to the propagation and hopefully the evolution of the species. I think that's really the goal of any art. So when we're on the road and I meet all these people who come to the shows, and they're really cool people . . . then they come to our message board and meet each other and become friends - I can see the early seeds of this family forming, and it's very exciting.

Photo Credit: Ted WongEarvolution: Do you mind the "jamband" label? Do you think the term unfairly pigeonholes bands?

Lasher: Well, to say a band is a jamband doesn't really describe the sound. I think it describes a philosophy about performance rather than a sound, and it's definitely a philosophy to which we subscribe. So you can say we're a jamband, but, you know, it hardly tells the whole story. There are such so many disparate kinds of music that you can apply the "jamband" label to - there's jambands that are roots rock bands, jambands that are jazz bands, jambands that are bluegrass bands, jambands are trance bands . . . and we're none of those, but then again, at times we're all of those. When it comes down to it though, labels really mean nothing. People put labels on things so that they can try to understand them without digging deep to actually understand them. The only way to understand the kind of music that a given band plays is to listen to the music.

That said, I've been around the jam scene for many years. I've taken what I think is great about it and tried to incorporate it into my writing and my playing. At the same time, I've seen the pitfalls that a lot of jambands encounter, and I've tried to avoid those. The thing that I've noticed the most is that the players in the really great jambands are all relatively fearless, they all really know how to play their instruments, they all listen very well and they're all comfortable playing many different styles of music. That's something I really aspire to - there's a level of virtuosity there that's not found in the more commercial genres. I mean, there are some bad-ass players in this scene. There's also a level of fun and freeness there that isn't found in the more traditionally disciplined genres. It doesn't take itself too seriously, ya know? I like that I can take a classical form and put it in something that just rocks.

I think that the thing that really defines what a jamband is to me is the crowd. I find that jam-fans are some of the best music fans around. They're open minded, hungry for new sounds, and when necessary, forgiving. They want to hear their favorite bands stretch out and try new things and they realize that it doesn't always work. They don't expect perfection all the time and they understand that the exchange of energy between band and audience and back again is what it's really all about. Jam-fans are active participants in the show and they create a really wonderful atmosphere in which to play music. I love the community and that's a large reason that we play the music that we play.

Earvolution: Last year's New Years Eve show at Coda will be the subject of a new DVD. Was the recording of that show always intended to be a DVD? What did you see in the tape that made it ideal for your first DVD?

Lasher: The DVD is entirely the brainchild and work of our good friend Alison Holmes. She designed our logo, did the art for The I's Mind and she shoots a lot of our shows. She did a 3 camera shoot of the New Years show and has spent the better part of the year editing it and putting together the special features and such. It's pretty awesome actually . . . there are some really trippy effects, but it's all very tasteful. I'm pretty excited about it. That was a really great show for us. I think we really turned a corner as a band that night, so it's cool that it was documented in this way.

Earvolution: This year U-Melt will once again return to New York City for New Year's Eve. What types of feelings does returning to NYC bring out in you and the band?

Lasher: It's just great. NYC is our home base, so it's always good to come home. It's such an amazing town. There's an energy there that is unlike anything I've felt anywhere else. It's also one of the few places that you can play until 6 am, which is a fun thing to do on a night like that. We always have a ton of friends in the crowd so there's so much love. This is going to be our third consecutive year doing the late-night thing in New York on New Years, It's always a great way to end one year and bring in the next on a very high point. There's nowhere else I'd rather be on that night.

Earvolution: From what other bands or what other sources does U-Melt derive their musical inspiration from?

Lasher: Our influences are all over the place really - and I think that's reflected in our sound. The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Pink Floyd, Phish, 1980's pop, 1970's disco, modern jazz, psychedelic trance, musical theater, modern rock, 20th century orchestral music, classical Indian raga. We've all lived our lives with very open ears, and we've all spent time studying a wide range of music so there is really influence from everywhere. We try to bring it all together into something cohesive.

Earvolution: As the main songwriter, where do you get your inspiration from? Are you writing songs in general or are you creating with the band in mind?

Lasher: Well, for the record, Rob [Salzer] and I really share the duty of primary songwriters - which is important. I've always wanted to be in a band where there was another songwriter who could push me and challenge me, and I've really found that in Rob. Over the past 3 years, his writing has become as big of an influence on mine as anything else, and I imagine he can say the same about me. It's really cool, because our styles have really started to merge and grow together to a large degree - which has probably been the singular most important aspect to the evolution of our sound. What's even more exciting though is that over the past year-and-a-half, we've been writing about the same ideas . . . we noticed this at the beginning of the year and decided to really run with it. So we have this batch of material that is all really about the same kind of thing, which I think adds to the cohesive nature of our music.

I definitely write with the band in mind. The guys are all really good musicians, so I have to write music that will be challenging and fun for them to play. I might be more inclined to write simpler stuff if that weren't the case - but it's great because we all push each other. Rob and I write stuff that forces us all to push our abilities as players. In turn our newfound chops push the writing to go in new directions too . . . it's a beautifully vicious circle.

Earvolution: In putting together U-Melt's songs, are they designed to be lengthy? How do they grow?

Lasher: The writing process is usually very organic for me. I don't ever say "O.K., I'm gonna write a 12 minute song." It just ends up that way more often than not. I find it very exciting when you can introduce a theme and then go really far away from it, only to bring it back several minutes, keys and modes later. I come from a background steeped in classical and theatrical tradition where the songs all have an arc; they are a little journey - there is a beginning, a middle and an end - and when you get to the end you're in a different place then where you started. I think that most rock songs are different. They're more like photographs - a snapshot of a moment - I see my songs more as mini movies or plays that contain many of those moments.

I just really love writing music, and I have a hard time stopping myself. I always have a huge backlog of ideas, and I tend to keep piling them on top of each other. I'll write a verse and a chorus, and then I'll go to write the bridge, and the bridge ends up being a 7 minute long journey - and then I throw in a place for us to improvise and the next thing you know it's this monster of a composition that takes 20 minutes to perform live, and even with all the improv stripped away it clocks in at 15 minutes of composed music. We just started playing a new song I wrote called "Clear Light," which is one of the longest, most involved pieces I've written. I decided to rein it in a bit after that, so I intentionally limited myself to a more traditional structure for the next song I wrote. That one clocks in around 5 minutes, and I think it's one of the best things I've ever written. I'm going to be doing more of that in the future, though at the moment, I'm working on a few more monsters.

Earvolution: U-Melt has made late-night, after-hours gigs a specialty. How did this become a U-Melt staple?

Lasher: It just kind of happened. When we were just starting off, we'd get these 4 am slots at festivals. We do the whole dance-hall trance thing, so it worked for us, and we were able to really capitalize on it. Ya know, I've spent many a late night wandering around festival grounds or in the clubs in New York City, so I feel at home playing at that time. We'd also try to inject something different into our late night sets to make them special. The crowds at that time are usually very forgiving, so we were never nervous about trying something crazy. It's great to really let the improvisation happen too. We usually have a lot of time at those slots, so we can really stretch out.

Earvolution: At Strangefolk's Garden of Eden Festival 2004, U-Melt played for seven straight hours. How did such a marathon show come about?

Lasher: Earlier that summer we played the Strange-Creek Festival which was produced by The Wormtown Trading Co (who co-produced Garden of Eden). We had one of those 4 am slots that I was talking about. The promoter told us to play however long we wanted, so we played until 7. I think that was our first late-night show. It was a lot of fun and we had a great crowd rocking out until we stopped playing, and they were begging for more. We had actually played a bar gig earlier that night, so after setting up our gear, playing two sets, breaking it down and packing it up, driving 3 hours, setting up again, and playing another 3 hour show . . . we were pretty damn beat. Anyhow, as we were breaking down our stuff, the promoter jokingly asked us why we stopped so early. We said, "What do you want us to do, play until the main stage starts up again?" He said, "Why not?" We had a laugh and then kinda forgot about it. Soon afterwards, we got an offer to play the same time slot at the Garden of Eden festival and we thought "ya know . . . let's do it . . . we'll just fuckin' play until the main stage is supposed to start." So we talked to the promoter about it and he was more than excited for that to happen. We weren't gonna tell anyone about it, but when we got to the festival all our friends were coming up to us and saying, "So there's this rumor going around that you guys are gonna play until 11 am." So we really had no choice at that point. It had to happen. It was the coolest thing I'd ever done in my life to that point.

Earvolution: What was the reaction upon learning you would be playing the Jammys After-Show party at B.B. King's?

Lasher: Mild elation. That was a huge opportunity for us, and we were so grateful to everyone who helped make that happen. We were going to be playing a different show as part of the Green Apple festival, but the promoter we usually work with in NYC recommended us to the Relix people for that show and it just happened to work out. That show ended up opening some pretty huge doors for us.

Earvolution: The Jammys are known for interesting collaborations. In a perfect world, who's joining U-Melt for their ideal Jammys-style set?

Lasher: That's an easy one: Walter Becker and Donald Fagan. We talk about it all the time. We're big Steely Dan fans and we LOVE playing their music.

Earvolution: U-Melt's always very generous with their stage, who have been some of your favorite musicians to play with?

Lasher: Definitely the guys from moe. We've played with Al [Schnier], Chuck [Garvey] and Vinnie [Amico] on separate occasions. We did a show with Strangefolk earlier this year and brought the entire band up to play a song with us. It was great to watch George [Miller] and Russ Lawton playing side by side. Rob Sommerville from Deep Banana Blackout has played with us on a couple of occasions - last New Years, and at the Jammys After-Show. He always brings an amazing energy to any stage he's on.

Photo Credit: Ted Wong

Earvolution: U-Melt has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with moe. What are your memories from those performances?

Lasher: Our friends in moe. have provided us with some amazing opportunities to rock some great crowds. We opened for them in New Jersey and got to play for upwards of a thousand people who were just digging us. We've done a few after-moe. shows, and we got to play snoe.down, Summercamp, and moe.down this year, so their crowd knows us. We walked onstage and the room came alive . . . people cheered and rushed the stage. I'd never experienced anything like that in such a big room. We opened with "Question Matters," which is one of my favorite songs that I've written and when we got to the end, where it gets quiet and the theme from the intro comes back, people just started screaming. I couldn't hear what I was playing over the crowd. People got what we were doing and it was amazing.

Earvolution: At the CD release party at the Knitting Factory, what was your reaction when the room exploded in a glow stick eruption?

Lasher: Oh man . . . that was such a wild wild night. Best night of my life. The energy in that room was unlike anything I'd ever felt before. I can't wait to play New York City again.

Earvolution: Have you had your Almost Famous "I am a golden god" moment yet?

Lasher: Oh god no - I'm no guitar player . . . just kidding.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Cleaning Out the In Box

I've got a host of clips and news jamming up my email account so I'll "purge" some of it here...

Pete Townsend and girlfriend Rachel Fuller will appear on Sirius' Channel 18 on Monday, where they will chat and perform together. Fuller co-wrote the song "It's Not Enough" with Townsend, which appears on The Who's new album Endless Wire.

Metallica's new DVD "The Videos 1989-2004" in stores December 5th, sample clip here: Windows Media or Quicktime.

Russell Simmons, who among other things helped sign the Beastie Boys to Def Jam back in the 80s, is in Africa exploring the diamond industry. Simmons also marked World Aids Day with this statement:

"Today is World AIDS Day and I am humbled to be present in Africa where the pandemic of HIV/AIDS is a deadly reality for millions of people. We need to increase public awareness campaigns throughout the world on this issue. We support the efforts of the numerous humanitarian and health groups, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations, that are diligently dedicated in their response to this great human crisis. We add our voice and work in complete solidarity with all who are standing up and taking action on this day. Ultimately, however, we believe that the eradication of HIV/AIDS will happen when much more is done to effectively end poverty in Africa and throughout the world. The best way to end poverty is through sustainable economic development and empowerment."

MTV2 today announced the Finalists for the 2006 Dew Circuit Breakout. This year's lineup is: Halifax, Fallen From the Sky, and Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer. The bands battle it out for the grand prize in front of a live studio audience on Saturday, December 2nd at 6:30 PM on MTV2.

Gov't Mule has a new video out for the track "Million Miles From Yesterday" off their newest record "High and Mighty." Catch it here: Wimdows Media / Real Player / Quicktime.

Grant-Lee Phillips will join Aimee Mann for part of her Christmas Tour. Mann recently released her first Christmas album, One More Drifter In the Snow, on her own label SuperEgo Records.

On December 12, Taking Back Sunday will release Louder Now: Partone, which includes an accompanying DVD. TBS includes lead vocalist Adam Lazarra, guitarist-vocalist Fred Mascherino, guitarist Eddie Reyes, bassist Matt Rubano, and drummer Mark O'Connell. The band released their major label debut Louder Now, in April 2006 on Warner Brothers Records, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts. Catch a clip here: Windows Media / Quicktime.

Blake Miller's publicist says his "low fi folk" is "Pitchfork approved." Not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Sample tracks for your appraisal: "Summer She's Hiding" and "Cut Your Hair."

Slayer have released the video for the song "Eyes Of Insane." Watch it here: Windows / Quicktime.

DC rrriot grrrls Partyline recorded their new releae Zombie Terrorist at Inner Ear Studios, a favorite spot of many DC/Dischord acts. Two tracks from those sessions are "No Romantic" and the title track "Zombie Terrorist."

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!