Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Counting Crows Tour Dates and Free Mp3 Downloads

The Counting Crows are back on tour with their traveling circus featuring NOTAR and Augustana. The Crows kick things off at Summerfest, which is already ongoing with tons of bands including Earvolution favorite Willy Porter, the Hold Steady, Modest Mouse, Levon Helm and Halestorm. Last year's dates with Michael Franti drew some strong praise, so no surprise Duritz and crew are trying to recreate it this year. Tour dates below:

July 3 - Summerfest - Milwaukee, WI
July 4 - Taste of Minnesota - St. Paul, MN
July 6 - Starlight Theater - Kansas City, MO
July 8 - The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor - Windsor, ON
July 9 - Casino Rama - Orillia, ON
July 11 - Innsbrook Pavilion - Glen Allen, VA
July 12 - Pier Six Concert Pavilion - Baltimore, MD
July 14 - Uptown Amphitheatre - Charlotte, NC
July 15 - Koka Booth Amphitheatre - Cary, NC
July 17 - Universal Studios Florida (Music Plaza Stage) - Orlando, FL
July 18 - Chastain Park - Atlanta, GA
July 20 - MAC Center at Monmouth University - Long Branch, NJ
July 21 - Mountain Park - Holyoke, MA
July 23 - Halifax Commons Park - Halifax, NS
July 30 - South Shore Music Circus - Cohasset, MA
July 31 - Borgata - Atlantic City, NJ
Aug 4 - Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury - Westbury, NY
Aug 6 - Musikfest at Sands Riverplace - Bethlehem, PA
Aug 7 - nTelos Pavilion - Portsmouth, VA
Aug 9 - Wolftrap - Vienna, VA
Aug 11 - Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom - Hampton Beach, NH
Aug 13 - MGM @ Foxwoods Casino - Mashantucket, CT
Aug 14 - Cape Cod Melody Tent - Hyannis, MA
Aug 17 - Wellmont Theatre - Montclair, NJ
Aug 18 - Wellmont Theatre - Montclair, NJ
Aug 21 - Ravinia Festival - Highland Park, IL
Aug 23 - Mid America Center - Council Bluffs, IA
Aug 24 - Ravinia Festival - Highland Park, IL

Meanwhile you can download a free Counting Crows mp3 track here, Delta Lady (Leon Russell cover).

Local Natives European Tour Dates and Pitchfork Festival

Local Natives have reached indie darling status and following several dates in Europe will return to the U.S. for more tour dates including the Pitchfork Music Festival, and if the festival is more hip than you can handle in one day, you can check Local Natives out for a special post festival show at Chicago's Lincoln Hall.

6-29 Ravenna Hana Bi, Ravenna, Italy
06-30 Ancona Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona, Italy
07-02 Beauregard Festival, Herouville St. Clair, France
07-04 Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark
07-10 T in the Park, Scotland
07-11 Oxegen Festival, Punchestown Racecourse, Ireland
07-18 Pitchfork Festival, Chicago, IL
07-18 Lincoln Hall (Pitchfork Fest post show), Chicago, IL

Meanwhile you can check out Local Natives' cover of Television's "Careful" here. The song is from Aquarium Drunkard’s Television tribute album L’Aventura. You can download the album for free from Aquarium Drunkard, with the option to donate to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music in exchange for the tracks. The conservatory is a non-profit music school offering affordable music lessons, and scholarships for children that include instruction and instruments. One hundred percent of donations go to the school. Pretty good deal!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Outrageous Cherry: Seemingly Solid Reality

By: Rinjo Njori

For the last sixteen years, Matt Smith has been releasing records with his band Outrageous Cherry. The self titled record that started their 10 album run sounds somewhat like most of the albums out in 1994, riding the grunge wave for all it was worth. Though to be fair, the harder songs on the album had more in common with Screaming Trees ("If Someone Loves You") and mid tempo tracks were more like The Replacements ("Party’s Over") than Pearl Jam or Soundgarden. More importantly, they sound like the same music Matt Smith is still banging out fourteen years later. His pop sensibilities are certainly easier on the ear and each sound in every song more fluid than chaotic.

Seemingly Solid Reality loosely pulls together eleven tracks that examine the life lived a little off-center. The self-titled instrumental title track which opens the album has a 70s sci-fi, western feel which immediately sets the bar high for the album. On the “The Happy Hologram," the same tone is revisited. Musically, it doesn't sound anything like Bowie's "Space Oddity" but it uses the same setting to establish a feeling of distance from humanity. In this song, it's not about the initial separation but how disconnected we become the more we achieve. "My Ghetto" and "Nothing's Changed" are as solid as any song that Matt Smith has written in the last fourteen years. These sunny tunes with "glass half empty" lyrics are layered with multiple guitar tracks, girl group backing vocals, and the resolve that this is Outrageous Cherry's life. Heather Phares alluded to their outlook in a review of Stay Happy, when she made the remark that Outrageous Cherry “find the cloud around the sliver lining. A place where pop music and everyday problems converge to fuel the music. Luckily, in addition to acting locally they also think globally: "Forces of Evil" and "Unamerican Girls" are flat out fun songs that try to explain the “why and how” as opposed to “this is how it is” in my world.

One thing that doesn't benefit this album is when the band strips down the songs. Most of the songs take advantage of every second but "Unbalanced in the City" and "The Unimportant Things" slow down the album. Where a millisecond between a riff and a vocal makes the song oddly disjointed. This doesn't matter on the latter but the former is the second track of the album. These songs just aren't as tight and suffer.

The sad part is that even though Outrageous Cherry have been kicking around they are still relatively unknown to the masses and for the most part ignored. However, catching up couldn't be a more enjoyable chore. Little Steven compiled a greatest hits compilation on Wicked Cool Records and Matt Smith shows no signs of slowing down. "Nothing's Changed" sums up their attitude the best, "I am just the same, even though nothing comes my way"- well, give Outrageous Cherry a try.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Rinjo Cloudcast

By: Rinjo Njori

Rinjo's included a Hacienda tune on the Cloudcast. They are currently on tour with Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and then will hit the road with Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears. I caught them at Webster Hall and they are well worth your attention. (DHS)

My Morning Jacket To Offer Career Spanning Retrospective At Terminal 5

Once you've won over Radio City Music Hall and ushered in the new year from the stage of Madison Square Garden, what's left for a band to do in New York City? For My Morning Jacket, it involves a 5 night run at the warehouse on the west side known as Terminal 5 during which they'll perform a different one of their albums each night. Going in chronological order, each show of the residency will feature an album in its entirety and other songs and cover from the time period. Over the course of the Evil Urges tour, My Morning Jacket solidified their role as one of the most vital live bands that cannot be missed. Undoubtedly, these shows will something truly special. A package covering all 5 night is available but doesn't seem to come at a discount or provide any special perks.

October 18 - The Tennessee Fire
October 19 - At Dawn
October 21 - It Still Moves
October 22 - Z
October 23 - Evil Urges

Simon & Garfunkel Postpone Tour

The summer tour that would reunite Paul Simon with Art Garfunkel, his most famous collaborator this side of Chevy Chase and Steve Martin, has been indefinitely postponed due to Garfunkel's inability to fully recover from vocal paresis, which has weakened, if not paralyzed the singer's vocal cords. The postponement of the Simon & Garfunkel tour leaves the James Taylor/Carole King Troubadour Reunion as the only summer concerts providing authentic Sixties/Seventies singer-songwriter folky vibes, The two last toured the U.S. in 2003 and Europe in 2004 and will likely reschedule the dates once they are certain that Garfunkel's voice is fit enough to handle the final throes of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It is doubtful that Simon spends this time trying to figure out how he can go the entire set without looking bored and/or irritated with sharing the stage with Garfunkel. Refunds for the shows will be available at the point of purchase.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Enthusiasts

By: Rinjo Njori

Where the Saw Mill and the NY State Thruway almost criss-cross lies the small town of Ardsley. Not much there but stores and a bike path that runs along the Saw Mill; it's certainly not a place where your average punk band stays -- the average band gets out of Dodge. In this part of New York, rock dreams usually get on the local Metro North and head south to the city. The Enthusiasts do the same but as they say in punk rock-- don't forget your roots.

On their first 7-inch they bang out two originals which meld the garage stylings of The White Stripes/ Bloody Hollies with English style power pop and without hesitation, throw in Misfits-patented "Whoa-ooh!" or a breakdown with a few psychedelic riffs. With a little added scuff, "In the City" could easily sit on any of the Shake Some Action - UK and Ireland comps. Joey F., tackling vocals and guitar, puts every ounce of energy into to his playing and singing. The song itself is the Punk Rock dream-- singing songs, going to the city, and getting away from where your from. Dylan H. and Matt G. are a steady rhythm section and follow Joey F's lead pretty well. On "My Two Words" the "psychedelic breakdown" actually gives them a half a minute to shine. Though to be honest the last minute of the song might serve another song a little better. Stylistically, the two songs might jump around a bit too much, but why stick to a formula.

While every other band from the far corners of the earth descend on Brooklyn there is something refreshing about three guys coming down from the NY suburbs and playing "catchy" punk rock that feels a little more authentic. Maybe it's our own roots that let us dispense this credibility, maybe it's two pretty good songs, or maybe it's a little bit of both. One things for sure The Enthusiasts only have a couple of miles to go before this 7-inch is part of history or they make more of their own history.

* You can download the 7 Inch and a Live set over at their Bandcamp page, here.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Rinjo Cloudcast

By: Rinjo Njori

Sorry-- this isn't 45 minutes of Doobie Brothers covers, but there is enough cheesy 70s music to more than make up for for the lack of Michael McDonald Mojo. Some highlights are John Paul Young's "Yesterdays Hero", early Bowie, the social critique of Clutch, and a few covers including a psychedelic trip through The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows."

Monday, June 07, 2010

Time Tough: Toots & The Maytals At B.B King’s

By: David Schultz

Unless you are the parents of a burgeoning reggae star or one of the producers that scours the beaches of Kingston looking for the next dreadlocked superstar, you pretty much have to concede that reggae music begins and ends with Bob Marley & The Wailers, Jimmy Cliff and Toots & The Maytals. Launched into the American mainstream in the early Seventies when they were featured in The Harder They Come, Toots & The Maytals never vaulted into the collective consciousness like Marley or Cliff. In that same vein, although worthy of the honor, Toots Hibbert is unlikely to join his Caribbean brethren in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With a whole host of bands making ill-advised forays into the genre, a whole generation of reggae fans starving for authenticity continues to flock to Toots’ shows in droves. Last week, on their way upstate for Warren Haynes’ Mountain Jam, Toots & The Maytals made a triumphant return to New York City to play before a packed house at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill.

Unlike a good number of the acts that come through B.B. King’s, Toots & The Maytals has resisted the slide into pure nostalgia. Not to be mistaken, any Toots set contains many, if not exactly all, of his popular hits and at the Times Square cabaret, he intertwined “Time Tough,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Pressure Drop,” “Funky Kingston” and “Monkey Man” with a song or two from the recently released Flip and Twist. Hibbert’s boundless reserves of energy and youthful aura permeate his entire performance. When he wasn’t maintaining the hard line with the sound technician who couldn’t get the microphone to his liking, Hibbert showed off some fancy dance moves, bounced in time to the timeless reggae beat and engaged the crowd on nearly every level.

Toots has the voice that hangs with the greatest soul singers of any generation. To prove the point, Hibbert belted out a powerful version of Otis Redding’s “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember” that owed nothing to his reggae roots and everything to the smoky blues greats of yore. For his closing run through “54-46 Was My Number,” he channeled his inner James Brown, hitting up the crowd and the band throughout the self-penned reggae classic.

Finding proper reggae can be a thankless task and for the summer, Toots will be bringing his version of it to Europe. In the meantime, Jimmy Cliff will be touring the United States, making his way to New York City on July 11 for a free show at Central Park’s Summer Stage.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

What To Do This Saturday

After catching Living Colour at Summerstage in Central Park, make the trek to Brooklyn.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Marco Benevento Trio Bring Nightfall To The Bowery Ballroom

By: David Schultz

A foundation of the live music scene here in New York City, Marco Benevento’s 2006 residency at the now-defunct Tonic and subsequent 2008 residence at Sullivan Hall helped give birth to his legend as an improvisational impresario capable of playing with anyone. From his emergence as one half of The Duo with drummer Joe Russo, which opened the door for a well publicized collaboration with Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon, Benevento has formed long lasting relationships with the members of The Slip, Stanton Moore, Nathan Moore and practically every musician within the proximity of Tri-State area. For his latest effort, Between The Needles & Nightfall, Benevento brought together his most potent lineup consisting of bassist Reed Mathis, presently of Tea Leaf Green and formerly of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and drummer Andrew Barr of The Slip. Performing as the Marco Benevento Trio, the three commemorated the release of the new album before a hometown crowd at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom.

The joy of Benevento’s original instrumentals is that they lend themselves to individual interpretation. For the hirsute keyboard maven, many of the songs draw their inspiration from his children and the simple joys of domestic life, like Merriweather Post Pavilion without the looping machines and swirling psychedelia. Without lyrics, Benevento’s aural melodies can guide the listener in any way they wish to be led. For most at the Bowery Ballroom, Benevento’s lush melodies, framed to perfection by Mathis’ pounding bass lines and Barr’s nimble drumming, evoked an impassioned response with most finding their dancing groove.

Edging Mathis by a hair in a Messiah look alike contest, Benevento opened the night with the opening triplet from his new album: “Greenpoint,” “Between The Needles & Nightfall” and “Two Of You.” A master of gadgetry, Benevento really is at his finest when he’s displaying his skills on the piano. For many of the songs spread out over a lengthy pair of sets, Benevento would introduce themes upon which Mathis and Barr would embellish. By the end though, Benevento would tie everything together into a powerfully gripping finale, drawing the crowd into his brainstorm. Amongst his originals, Benevento slid in a moving cover of My Morning Jacket’s “Golden” and swaggered through a boozy ragtime rendition of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know That I’m No Good.” Clearly enamored with his melody from “The Real Morning Song,” Benevento playfully goaded the audience into singing it back to him before offering up an encore which included a measured take on the Curtis Mayfield tinctured “Mephisto” and Marc Friedman, Barr’s bandmate from The Slip, jumping in on bass for a lush version of Pink Floyd’s “Fearless.”

Benevento will bring his music around the country for the majority of the summer, including two sold-out nights at Fly Me To The Moon as part of the Telluride Jazz Festival. No strangers to Telluride, The Whitewalls, Dave Lott, Matt Epstein and Josh Bloom’s post-Licorice project, will open both Colorado nights.

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Grace Potter Rocking The Gear circa 2006!