1 0 2 M a y 1,
Comedic Musical Minds Brody & Choch Reformed Whores Second City Workaholics
Nashville's Punk Rock-n-Roll Darlings
Dangermuffin Calling Olly Oxen Free
Clever & Captivating Candid & Carefree
Nothing can feel better than a laugh. Whether it be a giggle, a chuckle, or a full out guffaw, the sound of laughter breaks the invisible walls of "life" that surround us daily. For some uncanny reason that sound, if only for a moment, lifts us to a dimension that frees our burdens, allowing our spirits to soar. Paying homage to this, The Music Initiative this month celebrates the funny men and women of rock. Humor can morph itself into many forms. Take The Ettes (pg 32-39). Read all about Nashville's punk rock -n- roll darlings' worst jobs, Wicked Will, and making out. Contrast that to D.C. native's Brody & Choch (26-29) hip hop rhymes. NYC's
Reformed Whores (20-21) through song take on Rush Limbaugh. And no one heats up the television screen better than than the cats from Comedy Central's Workaholics (10-13). We can only have comedic moments with yin and yang's balance. Thus, let's take a moment to reflect upon the ride with Cynic's Paul Masvidal (pg 68-71). And then join Dangermuffin (pg 78-81) to celebrate the release of Olly Oxen Free, the much anticipated follow up to 2010's Moonscapes. This month, we also invite you to travel around the world with us (pg 54-59). We launch our Musical Explorations series where members
of our staff travel to different foreign lands where we spend time with artists, movers and shakers, restauranteurs, country ambassadors, and we jam, literally. For the next five months, experience Panama with us. Don't forget to read the new and improved Coast To Coast (pg 96-125), featuring the happenings in 24 of our favorite musical cities.
Smile broadly. Take a moment to let your laughter guide you. -B
The Music Initiative www.themusicinitiative.com Editor-in-Chief: Becca Finley firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor: Kyle Cannon email@example.com Staff Writers: Jared Booth, Justin Henderson, Nicky Jones, Nancy LaBarbiera, Courtney Padove Grayson Sanford, Zach Stanton, TJ Weaver Creative Director: Joel Travis firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designers: Angie Brown, Devin VanTatenhove Cover Photograph by Candie Rockwell Logo Design: Martha Martin Director of Media Content: Joe Davies email@example.com Shooters/Editors: Heather Brewer Digital Communications Coordinator: Kara Klein firstname.lastname@example.org Promotions Manager: Carrie Cranford email@example.com PR Manager: Acecily Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Advisor: Taylor Rains email@example.com Interns: Kelley Floyd, Chloe Gilstrap, John Kaneday, Clare Smith, Kyle Victory, Oliver Wentworth Office: 253 St. Phillip Street Suite A Charleston, SC 29403 843-277-2483 Like Us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMusicInitiative Follow Us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MusicIntMAG www.twitter.com/TMIMagEditor Watch Us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/themusicinitiativeco
The Music Initiative is a monthly, online magazine produced by a group of music enthusiasts yearning to broaden and expand each readerâ€™s music experience. We believe in the power of music to change a mood and enhance a moment; as well as facilitate change and link the past with the present. This is our communityâ€“ seeped in passion, creativity and cultural awareness. Within the pages of each issue, we will bring you history, interviews, gadgets, CD reviews, art, new music outlets around the nation, and so much more. Among other exciting music related features, The Music Initiative features fans talking about music. TMI aims to uncover hidden gems found in up-and-coming bands, and also covers nationally recognized musicians and events.
HEY TMI STAFF! Why did the chicken cross the road?
Because my mom said so.
The other side was for the birds.
Because she was full of hormones and recently caged free.
To find the golden egg.
She spotted the lost tapes of Frank Sinatra.
Because that’s where the vegetarian lives.
She needed to go to work and make that money.
Because Chic-fil-A is closed on Sundays.
To get to the young rooster.
To get to Coachella for an autograph from a hologram.
Because some jive turkey told her she was too chicken to do it.
Because she heard the music...
Because the grass is always greener on the other side.
Because she was hallucinating and mistook it for Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.
Wait...that was a chicken?
KYLE V. OLIVER
Because a truck was swerving right at her.
For no reason whatsoever.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE ETTES PAGE 32-39
Workaholics PAGE 10-13
Reformed Whores PAGE 20-21 Brody & Choch PAGE 26-29 Dangermuffin PAGE 78-81
Vinyl Roots: Weird & Demented
Gadgets & Giveaways:
Ode to the Web:
The Second City. LDOC at Duke.
How ‘bout The Funny Music Project.
Our readers across the States pick their fantasy stage name.
Kelly Shingler’s whimsical paintings.
Our staff reviews albums from 15 albums.
The UK’s music & comedy festival, Redcar Rocks
TMI’s weekly filmed listening room series with musicians, visual artists, and designers.
Get your iPod ready for our staffcompiled playlists.
Make it a movie night with Killing Bono.
96-125 Coast to Coast:
Check out what is happening in 24 cities around the U.S.
T. Champagne Tours.
StageCoach Theatre Arts.
Cynic’s Paul Masvidal shares.
Balcony TV: Toronto A world of talent with just one click.
New episodes start May 29th
from left to right: Anders Holm, Blake Anderson, Kyle Newachek, Adam
The Comedy Central funnymen wax and wane prophetic about music & their favorite band, Wizards. Who is the biggest music fan of the group? Blake: It’s hard to say because we all really like music a lot. I go to a lot of festivals. Ders: Blake goes to a lot of shows, but Adam has been known to play the same song hundreds of times in a row. Adam: I do not get tired of a song, if I really like it. I played a Kid Cudi song 258 times on my iPod. Ders: I don’t know how you balance that out.
If you were going to do a movie and it had a soundtrack, who would the artists be and what would some of the song titles be? Adam: I’d just steal the Drive soundtrack. Do the comedy Drive. Ders: Huey Lewis. Blake: Yea…Huey Lewis! I’d be down. How about R. Kelly? We’ll have him do a “trapped in the closet” chapter. Ders: That would be amazing. How about an R Kelly, Don Henley duo? Adam: I personally wanna bring Nelly back. Ders: Furtado? Adam: Nelly Furtado….she’s been gone for too long.
How does music inspire your comedy?
Adam: Well, we always listen to jazz…music affects us super big time.
magical other halves from another realm.” We said, “Good to meet ya.” Since then we have been friends—they open up portals, they come in.
Ders: Weirdly so, we do do that.
Ders: I’m, like, the Godfather to one of their kids.
Adam: We are always singing in the writer’s room, playing music, and just breaking out into song. Our favorite jazz artist is Dizzy Gillespie. We feel like jazz makes us smarter. And it’s really the only station that comes in well.
Adam: It’s a real tight relationship.
Ders: When we are on set and acting together, sometimes it’s like jazz. We find a connection there.
Since you know the Wizards so well, tell me who writes their lyrics? Adam: They all write their own lyrics.
Do they ad lib a lot?
Adam: Please note that he said that in a weird, condescending tone.
Ders: What they do is they are casting spells by rapping, so if they get one word wrong the spell doesn’t work.
How did the Wizards get started?
Adam: Hopefully they aren’t too drunk for this show so they can cast their spell on this audience.
Ders: Where did we meet them?
Adam: A portal opened up. We were buying liquor at the liquor store and a door opened up, they kind of just came out, it was very confusing. We were like “Why do you guys kind of look like us and talk like us?” They said, “We are your
Blake: You’ll know when they are here today because the sky will turn real dark, then open up.
“It’s a real tight relationship.”
What do you think of a Workaholics/ Wizards musical on Broadway?
Adam: I’m excited to see Trash Talk. And Cool Kids. We saw Waves at Bonnaroo and are really excited to see them again.
Kyle: Wasn’t that Spiderman one the biggest flop in Broadway history?
If you weren’t doing the Workaholics show, what would you be doing?
Blake: Well, the Spiderman one worked out, so I think a Wizards one would work out.
Blake: But you liked it.
Blake: Probably still doing internet videos. That’s what we were doing before we got the show.
Kyle: I loved it. It was cool.
Ders: Or we’d be lumberjacks.
Adam: I want the Wizards to be the biggest flop in Broadway history.
Blake: That would be cool.
You guys had some cameo appearances on the show this past season. I recall Jakob Dylan was on the show. Will there be any more cameos by musicians this season?
Blake: Yes, Kyle did always want to be a trucker.
Adam: Hopefully Jakob will come back. We have only written ten of the 20 episodes. Blake: We are trying to get Fiona Apple. Maybe get her on as a sister. Adam: I want Birdman to be my father. My Daddy.
Kyle: I always wanted to be a trucker.
Kyle: I figured I’d be truckin’ right now. Adam: If I didn’t have to get up so early I’d like to be a morning, drive-time DJ.
Well if the show or the band doesn’t work out, I am pretty sure you could come up with some good CB handles and keep the road chuckling. -NL
Who were your musical delights from SXSW 2012? Blake: We saw The Dream and I know T.I. was around. Party Supplies, A House for Lions, Youngblood Hawke, Reptar, Chuck Inglish, Statik Selektah, Curren$y, and Freddie Gibbs.
soundbites Emily Orr Charleston, SC
Homicidal Terra-Hawk Craig Hewitt Battle Creek, MI
Shane LeBoeuf Kalamazoo, MI
Wieland Van Miegroet Gent, Belgium
Jonnie No-teeth and the Chore Boys
Damon Bennett Sr. Philadelphia, PA
what is your fantasy
Chase Killough Charlotte, NC
Renis Pinkle and the Rumbly Foreskins
Tyler Boone Charleston, SC
The Boonie Maker
Phillip Riggs Bronson, MI
Mr. Turd and the Pebble Poops
Matt Stoop Greenville, SC
Mrs. Butterworthâ€™s Bastards
Josh Pender Nashville, TN
Dopeheads On Mopeds
omedy and music are like oil and vinegar, or men and skinny jeans; they just don’t mix well. However, if chefs can pull off tasty vinaigrettes and Adam Levine keeps getting laid wearing skinny jeans, then there has to be a place somewhere for comedy and music to hook up. While the comedy rock genre has never really gained a mainstream stronghold, it has
certainly entertained the masses from time to time similar to the slow drip of my morphine feed. Just when we have forgotten all about the last comedy song, another drip enters our system and rapidly runs its course. Many of you most likely form the mental image of a nerdy guy with a bad perm dressed like Michael Jackson when you think of comedy rock. Don’t worry, “Al-coholics”, we will get to you soon enough. But first, there are several key people who have helped blaze the path for those that are currently earning a living making solely comedic music. There is, in my opinion, only one person “demented” enough to credit with being the most influential in putting comedy rock as a genre on the map. Barret Eugene Hansen, known to you and me as Dr. Demento, dj’s a radio show in 1970 on which he plays mostly rock oldies. Occasionally the doc mixed in an off-beat or parody-type song just to shake things up. The playing of these humorous songs ultimately drew such strong reviews from his listeners that the entire show changed format and began to play strictly novelty songs. By 1978 The Dr. Demento Show could be heard in syndication in most major radio markets. Over the next 30 years, and into today, Demento introduced hundreds of novelty and humor acts (old and new) to hordes of people who would not have had access to the comedy rock genre otherwise. Although Dr. Demento can no longer be heard on radio waves, his show is still going strong streaming via the internet. This move has actually helped broaden the collection of records played due to censoring under the previous radio format. Hello Dan Finnerty!
The typical Dr. Demento show features old artists like Spike Jones, Peter Sellers, The Mothers of Invention (Frank Zappa), and The Bonzo Dog Band, which are some of the early trail blazers in comedy rock. These acts, along with others, would influence the likes of Monty Python, Ween, and The Beatles (yes, The Beatles were very into humor…just look at their hair) to name a few. However, Dr. D doesn’t just play old comedy bits. He prides himself in taking an interest in new and upcoming artists and often goes out of his way to bring attention to these unknowns of comedy rock…or just unknown. One such unknown rode Dr. Demento’s coat tails to become the most famous and best-selling comedy rock artist of all time. Although many would say he’s just “weird.” Alfred Matthew Yankovic, who would later earn the moniker, “Weird Al” for obvious reasons, is a nerd in every sense of the word from early childhood thanks in part to his own parents. At the impressionable age of five, Yankovic senior strapped young Al to an accordion because he was convinced the instrument would revolutionize rock... apparently the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Al spent his school days known as a nerd and an outcast. He graduated high school at the ripe old age of 16 and as the valedictorian of his class. In 1976 lil’ Al went to see Dr. Demento speak at his high school and his life was forever changed.
Weird Al Yankovic
After the Demento speech, Al handed the Doc a demo tape created with his accordion on a crude tape recorder in his bedroom. As odd as it may sound today, the Doc actually played some of the songs from Al’s tape on his radio show. In 1979 Al recorded “My Bologna,” a parody of the The Knack’s “My Sharona,” in a campus restroom. The song was liked by the lead singer of The Knack so much that he recommended to his label that it be released as a single. Thankfully, Capitol Records agreed and signed Weird Al to a short term contract. 14 Grammy nominations (three wins), seven platinum albums, and multiple #1 hits later, Weird Al is still going strong today. In fact, it is an industry inside joke that your band has made it if Weird Al asks to parody one of your songs. While we have only scratched the surface of the comedy rock genre, we have hit on perhaps the two most influential people and their codependent relationship. In fact, as soon as I submit this piece, I am digging out my old Weird Al albums…ahh Smells Like Nirvana.
! S E R WHO
Hailing from New York City, the musical comedy duo Reformed Whores, Marie Cecile Anderson and Katy Frame, mix sweet southern harmonies with deliciously raunchy lyrics for a comedy experience that’s sure to charm you, as well as make your grandmother uncomfortable. These fallen women have risen to comedy greatness and are delighting the New York City comedy scene with their old-timey melodies. How did you meet, and when did you start performing together? We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Brooklyn. Neither of us knew anyone else there, so we planted ourselves by the food table. We then spent the entire night eating bacon wrapped scallops and chatting about boys and music. Katy mentioned she played the accordion, Marie the ukulele, and by the end of the party we decided to start a band. The following weekend we had our first rehearsal and the rest is musical comedy history! We’ve been performing together now for over a year and a half. How long have each of you been singing and playing music, and what got you started? Marie: I started singing in my church choir when I was four years old and sang all the way up until college. Growing up I also sang in musicals and went on to study theater in college. A couple years ago, after pounding the pavement here in NYC for acting jobs, I decided to buy a ukulele. I taught myself by watching endless hours of YouTube videos and started writing songs. I wanted to break into the comedy world and was convinced the ukulele was the way, and then within a couple months I met Katy and it all seemed meant to be.
Katy: I’ve been singing since I was ten. I was a music major in college and picked up the accordion and guitar a few years ago. I’ve been active in the musical theater community here in New York for a few years now but really feel at home in the comedy world. The band has been a good mix of the two.
Your new song, “I’m a Slut,” has gone viral on the web. What motivated you to write it? Katy: I had read an article about Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut and it made me really angry. As I was stewing in my apartment it hit me that with the band we now have a voice to retaliate with. I called Marie told her the idea and started singing her a few lyrics. We met up the next day to finish the song and film the video. Really the whole thing was a way for us to vent our frustration about Limbaugh’s careless name calling. Your dresses are so cute—how do you decide on your wardrobe? Is your fashion inspired by any speciﬁc musicians or performers? Katy sewed our first pair of costumes and we’ve kept them homemade ever since. We’re inspired by the 50s & 60s Grand Ole Opry era both musically and aesthetically. Some of our favorites are June Carter, Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. Tell me about your upcoming show at Theater 99, and your new album.
We’re thrilled to be coming back to Charleston since we had such a blast at the Charleston Comedy Festival. This time our fans will get a whole hour of Reformed Whores. Come watch us struggle to clean up our act at this knee slapping, toe-tapping hoedown! We’re fortunate enough to be working with some of NYC’s most talented musicians and producers. Our album will be sure to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you cross your legs in fear and discomfort.
•G I G • •G I G • •G I G • •G I G • May 26 •G I G • 27 • GMay I G• • GMay I G28 • • GMay I G30 • •G I G • •G I G • •G I G • •G I G • •G I G • • Charleston, SC Piccolo Fringe at Theater 99
Saturday, Sunday, Monday,
Check out their website for more show dates, videos and other goodies!
g n i t n i a P c i s u M e to th e
Charleston painter Kelly Shingler’s colorful paintings reﬂect her eclectic musical taste.
breezy spring day in Charleston as Kelly Shingler sits on her porch with her easel beside her, showcasing her newest painting. Her works are saturated with rich hues, and range in subject matter from elephants to mushrooms, as well as a variety of abstract swirls and shapes. Kelly began painting her sophomore year at the College of Charleston, and especially loves creating on her porch with friends and some good music. “I like to make artwork where everyone sees something different, that lets people’s imaginations run wild,” says Kelly. Recently she joined forces with Charleston’s Finest Lady Artists, and frequently paints at local live music events. “I paint to the music,” she says, especially music that features acoustic guitar, and even a little dubstep.
She’s also painted with local favorite Old You, and frequents the open mic night at the Mill, where she is inspired by a variety of talented local musicians. The music she’s listening to influences the way her paintings turn out— whether they will be smooth and relaxing, funky and bright, or a little of both—and Kelly says she is usually dancing while she paints. Kelly plans to become a kindergarten teacher, driven by her love of children, arts and crafts, and a desire to inspire creativity in everyone. “Anybody can paint,” she says, “Everyone has creative talent, don’t be scared to pick up a paintbrush and try it!” You can see Kelly’s works on Charleston’s Finest Lady Painters’ facebook page, or catch her painting live at the Pantheon on May 31, where she’ll join Circus McGirgus at a not-tobe-missed event entitled “Metamorphosis.” -NJ
This painting has been donated by the artist to the TMI charity art auction to benefit Carolina Studios. Carolina Studios is an afterschool and summer program providing students with a safe environment that fosters creative, educational, and career-focused initiatives through music technology and media arts. Mark Bryan, lead guitarist and founding member of Hootie and the Blowfish, serves as the Chairman of the Board.
Brody & Choch
High tops, fades, and fanny packs. As brothers Brody & Choch prepared to take hip hop heads on a time travel back to the golden age of their music, we got a candid look into why their comic personalities, witty back and forth flow, and deep respect for the game are giving fans one more reason to check the rhime. This is the joint, and this is the jam.
It’s Friday the 13th. Do you have any onstage superstitions or pre-show rituals?
Brody: Naw, man. This is our first Friday the 13th show though. It’s a little spooky out here! It’s feeling a little weird. Choch: It’s gettin’ freaky out here. You two had a recent run in with the Workaholics at SXSW. What was it like freestyling with the guys?
B: It was crazy man! We were chillin’ at this stage and met up with a chick friend of ours. She tells
us, ‘Oh my gosh! Workaholics are here. Have you seen them?” And I’m like, ‘No. Where? Take me to them. Now!’ She starts hand leading me through the crowd to this main spot where all these people are and says all confused like, ‘They were just right here?’ I start getting all scared cuz I think they aren’t going to be there. Then we saw Blake’s big ass hair so we just stormed them. We started talking to them, and to be honest, I don’t even remember how that freestyle came about. It was a real good time, though. Those guys are just as cool in person as they are on the show.
What’s the story behind the look and attitude of Brody & Choch?
C: We just try to keep it as fresh as can be. That’s the way they were back in the day. The look pulls you in, and when you back it up with the rap, you just can’t beat it. It’s meant to be fun. We break the walls down with the comedy and then we hit you with the rhymes. And why do you feel it’s important to keep that same late 80s, early 90s hip hop vibe alive?
C: Everything was so fresh and dope. They were really talking about something. It gets deep, like A Tribe Called Quest deep. We play “Bonita Applebum” during our set, and we love it when people come up afterwards and ask about it. It’s cool how we can get people to go back and listen to that music. On that note, Tribe’s The Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders?
C: Give me The Low End Theory. B: Midnight Marauders is sick, though. C: The Low End Theory, man. I definitely banged that tape out, a lot. It was one of the first tapes I popped from playing so much. How’d you two get started?
C: I started rapping at 13 and was always making tapes, writing lyrics, and coming up with different rap personas just for my own entertainment. When we got older and started going to parties, people were always asking us to
freestyle by the end of the night. They’d keep asking us about music, but we didn’t have any at the time. The people really made it happen. A studio was brought over to our house, and we recorded an album, The Boys Will Be Boys. That music was just about living life working in kitchens and going to school. When it comes to writing rhymes, do you set out to be funny or does it just come naturally?
B: We’ve never really discussed the humor. We’re just funny, and it comes out. There’s never been talk about doing a serious song, though. C: I think Brody is a lot funnier in real life than he is on the mic. He was a class clown in school, and I think some people are surprised when they see him on stage as Brody Banks with the microphone cord wrapped around his arm gettin’ after it. When can we expect to hear None Since ’96 Mixtape?
B: I think 1996. C: We’re going back to the future to release it. We’re just waiting on the flux capacitor and the 1.21 gigawatts. Be on the lookout around the end of May. It’s got some good old school hits on there. We wanted to hop on some tracks that we love. Do you two cut each other’s hair?
B: All the time. C: We’ve got a barber that uses lasers to fade it out. B: Sharks with lasers. Laser helmet sharks, actually. Where do you get your clothes?
B: Flea markets. Thrift stores. Goodwill. We’ve also been given a lot of clothes. Once people notice our style, they’ll start giving us stuff to complement it. C: Put the word out there, dude. I need a Ninja Turtle fanny pack in my life!
What do you keep in your fanny pack? Or can you not divulge that information?
B: Secret things. Choch used to keep a marble in his, until he lost it. C: I lost my marble! B: I keep a miniature Optimus Prime in mine for whenever I’m ready to roll out. C: I switch fanny packs pretty regularly. Why should the fanny pack be an essential in people’s everyday wear?
C: It’s never been a mission of mine to get it caught on again. I love it for myself.
B: Most people still hate on the fanny pack, but when you’re wearing one, you’re adding like five pockets to your pants. If you’re going to hate on that… C: Yeah, more pockets can’t be hated on. It keeps everything tight around the waste. B: Once you go pack, you never go back! You heard it here. Brody & Choch are keeping the house party rockin’ like no one else. None since ’96, at least. Oh, and the next time you’re rummaging through your local thrift and come across a Ninja Turtle fanny pack, give Choch a holler.
from left to right: Poni, Coco and Jem
Clever, Captivating, Candid and Carefree
Give a little background on The Ettes. Coco: Name’s Coco. I am from Florida. I sing and play guitar. Poni: My name’s Poni. I’m from New York and play drums. Jem: I’m Jem. I play bass and am from New Jersey. Coco: We met in LA. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had in your life? C: I don’t like cleaning toilets, it’s not fun. J: When we first moved to Nashville I worked at a hospital cleaning bloody and disgusting iodine pumps. C: Unsanitary and gross. J: No gloves, nothing. Do you think there is humor within the intensity of it? C: We all love a laugh. Life is absurd. So much amuses us. Of course it would have to, or we’d go insane. What song makes you smile? C: I love the language of country music. I’d tip my hat to a well written turn of phrase. Songwriting process—who writes them? C: I write the songs, sometimes with Jem, he’s a melody machine. What makes a good song? C: Simplicity, for me. Take that up with prog fans, but I like directness, simple delivery, beautiful things. Tell me a little bit about your new album. C: The new album’s called Wicked Will and we recorded it at Toe Rag Studios in London, England with Liam Watson. We’ve done two albums with him. It is my favorite I think of all our albums that we’ve done. There’s rockers and there’s songs to make you cry. And songs to make you make-out. Example of a make-out song? C: I think “You Were There” is a make-out song Is it a sweet make-out song? C: No, it’s a you’re in trouble dirty make-out song. Menacing make-out, that’s my favorite kind.
Book, movie, or iPod? C: Book. P: Movie. I’m a visual monkey. Going to a movie—do you sneak in a snack? If so, what? C: I do not snack during movies. Or pee. I watch movies. P: A flask full of vodka and some sour skittles. It burns. Video and song concept for “Teeth”—give us some insight. C: “Teeth” is our newest single that’s on seveninch It’s a really cool, fun song to play. And the music video for it is totally awesome. It was Poni’s concept and it features our friend Jonas playing me. He’s in Turbo Fruits and our friend Seth who’s in Heavy Cream plays Poni. And then Jem plays Jem. P: I’ve always wondered what it would be like if we were doing the same thing, but were all boys. Would we have more opportunities or less? Granted being female has opened many doors for us, but the door is like those swinging kitchen doors you find in an old diner. Kinda slapping you in the face on the way in, and
smacking you in the ass on the way out. No politics, it’s just a thought. Also, I love drag queens. They’ve taught me so much. So, I thought boys playing girls in a boys’ world seemed like a neat idea.
What about the video for “Excuse”? C: Our friend Tom Scharpling directed that video and I’m a big fan of his. He’s a comedy dude/writer, he hosts a show called “The Best Show” on WFMU out of New Jersey. There are about 500,000 listeners. It’s a cult, a massive cult kind of thing. So we just wanted to see what people thought and if they had an idea for the video. Kids these days and have got skills with the computers and can put together amazing multimedia things. We just wanted to give a forum to our fans who enjoy that kind of stuff. We get fan videos for songs that they like off the albums They send them to us. It’s just so awesome because it multiplies the experience for them. They really like this song, it’s not just for listening. It inspires them to do other stuff too. And that feels great. We’re glad to do a song or an album that strikes such a chord with them that they want to create too.
Will you post these anywhere? C: I think we’re putting something together for the website. And we want to get their permission. Some people are embarrassed...they’re like “no, we just wanted to send that to you as a fan video!” And they’re nervous about us putting it on our youtube channel or something like that. But yeah, when we get their permission or whatever we’ll do it. There’s so many great ones and some people do it because they’re like “I want to get into this” and we’re like “well, then you’re going to have to show people.” It’s a good place to start that.
Tell me about “Teeth.” C: “Teeth” is our latest single. Yeah It’s on seven-inch and we have special editions. It’s just a really cool, fun song to play. Most awkward word to pronounce or hear yourself say? C: Evidently I say “pink” weird. I have a weird southern accent that comes out when I’m drunk or angry or passionate about something. P: Coagulate. It’s also my favorite word. Where do you want to play that you haven’t yet? C: Australia and Japan. P: Japan, I love toys.
What do you think cities should do/ have to keep music scenes flourishing? C: The venues and the independent record shops have a lot to do with it. Bands need to play; bands need to perform, write, record. It can be a collective experience, and that is always nice. P: More festivals! More parties! Go to shows! Buy vinyl!
Why is record day important? C: I think it brings attention to the fact that music isn’t just little nuggets of singles promoted by iTunes or massive media corporations. Artists are people who dedicate time and energy and love to making records, and it’s nice to honor that. Give a shout out to three bands you think people should check out. C: Birdcloud, Turbofruits, Pete Molinari P: Ranch Ghost, Birdcloud, and Clear Plastic Masks
Venues where people can find hidden gems in Nashville? C: You can usually trust Springwater for secrets. The End gets good shows. The High Watt is a good new place. P: The Zombie Shop, Dino’s, and people’s backyards. How did y’all get on the Whip It soundtrack? P: Drew Barrymore came to see us. C: And said her right hand man, one of her executives I guess at Flower Films, had given her the record and was like “I love
this band” and she heard “Crown Of Age” and wanted it for the soundtrack. She’s so great with music and always has her finger on the pulse. We were honored. It was so cool how nice and inclusive of us she was. We got to go to a red carpet event, and became friends with Ellen Page. All for a song we wrote and recorded. We loved the concept of the film, as we work a lot with roller derby and especially with the younger girls. So, we’re so happy to be a part of something that is supportive of all that.
Don’t y’all volunteer for Girls Rock? C: The Southern girls band camp in Nashville, Tennessee. Poni and I are always supportive of all chicks. We love all good music, but if a little girl will come up to us at shows and say “Oh I want to play drums because of you” that feels great . We want to say “You know, nobody ever told us we could be in a band. Nobody ever told us we could play drums or play guitar and be in a rock band”. So, if we’re in a position where we can be supportive of that, it’s awesome. We’re always trying to tell them “You can do it! You don’t have to ask anybody’s permission and you don’t need the boys.” J: That Q&A was amazing. C: They’re so smart. And they just have access to so many records, more than we ever did when we were learning. P: They ask stuff like “How do you get an idea to write a song?” to “Where did you get your shorts?” A wide spectrum. C: And they asked things like “What’s it like?” We tell them “You just need to be good at what you do. And that’s all you need, you don’t have to defend yourself. If you’re in charge of your talent and work hard. That’s the best defense: being good at what you’re doing.” We wish someone would have told us. We tell each other that, so we always supported each other.
If each of you could trade bodies with someone for a day who would it be? C: I would be somebody really tall and really strong or a large bird. P: I should have gone into the medical field. Because things do not gross me out. C: If I wasn’t such a busybody. I’d be a really mellow sculptor in Asheville, North Carolina, living in a house without electricity. I wish that was enough for me. It is therapeutic but I get the fidgets and I have to hit the road again. And plug in that guitar. P: I would be a really giant black man, like a basketball player. I just want to know what it’s like to not be so small. J: I just would like to be with Paul McCartney. I want to play bass with him. C: Jem doesn’t want to be anything but what he is, and that’s beautiful. J: I want to be better than what I am. C: You want to be you but better a.k.a. Paul McCartney. J: So maybe, I’ll be him and then come out of the body. It’ll be like “Oh, I know the lines.” C: See he’s going to learn from this. J: I want to learn from this experience. C: See we’re talking about escapism; you’re talking about evolution…..that’s Jem for ya’.
Do you escape to the kitchen and cook? Favorite dish? C: I cook all the time. I’m a child of 80s working parents of questionable white southern culture. I’ve had to learn a lot. I’ve learned from my travels! And from Jem, he’s a killer cook. Poni too. Come on over! P: I do cook. Mostly Dominican dishes. My empanadas are a big hit. Favorite comedian? C: That’s a toughie. I love Steve Agee, Dana Snyder, Patton Oswalt, Tim and Eric... P: Mitch Hedberg How do you think as fans, we can help make the experience better for all of us as a collective group? C: I think as fans, you need to trust and support the artists you love, and the artists need to be responsible and pay attention. What do you think defines the punk rock -nroll movement? C: People who stick to honesty and integrity, asking questions and thinking for themselves, though, that’s always going to work for me. We’ll get along. -BF
Can’t get more honest than that! We have Wicked Will on repeat. Pick it up, dance around, and relish in your life. Let’s all follow The Ettes’ lead.
The Monthly Spin Elephant Revival
Live from Irving Theatre Indianapolis, IN 5/12/2011. Free stream or download at www.panicstream.com Peaceful Elephant Revival will warm your heart with their sweet music. This Colorado based quartet proclaims their emerging acoustic sound as “transcendental folk.” This show from Irving Theatre packs in all the beauty that creates Elephant Revival. Nature is an obvious influence to their songwriting. Catchy tunes like “Sing To The Mountain” and “Ring Around The Moon” strike a chord close to anyone’s heart. Their perfect harmonies marry beautifully with the melodies. Each instrument contributes to form a richer sound, especially true when the variations in tune really stand out during “I Remember When We Played All Day.” Whether it’s the fast pickin’ fiddle or the interesting sound from the musical saw, your ear will do summersaults, not missing a beat. Check out Elephant Revival, for they are no joke but a crisp sound of pure bliss.
Boys & Girls
Anyone who claims that rock and roll ain’t what it used to be clearly hasn’t heard of these stunning musicians. Straight out of Alabama, southern rock quartet Alabama Shakes has been creating an uproar with their unique fusion of blues, classic rock and a hard edge of soul. Probably the most compelling quality of this band is how seamlessly they stay true to their pure, old school sound while keeping their music relevant to today’s listeners. Formed in high school, front lady Brittany Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell started meeting after class to write and play songs. What first started as classic rock covers turned into original tunes. After the drummer, Steve Johnson, and guitarist, Heath Fogg, were added to the Shakes, extreme popularity ensued. Howard’s shrill and powerful vocals are not only dripping with soul, but they evoke massive emotions that really give you a feel for her as a person. Tracks “Hold On,” “Rise to the Sun,” and “Heavy Chevy” not only showcase Howard’s voice, but also the raw energy and -GS musicianship of the band.
David Lanz with Walter Gray, Gary Stroutsos and Keith Lowe Here Comes the Sun
The only things almost as amazing as The Beatles’ music are covers of The Beatles’ music. Fans, get prepared for a trippy yet classical stroll down memory lane. David Lanz, Walter Gray, Keith Lowe and Gary Stroutsos are “re-imagining the Beatles” …again! No one’s complaining. It takes more than one album to pay proper respects to one of the greatest bands of all time. The soothing renditions consist of our favorite, but not frequently covered, songs like “There’s A Place” and “I Am The Walrus.” No love lost towards our friends Paul McCartney and John Lennon, though; Here Comes the Sun is a tribute to songwriter George Harrison. The piano, cello, bass and flute take listeners on a dark and mysterious journey. Note that there’s a solo piano version of the album performed by Lanz. Anyone open to new takes on timeless records won’t be disappointed. -AA
Carl Anderson Wolftown
The first four tracks on Virginia native Carl Anderson’s recent release are almost too good to be true. But the first two tracks are two of the best I’ve heard this year. The ability to write an easy-feeling song about something with real depth is extremely hard to do, but on the opener, “Don’t Stop Trying,” Anderson has done just that, creating an extremely catchy song with heft. “1945,” the most upbeat song on the mostly minimalistic album, takes off from the previous track and reaches an entirely new place. The chorus is put off with “Ooh oohs” and once again, it’s catchier than lighter fluid, but without ever seeming poppy, dull or unimportant. Anderson’s soft but powerful voice and thoughtful lyrics are the focal point for the rest of the album, and while it is often quite sad, every song hits you in some way. There’s a very clear theme of yearning to be better, an earnest desire to grow as a human, which “I Want to be Real,” and “Good, Good Man,” hammer home. Despite the heady subject matter, there is an ease of motion between his writing, voice and playing that makes for an exceptional sound.
Nucleus Torn Golden Age
Swiss Neo Folk group Nucleus Torn’s latest offering, Golden Age, presents a chilling preliminary to their conceptual trilogy of albums that began in 2006 and ended in 2010. The concept is stark and alludes to a time of change from knowledge to darkness. Lead vocalist Anna Murphy sings on the twelve minute opening title track: “I hate this spring turned winter, the voice of autumn in the westernmost chill/ You make me shiver/ I lost my laughter in a shopping mall.” The music froths with somber, primarily acoustic instrumentation accented by Anna’s beautifully controlled vocal style that shines on the notable track, “Hunger,” which concludes on the climax of a gorgeously rendered flute solo accompanied by a frenetic onslaught of acoustic rhythm guitar and drums. The only tracks that can be rightfully regarded as ‘metal’ are “Ash” and “Death Triumphant;” the latter being a mirror epic of the opener with a polar opposite pace and schizophrenic saxophone that leads us into an age of decadence, concluding, “Fear is the new God.”
4eva Na Day
Big K.R.I.T., a freshman on the hip hop scene, is changing the game one track at a time. K.R.I.T. (King Remembered in Time) is the perfect alias for this new comer. His new release, 4eva Na Day, is more than just hip hop; it’s riding music, inspiring music, real music. The first track, “Boobie Miles,” has a laid back groove, like riding in your old-school Chevy surveying your kingdom, imagined or not. The second track, “Man of Fire,” tells the pain of being a human being pushed to his limits. “I’m tired of being broke, but how can I do better?” is the line for the here and now. “Sideline,” a song about making it happen in the game no matter what, is the hustler’s anthem. “ Insomnia” and “Red Eye” gives the perspective of love and success and how sometimes they don’t mix. K.R.I.T. takes the time to give the emotional truth to trying to make it while maintaining your sanity. He’s not just ballin’ and shot callin’; he’s kickin’ the truth. Big K.R.I.T. is the truth.
Kill For Love Chromatics might sound like a color scheme to most, but if you’ve watched the cool-headed, stuntman-turned-hero film Drive, then there’s no doubt that your ears have experienced the smooth, analog-textured synth pop of Portland’s very own. With their most recent 90-minute release, Kill For Love, Chromatics have soared into the indie scene as one of the leaders of the new Italo disco movement, formulating a sound combining vintage 80s synthesizers and arpeggiators layered with crisp guitar melodies and backing bass. With a heavy presence of reverb, the dreamy yet chilling voice of Ruth Radelet, and a constant loop of a classic crackle and pop from an old vinyl, Kill For Love is their most visionary effort to date. While tracks such as “The Page” and “Back from the Grave” standout as the most poppy and major-chord oriented, it’s the 8-minute instrumental, “Broken Mirrors,” that loses you in its cryptic, steadily rising mix of single note strings and thickly stroked guitar sections. Composed and engineered by Glass Candy's Johnny Jewel, who has been on the Chromatics lineup for the past two albums, Kill for Love will keep any synth lover yearning for more. -JD
Ambition Straight off the streets of Washington D.C., hip-hop artist and rapper Wale (pronounced Wah-lay as he makes clear in many of his songs) is a unique voice in a sometimes carbon copy genre. Incorporating elements of go-go, a hard percussion disco style founded in his home city, Wale delivers a strong sophomore album with Ambition. Recently signed to Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, Wale has matured his sound and broadened his concepts since his 2009 debut. Wale exhibits an intellectual side and speaks of the bigger picture throughout this album, pulling big name features like Kid Cudi on “Focused” and Rick Ross and Meek Mill on the title track, “Ambition.” Although he has a new sophisticated mindset, he still knows how to lay down playful, fast-talking wordplay that helped him get his start. “Lotus Flower Bomb” catches him seamlessly flirting while never compromising for a smooth, layered hook. Although Wale may still be finding his niche in the rap industry, he offers an original sound that only seems to be getting better and better, proving that he truly has the ambition to be the best.
The Polish Ambassador
Homeboys in Outerspace: Episode 2 Greetings earthlings! The Polish Ambassador and his new crew of homeboys have arrived. As the most heavily armed space dude to land on our planet since Optimus Prime, The Polish Ambassador returns to the helm of his funked out, flying vessel with the next installment of his epic saga, Homeboys in Outerspace: Episode 2. Remixing the likes of the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, and Dead Prez, this collection of hip-hop traveling at ludicrous speed propels listeners into the Ambassador’s glitchy galaxy. The hard hitting, smooth flowing pace of Rye Rye’s “Bang” launches this five-part journey into orbit. Navigating its way through a field of chopped up vocals and synthesizers riding shooting stars, the Beastie Boys’ “Sure Shot” transforms itself into an easy listening space ballad. While maintaining the heavy undertone of the original, Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” blasts the possibilities between the rap/electro crossover into the far reaches of the universe. May the funk be with you. Until next time… -KC
Miranda Lambert Four the Record
Craving some female empowerment? Look no further than 27-year-old Miranda Lambert’s senior album, Four the Record. Known for her spirited sound and feisty lyrics, this album delivers her mix between traditional country twang and rock. “Baggage Claim,” a song about a girl growing tired of her man’s emotional baggage, shows her no nonsense attitude, while the spunky lyrics of “Fastest Girl in Town” keep the album fun: “I hit the bottle, you hit the gas/ I heard your 65 can really haul some ass.” Lambert’s soulful side comes out during her remake of Gillian Welch’s “Look at Miss Ohio,” as she exclaims her relatable feelings: “I wanna do right, but not right now.” Singing alongside her husband Blake Shelton on “Better in The Long Run,” the newlyweds express the inseparable bond they have for one another as their voices merge into one. No need for her to keep a journal. That’s what her albums are for. Enjoy this inside look at the life of Miranda Lambert, a fun, fearless, and on-top-of-the-world female country rock star.
Justin Townes Earle
Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now Just as a disclaimer, I’m a huge fan of Justin Townes Earle, and I think the intimacy of his live show is just about unequaled right now. That is, if he’s sober. The previous album from the chronically rehabbing son of fellow drug-abusing genius Steve Earle, 2010’s Harlem River Blues, added some electric guitar and gospel feeling to his hard-won fingerpicking and intense lyrics with mostly great results. With this new record, he attempted to go a step further by adding horns on nearly every song and going for a sort of sad-bastard-soul sound. While there are a few great songs, most notably the last track, the bumpy “Movin’ On,” it doesn’t live up to his previous work, which has been a huge part of my life over the last few years. The horns are often background music to very slow, sad songs, an effect that rarely works. But the main reason this is a hiccup from his last few excellent records is that this batch of songs are the darkest he’s ever written, and singing them live by himself in a small room would give anyone chills. However, at their roots, just like him, they are country, not soul.
Live from 2004’s New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival. Free stream/download at nugs.net Groovy Greyboy Allstars are a mix of funk, jazz, and boogaloo music. This show from Jazz Festival was the perfect atmosphere for San Diego’s easy listening quintet. They kick the night off right with an instrumental improv jam, “Jug Eyes.” The smooth jazz intro slowly builds as the horns take the melody for a ride, elegantly playing off the piano’s rhythmic notes. As the show moves forward, each song gracefully welcomes the next with ease. Further in the set comes “Rock-n-Roll Stew,” a sexy little number heavy with piano and flute that takes you away to a smoky speakeasy sipping on whiskey. They finish the night off with “Let The Music Take Your Mind,” suggesting to just let everything go and enjoy what the band’s putting out. Filling every space with sultry guitar licks and a walking bass line, this jazzy instrumental piece ends the evening. Be sure to check out Greyboy Allstars, especially if you’re heading to this year’s Hangout Music Festival.
Dark Suns Orange
Dark Suns’ fourth studio album, Orange, abandons their previous straightforward approach to the modern progressive sound for a more fleshed out, classical 70s inspired prog-rock style that harkens back to the days of bands like Yes and King Crimson. From the very opening riff on the bombastic and organ style keyboard-laden “Toy,” to the albums epic finale, “Antipole,” with its constant changeups leading into a flawless and slow building emotional interlude, the band shines like never before. Ekkehard Meister’s work on the keys stuns throughout this release. Most of the tracks are very upbeat and catchy and all have a signature sound that remains consistent with the overall feel. A staggering range of vocals are on display, including comically high pitched on “That is Why They All Hate You in Hell” to melancholic and brooding on “Vespertine.” Dark Suns proves with Orange that they are one of Germany’s finest lineups of rock musicians. With a sound that anyone from casual rock listeners to even the most tasteful of prog veterans can appreciate, the guys are a force to be reckoned with.
Sons of Bill Sirens
Sons of Bill have made a name for themselves all over the southeast with their kick-you-in-the-teeth live show. On their third full release, Sirens, the three Wilson brothers alternate songwriting and singing duties. It marks a distinct turn for them, with more epic hard rock songs and less slow country ballads. Keyboardist Abe Wilson’s three songs anchor the record, giving it a sense of coherence. The opener, the rollicking, badass “Santa Ana Winds,” is the best track, killing you with its speed and power. “Turn It Up” provides the coolest mid-album instrumental break since Zeppelin, with a four-minute guitar solo slowly building into an absolute thrasher that captures their live sound, especially lead guitarist Sam Wilson’s out-of-this-world guitar work. “Last Call at the Eschaton” rounds out the consistent feeling with a balls-out melody and emotionally cutting lyrics. Mixed in are other great songs, particularly Sam Wilson’s “Find My Way Back Home,” and James Wilson’s “Virginia Calling,” one of only two songs on the record that remotely resemble country. It’s a bold move for a band to go to a totally new place, but it shows an unprecedented level of artistic maturity, and it’s paying off big time.
A Wasteland Companion From the stark contrast of songs that seem to flow like day to night, to his exceedingly compelling and shadowy voice, to the dynamic openness and echoing sounds of the guitar, A Wasteland Companion is a definite representation of M. Ward’s masterful skill and timeless sound. For his eighth solo project, M. Ward delivers this tight knit collection of 12 songs that, although vastly different, seem to connect in an overall beautiful way. None of the songs reach four minutes, but nothing seems missed or left out. “Primitive Girl” has a fun and poppy piano feel, but fades into what seems like a completely different song, going somewhere dark and chilling. His classic vocal and guitar mix is best illustrated in “The First Time I Ran Away,” where he seems to be floating over his own fluid guitar playing with textured yet soft spoken vocals. Even Zooey Deschanel, who worked with Mr. Ward on their critically acclaimed music duo She & Him, makes a charming appearance on the fun rock cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Sweetheart.” Although only a brief thirty minutes in length, this album is worth repeated listens.
The Spin-Off Staff-selected tracks from the Monthly Spin
1. Elephant Revival - “I Remember When We Played All Day” 2. Alabama Shakes - “Hold On” 3. David Lanz - “I Am the Walrus” 4. Carl Anderson - “Don’t Stop Trying” 5. Nucleus Torn - “Hunger” 6. Big K.R.I.T. - “Sideline” 7. Chromatics - “Broken Mirrors” 8. Wale- “Lotus Flower Bomb” 9. The Polish Ambassador - “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” (TPA Remix) 10. Miranda Lambert - “Fastest Girl In Town” 11. Justin Townes Earle - “Movin’ On” 12. Greyboy Allstars - “Rock n Roll Stew” 13. Dark Suns - “Toy” 14. Sons of Bill - “Santa Ana Winds” 15. M. Ward - “The First Time I Ran Away”
An international travel series featuring
The Music Initiativeâ€™s Editor-In-Chief and 2012 Emerging Artist T. Champagne journeyed to Panama to experience three vastly differing regions of the country in 10 days. The purpose of this experimental trip? To see, interview and experience how music and the arts, nature, food & spirits, architecture, and the human spirit transcends borders. Our first stop Panama City but more importantly, the area known as Casco Viejo. Tuesday 3am Armed with two very small backpacks, a guitar, a DSLR camera, and a microphone, we, excited and exhausted, de-board our plane to a deserted Panamanian airport. Meandering through the empty waiting areas, and check-in terminals, we pray that our cab driver, who we have been informed speaks no English (and on the flip side
we speak no Spanish), will be there to greet us. We easily pass through customs, and as the airport exit doors open into a balmy tropical atmosphere, Blas, our trusty driver, greets us with a smile, open arms, and some solid English. (Thank you for the recommendation Evan at Los Quatro Tulipanes!). The
former beer bottler chatted up local beers, the history of the canal and how the city had morphed from an old world oasis into an architectural mecca for businesses and tourists alike. As we drive across the Pacific Bridge, we venture into the massive, very sleek, modern Panama City and the backdrop/ location for the 2008 James Bond flick Quantum of Solace. As the newly constructed Trump Tower looms before us, we glance quickly, at each other, back and forth, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. Was this a modern world? Were we not getting a taste of a Third World country? Were we not going to get to experience “old” architecture, history and culture? As suddenly as our hearts had dropped, and our vision of the dream trip crushed; they were lifted again as we catch a glimpse through
the grey haze of dawn at the fish mongers unloading their catch at the wharf. The contrast of the dilapidated boats floating in the water flanked to the left by modern steel buildings reaching for the heavens and to the right, the breathtaking old world architecture boasting its strength, classic beauty, and longevity, reinvigorate our spirits immediately. Blas skillfully navigates the narrow streets, parks the cab, hands us a key, and points to a door. Unsure of what will lie behind the locked door, we turn the key to enter Los Cuatro Tulipanes and caught our first glimpse of the modern sophistication, coupled with a reverence for historical architecture that would remain constant throughout our time in Casco. What we also learned, pretty quickly, is that Panamanians are some of the most hospitable people around. You can’t beat arriving at your hotel at 4:30am to find two cold Balboas (local beer) waiting in the fridge for you, right?
Tuesday 11am Anxious to hit the city, our enthusiasm compensated for our lack of sleep. But before we leave the comforts of our casita, we journal a bit, review the information our host Evan has left for us on the culture, interesting people in the city, great places to eat, and sites we must see. We make copious notes, but are soon to discover this is a place where hidden treasures are found by the chestful. Tourist map (and borrowed cell phone) in hand, we are surprised that the sleepy area where we arrived a few hours before is now teeming with the hustle and bustle of city life. Wandering through the streets, we are surrounded at every turn with iron balconies, lush gardens, and fountains. We quickly become nostalgic for New Orleans. As we cruise around the city, we see street vendors with art, children playing a game kicking a ball in the streets and a man shaking hands with people in the street. A lot of people. Turns out, we are in front of the Presidentâ€™s Mansion. Yes, the President of the country of Panama. Apparently this happens daily. The President comes out and shakes hands with the public. Itâ€™s funny that in this place where a distinction between classes is evident, there is also a profound respect for community and tradition.
A few hours and a gallon of perspiration later, we are in dire need of nourishment. With our stomachs rumbling and legs shaking, we hear a voice in the distance. Are we hallucinating? Nope, Restaurante Tequila Bar is summoning us. Once again, we are welcomed with Balboas; and our host suggests the local corvina ceviche. Delighted by the suggestion, we take the advice, and add a burrito to the mix. Relaxing a bit from the suds, our eyes widen as we see a gorgeous presentation of ceviche with plantains in a margarita glass. And delicious to boot. Are we loving it? We, in fact, love it so much, we order another round and chat a bit about the music scene around town. What a perfect stop to regroup and get some inside scoop before heading back to checkout of our apartment. We meet Evan Richards, manager of of Los Quatros Tulipanes, in the lobby to get his perspective of this city. After a few suggestions, phone calls, and introductions, we part ways and venture down the stone streets. Lush gardens with every flower imaginable, decorate the rustic remains of wall-less buildings. Renovated churches, businesses and homes invite hip restaurants and storefronts to breathe life into their historic shells while towering chapels guide the cool breeze off the bay through the city streets. One thing we are finding a bit perplexing is that many of the businesses do not have blatant signage, as we are accustomed to seeing in the U.S. Many don insignias on the doors or windows. As we are unaware of this, we pass our next hotel about eight times, back and forth, forth and back, to the catcalls of construction workers and the perplexed stares of locals. Finally, pride tucked
currently in our backpacks, we ask a man sitting on his porch if we are in the right place, in our slowest of English. He sweetly smiles, and says “Español?” We shake our heads. Kindly, without hesitation, he stands, walks us around the corner, and points to a door with two letters peering out from the frosted oval windows…CH. We ring the doorbell and are greeted by Olga, manager of the Canal House. Quickly, she ushers us out of the heat, offers us some libations, and escorts us to our suite. As we climb the beautifully restored stairwells, we stare wide-eyed at the gorgeous paintings and windows of all sizes reflecting the light from which we just escaped. It beckons you to look for the old and new, simple and complex, black and white. There is something epic about this place, inspiring a moment, but also an eternity, much like an M.C. Escher work.
Tuesday 4pm After a brief respite and a visit with our new musician friend Jason, GM of Lunas and Relic Bar, we are drawn to the shores that separate Casco Viejo from Panama City. With daylight to spare, we stroll through the manicured public park along the waterway to the Fisherman’s Wharf. What a transformation this place underwent in the last 12 hours when we first saw
the fisherman unloading their catch from our cab window. Now, these same folks are hustling to sell their remaining fish before the market closes. If it’s a fish and it swims in the Pacific, good chance you’ll find it here. Shrimp, octopus, corvina, blood clams and more. Thankfully, we find a vendor with an umbrella, table and chairs. We order two cups and take a load off, as we watch three different ways of life. To our left the video from the Giant Panasonic LED Screen blazes alongside the sun from the glittery Panama City. Directly in front of us, a variety of boats and fisherman undulate with the tide, as the remaining sunlight playfully frolics in the water. To the right, the sun casts a spectacular glow on the old beauty, allowing her to bask in the glory of the day. With dusk (and Happy Hour quickly approaching), we cruise into Las Clementinas for some much talked about jazz by pianist Carlos. His nimble fingers kept the tunes flowing and the moods festive. Cozying up to the bar, we meet the gregarious Roberto Chocolate and his lovely wife, sister, and friend. We chat about politics, the best beach in Panama, and the craft of writing. These former Canadians relocated to Panama, and have been integral in founding The International Film Festival of Panama. After a few more recommendations for restaurants, some music swapping, and tips of getting around, we bid them all Adieu.
Tuesday 8pm As we wander back to our hotel and through the romantic Plaza Tomas Herrera Park, we notice the twinkling of lights from the Venezuelan steak house, Puerta De Tierra. We choose a table at the edge of the park under an umbrella that shields us from the light breeze, as we sip red wine and dine under the stars, sharing a classic steak and a creamy havarti risotto. A small band of gypsies traveling south from Mexico share stories of their travels while playing the accordion, guitar and bongos. Pedestrians linger, as children dance to the hypnotic tunes. A peaceful night falls upon us. Just as we lean into the rhythm of the
night, an unwanted ultimate party bus positions itself across the street, ready to bring out the animal in its passengers. The old converted school bus, painted and lit up more than a discothéque, was luring our fellow diners with Reggaeton to hit the latest dance club. We pass on the mobile fiesta, finish our dinner, and stumble upon DiVino, the perfect place to wind down the evening. Wine boxes line the ceiling and champagne bottles serve as lamp shades. An endless list of South American and European wines entice us. Exotic cheeses, a knowledgable waitstaff, and the most relaxing hideaway convince us that this is where we must finish up our first official night in Casco.
-BF -TC Stay tuned next month for more Casco tales when we visit the Panama Canal.
Travel Tips: ¬ Buy an international cell phone or a special SIM chip when you arrive http://www.movistar.com.pa/onsite/index.php ¬ Know the name of the specific neighborhood where you are staying. ¬ Take a map of the city to your concierge or host where you are staying and have them mark the areas of town that are safe to walk. ¬ Go to the wharf and try as many types of ceviche as you can.
All work and no play is no fun at all. For T. Champagne, itâ€™s about finding a balance between making a living and living for a laugh that keeps his spirit as a working musician flourishing.
You’ve got an upcoming tour from May 13th to June 17th. What’s on the agenda for Champagne with Friends?
Do you ever attempt to add humor to your music? Or is that something you tend to stray away from?
We’re heading out as a trio this go around. I’m actually moving over to bass and singing lead vocals; Brad Halter is taking over on guitar; and Chris Bonneau will be joining us on drums. We’re starting off along the Gulf Coast and then hitting up venues throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. After that, we’ll be making stops in Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. We’ve got some more shows lined up throughout Mississippi and New Orleans before we make our way back home to Charleston.
When it comes to me adding any kind of humor or comedy to my songwriting, I think my lyrics lean more towards subtle plays on words rather than anything else. For instance, one of my favorite lines that I’ve written is, “Dr. Pepper in a cold glass afternoon.” It essentially describes what the afternoon is going to be like in a nutshell. It’s kind of a weird way to depict things.
When you’re on an extensive tour like the one you’ve got planned, how do you keep yourself entertained during long periods of driving? If you can get some sleep, that’s always a good thing. I, for one, have never been good at that, though. I get carsick if I try to read, so that’s out of the question. However, I can write. I’ve been journaling more and jotting down notes throughout my trips. When I’m not driving, I’ve got a laptop and a cell phone attached to me making plans for the future. When you’re gone for five weeks on the road, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got gigs booked for when you get back. You’ve got to be on your toes about that.
As a songwriter, what’s your take on artists who have the ability to accompany sidesplitting jokes with wellcrafted music? Guys like Tenacious D and “Weird Al” Yankovic are brilliant for being able to do what they’ve done. It’s not easy at all. Not only do you have to be a great musician and songwriter, but you also have to be a comedian. And then you’ve got guys like Matt Stone and Trey Parker from South Park. They do an awesome job with the music they make for the show. I think what grabs you the most is not only do the songs and melodies sound great, but the subject matter is also so over the cliff. It either disgusts you, or you can look past it and laugh at it for what it is. -KC
Last Day of Classes: aka LDOC! Duke University students celebrated the culmination of another academic year. As temperatures rise, so does the smell of warmth in the air. Windows are open, and class is dismissed for the final time. Posters are removed, and dorm rooms are bare as students pack for summer vacation. The sun has set on another academic year at Duke University, which can only mean one thing… time for LDOC! The Last Day Of Classes (LDOC, pronounced “L-dock”) is an end of the year blowout—and the ultimate Duke experience. Every year, students wait with bated breath for the artist lineup; and every year, thousands of students from every corner of campus gather on the main quad for the concerts and festivities. The annual student-produced event allows students a chance to chill and unwind with friends before kicking into high-gear study mode for finals.
Holding true to current pop culture, the 2012 event kicks off with a Hunger Games themed breakfast. Caricature artists and vendors overtake the quad, as students enjoy trivia, inflatables, and relaxing complimentary massages. Groups gather for peer performers and cheer on fellow students in outrageous eating contests. The all-day event culminates with a concert featuring 3LAU, Basshunter, Macklemore x Ryan Lewis, and headliner B.o.B. Though chock-full of fun and games, LDOC has a purpose as well. During the festival, students fundraise and accept donations to support Durham's Walltown Children’s Theatre. WCT contracts with charter schools, social services, and religious groups to provide high impact arts programs for disadvantaged
Students attending LDOC 2012
children. Thanks to WCT, kids have the opportunity to take classes in music, dance, and acting. Following the classes, they showcase their talents in touring theatrical performances like Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and Bangin', an original play about teen gangs. After the tents deflate and the bands pack up their gear, students have one last ditch effort to contribute to WCT and a greener LDOC. They collect all event recyclables and contribute the can money as the festival’s final fundraising effort. Dismissed, now go rock those exams! -KK
New Orleans N.Y.C. Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Omaha San Francisco Santa Fe Seattle Tulsa Washington, D.C.
Denver Los Angeles Miami
Our staff writers set out on discovering the nationâ€™s h
Denton/Ft. Worth Madison Minneapolis Nashville
n a musical roadtrip, hottest local bands.
Birmingham Boston Charleston
Seattle Hot Spots
Dear Mister Manager
Neumos / May 4th Delta Spirit is on tour in support of their newly released selftitled album. These Americana modern-rockers aim to create what the members believe to be the true Delta Spirit sound.
WaMu Theatre / May 16th Experience Bassnectar. This light show, amplified with electronic mixes, pairs perfectly with the ever-changing visuals behind Bassnectar. The psychedelic sounds, combined with the thumping bass, create a story in which the message becomes clearer as the backdrop continues to evolve alongside the music.
Buffalo Death Beam
Tractor Tavern / May 16th With a name like Buffalo Death Beam you may be surprised to learn these guys are actually a folk inspired band. Known for their beautiful harmonies, this group takes their music seriously. The acoustic vibrations of the violin, mandolin and banjo leave a satisfactory ring in your ear.
Neptune Theatre / May 22nd Bethany Cosentino, a Californian through and through, creates music inspired by her idea of the Best Coast. Honoring her home state, Cosentino’s playful, flirty tunes reflect the laid-back atmosphere of youthfulness and the beach.
Gorge Amphitheatre / May 25th – May 28th Legendary amphitheatre, the Gorge, is home to the annual Sasquatch Festival. This year’s line-up represents the best music amongst our mainstream world. Headliners like Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, and Pretty Lights indicate there’s something for everyone. Other acts include Tenacious D, Girl Talk, The Civil Wars, and much more. Looks like we finally found Sasquatch!
Indie rockers Dear Mister Manager have that hipster flare but are in no way afraid to jam. This quartet is a new sensation emerging throughout the bars of Seattle. The catchy yet melodic chord progressions mixed with their solid drummer makes these boys great. Their bluesy rock n’ roll instrumental “Frigid Arson” is the perfect tune to open any show. It showcases the talent of the band, grabbing your attention and forcing you to want more. They’re a pleasure to watch as they joyfully dance around on stage with happiness exploding through them. Dear Mister Manager’s youthful, shining personality gives them character and attitude. Be sure to check out this rocking local band. They are definitely on they’re way! -CC
San Francisco Local Scene
High Like Five
High Like Five is a Bay Area punk band that launched in 2005. Since then they have performed with Plain White T’s, Die Trying, and Pepper. The members of the band include Hector Zaragoza on lead vocals and guitar, Anastacio Rodriguez on lead guitar, Sean Lopez on bass, and Kyle Geary on drums. In January 2009, High Like Five released their first EP, No Dice. Only nine months later they released their first full-length album, The Melody that Makes a Difference, through Hyper Raje Records. Some of High Like Five’s inspirations include Santana, Rise Against, Jimi Hendrix, Green Day, and Eyes Set to Kill. The guys’ ultimate goal is just to have a good time, play music, and spread a positive message.
The Fillmore / May 2nd The lyrics of the Awakening were inspired by fatherhood; the father of a three year old girl, Morrison recently lost his own dad after a strained relationship. Because of the personal nature of the material, Morrison feels like this is one of his best albums and tours yet.
Wednesday Night Jazz
Amnesia / Every Wednesday (May 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th) Every Wednesday at Amnesia, San Francisco locals can enjoy free jazz with Gaucho and Michael Abraham.
West Coast Blues for a Cure 2nd Annual Benefit Contest
Yoshi’s, San Francisco / May 20th West Coast Blues for a Cure was established last year in order to raise funds for cancer research, education, prevention, advocacy and patient services. The afternoon will feature Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, with the Austin de Lone Band.
The Warfield / May 16th Rock band Creed has been one of the most successful in history, selling around thirty-five million albums and millions of concert tickets. They won a Grammy for best Rock Song in 2001 for “With Arms Wide Open.”
How Weird Street Faire
Howard & 2nd Streets / May 13th The 13th annual How Weird Street Faire will take place on 13 stages spread over 13 city blocks. In addition to musical performances, there will also be colorful costumes, live and exhibited art, and artistic goods for sale. -CP
Los Angeles Hot Spots Washed Out
The Music Box @ Henry Fonda Theater / May 2nd After graduate school, unable to find a job as a librarian, Washed Out, otherwise known as Ernest Greene, started making music in his bedroom studio. A few months and many blog posts later, Greene would be recognized as a fundamental part of the chillwave movement, unveiling his transient, lo-fi grooves with the rest of the world.
The Boxer Rebellion
El Rey Theater / May 18th Coming out of London, England, the Boxer Rebellion is an indie rock quartet who entrances audiences with their smooth and dreamlike progressions. After three successful albums, there is no doubt that the group is ready for the Golden State.
Hollywood Palladium / May 8th Originating from Scotland in the mid 90s, Snow Patrol is a consistently dynamic group that is often labeled as post Britpop and indie rock. Snow Patrol’s propulsive and bittersweet sounds present a cathartic experience to many listeners.
Yost Theater / May 20th Spending his young life living on his family’s boat and traveling from island to island in the Caribbean, Mishka’s upbringing shines through the sounds of his music. His relaxed reggae tunes are known for their peaceful topics and the island mood they radiate.
Lightning in a Bottle Festival
Oak Canyon Ranch / May 24th On Memorial Day weekend, musicians, artists, yogis and creative forces will collide at the 7th annual Lightning in a Bottle Festival. The festival is an annual celebration of the community’s spirit and a deep commitment to preserve the environment and its resources. Described as a cross between Coachella and Burning Man, Lightning in a Bottle won Europe’s prestigious 2010 and 2011 Outstanding Greener Festival Award. This year’s event boasts a firm lineup, including Bassnectar, The Glitch Mob, and the magic of Lucent Dossier.
Local Scene Best Coast
Best Coast is made up of Bethany Cosentino and Bob Bruno. The duo became an immediate sensation after the release of their 2010 album, Crazy for You, making Pitchfork’s “Top 50 Albums of 2010.” Their new album, The Only Place, is due out May 15th. Best Coast’s music has frequently been described as indie/garage rock and surf pop. Most of their songs deal with subjects such as love, relationships, breakups and crushes. Although Bruno does all of the drumming for their shows, the live performances often feature multiple drummers to enhance the appeal. Be sure to check out their extensive summer tour dates to see if they’ll be coming to a city near you! -KV
Santa Fe Local Scene Holy Water and Whiskey
Holy Water and Whiskey is made up of three members, Maggie Washburn (bass), Scott Altenbach (guitar), and Bruce Washburn (guitar/banjo). Bruce and Maggie, husband and wife, met in a band in 1977 and continued to play music together. After meeting Altenbach in 2002, they formed Holy Water and Whiskey. All three members began playing and performing during the 1960’s folk movement and continue to incorporate additional acoustic styles. To date, the trio have released three albums: Better Late than Never, Spirits of All Kinds, and most recently, Miners, Outlaws, and Other Relatives. In 2011, Holy Water and Whiskey won New Mexico Music Awards’ Best Vocal and Western Songs. Their bluegrass style includes several gospel and spiritually themed tunes, making them a welcome fit in venues from churches to festivals to pubs.
Hot Spots Trova! World Music Dinner Show
El Farol / May 1st – 3rd, 8th – 10th Trova! is an evening of songs from Spanish speaking countries, including the Middle East, Greece, Italy, and elsewhere. Guests will enjoy both dinner and music.
Cinco de Mayo Musical Benefit for the Santa Fe Youth Shelters
Ore House at Milagro / May 5th If Santa Fe locals are looking to enjoy their music scene and help someone in the process, here’s a great way to help kids in Youth Shelters. Featured artists include Kate Mann, Michael Barker, the Imperial Rooster, the Strange, and D.K. and the Affordables.
Music Under the Mesa May Fair
3 Mesa Baja / May 19th – 20th This family event is in Rowe, NM, only 28 miles from Santa Fe and includes a free campout. The $20 donation ticket price includes live music, food and refreshments. There are clowns and puppets for the kids and BYOB for the grown-ups.
Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess
Evangelo’s / May 11th Originally trained as an opera singer in college, Stephanie Hatfield formed into a jazz, Broadway, folk and rock artist. The Hot Mess includes Bill Palmer, Matt McClinton and Jason Aspeslet, with whom Hatfield is planning on recording an album and heading out on a national tour.
Tina & Her Pony
Cowgirl BBQ Mustang Grill / May 20th Tina & Her Pony originally formed in Asheville, NC. The folk duo consists of Tina Collins (tenor banjo/ tenor ukulele/guitar/vocals) and Quetzal Jordan (cello/guitar/vocals). -CP
Denver Hot Spots Never Shout Never
Bluebird Theater / May 2nd Never Shout Never, a one-man band featuring Christofer Drew, lands in between emo and singer/ songwriter. As a young member of the digital age, Christofer started posting his songs on the Internet. After averaging about 15,000 plays per day, Drew legitimized Never Shout Never. His recently produced third album, Time Travel, features a full band.
Comfort Dental Amphitheater / May 13th Making his original debut as Jimmy Brooks on the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, Drake since switched over to music when he signed a recording contract with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment. Now Drake writes and produces his own material, as well as a number of other hip-hop artists. The 25 year old continues to top the charts and render himself a must-see.
Local Scene Devotchka
This quartet started as a back-up band for burlesque shows before they evolved into the multi-instrumental and vocal ensemble we know today. Like many other bands, Devotchka spent much of their early years searching for gigs and musical direction. Eventually, the band began to cultivate a following when Little Miss Sunshine, which they made the soundtrack for, became a box office hit. Shortly after, they won a Grammy for the soundtrack, and their popularity continues to grow exponentially. Devotchka is most well known for their eclectic, moderately paced rock style. They employ a plethora of instruments, including the theremin, bouzouki, trumpet, violin, accordion, sousaphone and double bass. The little gypsy wedding band from Denver has become widely known across the nation and has been recruited to play at hundreds of popular venues and renowned music festivals, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot, Lollapalooza and Mile High.
The Toad Tavern / May 10th Texas born Chris Duarte is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Duarte plays a style of Texas-blues rock that draws on elements of jazz, blues and rock. He started playing his brothers guitar at the age of fourteen and played with bands in San Antonio before making a name for himself. His wailing instrumentals caused him to place fourth in Guitar Player magazines “Best Blues Guitarist” category behind Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and B. B. King.
Portugal. The Man
Ogden Theater / May 2nd Originally from Wasilla, AK, Portugal The Man was started as vocalist John Gourley’s side project, with Zachary Carothers playing bass. After acquiring two more members, the group then moved to Portland and have since been all the buzz of the rock industry. With a style that is frequently pinned as psychedelic and progressive rock, the quartet has pumped out an album every year since 2006.
Ogden Theater / May 19th Blooming from a friendship between five friends, the recently formed indie band Grouplove was born. Grouplove is known for their quirky staccato style that leaves listeners in high spirits. Their debut album, ironically titled Never Trust a Happy Song, was released in September of 2011 and is the subject of the group’s recent tour. -KV
Omaha Hot Spots St. Vincent
The Slowdown / May 14th Spreading her enticing and candid melodies, the young and independent Annie Erin Clark of St. Vincent plans to stop in Omaha this month. Even more exciting, St. Vincent will include lyrical numbers from her most recent and highest charting album yet, 2011’s Strange Mercy.
The Slowdown / May 17th The pure and harmonious acoustics of singer/ songwriter Tyrone Wells heads to Omaha with his guitar to serenade the Midwest. Focused on developing a medium between energetic and vulnerable, Wells seeks to make a fresh independent start through his undeniably euphonic anthems.
Deer Tick w/ Turbo Fruit
The Waiting Room / May 20th The five members of Deer Tick are notorious for their folky sound that is integrated with their raw, loud and heartfelt style to create something that is safe to classify as uncharted territory in the music industry. Based out of Nashville, TN, the garage rock band Turbo Fruit will be accompanying them.
Swampboy Blues Band
Soaring Wings / May 25th Influenced by folk, blues, jazz and country, the trio’s original tunes are nothing shy of straight Americana. The spontaneity of the band is obvious through the fact that they never have a set list and no two shows are alike, rendering each Swampboy show a truly unique experience.
Steve Raybine Band
The Ozone / May 24th Steve Raybine is a man of many talents: he is a virtuoso vibraphonist, percussionist, composer/arranger, instructor and clinician. Raybine and his band perform his original, contemporary jazz music that incorporates urban funk, rhythm and blues, pop and Latin music elements.
Local Scene Midwest Dilemma
There is nothing typical about this ten-man show. Band founder, Justin Lamoureux, has been performing as Midwest Dilemma for nearly a decade; traveling across hills, valleys, plains, mountains, forests, deserts, rivers, oceans and destinations near and far to share stories of life in the Midwest. Lamoureux since recruited 23 musical collaborators for the debut release of 2008’s Timelines & Tragedies. The album, a timeline of Lamoureux’s family history from the Canadian fur trade to modern life in Omaha, was awarded the Omaha Entertainment Award’s Album of the Year. -KV
Tulsa Hot Spots Incubus
Hard Rock Casino / May 23rd Nineties sensation Incubus released their seventh studio album, If Not Now, When?, in 2011. For 21 years, Incubus has been producing beautiful rock music that stays consistent. The band has issued a wide variety of instruments into their music that contributes to their unique style of rock, including a djembe, sitar, didgeridoo and bongos.
The Historic Brady Theater / May 17th Flogging Molly is a seven piece Celtic punk rock band from L.A. Releasing their Irish rage, the band utilizes a myriad of instruments, including the bodhran, banjo, spoons, fiddle, tin whistle, uillean pipes, accordion, concertina and mandolin. Simply by listening, audiences are transported to a drunken night in Dublin.
Cain’s Ballroom / May 1st AWOLNATION, an American indie pop band, was created in 2010 by Aaron Bruno. The group has released two albums, and had a hit with their single “Sail,” which has been featured in many shows and movies. The pairing of AWOLNATION with Utah native alternative rock band Neon Trees should make for a fun and energetic show.
Local Scene Euphonic Dissonance
Euphonic Dissonance writes original crossover music using both electric and acoustic instruments before blending the sounds with computerized ones to create their dark and industrial electronic rock. The group’s infectious vibrations entrance listeners with their raw and rebellious progressions. Though the band’s music is extremely unique, its roots in past and present music seem to appeal to everyone. They synthesize grinds similar to those of David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails, as well as pull from influences like Arcade Fire and Depeche Mode. The band is currently working on their album titled Tech Messiah, seeking to deliver their audience’s ears from dull electronic music with a sound wall of roaring tectonic basslines. Obviously, based on their name, Euphonic Dissonance values the simultaneous use of opposite sounds and moods to create captivating medleys that are unforgettable. -KV
Cain’s Ballroom / May 31st Pioneers of a relatively new genre, this electroreggae band plans to head to Tulsa to share their island/dance party enhancing tunes. Major Lazer caters to anyone who wants to dance, have a good time, or simply to see a wild and energetic show full of eclectic lights and sounds.
The Historic Brady Theater / May 30th Originally founded in 1984, Primus is an American rock band based in San Francisco, currently composed of bassist/vocalist Les Claypool, guitarist Larry LaLonde and drummer Jay Lane. They are characterized by their irreverent and quirky approach to music that many describe as a combination of funk and progressive metal.
Denton/ Ft. Worth Hot Spots The Burning Hotels
Club Da Da / May 11th The Burning Hotels have no pretenses regarding their sound; it’s stripped pop rock with touches of melancholic overtones infusing danceable textures and transcendental vocals. Key members include Chance Morgan and Matt Moody. They are currently working on a remix and b-side EP to accompany their national summer tour.
The Manifestation Celebration / May 5th Nadis Warriors will perform their malevolent electronic textures at the Manifestation Celebration, accompanying a gallery of Alex Grey’s artwork. Their music blends spiritual concepts with electronic and dance. Nadis Warriors are based out of Austin, TX.
The Aardvark / May 5th Zombie Western’s meditative, moody art rock is perfect for spacing out to. Whether you call it post-rock or simply rock, this band’s emotional impact without the assistance of vocals is what makes them stunning.
Rubber Gloves / May 8th Descending all the way from Indiana, Racebannon is not for the faint of heart. Their musical brew is a mix of abrasive avant-garde hardcore metal and grind core laced with experimental sound textures and tortured vocals.
Curtain Club / May 5th Learn to party Mexican style and come celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Dallas-based The Mad Mexicans. Reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, their heavy-hitting musical style blends hard rock with rap style vocals.
Local Scene Reverend Horton Heat
Singer-songwriter and guitar player Jim Heath, aka Reverend Horton Heat, and his trio’s extensive 2012 tour is in full swing. Reverend Horton Heat’s current lineup features Jimbo Wallace (upright bass and backing vocals) and Paul Simmons (drums). Their “country-fed punkability,” as it’s been self-described, seamlessly blends bits of Jim’s scathing humor with hypnotically deep country and a dash of punk, hard rock and surf influence. Formed in 1985, they began performing their first gigs in the Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood. Their studio discography, spanning from 1990 to today, includes ten albums and seven singles. -ZS
Hot Spots Bowling For Soup Joe’s Crab Shack / May 9th Join BalconyTV Austin at Joe’s Crab Shack on Lake Austin for the taping of Bowling For Soup. This energetic, Denton, TX based band is best known for their hit song “1985.” Relax on the waterfront deck and enjoy some good live music!
CharityBash benefiting KLRU The Rattle Inn / May 17th Brought to you by the philanthropic organization Citizen Generation, this event benefits Austin’s local PBS station, KLRU. Nelo, English Teeth and Black Pistol Fire are scheduled to perform.
Bass Concert Hall / May 12th The iconic band Jane’s Addiction will be bringing the Theatre of the Escapist Tour to their loyal fans in Austin. Looking to be one of the best local concerts of the year, set in the intimate setting of Bass Concert Hall, it is sure to please those who are ready to rock.
Kerrville Folk Festival
Quiet Valley Ranch / May 24th – June 10th Held continuously since 1972, this festival brings 30,000 music fans to the area over 18 straight days. Any singer/ songwriter who’s anyone has made an appearance at this festival. Located a short two-hour drive from Austin and about an hour north of San Antonio.
Stubb’s BBQ / May 22nd A hit during their recent visit for SXSW, the Parlotones return from South Africa to show off their unique sound on stage at Stubb’s. These guys have opened for bands such as Coldplay and are one of the best selling artists in South Africa. This is a show not to be missed.
Local Scene Black Pistol Fire
Black Pistol Fire is a Canadian rock band that now calls Austin home. Even though this energetic group only consists of Kevin McKeown (guitar/ lead vocals) and Eric Owen (drums), they have an extremely large sound. These lifelong friends are on the verge of making a huge name for themselves in the hard-to-crack Austin music scene. BPF has been said to sound like a mix between Kings of Leon and Clutch, if one can imagine. When I heard these guys perform for the first time, I felt a familiarity in their music; however, it had a uniqueness that makes them stand apart from the rest. Take a listen... I’m sure you’ll agree. -NL
Hot Spots He is We
Varsity Theater / May 2nd Comprised of Trevor Kelly and Rahel Taylor, this indie pop duo is becoming quite the talk of the town. Beginning as work buddies at a music store in their hometown of Tacoma, WA, He is We has come a long way and are about to embark on their Give It All Tour across America this month.
Great Lake Swimmers w/ Gold Specks
Cedar Cultural Center / May 3rd The Great Lake Swimmers is an indie folk band based out of Ontario. The group’s sounds have frequently been compared to those of Iron & Wine, Neil Young and Sufjan Stevens.
Station 4 / May 11th Go Radio formed in April of 2007 after Jason Lancaster left Mayday Parade. Now a quartet, the group plays what critics say is a mix of alternative pop, punk, emo and indie rock. Their newest album, Coast the Distance, awaits its release on August 14th.
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Cabooze / May 25th After breaking up with his girlfriend, moving out of his best friend’s house, recovering from an addiction, and falling in love, Alex Ebert and his sweetheart grabbed a group of musicians and started touring the country under the name Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. A recent sensation, this lovable ensemble is heading to the Twin Cities to shower audiences with their upbeat and shameless indie folk numbers.
Xcel Energy Center / May 19th Alive and kickin’ for 40 years, Van Halen hasn’t seen enough yet. The group is now 12 albums in and is still considered one of the best hard rock bands on the planet. Now our parent’s concert stories of stage-dives and long hair can be relived at their upcoming show.
Local Scene Reckless Ones
Voted “Best Under-the-Radar Minneapolis Band” by City Pages, one would think that the band is most likely underrated or simply undiscovered. This is anything but the case for the trio Reckless Ones. Sure, the band isn’t super well-known in the Twin Cities, but ironically enough, they’ve been touring internationally across Europe since their formation in 2009. The group likes to be pinned as plain and simple rock n’ roll and have a vintage-style sound with a modern twist. They claim to “not be concerned with the electronic sounds of this modern day, but an honest statement in this modern world. A sound from the heart that doesn’t apologize for anything.” Now it’s up to Minneapolis to claim their rock stars before the rest of the world holds the boys and their refreshingly right rock n’ roll captive. -KV
Madison Hot Spots
Keyboard Conversations: a Musical Love Triangle
Wisconsin Union Theatre / May 2nd Inspired by Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, this interactive piano concert is put on by pianist Jeffrey Siegel. Siegel hopes to cultivate an appreciation for classical music from the audience by pairing pieces with intriguing questions that spark discussion and curiosity.
Tegan and Sara
Barrymore Theater / May 6th Tegan and Sara have released seven albums and are still praised for their quirky and sprightly live acts. In the interest of truthfulness, precision and love, the Canadian twins are bringing their compelling, indiepunk melodies to Madison.
M. Ward and Chris Scruggs
Barrymore Theater / May 23rd The music of singer/songwriter M. Ward, with his indiefolk and alternative country feel, will be complimented with the bluesy yet upbeat tracks of Chris Scruggs. M. Ward will feature numbers from his new album, A Wasteland Companion, released on April 10th.
Neon Indian, Lemonade
Majestic Theater / May 5th The pulsating and ethereal rhythms of the young indiepop/new wave band are coming to fill up the Majestic Theater for none other than an enchanting electronic experience. The colorful music of Neon Indian and their opener, Lemonade, are the perfect couple to create this musical dreamland.
Theory of a Deadman
Orpheum Theatre / May 6th Theory of a Deadman, with their post-grunge and alternative rock roots, feature hints of other styles like country and acoustic and have a total of six top ten hits on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Their fervent numbers continue to render as popular and contagious in the music world.
Native to Indiana, Nick Whetro originally created Icarus Himself as a solo project for the National Beekeeper’s society. With the addition of two new members, the group produced their most recent album, Career Culture, in 2011. Icarus Himself describes their genre as a mix of electro, folk rock and tropical. Career Culture is a tale of discovery, conceived from Whetro’s migration from the stark repression of Indiana’s industrial wasteland to the brighter days of creative expression, companionship and migrating to Madison. This story of his self-realization is paired up with the self-discovery of the band, merging the two into successful, sturdy and dynamic music. Icarus Himself’s use of feathery accents in the composition process help to enhance the hearty bass and convey a nearly uplifting and progressive feel. Echoing wails and vibrating tones make for an eclectic listening experience. Icarus Himself frequently performs in Madison and can soon be seen at Mickey’s Tavern on May 12th. -KV
Chicago Hot Spots Human First Gala
Joan W. Irving B. Harris Theater / May 12th The annual Human First Gala recognizes and celebrates individuals, businesses and corporations that have contributed to the local LGBT community. This year’s featured musical performances include k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven 7
Wentz Concert Hall at the Fine Arts Center / May 17th and May 19th The 80-piece Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be performing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 under conductor Jaap van Zweden, as well as Vaughan Wiliams’ Tuba Concerto, featuring Gene Pokorny.
The Beach Boys
The Chicago Theatre / May 21st The Beach Boys are back together for a reunion tour! Consisting of brothers Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson, and their cousin Mike Love, the four have been making music since high school and released many energetic and carefree pop hits such as “Fun, Fun, Fun” and “Surfin’ USA.”
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Riviera Theatre / May 24th Best known for their hit song “Home,” indie/folk rock band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros consist of thirteen members playing a variety of instruments. Note: there isn’t actually anyone named Edward Sharpe in the band.
Viper Alley / May 18th Vanilla Ice, of “Ice Ice Baby” fame, has created a new image since his attempted suicide in 1994. He will be bringing a harder, darker style of music he describes as metal molten hip hop.
Local Scene Hollows
Hollows is a primarily female band started by bassist Emma Hospelhorn and organist Maria Jenkins through a Craigslist ad. The band has since grown to a five-piece, consisting of four women, Hospelhorn, Jenkins, Hannah Harris and Megan Kasten, and one man, Jason Davlantes. While Hospelhorn and Jenkins remain the primary songwriters, much of the quintet’s charm comes from the fact that they are part of a dwindling number of primarily girl bands. They combine a vintage 1960s girl group feel with a taste of pop punk. Despite being different in a male powered genre, Hollows doesn’t feel the pressure to fit into a certain standard. They try to embrace the fun, carefree side of music, as much as punk. Hollows recently released a twelve track album titled Vulture and are hosting a release party for their local fans in May. -CP
Soul Rebels Brass Band
Recently named Big Easy Music Awards’ 2012 Best Emerging Artist, Brass-AHolics consists of Matt Clark (electric guitar), Robin Clabby (saxophone), Winston Turner (trombone), Dwayne Muhammad (percussion), Keiko Komaki (keyboard), Tannon Williams (trumpet), Jason “Slick Slack” (bass horn), and Ricky Caesar (drums). Combining traditional New Orleans brass sounds with go-go funk grooves, this lively sounding collection of finger snappin’, toe tappin’ music has fans all around the city excited for what’s to come. With such an assortment of musicians and sounds accompanying the same stage, the unity the Brass-A-Holics share with one another is something that needs to be seen. Don’t worry, though. This addiction is something that’s perfectly acceptable to give into on a daily basis.
d.b.a / May 5th Formed by Lumar LeBlanc and Derrick Moss, Soul Rebels Brass Band adds a contemporary spin to jazz, while remaining deeply rooted in its past. Their new album, Unlock Your Mind, is out now on Rounder Records.
311 House of Blues New Orleans / May 8th The Omaha, NE quintet brings their fusion of alternative rock, reggae, hip hop and funk to the Big Easy. Thrice
Tipitina’s / May 12th If you’ve ever been a fan of these Irvine, CA posthardcore rockers, you better get in on the action while you still can. The group’s farewell tour, accompanied by Animals as Leaders and O’Brother, is currently underway.
Soul Track Mind
Rock ‘N’ Bowl / May 19th Hailing from Austin, TX, Soul Track Mind’s sound combines the best of soul, blues, funk and jazz. Come bowl some strikes and dance to these horn driven grooves.
Reggie Watts Tipitina’s / May 24th Utilizing loop machines and stream-of-conscious improvisation to create his unique mix of comedy and music, Reggie Watts is no stranger to disorienting audiences all over the word. -KC
Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark / May 11th Since their start in 1994, Wilco has released eight successful albums, and raves from critics haven’t ceased. Rolling Stone describes the group as “one of America’s most consistently interesting bands” due to their roots in alternative country and folk, as well as their melodic symmetries to modern pop and indie-rock.
WorkPlay Theater / May 3rd Interested not in bringing back the “good ole days” but instead in creating the “good new days,” Mayer Hawthorne puts his love and knowledge for jazz and soul to work when he creates his retro yet revolutionary melodies. By pairing strong vocals with varied and vibrant instrumentals, Mayer Hawthorne confidently radiates an essence that signals an upcoming revival of the golden age of soul.
Birmingham Schaeffer Crawfish Boil / May 4th Starstruck at an early age, Childish Gambino, otherwise known as Donald Glover, was a writer for 30 Rock and starred in a comedy series before releasing his first studio album in 2011. He employs his witty and innovative spirit by fusing his singing and rapping talents with pulsating percussions and electronic music, producing none other than infectious beats that keep the audience lifted.
The Nick / May 1st This American hip-hop duo is made up of two multiinstrumentalist brothers who sing, rap and produce. It is safe to say that their music is among the most diverse in the hip-hop world, including ingredients of rap, rock, electronic and punk. The Knux are known for their extremely energetic live shows and were invited to perform at nearly every major music festival in North America in 2009.
Coheed and Cambria
WorkPlay Theater / May 16th From New York, this band incorporates elements of progressive rock, punk rock, metal and post-hardcore. Coheed seeks to bring new life to a dying genre and mix up the pop punk scene with their creative riffs.
Local Scene Act of Congress
The organic sound of Act of Congress combines hook-laden melodies, compelling songwriting, and intelligent acoustic instrumentation that are rapidly gathering attention throughout the country. With the welcome release of their second album, Worth Fighting For, it is evident why the dynamic band is widely acclaimed and continues to grow in popularity throughout the country. Filling venues with their flawless acoustic harmonies, retro instrumentation, and varied musical roots, they have opened Live Nation VIP areas for John Mayer, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Edwin McCain. With melodies that hook the listener, their music still remains grounded and approachable. In 2011, they performed their original music with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, backed up country music star Sara Evans, and were voted one of the must see acts of Alabama. Act of Congress also was also featured in the prestigious 2011 Year of Alabama Music. -CP
Miami Hot Spots
The Filmore Miami Beach / May 8th Living up to their name, Beach House’s music is a vacation in itself. The duo creates what is often dubbed as “dream pop” because of the slow, atmospheric rhythms they create through entrancing instrumentals and a seamless melody.
The Beach Boys
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino / May 4th The Boys seek the Sunshine State to help them re-live their glory days. Whether it’s for nostalgia, happiness, or simply a feeling of sweet summertime, a Beach Boy’s concert is an experience that can cater to anyone. Their groovy rock is sure to make Miami say “Surf’s up!”
Broward Center for Performing Arts / May 13th & 14th Most well known as the lead singer of Pearl Jam, Edward Louis Severson III has taken on a new name. The multiinstrumentalist consistently poses a phenomenal oneman-show full of ukuleles, accordions, harmonicas, and mandolins. His folk rock can be heard throughout the movie Into the Wild and his newest album, Water on the Road, was released last spring.
SOJA with Michael Franti and Spearhead
SunFest / May 5th An acronym for Soldiers of Jah Army, SOJA offers their reggae jams to anyone who wants to welcome in good vibes for the next few days. Paired with the folky reggae jazz of Michael Franti, this festival of peace, love and dreads is surely nothing to dread.
Straight No Chaser
Kravis Center / May 11th Rendering just as authentic as a shot with no chaser, this group’s a capella tunes are as real as it gets. With the unique “who needs instrumentals” mentality, the harmony and poise of Straight No Chaser isn’t something to miss.
Completely deserving of the title “Best Miami Band You’ve Never Heard of” by Miami New Times, it’s remarkable that a major record label hasn’t snatched the group up yet. Following the philosophy that taking life too seriously will eat you alive, Little Beard has stormed onto the local scene with a solid indie rock sound, strong lyrics, and a quirky sense of humor. With a strong regard for friendship and community, it was easy for each member to find their way to the group from chance meetings at places like the public library in downtown Miami, music theory class at Miami Dade College, Craigslist, and even a hopping Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Now they enjoy being a part of the larger Miami music scene. Little Beard’s sounds can be described as a blending of pulse punk, surf rock, indie pop and lo-fi that makes for an enjoyable and inspiring live show. -KV
Hot Spots Ingrid Michelson
Variety Playhouse / May 5th Ingrid Michaelson is a New York based singer/songwriter who plays the piano, guitar and ukulele. She crafts playful melodies that radiate positivity, creating a pleasant mood that sticks with listeners even after the music stops.
Variety Playhouse / May 13th Spiritualized is an English space-rock band with a musical style that relies heavily on sustained pedal notes and drones. The dream-like tones that the group creates is highly acclaimed and has kept them prospering since their start in 1990.
Riverfest Music and Arts Festival
Argos, ATL / May 12th The Riverfest Music and Arts Festival is on May 12, 2012 from noon until 10pm and will include live music, art, food, beer, wine and activities for children of all ages. The headline performance by Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie will be accompanied by Drippin’ Wet and special guest Diane Durrett. Proceeds will benefit Riverwalk Atlanta, a proposed new regional park along the Chattahoochee River.
35th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival
Piedmont Park / May 26th - 28th What a better way to start your Memorial Day weekend than with the 35th Annual Atlanta Jazz Festival. The festival experience at Piedmont Park will feature music on three stages with performances by jazz legends and young guns and is FREE and open to the public. The event will also include a Jazz Eco Village, interactive kids play areas, jazz education workshops, and vendors displaying some of the city’s finest arts & crafts, food, drinks and merchandise.
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre @ Encore Park / May 2nd and 4th The Eagles are setting out to prove they’ve still got it during their extensive 40th anniversary tour. After playing a sold out show for 20,000 in Dubai, the star-studded quartet head back to the states to play a double in ATL.
Local Scene Waller
From the reunion of two childhood pals, Jason C. Waller and Tiffany Leigh, something beautiful was born. The duo embarked on a voyage around the Southeast after ten years apart, seeking to share their songs and make new friends. They quickly cultivated a following after the release of their 2010 EP, My Poor Queen. What would soon be known as Waller transformed from a happygo-lucky singer/songwriter pair into a remarkable stew of banjos, harmonicas, guitars, keyboards and basses. Now the six members of Waller, southern born and bred, refer to themselves as “an unmistakably modern Americana band from Atlanta, GA.” Their newly released and first full-length album, Stoke the Fire, is a perfect indicator of the brilliant melding of traditional southern country and contemporary influence that makes Waller what it is. The band has become a highly requested item at local festivals and a recognizable voice on the radio. -KV
Athens Hot Spots Comedian James Adomian 40 Watt / May 2nd Stand-up comedian James Adomian, known for his ridiculous satire, will have you rolling on the floor with laughter. And if you don’t find his jokes too funny, perhaps his funky dancing skills will do it for you.
Local Scene High Strung String Band
What do fire, a tool shed, and string instruments have in common? Well, that’s exactly how High Strung String Band formed. This five piece acoustic bunch blends bluegrass, folk and traditional music. Their upbeat, happy-go-lucky sound is catching the attention of southern souls across Georgia. Their original songs are layered with your average bluegrass instruments. However, the addition of the lap steel and washboard creates a fuller and more modern sound. These humble men keep the music simple and the crowd happy with every live show. So whip out your dancing shoes and start grooving with this hopped up string band.
No Where Bar / May 5th Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with reggae meets funk band, Domino Effect. Their island sounds will help take those tequila shots down with ease.
“Get Up Get Down” with Black Taxi
Georgia Theatre / May 15th Georgia Theatre’s weekly “Get Up Get Down” presents dance-punk band, Black Taxi, all the way from NYC. Keeping true to the theme of the night, Black Taxi’s “grit-pop” will keep you moving even after the show.
Stubblefield & Friends
Georgia Theatre / May 18th Legendary organ virtuoso Ike Stubblefield collaborates with some heavy talent for a night full of soul and jazz. Stubblefield’s influence on the musicians joining him on stage will shine throughout the night, marrying classic with modern sound.
Patterson Hood & the Downtown Ramblers
Melting Point / May 24th Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers takes a more personal approach with his side project, the Downtown Ramblers. The southern rock with a touch of country sound personifies the culture of Athens, GA. -CC
Charleston Hot Spots
Estee Gabby and Rawberry Jam
Eclectic Evening in Elliotborough / May 3rd Join The Music Initiative for a night of live music, art and filming. Every Thursday night there’s something shaking down St. Phillip St.
North Charleston Performing Arts Center / May 3rd Calling all the Candy Girls! Johnny, Ronnie, Ricky, Michael, Ralph and a party ain’t a party without Bobby - will be bringing the 80’s back to Chucktown.
North Charleston Performing Arts Center / May 11th Anthony Hamilton is an R&B and soul singer/songwriter. The North Carolina native is famous for his sexy single, “Charlene.”
Dangermuffin with Grant Farm
The Music Farm / May 12th The trio from Folly Beach, SC brings the jams to any venue. With a new album, Olly Oxen Free, coming soon, Dangermuffin’s southern style with a hint of folk-jams is sweet to the ear.
Charleston, SC / May 25th – June 10th The 17-day festival celebrates its 36th season this year. The internationally recognized festival is ready to grace the Lowcountry with theatre, dance and art.
Since the age of 12, Daniel D. and his violin have been stealing the hearts of people all around the world. From jazz to hip hop, he conquers it all. An alumnus of the Charleston County School of the Arts, he has shared his talent with BET, the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign, and the Juilliard School of Music. If Daniel’s 17,000 YouTube subscribers don’t convince you of his talent, be sure to check out his single, “Lullaby.” Daniel isn’t stingy with his talent, either. He teaches violin lessons to those wanting to follow in his footsteps. -AA
Raleigh/Durham/ Chapel Hill Hot Spots Jonny Lang
NC Symphony: Simply Sinatra
Carolina Theater, Durham / May 16th Jonny Lang, a Grammy Award winning blues, gospel and rock singer/songwriter and guitarist from Fargo, ND, is known for his unusual voice and constant use of wide vibrations on the guitar. Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill / May 16th Combining the sounds of early American rock, Delta blues and surf guitar, Frank Hoier (guitar/vocals) and Moselle Spiller (drums) create a style that they call “Honky Tonk Surf Rock.”
Carolina Ballet: Beethoven/ Beauty and The Beast
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh / May 17th From Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, choreography director Robert Weiss and composer Karl Moraski present Beauty and the Beast, a show that can be enjoyed by both adults and children.
Local Scene Chatham County Line
Chatham County Line, an Americana bluegrass band from Raleigh, NC, started in 1999. Since their inception, the band has released five studio albums and has gained quite a following in Europe, even playing at the Lowlands Rock Festival in the Netherlands. Like all great ideas, the band, consisting of Dave Wilson (vocals/guitar) Chandler Holt (banjo/vocals), Greg Reading (upright bass/ vocals) and John Teer (mandolin/fiddle/vocals) formed over a beer one night when Wilson asked the others if they were interested in starting a bluegrass band. If you can’t make it out to a show, be on the look out for a live DVD coming in the nottoo-distant future. -KF
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh / May 18th Steve Lippia, one of the most in demand concert vocalists, is joining the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra for an interpretation of Frank Sinatra’s greatest hits. Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill / May 28th What does a band with two saxophonists and a drummer playing house music sound like? Moon Hooch has the answer!
Asheville Hot Spots Feist
Asheville Civic Center / May 2nd Feist, a Canadian singer-songwriter, performs as a solo artist, as well as a member of the indie rock band Broken Social Scene.
OrangePeel / May 18th The Infamous Stringdusters, based out of Boston, began as a group while attending Berklee School of Music. The band’s main focus is how their music will be performed live with the interaction of the audience. This is a show not to be missed!
Jack White w/ Alabama Shakes
OrangePeel / May 19th Jack White, an American singer, songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist, is best known as the lead singer of The White Stripes. He is ranked #70 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He’ll be joined by the sensational Alabama Shakes.
Asheville Civic Center / May 23rd Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish step dancing. Dancers are known for their rapid leg movements while keeping their body and arms stationary. Riverdance is a story of the Irish culture and the Irish immigration to America.
Michael Franti and Spearhead
Orange Peel / May 23rd Michael Franti is an American poet, musician and composer. His band blends hip hop with funk, reggae, jazz, folk and rock.
Local Scene Toubab Krewe
Toubab Krewe, an instrumental band, incorporates the music of Mali, which is dominated by musical forms derived from the ancient Mande Empire of West Africa. Toubab Krewe has traveled to West Africa many times to work with local artists to have a greater understanding of Mali’s music. The group’s instruments include a kora (a twenty-one string harp-lute), a kamelengon (a twelve-string harplute), a soku (a Malian horsehair fiddle), two electric guitars, electric bass guitar, drums and African percussion. Their latest self-titled album is nothing but impressive, especially the song “Asheville to Abidjan.” It moves you from North Carolina to West Africa in less than an hour. If you get the chance, be sure to check out their mindblowing performance. -KF
Nashville Hot Spots Blackberry Smoke 12th & Porter / May 5th Whether it’s Southern rock, country or bluegrass, Blackberry Smoke has got it covered. Hailing from Atlanta, GA, these rockers provide a non-stop hillbilly hoedown for whatever venue they set foot in.
Local Scene Cherub
Nashville isn’t just for country music anymore. Since the release of their debut EP, Man of the Hour, along with extensive touring around the Southeast, Cherub has been making a name for themselves in the electro pop world. With strong 80s synth influences, Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber blend futuristic funk appeal with party driven lyrics that light up even the most shy of dance floors. Be sure to listen to the delectably catchy “Doses & Mimosas,” off their newest album, Mom & Dad, to get to firm understanding of what these guys’ music is all about. If you’re looking to get in on the live action, they’ll be pumping out tunes all night long at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge on May 11th.
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound
12th & Porter / May 9th In need of some soul in your life? Look no further than JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. This Chicago quintet is making some serious moves with their lively “post-punk soul” energy.
Cannery Ballroom / May 10th Slaughterhouse is a rap supergroup comprised of Crooked I, Joe Budden, Joell Ortiz and Royce da 5’9’’. Welcome to: Our House, their new album released under Shady Records, is due out on May 15th.
Redlight King Exit/In / May 13th With strong classic rock and old school hip hop influences, Ontario’s Redlight King melds the two to create a raw, deeply emotional sound. The debut album, Something for the Pain, is available now on Hollywood Records.
Exit/In / May 18th It’s all black and white when it comes to Dax Riggs. Based around stripped-down rock n’ roll and dirty blues, this is a show that’s sure to open your eyes to a whole new dimension of music. -KC
Washington, D.C. Hot Spots Designer Drugs U Street Music Hall, D.C. / May 10th Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson, better known as the DJ/ production duo Designer Drugs, bring the noise. Be prepared for a night of high energy and raw electro.
The National, Richmond / May 11th As the dubstep craze continues, not many producers are having an impact on the scene quite like England’s Flux Pavilion. Supporting acts include Cookie Monsta and Brown & Gammon.
9:30 Club, D.C. / May 18th Hailing from right down the road in Arlington, SOJA’s reggae roots spread positivity and honesty wherever they play. Their latest album, Strength to Survive, was released this past January.
U Street Music Hall, D.C. / May 19th Drawing inspiration from 70s punk and indie folk, this Boston quintet meshes the two styles to create a sound all their own. Their newest EP, Colder Still, is out now.
Tribal Seeds Jewish Mother, Virginia Beach / May 23rd San Diego’s Tribal Seeds bring their roots rock reggae from one beach to another. Their 2012 Summer Vibes Tour is currently underway.
Local Scene The Silver Liners
The Silver Liners, comprised of Jay Nemeyer (vocals/guitar), John Patton (guitar), Matt Hartenau (drums), Kenny Grimm (keys) and Ben Allen (bass), are giving D.C. locals a fresh reason to rock out. From their poppy lyrics to catchy guitar riffs, it’s no wonder that both critics and fans alike have nothing but great things to say about the band’s current presence in the scene. Songs like “Hot Mess” and “American Girl,” with their irresistible sing-a-long choruses, are perfect examples of The Silver Liners indie pop prowess. -KC
New York City Local Scene
Elizabeth and the Catapult
LeLand Sundries with Joan Hutcheson
Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Elizabeth Ziman debuted her first record, Taller Children, in June 2009, followed by The Other Side of Zero in October 2010. In her sophomore album, some describe Ziman’s voice as haunting. Her lyrics paint the struggles of growing up in New York City. Potential listeners should prepare for an emotional ride. With tracks about losing love and growing up, there’s no surprise touring with Sara Bareilles was a success for the songstress. Elizabeth and the Catapult’s next national tour begins May 15th in Charlotte, NC.
Living Room / May 1st The indie Americana band is led by Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter Nick Loss-Eaton. Eaton’s lyrics are known for telling the story of those who are sometimes forgotten.
James Brown Tribute Concert w/ Fred Thomas and T-Funk
Public Assembly / May 3rd Fred Thomas and T-Funk are former band members of the late, great James Brown. Thomas, bass player, and Funk, drummer, pay homage to the Godfather of Soul.
Fontana’s / May 4th Marlow Grey’s debut album, Zoa, was released in 2007. The band takes their original music on tour with inspiration from some of our favorites – John Lennon and Bob Dylan.
Radio City Music Hall / May 6th The legendary R&B singer and songwriter will grace the stage after 30+ years of being in the industry. Hopefully she’ll give us the classics “Sweet Love” and “No One in the World.”
Never Shout Never
Blender Theatre at Gramercy / May 11th Myspace and MTV’s TRL are big contributors to Christofer Drew’s jumpstart. Good Times, the band’s fourth album, is set for release in fall 2012. -AA
Boston Neon Indian
Hot Spots Rubblebucket
Paradise Rock Club / May 4th Rubblebucket is an indie-dance band from Brooklyn, NY. This upbeat worldly-pop band combines an array of instruments including the trumpet, baritone saxophones, trombone, nâ€™goni, woodblocks, percussion, guitar, bass and vocals and proves to be an energetic dancing experience.
Citi Wang Theatre / May 4th This classic guitar indie-pop group from Albuquerque, NM started their U.S. tour in April. The band consists of James Mercer on guitar and vocals, Joe Plummer on drums, Jessica Dobson on guitar, Yuuki Matthews on bass and Richard Swift on keyboards. The Shins most recent album, Port of Morrow, was released in March of this year.
Paradise Rock Club / May 11th Alan Palomo is the mind behind Neon Indian. Palomo produces electronic indie pop music and assisted in forming a new chillwave sound genre. Neon Indianâ€™s live shows are multimedia experiences, often joined with visuals produced by Alicia Scardetta.
Never Shout Never
Brighton Music Hall / May 13th The Missouri native band Never Shout Never consists of Christofer Drew, Taylor MacFee and Hayden Kaiser. Never Shout Never uses a mix of vocals, piano, guitar, bass, ukulele, banjo, drums and harmonica to create their emo/acoustic sounds. Never Shout Never released their latest album, Time Travel, in September 2011.
House of Blues Boston / May 26th This well-known English indie-garage rock band is on extensive tour around the world, including the United States. Junk of the Heart, their third studio album, was released in September 2011. Known for their catchy tunes, The Kooks have reached incredible fame since their start in 2001.
Local Scene The Slip
Brad Barr (guitar, piano, vocals), Andrew Barr (drum kit) and Marc Friedman (bass guitar) are the trio behind The Slip. Their musical style can be described as contemporary avant-rock. All three members graduated from Tabor Academy and attended Berklee School of Music. In 1996 the three dropped out in order to push their first self-released album, From the Gecko. Since then, The Slip has released several albums including Eisenhower, which is the album that made a progression in their sound. The Slip has toured throughout the United States and Canada and has made appearances at Bonnaroo, SXSW and Bumbershoot. Over the years their sound has evolved from jam band to jazz-fusion with the incorporation of indie rock. The Slip recently took a second tour throughout Japan and played their 13th consecutive year at High Sierra Music Festival. -CG