July 2012 Archives

DeepSoul: The Supremes - "Reflections"

Psychedelia meets soul in this Motown classic.
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What happens when soul meets psychedelia? The Supremes' 1967 single "Reflections" perfectly represents how  Motown tried to incorporate the increasingly dominant "Summer of Love" vibe into their soul/pop music. In addition, it marked a new phase for the label's top-selling female trio. "Reflections" became the first single released under the "Diana Ross and the Supremes" moniker, illustrating Ross' rising star power. But it brought some "lasts" as well: "Reflections" and its same-titled album served as one of their last collaborations with Motown writers/producers Holland-Dozier-Holland. Feeling overshadowed by Ross, original Supremes member Florence Ballard began her descent into alcohol abuse;

Jimmy Cliff Balances Legacy, Innovation on 'Rebirth'

We see not just what Cliff has been, but more importantly, what he is and always will be...
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When you’re a living legend, your best moments can end up confining you. Once explaining why he never played the ballads that made him a legend Miles Davis said, "You know why I quit playing ballads? Cause I love playing ballads." Of course, the world is full of fans that "only like his/her/their old stuff" - an attitude deliciously mocked in the title of the recently released documentary of LCD Soundsystem’s swansong Shut Up and Play the Hits. If anyone knows about the precarious place between audience alienation and artistic stagnation it is Jimmy Cliff. As an active recording and

YES is a NO for me.

When does it all end??
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So let me tell you all just how much of a YES fan I am. Ever since I was 16 ( and that was a loooong time ago ) I have loved the band YES, I loved everything about them, all the overdone extra long songs that transported me to another place, all the depth and beauty of their guitar work, the unlimited supply of keyboard solos and ahhh that voice that often angelic, sometimes unearthly voice of Jon Anderson, it all just scooped me up and never let me down. Even two years ago when YES did a tour

Bruce Springsteen Announces New North American 'Wrecking Ball' Tour Dates

Springsteen comes to State College, PA and arenas and stadiums across N. America in the fall...
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The theme of Bruce Springsteen's recent tour dates in support of his latest album Wrecking Ball seems to be "Bigger Is Better"; the shows have been getting longer and the tour is getting extended by an additional 16 dates. Springsteen is currently in Europe playing shows routinely topping the three hour mark with one show nearly reaching four hours (3:48) and famously had the plug pulled on him while jamming with Paul McCartney in the UK. That leg of the tour is about to come to an end and Springsteen had already announced several stadium shows in Boston, Chicago,

The Killers Return To Their Strengths On Fantastic "Runaways"

If this is what is in store on 'Battle Born,' The Killers are back!
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My name is 11, and I like The Killers. Or, if you like, bless me Father, for I like The Killers. Now, before you judge me too harshly for enjoying the stylings of one of the most simultaneously loved and hated rock bands to come along in the last decade, consider the following and realize that I had no choice in the matter. If you look at my iPod, you might notice that I enjoy: '80s New Wave Synth Pop Soaring Anthems Angst Melancholy See? I’m not responsible for being a fan of The Killers. The first time I

Jazz Review: Rich Halley 4 - Back from Beyond

Halley leads a resonant and conversant group.
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I last checked out the work of trained field biologist/saxophonist/composer Rich Halley with Requiem for a Pit Viper, a record that swung with “dense grooves and high-level blasts.” Now here’s Back from Beyond, the next entry in the Rich Halley 4 catalogue. Halley is joined by his son Carson (drums, percussion), Clyde Reed (bass) and Michael Vlatkovich (trombone, percussion, squeak toys). This record picks up where Requiem left off, carrying similar energy and pursuing grooves while maintain an avant-garde edge that actually turns out to be quite elegant in the more spacious passages. Once again, it is the instinctive interplay

Review: Supreme Cuts - Whispers In The Dark

The Chicago duo that brought the future RnB in 2011 with a stellar EP return with their debut album.
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Supreme Cuts, who brought the future RnB with their stellar EP Trouble in 2011, are back with their debut album. Whispers In The Dark has the Chicago duo expanding and refining their unique sound. Chock full of both hazy soundscapes and huge bass, it's best enjoyed after the midnight hour. The elements of their style that made Trouble so enjoyable are featured on Whispers In The Dark. What has changed is an increased focus on building atmosphere and mood. As a result, there are a wider array of sounds used throughout. "Lessons of Darkness (Apology)" combines a lot of different

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Huey Lewis and the News' "The Heart of Rock and Roll"

When did Oklahoma become the heart of rock and roll?
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There have been a litany of songs written about, well, how music is still going strong. I am a fan of that as a subject of a song, because, after all, I enjoy music and am well aware that every year excellent new music comes out and will continue to do so until the dystopian future that Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” predicted comes to fruition. As such, musicians writing odes to their craft tend to be songs I like, though of course, as with everything, execution is important. In the minds of many, the execution of Huey Lewis and the News’

Review: Miss May I - At Heart

File under unoriginal but meaningful.
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Ohioan metal act Miss May I takes things personally with the aptly-titled At Heart. The band came out of Troy, Ohio, four years ago and debuted in 2009 with Apologies Are For The Weak. 2010’s Monument followed and this year’s At Heart builds on the legacy for a very energetic, very honest group. Miss May I is comprised of vocalist Levi Benton, guitarists B.J. Stead and Justin Aufdemkampe, bassist and vocalist Ryan Neff, and drummer Jerod Boyd. At Heart was produced by Machine (Lamb of God, Every Time I Die) in New Jersey. In this instance, the presence of the
It's that time again where we take a look at the new releases hitting store shelves and digital download retailers and this week's roster is a little bit light on titles overall. Oh, there are some interesting ones worth looking at but this week isn't likely to make your wallet bleed. The two titles most likely to ignite the passions of music fans are from the indie circuit and I have to confess I really only know these two artists by name rather than their music. We have Gaslight Anthem's latest, Handwritten, out this week as well as the latest
Chris Rene famously finished third on last season's The X Factor and with his back story, good looks, talent and guts to perform original material on the singing competition, he was the easy, early fan favorite. Before the season was even over his audition clip of “Young Homie” had garnered over 12 million views. BlindedBySound is proud to bring you an exclusive interview with him as he talks about his experience on the show and updates us on what's been happening since. After many mishaps, missed chances, and mis-communications, my interview with Chris Rene that was scheduled back in

DeepSoul: The Temptations - "The Joneses"

Credit a unique dance step for reviving a forgotten 1991 Temptations track.
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What group released a commercially and critically disappointing album, only to have one of its songs become a dance anthem? If you guessed The Temptations, you have just identified yourself as a fan of "Chicago Stepping" (also known as "Steppin'"). The 1991 song "The Joneses" may not have ranked very high on the charts, but its distinctive rhythm and laid-back vibe provides the perfect soundtrack for Stepping's intricate footwork. A brief overview of Chicago Stepping provides the appropriate context for this lesser-known Temptations track. Legendary Chicago DJ Herb Kent "the Cool Gent," one of Stepping's biggest proponents, told The History

The Spring Standards Shimmer And Shine On Beautiful 'yellow//gold'

A heaven of harmony...
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I first stumbled onto The Spring Standards when someone played their song "Drowning In Sobriety" in the 'It's All Connected' room at Turntable.fm. It was an instant hit with me. I immediately downloaded the song from iTunes (the song being an iTunes bonus track only) and ordered the CDs from their web store. I fell for them so quickly because I'm a walking fanboy waiting to happen and because I'm a sucker for great harmonies. It can be wonderful hearing great and interesting vocalists double-track and/or overdub layers of their own voice but there's something even more magical when two
Whether she's dipping into the magic of Blossom Dearie on Blossom & Bee or belting in front of a German instrumental jazz act on Where Time Stands Still, Seattle-born Sara Gazarek is as close to a jazz "it" girl as you can get right now. Her love of that one great lyric coupled with her unfussy but stunning vocal tone is apparent through every phrase she sings. Gazarek grew up without much exposure to jazz and was inspired in her early teens by musical theatre and dance. In high school, she fell in love with the jazz choir and was

The Killer's Messy New Single "Runaways"

Have they lost their magic touch?
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The Killers were arguably the biggest band in the world in the mid-2000's following the success of their new wave-y, post punk revival effort Hot Fuss. Then Sam's Town happened and failed to live up to the hype, it charted well but sold significantly less, the same can be said for their third studio release Day & Age. Hoping to re-claim the Hot Fuss glory, the boys from Vegas are releasing Battle Born in September, which is an homage to their home state, much like they did for Vegas with Sam's Town (same name as a famous Vegas casino). “Runaways”

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy"

We all know it's a joke but is anyone really laughing?
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“I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred is a joke. I mean a literal joke, of course. The song is thoroughly facetious and ironic. It is purposefully silly and vapid. I presume most of the people, if not all of the people, who don’t like this song realize that. They know it is supposed to be a humorous, perhaps even satirical, song, albeit one that lacks more of an edge in favor of over the top declarations of sexiness. My God, the sexiness! Alas, there are probably some people who don’t get the joke, as the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for
British singer/songwriter Richard Hawley has wrapped work on his new studio album Standing At The Sky's Edge, due in stores August 28. The first single from the record is available digitally (along with a B-side) and you can stream it and check out its video here. The first single is called "Down In The Woods" and was released digitally yesterday with the B-side "Kindly Rain." Honor is due to my man, singer/songwriter (and occasional BlindedBySound reviewer) Aaron McMullan, for turning me on to the wonders of Mr. Hawley a couple years ago. I've been listening to the man's work since

DeepSoul: Anita Baker - "Lonely"

One of the 80s' and 90s' best R&B vocalists shows off her jazz-tinged singing on this 1990 track.
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When Anita Baker debuted with 1983's The Songstress, few could have predicted the impact she would have on modern R&B music. Toni Braxton owes much of her career to Baker's sultry sound, although she lacks Baker's jazz instincts. Like few artists, Baker has successfully combined jazz and R&B into a commercially successful format. Since her first major label album, 1986's Rapture, critics have praised her for her Sarah Vaughan-tinged vocals, and singles such as "Sweet Love" and "Caught Up in the Rapture" have become modern classics. While she enjoyed melding '80s production styles with classic R&B, she departed from this

CD Review: Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind

Former 80s poster boys prove they still have it.
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When Duran Duran singer, Simon Le Bon lost his voice in May 2011, he didn’t know if he’d be able to continue on with the band. The group had to cancel a number of shows, including some in their home country of England and the wait over the summer proved tortuous. Le Bon persevered and the London shows were rescheduled for December 2011. The band came back strong, finishing with some of the best shows of the tour. These shows make up the new live CD, Duran Duran - Live 2011: A Diamond In The Mind. These days, Duran Duran

Michael Kiwanuka, Smashing Pumpkins, Nas, Cee Cee James, Old Crow Medicine Show Top New CD Releases

July 17 brings some must-have new music our way...
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It's an exciting day for new music releases, amigos. The big thrill for me is the release of the amazing album from Michael Kiwanuka, Home Again. I'd never heard of him until he opened for Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville back in June and I was astonished by the beauty of his music. The MP3 edition was available at Amazon and I downloaded it right away. Today, we have the domestic release of the CD and my copy is on its way, having pre-ordered it more than a month ago. If you haven't heard Michael's music, I have been obsessively

Bob Dylan To Release 35th Album 'Tempest' Sept. 11, 50 Years After Debut Record

Bob Dylan's golden anniversary...
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The legendary Bob Dylan will release his 35th album on September 11, Tempest. The 10-track set is once again produced by Dylan himself (under his Jack Frost moniker) and is the first proper follow-up to his 2009 album Together Through Life (he released a Christmas album in 2010). Bob Dylan released his self-titled debut in 1962 so like The Beach Boys and Rolling Stones, this is a 50th Anniversary release but it's not a compilation, it's an album of all new material. Now I'm going to need you all to try and suppress your shock when I tell you we

The ABC and D Of Boogie Woogie - Live in Paris

Charlie Watts helps to keep boogie woogie alive in this side project.
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Charlie Watts is known the world over as the legendary drummer of the Rolling Stones, currently celebrating their 50th anniversary. What many people do not know is that his first love is jazz and he has an affinity for the nearly forgotten boogie woogie. Fortunately for music fans, he has managed to team with like-minded musicians, who also happen to be virtuosos on their respective instruments to form the A, B, C & D of Boogie Woogie. Named for the initials of its members, the band is made up of Axel Zwingenberger on piano, Ben Waters on piano and vocals,

Noel Gallagher, Snow Patrol Announce Fall N. American Tour

Gallagher preps to bring his High Flying Birds to N. America for 4th time in past 12 months...
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Noel Gallagher is coming back to North America for the fourth time in 12 months -- reminding us all of the early days of Oasis -- for a series of fall co-headlining dates with Snow Patrol. The majority of these dates are west of the Mississippi, kicking off in Portland and Seattle before running north of the border for several shows in Canada. They'll drop down into the midwest for shows in Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Louisville before hitting :: wait for it… wait for iiiitttttt :: Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. Yes, I saw Noel earlier this year in Atlanta.

Gary Clark Jr. Reaching To Past For New LP? Check Out "Numb" From Bonnaroo 2012

Gary Clark Jr. updates an old song for possible inclusion on eagerly anticipated new CD...
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I'm still flying high from seeing Gary Clark Jr. in Nashville last month, just a few short hours after he played a set at Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester, TN. Clark played songs from his fantastic Bright Lights EP along with some covers at both shows that day, and also brought out a song that may wind up on next album, the first full length record he'll make for Warner Brothers. The new song is actually not new at all as "Numb" dates back to his out-of-print (and damn near impossible to find) album 110 but it's been dramatically re-worked. It's
The publisher of this site and I have often fallen out over our differing tastes in music. He is an Encyclopedia Nerdicus on the matter, frequently quoting obscure lyrics in casual conversation and espousing new musical talent almost before the artist in question has left the maternal womb. I ceased updating my music knowledge before the turn of the last century. I know what I like and what I like most is from the '80s and '90s. I'm still enjoying that music, so I feel no need to go acquaint myself with the Lady Gagas and Justin Biebers of the

Band of Horses Release First Single "Knock Knock" from Forthcoming CD 'Mirage Rock,' Due Sept. 18

4th album from BoH, first single available at iTunes...
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If you've never heard of Band Of Horses or been graced by their music, I implore you to do so immediately. Following their mega-successful 2010 release of Infinite Arms we've been gifted with a new single off their fourth studio album Mirage Rock, artwork, and track listing. Oh happy day! “Knock-Knock” was released Tuesday (July 10, 2012), the as the first single off the album coming at us on September 18, 2012 and just after three or four listens I was hooked and more in love with nutty Ben Bridwell and the boys. Legendary Glyn Johns (Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The

Fiona Apple Gives Magnetic Friday The 13th Performance at Nashville's Historic Ryman Auditorium

Fiona Apple's orbit fell into ours for an amazing, intense performance.
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Fiona Apple brought her Idler Wheel tour to Nashville's historic, majestic Ryman Auditorium last night and outside of the shock rockers I'm not sure I can think of another artist who should make a point of playing shows on Friday The 13th. I've seen dozens and dozens of shows over the years, written countless reviews of them as well as albums, and participated in innumerable conversations about music and over the course of it all I've heard the term "performance art" used in discussion but last night might be as close to witnessing it as I've ever come, especially when

Quintus McCormick - Still Called The Blues

Despite the title, more soul than blues from McCormick
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Chicago is known as a blues town, indeed often referred to as ‘the home of the blues.’ Yet there’s a vibrant ‘sub-strata’ of soul-blues artists with a definable sound that simply doesn’t get as much press. Quintus McCormick is based in Chicago, and while much of his material avoids twelve-bar cliché, he never strays too far from the blue end of the spectrum – it might be equal parts soul, but as the title has it, it’s Still Called The Blues. McCormick’s third outing for venerable Delmark Records, this is a finely crafted collection with (mostly) strong material and fine

Halie Loren – Heart First

Heart First is lighthearted and fun!
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Jazz can be a pretty serious business. It has, after all, been called “America’s classical music,” a genuinely indigenous art form, with the emphasis on‘art.’ But at its best, there’s a sense of playful possibility about the music, too. Indeed, without a little ‘jazz’ in the music, Jazz-as-art-form becomes a cerebral exercise more to be admired than enjoyed. Enter up-and-comer Halie Loren, with a delightfully insouciant approach to a handful of chestnuts that brings tired old warhorses (“All Of Me,” “Taking A Chance On Love,” Charlie Chaplin’s “Smile”) to intriguing life. Heart First is Loren’s fourth full-length recording, the first

Springsteen Debuts 3 Songs in Vienna Setlist; July 12, 2012

One of the best setlists of the tour...
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Good night, Vienna! Wow. What a night. These set list reviews and commentaries I write are difficult for me because they're part of an ongoing conversation I've been having about Bruce Springsteen and his music going back several years and many of you join that discussion already in progress. The truth is even though he sometimes does things that make me want to throttle him (Albany, Milan, Zurich, Atlanta, and nights I skipped because I couldn't summon the outrage to be bothered), he has those inspired moments of magic and genius. I wouldn't bother commenting on Bon Jovi setlists because

Joanne Shaw Taylor To Release Third Album 'Almost Always Never' Sept. 12

UK singer/guitarist has wrapped work on 12-song new album produced by Mike McCarthy...
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British guitarist/singer Joanne Shaw Taylor will release her third album Almost Always Never on September 12. Almost follows her acclaimed 2009 debut White Sugar -- nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut -- and its 2010 follow-up Diamonds In The Dirt. Those first two records were cut with Grammy-winning producer Jim Gaines but for Almost, Taylor teamed up with Mike McCarthy and recorded the set in Austin, TX. "Mike McCarthy comes from a very different musical background from me," Taylor said. "He pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to explore and

Noel Gallagher Opens For Stone Roses Reunion Tour; See "Dream On" Live (Video)

One Manchester legend opens for another...
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The Stone Roses have done what most thought was unthinkable and impossible by reuniting the original lineup for a tour and word has it a new album from the Manchester legends is in the works. I haven't heard of any proposed US dates for Stone Roses; I'm keeping my eyes open but not getting my hopes up for it. I never actually thought they'd reform in the first place and one gets the sense this could all still implode spectacularly at any moment. Maybe not. Maybe we're all still a little gunshy after the childish antics of certain member(s) of

Jazz Review: Amina Figarova - Twelve

Another stunning record from the intuitive performer and her sextet.
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Amina Figarova's 12th album just so happens to be her debut record with In + Out, an independent German label. The Netherlands-based composer and pianist wrote the songs for Twelve in 2011 and transitioned, along with husband and musical partner Bart Platteau (flute), to Queens. The move benefits the record in a number of ways, namely by providing a slick European take on New York's blue-lit nightlife. The arrangements and compositions are sophisticated and yet utterly ensconced in the brilliant but busy skylines and dusky but diverse curves that comprise the city. The sextet plays right into this creative space
Truman Capote was a writer who was kind of a dick. He wrote a novella entitled “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which inspired a movie starring Audrey Hepburn (who has an awesome name but is an overrated actress) and George Peppard (who was Hannibal on The A-Team). In the movie, Hepburn plays Holly Golightly, which is a ridiculous name for a character (even if it isn’t her real name), a woman who is, shall we say, a courtesan. It’s not that good of a movie, and it features Mickey Rooney in one of the most unbelievably racist roles in the history of

The Grateful Dead Dick's Picks 31: 8/4-5 Philadelphia Civic Center; 8/6/74 Roosevelt Stadium, Jersey City, NJ

Dick Vatala knew what he was doing when he picked these concerts...
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The Grateful Dead’s 1974 tour is famous for being the one which Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s (1935-2011) “Wall of Sound” system was used. At the time, Bear was their sound manager, and his agile mind went to work on creating the ultimate sound system. It was so complex that it featured separate channels for each string of Phil Lesh’s bass. It was a monumental structure, but proved to be far too costly and troublesome to be used on a coast to coast tour.  As the concerts captured on Dick’s Picks 31 show us though, the brilliance of Bear’s setup was undeniable.

Bruce Springsteen's Solo Piano Performance Of "If I Should Fall Behind" From Zurich (Video)

A highlight from a setlist that needed one...
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The controversial "Citizens United" Supreme Court decision widened the interpretation that "money" is "free speech" and protected by the First Amendment but tragically refused to recognize the right to keep and bear bricks and aim that at your favorite artist when he does something stupid. I know; I was surprised, too. I was pretty annoyed by Bruce Springsteen's setlist in Zurich but there were a few moments in the show I'd genuinely like to have seen and one of them has been posted to YouTube so we're going to play revisionist history at BlindedBySound and ignore the fact some lowdown

Review: Jets Overhead - Boredom and Joy

Lights on the tedium, heavy on the delight.
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With infectious grooves and heavenly dream pop sensibilities, Jets Overhead’s Boredom and Joy is light on the tedium and heavy on the delight. This is the third record by the Victoria, British Columbia, band. Their 2006 debut, Bridges, was actually one of the first “pay what you want” records to be released. Radiohead would eventually use a similar model for its In Rainbows. Boredom and Joy carries all the weight of a band interested in solving modern issues, like the rise of the digital universe and what it means to artists, but soaks it in a nostalgic sweetness that blends

Brandi Carlile - Tiny Desk Concert For NPR, New Tour Dates

On the heels of the amazing Bear Creek record, Brandi Carlile prepares for a must see summer tour.
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The summer of Brandi Carlile continues.  Following the June release of the impeccable Bear Creek record, Carlile and her band have been hard at work touring in support of the Dave Matthews band. Carlile recently shared this video of her singing John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” with Matthews (You might recall “Angel From Montgomery” was recently selected as one of our Top 5 duet songs here at Blinded by Sound).   And thanks to our friends at NPR, we now have some new Carlile magic to celebrate – the singer’s Tiny Desk Concert.  This three song set showcases Carlile’s
Bit of a down week on the New Releases this week, which comes at a good time considering how completely skint I am at the moment and can't afford a big week of musical purchases. The title I'm most excited about is the release of a live show Muddy Waters and The Rolling Stones did in Chicago at the famed Checkerboard Lounge in 1981. Muddy was near the end of his life but was having a resurgence thanks to three great records cut with Johnny Winter, Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, among others. This wasn't the most

Review: Dale Boyle – Throwback

Another quietly unassuming masterpiece from Canada
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Montreal-based Dale Boyle’s Throwback, his fourth outing as a solo artist, is yet another quietly unassuming collection of thoughtful originals and well-chosen covers. It’s impeccably played and the recorded sound has a breathtaking intimacy and warmth. And if that’s not enough, Boyle sings like a rough-hewn, slightly gruff angel. Boyle’s voice, in fact, is remarkably similar to Bruce Springsteen’s in the latter’s more reflective moments, but it’s neither imitation nor affectation – Boyle is far too honest and real for that. Painting gentle but penetrating portraits of everyday people (“Unsung”) and places (“Leaving Dogtown”) with exquisite imagery and obvious affection,

Review: Rick Estrin And The Nightcats - 'One Wrong Turn'

Not much is wrong with this move...
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Let's dispense with the obvious right from the start as we prepare to discuss One Wrong Turn, the latest album from Rick Estrin And The Nightcats: Rick Estrin is an utter badass with a harmonica. There are more imitators when it comes to blues guitar but there are scores of wannabes who listened to Big Walter, Little Walter, the Sonny Boys, James Cotton, and other pioneers of blues harp and while they may cop a few licks, they really don't know what to do with their well-intentioned passion. Rick Estrin is the real deal. He's got great tone, virtuoso

CD Review: Electric Prunes - The Complete Reprise Singles

A strange saga on one disc...
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I was a little young to appreciate importance of the Lenny Kaye-collated Nuggets compilation when it was released in 1972. But a few years later, when punk hit, and everyone was talking about how influential the collection had been, I understood. There is just no denying “Psychotic Reaction” by The Count Five, “Dirty Water“ by The Standells, and the opening track, “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” by the Electric Prunes. For most people I imagine that these classic songs were where our interests began and ended in terms of the individual bands. But in the case of

DeepSoul: Kool & The Gang - "Summer Madness"

Grab something cool to drink, sit on the porch, and immerse yourself in this 1975 classic groove.
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Summer 2012 has brought with it some record-breaking heat in various parts of the country. That kind of weather calls for mellow, laid-back grooves that require just listening, not sweat-inducing dancing. Few songs fit this bill better than Kool & the Gang's "Summer Madness," a fusion instrumental that sounds as fresh today as it did in 1974. In fact, its prominent use of the synthesizer would mark it a track ahead of its time, predicting a sound that would dominate much of the 1980s. Younger fans know Kool & the Gang primarily from their slick, pop-inflected period with lead singer

Bruce Springsteen Wrecking Ball Tour Setlist July 9, 2012 Zurich, Switzerland

This is not a joke so please stop smiling...
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It was the best of shows; it was the worst of shows. Wow, Zurich! I have no idea what to make of what happened in your fair city on this Wrecking Ball tour… The show opens with the tour premiere of "Don't Look Back" from the Tracks box set, a sign request for "Growin' Up," "Save My Love" from The Promise, and a big surprise in the form of a solo piano version of "If I Should Fall Behind," from the Lucky Town record. I can't believe Bruce "saw" that sign. I'm betting that solo piano performance was fantastic. I've

Barrett Martin, Jeff Angell Make Live Debut As The Walking Papers, Debut "Your Secret's Safe With Me" Live Video

New collaboration featuring Martin and Angell on the way...
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Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees, Mad Season, Tuatara) and Jeff Angell (The Missionary Position) made their debut as The Walking Papers when they played their first show at The Sunset Tavern in Seattle. Joined by Jacque Willis on clavinet and vibes, The Walking Papers played material from their forthcoming album, details of which are still forthcoming. Angell and Martin are the principle masterminds of the project but have recruited other friends to participate. Among those confirmed to have worked on the as-yet-finalized debut is Pearl Jam's Mike McCready, with whom Martin played in Mad Season with John Baker Saunders, Layne Staley,

Soul Legend Curtis Salgado To Undergo Lung Cancer Sugery; Fans Set Up Fund For Medical Bill Assistance

Soul Man Curtis Salgado will have surgery July 18...
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Award-winning soul singer Curtis Salgado will undergo surgery this month to remove a cancerous growth from his lung, and doctors anticipate he will make a complete recovery. This is a third bout with cancer for Salgado, who was previously treated for lung cancer in 2008 and liver cancer in 2006, which required liver transplant surgery. Fans and friends of the soul legend have set up a fund to help cover medical expenses, which will be considerable. The Curtis Salgado Medical Fund is accepting donations via PayPal, major credit cards, and checks can also be written to fund. All denominations
Now that Phil Collins is evidently retired from making any new music, his solo back catalog has benefitted from a bit of reevaluation—and rightly so. Personifying the old adage of “go with what you know” Collins turned out a staggering amount of adult-oriented-pop music that seemingly everyone of a certain age knows whether they like his music or not. Achieving and maintaining that level of pop-culture saturation ain’t easy, and the glass-half-full perspective would say it’s because he possessed an uncanny talent for writing infectious, indelible hits. 1985’s No Jacket Required is the go-to record for those seeking the biggest

Stone Temple Pilots Return, Come 'Alive In The Windy City'

What's here is good but there's something missing...
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Hearing the band name Stone Temple Pilots conjures up some immediate and vivid imagery for children of the '90s, especially the ones into the Alternative and Grunge scenes. You immediately think of the quirky, self-centered, front man Scott Weiland who battled demons and drugs for the better part of 20 years. But you also just as immediately think of songs like “Dead And Bloated” “Plush” “Sour Girl” and “Creep” with a fondness and a bit of warmth and maybe a shudder upon recalling some of their videos. Through break ups, make-ups, and bands with Slash, this foursome somehow is

Scotty McCreery Premieres Video For "Water Tower Town"

'American Idol' Season 10 winner continues run of success...
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Things have been quiet on the Scotty McCreery front these days, not because he's not busy but because, I have been. When I read today that our Scotty is debuting a video on GAC's (Great American Country TV) chart at number 1 I had to change all that and come update you as soon as I heard. “Water Tower Town” is the third single off Scotty's debut record Clear As Day and with a strong showing on GAC looks like it will follow “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls” and could be another Top 20 radio

Review: Concord Chamber Music Society - Brubeck/Gandolfi/Foss

Showcases three composers at vibrant heights interpreting beautiful music with the voices of accomplished musicians.
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Featuring two recordings from two of America’s most-commissioned composers and one recording from the fascinating Lukas Foss, the Concord Chamber Music Society’s release of Chris Brubeck and Michael Gandolfi’s Danza del Soul and Line Drawings, respectively, is a captivating and lovely release. All of the pieces were recorded at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. Brubeck is, of course, the son of legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck. Father and son have collaborated over recent years, producing some smart and stimulating work. Here, Chris is centre stage with a composition that features excellent players in the form of a sextet that comprises

Review: Little Feat - Rooster Rag

Don't miss the perfect soundtrack for a summer barbecue.
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When listening to an album, sometimes sensations hit you as each song plays. Scents like freshly cut lawns and barbecues; sounds like waves hitting the beach, kids laughing while playing in the surf, and the sizzle of food cooking on the grill; sights like bright sunshine and brilliant blue skies; and tastes like a cool beer or lemonade overwhelm the senses. Summer demands music such as this, and Little Feat's latest album, Rooster Rag, serves this purpose perfectly. Travel to New Orleans and the deep South without leaving your house, or slap this CD on the stereo during your next
Like Jack Black in High Fidelity I'm obsessed with making Top Five lists so I roped in a few friends to regularly discuss our favorite musical things.  This week we're talking about our favorite duets.  "Under Pressure" as sung by David Bowie and Queen Selected by Stephanie: It's with a certain amount of shame that I confess to being born as a part of the Vanilla Ice era. What does that mean exactly?  Well, there's a distinct set of us who discovered really good music only as the result of first hearing botched cover songs and samples done by horrible

Review: 'Moanin' At Midnight: The Life And Times of Howlin' Wolf'by Mark Hoffman

A mostly excellent account of one of the great artists of the 20th century...
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Mark Hoffman provides a wealth of impeccably researched facts to reconstruct Chester "Howlin' Wolf" Burnett's life in Mississippi as a child, his career beginnings, ascent to one of the premier blues artists of his time, setbacks, and frustrations and in the process tells the story of more than one man's life and accomplishments. Much attention is paid to Wolf's life as a musician and those stories are invaluable and likely of most interest to most readers but there are many amazing moments in his life that had nothing to do with music. Some of these come into play after his

Jazz Review: Veronneau - Jazz Samba Project

No measly imitation, this is a poignant step along the same path set by the masters.
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It perhaps makes perfect sense that the Charlie Byrd and Stan Getz classic Jazz Samba was recorded in a church. There was, after all, something intently spiritual about the blending of bossa nova and American jazz that took place over three hours on a February day in 1962. And there is something altogether spiritual about revisiting the music, even through the eyes of another. The delightful jazz outfit Veronneau returns with Jazz Samba Project, a collection of music recorded at the same place, Washington’s All Souls Church, that Getz and Byrd uncorked “the new music of Brazil.” Featuring vocalist Lynn

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Ricky Martin's "She Bangs"

Truth hurts: this song stinks...
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Ricky Martin is a gay male. This is not a big deal. Sure, it took him a long time in the public eye to admit it, but that’s not exactly egregious. It’s not like he was one of those people who went to the point of getting married and having kids to hide his sexuality. No, he just performed lousy songs about getting with ladies that, in retrospect, smack of the lady who doth protest too much. It’s not that Martin is gay that makes these songs bad. Stephen Merritt has made a habit of having people sing songs told

CD Review: The Grateful Dead - Dick's Picks 30|Academy Of Music NY 3/25 and 3/28/72

Like The Rolling Stones, '72 was a watershed moment for The Dead on stage...
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While I would probably never define myself as a true “Deadhead,” the more I hear of the Dick’s Picks sets, the closer I come to identifying as one. For those who are unfamiliar with this series, it was put together by a man who could have made a very valid case as being the “ultimate” Deadhead - the late Dick Vatala (1943-1999). With the group’s blessing, he combed their extensive concert archives to present concerts he felt were the best representatives of the band live. They were released directly through the Dead’s mail-order (and later on-line) business, and were met

Shemekia Copeland Covers Dylan, Sam Cooke on '33 1/3,' Due Sept. 25

Shemekia Copeland has a brand new batch of stories to tell on latest CD...
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Shemekia Copeland has finished work on a brand new studio album for Telarc called 33 1/3, set for release on September 25. The collection finds Copeland re-interpreting songs by Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, and Sam Cooke, among others and features guest appearances from JJ Grey and Buddy Guy. Guy adds his guitar mastery to a track called "Ain't Gonna Be Your Tattoo." "I have a lot of 'uncles' in this business -- guys who kind of took me under their wing after my dad passed away. Buddy is one of those guys. It's the perfect song for him." The

Jellyfish, Rick Estrin And The Nightcats, Chris Brown, Asia Lead Week's New Releases

New Music Tuesday: July 3, 2012 Edition.
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Each Monday I play a little game as I prep for the upcoming week's NewMusicTuesday. The first thing I do is skim the list of new releases for the titles I care about and when that's done, I usually have to skim the list a second time to figure out what might excite the rest of the masses. This is just one of the sacrifices I make for you, dear readers. My release of choice is a trip to total geekdom. There is something wrong with me that I'm this excited about the Jellyfish Live at Bogart's 1991 album

DeepSoul: Ray Charles - "America the Beautiful"

Celebrate an American original by revisiting his extraordinary version of America's unofficial anthem.
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As America celebrates its founding this week, numerous patriotic-themed songs will ring through the air, accompanying fireworks shows and being played by marching bands in local parades. Many anthems fail to reflect the country's diversity and "melting pot" reputation, but modern reinterpretations of these songs have breathed new life into them. Marvin Gaye's famous 1983 performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" serves as a classic example of a re-imagined anthem, but another standout remains Ray Charles' deeply moving reading of "America the Beautiful." While it seems like Charles' rendition has always been a Fourth of July staple, his version actually dates
It's been a busy year for Florence, releasing her brilliant sophomore album Ceremonials as well as filming and releasing her performance on MTV Unplugged and now we have a new video and single being prepped. There's no slowing this Machine down! First up is the new video -- "Breaking Down" -- which is not for the new single "Spectrum." It's pretty amazing in a day and age when getting labels to release damn near anything, Florence is getting away with releasing everything and in a bit of a scattershot manner. No matter. We love F+TM, we love her new record,

Blues Hall Of Famer Robert Cray Preps 'Nothin' But Love' For Aug. 28

Blues great will release 16th studio album...
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Blues Hall Of Famer and Grammy-winner Robert Cray has readied a brand new studio album Nothin' But Love due for release August 28. Love follows his 2010 live CD/DVD Cookin' in Mobile, recorded in support of his This Time album. Cray recruited famed rock producer Kevin Shirley to oversee sessions for this latest record, his sixteenth studio album, and he is again teamed with longtime bandmembers Jim Pugh and Richard Cousins (Keyboards and bass, respectively) and drummer Tony Braunagel. The 10-track set is all original material, written by Cray and his bandmates. It was recorded live in a Los

Jazz Review: Wes Montgomery - The Very Best of Wes Montgomery

A good starting point for one of the under-heralded greats...
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When one thinks of great jazz guitarists, only a handful come to mind. The early pioneers such as Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian are certainly on the list, as are more commercially successful artists such as George Benson and Pat Metheny. Then there is the case of  John Leslie "Wes" Montgomery (March 6, 1923 – June 15, 1968). In many ways, Montgomery bridged the gap between what was once considered an exotic instrument in the genre, to becoming a valued addition to the music. The fact that he was able to do so much in such a brief period (he

Lurrie Bell, Kilborn Alley Blues Band, Cash Box Kings Lead 2012 Blues Blast Music Award Nominees

Voting is now open for the 2012 Blues Blast Music Awards...
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The 2012 Blues Blast Music Award nominees were announced for eight categories. Details for the ceremony are still be finalized but past BBMA ceremonies have taken place at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago, usually in October. We may not have the lowdown of when the winners will be announced but we know who is in the running and voting for the awards has already opened. Winners are chosen by subscribers to the free Blues Blast e-magazine, an online publication with more than 20,000 subscribers worldwide. Blues fans can sign up for Blues Blast and take part in the voting

CD Review: Foreigner - Alive & Rockin'

Singer Kelly Hansen gives Foreigner new life in this live performance from Germany.
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Foreigner is a band often associated with radio-friendly power ballads. At the Bang Your Head!!! Festival in Germany 2006, they got to show off their more rocking side with a strong, hour-long set. This performance is captured on the CD Foreigner – Alive & Rockin’. While guitarist Mick Jones remains the only original member, this performance finds the band showcasing one of their stronger lineups. Jeff Pilson of Dokken plays bass and provides backing vocals while Jason Bonham handles the drum duties. Replacing Lou Gramm is no easy task, but former Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen fills in ably, sounding enough