Monthly Archives: June 2014

Neil Young’s bassist has stroke, won’t be on European tour

Bill Talbot won't be touring with Crazy Horse this time around.

Billy Talbot won’t be touring with Crazy Horse this time around.

Warner Brothers reports today that Neil Young bassist Billy Talbot suffered what’s been described as a mild stroke. Talbot is reportedly expected to fully recover, but has been told to rest up. He won’t be joining the band for its European tour.

Taking his place will be Rick Rosas, who’s played with Young in the past, as well as Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Tour dates for Neil Young and Crazy Horse:

07/07   Reykjavik                      Laugardsholl

07/10   Cork                             Marquee

07/12   London                         British Summer Time

07/13   Liverpool                       Liverpool Echo Arena

07/15   Turkey                          Kucokcitifix Park

07/17   Tel Aviv                        Hayarkon Park

07/20   Ulm                              Munsterplatz

07/21   Barolo                          Open Air Barolo

07/23   Vienna                         Stadthalle

07/25   Munchengladbach         Hockey Park

07/26   Dresden                       Elbufer

07/28   Mainz                          Norde Mole Open Air

07/30   Copenhagen                 Forum

08/01   Bergen                         Bergen Festival

08/03   Stockholm                    Music and Arts Festival

08/05   Lockeren                      Lockeren Festival

08/07   Monte Carlo                 Sporting Club

08/08   Alsace                         Festival de la Foire aux Vins

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Karen O’s “Rapt” video surfaces

Karen O's heart is on her sleeve with "Crush Songs."

Karen O’s heart is on her sleeve with “Crush Songs.”

“Love’s a f—ing bitch…Do I really need another habit like you?”

On Monday, Karen O released a video shot entirely underwater. The brief acoustic song, “Rapt,” is painstakingly slow and deliberate as she floats, seemingly exposing past heartache with every word. “Rapt” is part of her upcoming album “Crush Songs.” Each new tidbit about the album leaves us wanting more. The video and song will have to tide us over for now.

The video can be found on Craveonline.

Karen O: "Rapt"

Karen O: “Rapt”

Read more about Karen O’s new album in an earlier post:

“Karen O’s “Crush Songs” to unearth old lusts”

Karen O appears on Cult Records’ website, her eyes placidly closed.

Wearing a red dress with a muted shine, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman clasps both hands over the left side of her chest. With still red lips, she’s laying, cross-legged, on a candy-heart-pink carpet.

The picture, along with a letter in which she writes that she “crushed” a lot around age 27, is all that fans have to go on when it comes to her debut solo album, out on Cult Records Sept. 9. Cult Records is the Strokes’ Julian Casablancas’ baby.

The pre-order of the album is already sold out, according to Cult Records’ website, and it’s a gem: Going for $50, it’s a limited-edition vinyl, signed and numbered LP with sunburst-colored vinyl and a custom envelope with 15 cards of her drawings, as well as hand-written lyrics.

Crush Songs

Crush Songs

According to Karen O in a story on Consequence of Sound, the songs are based on her uncertainties after losing love. She goes on to say the songs were written and recorded in private  around that time.

karen-o-crush-songs letter

“They are the soundtrack to what was an ever-continuing love crusade,” says Karen O.

For more, visit Cult Records or

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Bite-size tickets still available for Pickathon


Pickathon 2014

Pickathon 2014

Pickathon 2014 has just released single-day tickets for the festival, which, considering the fantastic lineup, should not be missed, even if you can only go for one day.
Pickathon is an independent music fest held in Happy Valley, Ore., (What better place to hold a music fest?), from Aug. 1-3.

Single-day tickets, at $95 each, are the perfect size for those who can’t commit to the whole weekend but who don’t want to miss out on Pickathon. Check out the schedule for Friday, Aug. 1, Saturday, Aug.2, and Sunday, Aug. 3, so you can make an informed decision on the best way to spend your hard-earned money.

New videos from last year’s Pickathon have surfaced: Aquarium Drunkard has Ty Segall on the Galaxy Barn stage; Bluegrass Situation premiered Dale Watson on the Woods stage and American Standard Time is showing Malcolm Holcombe on the Galaxy Barn stage.

To get weekend passes or single-day tickets check out:

The list of performers for Pickathon 2014 includes bands that will guarantee an excellent time, including The War on Drugs, Spanish Gold, Diarrhea Planet, Brownout and Nickel Creek.

My money’s on Diarrhea Planet and Brownout blowing the place away.

PICKATHON 2014 PERFORMERS: Nickel Creek, X, Blind Pilot, The War On Drugs, Warpaint, Jonathan Richman, Jolie Holland, Mac DeMarco, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Shakey Graves, Operators, Gregory Alan Isakov, Valerie June, Foxygen, Destroyer, Courtney Barnett, People Under The Stairs, Parquet Courts, The Sadies, The Barr Brothers, EDJ, Angel Olsen, Woods, Those Darlins, Della Mae, Robbie Fulks, Spanish Gold, Marco Benevento, The Black Lillies, Mandolin Orange, Lonnie Holley, Mikal Cronin, Son Little, Possessed By Paul James, Ages and Ages, The Donkeys, Ural Thomas & The Pain, Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer, Love As Laughter, Bobby Patterson, Willie Watson, Steve Gunn, Julianna Barwick, The Men, Houndstooth, Hiss Golden Messenger, Brownout, Brown Sabbath, Cardboard Songsters, Charlie Parr, Diarrhea Planet, Old Buck, Quilt, Crow Quill Night Owls, and Leroy Thomas & Zydeco Roadrunners

For more info visit



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Sharon Van Etten releases slew of tour dates


Sharon van Etten: Are We There

Sharon van Etten: Are We There

Singer-songwriter Sharon van Etten today announced a tour to support her fourth album “Are We There,” released in May on Jagjaguwar. According to van Etten, some of the instruments used on the album were used by John Lennon and Patti Smith. That’s fitting enough for music that channels rock’s troubled ancestry.

Listen as her pain builds on “Your Love is Killing Me.” Van Etten’s voice is a powerful train, steadily trying to reach redemption, but railroaded by her inner demons at every pass. The song “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” is even more disturbing and melancholy in its beauty. The video, of a washed-up old guy who dresses up as a Dracula-type for a film, is worth a look too.

sharon-van Etten

Sharon van Etten by Dusdin Condren

She’s released what seems like thousands of tour dates through the summer and fall, all over the planet; hopefully you’re near one of her destinations:

Tue. June 24 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater

Sat. June 28 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre

Sun. June 29 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Mon. June 30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Wed. July 2 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir

Thu. July 3 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir

Sat. July 5 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune

Sun. July 6 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre

Tue. July 8 – Calgary, AB @ Republik

Wed. July 9 – Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room

Thu. July 10 – Saskataoon, SK @ Amigo’s Cantina

Sat. July 12 – Sun. July 13 – Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival 

Mon. July 14 – Fargo, ND @ Aquarium

Wed. July 16 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

Thu. July 17 – Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin

Fri. July 18 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival

Sun. July 20 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival

Thu. Aug. 7 – Sun. Aug. 9 – Goteborg, SE @ Way Out West

Sat. Aug. 9 – Olso, NO @ Øyafestivalen

Sun. Aug. 10 – Zurich, CH @ Rote Fabrik

Mon. Aug. 11 – Munich, DE @ Hauskonzerte 

Tue. Aug. 12 – Bezirk-Landstrasse, AU @ Arena Wien Open Air

Thu. Aug. 14 – Venlo, NL @ Zomerparkfeest

Fri. Aug. 15 – Hasselt, BE @ Pukkelpop

Sat. Aug. 16 – Crickhowell, UK @ Glanusk Park – Green Man Festival

Tue. Oct. 7 – Toronto, ON @ The Opera House

Wed. Oct. 8 – Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch

Thu. Oct. 9 – Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center for the Arts

Mon. Oct. 13 – Iowa City, IA @ Gabe’s Oasis

Tue. Oct. 14 – Champaign, IL @ Highdive

Wed. Oct. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Luminary Center for the Arts

Fri. Oct. 17 – Dallas, TX @ The Kessler Theatre

Sat. Oct. 18 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk

Mon. Oct 20 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

Tue. Oct. 21 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle

Thu. Oct. 23 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle

Fri. Oct. 24 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater

Sat. Oct. 25 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar

Sun. Nov. 16 – Hasselt, BE @ Muziekodroom

Mon. Nov. 17 – Hamburg, DE @ Prinzenbar

Tue. Nov. 18 – Copenhagen, DK @ Vega

Thu. Nov. 20 – Groningen, NL @ Vera

Fri. Nov. 21 – Gent, BE @ Handelsbeurs

Mon. Nov. 24 – Manchester, UK @ Cathedral

Tu. Nov. 25 – Glasgow, UK @ Art School

Wed. Nov. 26 – Birmingham, UK @ Library

Sat. Nov. 29 – Lisbon, PT @ Vodafone Mexefest

Mon. Dec. 1 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie

Tue. Dec. 2 – Stuttgart, DE @ 1210

Thu. Dec. 4 – Lausanne, CH @ Bogen F

Fri. Dec. 5 – Basel, CH @ Kaserne-Rosstall

Sat. Dec. 6 – Bologna, IT @ Covo

Sun. Dec. 7 – Rome, IT @ Circole degli Artisti

Mon. Dec. 8 – Milan, IT @ Salumeria della Musica

Wed. Dec. 10 – Barcelona, ES @ Foyer del Gran Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona

Thu. Dec. 11 – Madrid, ES @ Teatro Lara – American Autumn


Visit for more info.

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Wild Beasts’ video “Mecca” is a dream in vivid technicolor

If you’re not familiar with indie band Wild Beasts, then get busy– the buzz about the band is huge and rightly so. They’re a foursome from Kendal, England, who released their fourth album “Present Tense,” earlier this year on Domino.

“Mecca” is the latest single, with a video that’s overflowing with vibrant color and whimsy. It’s directed by Kate Moross, who’s worked with Disclosure and Jessie Ware. In the video, images are reflected, bright hues and merged with patterns of the ocean and weird shapes and arty paint scribbles. Every frame is mesmerizing. And it doesn’t hurt that the song is quiet and powerful at once with a synth melody that immediately hooks you in.


The band is sort of like a much cooler Coldplay, aided by an 80s/ new-wave vibe.

“I’m a pilgrim, you’re the shrine to/All the lovers that loved before us……Surrender your limbs to my every whim” — if that’s not sexy, I’m not sure what is.

If you like “Mecca,” then check out the video for “A Simple Beautiful Truth”– it’s just as good.


Wild Beasts are out on tour in Europe and will play with Arcade Fire July 3 at London’s Hyde Park. They’re headed for a U.S. headlining tour around the eastern U.S. and Canada, ending at Pitchfork Music Festival July 19.

Wild Beasts’ tour dates:


Sat June 21 – Hilvarenbeek, Holland @ Best Kept Secret

Fri June 27 – Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury

Sun June 29 – Moscow, Russia @ Park Live

Thu July 3 – London, UK @ Hyde Park (w/ Arcade Fire)

Fri July 4 – Gdynia, Poland @ Open’er

Thu July 10 – New York, NY @ Hudson River Parks’ River Rocks (Pier 84)

Fri July 11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer w/ Mutual Benefit
Sat July 12 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club w/ Mutual Benefit
Mon July 14 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair  w/ Mutual Benefit
Tues July 15 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre  w/ Mutual Benefit
Wed July 16 – Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club
Fri July 18 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall

Sat July 19 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Music Festival

Sun July 27 – Byron Bay, AUS @ Splendour In The Grass

Mon July 28 – Sydney, AUS @ Manning Bar

Tue July 29 – Melbourne, AUS @ The Prince Bandroom

Sun Aug 10 – Sicily, Italy @ Ypsig Rock Festival

Fri Aug 15 – Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukklepop

Sat Aug 16 – Budapest, Hungary @ Sziget

Sun Aug 17 – Hamburg, Germany @ Dockville

Fri Aug 22 – Paris, France @ Rock En Seine Festival

Sun Aug 31 – Dorset, UK @ End of the Road (headline)

Sat Sep 6 – Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival

Wed Sep 10 – Rovinj , Croatia @ Unknown Festival

Fri Sep 12 – Barcelona, Spain @ Sala Apolo

Sat Sep 13 – Madrid, Spain @ Dcode Festival

Tue Oct 30  – Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Music Week Festival


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Lower searches for redemption on “Seek Warmer Climes”


Copenhagen’s post-punk band Lower, on its full-length debut “Seek Warmer Climes,” walks the line between its proto- and post-punk influences while forging its own path, using more subtle sounds that normally would have no place in their world of pain and catharsis.

Tribal drumbeats, as on “Another Life,” stays in synergy with vocalist Adrian Toubro and Kristian Emdal’s weighty bass, while Simon Formann’s lead guitar sometimes stays quietly in the background.

The song “Unkempt, Uncaring” is a good example of this back-to-roots sound; its intense give-and-take between Toubro’s anxiety-ridden lyrics and Anton Rothstein’s drums is almost like a free-flowing jazz treatment in its primitiveness.

While they stick to their core punk roots and signature sound, the band also  brings in more classical instruments such as violin. On the song “Bastard Tactics,” light piano notes bring a different color. Using unexpected sounds sparingly confirms they can have a gentle touch and are subtle when need be.


Most of the time though, “Seek Lower Climes” is shockingly direct, with visceral vocals from Toubro. He often seems on a precipice, in life and thought, where his voice is given the stark and stripped-down treatment. He’s a constant force.

“Expanding Horizons (Dar es Salaam)” fires on all cylinders, its chorus an irresistible call. The single “Lost Weight, Perfect Skin” owns a guitar riff from Formann that feeds the perfect anthem song, echoing U2’s dark “October” days and The Edge’s urgency. A bit of Minor Threat and Fugazi; more of Interpol bubbles around the edges of Lower’s span uneasiness.

From the band’s moniker to the album cover, they breathe the dramatic. But while emotions are always extreme on “Seek Warmer Climes,”  they still remember to keep the melodies strong.

The song “Soft Option” seems the more radio-friendly option — it’s somehow steadier and more even than the others. It is, surprisingly, a song about two people who were once in love. “You say, that I don’t care for dialogue……The tension’s tearing at your heartstrings, right in under your skin/but now darlin/ you’re on your back again/let’s call a truce on this occasion.”

Lower promises a journey into yourself, but also a way out.

“Seek Warmer Climes” was released June 17; you can get it on Matador Records. Check out more of their music on Bandcamp.


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Filed under Post-punk, Punk, Review

Lightboxes’ “Something Else” a hidden gem

This is why blogging about music is so vital: A band like Lightboxes comes along and you wonder why they haven’t been picked up yet.

The hip-hop/soul duo has a short blurb in‘s “The Neu Bulletin,” neatly tucked between links for Hockeysmith and TRIXY. Lightboxes, from southeast London, is John Atterbury and Donna Thompson, who met at Goldsmiths College.
On the song “Something Else,” Thompson’s youthful voice, like Joss Stone or early Adele, brings a bright flavor to the tune, which wakes you up with its ingenuity. (Additional vocals by Sarah Williams White.)


The sound feels a bit like Fugees or Feist, as it walks a funky jazz bass that skips along with the beat and jumps it once in a while. It keeps you on your toes, and after all, shouldn’t music keep you guessing?

Catch “Something Else” and a bit about Lightboxes and its EP “Let It Grow” on bandcamp.

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Filed under Electronic, Experimental, R & B, Retro Soul

Beat:repeat breaks down Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”

If only all great songs got this backstory treatment.

Red Bull Music Academy recently wrapped their beat:repeat NYC series with a bang, breaking down Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”


Chris Stein weighs in on the iconic tune, which shattered the idea of what punk music could be.

In the video, Stein touches on the seedy underbelly of the New York punk scene and recalls the heyday of CBGBs, a place American punk and new wave could call home.

The song merges 70s disco drumming with the steady backbeat of the Roland Compu-rhythm CR-68 and 78 drum machines. The machine could be synchronized with a synth for a whole new sound. The somewhat cheesiness of the CR-68’s “tink-tink” is what opens “Heart of Glass,” and provides the backbone for the song’s amazing reggae/disco/lounge sensibilities.

“It was like us being punk in the face of punk,” says Stein. It’s a classic late 70s rock song that instantly recalls summertime, hot pavement and lust.

Like all great music, the song rubbed some the wrong way for its genre-bending, but the band didn’t care who it pissed off. Thank God.

Watch the video here, and watch the original video, an early MTV blast of disco gold and Debbie Harry’s blazing-red lips.

Blondie - Heart of Glass

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Filed under Electronic, Experimental, Punk, VIdeos

Listen to “Sinner,” Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens’ new single

While this blog is the furthest it could be from gospel music, it doesn’t feel all that strange to write about Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens.

The group’s new single, “Sinner,” is gospel music at its realest, where everyone is welcomed with open arms.

After a brief intro, “Sinner” launches right into soulful lyrics that calm, even though Shelton seems troubled. The Gospel Queens offer Shelton simple reinforcement.

Shelton’s vocals are weathered and rich, and she happily rejoices in going to the river. Her voice never sounded sweeter.


Credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

“I’m a sinner, yes I am” Shelton proclaims, proud to be imperfect.

Listen to “Sinner” on soundcloud.


“Cold World” is out on Daptone Records July 29.

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Jenny Lewis is more than just one of the guys


Jenny Lewis debuts song off new album "The Voyager"

Jenny Lewis debuts song off new album “The Voyager”

Jenny Lewis expertly blends country, lite rock and alternative with her new single “Just One of the Guys.” The song debuted June 3 on NPR’s “All Songs Considered.

Lewis sounds confident and sure of herself on the track, while the line “I’m the only sister to my own sorrow” offers its own little riddle.

The song was produced by Beck, who also provides backup vocals. Lewis says The Rolling Stones and French pop music made its way into the conversation as the song was born. “It was just very mellow and lovely,” she says in a press release.

“Just One of the Guys” appears on Lewis’ third solo album, “The Voyager,” out July 29 on Warner Brothers. Along the way she’s on tour with Ray LaMontagne and hitting summer music festivals, including Lollapalooza.

Visit to watch the lyric video for “Just One of the Guys.”

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