Posts from — April 2009
2. Booker T – Pound It Out
3. Romantica – The National Side
4. John Doe & the Sadies – Til I Get It Right
5. Justin Townes Earle – The Killed John Henry
6. Johnny Jenkins – Walk On Gilded Splinters
1. Eric Lindell – If Love Cant Find A Way
2. Condo Fucks – Whatcha Gonna Do About It
3. Vivian Girls – Where Do You Run To
4. Pink Mountaintops – While We Were Dreaming
5. Steve Earle – To Live Is To Fly
6. The Whispertown 2000 – Intentions
7. White Denim – Mirrored And Reverse
April 30, 2009 No Comments
With three militaristic drum blasts and a furious strum of acoustic guitar, Portland based Thao Nguyen forcefully declares, “Beat my brow, beat my chest / Beat the ones who love me the best.” In “Beat (Health, Life and Fire),” the singer-songwriter pushes away her loved ones with a broad stroke of a brooding honesty. It’s lamenting and yet almost celebratory, but that suits the boozy, out-of-tune swagger of her voice.
With the support of her stage band The Get Down Stay Down, Nguyen’s second album We Brave Bee Stings and All) brings together a sound rooted in soulful alt-country blues and indie-folk. The songs are elevated by her skillfully picked guitar, as well as energetic arrangements that employ melodicas, low brass, and a Wurlitzer electric piano.
Accompanied by her powerfully sultry delivery, Nguyen‘s allusion to a failure to commit sounds lyrically direct without seeming overtly transparent. And, while it’s easy to fixate on her raw delivery and awkward vocal imperfections, those quickly become lovably authentic quirks to obsess over upon each subsequent listen.
MP3/Download: Thao Nguyen & The Get Down Stay Down – Feet Asleep
April 30, 2009 No Comments
Although only a band for a little more than a year, the Vivian Girls charms have already worked their magic on their short road to “out of nowhere” status. With their irresistable mix of 60′s girl-group sounds, punk, post-punk and shoegaze, the ‘Girls have mastered blurring the lines of genres and coming up with something aggressive yet beautiful; simple, gutsy music with a lot of class and melody.
But it’s not so out-of-nowhere as it seems. Cassie Ramone (gtr, vocals) and Kickball Katy (bass, vocals, drums) were longtime friends from high school, so when Frankie Rose (drums, vocals, bass) and Cassie decided to start a band, Katy seemed the obvious choice to complete the lineup. Spurred on by sharing common (and uncommon) influences, the girls started writing material and playing live pretty quickly in their adopted hometown of Brooklyn. Within the first couple of months they had already developed a strong local following, supporting acts like Jay Reatard, Japanther and King Khan BBQ Show as well as finding kindred spirits in other locals like Crystal Stilts, Cause Co-Motion! and The Woods, with whom they’ve shared many bills and helped develop a local scene.
Turning some heads at SXSW and a few national tours this year, the ‘Girls came back to NYC brandished with a new, powerful weapon. A killer debut single, “Wild Eyes,” on the Plays With Dolls label. The record was a can’t miss for even the snobbiest of music geeks, mixing the girl-group harmonies of the Shangri-Las, the ‘gaze-iness of My Bloody Valentine, and the urgency of the Wipers. Can’t lose with that trifecta, and it’s something they’ve proved over twelve inches as well as seven..
With a single on up-and-coming indie Woodsist, and another on new home In The Red, the ‘Girls show no signs of stopping the assault on your heartstrings. With an upcoming year full of touring and recording a follow-up LP, expect to see the Vivian Girls working their charms not far from your house, your turntable or your neighbor’s ears.
April 27, 2009 No Comments
Acony Records is proud to announce the debut of the Los Angeles-based band The Whispertown 2000. Composed of Morgan Nagler (lead vocals, guitar), Tod Adrian Wisenbaker (guitar), Casey Wisenbaker (bass) and Vanesa Corbala (vocals), The Whispertown 2000 is the first band to be signed to Gillian Welch and David Rawlings’ Acony Records. Entitled Swim, the record will be released on October 21st. It was recorded by Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver) and mixed by Shawn Everett and Rawlings.
Nagler always kept to herself, only playing her songs for friends at their houses, until she met guitarist Tod Adrian Wisenbaker, who grew up playing in punk, folk, and hardcore bands in Ventura, California. They began playing shows around Los Angeles, and over the next few years they rounded out the lineup with Wisenbaker’s brother on bass, and singer Corbala, who was born in Tijuana and grew up singing traditional Mexican music. These additions allowed the band to experiment with the instrumentation between Corbala and the Wisenbaker brothers trading off on drums, bass, guitar, harp, and vocals. The Whispertown 2000’s vibrant live shows have scored them opening slots with Jenny Lewis, Rilo Kiley, Maria Taylor, She & Him, and Bright Eyes.
Nagler’s classic songwriting is put in a more fractured and modern context by Wisenbaker’s avant-blues guitar, his brother’s robust bass playing and Corbala’s new-traditional harmonies and creative magic. The songs on the record range from quirky folk-pop on “103” to the sweet/sad hypnotic harmonies of “Pushing Oars” to California-country style “Lock and Key” to ballads like “Atlantis”, which features a four woman choir made up of Nagler, Corbala, Welch, and Jenny Lewis.
When Lewis, a long-time friend and supporter of The Whispertown 2000, was asked for a quote about the band she simply said: “Morgan Nagler is my favorite songwriter. Period.” Look for the band to tour throughout 2008 and all of 2009.
April 25, 2009 No Comments
“Throw Down Your Heart” follows American banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck on his journey to Africa to explore the little known African roots of the banjo and record an album. It’s a boundary-breaking musical adventure that celebrates the beauty and complexity of Africa – an Africa that is very different from what is often seen in the media today.
As Ugandan folk musician Haruna Walusimbi states in the film: “There is this negative thinking about Africa. There is nothing good in Africa. They are beggars, there is HIV/AIDS, they are at war all the time. But that is just a very small bit of what Africa is.” Béla’s trip provides a glimpse into the incredibly rich and diverse musical traditions of Africa.
At first glance, it might seem odd that the banjo is the catalyst for this journey. But in fact, the banjo is originally an African instrument. And Béla Fleck’s passion for the banjo runs deep. In his trailblazing 30-year career, Béla has brought the instrument into jazz, pop, classical, and world music settings, and won eight Grammys along the way (not to mention the 20 nominations, in more distinct categories than anyone else, ever).
Ever since he started playing music, Béla heard stories about where the banjo came from. To many, the banjo is seen as a uniquely American instrument – and even conjures images of white Southern stereotypes. But the banjo is actually a descendant of an African instrument. West Africans have long played an instrument that looks and sounds much like the banjo. When slave traders captured West Africans, many of the slaves brought that instrument, and the knowledge of how to make it, to the United States. On plantations in the American South, slaves were not allowed to play drums, but they were allowed to play the banjo. Soon, whites started copying it, and the banjo evolved into the instrument we know today – and became a part of American culture. Béla wanted to go to Africa to trace the roots of the banjo, the instrument that defines who he is.
But Béla’s journey was also motivated by a deep love of African music. Béla was inspired by music from all across the continent, and very often he could hear a place for his banjo. When Bélahad a year off from his band, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, he realized it was the perfect opportunity to follow his dream – travel to Africa to collaborate with African musicians.
“Throw Down Your Heart” is a feature documentary that follows Béla’s musical adventures through four African countries: Uganda, Tanzania, The Gambia, and Mali. Along the way, he works with a wide array of musicians – from local villagers who play a twelve-foot xylophone, to a family that makes and plays the akonting (thought by many to be the original banjo), to international superstars such as the Malian diva Oumou Sangare.
As Béla travels across Africa, he forges both musical and personal connections. Using his banjo, he transcends barriers of language and culture, finding common ground with musicians from very different backgrounds and creating some of the most meaningful music of his career.
July 17-23, 2009
April 24, 2009 No Comments
The son of literary lion Larry McMurtry, James McMurtry hails from Texas, and rarely leaves. If you’re a James McMurtry fan who lives in or around Austin, you might catch 100 gigs a year. If you’re a James McMurtry fan who lives anywhere but in or around Austin, you might catch him once every 100 years. This is fitting, as McMurtry is one of those rare artists whose work is so grounded in a particular region that when he leaves, it’s as though the land he’s invaded has been given a jolt of electroshock therapy.
McMurtry is a lanky, hairy Texan who sings the songs you’d expect to hear coming from a lanky, hairy Texan. His voice is deep and quivering, his rhythms rollicking, his guitars fuzzy, his lyrics poignant and textured. He’s a macho man who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and a Yellow Dog Democrat to boot. He makes music for life’s forgotten truck drivers, welders, and mill workers, fighting to hold onto a slice of blue-collar Americana that becomes ever more elusive every day.
On Just Us Kids, James McMurtry follows up his critically acclaimed Childish Things with a dozen new, sharply drawn illuminations as he continues to hone and expand his considerable gifts. And the self-produced opus (James’ fourth venture pulling strings on both sides of the glass) unquestionably represents his most ambitious, accomplished and ass-kicking presentation to date. Just Us Kids will be the first release for Nashville-based Lightning Rod Records; label president Logan Rogers previously worked as Vice President of A&R; for Compadre Records on McMurtry’s previous two albums.
Friday, April 24th, 2009
Tix: $18/$20 / Time: 8PM
April 22, 2009 No Comments
** Pre-order Steve’s new album Townes @ Music Millenium and receive a wristband guaranteeing admission to the in-store performance. Presale starts 5/1/09 at 10:00 AM **
In the strictest sense, Steve Earle isn’t a country artist; he’s a roots rocker. Earle emerged in the mid-’80s, after Bruce Springsteen had popularized populist rock & roll and Dwight Yoakam had kick-started the neo-traditionalist movement in country music. At first, Earle appeared to be more indebted to the rock side than country, as he played a stripped-down, neo-rockabilly style that occasionally verged on outlaw country. However, his unwillingness to conform to the rules of Nashville or rock & roll meant that he never broke through into either genre’s mainstream. Instead, he cultivated a dedicated cult following, drawing from both the country and rock audiences.
Steve Earle will release a 15 song album comprised of songs penned by the legendary Townes Van Zandt on May 12th. The album is appropriately titled Townes and will be released via New West Records. The album will feature guest performances from Allison Moorer, Tom Morello and appearing for the first time on a Steve Earle record…Justin Townes Earle.
MP3/Download: Steve Earle – To Live Is To Fly
April 21, 2009 No Comments
PDX Pop Now! Adds James Mercer (the Shins) and Marty Marquis (Blitzen Trapper) To the “Make It Pop” Fundraiser Event
April 20, 2009 No Comments
2009 OREGON ZOO SUMMER CONCERTS – Presented by NW Natural, with support from KINK.fm and Willamette Week
Tickets will go on sale for zoo concert eNews subscribers and zoo members on April 22. Tell your friends so they can sign up before April 22 and get in on the action! Concert tickets, blanket reservations and VIP packages all go on sale to the public on April 24.
Most reserved blankets and VIP packages sold out within a few weeks last year – some within a few days – so the pre-sale is your best bet to ensure your spot.
Zoo Beat Premium Concerts
6/19 • B-52s, $27
7/11 • Tears for Fears, $22
7/17 • Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Los Lobos, $22
7/24 • Indigo Girls, $19
7/31 • Jewel, $22.50
8/14 • Joan Baez, $22
8/21 • Susan Tedeschi with JJ Grey & Mofro, $22
8/28 • Amos Lee, $19
Wednesday Zoo Tunes
6/17 • Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, $10.50
6/24 • Sly &Robbie; and the Taxi Gang, $10.50
7/1 • 234th Army Band, f r e e for everyone with zoo admission!
7/8 • Vote for your favorite local band starting May 6! More details soon at oregonzoo.org
7/15 • Vieux Farka Toure, $10.50
7/22 • Riders in the Sky, $10.50
7/29 • Orchestra Baobab, $10.50
8/5 • The Wailers, $10.50
8/12 • Jonatha Brooke, $10.50
8/19 • Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, $10.50
April 20, 2009 No Comments
- Storm Large
- Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah in a solo acoustic performance
- The Dimes
- The Minus 5 Acoustic featuring Steve Berlin of Los Lobos
- Linda Hornbuckle & Band
In addition to the concert there will be a sale of music memorabilia including a guitar signed by all the participants, posters, LP’s and CD’s signed by such luminaries as G. Love, Elvis Costello, X, Jackie Greene and many others.
The concert benefits the Leadership and
ool offering a rigorous curriculum, integrated academic support, and hands-on learning geared toward helping every student achieve excellence.
Concert participant Steve Berlin of Los Lobos is the father of a LEP student, and has this to say: ” I am honored to be part of the show benefitting this wonderful, inspiring school. LEP High has made a huge difference in our lives and my daughters’ approach to learning, so I am hopeful that the school will continue to provide similar opportunities for all
Tickets are available online for $25 in advance; $30 day of show and there are a limited number of VIP seats for $75 which include private seating, an event poster, wine and hors d’oeuvres.
April 17, 2009 No Comments