Tomorrow’s Music Releases

There’s a lot of cool music set to release tomorrow. I’m excited about two of them:

Michael Franti & Spearhead‘s new album All People is out tomorrow. Almost three years (What? Where does time go?) after Sound of Sunshine, comes this new album. I’ve been excited about it since he released his first since “I’m Alive.”

Noah‘s debut album Among the Wildest Things is due until August 20th, but the first single “Call Home” is out tomorrow.

If you don’t know who Noah Guthrie is, let me remind you. He is YouTube sensation who exploded last year with his cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It.”

Ah, music, if it weren’t for Spotify, you would break my bank.

Gender Swap “Blurred Lines” Parody

I ran into this video around the Interwebs this morning. It’s another parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” The original has been under fire because it is a not-so-slick celebration of rape culture. Just listen to it. But damn, it’s so catchy. I am very much guilty of liking the song. Now, the video, I can’t stand. The original, at least. I do enjoy all the parodies that have come out of it (like this one).

This new parody was put together by Mod Carousel, a Seattle-based boylesque troupe. The group’s comments behind the parody video are interesting,

“It’s our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.”

While I think the video doesn’t quite reach the objective of the group (Not all the guys are not ridiculous. I’m looking at you, long hair!), the highlight is really the ladies. DAMN, those voices! The song is performed by Caela Bailey and Dalisha Philips. Who is Miss Caela Bailey and why has her voice not been snatched by some label? Or at least made it to American Idol or something?

Doing a little bit of research I found two tracks by Peoples where she’s featured: “You’re All Welcome” and “Swing Low.”

And just in case you can’t get enough of her voice, I’m going to leave these other two videos I found:

New Music: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros

Just in time for our LouFest preparations, the hippie cult-like California band Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros has released their new self-titled album. This is their third release in their four year career. NPR Music previewed the new record last week. Their signature style and mult-instrument jam sound still remains, with a few more catchy hooks than their last release.

The first single is “Better Days”. I don’t know how to describe this video other than awesome!

@Begt and I will be seeing them live at LouFest, but I will be seeing them when they play the Cosmopolitan Pool early next month.

Reliving our Youth: Tonic & Sister Hazel

Music is one of the reasons that my wife (the comedian) and I first noticed each other. Music has also been ever present in our life together. One of the bands that has been there for the duration is Sister Hazel. Sister Hazel is a “southern rock” group from Gainesville, Florida formed in 1993. Sister Hazel’s most popular hit is the 90’s classic “All for You”. The record that defined much of the first few years of my relationship with my now wife is Sister Hazel’s 4th release, Chasing DaylightI cannot tell you how many times we have listened to this record. I will not tell you the circumstances in which we listened to this record.

Tonic1

We have attempted to see Sister Hazel perform in Las Vegas before, but were foiled by an acquaintance who was trying to get us into a muli-level marketing opportunity (read: scam). I was bitter until I saw that Sister Hazel would be performing during the Fremont Street Experience summer concert series. This year the series has been alternative rock bands from the 90’s and 2000’s. Sister Hazel was performing the same night as Tonic, who are back out making new music and touring. The show was free (yeah Vegas!) and we were excited. I had tweeted earlier in the day about my excitement. When we arrived downtown I checked my twitter and saw that we had been awarded VIP passes for the show! Along with these passes we received meet & greet passes and got to meet both bands. Not one for needing to meet artists, this was fun. The guys from Tonic were very nice and we didn’t have much time with Sister Hazel.

FSE1

The show itself was a once in a lifetime experience…but not just for the obvious reasons… About halfway through Tonic’s set it started pouring rain. It does not rain much in the desert, and this was a heck of a storm. Unfazed, Tonic continued their set. Many of the fans had backed under the FSE canopy, so there were not many fans up front. It is one thing to see a show outside, but a totally different thing to see a show outside during a rainstorm in downtown Las Vegas. The Sister Hazel set was delayed a few minutes, but they finally came on stage and also played a bit in the rain (albeit a little less intense rain than Tonic dealt with).

Both groups played their big hits, and new music. It was great to see that even for a free show there were a lot of fans of both bands who were at the show. I saw many “Hazelnuts” belting out every SH song. I felt both bands were playing with the passion and fervor that we would have seen 15 years ago when alternative rock was in its heyday. I am definitely be anticipating the new Sister Hazel record and will be dusting off the Tonic discography.

Here is a clip Tonic:

A new song from Sister Hazel (co-written with Darius Rucker) “Go To Karaoke Song”

And the intro to “All for You”

The Prince of Pop

I’ve been known to not enjoy a lot of modern pop music. Some of it is very catchy (damn you Selena Gomez, I refuse to link to anything here), and some of it is down right horrible (I am looking at you K Money Ha aka Ke$ha). I will be the first to admit that when a young guy named Bruno Mars hit the scene I was very skeptical. I mean he didn’t seem to be more than a male version of Miley Cyrus…After delving into his music more after my wife developed a slight (read: huge) obsession with Mr. Mars that I realized that this guy is a pretty amazing musician.

He grew up singing and playing music.

Here he is as Elvis:

After learning that he writes his songs (and songs for others) I developed a lot of respect for the guy. So much so that I am very excited to be seeing him in a couple weeks on his Moonshine Jungle Tour. Now, I can tell you that the wife will probably scream so loud that I will not be able to hear anything at the show, but I can hope that I will.

It is also exciting as a band I quite enjoy will be opening for him, Fitz & The Tantrums. It may seem like an odd combination, but both groups have full bands with them, and they are reminiscent of the doo wop days. @begt and I will see Fitz & The Trantrums at Lou Fest so this will be a nice warm up!

In case you are one of the 10 people who have not heard  this song enjoy, and for those who have not seen this video, it is pretty amazing and it is a favorite of both my wife and @begt.

Music Shhhtuff From The Interwebs

It’s Friday, and I’ve managed to run into a few awesome things around the web this week. Let me share them with you:

1. Jay-Z ‘Magna Carta . . . Holy Grail’ review: When fans are reduced to customers – I don’t care about Jay-Z, but I loved this review published by The Washington Post and how real it is. My favorite part of the review is this:

“Plus, all of this Samsung hullabaloo has only distracted listeners from the fact that, musically and lyrically, “Magna Carta” is one of Jay-Z’s blandest offerings. Over 16 joylessly professional tracks, our hero laces up his sneakers for his bazillion-thousandth victory lap around the hip-hop universe. There’s no mood, no verve, no vision to this music. It’s the sound of champagne being sprayed around an empty locker room.

2. 12 Years of DFA: Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic – An awesome short film about DFA Records. I find the awesomeness not only in learning the history and structure of the record label, but also in the production of the film. It’s a beauty in itself.

3. The Medium Is The Message: A tribute to musical formats (Madrid 2011) – Another find from the Red Bull Music Academy Vimeo channel. Oh yeah.

4. 100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N’ Roll) – I found this one last Summer, but I wanted to share it here.

New Music: John Mayer – “Waiting on the Day”

I don’t remember the exact moment when I started loving John Mayer’s music, but it’s been a long time. The first time I saw him play live was in the winter of 2007 at the University of Arkansas. And, to me, that’s when he went from being a cute singer to being a musician. He had just released his album Continuum, his best to date, in my opinion. He’s so great on that guitar! I tell all the haters to go see him live, because I’m sure it would change their minds seeing him in concert.

Having said that, I don’t think all his music is amazing. His most recent album, Born And Raised, was specially weak compared to the rest of his discography. He didn’t even get a chance to redeem it on the road, because he had to cancel the whole tour due to medical issues.

He’s now back in business and didn’t waste any time getting new material ready. His new album, Paradise Valley, is set to release at the end of August. What I’ve heard of it so far has not been very impressive, until I heard this song, “Waiting on the Day.” This is the first Mayer song I’ve reaaaaaaally liked in a long time. Since Battle Studies, actually.

Now I’m finally looking forward to the whole album. Maybe there will be another gem in there.

TBT: John Mayer @ BOK Center, Tulsa, 2010

I’m about to share some new John Mayer music, so I thought I’d share this for Throwback Thursday before I get judged! Ha! Read it, will you?

John Mayer @ BOK Center

I love John Clayton Mayer.

I’ve liked his music ever since I first heard him on the radio, but I didn’t fall in love with him as a musician until I had the chance to see him live on Feb. 1, 2007. In fact, before that show in 2007, I had no idea he was such great guitarist. That show elevated him to a completely new level for me. It was not just about cute lyrics and beautiful break-up songs anymore. It was about his passion for music and his glorious guitar riffs (oh yes, I said glorious.)

I knew he was playing in Tulsa on Sept. 3, but I wasn’t planning to attend the show. At least I wasn’t, until I saw the live broadcast of his Sept. 1 show at Colorado’s Red Rocks. That’s when I remembered how great he is and realized how much I’d regret it if I missed out on the Tulsa show. After all, it was just a two-hour drive and a ticket that wasn’t in my budget. But I had to do it. So I bought my ticket the day before the show and got on the road after leaving work on Friday.
John Mayer @ BOK Center
Lucky for me, the BOK Center performance wasn’t sold out. The opening act was Owl City. Which was not impressive at all, but everyone did stand up for their hit “Fireflies.” I was fine with sitting down for their entire set. After all, I wasn’t there to see them. When the schedule of shows for Mayer’s Summer tour came out, I thought it listed Train as the supporting act. I would have been a lot happier with Train. Or with Michael Franti & Spearhead, the supporting act for the winter part of Mayer’s Battle Studies tour.
John Mayer @ BOK Center
Mayer’s set started out with “Vultures,” from his Continuum album. Which he introduced with riffs from The Band‘s “Chest Fever.” He followed it with the Mayer classics “Clarity” and “No Such Thing.” The entire arena was singing along with these songs, including me. The next song is when I started to fly, because he played “Ain’t No Sunshine” with a reggae-flavored intro and a guitar solo that made me melt. Need I say more?

Later in the show he played The Rolling Stone‘s “Beast of Burden” along with “Perfectly Lonely,” from his latest album, Battle Studies. After that winner combination and an instrumental jam session, which rightfully earned drummer Keith Carlock a prolonged ovation, the show went into a mini-acoustic set. With Bob Dylan‘s “Don’t Think it Twice, It’s Alright” and “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” Mayer kept everyone in the audience happy.
John Mayer @ BOK Center
The 7-piece band accompanying Mayer is an impressive one. In addition to Carlock, the band is made up by David Ryan Harris (guitar), Robbie McIntosh (guitar), Sean Hurley (bass), Bob Reynolds (saxophone, flute), Bryan Lipps (trumpet), and Charlie Wilson (keyboards). Each of them had a moment to shine during the show. Like Wilson during “Who Says.” Despite listening to that song (it was the first single of Battle Studies) so many times before, this was the first time I noticed the delicate piano notes in its middle. Those notes really glue the song together. And now when I listen to that song I wait for them — so much soul in just a couple of notes.

Mayer ended with “Edge of Desire” as encore while a video compilation from the winter part of the tour played on the screen behind him. It was perfect. I got out of the BOK Center with the biggest smile, wishing I wasn’t alone, but still so high from the amazing musical evening I had just experienced. I was blown away, as I’m sure you would be, if you get to one of his shows.

The set was a great mixed of old and new favorites. Here’s the setlist of the night. Just in case you want to make a play list, like I did.
Chest Fever/Vultures, Clarity, No Such Thing, Ain’t No Sunshine, Slow Dancing in a Burning Room, Beast of Burden/Perfectly Lonely, Waiting on the World to Change, Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right, Your Body Is A Wonderland, Gravity, Can’t Find My Way Home/Who Says, Why Georgia, Heartbreak Warfare, Do You Know Me, Half of My Heart/Don’t Stop Believing, Encore: Edge of Desire
John Mayer @ BOK Center
And here are a few of my favorite photos of the night (they’re all from that perfect encore) in black/white.

TBT: The Giving Tree Band @ George’s, 2012

Last week for Throw Back Thursday, I posted the review for the first Giving Tree Band show I attended. This week, I wanted to share the second time I caught them live. Enjoy:

The Giving Tree Band @ George's Majestic
This is a late post, but I promise you it’s worth the wait. At the end of April, one of my favorite Bluegrass/Americana band made a stop in Fayetteville, AR at George’s Majestic Lounge. It had been close to two years since I first experienced The Giving Tree Band live. It had been way too long.
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Churchill has broken up

First thing Monday morning I saw a really unexpected, and very short, article on my Facebook feed. It basically said that Churchill had dismantled and cancelled all upcoming performances, including a performance on Jay Leno.

This is a bummer. Specially because their first album was ready to be released this month. And it is over before it started. Enjoy their music while you still can.