Category Archives: Music

Side Players Take Center Stage

2011 Dave Matthews Band Caravan - Day 3

People rarely give much thought to why popular bands tend to feature the same combinations of instruments. A rock band usually has a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a vocalist, who may or may not be one of the guitarists. Sometimes there is a keyboard player thrown into the mix, but the standard band setup is largely set in stone. For all of the creativity that musicians possess, it is downright odd that so few of them are interested in taking advantage of all of the possibilities available to them. A musician who aspires to be innovative should think outside the box and incorporate different instruments into his basic sound.

Groups like Dave Matthews Band have always taken an inclusive approach, inviting violinist Boyd Tinsley to be a permanent member of the band. Tinsley has contributed a great deal to the band’s success, so there is no reason he should be relegated to the sidelines as an anonymous session player. Bruce Springsteen had a similar mindset when inviting Clarence Clemens to join the E Street Band. The loose feel of the music was greatly amplified by the constant presence of Clemens’ jazzy saxophone.

Alternative music’s regard for instrumentalists has always been inconsistent at best. Many punk bands dabble in ska, but very few of them add horn players to their main lineups. An indie band would sooner create fanfare over featuring guest musicians or vocalists on singular tracks than consider adjusting its overall sound to include those elements on a regular basis. Stepping outside of the typical band format is thought of as experimentation, not a normal progression for musicians who are invested in their craft.

The new crop of vintage-inspired folk bands are an exception. They embrace string players as a nod to country and bluegrass history. The Lumineers’ cellist takes center stage on nearly every one of the group’s songs. Devil Makes Three’s violinist is a permanent fixture on recordings and on tour. Mumford & Sons use an upright bass instead of an electric one.

The recent embracing of string instruments is due in part to the trappings of this particular genre, which emphasizes live acoustic performances, eliminating instruments that need electricity and amplifiers. Another aspect of this trend is the desire to create a lush sound that can be recreated at every performance. As the music industry continues to be in a state of flux, up-and-coming bands would be wise to avoid thinking of string and horn players as session musicians and instead view them as the keys to achieving consistent recordings and live performances, no matter the venue size.

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Van Halen Announces North American Tour & Jimmy Kimmel Live! Appearance

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In celebration of a 2015 summer/fall North American tour, Van Halen will perform a special concert for “Jimmy Kimmel Live on March 30, 2015 on Hollywood Boulevard. Featuring some of the band’s essential rock and roll classics, the concert will be broadcast over two nights, March 30 and March 31, on the late night talk show and marks Van Halen’s first U.S. television performance with original lead singer David Lee Roth. Jimmy Kimmel Live!airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. / 10:35 p.m. Central time on ABC.

Van Halen is touring North America beginning July 5 in Seattle, Washington at the White River Amphitheatre, with concerts scheduled through October 2 in Los Angeles, California at the legendary Hollywood Bowl. Special guest Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band will support all dates along the tour. Tickets for the Live Nation-promoted tour go on sale beginning April 4 at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com, with special pre-sale information being announced locally. A complete list of tour dates can be found below.

The special Hollywood Boulevard concert will be a hit-heavy set of songs featured on “Tokyo Dome Live In Concert, the first-ever live album to feature original singer David Lee Roth. Recorded on June 21, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan, “Tokyo Dome Live In Concert” includes 23 songs spanning all seven of the band’s albums with Roth. It is being released as a double CD, four-LP set on 180-gram vinyl and digitally beginning March 31. Fans who pre-order “Tokyo Dome Live In Concert” before its March 31 release date through Amazon and digitally at iTunes will instantly receive downloads of “Panama”, “Runnin’ With The Devil”, “Jump” and “Hot For Teacher”.

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Also being released beginning March 31 are remastered versions of “Van Halen” and “1984”, with remastered versions of “Diver Down”, “Women And Children First”, “Van Halen II” and “Fair Warning” due out later this spring. Each album has been cut straight from the quarter-inch tapes for CD, 180-gram vinyl and for the digital version by mastering engineer Chris Bellman, who remastered the original albums for Bernie Grundman Studios, Hollywood, California. These albums are being released beginning March 31, with pre-orders available now through Amazon and iTunes now.

The tour dates are as follows:

Jul. 05 – Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheatre
Jul. 07 – Portland, OR – Amphitheater Northwest
Jul. 09 – Concord, CA – Concord Pavilion
Jul. 11 – San Bernardino, CA – San Manuel Amphitheater
Jul. 14 – Irvine, CA – Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Jul. 16 – Mountain View, CA – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Jul. 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
Jul. 20 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Jul. 22 – Kansas City, MO – Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
Jul. 24 – Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Jul. 26 – St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Jul. 28 – Pittsburgh, PA – First Niagara Pavilion
Jul. 30 – Bangor, ME – Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion –
Aug. 01 – Boston, MA – Xfinity Center
Aug. 03 – Cleveland, OH – Blossom Music Center
Aug. 05 – London, ON – Western Fair District
Aug. 07 – Toronto, ON – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Aug. 09 – Holmdel, NJ – PNC Bank Arts Center
Aug. 11 – Hartford, CT – Xfinity Center
Aug. 13 – Wantagh, NY – Nikon At Jones Beach Theater
Aug. 23 – Hershey, PA – Hershey Park
Aug. 25 – Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
Aug. 27 – Camden, NJ – Susquehanna Bank Center
Aug. 29 – Washington DC – Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 31 – Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
Sep. 02 – Indianapolis, IN – Klipsch Music Center
Sep. 04 – Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Sep. 06 – Bethel, NY – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Sep. 09 – Raleigh, NC – Walnut Creek Amphitheater
Sep. 11 – Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
Sep. 13 – Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sep. 15 – West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
Sep. 17 – Birmingham, AL – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
Sep. 21 – Austin, TX – Austin360 Amphitheater
Sep. 23 – Dallas, TX – Gexa Energy Pavilion
Sep. 25 – Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sep. 28 – Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Sep. 30 – San Diego, CA – Sleep Train Amphitheatre
Oct. 02 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Bowl

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Record Store Day 2015 Releases

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With Record Store Day a little over a month away, its organizers have released “The List” – a collection of all the rare, curious and limited-edition items that will be available in independent music shops. Foo Fighters, Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, U2, Brian Wilson and Bruce Springsteen are among the artists with notable releases coming out on April 18, 2015.

Check out the release list HERE.

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Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert To Air On PBS On April 3, 2015

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Throughout her four-decade career, music superstar Annie Lennox has defied categorization, diving into blues, soul, folk and pop to create songs that captivate and transcend boundaries.

In her latest album Nostalgia, Lennox has revealed yet another dimension to her formidable talent.  Although jazz is not the genre for which she is best known, she could no longer resist the magnetic pull of some of the most memorable melodies and lyrics from the American Songbook. Nostalgia, the singer’s seventh solo album, has been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

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And with the Great Performances special, Annie Lennox: Nostalgia Live in Concert, the singer’s unique interpretations bring a new intimacy to these timeless classics. The special airs Friday April 3, 2015 at 10 p.m. on PBS.

In the 60-minute concert – which was taped at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles in January – Lennox performs songs from the Nostalgia album like “Summertime,” “Strange Fruit,” “I Cover the Waterfront” and “God Bless the Child.”

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The special features Lennox’s fresh takes on iconic American compositions by such artists as Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, Billie Holiday and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, as she pays tribute to some of the greatest artists of the 20th century, interpreting compositions that have moved her, stripping them down to their emotional and musical core and making them her own, demonstrating how these songs continue to resonate even amid the complexities of modern life.

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On the album, Lennox approached each song as if she had never heard it before, boiling each down to its bare essence. Working together with co-producer Mike Stevens, Lennox started with keyboards and added instrumentation sparingly such as the lacerating guitar solo in the middle of “Screaming” Jay Hawkins’ torrid “I Put a Spell on You.” The orchestrations are used on the special.

Complete song listing:

Memphis in June
Georgia on My Mind
I Put a Spell on You
Summertime
I Cover the Waterfront
Strange Fruit 
God Bless the Child
September in the Rain
The Nearness of You
Mood Indigo

Encores:

Here Comes the Rain Again
Why

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Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy Cassette

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The biggest mix tape of the year now available on cassette tape! Playing an integral role in the blockbuster film, the songs live on a mix tape in the main character’s Walkman, which was given to him by his late mother. The set’s music is heard throughout the film and the tape itself has a prominent role in the movie’s story.

The Guardians cassette will come with a digital download version of the album and is the first music cassette released by Disney since 2003.

Order it HERE for $14.98.

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Dark Hall Mansion To Release Yellow Submarine Print By Alex Ross On February 26, 2015

Dark Hall Mansion is thrilled to reveal its latest officially licensed Beatles limited edition release: “Yellow Submarine” by preeminent comic book artist, Alex Ross, on sale Thursday, February 26th, 2015.

Dark Hall Mansion, working with Apple Corps Ltd and Bravado International, their North American licensing agent, will release Alex’s singular vision of the Beatles’ groundbreaking 1968 masterpiece, “Yellow Submarine.” Driven by the Beatles legendary music and inspired by the generation’s new trends in art, the film resides with the dazzling styles of Pop Art, yet it’s “Yellow Submarine’s” art direction and production design by Heinz Edelmann that most defined the film’s pioneering look, and it’s in this spirit of unique innovation and creativity that Alex Ross’s highly unusual take can best be appreciated. Alex has often been referred to as ‘the Norman Rockwell of comics’ yet his “Yellow Submarine” piece reveals the similarly powerful influence of master surrealist Salvador Dali, whom Alex has also recognized as a guiding influence on his style. His Blue Meanies are a sight to behold as is his overarching composition that does justice to the sweep of this legendary animated classic. Alex has commented prior on the body of his career’s work noting, “Hopefully by painting the work, you gain a sense of life and believability that will draw the reader in a little more,” and this is dynamically manifest in his massive 6-foot original painting for the Beatle’s “Yellow Submarine.”

Alex has worked on countless high profile projects, legendary comic book characters, Hollywood studios, a print for the Academy Awards, and so much more but he is very well known at this stage of his career for taking on projects of personal relevance and resonance most of all, and it’s in this context that he enthusiastically accepted Dark Hall Mansion’s invitation to a Beatles project, being an enormous fan of the world’s most famous band. Let Alex’s words convey just what the Beatles personally means to him and how meaningful “Yellow Submarine” is as well:

“For as long as I can remember hearing music, I have loved the Beatles. Not only do I believe they are the greatest musical group of all time, but also one of the greatest things to have happened in human history. “Yellow Submarine” has also been one of my favorite films since I was six years old. The opportunity to work with the Beatles’ likenesses in the very inspired context of the “Yellow Submarine” film is an absolute dream come true. There is so much I love about these men, their legacy, and this film.”

It doesn’t get any more clear and his “Yellow Submarine” piece is all Alex. This is the first time Alex has ever done a Beatles project and he was given little constraint, so it’s safe to say all involved on the project, from LA to London, where shocked on receiving a note and attachment one day revealing a stunning 6-foot painting and just exactly how passionate Alex really was about this project! Please see some very special candid progress images of Alex’s piece in development for DHM, attached, each showing him at work on the original painting in his private studio. We’re certain you’ll be impressed!

DHM’s Alex Ross Beatles “Yellow Submarine” limited editions are meticulously printed by Alex’s longstanding personal printer of choice and will be released by Dark Hall Mansion in exact scale to his original painting via limited edition canvas and paper editions. Both Beatles and Alex Ross fans worldwide will have an opportunity to own an officially licensed Beatles, full scale, 72-inch Alex Ross “Yellow Submarine” canvas or paper edition, each personally signed by the artist.

Dark Hall Mansion’s signed Alex Ross “Yellow Submarine” paper edition, limited to a worldwide run of just 295 pieces, will price at $375, while the select signed Alex Ross “Yellow Submarine” canvas edition, with only 125 editions available worldwide, will price at $550.

All Editions go on sale Thursday, Feb 26, 2015 at Dark Hall Mansion. They’ll go on sale on our dedicated Store page at 9:30 AM PST HERE.

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The Wooden Boombox

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Designed by: Jake Mize, a designer, basketball legend, and founder of The Wooden Boombox.

Inspiration: “This classic boombox tribute is the design that started the entire Wooden Boombox line. The lines, details, antennas, battery slots and even the knobs are all a nod to the big, boxy chrome ghetto blasters that dominated the street music scene in the 1980s. If you owned one, you loved it. If you didn’t, now’s your chance. This throwback will bring you back to a time when what you played your music on was just as important as what you were listening to.”

Product information:

– Weight: 2lbs
– Koa ply contruction
– Dimensions: 9″ x 6″ x 3″
– Battery Life: 15+ Hours
– Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio input.
– Frequency Response: 100hz – 18,000hz
– Ships with battery charger, audio cable, and some extras.

Order it HERE for $250.

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SPACELAB9 Reveals The LEGO Movie Double LP Colored Vinyl Variant Editions

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Following the announcement of the Double-LP release for the The LEGO Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack album, featuring the Oscar-Nominated track “Everything is Awesome”, SPACELAB9 returns to reveal the details behind the colored vinyl variants to be made available during the album’s pre-sale, start time to be announced at a later date.     Lavishly packaged in a full color gatefold jacket with a bonus, eight page, 12” x 12” full color booklet, The LEGO Movie: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Double LP will be available in two different colored vinyl variants, both exclusively from SPACELAB9.com. The first, and most limited is the Wyldstyle variant, celebrating the flamboyant supporting character with clear vinyl and black, blue and purple streaks. Not to be outdone, lead character Emmet gets his own color-coordinated variant consisting of half orange vinyl / half blue vinyl to compliment his favorite outfit. For the die-hard collectors and early birds, the Wyldstyle variant also includes a custom SPACELAB9 LEGO mini figure with a numbered certificate of authenticity – while supplies last!

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Brandi Carlile To Release New 7” Record On February 10, 2015

Brandi Carlile will release a brand new 7” record on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 just in time for Valentine’s Day! The record includes “Wherever Is Your Heart” and “Simple Man” (Graham Nash cover).

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Find out what select independent record stores will have the 7” available here:

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The 50 Best Band Logos of All Time

Paste Magazine celebrates that lovely intersection of visual art and music—the band logo—with 50 of their favorites. You can scroll through the gallery to count down to the greatest band logo of all time.

Check them out HERE.

 

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