album

Jonathan Coulton Set to Release Artificial Heart

Jonathan Coulton speaks to the outcast in all of us, in the voices of characters we know from our own sad little lives. Some of them may be monsters - mad scientists, giant squids, zombies - but his talent is in turning offbeat subjects into deliciously hooky pop songs that move us in surprisingly personal ways.

His upcoming album, Artificial Heart, produced by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, is due out this Fall. It's a new direction for Coulton - he leaves behind the home recording gear for a studio filled with talented musicians and guest vocalists including Suzanne Vega, John Roderick of The Long Winters and Sara Quin of Tegan and Sara.

The album opens with “Sticking to Myself”, a blistering, high-energy song about finding success, and then tearing it all down. “Nemeses” is a duet between Coulton and The Long Winters’ John Roderick that suggests the only real way to bring meaning into your life is to find your own worst enemy. “Good Morning Tucson” is a highly singable pop song about an aging morning news anchor who one day finally loses it. The album’s title track, “Artificial Heart," has a bouncy, joyful melody that can't quite mask the feeling that drastic measures are sometimes worse than the problems they are trying to solve.

Artificial Heart is Jonathan Coulton’s first album of all new material since his infamous 2006 “Thing A Week” series, during which he created 52 musical pieces in 52 weeks. It's a strong addition to an already impressive discography that spans a decade. His song “Still Alive” is the closing soundtrack to the video game “Portal," and was awarded “Best Original Vocal Pop Song” in 2008 by the Game Audio Network Guild. This year, Coulton was asked back to write “Want You Gone," a song for Portal’s long awaited sequel.

Amon Tobin: Isam Live at Boulder Theater | 10.18

Radio 1190 & Z2 Entertainment are proud to present Amon Tobin: Isam Live at the Boulder Theater on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 29th at 10:00 am for $26.75 General Admission.

Brazilian-born Amon Tobin first emerged between 1994-1995 with a string of 12” singles on a small London-based record label called 9Bar Records. The album that followed, Adventures In Foam, paved the way for a whole generation of electronic productions and prompted his signing to the prodigious Ninja Tune in 1996. He has since gone on to record seven critically acclaimed albums under his own name on Ninja that have helped define the label as a force in musical innovation and diversity. In addition, Amon has produced radically diverse original scores ranging from George Palfi’s cult cinema oddity Taxidermia to Tom Clancy’s video game blockbuster Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

The depth of Amon Tobin’s work has had a far-reaching influence, garnering respect amongst producers and artists of all genres. Whether with the classical avant-garde Kronos Quartet or D’n’B legends Noisia, Amon has established a reputation for musical ingenuity that is unconfined by genre.  The 2007 album Foley Room explored the role of found sound in modern day music. Documented on film, the process of recording minute insects to lions, wolves, engines and foley performances culminated in a much- lauded performance at the birthplace of musique concrete, the GRM Theatre in Paris. More recently, the famed London Metropolitan Orchestra performed selected works from a cross-section of his musical repertoire at the Royal Albert Hall. The performance included a piece from his forthcoming studio album due for release in early 2011.

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Amon Tobin:  Isam Live

Boulder Theater

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Doors:  7:00 pm

Show Time:  7:30 pm

Sam Llanas of the BoDeans readies solo album '4 a.m.'

Sam Llanas (pronounced yanas), lead singer-guitarist for the acclaimed Milwaukee band the BoDeans, takes listeners deep into the night on his new release, 4 A.M., arriving Oct. 25 on Inner Knot Records. The intimate, mostly acoustic collection, produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin, features 10 new Llanas originals and a dazzling cover of Cyndi Lauper’s hit “All Through the Night.”

Llanas says of his latest work, “I do a lot of work late at night. It’s a night record, a nocturnal record, thematically about things that happen in the night. That covers a lot of ground. It could be the simple things — being in love, being with somebody — or about the loneliness that the night can bring.”

The album, an understated complement to the BoDeans’ just-released 10th studio album Indigo Dreams, is markedly different from Llanas’ 1998 solo bow A Good Day to Die, which was a powerful eulogy for Llanas’s brother recorded under the group rubric Absinthe.

“The Absinthe record was kind of bombastic and very intense,” Llanas says. “I wanted to do something that was lighter, as light as I can get. I wanted it to be completely different. That’s why 4 A.M. is pretty much an acoustic record.”

Work on 4 A.M. began nearly four years ago, when Llanas’ band the BoDeans, which he has led since 1983, was between projects.

He recalls, “I had time on my hands, and I had some songs I wanted to record. I started working with Terry Vittone — I just said, ‘Hey, let’s make some recordings.’ There was no real thought that it was going to be an album or anything like that. It just sort of escalated from there.”

Sessions for the embryonic project commenced at guitarist Vittone’s house. “I would record the songs in the afternoon,” Llanas says, “and get them to a point where I liked them. Then the next day I’d go back, and Terry would say, ‘Sam, I want you to hear some ideas I threw down on the track.’ And Terry was willing to take really strong direction from me, because I didn’t want a guitar player who was playing all over the song. Terry was really good at putting in the nuances that were needed. He played very little, and that seemed to work very well.”

With the majority of the material in the can, a protracted layoff from recording ensued. After almost two years, Llanas began completing 4 A.M. at Daystorm Music in Milwaukee with producer-musician Tanin, who had also worked on A Good Day To Die and supplied the strings on the new recording.

Llanas decided to preserve the original recording’s spare quality, and added a couple of new tracks that were left untouched. “I wanted to keep it simple. ‘The Way Home’ and ‘Janey’ seemed to work really well just the way they were.”

However, he adds, “I thought the other songs needed a bit more dressing up. Some I thought would work better if we put a little bit more on them.” Thus, BoDeans keyboardist Bukka Allen was called in to play accordion, while Milwaukee musicians Matt Turner and Ryan Schiedermayer contributed bass and percussion, respectively.

Some of the compositions on 4 A.M. began life as prospective material for the BoDeans, Llanas says: “‘Nobody Luvs Me’ was actually recorded with the BoDeans, but it’s quite a different version — you wouldn’t really know it’s the same song. ‘Shyne’ was on our album Mr. Sad Clown. I thought that would work really well there, so I brought it into that project. The first song on 4 A.M., ‘Oh, Celia,’ was demoed with the BoDeans years and years ago. That’s quite an old song.”

Nestling seamlessly with Llanas’ own cycle of before-dawn melodies is his hushed cover of Lauper’s 1983 perennial “All Through the Night,” penned by Jules Shear. “It’s a beautiful song,” Llanas says, “but when they recorded it, in the early ’80s, the sound that they got on it was so harsh . The keyboards always ruined the song for me. I really wanted a version of that song that was just beautiful. That’s what I tried to do — honor that song, and give it what it deserved.”

Llanas’ new solo opus offers a new dimension to his music — one that actually dates back to the sunrise of his professional career.

“Before I ever had the BoDeans, I was a solo performer in Waukesha,” he remembers. “I would go and play at these open mic shows, and I learned my craft and honed my stage skills that way. I think this record really reflects that part of my career, that part of my personality. It goes back to before I ever performed with the BoDeans. It was just me — one man and one guitar.”

Esteemed rock critic and author Dave Marsh calls 4 A.M. “A great record. Really the best thing that has come out of their music in a long, long time — closer to classic BoDeans. Sammy’s voice is so much what I love about BoDeans and it has never been showcased any better.”

The Deep Dark Woods to Release The Place I Left Behind

The Deep Dark Woods wake the ghosts of Appalachia with their prairie gothic pyre-side tales. On their new record, The Place I Left Behind, the band finds continuity in themes of temporal and geographic alienation, neglected inward trails, and the scars of abandoned intimacies.

Buoyed by the success of working with mastermind recording engineer Darren Van Niekerk, on their self produced CBC Songquest single “Charlie's (is Coming Down)” the band decided to approach their new album the same way. Recorded in Halifax with Van Niekerk behind the board once again, The Deep Dark Woods’ first self produced album allowed them to experiment in the studio as never before. Toying with numerous reverbs, vintage amps, instruments and mellotron, they also tried some never before played versions and arrangements of some of the album's songs. While more physically and mentally exhausting than previous albums, it turned out exactly the way the band wanted it to and the reward is their most realized album to date.

The record opens with a song about Saskatoon’s rougher edges. “West Side Street” is a study in contrasts – finespun vocals and a gently rolling melody cushion the gloomy story. “The Place I Left Behind” is loosely based on an old folk standard. Gorgeously morose, the title track confirms that The Deep Dark Woods capture lonesome yearning at its loveliest. “Sugar Mama” is a sweet and lively invitation to tap toes and shake off the blues; a seeming coming-of-age story is treated with playful banjo and an airy gait.

A rainstorm over the desert of modern music, The Place I Left Behind offers murder ballads alongside scrappy rockers, lovesick hymnals and slow-dance waltzes. The album illuminates folk traditions without stripping the shadows of roots music history. The Place I Left Behind echoes with traces of time and space that are never fully abandoned or forgotten.

The Place I Left Behind will be released on Six Shooter Records in Canada on August 2nd and Sugar Hill Records in the US and worldwide on October 18th.

Haley Bonar "CD of the Week" on WFUV

Indie-country songstress Haley Bonar (rhymes with Daily Honor) will receive another blast of attention from New York City when WFUV-FM plays her latest self-released album Golder in its entirety this Thursday at 8pm. And starting today, fans can now purchase Golder through digital outlets.

Haley Bonar, who was recently featured on WNYC's Studio 360, continues to build momentum for her independently released album when WFUV features Golder as its "CD of the Week". New York City's 90.7 WFUV will spin Golder uninterrupted on July 28th at 8 pm. Golder will not be available through the station's online stream, however, fans are welcome to stream the full album as well as Haley's recent Studio 360 interview through her website at www.haleybonar.com.

And for the first time, Golder which was funded entirely by fans on Kickstarter, can now be purchased digitally through national online retailers including iTunes. The album is also available through Haley's website and concerts.

For more information on Haley Bonar and to stream Golder in it's entirety, please visit www.haleybonar.com

Thomas Dolby's first new studio album in 20 years

Thomas Dolby, the iconic ’80s star whose smash hits “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” helped define the MTV generation/revolution, will break his 20-year silence with a new release later this year titled A Map of the Floating City. The album, featuring appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap, will be available on October 25, 2011 on Lost Toy People Records as a regular and hi-res download, as a physical CD, and in a special Deluxe Edition featuring a second disc of instrumentals and bonus tracks.

The five-time Grammy®-nominated British artist quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where his tech company Beatnik Inc. created the ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than three billion mobile phones shipped by Nokia, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and others. Now retired from Beatnik, Dolby has returned to his native U.K. and is busy recording an album of brand new songs in a renewable energy-powered studio he built aboard a 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house on England’s North Sea coast.

Of the album, which is divided into three parts, Dolby says, “The new songs are organic and very personal. A Map of the Floating City is a travelogue across three imaginary continents: In Amerikana I’m reflecting with affection on the years I spent living in the U.S.A., and my fascination with its roots music. Urbanoia is a dark place, a little unsettling . . . I’m not a city person. And in Oceanea I return to my natural home on the windswept coastline.”

“I marvel at the new landscape of the music business — distribution via the Internet and recording technologies I barely dreamed of when I started out,” he continues. “But this album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. The Net has made a music career approachable for thousands of bands — but I hear too few single-minded voices among them, so I’m returning to what I do best, which is write songs, tell stories.”

To help tell his stories, Dolby has enlisted an impressive cast of guest musicians. Legendary guitarist Mark Knopfler helps drive the epic “17 Hills,” a song about a pair of hapless lovers and a jailbreak. Natalie MacMaster, the Cape Breton fiddler, adds spice to two songs. Scottish singer Eddi Reader takes a front seat on the ethereal “Oceanea.” Bruce Woolley (Camera Club) plays theremin. And Regina Spektor has a cameo as an East European waitress on “Evil Twin Brother.”

The innovative transmedia game The Floating City, co-created by Dolby and based on his song catalog all the way back to the 1980s, is currently in full swing and is proving highly addictive for thousands of regular players. The winning “tribe” will be treated to a private concert performance of the new album in its entirety. Thomas Dolby will shortly announce a string of concert dates in the U.S. and U.K. in support of the album.

ANR Get Remixed by Memory Tapes, Release Stay Kids Deluxe Edition

Miami duo ANR will release the deluxe edition of their post-apocalyptic pop album Stay Kids on September 13th through 10K Islands. In the meantime the prolific group will be releasing videos, remixes, and other goodies. Most recently, they enlisted Memory Tapes to remix “Stay Kids,” their blissed-out, nostalgic anthem about growing older. Click HERE to stream/download Memory Tapes’ take on the track, and click HERE to watch the video for ANR’s original version of the song.

ANR consists of merely two members – Brian Robertson (Keys, Vocals) and Michael-John Hanock (Vocals, Drums) – but they create a powerful sound filled with layered melodies and bountiful hooks. It has already earned the duo praise from RCRD LBL, The Fader, and Nylon, among others, and have landed them shows with bands like Animal Collective, Neon Indian, No Age, and Fucked Up.

Stay Kids is a rhythmically propulsive, psychedelic trip that was inspired largely by recent floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other environmental disasters. Much of the album’s lyrics meditate on how such ‘natural’ disasters affect individuals and humanity at large. However, sonically-speaking the album is by no means morose. Instead, the synth-heavy and often danceable material feels triumphant. Each song is a journey through carefully sculpted, dream-pop soundscapes with frequent, unexpected and exciting detours

ANR’s live show highlights a different aspect of the band, bringing out their punk influences as well as their penchant for German progressive acts of the 70’s. The group will tour throughout the US this Fall, with dates to be announced soon.

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Click HERE to Watch the Video for “Stay Kids”

Click HERE for Memory Tapes’ Remix of “Stay Kids”

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Tour Dates:

8/29: Philadelphia, PA Kung-Fu Necktie
8/30: New York, NY Milk Studios
8/31: New York, NY Mercury Lounge
9/1: Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
9/2: Montreal, QC Casa Del Popolo
9/3: Toronto, ONT The Drake
9/5: Detroit, MI Lager House
9/6: Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
9/7: Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
9/9: Urbana, IL Canopy Club
9/10: Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
9/12: Seattle, WA Crocodile Lounge
9/13: Portland, OR Doug Fir
9/15: San Francisco, CA Bottom Of The Hill
9/16: Fresno, CA Audie’s Olympic
9/17: Los Angeles, CA The Satellite
9/20: San Diego, CA Soda Bar

Della Mae To Release Debut Album

Della Mae, the all-woman bluegrass quartet out of Boston that brings acoustic grit and twang to town with no apologies, will release its debut full-length album in September.

Della Mae features the 2009-2010 National Fiddle Champion Kimber Ludiker, powerful mandolinist Jenni Lyn Gardner, seasoned bassist Amanda Kowalski, and the sweet, sultry vocals and driving acoustic guitar of Celia Woodsmith.

The band will release its debut full-length album, I BUILT THIS HEART, in September, with all-star guests Alison Brown, Laurie Lewis, Brittany Haas (Crooked Still) and Emma Beaton (Joy Kills Sorrow). The album was produced by Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter) and engineered by Erick Jaskowiack. Advance copies are for sale at upcoming shows.

Vintage Guitar magazine describes Della Mae’s sound as “straightforward, expertly executed music that stays true to its inspirations.” The band’s musical style seamlessly blends years of experience with traditional mountain music and modern singer-songwriter sensibilities. With award-winning instrumental abilities and a reputation for energetic live performances, the four women of Della Mae are turning heads.

In the words of master mandolinist Mike Marshall, “These gals can get down and aren’t messing around.”

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Della Mae’s Upcoming Schedule:
July 23: Club Passim, Cambridge, Mass. ( Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum open)
July 30: RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival, Lyons, Colo.
August 12-13: Saddleback Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Saddleback, Maine
August 27: Newport Art Festival, Newport, R.I. (More info TBA)
November 5-6: Laurie Blue Bluegrass Festival, Prince Edward Island, Canada
December 1-18: Bluegrass Jamboree, Germany & Switzerland

They Might Be Giants Release "Join Us" Today

They Might Be Giants released their new album, Join Us, released in all digital and physical outlets today through Idlewild/Rounder Records. On Join Us we find the Brooklyn originals have returned to rock and to their singular sensibility that made them an instant phenomenon in the world of alternative rock. Receiving acclaim from USA Today, SPIN Magazine, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times, New York Magazine and more, check it out for yourself!  The full album  is streaming on AOL Spinner and you can download album track “Judy Is Your Viet Nam” MP3 where it premiered on RCRD LBL today or HERE.

The winner has been chosen for TMBG’s fan video contest judged by John Hodgeman for their single “Can’t Keep Johnny Down”. The winners, Mohit Jaswal, Euardo Urueana, and Justin Dean, have created a cleverly backwards video which capture the true soaring spirit of Johnny!

The record opens with “Can’t Keep Johnny Down” -- a summer-perfect pop single that will get instantly stuck in your head and make you want to roll down the windows. Immediately following, the caffeinated fuzz of “You Probably Get That a Lot” will command you to pogo! “When Will You Die” features TMBG’s own formula for punk. The short and sweet  “Judy Is Your Viet Nam” tells an anthemic tale of unrequited infatuation.  The pure folk-pop of “Old Pine Box” showcases the band's signature harmonies, handclaps and the always popular, never anticipated vocoder. The wit TMBG are known for is at it’s finest on Join Us, album closer “You Don’t Like Me” has lyrical gems like “I can see the future like it’s in the past”.

Notorious for their energized live show, They Might Be Giants will launch an international tour this Fall, hitting 6 countries and over 50 US cities. Be sure to catch TMBG live in your city!

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They Might Be Giants Tour Dates

7/28: Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
7/29: Brooklyn, NY @ Williamsburg Waterfront w/Eugene Mirman FREE CONCERT
7/30: Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony (CD release party)
9/8: New Haven, CT @ Toad's Place
9/9: Great Barrington, MA @ Mahaiwe Theatre
9/10: Concord, NH @ Capitol Center for the Arts
9/11: Norwich, VT @ Open Air Theatre
9/13: Ithaca, NY @ State Theatre
9/14: Pittsburgh, PA @ Byham Theatre
9/15: Rochester, NY @ Harro Ballroom
9/16: Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
9/17: Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
9/18: Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
9/20: Cincinnati, OH @ Southgate House
9/21: Louisville, KY @ WFPK Presents Waterfront Wednesdays
on Harbor Lawn at Waterfront Park (2011 Season Finale)
9/22: Indianapolis, IN @ The Vogue
9/23: Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
9/24: St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
9/25: Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom
9/27: Nashville, TN @ Cannery Ballroom
9/28: Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
9/29: Richmond, VA @ The National
9/30: Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
10/1: Boston, MA @ Berklee Performance Center,
(2 shows, 6:30pm & 9pm)
10/28: Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
10/29: Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
10/30: Iowa City, IA @ Englert Theatre
11/1: Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
11/2: Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
11/3: Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre
11/4: Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
11/5 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
11/6: Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
11/8: Vancouver, BC @ Venue
11/9: Seattle, WA@ Showbox SoDo
11/10: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom 
11/11: Arcata, CA @ Van Duzer Theatre 
11/12: San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore – on sale 6/26
11/13: San Francisco, CA @ Fillmore – on sale 6/26
11/16: Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
11/17: San Diego, CA @ Belly Up
11/26: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club

Mason Jennings at Boulder Theater | 10.27.11

Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Mason Jennings with The Pines at the Boulder Theater on Thursday, October 27th, 2011.  Tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 19h for $22.50 in advance and $25.00 the day of the show.

As one grows into adulthood, remaining focused on one’s pursuits gets increasingly difficult. The musician becomes a band mate navigating the creative energies of those around them. He becomes a boyfriend, a husband, a businessman. Life becomes multifarious, and the pressure to not let the threads of a chaotic life unravel can cause strain on any relationship. With his new album Minnesota, Mason Jennings crafts a collage of love trying to survive the transition into being a grown-up in a complex world.

For instance, “Bitter Heart,” which manages to be simultaneously plaintive and hopeful. The protagonist recognizes the breach of faith and the sense of estrangement in the relationship, but sings tenderly of rapprochement. To Mason, the central line in this song and the album is “Our world is filled with only what we see/Can we see love now.” Mason says, “I have come to the understanding that the way that we feel inside is the most important thing, and that we have a say in that.” “Clutch” looks back wistfully at a love before the demands of adulthood came knocking. At the end of the song, Mason sings that “Maybe we could work it out, we could live in a dream, live in a dream.”  The song ends in an instrumental break that leads directly into “Witches’ Dream,” a fabulist romp that juxtaposes raw lust with fairy tale imagery.

Musically, Mason paints from a more varied palette than ever.  The piano is featured more prominently than his previous albums. “The piano seemed to fit the emotional core of the album,” he explains. “I felt that it was important to begin and end the album with piano.” Mason played almost all of the instruments on the album, the one exception being “Well Of Love,” a Perez Prado-esque number that features his friends in The Living Room, the side project of Jack Johnson drummer/percussionist Adam Topol. Friend Jason Schwartzman adds additional piano and background vocals on “Raindrops.”

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Mason Jennings

with The Pines

Boulder Theater

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Doors: 7:00 pm

Show Time: 8:00 pm