album

New York Dolls Play Craig Ferguson Oct 28th & Release New Album

New York Dolls- for the Grateful Web

New York Dolls announce the release of their brand new unabashed live album. Recorded in December of last year at NYC's Fillmore East, this disc captures ten prime tracks from the reunited Dolls:  "Babylon," "Trash," "Jet Boy," "Personality Crisis," "Rainbow Store," "Looking for a Kiss," "Puss 'N' Boots," "Dance Like a Monkey," "Pills," and "Lonely Planet Boy." Its everything you have come love about the Dolls over their giant spanning career, yet still keeps you on your toes and wanting more.

Morrissey recently exclaimed this with a fervor that somehow made his chronologically impossible claims seem plausible. Watching footage of the 'Dolls onstage two years ago at the behest of one of their biggest fans (who was curating the prestigious Meltdown Festival in London) one realized just how vast - and heretofore unsung - their influence truly was. Everyone knows the famous logo: chrome lipstick, scrawling that name across an unseen mirror, but it's more than the great brand. It's not about the androgyny either. Skinny boys were wearing make up long before them. Little Richard. Elvis. It's not even about the music, as the Dolls themselves were always quick to credit 50's R&B numbers or early 60's girl group productions as their own influences. Really, what makes the Dolls so eternal is the attitude - it got into rock's water supply and never left. Kiss, Aerosmith, The Ramones, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Motley Crue, Guns N' Roses, Hanoi Rocks, The Strokes, The Libertines and just about any gang of strutting rockers who are convinced that their band could take your band and possibly your whole town in a pretty for pretty, ugly for ugly throwdown. The Dolls, and their disciples win, not just with brawn but with what guitarist Sylvain Sylvain calls "plenty of intellect and plenty of sex."

Thirty five years into their existence (thirty one since they disbanded down in Florida in a haze of smack withdrawal and managerial anarchy), with three men down, they can still take your band, pretty for pretty, ugly for ugly, onstage, and now, with the long (long) awaited follow up to 1974's awesome Too Much, Too Soon, on CD too. "You know how England is," David Johansen quips in his Staten Island drawl, thick as South Ferry sludge, "We made a big noise over there, and we were having so much fun, we decided to keep going." "The phone didn't stop ringing," Sylvain adds, "The kids wanted this. Kids of all ages." An album's worth of brand new New York Dolls compositions, as unlikely as it may have seemed in 2003, was a foregone conclusion after wildly successful festival and live dates that spanned the past two years. They were a reunion when they re-started. Now, with replacement members feeling comfortable stepping into the stack heels of departed legends like Johnny Thunders, Jerry Nolan, and most recently Arthur "Killer" Kane, they're a gang once more. "It won't be very long that we'll be together longer than the original band was," Johansen laughs.

Tour Dates
Oct 29 - Ventura, CA - Ventura Theatre
Dec 3 Madrid, ESP Joy Eslava
Dec 4 Santiago, ESP Sala Capitol
Dec 5 Baracaldo, ESP Rockstar Live
Dec 6 Zaragoza, ESP Oasis
Dec 20 - Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Club w/ X
Dec 27 - New York, NY - Fillmore at Irving Plaza

Lotus On Tour In Support of Brand New Album

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

This fall, Lotus releases their highly anticipated studio album, Hammerstrike, and steps out on their most ambitious tour yet. The months ahead will wrap up a huge year of growth for Lotus; a year that has positioned this instrumental post-rock outfit for a breakout 2009.

Hammerstrike (October 14, 2008/SCI Fidelity)  finds the band reaching back in order to move forward.  Primarily recorded live in one room to analog tape by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), the album captures a sound that harkens back to the 70's but never slips into nostalgic retreads.  The compositions are focused and melodic, filled out with orchestration including swelling violins and cellos, banjo, wordless choirs, and electronic noises.  Though the tracks range from dance floor ready rockers to soaring post-rock instrumentals, the album is held together by a sanguine spirit pervading each track.  The big guitars, feedback, and distortion serve an optimistic purpose.  It is a decidedly American feel that invokes big skies, open roads, and a zealous yet naïve pursuit of the idea that defeat will never be conceded.

The band will tour this fall in support of Hammerstrike. The complete list of confirmed dates is as follows:

October 15 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA w/ BLVD
October 16 The Roxy Hollywood CA w/ Region of Darkness, BLVD
October 17 Great American Music Hall San Francisco CA
October 18 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR w/ BLVD
October 22 The Cabooze Minneapolis MN w/ Family Groove Company
October 23 Majestic Theatre Madison WI w/ Family Groove Company
October 24 Miramar Theatre Milwaukee WI w/ Family Groove Company
October 25 Park West Chicago IL w/ Family Groove Company
October 26 The Intersection Grand Rapids MI w/ Garganta
October 28 Skully's Music-Diner Columbus OH w/ Papadosio
October 29 House of Blues Cleveland OH w/ Papadosio
October 30 Lulu's State College State College PA
October 31 Theatre of Living Arts Philadelphia PA w/ Grimace Federation
November 1 9:30 Club Washington DC
November 3 Jefferson Center Roanoke VA
November 2 The National Richmond VA w/ SeepeopleS
November 5 Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte NC w/ SeepeopleS
November 6 Cat's Cradle w/ SeepeopleS
November 7 Orange Peel Asheville NC w/ SeepeopleS
November 8 Georgia Theatre Athens GA w/ SeepeopleS
November 9 Music Farm Charleston SC w/ SeepeopleS
November 11 Freebird Live Jacksonville FL w/ SeepeopleS
November 12 Beta Bar Tallahassee FL w/ SeepeopleS
November 13 Proud Larry's Oxford MS w/ SeepeopleS
November 14 Tipitina's Uptown (Indoors) New Orleans LA w/ SeepeopleS
November 15 Antone's Austin TX w/ SeepeopleS
November 26 Chameleon Club Lancaster PA
November 28 Mr. Small's Theatre Millvale PA
November 29 Fillmore NY at Irving Plaza New York NY
December 30-31 Fox Theatre Boulder CO

Lotus formed at a Mennonite college that had banned on-campus dancing as late as the 1980's, and has been creatively fusing electronic dance music with instrumental post-rock for the past eight years. Armed with a massive light rig and one of the most energetic shows on the circuit, Lotus was a go-to act for late night festival slots this past summer, performing at ROTHBURY, Summerfest, Camp Bisco, and others. Also in 2008, Lotus saw advance sellouts in venues throughout the U.S. including Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, two nights at World Café Live in Philadelphia, two nights at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Higher Ground in Burlington, Kinetic Playground in Chicago. The band's remix album, Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed was released to critical acclaim, and came on the heels of their double live CD release, Escaping Sargasso Sea.

Debut Album From Joey+Rory Streets October 28th

Joey + Rory- for the Grateful Web

Joey+Rory, along with Grammy-award winning producer Carl Jackson, have put the finishing touches on their debut album, The Life Of A Song, to be released by Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records on October 28th.  Having produced such greats as Alison Krauss and Merle Haggard, Jackson proved the perfect choice to help husband and wife team Rory Feek and Joey Martin create a traditional country album, seasoned with acoustic elements and equal doses of humor and sincerity.

 

"Working with Joey+Rory is a total joy for me," states Jackson.  "They are the real deal, not an act simply called 'country' whose music contradicts that label.  What makes it even more special is that I believe the only thing they love more than a great country song is each other."

 

Joey+Rory are nothing if not authentic; The Life Of A Song might be listened to as a soundtrack to their simple country lifestyle.  The couple resides in an 1870's farmhouse in tiny Hardison Mill, TN, where Joey helps run a nearby family restaurant called Marcy Jo's Mealhouse.  Perfectly in their element, Joey+Rory sing of scuffed cowboy boots ("Boots"), dusty rodeo arenas ("Rodeo"), and cherished vinyl records ("Sweet Emmylou").  They beg the listener to sing or dance along (the brash and buoyant "Cheater Cheater") before hushing the room with the lovely austerity of "Heart of the Wood."  Even the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic "Free Bird" is putty reinvented in the hands of this pair, as adventurous as they are respectful of country music's roots.

 

Together, the couple contributed their songwriting talents to seven of the album's 12 tracks, including the lead single, "Cheater Cheater."  Already an established songwriter and founding partner of Nashville publishing company Giantslayer Music, Rory has three #1 hits to his credit (Blake Shelton's "Some Beach", Clay Walker's "The Chain of Love" and Collin Raye's "Someone You Used To Know"), and has had cuts by Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Terri Clark, Mark Wills, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Lorrie Morgan, Buck Owens, John Michael Montgomery and Charlie Pride, among others.

 

Joey, who performs lead vocals for the duo, is also a veteran recording artist (previously signed to Sony Records, her debut album and single were never released). The pair only started performing as a duo for the audition of CMT's hit series Can You Duet in early 2008.  The pairing proved to be a hit with thousands of fans as well as Naomi Judd, one of the show's judges and Joey+Rory's most fervent supporter.  CMT is now home to Joey+Rory's debut video for "Cheater Cheater," currently in medium rotation.

MIKE RELM TO RELEASE HIS DEBUT ARTIST ALBUM 'SPECTACLE'

Mike Helm- for the Grateful Web

As an audio/visualist and mash-up DJ, MIKE RELM has become world famous for his mind-melting real time performances. But with the advent of SPECTACLE, his exciting debut studio album due out September 23 on his Radio Fryer label, the San Francisco-based musical talent has masterfully upped his game. On the heels of his recent mesmerizing DVD Clown Alley and the acclaim of his riveting 2005 CD mixtape Radio Fryer, the bespectacled and suit-clad Relm steps into the role of electronic music maestro while effortlessly reinforcing his long-standing reputation for innovation.

By collaborating with respected underground talents like Mr. Lif, The Gift of Gab, Morningwood and Lateef the Truthspeaker, along with producer Patrick Palaad on Spectacle, Relm's sonic realm is as diverse as it is ingenious. Check out can't-miss offerings like "Body Rock" - complete with a twangy guitar line and a celebratory tack destined for the dance floor - and the disc's contagious first single "My Heart" that boasts razor-sharp delivery by rapper Adeem and vocalist Adrian Hartley, a veteran of both Blue Man Group and Fischerspooner.

After befriending Hartley during a lengthy, high profile stint opening for Blue Man Group, Relm knew he had to have her lend vocals to the latter, capturing her memorable performance in a Philadelphia hotel room of all places. Next came the New Hampshire-based Adeem. "We met during one of those 'Minivan-Days Inn' tours," Mike says. "But I knew I wanted to work with him. He was on this list of people I kept that I knew I'd ask and he did such a great job with that track."

With "My Heart" front-and-center in Relm's plan for global domination, it's matched by the equally powerful "You Break," which thrives on a similar and infectious arrangement and is elevated by the adept street prose of Mr. Lif. "That song, like almost everything I construct, started with a beat," Relm explains. "It's just one of those beats that I let people listen to and everyone wanted to get on it." Another notable track on Spectacle is "Hot To Trot" which features vocals and drums by percussionist/beat maker Alfredo Ortiz (Money Mark, Chromeo, Ozomatli).

MIKE RELM adds tremendous energy to any event and has a striking stage presence. He has toured with many different types of artists from the Blue Man Group to most recently Tony Hawk as the featured musical guest on the Boom Boom HuckJam tour, and has appeared at many major music festivals including Coachella, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Summer Sonic and Mt. Fuji in Japan as well as most of the major European festivals.

RELM is known for live performances which feature a series of audio mash-ups with video images, manipulated in real-time. His other credits include performances for a San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland A's baseball game and the closing ceremonies of the Pan Am Games in Rio de Janeiro. He completed remixes for Adult Swim in conjunction with the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie, scored a short film for the Disney Channel series Too Many Robots and created a four-song mega mix for Yo Gabba Gabba (Nickelodeon). RELM also stars in an international TV spot for HSBC Bank, directed by Stacy Wall.

The complete track listing for MIKE RELM's SPECTACLE is:

  1. Money Beats (TV)
  2. Tron
  3. Everytime (ft. Del the Funky Homosapien and Adrian Hartley)
  4. Hey Drew (TV)
  5. Hot To Trot (ft. Alfredo Ortiz)
  6. Trying To Get Attention (TV)
  7. Body Rock (ft. Morningwood and The Gift of Gab)
  8. The Cube
  9. Red Shoes (TV)
  10. Vertiglo (Interlude)
  11. Without Her (ft. Lateef The Truthspeaker)
  12. Velvet
  13. You Break (ft. Mr. Lif and Adrian Hartley)
  14. Crackin' (TV)
  15. Quickie
  16. Technicism
  17. My Heart (ft. Adeem & Adrian Hartley)
  18. Learning Experience (TV)

MIKE RELM's updated tour routing is as follows:

Treasure Island Music Festival

FRI    9/20            San Francisco, CA                     Treasure Island Music Festival

Mike Relm Headline Dates             

Wed    9/24            Portland, OR                          Holocene       

Thu    9/25            Seattle, WA                           Chop Suey

Wed    10/1            Minneapolis, MN                       Triple Rock Social Club

Thu    10/2            Ames, IA                              Maintenance Shop

Fri    10/3            Chicago, IL                           Abbey Pub

Tue    10/7            New York, NY                          Spiegeltent

Wed    10/8            Boston, MA                            Middle East

Thu    10/9            Northampton, MA                       Pearl Street Nightclub

Fri    10/10           Philadelphia, PA                      Manhattan Room

Sat    10/11           Washington, DC                        Rock N Roll Hotel

Sun    10/12           Charleston, SC                        The Pour House

Mon    10/13           Atlanta, GA                           The Earl

Tue    10/14           Orlando, FL                           The Social 

Wed    10/15           Tampa, FL                             Crowbar

Fri    10/17           New Orleans, LA                       One Eyed Jacks    

Sat    10/18           Baton Rouge, LA                       Spanish Moon

Sun    10/19           Austin, TX                            Mohawk

Mon    10/20           Dallas, TX                            House of Blues Cambridge     

Wed    10/22           Scottsdale, AZ                        Chasers

Thu    10/23           San Diego, CA                         Casbah

Fri    10/24           Los Angeles, CA                       El Rey Theatre

Sat    10/25           Costa Mesa, CA                        Detroit Bar

Wed    10/29           Bloomington, IN                       Bluebird Nightclub

Thu    10/30           Bloomington, IN                       Jake's Nightclub

Tue    11/4            Ft. Collins, CO                       Hodis Half Note

Wed    11/5            Boulder, CO                           Fox Theatre

Thu    11/6            Boulder, CO                           The Black Sheep

Fri    11/7            Denver, CO                            Marquis Theatre

Sat    11/8            Aspen, CO                             Belly Up

 

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs' first U.S. Album & Dates

Holly Golightly & the Brookeoffs- for the Grateful Web

Holly Golightly & the Brokeoffs, heralded by NME as "a glorious example of what rock 'n' roll should be," has signed with Transdreamer Records (distributed by MRI Distribution/RED) and are preparing their first American release as a band. Titled Dirt Don't Hurt, the CD is slated for a street date of October 14, 2008. "Band," however, is a figurative term for Holly and company— Holly Golightly and Lawyer Dave (a.k.a. the Brokeoffs) sing and play guitar, as well as drums, banjo, standup bass and an array of other instruments. It's just the two of them.

The new, self-produced album was recorded in five days during the middle of a 50-date tour in the town of Gijon on Spain's northern coast, at an analog studio called Circo Perrotti, which is outfitted with vintage recording gear and dedicated to discerning production values.
  
Their music is a lo-fi stew of blues, country and rockabilly, at once avant-garde and old-timey. As Playboy.com says, "Golightly's songs are so fresh and timeless they could have been recorded yesterday or 40 years ago." Entertainment Weekly called her "a truly appealing tunesmith." And BarnesAndNoble.com deemed her "ready for her above-ground closeup."

Holly Golightly kicked off her musical career in Thee Headcoatees, the legendary all-girl garage band, closely affiliated with U.K. cult legend Billy Childish. She spent eight years as a Headcoatee, and during those years released her first solo record, The Good Things, in 1995. She has appeared on multiple collaborative albums, contributing the title track for the Jim Jarmusch movie Broken Flowers with The Greenhornes, and celebrating "One Chord, One Sound, One Song" with Billy Childish on the album In Blood. Holly also guested on The White Stripes' "(Well It's True That) We Love One Another" from their platinum selling Elephant.  

This album is the 19th for Holly Golightly, whose discography is a cacophony of albums (studio and live), EPs, singles and 10-inch LPs and iTunes-only releases. Although many of the recordings are best known to Americans as imports on the U.K.-based Damaged Goods label, several have been released on labels like Kill Rock Stars, Sympathy for the Record Industry, Box Theory, Super Electro and Flapping Jet.

Lawyer Dave had been playing stand-up bass in Holly's touring line up for many years, and Dirt Don't Hurt is testament the countless miles they've covered together. The Brokeoffs have an independently released album Rest Stop, which was recorded entirely at rest stops that were closed for construction.

Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs will embark upon a 50-city U.S. tour starting in New York on October 16 and going until Thanksgiving. The tentative tour dates are as follows and are subject to change drastically:
 
Thu. Oct. 16    NEW YORK, NY              Mercury Lounge
Fri. Oct. 17    WASHINGTON, DC            DC9
Sat. Oct. 18    PHILADELPHIA, PA          Khyber
Mon. Oct. 20    BOSTON, MA                Middle East
Tue. Oct. 21    MONTREAL, QU              Café Campus
Wed. Oct. 22    TORONTO, ONT              Horseshoe Tavern
Thu. Oct. 23    BUFFALO/ROCHESTER, NY     Mohawk
Fri. Oct. 24    PITTSBURGH, PA            Garfield Artworks
Sat. Oct. 25    CLEVELAND, OH             Beachland Tavern
Mon. Oct. 27    NEWPORT, KY               Southgate House
Tue. Oct. 28    TOLEDO, OH                Frankie's
Wed. Oct. 29    CHICAGO, IL               Subt
Thu. Oct. 30    MINNEAPOLIS, MN           7th St. Entry
Fri. Oct. 31    MADISON, WI               Café Montmartre
Sat. Nov. 1     MILWAUKEE, WI             Mad Planet
Sun. Nov. 2     KANSAS CITY, MO           Record Bar
Mon. Nov. 3     LAWRENCE, KS              Jackpot Saloon
Tue. Nov. 4     DENVER, CO                Larimer Lounge
Thu. Nov. 6     SALT LAKE CITY, UT        Kilby Court
Fri. Nov. 7     BOISE
, ID                 Neurolux
Sat. Nov. 8     SEATTLE, WA               Triple Door
Mon. Nov. 10    VANCOUVER, BC             Media Club
Tue. Nov. 11    PORTLAND, OR              Doug Fir
Thu. Nov. 13    SAN FRANCISCO, CA         Bottom of the Hill
Fri. Nov. 14    LOS ANGELES, CA           Echo
Sat. Nov. 15    SAN DIEGO, CA             The Casbah
Tue. Nov. 18    TUCSON, AZ                Plush
Thu. Nov. 20    AUSTIN, TX                Emo's
Fri. Nov. 21    DALLAS, TX                The Loft
Sat. Nov. 22    HOUSTON, TX               Rudyards
Mon. Nov. 24    MEMPHIS, TN               Hi-Tone
Tue. Nov. 25    NASHVILLE, TN             The End
Wed. Nov. 26    ATLANTA, GA               EARL

Hal Ketchum's New Album, 'Father Time,' Streets 9/9

Hal Ketchum- for the Grateful Web

Hal Ketchum recorded his new album, Father Time, without a net. He amassed more than a dozen new original songs plus a dream team of musicians and entered the studio to record the album live to two-track. There were no overdubs and only a few second takes. "When I went into this project, my mentality was that this is either going to work or not," Ketchum says. But at the end of the first day, with nine songs finished, he knew the experiment was a success.

The resultant album, which contains 13 Ketchum-penned songs plus a cover of Tom Waits' "Jersey Girl," will hit stores on September 9, 2008. It is the album that Ketchum's talents have promised since he burst onto the country music scene in 1991 claiming the #1 spot with his very first single, "Small Town Saturday Night."
 
The recording of Father Time as a live, direct-to-tape album originated from a conversation he had with some fellow musicians about how recording had lost some of its creative edge in this high-tech era in which players record apart from each other in separate rooms and booths. "By the end of that conversation, I said, 'OK, I'm going to cut live to two-track.' I went home that afternoon and got a yellow pad and put together a wish list of players. And almost everyone I called was available for the two days I had blocked out."
 
Reared in upstate New York in a musical family, Ketchum played drums in R&B bar bands at a young age, but discovered his real calling upon his move to New Braunfels, Texas — just a stone's throw from the legendary Gruene Hall, the old dance hall that has become the mother church of the Texas music scene. He didn't know about the venue at the time, but one day followed the sounds of live music up a hill. "And there," he says, "was Gruene Hall in all its glory, with Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel playing." Ketchum became a mainstay of the hall and later released an indie album (Threadbare Alibis) that brought him to the attention of Curb Records. Since his first Curb release, 1991's Past the Point of Rescue, he has distinguished himself as a bona fide hitmaker, with 15 Top 10 singles to his credit and five million albums sold.
 
The songs on Father Time include some of Ketchum's recent compositions — most of them road-tested before audiences at his live shows — as well as the first song he ever wrote ("The Preacher and Me") and even one number ("Surrounded By Love") written on a lunch break on the first day of recording, plus some of his favorite collaborations with fellow songwriters that had yet to be recorded. As the title implies, the songs focus on life's essential matters, with characters that resonate with the believability of real people living (and dying). In "Yesterday's Gone," "Surrounded by Love" and "The Day He Called Your Name" family members face mortality with an enriching love and sweetness, and there are cinematic tales about everyday people ("Invisible" and "Ordinary Day") as well as the vividly unique characters that make life a rich pageant ("Millionaire's Wife," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Continental Farewell").
 
"I felt it was time to make a record like the first one I made where I wrote everything on the record," he says "I had the good fortune of having some hit records and developing a strong following as a live performer. But it was important at some point over all my years of making records that people got to see the essence of my songwriting and my voice as a singer and writer."
 
"It's a coming of age," he says of the new album. "This is what I do. I have a desire to be remembered as an artist, and whether somebody discovers this record today or 25 or 30 years from now, I want them to listen to this album and go 'Yeah, I understand.' The motivation here was to leave a little trail all my own."

Ketchum's friend Neil Diamond wrote in the liner notes, "I find it impossible to listen to it without smiling at the sheer exuberance of these tracks."

STS9's New Album Charts at Billboard and iTUNES

photos by Phil Emma- for the Grateful Web

This Week, STS9 finds their brand-new, highly anticipated studio album, Peaceblaster, charting: #10 on Billboard's Electronic Chart, #27 on Billboard's Heatseeker Chart, and #2 on iTUNES Electronic Chart.  Peaceblaster was released on the band's self-owned record label, 1320 Records, on July 8th -just in time for their summer tour.

This month STS9 teams up with touring heavyweights Umphrey's McGee for one of the hardest-hitting tours of the summer, and stops in Midwest and east coast cities throughout July.  The tour is already off to an incredible start, averaging nearly 3,000 tickets per show - including a record breaking walk-up at Chicago's Charter One Pavilion that resulted in a crowd of over 5,000 tickets sold.  STS9 continues their tour tonight at a sold out Roseland Ballroom in New York City. In August, STS9 heads west for a run of high profile headlining shows. A complete list of STS9's U.S. summer appearances follows.

STS9 and Umphrey's McGee stop in the following cities:
July 24 Roseland Ballroom New York NY
July 24 Blender at Gramercy New York NY (STS9 AFTER PARTY)
July 25 Festival Pier at Penn's Landing Philadelphia PA
July 25 Fillmore at TLA Philadelphia PA (UMPHREY'S AFTER PARTY)
July 26 Bank of America Pavilion Boston MA
July 27 Pier 6 Concert Pavilion Baltimore MD
July 30 House of Blues Myrtle Beach SC
July 31 Koka Booth Amphitheatre Cary NC
July 31 Lincoln Square Theatre Raleigh NC (UMPHREY'S AFTER PARTY)
August 01 Masquerade Music Park Atlanta GA
August 02 Masquerade Music Park Atlanta GA

With STS9 western U.S. headlining shows including:
August 15 The Independent San Francisco, CA (SOLD OUT)
August 16 The Greek Theatre Berkeley, CA with Bassnectar and special guest TBA  
August 22 McMenamin's Edgefield Portland, OR with special guests Blackalicious
August 23 Marymoor Amphitheatre Seattle, WA with special guests Blackalicious
September 04 Boulder Theatre Boulder, CO (SOLD OUT)
September 05 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO with special guests Talib Kweli and Flying Lotus
September 06 Red Rocks Amphitheatre Morrison, CO with special guests Ghostland Observatory and Bassnectar
September 20 San Diego Street Scene San Diego CA

All shows on-sale now at www.sts9.com and on-sale locally through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com.

Consider the title of the California-based outfit's long-awaited fourth album: Peaceblaster. The two words rub against each other to create an image that is simultaneously utopian and violent, fraught with the very contradiction that permeates America circa now. The result is a tour-de-force of gut-punching rhythms and textured, shimmering tones. The songs don't seem to have been written so much as plucked from the sky. It's as if the beats and melodies have always existed, just waiting for STS9 to channel them.  STS9 already has a tremendous fan base, but Peaceblaster is perhaps more accessible than the band's previous efforts. Peaceblaster is, of course, dense with the Eno-esque layering of live and electronic instruments that STS9 is known for-the chords and samples swirling atop the pulsing bass and drums. But between the beats there is a distinctly human element absent from past records. 

STS9's Peaceblaster comes nearly three years after their acclaimed 2005 releases, Artifact & Artifact: Perspectives, both of which were named in iTunes list of top albums of the year.  After a flurry of industry attention, STS9 retreated from the limelight to do what they love most: play music. On the touring front, STS9 reached number 29 on Pollstar Magazine's "PULSE Charts" of the country's top touring artists. The band has shared the stage with a diverse range of acts including James Brown, Jurassic 5, Tortoise, Digable Planets, RJD2, De La Soul, The Brazilian Girls, Prefuse 73, Blackalicious, Saul Williams, Soulive, Cut Chemist, and many others, and has played such festivals as Austin City Limits Festival, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Winter Music Conference, and Vegoose Festival.  Recently, the band sold out a 4 night headlining run at Atlanta's Tabernacle, and a 2 night run at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium.

Blues Traveler's New Album 'North Hollywood Shootout,' Streets 8/26

John Popper- for the Grateful Web

After selling ten million records worldwide, six gold or platinum albums, and 2,000 shows in front of three million fans, Grammy Award-winning Blues Traveler ventured out of its creative comfort zone to explore some adventurous new horizons for its new album (and Verve Forecast label debut). The resultant North Hollywood Shootout is a landmark in the quintet's large and widely loved body of work, demonstrating the enduring strengths of the band's songwriting while capturing the spontaneous spirit of their legendary live shows.
 
According to frontman and harmonica slinger John Popper, "We're still trying to cultivate what we're individually good at into something that's bigger than the sum of its parts. When we're all playing and it's working, it becomes this separate entity, and that's still the thing that we're chasing."

North Hollywood Shootout — produced by Grammy Award winner David Bianco, whose diverse resume includes work with the likes of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Ozzy Osbourne, Mick Jagger and Teenage Fanclub — draws its curious name from the fact that the band recorded the album in the NoHo district of Los Angeles. Street date is August 26, 2008.
 
Such memorable tunes as the uplifting road-trip anthem "You, Me and Everything," the playfully romantic "Love Does," and the elegant, evocative "Orange in the Sun" boast infectious melodic hooks while showcasing the interactive instrumental chemistry that originally endeared the band to its rabidly devoted fan base.
 
The new material also makes a strong case for the introspective side that's always been a key element of lyricist Popper's persona. The heart-tugging lyrics of the opening track, "Forever Owed," were inspired by the singer's recent USO trip to Afghanistan and Iraq, while the poignant "Borrowed Time" is a bittersweet meditation on mortality and transience, inspired both by the recent passing of bandmates Chan and Tad Kinchla's father and by Popper's feelings for his beloved and aging dog. The album's biggest sonic curveball is its closing track, "Free Willis, Ruminations from Behind Uncle Bob's Machine Shop." The six-minute spoken-word  sound collage finds the band jamming over an insistent drum beat, while actor Bruce Willis, a longtime friend and fan, delivers a colorful freeform monologue/rant.
 
As guitarist Chan Kinchla explains, "On the last few records, we concentrated so much on the crafting of the songwriting and arrangements that we started losing some of the live spontaneity that the five of us created onstage. So on this album, instead of doing the usual pre-production process, where we really worked out the songs before taking them into the studio, we decided to go straight into the studio and do songwriting there. We recorded all the parts as we were working them out, and then built the songs from there."
 
North Hollywood Shootout also found the band ceding more authority to Popper to create the melodies that carry his lyrics. "The main thing that we wanted to emphasize on this record was melody, and I think that aspect of it turned out very well," Popper states. "The guys took a real risk in trusting me to run with that."
 
"I think you have to be constantly reinventing things and discovering new aspects of what you do in order to keep things fresh," Kinchla adds. "This lineup (John Popper, Chan Kinchla, Brendan Hill, Tad Kinchla and Ben Wilson) has been together for eight years. We've spent a lot of time sorting out everyone's role and learning how to listen to each other and get out of each other's way. It's funny, but right now the band is feeling a lot like it did in the early days, when we were just playing for the sake of playing, and we were hitting on all cylinders and the communication was fresh and alive. The shows have been really kicking, and the new songs have been going over great."
 
And speaking of live dates, Blues Traveler is on the road now through the end of the year in support of the new album. The dates:
 
appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Sun., July 13 LOS ANGELES, CA Greek Theater
Tue., July 15 MESA, AZ Mesa Amphitheatre

Blues Traveler:
Fri., July 18  MINNEAPOLIS, MN Aquatennial Block Party
Mon., July 21 VALPARAISO, IN Porter County Fair

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Tues., July 22 DULUTH, MN Bayfront Park  
Thu., July 24 ROCHESTER HILLS, MI Meadow Brook Music Festival  
Fri., July 25 WEST BEND, WI Washington County Fair  ("Mini Takes the States Festival")

Blues Traveler:
Sat., July 26 ELKHART LAKE, WI Road America Race Track

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Sun., July 27 FLORENCE, KY Turfway Park  
Tue., July 29 COLUMBUS, OH Lifestyle Communities Pavilion  
Fri., Aug. 1 HERSHEY, PA Hershey Park Pavilion

Blues Traveler:
Sat., Aug. 2 ELGIN, IL Elgin Festival Park  
Sun., Aug 3 CHICAGO, IL Grant Park - Lollapalooza

appearing with Live and Collective Soul:
Tue., Aug. 5 BALTIMORE, MD Pier Six Concert Pavilion  
Wed., Aug. 6 WALLINGFORD, CT Chevrolet Theatre  
Fri., Aug. 8 PHILADELPHIA, PA Festival Pier at Penn's Landing  
Sat., Aug. 9  GILFORD, NH Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion  
Tue., Aug. 12 LOWELL, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium
Wed., Aug. 13 WESTBURY, NY Capital One Bank Theatre at Westbury  
Sat., Aug. 16 CARY, NC Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park
Sun., Aug. 17 ATLANTA, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre

Blues Traveler:
Thu., Aug 21  JACKSON, WY  Center for the Arts
Fri., Aug. 22  PARK CITY, UT  Jazz Festival at Deer Valley Resort
Sun., Sept. 28 AUSTIN, TX Austin City Limits Festival

Old 97's Murry Hammond's first solo album due August 18

Murry Hammond- for the Grateful Web

On August 18, 2008, Old 97's bass player and co-frontman Murry Hammond will celebrate the national release of his first full-length album outside of the Old 97's.

For two months prior to this street date, the album – I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way – was made available exclusively at Old 97's shows and through special mail-order. Hammond wished to capitalize on fan anticipation of the album's release in order to raise funds for the non-profit organization Project Mercy. Project Mercy builds basic housing in the poorest sections around Tijuana, Mexico (similar in mission to Habitat for Humanity) using volunteer labor provided by area churches. A group of men and women from Hammond's home church in Burbank, Calif. (where he performs roots gospel music weekly when he's not traveling) have adopted the organization as a primary mission. Hammond was in a unique position to raise funds quickly, and in time to fund fall building before the 2008 winter sets in. The strategy has already paid off, for as of July 1st generous fans purchased enough CDs to pay for one house.  The album will always be made available at Old 97's shows, with 100% going to charitable groups such as Project Mercy.

Hammond has played many memorable solo shows over the years, but it was certain events in his life, including the death of both parents, leaving Texas to start a family in California, and a renewed spiritual sense, that inspired him to record I Don't Know Where I'm Going But I'm On My Way. Hammond has been given the credit — and to some, the blame — for the persistent roots influence found in the 97's songwriting and sound, and that sound is found here in its distilled form. "Both in my own contributions and in co-writing with Rhett [Miller], I've always tended to push the chug of train songs, the soul of old-time songs and spirituals, the high-lonesome wail of mountain music, and the pure tuneful fun of singing cowboy music."  Hammond's contributions have been some of the group's most engaging, including the lament "Valentine" and "Color of a Lonely Heart is Blue," and with Miller he co-wrote some of the group's best-known songs, among them "Timebomb," "Indefinitely" and "The New Kid."

Hammond completed I Don't Know Where I'm Going but I'm on My Way over the course of 2007 in San Diego, California with producer Mark Neill, with whom Hammond worked on the Old 97's 2004 release Drag It Up. The album uses all acoustic instruments (six- and twelve-string guitars, a harmonium pump-organ), cowboy poetry-style spoken word and instrumentals, and lots of "period" reverb to paint a psychological journey through a world of spiritual trouble and triumph, restlessness, hope, loss, longing, regret, and wonder. Train songs and spirituals abound as Hammond displays his love of all things Carter Family, Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, but with the twist of incorporating the moody approach of ambient artists such as Brian Eno. Like that of his heroes, the music has a minimalist heart, at once serene and severe.

Inspired by the grass-roots ethic of early punk record labels such as Dischord and Touch & Go, Hammond decided to operate DIY. He funded all facets of the CD from recording to manufacturing, and he distributes by dealing directly with independent music stores and mail-order houses. Although he also sells on Amazon.com, Hammond wants you to know, "I fill all my own orders personally. It gives me a chance to occasionally write something thoughtful or joke-y on the mailing box."

Hammond is also excited to have contributed a new track, "Bound for Canaan," to a compilation of Sacred Harp music (also known as "shaped note singing") that was produced by the filmmakers of Awake My Soul, a documentary film about the 200-year history of Sacred Harp worship singing in the U.S. The film was shown in 2007 and 2008 on 120 PBS stations, and was released this year on DVD.  The compilation also features Innocence Mission, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, Jim Lauderdale, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Woven Hand (ex-16 Horsepower), among others. The Awake My Soul audio CD is due later this year. More information on Awake My Soul film and audio CD can be found here.

For the rest of 2008 Hammond will be performing solo dates between Old 97's touring, and has also begun work on a follow-up project with producer Mark Neill.

Can I Hear An Amen?: Railroad Earth's New Album

photos by Kent Anderson & C Taylor Crothers- for the Grateful Web

It's a curiosity that Railroad Earth named their latest album, Amen Corner.  A lot of people relate that name to holes 11-13 in a full ro