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Yoko Ono Heats Up Dancefloors Once Again With Her Latest Summer Smash "Talking to the Universe"

Following the overwhelming success of her eighth #1 BILLBOARD HOT DANCE CLUB PLAY charting remix single “MOVE ON FAST”, YOKO ONO heats up dancefloors once again with her latest summer smash "TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE”.

Since bursting onto BILLBOARD’S HOT DANCE CLUB PLAY SINGLES CHART as the Hot Shot Debut at #36* (with a bullet) (Issue date: 07/16/2011), "TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE" has proved to be a fiery confection and one of Yoko’s most feverish and dynamic reinventions. Throughout its eight week stint on the chart, the single has quickly gained momentum claiming "the #25* spot (with a bullet)" as that week’s Power Pick (Issue date: 07/23/2011) before leaping into the "Top 20 at #17* (with a bullet)" (Issue date: 07/30/2011). It’s currently at #3* (with a bullet) (Issue date: 09/3/2011) nestled among contemporary pop and electronic music stalwarts BEYONCE, KYLIE MINOGUE, BRITNEY SPEARS, RIHANNA and DEPECHE MODE.

Originally taken from the 1995 YOKO ONO / IMA collaborative album RISING, the lean, funk-fueled rocker finds ONO tuning in to the universe as our as our celestial medium and ambassador to the cosmos urging listeners to purge all the preconceived notions, pretenses and fears that confine us in order to bask in a freer state of being. It’s an inspiring message of self actualization and empowerment that has become hallmark themes throughout her vast career.

ONO has long been credited with igniting the punk-rock fire years before its official explosion and her work continues to be relevant and generation-inspiring decades later.  Meticulously reinventing her material for 21st-century dancefloors has given the vanguard artist a greater platform and visibility of which many contemporaries and present-day contenders can be envious.

"TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE" marks  the latest chapter in ONO's staggering body of remixed works which, to date, has yielded  eight #1 BILLBOARD CLUB PLAY chart hits ("MOVE ON FAST", "WOULDNIT' (I'M A STAR)", "GIVE ME SOMETHING", "I'M NOT GETTING ENOUGH", "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE", "NO NO NO", "EVERYMAN / EVERYWOMAN" and the timeless "WALKING ON THIN ICE") and two critically-acclaimed remix anthologies:  YES, I'M A WITCH and its companion release OPEN YOUR BOX, an incredibly impressive feat for an artist who has spent her life on the cutting edge of music, art and pop culture.

“TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE” is available as three separate digital green releases (no materials used or abused) on MIND TRAIN / TWISTED Records issued July 5th, August 2nd and September 6th, respectively, on  iTunes.

This Desert Rocks - Desert Rocks Music Festival

Besides a plethora of giant fiddle contests, I really have no festival experience to speak of. (Don’t get me wrong, fiddle participants can booze, substance-abuse, and play the shit out of acoustic instruments till the sun rises) But that's a different story.  Let's get back to Desert Rocks, and how I am so fulfilled with my first festival journey! It was a weekend of love and acceptance, filled with the young, the transient, the locals, and the Coloradoans (not all of them, but a lot).

TINIE TEMPAH, U.K. RAP SUPERSTAR TO RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM

London-born rapper Tinie Tempah, already a double BRIT Award-winning U.K. superstar with 2010's top-selling debut album by a British artist, goes global with the U.S. release of his album Disc-Overy on May 17.

The charismatic 22-year-old artist is already a phenomenon in the U.K., where Disc-Overy debuted at number one and produced four Top Five singles, including two number ones, and is currently closing in on double platinum sales status. He's now experiencing a major breakthrough in America, where his infectious, message-driven single "Written in the Stars" was recently hailed by Entertainment Weekly as one of the "next big hits of 2011." The song is currently number 13 and climbing on Billboard's Hot 100, and is already certified gold and climbing to platinum status, making it clear that Tinie Tempah is on his way to becoming the first British rapper to achieve major stardom in the U.S.

Disc-Overy will reach American listeners with the addition of three all-new tracks recorded in the U.S. earlier this year with producers Stargate (Wiz Khalifa, Beyonce, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ne-Yo) and Boi 1Da (Eminem, Drake). One of the new songs, "Till I'm Gone," featuring Wiz Khalifa and produced by Stargate, will be Disc-Overy's next U.S. single. Stargate also produced "Love Suicide," featuring special guest Esther Dean. The third new track, "So Addicted," was produced by Boi 1Da and features Bei Maejor.

Tinie Tempah is currently receiving a massive amount of acclaim and exposure in America, where Rolling Stone recently featured him in their influential "Hot List" issue. Having made his U.S. television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live in February, Tinie will return to the airwaves with appearances on Late Show with David Letterman on May 17 and on Conan on May 26. Also on May 17, he'll be featured in a Live on Letterman interactive webcast concert. Tinie will also be a guest on The View's highly rated Memorial Day show on May 30.

Tinie Tempah recently made his U.S. festival debut with a rapturously received performance at Coachella earlier this month. He's currently in the midst of his first American tour, which began with a high-profile set opening for Lupe Fiasco at New York's Roseland Ballroom, and continues with arena shows with Usher, Kid Cudi, Wiz Khalifa, Curfew, Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.

Tinie will perform an intimate concert sponsored by New York radio station Z100 on May 16 at Manhattan's P.C. Richard Theater. Z100 will give away passes to listeners on-air, live on Z100 and online at Z100.com, iheartradio.com and PCRichardTheater.com. And on August 5th, he will make an appearance at the prestigious Lollapalooza festival at Grant Park in Chicago.

Click here to see Tinie Tempah's Live performance of his first U.S. Gold Single "Written In The Stars" on MTV's The Seven earlier this week.

Saxophonist Plunky Releases R&B CD

J. Plunky Branch's new release, Plunky On Fire, is a funk jazz concept album that burns across a wide swath of the urban contemporary music landscape. Plunky On Fire takes us on a musical journey through down-tempo funk jazz; house-tempo dance; R&B love songs; spoken word; smooth mellow jazz; novelty funk; world soul message music; live gig clips and thought leader lecturing, all on one chockfull compact disc.

Saxophonist J. Plunky Branch and his group Plunky & Oneness create musical theater that combines the quirkiness of George Clinton and the musicality of George Duke with the vocal poetics of Jill Scott and Gil Scott Heron. Plunky's words and melodies are crafted over hip-hop influenced instrumental tracks produced by his son, Jamiah “Fire” Branch, hence the double entendre CD title.

The father-son duo has produced an album of 14 new songs that are both retro and ultramodern, a new organic-techno soul music that is jazzy, funky and highly danceable. Two songs are targeted for initial airplay: "On Fire," a hot, sax driven dance instrumental with a vocal hook; and "Inside These Walls" a quiet storm love song featuring Chyp Green on lead vocals.

Released on his own N.A.M.E. Brand Records label, this, Plunky's 25th album, will be available at CDBaby.com and all the most popular online sites, including i-tunes, Rhapsody and Napster. CD’s will be distributed to record stores by Liaison Record Distributors of Maryland. The March 29th release date also kicks off the Plunky & Oneness promotional touring in support of the new CD.

Plunky & Oneness is one of the most versatile and enduring funk jazz groups, having toured in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean for over 25 years. They have appeared in concert and at festivals with some of the biggest names in Black music, including Earth Wind & Fire, Frankie Beverly & Maze, B.B. King, Patti Labelle, Ray Charles, LL Cool J, Chuck Brown, Wyclef Jean and many others.

Plunky has also been active in music education and arts and culture presentations and some of his insights on aesthetics and African concepts of the groove are presented as interludes on the album. His positive empowerment and political messages are infused in the lyrics of several of the songs as well. He comments, "I just think it’s important to inspire people to reach for their highest aspirations and I believe it can be done while we're having fun; what some call partying with a purpose."

Plunky On Fire presents R&B as art music and this concept extends to the CD cover as well. The original portrait of Plunky on the front was painted by French artist, Dan Brussat; and the inside photograph taken at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts was shot by the design and layout artist, Danja Mowf. On this album the music and the art are hot like fire…

Web site: www.plunkyone.com CD Link: www.cdbaby.com/cd/plunky

DEAD CENTER at THE BROOKLYN BOWL

The Jam Stampede will perform at their ongoing Dead Center event at Brooklyn Bowl on January 25, 2011.  Michael Falzarano (New Riders, Hot Tuna) and Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna) will join us again after having such a good time last August at the very well received Jerry Garcia Retrospective.

With the help of our good friends Michael and Barry we will again revisit some of the Grateful Dead lore. On this date January 25, 1971, 40 years ago, a very propitious year for the Dead, The NRPS and the Grateful Dead performed at the Seattle Center, Seattle Wash. This was a very common occurrence back at that time and sadly short lived.

In homage to that time and place, Jam Stampede will again mine the Grateful Dead and New Riders catalogue for yet another great Dead Center Show at the Brooklyn Bowl.

Brooklyn Bowl 61 Wythe Avenue Williamsburg Brooklyn NY | Show Date: January 25, 2011

Hot Club of Cowtown's new CD salutes Bob Wills

Bob Wills has always been a core inspiration for the Hot Club of Cowtown’s sound, but it has taken the Texas-based trio a dozen years to fully honor the King of Western swing. A fortuitous tour in England last spring led the band to London’s Specific Sound studio, where they spent two days recording a 14-song marathon of only Bob Wills tunes. The result, What Makes Bob Holler, is a lively tribute to the American music icon, respecting Wills’ legendary music while putting Hot Club’s own signature on these songs. “We have been meaning to make this album for a long time,” says Elana James, who co-founded Hot Club with Whit Smith (they’re joined by bassist Jake Erwin).

Launched in 1994, the Hot Club of Cowtown has grown to be the most globe-trotting, hardest-swinging Western swing trio on the planet, continuing to develop a unique sound inspired by the band’s namesakes: the hot jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli of the Hot Club of France, and Bob Willis & the Texas Playboys.

And with the imminent release of What Makes Bob Holler on Proper American on February 1, the Austin-based band looks to a busy 2011. They start the year opening seven U.K. arena dates with Roxy Music, followed by a taping of NPR’s Mountain Stage in Charleston, W.V. in late January and an appearance at South by Southwest (SXSW) in March — before touring coast to coast in support of the album.

Bob Wills’ music — in this case the recordings of radio shows from 1946-47 called the Tiffany Transcriptions that are the fundamental inspiration for HCCT’s repertoire and style —offers a terrific platform for some ace musicianship in the form of Smith’s guitar, James’ fiddle and Erwin’s nimble bass. By spotlighting Wills’ early, pre-World War II catalogue, the disc happily matches obscure B-sides with some of Wills’ most popular work. Tunes like “Big Balls in Cowtown” and “Stay All Night” are numbers that “people always love when we play them live,” says James, “so it was a no-brainer to gather them into a record.” Other songs, like “Osage Stomp” and “The Devil Ain’t Lazy,” might not be as well known, but they are the type of tunes that originally attracted Smith and James to Wills’ music. “We’re playing what knocked us out about Western swing in the first place — the early fiery energy and jazzy improvisations,” says James.

By 1998 Smith and James had relocated to Austin, Texas, and released their debut, Swingin’ Stampede, on HighTone Records. Seven more albums over the next decade generated much critical acclaim and a devoted following. The New York Times’ Neil Strauss proclaimed the Hot Club “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time.” Craig Havighurst, in Nashville’s Tennessean, calls them “one of the most original groups on the Americana circuit, deserving of attention both live and on record” while the Sunday Times of London lauded HCCT as “the world’s most engaging Western Swing band — their shows are all about energy and joie de vivre . . . the devil-may-care style that combined the rigor of Jazz with the down-home sentiment of country and earthiness of the blues — it is as a live act that they have made their greatest impact.”

What Makes Bob Holler arrives on the heels of 2009’s Wishful Thinking, an Americana radio Top 100 album on which HCCT blended their love of hot jazz and Western swing with original songs, a Tom Waits cover and forays into more eclectic territory. The Austin Chronicle’s Jim Caliguiri called it “the Cowtowners at their peak” and David Eldridge, in the Washington Times, describes the disc as “one of the year’s most unexpected listening pleasures.”

What Makes Bob Holler is something of an 180-degree swing from Wishful Thinking’s more eccentric set list. It is the first time HCCT has focused on only one style for an entire album and they are proud enough of the results to express interest in doing more. “There are so many great songs that we didn’t get to,” says James. “We’re going to have to make a box set, eventually, but we’re just going to make it piecemeal,” adds Smith with a laugh.

While the new disc focuses on Bob Wills music, HCCT’s live show will remain a engaging mix of what the band does best — whatever moves them at the moment. James reveals that the band often plays without a set list. “We have faith in the system that is the band. This energy that we plug into and it takes us away.” Smith describes their shows as “like a rock ’n’ roll show” and “people pick up on the energy and the sincerity.”

Hot Sugar Reveals Unique Beatmaking Process

Dame Dash’s Creative Control recently caught up with producer Nick Koenig, a.k.a. Hot Sugar, to document his unique process of making beats and capture his charmingly awkward sense of humor.  If you haven’t checked out the premiere over at Prefix, click HERE to watch Koenig in action (and note that all the sounds used in this video were recorded live at this session.)  Hot Sugar is also releasing a new free mp3 for the song “F**kable” (Feat. Baghdaddy) off his forthcoming EP, Muscle Milk.  Stream or download it HERE and feel free to post and share both.

For the past several decades numerous musicians have created recordings using found audio.  It is usually done in a manner that highlights the unusual nature of the source. Koenig, on the other hand, manipulates his samples until they’re tweaked beyond recognition.  For example, if one of his kick drums sounds like it came from a drum set, it’s more likely to be the sound of a car running over a juicebox, if not a fire cracker pitched down and chopped up, etc.

Having mastered this experimental technique, Koenig has a nearly unlimited palette of sounds to work with and his beats cover a massive array of genres.  New track “F**kable” is a slice of oddball digital funk featuring the blue-eyed soul, come-hither vocals of Baghdaddy.  If you haven’t heard Hot Sugar’s previously released mp3’s, “The Seagull” is a whimsical indie-pop nugget anchored by a music box melody and “Color Wars” pairs a mellow, head-nodding groove with the gritty crooning of The Roots/RJD2 collaborator Aaron Livingston.

All three tracks will appear on the Muscle Milk EP, which will be released for free online later this year.  Hot Sugar’s debut full-length will be out next year and will feature some top secret surprise guests.  Stay tuned for more info!

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks' Crazy for Christmas out now

Hailed as, “The eternal hipster, purveyor of the drollest and most swingin' tunes the rock generation ever enjoyed” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks have hijacked the holidays and created a Christmas album you’ll enjoy all year long. Released on October 12, 2010 through Surfdog Records, Crazy For Christmas is classic Hot Licks, full of the same dry wit and musical brilliance that has defined Dan Hicks’ music for the past four decades and established him as one of American music’s true cult heroes.

“We wanted to have the Hot Licks sound going, with our signature violin and guitar and two girls backing me up and the tongue-in-cheek approach to the material and the delivery. Keeping it swingin’, keeping it light, with lots of good solos and some cool scat stuff,” explains Dan Hicks. “It’s a Christmas album, yes, but first and foremost it’s a Hot Licks album.” Crazy For Christmas covers it all - with Hicks originals “I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail” and the humorous “Santa’s Workshop” nestled in with classics (done Hicks’ style) like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and an amazing original take on “Carol Of The Bells.” Of course, no Dan Hicks holiday album would be complete without a few irreverent parodies including “Christmas Mornin’” (done in the tune of Hicks’ hit “Where’s The Money”) and “Santa Got A Choo-Choo” (a Hicks re-write and salute to “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”).

Crazy For Christmas comes on the heels of Hicks’ critically acclaimed 2009 release Tangled Tales. The recording, dubbed an “irreverent, rowdy, even dangerous distillation of real American music,” by the East Bay Express, proved once-and-for-all that Hicks’ undeniable musical legacy is still evolving. “Talk about a rugged, all-American individual,” the LA Weekly reviewed, “Dan Hicks has plowed deep furrows through some of the most fertile pop music territory known to man, and during it all has maintained both his own distinct, light yet emphatic touch and a pace that's always kept him more than a few steps ahead of his colleagues.”

Dan Hicks began his career in 1965 as the drummer for psychedelic San Francisco rock band The Charlatans before forming the acoustic ensemble Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. His unique songwriting and blend of styles, masterful folk-swing guitar playing, and unmistakable sense of humor have made him a cultural icon, landing Hicks on the cover of Rolling Stone twice and provoking Tom Waits to say, “Dan Hicks is fly, sly, wily and dry” while Elvis Costello proclaimed him “an American treasure.”

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks are on tour this fall with their always over-the-top “Holidaze in Hicksville” extravaganza.

The complete list of tour dates is as follows:

Friday, November 19 O'Shaughnessy Center Whitefish MT

Saturday, November 27 Appel Farm Arts and Music Center Elmer NJ

Sunday, November 28 The Turning Point Piermont NY

Tuesday, November 30 City Winery New York NY

Wednesday, December 1 Barns at Wolftrap Vienna VA

Thursday, December 2 Greensburg Garden and Civic Center Greensburg PA

Friday, December 3 Sellersville Theater Sellersville PA

Saturday, December 4 The Met Cafe Pawtucket RI

Tuesday, December 7 Wood Fire Dowagiac MI

Wednesday, December 8 Wealthy Theatre Grand Rapids MI

Thursday, December 9 Kent Stage Kent OH

Saturday, December 11 McCabe's Guitar Shop and Concert Hall Santa Monica CA

Wednesday, December 15 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA

Friday, December 17 The Center for the Arts Grass Valley CA

Wednesday, December 22 Yoshi's Oakland CA

A Hot Rize Halloween at the Boulder Theater

Hot Rize has marked 32 years in bluegrass, keeping its legend growing by delivering first-class music and entertainment as only it can. The band rose to prominence in the early 80's, appearing frequently on such national broadcasts as "A Prairie Home Companion", Austin City Limits, and on The Nashville Network. Their stage show gained renown, featuring their soulful and distinctive bluegrass combined with their wacky but musically deft "alter-ego" country swing band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group performed in almost every state, as well as Europe, Japan, and Australia.

The traditional-yet-progressive foursome started in January, 1978, based in Colorado and naming itself after the secret ingredient of Martha White self-rising flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs promoted in the 50s and 60s. With national touring and multiple #1 bluegrass radio hits Hot Rize became a premier attraction and stylistic trend-setter. In 1990, the band was feted as Entertainer of the Year by IBMA at its first annual Awards Show. Throughout the 1990s, the group continued to perform occasionally for a loyal and growing fan base.

Following the untimely passing of original member Charles Sawtelle in 1999, the group reorganized in 2002 with Nashville studio ace/multiple Grammy-winner Bryan Sutton on guitar, and has continued to play selected shows each year, delivering its signature sound to a new generation of followers. Hot Rize has remained a top attraction in bluegrass, well into its fourth decade. In 2009, the band was selected to co-host the 20th annual IBMA Awards Show. The year 2010 will see increased activity, including major festivals and new studio recordings. More Info / Buy Tickets

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Release Crazy For Christmas

Hailed as, “The eternal hipster, purveyor of the drollest and most swingin' tunes the rock generation ever enjoyed” (Minneapolis Star Tribune), Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks have hijacked the holidays and created a Christmas album you’ll enjoy all year long. Set for release on October 12, 2010 through Surfdog Records, Crazy For Christmas is classic Hot Licks, full of the same dry wit and musical brilliance that has defined Dan Hicks’ music for the past four decades and established him as one of American music’s true cult heroes.

“We wanted to have the Hot Licks sound going, with our signature violin and guitar and two girls backing me up and the tongue-in-cheek approach to the material and the delivery. Keeping it swingin’, keeping it light, with lots of good solos and some cool scat stuff,” explains Hicks. “It’s a Christmas album, yes, but first and foremost it’s a Hot Licks album.”

Crazy For Christmas covers it all - with Hicks originals “I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail” and the humorous “Santa’s Workshop” nestled in with classics (done Hicks’ style) like “Here Comes Santa Claus” and an amazing original take on “Carol Of The Bells.” Of course, no Dan Hicks holiday album would be complete without a few irreverent parodies including “Christmas Mornin’” (done in the tune of Hicks’ hit “Where’s The Money”) and “Santa Got A Choo-Choo” (a Hicks re-write and salute to “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie”).

Crazy For Christmas comes on the heels of Hicks’ critically acclaimed 2009 release Tangled Tales. The recording, dubbed an “irreverent, rowdy, even dangerous distillation of real American music,” by the East Bay Express, proved once-and-for-all that Hicks’ undeniable musical legacy is still evolving. “Talk about a rugged, all-American individual,” the LA Weekly reviewed, “Dan Hicks has plowed deep furrows through some of the most fertile pop music territory known to man, and during it all has maintained both his own distinct, light yet emphatic touch and a pace that's always kept him more than a few steps ahead of his colleagues.”

Dan Hicks began his career in 1965 as the drummer for psychedelic San Francisco rock band The Charlatans before forming the acoustic ensemble Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. His unique songwriting and blend of styles, masterful folk-swing guitar playing, and unmistakable sense of humor have made him a cultural icon, landing Hicks on the cover of Rolling Stone twice and provoking Tom Waits to say, “Dan Hicks is fly, sly, wily and dry” while Elvis Costello proclaimed him “an American treasure.”

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks are on tour this fall, including a run of his always over-the-top “Holidaze in Hicksville” extravaganza beginning in late November. This year, Holidaze in Hicksville shows will feature a live performance of Crazy for Christmas in its entirety, as well as several Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks classics. A complete list of currently confirmed tour dates is included below.

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Crazy For Christmas Track List

1. Christmas Mornin’
2. Santa Gotta Choo-Choo
3. Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit
4. Carol Of The Bells
5. Run Run Rudolph
6. Santa’s Workshop
7. Old Fashioned Christmas
8. Cool Yule
9. I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail
10. I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus
11. Here Comes Santa Claus
12. Under The Mistletoe

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks tour dates are as follows:

Friday, October 22 The ArtsCenter Carrboro NC
Saturday, October 23 Gibson Theatre Shelby NC
Sunday, October 24 Eddie's Attic Decatur GA
Friday, November 19 O'Shaughnessy Center Whitefish MT

Holidaze in Hicksville performances:

Saturday, November 27 Appel Farm Arts and Music Center Elmer NJ
Tuesday, November 30 City Winery New York NY
Wednesday, December 1 Barns at Wolftrap Vienna VA
Thursday, December 2 Greensburg Garden and Civic Center Greensburg PA
Friday, December 3 Sellersville Theater Sellersville PA
Saturday, December 4 The Met Cafe Pawtucket RI
Tuesday, December 7 Wood Fire Dowagiac MI
Wednesday, December 8 Wealthy Theatre Grand Rapids MI
Thursday, December 9 Kent Stage Kent OH
Saturday, December 11 McCabe's Guitar Shop and Concert Hall Santa Monica CA
Wednesday, December 15 Belly Up Tavern Solana Beach CA

(More dates to be added soon…)