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Marco Benevento | U.S./Canada Fall Tour

Marco Benevento will tour the U.S. and Canada this Fall in support of his latest release, Between The Needles & Nightfall. The run begins with four nights in Canada and five nights in New England. The stretch includes a stop at the Massachusetts Museum Of Contemporary Art where Benevento will reprise his new score to the '60s cult film House Of Usher that he debuted in August at Celebrate Brooklyn. He'll also play two rare solo piano shows in Asbury Park and New York City. Benevento rejoins his band in November, heading to North Carolina and Virginia for three shows, including his first headline appearance in Asheville at The Grey Eagle. The tour wraps with five nights on the West Coast, returning to Doug Fir Lounge in Portland for the second time this year, as well as a Saturday night at The Independent in San Francisco.

The Brooklyn-based pianist and "sound sculptor" is coming off a busy summer that found him on the road with his own trio in addition to touring as a full-time member of Garage A Trois and Surprise Me Mr. Davis. Highlights included a solo piano set at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, a co-bill with The Books at Rhode Island School of Design and a hometown album release show at Bowery Ballroom in New York City. He is also featured on the new Manimal Vinyl release We Were So Turned On: A Tribute To David Bowie with his interpretation of "Art Decade."

Upcoming Marco Benevento tour dates are:

October 14 | Divan Orange | Montreal, Quebec, Canada
October 15 | Elmdale House | Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
October 16 | Casbah | Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
October 17 | El Mocambo | Toronto, Ontario, Canada
October 20 | Stone Church | Newmarket, NH
October 21 | Middle East Upstairs | Cambridge, MA
October 22 | Mass Moca | North Adams, MA (House Of Usher)
October 23 | Black Eyed Sallies | Hartford, CT
October 24 | Fairfield Theatre | Fairfield, CT
October 26 | Chico's House Of Jazz | Asbury Park, NJ (Solo Piano)
November 1 | City Winery | New York, NY (Solo Piano)
November 4 | The Grey Eagle | Asheville, NC
November 5 | Double Door Inn | Charlotte, NC
November 6 | Capital Ale House | Richmond, VA
November 30 | Doug Fir Lounge | Portland, OR
December 1 | Axe & Fiddle | Cottage Grove, OR
December 2 | The Depot at HSU | Arcata, CA
December 3 | Don Quixote's | Felton, CA
December 4 | The Independent | San Francisco, CA
December 5 | The Mint | Los Angeles, CA

The Dresden Dolls Announce First Tour in 3 Years

After a long hiatus, The Dresden Dolls are thrilled to announce their first live tour in 3 years! The pioneering and influential "punk cabaret" duo comprised of Amanda Palmer (piano, vocals) and Brian Viglione (drums, guitar, bass) will be kicking off a few weeks of dates starting on Halloween at Irving Plaza in NYC. The date marks the exact 10th anniversary of the birth of the band (Viglione met Palmer on Halloween night of 2000, at an art/salon party at Palmer's house, at which she was playing her solo songs on piano.) "Amanda's songwriting was so brilliant and raw, I couldn't have designed a more perfectly suited counterpart. I knew then I'd found my musical accomplice.", says Viglione. They will also make a stop in New Orleans for a special gulf oil spill relief-benefit for BTNEP, an organization that is working to preserve, protect, and restore the Barataria and Terrebonne estuaries of Louisiana.

Since The Dolls' last performance (which was at Rock The Vote in DC on the Inauguration Day of President Obama), Palmer has been tirelessly busy building her solo career and online empire, centered around the 2008 release of her Ben Folds-Produced solo album "Who Killed Amanda Palmer". The album was accompanied by a hardback-book of the same name and included a collection of dead photographs of Palmer and short stores by author Neil Gaiman (to whom Palmer recently became engaged). Palmer also recently released a donation-based Radiohead covers ukulele EP titled "Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele", setting the tech community abuzz about how a donation-based model can earn a mid-level artist a living wage.  Before they embark on tour, Palmer will be starring as the Emcee in the American Repertory Theater’s production of Kander & Ebb's dark weimar musical "Cabaret". The production opened August 31, 2010 and runs through October 29. Many of the dates are already sold out. More information can be found HERE on A.R.T.'s site.

"The time apart has done nothing but given both of us an appreciation of how incredibly special and powerful our band is," says Palmer. "Our live musical chemistry is completely unique, almost magical, and we don't take that for granted. I can't wait to get on a stage with Brian again. Nobody hits the drums like that man - he's in a class all his own. And when we play together live, we create an entire world we can't otherwise create."

Meanwhile, drummer/producer and talented musical jack-of-all-trades Brian Viglione has appeared on 30 albums since 2008, most notably, Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts I–IV". Viglione's latest hard-hitting album, "Face Of The Sun", which he produced and co-wrote, is available digitally via Bandcamp and will be featured on his new website , www.brianviglione.com. Amidst the busy recording and teaching schedule, he's toured internationally with The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Franz Nicolay, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Martin Bisi, Botanica, and The Cliks.  "A great strength of the band has always been that we've always given each other time to explore creative areas outside The Dresden Dolls, then bring what we've learned back to the table. Our love for the music and playing together is mirrored by the continual support of our fans, and we're more than ready to deliver the goods to them."

The current wave of theatrical artists are citing The Dolls and their flamboyant emotional and theatrical antics as an inspiration, from up-and-coming theatrical-pop artist and Dolls’ fan Marina & The Diamonds to Lady Gaga (who lists The Dresden Dolls as an influence on her MySpace).

"It's been really inspiring to see an evolution towards theatrical freedom among indie bands over the last ten years", says Palmer. "When we were starting out in 2000, we were surrounded by the likes of The Vines and The Strokes. People often wrote us off as a gimmick because of our weird theatrical bent. Now we're surrounded by comrades...Antony, The Scissor Sisters, The Decembrists, Arcade Fire, CocoRosie, the list goes on and on. People aren't as afraid take risks onstage. It's inspiring, and I'm proud we've played our little part in the continuum of empowered freaky people."

Dates Are As Follows:

Oct 31 - NEW YORK CITY, NY@ Irving Plaza (w/ Surprise Guests)

Nov 12 - NEW ORLEANS, LA@ Tipitina's (w/ Jason Webley)

Nov 13 - ATLANTA, GA@ The Buckhead Theatre (w/ Lille)

Nov 14 - LEXINGTON, KY@ Buster's Billiards & Backroom (w/ Chico Fellini)

Nov 16 - ST. LOUIS, MO@ The Pageant (w/ Sleepy Kitty)

Nov 17 - CHICAGO, IL@ The Vic Theatre (w/ Mucca Pazza)

Nov 19th - DALLAS, TX@ Granada Theatre (w/ Girl In A Coma)

Nov 20 - HOUSTON, TX@ Fitzgerald's (w/ Girl In A Coma)

Nov 21 - AUSTIN, TX@ La Zona Rosa (w/ Girl In A Coma)

MMJ's Carl Broemel Shares Video Performances of Three Solo Songs

Leading up to the release of his solo album All Birds Say, which is out next week on August 31st (ATO Records), My Morning Jacket guitarist Carl Broemel has been steadily revealing performances of some of the tracks off the record.   You may have seen Broemel do a rendition of “Questions” over at MOG, creating an epic solo version of the track that builds to a thrillingly noisy climax.  He also played the earnest and whimsical “Enough,” which recently debuted at My Old Kentucky Blog. Lastly, his version of “Carried Away,” a contemplative and heartfelt ballad that My Morning Jacket recently performed, premiered at JamBase.  Please feel free to post and share all three videos!

As evident by these three clips, Broemel is a sophisticated songwriter  and an elegantly effortless performer.  He has the lyrical perspective of an individual who truly reflects and learns from his life’s experiences.  However, Broemel favors a Zen-like approach, keeping his philosophical musings from getting anywhere near being preachy.  Needless to say, MMJ fans who know him solely from the fiery riffs and guitar solos he performs with the band are going to see a whole other side of him.

Click HERE for photos of Carl, an mp3 off the album (which you are also welcome to post/share), and more info on him.

Click HERE to Watch Carl Perform “Questions”

Click HERE to Watch Carl Perform “Enough”

Click HERE to Watch Carl Perform “Carried Away”

Leon Russell, Fri Sept. 17 @ Boulder Theater

The ultimate rock & roll session man, Leon Russell's long and storied career includes collaborations with a virtual who's who of music icons spanning from Jerry Lee Lewis to Phil Spector to the Rolling Stones. A similar eclecticism and scope also surfaced in his solo work, which couched his charmingly gravelly voice in a rustic yet rich swamp pop fusion of country, blues and gospel. Born Claude Russell Bridges on April 2, 1942, in Lawton, OK, he began studying classical piano at age three, a decade later adopting the trumpet and forming his first band. At 14, Russell lied about his age to land a gig at a Tulsa nightclub, playing behind Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks before touring in support of Jerry Lee Lewis. Two years later, he settled in Los Angeles, studying guitar under the legendary James Burton and appearing on sessions with Dorsey Burnette and Glen Campbell. As a member of Spector's renowned studio group, Russell played on many of the finest pop singles of the 1960s, also arranging classics like Ike & Tina Turner's monumental "River Deep, Mountain High"; other hits bearing his input include the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Gary Lewis & the Playboys' "This Diamond Ring," and Herb Alpert's "A Taste of Honey."
In 1967, Russell built his own recording studio, teaming with guitarist Marc Benno to record the acclaimed Look Inside the Asylum Choir LP. While touring with Delaney & Bonnie, he scored his first songwriting hit with Joe Cocker's reading of "Delta Lady," and in 1970, upon founding his own Shelter Records imprint, he also organized Cocker's legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. After the subsequent tour film earned Russell his first real mainstream notoriety, he issued a self-titled solo LP, and in 1971 appeared at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh following sessions for B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan. After touring with the Rolling Stones, Russell increasingly focused on his solo career, reaching the number two spot with 1972's Carny and scoring his first pop hit with the single "Tight Rope." While the success of 1973's three-LP set Leon Live further established his reputation as a top concert draw, response to the country inspired studio effort Hank Wilson's Back was considerably more lukewarm, as was the reception afforded to 1974's Stop All That Jazz. 1975's Will O' the Wisp, however, restored his commercial luster, thanks in large part to the lovely single "Lady Blue."
In June of 1975, Russell married singer Mary McCreary; the following year the couple collaborated on The Wedding Album, issued through his newly formed Paradise Records label. Also in 1976, the Russell-penned "This Masquerade" earned a Grammy Award for singer George Benson. He and McCreary reunited for 1977's Make Love to the Music, and upon completing the solo Americana, Russell teamed with Willie Nelson for 1979's Willie & Leon. He then spent the next two years touring with his bluegrass band, the New Grass Revival, issuing a live LP in 1981; although Paradise shut down later that year, the label was reactivated for 1984's Hank Wilson, Vol. II and Solid State. Russell spent the remainder of the decade largely outside of music and did not resurface until issuing the Bruce Hornsby produced Anything Can Happen in 1992. Hank Wilson, Vol. 3: Legend in My Time. Face in the Crowd appeared a year later.
21+ / Gold Circle: $51.00 / Reserved: $41.00 / GA: $30.00
On sale July 30
Tickets will be on sale through the Boulder Theater box office
Internet 24-7 at www.bouldertheater.com
Phone: During box office hours 303-786-7030

Pete Francis Kicks off Summer Tour

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist).

Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."

--

US Spring / Summer Tour
(more dates to come)

May 18 World Cafe Live
Philadelphia, PA Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 19 Cafe 939
Boston, MA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 20 Wheel House
Narragansett , RI Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 21 Red Square
Troy, NY Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 22 The Stone Church
Newmarket, NH Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

May 23 Fairfield Theatre's Stage One
Fairfield, CT Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

May 25 Jammin Java
Vienna, VA Doors: 7:30
Ages: All Ages

May 26 Joe's Pub
New York, NY Doors: 6pm
Ages: All Ages

Jun 01 Nightcat
Easton, Maryland Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 03 3rd + Lindsley
Nashville, Tennessee Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 05 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 06 Wakarusa Festival
Ozark, Arkansas Ages: All Ages

Jun 08 SPACE
Evanston, Illinois Doors: 7:00 PM
Ages: All Ages

Jun 09 Rumba Cafe
Columbus, Ohio Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 18+

Jun 10 Club Cafe
Pittsburgh, PA Doors: 8:00 PM
Ages: 21+

Aug 10 Musikfest
Bethlehem , PA Doors: TBD Ages: All Ages

Pete Francis | Summer Tour 2010 | New LP

New York City based singer-songwriter, Pete Francis, is set to release his new album The Movie We Are In this May 2010. Whereas Francis’ previous solo albums were largely self-produced, he uprooted his more traditional approach to album-making and assembled an entirely new crew with Los Angeles based producer Jeff Trott (right hand man to Sheryl Crow as writer and guitarist). Says Francis, “In the past I’ve worked with acoustic guitar, bass, drums, B3 organ, but I wanted to bring a modern electronic element into my music. When first speaking with Jeff Trott, I quickly realized he had great musical instincts and that he was getting my tunes. And then, he brought ideas to the table that I hadn’t imagined. I saw a new musical landscape could be created with my songs by working with him.”

The musicians that Trott assembled for the recording sessions helped to create this colorful landscape. Having worked with artists such as Beck, Nine Inch nails, Gnarls Barkley, Willie Nelson, Queens of the Stone Age, Dr. Dre, and Scott Weiland, the musicians (Brian LeBarton, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, John O’Brien, Victor Indrizzo and others) provided an extraordinary musical palette of talent and sensibility.

When asked about the project, Trott says, “It really became apparent to me that Pete was a very creative and colorful song-writer. What I liked was that there was this very good sense of Pete’s personality from happy go lucky to dark and brooding. All these aspects were amazing to work with and the lyrics were very colorful. I think that’s one of the things I really enjoy about Pete’s songs… that it’s sometimes hard to really figure out what the meanings are and I think that’s missing in a lot of music - the mystery of what a song is.”

The opening track, “Glue”, generates a feeling of weightlessness by combining organic instrumentation with futuristic sounds. This song solidly represents what’s to follow on the album’s consistent mix of fresh and classic, electronic and acoustic, known and unknown… Each listen unlocks a new guitar lick, synth riff, bass groove, drum program, live drumbeat or horn swell, and even the sounds of the sparsely used Ethiopian instrument cumbus. Midway through the album, the listener gets catapulted into the up-tempo and joyous revelry of “Love Shakes You Down” a sing-a-long with the familiar bell sounds of Motown combined with a  string synth creating a modern and retro sound all at once. The slower, more melodic songs of the album like “St. Paul’s Fair” and “Didn’t Know I Built It” lure the listener into dream-states with rich deep vocals, sampled sounds from a town square in Italy, trance-like Wurlitzer pedaling, and vivid lyrics.

No one would deny that Francis has earned his stripes in the independent music scene. He formed the fiercely independent band Dispatch in 1995 whose uncommonly loyal fan-base bid them farewell at The Last Dispatch concert in 2004 with an attendance of 110,000 people from around the world. Since then, his career has infiltrated many musical worlds including performing his solo music at festivals around the country, reuniting with his Dispatch pals for three sold out nights at Madison Square Garden, having his solo music featured in films and television, and performing in the presence of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C..

Commenting on his new album and departure from his Dispatch days, Francis says, “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone. I tried to let this motto resonate at every turning point of this record’s evolution.” When asked if there is an overall theme to The Movie We Are In, Francis explains, “I like to leave this up to the listener. Hearing an album is similar to visiting a museum. The listener has to have his or her own conversation with the artwork and create their own interpretations."

Roots Singer/Guitarist Sid Selvidge Returns with I SHOULD BE BLUE

For decades, Sid Selvidge has been one of the most singular voices in American roots music. His unique and seamless fusion of hill country blues picking and languid folk-styled storytelling has allowed Selvidge to carve out a niche that has separated him from other traditional and contemporary southern songwriters. Now, five years after his acclaimed CD/DVD Live at Otherlands, Sid returns with the gracefully melodic I Should Be Blue. Available in stores and online June 8, Selvidge'’s 8th solo album and 3rd from Memphis-based Archer Records sees him crafting material that recalls the warmth of sound and spirit present in classic 70s era folk-tinged pop LPs.

From his early days playing with Furry Lewis and Mississippi Fred McDowell at The Bitter Lemon Club in Memphis, to his and friend Jim Dickinson’s elusive Mudboy and the Neutrons (Bob Dylan dubbed them “the great band that nobody could find”), to his storied solo career with Enterprise (Stax), Nonesuch (Elektra), and his own Peabody label, Selvidge has always been able to stand alone in his ability to integrate classic methods into fresh vocal and strumming approaches. Former New York Times critic John Rockwell probably said it best: “Sid Selvidge, who comes from Mississippi by way of Memphis, is neither country nor rock. He’s pretty much everything musically in the whole Southeast.” David Fricke of Rolling Stone is also a known admirer, having declared emphatically, “Sid Selvidge is a precious treasure”, in his glowing review of Sid’s previous studio effort, A Little Bit of Rain (Archer Records, 2003).

While his past work has garnered him the praise of national critics, I Should Be Blue palpably displays his versatile appeal to fans as both an original artist as well as an interpreter. Selvidge adjusted his formula for I Should Be Blue, working for the first time with renowned producer/musician/songwriter Don Dixon (Joe Cocker, The Smithereens, REM, Counting Crows), as well as inviting up-and-coming vocalist Amy Speace to join him on several tracks. These duets including Sid’'s sweet and dreamy “Dimestore Angel”, Speace'’s original gem, “Two”, as well as warm, wistful nods to favorites like Townes Van Zandt’'s “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and Donovan'’s “Catch The Wind”. Selvidge, along with the US and European press took quickly to Speace, with Paste Magazine calling her latest release, 2009’s The Killer In Me, a “resolutely hopeful take on heartache and loss...beautiful lyrics are spun with a soulful, husky voice that lilts like a country sweetheart but mourns like Leonard Cohen

In addition to combining new elements to Selvidge’'s sound in Dixon’s production techniques and bass playing and Speace’'s rich vocals, I Should Be Blue will also feature some more familiar players. Among them are Sid'’s son, Steve (The Hold Steady) who plays acoustic and electric guitars, Paul Taylor (Chuck Prophet) on drums and washtub bass, and fellow Archer artist Amy LaVere on upright bass. The outcome is a tender portrait of love and longing amidst loss, flowing with an effortless grace and natural beauty distinctly its own.

I Should Be Blue will be available in stores June 8, to coincide with tour dates for a Sid Selvidge and Amy Speace joint U.S. tour. | For more information, please visit www.Archer-Records.com or www.SidSelvidge.com.

Summer 2010 Tour:

June 7 - New York, NY - The Living Room
June 8 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
June 10 - Raleigh, NC - Six String Cafe and Music Hall
June 11 - Maryville, TN - Brakins Blues Club
June 12 - Nashville, TN - The Basement
June 13 - Memphis, TN - Levitt Shell @ Overton Park
June 21 - Delaware Water Gap, PA - Sycamore Grille
June 22 - Winston-Salem, NC - The Garage
June 23 - Charlotte, NC - Evening Muse
June 27 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
July 8 - Seattle, WA - Empty Sea Studios
July 9 - Bellingham, WA - Green Frog Cafe
July 10 - Portland, OR - Alberta Rose Theatre
July 11 - Hood River, OR - Blackburn House Concert
July 12 - Bend, Oregon - Windance House Concert
July 23 - Portland, MD - TBA
August 6 - Dallas, TX - Uncle Calvin's
August 7 - Oklahoma City, OK - Blue Door

More dates to come!

Crash Test Dummies @ the Boulder Theatre

There is no mistaking Brad Roberts’ voice. He may look like an average guy, now in his mid-40s, but then he opens his mouth and his majestic baritone voice immediately conjures fond memories of such Crash Test Dummies hits at “Mmm, Mmm, Mmm, Mmm” and “Superman.” Perhaps best remembered for the acerbic folk rock sound of 1991’s The Ghosts That Haunt Me and 1993’s God Shuffled His Feet, there have nonetheless been enough hits for the band over the years to merit a couple of greatest hits packages. Through it all, the band with Roberts at the helm has touched on funk and soul, folk, electronic music and even Christmas tunes. Yet it is Roberts’ voice and offbeat lyrical sensibility that have been this beloved band’s calling cards since their founding twenty years ago.

Due for release on May 11, Oooh La La (Deep Fried) is again something of a different animal for the Crash Test Dummies. This time Roberts collaborates with producer/engineer Stewart Lerman, whose many credits include such divergent talents as Antony and the Johnsons and The Roches, as well as filmmakers like Wes Anderson and Martin Scorcese. While longtime CTD member Ellen Reid added back-up vocals and a lead on the closing acoustic ballad “Put a Face,” this album is fundamentally the work of these two creative men.

“I met Stewart and he wanted to just write music for the sake of writing music,” Roberts explains, breaking a five-year writing hiatus to work with Lerman. “I think the music is better than it could have ever been because we were writing it for ourselves – we weren’t aiming at a demographic anyhow – but this couldn’t be a clearer case of us being little boys.” “Little boys” is actually an appropriate term to explain how this album came together—Roberts and Lerman became infatuated with ‘70s-era musical toys, particularly one called the Optigan, and used them to compose much of the music for Oooh La La. Manufactured by Mattel, the Optigan (an acronym for optical organ) looks like a small electric organ but it projects the sound of other instruments using celluloid discs. Somewhat like an accordion, there are buttons on the left side that trigger chords and piano keys on the right that trigger single notes. The discs, with names like “Nashville,” “Swing It!” and “Guitar Boogie,” rotate to produce different arrays of sounds. The process is eerily similar to the digital sampling that is so common today, but the antiquated analog system produces quite a different effect.

“Because we wrote using these discs, we were inspired to do things that we wouldn’t have done,” Roberts points out. “I don’t write big band style, but all of a sudden I had this big band [on disc], so I’m writing in a genre that I normally wouldn’t be writing in. I can’t say enough about how great it is to write on these toys.”

With a little help from a few friends, the guys laid down a collection of beautifully crafted instrumental parts on top of the original toy tracks to create a fully realized production. Listening to the completed tracks you probably wouldn’t even realize that these tunes were started on toy instruments, but those unusual origins are still lurking. It won’t only be longtime CTD fans who will get a kick out of such sonic touches as the `50s doo-wop feel of “Paralyzed” (inspired by another toy called the Omnichord), the manic country feel of “What I’m Famous For” and the big band swing of “Now You See Her.”

Even aside from the toys, there is a distinctly different vibe afoot with this record. “Songbird” opens the album with a somewhat haunting but still undeniably beautiful acoustic melody and uplifting arrangement. Then there’s the third song “And It’s Beautiful,” which is a full-blown love song. “Happy songs are hard to write, especially love songs,” Roberts says. “This is territory I couldn’t have touched as a younger man without making myself sick.”

Yet this is still the unique (some might say warped) perspective of Brad Roberts and the Crash Test Dummies, nowhere more in evidence that with a few of the darker songs on this disk. “You Said You’d Meet Me (In California)” can’t help but make you think of a carnival side show. The Tin Pan Alley-inspired “Not Today Baby” is actually a Frank Sinatra reference. Legend has it that one day Sinatra walked into a studio full of engineers, staff and musicians at the ready, turned around and walked right out with a simple, insouciant “Not today, baby.” The reference was irresistible to Roberts and Lerman, as they recorded their tracks in Frank’s hometown of Hoboken.

Roberts has come a long way from 2004’s dark Songs of the Unforgiven, as a listener will pretty easily hear in “Now You See Her,” a song that Roberts proudly calls “Light and cheeky.” A happily married man who blogs at www.crashtestdummies.com about, among other things, the wonders of his wife, Roberts just seems happier and more balanced than he has been in the past. The image of a happy artist may be antithetical to the “great art demands suffering” mentality, but in the case of Brad Roberts it’s a welcome change of pace that has left him invigorated. Roberts has been so revitalized by the making of the new record that the band will tour this summer for the first time since 2004. Crash Test Dummies will perform as an acoustic trio with Ellen and Brad singing and old friend and tour partner Stuart Cameron playing acoustic guitar, much in the spirit of album closer “Put a Face.” Rather than try to recreate music that was created with some rather cranky toy instruments never meant for the rigors of a tour, Roberts has opted to present these songs in a straightforward, stripped-down manner. It’s a curveball, but the test of a great song is its ability to work in different formats, and these songs, along with classic CTD hits, undoubtedly pass this test.

“I think that when you are dealing with popular music, unless you have a strong melody, sympathetic chords, and a good set of lyrics you ain’t got nothing,” Roberts points out. Foreshadowing the highly entertaining shows for which he is so well known, Roberts adds “I want to have a little room to digress into an anecdote while Stuart strums the guitar, if that’s what I feel like doing.”

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97.3 KBCO Presents
CRASH TEST DUMMIES | June 13th
The Boulder Theater |  Boulder, Colorado
www.bouldetheater.com | ON SALE NOW

Steve Kimock News: 4/20, NYC Acoustic- VIP tickets, SKCE tour

Beginning on 4/20, Kimock joins long-time collaborator Bobby Vega for a very auspicious performance at their old stomping grounds in Fairfax, CA. The last allotment of tickets was released today and the remaining will be available at the door.

This one-night event will serve as a launching pad for the Steve Kimock Crazy Engine tour kicking off the next day at the Hopmonk in Sebastopol, CA.The Hopmonk performance will also include Bobby Vega as a special guest.

Crazy Engine continues down the track on April 22nd for an Earth Day celebration at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, CA. This three-set show boasts a rare Kimock solo opener - the first of its kind in California, followed by Steve Kimock Crazy Engine featuring the legendary Melvin Seals on Hammond B3 and keys (JGB) with John Morgan Kimock on drums and Trevor Exter, on bass and vocals. The Crazy Engine run then heads south to Hermosa Beach and San Diego, with a stop in between in Phoenix, AZ for a late night performance at the Compound Grill as part of the McDowell Mountain Music Festival - marking Kimock's first show in the southwest for over three years.

April 21 Hopmonk - Sebastopol, CA
April 22 Earth Day in Santa Cruz! @ Moes
April 23 St. Rocke - Hermosa Beach, CA
April 24 The Compound Grill - Phoenix, AZ
April 25 Belly Up - San Diego, CA


Steve Kimock will premiere solo performances for fans in New York City, with a very intimate and musical experience at the The Stone on Friday, May 7th. This will be a Kimock show like no other.

There will be two shows, one at 8PM and one at 10PM (capacity 75 people per show).

Tickets were originally only available at the door but we were able to obtain VIP access and tickets for a small allotment of fans! If you purchase advance VIP tickets, you will have priority seating and a guaranteed ticket(s). Please arrive 1/2 hour early. Tickets will also be available.

Marco Benevento Announces North American Tour Dates

Marco Benevento has announced North American tour dates in support of his forthcoming new album, Between The Needles & Nightfall. The Brooklyn-based pianist leads his trio for the majority of a 29-night headline run that includes a handful of April appearances surrounding the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and May dates on the East Coast and Midwest that are capped off by a hometown show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom.

In June, Benevento works a double shift over three nights in the Northwest playing with both his Trio and Surprise Me Mr. Davis. He'll conclude the month with a string of Canadian jazz festivals, including a solo piano performance at Chapelle historique du Bon Pasteur as part of the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Between The Needles & Nightfall hits stores May 11 on vinyl, CD and download via The Royal Potato Family.  A free mp3 download of the album's lead track, "It Came From You," is available now at marcobenevento.com.

Upcoming MARCO BENEVENTO Dates:

April 2 | Parima | Burlington, VT (Solo)
April 21 | Bennie's Boom Boom Room | Hattiesburg, MS (MB & Friends)
April 23 | Tipitina's French Quarter | New Orleans, LA (MB & Friends)
April 24 | Tipitina's French Quarter | New Orleans, LA (w/ The Slip & Suprise Me Mr. Davis)
April 28 | Megalomaniac's Ball at Howlin' Wolf | New Orleans, LA
May 2 | Hi Ho Lounge | New Orleans, LA
May 5 | The Space | Portland, ME
May 6 | The Stone Church | Newmarket, NH
May 7 | Main Pub | Manchester, CT
May 8 | RISD | Providence, RI
May 9 | Parima | Burlington, VT
May 12 | The Hideaway | Louisville, KY
May 13 | Southgate House | Newport, KY
May 14 | Martyr's | Chicago, IL
May 15 | Wilbert's | Cleveland, OH
May 16 | Club Cafe | Pittsburgh, PA
May 19 | The Nightcat | Easton, MD
May 20 | 8x10 | Baltimore, MD (w/ Xylos)
May 21 | North Star | Philadelphia, PA (w/ Xylos)
May 22 | Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY (w/ Xylos)
June 16 | Sellersville Theater | Sellersville, PA (w/ American Babies)
June 17 | River Street Jazz Cafe | Wilkes Barre, PA
June 18 | The Big Up Festival | Ghent, NY
June 24 | Tractor Tavern | Seattle, WA (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
June 25 | Doug Fir Lounge | Portland, OR (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
June 26 | Axe & Fiddle | Cottage Grove, OR (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
June 27 | Winnipeg Jazz Festival | Winnipeg, Canada
June 28 | Montreal Jazz Festival | Montreal, Canada (Solo)
June 29 | Toronto Jazz Festival | Toronto, Canada