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Thomas Dolby's first new studio album in 20 years

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arlo Guthrie & Reed Foehl @ Boulder Theater

On April 20, eTown welcomes legendary artist Arlo Guthrie and up-and-coming Colorado musician Reed Foehl for a two-hour live taping. Folk music icon Arlo Guthrie will make his fifth visit to eTown, on the heels of his Journey On tour. And, Colorado-based singer/songwriter Reed Foehl, a storyteller in his own right, will perform material from his most recent release: "Once an Ocean."

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Check out some earlier Arlo coverage on The Grateful Web.

Ex-Kumbia Kingz / All Starz Frontmen, Ricky Rick & DJ Kane Form New Group 'LA FORMULA'

Grammy award winning artists Ricky Rick & DJ Kane, formerly members of The Kumbia Kingz and Kumbia All Starz, have united their artistic talents to form a new and much needed Kumbia Fusion group called ‘La Formula’. This dynamic duo is currently in the midst of producing and recording their debut alum also called ‘La Formula’ and which is being released on indie label, The Art Of Sound Group. The first single released off their debut album is “Contigo Me Voy”, a danceable fun track with ballad like lyrics, which was released on 1/1/11. The song is destined to become a sensational hit as its popularity with DJ’s across the country is rapidly rising causing its fast climb on radio charts and digital sales worldwide including, Asia, a usually uncharted territory. The song, written and Produced by Grammy & ASCAP Award winning production team Robert “Bobbo” Gomez III & Emilio “YEYO” Cancio-Bello, blends upbeat Kumbia beats with influences of pop, hip hop and dancehall style raggae. The video for the single was recently shot in Las Vegas, Nevada by Director Zues Ali who also directed the famous Lil Wayne Mini Movie. The video illustrates a warm tropical feel of summer, dancing and all around good time, which is in tune with the danceable rhythms set to the love story based lyrics.

This newly formed team are the creative minds behind hits like “Mami”, “Rica y Apretadita”, Por ti baby”, “Shhhhh”, “No tengo dinero” and many other international hits and came together after the recent rupture of the Kumbia All Starz (formerly known as Kumbia Kingz). It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and in the eyes of these talented artists and their innovative producers it was necessary to bring back the genre with new faces, new beats and a whole re-invention to electrify their public. When asked why they chose the name ‘La Formula’ as the name of their new band, they responded “Because putting us together was like a secret formula for great music and a new twist on the Kumbia-Pop genre”. Most recently the group was selected to perform at the prestigious SXSW Festival at the Barbella Patio Stage on Saturday, March 19th and will be performing at the Latin Billboard Conference. Together, they have sold over 20 million copies and have toured through the US, Central and South America as well as performed in major events including Premios Lo Nuestro, Latin Billboards and many more.

Art Of Sound is an indie music bi-lingual label based in Miami and headed by Grammy nominated and ASCAP award winning producer and writer, Emilio “Yeyo” Cancio-Bello. Art of Sound is based on the concept that music is the universal force that bounds cultures together and that language and geography is never a boundary for creativity.

Heavyweight Dub Champion & Mr. Anonymous @ Boulder Theatre

Heavyweight Dub Champion Founded in a log cabin at 9,000 feet in the mountains of Colorado, and now based in San Francisco, California, Heavyweight Dub Champion is a movement of interdimensional warriors representing the Army of the Last Champion. Firmly rooted in hip hop, dancehall, dub and electronic music, and performed on more than 50 channels of vintage analog and digital gear, HDC has gained much notoriety and a growing following from its high-intensity and visually captivating live performances. Founder and Last Champion Manifesto author Resurrector transcends space and time wielding an arsenal of deep revolutionary audio with support from a revolving crew of co-conspirators that include Totter Todd, Dr. Israel, A.P.O.S.T.L.E., Jillian Ann, MC Azeem and Stero-Lion. At the collective's core is the universal intention of inspiration, mind expansion and transformation through creative expression - all of which manifests in their collective artistic performance known as The Liberation Process.

Mr. Anonymous a.k.a. Jeep Macnichol started his music career as founding member and drummer of the Colorado based pop/jam band The Samples. For a decade, his musical journey included 6 national album releases, national touring for 9 months a year in every venue imaginable in every state, sharing the stage with Sting, Dave Mathews, Steel pulse, Flaming Lips, The Wailers, Sonic Youth, Blues traveler, the Horde tour, and a performance on the Jay Leno show. After 10 years, Macnichol decided it was time to follow new creative endeavors and dive into his love of Jamaican dancehall and reggae music.

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Thomas Dolby's 'Oceana' breaks 20-year silence

Reclusive solo artist Thomas Dolby is preparing to break his 20-year silence with a brand new studio album, A Map of the Floating City, due out this summer. But first, on March 28, Thomas is releasing Oceanea, a three-track EP filled with soaring melodies, intriguing storytelling and vividly cinematic textures. Featuring guest vocals by Eddi Reader, Oceanea sees a return to Dolby’s melodic and atmospheric roots. “The new songs are organic and very personal,” explains Dolby. “The songs on Oceanea are a reflection of my natural home on the windswept English coastline.” These days he writes and records aboard a solar and wind-powered 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his beach house in East Anglia.

Now living back in his native U.K. after 25 successful years in the U.S., Dolby is busy completing A Map of the Floating City, which features appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Eddi Reader, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap. Says Thomas, “This album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. What I do best is write songs, tell stories.”

Thomas Dolby’s impressive recording and production career now stretches over 30 years. His commercial breakthrough came with the 1982 release of his very first album, The Golden Age of Wireless, which featured the hit “She Blinded Me With Science.” Go back a year and Dolby’s innovative synthesizer work was already making its mark: Foreigner’s massive hit single “Waiting for a Girl Like You” with its weaving synth intro — Dolby’s work. Cue 1983 and Thomas Dolby is guesting on Def Leppard’s Pyromania album. In the same year he appears as producer for U.S. rap wonders Whodini, who release an absolute B Boy classic with “Magic’s Wand.” 1984 saw the release of Dolby’s second album, the expansive masterwork The Flat Earth, which alongside Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring (1986) raised the artistic bar considerably. The Flat Earth featured Dolby’s biggest single success, “Hyperactive!,” a fine piece of pop-art funk that was originally written for Michael Jackson. (It still sounds like the eccentric English cousin of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit.”) The 12” released in the U.K. on the collectable Parlophone Odeon label is treasured amongst beat-head DJs.

From 1985-1992, Thomas Dolby released two more albums — collaborating with George Clinton on the bold Aliens Ate My Buick and 1991’s Astronauts and Heretics, which featured Grateful Dead supremo Jerry Garcia alongside Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Budgie. In addition to his solo output, Dolby produced Prefab Sprout (the classic Prefab albums Steve McQueen and Jordan: The Comeback), Joni Mitchell (Dog Eat Dog), appeared with David Bowie at Live Aid, was part of the all-star cast in Roger Waters’ 1990 “The Wall: Live in Berlin” concert, and performed at the Grammys® with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock.

Dolby quit the music business in the early ’90s and spent many years in Silicon Valley, where he founded tech company Beatnik Inc. and co-invented the polyphonic ringtone synthesizer embedded in more than two billion Nokia mobile phones. In 2001 he became Musical Director of the TED Conference, an annual event in Long Beach, California that attracts some of the world’s foremost thinkers, inventors, and speakers. In this capacity he provides live musical introductions to sessions, sometimes with an eclectic TED House Band, as well as helping secure guest musicians and entertainers for the event. At last year’s conference, Dolby was joined onstage by David Byrne for an inspiring performance of Talking Heads’ “(Nothing But) Flowers.”

Following his involvement in Beatnik Inc., Dolby returned to his musical career and the live arena in 2006. Dates in the U.S., an appearance at O2 in Hyde Park, and a triumphant night at London’s Scala reaffirmed this performer’s importance on the big stage. A 2007 appearance at America’s SXSW festival was followed by a string of further U.K. shows and in 2009 EMI released The Singular Thomas Dolby, which brought together all of Thomas’s great singles on one ace compilation. In 2010 Dolby released Amerikana, a download-only EP exclusive to his online community, The Flat Earth Society. A particular highlight is the richly atmospheric “17 Hills” featuring some virtuoso guitar from Mark Knopfler. Along with Oceanea, these EPs help consolidate Dolby’s fanatical online fan base while previewing music from his upcoming album.

Thomas Dolby has created a further way for fans to get early access to his new material in the shape of an extraordinary social network-based game, The Floating City, to be launched this spring via Facebook, Twitter, and The Flat Earth Society. By building a post-apocalyptic, barter-based trading culture around the objects and places named in Dolby’s songs, solving puzzles related to his lyrics, and discovering clues embedded in unique remixes, players will be able to win a sneak peek of other new songs from the album, as well tickets for a private one-off concert this Summer at which he will perform the new album in its entirety.

Nathan Moore | West Coast Tour + New Releases

Nathan Moore will support ALO on ten West Coast dates during their 5th annual Tour d’Amour in February. The tour will begin on February 9 in San Luis Obispo, include a headline appearance on February 16 in Arcata, CA and conclude on February 20 in Crystal Bay, NV. Moore has also left a week open on his West Coast schedule for a spontaneous Hippy Fiasco Rides Again run. Moore envisioned the concept last summer where he takes requests from fans to play living rooms, backyards, parks or "anywhere interesting," as word spreads about the unannounced performances through social media. Fans can request shows at Moore's website (nathanmoore.org) or by calling the Hippy Fiasco hotline (805.443.2423).

The Staunton, VA-based singer-songwriter's latest album, Dear Puppeteer, was released today by Brooklyn-based indie label, Royal Potato Family.

Upcoming Nathan Moore Tour Dates:

2/09 | SLO Brewing Co | San Luis Obispo, CA (w/ ALO)
2/10 | Belly Up | Solana Beach, CA (w/ ALO)
2/11 | Troubadour | West Hollywood, CA (w/ ALO)
2/12 | Saint Rocke | Hermosa Beach, CA (w/ ALO)
2/13 | SOhO | Santa Barbara, CA (w/ ALO)
2/16 | Humboldt Brews | Arcata, CA
2/17 | Moe's Alley | Santa Cruz, CA (w/ ALO)
2/18 | Hopmonk | Sebastopol, CA (w/ ALO)
2/19 | Harlow’s | Sacramento, CA (w/ ALO)
2/20 | Crystal Bay Casino | Crystal Bay, NV (w/ ALO)
3/19 | SXSW | Austin, TX
3/23 | The Bell House | Brooklyn, NY (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
3/25 & 3/26 | Suwannee Springfest | Live Oak, FL (w/ Surprise Me Mr. Davis)
6/2-6/5 | Mountain Jam | Hunter, NY

Afor-Zep & 56 Hope Road @ the Fox Theatre

Z2 Entertainment is proud to present Afro-Zep & 56 Hope Road at the Fox Theatre on Friday, February 11th.

AfroZep is a collective of Chicago musicians that assemble a few times a year to tour- performing a set of all Led Zeppelin tunes but re-done in the style of Afrobeat and Afropop. Some tunes are straight mash-ups of Fela Kuti and Zeppelin; others are Zep tunes but set to original grooves based off the music of artists such as Tinariwen, Thomas Mapfumo and Franco; and others are stripped down arrangements with tons of added traditional African drumming, like their take on 'When the Levee Breaks' which incorporates a rhythm of Malinke decent, called Soli. Arrangements such as this show how the roots of Plant and Page's songwriting can be traced even further back to the roots of blues music itself. The members of AfroZep have toured and recorded with various artists, such as: Chicago Afrobeat Project, 56 Hope Road, Starrunner, 1000 Vertical Feet, the Motet, Seneke West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, among many other of gospel, big band, jazz, rock and drumming ensembles based out of Chicago. Due to the rigorous schedules of its performers, the Afro-Zep is not a full time project and the band only tours a few times a year.  With their first tour taking place in Nov 2009 the band has already traveled to Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado.

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56 Hope Road is a band bonded like a family, and as a result, their music has an unmistakable honesty and openness. Uncanny, intuitive communication creates an easy interplay on stage, making even the most layered tunes sound effortless. They allow the joy of spontaneous creativity to color their song-based arrangements - neither losing their musical center, nor restricting its growth. The music is acoustic funk at its finest with sounds reminiscent of G-Love and Special Sauce, Richie Havens, MMW, Grateful Dead, Paul Simon and Gomez. This Chicago-based “acoustic funk explosion” is known for clever songwriting, lush vocal harmonies and one of the tightest rhythm sections on the scene. Formed in 1999, 56 Hope Road is made up of vocalist/guitarist Dave Hamilton, drummer Greg Fundis, upright bassist Chad Sanders, saxophonist Casey Fitzpatrick, and often augmented by vocalist Anne Katzfey, and percussionist Matt Katzfey.

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Tickets are on sale at Fox Theatre Box Office. Call (303) 443-3399 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.foxtheatre.com.

$7 adv / $9 dos

Tickets On Sale – Friday January 21st!

Stockholm Syndrome @ the Fox Theatre | 2/26/11

Bill Bass & Boulder Weekly are proud to present Stockholm Syndrome at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, February 26th.

Stockholm Syndrome is made up of an all-star cast. When Widespread Panic bass player Dave Schools and acclaimed singer/songwriter Jerry Joseph of the Jackmormons decided to collaborate, each initially thought the side project would be a cool, if temporary, change of pace. With one studio album released, a new studio album set for release in early 2011 and multiple tours behind them, Stockholm Syndrome has transcended being just a side project. Stockholm Syndrome is a band.

The band’s unusual choice for a name, Stockholm Syndrome, refers to the psychological phenomenon in which a hostage bonds with his kidnappers. It seemed an apt moniker for the pair’s somewhat convoluted relationship. Now all Schools and Joseph needed was a band.

They put together their “Dream Team” including Eric McFadden (a San Francisco-based guitarist who has worked with Keb Mo’, Les Claypool and George Clinton’s P-Funk All Stars), Danny Louis (an Upstate NY based keyboard virtuoso widely known for his role in Gov’t Mule and Cheap Trick) and drummer Wally Ingram (an L.A.-based drummer who has worked with Jackson Browne, Sheryl Crow, Tracy Chapman and David Lindley). All three musicians were on board and are now back for more live dates, an in-store recording for release and a pending studio album.

Stockholm Syndrome is ready to serve up its potent brew of provocative songs and thrilling, genre-transcending musicianship to worldwide audiences. Schools is already contemplating the future, “We’ll take it as far as it wants to go. I think that everyone is really enjoying playing together…it ceased to be a recording project and became a band.”

There aren’t many bands with the ability to hit the ground running the way Stockholm Syndrome did. And now that they’re launched, they show no sign of slowing down soon.

Check out Stockholm Syndrome Online:

HOWARD LEVY HARMONICA SCHOOL

The Howard Levy Harmonica School online has appreciatively received a warm and enthusiastic response from the harmonica playing community and student base from around the world.  The Howard Levy Harmonica School, an online video-exchange-based learning site for harmonica players created by ArtistWorks, is led by Howard Levy, arguably the world’s most prominent harmonica master. The nature of this innovative school is its appeal to players from novice to virtuoso. The range of music taught includes Blues, Jazz, Folk, World Music and more, with technical instruction in bending, overblowing, developing speed, and basic music theory to help students be able to play well in all these styles. A person can enroll in the “HLHS” a beginner, and can learn and improve rapidly to become an advanced player. The HLHS has hundreds of pre-recorded HD video lessons, with more added each week. In addition to video exchange interaction with Howard, students participate in a very active and supportive online community and help each other advance in their playing as well. Launched in December 2009, the HLHS has experienced a surge of new student enrollment and the support of top industry leaders and media.

Hohner USA has embraced the program with an exclusive offer of a “Special 20” harmonica (valued at $47) to new student members, a promotion kicking off this month, and a significant article appeared on Harmonica411.com, offering an overview of the Howard Levy Harmonica School and an in-depth look at Howard’s technique and approach to playing. The breaking news of this one-of-a-kind learning platform from the man universally acknowledged as the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player has landed students from all around the USA and Canada, as well as many international students from South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

HLHS students learn by video exchange with Howard Levy, submitting clips of their playing to Howard for his review. Howard then provides a personalized video response to the student offering guidance on mastering the lesson. The exchange between teacher and student are permanently recorded and paired on the site for the entire Harmonica School to learn from, and breaks new ground in learning a musical instrument online. Renata Yambaeva is a new student based in Russia who enrolled last month and shares, “I really like this format. The lessons are helpful, interesting and pleasant. Howard found right length of a lesson - about five minutes, it’s the perfect time. And I really appreciate Howard's sense of humor, the lessons never bore!” Tapan Bhatt, an India-based student who is also the Secretary of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat respectfully notes, “I feel I am late by many years in learning from Mr. Levy. In true spirits, I am extremely enjoying the lessons.”

“It is clear that the ArtistWorks platform is redefining online visual education,” says David Butler, ArtistWorks CEO, “the video exchange format enables worldwide student enrollment, allowing Master Class-level teaching to reach harmonica enthusiasts of all types, in all countries. The additional support of leading harmonica market contributors only reaffirms the necessity and interest of the harmonica education curriculum.”

The recent addition of “New Tune Fridays” to the HLHS presents students with one or more new song lessons with backing tracks, with a message of encouragement to try different playing techniques over it. This effort cheers students on and inspires them to play something new each week in addition to their regular lessons. Learn a new tune this Friday at the Howard Levy Harmonica School online.

The Harmonica411.com Artist Interview with Howard Levy can be viewed here.

About Artistworks:

The ArtistWorks online visual education format allows virtuoso musicians to “Teach the World” by presenting their full method, technique or curriculum in HD video to subscribing students of their sites. Simple webcams are used by the students to submit videos to the Artist through the site, for critique and guidance if they want personalized instruction. The Artists manage the video flow by using the Video Management System created and owned by ArtistWorks, Inc. (patent pending). Regardless of whether or not students participate in exchanging videos with the Artist, these “Video Exchanges” are posted for all subscribing students to learn from. This groundbreaking use of video exchange for the instruction of musical instruments has been implemented at Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute, the Qbert Skratch University, Andreas Oberg Guitar Universe, Peery Piano Online, Tony Trischka School of Banjo and Howard Levy Harmonica School. Learn more at www.ArtistWorks.com.

Trading Label for Fan-based Experiment: Ari Hest's Song a Week

Ari Hest- for the Grateful Web

In January, singer/songwriter Ari Hest launched an ambitious project to write and record a song each week of the rest of the year. Fans would then pick their favorite songs and twelve songs would be pressed into a new album. Fifty-two songs in a year would daunt many a songwriter, but for Hest it's an opportunity to showcase new work. "I have a lot of ideas," Hest says. "Music comes to me very quickly. It's the lyrics that take a while longer. I knew that that would really be the hardest part of writing this year. There are still tons of songs I still have to write. I just have to keep life interesting and keep meeting new people for inspiration."

It's not surprising that Hest is attempting this kind of project. He's been writing songs since he was in high school. "I never thought that this would end up being my career," he says.  He was writing and playing in bands for fun.  But after his last band broke up, Hest recalls, "I started to realize that I don't need a band with the music that I was writing, which was highly percussive, acoustic guitar music." He began recording his own records that didn't leave room for any other instrumentation.

Then, in 2004, he was signed by Columbia Records who decided to re-release one of his independent recordings. They remixed it and offered it to the public. That effort set a precedent for Hest. From that moment on, Hest was chasing his older material. For some artists that wouldn't be a problem, but for Hest who was constantly evolving, those label efforts jerked his creative temperament. That first recording had songs on it that were three or four years old. "I thought I was done with them, but then I had to tease myself into thinking that they were new again for the general public who still had not heard them," he recalls. "I was writing stuff in 2004 that didn't see the light of day until the Break In, which was my last CD in 2006.  It just set this cycle up where I had plenty of material all the time. It was kind of a nice problem, but at the same time it was mentally a little challenging, knowing that you are writing better songs now but you have to promote songs that you wrote a while ago. Really for me, the style of my playing changed and my thinking about what I feel is a quality song, even my singing style changed tremendously in the last three years."

Those old songs have been good to Hest. "If you go to iTunes right now and you look at what my most popular downloaded songs are," he says, "you'll find that the majority of them are old. They are songs I wrote six or seven years ago.  It almost doesn't sound like what I do now. I am proud of those songs. I think the writing, especially for my age at the time, is pretty good, but I feel that I've gone in a very different direction, one that I'm happier with now."

So, when Hest parted with Columbia, he decided to find a new way to produce his music.  He decided then to write and record current songs. But this time the songs are immediate. These weren't songs that were written months or years ago, but last week or yesterday.

But Hest realizes that even putting a song a week on a website may not be enough involvement for his fans. "We wanted to make this more interactive. We wanted to involve them as much as we could in the creative end of things," he says. "Basically, they're being my A&R people. They are telling me which songs they like the best and which songs they think that other people will like the best. I'm going to listen to them." Moreover, Hest will hire a producer to bring some cohesiveness to the album.

"Everybody needs more word of mouth networking," Hest adds. "I don't have the money to do a whole lot of publicity without a major label. I need to rely on my fans to tell their friends."

Between meeting interesting people and recording the songs those meetings generate, Hest continues to tour college campuses.