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UK Sensation Israel Nash Gripka Releases Sophomore Album Today

Singer/songwriter Israel Nash Gripka releases his sophomore album entitled Barn Doors & Concrete Floors TODAY, March 29, 2011. Building on the success of his debut release, New York Town (2009), Gripka is poised to increase his fan base both stateside and abroad. In fact, strong buzz for the upcoming release in the UK, lead UNCUT Magazine to include a track from the new album on their March cover mount.

In addition to a new record, the Ozark native has been passionately supporting Food for Thought a program created by his mother. Across 29 counties in southwest Missouri, children often go home to an empty dinner plate. Many of these children rely on school meals alone for their daily nutrition. In the Pierce City school system where Gripka grew up, 71% of children qualify for free or reduced lunches. Food for Thought was established to help by providing the most at-risk children with backpacks filled with healthy, easy open foods to eat over the weekends. “It is such a great program,” says Gripka. “I’m honored to help give back to my hometown and help kids in need.” In addition to working with his mother to obtain donations, Gripka is working on a music festival this summer to raise money for the program.

Multiple tours in the US and Europe, growing recognition as a songwriter and new philanthropic endeavors, the last two years left Gripka with renewed passion. He set out to write new songs, with new sounds and new ideas from these experiences. The nostalgic and uplifting record starts off with the reflective, harmonica infused, “Fools Gold.” It then slips into the bittersweet ache of “Goodbye Ghost” and UNCUT’s March cover mount “Baltimore” before settling into the flirty “Red Dress.”

Harkening back to the days of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Gripka’s vision was to record in a studio that was, in fact, not a studio at all. In the heart of a dusty, old barn nestled deep in the Catskill Mountains, Gripka, along with co-producer/drummer Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) and a merry band of musicians, created the highly anticipated follow up. “I really wanted to capture sounds that no other place could create,” says Gripka. “I wanted to throw away clocks, avoid set hours, eat around a big table for dinner and sit around a warm fire at night. The idea was to create an environment where nothing else really mattered except making music.”

Gripka presents a musical experience that is both old and new. In an almost conflicting manner, Gripka uses his upbringing as the son of a southern Baptist minister to contrast the realities of his life through music. From drinking to praying, from churches to county jails and from sorrow to revival, his songs are stories and reflections that kick like classic Rock N’ Roll all while pining with the heart of Americana roots, complete with undertones of soul trampled country, and gospel choirs.

The 11 track record plays like a vinyl relic you might find in your parent’s basement. “When artists make records that are unencumbered by regimented schedules,” says Gripka. “And you turn off contact from the outside world and really reflect, you can hear that in the recording.” Listeners will hear it loud and clear on Barn Doors & Concrete Floors.

For more information about Israel Nash Gripka, to purchase the album or donate to Food for Thought visit www.israelgripka.com.

My Morning Jacket Announce Summer US Dates

In celebration of their new album, Circuital, My Morning Jacket are proud to announce a series of concerts at venues they have handpicked to debut their new music.  Circuital is out this summer on ATO Records. The band will embark on a North American tour in support of the release beginning in June, and more dates will be announced soon.  With this album, the band recorded almost everything live together to allow for warmth and spontaneity. Tickets go on pre-sale to fans Wednesday, March 23rd and on sale to the public on Saturday, March 26th.  The band will donate $1 from every ticket sold from these dates to charity.

The group is also in week three of their “T5 Countdown” to Circuital, where they release a live track from each of their Terminal 5 shows this past October.  Head over to mymorningjacket.com to download “One Big Holiday” as performed on 10/21/2010, and to sign up for the rest of the songs.  After the fifth and final Terminal 5 track is released, the following week will see the debut of a new song from the forthcoming new album.

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My Morning Jacket Tour Dates:
$1 from each ticket will be donated to a local charity | Go to www.mymorningjacket.com for more details

6/17 - Auditorium Theatre (Chicago, IL)
6/22 - Pantages Theatre (Los Angeles, CA)
6/24 - Fox Theater (Oakland, CA)
6/26 - Paramount Theatre (Seattle, WA)
6/28 - Edgefield (Portland, OR)
6/29 - Orpheum (Vancouver, BC)
7/11 - Kool Haus (Toronto, ON)
7/12 - Metropolis (Montreal, QC)
8/04 - Red Rocks (Morrison, CO)

The Wailers and Duane Stephenson: Two Reggae Powerhouses in Aspen

The Wailers, the world’s most celebrated reggae group in the world, are getting back to their roots with their new 3-singer line-up when they embark on their 2011 U.S. Tour.  The new line-up includes Yvad, Koolant and Danglin as well as original member and the band’s musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett. The band will be using the tour to bring attention to their new single “A Step For Mankind“ which was written by Duane Stephenson specifically for the World Food Programme.  They will be donating unused funds from the band’s hospitality riders directly to the United Nations’ World Food Program to help stop world hunger.

“A Step for Mankind,” recorded in Jamaica specifically for Oniric Records’ Solution for Dreamers: Season 3 is the band’s first studio song in more than 16 years. The band has been supporting the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) efforts to eradicate hunger throughout the world.  The new song calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers are one of the most successful reggae bands of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. Wailers’ bass player Aston “Familyman” Barrett is recognized throughout the world as the architect of reggae.  A revered innovator, he joined The Wailers in 1969, quickly becoming singer-songwriter Bob Marley’s right-hand man and musical director. On record and on stage, his inimitable style became an essential part of the Wailers’ sound. Following Marley’s death in 1981, “Fams” took the reins as the band’s leader, spearheading performances to adoring crowds the world over, as well as the band’s involvement with the fight against global hunger.

Duane Stephenson recognized one of reggae’s most talented sons, is promoting the release of his latest album, “Black Gold”, and is joining the tour as special guest. This is Stephenson’s sophomore album, following the top-selling “August Town”.  He is also the writer behind “A Step for Mankind” which he will be performing on tour with the Wailers at each performance.  His new 15-track studio album with 14 original songs and is riding high in the charts sees Stephenson working with legendary reggae producer, Dean Fraser, the mastermind behind the majority of production on Black Gold.

Black Gold encompasses Stephenson's growth mentally, emotionally, and musically. From ballads to roots reggae, his musical skills and heartfelt sentiments on this album will resonate with reggae fans and be sure to gain him new ones. Such is the quality of Black Gold , Steve 'Flash' Juon of Rapreviews.com raves that “...so powerful is his vocal tone and the diaphragm which pushes it out over the microphone that almost every word will make perfect sense to even the most jaded listener who thinks they can't understand Caribbean music...”

“A Step for Mankind” calls for world unity and strength to support the ongoing struggle against world hunger. The band is joined on the track by the Wailers’ new singer Koolant, a fresh talent from the heart of St. Thomas known for blazing a positive future for reggae music with his work. The track also introduces Dr Dre protégé Bishop Lamont, an up-and-coming rapper, who contributes a magical flow in the track’s breakdown.  Graced by the Wailers’ undeniably distinctive groove, “A Step for Mankind” is a small taste of more music forthcoming from the legendary group.

Formed in Jamaica in the late 1960s, The Wailers have gone on to become the most successful reggae band of all time, selling 250 million albums, and playing live to an estimated 24 million people worldwide. The Wailers’ leader and musical director Aston “Familyman” Barrett, helped forge the template for reggae with his booming, thunderous bass patterns. But more than just a bass player, Family Man was also the right-hand man of former band leader Bob Marley. He also played a large part in arranging Marley’s songs and co-produced a number of the late icon’s albums and even taught Marley how to play guitar. This year celebrates Familyman’s fortieth year with The Wailers.

“For more than forty years, The Wailers have been about spreading a positive message to our audiences,” says Fams. “With the World Food Programme’ campaign, we want to get the word out beyond the audience – so even if these people can’t feel it musically, they can feel it spiritually. I can’t think of a better way to give thanks for forty years in the Wailers than giving back to the people.”

The Wailers continue their relentless touring schedule bringing their message of peace and “one love” to their audiences worldwide.  They will be spreading their message throughout the U.S. in 2011.

“A Step for Mankind” is available at iTunes with ALL proceeds from the song going towards the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) to help stop world hunger.

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Tour Dates:

29 March-New Earth Music Hall, Athens, GA

30 March-Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, TN

31 March-Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

1 April-The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA

2 April-Lake Worth Reggae Fest, Lake Worth, FL

4 April-Vinyl Music Hall, Pensacola, FL

5 April-Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

6 April-Granada Theater, Dallas, TX

8 April-Sunshine Theater, Albuquerque, NM

9 April-Belly Up, Aspen, CO

10 April-Steamboat Springs Ski Area, Steamboat Springs, CO

12 May-Cox Capital Theatre, Macon, GA

13 May-House of Blues, Lake Buena Vista, FL

14 May-House of Blues, N. Myrtle Beach, SC

17 May-Kelly’s, Nags Head, NC

19 May-Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe, PA

20 May-Chesapeake Jubilee Festival, Chesapeake, VA

21 May-Recher Theatre, Towson, MD

28 May-World Café @ The Queen, Wilmington, DE

22 July-Sessions Music & Food Fest, Salem, OR

24 July-Alyeska Resort, Girdwood, AK

28 July-Wanderlust Festival, Lake Tahoe, CA

6 August-Gaia Festival, Laytonville, CA

CHRISTY & EMILY: TALK NORMAL

For Christy & Emily, these songs are a preview of their newer sound with bass (Pete Kerlin) and drums (Kristin Mueller). Later in the spring of 2011, Christy & Emily will be heading to the Faust Studio in southern Germany to record a new full-length album with this quartet. They are happy with the way the band allows them to expand sonically. The extra track on the digital download card is a song by Oakley Hall, called “Endtime Evangelist,” off of their first self-titled album on Bulb (four years before they signed to Merge). This song has been strong on Emily's mind for half a decade, only coming out as a cover that the duo has been performing live in the last year.
Talk Normal's "Hurricane" is a soaring narrative piece. Lead by drummer Andrya Ambro's melodic lead vocal and buffeted by guitarist Sarah Register's harmonies, "Hurricane" is a sing-a-long story told with humility, grace & pleasing cacophony. Conceptual references range from U.S. Girls to Meredith Monk to Tears For Fears to The Velvet Underground – yet the sound is all their own, with an ebbing structure that carries the imagination through a manic ocean of soundscapes, wildly complex and still simple enough to be howled at the moon.
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Track List:
Side A
Christy & Emily - “Bells”
Side B
Talk Normal - “Hurricane”
*Digital download cards will include an extra Christy & Emily track, “Endtime Evangelist”
Christy & Emily is:
Emily Manzo - electric piano
Christy Edwards - guitar
Peter Kerlin - bass
Kristin Mueller - drums

Non-Traditional Reggae Artist Finding Increasingly Diverse Audience

As MC Zulu continues to establish his non-traditional Reggae/Dancehall style, radio stations and sponsors alike are falling into place. His “Crowd Control” EP made an impressive debut at #24 on CMJs Hip-Hop charts, and is now being added to the World and RPM categories.

MC Zulu’s sound has proved most attractive to music supervisors as well. His song “Higher Velocity” with producer BIONIK can be heard as part of Puma’s Faas Lab campaign. The commercial features a verse from Hip-Hop luminary Aceyalone, and a cameo by Fastest Man in the World, Usain Bolt.

Zulu also recently licensed the acappella version of his song “No Lies” for a remix competition with world-renowned producer Dub Gabriel. The competition was sponsored by Akai, Ableton and Dubspot. Another track, “Lose Control” with Kush Arora has been licensed by Tapulous for the popular Riddim Ribbon iPhone app.

When questioned about his unusually high profile ventures, Zulu explains that as rejections from record labels piled up, his resolve increased. He has headlined tours and amassed his fan base one by one, in such contrasting regions of the world as Israel, Slovakia and Australia. The “Crowd Control” full length entitled “Electro Track Therapy” is due in stores later this year.

Umphrey's McGee Collaborates with Patagonia for Environment

Patagonia Inc., the environmentally minded apparel company, and some of music’s most talented artists, including Umphrey’s McGee have come together to form the Patagonia Music Collective. The Patagonia Music Collective will launch Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at www.patagonia.com/music.

The collective brings together musicians, fans and grassroots environmental groups to raise funds for environmental causes. Artists, such as Umphrey’s McGee, have donated unreleased tracks that will be sold for $.99 with net proceeds going directly to the artist’s favorite environmental group. Visit www.patagonia.com/music for details.

Umphrey’s McGee has donated, “Hajimemashite”, a previously unreleased track, to benefit Climate Cycle.

“Patagonia is honored to have Umphrey’s McGee as a part of the Patagonia Music Collective,” notes Rob BonDurant, Patagonia’s VP of Marketing, “We’ve been stunned at the graciousness of artists like Umphrey’s McGee who so readily jumped at the chance to introduce their fans to an enviro cause they support. We’re so hopeful that fans will not only purchase this track, but learn about the work Climate Cycle is doing.”

The tracks will be available at www.patagonia.com/music, through a dedicated iPhone® app and a web widget player on participating artist’s websites. Fulfillment will be handled by iTunes®.

Patagonia views the “collective” as a new model for green giving, as well as a way to engage a non-Patagonia demographic in environmental activism. The Patagonia Music Collective will launch with 24 tracks with additional tracks released each subsequent week from established acts and emerging artists. Exclusive compilation records and more will be available at varying intervals at Patagonia stores worldwide.

Other musicians on board thus far include Jack Johnson, Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt and Jon Cleary, Maroon 5, Philip Glass, Zac Brown Band, moe., the Bad Plus, Blitzen Trapper, Mason Jennings, John Scofield, Piers Faccini, Switchfoot, Brett Dennen, Ky-Mani Marley, Sun Kil Moon, Ben Solee, Ra Ra Riot, Spoek Mathambo, Taj Mahal, Toad the Wet Sprocket, the Drive-By Truckers, Bobby Long, The String Cheese Incident, Ki: Theory, Moondoggies, Vusi Mahlesela, Disco Biscuits, O.A.R., Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Dawes, Abigail Washburn, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Brandi Carlile and many more.

The Patagonia MusicTM Collective is not a record label. Artists are simply donating tracks for a sustainable music initiative that benefits the environment. Patagonia is providing a platform for artists to participate in a larger effort to increase awareness of both the enviro groups and causes artists would like to support and the music/artists associated with Patagonia Music.

"Triple Ripple," An Experimental Play With The Bleak Contrasts Between Jazz And Rock

Progressive Jazz Fusion artist Anders Helmerson has released the title track, "Triple Ripple" from his third and groundbreaking new CD, available for purchase at iTunes.

"Triple Ripple" is no ordinary song according to Helmerson. As well as being the main track from the album, "Triple Ripple" is a combination of three songs all merged into one. "This particular track has more of a rock flavor to it than any other on the CD. It's a form of experimental play with the bleak contrasts between jazz and rock. The key was striking a balance between the two. The first part is an overture that builds up to a dramatic crescendo, while the second part transitions into the part three, which is the main theme of the song. Part three starts with a Rush inspired hard rock type of melody that gives the song a solid spine as more jazzy parts begin to evolve, and it continues to toggle between Jazz and rock."

He continued, "Triple Ripple" is a demonstration of the world's most spectacular drummer Marco Minneman and his ability to make it all sounds easy and fluent. But the fact is, what he is doing here, nobody else could do. Marco was recently touted to be the natural replacement for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theatre, but I am keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that he'll choose to stay with me."

The Anders Electric Jazz Rock sound delivers an eleven minute expansion piece with Triple Ripple, which has majestic classic synth sounds. The mix is bright and the bell tones have a serious tone. The first section features two ideas that show the flexibility of the band with harmony and time figures. The breakdown features all keys playing in triple meter with synth choral textures and flickering arpeggiated lines. The composition sets up for an extensive analog synth solo. The bass and the drums are all exceptional and keep up with an exhaustive range of breakdowns and accented hits throughout. This is serious electronic jazz rock!

"Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing." MusicDish

Born in Sweden in February 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970's, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, "The End of Illusion," in 1981. The album's lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship's doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, "Fields Of Inertia" on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.

Scattered Trees Premiere Live “A Conversation” Video

Today, Chicago’s Scattered Trees premiered their live video for “A Conversation About Death on New Years Eve” on My Old Kentucky Blog. Click here to watch the video on MOKB or check out the video on YouTube. The track is also available as a free Mp3 download HERE (feel free to post and share). The video for “A Conversation” is a glimpse of Scattered Trees’ live performances that the band honed playing around Chicago. The group has also announced a series of new dates, including a new SXSW showcase on March 18th at The Ghost Room as a part of The NAIL/The MuseBox SXSW Day Party.

The band’s upcoming performances lead up to the release of Scattered Trees’ latest record Sympathy, which will be released on April 5th via Roll Call Records/EMI. The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Opening with “Bury the Floors,” lead singer Nate Eiesland sings “It’s the house that I built you to fall / We started to walk then we stood up to crawl / So bury the floors and burn down the walls / to find ourselves by morning.” Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

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Scattered Trees Upcoming Tour Dates:
1/21 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas
2/26 - New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
3/3 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas
3/5 - Minneaoplis, MN @ Cause
3/18 - Austin, TX @ The Ghost Room (NAIL/The MuseBox SXSW Day Party)

DATAROCK Announce The Most Extravagant Single in History

They’ve done everything from tearing the roof off Coachella to playing Yo Gabba Gabba and now DATROCK will release “Catcher in the Rye”, the most extravagant single in history on March 21! The single will come as a designer toy with a USB stick that features 110 tracks, 1500 photos taken at their shows in 33 countries, 20 music videos, and Never Say Die a brand new hour-long concert film. The single will also be released as a digital 5 track EP. The USB features the EP, the new album Music For Synchronization, both of their previous albums with bonus tracks, the new Lost and Found b-sides and rarities compilation, 15 new instrumentals, and the 40 track remix album Mixed Up. The toy was created by Brian Flynn at Hybrid Design and San Francisco based pioneer company SUPER7. The band are offering the song “Catcher in the Rye” as a free MP3 which premiered on SPIN.com.  Download it here!

For the past decade Norway’s DATAROCK have melded indie dance, new wave, pop, and funk into a custom sound responsible for a steady stream of unforgettable tracks and performances.  “Catcher in the Rye” is the band at their best, instantly memorable and insanely fun.  The single takes their adventurous pop to the next level.

DATAROCK are a festival favorite in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. Their 2008 performance at Coachella drew twice the amount of people as the tent’s capacity! The band will be launching a world tour in support of “the most extravagant single in history” so be sure to join in on the madness!

Tahiti 80 to Tour US in March

French sextet Tahiti 80 are gearing up to release their new full-length, The Past, The Present & The Possible, but first the ever-prolific group will drop the Darlin EP on January 31st (both will be released on their own label, Human Sounds).  The band is offering one of the EP’s track for free, a banging remix of “Darlin” by Detroit-based producer Jimmy Edgar, who has released music on Warp Records and K7 Records.  If you didn’t catch the premiere at About.com: Dance Music/Electronica, click HERE to stream/download the track.  You can also catch them on the road on a brief US tour this March, when the band hits Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Tahiti 80 whip up a danceable mix of live instrumentation and electronic sounds filled with breezy melodies and intoxicating grooves.  The band’s debut album, Puzzle, was released by Minty Fresh in the U.S. in 1999, and was critically acclaimed as a refreshingly upbeat nod to late 60s West Coast pop (particularly the Beach Boys). The album also placed Tahiti 80 squarely in the center of the  “French Pop Invasion” that was hitting the U.S., along with fellow French bands Phoenix and Air (most notably).  The band has been relentlessly productive ever since, having released an astounding ten EP’s  and The Past, The Present & The Possiblemarking their sixth full-length album.

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Tahiti 80 US Tour Dates:

03/09: Chicago, IL @ The Abbey (11:30 PM)
03/10, New York, NY @  Mercury Lounge (11:00 PM)
03/13:  San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop (10:45 PM)
03/14:  Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour (10:00 PM)