deep

Pretty Lights Launches Record Label, First Two Releases of 2011!

Fresh off an incredibly successful year, Derek Vincent Smith (aka Pretty Lights) is ready to give his fans a gift to start the New Year off right- the announcement of his own record label, Pretty Lights Music, which will release free new music in early 2011. Derek’s objectives are simple- he wants to supply his fans, and fans of electronic music at large, with free music from the artists he believes in and supports.

Today, he’s thrilled to announce two new digital releases (in addition to Michael Menert) on Pretty Lights Music, both due out January 25th. Break Science will be releasing their new EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, and Paper Diamond will be dropping his debut EP, Levitate.

Raised in the cultural hotbed of New York City, Break Science's Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee fuse the city's rich musical legacy- jazz, funk & soul, with a deep-rooted connection to its hip-hop heritage to create their own take on modern electronic music. Break Science's  EP, Further Than Our Eyes Can See, consists of thought-provoking, highly-textured, bass-pumping songs that include verses from some of today's most conscious artists: Brooklyn's Talib Kweli and Jahdan Blakkamoore, Sierra Leone's Bajah and India's Falu. In addition to Break Science, Adam Deitch also doubles as Pretty Lights’ touring drummer.

Colorado based producer Alex B is rolling out big tunes under the new guise of Paper Diamond in 2011. The Paper Diamond sound has raw energy and the kind of dramatic anticipation only a seasoned producer can incite. Driving beats and bass grab on tight while deep, rich tones rumble under layers of spacey synthesizers, sweet melodies, and catchy vocals. Paper Diamond's debut EP, Levitate, will be available for free download via Pretty Lights Music on January 25, 2011.

Both EP's Available FREE via Pretty Lights Music on January 25, 2011

Download Paper Diamond’s MP3 “From Now Till” HERE, and Break Science’s MP3 “Zion Station” HERE!

BRAIDS Announce North American 2011 Winter Tour

BRAIDS was formed by four best friends in their last year of High School in Calgary, Alberta. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters. Then, at only 18 years old, they took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting their self recorded/self produced debut album Native Speaker.

Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS' sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.

Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band's entrancing live performance. The albums' songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speakermaintain a deep seeded focus.

BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members' musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input.

On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS is putting forth their debut album Native Speaker, a reflection of coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature beyond their years. Most importantly, it displays a yearning and striving to break through, an ambitious debut for a young band just getting started.

BRAIDS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

11-30 New York, NY - Knitting Factory ^
12-01 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
02-04 Dallas, TX - The Nightmare *
02-05 Austin, TX - The Mohawk *
02-07 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *
02-08 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *
02-09 Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *
02-10 Durham, NC - Duke Coffeehouse (Duke University) *
02-11 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
02-12 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *
02-13 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie *
02-16 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *
02-17 Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
02-18 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *
02-21 Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner *
02-22 Urbana, IL - The Canopy *
02-23 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's *
02-24 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry *
02-25 Madison, WI - Der Rathskellar (University of Wisconsin) *
02-26 Chicago, IL - Subterranean *
03-01 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-02 Portland, OR - Holocene *
03-04 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *
03-05 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *

^ with the Radio Dept. * with Baths, Star Slinger

Gogol Bordello @ Boulder Theater

Gogol Bordello's Trans-Continental Hustle, the group's American Recordings debut, is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking in the group's already remarkable decade-long career and it's the result of an inspired, year-length collaboration with famed producer Rick Rubin.


Gogol Bordello is arguably the hardest working "and hardest rocking" group of our discordant new century, maintaining a touring schedule and an onstage energy level that would send the average combo running for the emergency room. Their encounters and adventures, as well as the band members' own immigrant histories, fuel the subversively upbeat story-songs on Transcontinental Hustle. Front-man and lyricist Eugene Hutz spins out scenarios that are, by turns, hilarious and heartbreaking from the outsider experience of gypsies in his native Ukraine to the struggles and celebrations of Rio de Janeiro's favelas. It can be said that GB has been representing the voice of all minorities all at once, a voice that comes from a real, poetic and deep place.

Along the way, Hutz looks for common threads while embracing each of his character's defiantly unique identities, all of which reflect some facet of the frequently flying bandleader himself.

Anonymity clearly won't be an issue for Gogol Bordello any time soon. With Trans-Continental Hustle, the party-starting group will be encouraging and inciting even more of the world to passionately sing along. More Info / Buy Tickets

Crytal Castles @ Boulder Theater | New Years Eve

Formed
in 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Crystal Castles consists of
producer Ethan Kath and vocalist Alice Glass. They are named after the
lyrics "The fate of the world is safe in Crystal Castles" and "Crystal
Castles, the source of all power" both from the theme song for She-Ra's
fortress. They are known for their melancholic lo-fi sound and their
explosive live shows. Their debut album was included in NME's "Top 50
Albums of the Decade".

Crystal Castles musical style has been
described as "ferocious, asphyxiating sheets of warped two-dimensional
Gameboy glitches and bruising drum bombast that pierces your skull with
their sheer shrill force, burrowing deep into the brain like a fever".
The band has headlined numerous tours in the U.S., Europe, Japan, and
Australia and have also appeared at festivals around the Globe
including Ireland's Oxegen Festival, Coachella, All Points West, Leeds
Festival in England and will also take part in Australia's "Big Day
Out" 2011 Tour.

The music and live show of the Crystal Castles is not one to miss. As the band themselves say,

"we are crystal castles
we are 1 boy and 1 girl
we are named after She-Ra's home
we play rough
"

Looks like the Boulder Theater is going into the New Year with a bumpy landing. More Info / Buy Tickets

SNL's Christine Ohlman's new CD with Marshall Crenshaw

Christine Ohlman, a.k.a. “The Beehive Queen,” whose “day job” is that of the flashy, gritty long-time featured vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band, has completed her first new album in five years, The Deep End, to be released by the Horizon Music Group through Selct-O-Hits on April 6, 2010.

Having won the respect of many fellow artists over the years, Ohlman recruited a stellar group of them to contribute to the new CD, including Marshall Crenshaw, Dion DiMucci and Ian Hunter as duet partners, as well as an all-star list of accompanists: G.E. Smith, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel from the Del-Lords, NRBQ veteran Big Al Anderson, Catherine Russell, the Asbury Juke Horns (Chris Anderson and Neal Pawley) and more.

Working in a swampy, guitar-driven style of contemporary rock/R&B, Ohlman and The Deep End co-producer Andy York (John Mellencamp) crafted 15 songs of life and love tempered by loss. It is Ohlman’s first album of new work since 2004; her recording hiatus followed the deaths of both long-time producer and mate Doc Cavalier and guitarist and founding member of Ohlman’s Rebel Montez band, Eric Fletcher. (The band presently includes Michael Colbath, bass; Cliff Goodwin, guitar; and Larry Donahue, drums.)

Christine is a musicologist of note of whom SNL bandleader Lenny Pickett, quoted in the New York Times, once said, “She knows the really good, obscure stuff.” The covers on The Deep End were lovingly chosen from her fabled record collection. She duets with Dion on the obscure Southern soul gem “Cry Baby Cry” and with Crenshaw on a Motown classic, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells’ “What’s the Matter With You Baby.” A third duet with Ian Hunter on Ohlman’s own “There Ain’t No Cure” celebrates her love of the music and language of the Delta behind a punked-out, soul-searing groove. It’s one of a group of eleven new originals that includes “The Gone of You” (a song of loss and longing so central to The Deep End’s theme that it appears twice: in a full-band version and in York’s evocative, loop-driven demo, dubbed “After Hours” both for Ohlman’s late-night vocal and its darkest-before-the-dawn sensibility); the Muscle Shoals-tinged ballad “Like Honey”; flat-out barnburners “Bring It With You When You Come” and “Born To Be Together”; and Ohlman’s post-Katrina lament “The Cradle Did Rock,” which will appear later this year alongside tracks by Irma Thomas, Dr. John and Allen Toussaint as a bonus cut to the reissue of Get You A Healin’, a CD benefitting the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.  The late Eric Fletcher is memorialized in the album’s third cover, a pristine reading of Link Wray’s “Walkin’ Down the Street Called Love.”

Ohlman and her previous recordings have impressed critics. The late Brownsville Station leader, bluesman and musicologist Cub Koda, writing in Stereo Review, believed, “Musical treasures like this don’t come along very often. Ohlman is the number one secret weapon in America’s gal-singin’ sweepstakes.” Charles M. Young in Playboy observed, “The first thing you notice is her tough, rousing, sexy voice.” Elmore magazine noted: “Few singers today are truly versed like Ohlman in all things soul. Tough and raw around the edges, she belts with a voice steeped in the heritage of this musical tradition.” All Music’s Hal Horowitz raved: “Ohlman never sings a tune halfway . . .she’s the leader of the pack.” And of the new album, critic/broadcaster Dave Marsh said, “There are so many ‘wow’ moments.”

In addition to her years on Saturday Night Live, Ohlman has an impressive resume. She sings on the theme song for 30 Rock; performed at Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary bash at Madison Square Garden with George Harrison and Chrissie Hynde; performed at President Obama’s Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C.; led Big Brother & the Holding Company in a Central Park tribute to Janis Joplin; worked on a musical with Cy Coleman, who compared her sense of timing to that of Peggy Lee; and frequently duets with blues legends Hubert Sumlin and Eddie Kirkland. She also edited Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography 2Stoned (Oldham described Ohlman’s Wicked Time as “a deep swamp theme to a movie Burt Reynolds wished he’d made’)  and worked with Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder at the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards — all while continuing to torch clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard with Rebel Montez. She counts among her friends Willie Nile, Syd Straw, Charlie Musselwhite, Hal Willner, David Johansen, Paul Thorn and Marshall Chess.

A Connecticut native and resident, Ohlman played with G.E. Smith in the Scratch Band in the 1970s, leading to her long association with Saturday Night Live. Her stint in fabled Studio 8H of Rockefeller Center includes the Sinead O’Connor and Ashley Simpson meltdowns (she was present for both) and the current season’s hilarious “Swine Fever” commercial parody, featuring a magnificently beehived Ohlman in full Dolly Parton regalia. She fondly recalls waltzing around 8-H with the late Chris Farley to Paul McCartney’s impromptu rehearsal performance of “Hey Jude.” With her long-time mate, the late Doc Cavalier producing, Ohlman released four records with Rebel Montez: The Hard Way (1995), the live Radio Queen (1997), Wicked Time (1999) and Strip (2003). In 2008 with current business partners Alex DeFelice and Vic Steffens at Horizon Music Group, she released a career compilation called Re-Hive. Yet she has remained under the radar — a best-kept secret. Until now.

Reflecting on The Deep End’s central theme of love both lost and found, Ohlman says, “Rosanne Cash and I were talking and she asked me if I’d written sad songs. It wasn’t until then that I realized I hadn’t. Ultimately, this album is about love and the courage to fall into it. Loss just informs you; it opens emotional doors that couldn’t possibly have opened before, no matter how much you thought you knew about it. I wrote about love — the newness of it, the glory of it, the loss of it, the sadness that can come from it, the wonder of it . . . the sweet bitterness of it.”

The MOTET Dig Deep with summer album release

With its 6th release, Dig Deep, The Motet once again proves that it is a group committed to exploring and pushing the sonic envelope, while still remaining dedicated to the musical traditions that have defined their sound. A heavy-horned afrobeat influence countered with a textural blanket of electronica, this album showcases the talents and strengths of the cast of characters that drummer and producer Dave Watts has assembled. Keyboardist Joey Porter lays down the funk under the coursing melodies of saxophonist Dominic Lalli in pure Motet fashion, with the ever-driving beats of Watts' masterful rhythmic production pushing the music through sonic peaks and valleys that tantalize and invigorate listeners. If you've loved The Motet for years or are just tuning in, listen up. You won't be disappointed.

The Motet is known for its revolving musicians and a breadth of musical influences, and Dig Deep plays to the strengths of many former and current members. Bassists Garrett Sayers and Paul McDaniel both shine brilliantly on Dig Deep, adding the sonic drive that is characteristic of The Motet's sound, which has steadily morphed and evolved over the last ten years. Sayers' bass solo on 'Guru' is a perfect example of his technical virtuosity, and with this, Watts as a producer has captured a quintessential Motet moment. The title track 'Dig Deep' showcases another side of The Motet low-end, heavy-bass sound, with McDaniel laying down raw grooves in an open section that is peppered with Watts' sonic explorations.

Longtime fans of The Motet will be happy to hear Jans Ingber's voice on 'Push,' a track that was born from an improvisational moment during the band's New Years 2009 show. Last featured on The Motet's 2000 release Play, Beth Quist's soaring vocals are highlighted on the Fela Kuti track 'Kalakuta Show' and the tune 'The Luxury of Doubt,' a collaborative effort with Watts. Throughout Dig Deep, percussionist Scott Messersmith adds his signature textural rhythms, anchoring the evolutionary sound of the band in its Afro-Cuban and West African roots. His contributions are particularly salient in the afrobeat tunes 'Mighty' and 'Roforofo Fight." Guitarists Mike Tiernan and Zivanni Masango both add their talents on Dig Deep, as do Danny Sears on trumpet and John Stuart on baritone saxophone. With this mix of talented musicians contributing to the album, it is no wonder the album sounds as good as it does. But at the helm is drummer Dave Watts, simultaneously embodying the roles of bandleader, musician, composer, and producer. It is Watts' creative imagination that drives Dig Deep, mixing recorded and sampled tracks that seamlessly carry the music forward throughout the album. As a drummer, Watts has been called "the human metronome." His sense of timing and polyrhythmic understanding is what has made him a force in the live music scene for over twenty years.

Dig Deep is his most in-depth exploration into production work thus far. Watts has amply represented the layered electronica-funk vibe that has begun to characterize The Motet's sound over the last few years, and he has truly "dug deep" to bring you Dig Deep.

The Motet Dig Deep: New Album Release!

Packed with all new material and masterfully produced by drummer Dave Watts, The Motet’s highly anticipated studio release, Dig Deep, will be celebrated in true Motet fashion with three CD release parties in Colorado starting July 9th. Dig Deep is a tapestry of sound that pushes the expectations of any listener who is familiar with the band’s signature mix of afrobeat, electronica, funk, and jazz. Albino! joins The Motet for the three night party, which opens at the Boulder Theater on July 9th, moves south to Cervantes’s Masterpiece Ballroom in Denver on July 10th, and then wraps up at The Mishawaka Amphitheater in Bellvue, CO on July 11.

motetDig Deep presents The Motet revisited and refreshed, showcasing 12 great musicians who have contributed to the band over the years. Much of the material is geared toward the studio setting rather than their famed live shows, which is evident in Watts’ rich production of interweaving rhythms and melodies. But in addition, every song on the 11-track album expresses the talents of these great musicians and plays well to the roots of the band’s signature sound.

The album, in a sense, is a family reunion with Dave Watts on the drums, Joey Porter on keyboards, Scott Messersmith on percussion, Mike Tiernan on guitar, Garrett Sayers on bass, and the powerhouse horn section of Dominic Lalli (tenor), John Stewart (baritone), and Dan Sears (trumpet). Beth Quist and Jans Ingber put their touch on three tracks with some strong vocals and the recording is rounded out with Paul McDaniel on bass and Zivanni Masango on guitar.

The record will be available at the shows for the ridiculously low price of $1 and will be made available for download on the band’s MySpace page. Once again, all three shows will also include, direct from San Francisco, the fantastic afrobeat big-band Albino!. These two groups together will be a rare treat for Colorado music lovers.

For more information about the three-night celebration, visit: MySpace & Website .

Shows:
July 9 – Boulder Theatre – Boulder, CO
July 10 – Cervante’s Masterpiece Ballroom – Denver, CO
July 11 – The Mishawaka Amphitheatre – Bellvue, CO

Laura Reed & Deep Pocket: A New World Sound

photos by Sam Katz- for the Grateful Web

Laura Reed began her life journey half a world away in Johannesburg and Natal, South Africa, steeped in the rhythms of those cities. But it was her experiences in Central America and the Deep South of the US that fleshed out her musical senses. To her repertoire, she collected blues, jazz, soul, heart-rending rock and roll, and R&B influences.

Ending up in the mountains of North Carolina, Reed began crafting these musical bits into songs and sought out others to help her deliver what her mind and voice had to say. In 2006, she formed the band Laura Reed & Deep Pocket with bassist Ben Didelot, drummer Jimbonk Buchanon, and keys player Ryan Burns. As Reed further developed her sound, she brought harmony vocalist Debrissa McKinney on board.

Reed's debut album, soul: music, recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, made a refreshing appearance last October on the music scene. It is a ten song album, backed up by the trombone and sax of the Asheville Horns, two percussionists, and a male backup singer adding tasty deep-well bass to the sound.

The CD is a fine vehicle to showcase Reed's characteristic voice but also her songwriting talent. Though the album has a couple of relationship tunes on it, most of the songs deal with more than the love between two people. Many of the songs deal with deeper connections between people, groups, and the land itself.

The first cut off the CD, "Well," begins the musical journey that takes listeners, as the song says, "Deep, Deep, Deep, Deep like a well." But the words don't get in the way of the music. Much like reggae, the whole musical smörgåsbord that Reed presents draws the listener in to enjoying the good vibe. Only later, do you find yourself humming the tune or repeating the words.

On the song, "Forces at Play," Reed takes a chance by positioning her soulful voice against a trombone and sax that are almost on the same register. At times, you can't distinguish one from the other until you hear the words come. This is all mixed in with Reed's mildly distorted guitar and the bass and drums. The result is a synthesis of soul and rock, mixed into a new sound.

But then in "What's Going On," she produces swamp funk with deep bass backup vocals, reminiscent of the Sopranos' theme and even some of Sly and the Family Stone. Sprinkled among these musical lines are the guest percussionists who add a rich world flavor to the funk.

That swamp funk appears again in "Rise Up," but you are also treated to an Afro-Cuban feel because of Jimbonk Buchanon's drums and Ryan Burns' pulsing organ (a 1936 model-A Hammond he's named Mama Lou). When horns are added, the whole piece rises to an energetic whole, but then, almost abruptly, the song becomes stripped down to a simple guitar, minimalist drums, and some hand percussion. It is a fine piece of music, with a message to rise above the consumer-ridden world ("Turn away from Babylon, and it's concrete fungus") and "walk the path to Zion," attempting to understand other people's lives ("There's many shoes of your fellow man/In front of you to try on now."). This lovely cut is marred by some slurring of the word "push."

Then, Reed shows yet another vocal styling in "Don't Go," a song of a woman begging her man to stay after she has done him wrong. Reed's emotion comes through in a Janice Joplin's bluesy delivery in the beginning, then slips into some early Aretha Franklin, but the vocals that close out the tune are pure Reed. There is also some tasty organ here like some older R&B.

There is much more here that moves through many themes and many musical styles. Her "One World" is a percussion-driven song with beautiful vocals by Reed and backup harmonies and Reed's naked guitar. It is an anthem for unity, respect, and feeding the world physically and spiritually. "Omm Lei Lei" is a song about searching for identity that has a haunting African chant embedded in it. "Praise You" is a multipurpose song of gratitude, and "Tomorrow" tells of the yearning we all have for living a life of love, with a capital L. The album ends with "Chains of Temptation," a song about the struggle to remain faithful to loving the world. As Reed sings, "Got to make it back to Zion," it's a reminder to us all to remember our own commitments to the earth and the people in it.

Soul: music is a refreshingly new sound that is capturing fans every where. Currently touring the US, Laura Reed & Deep Pocket are working with HeadCount, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to register as many young voters as possible so that they can make their voices heard in Washington. Reed and her band mates will also be appearing later this summer at the Gathering of the Peacemakers in North Carolina, August 4-10. On the bill with them are reggae stylist Corey Harris, Dubconscious, the Afromotive, Ras Alan, and Chalwa.