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The Mynabirds Toast the Holidays with X-Mas Single

Today the Mynabirds release a limited edition 7" on Saddle Creek that features "All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)", an original (anti-) Christmas song, and a cover of the Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year" on the B-side. The first 200 copies from Saddle Creek's online store will be offered on white vinyl. A black vinyl version of the 7" is available at retail outlets, and all records include a free digital download. The songs are also available at all digital outlets. If you haven’t checked it out at Brightest Young Things, a free mp3 of "All I Want is Truth (for Christmas)" is available now via Saddle Creek by clicking HERE.

With charming chords descending the wurltizer keys like falling snow, the Mynabirds' "All I Want" starts out like a typical Christmas song. But by the second line, it's clear that this is singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn's cry for anything but another ordinary holiday. "All I Want" navigates global warming, messy politics, endless wars, and American consumerism, and brushes it all away to remind us of the snow-white core of the holidays: love. "Have yourself a happy little New Year," Burhenn sings, "'Cause the politicians will be at their same old arguments: Should we start another war or should we raise another tax?" Burhenn declares that she's opting out of society's endless back and forth to "sit down with [her] love and…remember what it means to celebrate without a single store-bought thing." Like a mug of hot cocoa served with a dash of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth", "All I Want" goes down like an old standard in a whole new era.

"This Will Be Our Year" is the perfect song to close out a year of haunts and minor catastrophes to look to something new. The slide of J. Tom Hnatow's pedal steel colors the Mynabirds' version of this Zombies' classic as a sweet, country-tinged take on the original. Both "All I Want" and "Our Year" were recorded to tape in a single day at Inner Ear in Arlington, Virginia with producers Chad Clark and TJ Lipple at the helm. A host of DC friends joined in, including the Roofwalkers' Elmer Sharp (drums), Ben Licciardi (backing vocals), and Raj Gadhia (bass and vocals); These United States' J. Tom Hnatow (pedal steel); and Winston Yu (strings).

What We Gained in the Fire - Video

Also out now is a new video for "What We Gained in the Fire", the opening track from the Mynabirds' debut album. The video premiered on Friday at AOL Spinner. Director Rob Walters layers new Super 8 footage of singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn traversing a snowy landscape with vintage footage of her own family's home movies that span three generations. Stretching from the 1940's to present day, the viewer gets a window into a family story, watching clips of young love blossom, of babies growing into men, piecing together what might really be going on behind the nuclear family facade.

Infantree Instigate Cockfight in “Mourning Glory”

Three-fourths of California quartet Infantree may still be under 21, but with their startlingly sophisticated songwriting chops and lush vocal harmonies the young musicians are already composing timeless music.  Signed to Vapor Records (Jonathan Richman, Everest, Tegan & Sara), the prolific band has released both an EP and a full-length this year.  The latter of which, titled Would Work, will be re-released in early March with extra tracks and a bonus disc of video content.  Neil Young also invited the guys to perform at this year’s Bridge School Benefit alongside artists like Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Modest Mouse, and Grizzly Bear.

With three songwriting members that take turns on lead vocals, Infantree have no true frontman.  As a result, their highly collaborative approach creates a unique chemistry and the details of each of their songs are masterfully tailored.  It also allows for a diverse set of influences to find their way into the band’s music.  The band weaves in sun-soaked Americana, intricate baroque pop, dreamy psychedelia, and infectious Spanish melodies, to name a few.

The group has made a video for Would Work track “Mourning Glory.”  The song slyly and seamlessly shifts between a forlorn, banjo-driven section and a wistful Latin-flavored groove.  If you haven’t seen the video yet, click HERE to watch the boys don chicken suits and duke it out in a human cockfight.

Infantree’s attention to detail covers all aspects of the band, from consistently churning out charming videos for their songs to the band name itself.  The guys explain the metaphor behind the name “Infantree” in their own words here:

"Trees are carbon dioxide reducing, erosion preventing, oxygen producing, majestic, and sturdy life-forms that grow with their environment - not in spite of it (like industrial-age humans). Infantree is a symbol for growth. Whether it be intellectual, spiritual, physical, or emotional; growth is growth. If left unchecked, exponential growth could devour prosperity as we know it. Only when it's applied within a means does growth reach it's true potential of ceaseless sustanability. Infantree applies this method by way of harmony, like-mindedness, and an articulation of each indvidual's role/capacity as a musician/human-being. At the same time the use of childlike reckless abandon seems key to wading through the water-mark left by the mainstream mindset. This dynamic has helped the members of Infantree to spread their roots as friends while simultaneously growing as a band."

Fistful of Mercy on Conan Tonight

Fistful of Mercy will be the musical guest tonight on Conan (11/10/10), making the band the third musical act of his new show. They'll be joined by some very special guests! Conan airs tonight at 11/10c on TBS, be sure to check your local listings.

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Fistful of Mercy on Tour Now

Tickets still available for select shows. Full list of dates below.

11/11/10 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall SOLD OUT
11/13/10 Hollywood, CA @ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever SOLD OUT
11/13/10 Hollywood, CA @ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever SOLD OUT
11/14/10 Hollywood, CA @ Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever SOLD OUT
11/16/10 Washington, DC @ Sixth & I SOLD OUT
11/17/10 New York, NY @ Apollo Theater Purchase Tickets
11/18/10 Somerville, MA @ Somerville Theatre Purchase Tickets
11/20/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Baptist Temple at Temple University Purchase Tickets
12/03/10 London, UK @ Koko Purchase Tickets
12/05/10 Paris, France @ La Cigale SOLD OUT
12/07/10 Amsterdam, Holland @ Paradiso Purchase Tickets
12/09/10 Milan, Italy @ Alcatraz Purchase Tickets
12/10/10 Modena, Italy @ Vox Club Purchase Tickets
12/12/10 Berlin, Germany @ Postbahnhof Purchase Tickets
12/13/10 Cologne, Germany @ Live Music Hall Purchase Tickets
12/14/10 Brussels, Belgium @ Ancienne Belgique Purchase Tickets
04/22/11 Byron Bay Bluesfest Purchase Tickets

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Fistful of Mercy interview on CNN

Yesterday, CNN posted a video feature on Fistful of Mercy telling about how the guys met and the recording process for the new album, As I Call You Down. Today, CNN added an in-depth interview with the band to the video feature. Click here to read the interview and check out the video!

Trace Bundy & Sungha Jung @ The Boulder Theater

An accomplished acoustic guitar virtuoso, Trace Bundy sells out shows across five continents with his rare combination of expert capo and fingerpicking techniques, unique stage banter, and jawdroppingly difficult arrangements. While his success was built upon a direct connection with his fans-- his videos are attracting 12 million YouTube views and counting--Trace has also garnered the critical acclaim of major media outlets like 'Acoustic Guitar Magazine', earning the title "Most Promising New Talent." It's only fitting he's joining forces with a fellow YouTube phenom and guitar virtuoso, Sungha Jung.

When Sungha Jung was nine years old, he posted a video of himself playing Trace's arrangement of "Pachelbel's Canon". That video went viral and helped launch Sungha's career, leading to 175 million YouTube views, tours of the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and thirteen awards on YouTube by the age of fourteen. Trace and Sungha have teamed up for two of Trace's South Korea tours, as well as a sold-out West Coast tour. This will be Sungha's second U.S. tour, and will include stops in NYC, Philadelphia to play World Cafe, Boston, Washington DC, and Boulder, CO.

More Info / Buy Tickets

Phish: Alpine Valley 2-DVD Preview

On August 14th and 15th, 2010 Phish played their 12th and 13th shows at Alpine Valley Music Theater - all 2-night stands since 2003. "Alpine" as it is affectionately known, is a steeply-sloping amphitheater with a big lawn and raucous crowd perpetually bursting with energy right in the band's faces due to the angles of the place. The angles all aligned on Saturday August 14th - the focus of the Alpine Valley DVD, which will be released in stores and for audio only download nationwide on December 14th.

This box set features the complete August 14th, 2010 performance on 2-DVDs, as well as 2-CDs, and bonus video featuring highlights from the following night, August 15th, 2010, including AC/DC Bag, Divided Sky and Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan. The three-song combination that opened set two of the 15th rounds out the bonus material with Ghost > Theme From The Bottom > Big Black Furry Creature From Mars. Alpine Valley 2010 combines into a four-hour DVD-CD collection of must-see and must-hear release from Phish at their current top form.

The nearly three hours of music was recorded that night using 57 channels of digital multitrack and carefully mixed and mastered in 5.1 Dolby surround and PCM stereo. The video was a 7-camera shoot (16:9 widescreen), recorded and post-edited in High Definition.

The box set is available for pre-order today at order from Phish Dry Goods.

If you order from Phish Dry Goods you'll receive "Phish: Wisconsin Edition" a free bonus CD compilation from Phish Archives, of past Alpine Valley highlights spanning fourteen years of Phish performances at this venue. In addition, Dry Goods is offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $70, which can be applied to the new Alpine DVD.

Click here to watch Reba and/or Bug from Alpine Valley.

Also, be sure to read some previous Phish at Alpine Valley coverage.

The Sword Reveal Album Art, Plan Video Trilogy, and Open for Ozzy

Austin, TX’s metal luminaries The Sword are kicking it into high gear as the release of their highly anticipated third full-length Warp Riders (August 24th; Kemado Records) rapidly approaches.  The band has finally revealed the album’s artwork and will be releasing additional visual companions in the form of an upcoming picture disc and an epic video trilogy.

With a narrative arc that the band describes as “a psychedelic space opera that explores the temporal themes of death and rebirth,” it’s only fitting that the record’s cover art is equally mind melting.  Paying homage to authors that inspired the album’s lyrics, artist Dan McPharlin created an image in the tradition of classic science fiction book covers.  The Sword will also release a limited edition hexagon-shaped picture disc 12 inch single for “(The Night Sky Cried) Tears of Fire.”

Fans that are eagerly awaiting to hear the new material will have their thirst quenched on July 6th, when first single “Tres Brujas” will be let loose online.  The track is also the first part of a video trilogy helmed by former Sword collaborators Artificial Army, which will launch in August.  The second and third chapters of the saga will be for “Lawless Lands” and “Night City.”

The guys will also have the honor of being the sole opener for Ozzy Osbourne at the iTunes Roundhouse Festival in London on July 3rd.  Their set will be recorded and available on iTunes in early July.

a-ha's Farewell Tour: First US Shows in Over 20 Years!

Multi-million selling Norwegian trio a-ha will return to North America next week for 7 shows, before heading back to Europe for the final leg of their year-long world-wide Farewell Tour. The band will perform together for the very last time in Oslo on 4 December 2010.

Following a fantastic international career spanning 25 years and over 35 million albums sold, a-ha’s Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy will perform their final shows together exactly 25 years after the release of the band’s multi-platinum debut album Hunting High & Low and debut single “Take On Me”, which reached number 1 in 27 countries including the USA. Since that time, “Take On Me” has been played 3 million times on American radio… the equivalent of 375 times a day for 22 years! For a blast from the past, check out the video for “Take On Me” here.

In the mid 80’s the Norwegian trio created teenage hysteria and general pandemonium wherever they went. All told, the band has released 9 studio albums in 25 years, and toured the world many times (more than 500 concerts in 33 countries to be exact), including the legendary show at Maracana Stadium, Rio De Janeiro in 1991 which earned a Guinness World Record for the largest-ever audience attendance at a paid concert – 196,000 people (George Michael, Prince and Guns N' Roses managed to gather only sixty thousand each).

In 2006 the band received the ‘Q Inspiration Award’ in honor of their lasting musical influence. The band returned to the UK Top 5 in 2009 with the album Foot Of The Mountain. The video for the title track can be seen here. In recent years the focus has shifted to the musical legacy they will leave behind, inspiring a whole generation of artists such as Coldplay and Keane to Kanye West, Oasis, The Strokes, Robbie Williams and U2.

The band would like to thank their fans and everyone who has contributed to their amazing journey and say, “We’ve literally lived the ultimate boy’s adventure tale, through a longer, more rewarding career than anyone could hope for. Doing this now will give us a chance to get more involved in other meaningful aspects of life, be it humanitarian work, politics, or whatever else – and of course through new constellations in the field of art and music. We are retiring as a band, not as individuals. Change is always difficult and it is easy to get set in one’s ways. Now it is time to move on.” In keeping with their interest in humanitarian and global causes, a-ha still own a sizeable part of the Amazon rainforest as part of a 1980's reforestation/preservation scheme.More Info Available at www.a-ha.com

DON’T MISS A-HA’S LAST PERFORMANCES IN NORTH AMERICA!

05/06:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/07:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/08:  New York, NY @ Nokia Theater

05/10:  Toronto, ONT @ Massey Hall

05/13:  Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater

05/15:  Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia Live

05/16:  Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia Live

Umphrey's McGee's "1348" Launches in Rock Band

Umphrey's McGee will be launching their song "1348" on the Rock Band Network this week. This marks the first release by the band in any video game, and the progressive-rock influenced music proves to be a great fit.

Umphrey's McGee has been working with former Harmonix Music Systems employee and current Rock Band Network freelancer Andrew Buch. Buch is working on several songs for the program, including 1348 and Miss Tinkles Overture." "1348" is the first of these songs to be made available, with plans for others to follow shortly.

Buch, whose mind-numbingly difficult "Trippolette" is one the top-five best-selling launch songs on the Rock Band Network, has worked on several games in the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises and was a likely choice to prepare the music of Umphrey's McGee for the game. Samples of his work can be found on his website www.andrewbuch.com, including video footage of both Umphrey's McGee's music and "Trippolette" running in-game.

"1348" is scheduled to release on Wednesday or Thursday of this week, and will be available to be purchased in Rock Band 2 on the XBOX 360 via the newly implemented Rock Band Network Store. It will additionally be available to purchase via the XBOX Live Marketplace.

The Morning Pages Cover Lady Gaga

Brooklyn’s six-piece root-rockers The Morning Pages have just recorded an alt-country take on Lady Gaga’s "Telephone" along with a grainy lo-fi stock photography-esque video complete with slide guitars, cowboy hats and tin cans on strings, answering the question "How would "Telephone" play out in the 1850s?".  The ubiquitous song caught the attention of lead singer Grant Maxwell who decided to cover the song because "a great song is a great song and indie music doesn't have to be all dissonant and obscure and depressing all the time and on the other hand pop music could stand to sound a lot more organic and musical. My thought was they maybe we could combine the depth of roots music with the visceral enjoyment and popular appeal of mainstream music and get the next revolution started....also, I just couldn't get that song out of my head!" You can watch the new video HERE on YouTube.

With their 2007 EP The Company You Keep, The Morning Pages immediately stood out from other Brooklyn acts by tracing their roots back to country and folk influences such as Willie Nelson, Gram Parsons, Waylon Jennings, and The Band. It was this EP that caught the attention of Russell Simins of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion who went on to produce their upcoming debut full length Rising Rain.

The album’s standouts include joyous foot-stompers like “With The Lord,” “Move To The Country” and “This City Keeps Me Down,” as well as plaintive ballads like the album’s first single “My Name Is Lion.”

The Morning Pages New York Dates:
April 9th – Brooklyn, NY @ Spike Hill
May 6th – Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo
May 20th – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall
May 27th – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom (Dylan Fest 2010)

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.