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Soulive's Al Evans Unearths Crushed Velvet

Royal Family Records has announced the May 24 release of the long lost 1970s' motion picture soundtrack The Big One by Crushed Velvet & The Velveteers. This never-before-issued soul music gem was recently unearthed by Soulive drummer Alan Evans when a family friend in Buffalo, NY put him in touch with the movie's director Cleo McBride. A 1974 Shaft-meets-007 Blaxploitation production, The Big One never made it to the big screen as the film was reported to have been destroyed in a fire soon after completion. The soundtrack recordings remained dormant until Evans was recruited to mix the original sessions and release it through Soulive's record company Royal Family Records. The Brooklyn-based label will release the soundtrack as both a free mp3 album download and on limited edition vinyl.

The track listing is:

1. The Big One (Main Theme)
2. Thunderbird
3. Felecia's Love Theme
4. Detroit Slim
5. The Lay Down
6. Memphis Stomp
7. London Black (pts. 1,2,3)
8. Big Chase
9. The Big One (End Theme)

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More about Crushed Velvet & The Velveteers

In the late 60s and early 70s, Buffalo, NY was a well-known hotspot for funk and soul music. One of the stand-outs on the scene was a guitarist and vocalist who went by the name Crushed Velvet. He backed many of Buffalo's finest musicians and was the first call most national hit-makers would make when needing to assemble a local band for Buffalo dates. Inspired to start his own band, he assembled Crushed Velvet and the Velveteers. They hit the scene hard bringing a tight new sound to “The Queen City." The response was so overwhelming that it quickly became clear the next logical step was to set their sites on New York City. As plans were being made for a move to the Big Apple, Crushed Velvet got a call from an old band-mate turned filmmaker Cleo McBride. Cleo had recently been given his first big break to direct a film called The Big One. This was not going to be a run of the mill Blaxploitation movie, but a film to turn the industry on its head. The main character was to be the first African-American spy hero, chasing down "the man" across the world.  Crushed Velvet believed this could be the band's ticket to the top, so plans for NYC were shelved. Instead, they began recording the album of their lives.  After nearly a year of writing and recording, the soundtrack was near completion. It was around this time that Crushed Velvet received the devastating news that would shatter those dreams. On March 23, 1974, the home of Cleo McBride was burned to the ground along with all of the master film reels for The Big One.

After the fire, all that remained was the shock and allegations of an entire community.  Cleo McBride was the first to claim that the government was at fault for the destruction of his work because of its positive and powerful depiction of a "black man as a strong, worldly hero."  With no film to accompany the music and an overall paranoia associated with anything having to do with The Big One, the soundtrack was shelved. Crushed Velvet broke up the band and disappeared from the Buffalo music scene.

In 2010, Soulive drummer Alan Evans was contacted by a family friend who'd been in touch with Cleo McBride. Aware that Evans, a Buffalo-native, had achieved a great deal of success in the music industry and was also operating his own recording studio PlayonBrother, they shared the story of The Big One and Crushed Velvet & The Velveteers, hoping he'd listen to the tapes. Intrigued by the story, Evans agreed and what he found was pure soul music gold. He took to the task of mixing the recordings and preparing them for worldwide release through Soulive's label Royal Family Records.

THE BIG ONE, the original motion picture soundtrack by CRUSHED VELVET & THE VELVETEERS is available May 24 as a free mp3 album download and on limited edition vinyl through Royal Family Records.

Watch video with Al Evans explaining history of The Big One

Download a free mp3 of "The Big One (Main Theme)"

YELLOWBIRDS Release Second Track "The Honest Ocean"

Yellowbirds, the new band formed by Sam Cohen of Apollo Sunshine, have released a second single entitled "The Honest Ocean." It follows the "The Rest Of My Life," their first song made available in October, which was later selected as a Spinner "Mp3 Of The Day" and described as "sunny, psychedelic folk. Warm and inviting," by the blog Unholy Rhythms.

Yellowbirds will offer one more single before their debut album The Color is released February 15, 2011 as an LP and download by The Royal Potato Family.

Stream "The Honest Ocean"
Mp3 Download "The Honest Ocean"
Available at iTunes | Amazon

More on Sam Cohen and Yellowbirds...

Sam Cohen grew up in Houston, Texas, and while the Texas of his teens may have been home to Big Oil, Enron, the Bush family, and the drab gray Astros jerseys of the 90's, he prefers to think of it as the Texas of yore, home to Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, the Space Program, and rainbow orange Astros jerseys.  It stands to reason, then, that his current home of New York City must be the mythical Empire City: Rocky Mountains of architecture, epicenter of modern art, home to Charles Mingus and The Velvet Underground.

It was with these timeless inspirations in mind that Cohen created Yellowbirds, and set to work on his forthcoming "solo" outing The Color.  Double-speed auto-harp glissandos, glowing backwards pedal-steel, bubbling echo and fuzz guitars coalesce into a warm wall of sound.  As existential lyrical themes emerge, delivered nonchalantly over psyched-out aural landscapes, the picture emerges of a dust-blown, 4th dimensional Future West.  This is Cohen's quixotic world where "only the purist tones can be heard."

Upcoming Yellowbirds shows:
December 8 | Goodbye Blue Monday | Brooklyn, NY (acoustic set)
December 11 | The Rock Shop | Brooklyn, NY

Vincent Minor News & MP3!

Singer/songwriter Vincent Minor, will release his self-titled debut album, September 21 on Social Science Recordings. The album fuses indie pop with classic Tin Pan Alley tunesmithery and then lights the bonfire with colorful, often discordant orchestral arrangements. Unexpected passages of strutting brass, apocalyptic strings and malfunctioning kitchen appliances bring subtlety and life to Minor's stories of danger and heartbreak.

From the fuzzed out guitars and driving beat of “Late Night Show” with it’s tale of LSD in the desert and double-dutch with Morrissey to the gorgeous “Pin Drop Silence” with its escalating piano and strings that sonically recall Bowie’s epic “Rock’n’Roll Suicide”, the album never stops evolving, surprising and mesmerizing. Humor, an unusually wry and dark variety, is also pervasive, as evidenced in tunes like “Heavy Metal Lover” which tells the tale of someone who manipulates through drugging a lover's tea with arsenic rather than dealing a kosher break-up.

Vincent Minor assembled some amazing LA area talents to round out his grand vision including producer Tom Biller (Fiona Apple, Sean Lennon, Where the Wild Things Are), keyboardist Zac Rae (Annie Lennox, My Brightest Diamond), horn player Stewart Cole (Edward Sharpe, Rachael Yamagata), and upright bassist Ed Maxwell. The result is a collection of wryly humorous and troubling tales carried by Minor's tuneful baritone and his orchestrally lush production.

To introduce this album to live audiences Vincent Minor will be embarking on a national tour this summer. He will spend a week in each city and assemble an entirely new band for each show. For an early listen, check out the “Late Night Show” MP3 premiered on the Advocate yesterday. You can download the MP3 here. We encourage you to post & share this MP3 & look out for one of the year’s most exciting debuts!

Listen to Vincent Minor's 'Late Night Show.' {play}images/mp3/Late_Night_Show.mp3{/play}

We Are Wolves Announce U.S. Tour Dates

French-Canadian dance/rock/electro trio We Are Wolves have announced a quick run of U.S. tour dates around the February 2nd release of their third album, Invisible Violence, on Dare To Care Records. The band will make a weekend trip to the northeast, beginning February 4th at Great Scott in Boston, MA, and wrapping up February 6th at the Brooklyn Bowl in New York, NY, before heading home to Montreal, Canada. We Are Wolves are also confirmed to open for fellow countrymen Wolf Parade on three of the band's April tour dates, in addition to traveling to SXSW in March and to headlining several shows in their native Canada next month.

Earlier this week, Brooklyn Vegan featured the second MP3 off of Invisible Violence, "Blue." The track can now also be downloaded here. First single "Holding Hands" - which was featured last month as a 'Free MP3 of the Day' on AOL Music's Spinner blog and noted for its "blistering guitar riffs, sneering vocals, and an insistent rhythm section" by Prefixmag.com - is also available for download here. The accompanying video for "Holding Hands" can be seen here.

We Are Wolves tour dates:

FEB. 4 BOSTON, MA GREAT SCOTT

FEB. 5 NEW YORK, NY THE STUDIO AT WEBSTER HALL

FEB. 6 BROOKLYN, NY BROOKLYN BOWL

FEB. 18 DRUMMONDVILLE, QC BOX-OFFICE

MAR. 5 MONTREAL, QC CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM

MAR. 6 SHAWINIGAN, QC TROU DU DIABLE

MAR. 18 AUSTIN, TX PARADISE CAFÉ

APR. 1 QUEBEC CITY, QC IMPERIAL DE QUEBEC*

APR. 6 KINGSTON, ON THE ALE HOUSE*

APR. 7 TORONTO, ON PHOENIX CONCERT THEATRE*

*with Wolf Parade

 

Akron/Family Announce May Tour Dates, Summer Festivals & River Free MP3

Akron/Family's Dead Oceans' debut, Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free, arrives May 5, but a free download from the band's third proper LP, "River," is available now. Fans who pre-order Set 'Em Wild now will receive immediate access to an MP3 download of the entire album.

Download the mp3 of "River" here: http://www.scjag.com/mp3/do/river.mp3

To order Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free in North America visit Dead Oceans here: http://www.scdistribution.com/cat/scd_catalognew.php?action=set_site_id&site_id=5

Akron/Family will perform an all ages show at The Bowery Ballroom Wednesday, May 6 to celebrate the album release, with additional album release shows in Boston and Burlington.

Akron/Family will follow up their dates in  the Northeast U.S. with performances in the UK, France, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium and a tour of Spain supporting Wilco. The band will then embark on their first headlining tour of Japan in June, which will also include co-headlining shows with Deerhunter. Details of Akron/Family's full North American tour are forthcoming, however, select North American festivals are already in place including All Tomorrow's Parties, Calgary Folk Festival, 10,000 Lakes Music Festival and All Points West Festival.

Akron/Family's Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free album art, plus new and preferred hi-res jpegs featuring the current Akron/Family line-up by Sebastian Mlynarski can be downloaded here: http://deadoceans.com/press/akronfamily/akronfamilypress.php

Akron/Family Tour Dates:
05/05/09 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
05/06/09 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
05/07/09 - Burlington, VT @ Metronome
05/08/09 - Bennington, VT @ Bennington College
05/16/09 - Brussels, Belgium  Orangerie 'Nuits Botanique'
05/17/09 - Amsterdam, Holland @ Melkweg Old Room
05/18/09 - Nijmegen, Holland @ Doornroosje
05/19/09 - Paris, France @ Nouveau Casino 'Custom'
05/20/09 - London, UK @ ICA
05/22/09 - Glasgow, UK @ Captains Rest
05/23/09 - Machester, UK @ Ruby Lounge
05/24/09 - Bristol, UK @ Fiddlers (with Omar Souleyman and Group Doueh)
05/25/09 - Malaga, Spain @ Teatro Cervantes w/ Wilco
05/26/09 - Madrid, Spain @ Teatro Calderon w/ Wilco
05/27/09 - Granada, Spain @ Congress Palace w/ Wilco
05/29/09 - Seville, Spain @ La Cartuja Monastery, Contemporary Arts Museum w/ Wilco (Territorios Fest)
05/31/09 - Bologna, Italy @ Locomotiv
06/01/09 - Ravenna, Italy @ Hana-bi
06/02/09 - Verona, Italy @ Interzona
06/03/09 - Milan, Italy @ Casa 139
06/04/09 - Torino, Italy @ Spazio 211
06/05/09 - Rome, Italy @ Init
06/08/09 - Shibuya, Tokyo @ O-West w/ Deerhunter
06/09/09 - Osaka, Jyuso @ Fandango w/ Deerhunter
06/10/09 - Nagoya, Aichi @ Apollo Theater
06/11/09 - Kyoto, Kyoto @ Metro
06/12/09 - Shindaita, Tokyo @ Fever
07/23/09 - Detroit Lakes, MN @ 10,000 Lakes Music Festival
07/25/09 - 07/26/09 - Calgary, AB @ Calgary Folk Festival
08/02/09 - Liberty State Park, NJ @ All Points West Festival
09/12/09 - Monticello, NY @ All Tomorrow's Parties Festival