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Kuan announce March tour dates

If you watch the audience at a Kuan gig, something unusual happens to the socially diverse crowd that tends to make up their fan base. The punk rockers, prog rockers, hipsters, b-boys and metalheads all react in about the sameway: they start by nodding their heads. Then they sway a little. Then, they do whatever the word 'dance' means to each of them. They smile.

When one thinks of post-rock, post-punk, or avant-garde jazz, a word that does not often come to mind is joy. But that is Kuan's music. It's their joy, but it never fails to infect the audience. Brett Nagafuchi loses himself in his exultant, wicked drumming. Chip Heck collapses to the stage floor, shit-eating grin on his face as he alternates between shredding and coaxing strange ambient squeals from his pedals. Bryan Wright's bass undergirds and warms the thunder, stepping with a lightness his bobbing, peaceful frame belies. Paul Larkowski's lead guitar guides the ensemble with the gentleness and power of the best soloists in rock or jazz, tying what threatens at any one moment to explode into a beautiful mess together into a tight groove, the very thing you wanted to hear, but didn't know until you heard it.

Kuan is a Buddhist term. It translates as "wordless contemplation." But it is clear that lyricless as they are, Kuan's songs speak to their audiences. There is an urban legend that says when John Coltrane would perform one of his trademark hour-long solos while with the Miles Davis Quintet, someone once asked Miles "Why'd you let him play so long?" Miles's reply: "He wasn't finished saying what he had to say."

All veterans of Dayton's post-rock, punk and jazz scenes, Kuan formed originally as a three-piece, adding Wright in 2008. The quartet's post-rock, punk and jazz-influenced heavy groove has been compared by critics to Tortoise, June of 44, Do Make Say Think, and Fugazi. The Dayton-based band claims all of these, as well as Miles Davis, John and Alice Coltrane and Aphex Twin as influences. They attract fans from across the genres. Now gearing up for a second tour, they're preparing a vegetable-oil-powered van to reduce the high carbon footprint of touring.

Kuan Tour Dates
Mar 5 - Southgate House-Parlour - Newport, KY
Mar 6 - Rock Room - Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 8 - Chanti Loft - Ithaca, NY
Mar 9 - Trash Bar - Brooklyn, NY
Mar 10 - O'Brien's - Boston, MA
Mar 11 - The Khyber - Philadelphia, PA
Mar 12 - The Velvet Lounge - Washington, DC
Mar 19 - Baba Budans - Cincinnati, OH
Mar 26 - Chip's Basement - Dayton, OH
Apr 10 - Blind Bob's - Dayton, OHApr 23 - Reggie's - Chicago, IL

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.”

Rogue Wave Release New Single, Unveil Album Details

Now we’re born again,” sings Zach Rogue on the closing track of Rogue Wave’s fourth studio album, Permalight. The dreamy acoustic lament lasts just over a minute but in sound and spirit it neatly sums up everything that comes before it. A punchy, deceptively effervescent set of multi-instrumental pop tunes, the Northern California band’s latest set represents a giant breakthrough for Rogue and his longtime musical partner, drummer-keyboardist- vocalist Pat Spurgeon.
“The record sounds, for lack of a better word, fun,” the frontman says. It’s an astonishing change of direction, to say the least. Formed by Rogue in 2002 after he lost his tech job and parted ways with the Oakland rock group Desoto Reds, Rogue Wave has a reputation for crafting classic, inward-looking pop songs highlighted with psychedelic guitars, pastoral sound effects and intricate rhythms. On tunes from the new album like the title track “Permalight” and “Good Morning,” however, Rogue Wave steps away from expectations. Rogue says the former was written as a left-field sequel to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration,” with synthesizers that simultaneously sound brittle and blissful. “Stars and Stripes” builds on a deep groove before spilling over in a raging chorus.  Clubby beats are prominent but the album doesn’t sit still for long. “Per Anger” is a straightforward rock tune that takes its cues from Pixies’ loud-quiet-loud dynamic.
Then there’s the album’s unofficial centerpiece, “I’ll Never Leave You,” a simple acoustic tune that finds Rogue coming to grips with the overwhelming emotions that come with young fatherhood. Like many of the songs on the album it’s rooted in Rogue Wave’s triumph over seemingly constant peril -- including the tragic death of a former band mate and constant health issues -- and the band’s undying determination to push forward.  Making this album was no exception.
In September 2008, after the band returned to Oakland following a summer tour, Rogue played a solo show opening for Nada Surf. Two days later, the singer woke up and couldn’t move. There was some concern that he might be having an aneurysm or heart attack, so doctors wheeled an X-ray machine into his living room to check his heart and lungs. It turns out Rogue had slipped two discs in his neck, which were pressing on his spinal cord. “It was the worst pain I had experienced,” he says.
Over the next few months, his condition grew worse until he eventually lost feeling in his right hand. Confined to his bed, there was nothing doctors could do for him, no medications that could relieve his pain. “I just felt like I was being tortured,” Rogue says. “I felt like I was dying.”  In January, the pain began to gradually lift, giving him just enough sensation to pick up the guitar and strum it. He celebrated the recovery the best way he knew, by pouring his relief into new material. “When I started writing I wanted to make a record that was a little more up, a record you could move your body to because I couldn’t move for so long,” Rogue says. “I told Pat I wanted to make a total dance album.”
To do that Rogue decided to make a conscious break from the past. “I decided when I picked up the guitar again I didn’t want to play anything I knew,” he says. “Even if that meant yelling into the microphone or detuning a guitar, I wanted to record all those ideas.”
Tracklisting:
Solitary Gun
Good Morning
Sleepwalker
Stars and Stripes
Permalight
Fear Itself
Right With You
We Will Make A Song Destroy
I’ll Never Leave You
Per Anger
You Have Boarded All That Remains
--
Tour Dates
02/24 - San Francisco, CA @ Noise Pop 02/26 - Toronto, ON, CA @ Mod Club
03/01 - Club Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock
03/02 - Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
03/03 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
03/04 - Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church Sanctuary
03/05 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
03/06 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
03/08 - Atlanta, GA @ The Loft
03/09 - Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
03/10 - Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
03/13 - Orlando, FL @ The Social
03/15 - New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
03/16 - Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
03/17 - Dallas, TX @ The Loft
03/18 - 03/20 @ SXSW
04/07 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Rio Theatre
04/09 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
04/10 - Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
04/13 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
04/14 - Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
04/15 - Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line Cafe
04/16 - Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
04/17 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
04/20 - Columbia, MO @ Mojo’s
04/21 - Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom
04/24 - Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
04/27 - Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
04/29 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre 04/30 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore

Singer-songwriter Bobby Long

Singer-songwriter Bobby Long still doesn’t quite know what hit him.  One minute he’s making the rounds of open mic nights in London testing out his original material in front of generally ambivalent audiences, and the next he’s selling out club dates in far-off America.  Pretty heady stuff for a 24-year-old who only began writing and performing six years ago and whose most recent goal was to graduate from college.

While his meteoric rise to instant recognition can be attributed to the inclusion of a song he co-wrote in the soundtrack of the blockbuster film “Twilight,” Bobby Long’s music has a way of rising above the film frenzy and speaking volumes to a receptive flock.  “There’s something about his humble, apologetic humor that endears him to audiences, and something about the honesty and vulnerability of his music that captivates and moves them as well,” wrote Liz McClendon in Blast Magazine of one of those early club appearances in New York City.  “The contrast in the two makes for an absolutely great performance.”

Bobby Long was born in Wigan, near Manchester in Northern England (“into a red house,” he says) and moved when he was two years old to the town of Calne in the countryside of South West England known as Wessex (think Thomas Hardy country).   His musical parents provided a constant flow of music in the house, from the Beatles to Bob Dylan to the blues.  “I’ve always loved music, but it didn’t start to hit me how much I loved it until I was about 16 and was given a guitar and started writing songs,” he recalls.  Playing along to old blues records, Bobby, who had tried cello at an early age, fell in love with the guitar and quickly joined a local grunge band, playing lead guitar.

A short time later, he began writing his first songs (“they were rubbish,” he says), and after completing his studies at 18, Bobby moved into a friend’s house for a year, working on a construction site to save up for a move to the big city.  He enrolled at London Metropolitan University, settling in a small apartment in east London, where he quickly became a regular on the open mic circuit.  Often playing five shows a week, he learned how to sing while showcasing his finely-crafted, original songs.  At one such appearance, he met his soon-to-be manager Phil Taylor as well as fellow musicians Marcus Foster and soon to become mega-acting star Robert Pattinson.

“I was playing open mic nights in London, and he [Pattinson] was playing at one too,” recalls Long.  “There was a mutual appreciation for our music.”   Long and Foster began to write songs and perform together, and it would be a song they co-wrote—coupled with their friendship with Pattinson—that would create the unforeseen break Bobby was working towards.  Pattinson, who went on to star as Edward Cullen in the film phenomenon “Twilight,” played Long and Foster’s composition “Let Me Sign” for the film’s producers.   It was the perfect fit for a crucial dramatic scene and is sung by Pattinson himself in the movie.

Almost immediately, some of that (twi) light began to shine on the music of the unsigned musicians who had composed the song, and their shows in London began to sell out.  Within two months, Long signed a publishing deal with SGO Music in England and Bug Music, the largest independent publisher in America, and made plans to capitalize on the huge interest coming from America by scheduling a short tour in April, 2009 that took him to New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.

Fueled by the support from “Twilight” fan sites, the nine scheduled shows quickly sold out and spawned interest in his two-month Dangerous Summer tour of North America.   He issued DIRTY POND SONGS, a collection of 10 songs recorded in his bedroom that he calls “a big EP,” (“You can even hear traffic sounds from outside my bedroom window on some of the tracks”) to be available at shows and via the internet.  Bobby’s debut single from the collection, “Left To Lie, reached #1 on the iTunes “Unsigned” chart and #8 on the Folk chart.  Other songs on Dirty Pond Songs include the plaintive “Who Have You Been Loving” (“When the world holds out its flag/the sun will fall across the plain/I will hold out my hands and take the blame”) and the anthemic “Dead and Done,” while the haunting imagery of songs like “Being a Mockingbird,”  “The Old Shamed Face” and “The Bounty of Mary Jane” showcase Long’s talent for telling a good story in song.  “A Passing Tale” evokes images of early Bob Dylan, while “Penance Fire Blues” is performed with near defiance.  Rounding out the set are “The Rattle and the Roll” and “So Tear Me Up.”

The tall (6’2”), shaggy-haired Bobby, who cites his influences as ranging “from Dylan to Elliott Smith to chopping wood in the night with a rusty spoon,” graduated from university before the summer tour and will continue touring until the end of the year.  “I would be happy to play every night and try out new songs,” he says.  “It will help me start thinking about what I want my first album to sound like.”   He plans to begin work on that project very soon.

That demand has spawned a fall tour beginning next week in New York to continue until the end of the year.  Bobby Long will play the B-Side Lounge in Boulder for the first time on Tuesday, November 17 and return to the Hi-Dive in Denver on Wednesday, November 18.