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Dawn Of The Gecko Release Debut EP, "Raised In The Gecko"

Phil Jourdan of the musical duo Dawn Of the Gecko announced today that their debut album “Raised in the Gecko,” has been released and is currently available for purchase on iTunes and other online retailers. The five track EP features a delightful assortment of cabaret-electronic rock songs mixed with comical lyrics and beats that don’t disappoint.

Describing their genre, Jourdan said, “If it’s melodramatic, campy and upbeat, you’re halfway there. If you incorporate a look of theatrical nonsense into the music and you tell a story, you’re even closer. But I’d say the main thing is to be faithful to the spirit of cabaret, with its grotesqueness and its creepy vibe.” Jourdan, along with partner Sam Folkes, is creating music that serves the dual purpose of both sounding great and making you laugh.

Their second EP, “Gecko! Echo! Echo!” is already in the process of being completed, and is expected to be released in late March, 2011. Dawn Of The Gecko currently performs in local bars, but have their sights set on other venues as well.

The pair met in 2010 through a friend, to whom they have since dedicated a song (“Jim’s Girl”), and discovered they both liked to make music. Their friendship was solidified when they became roommates after Folkes decided to move to Leamington. Though they didn’t know it at the time, a musical match made in heaven was about to be born.

Though both were musicians prior to meeting, neither had the passion that they now both have with Dawn Of The Gecko. Jourdan commented, “I’ve been playing guitar and bass since high school, though I never took it very seriously and prefer to sing when possible. We both like to geek around with sounds, though Sam’s been at it far longer than I have. I used to play little one-man comedy gigs — then I stopped for several years. It was only after meeting Sam that I decided to play live again. We play a gig weekly here in Leamington Spa, where we also live.”

Folkes studied Music Composition and Technology at the University of Hertfordshire and has had a lifelong interest in music. He began playing the piano at age fifteen as a result of being such a huge fan of Boogie-Woogie.

While the pair came up with the band’s name in five minutes by randomly choosing words, selecting their sound took a bit longer. “Initially, we simply wanted to make funny cabaret songs, but given Sam’s love for electronic music and my interest in heavy rock, we quickly expanded the sound and different things until we were happy with the “Gecko sound”. That “Gecko sound” consists of Jourdan on guitar, bass, and singing vocals, with Folkes on piano and doing the programming and mixing.

Coming up with the concept of doing Cabaret-electronica music was a somewhat natural evolution of things that the Dawn of the Gecko band members had been doing on their own. “We were mostly interested in doing stupid pantomime-style stuff when we started out. The comedy bit seemed obvious — we both like not to take our music too seriously. The electronica influences (as well as the occasional industrial influences) came later, when we tried to make the songs sound more original, more relevant to our interests. Not all of our songs are meant to be hilarious, but they’re all pretty stupid lyrically, and they incorporate silly little melodies.

“Raised In The Gecko” can be purchased here.

Punch Brothers @ The Boulder Theatre | 2/11/11

"Antifogmatic" is a bit of bygone slang that mandolinist Chris Thile and his bandmates stumbled across, an old term, explains the Punch Brothers founder, for a bracing beverage, rum or whiskey, that one would have in the morning before going out to work in rough weather, to stave off any ill effects." It's an apt title for the Punch Brothers' second Nonesuch disc. This ten-song set of collectively written material takes a clear-eyed view of those things less tangible than booze that can make us woozy: the pleasures and pitfalls of romance, the seemingly limitless possibilities and multifarious temptations of life in the big city.

The arrangements on Antifogmatic range from intimate to boisterous and back; genre-wise, the band once again ventures where no string band has ever gone before. The spare opening track "You Are" contrasts percussive guitar riffs with lyrical string parts that dance around Thile's sweet upper register as he spins a tale of romantic emancipation; occasionally, the other instruments give way to reveal the throb of the bass. The band also engages in some unexpectedly beautiful harmony singing, smoothing out the compelling melodic twists and turns of Welcome Home." "Me and Us" and "Woman and the Bell" both have a dream-like quality; the former, in fact, was inspired by those jumbled, thought-filled moments before sleep sets in, and the instrumentation keeps pace with the ever-shifting imagery. In contrast, "Don't Need No" and "Rye Whiskey" are foot-stomping barroom boasts and "Next to the Trash" is the closest the band gets to traditional bluegrass, even as the lyrics tug the piece in a more surreal direction.

"Our new record is a very pure collaboration," Thile emphasizes. "I would often come to the boys with a start, a little nugget, and we would collectively fashion it into something. None of these songs would have been like themselves if I had been left to my own devices. Several of them were starts that other guys had, and we would build from there. It's fun how liquid the writing process was on this."

The stories the Punch Brothers tell in Antifogmatic-partly autobiographical, partly imagine-were shaped by after-hours camaraderie as much as musical collaboration; they're ultimately about drinking everything in as well as drinking what's in front of them up, though there was plenty of that too. Concludes Thile, "The boys and I would work all day in one of our apartments and then we'd want to go out and have a drink. That's what you do in New York City, because everyone's apartment is too small to hang out comfortably in. We're a group of five guys. If friends start attaching themselves to the fray after that, you forsake the one-bedroom apartment and you go into the incredibly vibrant bar scene that isn't merely an encouragement for intoxication and spending obscene amounts of money per drink. It's really a wonderful way to get to know your fellow man, with your top button unbuttoned and your tie loosened a little bit."

More Info / Buy Tickets

String Cheese Incident Launches Archival Series

Today, The String Cheese Incident releases the first installment of their brand new live archival series, Rhythm of the Road, which will highlight the band’s most celebrated concerts with re-mastered limited edition releases. Titled Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00, this first offering on the historic show’s ten-year anniversary.

2000 was a big year for SCI as they became a true touring force, settling into larger venues for the first time, including Red Rocks in Colorado, The Warfield in San Francisco, and New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre. The band finished off a long East Coast fall tour with three nights in Athens and Atlanta, GA, and it’s the middle night on 11.17.00 that fans still talk about as one of the best in the band’s career. With special guest Tony Furtado on banjo for several songs and featuring covers of Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, John Coltrane, Peter Rowan, and Peter Gabriel, as well as bluegrass standards and a host of SCI originals, this show is the perfect way to kick off The String Cheese Incident’s archival series “Rhythm of the Road.”

Incident in Atlanta features the entire 11.17.00 performance, lovingly remastered from the original 24-bit multi-track master tapes and made available on CD, download (MP3, FLAC) and, an SCI first, 24-bit FLAC download. It will be released on November 9th in stores, through SCI Merchandise, and www.LiveCheese.com.

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Track List for Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00 is as follows:

Set 1: Smile, Joyful Sound > Orange Blossom Special*, Barstool, Pygmy Pony,
Missing Me > Ramble On

Set 2: Outside And Inside, Impressions > Glory Chords Jam > Midnight
Moonlight*, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) > Miss Brown's Teahouse,
Wake Up, Black Clouds*

Encore: The Old Home Place*, Shenandoah Breakdown*, Shakin' the Tree*

* featuring Tony Furtado on banjo and guitar

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This year, after a three-year hiatus from the touring circuit, The String Cheese Incident played just a few select shows that sold out in minutes. By all accounts, the epic performers were well worth the long wait. Refreshed and inspired and still making music on their own terms, SCI seems to be once again reinventing the music industry model. Stay tuned for announcement of the band’s highly anticipated 2011 plans.

The String Cheese Incident Launches Rhythm of the Road series

The String Cheese Incident announces a brand new live archival series with Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00. Available 11.09.10 in celebration of the historic show’s ten year anniversary, this will be the first offering in SCI’s new series “Rhythm of the Road” which will be highlighting many of the band’s most celebrated concerts with remastered limited edition releases.

2000 was a big year for SCI as they became a true touring force, settling into larger venues for the first time, including Red Rocks in Colorado, The Warfield in San Francisco, and New Orleans’ Saenger Theatre. The band finished off a long East Coast fall tour with three nights in Athens and Atlanta, GA, and it’s the middle night on 11.17.00 that fans still talk about as one of the best in the band’s career. With special guest Tony Furtado on banjo for several songs and featuring covers of Led Zeppelin, Talking Heads, John Coltrane, Peter Rowan, and Peter Gabriel, as well as bluegrass standards and a host of SCI originals, this show is the perfect way to kick off The String Cheese Incident’s archival series “Rhythm of the Road.”

Incident in Atlanta features the entire 11.17.00 performance, lovingly remastered from the original 24-bit multi-track master tapes and made available on CD, download (MP3, FLAC) and, an SCI first, 24-bit FLAC download. It will be released on November 9th in stores, through SCI Merchandise, and www.LiveCheese.com.

Track List for Rhythm of the Road: Volume 1, Incident in Atlanta – 11.17.00 is as follows:

Set 1: Smile, Joyful Sound > Orange Blossom Special*, Barstool, Pygmy Pony,
Missing Me > Ramble On

Set 2: Outside And Inside, Impressions > Glory Chords Jam > Midnight
Moonlight*, This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) > Miss Brown's Teahouse,
Wake Up, Black Clouds*

Encore: The Old Home Place*, Shenandoah Breakdown*, Shakin' the Tree*

* featuring Tony Furtado on banjo and guitar

Having just completed two sets of sold out summer shows at Red Rocks and Horning’s Hideout, 2010 positions The String Cheese Incident for a future where they will continue to break industry standards, this time with unique, over-the-top Incidents as opposed to traditional tours.

The band will conclude the year with an epic Halloween weekend at Virginia’s Hampton Coliseum. “Hulaween 2010” will feature special guests The Disco Biscuits on Friday, October 29th and Saturday, October 30th will offer a three-set evening with The String Cheese Incident. A limited amount of tickets are still available, please visit www.stringcheeseincident.com for additional information.

Cymbals Eat Guitars and Freelance Whales in DENVER

To call them multi-instrumentalists might be a little overdone.  The kids in Freelance whales are really just collectors, at heart. They don't really fancy buffalo nickels or Victorian furniture, but over the past two years, they've been collecting instruments, ghost stories, and dream-logs.  Somehow, from this strange compost heap of little sounds and quiet thoughts, songs started to rise up like steam from the ground.

The first performance of these songs took place in January of 2009, in Staten Island's abandoned farm colony, a dilapidated geriatric ward, in one of New York's lesser visited boroughs. A seemingly never-ending jigsaw of small rooms, the farm colony ate them whole and threatened to never regurgitate them. And even though the onlookers were only spiritual presences, the group was still palpably nervous and visibly cold.  After a bit of singing, strumming and stomping asbestos, they realized that they'd found a good crowd.  They heard a bit of clapping from an adjacent room, also some laughing, but not a single soul asked about their record.

Weathervanes, the groups debut LP, finished tracking just a few nights earlier.  Swirling with organic and synthetic textures, interlocking rhythmic patterns, and light harmonic vocals, the record works to tell a simple, pre-adolescent love story: a young male falls in love with the spectral young femme who haunts his childhood home.   He chases her in his dreams but finds her to be mostly elusive.  He imagines her alive, and wonders if someday he'll take on her responsibilities of ghosting, or if maybe he'll join her, elsewhere.

Since their brief residency at the Farm Colony, Freelance Whales have taken to city streets, subway platforms, and stages with their swirling nostalgia.  Many people who found them playing in those public spaces, managed to forget what train they were supposed to take; some of them forgot what language they originally spoke.  And so, after playing in New York City, almost exclusively, for about a year, they embarked on their first tour of the United States, and Canada.  They saw buffaloes posted on hilltops, armies of windmills, and lots of lovely people who let the music run their blood in reverse.

US Tour Dates:

3/5 - Johnny Brenda’s – Philadelphia, PA
3/6 – Rock N Roll Hotel – Washington, D.C
3/7 – Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
3/9 – The End – Nashville, TN
3/10 – Pilot Light – Knoxville, TN
3/11 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
3/12 – Harvest Of Hope Festival – St. Augustine, FL
3/13 – Will’s Pub – Orlando, FL
3/14 – The Engine Room – Tallahassee, FL
3/16 – Mango’s – Houston, TX
3/22 – The Rhythm Room – Phoenix, AZ
3/23 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA
3/24 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
3/25 – Bottom Of The Hill – San Francisco, CA
3/28 – Crocodile Café – Seattle, WA *
3/29 – The Biltmore Cabaret – Vancouver, BC
3/31 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
4/1 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO
4/2 – Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
4/3 – Turf Club - St. Paul, MN
4/4 – Schuba’s – Chicago, IL
4/6 – El Mocambo Club – Toronto, ON
4/7 – Il Motore – Montreal, QB
4/8 – The Middle East – Boston, MA

*CEG Not Playing

Anne McCue's new CD, 'Broken Promise Land,' returns to raw sound

Anne McCue describes her new album, Broken Promise Land, due out on May 18, 2010 on Flying Machine Records Records, as “a bit dirty, a bit rockin’, a bit swampy and a bit bluesy, with a touch of mysteriousness to it.”

What isn’t mysterious is McCue’s musical talent and range. She was voted the Roots Music Association’s Folk Artist of the Year in 2008, performed in a Jimi Hendrix tribute at the 2007 International Guitar Festival and was included in the Four Decades of Folk Rock box set alongside the likes of Bob Dylan and Wilco. Heart’s Nancy Wilson has described her as “my Aussie clone,” while Americana icon Lucinda Williams had this to say: “Initially, her stunning voice hooked me in. Then I got inside the songs. The first chance I got, I went to see her perform . . . I was floored! The combination of her tomboyish beauty mixed with the precision and assertiveness with which she approached the guitar, her surrounding languid and earthy vocals created an intoxicating blend.”

The new, self-produced album is one that she has long wanted to make. Combining heartfelt songwriting with gritty guitar playing, the record harkens back to McCue’s breakout Roll release, although she says that the new disc’s sound is even more raw than its predecessor. While earlier albums covered a range of roots-rock styles, Broken Promise Land focuses on McCue’s hard-charging “cosmic biker rock” sound.

The new disc lets McCue showcase her rockin’ ways and six-string virtuosity. The title track cuts loose with a blistering Hendrix-like bluesy guitar solo. The first single, “Don’t Go To Texas (Without Me),” boasts the dirty guitar sound of late ’60s English bands like the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones, while “The Old Man Talkin’” exudes a slinky J.J. Cale vibe.

The music’s strong, visceral energy results from a strategy to record as much as possible live. “I didn’t want to have a lot of layers. I wanted it to be pretty much what I can do on stage,” McCue asserts. She sought to capture the vibe of the old Albert King albums that she loves, which were recorded in only a few days, and she included a brass section in the sessions. By recording to tape, McCue also created the textures and dimension that she admires in T-Bone Burnett’s work.

On Broken Promise Land, McCue utilized the veteran rhythm section of Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil) and drummer Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo/Wilco). “Bones and Ken are very developed as musicians,” she says. “It’s great to have that type of depth to the musicianship.” This powerful trio demonstrates their musical breadth throughout this disc, whether it’s building “The Lonely One” into a surging rock ballad, conjuring a spooky atmosphere in Amelia White’s “Motorcycle Dream” or roaring through a cover of Rose Tattoo’s “Rock ’n’ Roll Outlaw.”

McCue’s love for music was nurtured in Sydney, Australia, where she grew up in a house filled with music. Her father, while not a professional musician, played a variety of instruments and her mother sang in the church choir. All of her seven older siblings were heavily into music too, and sounds ranging from Billie Holiday to Led Zeppelin filled the McCue home. “Every type of music except hardcore blues,” the blues-loving McCue admits, “so I definitely didn’t get burned out on it as a child.”

Although McCue played guitar growing up, she wasn’t encouraged to be a musician. A longtime film buff, she got a degree in film studies at Sydney’s University of Technology. Her cinema studies are an influence. “To me, my songs are like short films,” she reveals, “I try to be very visual and cinematic with my music and now I am making videos for the songs too.”

After college, McCue joined an all-female band, Girl Monstar, which was very popular in the Australian indie rock scene. She later became a part of the folk-rock trio Eden AKA that performed on the Lilith Fair tour and recorded a never-released album for Columbia Records. Her ill-fated Columbia experience landed her in America, where she set up shop in Los Angeles and became a vital part of the city’s roots music scene. During her time in Southern California, she recorded two attention-grabbing albums — 2004’s Roll and 2006’s Koala Motel.
Both releases accumulated a bevy of critical accolades. Entertainment Weekly exclaimed that McCue “represents a new generation of hard-bitten, country-inflected singer-songsmiths,” while Billboard heralded her as  “the virtual definition of ‘triple threat.’ A potent singer, thoughtful songwriter and tough guitarist.” Austin Chronicle critic Jim Caligiuri noted that “these days, there are very few women working the same territory as McCue, who can combine tough and vulnerable. That she does it with poise and a self-deprecating sense of humor makes her an artist worth seeing again.”
A few years ago, McCue moved to Nashville, a place she finds quite fertile for making music. “There’s more room to think, more creative space,” she explains, “but there are so many great musicians that it really raises the bar and makes you want to get better.” Last year, she self-produced a limited-distribution acoustic album, East of Electric, on which she played a variety of instruments. A terrific example of her folkier side, it stands as a quiet side-trip to the full-bodied rock ferocity that Broken Promise Land delivers.
“This is the kind of music I love playing,” says McCue talking enthusiastically about her Broken Promise Land songs. “There’s nothing I could look more forward to than playing a whole set of bluesy, rocky, swampy music.”
See the video for McCue’s “Don’t Go to Texas (Without Me)” right here.