The Greencards' new 'The Brick Album' features Vince Gill, Sam Bush

From the first notes struck together in 2003 through tours with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, up to and beyond their fourth studio album in 2009, The Greencards have won steadily escalating acclaim for their multi-dimensional Americana vision. Each step they’ve taken has widened their appeal. Their releases have topped the Billboard Bluegrass charts. In both 2008 (for their Viridian album) and 2010 (for Fascination), they were nominated for Grammy Awards in the “Best Country Instrumental” category. They’ve earned ovations from “newgrass” music devotees at MerleFest and from indie-rock loyalists at Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival. RollingStone.com noted, “This imported band is creating some of the finest Americana around.”

But this four-piece band, spearheaded by Australians Carol Young and Kym Warner, is interested less in past accomplishments than in looking ahead for new goals to achieve. Produced and engineered by studio veteran Justin Niebank (Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Keith Urban), The Brick Album on the band’s own Darling Street Records is the first to successfully infuse The Greencards’ eclectic musical references with the excitement they generate onstage.

“We’ve been striving for this since our first record,” says mandolinist Warner. “We recorded totally in one room this time, with very little isolation. It was all about doing the performance now, without going back to add anything later on.”

“What you’re hearing is all one take,” bassist and singer Young adds. “If someone really didn’t like what we’d done, we’d play it all again from the top rather than drop the part in. When you drop in a part, you lose a little bit of the feel. You’ve got to get a run-up to it.”

That immediacy was heightened by the addition of two new members of the group. Tyler Andal, a young fiddle whiz from Tennessee, reinforces both The Greencards’ grounding in roots music and their eagerness to let in the fresh air of newgrass, rock, folk elements, Latin America and much more. “He thinks outside the box,” Warner explains. “We’ve always had a strong rhythmic aspect to our music, and Tyler definitely brings that.”

The other recent arrival, former National Flatpicking Championship winner Carl Miner, excels as a guitarist in that tradition but more importantly applies his virtuosity equally well beyond it. “He’s good at everything,” Warner says. “He’s one of the most versatile musicians, and probably the most consistent, we’ve ever played with. With Tyler and him in the band, everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

Make that “directions.” The Brick Album kicks off with “Make It Out West,” a rhythmically irresistible chant powered by guest artist Sam Bush’s slide mandolin, with lyrics conjuring restless dreams and far horizons. From there the songs take listeners through ever-changing vistas — the Spanish-inflected “Heart Fixer,” whose vocals by Young and guest artist Vince Gill stir memories of Marty Robbins; the slinky, teasing “Mrs. Madness,” written by Warner after a night of watching Bored to Death; the magical “Girl in the Telescope,” which floats like a feather in sunlight; “Tale of KangaRio,” an intimate Brazilian dance of mandolin and guitar; “Loving You Is the Only Way To Fly,” a dreamy evocation of the Louvin and Everly Brothers, the pillars of classic country duet vocals.

There’s much more, but two tracks bear special mention. The wistful “Faded” is a sweetly harmonized tune, so natural that you don’t even notice its unusual 5/4 time signature. Similarly, “Adelaide” is a brisk instrumental, built over a rushing stream of chord changes made accessible by melodies and solos of eloquent coherence.

“As we get older, the more I think about it, the more we want something in music you can cling to,” Warner says. “That comes with melody. What we do on The Brick Album allows us to have something not only on the record but also on our live show. It brings it back to “more than anything, this is about lyrics and harmony.”

It’s also about integrating fans more than ever into the band’s process. The Greencards followed an independent path with The Brick Album, partnering with its followers rather than with record labels to fund its sessions. In exchange for contributing to the “Buy A Brick” project, each donor had his or her name permanently inscribed on a brick within the wall that comprises its cover art.

“The times have changed a lot in the music industry, not so much in the creative side but in business side of making music,” Warner says. “We just wanted to give something unique and special to people, not just by sending them an early copy of the record by putting their names on the artwork. That makes them fully a part of it.”

But it’s the music that makes us all part of this journey. Warner and Young were both steeped in country music; she charted several No. 1 singles in her homeland as a solo artist and he won the Australian National Bluegrass Mandolin Championship for four consecutive years. They moved to Austin, put together the first incarnation of The Greencards there and today call Nashville home.

Along the way, they have picked up some influential fans. Their 2009 release, Fascination, prompted Rosanne Cash to say, “The Greencards are a little island of truth and beauty in a sea of artifice and mediocrity. What a fine group, and what a great collection of songs.” Buddy Miller called it one of the year’s “most inventive discs.”

With this new release, the world becomes more than ever The Greencards’ stage. Their sound defies category, balancing taste and technique, engaging lyrics and melodies and wildly creative arrangements. There may be a wall on The Brick Album’s cover, but the future suggested on these tracks knows no barrier.

Jim Lauderdale to Release Reason & Rhyme

Can there be too much of a good thing?  If the question’s about collaboration between American roots music hero Jim Lauderdale and legendary lyricist Robert Hunter, the answer’s an emphatic “no!”  Marking the former’s debut on the respected Sugar Hill records label, Reason And Rhyme makes a compelling case for the continued vitality of the Lauderdale—Hunter partnership—and for Lauderdale’s unique and deeply satisfying approach to bluegrass.

“This one’s back to total bluegrass,” Lauderdale says of the collaborative follow-up to 2010’s electric Patchwork River, and so it’s no surprise that it features many of the musicians involved in previous bluegrass efforts like Could We Get Any Closer (2009) and 2007’s Grammy-winning The Bluegrass Diaries.  The close-knit crew, headed up by producer and resonator guitarist Randy Kohrs, is perfectly in tune with Lauderdale’s ‘grass-with-a-twist' sensibilities, and whether it’s a return buddy like bassist Jay Weaver or new colleague Mike Compton (mandolin), each player delivers mightily with the genre’s characteristic virtuosity and emotional fire.

“We started on this one last August,” Lauderdale notes, “right after I finished touring with Elvis Costello.  Robert and I have worked just about every way you can think of—writing in the same room, adding lyrics to music and music to lyrics—but whichever way we go, he’s the lyrics guy and I’m the music guy.  This time around, we wanted to keep the momentum from Patchwork River going; I started sending him melodies, and ten days later we had 18 songs to choose from.”
The collaboration began over a decade ago, when Lauderdale was preparing for his first joint project with bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley, and quickly bore fruit, with more than 30 songs written before the first all-collaborative album, Headed For The Hills (2004).  “I’m not surprised, but I’m always blown away how creative he is lyrically,” says the singer/songwriter, who’s busy enough that finding time to record has always been among his greatest challenges.
With 11 fresh takes on the bluegrass sound that he’s loved since he was a teenager, this latest effort presents Jim Lauderdale at his most relaxed and rooted—and with the help of one of American music’s greatest lyricists, it’s a set that offers not only deep musicality, but deep meaning and vision.  Reason And Rhyme—it’s just the right name for just the right music.

The Yardbirds headline ZepFest

The Yardbirds will be headlining the first annual ZepFest, playing all three nights May 27, 28, and 29-Memorial Day Weekend, at the National Harbor, on the Potomac River, at Waterfront Street and St. George Blvd., in Prince George's County, MD.

Patrolled by Radar signs to Knitting Factory Records, readies 'Be Happy'

Patrolled by Radar’s Be Happy is an album of original songs penned by singer-songwriter Jay Souza. The ten tracks on Be Happy tell stories that could have taken place at any point during the last two centuries, as sung by troubadours such as Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Ray Davies or Townes Van Zandt. Be Happy is the band’s debut CD on Knitting Factory Records through RED Distribution, set for worldwide release on June 7, 2011.

Souza has been carrying around these songs inside his heart since he was a kid. His inspiration came from his mom, who sent him three cassettes that he played incessantly as a child — Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and the Carpenters. Years later, his attention to craft can be heard throughout Be Happy, which will be released under the name Patrolled by Radar because Souza got tired of his band 50 Cent Haircut getting confused with rapper 50 Cent.

Knitting Factory CEO Morgan Margolis was so impressed with the band’s yearlong residency at the Hollywood club that he offered to both manage them and release the album on his label. It’s a story that could have come straight from one of Souza’s own songs, based on real life.

“The whole record was meant to be like that,” says Souza. “I wanted it to be rich in melody, dynamism and nuance. I’ll rewrite the words over and over until the allusion is just right. I try to make it less literal and more poetic. There’s always a better way to say something.”

The Boston-born singer-songwriter — whose great-great-grandfather was first cousin to Irish poet William Butler Yeats — has lived in L.A. since 1990. He continues to exhibit the qualities of his mentors in his music, first in his band 50 Cent Haircut, and now alongside the same musicians in Patrolled by Radar (guitarists Bosco Sheff and Bryan “BC” Coulter and bassist Bryan “Reno” Stone), with a timeless, narrative style that takes its cue from classic Americana roots: equal parts folk, rock, country, blues and soul.

The band’s music is featured as the closing song in two of the three MGM/Sony Walking Tall movies. Two of the tracks on Be Happy can be heard on the TNT show Men of a Certain Age, where they were placed by GO Music Services supervisor Gary Calamar who noted of Be Happy, “Wowza for Jay Souza. [Patrolled by Radar] is a great band with terrific songs. Bang and twang!”

Be Happy is a rather ironic title, given some of the grim stories Souza recounts in “Dressed for the Drought,” “Coat of Disappointment,” and “Fast Life Slow Death.” His honesty and sincerity is self-evident on the album’s “Carried Away,” written from the point of view of a soldier serving in the Middle East:

“I know it’s all the same to you/Everybody’s lookin’ for the thing they were meant to do/I’ll sit and sing a lonesome song.”

Elsewhere, Souza and Patrolled by Radar show themselves equally capable of creating the lush pop choruses of the Beatlesque title track, the slinky sexual double entendre rockabilly blues in “Walking” (“The first verse is about Adolf Hitler and the second, Johnny Cash,” he explains), the whimsical psychedelic folk of the Babar the Elephant-inspired “Pachyderm,” or even full-throttle rock ’n’ roll, which comes across loud and clear in the anthemic (and aptly named) “New Fight Song.”

“I see people having a hard time. It’s a strange time we’re in. The haves and have-nots are being drawn together in a way that’s weird,” Souza clarifies, though he’s finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

--

Be Happy track listing

1.    Widow Next Door
2.    New Fight Song
3.    Dressed for the Drought
4.    Pachyderm
5.    Coat of Disappointment
6.    Fast Life, Slow Death
7.    Haywire
8.    Carried Away
9.    Be Happy
10.   Walking

--

PATROLLED BY RADAR on tour

Wed., Apr. 13   LOS ANGELES, CA The Mint w/ The Band Of Heathens
Sat., Apr. 23   LOS ANGELES, CA Farmers Market Ranch Party
Sat., Apr. 30   CULVER CITY, CA Cinema Bar
Fri., May 6   BROOKLYN, NY Knitting Factory (Brooklyn) w/ Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
Sun., May 15   LOS ANGELES, CA Satellite (Silver Lake)
Fri., May 20   LOS ANGELES, CA Villains Tavern
Sun., Jun 12   LOS ANGELES, CA The Echo - Grand Ole Echo

Scattered Trees' Sympathy Out Today

Scattered Trees’ highly anticipated new album Sympathy (Roll Call/EMI) hits stores across the country today. In honor of the album’s release, AOL Spinner is currently streaming the album in its entirety — click HERE to listen. The band has also made their anthemic track “Four Days Straight” available for free download. Click HERE to download the track. Scattered Trees has also created four videos for “Four Days Straight” with the help of film students at four different schools in NYC, and is currently running a contest on Consequence of Sound to select the band’s next official video. Click HERE to view the videos and vote on the contest. And to celebrate the Sympathy’s release, Scattered Trees has announced a very special album release show on 4/30 at Schubas in Chicago. See the band’s full tour dates below.

Already, the album has been hailed by Nylon, RCRD LBL, Consequence of Sound and others as an album that’s not to be missed. And it’s easy to see why. The album is a focused, deeply personal collection of songs that finds Scattered Trees experimenting with lush multi-part harmonies, constructing dynamic builds, and exploring the intricacies of love and loss. Driving rock epics like “Four Days Straight” rub shoulders with melancholic elegies like “Where You Came From.” The album’s title track starts with a stripped-down plaintive mandolin, ultimately fading into a slow-burning orchestral groove. Melting into “Five Minutes,” Scattered Trees continues the build until the track bursts forth. The band rounds out the record with the mournful acoustic closer “On Your Side,” a fitting tribute for a deeply heartfelt and therapeutic album.

--

Scattered Trees Upcoming Tour Dates:

04/09: KANSAS CITY, MO @ Middle of the Map Festival (The Union - 10:00pm)
04/30: CHICAGO, IL @ Schubas (Sympathy Album Release Show sponsored by Consequence of Sound)
05/13: DES MOINES, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
05/20: GRAND RAPIDS, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
07/31: CHICAGO, IL @ Taste of Lincoln Avenue

Company of Thieves Announce New Album, On Tour w/ The Whigs

The Chicago-based band Company of Thieves has announced the release of their new album, Running From A Gamble, due out via Wind-up Records on May 17th. To celebrate, the band is offering up a free MP3 from the album, in the form of the amazing track “Modern Waste.”

Running From A Gamble is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut, Ordinary Riches. Produced by Rob Schnapf, the 13-track album was written primarily by lead singer Genevieve Schatz and guitar player Marc Walloch.  Of the album, Genevieve says, “The album is a coming of age adventure about the mysterious, passionate and painful transition from dependence and enchantment to autonomy and awareness.”  The first single off Running From A Gamble will be “Death of Communication,” which hits radio this month.

Ordinary Riches was released in 2009 and landed at #5 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.  The band landed a spot on Last Call with Carson Daly where they performed their hit single “Oscar Wilde.”  The band has built a massive fanbase from non-stop touring, performing headlining dates and also opening for bands such as OK Go and The Hold Steady, followed by duets with Daryl Hall on his hit show, “Live From Daryl’s House.”

Reviews of the album and live performances were nothing but positive.  Entertainment Weekly raved, “Thanks to Genevieve Schatz’s consistently gutsy soul-chick vocals and her bandmates’ energetic arrangement…their technique can’t be denied.” Yahoo! exclaimed, “Hands down, one of the best debut albums of 2007.” The band is in the midst of a national tour with The Whigs.

-

Download the FREE MP3 “Modern Waste” HERE

-

Upcoming Tour Dates (w/ The Whigs)

04/05 – Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger
04/06 – Norfolk, VA – The Jewish Mother Backstage
04/07 – Richmond, VA – Capital Ale House
04/13 – Charleston, SC – The Pour House
04/14 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theater
04/15 – Whitesburg, KY – Summit City Lounge
04/17 – Wilmington, NC – The Soapbox
04/25 – Memphis, TN – Hi Tone Café
04/26 – Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
04/27 – St. Louis, MO – Off Broadway Nightclub
04/28 – Indianapolis, IN – Radio Radio
04/29 – Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose Tap House
04/30 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
05/01 – Tulsa, OK – The Marquee
06/26 – Highland Park, IL – Ravinia Festival (w/ Daryl Hall, John Oates)

Booker T. & the MGs, Staple Singers & Johnnie Taylor launch Stax Remasters Series

From the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, the Stax label dominated soul, R&B, gospel, and related genres with a stable of artists who have since become iconic figures in the history of American popular music. Now a part of the Concord Music Group, the Stax catalog is a treasure trove of some of the most visceral and influential recordings of the 20th century. On May 10, 2011, Concord reaches back into that deep catalog to launch Stax Remasters, a series of reissues that cast a new light on classic Stax recordings with the help of 24-bit remastering, rare bonus tracks, and new liner notes to frame the recordings in a historical context.

The first three reissues in the series are:

  • Booker T. & the MGs: McLemore Avenue (1970)
  • The Staple Singers: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself (1972)
  • Johnnie Taylor: Taylored in Silk (1973)


“Stax is a very important label, not only in the history of soul music, but in the history of music in general,” says Nick Phillips, Concord’s Vice President of Catalog A&R and co-producer of the series with Chris Clough, Concord’s Manager of Catalog Development. “We have a number of amazing recordings by Stax in the catalog. This is an opportunity to revisit some of the best of these classic recordings, upgrade the sound quality, and put them in the proper historical perspective that they deserve.”

Booker T. & the MGs: McLemore Avenue

Released in January 1970, McLemore Avenue is a tribute to Abbey Road, the landmark recording released by the Beatles the prior summer. McLemore Avenue sets up an interesting cause-and-effect loop by putting an R&B spin on songs by a profoundly innovative British pop-rock band that, ironically, emerged years earlier from the most basic elements of American R&B.

McLemore Avenue was inspired by “my pure fascination and admiration of the work that [the Beatles] had done,” says keyboardist Booker T. Jones in the reissue liner notes by music historian Ashley Kahn. “I didn’t know their inner workings. I found out later. I had a picture of those guys as a perfect unit. I didn’t know that they fought, had arguments, or that they needed referees. When you listen to that music, you think it comes from a perfect union, you know?”

The tribute album “represents a fascinating and musically compelling intersection,” says Phillips. “On one hand, you can look at the strength of the Beatles’ songs, and how they’re such strong songs that they can be successfully adapted — in the right hands — to soulful instrumental versions. At the same time, it is of course a testament to Booker T. & the MGs’ creativity and soulfulness and groove. It’s not only a very interesting musical intersection, but it’s also a very deep and at the same time a very fun listen.”

Clearly, Booker T. & the MGs had had plenty of their own opportunities to flex their creative muscles in the studio, having recorded with artists like Otis Redding and Sam & Dave. “But on a record like this,” says Clough, “where all the songs were already written and it was just a matter of interpretation, it wasn’t work for them. It was an opportunity to put their spin on the songs and just have some fun.”

The bonus tracks include seven additional Beatles covers, recorded in sessions separate from those for the McLemore Avenue album. “We figured it made good sense to expand this edition by adding other tracks that Booker T. & the MGs had recorded of Beatles songs over the years,” says Phillips. “So the Stax Remasters reissue is not only an expanded edition of McLemore Avenue, it’s also a de facto ‘Booker T. & the MGs Play the Beatles’ collection.”

The Staple Singers: Be Altitude: Respect Yourself

Originally released in 1972, Be Altitude: Respect Yourself captures the celebrated family vocal group in what was essentially the third act of their career, according to music historian Rob Bowman. The Staple Singers had initially established themselves as a gospel group in the 1950s, then merged with the folk music closely tied to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and ultimately veered away from protest songs and toward what Mavis Staples termed “message music” in the early and mid-1970s.

“Obviously, there was a lot going on in America — politically and socially — around that time, and the Staple Singers took up the cause,” says Clough. “Stax provided a huge platform for that cause, and it worked. It wasn’t insincere or disingenuous. It was the real deal. The Staples had taken up the banner at that point.”

Be Altitude found a comfortable middle ground between gospel music and secular music. “Some of the messages in their music have that gospel element running through it, but it’s a broader message than what you’d find in traditional gospel,” says Phillips. “The soul, the gospel, the grooves — all those things blended together — really make for a unique sound that is the Staple Singers.”

The two previously unreleased bonus tracks — “Walking in Water Over Our Head” and an alternate version of “Heavy Makes You Happy” — were both recorded at the Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama in 1970 and 1972, respectively. “We felt that it was appropriate to add these bonus tracks, not only because any undiscovered material by a group as great as the Staple Singers is worthy of a listen,” says Phillips, “but also because they’re such great performances that they fit right in.”

Simply put, says Bowman, “the recording you hold in your hands represents the Staple Singers at the very peak of their career.”

Johnnie Taylor: Taylored in Silk

Released in 1973, Taylored in Silk is an ideal example of Taylor’s newly expanded and embellished sound, crafted with the help of producer Don Davis, who had united with Taylor a few years earlier, according to the liner notes by Bill Dahl. “As far as Davis was concerned, a fundamental change of sound was in order for Johnnie,” says Dahl. “Gone were the savory slow blues in favor of a hard-edged, uptempo attack that energized [Taylor’s] sound like never before.”

The issue could well have been regional marketing as much as musicality. “The story goes that Davis was brought in to forge a sound that would be sort of a combination between Northern and Southern soul, and capture the best of both Stax and Motown,” says Phillips. “He certainly hit a home run in his work with Johnnie Taylor, especially on this album.”

Taylored in Silk underwent “a lot of overdubbing,” Dahl notes, “but the end result was a splendidly conceived soul album boasting three major R&B hits within its eight selections…Blues wailer or soul philosopher, silky or gritty, Johnnie Taylor will always be revered as one of the greatest southern soul singers of ’em all.”

The six bonus tracks were previously released as singles in the early ’70s, “and they’re all outstanding performances,” says Phillips. “They certainly fit the vibe and the performance quality of the rest of the album.”

The Band of Heathens | Oriental Theater | 3/29/11

The Band of Heathens kicked off their West Coast tour on Tuesday at the Oriental Theater in Denver. The show also marked the release of the Americana rock band’s new LP Top Hat Crown & the Clapmaster’s Son.

Other Lives Announce Dates With The National, The Decemberists

There’s no point in trying to unearth an obvious “single” in Other Lives’ second album,Tamer Animals. Here’s a better idea instead: succumb. Let every last song wash over you like proper long players once did, from the swift strings and pulsating horns— a technique learned from old Philip Glass LPs—of “Dark Horse” to the richly orchestrated denouement of “Heading East,” a cut that could have been cribbed from the early instrumental sessions of Other Lives’ old band Kunek.

“The core of that band is still with me,” says frontman Jesse Tabish, who founded Kunek with cellist Jenny Hsu and drummer Colby Owens. “In a lot of ways, it’s still what I gravitate towards, songwriting wise.”

Unlike their self-titled debut—a studio-bound effort that was produced by Beck’s longtime drummer, Joey WaronkerTamer Animals was tracked in the privacy of the band’s own space in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Waronker eventually mixed the entire affair and sanded down its edges, but it took Other Lives 14 months to get to that point. We’re not talking about lazy Sunday sessions here, either. More like 11 songs that were carefully sculpted over time, with certain sounds creeping up when the record called for them, and nothing that’s forced or rushed. “Every sound has a purpose without being too indulgent,” explains Tabish. “There’s nothing like, ‘Hey, let’s rock out on this!’ It’s homemade in a way. For better or for worse, it’s all our sound.”

That sound amounts to one hell of a sweeping listen—an atmosphere, a mood, a state of mind. So while you might find yourself going back to the minor-key melodies of “Dust Bowl III” or the Morricone-caliber arrangements of “Old Statues” more often than not, it’s all part of a greater whole. And since Tabish prefers treating his vocals like an instrument, the lyrics are left open to interpretation.

To be honest, they don’t even matter in the end. What matters is how Tamer Animals makes you feel; how it aims to hit you in the chest…hard, like the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós LPs that made Tabish want to write this kind of music in the first place. (If you can believe it, he played in punk bands as a kid and didn’t resume the piano lessons he started in third grade until he was 18.)

“I’d rather us be an ensemble than a rock band,” he says. “That’s my goal—to get away from those traditional ideas. It’s not a strength in numbers kinda thing, either, where 12 people are on stage and five of them are playing the same melody. When the music calls for that many players, we’ll go there. We’ll destroy the band itself.”

He’s smiling as he says that. And frankly, so are we.

--

Tour Dates

4/19/11 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, OK w/ The National

4/29/11 House of Blues Dallas, TX w/ The Decemberists

4/30/11 Stubb’s Waller Creek Austin, TX w/ The Decemberists

5/12/11 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI w/ S. Carey

5/13/11 The Mill Iowa City, IA w/ S. Carey

5/14/11 Slowdown Jr. Omaha, NE w/ S. Carey

5/15/11 The Record Bar Kansas City, MO w/ S. Carey

5/16/11 Hi-Dive Denver, CO w/ S. Carey

5/18/11 Club Congress Tucson, AZ w/ S. Carey

5/19/11 Soda Bar San Diego, CA w/ S. Carey

5/20/11 Velvet Jones Santa Barbara, CA w/ S. Carey

5/21/11 The Satellite Los Angeles, CA w/ S. Carey

5/22/11 Henry Miller Library Big Sur, CA w/ S. Carey

5/24/11 Café Du Nord San Francisco, CA w/ S. Carey

5/25/11 Sophia’s Thai Kitchen Davis, CA w/ S. Carey

5/26/11 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR w/ S. Carey

5/27/11 Panadaland Bellingham, WA w/ S. Carey

5/29/11 Sasquatch Music Festival Quincy, WA (festival)

5/30/11 The Badlander Missoula, MN w/ S. Carey

The Chain Gang of 1974 Set To Release Wayward Fire June 21

After self-releasing two albums over the past several years and receiving early praise from the likes of SPIN, The FADER, RCRD LBL, Brooklyn Vegan, and more, The Chain Gang of 1974 is ready to break out with Wayward Fire! Set for release June 21st on Modern Art, this is an album as restless as The Chain Gang of 1974’s White Guts, an album which funneled three years of instrument-swapping, sample-splicing experience into a lean focused listen, but it melds the standout moments from that release into something wholly new and realized. In creating this new album, The Chain Gang of 1974’s genre-jumping singer/multi-instrumentalist Kamtin Mohager moved from Denver to Los Angeles, severed the ties of the two-year relationship that fueled Wayward Fire, and raised the curtain on what’s next, proving that this particular film has just begun.

On Wayward Fire, the laser-guided synth lines of “Undercover” and the rather epic “Hold On”—crowd pleasers that hint at everything from LCD Soundsystem to Talking Heads—make perfect sense alongside such shifting soundscapes as the shimmering keys of “Don’t Walk Away,” the hands-in-the-air hooks of “Taste of Heaven,” and the choruses that cut through the rain clouds in “Matter of Time.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Mohager balances his minor-key melodies with bold, bloodletting lyrics.

In the lead up to this release, The Chain Gang of 1974 will play select dates on the west coast with Jamaica. Dates are below.

Born in San Jose and raised in Hawaii, Mohager spent his first 13 years playing inline hockey and dreaming of being drafted by the NHL. He was surrounded by music growing up, but not the Beatles or anything of that nature – more along the lines of the Persian records his parents played all the time, leaving he and his brothers to discover everything on their own. His thoughts officially shifted to music soon after a move to Colorado, all thanks to the sinking feeling he felt after seeing the final scene in Real Genius. That’d be the part where “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” kicks in, tugging at the audience’s collective heartstrings like only the finest Reagan era records can.

The Chain Gang of 1974 Tour Dates:

Sat. April 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex

Tue. April 26 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent w/ Jamaica

Thu. April 28 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios w/ Jamaica

Fri. April 29 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos w/ Jamaica

Sat. April 30 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club w/ Jamaica

Sat. June 11 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre w/ Candy Claws, Bad Weather California, Fellow Citizens