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Yoko Ono Heats Up Dancefloors Once Again With Her Latest Summer Smash "Talking to the Universe"

Following the overwhelming success of her eighth #1 BILLBOARD HOT DANCE CLUB PLAY charting remix single “MOVE ON FAST”, YOKO ONO heats up dancefloors once again with her latest summer smash "TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE”.

Since bursting onto BILLBOARD’S HOT DANCE CLUB PLAY SINGLES CHART as the Hot Shot Debut at #36* (with a bullet) (Issue date: 07/16/2011), "TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE" has proved to be a fiery confection and one of Yoko’s most feverish and dynamic reinventions. Throughout its eight week stint on the chart, the single has quickly gained momentum claiming "the #25* spot (with a bullet)" as that week’s Power Pick (Issue date: 07/23/2011) before leaping into the "Top 20 at #17* (with a bullet)" (Issue date: 07/30/2011). It’s currently at #3* (with a bullet) (Issue date: 09/3/2011) nestled among contemporary pop and electronic music stalwarts BEYONCE, KYLIE MINOGUE, BRITNEY SPEARS, RIHANNA and DEPECHE MODE.

Originally taken from the 1995 YOKO ONO / IMA collaborative album RISING, the lean, funk-fueled rocker finds ONO tuning in to the universe as our as our celestial medium and ambassador to the cosmos urging listeners to purge all the preconceived notions, pretenses and fears that confine us in order to bask in a freer state of being. It’s an inspiring message of self actualization and empowerment that has become hallmark themes throughout her vast career.

ONO has long been credited with igniting the punk-rock fire years before its official explosion and her work continues to be relevant and generation-inspiring decades later.  Meticulously reinventing her material for 21st-century dancefloors has given the vanguard artist a greater platform and visibility of which many contemporaries and present-day contenders can be envious.

"TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE" marks  the latest chapter in ONO's staggering body of remixed works which, to date, has yielded  eight #1 BILLBOARD CLUB PLAY chart hits ("MOVE ON FAST", "WOULDNIT' (I'M A STAR)", "GIVE ME SOMETHING", "I'M NOT GETTING ENOUGH", "GIVE PEACE A CHANCE", "NO NO NO", "EVERYMAN / EVERYWOMAN" and the timeless "WALKING ON THIN ICE") and two critically-acclaimed remix anthologies:  YES, I'M A WITCH and its companion release OPEN YOUR BOX, an incredibly impressive feat for an artist who has spent her life on the cutting edge of music, art and pop culture.

“TALKING TO THE UNIVERSE” is available as three separate digital green releases (no materials used or abused) on MIND TRAIN / TWISTED Records issued July 5th, August 2nd and September 6th, respectively, on  iTunes.

Von Ehrics: Two Foot Stomp

Von Ehrics newest CD, Two Foot Stomp, is an up and down ride filled with Punkabilly drive and an authentically Texas flavor. Songs like the first single, "Lord I Pray" are new, refreshing, and fun while other like "Rock and Roll" fall a little flat in energy and creativity. The album is an overall success in authenticity, with a real feeling that you could stumble across the Von Ehrics playing around town in Denton, the funky college town music hub of North Texas where Two Foot Stomp was recorded. The album is also successful in screaming "if you think this is good, our live shows are 100 times better".  I am convinced, and definitely will be buying a ticket next time these boys roll through Colorado.

The Highlights:

"Lord I Pray", the album’s first single, is also it’s height of creativity, combining gospel, thrashy rock guitar, and a hyperactive drum set. “Lord I Pray” is soulful and cynical at the same time. The single is a satirical reflection on consumerism, but avoids a “preachy” feel for a rather funny one as lead singer Robert Jason Vandergrift prays for material good while being back up by a full gospel choir.

"Down the Road Tonight" also shines on the album. The song is reminiscent of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It". That is, if the whole world existed in Texas. You could probably take the lyrics and make them into a scavenger hunt in downtown Austin. Overall it’s super fun.

"Goodbye/The Ride" is a fun, biting little break up song. Vandergrift sings in sweet and slow ballad voice, which we soon learn is totally ironic:

"It's a beautiful night,
the stars are all bright
I've got the moon on my left
and my girl on my right
things are changing tonight
she can kiss my ass goodbye"

then the speedy drummer kicks and one gets a feel of how the guys really feel. I always love a fun break up song.

The guitar lines are a great highlight throughout the album. Just listening to the things Gabe Aguilar (drums) and Clayton Mills (guitar) make up is one of the best parts of the album.

The Not-so-Great:

"Rock and Roll" is a halfhearted cry for what else, rock and roll. I'm not really that convinced, based on this song that the band believes in the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll. The Von Ehrics take lyrics that belong in a song like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock N Roll” and play them with the enthusiasm of Neil Young's “Hey Hey, My My”.

It sounds like the guys wanted a Beastie Boys' "You Got to Fight for Your Right to Party”, but were just kind of tired or hung over or something that day.

"Downtown" is another one of the tunes that is missing the party soul. Maybe the song is much better live, at the actual party. Though the song is low energy, guitarist Clayton Mills picks it up with an exciting solo.

"Texas" (When I Die) is the albums only successful anthem, but it really gets the job done.  It's not a call to rock out or party hard, as the boys attempted in other songs, but an anthem for Texas; the state that encompasses of both of the previous. "Texas" succeeds where some of the other attempts on the album failed in my opinion because Texas is very unique to the Von Ehrics. You can hear conviction in their voice as they sing "when I die, let me go to Texas".

“Texas” is the true call of Two Foot Stomp , and really ties the album together as its last track. Two Foot Stomp is a call to this: party, rebel, dance around, stomp your feet, and do it all in Texas.  I am totally in support of it!

Release The Sunbird Announces August Tour

After releasing his stunning debut album Come Back To Us (Brushfire Records) under the moniker Release The Sunbird, Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave will be taking his new project out on tour this month. In addition to bringing the new songs to cities for the first time with Release The Sunbird, he will also be playing a very special set at this year’s Outside Lands Festival on August 12th.
Release The Sunbird is a side project, but it’s not. Release The Sunbird a solo project, but it’s not. This musical departure showcases a whole new side of Rogue, and is a re-introduction to an artist you thought you already knew. Rogue, who has spent years on the road with his band Rogue Wave touring with the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Feist, Spoon, Nada Surf, The Shins, Jack Johnson and many others, is one of independent music’s most reliable musical voices. Come Back To Us, which was recorded on a whim in Bloomington, Indiana, is sun-kissed, joyful and one the loveliest you willhear this year.
Live, Zach and vocalist Kate Long deliver captivating performances that are magical and heart-wrenching. Their voices blend together perfectly while singing gorgeous melodies about love, loss, memory, and the deceptive simplicity of hope, as Zach strums along on his guitar. Be sure to catch these remarkable songs live. Dates are listed below.
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TOUR DATES
8/12/11- San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands
8/24/11 - St, Paul, MN @ Turf Club
8/25/11 - Madison, WI @ East Side Club
8/27/11 - Chicago, IL @ Schuba's Tavern
8/29/11 - Arlington, Virginia @ IOTA Club & Cafe
8/30/11 - New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall

EOTO Kicks Off Fall Tour With Free Live Download

2011 marks the fifth anniversary for the nationally touring outfit  EOTO. The project that started as a late night experiment has grown into a full-fledged headlining machine complete with all original HD eye candy. To celebrate their success, the band is releasingtheir highly sought- after performance from the 2011 SONIC BLOOM festival for free download. Coincidently, this will be the bands 400th live release since their 2006 inception. With performances booked around the country and special VIP events planned for fans along the way, there is no doubt that EOTO will be closing out the year with a bang.

After a highly successful summer filled with headlining festival appearances, EOTO will embark on a large national tour with dates booked across the country including stops in Missouri, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Florida and California in just the first 30 days of the tour. This will mark the beginning of another iron-man tour season for the duo that puts their skills to the test each night with 100% live improvised electro, house, glitch hop, and dubstep. What exactly does 100% live and improvised mean? There are no pre made loops, no computer sequences in the background and absolutely no electronic karaoke going on here.  It’s all created and remixed live on stage by this talented duo for a dance party like no other!

Featuring Michael Travis and Jason Hann, EOTO is a musical anomaly. The project combines their shared knowledge of real world instruments with their love for electronic music and the technology it takes to produce many genres of music live on-the-spot. Not just a DJ and not just some band, EOTO takes all of the elements, throws them in a mixer, and creates a style of music that is uniquely all their own. But it’s not just the act of performing and producing cutting edge music without rehearsal or even song names, it’s the intensity and veracity for which they perform. EOTO clearly takes a ‘no holds barred’ approach whenever they take the stage.

EOTO will be performing in select cities scattered across the country this fall with tour dates booked in every corridor of the US. The band will also be arranging VIP parties for their fans along the way including late night and pre-show opportunities. To check out more about the band or for ticketing information check out www.eotomusic.org or to get a copy of the free live at SONIC BLOOM release check it out.

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TOUR DATES:

8/5/2011       Rhinofest Music Festival         Plainfield, VT
8/9/2011         Blu Nightclub  Stateline, NV (Tahoe Area)
8/13/2011       The Crossroads           Kansas City, MO
8/18/2011       Praire Grass Music Festival    Houston, MN 55943
8/19/2011       Green Mountain Eco FestivalMissouri Ozarks, MO
8/20/2011       Sunseekers Ball Music & Arts Fest New Brunswick, Canada
8/21/2011       Mountain Stomp-Prindell Creek Farms          Tidewater, OR
8/27/ - 8/28/2011       State Bridge Riverside AmphitheaterBond, CO
8/31/2011       Burning Man Festival  Black Rock, NV
9/9/2011         Werk Out Festival       Bellefontaine, OH
9/16/2011       Mishawaka      Bellvue, CO
9/17/2011       Wonk Fest-The Quarry            Everson, WA
9/22/2011       Blackwater Music Festival      Live Oak, FL
9/23/2011       Earthdance Music Festival      Vallejo, CA
9/24/2011       Kountz Arena   Bozeman, MT 59718
9/27/2011       Bourbon Theatre         Lincoln, NE
9/28/2011       Majestic Live   Madison, WI
9/29/2011       Eagles Ballroom          Milwaukee, WI
9/30/2011       Roy Wilkins Auditorium          St. Paul, MN
10/1/2011       U.S. Cellular Coliseum            Bloomington, IL
10/2/2011       Bluebird Nightclub      Bloomington, IN
10/3/2011       Bell's BreweryKalamazoo, MI
10/4/2011       Blind Pig          Ann Arbor. MI
10/6/2011       Royale BostonBoston, MA
10/7/2011       Toad's Place    New Haven, CT
10/8/2011       Port City Music Hall    Portland, ME
10/9/2011       Pearl Street     Northampton, MA
10/13/2011     Jillian's of Albany        Albany, NY
10/14/2011     Brooklyn BowlBrooklyn, NY
1/9/2012         JamCruise       Ft. Lauderdale  |  Labadee  |  Haiti |  Jamaica

Sam Llanas of the BoDeans readies solo album '4 a.m.'

Sam Llanas (pronounced yanas), lead singer-guitarist for the acclaimed Milwaukee band the BoDeans, takes listeners deep into the night on his new release, 4 A.M., arriving Oct. 25 on Inner Knot Records. The intimate, mostly acoustic collection, produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin, features 10 new Llanas originals and a dazzling cover of Cyndi Lauper’s hit “All Through the Night.”

Llanas says of his latest work, “I do a lot of work late at night. It’s a night record, a nocturnal record, thematically about things that happen in the night. That covers a lot of ground. It could be the simple things — being in love, being with somebody — or about the loneliness that the night can bring.”

The album, an understated complement to the BoDeans’ just-released 10th studio album Indigo Dreams, is markedly different from Llanas’ 1998 solo bow A Good Day to Die, which was a powerful eulogy for Llanas’s brother recorded under the group rubric Absinthe.

“The Absinthe record was kind of bombastic and very intense,” Llanas says. “I wanted to do something that was lighter, as light as I can get. I wanted it to be completely different. That’s why 4 A.M. is pretty much an acoustic record.”

Work on 4 A.M. began nearly four years ago, when Llanas’ band the BoDeans, which he has led since 1983, was between projects.

He recalls, “I had time on my hands, and I had some songs I wanted to record. I started working with Terry Vittone — I just said, ‘Hey, let’s make some recordings.’ There was no real thought that it was going to be an album or anything like that. It just sort of escalated from there.”

Sessions for the embryonic project commenced at guitarist Vittone’s house. “I would record the songs in the afternoon,” Llanas says, “and get them to a point where I liked them. Then the next day I’d go back, and Terry would say, ‘Sam, I want you to hear some ideas I threw down on the track.’ And Terry was willing to take really strong direction from me, because I didn’t want a guitar player who was playing all over the song. Terry was really good at putting in the nuances that were needed. He played very little, and that seemed to work very well.”

With the majority of the material in the can, a protracted layoff from recording ensued. After almost two years, Llanas began completing 4 A.M. at Daystorm Music in Milwaukee with producer-musician Tanin, who had also worked on A Good Day To Die and supplied the strings on the new recording.

Llanas decided to preserve the original recording’s spare quality, and added a couple of new tracks that were left untouched. “I wanted to keep it simple. ‘The Way Home’ and ‘Janey’ seemed to work really well just the way they were.”

However, he adds, “I thought the other songs needed a bit more dressing up. Some I thought would work better if we put a little bit more on them.” Thus, BoDeans keyboardist Bukka Allen was called in to play accordion, while Milwaukee musicians Matt Turner and Ryan Schiedermayer contributed bass and percussion, respectively.

Some of the compositions on 4 A.M. began life as prospective material for the BoDeans, Llanas says: “‘Nobody Luvs Me’ was actually recorded with the BoDeans, but it’s quite a different version — you wouldn’t really know it’s the same song. ‘Shyne’ was on our album Mr. Sad Clown. I thought that would work really well there, so I brought it into that project. The first song on 4 A.M., ‘Oh, Celia,’ was demoed with the BoDeans years and years ago. That’s quite an old song.”

Nestling seamlessly with Llanas’ own cycle of before-dawn melodies is his hushed cover of Lauper’s 1983 perennial “All Through the Night,” penned by Jules Shear. “It’s a beautiful song,” Llanas says, “but when they recorded it, in the early ’80s, the sound that they got on it was so harsh . The keyboards always ruined the song for me. I really wanted a version of that song that was just beautiful. That’s what I tried to do — honor that song, and give it what it deserved.”

Llanas’ new solo opus offers a new dimension to his music — one that actually dates back to the sunrise of his professional career.

“Before I ever had the BoDeans, I was a solo performer in Waukesha,” he remembers. “I would go and play at these open mic shows, and I learned my craft and honed my stage skills that way. I think this record really reflects that part of my career, that part of my personality. It goes back to before I ever performed with the BoDeans. It was just me — one man and one guitar.”

Esteemed rock critic and author Dave Marsh calls 4 A.M. “A great record. Really the best thing that has come out of their music in a long, long time — closer to classic BoDeans. Sammy’s voice is so much what I love about BoDeans and it has never been showcased any better.”

AgesandAges | Bluebird Theater | 7/20/11

AgesandAges have been described as “big tent revivalists.” Some lump them into the cult category, alongside Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, as they have a sev

Singer-Songwriter Justin Hines Triumphs With US Debut

Optimism permeates throughout Days to Recall, Justin Hines U.S. debut album to be released August 2nd on Decca. The Canadian singer/songwriter’s collection of heartfelt songs about life and love showcase his considerable talents, and his will to overcome insurmountable obstacles.  The CD coincides with a PBS special of Hines in concert -- taped at Toronto’s Royal Cinema with special guests Ron Sexsmith, Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Sierra Noble and The Canadian Tenors -- slated to air multiple times across the U.S. during Public Television’s August pledge drive.

Justin Hines has thrived all his life against odds that would daunt someone with a less indomitable spirit.  Hines has Larsen Syndrome, a joint dislocation condition that confines him to a wheelchair.   He admits his condition has provided challenges, but primarily sees the good it has brought him and the inspiration he can provide others.  “There have been so many blessings. It’s afforded me so many other opportunities. It’s a bit of an attention grabber,” he says. “But then my job is to keep people interested, and keep their attention with my music.”

Highlights on Days To Recall include the first single, the instantly catchy “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” a duet with fellow Canadian/actress Jill Hennessy on the plaintive, “Why Not Love Me” and the uplifting “Say What You Will.”  The latter track took on a life of its own after a South African video featuring the Most Rev. Dr. Desmond Tutu was used as part of a campaign to build 20 schools in 11 days.  Hines performed in South Africa this spring and saw the schools that will educate more than 22,000 students.

To hear “Tell Me I’m Wrong,” click here.

Music was integral throughout Justin’s young life.  He doesn’t remember it, but his mom tells him he wrote his first song when he was seven. In his late teens, he decided to teach himself how to play piano as a way to better express himself.  “I’d done a lot of writing with other people. The most frustrating thing was I could hear the song in my head, but I was relying on other people to write chords since I didn’t play anything,” he says.

Even though Justin grew up singing in church, the realization of pursuing his musical dreams happened at the most unlikely of places— at a Toronto Raptors’ basketball game in his hometown 15 years ago.  A then 14-year-old Justin won a vocal competition to sing the National Anthem at the game — both the Canadian and American -- and his world opened up before him. “In that moment, it all seemed possible,” he recalls. Thrown in the deep end, Hines has performed professionally ever since and realized he could not only survive, but succeed.

To watch the Justin Hines EPK click here.

Jim Lauderdale's Reason and Rhyme: Out TODAY

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.
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Jim Lauderdale 2011 Tour Dates

2011-06-22           Nashville, TN - Music City Roots
2011-06-24           Nashville, TN - Station Inn
2011-06-27           New York, NY - The Living Room
2011-07-22           Trumansburg, NY - Grassroots Festival
2011-07-24           Washington, DC - Hill Country
2011-07-26           Abindgon, VA - Virginia Highlands Community College
2011-08-06           Casper, WY - Beartrap Summer Festival
2011-08-08           Helena, MT - Myrna Loy Center
2011-08-10           Boise, ID - Alive After Five
2011-08-11           Snowmass Village, CO - Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Series
2011-08-13           Alta, WY - Targhee Music Festival
2011-09-06           The Woodlands, TX - Real Life - Real Music @ Dosey Doe
2011-09-17           Bristol, TN - Bristol's Rhythm and Roots Reunion
2011-10-06           Richmond, VA - Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
2011-10-07           Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel - with the Blind Boys of Alabama
2011-10-13           Nashville, TN - Americana Music Conference

2011-10-21           North Bethesda, MD - Strathmore

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. | Hi-Dive | Denver, CO

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. took the stage last night at the Hi-Dive in Denver clearly on a mission from God. Wearing their traditional Nascar-style track jumpsuits and big ol mesh trucker caps, the Detroit duo of Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott made their debut in the great city of Denver on a tour supporting the release of their debut album, It’s a Corporate World.

Trampled By Turtles @ Telluride Bluegrass Fest

Trampled by Turtles, the highly regarded Duluth, MN acoustic 5-piece, will be making their debut at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival this summer.  They’ll be appearing Friday, June 17 at 4:30 pm (right after Jerry Douglas and before Emmylou Harris – great company to keep).

The band’s incendiary sets at SxSW 2011 and Coachella showed up in countless best-of lists and fest recaps by NPR, Esquire.com, American Songwriter and the Boston Globe, to name just a few.

It’s been a steady climb for the band since the April 2010 release of their breakthrough record, Palomino. The album is still holding in the Top 5 on the Billboard bluegrass charts, and critical acclaim has accompanied TBT’s word-of-mouth reputation as a live band not to be missed. While it’s the band’s energy and quicksilver picking that has made them a favorite on the tour and festival scene, it’s the songwriting that seals the deal. All the band members cut their teeth in rock, punk and metal bands but their original material draws from the same well of inspiration as Townes Van Zant, Dylan, Neil Young, Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley, putting their own unique spin on this classic genre.

Trampled by Turtles have been tapped to provide music for the Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies, and will be releasing a split vinyl/digital single with fellow Minnesota band Motion City Soundtrack in June 2011. Stay tuned for further details