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Greensky Bluegrass Offers Free Five Song EP Download from New Album, Handguns

An independent band nationally-recognized for their live show, Greensky Bluegrass defy the boundaries of acoustic music with their self-produced fourth studio effort, Handguns, released on October 4.

This new studio offering is a brave expression of what separates their original music from the rest of the bluegrass genre. For years, while the Kalamazoo, MI band has been gaining recognition for their high energy live show, Handguns proves that they can handle themselves in the studio as well.

Recent internet chatter would have you believe that the entire music industry is lost in a vast and inescapable dust bowl; everything that was once thriving and sustainable has now dried into a mere husk of what it once was. But lest we forget, bands used to make their living on the road, playing in front of new audiences every night. Albums were something that were recorded in between tours and then sold on the road to help keep gas in the tank. It’s the way it was and it looks like the way it might become, but the music never stops.


Handguns was recorded in between tours this winter as the band holed up in a studio in Lansing, committing the songs straight-to-tape on the exact recording console that originally birthed Lynyrd Skynyrd’s infamous track "Free Bird” decades earlier. Matching the warmth of the analog sound, vintage microphones were utilized alongside state-of-the-art studio equipment to create a truly blended and artful sonic experience.

This overlap of traditional and forward-thinking runs throughout most every aspect of Greensky Bluegrass. The opening cut is titled "Don't Lie", and the result of "Handguns" is just that, a collection of songs that speak true. Greensky doesn't boast to know it all, but they don't restrain, letting the listener in on the trials and triumphs of their journey.

"Should have been a farmer and blamed it on the weather, with soiled hands and a tired back to show for my efforts," sings Hoffman on the album's title track.  Modest maybe, but as the listener continues, they are relieved that the band did not trade their instruments for plows or cubicles.

Greensky has continued to gain national momentum since they won the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s coveted Band Competition in 2006 and have been invited to play at this summer’s Northwest String Summit, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and NPR’s Mountain Stage, while also playing at Bonnaroo, Bumbershoot and The Hangout Festivals. They’re a bluegrass band but they’re not. Bluegrass doesn’t have distortion, or horns for that matter. Handguns does.

Of course, none of this happened overnight or without sacrifice. Greensky Bluegrass is just as much a grit of the asphalt band as they are a salt of the earth band, having played over 160 shows nationwide, every year, for the last six years. It was by winning over folks on the band’s never-ending tour that got them where they are today – not by a label, syndicated radio play or being on the shelves at big box stores.

As a bonus for all, Greensky Bluegrass is giving away half of Handguns for free. This five-song Handguns EP is available on the Greensky Bluegrass website for anyone who wants to listen.

The motive? To be heard.  For musicians, the model has changed with satellite radio where the F word flies free and name-your-own-price record releases. One thing remains true, however: when the music is great, people will listen.

Boris Garcia: Today We Sail

Dear Music Friend of mine:

As we all know, bands with genuine musicians have a life cycle. No matter their level of chops, they start as beginners with lots of energy and perhaps less of the subtle judgment skills that great musicians have -- the ability to listen to each other, the ability to know when not to play.

And if they don’t fall into the snares of ego and delusion, they grow. They listen more, both to other music and each other, and they hear more (two different things!), and they reach a higher level.

Boris Garcia is the band that just fell together, and now with Today We Sail, three CDs later, they’re playing at a place that’s ever richer, ever more creative. The simple acoustic feel of their first work has become much more varied: a case in point is “Walking Barefoot,” which begins with a hard-edged rock sound that becomes lovely mandolins and then almost sounds like a full orchestra – an effect they get from just a very few strings (Producer Tim Carbone’s fiddle and Bud Burroughs’ mandolin) – amazing. And Bob Stirner’s lyrics are getting deeper, more evocative: “I’m not indifferent much or maybe, surely, I’ll be on my way, I’ll be on my way/You can’t see Santa if you don’t believe, I’ll be on my way…”

Jeff Otto’s whimsicality maintains its strength here, with “Song Dog” and “Deaf Dumb and Blind” – “But why can’t I see, that love’s for fools and I’m a fool so love’s for me” – but the playing is truly impressive, with piano punctuations sliding against the pedal steel – very hip, very deft. In fact, Chip Desnoyers’ pedal steel (with mandolin in “Song Dog”) is all over Today We Sail, and it’s powerful stuff.

Boris’ songs range from the power rock chords of “Mighty High,” which comes across as almost Springsteenish to me, to “Long Black Hair,” which takes me to “Long Black Veil,” to “Good Home,” which is a sweet love song that opens into a grand psychedelic guitar jam. And lots more.

They’re all over the musical map, but in this case it’s a good thing.

My, how the kids have grown.

Press: D. McNally, dennismcnally@mac.com

Today We Sail is available from www.borisgarcia.com or www.amazon.com

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! Announce East Coast Shows!

Founded in late 2007 as means for front man Neil Fridd to yell about his romantic mishaps, The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! has blossomed into a real juggernaut of epic dance floor revelation.

What do they sound like? It’s sorta dance-soul music, like synthed out Otis Redding covers on fast forward. Dance music with too many cooks in the kitchen, but in a good way, so not too many cooks, maybe just an above average amount of cooks. That is to say, there are sweet beats: your ass wants to shake, but there’s also like four vocals and two horn lines happening too, making for a unique, dense, dance floor throw down that’s suitable for both club rock outs and secluded headphone listening. But perhaps more than both of these, you’ll find yourself wanting to be listening to this music at a Halloween party with all your friends, because before TPDR were trying to make your head bob or your ass shake they were trying to make your heart feel something. Whether they’re singing about a new romance, old friends, or a magical thing that happens when the roads are too icy for professors to get to school, TPDR are singing about something that you’ve felt, and doing so with a humor and sincerity so often lacking in indie music. Scenes and events are set up so perfectly that on a late night, driving in your car in the middle of nowhere you feel every emotion they’re singing about deep down in your gut: you’ll be getting chills on the  subway during your morning commute. These songs will make you long for every boy or girl you almost kissed in high school, chuckle to yourself about how stupid and great your friends are and make you want to go camping, stay up late, dance on your fire escape, have a potluck dinner, jump in piles of leaves, French kiss in the back of a movie theater and finally go out and cut down a real Christmas tree this year.

And if listening to this band on CD makes you feel alive, seeing them live will set you on fire. Terror Pigeon live is sometimes four people and sometimes forty, but it doesn’t matter, cause you won’t know who’s in the band anyways. Everyone dances, everyone gets a costume, everyone sings. And don’t worry, only half the people know any of the lyrics so you won’t feel left out: the sing alongs are easy and they’ll teach them to you. The show is happening on the stage and in the audience. There are people running around with big light up robots on their backs, others wearing disco ball hats, a hairy man dressed as a giant pumpkin, streamers, aliens, football players from the movie Mac n’ Me on a TV dancing to the beat, a dude butoh dancing, it’s like Halloween and junior prom and new years and Christmas at once. There’s a lot of glitter and strobe lights and it’s entirely probable that at some point you’ll be handed a mic and told to go for it. And that’s the idea: that you go for it. Cool has been abolished: for 25 minutes you can’t fuck up. You can scream and sing and roll around on the floor and it’s okay. To quote them “No one here looks more stupid then we do so don’t worry about it!” And you can totally just stand up against a wall and watch too if you want: there aren’t rules. It’s not, “you have to go crazy,” it’s “you can.” And that freedom leads to a real liberation, an all encompassing fuck everything dance party hailed as everything from kid playtime gone wrong to the least self conscious act at CMJ to a religious awakening.

And all this razzmatazz hasn’t gone unnoticed. In addition to getting a plaque once they’ve also been written about by a bunch of important magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times, New York magazine, NME, Nylon and more. Perhaps most impressive, besides the plaque, was their winning the Diesel:U:Music World Tour competition last year. Selected from amongst thousands, Diesel flew them around the world to play in big stadiums in Japan and historic nightclubs in France. This rather surprising move, (wait, good, deserving bands can actually get giant handouts from monster corporations?!) catapulted them into the spotlight, giving them a much-deserved amount of exposure, a buzz that will that may very well explode as they release their debut album and continue to tour nonstop.

The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! have an album coming out on Luaka Bop this spring. It’s great. It’s ten tracks of absolute power. They’re touring the US nonstop starting in February with a new backing band called The Shakes. They’re now accepting summer barbeque invitations and really want to play someone’s senior prom like how the Spice Girls used to have competitions like that.

Upcoming Shows

06/05/10 - The Ox (with Harry and the Potters (7pm early show)) - Philadelphia, PA
06/06/10 - The Knitting Factory (with Harry and the Potters (3pm early show)) - Brooklyn, NY
06/11/10 - Hillstock (with the Eskalators, Ava Luna, The Shakes, Ghost Mall and many others) - Brooklyn, NY

07/18/10 - Velocity - Watertown, NY

08/06/10 - Brooklyn Yard (with for Mucca Pazza) - Brooklyn, NY

The Antlers Play BOULDER At Fox Theatre On 4.26

Sometimes you have to put yourself first, no matter how difficult that notion seems; no matter how much time and effort you’ve already put into this one person—the person who’s reduced your very being to its absolute core. Just ask Peter Silberman, the string-pulling founder of The Antlers, a solo project that suddenly went widescreen on the self-released Hospice LP (now receiving a proper widespread pressing through Frenchkiss). The first Antlers effort to feature two key permanent players—powerhouse drummer Michael Lerner and the layer-lathering multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci—it’s an album with a sound that’s actually as ambitious as its concept.

“Hospice came from the idea of caring for a terminal patient who’s mentally abusive to you,” says Silberman. “You don’t have the right to argue with them, either, because they’re the one who’s dying here; they’re the one that’s been dealt a wrong hand. So you take it, but you can only take so much. Eventually, you realize that this person is just destroying you.”

Appropriately enough, Hospice’s 10 distinct chapters resonate on debilitating sonic and lyrical levels, from the hypnotic harp and tension-ratcheting build of “Two” to the sing-or-sink choruses of “Bear” and the speaker-rattling peaks of “Sylvia,” easily one of the year’s most immediate epics. It’s here, amidst contrasting shards of ambient noise, sweeping strings and smoky horns, where The Antlers truly transcend Silberman’s singer-songwriter beginnings—a striking escalation of expectations first hinted at on 2008’s New York Hospitals EP. The progression doesn’t end there, either. In a move that could be taken as the riff-raking extension of his thorough guitar training (from the age of 6 ‘til right before college), “Atrophy” and “Wake” delve into sheets of distortion, subtle shades of soul, cicada-like effects and enough movements to fill an entire EP.

“We were going for something that’d be dense but not too complicated,” explains Silberman. “I hate the word ‘lush,’ but I guess that’s the best way of describing it. The structures are like pop songs—verse/chorus, verse/chorus—but the sound is a little more shoegaze-y or post-rocky.”

It’s about to get even more complicated, too, as The Antlers’ Technicolor-tinged trio take all of Hospice’s songs—and three previous releases—in a completely different direction, jettisoning a note-for-note rendition of the record for “a massive sound” doused in delay, reverb and unrehearsed chaos. And to think Cicci was a stage actor with a desire to drop it all for music just a few years ago.

“Hospice was the clear indication that this isn’t a singer-songwriter thing at all,” says Silberman. “Whatever we record next is going to define the three of us as a ‘band.’

He continues, “I always figured I’d be the ‘shredder’ in a group… But things somehow ended up this way.”  We wouldn’t have it any other way, either.

--

The Antlers US Tour Dates With Phantogram:

Fri-Apr-16 - Columbus, OH - The Basement
Sat-Apr-17 - Urbana, IL - Canopy Club
Sun-Apr-18 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
Tue-Apr-20 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre
Wed-Apr-21 - Iowa City, IA  - The Blue Moose
Thu-Apr-22 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
Fri-Apr-23 - Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig

Mon-Apr-26 - Boulder, Co - Fox Theatre
Wed-Apr-28 - San Diego, CA - Casbah
Thurs-Apr-29-Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar
Fri-Apr-30 - Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour
Sat-May-01 - San Francisco, CA  - Independent
Mon-May-03 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
Tue-May-04 - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Cabaret
Wed-May-05 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's

The Antlers US Dates With The National:

Wed-Jun-02 - Boston, MA  - House of Blues w/The National
Thu-Jun-03 - Boston, MA  - House of Blues w/The National
Fri-Jun-04 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory w/The National
Sat-Jun-05 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory w/The National
Sun-Jun-06 - Washington, DC - Constitution Hall w/The National
Tue-Jun-08  - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall w/The National
Wed-Jun-09 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall w/The National

Wed-Jun-16 - New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall w/The National

AM Taxi Announces Debut Album & Spring Tour Dates

AM Taxi— so-called because they’re all about moving across the U.S. towards their destination—gets ready to hit the road…hard. The guys will be touring in support of Spill Canvas late Spring with
additional dates for this Summer’s Warped Tour, starting June 24 through August 15. AM Taxi are one of the few groups booked for the entire prestigious concert series prior to releasing an album. They’ve already been out on the road with the likes of Sum 41 and The Ataris, while opening for The Offspring at Summerfest in Milwaukee, so they’re more than up for the task.
“Our goal is to take that 45 or 60 minutes and let people get away for a little bit,” says lead singer and guitarist Adam Krier, “maybe even convert some of ‘em to AM Taxi fans. And, if they dig what we’re doing, maybe they’ll check out some of the stuff that influenced us.”
Take one listen to AM Taxi’s Virgin records debut, We Don’t Stand A Chance to be released June 8, 2010 and you can hear reverence for the past and hope for the future, a band that can cut across any age or genre demographics. The band just wrapped their video for the single ‘The Mistake.' With a blend of old-school punk, world beat and modern pop influences, the Chicago-based band combines experience with exuberance.
“I try to write songs about things people can relate to,” nods Adam. “For me, the best music, at the end of the day, is therapeutic. That’s always in the back of my mind a little when I’m sitting down to write.”
Recorded in Austin, TX, with renowned producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin,...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead), AM Taxi’s major label bow, offers a variety of different styles, from old-school punk to world beat and modern pop. “The Mistake” is a heart-on-the-sleeve confessional that recalls the Replacements, while “Fed Up” is a Springsteen-by-way-of-The Hold Steady classic rock raver, “Dead Street” sports a Police-styled world beat and “Charissa” a Clash-esque reggae rhythm.

TOUR DATES
April 21 - The Hub Cedar - Falls, IA
April 23 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
April 24 - Murray Theater - Salt Lake City, UT
April 25 - The Venue - Boise, ID
April 26 - El Corazon - Seattle, WA
April 27 - Hawthorne Theatre - Portland, OR
April 29 - Slim’s - San Francisco, CA
April 30 - The Roxy Theatre - West Hollywood, CA
May 1 - The Boardwalk - Orangevale, CA
May 3 - The Rock - Tucson, AZ
May 5 - The Loft - Dallas, TX
May 6 - Meridian - Houston, TX
May 7 - The White Rabbit - San Antonio, TX
May 8 - Emo’s - Austin, TX
May 10 - The State Theatre - St. Petersburg, FL
May 11 - The Social - Orlando, FL
May 12 - Masquerade - Atlanta, GA
May 14 - The Recher Theatre - Towson, MD
May 15 - Stone Pony - Asbury, NJ
May 17 - First Unitarian Church - Philadelphia, PA
May 18  - The Middle East- Downstairs - Cambridge, MA
May 20 - The Basement - Columbus, OH
May 21 - St. Andrews Hall - Detroit, MI
May 22 - Metro - Chicago, IL

Javelin Announce US Tour

“George was pretty damn eclectic as a kid,” says Tom Van Buskirk, referring to his cousin/Javelin collaborator, George Langford. “I was more of a snob, growing up on the Beatles and classical music. Like I didn’t get into Nirvana until after MTV Unplugged came out. I’m always late to the party.”

Maybe that’s why Javelin formed in 2005—to throw a party of their own, one that sees nothing wrong with dropping crooked disco (“On It On It”), schoolyard funk (“Intervales Theme”), abstract R&B (“Dep”) and pitch-perfect pop (“Mossy Woodland”) in the same set. At least that’s the way things unfold on Javelin’s debut album, No Más, the eagerly-awaited follow-up to a self-released collection of demos (Jamz n Jemz) and a pair of limited Thrill Jockey 12-inches (Javelin, Number Two).

It’s as if Javelin were programmed to reproduce the golden age of every genre known to man, bouncing between samplers and strings, drum machines and drum sets, and a growing collection of guitars, horns and homemade thumb pianos. You read that right: Most of No Más’ dusty 45 moments aren’t lifted from actual recordcrates. They’re painstakingly recreated, note by note, from the jukebox in Javelin’s collective mind.

“I love making music that has flaws and human fingerprints all over it,” adds Langford. “There’s also that grey area where you can’t tell what’s a sample, although it leaves you wanting to say, ‘Hey, I did that!’”

There’s no denying who’s doing what at Javelin shows, ever-evolving pieces of performance art that leave the laptops at home and have more in common with the multi-tracked madness of an old Jamaican sound system than the standard guitar/bass/drums setup of a ‘band’.

“The worst thing in the world would be to have a wall of dudes staring at your gear, watching your every move,” says Langford, “So we try to inject as much life and energy into our performances as possible.”

When they first started playing around Providence, this meant an overwhelming array of “turntables, glockenspiels and percussion.” Now that they’ve settled in Brooklyn and stripped their restless sound down to its bare essentials, Javelin’s become known as the guys with the boom boxes, a Flaming Lips-like technique that’s allowed them to break down the artist/audience wall at such tour stops as New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

“A lot of people think they’re ornaments, but they play sound,” says Van Buskirk. “It’s like, ‘You really thought we dragged all of this here for nothing?”

Never. You see, everything has its place in a Javelin song, from the shimmering keys and brassy strut of “Shadow Heart” to the loony tune loops of “Oh! Centra.” So if you’re trying to ‘figure Javelin out’, don’t bother. These musical omnivores work their music like a rabid radio dial, leaving a tricky trail of sonic breadcrumbs in their wake. Or as Langford puts it, “The minute I start working in one style, I get distracted and want to work on another one. We kinda gave up on finding our ’sound’ years ago.”

Tour Dates
2/9 - Music Hall of Williamsburg - Brooklyn, NY*
2/16 - Academy 2 - Birmingham, UK*
2/17 - Oran Mor - Glasgow, UK*
2/19 - The Academy - Dublin, IE*
2/20 - Speakeasy - Belfast, NI*
2/21 - Academy 3 - Manchester, UK*
2/22 - The Faversham - Leeds, UK*
2/23 - Heaven - London, UK*
2/24 Windmill Brixton  LONDON, UK (headlining)
2/25 - Thekia - Bristol, UK*
2/26 - Digital - Brighton, UK*
-
3/4 - E & L Auditorium - New York, NY
3/5 Trocodero Theatre w/ Man Man -PHILADELPHIA, PA
3/23 - The Jackpot Saloon - Lawrence, KS#
3/24 - Bourbon Theatre - Lincoln, NE#
3/25 - Public Space One - Iowa City, IA#
3/26 - The Bishop - Bloomington, IN
SAT 3/27 BIG EARS FESTIVAL - KNOXVILLE, TN
3/28 - Cafe Bourbon St - Columbus, OH
3/29 - The Cafe - Detroit, MI#
3/30 - And And And (Artspace) - Toronto, ON#
3/31 - The Friendship Cove - Montreal, QC#
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Yeasayer US Tour
SAT 4/3 WASHINGTON, DC 9:30 CLUB*
SUN 4/4 CARRBORO, NC Cat's Cradle*
MON 4/5 ASHEVILLE, NC Orange Peel*
TUE 4/6 ATLANTA, GA Masquerade*
WED 4/7 MEMPHIS, TN Hi Tone Café*
THU 4/8 DALLAS, TX Granada Theatre*
FRI 4/9 HOUSTON, TX House of Blues*
SAT 4/10 AUSTIN, TX The Parish*
SUN 4/11 AUSTIN, TX  The Parish*
TUE 4/13 MARFA, TX Crowley Theatre*
WED 4/14 TUCSON, AZ Club Congress*
THU 4/15 PHOENIX, AZ Rhythm Room*
FRI 4/16 - La Casa Encendida - Madrid, ES

* Yeasayer