air

The Shivers "Love Is in the Air"

The Shivers will return with their latest record More, set for release on Silence Breaks. Recorded in Manchester, UK early last year, the album finds songwriters Keith Zarriello and Jo Schornikow exploring everything from shambly garage rock to melancholic barroom ballads. In honor of the band’s new album, the band has made “Used to Be” available for free download. Check out the track HERE.

Using every dime they’d saved, Zarriello and Schornikow traveled to Manchester in Spring of 2010 to record their latest record in an entirely analog studio. Over five days, the two worked tirelessly, fleshing out the tracks they had worked on in the small church in Queens where the band practices. The end result was More, an album that runs the gamut of American rock ’n’ roll, delving into everything from gritty Lou-Reed-inspired rock to the swaggering soul of Nina Simone. Starting with the brief piano elegy “My Mouth is for Love,” More segues quickly into “Irrational Love,” a bouncy organ-driven rock track with a chorus that sounds like it was plucked from 1966. The album teeters between the upbeat pop of tracks like Used to Beand “I Want You Back” to the heartsick, Leonard-Cohen-inspired ballads like “Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars” and “Love Is In The Air.” The album closes with the record’s title track “More,” a slow-building confessional that serves the record’s triumphant last call. It’s an apt end for a record that sounds like an apologetic love note, written on barroom cocktail napkin.

Hailing from Queens, NY, Keith Zarriello began writing music as The Shivers started back in 2001 and has spent the last ten years mining the depths of American rock, developing a songwriting style that ranges from earnest, heartbroken ballads to ’60s garage rock revival. In 2004, Zarrellio released Charades, which featured the much lauded track “Beauty,which earned universal praise from the likes of Pitchfork and The Guardian, and would end up being named Gorilla Vs Bear’s thirteenth best song of the decade. The album also caught the ear of an Australian, classically-trained church organist named Jo Schornikow, who joined the band as a full-time member that year. Adding counterpoint of beauty with her piano and keyboard flutters, The Shivers spent the next six years touring aggressively in the U.S. and the U.K., and releasing a grand total of four albums, leading up to the ultimate release of More this year.

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The Shivers

More (May 10, Silence Breaks)

Tracklist:

1. My Mouth Is For My Love

2. Irrational Love

3. Kisses

4. Used To Be

5. Love Is In The Air

6. Two Solitudes

7. Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars

8. I Want You Back

9. So Long Woman

10. More

“Dear Nola: A Concert for New Orleans”

New Orleans brass-fueled sensations Bonerama team up with Cody ChesnuTT, DJ Spooky/That Subliminal Kid, Grammy Nominated Helen Bruner + Terry Jones, Jenny Toomey & Kristin Thomson of Tsunami, M1 of Dead Prez, Mirah, Sage Francis, Shawn King of Devotchka, Sunpie Barnes and Zach Rogue to celebrate New Orleans, her community and its musical ambassadors for “Dear NOLA: a Concert for New Orleans,” at Blue Nile (532 Frenchmen Street) on Thursday, February 17th.

Doors are at 9:00 pm and admission is $10 in advance and can be purchased online at the Blue Nile website; $15 at the door.

Proceeds from the concert — the seventh since Hurricane Katrina — benefit Sweet Home New Orleans and Gulf Restoration Network, two New Orleans-based nonprofits working to support and sustain the region’s unique musical and cultural traditions and to protect and restore vital environment and community resources for future generations. The show serves as the celebratory finale of the seventh three-day activist retreat hosted by Air Traffic Control and Future of Music Coalition.

Over the years, these shows have become a tradition and bring visiting musicians together with local musicians to present these talented artists both on their own and in unique combinations. Past shows have included performances with J. Tillman and Nicole Atkins backing Will Oldham, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and Bonerama joining Corin Tucker on a Depeche Mode cover, and Wayne Kramer and Saul Williams partnering to perform “Kick Out The Jams.” The camaraderie established continues well after participants have left the city, as evidenced by the critically-acclaimed compilation, Dear New Orleans. The album was produced by Air Traffic Control to mark the 5-year anniversary of the floods and features 31 New Orleans-inspired tracks from retreat alumni. The compilation can be purchased at http://www.dearno.la.

Air Traffic Control and Future of Music Coalition have been co-hosting a series of artist activism retreats in New Orleans since 2006. Artists are given the rare opportunity to connect directly with the people of New Orleans, the tradition bearers and community leaders who are on the frontlines of rebuilding and sustaining this vital city. After the three-day retreat, artists leave feeling that their lives have been changed by what they have experienced in New Orleans and with a sense of empowerment for what they can accomplish through their music and activism.

“New Orleans is one of the most unique cities on the planet and a place where I have had the good fortune to spend time both as a musician and an activist. The artist-activist retreat provided valuable perspective and insight into a post-Katrina New Orleans. My experiences with local musicians and the people working for the recovery and betterment of the city have been some of the most important experiences of my career." -- Tom Morello.

Past retreat and concert participants include Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Boots Riley (The Coup) Nicole Atkins, Damian Kulash (OK Go), Erin McKeown, Nick Harmer (Death Cab for Cutie), Wayne Kramer (MC5), Martín Perna (Antibalas, Ocote Soul Sounds), Jim James and Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket), Jon Langford (Mekons, Waco Brothers), Vijay Iyer, and many, many more.

The efforts of many groups and individuals — including Sweet Home New Orleans, Future of Music Coalition and Air Traffic Control — have had a major impact on Big Easy musicians like Mardis Gras legend Al “Carnival Time” Johnson. Funds raised by retreat participants helped Al buy a new Habitat for Humanity home after having lost his property and belongings in Hurricane Katrina. The concerts and the retreats are part of an ongoing commitment to helping musicians like Al get back to their communities where they will help sustain New Orleans music and culture for generations to come.

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About Sweet Home New Orleans

Sweet Home New Orleans is a nonprofit agency that offers social services and financial assistance to the city’s musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, and Social Aid and Pleasure Club members.

About Gulf Restoration Network

Gulf Restoration Network is a 16 year-old environmental group committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico. Since the storms of 2005, they have worked for a national commitment to the restoration of the coastal wetlands of Louisiana, the region’s natural storm protection, which are disappearing at the rate of an acre an hour. The BP drilling disaster has greatly increased threats to this ecosystem, and GRN has provided independent monitoring and advocacy since the first days of the disaster.

About Future of Music Coalition

Future of Music Coalition is a national non-profit education, research and advocacy organization that seeks a bright future for creators and listeners. FMC works towards this goal through continuous interaction with its primary constituency — musicians — and in collaboration with other creator/public interest groups.

About Air Traffic Control

Air Traffic Control (ATC) exists to help musicians play an effective, unique and vital role in the promotion of social justice. Musicians and managers established ATC five years ago to assemble an experienced and trusted team of leaders, resources and tools that would help them to create more effective social change collaborations with each other and with social justice organizations. As a result, ATC became an artists’ air traffic control—one that develops capacity, efficiency, and coordination to produce stronger and more creative social change partnerships.

Two Fresh Announces 2011 'Air Mail' Tour

Having recently closed a blockbuster holiday tour, which culminated with a New Year’s Eve dance party in Dallas, TX that saw 5k+ attend in support of the rapidly growing duo, Two Fresh is excited to announce the Air Mail Tour – a tour that will see the group hit the road with exciting, top notch support acts in anticipation of their forthcoming, full length album Air Mail. A full date list appears below. Ticketing and more information for all shows is available here.

Two Fresh kicks off the Air Mail Tour in the familiar stomping grounds of the Southeast and heads deep into the South, before winding up the East coast with parties in Knoxville, Athens, Tuscaloosa, Nashville, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Brooklyn. The tour will wrap with a Windy City rager in Chicago at the Bottom Lounge. Additional date announcements are expected from the trio, as the album release draws closer.

The tour will feature two of Brooklyn’s finest up and coming acts, Body Language and Mux Mool. Body Language’s original music was born from weekly dance party remixes crafted by Grant Wheeler and Matt Young, and are graced by the soul stylings of Ms. Angelica Bess. Mux Mool’s homespun electro hip-hop is the product of an introverted mind, an extroverted imagination, and a bottomless cultural appetite.

Having spent the last 18 months touring and working with different musicians and producers all over the country, Two Fresh is supporting the release of their forthcoming album, Air Mail, scheduled for release February 2011 on Elm & Oak Records/1320 Records. The ambitious and hungry group have planned 2 other releases for the later part of 2011. Having gained new, valuable perspective from recent tours and collaborations, Air Mail shows just how much the group has learned and evolved since their last release.

Two Fresh consists of an inseparable pair of twin producers, Sherwyn and Kendrick Nichols, who have been making beats and playing music together since they were fifteen years old. Now, about to be 22, the twins are armed with a forward-thinking perspective. As always, Two Fresh will tour with Colby Buckler on drums.

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Confirmed 2011 Two Fresh “Air Mail” Tour w/ Body Language and Mux Mool

Thursday, January 20th, 2011-Knoxville, TN @ Cider House

Friday, January 21st, 2011-Athens, GA @ New Earth Music Hall

Saturday, January 22nd 2011-Tuscaloosa, AL @ The Dixie

Sunday, January 23rd 2011-Chattanooga, TN @ 412 Market

Thursday, January 27th, 2011-Carbondale, IL @ Copper Dragon

Friday, January 28th, 2011-St. Louis, MO @ 2720 Cherokee

Saturday, January 29th, 2011-Nashville, TN @ Mercy

Sunday, January 30th, 2011-Birmingham, AL @ Zydeco

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011-Oxford, AL @ Proud Larry’s

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011-Dallas, TX @ 2826 Arnetic

Friday, February 4th, 2011-Austin, TX @ Parrish

Saturday, February 5th, 2011-New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s Uptown

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011-Auburn, AL @Bourbon Street

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011-Tallahassee, FL @ Engine Room

Thursday, February 10th, 2011-Columbia, SC @ The Brightsound Bassment

Friday, February 11th, 2011-Atlanta, GA @ King Plot

Saturday, February 12th, 2011-Blacksburg, VA @ AA’s

Sunday, February 13th, 2011-Lexington, KY @ Cosmic Charlies

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011-Pittsburgh, PA @ Brillobox

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011- Baltimore, MD @ Bourbon Street

Saturday, February 19th, 2011-Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Monday, February 21st, 2011-Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011-Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Lounge

Thursday, February 24th, 2011-Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater

Saturday, February 26th, 2011-Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge

Don't The Air Taste Sweet?: Marc Cohn's New Zest for Life

Marc Cohn - pboto by Bill Bernstein- for the Grateful Web

These days, Marc Cohn has something to sing about. That may not sound so remarkable since you would naturally expect a singer/songwriter to have something to say. But this 1991 Grammy Award winner for Best New Artist had been facing a severe dry spell. Many writers (no matter if they write songs or books) often face the terror of the blank page. But this fallow period when nothing seemed to gel even when Cohn tried to force the muse had lasted for months, stretching ultimately into a year and then another. Then thinking that if he engaged with his audience, new material might come, Cohn mounted a month-long intensive tour.

On a warm August night in 2005 in Denver, fate stepped in. Marc Cohn was shot in the head during a failed carjacking and the worry over lack of creative output in his life seemed trivial. People go blind with a shot to the temple as he had; some suffer brain damage; others die. Cohn walked out of the ER the next day and went back home to New York. As he recovered, he watched the awful devastation that happened in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit.

Experiencing something that Cohn had and being able to walk away from it, relatively unscathed, and then to watch other people suffering so much is bound to raise questions about meaning. Then something wonderful happened. Among the many get well wishes Cohn received, one started a cascade of creative flow.

"I got an email from old songwriting partner who is now an elementary school teacher," Cohn said in a recent phone interview. "He wrote me: Maybe life was curious to see what you would do with the gift of being left alive." The floodgates of creativity opened and washed fresh new ideas into Cohn that were bursting to take form.

"I had been trying so hard to will my writing to come back that it was an incredible release and catharsis to have it come back without me expecting it to," he said. "Although I have to say that there were a lot of friends after I got shot who would say to me, 'I guess you've got a lot to write about.' It's funny. That never occurred to me initially, not in a conscious level. But I do think from the moment this happened, I was already writing."

Michael Silverstone, his former songwriting partner, launched the first song written for Cohn's new album, Join the Parade.  "Live Out the String," which Cohn co-credits with Silverstone, was number six in the ten song lineup on the CD. It's a song of thankfulness and awe, done to a rocking beat.

"That was the beginning of the writing coming back," Cohn said. Though he admits that he knew intellectually that he was grateful to be alive and that there was some deeper meaning behind his experience, he says, "Good songs aren't about intellectual ideas."

He also remembered a line that Rick Bragg had written about "dancing back from the grave." This is also a very unique characteristic of New Orleans funerals. While the mourners pace through the streets in a slow march, they come back from the cemetery dancing, glad their loved ones have gone to Glory. "It applied not only to me but to New Orleans," Cohn said, meaning that the city was dancing back from the grave as he was. "And this just seemed to be happening over and over and over, after years of me not getting a sign from anywhere.  Now, you could argue because I was in a very vulnerable sort of scary space I was open to all of these things, and I think that was probably true. I think there's great poetry flying around all the time. But I wasn't open to it until these two events [Silverstone and Bragg's words] and all of a sudden I couldn't stop the ideas from coming. These came so quickly and so forcefully that I couldn't even stop them. I had another record in a few months."

None of the songs on this album are maudlin. They are all uplifting and hopeful. The quirky love song that begins the CD, "Listening to Levon," sets the tone. It's about this young man who gets distracted kissing his girlfriend because he's listening to The Band on the radio. It's about not quite being present because of the music. "To me that was an interesting opener because it was chronologically the beginning of my story, "Cohn said, "being a young boy falling in love with women and with music at the same time. And then the record obviously ends quite a bit later." The rest of the songs are very much about being present and experiencing the joy of music and life.

"Dance Back from the Grave," "Join The Parade," and "My Sanctuary," are most obviously about New Orleans, but they are also about Cohn. These and others like "Live Out the String" and "Life Goes On" speak to us all about life with a big L and being very present in the moment because when you are, there is always gratitude and relationships (with people, with nature, with the Divine) become very important. There is a connection in the moment. And, for Marc Cohn, his moment of connection has produced a gift for all of us, a hymn to living life with joy.

The miracle of this burst of creativity and the production of this album is all the more remarkable because the muse is now mute. "And then it stopped again," Cohn said. "Basically, I was given these ten songs. I think I wrote a few more than are actually on the record. I haven't written for months, just a couple of ideas here and there."

This may only be temporary. Cohn does admit that he self-edits more than he did when he was younger and will discard ideas before they ever make it to a guitar or piano. Maybe his long dry spell was because he was waiting for a good idea. Then again, maybe Silverstone was right. Maybe he was given life to encourage us all to join the parade of life.

Currently, Marc Cohn is touring all over the country in support of Join the Parade. Later this summer, he plans a very special trip to New Orleans that isn't concert related. "I'm hoping that my son and I will go and do a little work down there, maybe building some homes."

It sounds like Marc Cohn is joining the parade wholeheartedly. As he sings in "Live Out the String," "Don't the air taste sweet?"

4th of July, Bombs Bursting through Air, Hotdogs, Apple Pie, Ad Nauseum

our flag needs a good bath- for the Grateful Web

The question of how a movement for social justice deals with symbols like the Fourth of July or like the flag has always been a controversial one. At the height of the Vietnam War, when some were advocating burning the flag, others said we should wash it instead, try to reclaim the symbol instead of repudiate it.

I'm no flag-burner (although, of course, I support freedom of expression). I don't see the point in an act that simply shocks the sensibilities of people. I'd like to be able to celebrate the Fourth. But right now the flag needs a lot of washing, and reclaiming the Fourth of July as a celebration that plays any positive role will take a lot of work.

I still recall my father (veteran of World War II front lines Battle of the Bulge) saying how much he hated each and every 4th of July. He hated the loud cracking sounds of firecrackers (symbols of bombs) and the sights of the  "beautiful" colors of "bombs bursting in air" ....to him these explosive sounds and sights  created painful flashbacks of people screaming, buddies getting killed, and strangers being blown to pieces....all in the name of freedom. My dad fought for "freedom" but he never wanted to CELEBRATE the horrors that created it. The use of fireworks with flags waving in the background, people laughing and clapping while guzzling down beer, and eating spoiled potato salad make me sick. I can't celebrate the symbols of war.  If my father was alive today, he would help me wash the flag rather than wave it. Our freedom should be celebrated in traditional 4th of July fashion????? I don't think so.

I hope Bush chokes on his hotdog and that a big cherry bomb firecracker goes off in HIS face this 4th of July. Maybe he'd have a nano-inkling of empathy for the absurdity of celebrating war wins.... I don't want to celebrate anything to do with killing others as a means to our so-called "freedom." My father came back from war a broken man from all the traumas of war. He never experienced personal freedom as a result of all the fireworks and killings. I'll celebrate my "freedom" by hiking through our beautiful forests before the Republicans screw up our natural environment. Bitter? Nah...just weary of war and tired of celebrating our national pride for winning them when nobody really wins. So...when you ooohh and ahhhh over the expensive and colorful firework display showering over your city, and when you place your right winged hand over your heart to the tune of "...Red rocket's red glare and bombs bursting in air...."  try also turning  a little red in the face from remembering all the men, women, and children that died or were maimed (regardless whether or not they were Americans) as a result of bombs that we dropped. Why are we celebrating?

We've all paid too big a price for a hotdog, applepie, and a sparkler.