Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Newport Folk Festival 2011 Preview

This weekend I'll be heading up to Newport, RI for their annual Folk Festival. If you're unfamiliar with the Festival, you can read about it's extensive history starting all the way back in in 1959 right HERE.

I've been invited by my friend Todd a couple times as he's been a regular attendee but I just haven't been able to pull it off until this year. Some of my friends were able to join him last year and they came back raving about the weekend, I knew I had to make it happen this year.

I'll be heading up with a big crew to take in the weekend at Fort Adams State Park and I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to cover the festival. When I first saw the lineup a few months ago I knew I had to make it up there as it was a great mix of bands I had seen, bands I dug but hadn't yet seen, and some bands I had just read/heard about recently. Add in a great venue on the water and it seems like a perfect weekend to take in some great music.

I figured I'd give some recommendations of bands that I've seen or plan on seeing over the weekend. With so many great options, it's impossible to hit everything but Newport Folk Festival has assembled a tremendous lineup and it's pretty difficult to go wrong at any point this weekend. One word of advice, I'd wear some comfortable shoes because you're going to want to move around quite a bit to see some great acts. Okay, here we go......


12:35 - TYPHOON (Harbor Stage): Tough call here with Typhoon playing basically the same time slot as The Felice Brothers but I'll be staked out at the Harbor Stage. I first found out about Typhoon early in 2011 when I was sent their EP "A New Kind of House". From the first listen, I thought it was as good as anything I had heard in a long time. I tried researching the band a bit but they weren't on tour and things were pretty quiet at the time. They ended up getting invited to SXSW and the reviews I read said they were fantastic. I've literally been trying to see this 11-piece band for about six months so I'm thrilled to catch them in Newport (and again in NYC next week). Check out "The Honest Truth" below.

1:40 - FREELANCE WHALES (Quad Stage): I've been following these guys for a couple years now and definitely plan on catching their set. Even if you don't think you know them, chances are you've heard the Freelance Whales' song "Generator^First Floor" in a recent Starbucks Ad. Their album "Weathervanes" came out a bit ago and is definitely worth getting, some great songs on there. I finally got to see them at Coachella earlier this year and they were excellent. Here's a video of their song "Hannah" that I recorded at the show.

2:00 - GOGOL BORDELLO (Fort Stage): If you haven't seen these guys (or even if you have), they are a MUST SEE. One of the best live bands I've ever seen. Few bands match the energy of Gogol Bordello in concert, just a really unique experience. I've written a lot about them over the last couple of years, and even met lead singer Eugene Hutz one night in NYC a couple years ago. I'm just a big fan and think that anyone making the trip this weekend should make sure they catch at least part of this set. Here's a clip of "Wonderlust King" I took at Coachella earlier this year.

2:55 - DELTA SPIRIT (Quad Stage): Lead singer Matt Vazquez will be pulling double-duty performing with Delta Spirit along with his other project, Middle Brother. I had heard a bunch of their material and finally got to see them at Coachella this year. Here's a clip of "St Francis" that my buddy Chris took at the festival.

4:15 - TEGAN & SARA (Quad Stage): I'm a fan of these sisters from up north. I first saw them in 2007 out at Neil Young's Bridge School Festival in California. I had friend playing the weekend so I was lucky enough to tag along and meet these ladies and a bunch of other bands. They're extremely talented and I also thought they were just damn nice people, really enjoyed speaking with them and have followed their career since that time. I think they have some great songs, and particularly love their album "The Con". Here's a clip of my favorite song by them, "Dark Comes Soon".... I'd imagine their set will be something like this.

6:05 - THE DECEMBERISTS (Fort Stage): Here's a pretty big band that I have not seen in concert before. I know some of their stuff but honestly haven't listened to them a ton. I know a lot of people that really like them, they seem to have a big following an will be playing one of the headlining slots on Saturday night. Here's one of their songs that I really dig, "Down By The Water" (and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gillian Welch hang around after her set to join these guys).


11:30 - BROWN BIRD (Harbor Stage): Here's a band I've only recently heard about but I definitely like what I've listened to. They've got one of the first slots on Sunday so it's a great opportunity to get out there and check out some early sets. Take a listen to this track, "Ragged Old Town"

1:40 - TRAMPLED BY TURTLES (Quad Stage): I just started listening to these guys at the end of 2010 so I haven't had a chance to see them yet. Definitely looking forward to seeing them as I really like the songs I've heard. Check out the track, "Wait So Long"

3:00 - JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE (Quad Stage): This is definitely one of the sets I'm most looking forward to over the weekend. I've really gotten into Justin's stuff over the last year and am looking forward to finally catching one of his live sets. My favorite song is probably a tune called, "Midnight at the Movies" but I'm also hoping for some more up-tempo songs, something like "Harlem River Blues".

4:20 - MIDDLE BROTHER (Quad Stage) vs THE HEAD & THE HEART (Harbor Stage): This would be my "steel cage match" of the weekend, two acts I'd really like to see playing at the same exact time. Middle Brother is made up of three lead singers of other bands; John McCauley (Deer Tick), Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) & Matt Vazquez (Delta Spirit). I've seen Deer Tick & Dawes numerous times, love both bands and saw Middle Brother perform in Brooklyn earlier this year. Here's a video I took of their song "Blue Eyes".

The Head and The Heart are getting some major buzz. They recently played the Mercury Lounge in NYC and the tickets sold out in the blink of an eye. I think they'll have a big crowd for their set and I'm going to try to swing between the two and hopefully catch a bit of both. These guys have some great songs, one of my favorites is "Down In The Valley".

4:45 - ELVIS COSTELLO (Fort Stage): As if Middle Brother and The Head & The Heart wasn't enough of a tough decision, Elvis Costello takes the stage about half way through their sets. I'm going to do my best to run over and catch the tail end of his set. Regardless, if you like music, you've got some amazing options between 4pm and 6pm, great acts all over the venue. Here's one of my favorite Elvis tunes, "Pump It Up" (still sounds great!)

5:40 - M WARD w/ DAWES (Quad Stage): This should be another great set, M Ward with Dawes as his backing band. I like M Ward's stuff but he's another act that I haven't seen in person yet. I'm also hoping that they find a way to mix in some Dawes tunes, easily one of my favorite new bands from the last couple of years. If you don't have their two albums, go buy them immediately, fantastic albums. Here's a recent clip of "Big Bird" with Dawes backing M Ward.

Well, think that about wraps it up. As you can see, there's a ton of great options that should keep any music lover busy throughout the weekend. There's a bunch of good bands I didn't even get to mention but I have to give a ton of credit to the Festival organizers for putting together such a strong lineup. I'll have some pictures, videos, and hopefully a slew of stories upon my return next week. As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Pearl Jam 20th Anniversary Trailer


Pearl Jam Twenty from Pearl Jam on Vimeo.

SOTD: "Soon My Work Will Be Over" - Blind Willies

If you like this track, you can download it HERE. Also below you'll find some upcoming tour dates for Blind Willies.

7.30 Davis, CA @ Sophia's Thai Bar & Kitchen
8.04 Cottage Grove, OR @ Axe and Fiddle
8.05 Corvallis, OR @ Bombs Away Cafe
8.07 Seattle, WA @ Piecora's Back Room
8.11 Tacoma, WA @ The New Frontier Lounge
8.13 Redding, CA @ Maxwell's Downtown Eatery
9.10 Benicia, CA @ Rellik Tavern

Friday, July 22, 2011

SOTD: "Stuck In My ID" - Reptar

Christopher Paul Stelling & William Elliott Whitmore @ Mercury Lounge 7/19/11

On Tuesday night, my buddy John and I went down to check out Christopher Paul Stelling & William Elliott Whitmore at the Mercury Lounge. For those that haven't been there, Mercury is a great little venue, probably holds a couple hundred people (packed in tight) in an intimate general admission setting.

As I had written about earlier in the week, I knew William's music well as I've followed him for a couple years now but I've only heard Christopher in the last year and this was my first time seeing him perform (and only my second seeing William). We got there just a few minutes before Christopher came on and the room already had a big crowd which I thought was pretty impressive.

He came out solo and kicked right into his set and I'll tell you that the guy immediately had the room captivated. It was evident that Christopher is a talented musician along with having a powerful voice. After the first song, he remarked, "Well, I've already deviated from the setlist" which had the crowd cracking up. Speaking of the crowd, thought it was great and really respectful. I don't think anyone was talking during the songs and this allowed Christopher to even step away from the mic at points of the show and just sing to the crowd like we were hanging out in a friend's basement.

Chris spoke how he's heading to Kentucky soon to record his album and that he doesn't have much to sell at this point but did point for people to check out his Daytrotter session. He also stated that he's going to be performing on the Daytrotter Barnstormer tour with White Rabbits & Deer Tick (more info on that HERE.) That will be a great tour and I'd highly recommend making one of those shows if you can pull it off.

All in all, I was really impressed in Christopher's performance and would definitely check him out again. I'm sure he'll have some dates once he releases his album and I look forward to hearing it. If you're in the NYC area, he'll be playing tonight at Rockwood Music Hall Stage Two (9pm). In the meantime, take a listen to this video clip of "Flawless Executioner" I recorded below.


William Elliott Whitmore took the stage to a packed room shortly after Christopher finished. It was extremely tight and led William to do something I have never seen an artist pull off at the Mercury Lounge, he invited some of the crowd to sit on stage. I'd say about thirty people went up and sat around William on stage, kind of reminded me of an MTV:Unplugged setting but it definitely helped clear up the floor a bit.

Since the first time I saw William in person back in 2009, I loved his sound. A little banjo, some guitar and a raspy voice that just commands a crowd. He was the opener when I saw him last and without question won over the crowd, but this was different vibe with everyone showing up to see his set. The crowd was enthusiastic and requesting songs (one girl even requested a song right after he played it but William laughed it off and said something like, "cheers, have another drink"). William seemed in a great mood and interacted with the crowd all night between songs.

William mixed a great set of old songs and new ones off of his latest album "Field Songs". Highlights for me included "Dry", "Hell or High Water" and "Johnny Law". It was a great environment seeing him in such a small venue with the crowd really into the show, definitely a unique experience but another great night out in the city. He'll be in Philly tonight and playing across the country through September, definitely check out the show if you get a chance (tour dates HERE).

Enjoy a couple videos I took below.....



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SOTD: "Truth" - Alexander

If you're a fan of Breaking Bad, you may recognize this song from the episode the other night. If you like this tune, you can download a remix featuring Rza (Wu-Tang Clan) right HERE.

Alexander - Truth from Alexander on Vimeo.

Monday, July 18, 2011

La Blogotheque: Typhoon

Check out this great video of Typhoon performing on La Blogotheque:

Typhoon | A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

SOTD: "Taken For A Fool" - The Strokes

William Elliott Whitmore/Christopher Paul Stelling Preview

Tomorrow night, I'll be heading down to the Mercury Lounge to check out two great singer-songwriters, William Elliott Whitmore & Christopher Paul Stelling.

I first came across William Elliott Whitmore a couple years ago when he opened for City & Colour at the Bowery Ballroom. William has a great, unique sound and was able to captivate the audience from the first notes. He kind of reminded me of a young Tom Waits and I was really impressed by his live show, very talented guy and to be honest a breath of fresh air hearing a style you don't get every night. I've since picked up a couple of his albums and they're definitely solid although I think he's really a guy you should check out live if you get a chance. Here's a live cut of one of my favorite songs, "Hell or High Water"

I'm relatively new to Christopher Paul Stelling, first heard his music late in 2010 when he appeared on the Daytrotter site. Hopefully you've visited that website previously but if not, it's a MUST HIT..... one of the best sites on the net. You can check that session out HERE. This will be my first time catching Christopher in person so I'm excited about that. Here's a track called "Flawless Executioner" that I really dig.

I'll have a show recap later in the week!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Typhoon: Tour Video & Dates, Letterman & Download

Lots of news coming out of the Typhoon camp lately.

I can't say enough how excited I am to catch this group over the next month, hoping to see them a couple times on the tour. I've been writing about them for months now but if you're new to the blog or just haven't given them a listen, download this song, "The Honest Truth" right HERE. They'll also be playing it when they make their tv debut on Letterman on August 4th.

Check out this video they just released previewing their "Coast To Coast" tour, dates listed below.

Typhoon - Coast to Coast Tour 2011 from Matthew Ross on Vimeo.

TOUR DATES (more to be announced):

* Indicates shows with The Decemberists

July 19th Britt Pavilion Jacksonville, OR *
July 20th Idaho Botanical Gardens, Boise, ID *
July 21st Twilight Concert Series Salt Lake City, UT *
July 22nd Big Sky Brewery Missoula, MT *
July 23rd The Filling Station VFW Bozeman, MT
July 25th Cedar Cultural Center Minneapolis, MN
July 28th The Iron Horse Music Hall Northampton, MA
July 29th The North Star Bar Philadelphia, PA
July 30th Newport Folk Festival Newport, RI
July 31st Osheaga Festival Montreal, QB
August 2nd The Mercury Lounge New York, NY
August 3rd Littlefield Brooklyn, NY
August 4th Sixth & Synagogue Washington, DC
August 6th Lollapalooza Chicago, IL
August 8th The Old Rock House St. Louis, MO
August 9th The Riot Room Kansas City, MO
August 10th Hi-Dive Denver, CO
August 12th Visual Arts Collective Garden City, OH
September 10th Musicfest NW @ Pioneer Courthouse Square Portland, OR

SOTD: "Window to the Soul" - The Kooks

The Head & The Heart Upcoming Tour

The Head & The Heart have announced an upcoming tour in the Fall. I'm looking forward to finally checking these guys out at the Newport Folk Festival in a couple of weeks. All dates listed below.....

Tue 09/20/11 NEW ORLEANS, LA One Eyed Jacks
Wed 09/21/11 ATLANTA, GA The Variety Playhouse
Thu 09/22/11 CHAPEL HILL, NC Lincoln Theatre
Fri 09/23/11 WASHINGTON, DC 9:30 Club
Mon 09/26/11 BROOKLYN, NY Hall of Williamsburg
Tue 09/27/11 NEW YORK, NY Bowery Ballroom
Mon 10/03/11 GRAND RAPIDS, MI Calvin College
Thu 10/06/11 MILWAUKEE, WI Turner Hall
Fri 10/07/11 MADISON, WI The Majestic
Sun 10/09/11 OMAHA, NE The Waiting Room
Mon 10/10/11 DENVER, CO The Gothic
Tue 10/18/11 EUGENE, OR WOW Hall
Wed 10/19/11 PORTLAND, OR Crystal Ballroom
Thu 10/20/11 VANCOUVER BC The Commodore Ballroom

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Morning Jacket on World Cafe

NPR Music's World Cafe has posted an interview with Jim James from My Morning Jacket along with some live cuts from the band's webcast performance the day their latest album "Circuital" was released. The setlist consists of "Circuital", "Victory Dance", "The Day Is Coming", "Slow Slow Tune". Check it out HERE.

We Were Promised Jetpacks: New Album, Single, Tour Dates

We Were Promised Jetpacks announced a slew of exciting info earlier today on their website. Coming later in 2011 are UK/European & US tour dates (see below), a new album titled "In The Pit of the Stomach" (early October) and you can currently stream/download the first single, "Act On Impulse" right HERE.

UK/Europe Tour
9 Sept Dundee Doghouse
16 Sept Paris Fleche d'Or
17 Sept Amsterdam Paradiso
18 Sept Hamburg Molotow
19 Sept Berlin Lido
20 Sept Cologne Gebaude 9
21 Sept Brussels Botanique Rotonde
1 Oct Stirling Reload Festival @ Tollbooth
6 Oct Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
11 Oct Leeds Brudenell Social Club
12 Oct London XOYO
13 Oct Brighton Jam
14 Oct Manchester Deaf Institute

US Tour
26 Oct Harrisburg PA The Abbey Bar
27 Oct Washington DC Black Cat
28 Oct Boston MA Paradise
29 Oct Philadelphia PA Union Transfer
30 Oct New York City Webster Hall
1 Nov Cleveland OH Grog Shop
2 Nov Chicago IL Metro
3 Nov St. Louis MO The Old Rock House
4 Nov Norman OK Oklahoma Memorial Union
5 Nov Dallas TX Trees
8 Nov Phoenix AZ Crescent Ballroom
9 Nov San Diego CA Casbah
10 Nov Los Angeles CA The Music Box
11 Nov San Francisco CA Bimbo's
12 Nov Eugene OR WOW Hall
13 Nov Portland OR Wonder Ballroom
15 Nov Seattle WA Neumos

SOTD: "Apartment" - Young The Giant

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Smorgasbord

Here's a bunch of links I didn't get a chance to get up this week, enjoy the weekend!

- William Elliott Whitmore - "Field Songs" Album Stream: Listen HERE to preview William's new album streaming over on Paste Magazine.

- Adele - "I Can't Make You Love Me" : Another great cover of the Bonnie Raitt tune, this one is from the Itunes Festival July 7, 2011 (thanks to @lindsaymusic) for the link.

- Freelance Whales: Honey I'm Home Sessions: Take a listen HERE to a new session from the Freelance Whales over on The Wild Honey Pie. You'll hear "Ghosting", "Generator ^ 2nd Floor" and "Hannah", great stuff here!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Elvis Costello & Eddie Vedder - Substitute (The Who)

About a week ago, Elvis Costello and Eddie Vedder were both playing shows in St Louis. Eddie swung over to the Elvis show before his set and surprised the crowd by joining Elvis for a cover of the Who's "Substitute". Great stuff!!

SOTD: "You Let Me In" - Luke Rathborne

Check out this song from Luke Rathborne, if you like it you can download it HERE.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SOTD: "Empty Room/Nutshell" - Ryan Adams

Here's a combo SOTD, technically "Song(s) of the day" from Ryan Adams. From what I've read, he's been selling a new 7" on his European tour which features two songs, "Empty Room" (a duet with his wife Mandy Moore) and "Nutshell" (Alice In Chains cover).

Nutshell is one of my favorite songs of alltime so I was surprised and excited to find this last week. If you don't know the original, this version from UNPLUGGED is my favorite. Ryan does an excellent job in my opinion. Enjoy these!



Friday, July 1, 2011

Frank Ocean

I've been reading a lot about Frank Ocean this week. It started when I heard his song "Novacane" a week ago and kind of just felt compelled to read up on him. Sometimes artists strike you for whatever reason, you want to know more than just their music. When I heard that song, his style really struck me, I could tell that the guy had something interesting to him.... something more than a catchy hook.

If you're not familiar with Frank Ocean, you can read up a bit on his Wiki page HERE. Really interesting story, especially how his career was basically launched after a forced move to LA from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

I found his Tumblr page which I think is pretty awesome. If you use Tumblr, you know that they have a "ask me anything" section on the site and I saw this entry and thought it was very cool, and inspiring......

yff asked: Explain your current situation to your five-years-ago self.

wow. alrite. i’ll give it a shot…

hey chris,

your name is frank’s a long story. your girlfriend is about to break up with you because of the long distance. it’s ok. & that job you’re working..well, you’re gonna have to work there for another year and some months.. & then you’re gonna get fired. you’re gonna work a couple more jobs after that too. nothing glamorous. kinkos and at&t if you really want the specifics. but you’re never gonna be homeless or starving. don’t worry you won’t fail and have to move back to new orleans either. you are gonna get your heartbroken though. twice. if it helps, the first one is gonna be worse than the second. contrary to how it feels, it won’t kill you. in fact it’s gonna help you write an album. yea, you finally finished an album. people like it man. you’re actually gonna write and record hundreds of songs. they won’t all be good and most ppl won’t think you’re talented at first, but you’re going to master your gifts. you’re going to become a lot stronger and wiser..even a little taller. be patient. i mean, you kind of have no choice. and be good to people. i don’t wanna spoil too much for you, but.. you’re on a plane right now to the east coast to work with kanye west & jay-z. it’s all working out kid. you made it.

Hope I get to see this guy perform sometime soon, can't wait for his album. To Frank Ocean I say, thanks for the inspiration.

SOTD: "Old Friend" - Caveman

Here's a great new song from Caveman, also below you'll find some upcoming tour dates including a run with The War On Drugs.

Upcoming Caveman dates:
* w/ The War On Drugs
08/06 - Montauk, NY @ The Surf Lodge
08/18 - Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's *
08/19 - Brooklyn, NY @ Cameo *
08/21 - Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
08/22 – Burlington, VT @ Monkey Bar
08/23 - Montreal, CAN @ Casa del Popolo *
08/24 - Toronto, CAN @ Drake Hotel *
08/25 - Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig *
08/26 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern *
08/27 - Milwaukee, WI @ Club Garibaldi *
08/28 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
08/30 - St. Louis, MO @ The Biliken Club *
08/31 - Lexington-Fayette, KY @ Cosmic Charlie's *
09/01 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe *
09/02 - Washington, DC @ The Red Place *
09/15 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge (Album Release)