Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Karen O + Trent Reznor vs. Led Zeppelin

It seems like David Fincher's big-budget Hollywood makeover of Niels Arden Oplev's brilliant 2009 adaptation of Steig Larsson's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is going to have an equally grand-scale soundtrack to go with it. Go big or go home as they say. So if the members of Led Zep won't agree to reunite to whip up a score, getting the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' belter Karen O to join Trent Reznor for an over-the-top cover of The Immigrant Song is the next best thing, right? Check it out for yourself, here's a snippet...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Welsh horror hits Hollywood

No, this has nothing at all to do with Catherine Zeta-Jones. The considerably less famous but infinitely more delightful Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals notoriety and his vinyl-fiend pal Andy Votel who helms the Finders Keepers/B-Music reissue empire are kicking off their festive Los Angeles weekend jaunt with an evening of Welsh horror on  Wednesday (June 1 at Cinefamily (611 N. Fairfax) at 11 pm.
In this case, the potentially frightening bits extend well beyond the screening of the rarely seen 1975 low-budget thriller-chiller Gwaed Ar Y Ser (that's Blood On The Stars to you and me), carrying over to the DJ set in which Rhys and Votel will treat attendees to a selection of hair-raising soundtrack cues mixed with what may prove to be even scarier – genuine Cymraeg folk ditties! According to Rhys, Gwaed Ar Y Ser made a strong impression on him as a youngster and he believes the flick holds up three decades on.  
"It's kind of a Wicker Man meets Celebrity Big Brother cum slasher movie," says Rhys who'll be in Toronto with his new band for a Horseshoe gig on June 11, "about this group of sinister kids who are going around killing the minor celebrities of Wales in the '70s, occasionally with snakes. They electrocute and kill the leading harp player by connecting her harp to the mains; they blow up the most famous rugby player by putting a bomb inside the ball -- I think they blow up Barry John, he’s a rugby legend! The light entertainment TV personalities I used to see on telly every day were being murdered in front of my face, I had to be carried out of the cinema screaming. Now that’s definitely a B-movie. I mean, it’s beyond B-movie. Maybe it’s a C or D. I got a copy of it a few years ago, it hasn’t really been shown anywhere since 1976 and it’s still incredible!" 
The freaky kicks continue for the Finders Keepers posse with a Re-Vamped screening of Jean Rollin's Le Viol du Vampire featuring a live soundtrack performed by Demdike Stare and Anworth Kirk as part of the Erotique Fantastique Masquerade Ball at Cinefamiy on Thursday (June 2) leading up to Friday's Jean Rollin Tribute boasting a blood-sucking double bill of Le Frisson Des Vampires and Requiem For A Vampire and DJ sets from Votel and the ever-fabulous DJ Mahssa starting at 8 pm followed by an after party over in Glassell Park at Verdugo Bar (3408 Verdugo)  where the mysterious Tandy Love (who could it be?) will be cutting loose with sitar-tweaked fuzzy psych head-nodders from 11 pm until the booze runs out. Check out their whole sordid itinerary and consult the Cinefamily site www.cinefamily.org for ticket information. It makes you wonder why this sort of thing never happens at TIFF.

Finders Keepers http://www.finderskeepersrecords.com

The Baseball Project @ The Horseshoe Wednesday!

Friday, May 27, 2011

José James fires up Nicola Conte's Love & Revolution

The long awaited Nicola Conte album Love & Revolution is finally finished and it's coming out on the Impulse! label through Universal which seems perfect for the sunny spiritual jazz vibe of the highly collaborative project. Once you get past the festively flowery sleeve art, the first thing you'll notice about the new 15-track recording (there's also a limited-run 2 CD version with six bonus songs) is that it's much more of a vocally-driven affair from the deep-digging DJ turned dancefloor jazz maestro with notable contributions from rising star José James along with Gregory Porter, Alice Ricciardi and Nailah Porter. Their positively smokin' update of the Roy Ayers Ubiquity classic Love From The Sun (see the clip below) will make you forget Alex Attias ever touched it.
Of course, Conte's bold decision to tackle such  monumental pieces – including the Lightmen Plus One's majestic All Praises To Allah reissued on Now Again's enhanced US version of the superb Spiritual Jazz compilation – required serious instrumental support so Conte enlisted a stellar cast Timo Lassey on flute and baritone sax, Till Bronner, Fabrizio Boss, and Flavio Boltro on trumpet; Magnus Lindgren and Tim Warfield on tenor sax, in addition to his dependable core group comprising Gaetano Partipilo, Pietro Lussu, Paolo Benedettini, Teppo Makynen, Bridgette Amofah, Fabrizio Bosso, and Pierpaolo Bisogno. There's no telling when (or even if) it will appear in Canada but since Conte just staged a Love & Revolution release party at Teatro Piccini in his hometown of Bari, Italy on May 21, the album will likely be available in some form momentarily.
Love & Revolution (Impulse!)
1 / Do You Feel Like I Feel (3:53)
2 / Love from the Sun (4:33)
3 / Here (3:50)
4 / Black Spirits (5:44)
5 / Mystery of You (4:22)
6 / Shiva (5:30)
7 / Ghana (5:09)
8 / Quiet Dawn (4:45)
9 / Scarborough Fair (4:03)
10 / Love and Revolution (3:35)
11 / Bantu (5:59)
12 / All Praises to Allah (4:30)
13 / Ra in Egypt (4:02)
14 / Temple of Far East (6:06)
15 / I'm the Air (4:19)

Love From The Sun by Nicola Conte feat. José James

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Amy Poehler @ Harvard Class Day 2011

James Blake, Hypnotic Brass, Marissa Nadler, Cass McCombs returning to T.O.

Along with a number of exciting summer concert announcements this week for James Blake (yes, the  post-dubstep Brit hotshot is already coming back to Toronto for a Phoenix gig in September), the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Jolie Holland, Marissa Nadler, Cass McCombs, there were a few tentatively scheduled shows we thought you should know about. When it comes to quick sellout events like say for example Peter Bjorn and John doing a two-night stand at a relatively intimate venue like Lee's Palace, you want to find out when those shows are happening before tickets go on sale. Read all about it in The Perlich Post's Early Warning listings.

Limit To Your Love by James Blake @ Le Poisson Rouge, NYC (12/05/2011)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gillian Welch's rootsy new album The Harrow & The Harvest due June 28

According to a press release issued today by Outside Music who distribute Gillian Welch's Acony Records label in Canada, Gillian Welch's highly anticipated new album The Harrow & The Harvest will hit the streets June 28. Even better news is that this "return to the roots" recording was produced by her longtime collaborator David Rawlings who'll be accompanying Welch on her North American tour which kicks off at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, CA on May 30 – already sold out. There could be a Toronto date announced any time now but in the meantime, here's the scoop on the new album which gets the thumbs up from Colin Meloy of The Decemberists who benefited greatly from the presence of Welch on their latest album, The King Is Dead...

Acony Records is proud to announce that on June 28, 2011 they will release The Harrow & The Harvest, the new album by Gillian Welch, featuring ten new songs recorded at her own Woodland Sound Studios in Nashville , Tennessee and produced by David Rawlings.
On May 30, 2011, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will embark on a North American tour supporting The Harrow & The Harvest that will continue through the summer and into the fall.  The acclaimed duet will visit over seventy cities in their most extensive tour in over a decade.
The Harrow & The Harvest, "is a new Southern sound," writes Colin Meloy of The Decemberists, "with the sort of songs you wouldn't be surprised to hear issuing from some verdant, wooded hollow in Appalachia;  Songs you'd expect to hear hollered from an Asheville grange hall, all too late in the evening.  Songs with the wry humor of the back porch.  Listen to this record with the lights low.  Listen to it on an old radio, cradled next to your ear."  
Uncut Magazine's Album of the Month review calls The Harrow & The Harvest a "timeless country classic, this is Welch's most ruggedly traditional work yet."  And closes by lamenting,  "The only thing wrong with a Gillian Welch album is that she makes so damn few of them."
Welch and Rawlings met at Berklee College of Music in Boston .  Together, they moved to Nashville , TN , where most of their work together has been produced. Since then, they have influenced and inspired new generations of country and folk singers, songwriters and players. They have earned the slavish admiration of many of the most lauded and loved voices of the Americana milieu, and had their songs recorded by the likes of Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, and Solomon Burke.

Down By The Water by The Decemberists feat. Gillian Welch

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Help finish the documentary Troubadour Blues

For the last 10 years, Pittsburgh-based indie filmmaker Tom Weber has been working on a documentary called Troubadour Blues about contemporary singer/songwriters including Peter Case, Mary Gauthier, Dave Alvin, Chris Smither, Gurf Morlix, Anne McCue, Slaid Cleaves, R.B. Morris and others who've spent their lives playing music in small clubs, living rooms and street corners.
Having seen some of the raw performance footage of Peter Case, Troubadour Blues is certain to be an extraordinary study of a dying breed of road-warriors with something relevant to say who are willing to travel long distances alone, sometimes for whatever comes back in a passed hat. But Weber, who teaches video production at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, needs a little help with production costs to finish up and get it out this summer on DVD. That's where Kickstarter and roots music fans come in.

Here's Tom Weber's pitch:

When I set out to make a documentary about traveling singer-songwriters, I simply thought that it was a story that needed to be heard. Nearly 10 years later, my primary goal remains the same: to ensure that this compelling story reaches as wide an audience as possible.

 Music has been a central part of my life since childhood. Although I grew up in a classically oriented household, the music that spoke to my heart was more rough-hewn: Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams. Later, I was blown away by the Beatles, learned the blues from the Rolling Stones, traced their roots back to black American blues and soul. Later, I immersed myself in folk and bluegrass, had a long romance with reggae, then gravitated back to rock & roll.

In the tradition of music films like Don't Look Back and Heartworn Highways, I took a fly-on-the-wall approach to filming Troubadour Blues. Peter Case, Chris Smither, Mary Gauthier, and the other artists in the film are gifted storytellers, and the best thing a filmmaker can do is to try to stay out of their way. I shot by available light, captured performances from an ordinary audience seat, and conducted interviews in comfortable settings. The troubadours tell their own stories, without narration.

I want the audience to engage with these artists as I did, seeing them on a stage and then gradually getting to know them. As Francis Coppola has observed, technology has taken the professionalism out of movie making, freeing filmmakers to tell smaller and more personal stories. Troubadour Blues is one of those stories.


On a highway not far from where you live, a solitary musician with a guitar and a box of CDs is driving to another gig. No tour bus, no band, no road manager, no crew: just a need to make music and a bag full of songs based on hard-lived experience. That night, in a bar or coffeehouse or church basement or living room, the troubadour will create magic, sharing those songs with a room full of people. For awhile, time will stand still. Then a round of goodbyes, a night in a spare bedroom or a cheap motel, and it's time for another drive to another town and another room.

Troubadour Blues is the story of these modern-day wandering minstrels who ply their trade outside the media spotlight and far from the glitzy world of pop stardom. They are modern-day equivalents of the medieval troubadours who brought the news from village to village, the broadside balladeers who sang about epic battles and public hangings, the itinerant bluesmen and folksingers who hopped freight trains and hitched rides across Depression-era America.

Today, this way of life is threatened. Live music venues are closing, or turning to dance music, karaoke or cover bands. People don't go out as much; they get their entertainment delivered to them by Internet and cable. When they do go out, they don't spend as much money. And they certainly aren't spending their money on records; CD sales are at their lowest point since the '70s. Many troubadours worry out loud about the future of their craft; they are running harder and faster just to stand still.

Troubadour Blues is intended to expose these great musicians to a larger audience, and to make up for the lack of attention paid to independent artists by mainstream media. With your support, I can complete the film and take it out on the road for a series of intimate screenings all over the country -- building an audience the way that troubadours do, one town at a time.    
Tom Weber

As of today, there are just 9 days remaining in Tom Weber's funding drive for which 86 backers have already pledged $7,841 towards his set goal of $12,000. Those interested in contributing to Weber's project can check out the Troubadour Blues page on Kickstarter right here for more information.

An update: With only five more days to go, 116 backers have now pledged a total of $10,127 which means Tom still needs another $1,873 to reach his goal. Here's hoping!

There's four days left and 127 backers have brought the total pledged to $11,052 leaving Tom just $948 short of his target. It looks like it's gonna come down to the wire.
Three days to go and 141 backers have now pledged a total of $11,672 which is only $328 bucks shy of the target. We're on the homestretch now and the finish line is in sight. Tell a friend.

PROJECT FUNDED! As of May 28, 146 backers pledged a total of $12,176 to surpass Tom Weber's $12.000 target to complete Troubadour Blues! Great news for everyone who supports roots music. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One For The Rapture: Cecelia Condit

Possibly in Michigan (1983)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ernest Ranglin heats up Jay Day in May

A dazzlingly charismatic performer with deep roots in the Toronto scene, Jay Douglas – who fronted The Cougars in the inaugural Caribana parade of 1967 and played a key role in bringing the critically acclaimed Jamaica To Toronto reissue project to life – is being feted in fine style at the Royal Theatre (608 College West) on Sunday (May 15). It's shaping up to be a major community event.

Topping the list of esteemed performers toasting Douglas at the Celebrating Jay concert is legendary Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin (a foundational figure in the development of ska, rock steady and reggae) along with Joe Sealy, Bob & Wisdom, Archie Alleyne, George Oliver, Shawn Jackson, Grant Smith, Robbie Lane, Jackie Richardson, Eddie Bullen, Taborah Johnson among many others.

Advance tickets for this monumental Jay Douglas celebration  are $45 and $90 (for VIP reception with the artists) and on sale at A Different Booklist (746 Bathurst), Wire's Variety (753 Dovercourt), The Jamaican National Money Transfer Office (1672 Eglinton West) and the Royal Theatre box office on Sunday after 1 pm.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blasters reconvene for Dave Alvin's Eleven Eleven

There are some interesting new details about Dave Alvin's forthcoming Eleven Eleven album coming from the Yep Roc label who have announced a June 21 release date. It's very good news for Blasters fans.
Dave Alvin (whose birthday falls on November 11) is joined on his 11th solo outing by his old Blasters' bandmates, namely ace piano pounder Gene Taylor – who hasn't recorded with Dave since 1995's Hard Line album – along with Phil Alvin who has reunited with his younger sibling for a rare one-off duet on the bluesy What's Up With Your Brother?  Although the Alvins have worked together on-and-off for years, Phil always sang lead in the Blasters accompanied by Dave on guitar so this marks the first time they've actually sung together face-to-face on a studio album.
"While we were growing up there was a firm line between Phil and me," explains Dave, referring to Blasters' division of duties: Phil sang, Dave wrote the songs and played lead guitar. "The main reason I decided to have him sing with me was that we¹re not going to be here forever; we might as well have fun. Life is too short."
No doubt the sad passing of Alvin's best friend and longtime musical compadre Chris Gaffney had some influence on his decision to put aside any issues between him and brother Phil to get together for Eleven Eleven. Gaffney also appears on the song Two Lucky Bums which would be their final recording together.
"The songs on Eleven Eleven," says Dave "are all about life, love, death, loss, money, justice, labor, faith, doubt, family and friendship. The usual stuff.
"Mortality has been an issue on my mind ever since Ashgrove. Since finishing that album, I lost some great friends -- Gaffney, Amy Farris and Buddy Blue of the Beat Farmers. That weighed on me."

Harlan County Line by Dave Alvin

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Nihilist Spasm Band set to wreak havoc in Toronto

London, Ontario's venerable improvisational music collective The Nihilist Spasm Band – making a rare Toronto appearance with CxFx, PHOLD, Toddler Body and Boner Jerusalem at the Tranzac Club (292 Brunswick) on Wednesday (May 11) – may be considered little more than cult curio by mainstream media at home but outside of Canada they're revered for their wildly creative innovations in sound manipulation. Yamantaka Eye of Boredoms infamy has acknowledged The Nihilist Spasm Band as an important foundational influence on his own sonic assaults.
Check out the clip below from Tamori's World Of Music taped during the NSB's first tour of Japan in 1996 with original members Hugh McIntyre, John Boyle, Art Pratten, Bill Exley and John Clement who originally came together in 1965. Yep, 46 years and still skronking strong.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Terry Allen!

Lubbock singer/songwriter and multi-media artist Terry Allen who turns 68 on Saturday previews his forthcoming album The Bottom Of The World with a song about his dog Little Queenie (co-written with Guy Clark) during his Storytellers at The Kessler performance at The Kessler Theatre in Dallas on November 6, 2010.

Little Queenie by Terry Allen

site http://www.terryallenartmusic.com/

Thursday, May 5, 2011