Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Listen to Peter Hook's entertaining chat with fellow bassist Andy Rourke

You're in for a good time whenever the former Smiths bassist gets together with his former New Order counterpart.  

Black Joe Lewis @ Lee's Palace, Tuesday

Austin's Black Joe Lewis has finally found his own sound on the new Backlash album as you can hear below.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Elvis Costello makes Sony Centre his Imperial Bedroom July 20

EC's show with the Imposters at Beacon Theatre in November should give you an idea of what to expect here in July.

Elvis Costello on tour

06/03 Berkeley, CA - Greek Theatre (Berkeley)
06/04 Los Angeles, CA - Greek Theatre
06/05 San Diego, CA - Copley Symphony Hall
06/07 Albuquerque, NM - Popejoy Hall
06/09 Kansas City, MO - Crossroads
06/10 Indianapolis, IN - The Murat Theatre
06/12 Chicago, IL - Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
06/13 Pittsburgh, PA - Heinz Hall
06/15 New York, NY - Central Park Summer Stage
06/16 Upper Darby, PA - Tower Theatre
06/17 Canandaigua, NY - Constellation Brands-Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center (CMAC)
06/20 Richmond, VA - Richmond Raceway Complex
06/21 Charlotte, NC - Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
07/16 Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
07/18 Kettering, OH - Fraze Pavilion
07/20 Toronto, ON - Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
07/21 Cooperstown, NY - Brewery Ommegang
07/23 Shelburne, VT - The Green at Shelburne Museum
07/24 Portland, ME - Thompson's Point
07/25 Providence, RI - Providence PAC

Watch Nick Sewell's fab animated video for "My Little RnR" by Danko Jones

"My Little RnR" is off Wild Cat out March 3. Danko Jones tear up The Velvet Underground April 19.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

B-Side Wins Again: Freak Heat Waves

Victoria's Freak Heat Waves are at their krautrock-y best on "Void Air Lashing" from 2014's "Birth of Venus" single. 

Freak Heat Waves make a rare T.O. stop at The Baby G as part of CMW on April 22. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Happy Birthday Emitt Rhodes!

Raising a glass to Emitt Rhodes with the opening track from his brilliant self-produced debut from 1970.

Ragnar Grippe's avant-garde classic Sand gets deluxe 40th anniversary reissue

Electronic music pioneer Ragnar Grippe's Sand album is out March 26 on Dais Records. Listen below.

Friday, February 24, 2017

One For The Weekend: Your Old Droog w/ Edan & Wiki

"Help" appears on Your Old Droog's new PACKS album. Check Matt Lubansky's dope video following the press release. 

Your Old Droog - "PACKS" out March 10

After seemingly coming out of nowhere, Your Old Droog lit up the interweb in 2014 with his self-titled debut EP, catching the attention of bloggers all over the web from New York Magazine’s Vulture to NahRight. Before long, conspiracy theories started and people began to posit that Droog was another older, legendary New York rapper in disguise.

Profiled in The New Yorker, Droog (meaning “friend” in Russian) set the record straight about who he was: a twenty-something Ukrainian immigrant who fell in love with hip-hop when he arrived in South Brooklyn as a small child. The timbre of his voice resembled that of a hip-hop legend but Droog’s content had more to it than street dreams or observations from a project window. His music reflected his own unique life experience as he referenced everything from sports, to crime, to Seinfeld and C-Span in his rhymes. He was an intelligent hoodlum with a stand-up comedian’s sense of humor—unafraid to be as self-deprecating as he was self-aggrandizing.

On his much hyped debut, Your Old Droog, he vowed to “bring back storytelling” and now on his sophomore album, PACKS, Droog delivers on that promise. In addition to the raw rhyme displays on songs like the Alchemist-produced “Winston Red,” Droog flexes his narrative muscles both comically (“My Girl Is A Boy”) and dramatically (“G.K.A.C”). The single “You Can Do It (Give Up)” is an ode to practicality over fantasy told in three vignettes. Co-produced by Edan, and Y.O.D. himself “You Can Do It (Give Up)” is almost the bizarro version of Biz Markie’s “Vapors.” The reclusive Edan also produces and appears on the raucous posse cut “Help” (watch the inventive video clip below) with Ratking frontman Wiki. The three MC’s trade bars over an explosive beat for those who don't mind a little psychedelic (Help, I'm a) rock with their hip hop.

Droog also shares mic duties with fellow rap iconoclasts Danny Brown (“Grandma Hips”) and Heems (“Bangladesh”) and, for good measure, comedian Anthony Jeselnik lends his dark humor to skits between songs. Besides the return of Droog’s go-to production partner El RTNC, PACKS also features production from platinum producers ID Labs (Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller) and 88 Keys (Watch The Throne, Action Bronson, Mos Def). The sum of it all is an album that stands out from the predictable offerings of mainstream rappers today. PACKS is a project for fans of hip hop’s fundamentals and those who are interested in the progress of the artform.

Watch Fred Armisen sabotage The Old 97's video for "Good With God"

"Good With God" is off The Old 97's new album Graveyard Whistling out now on ATO. Watch Lee Kirk's video.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Introducing... The Yes Masters

The self-titled debut by Kurt Bloch's new powerpop group The Yes Masters is out now on No Threes – listen below. 

Whaddya mean you don't know Cold Diamond & Mink

Cold Diamond & Mink are the mysterious houseband of Timmion's subsidiary Stylart. Check their recent soul instros. 

That's Cold Diamond & Mink playing in the background of the trailer for Jim Jarmusch's latest film Paterson.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Memphis soul great Don Bryant previews new album with "How Do I Get There" video

Don Bryant's long overdue new album Don't Give Up On Love is out May 12 on Fat Possum.

Midweek Mixdown: Andy Votel

Here's the "To The Davul A Daughter" mix put together by Finders Keepers mainman Andy Votel. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Happy Birthday Steve Wynn!

Raising a glass to Steve on his day with a pre-Dream Syndicate classic. 

Rare UK jazz gem from Bird Curtis Quintet recirculated by JazzAggression

This limited reissue won't appear in your local store so get it directly from JazzAggression. Hear "Tropicana" below.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Watch The Plagues play "I've Been Through It Before"

The Lansing-based garage kings played their Fenton-label gem at Laingsburg's Lakeview Banquet Hall in September.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fabio Borgazzi's creepy cool sound library gem Mr. Diabolicus / Mr. Mysterious resurfaces

Fabio "Fabor" Borgazzi's 1973 gem Mr. Diabolicus / Mr. Mysterious is being reissued by Schema on February 20.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Colin Stetson's All This I Do For Glory album out April 28 – Great Hall show May 15

The lead track "Spindrift" from Colin Stetson's new album suggests an IDM inspiration. See antler-enhanced cover below. 

Advance tickets for Colin Stetson's Great Hall show on Monday, May 15 are $18.50 available right here

Gaslamp Killer DJ set @ Velvet Underground, Sunday

Check out William Benjamin Bensussen's latest GLK album Instrumentalepathy and what's in his Amoeba bag.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thundercat drops new track "Friend Zone"... last year

"Friend Zone" is off the forthcoming Drunk album by Thundercat who finds inspiration in Salongo-era Ramsey Lewis.

Whaddya mean you don't know Canaille?

Canaille's widely slept-on Practical Men album is one of the best Toronto jazz recordings you've never heard.  
Formed by saxophonist Jeremy Strachan (Minotaurs, Muskox, Feuermusik), Canaille is one of many intriguing projects to come out of Toronto’s underexposed experimental music scene which never really got it's due.

Following the release of 2009’s all acoustic Potential Things, Canaille grew into an electric sextet with a sonic conception rooted in Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis mixed with a healthy dose of vintage ethio-funk of Mulatu Astatke and topped with the bent melodic sense of late 1950s Sun Ra. In fact, the group's amazing second full-length Practical Men – recorded & engineered by Jeff McMurrich and released by Komino Records in 2011 – came neatly bookended by two Akestra classics, "Watusa" and "Love In Outer Space."

Featured on the Practical Men album along with Jeremy Strachan (bari/alto/flute/guitar) is Jay Hay (tenor), Nicolas Buligan (trumpet), Jesse Levine (keyboards), Mike Smith (bass) and Dan Gaucher (drums) who together knocked out what sounds like a lost private-press spiritual jazz masterwork from the mid-70s. Fans of contemporary artists drawing on similar inspiration such as The Heliocentrics, El Michels Affair, Yesterdays New QuintetWhitfield Brothers, Atlantis Jazz Ensemble, Karl Hector & The Malcouns will be pleasantly surprised by Canaille's unjustly overlooked gem. Have a listen below.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Stax soul great William Bell grabs Grammy for "Best Americana Album"

Watch the amazing William Bell sing a few songs from his fantastic "This Is Where I Live" on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Dirty Nil cash-in on Juno nod with early singles comp Minimum R&B

Just days after a surprising JUNO nomination, Steeltown rock 'n' roll trio The Dirty Nil have announced the release of a retrospective collection out April 28th on Dine Alone in conjunction with Fat Wreck Chords. To bring new fans up to speed, the aptly named Minimum R&B serves as a best-of compilation, bringing together some previously issued tracks from the group's first three 7” singles and four of the five tunes from 2014's Smite 10" EP.  Sorry, "Wrestle Yu To Husker Du" is not included.

On the compilation’s inspiration, the band says it was “fuelled by broken vintage fuzz pedals, the show television "destroyed in seconds", girls night out wine, smashing reverb tanks with hammers, a small lake of black coffee, horrible recording conditions, general negligence, recording vocals naked, beer, blood, broken bones, broken instruments, broken ears, inescapable loudness, screaming, unresolved girl problems, exposed wiring, no pants, no shoes, making our producers drink more than they wanted to, and a dozen donuts.” Yep, they're from the Hammer.

Although the press release claims that the set includes "one previously unissued track," longtime Dirty Nil fans will recall the tune "Caroline" from 2009's Saccharine Visceral 5-song CD EP. Of course, this could be an alternate version but the tune should be familiar to the group's hardcore following. Conspicuously absent from the set are all the group's popular covers from the Summer Mix-Tape Vol. 2  cassette and their five lathe-cut fan club singles. Who knows, maybe those marketing saavy Dine Alone folks have a Dirty Nil covers LP planned for Record Store Day. If not, they'd better get crackin' since it's coming up fast on April 15.

Latecomers to the Dirty Nil party will be delighted to discover that many of their self-released recordings which make up Minimum R&B are just as good, if not superior to those on last year's full-length debut Higher Power that took four people to produce. Since its release, the band has toured alongside groups like FLAG (the Keith Morris-led touring version of Black Flag) and Alexisonfire on their way to a well-deserved nomination for "Breakthrough Group Of The Year" at the upcoming 2017 JUNO Awards. This month The Dirty Nil continue their winning strategy of playing support to big drawing but less-interesting acts by joining Billy Talent and Monster Truck on a cross-Canada tour. A full list of dates follow below. Check out the Fuckin' Up Young video.

Minimum R&B track listing
1. Fuckin' Up Young
2. Verona Lung
3. Little Metal Baby Fist
4. Hate Is A Stone
5. Cinnamon
6. Guided By Vices
7. Nicotine
8. Beat
9. New Flesh
10. Pale Blue
11. Caroline

The Dirty Nil on tour with Billy Talent and Monster Truck
02/16 Abbotsford, BC – Abbotsford Centre
02/18 Calgary, AB – Grey Eagle Event Centre
02/21 Edmonton, AB – Shaw Conference Centre
02/22 Regina, SK – Brandt Centre
02/23 Winnipeg, MB – MTS Centre
02/26 London, ON – Budweiser Gardens
02/27 Toronto, ON – Air Canada Centre
03/01 Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
03/02 Quebec City, QC – Centre Vidéotron
03/03 Ottawa, ON – The Arena at TD Place
03/05 Moncton, NB – Casino New Brunswick
03/06 Halifax, NS – Scotiabank Centre

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Valerie June @ The Great Hall, Thursday

Check out "Shakedown" from Valerie June's forthcoming album The Order of Time out March 10. 

The Order of Time
“Understanding the order of time is important to anyone hoping to manifest a dream,” says Valerie June. “There is a time to push, and a time to gently tend the garden.”

Since the release of her 2013 breakout Pushin’ Against A Stone, June has been patiently at work in the garden of song, nurturing seedlings with love and care into the lush bloom that is her new album, The Order Of Time. Some songs grew from seeds planted more than a decade ago, others blossomed overnight when she least expected them to, but every track bears the influence of time. See, time has been on June’s mind a lot lately. It’s the only constant in life, even though it’s constantly changing. It’s the healer of all wounds, the killer of all men. It’s at once infinite and finite, ever flowing with twists and turns and brutal, churning rapids that give way to serene stretches of placid tranquility. Fight against the current and it will knock you flat on your ass. Learn to read it, to speak its language, and it will carry you exactly where you’re meant to be.

“Time is the ruler of Earth’s rhythm,” June explains. “Our daily lives revolve around it. Our hearts beat along to its song. If we let it, it can be a powerful guide to turning our greatest hopes and dreams into realities.”

June knows a thing or two about turning hopes and dreams into realities. With Pushin’ Against A Stone, she went from self-releasing her music as Tennessee’s best kept secret to being hailed by the New York Times as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.”

When it came time to record the follow-up, June felt liberated by the success, fearless and more confident than ever in trusting her instincts and following her muse. There was to be no rushing the music, no harvesting a song before it was ripe on the vine and ready to be plucked. When she sensed the time was right, she headed to rural Guilford, Vermont, with producer Matt Marinelli, spending long stretches through the fall and winter living and recording away from the hustle and bustle of her adopted home of Brooklyn.

“They made us feel so welcome in Vermont,” remembers June. “I was cooking amazing food and hanging out with the band all the time. There were long talks and long walks in the snow, and friends would come up for holidays. I felt like I put myself in a place where I could really soar. With the last album, I was absorbing and learning and developing so much in the studio, but this is me taking the things I learned and the things I felt in my heart and fighting for them.”

In her heart, June is a songwriter first and foremost, willing and able to blur the lines between genres and eras of sounds. The result is an eclectic blend of folk and soul and country and R&B and blues that is undoubtedly the finest work of her career. Opener “Long Lonely Road” settles in like languid southern heat, as June looks back to the sacrifices of her parents and grandparents, singing in a gentle near-whisper of the sometimes difficult, sometimes beautiful journey we all must undertake in search of brighter days. On the soulful “Love You Once Made,” her voice is backed by rich horns and vintage organ as she makes peace with the specter of loss and the ephemeral nature of our relationships, while the bluesy juke joint rocker “Shakedown” features backup vocals from her brothers, Jason and Patrick Hockett and father, Emerson Hockett recorded at home in Tennessee, and “Man Done Wrong” centers on a hypnotic banjo riff that’s more African than Appalachian.

“People shouldn’t necessarily think of bluegrass when they see the banjo,” explains June. “It was originally an African instrument, and people in America used to play all kinds of banjo: mandolin banjo, ukulele banjo, bass banjo, classical banjo, jazz banjo, there were even banjo orchestras. For some reason people like to limit it and say it just has to be in folk and bluegrass, but to me it can be in anything, and I really wanted to set the banjo free on this record.”

The banjo turns up again later as the underpinning of the R&B rave-up “Got Soul,” which plays out like a mission statement for the entire album, as June offers to “sing a country tune” or “play the blues” but reveals that underneath it all is her sweet soul. Those genre terms might be simplistic ways to attempt to define her, empty signifiers creating distinctions between sounds where June sees none. “With You” channels the sprightly, ethereal beauty of Nico with fingerpicked electric guitar and cinematic strings, “Slip Slide On By” grooves with shades of Van Morrison, and “If And” slowly builds over meditative hum that hints at John Cale.

Despite the music’s varied nature, the songs all belong to a cohesive family, in part because they’re tied together by June’s one-of-a-kind voice, and because they’re all pieces of a larger rumination on the passage of time. The ultimate takeaway from tracks like “The Front Door” and “Just In Time” is that the present is all we have. We’re given this brief moment to share our love and light with the world, and when, as June sings on the album, “Time’s hands turn and point straight towards you,”
you’d better be ready.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Dale Watson & Ray Benson connect with Dale & Ray

Asleep At The Wheel's Ray Benson and old pal Dale Watson continue playing the sort of music Nashville forgot. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

RIP David Axelrod, 1931-2017

Here's a special David Axelrod mix by Cut Chemist and discussion of his work with Brian "B+" Cross.

Before The 6ix: And Now The Legacy Begins @ Toronto Reference Library, Monday, 7-8 pm

The T.O. hip hop talk features Dream Warriors, John Bronkski & K-Cut. Watch the Cold Front release party from 1991 below.  Photo: Rick McGinnis 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Slaid Cleaves previews forthcoming album

Here's "Hickory" and "Take-Home Pay" off Slaid's new album, tentatively titled Already Gone.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Harrow Fair w/ Skye Wallace @ The Dakota Tavern, Saturday

Harrow Fair's Miranada Mulholland & Andrew Penner will knock out a few tunes from their fab Call To Arms debut.


For more info, visit Harrow Fair's site: http://www.harrowfair.ca

New York Night Train's Soul Clap and Dance Off 10th Anniversary @ Warsaw, March 3

On March 3rd, DJ Jonathan Toubin will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the world’s most popular and prolific soul party, New York Night Train's Soul Clap and Dance-Off.

For the first time, Toubin turns the typical DJ night on its head, and won't spin any records. Instead, New York Night Train’s soul proprietor will fly in his favorite soul singers from around the world to perform their original hits for an all live music dance party. The fast-paced review setting will be backed by Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots. The performers will be flown in for the night only, some of whom have not performed in New York City for years, including Ural Thomas whose last performance in the city took place in 1971 at the Apollo Theater.

In addition to this unprecedented live bill of legends, the Soul Clap and Dance-Off as usual includes the New York Night Train Shadow Dancers, a dance contest with a $500 Prize, determined by a distinguished panel of judges. The contestants will have the unique chance to dance to a band whose records Toubin often plays at the contest, Joe Bataan and his orchestra, performing live.

The celebration will take place at Warsaw (261 Driggs Ave) in Brooklyn, across the street from Enid’s, the venue where the legendary party debuted on a cold March night in 2007. Tickets are $30 US advance and available right here.

With the help of celebrated music archivist/impressario/DJ Todd Abramson, Nick Waterhouse and the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, Toubin assembled an unbelievable mix of legendary entertainers across soul subgenres, eras, and geographic locations:

Irma Thomas
Initially known outside of soul circles for the Rolling Stones’ cover of her “Time Is On My Side” and Otis Redding’s version of her “Ruler of My Heart” (“Pain In My Heart”), the Grammy-winning “Soul Queen of New Orleans” has prolifically recorded and released stellar music for six decades and is universally acclaimed as one of the genre’s paramount voices. Her hits “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is,” “Breakaway,” and “It’s Raining” have had a huge resurgence in recent years and are now a bigger part of popular culture than ever.

Archie Bell
The dynamic showman Archie Bell will forever be remembered for topping the charts in 1968 with his all-time get-down classic “Tighten Up” and  the follow up all-time floor fillers “(There’s Gonna Be) A Showdown” and “I Can’t Stop Dancing.”

Joe Bataan
Combining doo wop, soul, salsa, and the a variety of spicy sonic influences, Spanish Harlem’s own “King of New York” went from being one of the most unique and important figures in the latin soul to experimenting with orchestral funk, rap, and world rhythms. Bataan will bring along his razor sharp orchestra to play their fiery canonical 1960s boogaloos during the contest.

Maxine Brown
Twenty-year-old gospel songbird Maxine Brown busted the pop charts open in 1961 with her self-penned secular mega-hit “All In My Mind”. Over the next decade Brown became one of soul music’s most consistent artists – hitting the R&B charts both alone and as a part of a duo with Chuck Jackson.

Young Jessie
Originally part of the groundbreaking west coast doo wop group The Flairs (with Richard Berry), the 17-year old baritone was signed by Leiber and Stoller to a solo contract, helping him to quickly wax a slew of classics including the original recordings of much covered-standards like “Mary Lou” and “I Smell A Rat.” Young Jessie wound up in The Coasters (hear him on "Searchin'" and "Young Blood") and then went on to record a number of the finest and most coveted early soul 45s of all time.

Baby Washington
Starting out as a teen doo-wopper in The Hearts/Jaynetts, Jeanette “Baby” Washington went on to record a slew of R&B hits from the rockin’ 1950s to the sexy 1970s. A major influence on Dusty Springfield, who recorded "That's How Heartaches Are Made" and "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face," Washington’s 1960s Sue Records classics have become big hits in the contemporary Northern Soul, Popcorn, and Rhythm and Blues dance party scenes.

Ural Thomas
Portland, OR’s Ural Thomas, whose name in music was kept alive by soul heavies, collectors, and DJs playing his 60s singles like “Pain Is The Name of Your Game” and “Can You Dig It,” recently made a huge come back with an LP on Light In The Attic and full capacity live shows, up and down the West Coast. This underdog soul hero is excited to play his first New York gig since The Apollo in 1971.

David Johansen
NYC’s own Lonely Planet Boy broke into music as the leader of proto-punk gods The New York Dolls. He has had a prolific “Funky But Chic” solo career, became an international pop and film star as Buster Poindexter, and led the old weird American supergroup The Harry Smiths. For decades - from the Dolls’ cover of Archie Bell’s “There’s Gonna Be A Showdown” to his solo version of The Four Tops’ “Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” and to Buster Poindexter’s take on Freddie Scott’s “Are You Lonely for Me Baby” - Johansen has knocked ‘em all dead with his soulful originals and unique interpretations of standards.

King Khan
Canadian Berliner King Khan is best known for his flamboyant showmanship as the leader of nine-piece psychedelic soul combo King Khan and The Shrines.  “Black Snake” also remains busy with an eclectic variety of important musical projects like raw rootsy rockers King Khan and the BBQ, garage punks Almighty Defenders, and Bollywood revisionists Tandoori Knights. Last year saw King Khan release a series of funky soul singles recorded for the soundtrack to the black power The Defenders documentary.

Nick Waterhouse and the Tarots
Since taking the underground rhythm and blues scene by storm with his self-released 2010 single “Some Place,” Nick Waterhouse has gone on to become one of the busiest and most distinctive forces in the 21st Century Neo-Soul scene. Not only does he prolifically tours and records his own music, he also produced garage rockers The Allah-Las, latin soul combo The Boogaloo Assassins, and the classic soul man Ural Thomas, while also collaborating with Jon Batiste and Leon Bridges. IN addition to playing his own material during this special night, Nick will lead the backing band including his pianist Brooklyn Rhythm’s own J.B. Flatt, who has backed dozens of contemporary soul artists at the Dig Deeper party and elsewhere.

One For The Weekend: Sun Ra & His Myth Science Arkestra

Here's the proto-funk gem "Moon Dance" recorded at Brooklyn's Tip Top Club in 1963.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Gord Downie joins Blue Rodeo & The Sadies on stage at Massey Hall

Tragically Hip mainman Gord Downie was a surprise guest for a moving version of "Lost Together" last night.

Whaddya mean you don't know Bruce Langhorne

An Introduction to Bruce Langhorne 

Greil Marcus has often written about the “secret histories” of music. The idea is to bypass the generally acknowledged masters of any genre, looking instead for the songs, thoughts and artists behind them; the true form innovators and innovations whose presence and example provided the template and inspiration for these better-known musicians to extend their work into previously unmapped territory. One of these key “secret” figures is Bruce Langhorne. Everyone who has ever worked with Bruce describes him as a person whose very presence changes the atmosphere of a recording studio. Besides the genius of his musical approach, Bruce possesses the ineffable it that really matters.

Bruce Langhorne was born in Tallahassee Florida in 1938, where his father headed the English Department at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical College for Negroes (as it was then called). When his parents separated in 1942, he moved to Spanish Harlem with his mother, where she ran the Harlem Library System. Bruce went to Horace Mann and was reportedly on his way to becoming a world-class violin player, when he blew off parts of his right hand screwing around with a homemade rocket at the age of 12. This ended his violin career, but he eventually picked up the acoustic guitar and began playing on the street in Provincetown, MA in the late 1950s. The gig was with a caricaturist, who would do quick sketches of the strollers who stopped to listen to Bruce's playing. Because of his accident -- he lost his thumb, index and half of the middle finger -- Bruce developed a style with precise note placement and subtle harmonic voicing. Not that any of the tourists would have noticed.

When Langhorne drifted back to NYC, a friend introduced him to Brother John Sellers, a gospel and folk singer who recorded for Vanguard. Sellers was also about to start working as an emcee at Gerde's Folk City. This was 1960, and Sellers was impressed enough with Bruce's playing to enlist him as his accompanist for the gig. Folk City quickly became the nexus of the Greenwich Village music scene, and Bruce was in the center of it. Everybody came to Gerde's, and as that included label heads like Maynard Solomon and A&R guys like John Hammond, Langhorne began getting session work as soon as the folk recording boom began in earnest.

Langhorne's first sessions seem to have been with The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, a group of Irish ex-pats whose traditional song style had a big influence on the early Village scene. More important, however, was Langhorne's Autumn 1961 work on Carolyn Hester's eponymous third LP, her first for Columbia. A yet-to-be-signed Bob Dylan also played on the session, and Langhorne struck up a friendship with Hester's then husband, Richard Farina, who was working on his novel Been Down So Long It Feels Like Up to Me. Bruce played on other sessions, for Casey Anderson, Chad Mitchell and various folkies, before he was asked to sit in on Bob Dylan's second album the acoustic Freewheelin', and the semi-electric promo single that came out with it, “Mixed Up Confusion.” In retrospect this was an important if curious session. But it was one of many.

More notable was Langhorne's work on Richard and Mimi Farina's two Vanguard LPs, recorded after Farina had met Joan Baez's younger sister Mimi on a trip to Europe. Breaking with Hester, the pair formed a musical union that lasted until Richard's death in 1966. Richard was a very unorthodox dulcimer player, and the sound of his instrument played against Langhorne's electric guitar is incredible. Under the influence of his Village pal, Sandy Bull, Langhorne would clamp a soundhole pickup to his 1923 Martin 1-21, and run it through Bull's Fender Twin Reverb, which he regularly borrowed. Through Sandy, Bruce had become a fan of Roebuck “Pops” Staples' heavily rhythmic tremolo guitar sound, and the results were sublime. Bruce would also pull out his gigantic Turkish tambourine and do percussion licks when called upon. This was used to excellent effect on the Farina sessions, and also inspired Dylan to write the song, “Mr. Tambourine Man,” for his Bringing It All Back Home album, another session on which Langhorne made brilliant additions (albeit, uncredited at the time). Although Bruce was usually most comfortable playing a supporting role as a guitarist, he played the great electric lead parts on “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and a bunch more.

Langhorne also performed live with various people -- a one shot with Dylan on the Les Crane Show and regularly with the Farinas -- and he was omnipresent at sessions by big names like Odetta and Joan Baez, as well as cult faves like Fred Neil, Pat Kilroy's New Age Trio, Tommy Flanders, Peter Walker, Penny Nichols, John Braden and Mel Lyman. He was even enlisted to produce Ramblin' Jack Elliott's Reprise LP, Young Brigham. Bruce was also doing a lot more percussion as time went on, and he became friends with South African ex-pat trumpet player, Hugh Masekela. Masekela had guested on the Byrds' fourth album, Younger Than Yesterday, and through them had met Peter Fonda. Hugh wanted to do an album with Fonda on his own Chisa label, and hired Bruce to work with Peter on an LP to be called Got to Get You Into My Life. Only one single, the cool “November Night,” was ever issued from the sessions, but Fonda was amazed by Langhorne's musicianship.

When Fonda was given an opportunity to direct his own film, following the success of Easy Rider, he chose Langhorne to create the soundtrack to his beautiful, atmospheric 1971 Western, The Hired Hand. The solo guitar, fiddle and banjo instrumentals are exquisite, perfectly suited to the film, and just gorgeous on their own. Crazily, a soundtrack of the film was not released on its own until Blast First did it on CD in 2004 (followed by Scissor Tail's vinyl version in 2012). But the few people who were lucky enough to see this remarkable film in the meantime were uniformly haunted by the music as much as by the images. It was Langhorne's first solo album, and it was a true subliminal hit.

As the '70s unwound, Langhorne focused largely on co-running Blue Dolphin Studio with Morgan Cavett, and doing film scores. Fonda chose Bruce again to his second film, the dystopian hippie time travel saga, Idaho Transfer. This is another really interesting flick, and Langhorne's work expands to include synthesizer and other keys. In '76 he did Bob Rafelson's Stay Hungry and Jonathan Demme's Fighting Mad (staring Fonda). Langhorne worked again with Fonda on Outlaw Blues and Demme on Melvin and Howard. He actually did Demme's Swing Shift too, but most of Langhorne's music was scrapped when Warner Bros. took the project away from Demme. Soon after, in 1980, Bruce shucked Hollywood and moved to Hawaii to raise and harvest macadamia nuts. This proved to be a better concept than a lifestyle, so Langhorne moved back to Southern California in '85, playing percussion with ex-pat Nigerian drummer, Babatunde Olatunji, and others. He also did some more soundtrack work, generally using keyboards. But as the '90s moved along he began to have health problems.

First he was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, which inspired him to found a healthy hot sauce company. A stroke followed a few years later. And he had to give up guitar, although he did record a solo album, Mr. Tambourine Man, on keys and percussion. Bruce's health has continued to fade, but his legend and reputation grow ever brighter, especially as the music from The Hired Hand becomes more widely available and the playing he did for Dylan is officially acknowledged.

This album is a celebration of the incredible influence his largely secret trajectory has cast over a wide variety of musicians. By itself it's a great collection of music, as a tribute to Langhorne I think it's even more amazing than that.   – Byron Coley

The Hired Hands: A Tribute to Bruce Langhorne

Compiled by - Dylan Golden Aycock, Loren Connors, Suzanne Langille

We would like to pay homage to one of the greatest and most infamous guitarists alive, Bruce Langhorne. His music has influenced and touched a lot of lives over the years, either through his soundtrack work with Peter Fonda or his studio work in the 1960’s as the go to hired hand for musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Odetta... and many others. If his name is new to you I suggest browsing his wikipedia page to acquaint yourself with the volume of work he accomplished throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Scissor Tail Editions was lucky enough to release Bruce’s score to Peter Fonda’s 1971 anti-western “The Hired Hand”on vinyl in 2012.

The goal here was to ask artists to cover or reinterpret a song of their choice from the soundtrack. No rules on whether the music should be derivative of a certain song, if the soundtrack inspires a mood, then the artists use their intuition.

Bruce has come on hard times in recent years, having suffered a stroke that prevents him from playing the guitar. He’s currently in hospice care awaiting his final curtain call. A large percentage of profit go to Bruce and his family.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Moon Duo preview Occult Architecture album with trippy animated "Cold Fear" clip

Moon Duo - Occult Architecture, Vol. 1 
Meaning all things magick and supernatural, the root of the word occult is that which is hidden, concealed, beyond the limits of our minds. If this is occult, then the Occult Architecture of Moon Duo’s fourth album - a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes released in 2017 - is an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.

Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang.

In Chinese, Yin means “the shady side of the hill” and is associated with the feminine, darkness, night, earth. Following this logic, Vol. 1 embraces and embodies Moon Duo’s darker qualities — released appropriately on February 3, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to guitarist Ripley Johnson, “the concept of the dark/light, two-part album came as we were recording and mixing the songs, beginning in the dead of winter and continuing into the rebirth and blossoming of the spring. There’s something really powerful about the changing of the seasons in the Northwest, the physical and psychic impact it has on you, especially after we spent so many years in the seasonal void of California. I became interested in gnostic and hermetic literature around that time, especially the relationship between music and occult qualities and that fed into the whole vibe.”

Adds keyboardist Sanae Yamada, “the two parts are also intended to represent inverted components of a singular entity, like two faces on the same head which stare always in opposite directions but are inextricably driven by the same brain.”  Watch the mind-melting video for Cold Fear followed by an audio clip of Creepin'

The Sadies opening for Blue Rodeo @ Massey Hall, Thursday

Watch Travis & Dallas Good discuss The Sadies' Northern Passages on BT followed by two songs from the album. 

Whitefield Bro turns up the heat with "What Remains"

Whitefield Soundz is the latest incarnation of JJ Whitefield (aka Jan Wiessenfeldt to his mom), mastermind of sneaky retro-funkateers Poets Of Rhythm, world groove pioneers Whitefield Brothers, afro-funk turned krautrock commune Karl Hector & The Malcouns as well as many other one-off projects even he probably doesn't remember cutting. This is JJ's new outlet for hip hop inspired experimental funk, taking a "no boundaries" approach to combining all of his influences and laying them over some heavy drums. Of course, our boy has had some prior experience working with MCs, having previously released dope tracks with Mr. Lif, Lyrics Born, Edan, P.E.A.C.E (Freestyle Fellowship), Rammellzee (RIP) and Shockdell which Tricky (remember him?) sampled for 2014's "Lonnie Listen" which – outside of a few dudes named Lonnie – absolutely nobody bothered to check.

On the new Whitefield Soundz seven-inch for Sound Weight Records, JJ creates some fuzzy raw live beats over which emcee Phluid lets loose about how our world is going down the tubes. The flip features a psych-rock version of the Whitefield Brothers classic Safari Strut (Fuzzed) which appeared on the Paris DJs Soundsystem's humbly titled 5CD compilation The Authentic Funk, Hip Hop, Jazz & Soul Experience from last year. This alternate take was actually recorded prior to the version released on The Whitefield Bros widely slept on Earthology album for Now-Again. Have a listen below.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Happy Birthday Del McCoury!

Raising a glass to bluegrass great Del McCoury on his day with his version of Tompall Glaser's Streets of Baltimore. 

Cate Le Bon w/ Tim Presley @ Velvet Underground, Thursday

Check the video for the title track from Cate Le Bon's new Rock Pool 12" EP along with what's in Tim Presley's bag.