Saturday, August 31, 2019

Happy Birthday Van Morrison!

Cheers to Van Morrison who turns 74 today – here's a clip of Them performing "Mystic Eyes" and "Gloria" in 1965. 

That time Atomic Rooster played Beat Club in 1970

Here's Vincent Crane, John Du Cann and Paul Hammond ripping through "Sleeping For Years" off Death Walks Behind You. 

Friday, August 30, 2019

Watch Mark Lanegan's new video for "Night Flight to Kabul"

"Night Flight to Kabul is off Mark Lanegan's forthcoming album Somebody's Knocking due October 18th from Heavenly Recordings.

Mark Lanegan reunites with director Dean Karr  

Says Mark Lanegan about the video: “The artistry and genius of Dean Karr is what made this video happen. 5,000 still photographs taken in eight hours were painstakingly put together to give the appearance of a strange wraithlike figure moving weirdly through the desolate landscape of the Salton Sea. My third video with Dean in three different decades and I have to say this was the best. The most artistically challenging and satisfying.”

Director Dean Karr adds: “We had been talking about doing this video for Night Flight to Kabul for a month or two and my only concern was how could I pull this off with such a challenging budget for my friend? Being a photographer before I was ever a director, I decided to use my Nikon D810 still camera for the entire music video and turn it into animation throughout the entire clip. What a simple solution! There's lots of post work involved, which was done by editor and FX artist Joel Nathaniel Smith. There's alot to be said for the simplicity of working WITHOUT a crew, it was just Mark, myself and a fan of Mark's (Jason Hall) who drove 3 hours out of his way to meet us at the The Salton Sea, CA to help us shoot a beyond unique video! I think this is one of the freshest looking things out there today and love the ‘melty’ moments, which remind me of doing hallucinogenics back in the day!”

Happy Birthday Kenny Dorham

Remembering trumpet titan Kenny Dorham – shown at Toronto's Metropole in 1954 above – with a Stockholm clip from 1963.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

R.I.P. Pedro Bell, 1950-2019

Parliament-Funkadelic album illustrator Pedro Bell passed away on Tuesday. His incredible art work will live on!

Chicago Reader: Pedro Bell Made Art To Embody Funkadelic's Grooves

Watch Daniel Johnston perform "I Live My Broken Dreams" and "Funeral Home"

Here's Daniel playing "I Live My Broken Dreams" in 1988 and a creepy clip for "Funeral Home" shot by Tim Hamblin. 

Happy Birthday Sterling Morrison

Remembering Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison on his day with a 37-minute version of "Sister Ray"

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Simply Saucer splinter group The Shangs return with "Golden Hits"

Early Simply Saucer guitarist David Byers (right) is joined by fellow Saucer members on The Shangs' latest release. 
Long before Hamilton guitarist David Byers formed The Shangs with the sibling rhythm section of Ed and Pat O'Neill in 1989, he was a ground floor member of the mighty Simply Saucer, hanging out and jamming with Edgar Breau and Paul Colilli in 1972, before the group even had a name much less transportation.

Since 1993's self-released Longet album, not much has been heard from The Shangs but Byers and the O'Neil brothers are back with Golden Hits of The Shangs and their Simply Saucer pals Edgar Breau, Kevin Christoff along with Paul Colilli (who passed away in 2018) are credited with musical contributions on the 15 track out now on the band's own Judy Gee! label. Once again, the inspiration of 60s girl groups – specifically The Shangri-Las and The Feminine Complex – figures prominently in the songwriting but Byers found time to pen a few tributes to his cult film heroines.

Along with the previously released "Claudine" concerning singer/actress Claudine Longet who was convicted of negligent homicide in the fatal shooting of her then boyfriend, Olympic skier Spider Sabich, "Patch of Blue" is dedicated to Elizabeth Hartman who was the youngest Oscar nominee for Best Actress for her role in 1965's A Patch Of Blue, "Blue Star" is a homage to troubled stage actress Peggy Entwhistle who infamously killed herself by jumping from the "H" in the Hollywoodland sign in 1932. "The Spell of Arlene Tiger" is actually a nod to the wistful stylings of Brazilian singer Astrud Gilberto which wouldn't seem out of place on the Clay Pitts' Orchestra's soundtrack to 1970's Female Animal starring Arlene Faber aka Arlene Tiger. So it all makes sense.

Perhaps most intriguing is "What Ever Happened To Carol Wayne?" which alludes to the mysterious 1985 death of film and television actress Carol Wayne (I Spy, Hollywood Squares, Bewitched, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson) who went on vacation with television/film director David E. Durston (Playhouse 90) in Manzanillo, Mexico. Soon after she was found dead in a shallow bay. A coroner's autopsy found no sign of drugs or alcohol in her blood but ruled the death accidental. Incidentally, in 1970, Durston directed I Drink Your Blood starring the aforementioned Arlene Faber and both Carol Wayne and Claudine Longet appeared in Blake Edwards' 1968 film The Party. Listen to a few tracks from Golden Hits of The Shangs below.

The Shangs site
VIEW Golden Hits of The Shangs

R.I.P. Donnie Fritts, 1942-2019

Legendary Alabama songwriter/keyboardist and actor Donnie Fritts passed away Tuesday evening. He was 76. 

Midweek Mixdown: 1960s Nigerian Calypso 45s

Here's an ace 45-minute mixtape of rare Nigerian calypso and cha-cha 45s from the Dig This Way Records Archive

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Happy Birthday Sonny Sharrock

Remembering guitar great Sonny Sharrock with a 1970 performance in France and with Last-Exit in 1986 and a bit of No Material.

R.I.P. Neal Casal, 1968-2019

Sadly, singer/songwriter and guitarist Neal Casal took his own life yesterday. He'll be greatly missed. 

That time Soft Machine played the NDR Jazz Workshop with Gary Boyle

Here's the Karl Jenkins-era Soft Machine (with Roy Babbington and John Marshall) jamming with guitarist Gary Boyle. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Just announced: The Jayhawks @ The Horseshoe, November 20 & 21

Tickets for The Jayhawks' two night stand at The 'Shoe go on sale Thursday (August 29) at 10am right here. Watch 'em play three songs in NYC below. 

It was 50 years ago: Blind Faith

Here's Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" (acoustic and electric versions) which hit the charts in August, 1969. 

Happy Birthday Alan Parker!

Cheers to UK sound library session guitar ace Alan Parker on his day – here are a few of his gems. 

Alejandro Escovedo's With These Hands getting overdue vinyl release

Alejandro's fantastic 1996 album With These Hands is finally being released on vinyl by Run Out Groove in December. Pre-order it here

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Watch Agitation Free live in Paris, 1973

Here's Agitation Free (with Michael Hoenig) performing live at ORTF Studios for the French TV program "Rock en Stock" on June 19, 1973. 

Country soul hold-out Jeb Loy Nichols keeps it simple on new album

Jeb Loy Nichols forthcoming album June Is Short, July Is Long is due October 4 from Compass Records. Listen to "You Got It Wrong" below.

Here's the scoop...
Jeb Loy Nichols, the UK-based, Wyoming-born graphic artist and songsmith, has been putting out his own singular brand of smoky retro soul for over two decades, gathering a fervent cult following along the way. Nichols, backed by his touring band, the Westwood All-Stars, will release his latest album June Is Short, July Is Long in Canada on October 4th via Compass Records distributed by Outside Music.

Having spent brief periods in Missouri, Texas, New York and London, Nichols found his home in a remote smallholding in the Welsh hills in the ‘80s. This back-to-basics, rural lifestyle is mirrored in his approach to music and the art that graces his album covers and informs his videos. His eleventh solo release, June Is Short, July Is Long is a cross-genre collection that documents his journey from being born and raised in the American Midwest through to his current life in the rolling hills of rural Wales.

“It’s full circle,” he says.  “I started off in the Ozark hills and now here I am, in the hills again.”
His new music is a record of that journey. Raised on bluegrass and country & western music, Nichols discovered southern soul when he was a teenager. From there it was off to New York City and hip-hop, then over to London and reggae and dancehall.  It was this potent mix of genres – his love of classic American roots music and Jamaican reggae, dub and dancehall – that’s since been his signature. He’s spent the past 25 years making music, of which he smiles and says, “It’s all roots music. Three chords and a good story.  Don’t overthink it ... just get in the groove and let it happen.”

June Is Short, July Is Long was recorded in Wales with The Westwood All-Stars for an organic, capturing-a-moment feel. “It was all done in five days," he says of the sessions. "One day setting up, one day learning the songs, three days recording… it was great. The best music is a conversation, and this was a conversation between old friends.”

The resulting “musical conversation” has the lived-in, comfortable feel of a classic. It could sit comfortably alongside vintage albums by Ry Cooder or Van Morrison with its stripped-down, real-deal mix of joy and pain.  “If you keep it simple,” he says, “there’s less to go wrong.” The resulting collection of songs proves his point. “You take a little country, some soul, some old friends and few good stories, and what can go wrong?” Listen to the album's lead off track "You Got It Wrong" following the album release trailer below. Pre-order a copy of Jeb Loy Nichols' forthcoming album right here.

Axel Stordahl vs. Peggy Lee

Axel Stordahl realized Peggy Lee's 1952 Afro-Cuban gem "Sans Souci" could work nicely as an exotica instrumental he retitled "Cyprus" in 1959.  

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Blood Ceremony w/ Pagan Altar, Cauchemar, Smoulder @ Lee's Palace, Saturday

Don't miss Blood Ceremony opening for Pagan Altar at Lee's Palace tonight. Listen to their new single and Pagan Altar's Room Of Shadows album.

Watch the new Redd Kross video for Beyond The Door

Redd Kross have just released their new album Beyond The Door on Merge. Check out the video for the title track. 

That time Miles Davis challenged Hermeto Pascoal to a boxing match

Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal recounts a memorable exchange with Miles Davis at his home.  

Friday, August 23, 2019

Remembering 1980's Heatwave Festival in Toronto

CITY-TV's New Music reporter JD Roberts was determined to find out whether or not Heatwave attendees were "hardcore new wavers"

Happy Birthday Linda Thompson!

Raising a glass to Linda Thompson on her day with a beautiful rendition of A Heart Needs A Home from 1975.

A Stone For David Berman @ The Tranzac, Tuesday

Celebrate the life and music of Silver Jews mainman David Berman with Vish Khanna and friends at The Tranzac (292 Brunswick) on Tuesday. 

To celebrate the life, words, and music of David Berman, Vish Khanna is hosting a tribute event at The Tranzac Club's Main Hall on Tuesday (August 27), the night he was to perform in Toronto with Purple Mountains.

A Stone For David Berman will include performances of Berman's poems and songs by members of Toronto's arts scene including Lightning Dust, Kritty Uranowski, Matthew "Doc" Dunn, Ayal Senior, Carl Wilson, Kyle Knapp, Jesse Locke, Mark Grundy, Scott Grundy, Katie Lavoie, Jose Miguel Contreras, Dave Schoonderbeek, Niko Stratis, Halina Katz, Jamez L. Burling, Jonathan Pappo, Kristina Smith, Patrick Grant, Ted Gudlat, James Lindsay, Meghan Harrison, Nick McKinlay, Akash Bansal, Melissa Vincent, Fan Wu and Helen Spitzer with more to be announced. All proceeds will be donated to Workman Arts, Over The Bridge, and the Artists' Health Alliance. Watch Hiss Golden Messenger and Bill Callahan perform Silver Jews' songs followed by Vish Khanna's Kreative Kontrol podcast episode on David Berman from August 14.

All ages welcome.
Doors open at 8PM with performances to follow.
$10 or PWYC with no one turned away for lack of funds.
Advance tickets are available right here.

Flying Lotus, Brandon Coleman, Salami Rose Joe Louis, PBDY @ Danforth Music Hall, Sunday

Check out the animated clip for "More" feat. Anderson .Paak and "Fire Is Coming" with David Lynch,

One For The Weekend: Het

Here's "Kejje Nagaan" a swank Nederbeat groover from Het.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Eleni Mandell, Lily Frost @ The Drake Hotel, September 15

Get tickets for Eleni Mandell's much-anticipated Toronto return right here. Watch the video for "Ghost Of A Girl" by Beck co-hort Steve Hanft. 

Eleni Mandell's fab new Wake Up Again album is out now on Yep Roc. 

Watch Billy Childish in Hamburg, 1992

Here's some fine footage of Billy Childish in Hamburg back in 1992 followed by a clip from his latest album Last Punk Standing. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Metallica guitarist showcases his amazing horror film posters at the ROM

Since the 80s, Kirk Hammett has been collecting the stunning artwork from the golden age of horror and sci-fi films.

These are just a few of the rare original posters on display as part of It's Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art from the collection of Kirk Hammett.

Midweek Mixdown: Jean-Claude's Deep Jazz Vol. 3

IF Music mainmain Jean-Claude takes you on a guided tour of his latest collection of rare jazz gems out now on BBE. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Little Brother's Phonte & Big Pooh are back with May The Lord Watch

MC Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh have reunited as Little Brother for the new album without producer 9th Wonder.  

Alex Cuba releases new duets album Sublime in September

Alex Cuba connects with Latin legends Omara Portuondo & Pablo Milanés along with future stars Silvana Estrada and Alex Ferreira on his latest project. 

Here's the scoop...
The spark of creation is a rare and special moment. That’s Alex Cuba’s favorite part of music-making: when inspiration strikes at 3 AM, stepping out into the little studio in his garage, turning on the heater (he’s made a home in the far north of British Columbia, far from the Cuba of his birth), and being alone with a new musical idea. His new album, Sublime (out September 20 on Caracol Records), is all about “capturing that magic, while it’s still hot,” as Alex says, “in that moment of higher truth.”

Alex Cuba wanted to find just the right title for this new project. It had to strike a chord with his Spanish- and English-speaking listeners. It had to reflect the way he’s been distilling the Alex Cuba sound down to its pure essence. “One day I was listening to the masters, having a coffee, and all of a sudden the word crosses my mind: “Sublime,” he recalls. In Spanish, English, and even French, that title captures Alex’s goal: to find the spirit at the heart of his music, leaving out everything that doesn’t need to be there.

What’s left is that sound that brings together Afro-Latin influences into one distinctive voice, the sound that has already won him Latin Grammys, Junos, and three Grammy nominations. It’s purely Alex Cuba, while leaving space for Alex’s signature duets with artists both well known and about to break out.

For one thing, it’s Alex playing every instrument you hear on Sublime. “I’ve recorded with incredible musicians for previous albums,” Alex recalls, “but the vulnerability of these songs led me to this choice. It’s so simple, and yet so strong, I wanted to express all that myself.”

The album’s first video, for single “Yo No Sé,” gives visual expression to the process: Alex plays all the roles, from a grizzled bass player laying down a driving groove, to a beanie-wearing percussionist, to a trio of singers harmonizing syncopated staccato rhymes. “I recorded a vocal guide while I was arranging in the studio. It sounded so much like a bandleader telling the band what to do, the video idea was born right there. I knew it had to be the first single.”

Digging deep into his essential sound requires a certain maturity and honesty. As Alex’s musical career has progressed, he’s learned his strengths. “For years I was a rocker, a funky guy, but I know that my voice calls people to reflect on their own lives. The songs that stay with people are the ones that bring peace and calm, so I wanted to embrace that and be completely naked and intimate.”

That intimate feel, the careful attention to songwriting, and the largely acoustic sounds lend Sublime a vibe that could be called retro, and that’s okay with Alex. “Acoustic music just goes with my soul,” he explains. “I’m not against synths and electronics, but I’m not interested in just making a big noise and getting people to dance. I wanted the songs on this album to have some breathing space. I suggest things, leave things at a subliminal level. Every listen will tell you something else.”

Alex may be focused on his own sound and songwriting, but he still relishes collaborating with other artists. Duets with Ron Sexsmith and Nelly Furtado were instrumental in his career, after all. This time around, Alex pairs his voice with some of Cuba’s brightest lights: Pablo Milanés, a founder of the Nueva Trova sound; Omara Portuondo, the vocalist of the legendary Buena Vista Social Club; and singer-songwriter Kelvis Ochoa, the Cuban vibes king. “This album has the most important duets of my career,” Alex says. “Pablo shaped my generation in Cuba. I listened to his music almost every day of my life, so recording “Hoy Como Ayer” (out Friday, August 23) is a dream come true.”

Alex recorded Sublime in Canada and Cuba, the places he calls home, and also in Mexico and Spain. Sublime is graced by duets with artists in Mexico City’s music scene, both superstar Leonel García (one half of the duo Sin Bandera) and up-and-comers Silvana Estrada and Alex Ferreira. These songs came out of spontaneous collaboration, capturing ideas and emotions by bouncing ideas around together. “It is a wonderful thing to share,” Alex muses. “When you do it with the right people who think and feel alike, it’s an empowering thing to do. It’s like you expand your musical universe.”

From the pensive heartbreak of “De Los Dos” to the insistent groove of “Yo No Sé,” from the frenetic “Ciudad Hembra (La Habana)” to the easy optimism of “Dividido,” Sublime sees Alex Cuba pull off two simultaneous feats: honing his sound down to a sharp edge while expanding his musical universe.

Happy Birthday Sky Saxon!

Remembering Sky Saxon on his birthday with 1968 TV appearance by The Seeds and other intriguing footage. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Ken Boothe, Jay Douglas @ CNE Bandshell, Wednesday

Rocksteady legend Ken Boothe makes a rare T.O. appearance joined by Jay Douglas at the CNE starting at 7:30 pm. 

Bro David's Belizean funk recirculated by Cultures Of Soul

Here's the scoop...
Cultures of Soul is proud to take part in documenting Bredda David’s journey into the soul of Belize with an anthology of his early recordings including tracks from No Fear, Cungo Musik (1987) and We No Wa No KImba Ya (1990) albums.

Bredda David’s kungo is hard to describe exactly—its various ingredients make it feel somewhat familiar, but the recipe with which he blends them is slightly strange, fresh and intriguing. But one thing is for certain, it is sure to electrify the dance floor and make everybody jump up and bruk down! Housed in a gatefold jacket with extensive liner notes by Uchenna Ikonne. Bro David's Modern Music From Belize anthology is coming out on September 27th on Cultures Of Soul.

Listen to Bro David's floor filler Dancin' following the preview trailer.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Watch Shawn Sahm & Margo Price salute Doug Sahm in Austin

Here's Shawn and Margo knocking out a sweet version of "Is Anybody Goin' To San Antone" on Doug Sahm Hill in Austin.