BRIC JazzFest Headliners Include Meshell Ndegeocello and Stefon Harris
The singer and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, who is among the headliners of this year’s BRIC JazzFest in October.CreditSadaka Edmond/SIPA, via Associated Press
By Giovanni Russonello
June 27, 2018
Tickets go on sale this week for the BRIC JazzFest, which will return Oct. 13-20 for its fourth annual edition, culminating as usual in a three-night marathon at the BRIC House in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Marathon concert headliners include the trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the singer and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello, the pianist Mark de Clive-Lowe and the vibraphonist Stefon Harris.
This year, for the first time, BRIC has commissioned a new work that will debut at the festival, undertaken as part of the arts organization’s 40th anniversary celebration. The commission went to Keyon Harrold, a scorching trumpeter whose recent album, “The Mugician,” draws upon his work in jazz, R&B and hip-hop.
BRIC is best known for its Celebrate! Brooklyn summer concert series in Prospect Park. But the jazz festival has been gaining renown, thanks to its mix of educational programming and concerts, and a booking strategy that brings together international talent with rising musicians, many based in the borough.
The marathon’s 27 acts will also include the young alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, whose new release, “Rise Up,” uses thrashing funk as a vehicle for conversations about social justice; Deva Mahal, a neo-soul vocalist who recently released her debut album; and Camila Meza, a singer and guitarist informed by her Chilean background and New York’s contemporary-jazz milieu.
On Wednesday, BRIC announced a little over half of its marathon performers. It will reveal the remaining artists later this summer, when it also publishes details of the free events to take place from Oct. 13 through Oct. 17, in advance of the marathon. Those events will include film screenings, panel discussions and workshops.
Tickets to the marathon become available to BRIC members on Wednesday and go on sale to the public on Friday. Tickets for a single evening are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door; a three-day pass costs $70. At every level, the prices have ticked up $5 from last year.
Hear Kelleigh Bannen's New Three-Song Release 'The Joneses'
"Church Clothes" singer-songwriter debuts trio of tunes for SiriusXM's "Highway Finds"
Singer-songwriter Kelleigh Bannen has released three new songs, including the swaggering "The Joneses." RMV/REX/Shutterstock
By Marissa R. Moss
23 hours ago
Kelleigh Bannen has never felt particularly precious about traditional release methods, and since her last EP, Cheap Sunglasses, she's essentially made music as the muse has moved her. Today, Bannen's back with three new songs: "John Who," "Happy Birthday" and "The Joneses," all of which showcase the Nashvillian's soulful vocal edge and ability to spin sugary pop hooks one moment and a tender, tear-jerking ballad the next.
Scores of women looking for radio play and professional opportunities say they've been subjected to harassment during station visits, conventions
"These three songs are personal," Bannen tells Rolling Stone Country, "and my favorite kind of storytelling: detail oriented, intimate, and, ultimately, hopeful."
All three tracks debuted this morning as a "Highway Find" on SiriusXM's "The Highway," hosted by Storme Warren – a first for the show and a surefire way to help ensure that more women like Bannen make their way into rotation (and hopefully tempt terrestrial radio to do the same). Loaded with kiss-off swagger, "The Joneses" praises living in the moment and eschewing material goods for simple pleasures ("when it comes to the haves and the have nots, we'd rather not keep up with the Joneses" she sings) and "John Who" is an R&B-infused goodbye to a man who doesn't deserve to be remembered, with Bannen puffing out each "who" like she's making them disappear into thin air. The trio is capped off by "Happy Birthday," a somber, acoustic guitar-driven confessional about those who aren't so easy to erase, centered around the nuanced, emotional delivery that Bannen first showcased on "Church Clothes."
"Ten years in, I’m just overwhelmed that each of these three songs will get the exposure they will get from being Highway Finds," says Bannen, who will announce new tour dates soon. "It’s incredible, and, to be honest, I’m just shocked to be the first artist to have three songs in this program simultaneously. I hope music fans love the storytelling in these songs as much as I do."
The Biggest New Artist on Tour in 2018 Is… Spotify
Streaming service is turning playlists into tours as it takes on more of the music industry
Spotify's Viva Latino and RapCaviar playlists are now going on tour, positioning the site as a potential future competitor to Live Nation. Michael Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock
By Amy X. Wang
58 minutes ago
Spotify’s RapCaviar and ¡Viva Latino! playlists, already some of the most powerful spheres of influence in the music industry, are now also looking to be some of the most lucrative.
Streaming company walks back policy that took R. Kelly, XXXTentacion off playlists
The music-streaming service announced tour dates this week for “¡Viva Latino! Live,” a concert series featuring popular Latin music artists from its playlist of the same name that boasts more than 8 million followers. Daddy Yankee, Becky G, Natti Natasha, Bad Bunny and Jowell & Randy are among the artists confirmed to perform in the series. The tour kicks off in Chicago on August 23rd and tickets will be available on Ticketmaster starting June 29th.
It’s not the streaming service’s first foray into live music, or even one of them. Spotify already has a tour version of its immensely popular RapCaviar playlist – “RapCaviar Live,” which started as a six-date tour last August and became a 13-date series in its second iteration this year with hit artists like 2Chainz, Lil Pump and Migos – and also recently announced “Hot Country Live,” a July 4th concert in New York headlined by Carrie Underwood that is meant to be a live version of its (you guessed it) popular Hot Country playlist.
Turning listeners into concert-goers is a smart way to generate revenue. The live events industry has been booming in the last decade, with new concerts and festivals popping up faster than most fans can keep up, and Spotify is already halfway into being a big player in that space. At the streaming service’s investor day in March, Spotify’s global head of creator services Troy Carter announced that Spotify’s Fan First program – through which the company gives exclusive or unique offers to devoted fans – worked with 700 artists and made $40 million in ticket sales in 2017. (To put that in perspective: John Mayer’s world tour in 2017, spanning three continents, made $50 million.) “We have a lot more coming in 2018,” Carter said.
But taking its signature playlists on the road isn’t just a guaranteed money-maker for Spotify – it’s another way the streaming service is solidifying its place in every aspect of the music industry. In addition to its buffet-style offering of tens of millions of songs for music listeners, Spotify also has record-label-esque features for artists, including an analytics platform and an emerging artist program; it has hired product managers to make a physical product, suggesting an upcoming foray into the music hardware space; its robust discovery platform, which is built by both algorithms and human curators, makes it a solid alternative to radio stations.
RapCaviar Live was co-promoted with Live Nation, and the ¡Viva Latino! tour right now is being sold through Ticketmaster, which is owned by Live Nation. Yet it wouldn’t be a surprise to soon see Spotify – especially as its playlists swell in size, number and influence – taking on the live music industry as more of a competitor than a partner.
Sugarland's New Album 'Bigger': Track-by-Track Guide
Reunited duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush keep their musical and thematic mix progressive on their first LP since 2010
Sugarland will release 'Bigger,' their first album since 2010, on June 8th.imageSPACE/REX/Shutterstock
By Brittney McKenna
June 7, 2018
For Sugarland fans, the wait for a follow-up to 2010's The Incredible Machine has been a long one. For the duo itself, the time between their new album Bigger, out Friday, and the start of their hiatus in 2012, was filled with both personal and universal changes. That includes the aftermath of the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven, a handful of solo albums from both Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, the dissolution of Bush's marriage, and the contentious, sometimes scary turn American society has taken in recent years.
From the royal silliness of the pre-taped opening to Kelsea Ballerini's marvelous back-to-basics performance
Bigger is Sugarland's attempt to make sense of those intervening years, all while crafting an expanded version of their singular mix of country, pop and rock, which, in its infancy, made the duo sound particularly progressive among its peers. The arrangements on Bigger are grander, the vocals more theatrical, and the themes – which occasionally veer into the political – decidedly more topical. The album takes cues from current trends while adamantly retaining the spirit that made their songs like "Stay" such massive hits. In other words, it's still a Sugarland record, but one tailor-made for our odd moment, where female voices like Nettles' are louder than ever thanks to movements like #MeToo and Time's Up but still largely missing from country radio.
Ahead of Bigger's June 8th release, we preview the album, breaking it down song-by-song.
1. "Bigger" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) The leadoff cut and title track is appropriately, well, big. It begins with a driving kick-drum beat, eventually giving way to a poppy, feel-good chorus anchored by arena-ready vocals from Nettles. The song's narrative is grand in scope, too, opening with the lyric, "People walking around like the world's about to end / And if you're asking me, man, I would agree, these days we all feel small, my friend."
2. "On a Roll" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Sugarland have always been beloved for crafting infectious, pop-adjacent melodies, a skill on full display on "On a Roll," which uses a push-and-pull structure at its chorus to danceable effect. There's also something of a rap breakdown from Nettles at the song's bridge, which is as unusual a choice in practice as it sounds on paper.
3. "Let Me Remind You" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) "Let Me Remind You" offers a fresh take on the idea of rekindling an old flame, with Nettles imploring a lover to "speak the way love understands." With sweeping acoustic guitar from Bush, a Latin-inspired beat, and just a touch of reggae, the song offers a glimpse at what has influenced the pair musically in the years since their last release.
4. "Mother" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Mother's Day has already come and gone, but flag this song for the next playlist you make for your mom. Supported by emotive backing vocals from Bush, Nettles offers up a progressive, modern-day ode to moms who love and support their children no matter who they love. "As long as they are good to you, that's enough / First thing she taught you was love is love," she sings.
5. "Still the Same" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Another grand, arena-ready song, "Still the Same" was the perfect first single to release after Sugarland's six-year hiatus. The message alludes to a romantic relationship, but contains sentiments that could be applied more broadly in lines like, "Let's leave it better than how we came."
6. "Lean It on Back" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Of all the tracks on Bigger, "Lean It on Back" sounds the most similar to what's currently getting airtime on country radio. Programmed drums add contemporary touches to familiar lyrical tropes like "tak[ing] the long way home" and living in the moment.
7. "Babe" (ft. Taylor Swift) (Taylor Swift, Pat Monahan) While "Still the Same" was the album's first official single, "Babe" is likely the track that's sparked the most conversation. Written by Taylor Swift and Train's Pat Monahan, "Babe" is a deliciously searing kiss-off track and features guest vocals from country music expat Swift herself.
8. "Bird in a Cage" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Nettles and Bush trade verses on this ballad, which offers gentle encouragement to anyone who feels like an outsider in the places and cultures from which they come. The song also features some of Bush's most intricate, striking work on guitar and mandolin, as well as one of his finest vocal performances.
9. "Love Me Like I'm Leaving" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles, Tim Owens) An ultimatum song, "Love Me Like I'm Leaving" offers one last warning to a lover who just can't get it together. Nettles is the platonic ideal of the scorned woman on this track, at once wounded and empowered. A little more country than much of Bigger, the track gives both Nettles and Bush room to show off their twangier vocals and features piano that takes its cues from Seventies-era Elton John.
10. "Tuesday's Broken" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) While many country artists have shied away from speaking about gun violence in the wake of mass shootings like Route 91 Harvest festival and Parkland, Sugarland tackle its emotional toll in this ballad. The first verse recounts "another kid, another school in another town," while the second considers a woman who "wants to end it all." Skirting outright criticism of gun culture, the track considers what would happen if we countered violence with words of kindness.
11. "Not the Only" (Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles) Bigger ends on a hopeful note in the form of poignant ballad "Not the Only." Addressed to "the underdog," "the counted out," "the left behind," the track confronts loneliness and the desire to "wake up in the world we know we fell asleep in," seeking to connect with listeners grappling with similar issues. Building to a mid-tempo rocker with a final chorus sung by Bush, it's a big note for Bigger to end on.
Review: Gorillaz' 'The Now Now' Is a Focused Call for Unity In Hard Times
Damon Albarn trims down the guest list and focuses his songwriting on the band's most coherent LP to date
By Will Hermes
20 hours ago
During almost two decades in business, the mightiness of Gorillaz has been its mutability – it's a pop-rock-hip-hop-free-trade- zone where anyone from Lou Reed to Vince Staples could show up and work a groove. But that's also been its flaw: While last year's Humanz brought some fire (notably the Pusha T- Mavis Staples collab "Let Me Out”), it felt more like a streaming algorithm than a coherent album. Mastermind Damon Albarn solves this particular problem on The Now Now, the sixth Gorillaz set since he launched the project, an integrated polyglot pop LP about, fittingly enough, the need for unity in fragmented times.
Formally, it echoes the 2010 fan club giveaway The Fall: radically shortened guest list, written-on-the-road simplicity, songs named for locales (in this case red, blue and otherwise -- "Kansas,” "Idaho,” "Magic City,” etc.) The songs are better, though, and they don't waste too much time on regionalism. "I don't want this isolation/See the state I'm in now?” Albarn sings on "Humility,” opening with a vintage chilled-out summer jam certified with sugary licks by soul jazz touchstone George Benson. "Lake Zurich” is gleaming ‘80s synth-funk with a spoken word ramble involving a tunnel between Europe and the U.S. "Hollywood,” the sole tag-team showcase, is a buoyant Funkadelic-styled tribute to Tinseltown in all its parti-colored falsity, with house-music vet Jamie Principle commanding "freaky people, clap your hands!,” Snoop Dogg delivering old-school boasts in updated flows, and Albarn playing the baked tourist.
While The Now Now works as a piece, it does lack the sparks that come from the usual Gorillaz mess of ideas and personalities---the upside and downside of all bands, of course, as with most functional democracies. On "One Percent,” Albarn conjures a race of people searching and listening to one another "on the training ground for the new world.” It's optimistic by his usual gloomy standards, especially compared to the apocalyptic vibe of Humanz. But it's on point, and a pretty good metaphor for our present now now.
Justin Brown Is a Monster on Drums. Now He’s a Bandleader, Too.
Justin Brown, one of the most highly regarded drummers in music, is releasing “Nyeusi,” his debut album as a bandleader.CreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times
By Giovanni Russonello
June 27, 2018
The drummer Justin Brown first arrived in New York almost 15 years ago, scholarship in hand, to attend Juilliard. He lasted at school for exactly one day.
He said he looked at the traditional jazz-based curriculum and made the decision to leave immediately. “Man, this is stuff that I kind of have studied already,” he remembered thinking. “I’m at a point to expand and grow.”
Sitting in Harlem’s Jackie Robinson Park on a recent evening, he spoke with a mix of shy introspection and lighthearted confidence. “I just couldn’t help but to feel that a real jazz musician is going to adapt to new music,” he said. “They’re not going to have one level or one way of thinking.”
So Mr. Brown quit school and set about finding as much work as possible. He joined rock bands, attended hip-hop and R&B jam sessions religiously, practiced nonstop, sought out mentors. It started paying off immediately. Today, at 34, he is one of the most highly regarded drummers in music.
For many years he has held down the drum chair for Ambrose Akinmusire, probably jazz’s most influential bandleader under 40. And Mr. Brown has recently been playing festivals and rock clubs around the world with Stephen Bruner, known as Thundercat, the oddball prince of modern-day fusion, who skates between jazz, hip-hop and psychedelia. (Mr. Brown also collaborates with Flying Lotus, Esperanza Spalding and Terence Blanchard, to name just a few.)
On Friday Mr. Brown opens a new chapter, releasing “Nyeusi,” his debut album as a bandleader. (He celebrates the release with a show that night at Nublu 151, in Alphabet City.) It would be too simple to call the record a hybrid of his work with Mr. Akinmusire and Mr. Bruner, though stylistically it does incorporate both Mr. Akinmusire’s flair for irresolution and the woozy, wafting ambrosia of Mr. Bruner’s music.
Mostly it’s a ringing testament to Mr. Brown’s own, unmapped path. Burniss Earl Travis’s fortified bass and the swarming force of Mr. Brown’s drums work as a kind of magnetic therapy, softening your senses and opening your ears. Above, the keyboards and synths of Fabian Almazan and Jason Lindner swim together, Mark Shim’s electronic wind instrumentcurving and drifting against them.
You can hear the album as the next step in a hybrid subgenre — the stuff of J Dilla and Madlib, Karriem Riggins and Chris Dave and Jamire Williams. It’s dreamy, air-and-stars beat music that retains a hardened undertow. You can also hear it as a gentle reminder that gospel music lies near the heart of American popular music: The taut, thwacked, polyrhythmic musculature of African-American church drumming offers depth and flexibility across styles.
Justin Brown's NYEUSI Boiler Room New York Live Set
“Nyeusi” also works as a revival of the electrified fusion of the 1970s, a maligned era that’s being reclaimed by many adventurous improvisers these days. (The only cover on the album is “Circa 45,” a Tony Williams number from 1971.)
The album’s title, which Mr. Brown also uses as this band’s name, means black in Swahili. (He learned the language in high school.) He likes the various meanings of the word — the way its aesthetic implications are now inseparable from its political and historic ones, and the way in which darkness and beauty can cohabitate within the color. “You can think of it as about being a black man, you can think of the color itself,” he said. “There’s some density in the record, but it’s got a lot of beauty in there too. It connects with culture, learning, growing.”
Jazz, as a largely instrumental music, has always been affective as well as linguistic — some of its best moments involve moving beyond artistic idiom or music-as-language, drawing more directly from intuition and personal hybridity. “Nyeusi” gets there.
“I wanted to have these ethereal developments sort of represent emotion,” he said. “It’s not just like you have the harmony and the melody and that’s it.”
Mr. Akinmusire describes playing with Mr. Brown in admiringly abstract terms. “It feels like you’re making music with an element. He feels like nature, he feels like water, like the earth,” he said. “What nature does, it just blows a little wind in your face, and that can mean that there’s a storm coming. The tide coming in means something. I think that’s something that he’s developed in his playing more recently.”
It helps that Mr. Brown embeds so many crossing cadences and interleaved harmonies in this music that you have no choice: You can only lose track of things, sit back, feel and absorb.
“It’s almost like he has an unlimited number of graphs going on at the same time, and they’re all grooving,” Mr. Akinmusire said. As a result, when trying out ideas over Mr. Brown’s beats, he added, “almost anything works.”
Mr. Bruner is just as succinct. “Justin is a monster, to say the least, on his instrument,” he said. “His playing is beyond.”
Mr. Brown grew up in Richmond, Calif., just north of Oakland, in a musical family. His mother, Nona Brown, is a respected singer and pianist who worked for years with the gospel icon Edwin Hawkins. Richmond was a hard place to raise a family; Mr. Brown remembers his family’s car being stolen, his house being robbed. But before any of that, he recalls seeing the impact of music on a religious congregation.
“They call it the Holy Ghost — when you see something like that hit someone,” he said. “Even though I couldn’t really understand it, I was absorbing it.”
He added: “You start to realize that you’re just a vessel.”
He met Mr. Akinmusire at Berkeley High School, where they were part of a crowd of young musicians who would eventually become pros (Jonathan Finlayson, Thomas Pridgen, Charles Altura). After quitting Juilliard, Mr. Brown tried one more time to find an academic setting that might work, enrolling in the Manhattan School of Music a year later. But just as the semester started, he got called to go on tour with Kenny Garrett, the primo alto saxophonist whose band has launched more than a few careers.
By 2012, he was the broad favorite to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, focused that year on the drums. But after a blistering, pyrotechnic performance, Mr. Brown placed second. He missed the grand prize, which included a contract with Concord Records, but he gained some perspective.
“Music is not meant for a competition in the first place,” he said. “It goes back to spirituality, and why I made this album. I made this album to say to myself, ‘Keep going. There’s a vision. You have a purpose. Give back to the world, give back to the trees.’”
BLUES TRAVELER ANNOUNCE NEW LP ‘HURRY UP & HANG AROUND’
June 26, 2018 by Glide in News
On the heels of the band’s 30th anniversary, multi-platinum rock mavericks Blues Traveler will release their 13th studio album through BMG October 12.
Entitled Hurry Up & Hang Around, the 12-track opus finds the band re-energized and laser-focused stirring up an intoxicating brew of rowdy rock, smoky psychedelia, southern folk, staggering soul, and brash blues.
For the first time ever, the members of the GRAMMY® Award-winning group, featuring John Popper (vocals, harmonica), Chan Kinchla (guitar), Tad Kinchla (bass), Ben Wilson (keyboards), and Brendan Hill (drums) decided to rent a house in Nashville to write and record with GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Matt Rollings (Willie Nelson). Rollings’ intense attention to detail unlocked a rich sonic spectrum as he challenged and pushed each member to excel without compromising or taking “no” for an answer.
“We were going through some changes as far as our infrastructure goes,” admits Popper. “We parted ways with two different managers. No preparations had really been made, and it seemed like it might be too late to make new music. Between taking meetings, we were by ourselves writing in the garage every day of this Nashville house. That was pretty cool, because we felt like a garage band again. There was a spirit of survival. We had something to celebrate, so we really came together as a band.”
“Matt put it all on turbo boost, because he’s one of the finest producers we’ve ever worked with, period,” adds Popper. “He can bring out any sound he wants. He got takes out of me that I couldn’t ever get out of myself, and I’ve tried. However, he also let me be me. It’s one of the best production experiences we’ve ever had. It was an unexpected musical education.”
Hurry Up & Hang Around tracklisting:
1. Accelerated Nation 2. She Becomes My Way 3. The Touch She Has 4. When You Fall Down 5. The Wolf Is Bumpin’ 6. Daddy Went A Giggin’ 7. Tangle Of Our Dreaming 8. More Than Truth 9. Prayer Upon The Wind 10. Miss Olympus 11. Phone Call From Leavenworth 12. Ode From The Aspect
Click HERE to pre-order Hurry Up & Hang Around through the band’s webstore and receive a download of the new single “Accelerated Nation.” The download of “Accelerated Nation” will be available beginning July 6th at 9am PT/12pm ET.
Those who pre-order the album will be able to log back into their accounts on July 6th and download the single. Hurry Up & Hang Around will be available for pre-order via all digital service providers on July 6th.
The band will hit the road beginning July 4th at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO, with the tour continuing through August. A second, fall run in support of the album will begin in October.
Blues Traveler Tour Dates: Jul 4 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Jul 6 – Dixon, IL – Dixon Petunia Fest Jul 7 – Toledo, OH – Hensville Park Concert Jul 13 – Tama, IA – Meskwaki Casino Hotel Jul 14 – Hutchinson, MN – Riversong Music Fest Jul 15 – Washburn, WI – Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua Jul 17 – Fish Creek, WI – Door Community Auditorium Jul 20 – Kansas City, MO – Coors Light Block Party at KC Live! Jul 21 – Madison, WI – The Edgewater Summer Concert Series July 26 – Fort Wayne, IN – Clyde Theatre Jul 27 – Petoskey, MI – Bayview John Hall Auditorium Jul 28 – Bay City, MI – Wenonah Park July 30 – Ocean City, NJ – Ocean City Music Pier Aug 1 – Wilkes-Barre, PA – Kirby Center Aug 2 – North Stonington, CT – Jonathan Edwards Winery Aug 4 – Johnstown, PA – Flood City Music Festival Aug 10 – Tillamook, OR – Tillamook County Fair Aug 11 – Hermiston, OR – Umatilla County Fair Aug 15 – Rochester, NH – Rochester Opera House Aug 17 – Utica, NY – Saranac Brewery Aug 18 – Lowell, MA – Lowell Summer Concert Series Aug 19 – Great Neck, NY – Waterside Theater Aug 21 – Nantucket, MA – Chicken Box Aug 22 – Nantucket, MA – Chicken Box Aug 24 – Lancaster, PA – American Music Theatre Aug 25 – State College, PA – The State Theatre Aug 26 – Arrington, VA – Lockn’ Fest
Tickets on sale for the following shows this Friday, June 29.
Oct 12 – Montclair, NJ – The Welmont Oct 13 – Providence, RI – The Strand Oct 14 – Torrington, CT – Warner Theatre Oct 17 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall Oct 19 – Myrtle Beach, SC – House of Blues Oct 20 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Oct 21 – Knoxville, TN – Tennessee Theatre Oct 23 – Savannah, GA – The Stage on Bay Oct 25 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City Oct 26 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre Oct 27 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz Oct 31 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall Nov 1 – Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theatre Nov 2 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant Nov 4 – Springfield, MO – Gillioz Theater Nov 6 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom Nov 8 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues Nov 9 – San Antonio, TX – The Aztec Theater Nov 10 – Houston, TX -House of Blues Nov 13 – Los Angeles, CA – Belasco Nov 15 – San Francisco, CA – Warfield Nov 17 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Nov 18 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
JOANNA TETERS SHARES TRACK-BY-TRACK COMMENTARY OF SOULFUL NEW EP ‘BACK TO BROOKLYN’
June 26, 2018 by Glide in B-Sides, Columns
Joanna Teters has been carving a place for herself in the hearts and minds of today’s music lovers with original, forward-thinking, new-school soul. Increasingly recognized for her ability to switch effortlessly from lush, deeply sultry tones to rugged reggae and blues, Teters’ serves her audiences with playful and energetic yet poised performances of both original compositions and covers. After many formative years in the mountains of upstate New York, she then went on to pursue her degree at Berklee College of Music where she began to develop her craft.
Recently, Teters released her new EP Back to Brooklyn, the follow-up to her debut full-length Warmer When It Rains. The album continues in the same vein, proving that lyrically and stylistically, she’s really an old soul. Vocally, she brings to mind other powerful singers like Nina Simone, Macy Gray, and Joss Stone. The album marks yet another exciting solo step for an artist who has put it her time fronting a slew of popular jazz, reggae, soul bands in NYC. To celebrate the release of Back To Brooklyn, Teters has shared the tracks with Glide along with her own commentary on the meaning behind each song.
“Back To Brooklyn”
Back To Brooklyn was our stab at a “Ghetto Superstar” type track (Mya and Wyclef) – the kind of track that bounces and slaps and makes you want to dance. This track was inspired while riding the M train to Broadway – Myrtle in Bedstuy (an intersection that I think is inherently New York) on a hot summer day. There are so many emotions and energy that swirl around in a subway car… these lyrics are about the push and pull of New York City, but alludes to the playfulness of it all too. This song, like Zero to a Hundred and Day One, all began as beats that Carrtoons made and sent to me for lyrics as melodies. We tried to write this song a few different times – but it wasn’t until we started making this EP did it really show us what it was all about. We are honored to have Braxton Cook on sax on this one too.
“Zero To A Hundred (Pretty Well)”
This track was about a situation in Brooklyn one night and how the situation changed from what seemed to be a light-hearted interaction to a really ridiculous situation. Just like the title and lyrics allude to, this song was initially written as a poem about an overly pushy person under the impression that things are going one way, when really they’re going another way. Just like the last lines of the song “don’t want you to change for me, don’t write any songs for me,” this is a really straight up song saying “you’re really overwhelming and I’m fine on my own, thanks” This is another Carrtoons beat, featuring Yoh the Shaolin on vocals and Braxton Cook on sax.
Day One is a song about friendship, and more specifically, the sticky situation that can come with new love interests coming between friends. Navigating the waters of new, deeply enveloping love, while also maintaining important relationships with friends can be tricky. This song was written, in a way, to myself through the eyes and ears of people who have known me and have playfully accused me of “falling off the map” when I have a new love interest – this song was kind of a way to hold myself accountable for the relationships that I have to uphold in the face of distraction. Produced by Carrtoons and Drew ofthe Drew.
This song is a resurrection/revamping of a tune that my band used to perform, called “Dreaming” that was written about my extremely vivid dreams and the belief “there’s only so much that we can see with our eyes” in this world. I’ve always believed there are so many layers of reality that we can’t see – or that some can see more clearly than others. Déjà vu is something that we all experience – but there’s also been times when I’ll dream clearly about someone or something random, and then literally trip across it the next morning. Coincidence?? I think not. This song features Yoh the Shaolin with the fire guest verse.
Written by Zane West – mastermind drummer and musician – who I’ve been playing with and writing with since 2010. Zane created this D’Angelo-esque banger in his bedroom and immediately we all fell in love with it. It’s a feel good, funk anthem that says “I hope you love yourself” which to me, is just a reminder that we all have moments of doubting yourself or judging yourself too harshly – especially in this day and age where everyone is performing in their own impressive “theatre of reality”- and it’s important to remember to get back to that place of loving on yourself… “if not you’ve gotta try again.”
Collector’s Box Set • 2CD deluxe with hardcover book • 4LP vinyl
Ignition Records are issuing Joe Strummer 001, a new compilation that spans Joe Strummer‘s career outside his recordings with The Clash. It’s available across a number of physical editions, including a multi-format seven-disc deluxe box set. The compilation features 32-tracks of ‘rare and unheard’ audio and includes favourites from his recordings with the 101ers, The Mescaleros, his solo albums and soundtrack work.
Exclusive to all formats (more on the formats shortly) is an album of unreleased material including an early demo of This Is England entitled Czechoslovak Song/Where Is England, a solo demo of Letsagetabitarockin recorded in Elgin Avenue in 1975, outtakes from Sid & Nancyfeaturing Mick Jones and unreleased songs Rose Of Erin, The Cool Impossible and London Is Burning, one of the last songs Joe recorded.
After Joe died in December 2002 his archive of writings and tapes was found stored in barns in his back garden. The archiving of this material and compiling of Joe Strummer 001 was overseen by Joe’s widow Lucinda Tait and compilation producer Robert Gordon McHarg III.
In terms of formats, there is a standard 2CD set that feature all 32 tracks (CD 2 is the album of unreleased material), a deluxe 2CD set which comes with a 64-page hardcover A4 book. Robert Gordon McHarg III who designed the set (and The Clash ‘Sound System’ box) says that “the idea behind the 64-page A4 notebook is that it’s done as if Joe had designed it himself, telling his story, an insight into his workings including hand written lyrics with personal notes and scribbles.”
There is a 4LP vinyl box of the same 32-track content and a deluxe collector’s box set that boasts a ‘Wibalin wrap’ and includes the following:
2CDs and 4LPs containing rare and unheard audio
64-page hardback book featuring rarely seen and previously unpublished memorabilia from Joe’s personal collection as well as historical press reviews and technical notes about the albums
Additional seven-inch single of previously unreleased demos of This Is England (Side A) and Before We Go Forward (Side B)
Cassette of previously unheard and unreleased U.S North (Basement Demo) – with artwork replicated from the original cassette recording from Joes’s archive.
Envelope containing a screen print, a high-quality image of Joe, two original art prints, and a sticker sheet.
Replica of Joe’s Californian driving license.
Reproduction of a 1989 Earthquake Weather promo badge.
All formats of Joe Strummer 001 will be issued on 24 September 2018.
JOE STRUMMER 001 - 2CD DELUXE WITH A4 BOOK
JOE STRUMMER 001 - 4LP VINYL SET
CD1: 1. Letsagetabitarockin’ (2005 Remastered Version) – The 101ers – 00:02:08 2. Keys To Your Heart (Version 2) [2005 Remastered Version] – The 101ers- 00:03:08 3. Love Kills – Joe Strummer – 00:03:59 4. Tennessee Rain – Joe Strummer – 00:02:55 5. Trash City – Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War – 00:04:11 6. 15th Brigade – Joe Strummer – 00:02:40 7. Ride Your Donkey – Joe Strummer – 00:02:21 8. Burning Lights – Joe Strummer – 00:02:43 9. Afro-Cuban Be-Bop – The Astro-Physicians – 00:02:53 10. Sandpaper Blues – Radar – 00:04:44 11. Generations – Electric Dog House – 00:05:30 12. It’s A Rockin’ World – Joe Strummer – 00:02:25 13. Yalla Yalla – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:06:57 14. X-Ray Style – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:04:34 15. Johnny Appleseed – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:04:02 16. Minstrel Boy – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:05:42 17. Redemption Song – Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer – 00:03:24 18. Over The Border – Jimmy Cliff & Joe Strummer – 00:03:51 19. Coma Girl – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:03:48 20. Silver & Gold / Before I Grow Too Old – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:02:39
CD2: 1. Letsagetabitarockin’ (Strummer Demo) – Joe Strummer – 00:01:49 2. Czechoslovak Song / Where Is England – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:03:49 3. Pouring Rain (1984) – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:03:29 4. Blues On The River – Joe Strummer – 00:04:37 5. Crying On 23rd – The Soothsayers – 00:02:52 6. 2 Bullets – Pearl Harbour – 00:03:11 7. When Pigs Fly – Joe Strummer – 00:04:06 8. Pouring Rain (1993) – Joe Strummer – 00:04:06 9. Rose Of Erin – Joe Strummer – 00:04:12 10. The Cool Impossible – Joe Strummer – 00:04:32 11. London Is Burning – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:03:14 12. U.S. North – Joe Strummer & Mick Jones – 00:10:32
VINYL 1: A1. Letsagetabitarockin’ (2005 Remastered Version) – The 101ers – 00:02:08 A2. Keys To Your Heart (Version 2) [2005 Remastered Version] – The 101ers – 00:03:08 A3. Love Kills – Joe Strummer – 00:03:59 A4. Tennessee Rain – Joe Strummer – 00:02:55 A5. Trash City – Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War – 00:04:11 A6. 15th Brigade – Joe Strummer – 00:02:40
B1. Ride Your Donkey – Joe Strummer – 00:02:21 B2. Burning Lights – Joe Strummer – 00:02:43 B3. Afro-Cuban Be-Bop – The Astro-Physicians – 00:02:53 B4. Sandpaper Blues – Radar – 00:04:44 B5. Generations – Electric Dog House – 00:05:30
VINYL 2: C1. It’s A Rockin’ World – Joe Strummer – 00:02:25 C2. Yalla Yalla – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:06:57 C3. X-Ray Style – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:04:34 C4. Johnny Appleseed – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:04:02
D1. Minstrel Boy – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:05:42 D2. Redemption Song – Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer – 00:03:24 D3. Over The Border – Jimmy Cliff & Joe Strummer – 00:03:51 D4. Coma Girl – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:03:48 D5. Silver & Gold / Before I Grow Too Old – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:02:39
VINYL 3: E1. Letsagetabitarockin’ (Strummer Demo) – Joe Strummer – 00:01:49 E2. Czechoslovak Song / Where Is England – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:03:49 E3. Pouring Rain (1984) – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:03:29 E4. Blues On The River – Joe Strummer – 00:04:37 E5. Crying On 23rd – The Soothsayers – 00:02:52 E6. 2 Bullets – Pearl Harbour – 00:03:11
F1. When Pigs Fly – Joe Strummer – 00:04:06 F2. Pouring Rain (1993) – Joe Strummer – 00:04:06 F3. Rose Of Erin – Joe Strummer – 00:04:12 F4. The Cool Impossible – Joe Strummer – 00:04:32 F5. London Is Burning – Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – 00:03:14
VINYL 4 (12″ Single): A1. U.S. North – Joe Strummer & Mick Jones – 00:10:32
VINYL 5 (7″ Single): A1. This Is England – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:03:04 B1. Before We Go Forward – Strummer, Simonon & Howard – 00:02:49
Deal alert / Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Live Anthology 7LP vinyl
Here’s a turn up for the books… after being out of print for ages, and needing $500+ to purchase one, an apparent ‘warehouse find’ has given Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers fans the opportunity to snag the 7LP vinyl edition the superb Live Anthology box set for a decent price. The 2009 box set features live recordings drawn from 30 years of live performances (1978-2007) as chosen by producers Tom Petty, Mike Campbell and Ryan Ulyate. The 51 tracks were mastered “directly from the uncompressed 24-bit 96K files” and pressed on seven audiophile quality vinyl LPs. This set includes a 24-page 12″ x 12″ deluxe book with liner notes by Tom Petty, Warren Zanes, Bill Flanagan, Robert Hilburn, Joel Selvin, Austin Scaggs, and Phil Sutcliffe.
This deal will be in the main of interest to US fans, since for some reason Amazon US aren’t shipping across the Atlantic (to the UK at least). For those in Europe, you have to go via third party sellers, so for UK residents this link should be of interest.
1. Ladies and Gentlemen… (Live) – Tom Petty
2. Nightwatchman (Live) – Tom Petty
3. Even the Losers (Live) – Tom Petty
4. Here Comes My Girl (Live) – Tom Petty
5. I Need to Know (Live) – Tom Petty
1. A Thing About You (Live)
2. I’m in Love (Live)
3. I’m a Man (Live)
4. Straight Into Darkness (Live)
1. Breakdown (Live)
2. Something in the Air (Live)
3. I Just Want to Make Love to You (Live)
1. Drivin’ Down to Georgia (Live)
2. Lost Without You (Live)
3. Refugee (Live)
1. Diddy Wah Diddy (Live)
2. I Want You Back Again (Live)
3. Wildflowers (Live)
4. Friend of the Devil (Live)
1. A Woman in Love (It’s Not Me) [Live]
2. It’s Good to Be King (Live)
1. Angel Dream (No. 2) [Live]
2. Learning to Fly (Live)
3. Like a Diamond (Live)
4. Mary Jane’s Last Dance (Live)
1. Jammin’ Me (Live)
2. The Wild One, Forever (Live)
3. Mystic Eyes (Live)
1. Green Onions (Live)
2. Louisiana Rain (Live)
3. Melinda (Live)
1. Goldfinger (Live)
2. Surrender (Live)
3. Dreamville (Live)
4. Spike (Live)
1. Any Way You Want It (Live)
2. American Girl (Live)
3. Runnin’ Down a Dream (Live)
4. Oh Well (Live)
1. Crawling Back to You (Live)
2. My Life/Your World (Live)
3. I Won’t Back Down (Live)
4. Square One (Live)
1. The Waiting (Live)
2. Have Love Will Travel (Live)
3. Free Fallin’ (Live)
4. Southern Accents (Live)
1. Don’t Come Around Here No More (Live)
2. Good, Good Lovin’ (Live)
3. Century City (Live)
4. Alright for Now (Live)
Listen to a song Lana Del Rey wrote for a new Elvis documentary
Rhian Daly|Jun 30, 2018 5:59 pmLana Del Rey and Elvis Presley Credit: Getty
The singer released her latest album ‘Lust For Life‘ last July. In a four-star review, NME said: “‘Lust For Life’ deals with themes that’ll be familiar to Lana devotees; faded Hollywood glamour, skewed Americana and terrible love. But this time around, Lana is even more grandiose than usual, with lush, sweeping orchestration draped elegantly over each of the album’s 16 tracks.”
Del Rey shared the track on her Twitter page, along with a clip of the documentary. “My composition ‘Elvis’,” she wrote in the caption. “For the new film called ‘The King’ out now directed by Eugene Jarecki. Listen to ‘Elvis’ below.
The song is one of three demos Del Rey released under the name Sparkler Jump Rope Queen in 2008. You can listen to the full version of it below.
In The King, Jarecki drives across the United States in Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce while the 2016 presidential election is taking place. The film examines the similarities between America becoming an empire and the star’s transformation into an icon.
Speaking to the Daily Star, Kane explained why he hadn’t used more of Del Rey’s work. “I wanted the new album to be wild, very lively,” he said. “Some of the songs I wrote were slow ballads – they were quite John Lennon-y. That includes other songs I wrote with Lana. I’m still proud of the songs, but they didn’t work for this album.”
Alan Longmuir, one of the founding members of the Bay City Rollers, the hugely popular 1970s Scottish pop band, has died at the age of 70.
The bass guitarist had recently returned to Edinburgh for treatment after falling ill while on holiday in Mexico three weeks ago.
He is understood to have contracted a virus and was flown back to the UK for treatment at the Forth |Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.
His family said he passed away peacefully and described him as “an extraordinary man with an extraordinary heart”.
Formed at the end of the 1960s, the Bay City Rollers enjoyed huge success at home and abroad with their distinctive outfits, featuring half-mast, tartan-trimmed trousers, and upbeat pop tunes, including Bye Bye Baby and Shang-a-Lang. They had a massive teen following, selling more than 100 million records.
The guitarist at home in 1977CREDIT: REX
Longmuir joined band members Les McKeown and Stuart Wood for a Bay City Rollers reunion in 2015 with gigs quickly selling out. The original line-up also included Eric Faulkner and Longmuir's younger brother, Derek.
The band produced numerous top 10 hits, staged sell-out tours and had their own TV show before splitting in the early 1980s.
Mr McKeown, the band’s frontman, tweeted a picture of Mr Longmuir in his youth with a caption reading: "RIP Alan Longmuir... the original Bay City Roller."
His death was confirmed by the journalist Liam Rudden, writer of the Bay City Rollers musical, I Ran With the Gang.
He tweeted a statement from Mr Longmuir's family which said: "We are devastated to share the news that Alan has passed away peacefully surrounded by family.
The Bay City Rollers, (l to r) Erick Faulkner, Les McKeown, Alan Longmuir, Stuart Wood, Derek Longmuir, circa 1975CREDIT: MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVE
"He was an extraordinary man with an extraordinary heart. He brought so much love and kindness to everyone he met, and he leaves a huge hole in our family.
"He would humbly say he was 'just a plumber from Edinburgh who got lucky'. However, we are the lucky ones; the ones that were lucky enough to have Alan as part of our lives.
"We'd like to thank everyone for the love and support that they have provided so far."
Mr Rudden said he was “one of the most gentle, generous & kind-hearted people I've ever known & touched the lives of all he met with a smile that made them feel special”.
After the band split Mr Longmuir worked as a plumber and a water pipe inspector. His workmates called him Shang, after one of the band’s biggest hits.
When the group reformed in 2015 he said in one interview: “One minute I was doing the Hollywood thing, going round to Britt Ekland’s for tea, then it was all over and I was doing rounds in my little van, like Postman Pat.”
He was involved with other band members in a long-running court case over millions of pounds they believed they were owed from the days of “Rollermania”.
Six band members began a multi-million pound suit against the Arista record company in 2007, but in 2016 it was reported that they won less than £70,000 each in an out-of-court settlement.
He discovered rock and roll aged 10 when he saw Elvis Presley star in Jailhouse Rock, and would go onto found the band that would become the Bay City Rollers aged 17, in 1965, together with his brother Derek, cousin Neil Porteous, Nobby Clarke and Dave Pettigrew.
Today (June 27th), Lalah Hathaway releases the “call on me (Remix),” featuring Redman, a joint from the deluxe edition of her latest album, honestly. The remix is a sultry number with a club-heavy bottom end. Tiffany Gouché’s production is designed to bump from car to the club, and perfected by a dose of classic Redman on the verse for a simmering banger.
The honestly (deluxe edition) album also features remixes from the likes of Robert Glasper, Teddy Riley and The TwiliteTone (producer to Gorillaz, Common, Kanye West and more).
Along with the release of the deluxe album, Lalah releases a 17-minute short film titled ‘honestly: a short film.” This short film-come-music-video is both an ode to protest and to self-preservation in a time of struggle. In it, we follow “little lalah” in a variety of forms (from Lego, to 2-bit, to human) through the arc of her latest album honestly, on a journey of self-reflection and resistance. It even includes appearances from friends/collaborators Terrace Martin and Thundercat.
Lalah will hold a screening of the short film and Q&A on Wednesday, July 3, as part of the #realmusicrebels TAKEOVER at Somerset House in London, UK. #realmusicrebels is an initiative co-founded by Hathaway spearheading the intersection of musical integrity and activism. Following 2017 exhibits in both Harlem, NYC and Los Angeles, the #realmusicrebels TAKEOVER launches in London on June 27th, kickstarting the European leg of Hathaway’s Honestly Tour, which hits the following dates and cities:
6/27/18 London, UK – O2 Arena 6/28/18 Rotterdam, Holland – Bird 6/30/18 Glynde, UK – Love Supreme Jazz Festival 7/1/18 Leeds, UK – The Wardrobe 7/3/18 London, UK – Innervisions Festival – KOKO 7/4/18 Dublin, Ireland – Whelans 7/6/18 Sofia, Bulgaria -A To JazZ Festival
Stream and cop the honestly (deluxe edition) HERE.
Loren Cole Presents Us with a Fresh Start on "Brand New"(premiere)
SINGER-SONGWRITER LOREN COLE'S LATEST IS A DREAMY INDIE FOLK TUNE THAT REMINDS US THAT WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF MAKING FOR A BRAND NEW START.
Despite growing up in the digital age, 22-year-old Loren Cole'ssongwriting serves to remind us that the most important facets of our life's work are happening right here in the now, without the frills of social media finagling. This offers a timelessness to her music which, although it doesn't shy away from all notions of modern production, still manages to cultivate something sincere and memorable. This, in hand, serves her upcoming debut album well enough, all considering its apt title—For the Sake of Being Honest.
For the Sake of Being Honest is out on 24 August. In the meantime, Cole is sharing a single from the album with PopMatters readers. Entitled "Brand New", this dreamy indie folk tune wraps listeners in a feel-good sort of self-awareness as it reminds us that we are all capable of starting out fresh. Cole's lilting croon is especially infectious when it's laid out against the doo wop-esque progression of its ethereal chorus, ferried forward by equally dreamlike instrumentation. It's a production that feels equal parts glacial and warm, somewhere snugly fit between the likes of other songstresses like Brandi Carlile or Lucy Rose.
"'Brand New' is about believing in a fresh start," says Cole. "Life happens to us all, and some experiences leave us with a few scars, scrapes or bruises we didn't have before. I think fear has a tendency to take over our sense of possibility and adventure, especially as we age. I wanted to write a song to remind people a clean slate is sometimes as simple as a shift in perspective."
"The concept came to me while I was doing laundry. I was half-way through college, folding clothes in my apartment, and came across a shirt I'd had since middle school. I started thinking about how much had changed in my life since I brought the shirt home from the store. Some differences were positive, others not so much. I realized my old shirt and people shared a lot of same trajectories: accumulating wear and tear and perhaps losing a bit of the shine and excitement along the way. Sometimes the best ideas come about by doing some pretty mundane tasks!"
On the latest Billboard 200 albums chart (dated June 30), 5 Seconds of Summernotched its third No. 1 with the debut of Youngblood atop the list. The set earned 142,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 21, according to Nielsen Music. Of that sum, 117,000 were in traditional album sales.
The Billboard 200 chart ranks the week’s most popular albums based on their overall consumption. That overall unit figure combines pure album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the action on the rest of the Billboard 200:
— XXXTentacion, Revenge – No. 30 — As the late rapper/singer returns to the top 10 with his two studio efforts (? And 17, at Nos. 3 and 7, respectively), his mixtape Revenge jumps back onto the list, and at a new peak.
Revenge — which was his first of three charting sets — reaches a new high as it re-enters the list at No. 30 (16,000 units; up 386 percent). It previously topped out at No. 44 (June 10, 2017).
Collectively for the week ending June 21, XXXTentacion’s albums tallied a 401 percent increase in equivalent album units earned (rising to 175,000 from 35,000). His song catalog claimed 226 million on-demand audio streams, up 357 percent.
— Rebelution,Free Rein – No. 41 — Rebelution’s Free Reign launches with 13,000 units at No. 41, and also starts at No. 1 on the Reggae Albums chart (10,000 copies sold). With their eighth No. 1 on Reggae Albums, the group breaks out of a tie with Matisyahu for the second-most No. 1s in the 24-year history of the list. Bob Marley leads all acts, with 18 chart-toppers.
— Buddy Guy,The Blues Is Alive and Well – No. 69 — Blues legend Buddy Guy clocks his 13th entry on the Billboard 200, as his new studio set, The Blues Is Alive and Well, bows at No. 69 (10,000 units). But, over on the Blues Albums chart, the set arrives at No. 1, granting Guy his sixth leader on the tally.
The 81-year-old first led the 22-year-old Blues Albums chart in 2001 with Sweet Tea. The seven-time Grammy Award winner also collected leaders with Skin Deep(2008), Living Proof (2010), Rhythm & Blues (2013) and Born to Play Guitar (2015).
Notably, Guy’s new set logs the largest sales week (9,000 in traditional album sales) for a blues album in nearly a year. The last blues effort to sell more in a week was the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band’s Lay It On Down, which sold 13,000 when it arrived at No. 1 on the Blues Albums chart dated Aug. 26, 2017.
We meet the rising singer-starlet.
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Being the offspring of two celebrity parents often warrants a free pass to international stardom, and in most cases without even a twinkle of talent or skill required. But this certainly isn’t the case when it comes to 18-year-old celeb-baby Charlotte Lawrence. The youngest daughter of actress Christa Miller (Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) and showrunner/producer Bill Lawrence (who was literally the creator of Scrubs), Lawrence is staying in showbiz but moving away from the family business of film.
Since the age of five, the LA-based singer-songwriter has been developing her musical prowess. She’s had a penchant for piano playing for as long as she can remember, and despite her parents having no music skills of their own, she cites her dad’s impressive music taste as one of the influences that cemented her love of music making. Although she’s still not released a full body of work, Lawrence has clocked up an impressive two million monthly listens on Spotify and solidified herself as one of the industry’s most promising new talents, with her shimmery pop tracks “Sleep Talking” and “Psychopath” certified viral hits.
Thankfully, she’ll unveil her first full EP “Younger” at the end of June, with a second EP penned in for the end of summer. With contributions from Britney collaborator Jesse Saint John and Joe London, who has produced for Jason Derulo, Fifth Harmony and Lizzo, it’s certain to be a banger-packed release. We spoke to Lawrence about her rapid rise, the influence her parents have had on her craft and how King Princess is just one of her many dream collaborators.
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How did you first become interested in music?
I’ve been playing piano and singing since I was five years-old! I’ve always loved music. It’s funny to my whole family though because neither of my parents can sing or play instruments. However, my father is the most incredible writer I know and my mother has an INSANE music taste. So I grew up around amazing music and writing but I’m the only one in my family who can sing!
Who were your musical icons when you were growing up?
There are so many that it’s hard to pick. But, off the top of my mind, I would say Damien Rice, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, and Bon Iver for starters.
Big feelings in there. When you’re writing music, where do your ideas come from?
Every single time I write anything, no matter what it is, it has to be authentic and important to me. Sometimes I’ll write about specific incidents, like with a boy or a friend, but a lot of times I’ll write an entire song about a feeling. I’ll create a story from that particular feeling whether I’m sad or angry or happy. But again, no matter what, everything I write and sing has to be special and honest to me.
You’ve had several singles released so far, what has the response to those been like?
The response has been amazing. I am truly grateful for my fans and all the love they show — it’s the best feeling in the entire world.
Are you working on anything else? When can we hear more music?
Yes! I’m releasing my EP “Young” on 22 June, and then following with another EP called “Reckless” in late summer! So excited.
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Can you tell us about the people you’ve been working with?
I’ve been working with some of the most talented, incredible people and could not feel more lucky. A few of my all time favourite writers and producers I’ve been working with are: Mag, Joe London, Jesse Thomas, Hayley Gene Penner, Leona Naess, Jesse Saint John, and Blake Slatkin. There are many others, but without these people, my music would not be half as good as it is. Funny story about Blake Slatkin, he’s been one of my closest friends since we were little children. When I was 12 years-old my first ever song-writing session was with him. We wrote the shittiest song but obviously thought it was the best song in the world. Fast forward six years, we wrote a song together with Jesse Thomas called “Wait Up” that’s gonna be a single on my EP. It’s one of my all time favourite songs. I’m obsessed with it and with him, and it’s so cool to me that everything came together full circle.
What is the one song in the world that really resonates with you, and why?
That’s the hardest question because I am such a music geek I have five new favorite songs every day. But, if I had to choose an album that influenced me to write and to sing that still inspires me, it would probably be Bon Iver’s albums For Emma, Forever Ago and Bon Iver, Bon Iver.
Your parents are both part of the entertainment industry, what tips and tricks did you learn from them?
My mother is an actress and my father is a show-runner, writer and producer extraordinaire. Both have such a passion for their jobs, and they both work very, very hard on what they love. It’s so inspiring to me. Their work ethics are insane and it’s cool to have parents who are so artistic, special and passionate in their careers. I definitely learned to never stop working my ass off for my dream and to never stop believing that you can achieve that dream!
How supportive have they been about you pursuing a career in music?
They have not only been the most supportive, encouraging parents but they also are my biggest fans and my backbone. I could not have asked for better parents. They inspire me daily.
If you could pick one artist to collaborate with, who would it be?
Another super difficult question because I’ve collaborated with some of my favourite artists, and I also have so many more dream collaborations, but off the top of my mind, probably Damien Rice, Bon Iver, King Princess, or Childish Gambino. I think those artists are geniuses.
Finally, what have you got lined up for the summer?
I’m releasing a lot of new music and I’m touring!! In June I have shows in LA, NYC, San Francisco, and Chicago, and in October I’m going on a huge 25 city tour with Lauv! So excited!
Taken from the Summer 2018 Issue; out now and available to buy here.
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Tracie Cant at Premier Hair and Makeup using Hair by Sam McKnight
Emma Miles using CHANEL Éclat Et Transparence and CHANEL D-Pollution Essentiel
Sylvie Macmillan using CHANEL Le Vernis in Nuvola Rosa and La Creme Main
Part serial love story, part female empowerment coming-of-age tale, part costume extravaganza -- all wrapped in the conceit of a variety show hosted by three Chers at different times of the star’s life.
Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, Micaela Diamond, Jarrod Spector, Michael Berrese, Michael Campayno, Matthew Hydzik, Emily Skinner, Marija Juliette Abney, Carleigh Bettiol, Taurean Everett, Michael Fatica, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Michael Graceffa, Blaine Alden Krauss, Sam Lips, Allie Meixner, Tiana Okoye, Amy Quanbeck, Angel Reda, Michael Tacconi, Tory Trowbridge, Christopher Vo, Alena Watters, Charlie Williams, Ryan Worsing, Dee Roscioli.
The new jukebox bio-musical “The Cher Show” captures a good amount of the vibrant personality and genuinely admirable perseverance that make Cher the ultimate celebrity survivor. But like Cher herself, the show careens from career to career without a consistent thrust other than awesome attitude. In its pre-Broadway version premiering in Chicago, “The Cher Show” sings but doesn’t soar, and seems likely to appeal primarily to the most adoring of her admittedly enormous fan base, suggesting a commercial trajectory more in line with “On Your Feet” than “Beautiful.”
In the book by Rick Elice (“Jersey Boys,” “Peter and the Starcatcher”), the show opens with a scene where the mature Cher (Stephanie J. Block) decides to change the opening number of a fictional variety show about her own life. In conversation with her two younger selves (Micaela Diamond, who will fall in love with Sonny Bono; and Teal Wicks, who will leave him and marry Gregg Allman), Cher decides to turn back time, taking us to a stylized sequence where a young Cher is comforted by her mother (Emily Skinner) after the kids at school call her a half-breed (leading to a truncated version of the song). Her mother charges her with “becoming someone” and embracing what makes her different, which unfortunately remains about the level of thematic vagueness throughout. The story gets going for real when Cher meets Sonny (Jarrod Spector), launching them both into a whirlwind of fame and hit songs, finally settling into a full-length version of the still-adorable “I Got You Babe.”
The first act follows Cher’s romance and marriage to Sonny, characterized here in an excellent performance by Spector (“Beautiful”) as a complex figure alternately brilliant, loving, jealous and controlling, particularly as it relates to his 95% ownership of Cher Enterprises (the other 5% going to a lawyer). Elice depicts Cher’s battle to leave him at the height of their television variety-show success by having the youngest Cher argue for staying, the older one argue for leaving, and the middle one making the decision. The three Chers populate the stage simultaneously throughout, reflecting not just different eras but different shades of personality, from naive fun to rebellious independence to confident diva-dom.
With Sonny and Cher split up, though, the second act struggles to find its narrative throughline. We see Cher with her own variety show, her marriage to an adoring but ill-suited Allman (Matthew Hydzik) , the birth of her second child, and another variety show with Sonny. Then Block takes over and we move to Cher’s acting career. The last we really see of the conceptual variety show frame is a fun, extended sequence of “The Beat Goes On,” performed by Diamond and with a lot of fun retro choreography by Christopher Gattelli, which serves effectively as a means of narrating Cher’s tribulations in film from an initial laughing stock to Oscar-winner. We then follow Cher into her relationship with the much younger Rob Camilletti (Michael Campayno), who can’t handle the taunts of the paparazzi.
The real star of the show, though, turns out not to be the stars of the show, nor the music, but Bob Mackie’s costumes (he is both the show’s designer and a character), many simply the fantastic fashions he created for Cher throughout her career. They inject needed drama and flash and performative excitement, and generate by far the biggest audience reaction when carefully revealed by director Jason Moore.
But costumes can carry a show only so far. And here’s the tricky thing: what’s good about this show also happens to be what’s not great about it. It’s funny but not that funny, clever but never interesting, and although it depicts Cher’s ability to go bigger and bolder, the show itself maintains a respectful tameness. Once the variety show aspect fizzles out, we’re left with too much empty contemplation. (Of love, Cher’s mother finally concludes: “I hope you find it.”) Cher’s constant comebacks don’t feel very inspirational when we see only the highlights – skipping, for example, all mention of those 90s infomercials, which are exactly what Cher had to come back from.
The performers playing Cher are all strong and all capture that unique husky sound, but it very rarely feels like they have an opportunity to let loose and have a blast. Even the song “Believe” – Cher’s later-in-life chart-topping dance hit, which gets repeated in fragments probably a half-dozen times – is forced to carry odd dramatic weight. Yes, Cher really believes in life after love; we get it. Can we have more fun now?
Pre-Broadway Review: 'The Cher Show'
Oriental Theater, Chicago; 2,200 seats; $115 top; Opened, reviewed, June 28th, 2018; runs through July 15th. Running time: 2 HOURS, 40 MINS.
PRODUCTION: A Broadway in Chicago, Flody Suarez, Jeffrey Seller, and Cher presentation of a musical in two acts with book by Rick Elice. Executive producers, Roger Davies, Lindsay Scott, and Larry Poindexter.
CREATIVE: Directed by Jason Moore. Choreography, Christopher Gattelli; music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Daryl Waters. Set, Christine Jones and Brett J. Banakis; costumes, Bob Mackie; lighting, Kevin Adams; sound, Nevin Steinberg; video and projections, Darrel Maloney; hair and wigs, Charles G. LaPointe; music coordinator, Dean Sharenow; music director, Andrew Resnick; production stage manager, Michael J. Passaro.
CAST: Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, Micaela Diamond, Jarrod Spector, Michael Berrese, Michael Campayno, Matthew Hydzik, Emily Skinner, Marija Juliette Abney, Carleigh Bettiol, Taurean Everett, Michael Fatica, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Michael Graceffa, Blaine Alden Krauss, Sam Lips, Allie Meixner, Tiana Okoye, Amy Quanbeck, Angel Reda, Michael Tacconi, Tory Trowbridge, Christopher Vo, Alena Watters, Charlie Williams, Ryan Worsing, Dee Roscioli.
AT HOME WITH …
Carly Simon and Her Family, on Martha’s Vineyard
Just another night eating vegan shepherd’s pie in musical Camelot.
Harmonizing with Mom: Sally Taylor and Carly Simon.CreditElizabeth Cecil for The New York Times
LAMBERT’S COVE, Mass. — James Taylor was 22 when he bought 175 acres of woods here with the proceeds from his first record deal. On a stormy June afternoon nearly half a century later, Carly Simon, his ex-wife; their children, Sally Taylor and Ben Taylor; Ben’s partner, Sophie Hiller, and their friends, the musicians John Forté and David Saw, were gathered in the rambling house that has grown up like a wagon wheel around the original structure, with hallways that hopscotch over rooms and staircases in odd places.
Ms. Simon, or Mama C., as this group calls her, lives in the place, as do Ben and Ms. Hiller, in a house next door. They were strewn over a pair of plump green velvet sofas in front of a crackling fire — it was that cold — to practice for a performance they would give in the Berkshires earlier this month, though the men kept wandering outside, despite the pouring rain, for recreational breaks.
“How nice not to be the focus for a change,” Ms. Simon said.
Their show, a medley of songs that includes some of her old hits, would open a yearlong multimedia installation at Mass MoCA’s Kidspace by Consenses, the arts organization that Ms. Taylor founded half a dozen years ago. Paintings by fifth-grade students have been reinterpreted by artists from around the world in different forms from music to perfume to poetry.
This artistic game of telephone, as Ms. Taylor puts it, is also the basis of an educational program she has developed that focuses on empathy and perception. It has been a career shift for someone who, like nearly every person in her very large extended family, has mostly worked as a musician — though she resisted what she refers to as “the Gig” until she was in her 20s.
Now 44, Ms. Taylor was dressed on this day in a taut beige halter top, a Sri Lankan skirt, strings of beads and dangling bell earrings borrowed from her mother. She wore her abundant curly blond hair tied in a knot. At Brown University, Ms. Taylor studied medical anthropology, a major she created after taking time off to research the health benefits of coca leaves with Andrew Weil, the alternative medicine guru, in Peru. “No, that’s not a joke,” she said cheerfully.
It was a typical day in musical Camelot, a shabby-chic Bohemia bedazzled with rock star mementos. In a downstairs bathroom, at about knee level, there’s a photograph of Jimi Hendrix and Mick Jagger backstage at Madison Square Garden taken by Eddie Kramer, who produced Ms. Simon’s first album; they look like teenagers. If you’re sitting down in there, one of Ms. Simon’s many gold records, the single of “Nobody Does It Better,” has been strategically placed.
From left, David Saw, John Forte, Ben Taylor, Sophie Hiller, Ms. Taylor and Ms. Simon, practicing as a group.CreditElizabeth Cecil for The New York Times
Trees as Earrings
Divorced from Mr. Taylor in 1983, Ms. Simon, now 73, named what became her compound Hidden Star Hill. There is a gazebo, two barns, a horse shed and many outbuildings. Also five goats, four dogs, two miniature horses and two donkeys.
“It’s become mom, like an outfit,” Ms. Taylor said of the place, adding lyrically: “Her spirit is way, way bigger than her body, and so it needs a bigger outfit. She has bushes and trees as earrings and lakes as gowns. Her body almost can’t leave the property, because her spirit is wearing it.”
Ms. Simon said, “She’s telling a pathetic story and making it nice.”
Ms. Simon shares the house with her boyfriend of 12 years, Richard Koehler, a surgeon who took this reporter’s coat, offered her tea and then repaired to a barn to work on a sailboat he is restoring. “He reminds me of Myles Standish,” Ms. Simon said.
Mr. Saw, a 43-year-old Englishman, has been playing music with Mr. Taylor for over a decade. Ms. Hiller, 30 and also British, met Mr. Taylor backstage after one of his shows in London when she was 14; they fell in love a decade later, after she’d been touring as a backup singer for Tom Jones, the Welsh crooner, among others
Mr. Forté, 43, and Mr. Taylor, 41, have been friends since high school. Soft-spoken but with a rock star’s sheen, Mr. Forté, a producer of the Fugees, the 1990s-era band, grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn and went to Phillips Exeter Academy on a scholarship.
In 2000, he was arrested on charges of drug possession with the intent to distribute, and spent seven years in prison before his sentence was commuted by George W. Bush, largely through the efforts of Ms. Simon and an unlikely ally — Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah.
“Do you know how incredibly lucky I am to have them as close as I do?” Ms. Simon said scooping up the group with a wave. “Is everyone O.K.? I’m sorry there’s no background music but it’s a Sonos system and no one knows how to work it. I’m going upstairs to put some CBD oil on my knee.”
Ben Taylor, who wore a chest-length beard and enormous laced boots, asked if he could go join Mr. Saw and Mr. Forté, who were out on the porch and seemed to be generating their own version of a cannabis product, judging from the faint tang that had begun to mingle with the perfume of the peonies that crowded the room.
“This time of year, my mom’s whole life is about peonies,” Mr. Taylor said. “You can’t miss it, man. Her appreciation for them is contagious. I came up here to steal coffee this morning and found a note in the kitchen that read, ‘Fernanda: Please pick 20 peonies. I will arrange.’”
CreditElizabeth Cecil for The New York Times
When her daughter arrived, Ms. Simon was taking pictures of the peonies. “She was saying, ‘O.K., now you, now you.’” Ms. Taylor said. (Ms. Simon has turned her peony photographs into wallpaper and flowing silk scarves.)
“This is her time of year,” Mr. Taylor said. “Was it Robert Frost who said, ‘Nature’s first green is gold’?”
‘Let’s Get Axes and Mama’
Then it was time to rehearse. “Let’s get axes and Mama,” Ms. Taylor said.
“Do you have sheet music?” Mr. Taylor said. “Just kidding, I don’t know how to read sheet music.”
“Please don’t be afraid to say you hate it,” Ms. Simon said of her singing.
Strumming our soul with his fingers: the young Mr. Taylor.CreditElizabeth Cecil for The New York Times
When Ms. Taylor was 20 and on her Peruvian walkabout, she toured the Nasca lines, ancient geoglyphs that you can see best from the air, and the small plane she was in crashed on the Pan-American Highway. As it was going down, Ms. Taylor had two thoughts, she said: “If I survive, I want to make music, and I want to have kids.”
Mindful of the shadow cast by her famous parents, she had resisted entering their field, unlike her brother, who hasn’t been as bedeviled by the challenges of the family business, and long ago made his peace with its hardships.
“I went to a therapist and said, ‘This is crazy, right?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, it’s crazy,’” Ms. Taylor recalled. “‘But if I need to do this, what steps could I take to not get hammered?’ We came up with this plan to not wake up the ego. One of them is never read an article about yourself. Another is don’t believe the applause.”
Ms. Taylor formed a band, bought a van and christened it “Moby” (for the whale, not the musician), and toured for five years. She organized every aspect of the band’s work: the performances, the press and the distribution of the music, packing up each CD with a thank-you note.
All went swimmingly until she had a fight with her boyfriend on the telephone. “I hung up and felt so awful about myself,” Ms. Taylor said, “I got onstage and used that audience like a drug. Once you do that, you are powerless against it. Having watched my parents go through the emotional roller coaster of a career in music, from an early age I saw it as a substance that was abusable and could take you down. I saw both of them struggle with it successfully and not so successfully. “
Mr. Taylor also famously struggled with addiction to heroin. It was he who taught his daughter not to read her press. “The complete opposite was my mom’s way: ‘I have no secrets and I have no armor so there is nothing to hide.’” Ms. Taylor said. “I feel like I have used both of those strategies.”
Ms. Taylor knew the toll touring takes on a young family. When she married Dean Bragonier, a former restaurateur who now runs a nonprofit that promotes dyslexia curriculums in middle school — Ms. Taylor, Mr. Bragonier and Ms. Simon are all dyslexic — she gave it up for good.
Their son, Bodhi, is now 10. Mr. Bragonier is from Martha’s Vineyard too, though the couple lives in Cambridge, Mass. They met when they were teenagers, as Ms. Taylor’s parents did. Mr. Bragonier was the (clothed) lifeguard at the nude beach Ms. Taylor used to frequent.
Ms. TaylorCreditElizabeth Cecil for The New York Times
“Lightning doesn’t always strike twice in one family,” said Alexandra Styron, a novelist and a daughter of William Styron, who knows a thing or two about the obstacles facing the children of famous parents. “Growing up as we did gives you a very skewed take on what it means to be successful. It can feel like anything less than superstardom will be failure. Sometimes it can take a while to find your particular niche. It’s really cool that Sally has found her own corner where she can celebrate art and be in control of it.”
Running Consenses is indeed a much happier career for her, Ms. Taylor said, though it has its own challenges. With some 150 contributors, each installation takes about two years to put together. But once the work begins to come in, Ms. Taylor said, “It’s like Christmas. It’s so different, so full of light and laughter.”
How would Ms. Simon describe her daughter? “How about if she were a fruit?” Ms. Simon said. “That’s a very Consenses question. If she were a fruit, she would be a ripe apricot. Because of her coloring, her smile, her ebullience.”
“Those cheeks,” she added, patting them.
(As it happened, Ms. Simon would not make it to her daughter’s opening. A few days before the show, she was on the phone and dipping a toe into the pool when she tripped and fell in, breaking her leg.)
It was time for dinner: vegan shepherd’s pie. Ms. Simon led a tour through the meandering house while Morgan Rietzas, who owns a taxi company here, waited patiently in the driveway for this reporter. Mr. Rietzas, it turned out, is the saxophonist for the Boogies, a decades-old disco tribute band that Ms. Taylor used to headline when she was in her 20s.
“Each piece of our lives here gets sewn together,” Ms. Taylor said later, noting the hothouse that is Martha’s Vineyard. “It threads together like a string of beads that becomes one grand version of who you are.”
Smoke Dawg, rapper and Drake tourmate, shot to death in Toronto
Carly Mallenbaum, USA TODAYPublished 7:20 p.m. ET July 1, 2018 | Updated 10:27 a.m. ET July 2, 2018
Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story misidentified Smoke Dawg in a wire service photo.
Rapper Smoke Dawg was killed Saturday night in Toronto.
The 21-year-old musician (real name: Jahvante Smart), who opened for Drake on his 2017 Boy Meets World European tour, has been identified as one of the victims in a triple shooting.
CP24, a 24-hour local news channel, says three people (two men and one woman) were shot outside Cube Nightclub in the Entertainment District, shortly before 8 p.m. local time.
Toronto Police confirmed ... statement that both men — Smart and Ernest Modekwe, 28, a producer known as Koba Prime — succumbed to their injuries. Post-mortem examinations are scheduled for Tuesday, police said. The woman, who wasn't identified, is expected to recover from her injuries.
Drake paid tribute to the fellow Canadian musician in an Instagram story on Saturday: “All these gifts and blessed souls and inner lights being extinguished lately is devastating," he wrote, over of a picture of himself performing with Smoke Dawg. "I wish peace would wash over our city. So much talent and so many stories we never get to see play out. Rest up Smoke.”
The up-and-coming rapper had most recently tweeted about new music, "Fountain Freestyle," and is known for his 2015 remix "Trap House," which features French Montana. He was part of the Halal Gang, a rap collective that includes fellow artists Safe, Puffy L’z and Mo-G.
He is survived by a 1-year-old daughter, his parents and 13 siblings. A candlelight vigil will be held Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET at Metropolitan Church (Queen Street East and Church Street) in Toronto.
Three albums remastered • new vinyl • 2CD sets as before
The Pet Shop Boys will issue their fourth and final set of ‘Catalogue’ reissues at the end of August with the re-release of early-to-mid ’90s albums Behaviour, Very andBilingual. Behavioursaw Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant enter their ‘post-imperial’ phase as number ones became top 10 and top 20 hits. Co-produced by Harold Faltermeyer, 1990’s Behaviour is widely considered to be their best album and features the singles So Hard, Being Boring, How Can You Expect To Be Taken Seriously and Jealousy, although that’s only half the story, since the album tracks – like Only The Wind, My October Symphony and The End Of The World – are seriously good. Johnny Marr contributes guitar.
Very was released in September 1993. Lots of fans love this record but I never fell prey to its charms. While I enjoyed the single Can You Forgive Her? after the serious and grown-up tone of Behaviour I thought songs like Go West, I Wouldn’t Normally Do This Kind Of Thing were a bit ‘silly’ and only okay. While the social commentary of tracks like The Theatre was incredibly clunky. For me, a clear dip in the quality of the songwriting (especially lyrically).
I hadn’t given up on them and I absolutely loved 1996’s Bilingual. It’s funny how no matter hard you try, you just simply can’t ‘get into’ certain albums, but others have an immediate impact. One of the mysteries of music. There was a real sadness to the lyrics of songs like Discoteca and Single-Bilingual and the lead single, Before, seemed effortless, whereas with Very it felt like they were trying to hard. Album track To Step Aside is a PSB classic!
Anyway, as before all the audio is remastered but other than that, the two-CD ‘Further Listening’ sets are more or less identical to the previous ones. Nice to have new vinyl versions available too, of course. For some reason Behaviour is slightly cheaper than the others in the UK right now, at £16.
All three albums are reissued on vinyl and 2CD deluxe sets on 31 August 2018.
COMPARE PRICES AND PRE-ORDER
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BEHAVIOUR - 2CD FURTHER LISTENING
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COMPARE PRICES AND PRE-ORDER
PET SHOP BOYS
VERY - 2CD FURTHER LISTENING
PET SHOP BOYS
BILINGUAL - 2CD FURTHER LISTENING
PET SHOP BOYS
BEHAVIOUR - REMASTERED VINYL LP
PET SHOP BOYS
VERY - REMASTERED VINYL LP
PET SHOP BOYS
BILINGUAL- REMASTERED VINYL LP
Behaviour / Further Listening 1990-1991 2CD set
CD 1 1. Being Boring (2018 Remastered Version)
2. This Must Be the Place I Waited Years to Leave (2018 Remastered Version)
3. To Face the Truth (2018 Remastered Version)
4. How Can You Expect to Be Taken Seriously? (2018 Remastered Version)
5. Only the Wind (2018 Remastered Version)
6. My October Symphony (2018 Remastered Version)
7. So Hard (2018 Remastered Version)
8. Nervously (2018 Remastered Version)
9. The End of the World (2018 Remastered Version)
10. Jealousy (2018 Remastered Version)
CD 2 1. It Must Be Obvious (2018 Remastered Version)
2. So Hard (Extended Dance Mix) [2018 Remastered Version]
3. Miserablism (2018 Remastered Version)
4. Being Boring (Extended Mix) [2018 Remastered Version]
5. Bet She’s Not Your Girlfriend (2018 Remastered Version)
6. We All Feel Better in the Dark (Extended Mix) [2018 Remastered Version]
7. Where the Streets Have No Name (I Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) [Extended Mix] [2018 Remastered Version]
The murder of Tupac has reportedly been “solved”, with rapper Keefe D coming forward to confess playing a part in his shooting.
The rap icon died 22 years ago after a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas with Death Row Records’ Suge Knight. The assailant was in a white Cadillac and pulled up on the passenger side of Shakur’s BMW at traffic lights. Biggie Smalls’ unsolved murder has also been linked.
Mystery has surrounded his unsolved murder ever since, but now a new Netflix series called Unsolved: the Tupac and Biggie Murders based on an LAPD task force probe has been released – containing revelations that reportedly tend to many unanswered questions around their killing.
The documentary is based on a taped confession by rapper and Crips gang rival Keefe D – recorded under immunity from prosecution.
“I was a Compton kingpin, drug dealer, I’m the only one alive who can really tell you story about the Tupac killing,” said Keefe, reports The Daily Star. “People have been pursuing me for 20 years, I’m coming out now because I have cancer. And I have nothing else to lose. All I care about now is the truth.”
Keefe D confessed to being in the car with the shooter, but refused to name them due to “street code”.
“It just came from the backseat bro,” he added.
The series’ executive producer Kyle Long added that he believes police need to pursue Keefe D in connection with the murder.
“He went live on television and confessed to being an accessory to murder and the Las Vegas PD, as far as I know, is doing nothing about it,” said Long. “I just think it’s outrageous.”
Last year, another new Tupac documen... announced. Officially authorised by the late rapper’s family, the new film will be directed by the acclaimed 12 Years A Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen and co-produced by Amarau Entertainment (the company founded by Tupac’s mother Afeni to manage her son’s posthumous releases) and Shakur estate representative Tom Whalley.
Speaking about the documentary, McQueen voiced his delight at his attachment to the new project.
“I am extremely moved and excited to be exploring the life and times of this legendary artist,” McQueen said. “I attended NYU film school in 1993 and can remember the unfolding hip-hop world and mine overlapping with Tupac’s through a mutual friend in a small way. Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur. I look forward to working closely with his family to tell the unvarnished story of this talented man.”
Best known for recording and performing with Soda Stereo, Sais had a long career as a musician, producer and educator.
Argentine keyboardist and producer Daniel Sais, who was well known for recording and performing with the band Soda Stereo, has died. He was 55 years old.
Sais, who had lived for many years in Ecuador, died Monday (July 2) in Quito. The cause was gallbladder cancer, according to Ecuadorian media reports.
Soda Stereo drummer Charly Alberti announced the loss of his “dear friend and road companion” on Instagram. Sais toured through Latin America with Soda Stereo three times, starting in 1987. He recorded on the albums Ruido Blanco and Doble Vida and the EP Languis. He also accompanied the band on the Ecuadorian leg of its comeback tour in 2007.
In 2016, after the 2014 death of Soda Stereo frontman Gustavo Cerati, Sais formed a touring tribute show, Soda Eterno, honoring the legendary Argentine rock band.
Over a career that began when he was 18, Sais played keyboards with numerous artists, composed music for television and advertising, and worked as a sound man on many films. He held posts as a professor of sound design and digital audio at universities in Ecuador and founded a music school called El Rockservatorio.
Lake Street Dive still pops, but there's growth on 'Free Yourself Up'
BY WALTER TUNIS
May 08, 2018 05:27 PM
Updated May 10, 2018 11:46 AM
The current state-of-mind empowering Lake Street Dive, perhaps the boldest pure pop enterprise to hit the airwaves in the last decade, is summed up in the lead-off tune to its invigorating new album, “Free Yourself Up.”
The song’s title is a tip-off of what’s to come: “Baby, Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts.” It’s a love song that’s unapologetically not about love, but rather a yearning for companionship to serve as a “human shield” against serious inner unrest.
“I don’t wanna get caught in the current of my mind,” sings turbo-charged vocalist Rachael Price from a tune penned by bassist Bridget Kearney. The music matches the mood, too. It’s darker, deeper and more rockish in spots, but retains all of the elements — the soaring vocals, hooks and cross generational pop inspirations — that made Lake Street Dive such a musical oasis when it broke through internationally with “Bad Self Portraits” in 2014.
Growth spurts are evident throughout the 10 songs on “Free Yourself Up,” from the hints of political discourse that color but hardly control the music to the addition of the band’s touring keyboardist and vocalist Akie Bermiss as a de facto fifth member to flesh out the band’s regally full sound to arrangements that toughen Lake Street Dive’s musical landscapes as much as the lyrical pathways.
All of this hits a peak on “Dude.” Penned by guitarist/trumpeter Mike Olson and Kearney, it outlines the story of a woman who yearns for a level of camaraderie her partner enjoys with the guys — in other words, a romance bolstered by friendship. It’s humorous to a degree (“We used to kick it like Joe and Obama, now you just leave me at home playing mama”) but the underlying tension is inescapable. Add to that an arrangement that opens with brash power chords and concludes with a hearty jam led by a wordless, siren-like wail from Price and a ragged trumpet reveille from Olson and you have a glorious, living snapshot of the present day Lake Street Dive in action.
The sense of growth and independence is also reflected in the fact the band produced itself on “Free Yourself Up” with help from engineer Dan Knobler. That’s quite a shift given that Americana maestro Dave Cobb handled production duties on the preceding album, 2016’s “Side Pony.” While such a level of self-reliance was likely instilled in the band already, given its early years as an eager indie unit from Boston, the current sense of confidence and control doesn’t leave the past behind.
The easy pop stride of “Shame, Shame, Shame,” the lyrical assuredness of “Good Kiser” and the exquisitely torchy cast to “Musta Been Something” that enhances the gorgeous slo-mo luster of Price’s singing remind us of Lake Street Dive’s inherent pop smarts. Sure, the band is moving on to rougher waters, but it’s also arming itself with pop music’s greatest vibes for the trip.
Paul McCartney set to perform in the U.K. for first time in three years
Paul McCartney will be returning to Britain in December (18) with his first U.K. live tour dates in over three years.
The former Beatles star announced his eagerly-anticipated return to the road earlier this week, with news of his Freshen Up 2018 Tour and on Thursday (05Jul18), delighted fans by confirming there would be a U.K. leg.
The singer released details of three live shows set to be held in his hometown Liverpool, London and Glasgow, Scotland, this December.
They mark the hitmaker's first series of U.K. live dates since his Out There Tour in May 2015. His most recent trek, the One on One Tour, that played to some two million fans over the course of 2016 and 2017, failed to take in the European island.
Speaking of the upcoming dates, Paul told NME he is excited about returning to his home country after such a long time away.
"There's nothing like performing in front of your home crowd, especially when it's been a while," he gushed to the music magazine. "I can't wait to finish the year on such a high by partying in Liverpool, Glasgow and London. We've freshened up the show since our last time round and we are excited to get to play some of our new songs alongside some of the favourites."
The rocker previously explained that the tour name refers to "freshening up" the show by playing old classics alongside new tracks from his upcoming album Egypt Station, which he is yet to perform live.
The 76-year-old's global tour kicks off with four concerts in Canada this September. The gigs, spanning Quebec City, Montreal, Winnipeg and Edmonton, will also mark the star's first time performing in each respective city in five years.
"We've always had such a fantastic time playing shows in Canada. We can't wait to return in September for what should be another special run of shows," Paul said to Rolling Stone.
2-disc set offers original album + new ‘authentic’ mixes by Stephen Marley
Bob Marley & The Wailers‘ 1978 album Kaya is being reissued as ‘Kaya 40’ a double-disc deluxe edition in August. Kaya contains the Marley classics Is This Love, Easy Skanking and Sun Is Shining and this special 40th anniversary edition will feature (on the bonus disc) Stephen “Ragga” Marley’s new ‘Kaya 40’ mixes of the tracks
Stephen’s goal, in mixing and creating the Kaya 40 version of the album, was to “create a balance that drew heavily from the original versions” and try and keep things as authentic sounding as possible. He used Bob’s vocals from demos from original Kayasessions that were recorded at different tempos, and synched them with alternate takes and layered it over different instrumental arrangements. If that all sounds a bit ‘Frankenstein’ then judge it for yourself, by previewing the Kaya 40 mix of Is This Love?, below.
Curiously, according to the label, due to ‘technical issues’ Easy Skanking on the second disc will be the original 1978 mix not a Stephen Marley reworking.
This new Kaya 40 edition of the album is available as a two-CD set and a double vinyl edition and will be issued on 24 August 2018.
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
KAYA 40 - 2CD DELUXE
BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS
KAYA 40 - 2LP VINYL
Disc 1 – Bob Marley & The Wailers, Kaya (Original 1978 Version)
1. Easy Skanking 2. Kaya 3. Is This Love 4. Sun Is Shining 5. Satisfy My Soul 6. She’s Gone 7. Misty Morning 8. Crisis 9. Running Away 10. Time Will Tell
Disc 2 – Bob Marley & The Wailers, Kaya 40 (Stephen Marley’s reimagining)
1. Easy Skanking* 2. Kaya 3. Is This Love 4. Sun Is Shining 5. Satisfy My Soul 6. She’s Gone 7. Misty Morning 8. Crisis 9. Running Away 10. Time Will Tell
*Easy Skanking is the original 1978 mix
Ricochet: David Bowie 1983 / New official book by Denis O’Regan
Signed collector’s boxed set edition • Standard version widely available
Photographer Denis O’Regan’s pictures of David Bowie taken during 1983’s Serious Moonlight Tour, are collected in a new official book, Ricochet, which is available as both a highly-priced limited art book and a much cheaper edition, to be published by Penguin later this year.
O’Regan was the official tour photographer and travelled with David Bowie for the whole eight months of the Serious Moonlight Tour, capturing intimate off-stage portraits of the man at the height of his popularity, as he performed tracks from the Let’s Dance and Scary Monsters albums live for the very first time. The tour started in arenas and by the end they were playing in stadiums!
Speaking to SDE about the project, O’Regan recalled his surprise at getting to know David: “he was much more approachable, funnier, not aloof, completely different to the star that I thought I was going to be dealing with. It made the relationship much easier.”
Ricochet is an official David Bowie project, approved by the Estate. The limited edition boxed set package actually includes five books, one large format (320 pages, 445×297 mm) landscape book and four smaller (254×203 mm) medium format books, which are presented on top of the big book in a bespoke acrylic slip case. The limited edition is signed by Denis O’Regan, comes with the David Bowie Estate Stamp (newly designed by Johnathan Barnbrook), a certificate of authenticity, three limited edition signed prints and a unique red 12-inch vinyl that features the tracks Ricochet and Let’s Dance from the Let’s Dance album.
Limited edition Ricochet boxed set edition above. The image shows the four smaller books on the top ‘layer’ of the package. The image below show the big books which sits in the lower ‘layer’ of the impressive package.
Denis O’Regan took something like 20,000 images of David Bowie on the tour and all the images published were personally approved by David. Some of them were originally used in the 1984 Serious Moonlight tour book, which included lots of text by Chet Flippo. O’Regan told SDE that with this project he wanted the photos to speak for themselves: “I wanted Ricochet to be more of a photography book. With the original book you’ve got lots of little pictures and there are political reasons for having some pictures in here. You know, you’ve got to have a picture of this person, and that person and this person with that person. And I was forced into a few things I didn’t really want. For Ricochet I wanted the photographs to be the focal point and [in] landscape [format] so they aren’t chopped in half by the seam.”
Photographer Denis O’Regan and David Bowie in what looks like an early ‘selfie’
The boxed set art edition of Ricochet (available now) is published by Moonlight Books and is limited to 2,000 copies. It retails for £3000. You can see more about this edition, and buy it on the official website.
The standard non-limited version of Ricochet is still a landscape book (same 320 pages) but smaller in scale (roughly half the size – 210mm x 150mm). This is one book, and doesn’t include any of the other content in the limited edition art package (four other books, vinyl, prints etc.). This edition of Ricochet is published by Penguin in the UK (Particular Books in the USA) and is due for release on 1 November 2018. It will retail for around £30, although Amazon UK have a pre-order price of £21 right now! The US pre-order link is not currently live.
Cher & Andy Garcia's Cover of ABBA's 'Fernando' Debuts on Adult Contemporary Chart
L - R: 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' stars Christine Baranski, Amanda Seyfried and Julie Walters
Cher returns after four years and Garcia makes his first trip to a music survey with their duet from "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."
Cher returns to a Billboard airplay chart after nearly four years, and Andy Garcia makes his Billboard music chart debut, as their cover of ABBA's "Fernando" debuts at No. 22 on the Adult Contemporary songs tally dated July 7.
The tune from the iconic singer/actress and acting star, respectively, is from the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again film soundtrack, due July 14 via Decca Records.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again premieres in movie theaters July 20 and is the sequel to the 2008 film Mamma Mia! Both movies were inspired by ABBA's catalog of songs, and the first film adapted the long-running stage musical of the same name.
In Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cher and Garcia are both new additions to the cast (neither were in the first film). Cher plays Ruby Sheridan, the mother of Donna (Meryl Streep), while Garcia plays Fernando in the romantic comedy musical.
"Fernando" is Cher's 28th Adult Contemporary chart entry and first since the No. 17-peaking "I Hope You Find It" in 2014. She made her AC debut on Sept. 25, 1971, with the No. 6-peaking "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves," and has collected 14 top 10s, including two No. 1s: "After All," with Peter Cetera, and "If I Could Turn Back Time," both in 1989. She last reached the top 10 with the No. 3 smash "Believe" in 1999.
ABBA's original version of "Fernando" is one of the quartet's two AC leaders, having spent two weeks at No. 1 in 1976. The act led again with "The Winner Takes It All" in 1981.
Rising Country Singer Tenille Townes Turns a Living Room Into a Stage in 'Where You Are' Video: Premiere
Tenille Townes just released her debut EP on Sony Music Nashville in April, a four-song collection titled Living Room Worktapes. Though the EP wasn't actually recorded in a living room, the raw way Townes and her co-writers wrote every track -- with nothing but a melody and a guitar -- is similar to the realness that a setting like that allows.
"I love a living room -- it makes me think of my family and the safe spot where we can talk about anything," Townes tells Billboard. "It's a comfortable space to just be your vulnerable self in. I want this music to reach out with that kind of invitation."
Townes is taking that invitation one step further with her latest video for the first track of her EP, "Where You Are," which was recorded in -- you guessed it -- a living room. The 4-minute clip sees Townes in the center of the room with just a mic and acoustic guitar, which allows for her folky twang to shine even more so than it does on the recorded version.
The video is the second of its kind, as Townes previously released another living room performance video for Living Room Worktapes track "Jersey on the Wall (I'm Just Asking)." But unlike the heartbreaking story of loss in that song, "Where You Are" is an ode to love.
"'Where You Are' is about love seeking you out wherever you may be and about being there for the people you love no matter what," Townes says. "I had a blast writing this song with my friends Daniel Tashian and Keelan Donovan. The melody found us in the middle of a conversation about how love can be measured by how long you are willing to wait in a ticket line for somebody."
Townes recently played "Where You Are" as well as two other Living Room tracks at the first-ever Billboard Live & CMT ...y showcase on Monday, June 4 in Nashville. The Canada native also took part in her first CMA Fest with a handful of performances throughout the week.
Watch Townes' "Where You Are" living room video below.
'Whitney' details what happened to the late, great Whitney Houston – and drops a few shocking revelations along the way. Read our review.
Watching this electrifying and empathetic look at the life of Whitney Houston, you keep wanting to reach into the screen and nudge Whitney toward a different path – one that ends a lot differently. That’s wishful thinking, of course, not to mention hopelessly naïve. You can’t trace the downward trajectory of Whitney’s later years – she died at 48 in 2012 of an accidental drowning in a Beverly Hill hotel bathroom (with traces of cocaine and marijuana found in her system) – and still underestimate the strength of the demons that chased this massively talented African-American singer for most of her existence.
Following on the heels of Nick Broomfield’s 2017 Showtime doc, Whitney: Can I Be Me,this portrait from Kevin Macdonald (Marley, One Day in September) cuts deeper into its subject’s tortured psyche while perhaps shortchanging the inexhaustible range of her talent. There are clips capturing some of her best performances, from her debut TV appearanceat 19 singing “Home” from The Wiz to the 1980’s power dynamics of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and her arguable career peak belting out “The Star-Spangled Bann...Super Bowl. She made history in The Bodyguard (1992), not just for its chart-topping songs, but for singing “I Will Always Love You” to Kevin Costner – and persuading multiracial audiences to embrace it. Still, what Whitney offers as a film is not a career retrospective, but a portrait of a life out of balance, the thing that happens when talent sparks an overweening fame that makes a normal day-to-day existence virtually impossible.
It’s late in the film when Houston’s longtime assistant Mary Jones reveals that Whitney was ...as a child by her cousin, singer Dee Dee Warwick, who died in 2008. A few critics have argued that this revelation, especially in the final third of the film, is exploitation – a cheap trick to turn the film into a mystery solved. Instead, the disclosure works as a defining moment that informs everything we learned previously about Houston: her need to keep things secret, to hide her pain, to internalize rather than let it bleed. Most importantly, it underlines her desire to play-act the so-called “normal” life befitting a megastar, one who also happens to be a troubled wife (to R&B singer Bobby Brown) and mother to their daughter, Bobbi Kristina, who died in 2015 after a bathtub incident similar to her mother’s.
And so the film piles up evidence that refutes the Hollywood-friendly notion that she was always a carefree, joyous girl who sang in the choir the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The film exposes this version as a myth. What Macdonald shows is a child of divorce whose mother, gospel-singer Cissy Houston, and manager-father John Houston both had affairs. The former had a dalliance with the minister of their church; the latter skimmed funds from his daughter’s business. The scars never healed.
So Whitney took refuge with her school friend, right-hand and reported lover Robyn Crawford, who does not appear in the film. It’s through the testimony of others that Crawford emerges as the unshakable support system that Houston lost when she married Brown. It wasn’t just his jealous hold on his wife, but her need for the “My Prerogative” singer to give her street cred as a straight icon, not to mention a bad-boy curative for those who thought Whitney had sold out to white commercialism.
Substance abuse remains a constant in her life as her brothers, Michael and Gary, reveal that their early experimentation included her. As was her custom, Whitney kept it hid. In the most stonewalling interview in the film, Brown refuses to acknowledge that his wife’s lifetime dependence on weed and cocaine had an effect on her life and art. So Macdonald shows us Whitney in late-career concerts – her voice in shocking disrepair – as her once loving fans unleash a chorus of boos. There’s rehab, then relapses, scary weight loss and an interview with Diane Sawyer in which Houston futilely tries to put a hopeful face on her own disintegration (“Crack is whack”). Record execs from Clive Davis to L.A. Reid claim to have had no knowledge of the state of her inability to hold it together. And so a pattern emerges of friends and even family on the payroll propping up a fallen idol so as not to kill the goose that laid the gold records.
Though Macdonald offers the sight and sound of Whitney in interviews and home movies, she is never heard grappling with the grave issues the film raises. The movie is unflinching is letting us see the zombified copy of herself that Whitney became. But that’s the power of the best documentaries, the ones that tell it like it is without denigrating the glory that was. Whitney belongs in that treasured company.
Concert Review: Go-Go’s Have the Beat — and Bassoons, Too — at Hollywood Bowl
The first of three area reunion shows for the 80s girl group was an orchestral affair.
The Go-Go’s have never had a harmonic bicoastal convergence like the one they’re enjoying in both Los Angeles and New York this month. On the east coast, Broadway is currently playing host to previews of “Head Over Heels” — not the real Go-Go mania, but an incredible simulation. Out west, the group kicked off a three-night reunion residency Monday evening at the Hollywood Bowl, where the fireworks are not between Kathy Valentine’s and the rest of the band’s lawyers (she’s back!) but above the bandshell.
There’s a funny kind of reversal going on here, though. When it was announced that “Head Over Heels” would use the band’s music as a song score for a theatrical musical-comedy, a lot of people naturally feared how their songs might lose their rock and roll luster in being bigger and Broadway-ized. Yet their ‘80s and ‘90s hits are rendered pretty faithfully, instrumentally, anyway, by an all-female pit band. Meanwhile, it’s at their own appearances at the Bowl that the music is being treated with some additional pomp and circumstance, in the form of backing by the L.A. Philharmonic for a good portion of their setlist. For the purposes of this engagement, they got the beat, and the bassoons, too.
The music of the Go-Go’s isn’t as inherently cinematic as that of some of the other acts who’ve shared the stage with an in-house orchestra at the Bowl; the Moody Blues they’re not. But that didn’t mean the marriage Monday night wasn’t fun, whether the Phil was working in tandem with the style of the band’s songs or a little bit in opposition. If you’d taken a look at the group’s recent setlists, you probably figured it was a given the orchestra would join in on the opening number, “This Town,” a moody favorite with a lush new arrangement that brought out more of the tension in the tune, making the group’s old Hollywood haunts sound like a place James Bond might stop by. On the other hand, you would have lost a bet if you made a common-sense wager that the eternally goofy “Cool Jerk” would be one of the songs the Philharmonic sat out. The orchestra joined in on that one too, even taking time out for an extended mid-song fanfare that no one could possibly conceivably do the Watusi to. This 90-piece-plus rendition of “Cool Jerk” was as ridiculous as it sounds, and as completely delightful.
For about half of the 16 songs, the orchestra sat on their nimble hands and allowed the Go-Go’s to be their unencumbered, scrappier selves, which was a cool perk, too. These three Bowl shows (wrapping up on the 4th) follow a pair of out-of-town warm-up gigs the band did sans violins at theaters in Oakland and San Diego last week. Those might’ve been a bit more fun for fans in their X T-shirts who wanted to be reminded of the days when the Go-Go’s “got our start just one mile from here,” as Jane Wiedlin reminded the crowd, at the Masque. If the energy seemed a bit diffuse at times at the Bowl, that might have had less to do with the presence of a conductor than just how spread out the members were, even though Belinda Carlisle eventually skipped or sashayed around to the other members, like she was doing her own tour of the Bowl’s vast stage.
CREDIT: CHRIS WILLMAN
It was an ever-so-slight spoiler that, just as Valentine has come back into the group, Gina Schock is out, not because of any drama but because, according to Carlisle, she’s recovering from surgery. (Her longtime drum tech, Chris Arredondo, filled her seat… or, as Carlisle put it in during some improv in “Cool Jerk,” he “sat on his ass and gave us some class.”) It’s fun seeing the understudy finally get the lead, but does it feel a little wrong seeing a dude at center stage? Yeah, just a bit.
Yet with or without a key member, the band was tight and spirited, and there was every reason to be pleased they’ve gotten it back together for this victory lap, just two years after their farewell tour. (The members have explained in interviews that they didn’t mean to quit playing live altogether – just the wandering minstrel part.) Carlisle still gets her Ann-Margret on as effectively as ever, Wiedlin still twirls like it’s 1981, and Valentine and Charlotte Caffey still provide rock-solid modesty. Schock’s absence is as good a reason as any why they need to do this again — even if it remains just a localized thing — and really get their reunion right: “Head Over Heels” shouldn’t be the only place people can go to hear a song as great as “Head Over Heels.”
Sir Mix-a-Lot on New House-Flipping TV Show and Deeper Message Behind ‘Baby Got Back’
‘Sir Mix-a-Lot’s House Remix’ star talks “signing asses” and what he changed for the “Baby Got Back” video
Rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot , born Anthony Ray, has turned his longtime side hustle of designing and flipping houses into a new reality show called 'Sir Mix-a-Lot's House Remix.'
“Some of these rappers is kind of dainty,” Sir Mix-a-Lot says as he pumps gas en route to his Seattle home. “They think it makes them look rich if they got clean fingernails, but every now and then you gotta get ’em dirty.”
The rapper born Anthony Ray has turned his longtime side hustle of designing and flipping houses into a new reality show on DIY Network called Sir Mix-a-Lot’s House Remix. Like The Vanilla Ice Project (“I love it,” Ray beams enthusiastically. “I watch it more than any other show.”), the show finds the 54-year-old surveying different properties, choosing a fixer-upper and then drastically remodeling and selling it. During the premiere episode (which airs July 4th at 5 p.m. and July 7th at 7 p.m. local time), the affable rapper blends a hyper-charming, easygoing personality with actual fix-it skills as he attempts to remove a jacuzzi from a house and make a table out of a tree he was forced to cut down.
It’s admittedly an odd career trajectory for the rapper, who scored his first hit 30 years ago with “Posse on Broadway” before becoming a Seattle star with the release of 1988’s Swass and 1989’s Seminar. But third album Mack Daddy, and its second single “Baby Got Back,” catapulted the rapper from local legend to universal household name. The Rick Rubin-produced song was an ostensible ode to ass that incisively doubled as an indictment on media culture, body image and mainstream (read: white) perceptions of beauty.
The song, inspired by the rapper and his then-girlfriend seeing a bevy of skinny white models on a Budweiser commercial, spent seven months on the Billboard Hot 100 and has since been sampled and licensed endlessly. (Mix’s favorite version: Nicki Minaj’s 2014 hit “Anaconda.”) The Grammy-winning rapper still performs regularly (“I actually drive to all my shows,” he says with a laugh), and while his star power may not be as indelible as before, he’s long ensured a permanent spot in the music and pop culture canon.
Do you prefer to be called Sir, Mix or Anthony? Most people just say Mix because it’s less syllables that Anthony, but I’m not into that ego thing. Anything but “asshole” is fine with me. In this business, you grow thick skin quick.
So the obvious question: Why does Sir-Mix-a-Lot have a show about flipping houses? [Laughs] I wasn’t really interested in doing a show at all. The last thing people need is another one of these, but every time I’ve bought a house, I always bought ’em in down markets. The only thing that doesn’t drop in a down market is entertainment money. I’ve probably flipped around five homes and own four more.
How do we go from that to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s House Remix? I build a lot of stuff, but I’m not a “construction guy.” But I’m one of these guys that sits with his hands on his hips and tells you I’m gonna fix everything. [Laughs] When I bought one house, it was nothing like it is now and everybody started saying, “Who designed this?” and “Whose idea was this?” It was me. The producer looked at the before-and-after of the house and he was like, “You really did this?” I ain’t building no damn house, but I’m not one of these cats that’s scared to pick up a hammer.
Did you ever consider calling the show Flip Hop? Y’know, actually I did.
Really? That was just a joke. They wanted something with “Mix” in it. I personally didn’t care, I probably would’ve preferred that actually, but they wanted it. Someone [at the network] suggested Sir Flips-a-Lot and I said, “Hell no. I’ll pull out a gun and blow your ass away if you make that the title.” I didn’t want any “Sir” in it at all.
Wait, but if they’re proposing Sir Flips-a-Lot, why wouldn’t they call the show Sir Fix-a-Lot? I don’t want that either.
Doesn’t that make more sense, though? Yeah it would, but you know, they were saying “flips” as in flips a lot of houses but still man, that’s cornball.
That’s fair. If I went to Seattle and saw a guy named Sir Flips-a-Lot, I would think it’d be like a Medieval Times character. Yeah, but if you were watching HGTV and you saw a guy named Sir Flips-a-Lot, you’d be like, “Oh, this is a guy that flips houses.”
But if there was a corny guy named Sir Flips-a-Lot on HGTV and you saw that, you would definitely try to sue him, right? [Laughs] Oh definitely, yeah yeah. We gotta do it, man. But there’s a whole lot of Sir everything. Let’s face it: It all came from Lancelot, I think. I don’t know.
Let’s move on. You say in the show, “I love big kitchens and I cannot lie.” That’d be a weird thing to lie about. Yeah, it is kind of strange and I do have a big one too, man. I like kitchens. I’m a kitchen and bathroom freak. You could actually – and I mean literally – get a Volkswagen in my shower at my house. I spend so much time on the road, I got to see the presidential suite at the ARIA [hotel in Las Vegas] and when I saw that, that’s what gave me the inspiration for the shower in my house.
You may want to rephrase “I’m a bathroom freak.” People might take that the wrong way. Or they might take it the right way [laughs]. Depends on what she looks like, right?
When you go into other people’s homes, do you silently judge them and their choices? I turn it off most of the time. But I do go into houses and I’ll look at something and it’s all about what you like, though. I’m not a gimmicky guy with houses. That’s one thing I learned the hard way. I bought my first house back in the 1980s when everything was stark-white, Miami Vice-looking stuff and I was doing all that to my house. When that stuff went out of style, people would walk in and be like “Woo-wee.” I did an interview and the start of it was, “Mix-a-Lot met us at the front door in his nice, but dated, home.” Oh my God [laughs]. But I’ve learned to think about time and what time is gonna say about this house.
There was one thing on House Remix I found implausible. You show the finished home to potential buyers and they just say hello like Sir Mix-a-Lot didn’t just open the door and surprise them. I’d probably go, “Why is Sir Mix-a-Lot here showing me a home?” [Laughs] Well, this is interesting, okay? Right now I am walking in a store full of people and nobody knows who I am. I’m in a T-shirt and sweatpants and I got a headset on and I’m talking to you as I walk around looking for something bad for me to eat. And nobody is saying a word [Laughs]. Now, if I was wearing my hat and my necklace and stuff, they’d be like, “Hey, wait a minute.” Some people always say, “You look like somebody I know. Were you ever on TV?” “No, I’m never on TV. I probably just remind you of an uncle or something.”
Give me some advice. I live in Brooklyn and the building across the street from me is offering an 1,100-square feet two-bedroom for $1.6 million. Am I insane for living in New York? Absolutely. Two bedrooms, man, you gotta go outside and change your mind in something like that. That’s crazy. Put it this way: Eight months ago, I bought an 11,000-square foot home on 10 acres and the 10-acre parcel next door for $855,000 in a down market. Now it’s about $2.2 million.
So what’s your message to people that are considering buying 1,100 square feet for $1.65 million? Um, find a gun. Preferably get a silencer on it. And shoot yaself.
Do you make more money from hip-hop or flipping houses? Most of my money is more brand association deals. I own my publishing so that’s allowed me to leverage my brand in ways that most people cannot or will not because they won’t make any money doing it. I have re-record rights so I can record new material and place it in something. I can license out songs or stuff like that. So you’ll see “Baby Got Back” everywhere like with Nicki Minaj’s [“Anaconda”]. You’ll see it back when the Pussycat Dolls did “Don’t Cha.” That was a song of mine called “Swass.” I’d say I make 70 percent of my money that way.
What’s the best and corniest use of “Baby Got Back” you’ve heard? The best is definitely “Anaconda.” I thought she really made it her song. The worst was a local commercial that some guy did 15 years ago and didn’t pay for. It was something about books like, “I like big books!” I was like, “Man, get this shit out of here.” We sent a cease and deist [letter] cause he didn’t give a shit, but he pulled it. It was horrible.
MTV famously banned the video when it first came out. Is it weird to look back and think how nationally scandalous the song and video were given how relatively innocent it sounds now? Well, yeah. It does seem kind of silly because now little kids say “I like big butts” and they giggle about it. You had [2 Live Crew’s] Luke Skyywalker doing things 100 times harder, so it wasn’t like something crazier didn’t exist. But I think mainstream companies started to realize, “Oh, wait a minute. This song is not just about butts. This song is about culture.”
Before “Baby Got Back,” beauty was defined one way: six foot, blonde, blue eyes. That was it. That was the mainstream way of looking at it and I didn’t agree at all. I didn’t want the song to sound like an alternative to what people think beautiful is. I wanted to say: “This is beautiful. Period.” Because what you saw on TV before “Baby Got Back,” other than [The Cosby Show’s] Claire Huxtable, was that every African-American or Hispanic actress was either a prostitute or a fat maid that gave the white family good advice because they weren’t grounded enough. It was real stereotypical stuff.
And it was one of the first times that a lot of suburban white kids were exposed to the culture like that. Yeah, it really was. And it wasn’t about putting down anybody else. It was just, I was lifting people up as that’s what it was really about. And the people that didn’t get it thought, “Oh, this is just a butt song.” I remember when we put the song out, [the track’s producer] Rick Rubin said to me before it even came out, “By the time they realize what this song is actually about, they’ve already bought it.” And that’s exactly how it worked.
Do you think the video would be received differently if it came out today? Let’s face it: it would be a comedy song now. Because now that version of beauty is beautiful and not only is it accepted, it’s almost expected.
Whose idea was the fruits and the vegetables in the video? That was one of the few things I let the director get away with. Because when we showed up, there were some things wrong on that set that stuck out to me big time that I had to shoot down immediately.
Like what? The one thing that offended me the most – keep in mind this is a different era so that version of beautiful didn’t exist yet. I come in and the main girl that’s on the pedestal was wearing black and white, tiger print shorts, a big fake gold chain, a nasty looking weave and looking like a prostitute. And I realized that came from [the director’s] ignorance. It was because every time he saw a girl like that, that’s what she was on television. So I realized that this permeates every level here because he didn’t think he did anything wrong.
Was there anything else you wanted to change? I wanted to make sure that when she was on that pedestal, she always looked elevated and I wanted the two white chicks dissing her to look like they were looking up, not down. It’s a lot of little subtle stuff I put in the video that some people think is stupid, but in that era, most women did not think that was stupid. I wanted her to be elevated.
Some people would say I was sexist as an artist, especially in that era, right? So I intentionally never got to her level. I never looked at her on that pedestal as an equal and I always looked up. To some people, it was, “That’s the guy that did the ass song.” To other people it was, “Thank you, about time.” It wasn’t meant to diss white folks at all. It was just to say, hey, there’s another beauty out here, y’all.
What’s the dumbest thing you spent your “Baby Got Back” money on? Um, I did some dumb stuff. I remember flying down to Miami and I’m looking at all these drug dealers in these Benzes. I’m like, “I need one of these.” So we go to this place and buy a new Mercedes 560 SEL. I took it across the street – a new car – and tell them, “Alright, strip it down. I want this thing candy apple red with a gold grill, gold mirrors, gold door handle.” [Laughs] I had chrome rims with gold. The car was $80,000 and all the shit I put on it was probably another 80. It was the dumbest shit I ever did.
Sisqo once said after “The Thong Song” came out that countless women would throw thongs at him or ask him to sign theirs. Did anything similar happen to you? Oh yeah, that was like the norm. You gotta remember this was before social media, so you wasn’t getting snitched on every time you did something. I was signing asses so much. Signing asses was so normal, I didn’t even look at them anymore. The dumbest thing ever was men that walked up with their wives and picked up their skirt like, “What do you think?” Like all of a sudden I became the butt doctor or something.
They wanted you to be the judge? Yeah, yeah. Judge, jury and executioner.
And… did you feel comfortable in that role? Aw man, I was very comfortable with that role. The one thing about me – a lot of guys talk all this stuff about what they do sexually. I was never scared of none of that stuff. Not in that era. Please.
Any last words on why people should watch the show? I watch a lot of similar shows, and other than Ice’s, most of the time, it’s just the same, “So we’re gonna run two 2x4s across the outside of here. We’re gonna do this, then we’re gonna pull—” and it’s really predictable. And I know the house is actually the star and I get that. But we’re gonna have fun with it. You don’t call Mix-a-Lot to do it unless you’re gonna let him be him.
Or Fix-a-Lot. [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. Find that guy and call him.
Sir Mix-a-Lot’s House Remix airs on DIY Network July 4th at 5 p.m. ET/PT and July 7th at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
EXCLUSIVE: Singer Mya Talks About Her New Show, ‘5th Ward’
"I would love for people to connect to the human experience"
R&B singer Mya is hitting the small screen in Urban Movie Channel’s (UMC) gritty new series 5th Ward.
The singer and actress plays Mina, a single mother of two who is trying to take care of her sons in the historically Black neighborhood of 5th Ward in Houston.
“[The show] basically captures the gamut of problems that you can definitely see displayed in a lot of inner-city communities,” said Mya. “I really loved the script when I read it and I have a personal connection with that area.”
The “Lady Marmalade“ singer recorded her 2009 mixtape Beauty & the Streets Vol.1 in the 5th ward.
The Grammy winner channeled her experience looking after her younger brothers as a way to relate to her character.
“Dealing with the peer pressure that sons have to go through, as well as their struggle to find their manhood, was definitely something that I took into consideration,” she said. “As far as their influences in understanding them, but also as a single mother who has to crack the whip when I know my sons may be in trouble. All of that played a part.”
The series, which also stars Martin’s Carl Anthony Payne, Thomas “Nephew Tommy” Miles from Think Like a Man and Gary Sturgis, touches on race in the inner-city and is being released during a time in the country when there’s been a call to action for police reform.
“Black young men are at risk for temptation, which leads to murder, arrests, as well as the assassination by police officers,” the star said. “That is a great concern for their mothers taking that into consideration. [Mina] has to be the mother, the father and the enforcer and … not [excuse] anything, and that’s tough.”
Mya says she hopes people walk away with the lessons that the show is trying to impart.
“I would love for people to connect to the human experience,” she said. “When your back is against the wall and you feel like you’re losing faith and hope because so many things are coming at you at once, hold on. Faith, love and hope are the lessons.”
5th Ward premieres tonight on the subscription streaming service UMC, which caters to fans of Black and urban content.
If John Singleton’s FX series had just a little more focus, it would be one of the best shows of the year. As it is, it’s still an atmospheric, captivating look at how the cocaine trade came to South Central Los Angeles, set in the hot summer of 1983.
Damson Idris, Michael Hyatt, Amin Joseph, Angela Louis, Isaiah John, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Malcolm Mays, Carter Hudson, Juan Javier Cárdenas, Emily Rios, Sergio Peris-Mancheta, Filipe Valle Costa
What “Snowfall” has in spades — besides fresh white powder, anyway — is atmosphere. It’s summer in South Central Los Angeles, and hazy golden light filters through the smog and palm trees. The camera makes the most of it, luxuriating in orange glow and sunlit lens flares, giving this neighborhood, as yet untouched by crack, the sheen of paradise. Executive producer John Singleton has often depicted the idiosyncratic camaraderie of black neighborhoods in his work, and as usual he renders it to the screen with singular intimacy. “Snowfall’s” Los Angeles is oversaturated with aviator sunglasses and tidy little mustaches. Rich white people, in their mansions and industry enclaves, jump into swimming pools. Poor Mexican immigrants sleep in their cars after jobbing all day. Police make a show of stopping in black and Latino neighborhoods, and tough guys in muscle tees beat up intruders they don’t like the look of. Class and race and geography cuts in all the ways we know it does, but as “Snowfall” works to show, it’s also a relatively calm life in South Central. Unfair, but calm.
In this calm, Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a part-time stockboy and weed runner, sees an opportunity to turn around a brick of cocaine. It starts as an errand — he goes to a house to pick up $200 worth of powder for his rich friend’s girlfriend. The distributor, a cantankerous murderer named Avi (Alon Moni Aboutboul), tells him to scram — and he almost does. But something makes him turn around and level up his trade — from a packet to a brick, from $200 to $12,000. Franklin is the type of teenager who sees a little more than most: He went to a more integrated high school; he knows — but feels alienated from — rich families in the Valley. As we learn in the pilot, he decided not to go to college because he didn’t want to feel like an outsider again. The deal seems worth it to him, so he takes it. And he makes it work: He gets a gun pointed at him a few times, and he has to smooth-talk his way out of more than one rough spot, but through ingenuity and connections and chutzpah, he pulls it off, with a few thousand extra of profit just for him. He sits with his bag of money, looks out the window, and starts to cry. He knows what he has to do. But he’s also just a scared kid.
“Snowfall” is a slow, beautiful show, and it shines when Franklin is at its center. Idris, a young British actor, gives Franklin a still, tense potential energy that flits away when he’s smiling or laughing. He steals every frame he’s in — and it’s his friends, his family, and his community that make up the most lived-in and enjoyable elements of “Snowfall.”
But the show isn’t just about Franklin, and though the show is very skillfully made and impeccably performed overall, it suffers a little from the bloated storytelling issues that are currently endemic to the industry. To be clear, it’s almost good enough to make that breadth worth it — the pilot, after all, is certainly worth it. Directed by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah and written by creators and EPs Singleton, Dave Andron, and Eric Amadio, it’s a 57-minute introduction to “Snowfall,” and introduces three major storylines that barely intersect at all in the first six episodes released to critics. Along with Franklin’s harrowing journey, “Snowfall” follows Oso (Sergio Peris-Mancheta), a penniless wrestler who hustles money for a few rich druglords, and Teddy (Carter Hudson), an exiled CIA officer who discovers an off-book cocaine smuggling operation, run and approved by the CIA, to fund the right-wing, anti-Sandinista Contras in Nicaragua. Oso’s life changes dramatically when he’s introduced to the captivating and ambitious Lucia (Emily Rios), who is cleverly and carefully plotting a takeover of an entire cartel. All are compelling performers (Rios, for one, is staggering) but it’s a lot of complicated story, and unlike Franklin’s very straightforward trajectory, the other characters’ motivations are deliberately opaque or outright secret. It makes their stories harder to follow; Oso and Lucia’s story feels like it needs a road map. As compelling as the characters can be — and as interesting a spin on history “Snowfall” presents — it’s hard to understand why the show isn’t just about Idris’ phenomenal Franklin.
The answer may be simply that the show’s writers and producers — including showrunner Andron and veteran drama producer Thomas Schlamme — are just excited about the material. Other dramas cram extraneous detail into their hourlongs to pad out a slim idea, but “Snowfall” feels more like the show’s writers are tripping over themselves to include ever more fascinating details about this world into each episode. The fifth episode, “seven-four,” written by Jerome Hairston and directed by Lawrence Trilling, is arguably totally unnecessary — and yet, in depicting three very different Fourth of July celebrations, it evinces a nimble curiosity about its very different characters that proves for an unexpected, interesting hour. It’s hard to not feel the obvious consideration put into the show, which is so consciously diverse, occasionally daring, and gritty without sacrificing empathy. But it’s unfocused enough that sometimes a gut-wrenching moment is followed by a few scenes of apparent meandering.
All of “Snowfall’s” raw material is good, and the show will likely improve as all three storylines develop emotionally grounded layers. At the very least, it is hard not to feel transported to a specific time and place, to see what one particular teenage boy sees when he accepts a dangerous package.
TV Review: John Singleton’s ‘Snowfall’ on FX
Drama, 10 episodes (6 reviewed): FX, Weds. July 5, 10 p.m. 60 min.
CREW: Executive producers, John Singleton, Dave Andron, Thomas Schlamme, Eric Amadio, Michael London, Trevor Engelson
CAST: Damson Idris, Michael Hyatt, Amin Joseph, Angela Louis, Isaiah John, Alon Moni Aboutboul, Malcolm Mays, Carter Hudson, Juan Javier Cárdenas, Emily Rios, Sergio Peris-Mancheta, Filipe Valle Costa
Richard Swift Dead at 41
The singer-songwriter and producer was a member of the Shins, the Black Keys, and the Arcs
Richard Swift, April 2012 (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella)
Producer, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter Richard Swift died this morning in Tacoma, Washington, a representative confirmed to Pitchfork. He was 41 years old. A post on Swift's Facebook page read, “And all the angels sing 'Que Sera Sera.'” “Today the world lost one of the most talented musicians I know,” Dan Auerbach, Swift’s bandmate in the Black Keys and the Arcs, wrote in an Instagram post. “I will miss you my friend.”
In addition to releasing music as a solo artist, Swift was also a member of the Shins from 2011 to 2016, was the touring bassist for the Black Keys in 2014, and played drums for the Arcs. He also played keyboards for Starflyer 59 early in his career. As a producer, he worked with Foxygen, Guster, the Mynabirds, Sharon Van Etten, Damien Jurado, Pure Bathing Culture, and many others. Swift founded and owned National Freedom, a recording studio in Cottage Grove, Oregon.
Swift was born in California. He grew up living in Minnesota, Utah, and Oregon before eventually moving back to Southern California to pursue music. While working at a studio called the Green Room in Huntington Beach, Swift made his first records—Walking Without Effort and The Novelist—during his off hours in the early 2000s. (A self-taught musician and producer, he played most instruments and engineered the entire project). He signed to Secretly Canadian and re-released the projects as The Richard Swift Collection Vol. 1 in 2005. Swift’s last solo full-length under his own name was 2009’s The Atlantic Ocean. In 2016, he released a collaborative covers album with Damien Jurado.
Henry Butler, Quintessential New Orleans Pianist, Is Dead at 69
Henry Butler, right, performing during the 2011 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He was acclaimed as a member of a New Orleans piano pantheon that includes Jelly Roll Morton, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint and Dr. John.CreditRick Diamond/Getty Images
Mr. Butler commanded the syncopated power and splashy filigree of boogie-woogie and gospel and the rolling polyrhythms of Afro-Caribbean music. He could also summon the elegant delicacy of classical piano or hurtle toward the dissonances and atonal clusters of modern jazz. He could play in convincing vintage styles and sustain multileveled counterpoint, then demolish it all in a whirlwind of genre-smashing virtuosity.
Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) once described him as “the pride of New Orleans and a visionistical down-home cat and a hellified piano plunker to boot.”
Ivan Neville, who leads the New Orleans band Dumpstaphunk and recorded with Mr. Butler as part of the all-star group New Orleans Social Club, said by email on Tuesday that Mr. Butler was “an amazingly, truly gifted musician and pianist like no other.” He added, “At times it sounded like he had three or four hands instead of just two.”
Henry Butler 'The Entertainer'CreditVideo by mendocinocollege
Mr. Butler was born in New Orleans on Sept. 21, 1948, and grew up in the Calliope housing projects there, which were torn down after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Glaucoma left him blind in infancy, and he attended the Louisiana State School for the Blind in Baton Rouge (now the Louisiana School for the Visually Impaired), where he studied piano along with drums and trombone. He also learned to read classical music in Braille notation while picking up popular songs by ear.
In New Orleans, Mr. Butler had a few marathon piano lessons with Professor Longhair (Henry Roeland Byrd), and he also got to work with Mr. Booker.
Although he was surrounded by New Orleans jazz and R&B while growing up, as a young musician Mr. Butler at first disdained those traditions as “tourist music.”
“In those days, we used to see a lot of people getting drunk,” he said in an interview with NPR. “So we sort of associated this music with that kind of stuff. As I grew older, I realized it really wasn’t the music that was the problem.”
He was 14 when he began playing professionally at dances and clubs. He performed at the first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival in 1970 with fellow Southern University students, and appeared at nearly every JazzFest afterward, including this year’s.
After receiving his master’s degree, Mr. Butler returned to New Orleans and taught in the vocal program at the Performing Arts High School of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts.
In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began his recording career as a mainstream jazz musician. He had distinguished sidemen on his debut album, “Fivin’ Around,” in 1986 (including the trumpeter Freddie Hubbard) and his 1987 album, “The Village” (including Mr. Batiste, the bassist Ron Carter and the drummer Jack DeJohnette).
But beginning with his album “Orleans Inspiration” in 1990, Mr. Butler broadened his jazz to embrace New Orleans funk, R&B and blues, stretching the familiar material to incorporate everything from Schubertian harmonies to free jazz. His recognition spread; he toured nationally and internationally.
Mr. Butler performing at Jazz Standard in Manhattan in 2014 with trumpeter Steve . “No one had a left hand like him,” Mr Bernstein said. “No one on the planet. It was so strong and fast.”CreditJacob Blickenstaff for The New York Times
He also found another artistic outlet: photography.
“I wanted to see why the sighted world was so interested in looking at images on a piece of paper or a piece of canvas,” he said in a recent interview with the website Australian Musician.
In New Orleans, he photographed Mardi Gras celebrants, street scenes and the wreckage of his Mason & Hamlin piano after Katrina; his photographs were in the traveling exhibition “Sight Unseen: International Photography by Blind Artists.”
From 1990 to 1996, Mr. Butler taught at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and in 1993 he started a series of jazz camps in various cities to teach blind and vision-impaired young musicians; a 2010 documentary, “The Music’s Gonna Get You Through,” was made about them.
After returning in 1996 to New Orleans he performed steadily around the city, as well as on the road and as a guest studio musician for James Taylor, Cyndi Lauper, Irma Thomas, Odetta, Afghan Whigs and others. He released an album as a band leader every two years until Katrina struck.
Flooding destroyed his home, including not only his piano but also his recording equipment, some album master tapes and his extensive archive of live recordings and Braille music manuscripts. Copies of live recordings survived in the collection of the musician George Winston, who helped Mr. Butler select a compilation of them for Mr. Butler’s 2008 album, “PiaNOLA Live.”
Six weeks after the hurricane, leading New Orleans musicians gathered to record as the New Orleans Social Club, a lineup that included Mr. Butler, Mr. Neville, the guitarist Leo Nocentelli, the bassist George Porter Jr. of the Meters and many guests. Their album, “Sing Me Back Home,” was released in 2006. The group reconvened for occasional performances, including one that was documented for the public television series “Austin City Limits.”
After Katrina, Mr. Butler moved to Denver before settling in Brooklyn. In New York he assembled a New Orleans-flavored band, Jambalaya. He also collaborated with the trumpeter Steve Bernstein and his group the Hot 9, reviving traditional jazz tunes and New Orleans R&B with postmodern glee. Mr. Butler’s final album, “Viper’s Drag,” was made with Mr. Bernstein and the Hot 9.
“Henry was fiercely independent, and he did not want to be second fiddle to anybody,” Mr. Bernstein said. “I’d just listen to him play the tunes, and I’d record it, and I’d end up transcribing what he played for the band. So the band was three-dimensional Henry, playing something he had played once. And then he’d be improvising on top of his improvisation.”
Mr. Bernstein added: “No one had a left hand like him. No one on the planet. It was so strong and fast, and he had such control of every part of it: the tone, the dynamics, the speed. He did all these things that were so fast that no one else could do them. If you looked at his hands, they were blurs.”
Mr. Butler learned he had colon cancer in 2015 and underwent surgery. The disease returned in 2017, and he used the crowdfunding site GoFundMe.com to finance alternative therapy.
But between medical treatments, he continued to perform worldwide. After appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in April, he performed in Beijing and in Melbourne, Australia, and he was planning European dates in July. His final concert was on June 18 at a Jazz for Justice benefit in New York City.
He is survived by his brother, George Leo Butler Jr., and his longtime partner, Annaliese Jakamides.
“I don’t believe in isolation,” Mr. Butler told the New Orleans magazine“Where Y’at” in 2017. “If you can’t bring it all together, why do it? I’m not bragging, but I love the fact that I can do it all.”
The newly discovered, unreleased album from 1963 featuring the “classic quartet” finds the jazz giant thrillingly caught between shoring up and surging forth.
“Untitled Original 11383 (Take 1)” — John ColtraneVia SoundCloud
From April 1962 to September 1965, while under contract to the record label Impulse!, John Coltrane led a more or less consistent working group with the same four musicians. After his death in 1967, this group—Coltrane on tenor and soprano saxophone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums—became known as Coltrane’s “classic quartet.” The group was powerful, elegant, and scarily deep. It was also a well-proportioned framing device. It made an artist with great ambitions easier to understand.
It is possible to hear conviction and morality in some of the classic quartet’s best-known music—like the devotional A Love Supreme, recorded in late 1964—as clearly as you can hear melody or rhythm. As a consequence, all of it can appear set on one venerable plane. As it moves inexorably from ballads, blues, and folk songs into abstraction, the classic-quartet corpus can seem an index not only for the range of acoustic jazz but for possibly how to live, gathered and contained, as if it were always there. But the corpus is only what we have been given to hear. And then one day a closet door flies open, a stack of tapes fall out, and a dilemma begins.
A fair amount of Coltrane’s music has been released after the fact, but nothing that would seem, from a distance, quite so canonical as Both Directions At Once, which is 90 minutes worth of (mostly) previously unheard recordings made at Rudy Van Gelder’s studio on March 6, 1963—the middle of the classic-quartet period. The Van Gelder studio, in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, can be considered part of the framing device. It was where the group did nearly all its studio work. For reasons of acoustics, it had a 39-foot-high, cathedral-like, vaulted wooden ceiling, fabricated by the same Oregon lumber company that made blimp hangars during World War II. Coltrane’s music during that period, possibly encouraged by the cathedral-like room, became blimpier and churchier.
Why have we not heard these tapes before? It’s hard to imagine that they could have been blithely ignored or forgotten. The 2018 answer is that mono audition reels of the session were only recently found in the possession of the family of Coltrane’s first wife, Juanita Naima Coltrane. (Impulse! didn’t have the music; the label’s master tapes may have been lost in a company move from New York to Los Angeles.) The 1963 answer is unknown, and probably more complicated.
Coltrane’s contract with Impulse! called for two records a year. Whether that day’s work in March was to be conceived at the time as a whole album, or most of one, is uncertain. The extent to which you believe the record’s subtitle—The Lost Album—might be the extent to which you are excited by the news of Both Directions. I can’t quite do it, but there are other reasons to be excited.
It may be hard to hear as a coherent album for back then, though it is easy to hear it as one for now, in our current, expanded notion of what an album is. The music does not seem, in its context, to be a full step forward. It’s a little caught between shoring up and surging forth. (The after-the-fact title—alluding to a conversation Coltrane had with Wayne Shorter about the possibility of improvising as if starting a sentence in the middle, moving backward and forward simultaneously—helps turn a possible liability into a strength.) It can give you new respect for the rigor, compression, and balance of some of his other albums from the period. It is at times, as Coltrane’s son Ravi pointed out, surprisingly like a live session in a studio; parts of the music sound geared toward a captive audience. That may be the best thing about it.
Included on the album—which comes either as a single-disc version or a double-disc with alternate takes, both including extensive liner notes by historian Ashley Kahn—is a sunny, bright-tempo melody (the theme from “Vilia,” written by the Hungarian composer Franz Lehár for the operetta The Merry Widow); a downtempo, minor-key, semi-standard (“Nature Boy,” from the book of eden ahbez, the California proto-hippie songwriter); one of Coltrane’s best original lines, in four different takes (“Impressions,” which he’d been working out in concert for several years); a couple of pieces for soprano saxophone which are representative but not stunning (“Untitled Original 11383,” minor-key and modal, and “Untitled Original 11386,” with a pentatonic melody); “One Up, One Down,” a short, wily theme as a pretext for eight minutes of hard-and-fast jamming; and “Slow Blues,” about which more in a minute.
Coltrane was already building albums from disparate sessions, a practice that would soon yield 1963’s Impressions and Live at Birdland, two records that set live and studio tracks side by side. He may have been stockpiling without a clear purpose; he also had to consider what would sell. Since his recording of “My Favorite Things” in 1961—a hit by jazz terms—Coltrane had become recognizable. His subsequent working relationship with Bob Thiele, the head of Impulse!, was based on the notion that he could expand that audience, not shrink it. Six months before the Both Directions session, he’d made a record with Duke Ellington; the day after it, he’d make another with the singer Johnny Hartman. He was entering the popular artist’s paradox of striving to repeat a past success and trying not to run aground on retreads.
The sense of strength and inevitability we associate with Coltrane’s music didn’t just tumble out. It was likely a byproduct of diligence, restlessness, exhausted possibilities, obsession and counter-obsession. He thought about progress. He passed through serial phases of exploring harmonic sequences, modes, and multiple rhythms; when he acknowledged one phase in an interview, he was generally looking for the next. At the height of the classic quartet, he often didn’t have the time or psychic space for study and practice. “I’m always walking around trying to keep my ear open for another ‘Favorite Things’ or something,” he told the writer Ralph Gleason in May, 1961. “I can’t get in the woodshed like I used to. I’m commercial, man.” More: “I didn’t have to worry about it, you know, making a good record, because that wasn’t important. Maybe I should just go back in the woodshed and just forget it.” At the time, a record like Both Directions might have seemed an open admission that he could have used less worry and more woodshed.
What he meant by “another ‘Favorite Things’” might have been a similar act of counterintuition: a sweet, sentimental tune made paranormal, a curiosity that could break out beyond the normal jazz audience and anchor a hit record. If “Vilia” was intended for that role, it isn’t strong enough. “Impressions,” on Both Directions, in its first known studio recording—especially take 3—sounds sublimely focused. But I’m not sure Coltrane plays it here any better than he did sixteen months earlier at the Village Vanguard, the live version he’d choose later in 1963 when finally issuing the tune, on the record of that name. (It’s complicated, I know.)
“Slow Blues” is the one. There is no narrative here, as there sometimes was with Coltrane’s originals; it is not expressly about love or hardship or religious joy. But Coltrane turns himself inside-out. First, he phrases in bare, hesitant strokes, using negative space; then he begins to whip phrases around, repeating them up and down the horn in rapid, shinnying patterns, reaching for inexpressible sounds, getting ugly. (McCoy Tyner’s solo, directly following Coltrane’s, is tidy and elegant, thorough in its own radically contrasting way.) There is the idea of the “new,” and then there is something like this track, which transcends the burden of newness.
I imagine three possible problems someone might have had with putting “Slow Blues” on a record in 1963. One is that, at 11 and a half minutes, it would have taken up a third of the record. Two is that a long blues probably wouldn’t be properly commercial unless there was some sort of story attached to it. And three is that, as was the case with “Impressions,” “Slow Blues” doesn’t explicitly show progress. Hear Coltrane on the long, slow “Vierd Blues” from the Sutherland Hotel in Chicago in 1961. It’s not great sound quality, but it is great in every other way. “Slow Blues” grows from the same root. It’s no “better,” really, but it’s better to have more of it, and better recorded. It is possible to take in Both Directions At Once, some of it middling by Coltrane’s standards and some of it extraordinary by anyone’s, without much thought about sellability or progress. In an ideal case, both qualities are overrated anyway. This is an ideal case.
Tracklist: 01 – When Will I Learn 02 – History 03 – In the Waiting 04 – Birdsong 05 – California 06 – For Now 07 – Lonesome 08 – Beth 09 – Souvenirs 10 – All Along Watch: https://www.youtube.com/w...n7EmLMYu3M
Eurythmics talk to SDE about their back catalogue and the new vinyl reissues
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox answer SDE questions…
Today sees the reissue of three of Eurythmicsalbums on vinyl: 1985’s Be Yourself Tonight, Revenge from 1986 and Savage from ’87. Each album is newly remastered from the original tapes and pressed on 180g vinyl. Furthermore, they all come with a download code for hi-res audio. SDE caught up with Dave Stewart and Annie Lennoxand asked them about their output and this new reissue campaign… SuperDeluxeEdition: Eurythmics always seemed to operate and exist in its own bubble. To me, it never really felt like you were ‘competing’, as such, with other bands of the era, you were just doing your own thing. Do you agree, and if so, how did you manage to operate in this way?
Dave Stewart: Yes, at the beginning we were in a tiny bubble – literally just the two of us discussing and experimenting, we rarely let anyone in to see or hear. Later, although Annie and I creatively managed to put ourselves back in that bubble, by various means, there were a lot more people around us so it became harder and harder.
Annie Lennox: We both have eclectic musical tastes and reference points which informed our work over the years, so we never thought of ourselves as being part of one single genre. We always evolved and changed stylistically, so we were never stuck with one sound or one approach and in that way I think we were particularly individualistic.
SDE:Your debut In The Garden is an undiscovered beauty of an album. When it failed to deliver commercial success, how did you deal with that?
Annie: To be fair, In the Garden is an unorthodox, experimental record, which could easily be described as avant garde. We were always trying to push boundaries and explore new approaches to creating sounds and musical styles. The only challenging part of not having commercial success, was how to survive long enough to record another album, as we were pretty strapped for cash in those days, so it was somewhat daunting to keep afloat.
Dave: That’s when we decided to take even more control by actually getting second hand equipment and stop using traditional studios. We spent months working on the Sweet Dreams album without the cost hanging over our heads and I think that allowed us to get lost in sound and find our way to what I used to call electro-soul.
SDE: What was it about the ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)’ single that connected with the record-buying public across the world?
Dave: That remains a bit of a mystery to both of us I think. Analyzing the track, it has hardly anything on it, but everything is a hook of some kind, very definite or confident from the very first down beat of the huge drum sound and the synth riffs merged together with a four on the floor bass drum. It was on only four tracks and already sounded huge, so when Annie started sing “Sweet Dreams are made of this” it evidently was !
Annie: It’s more of a mantra than a song. The deeper meaning of the song isn’t all that apparent, but people identify with it in their own ways.
Dave: The weird thing is it’s most often played at a really “up” moment in a club , festival or any event like a big celebration but at the time we thought of it as a very dark song, which is why the bridge has the lyrics “hold your head up, keep your head up” etc.
Annie: It seems to have a celebratory aspect to it, that I personally didn’t intend, but songs can be interpreted in infinite ways. I’m delighted that it’s such a classic song that people love, right across generations and it’s still constantly being played and referred to decades down the line.
Dave: It’s almost like ‘Happy Birthday’ now, the amount of times I hear it.
SDE: The misunderstandings around the ‘1984’ soundtrack are well documented, but the final ‘music derived from’ album is about as strange and beguiling a long-player as any band ever delivered, eighteen months after having a US number one single! It’s highly regarded by Eurythmics aficionados, so I was wondering if you could describe your feelings about this record and where you think it stands against your other work?
Annie: 1984 is one of my personal favourite Eurythmics records. We were both really pleased and proud of it, especially as we had to write and record it all in three weeks.
Dave: Well, it’s a very experimental soundtrack album; we loved it while we were making it and still do. The use of Junkanoo drums (which had fire burning under them before starting to loosen the skins) are as about as threatening a sound as you can hear and the 1984 book and film was such a scary vision of the future [and] we wanted to capture that.
Annie: We thought we’d made a magnificent, edgy piece of work, that was very fitting for the time. It still sounds fresh and even futuristic, despite the fact it was recorded 34 years ago!
Dave: In a song like Julia, Annie’s voice and the effects around it were designed to make the listener feel the sadness and yet there’s beauty in it, trying to remain human when all around was inhumane. For some reason, Annie and I together are good and capturing beauty and sadness intermingled and that feeling appears on many of our recordings.
SDE: Five albums into your career, you kept things simple by recording ‘Be Yourself Tonight’ on an 8-track recorder. Can you explain why you chose to do that, when convention would normally dictate at this point that ‘bigger is better’ and you could have synchronised two 24-track machines and gone overdub crazy!
Dave: I think I suggested that we go back to the 8-track recorder as I could see how easy it was to go overdub crazy even on a 24-track machine. Anyway, I liked making each album an adventure and so did Annie, you know… get away from everyone and everything to immerse ourselves in the creative process. In this case, we couldn’t have chosen a more obscure place to do it deep within some kind of french youth club !
Annie: It was a great time, living in Paris in the Eighties. I remember going out to buy French film posters and fairy lights to decorate the space so it had a special atmosphere. I feel as if chapters of my life have been expressed and defined by the records we made.
Each record has it’s own identity and set of circumstances, very often made in intense situations where we were continuously working, travelling, writing, recording, giving interviews, making videos, performing, rehearsing and creating.
SDE: ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ has become one of the best-known tracks from Be Yourself Tonight, but Adrian with Elvis Costello is a gem. How did that come about?
Dave: Actually, Would I Lie To you gets a lot more airplay and There Must Be An Angel being number 1 in the UK was obviously a very well know track in UK and Europe, but weirdly enough not in The States, even with Stevie Wonder’s amazing harmonica solo. Sisters was more successful in USA along with Would I lie To Youbecause it has an R&B feel they understood immediately and of course with Sisterswe had the Queen of Soul Music herself, Aretha Franklin, and I must say Annie stepped up to the plate as you can imagine how daunting that must be to sing a duet round one microphone with Aretha! Elvis was so sweet as he came all the way to our little room within this french youth club and when he sang on Adrian he had to be in the same room as us and our gear as we recorded like that – no vocal booth – but he is such a great vocalist and Annie and I were fans so we had a great time with him
Annie: We were very excited to work with him, as we’d both loved and admired him as a song writer and recording artist. We’d seen him perform with The Attractions on the first UK Stiff Tour and he was spectacularly edgy and intense – polished to the point of being intimidating. He was a real gentleman with us and I was amazed that he actually decided to sing with me, as I thought he’d be a lot more “scary” than he was. Thanks for that Elvis!
SDE: ‘Revenge’ is less experimental than what came before and is more of a play-it-live, stadium-filling rock/pop album. There’s some great songs on the record, but was there an element of ‘let’s take it easy and enjoy the success’? How do you feel about the album now?
Annie: I think Revenge was Eurythmics opportunity to step into the role of full blown “rockers” at that time. But believe me, there was nothing “ let’s take it easy” about it!
Dave: I think the album sounds great. The opening of Thorn in My Side with just acoustic 12 string and Clem’s drums sounded like they fill a stadium or Arena with minimal effort and when we played live they did – Missionary Man had same power about it . Yes, we knew we had “entered the ring”, so to speak, and at that point we ready to take on any audience and we launched into a set of massive shows including playing at the Reichstag at the Berlin Wall and many other outdoor venues and Annie was like a whirling dervish or a shaman throughout the whole length of that Revenge tour , we worked harder for that 12 or 18 months than any other.
Annie: Those stage performances were high level energy driven under super hot stage lights, in outfits that felt like being in a sauna! The songs are challenging for any singer, especially to perform live night after night…
SDE: ‘Savage’ feels like a reaction to ‘Revenge’. Bleak, experimental and inward-facing. Do you agree that this is probably the best Eurythmics album and will you promise to get Sony to reissue the video album on blu-ray with a 5.1 surround sound mix!?
Dave:Savage was made in a tiny “Fumoir”, again about the size of a closet or the “vestry” in the church, where we finished sweet dreams album . The whole album was made using a Synclavier, that only Olle Romo, our drummer, had the patience to work out how to use. I bought the Synclavier from Jack Nitzsche, the producer, songwriter and film composer and it weighed a ton – nowadays could have all that brain in a cellphone. The sounds that were loaded in it came from recordings Conny Plank and I made in Japan, using a recorder in a bamboo forest or basically just hitting boxes and stuff , Olle and I would take my guitar riffs and chop them up or make crazy loops out of banging on chairs or stairwells of the Chateau. It was probably the most experimental recording experience and a difficult one for anyone except myself and Olle to join in with, as everything took so long to program on this infernal machine. By the time Annie heard about 8 or 9 finished tracks she wasn’t keen on them at all, but something happened when we booked into the studio in Paris to do vocals and Annie came out with some incredible lyrics and vocals that give me goosebumps to this day .
Annie: Eurythmics made so many records in quite short periods of time. I think we probably released an album or more every year for a decade. People have various ‘takes’ on our music along with a whole variety of preferences. I think there’s a record, or song for almost every mood. Savage is particularly dark. I can’t remember much about recording it to be honest. For me in the long form video serves the album in a very powerful way, but then again.. I’ve rarely watched it since it was made.
SDE: Having produced almost everything yourself, why did you call on the services of Jimmy Iovine for ‘We Too Are One’?
Dave: Annie wanted someone else in the room to have an objective opinion , in the end I think it made the album more generic and weak, not because of Jimmy, but because there was no ‘bubble’ anymore !
Annie: As the eighties were coming to a close, I was tired, unhappy and miserable too often, to be honest.
SDE: When ‘Peace’ was reissued as part of the 2005 remastering campaign, many songs ended up being alternate mixes, most notably ‘I’ve Tried Everything’. I’m presuming that this wasn’t an accident, so could you explain the reasons for those changes?
Dave: It was probably a chance to choose different mixes on reflection , but I don’t remember much about it.
Annie: Sorry, but I can’t remember!!
SDE: ‘Relations’ between you and Sony seemed to be at a bit of a low, in recent years. You are now cooperating on this vinyl reissue campaign. What has changed?
Annie: Eurythmics were nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Sony suddenly woke up to our previous existence and wanted to create something for their ‘Legacy’ department!!
Dave: I was just amazed that they had woken up and realised that Eurythmics existed on their label!
SDE: Would you advise loyal fans who already own the original vinyl pressings to pick the new ones, up or is the campaign more about making the records available to a new generation? i.e. will they really sound better than the originals?
Annie: Both!! I think Eurythmics have some incredibly stalwart fans, who have been on the journey since the 80’s and younger people are discovering us along the way because the songs are essentially timeless.
Dave: I think it’s more about awareness because the original ones should still sound great as long as they’re not full of scratches
SDE: 1984 (For The Love Of Big Brother) is not controlled by Sony and is therefore missing from this campaign – however there was a red vinyl version that came out for Record Store Day. Will that be reissued and available widely on black vinyl post-RSD?
Dave: I think it should be and will campaign for it
SDE: Since the 2005 reissue campaign, seven Eurythmics studio albums have seen 30th anniversaries come and go with the occasion unmarked by any kind of celebration, reissue or box set. With landmark pop/rock albums now regularly being reissue as 5 or 6 disc box sets with demos, outtakes, bonus tracks, 5.1 surround mixes etc. do you have plans to work through your catalogue and create similar sets?
Annie: Well, there’s been a lot of activity put into putting the archive into better shape, which is a great thing, as it had been lying dormant in unknown vaults for years.
Dave: I was always up for doing all this kind of stuff; as you say every band or artist from Bowie to Metallica do it, but I don’t think Annie was or is so keen on the idea. She may view it differently in the future, not sure…
Annie: I do feel that the music industry has exploited artists in every which way, so I am somewhat disgruntled by the truth that artists are still being flagrantly exploited, robbed and cheated.
I very rarely look back to listen to past recordings, but when I do, it’s like listening to years months, days and nights of dedication to being a bone fide working performing artist, singer songwriter.
SDE: When you step back and remember the Eurythmics achievements, what are you most proud of?
Dave: Making some great music and giving some great performances and touching people through our work.
Annie: I think we can feel really proud of everything we did to survive and continue trying to create in situations that were immensely difficult and challenging.
Only Dave and I know what that journey was like, everything else is ‘chopped liver’ as they say!
SDE: Is another Eurythmics album even remotely likely? If not, what about a reunion tour, for old time’s sake?
Dave: I am all for keeping the music alive
Be Yourself Tonight, Revenge and Savage are reissued today on vinyl. In The Garden, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) and Touch were re-released earlier this year and We Too Are One and Peace are scheduled for November 2018.
The eclectic Icelandic singer broke out as a solo artist with a kaleidoscope of sounds neatly packaged for the masses.
Björk’s art-pop masterpiece Debut -- released 25 years ago on July 5, 1993 -- still sounds like a color-burst hodgepodge of both wide-eyed naiveté and expert craft a quarter-century later, more rambunctious and unfettered than a kindergarten playpen, but with a veteran's eye for packaging for mass consumption. It oozes a wow-I-just-discovered-everything-and-it’s-all-so-wonderful-and-fun vibe, yet it remains far more urgent now than the grunge and Britpop works that served as the 27-year-old's alt-pop savant's chart competition at the time.
Musically, it's everywhere. It skips from the late-'80s dance scene (including elements of techno, trip-hop, and house) to jazz, acid jazz, world beat, opera, classical, African, and beyond. But the set ends up far more than the sum of its parts, thanks to Björk’s bubbling-over persona and trademark ascending, emotionally carpet-bombing vocal performances.
Like most first official solo LPs, Debut is a culmination of ideas stretching back to her earliest days as a songwriter. Back then, as she began playing with punk bands in Iceland in the '80s, including Spit and Snot, KUKL and most notably, college-rock favorites The Sugarcubes, she began to realize the limitations of their sounds. None were fits for the whirling dervish of music in Björk’s head -- a sound she’d been developing on the side since she was a small girl, one who'd even released an Icelandic-language self-titled album of covers and originals as an 11-year-old in 1977.
So, Björk left for England, where she reveled in the late-‘80s/early-‘90s dance scene, and cut demos with Graham Massey of Manchester electronic outfit 808 State. At the same time, she indulged her love of other forms of music, recording jazz standards with harpist/composer Corky Hale (including “I Remember You” and an early version of “Like Someone in Love"). But these eclectic sounds all called for an element of consistency, a bowtie over the box. Enter Nellee Hooper, esteemed producer behind artists like Sinead O’Connor and Massive Attack. Hooper, who would go on to work with megastars like U2 and Madonna, brought a steady pop sheen -- one Björk was initially hesitant to embrace - to the variety of sounds here, tying an otherwise deeply chaotic album into something that flows up, down, all over the place, but all together at once.
The 11 tracks for Debut were pulled together in studios from London to Mumbai to Los Angeles, with engineer Marius de Vries also helping Björk mold her songs with a modern vision, one full of synths, electronics and studio wizardry. It opens with “Human Behavior,” a mysterious jam written when Björk was just a teenager, sounding as if mined from the depths of the Amazon Jungle or the Arctic North -- both? -- with tribal drums and clanging ice flutes. It hikes to an emotional peak with the singer chanting about just how fucked up, moody and insane we all are. This is how we welcome solo, adult Björk to the world.
Next, via "Crying," we see the London big city life through the eyes and ears of our impressionable 20-something, perhaps isolated or confused by her new home: “I travel all around the city / Go in and out of locomotives / All alone / There’s no one here / And people everywhere.” Its engine is a four-on-the-floor dance rhythm and hummable dun-dahhhhhhhhhhhhh melody. Then she gets straight up sex-as-a-mystical-experience on “Venus as a Boy,” one of the LP’s most tender and downright explicit tunes. Over a nightlight electric key melody, sweeping strings and clanging percussion, she unfurls about the heavens of seduction: “His wicked sense of humor/ Suggests exciting sex/ His fingers they focus on her… He believes in beauty.”
And after all that partying in peak-ecstasy England, Björk wants to dance: “There’s More to Life Than This” is a house-party banger all about how much bangin’ house parties suck: “There’s more to life than this,” she whispers to her friend, as you can almost imagine them in feather boas, ducking and diving past partygoers in a massive London warehouse. They sneak off into the bathroom and whisper: “I could make a boat and sneak off to this island,” and “Let’s go down to the harbor and jump between the boats. There’s more to life than this.”
But then there’s “Big Time Sensuality,” perhaps the album’s pulsating heart, a dance floor fire-starter with a melody to die for. Keys jump and beats bounce, as our protagonist is again in love and in lust and screaming about it: “I can sense it / Something important is about to happen… It takes courage to enjoy it / The hardcore and the gentle / Big time sensuality.” The melody of the chorus brings you nearly as high.
Youthful discovery is the soul of Debut. On “Like Someone in Love,” she finds it in an old jazz standard, going full operatic over heart-destroying harps. Then on “One Day,” she finds it in a deep-space musical exploration of dance beats, baby talk, and mystical visions of erupting volcanoes. “Aeroplane” is a free jazz freakout about following your heart, while “Come to Me” has Björk playing earth momma, protecting a loved one as much as discovering herself. The closer, “Anchor Song,” is a cacophony of horns with Björk getting elemental: “I live by the ocean/ And during the night/ I dive into it/ Down to the bottom/ Underneath all currents/ And drop my anchor/ This is where I’m staying / This is my home.”
On Debut, Björk gives us all the ingredients should would go on to explore over nearly three more decades -- art and pop, often in unequal amounts, and perhaps never again as balanced as they were here. She’d go on to release another solid gold LP, Post, in 1995, before steering her ship more towards art than commerce, a decision that’d bring us everything from the warm IDM lullabies of 2001’s Vespertine to the more avant-garde electronic balladry of 2017’s Utopia, and all the wild sounds and looks in between.
Do yourself a favor and revisit this album today: Debut marks the expansive beginnings to one of the most exciting careers in modern music, while lobbing bombs on the dance floor and throwing anchors into the depths of your heart.
R.I.P. Persuaders lead singer Tony "Showtime" Riley
(July 5, 2018) A little over a decade ago, I wrote for the first time about the talented singer with the audacious name. Native New Yorker Tony "ShowTime" Riley became the lead singer of The Persuaders, and showed that he had the chops to take over a stage with his expressive lead vocals. ShowTime found his way to audiences in several groups over the years, and had an enviable career that lasted over forty years. We’re sad to report today that Tony ShowTime Riley has died.
Tony Riley was a staple in the R&B world, both as a solo artist and as a member of various groups. But it was during his time with the Persuaders that he traveled the world, working in multi-artist shows with a who’s who of soul music, such as Blue Magic, Ray Goodman & Brown, The Manhattans, The Stylistics and many more.
Tony took over the lead vocals on Made To Be Loved, the 2006 comeback album for The Persuaders, and won over a new generation of fans for his work. He also subsequently led the group The R&B Revue with some of his musical friends, regularly touring the East Coast. He continued to perform well into 2018.
Earlier this year, Riley had released a Greatest Hits album that included some of his personal favorite recordings.
Tony “Showtime” Riley was a man who brought a classic soul sound to everything he did, and he will be greatly missed.
By Chris Rizik
Eugene Pitt, Doo-Wop Singer With Staying Power, Dies at 80
Eugene Pitt, seated, and the other members of the Jive Five in an undated publicity photo.CreditSterling Press, from the book "Doo Wop"
By Daniel E. Slotnik
July 5, 2018
Eugene Pitt, the lead singer of the Jive Five, a doo-wop group that reached the Top 10 in 1961 with “My True Story” and endured long past doo-wop’s heyday by mingling their sound with ascendant genres like funk, disco and soul, died on June 29 at his home in Newberry, S.C. He was 80.
The cause was complications of diabetes, his daughter Starr Pitt said.
Mr. Pitt formed the Jive Five in the late 1950s with Jerome Hanna, Thurmon Prophet, Richard Harris and Norman Johnson — four friends with whom he sang on the streets of Brooklyn. Like many young vocalists of the era, they sang doo-wop, the romantic, harmonic brand of pop music that became popular alongside early rock ’n’ roll and contributed to the sound of soul.
Mr. Pitt’s rich, rangy voice became the group’s centerpiece, sometimes soaring to a falsetto over the deeper harmonies of the others. The group was often billed, on record and in concert, as Eugene Pitt and the Jive Five or the Jive Five featuring Eugene Pitt, and Mr. Pitt remained the leader, and sometimes the only original member, as others came and went.
Their first and biggest hit was “My True Story,” a lament of lost love written by Oscar Waltzer and Mr. Pitt and punctuated by Mr. Pitt’s keening repetition of the word “cry.” In 1961 the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 3 on the pop chart. It became the Jive Five’s signature for the next five decades.
Jive Five - My True StoryCreditVideo by RocknRollPalace
Interest in doo-wop had begun to wane by the early 1960s, but the Jive Five remained popular throughout the decade with soulful songs like “A Bench in the Park” and “What Time Is It?” They reached the Top 40 in 1965 with the single “I’m a Happy Man.” The group also toured the United States, sharing bills with acts like Tom Jones, the Shirelles and Chubby Checker.
“The Jive Five at that time was the only group that survived through the British invasion,” Mr. Pitt said in an interview for the website Soul Express Online in 2009.
In the 1970s Mr. Pitt, with the Jive Five and others, recorded funky songs like “I Want You to Be My Baby” and disco numbers like “Samson” — sometimes under variations of the Jive Five name, like Jyve Fyve, and sometimes under different names altogether, like Ebony, Ivory & Jade.
“We changed our name, because we figured that Jive Five was an old doo-wop name, and we wanted to come out fresh,” Mr. Pitt said.
By the early 1980s the Jive Five were applying their vocal harmonies to more modern compositions. Their 1982 album, “Here We Are,” featured songs with a classic rock sound like “Hey Sam,” upbeat soul songs like “He’s Just a Lucky Man” and a crooning cover of Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” that amplified its wistfulness.
“ ‘Here We Are’ shows the same stylistic flexibility that led the Jive Five to score ’60s chart successes in both vocal group (‘My True Story’) and pop-soul styles (‘I’m a Happy Man’),” Joe Sasfy wrote in a review in The Washington Post in 1982. “Most important, the Jive Five’s imaginative vocal arrangements and Eugene Pitt’s intimate lead vocals show the band’s ties to a more innocent past and its desire for a more viable artistic future.”
The Jive Five kept performing for decades, most recently in 2016.
Eugene Pitt was born in Brooklyn on Nov. 6, 1937, to Christal C. Pitt and Mammie Obye Pitt. His mother died when he was young, and his father, a longshoreman and gospel singer, taught Eugene and his many siblings how to sing and harmonize. Some of them performed as a gospel group in local churches when they were children, and Mr. Pitt’s brothers Frank and Herbert joined him in a later edition of the Jive Five.
Mr. Pitt began singing secular music on Brooklyn street corners before he graduated from Boys High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He sang in two local groups, the Akrons and the Genies, before starting the Jive Five.
Mr. Pitt’s marriage to Emma Spencer, the sister of Casey Spencer, a longtime member of the Jive Five, ended in divorce. In addition to his daughter Starr, he is survived by five other daughters, Sheila Pitt, Tawanna Davis, Kasey White, Shoshone Johnson and Tamma White; four sons, Eugene Jr., Eric, Lamont and Rashard; six sisters, Mildred Alexander, Margaret Atkins, Dorothea Dowling, Juanita Rhodes, Unise Ann Pitt and Christa Pitt; his brother Herbert; 25 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Beginning in the mid-1980s, the Jive Five recorded memorable jingles for the children’s television network Nickelodeon, introducing a new generation to doo-wop’s sound. In 2009 Mr. Pitt released a solo CD, “Steppin’ Out in Front ‘I Love Beach Music.’ ”.
His most high-profile record in recent years was a 2013 album of doo-wop hits, sung by Aaron Neville and produced by Don Was and the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, on which Mr. Pitt sang backup. The album, titled “My True Story,” included a cover of Mr. Pitt’s biggest hit.