Dusty Wright - "High Flyin' Bird"

Stoked to share the new single "High Flyin' Bird" featuring Queen Esther on co-vocals, Matt Goeke on plucked cello, and Jerry Krenach on drums. Produced by Dusty Wright and mixed by Mr. David Lee. Recorded at Strauss Park Studios, NYC. Cover art by the very talented French painter Claire Petit. This long-forgotten '60s folk classic has been covered by Judy Henske, Neil Young, Richie Havens, and Jefferson Airplane. Please click here to buy it today!

Ron English PopApp Scavenger Hunt

For those of you who may not know Ron English and his wonderful world of Popaganda, here's an amazing activation I co-produced with the fine folks at FuelFX. Besides a crazy scavenger hunt, Ron handpainted the world's largert AR (augmented reality) target/marker at Spider House during SXSW in Austin. That target as well as his handpainted Smiley Skull marker are still on display. If you download the "Ron English PopApp" for your iOS or Android device and point it at the Smiley Skull, it will come alive and talk to you! Check it out today. You can also download the app and point it at the image below and have some fun. Trust me, it's cooler than a jar full of Sea Monkeys! Read more »

Video of the Week: FKA twigs - M3LL155X

British singer, songwriter, producer and dancer FKA twigs has released a brand new EP entitled M3LL155X (Young Turks), that features five songs, four of which -- "Figure 8", "I'm Your Doll", "In Time", "Glass & Patron" -- are accompanied by a video directed by FKA twigs herself. The four film pieces form one continuous FKA twigs-directed work, cementing who she is as an artist with an aggressive statement conceptualizing the process of feeling pregnant with pain, birthing creativity and liberation. She breathes a quiet but potent energy into every frame. One of the freshest musicians on the scene today.

ANNIVERSARIES: Mal Waldron Born 90 Years Ago

Malcolm Earl "Mal" Waldron was born on August 16, 1925 in New York City. His father worked for the Long Island Rail Road. Mal started taking classical piano lessons at age seven and, inspired by his love of jazz, also learned alto saxophone. He earned a B.A. in Music from Queens College, with the G.I. Bill (he'd been drafted in 1943 and served for two years, fortunately not seeing combat) paying for his tuition. He worked in jazz, blues, and R&B contexts and made his first recording in 1952 as a member of Ike Quebec's band. In '54-56 he was part of Charles Mingus's Jazz Workshop and recorded with Mingus. Waldron went out on his own as a leader at the end of 1956 with the album Mal/1 on Prestige and quickly became one of the prolific label's house pianists. The following year he added to his workload the position of Billie Holiday's accompanist, which garnered him more attention; he stayed in that position until her death in mid-'59.

There was a break in his career following a 1963 heroin overdose that caused a mental breakdown and left him with the shakes to the extent that he could not play the piano. There was temporary brain damage affecting his speed of thought, so even after he had re-taught himself how to play by listening to his own records, for a while he couldn't improvise. He compensated for this mental deficit by writing out his solos in advance. Read more »

An Encomium for Fantastic Four

As Saint Jerome noted so wisely, "Early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?" Read more »

Song of the Week: David Gilmour - "Rattle That Lock"

One of my favorite guitarists, ever, is releasing his fourth solo album, Rattle That Lock, on September 18th on Columbia Records. Until then we get to groove on a catchy new single that would not have sounded out of place on The Wall album. Has Mr. Gilmour been hanging out with Nile Rodgers? This is not the laid back "muzak" grooves of the On the Island. This is David showcasing his Fender Stratocaster guitar magic. Pre-order it here!

ANNIVERSARIES: Pat Metheny Born 61 Years Ago

Happy birthday to Pat Metheny (born August 12, 1954), one of the few jazz superstars of the past four decades to combine commercial success and critical plaudits. After paying his dues in Gary Burton's band (which he joined at age 19), Metheny put out his first album in 1976 and by the time of his third release two years later was gaining crossover radio play. Though the style of his eponymous band was smooth and tuneful, Metheny had a firm basis in jazz and straight-ahead guitarist gods such as Jim Hall (with whom he eventually recorded a fine duo album). Read more »

Who Killed Captain Alex? or Where's John Wayne When You Need Him?

"You think I'll sit back and do nothing as you try to eat me like a juicy grasshopper?" shouts Richard, the thuggish head of the Ugandan crime syndicate, the Tiger Mafia. Read more »

Bigfoot Is In The House

I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot
Written by Cyndi Freeman Directed by Sara Peters
Nefarious Laboratory UNDER St. Mark's, NY, July 27, 2015 
Backstage Theatre, Edmonton Fringe, August 14-23, 2015

To make a pom-pom poof toy, you take a vast quantity of yarn, wrap it around and around your hand without cutting off blood flow to your fingertips -- a very real danger -- and then knot the bundle around the middle, cut the looped edges, and shake until poofed up. Read more »

The Watkins Family Hour - Lincoln Center

Saturday night was a perfect summer evening for free Americana music at Lincoln's Center Damrosch Park as part of the Annual Roots of American Music, Americanafest NYC. The evening featured two of the genres rising stars. The headliners played two sets with the first half of the set featuring mostly original tunes by former Nickel Creek members Sean and Sara Watkin's new band The Watkins Family Hour. They and their extraordinary band entertained a robust crowd of New Yorkers and tourists alike. One of my favorite songs of the evening was their beatiful take on the Grateful Dead's "Brokedown Palace." And co-vocalist Fionna Apple's original song "A Mistake" was quite moving. Yes, she's one of the members of this band. Read more »

Song of the Week: Barrence Whitfield - "The Claw"

"The Claw" is a much-needed jolt of raw, unfiltered, throw-back, punked-out garage rock bliss played with the same verve and reckless abandanon as The Sonics once did it. Barrence Whitfield & The Savages keepin' it real in this pre-fab muzak daze. From their new long player Under the Savage Sky on Blood Shot Records. TURN IT UP, UP TIGHT WHITE PEOPLE!!!!

Hamilton!

Hamilton
Richard Rogers Theatre, NYC

Few shows have arrived on Broadway with the hype that accompanies Hamilton, the new musical inspired by author Ron Chernow's biography of one of America’s instrumental founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton, who immigrated from the West Indies as a teenager; the contribution of immigrants to the young country is a key theme in the musical, and one which obviously is still making headlines today. The musical begins in the 1770s, after Hamilton’s arrival in America, and the first act mostly revolves around Hamilton's role as a top aide to Washington in the Revolutionary War, while Act Two covers the early days of the American Republic, including the Washington administration, in which Hamilton was the first Treasure Secretary, and Hamilton’s death in 1804 as the result of his infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Read more »

U2 at Madison Square Garden, 30 July 2015

I finally did it: I saw U2 in concert.

I may have waited too long to catch the band in its prime, but its 37 years of experience -- without a personnel change -- and undiluted passion have made it one of the biggest concert draws for decades now, even if recent albums have been uneven in inspiration. Read more »

At Lincoln Center: Pedro Costa and His War on Narrative Film

In 1997, Pedro Costa (above), at the age of 38, began a trilogy exploring Portugal's impoverished, an undertaking that would continuously draw raves from the more erudite critics around the world. First came Ossos, which was pursued by In Vanda's Room (2000) and Colossal Youth (2006). These films, often showcasing the same characters, are sublimely visual, meditative masterworks that paint within shadows the seemingly plotless lives of the drug-addled inhabitants of a ghetto that is slowly being dismantled. Read more »

Favorite Guitarists - The Baddest of the Bad, Top 5!

So over on our Facebook Culture Catch page I asked our fans to list their five favorite living guitarists. For me, they still must be recording and touring and challenging themselves on the fretboard today, not yesterday. Our managing editor crushed me for not including Jimmy Page, who I hail as an unparelled innovator once upon a time. Hey, Steve, they have to be active and playing out right now. When was the last time Jimmy dropped a cool riff or run of memorable notes in a new song for anyone? He's certainly still capable. Here are my five favorite string benders in no particular ranking:

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