Dawes – Nothing Is Wrong

Nothing Is Wrong

Release Date: June 7
ATO Records

The LA outfit, Dawes, hailing from the niche of musicians residing in Laurel Canyon creates Americana folk rock.  Their second album, Nothing Is Wrong, continues the rollicking sound mixed with toned down heartachey ballads.  I have to admit I am more a fan of the latter.  Reader’s note: This comes from a fan of  lead singer Taylor Goldsmith’s side project Middle Brother, which joins Taylor with John J. McCauley III of Deer Tick and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.  In fact, the track “Million Dollar Bill” is performed by the indie “super” group.

Nothing against the strong guitar anthems and rattling keys, but I love me a good ballad rich with male heartbreak and longing.  The opening track “Time Spent in Los Angeles” grooves through guitar riffs and a chorus that rings “Cause you got that special kind of sadness/You got that tragic set of charms/that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles/Make me wanna wrap you in my arms.”   That ain’t bad.  Not to mention the toe tapping percussions on “Coming Back to the Man” that lead into some mean harmonica.  The boys are best when they meld the rock with the down tempo woes of love, which is exemplified in the track “Fire Away”.  The album overall doesn’t skip a beat and “A Little Bit of Everything” is a fitting ending with tinkling keys that set us off into a Californian sunset.

Track list
Time Spent in Los Angeles
If I Wanted Someone
My Way Back Home
Coming Back to a Man
So Well
How Far We’ve Come
Fire Away
Moon in the Water
Million Dollar Bill
The Way You Laugh
A Little Bit of Everything

6.05 – Hunter, NY / Mountain Jam (1:30PM Set)
6.06 – St. Louis, MO / The Pageant
6.07 – Louisville, KY / Iroquois Ampitheatrer
6.08 – Columbus, OH / LC Ampitheatre
6.09 – Pittsburgh, PA / Stage AE – Indoors
6.10 – Philadelphia, PA – Mann Center for Performing Arts
6.11 – Vienna, VA / Filene Center at Wolf Trap
6.13 – Vancouver, BC / Vogue Theatre
6.14 – Seattle, WA / Moore Theatre
6.15 – Portland, OR /Crystal Ballroom
6.16 – Bend, OR / Athletic Club of Bend
6.17 – Chico, CA / El Rey Theatre
6.18 – Los Angeles, CA / Orpheum Theatre
6.20– San Diego, CA / House of Blues
6.21 – Tucson, AZ / Rialto Theatre
6.22 – Phoenix, AZ / Marquee Theatre
6.23 – Las Vegas, NV / Silverton Casino
6.24 – Reno, NV / Knitting Factory
6.25 – Oakland, CA / Fox Theatre
6.26 – Atlantic City, NJ / Dave Matthews Band Caravan

7.02 – Emeryville, CA / High Sierra Music Festival
7.07 – Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg Folk Festival
7.08 – Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg Folk Festival
7.09 – Ottawa, ON / Ottawa Bluesfest
7.11 – Quebec City, QC / Quebec City Summer Festival
7.27 – Danbury, CT / Ives Concert Park
7.28 – Boston, MA / Wang Center
7.29 – Chautauqua, NY / Institution Ampitheatre
7.30 – Charlottesville, VA / Charlottesville Pavillion

8.02 – New York, NY / The Beacon Theatre
8.05 – Gilford, NH /Meadowbrook Pavillion
8.06 – Mashantucket, CT / MGM Grand Theatre
8.09 – Bethlehem, PA / Musikfest
8.11 – Cary, NC / Koka Booth Ampitheatre
8.12 – Asheville, NC / The Biltmore
8.13 – Atlanta, GA / Fox Theatre
8.14 – East Hampton, NY / Music to Know Festival
8.19 – St. Augustine, FL / Augustine Ampitheatre
8.20 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL / AuRene Theatre
8.21 – Clearwater, FL / Ruth Eckerd Hall
8.26 – Nashville, TN / The Ryman
8.27 – Nashville, TN  The Ryman

Thao and Mirah Join Forces

Thao & Mirah
Thao & Mirah
Release date April 26, 2011

Thao Ngyuen and Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn join forces to birth the appropriately named Thao & Mirah.  The opening track “Eleven” is boombastic with the help of Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs and ends with same energy on “Squareneck”.  Perfect bookends of tUnE-yArDs goodness for the album, which lends lot of thanks to Merill for the phat beats.

The album definitely has a division between Thao tracks and Mirah tracks, though more heavy on the later which I preferred as I’m admittedly more a Mirah fan.  Thao leads on “Folks” and “Teeth” in which her distinctive voice howls and reverberates.  In contrast, Mirah’s sweet, delicate voice is suited for adult lullabies. “Little Cup”, “Spaced Out Orbit”, “Sugar and Plastic” and “Hallelujah” are for you Mirah fans.  What is a gem is “Rubies and Rocks”,  Mirah gets out of her norm into  heavy beats and strays from her usual quiet delivery.  She gets down with horns to get funky.

What is telling is the magic that happens when the two trade vocals.  You can see how the Thao and Mirah pairing was a no brainer from this Yours Truly video in which the pair performing “How Dare You” from Thao’s sparse apartment in San Francisco. This track really shows how the pairing compliments an album though it is largely a split of Thao songs and Mirah songs.

You can stream the new album before its release on April 26 at NPR.

Track list
Little Cup
Rubies and Rocks
Spaced Out Orbit
How Dare You
Sugar and Plastic
Likable Man

On tour
05.01 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
05.02 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Soho
05.03 – Oakland, CA @ The New Parish
05.05 – Vancouver, BC, Canada @ The Biltmore
05.06 – Bellingham, WA @ Mt Baker Theatre
05.07 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile
05.08 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
05.09 – Olympia, WA @ Northern
06.02 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
06.03 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
06.05 – Toronto, ON, Canada @ Lee’s Palace
06.07 – Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bears
06.09 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
06.10 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat
06.11 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
06.12 – Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
06.13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
06.15 – St Louis, MO @ Off Broadway
06.18 – Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
06.19 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
06.20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
06. 21 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
06.23 – San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall

I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today

I’m From Barcelona
Forever Today
Release Date: 4/19/11

Do you like bands that can fill a stage? No, seriously fill a stage. We are talking 27 Swedes. On their third US release, Forever Today, I’m From Barcelona does not stray away from the playful and poppy sound of their last album, Who Killed Harry Houdini? Opening with “Charlie Parker”, lead singer Emanuel Lundgren is accompanied by his chorus of 20+ chanting “Come on sing to me now Bird” and you cannot help but join in.  The album is largely composed of electric key-based medleys until half way through on “Come On” when the horns really trumpet in.  “Skipping a Beat” literally doesn’t skip beats.  In fact hand claps ensure it and a very 80’s bass line.  This is an ongoing trend with the first single “Get In Line” which infuses synths and hand claps galore.  Whose down for an electric soul train?

I’m down to get in line with I’m From Barcelona.  Something about this oversized group is infectious.  Maybe it’s the built in audience sing along or the genuine fun the band members have.  Heck touring with 27 folks can stir up some trouble, but that doesn’t seem like that’s the case with this crew.

You can buy the album on iTunes on Tuesday!  Highly recommended to provide the perfect summer soundtrack.
Track list
Charlie Parker
Get In Line
Always Spring
Can See Miles
Come On
Skipping A Beat
Dr. Landy
Game Is On
Forever Today

Keren Ann rocks Joe’s Pub – Night Two!

Keren Ann
Joe’s Pub – New York, NY

Keren AnnKeren Ann played the second of two sold out shows at Joe’s Pub Thursday night, December 9. Sporting a short coifed bob and in a black romper that only an international jetsetter like herself could pull off on a wintry Manhattan night, Keren Ann warmed up the audience fittingly with “Chelsea Burns”. Playing from a selection of her previous albums and a sprinkling of new gems, the Israeli born chanteuse lulled her enthralled audience.

For those who have not heard of Keren Ann, she manages to captivate an audience with her whispery vocals and that je ne sais quoi of frenchy cool she probably acquired with her Parisan living. If the new do wasn’t an indication, KA has certainly pumped up the volume. At one point, she rocked so hard on “It Ain’t No Crime” that a hanging tamborine crashed to the floor. She traded her acoustic guitar for electric for most of her set, which explains the new album’s more 60’s influenced sound. She debuted new tracks from her upcoming album 101, including the lead single “My Name Is Trouble”, “Sugar Mama” and “Blood On My Hands”.

Don’t worry KA friends, her preciously packaged lyrics of earlier albums were still on display when she played old favorites, “The Harder Ships of the World” and “Not Going Anywhere”. She rollicked “Sailor & Window” before ending the night with a Spanish ditty to send everyone home in a reverie. 101 is released on March 22 in the States. For some more hints to the tracks, she has enlisted the help of illustrator John Mavroudis to conceptualize the lyrics from her forthcoming album until it’s European release. You can get your clues at http://101kerenann.tumblr.com/.

Folks new movement of shhhing: Horse Feathers – Bowery Ballroom, New York

Horse Feathers
Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY

horse feathers bowry ballroom

It was a surprisingly mild autumn’s evening in New York. I had just gotten off a flight from London and used a much anticipated Horse Feathers show at the Bowery Ballroom as battle against jetlag. I’d seen the fair quartet years back at Union Hall in Brooklyn and was won over by their warm melodies lead by Justin Ringle’s evocative vocals. With a slight departure from their last album, House with No Home, HF’s latest musical rendition Thistled Spring blossoms with warm rollicking strings. Seasonal shift? Probably, but don’t worry HF fans the same string heavy compositions and Justin’s poetic lyrics remain. [Read more…]