LOTUS released its latest studio album, Build, yesterday on SCI FIDELITY RECORDS. Built on a foundation of beats evoking vinyl breaks, house, and big-beat, the album is a funky dance party throughout. The unmistakable sound of a tight live band is at the heart of the album.“This album was recorded live to analog tape in studios in Philadelphia and St. Louis,” explains LUKE MILLER. “We used live drums, guitar, bass, Hammond organ, upright piano, analog synths, live percussion, and live horns from the group Rubblebucket, then peppered in electronic elements. The project was mixed through an analog process to give it a deep richness.”To celebrate the album release Lotus put together a video for Kodiak:Lotus is currently touring the US on their biggest outing ever, selling out most shows in January. You can catch our interview with bassist Jesse Miller here and more Best Buy Theater coverage here. Lotus in now performing in the South and heading to Arizona and up the California coast playing at venues such as El Rey Theater and The Fillmore. For more information on tour dates visit their website.Listen to ‘Massif’ from the new album Build:Stream the full album on Spotify here.
A big summer co-headlining tour from jam scene stalwarts STS9 & Umphrey’s McGee has just been announced today. After some hints and clues as to what cities both bands would play in via Twitter, the tour and scheduled stops were officially announced this afternoon.According to Umphrey’s McGee’s website:“Each band will perform a long-form modern music concert each night, promising an experience to behold for your mind expanding musical enjoyment. Pre-sale will begin at high noon, 12:00 pm ET, on Wednesday May 1st through UMTicketing; the best available tickets will be offered during this exclusive pre-sale window. VIP packages will be available for every event, full details to follow.”STS9 & Umphrey’s McGee Tour Dates:08/15/13 The Louisville Palace Theater – Louisville, KY08/16/13 Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn at White River State Park – Indianapolis, IN08/17/13 Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island – Chicago, IL08/18/13 Meadow Brook Music Festival – Rochester Hills, MI08/21/13 Crossroads KC – Kansas City, MO08/22/13 Chesterfield Ale House – Chesterfield, MO08/23/13 Riverfront Park – Nashville, TN08/24/13 Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park – Alpharetta, GA08/25/13 Red Hat Amphitheater (formerly Raleigh Amphitheater) – Raleigh, NC08/28/13 Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheater – Charlotte, NC08/29/13 Brown’s Island – Richmond, VA08/30/13 Mann Center for the Performing Arts – Philadelphia, PA08/31/13 Bank of America Pavilion – Boston, MA09/01/13 Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts – Vienna, VAHere is a video of STS9 performing “March” on in NYC:(courtesy of MyAcousticSpace)Check out this fan video of UM performing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”:(courtesy of Westonbowden)
Yesterday, the Grammy award-winning French DJ duo Justice made their newest live album, Access All Arenas, available to the public via live streaming on Spotify. Featuring 14 reworked tracks from their albums A Cross the Universe and Audio, Video, Disco and sampling heavily from material featured in their first album Cross, the 80 minute live set runs the risk of being mistakenly written off by Justice fans as a simple past album re-hash.However once listened too it is clear that in taking the more powerful tracks from their last album, Audio, Video, Disco and mixing them seamlessly into a live set with new versions of classic tracks such as ‘Genesis,’ ‘Stress,’ and ‘D.A.N.C.E,’ Justice has managed to re-work the two albums in a way that proves to critics that Audio, Video, Disco may not have received the praise and respect it was due.Recorded at Nimes Arena last year Access All Arenas opens with an excellently re-worked electronic version of ‘Toaccata and Fugue in D Minor,’ and features Justice’s well-known nighttime disco style rather than the lighter more daytime feel presented by Audio, Video, Disco.Overall, the 14-song medley brings new life to each of Justice’s tracks, placing them once again at the forefront of the electronic music game. The album in its entirety can be viewed and listened to here on Spotify.Check out “The Blueprint” a look at the massive production that goes into Justice’s live show:Justice Access All Arenas Track Listing1. Genesis2. Helix3. Phantom4. Civilization5. Canon6. D.A.N.C.E.7. Horsepower8. New Lands9. Stress10. Waters of Nazareth11. Audio, Video, Disco12. Encore13. On’N’On14. Phantom Pt. IIThe album, due out May 6th, can be pre-ordered here.-Margaret Main
On November 8th, New York City is getting a funky treat, as modern dance music pioneers Tortured Soul are bringing their eclectic blend of funk and house to Drom for an all out dance party. Tortured Soul has been highly praised for combining their classic funk influences of Prince and Kool And The Gang with modern EDM technology and sounds and a live band set up to bring a new fusion of music to the dance floor.Tortured Soul consists of drummer and singer/songwriter John Christian-Ulrich, keyboardist and Ethan White, and bassist Jordan Scannella, whom, as a trio, combine elements of disco, funk, jazz, and modern dance music. As a live band, they re-create the booming bass lines of a nightclub with the style of a funk music festival.The diversity of their sound can be seen just by looking at some of their more profile gigs over the past decade – the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Pukklepop in Belgium, and the Cape Town Jazz Festival are just a few of the stops these guys have made.This is a party you wont want to miss. Tickets are still available, here.
Alex Ebert’s (aka Edward Sharpe) Long Road Back by Christopher Carvalho (cover photo by picocole)Those of us old enough (and lucky enough; MTVU was a deluxe station only offered by few colleges at the time) to remember the first time we saw the video for “Dynomite,” the first single released by the dance punk band Ima Robot, may recollect an overly energetic and horrible haircut, bouncing around the stage and sneering into the camera as he delivered juvenile and piecemeal lyrics about waiting for a girl “who is someone like you.” Insert bad pose and equally bad keyboard riff here.Why do I bring up that very forgettable single, whose album was often found in the likes of a $5.99 bin at Sam Goody? For one, that vigorous enough to be ironic frontman, Alex Ebert, just won a Golden Globe for best Original Score in a motion picture for the film All is Lost, starring Robert Redford.Yes, that Alex Ebert, who also stars as Edward Sharpe, the lead singer for the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.Who could have predicted that? There was no indication from the 2003 self-titled Ima Robot that Ebert could or would pen an award-winning score, nor even knew what one was. And yet, here he is: in one of the more successful indie bands of the last 5 years and hanging out with Puff Daddy (sorry, P. Diddy) on a boat to an exotic destination.How did this all happen? Not overnight, I assure you.As pointed out before, Ebert did have a short stint with fame fronting Ima Robot, your typical dance punk band of the early millennium. Think Head Automatica’s chant-along choruses mixed with the 80’s suits of The Rapture, and Hot Hot Heat style verses. Despite this recipe, which (now looking back) is extremely embarrassing and dated, the band did feature two excellent musicians from Beck’s touring band. After mild enthusiasm, several line-up changes, and another album or so, the band drifted into the annals of their little-visited Myspace page, releasing a video or updating their status here or there. (The band has since found resurgence, as their song, “Greenback Boogie” is the theme song for the USA Network television show Suits.)All was lost it seemed for Alex Ebert. While quietly bumming around the LA music scene for a few years, Ebert found himself in the midst of the Masses, an art-collective designed around the almost antiquated and somewhat Beatles-fueld myth, based around the concept of “all you need is love, art, and let’s be honest, drugs.” This resurgent 60’s lifestyle is all fine and dandy as long as you have a trust-fund safety net ready to catch you when you fall back to reality. The collective attracted your typical hipster-wannabe types, those with no jobs who do “some modeling,” ironically facial-haired film directors, and any free-spirit, circus freak, or flower-power throwback that could find their way into the inner core of the group. The group had no real destination in mind, but somehow, someway, the group had one small goal, which could have entirely been an afterthought, to document the whole thing. There you have it: art.Finding some money from the late Heath Ledger, the Masses stayed together as much as an art commune could, and pondered their next project. Meanwhile, a singer named Jade Castrinos (who would eventually become Ebert’s part-time girlfriend and future member of the Magnetic Zeros) joined the rag-tag bunch, a moment in Ebert’s life which not only gave him renewed purpose artistically, but also the opportunity to make Edward Sharpe a full-time gig. When asked by journalist Scott McDonald in 2009 where the moniker Edward Sharpe comes from, Ebert answered “I don’t want to put too much weight on it because in some ways it’s just a name that I came up with. But I guess if I look deeper, I do feel like I had lost my identity in general. I really didn’t know what was going on or who I was anymore. Adopting another name helped me open up an avenue to get back.”Anyone who has listened to the first Edward Sharpe album, 2009’s Up From Below, will identify the motifs of rebirth and new identity. Perhaps hiding behind the make-believe persona of Sharpe allowed Ebert to come into his own, both as a songwriter and as a person, in general. The album opens with “40 Day Dream,” the best example of what their 10-person folk-circus sounds like, with lyrics that describe a modern Rip Van Winkle who dreams about a woman as strangely put together as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: “she got jumper cable lips, she got sunset on her breath now/I inhaled just a little bit, now I got no fear of death now.” It’s this type of bold, modernist wordplay and sensually balanced strings and acoustic guitar that layer and permeate the album, reoccurring on “Up From Below” and “Desert Song.” No song on the first album was as successful as the country-tinged “Home,” which found its way into commercials (the NFL used it in an excellent commercial touting pride in one’s home team) and onto wedding play lists everywhere. The album-version of the song features a spoken word interlude between Ebert and Castrinos, which narrates a lover’s tryst in the woods gone array. The intimate (and now very public) exchange between the two singers drives the song and gives Ebert the opportunity to establish the identity of an honest and sincere singer-songwriter.What followed were two very successful follow-ups, the most recent being the self-titled album released in July of 2013, and a featured spot on the documentary Big Easy Express, a documentary music video (a much loftier yet more cohesive effort than something done by the Masses) filmed with Mumford and Sons and Old Crow Medicine Show. The movie, which won Best Long Form Music Video at the 2013 Grammy Awards, focused on the roots inspiration that inspired all three bands, but perhaps the most captivating moment from the film is an intimate moment featuring Ebert himself. He’s shown roaming near a clearing on the side of the road after a pit-stop, and despite the posted warning signs, continues to push forward to find the perfect place to play a few chords from the song “All Wash Out.” What starts out as a private rehearsal erupts into a full band jam. Members from all three bands are seen surrounding Ebert as he leads them through the soft tempo of what could be the biography of his shaman alter-ego, Edward Sharpe: “Here come chilly preacher, stumbling against the wind/ signing love, love is something to believe in.” It’s this ability to command and guide such optimism from his band members which establishes him as a contemporary Pied Piper of sorts.The post-film explosion of Mumford and Sons’ second album surely helped Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros reach an audience that previously was outside of their realm. It was this exposure that led to a full tour in support of their second studio album, Here, and put Ebert on film director J.C. Chandor’s radar. In late 2012, Ebert was asked to score All is Lost, Chandor’s second film starring Robert Redford as a modern Santiago, lost and battling the awesome and unknown elements of a deserted and violent seascape.What drew Chandor to Ebert, we might never know. Perhaps it was Chandor’s ability to take a gamble and get the best from his performers, provoking their most intelligent and desperate performances (Jeremy Irons speech about fat cats and starving dogs is brilliant). Or perhaps it was the film’s topics of isolation and solitude, two motifs that constantly run through all three Edward Sharpe albums. Whatever the reason for letting a film rookie with no experience score your film (that work is usually left for Alex Turner of Trent Reznor), it worked. Ebert beat out Steven Price (Gravity) and even the likes of Hans Zimmer (12 Years a Slave). It’s no wonder: Ebert’s songs are spare and at times dark. It slowly crescendos from peaceful to austere, (“The Infinite Bleed”) then gloomy to ominous (“The Invisible Man”). Just when Redford is about to be swallowed completely by the storm, out comes a ray of light, found in the hopeful tones of “Pulse of the Weight” and the whimsical, whistling relief of “Dance of the Lilies.” If the soundtrack has a “single,” it would have to be the stand-out “Amen,” where Ebert showcases his piano skills and delivers tongue-in-cheek couplets about an old man’s inability to say goodbye. Not since Once has a soundtrack not only complemented the narrative, but also added to the storyline. Since Robert Redford’s character has no lines of dialogue, the soundtrack serves as his only way to indirectly communicate that which he cannot.As he accepted his Golden Globe (he was a long-shot, by the way), Ebert was gracious and sincere. He thanked Chandor for having faith in him, while also speaking to the belief that magic can be captured if one is allowed to try.Even though Ebert was snubbed from this year’s Oscar nominations, he can look back at his own redemption story and smile. Sometimes all you need is both faith and magic.– Christopher Carvalho
Electro-soul/hip-hop duo Break Science has announced a fall tour with support from Manic Focus, Space Jesus and ProJect Aspect. The powerhouse collaboration of Adam Deitch and Borham Lee will kick off their “BRKTRHU” tour with several Colorado appearances, then make their way down south, spanning much of September-November. Tickets go on sale Friday and Saturday. Check out the full tour dates below.BRKTHRU TOUR DATES:9/18: Ogden Theater, Denver, CO *!9/19: Belly Up, Aspen, CO *!9/20: Barkley Ballroom, Frisco, CO *! 9/24: Zydeco, Birmingham, AL + 9/25: Bourbon Street Bar, Auburn, AL + 9/26: Republic, New Orleans, LA + 9/27: Kress Live, Biloxi, MS (w/ Galactic)10/2: Fitzgerald’s Upstairs, Houston, TX *+ 10/3: House of Blues – Cambridge Room, Dallas, TX *+ 10/5: The Parish, Austin, TX (Official ACL Late Night) *+11/12: The Culture Room, Ft. Lauderdale, FL *+ 11/13: Orpheum, Tampa Bay, FL *+ 11/14: Bear Creek Music Festival, Live Oak, FL* — w/ Manic Focus! — w/ Project Aspect+ — w/ Space Jesus
And here’s the picture that says it all…By all accounts, the Moon Hooch and Lotus show was a great throw-down of talented musicianship. No question that these guys know how to get the party started…Setlist01/31/2015 Terminal 5 New York, NYSet 1: Grayrigg, Bush Pilot, Livingston Storm, Let Me In, Basin to Benin1, Golden Ghost, Sunrain> Inspector Norse> SunrainSet 2: opo, Wax, Invincibility Of Youth, Arupa, Turquoise, Flower Sermon, Around The World, Flower SermonEncore: Umbilical Moonrise(cover photo by Beef, up close and personal photo by Marina Weiss) Things got rowdy at last night’s sold out Lotus show at Terminal 5, as a male fan stripped down to the buff in the middle of the dance floor. Since the venue was so packed, and a circle formed around him, reports indicate that the man was able to do his thing for a few minutes before security intervened.And now a naked dude at a @LotusTweets show? Is this a trend now? Has this been a trend? pic.twitter.com/QvgJnI86Oe— Curated Music (@Curatedmusic) February 1, 2015Even drummer Mike Greenfield commented on the fan’s birthday suit.
Les Paul would have been 100 on June 9th, and the Hard Rock Cafe in NYC is planning a massive birthday celebration to honor the legendary guitarist and luthier. The concert will include performances from Warren Haynes, Steve Miller, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, John Scofield & more.The full lineup includes Neal Schon, Joe Satriani, Count’s 77 Johnny A, Lou Pallo, Luther Dickinson, Marky Ramone, Jack Douglass, Jay Jay French and Jackie Martling. In addition to the concert, a massive 53-foot interactive exhibit will be parked on 44th and Broadway on June 9th for all to see, free of charge. The exhibit opens up at 10:30 AM, just outside of the Guitar Center in Times Square.Les Paul’s legacy is a great one, as the man practically invented the electric guitar and amplifier. BB King has said, “The man is a genius. Whenever you turn on your amplifier, that’s Les Paul.”The concert is sponsored by the Les Paul Foundation, which supports music education for youth. Tickets and more information can be found here.
Courtney Love had some issues while traveling in France recently, as protests against ride-share company Uber have taken a downward spiral into violent attacks. Apparently, the vehicle Love was riding in fell victim to the protests, as the car was surrounded and forced to stop. With nowhere to go, Love was forced to pay some local motorcyclists to get her out of Dodge safely.The protests in France are a result of cabbies being fed up with having to pay obscene amounts of money for a taxi license, while Uber drivers pick up anybody at anytime, with no penalties for not having a license. While a law banning Uber services was put into effect last October, the new law has not been enforced.The frustration of the cab drivers has, unfortunately, led to reported attacks on both Uber drivers and their passengers, as well as hundreds of legal cases being filed against UberPOP. According to Love’s Instagram account, Kanye West was also in France at the airport in Paris waiting for things to cool off.[Source]
The Ultimate Elvis Tribute comes to the NYCB Theatre at Westbury on August 21st, at 8pm. The bill is headed by award winning Elvis tribute artists Shawn Klush, and Cody Ray Slaughter, the Sweet Inspirations, and features Elvis’ original drummer DJ Fontana. The show has been a sensation wherever it has played, and it spans Elvis’ career from his earliest days to his residences in Las Vegas. It’s now or never more than ever, and fans would be wise to seize the opportunity to see those who actually held court with the King. DJ slaps the skins as well as in the glory days, and seeing this legend in person can’t be beat. DJ Fontana talked about the show, and playing with the King since 1954 with L4LM writer Bob Wilson. L4LM: When did you first take up the drums, an which drummers did you admire?DJ Fontana: I started playing drums when I was about 15 years old, when I was still in high school. I was attracted to playing from listening to Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich.L4LM: Did you get to meet either one of them after you became famous? DJ Fontana: After Elvis made it so big, I was able to meet Buddy Rich. We were playing a show on the U.S.S. Arizona, and Buddy was there. That was certainly a lot of fun.L4LM: As you grew up, what types of music were you listening to? DJ Fontana: I listened to radio station KWKH, and the Louisiana Hayride. These shows were recorded at the time, but I’m not sure who would have them now. They would be nice to hear again. They should release them for the people to hear if they already haven’t somewhere.L4LM: What records were in your collection? DJ Fontana: Believe it or not, I never bought a record. When I wanted to listen to music, I would just turn on the radio. L4LM: After you first began to play the drums, what happened between that time and joining up with Elvis Presley at the Louisiana Hayride? DJ Fontana: Not that much really was going on until Elvis came along from my end. Elvis came into town with the Hayride with a record that was hot in 3 or 4 states. Having a hit that size was a really big deal at that point in time. I would play at the Hayride, but they usually had me playing behind a curtain as the house drummer.L4LM: Who were some of the other artists that you jammed with? DJ Fontana: Two of the first that I ever played with were Johnny Cash and George Jones. These artists would come in for a day, and usually be gone a day later. They would move along to play in the next town where they had a show scheduled. I also went on tour with Johnny Horton, who had a big hit some people might remember called Lost in Alaska.L4LM: Did they keep you behind the curtain the whole time that you were performing at the Hayride? DJ Fontana: No, after a while they let me out. They could only keep me back there for so long. Eventually they let the people see me (laughs). L4LM: In the studio with Elvis, how many takes of a song would you do on average? If anyone knows it would be you, as you played on about 460 of his tracks for RCA.DJ Fontana: Elvis only wanted to do a few takes, because it was important to him to keep the sound as fresh as possible. Most songs would be completed in three or four takes. Elvis would rather risk a little ‘imperfection’ in the playing, rather than allow the music to get stale. L4LM: How is recording music different today from then, and do you like much of today’s music?DJ Fontana: Well, today everything in the studio and just about everywhere else is about computers. They can take an eternity to get one track recorded it seems. Not too much of what they are doing today means much to me. L4LM: When you played shows with Elvis early on, could you hear much of what you were playing? DJ Fontana: We never could hear much of anything, the way the crowds were carrying on and screaming. Elvis always stayed right in front of us, so we could follow him by his movements. When the crowds were wild, I just would make sure I didn’t lose sight of him. L4LM: Do any fans from those days stand out in your memories? Well, there was one lady from Kansas City that I won’t ever forget. She made it up to the stage about five times, which is no easy feat. Security kept putting her back in the audience. They finally had to remove her from the venue, and I was still expecting her to return. L4LM: When you played on the Ed Sullivan Show, you nearly divided the world from before and after that aired. What stands out about that as you look back?DJ Fontana: That was played live, and aired simultaneously. Any mistakes we made, and anything that happened couldn’t be changed. So we just did the best that we could, and it went pretty well.L4LM: A short while back, you went to see the Rolling Stones. How were they? DJ Fontana: They came down to Nashville, and I caught the show. I spent some time with Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts. We have jammed together before. L4LM: You also jammed with Sir Paul McCartney, what was that like? Were there any out-takes from the sessions?DJ Fontana: I was with Scotty (Moore) and we played That’s Alright, Mama. I wish there were more songs, but they only needed the one song for the project. L4LM: Were you there in Hollywood when Elvis met the Beatles?DJ Fontana: No, I wasn’t up at the house for that one. I did jam with George (Harrison) years later at his house, but none of it was recorded. The handlers were nervous about anything like that leaking out to the public. And in 1970, I played on the entire record of Ringo Starr’s ‘Beacoups of Blues’. Pete Drake brought me into that project, which was really special. Pete played on Nashville Skyline, and the other two records that Bob Dylan recorded in Nashville. L4LM: When Elvis did the TV Special in 1968 for NBC, how were you brought in? DJ Fontana: That was all decided on by Elvis, and he had his people call us up. Management tried to choose the songs, to make more publishing money. Elvis held firm, and that turned out really well.L4LM: You were in Jailhouse Rock, and a few other films with Elvis (Loving You, and G.I. Blues). Do you still watch the films? It must be fun to see yourself on the big screen.DJ Fontana: They direct you down to every blink of your eye, so acting gets old fast. You never get used to seeing yourself up there. If company wants to see some of a film, I might put a few minutes on for them. I never watch the whole films anymore. Elvis could do it all, sing, act. He was the real thing.L4LM: Do any of the film soundtracks stand out in your mind? DJ Fontana: I thought that Loving You had a very nice soundtrack, with some fine songs. L4LM: Elvis was called The King for a reason, but did anyone else that you performed with really leave an impression?DJ Fontana: Well, Gene Vincent was really something. I played with him for thirty days, and he stood out to me. L4LM: The show at NYCB Theatre at Westbury will be on August 21st at 8PM. What can the fans look for this time around?DJ Fontana: Shawn Klush and Cody Ray Slaughter are two of the best vocalists out there, and the Sweet Inspirations will be on hand. We’ll cover songs from just about all of Elvis’ career. There will be something for everyone. After the show, the fans are welcome to come and say hello to all of us in the lobby. For the DJ Fontana Website, go to: http://www.djfontana.com/ Words by: Bob Wilson Photos: By Wayne Herrschaft Tickets for the Ultimate Elvis Tribute on August 21st are available at: http://venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com/VenueInfo