As you're recovering from the joyful overkill that was this year's Comic-Con (by the way, Iron Man II will rock very hard, Battlestar Galactica's The Plan and Caprica will not suck, and Farscape Lives!...on a complete series DVD box set), take a few moments to catch-up on a handful of the more interesting press releases listed below. No wait, before you dig in, one quick note: Keep an eye on Robert Francis, a 21-year-old singer-songwriter that NPR already has compared to Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle. This past Thursday in front of a packed room at The Roxy, Robert previewed songs from his yet-to-be-released new Atlantic Records album as well as revisited songs from his first outing, One By One. For the uninitiated, Robert's writing style emulates Ry Cooder's and, occasionally, Bruce Springsteen's (he even looks like his skinny little brother). Performance-wise, Robert's sound takes a young, 21st century run at The Band, complete with soulful background vocals by the Laurel Canyon-est looking girl trio. His mid-ranged voice throws just a little Conor Oberst in the mix, though his more assertive vocals and strong falsettos pull the listener off that path pretty quickly. Atlantic is developing this artist carefully, so don't expect him to pop up on a September episode of One Tree Hill or Gossip Girl (but, come on, might a little Supernatural exposure really hurt the kid?).
GOSSIP ANNOUNCES U.S. HEADLINE TOUR
Gossip announces a U.S. headlining tour in support of their new album Music For Men. The tour kicks off in Washington, DC at 9:30 Club on October 7 and runs through October 30 at Vino's in Little Rock, AR (see below for full itinerary). Produced by multi Grammy Award winner Rick Rubin, Music For Men is in stores on Tuesday October 6, 2009. Music For Men has the UK press raving. Clash called it "Wild, sexy and scintillating, 'Music For Men' is the most euphoric thing you'll hear this year." Guardian exclaimed "Music for Men is a raised fist of a record. This record is bigger and better than anything they've done before."
"Heavy Cross," the first single from Music For Men, was featured last week as iTunes free Single of the Week. Entertainment Weekly recently declared the single as "the triumphant return of the cult blues-punk trio." "Heavy Cross" draws you in with Ditto's vulnerable murmurs over a pulsing beat that crescendos into an explosive mix of dance and punk rock anchored by her thunderous wail. "Her voice walks a thin line between tenderness and violence, so that the overall effect strikes one like a ballerina wielding a chainsaw," was how The Observer recently described Ditto's vocal prowess.
Gossip has toured extensively over the past couple years, covering the major festival circuits in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. The band's live show has garnered critical acclaim and has cemented Gossip's reputation as one of the most exciting and relevant must-see live bands. NME raved "The greatest punk rock'n'roll disco soul band on the planet. Gossip are mind-blowing. Everyone needs to hear this band and dance like there's no tomorrow."
Gossip are Beth Ditto (vocals), Brace Paine (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Hannah Billie (drums).
Gossip U.S. tour dates
October 7 Washington, DC - 9:30 Club
October 8 Philadelphia, PA - TLA
October 9 New York, NY - Terminal 5
October 11 Boston, MA - Paradise
October 15 Detroit, MI - Majestic Theater
October 16 Chicago, IL - Metro
October 17 Madison, WO - Orpheum
October 19 Denver, CO - Bluebird
October 20 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
October 23 Seattle, WA - Showbox
October 24 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
October 25 San Francisco, CA - Regency Ballroom
October 26 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater
October 29 Austin, TX - Emo's
October 30 Little Rock, AR - Vino's
VIC CHESNUTT'S AT THE CUT OUT SEPTEMBER 22
ALBUM FEATURES MEMBERS OF FUGAZI,
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, SILVER MT. ZION
"Chesnutt writes intimate, Southern-flavored story songs that are at once crude and elegant; beautiful and gruesome; joyful and sad."--NPR's "Weekend Edition"
"When wheelchair-bound Vic Chesnutt spikes his soul-crushing songs with a wicked grin, he somehow gives discomfort a powerful allure."--Spin
At the Cut, the latest effort from Athens, GA-based singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt, is due September 22 on Constellation Records. A collaboration with Fugazi's Guy Picciotto and members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Silver Mt. Zion, At the Cut is the follow-up to Chesnutt's 2007 collaborative recording with the same group, North Star Deserter, lauded by Spin for "(turning) chronic disquiet into disturbingly palpable dread-folk," and Pitchfork for "(sounding) like a return to the dark woods after years in the city."
Recorded by former Arcade Fire member Howard Bilerman at Montreal's Hotel2Tango studio, At the Cut focuses on themes of cowardice, courage, mortality, tenacity, defiance, mourning and memory. The opening track, "Coward," was originally written for director (and Chesnutt collaborator) Jem Cohen's Empires of Tin and premiered in a live performance by Chesnutt and his band at the 2007 Vienna Film Festival. Reflecting the broad stylistic range of contributors on the album, the songs on At the Cut span the musical spectrum from classic Vic Chesnutt solo acoustic tracks to the sweeping walls of noise and snarling, angular guitars trademarked by his many collaborators. To be made available on CD and LP, the album's artwork features original and found photography by Jem Cohen.
In the 19 years since Chesnutt's debut album, he has made his mark by collaborating with a wide range of artists including Michael Stipe, Lambchop, Bill Frisell, Elephant Six mainstays Elf Power, Widespread Panic and the Cowboy Junkies. Hailing from rural Georgia and confined to a wheelchair since an automobile accident at the age of 18, Chesnutt has released 15 critically acclaimed records; been covered by a number of artists on the tribute album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation including R.E.M., the Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna and Sparklehorse; was the subject of the 1992 PBS documentary Speed Racer and appeared in the Oscar Award-winning film Sling Blade.
SOULSAVERS TO LAUNCH HEADLINING TOUR IN SEPTEMBER
Full-Length Album Broken - Featuring Mark Lanegan on Vocals - to be released August 18
Soulsavers will follow the August 18 release of their third full-length album, Broken, with a headlining North American tour that kicks off September 6 in Portland, OR.
Broken features the return of Mark Lanegan [Queens of the Stone Age, Screaming Trees] on vocals and includes duets with Spiritualized's Jason Pierce ("Pharaoh's Chariot"), Faith No More frontman Mike Patton ("Unbalanced Pieces") and Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers ("Death Bells"). Also appearing on the album are Richard Hawley (backing vocals on "Shadows Fall"), Australian newcomer Red Ghost (Rosa Agostino) and studio bassist Martyn LeNoble (Porno For Pyros, Jane's Addiction).
Joining Machin and Lanegan on the road will be guitarist Rich Warren (Spiritualized) and bassist Martyn LeNoble (Porno For Pyros, Janes Addiction).
UPCOMING TOUR DATES
9/6 Wonder Ballroom - Portland, OR
9/7 Bumbershoot Festival - Seattle, WA
9/9 The Independent - San Francisco, CA
9/10 Troubadour - Los Angeles, CA
9/12 Casbah - San Diego, CA
9/15 Stubb's - Austin, TX
9/16 House of Blues - Dallas, TX
9/18 One Eyed Jacks - New Orleans, LA
9/19 The Loft - Atlanta, GA
9/21 Rock and Roll Hotel - Washington, DC
9/22 Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
9/23 Paradise Rock Club - Boston, MA
9/25 Mod Club - Toronto, ON
9/26 Grog Shop - Cleveland, OH
9/27 Double Door - Chicago, IL
MUTEMATH PREPARE TO LAUNCH "ARMISTICE" ON AUGUST 18, 2009
The New Orleans-based eclectic/innovative rock quartet MUTEMATH has just completed their second full-length album for Teleprompt/Warner Bros. Records entitled Armistice. Recorded in New Orleans and Oxford, MS, and produced by Dennis Herring (Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, The Hives), the record is scheduled for release on Aug 18th.
Nearly 50 minutes in total, MUTEMATH does not play it safe on their sophomore effort. With a stunning range of dynamics, Armistice boasts the kind of masterful production and songwriting that ensure it to be one of the year's standout albums. Go to www.mutemath.com for future announcements, tour dates, merch, special offers and much more.
MATT HIRES SET TO TAKE US TO THE START
SINGER/SONGWRITER UNVEILS DEBUT ALBUM
TAMPA-BASED TROUBADOUR TOURING WITH PAOLO NUTINI
AS "HONEY, LET ME SING YOU A SONG" IMPACTS AT AAA
TAKE US TO THE START RELEASED VIA iTUNES ON JULY 28TH;
PHYSICAL RELEASE FOLLOWS ON AUGUST 25TH
F-Stop Music/Atlantic recording artist Matt Hires has announced details of his eagerly anticipated debut album. Take Us To The Start--which includes the single, "Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song"--will be released exclusively through iTunes on July 28th. The album will then arrive in stores everywhere on August 25th.
"Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song" is currently impacting at Triple A radio outlets nationwide. In addition, the track's companion video is streaming at Hires' official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/matthires. What's more, Take Us To The Start is being streamed exclusively pre-release via Pandora Radio, located at www.pandora.com.
The first full-length release from Atlantic's new F-Stop Music imprint, Take Us To The Start marks the arrival of a self-assured and authentic new artist. On tracks such as "State Lines" and "You In The End," the Tampa, Florida-based Hires fuses the intimacy of the great singer/songwriters with indelible pop-rock hooks and propulsive rhythms. Produced by Eric Rosse (Sara Bareilles, Tori Amos), Take Us To The Start is filled with multiple delights, most notably Hires' remarkable voice, an instrument striking in its warmth, expressiveness, and ability to convey a multitude of emotions within a single song.
Along the album's other highlights are two songs - "Turn The Page" and "Perfect Day" - which were featured in recent episodes of ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice. Take Us To The Start follows Hires' EP, "Live At The Hotel Cafe," which reached the top 10 on iTunes' Top Singer/Songwriters Albums chart.
Hires is currently heralding the album's release by supporting fellow Atlantic recording artist Paolo Nutini on his North American tour (see attached itinerary). A charming and charismatic live performer, Matt--who recently shared stages with such like-minded artists as John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band, Marc Broussard, and O.A.R.--is next slated to join Tyrone Wells for a much-anticipated fall co-headline tour. Full details will be announced shortly.
For up-to-the-minute news and information, please visit Matt's official MySpace page, www.myspace.com/matthires.
Soundtrack To Ang Lee's New Comedy About
The Road To The 1969 Event Includes Unforgettable Songs By
The Artists Who Played Woodstock, And Much More
Three Versions Available August 25
Taking Woodstock is the new movie comedy directed by Oscar winner Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) inspired by the memoirs of Elliot Tiber, who with his family inadvertently played a role in making the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the famed happening it was, 40 years ago this summer. The Taking Woodstock soundtrack, with songs from many of the artists who performed at the festival, reflects a joyous moment in time when everything seemed possible.
Three different versions will be available from Rhino August 25 at www.rhino.com and at all retail outlets. The CD version features the soundtrack with selections of Oscar® nominee Danny Elfman's (Milk) score, a score-only version, and an iTunes exclusive deluxe version, which includes the soundtrack, plus the complete score.
The Taking Woodstock soundtrack begins with Richie Havens, who opened the festival on August 15, 1969. For the movie Havens recorded a new version of "Freedom," the song he played to close his set at Woodstock. The soundtrack contains songs from a number of 1960s musical icons who performed at the festival, including Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and Crosby, Stills & Nash-who played only their second show in front of the crowd, which was estimated at 500,000 strong.
Another memorable Woodstock moment echoed on the soundtrack is a live version of "I-Feel-Like I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag," the anti-war song Country Joe McDonald performed after leading the crowd in the infamous "Fish" cheer. The soundtrack also features live performances by other Woodstock alumni, including Arlo Guthrie ("Coming Into Los Angeles"), Canned Heat ("Going Up The Country"), Melanie ("Beautiful People"), and The Band ("I Shall Be Released"), whose members lived not far from the concert site.
Artists who were scheduled to perform at the festival but had to drop out are included on the Taking Woodstock soundtrack as well; Love ("The Red Telephone") and The Doors ("Maggie M'Gill").
Focus Features will release the movie Taking Woodstock nationwide August 28. The film stars Demetri Martin, Dan Fogler, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Imelda Staunton, with Emile Hirsch and Liev Schreiber. For more information about the film, visit www.takingwoodstockthemovie.com.
Taking Woodstock Soundtrack
1. "Freedom (2009)" - Richie Havens
2. Taking Woodstock Titles*
3. "Wooden Ships" - Crosby, Stills & Nash
4. "China Cat Sunflower" (Live) - Grateful Dead
5. "Maggie M'Gill" - The Doors
6. Elliot's Place*
7. "Coming Into Los Angeles" (Live) - Arlo Guthrie
8. "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" (Live) - Country Joe McDonald
9. "Going Up The Country" (Live) - Canned Heat
10. "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" (Live) - Janis Joplin
11. A Happening (Office #2)*
12. "The Red Telephone" - Love
13. "Beautiful People" (Live) - Melanie
14. "I Shall Be Released" (Live) - The Band
15. Perspective Extended*
16. "One More Mile" - The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
17. "Volunteers" - Jefferson Airplane
*Score written and produced by Danny Elfman
Taking Woodstock Score
1. Taking Woodstock Titles
2. Elliot's Place
3. At Ease Man
4. Welcome Home
5. The Magic Tickets
6. Get The Money
7. Chocolate Milk
8. Groovy Thing (Office #1)
9. A Happening (Office #2)
10. Groovy Thing (Guitar Solo)
11. Life Goes On
12. The Acid Trip
13. Hash Brownies
14. In The Mud
15. Perspective Extended
16. I Love Her
17. Woodstock Wildtrack #1
18. Woodstock Wildtrack #2
SUFJAN STEVENS PRESENTS THE BQE
CD/DVD WITH VIEWMASTER® REEL, 180-GRAM VINYL
WITH COMIC BOOK DUE OCTOBER 20
"[The BQE] uses swirling, glimmering Romantic orchestration (by way of soundtracks and 1950s pop) to make [Stevens'] private ruminations more quizzical and more alluring at the same time."
--The New York Times
"Stevens' film and score managed to turn the city into an object of such joy it felt like an honor to be from the place."--ARTslanT
Sufjan Stevens premiered The BQE, a film and musical suite exploring New York City's infamous Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in November 2007. The critically applauded performance featured 36 performers including a band, a wind and brass ensemble, string players, a horn section, projected film footage of the expressway and five hula hoopers. On October 20, Asthmatic Kitty Records will release The BQE (also available via Rough Trade in the UK, P-Vine in Japan, Spunk in Australia).
The comprehensive package features the CD soundtrack, the DVD of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway film footage, a 40-page booklet with extensive liner notes & photographs and an accompanying stereoscopic 3-D Viewmaster® reel. Furthermore, Asthmatic Kitty will release a limited edition double gatefold vinyl edition of The BQE on 180-gram vinyl with a large-scale 32-page booklet including liner notes, photographs and a black and white version of a 40-page BQE-themed Hooper Heroes comic book. View a video trailer of The BQE here: vimeo.com/5682252.
On October 24, 92YTribeca will host the premiere screening of The BQE DVD with an introduction by Stevens. At the screening, the Osso Quartet will perform selections from Run Rabbit Run. Tickets for this went on sale July 23 via http://www.92y.org/92yTribeca/default.asp.
The concept behind The BQE is based largely on the history of New York's Brooklyn-Queens Expressway--12.7 miles of urban roadway built between 1939 and1964 by master urban planner Robert Moses. The Viewmaster®, unveiled at the 1939 NYC World's Fair (the World's Fair being part of the motivation for the construction of the BQE, funneling New Yorkers to and from Flushing, Queens), was intended to promote 3-D panoramic illusions of the American landscape and serve as advertising for various tourist destinations and motivation for American drivers. The Hooper Heroes comic book, written by Stevens and drawn, colored and inked by collaborator Stephen Halker, follows three extra-terrestrial superhero sisters who use hula-hoops to combat "the Messiah of Civic Projects," Captain Moses.
Sufjan Stevens has released seven studio recordings since 2000 including Michigan and Illinois, the first two entries in an epic series of 50 recordings each based on a different U.S. state; a 5-EP Christmas box set; and Enjoy Your Rabbit, an instrumental electronic song cycle based on the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Run Rabbit Run, a recording of Enjoy Your Rabbit rearranged for the Osso String Quartet, is due October 6 via Asthmatic Kitty. Stevens has also collaborated with fellow indie pop acts Danielson Famile, Rosie Thomas, Denison Witmer, My Brightest Diamond and many others.
Follow Mike Ragogna on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ragz2008