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Classic Rock Magazine

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    Maybe not since the heyday of MTV’s Unplugged has an artist released two albums of the same material that are so diametrically opposed as Emily Wells. Last year the singer-songwriter released Mama, a ten-track collection that fused hip-hop beats with lush string arrangements and folkie guitar all set to Wells’ unique vocal style that is part sexy croon and part Joanna Newsom-esque weird-twee. On June 11, the songstress will release Mama Acoustic Recordings via Partisan Records, a stark bare-bones re-recording of her debut that features just Wells playing the tunes on an acoustic guitar.

    Let’s check out this live in-studio performance of the album’s lead single Darlin’…

    Emily WellsDarlin’

    Emily Wells will kick off the U.S. leg of her month-long world tour with a gig at The Echo in Los Angeles on June 13.

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    He’ll always be best known as Widespread Panic’s mighty anchor, but Dave Schools has certainly been branching out. He spent most of Panic’s “sabbatical,” as he described it, carrying the low end for the Mickey Hart Band and getting involved with Bob Weir, TRI Studios and the potent scene developing around TRI, Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads and a new collective of Bay Area musicians.

    [Photo by Rex Thomson]

    Where he still finds time to do albums with the likes of Todd Snider is Schools’s secret, but for a musician still so keenly interested in growth and adding to his musical arsenal, variety comes with the territory.

    Hidden Track caught up with Schools recently to talk Panic, Mickey, TRI and Weir, John Fogerty, Jerry Joseph and whatever else came to mind.

    HIDDEN TRACK: You’ve got a lot going on right now. How do you keep it all straight and is it tough to prioritize?

    DAVE SCHOOLS: Shared calendars, I guess! But yeah it does get difficult sometimes. Nothing to complain about, though, as a working musician.

    HT: No doubt. So let’s start with the Mickey band. When I spoke with Mickey several months back, he said you guys connected basically because you were neighbors and you just started hanging out and working through ideas together. Is that an accurate recollection?

    DS: That’s absolutely accurate. We are neighbors; we live very close together in West Sonoma County and we also shared a personal manager at the time who was just like, you guys should hang out. Well, we did, and that led to jamming in his barn-slash-studio, which he wears like a cloak – he’s never out of that studio unless he’s on tour or sleeping. But how that became the band and Mysterium Tremendum was that we were getting started with grooves and things and then began to match lyrical ideas with those grooves. The project snowballed and band members began to cling on and ideas became fully formed songs.

    Next thing you know, we have an eight-piece band and we have a record and a tour to support it and it’s something I can do because it’s happening during Panic’s sabbatical. It’s been so great to watch a band that large and complicated get its legs on stage, and I’m so proud to be a part of that. It’s full of really talented Bay Area and New York people and we’ve had a ball just traveling around the country – we all really wanted to get that sucker up on its feet.

    I haven’t been able to continue the road work with that band this year so they’re bringing in some great bass players, I think Reed Mathis is going to take over for the summer tour. But yesterday I was over at Mickey’s and I’m adding bass to I think seven or eight of the new album’s tracks.

    HT: So you will remain involved with the Mickey band, even though obviously you have to commit your time back to Panic and other things?

    DS: Yes. It was a terrific opportunity to stand beside those guys, Mickey and people like Sikiru Adepoju. Oh wow, it’s unbelievable the range of sounds he gets from that drum that he built. Me, personally, I learned a whole lot I needed to add to my bass arsenal. When not to play, for example, with all those drums around and where to be within the songs and what the singers were doing. It was a really wonderful lesson to learn to stand alongside Sikiru and, over continued exposure and the work we were doing onstage, understand where he was coming from and how his instrument speaks and to get some interplay with that. It’s certainly developed into a wonderful friendship.

    HT: What else did you take away from playing in a band like this? Surprised to hear you had new stuff to add to the arsenal given how long you’ve been playing and the variety of bands and people you’ve played with.

    DS: The Mickey band is groove oriented and even has some elements of electronic dance music in it, but it’s all about rhythms and that’s all derived from Mickey’s experiences in global drumming. It’s been amazing to just immerse myself in those styles, how those different languages work.

    What the band was after is a place pretty scary to a lot of musicians used to staid arrangements, so I also was doing a lot to help those other guys learn to convert and shed conceived notions about the way the material should be approached. You know, it’s kind of cool not to play something the same way – there’s a lot of openness and freedom. Mickey, man, all he thinks about is how to explode and deconstruct things as much as possible. So I saw a way to bridge their world with Mickey’s world.

    HT: What’s Mickey like as a bandleader?

    DS: He’s definitely an alpha dog. But I tell you, all of the Grateful Dead alumni tend to do that a little. They all seem to be bringing something into their own sphere of influence in a way that was unavailable to them in the Grateful Dead. I mean, they were all kind of leaders in the Dead, and on the great nights they were transmuting music together as only they could. But there was never really a chance for any of them to be band leader, even though they all contributed ideas. They all want to lead the band now, and if you try to do too much of that, of course, you undo the beauty of the material. No one’s waving a baton but they all want to take it to interesting places.

    What’s special about Mickey is that he just loves sound. Whether it’s the sound of a drum, or a bass, or a pulsar captured by radio telescope or, I don’t know, a grand piano falling off a cliff, he loves it. He sees and visualizes sound. It’s always interesting when someone can say they can “see music” – and yes, especially if they’re associated with a band that was associated with psychedelic drug experiences – but all these guys just love music.

    Bob Weir, for example, is incredibly adept with jugband stuff. He picks up a guitar and plays a song like Monkey and the Engineer, and he plays it like it’s 1930. So I think all of these guys have this wonderful dilemma of figuring out how to lead a band and how not to lead a band.

    HT: Makes sense, and that’s a great segue into talking about the work you’re doing with Bobby and TRI and Weir Here. How did you become involved with that scene and all of the very interesting things happening around TRI Studios?

    DS: It’s an amazing spot, and to use Terry Killiam’s term, an imaginarium. Bobby and his team really built this world-class, well-lit space. Meyer Sound went in an outfitted the place with a Constellation system, which in lay terms means you can create the illusion of that room being any room in the world, whether it’s a cave, or a phone booth or Notre Dame. You can record drums or vocals and you can create the illusion of being in the great pyramid.

    And then you have Justin Kreutzmann and his whole HD video setup, which obviously you can see on the Wednesdays we do a Weir Here broadcast but’s also been used by Slightly Stoopid I believe. And I just finished a recording there with Todd Snider, the room really is capable of creating anything.

    HT: I was chatting with Jason Crosby a few weeks ago and we talked about both TRI and this community of musicians forming around TRI, Weir Here and individual projects. This sounds like a community that’s just come together organically, and I noticed you’re part of the group Jason’s taking out in a few weeks.

    DS: That’s me. This cadre of musicians, and Jason and I have spoken a lot about this…here’s this opportunity to create a new California sound. Not only can Bob do whatever he wants with this imaginarium or flying saucer, as he calls it, and we can do audio chicanery or video chicanery. It’s also a world-class studio for which we have a bunch of musicians always available to be a house band, just like the Meters were a house band, or the MGs were a house band at Stax. You have a reliable bunch of guys and girls, and people coming into it like Leslie Mendelson.

    Honestly, this is something that keeps me off the road, which is refreshing after being on it for so long. It’s very alluring to me to go down and work in a studio environment where we can stream performances, or, if we choose, put the cloak of secrecy on and make a record. San Rafael is a half hour from me – that’s a road trip I’m always willing to take.

    HT: When do you and Bob first connect? You go back a number of years, correct?

    DS: Yeah, I can’t remember when I first met him. I want to say back in the late ’90s probably when he sat in with Panic near Aspen or something. I also played with him at Christmas Jam and in there have been various other things where we’ve crossed paths musically. But what’s going on with Weir Here is exceptionally fun – it’s just a great opportunity to do whatever you want, collaborate, bring in new blood, bring in old blood. All very cool things.

    HT: So you will be doing some dates with Jason?

    DS: It’s a logical extension of what we’re calling the TRI Allstars. You get one of us, you get us all. Next time, maybe it’ll be Dave Schools and the TRI Allstars, but you can count on the band being a part of that. Anything goes as to what we might play. You should expect the unexpected, but also expect quality and musicianship. Maybe it’s a pool of 10 people and you’re going to get four or five of them.

    What’s going on with TRI and with Phil’s place Terrapin Crossroads is this idea of a place of familiarity, musically, but with a rotating pool of dependable and exciting people. Seeing that just warms the cockles of my heart.

    HT: So it’s not too much of a stretch to call this a true scene – and that it’s something special.

    DS: Yes. I mean, look at how the jambands scene developed from what was happening at the Wetlands, and look at what’s now going on in New York with the Brooklyn Bowl and the Capitol Theater. And down in L.A. you have Jonathan Wilson and his people and a bunch of folks involved, like Chris Robinson and some of the guys in the Heartbreakers.

    I see all of this as part of a larger thing happening, where you may not know what it’s going to be but you can count on its quality. If you see Joey Russo’s name on something, for example, you know it’s going to be something musically exciting. You see Anders and Luther starting to show up here at Terrapin. I brought in the Todd Snider people, which would include Neal Casal, known to fans of Ryan Adams and Chris Robinson’s bands. Jackie Greene’s a part of it, and look at that, he’s now in the Black Crowes. I had Duane Trucks out here playing drums on Todd’s record. All of which is to say, it’s bubbling and it’s all really exciting.

    The gift that Phil and Bob and Mickey provide is permission to be yourself and be creative in a studio or live environment, and that there are these places where we can ply our trade as musicians. The elders teach their valuable lessons, and maybe that’s to people who are starting out or who have been on the road for 15 or 20 years. We’re bringing in someone like Leslie Mendelson, and she’s saying it’s all like this weird, cool dream, and all of a sudden she’s sitting in with Steve Kimock at the Great American Music Hall.

    You’ve seen what we’ve just announced with Weir Here Over There. We’ll have Jonathan Wilson and Beth Orton and Steve Parish and who knows who else or what other kind of comedy hijinks will ensue. It’s all about using these new tools to get stuff out, create new stuff, and entertain, the only way we know how to be entertaining. So is this fun? Hell yeah it’s fun.

    Check back tomorrow for the second part of Chad’s chat with Mr. Schools which focuses on Widespread Panic.

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    The annual Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Fest took place this past weekend at Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, New Jersey. Aaron Neville, The Voice of Wetlands All-Stars, The Royal Southern Brotherhood and Anders Osborne were just a few of the bands performing at the legendary event.

    [All Photos by Dino Perrucci]

    Photographer Dino Perrucci has been on hand at the fest all weekend and has filed this exceptional shots of Papa Grows Funk, Anders Osborne, Aaron Neville, Cowboy Mouth and more from Sunday…

    DSC_0005 DSC_0010 DSC_0014 DSC_0104 DSC_0111 DSC_0123 DSC_0184 DSC_0198 DSC_0259 DSC_0348 DSC_9754 DSC_9763 DSC_9777 DSC_9807 DSC_9825 DSC_9845 DSC_9855 DSC_9867 DSC_9880 DSC_9899 Leave A Comment

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    Thanks to our friends at HyperVocal, we came across a video featuring a father performing the Beatles’ 1969 classic Don’t Let Me Down with his two-year-old son. Now, this isn’t the most impressive musical performance but the little boy screaming “Don’t let me down!” is incredibly cute.

    So watch as Christian Diego Mello duets on the tune with his son Diogo…

    [via HyperVocal]

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    While the Grateful Dead never performed live at any of the Farm Aid concerts before Jerry Garcia passed away in 1995, they did appear off-site via satellite at the 1986 and 1987 installments of the benefit concerts. On July 4, 1986 the Grateful Dead played a show at Rich Stadium in Buffalo, New York with Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, while the second annual Farm Aid concert took place at Manor Downs Raceway in Austin, Texas.

    Three songs from the Dead’s show in Buffalo were broadcast live to the Austin crowd – The Wheel, I Need A Miracle and Uncle John’s Band. Just as the band was about to begin The Wheel, guitarist Bob Weir stepped to the mic and stated “America is an agrarian nation, let’s keep it turning” in tipping their hat towards Farm Aid’s goal. A few minutes ago Farm Aid organizers posted the three-song segment that was broadcast at Farm Aid II to the organization’s YouTube channel

    [via Copperpot5]

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    HT faves Widespread Panic have just announced an 11-show first leg of their fall tour. The band already announced a pair of shows with Umphrey’s McGee in Charleston, South Carolina on October 4 and 5. Those shows will end the leg, which begins on Sept. 20 at Snowden Grove Ampitheatre in Southhaven, Miss and includes a three-night stand at the Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    Here’s the itinerary for Widespread Panic’s Fall Tour 2013:

    9/20 & 21 @ Snowden Grove Ampitheatre – Southaven, MS
    9/22 @ Taft Theatre – Cincinnati, OH
    9/24 @ Fillmore – Detroit, MI
    9/26 – 28 @ Riverside Theater – Milwaukee, WI
    9/29 @ Murat Theatre – Indianapolis, IN
    10/3 @ Tuscaloosa Ampitheatre – Tuscaloosa, AL
    10/4 & 5 @ Family Circle Stadium – Charleston, SC

    The band also revealed that “more dates will be added soon,” so those out west and in the Northeast still have hope. Head to Widespread Panic’s Tour Page for details on when tickets go on sale. If you missed it, we posted part one of our chat with Panic bassist Dave Schools earlier today.

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    Back in January we posted about Tenacious D’s plan to throw a comedy rock festival on Santa Monica Pier called “Festival Supreme.” More details have finally emerged about Festival Supreme as we now know that the event will take place on Saturday, October 19, on Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California. Festival Supreme has a website and a Facebook Page, but for now the lineup hasn’t been revealed. When Jack Black originally talked about Festival Supreme with Rolling Stone, he mentioned a wishlist of “your Flight of the Conchords, your Lonely Island, your Tenacious D, your Zach Galifianakis, your Spinal Tap, your Eric Idle,” and Weird Al. We’ll see who they actually get.


    If you’re not into a night with Tenacious D and comedy rock acts, then maybe you’ll be interested in hitting one of these recently announced tours…

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    posted in Festival Supreme by HT Staff

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    He’ll always be best known as Widespread Panic’s mighty anchor, but Dave Schools has certainly been branching out. He spent most of Panic’s “sabbatical,” as he described it, carrying the low end for the Mickey Hart Band and getting involved with Bob Weir, TRI Studios and the potent scene developing around TRI, Phil Lesh’s Terrapin Crossroads and a new collective of Bay Area musicians.


    [Photo by Rex Thomson]

    Where he still finds time to do albums with the likes of Todd Snider is Schools’s secret, but for a musician still so keenly interested in growth and adding to his musical arsenal, variety comes with the territory.

    Hidden Track caught up with Schools recently to talk Panic, Mickey, TRI and Weir, John Fogerty, Jerry Joseph and whatever else came to mind. We posted Part One yesterday and today we share the more Panic-centric part of our chat.

    HIDDEN TRACK: Let’s talk about Panic. A lot was made about the band’s hiatus but you guys weren’t really away for long and it sounds like everyone’s rejuvenated. Did we all make too much of the quote-unquote Widepsread Panic hiatus?

    DAVE SCHOOLS: Yeah, absolutely. I hate the word hiatus, because it sounds like a medical condition. I like the word sabbatical because that’s what it was. The spring tour we did was brief and I think we took a lot of chances in the way we played our songs if we didn’t do a lot with the variety of the songs. But for all your setlist armchair aficionados, it really is how we’re playing ‘em – don’t just look at the songs we played and dismiss it for that.

    HT: Panic’s covered so much ground and been through so much, more so and for longer than most of your peers. What else do you want to do with the band? What are Widespread Panic’s goals?

    DS: The opportunities to play in other countries are cool. We’ve been to Japan and we do these Mexico getaways. I’d love to go play in Russia, and more in Japan and go back to Australia. Overall, for bands like Panic, the ambiance of the location really affects the playing. There’s still nothing that competes with seeing a band in an intimate setting, so I’d like to see where that goes and do more of that around the world.

    I’d also love to see Panic to start to utilize more of the new technology. We have Andy Tennille on tour with us generating content, doing videos and short films and stuff for the social media platforms that none of us in the band really give a darn about because we just don’t understand it. So it’s good to have someone who understand where it’s going and what’s working, and if that person can be a fly on the wall and catch the cool moments, I’m all for it. We don’t necessarily have to learn it ourselves, but if we can be ourselves and understand and accept the ways these models are changing, we’ll be OK. Maybe the next step is not making records and not spending 12 months working on a record, but dashing off some songs or putting our content in whatever format makes sense this week.

    HT: It’s been interesting to see the music industry, while fractious, continue to admire the jamband model of stemming everything to the unique live show experience. Is this the most sustainable model, you think?

    DS: Well, like I said, there’s still no substitute for being there. That model will always be the same, as long as there is music being played that is participatory. If you ask anyone in the jamband world – and God, I hate that term, but let’s face it, it stuck – about that eye-to-eye contact, the visceral thing of performing and how sometimes you can unite an audience and a band into one organism and create a monstrous effect on what’s going on musically, it just becomes this continual upping the ante of energy.

    You’re just not going to get that from streaming HD video, no matter how good it is. Some guy might jump off his couch and yell, fuck yeah, that’s my favorite song, but you’re never going to substitute for how it feels when you’re there and it’s live and everybody’s rocking. That’s why we come back. Those moments of connectivity that make you feel like you’re adding.

    HT: The Wood tour was received really well. Do you think you guys will continue to do stuff like that and experiment with how to present yourselves live?

    DS: It’s interesting because we all had different ideas for how the Wood tour would turn out. Some of those ideas were met, and some were dashed and were replaced by other, organic, cool things. There are songs we would have never have tried if we weren’t sitting down with wooden instruments, so that feeling of accessibility and the availability of new material was amazing, and has carried into our return to touring.

    I think if you stick to one thing too long, you forget that you have permission to do whatever you want. The audience gives you permission to at least be open-minded about things. Do we have permission to do a Jimmy Cliff ballad instead of a reggae tune? Can Phish do a Gillian Welch tune? Well, yes, you should expect that, or at least you shouldn’t be surprised.

    HT: You guys will be playing the Interlocken Festival and backing John Fogerty during one of your nights. Are you excited? How did this come together?

    DS: I don’t know how it came together but I’m beside myself excited. Some of the first 45s I had were Creedence songs. My Dad used to take me to Standard Drug and they had the top 40 singles and albums there, right at the drug store, that’s how cool it was in those days. I’d been playing Deep Purple and he got really sick of that and he didn’t really dig it, but he did like Creedence, and I had Proud Mary and Down on the Corner and all of them.

    It was a huge thing for me. It was a big part of where everything came from for me musically, there’s just no way I could have avoided it. So for me to find out we’re going to be backing up John Fogerty, I mean wow. Does that mean we get to play Keep On Choogling for 10 minutes? Guys, we better fucking rehearse! This guy was a huge part of everything I am, these singles that were released and the four- and five-year-old Dave Schools that got to listen to them when it wasn’t the oldies station. So yeah, I’m excited [laughs]!

    HT: Any idea what you’re going to play with him?

    DS: We haven’t gotten there yet. I’ll play whatever he wants, as long as we get to do Run Through the Jungle and Keep On Chooglin and draw ‘em out 10 minutes.

    HT: Definitely 10 minutes?

    DS: [laughs] Make it 12. I mean, hey, Jimmy can unwind a solo that long.

    HT: I did want to mention the new archival release, those Oak Mountain shows from 2001. Any memories of that year come to mind? So much had happened and was about to change for you guys.

    DS: I don’t recall all that much but Oak Mountain was becoming a scene. The Birmingham powers that be felt it was dangerous to the youth of Alabama, I remember. Why that was worse than 300,000 people drinking from open containers at Talladega, I’ll never know, but they were putting their microscope on Oak Mountain and the whole thing. But I do remember great shows, enthusiastic crowds, it felt like a special place for us, not unlike Red Rocks in that we’d do multiple nights and get pretty far out. We really did put our work boots on for those shows.

    HT: When will we see another Widespread Panic album?

    DS: In the short term I can’t say. I can say there are new ideas bouncing around and we make take a different approach to presenting them, and we may tend to work on new things more on stage, instead of in a studio, more than we have in the last 10 years. But there are a lot of ideas flowing through the pipeline. JoJo’s Missing Cats record, there are some great songs on there. A lot of our side projects are these experimental kitchens for new ideas, and maybe someone’s fully realized idea for a solo project is something Panic can expand on even more. So there is stuff happening. I’m not sure you’ll hear much of it on the upcoming run, but summer tour definitely.

    HT: Is there anything else you’re working on that we can highlight?

    DS: I’m talking a lot with Jerry Joseph and I’m slowly but surely working on him to make a gospel record. It’s a side of him that his fans understand and a side of his music that deserves to be brought out. Maybe that means plundering his vast catalog for some of the more gospel-y things, or maybe it means pairing him with gospel greats, or maybe it means having him dig through old spiritual records and pursuing it a little farther down the rabbit hole.

    HT: I can definitely see the fit. And speaking of Jerry, is there a future for Stockholm Syndrome?

    DS: One can never say. I know Eric and Wally are busy supporting Eric Burdon. Danny Louis is busy with the Mule and I’m juggling a lof of things. Jerry’s got a new baby, but he’s just one to crank out great songs and perform. You never know.

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    posted in Dave Schools by Chad Berndtson

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    June is a ripe month for gift giving with both High School and College Graduations as well as Father’s Day right around the corner. If you are like me, finding the perfect gift for a loved one can often be stressful. If you have someone you are still shopping for and want to make their day special, check out a quick list of five totally cool gift ideas for the music lover in your life. Check out also a list of  a dozen or so great ideas from our Holiday Gift Guide last December. Good luck and if you have any questions about any of the items, as always, feel free to leave a comment, message me on Twitter or e-mail me.



    Test Pack $299

    If you have ever remotely considered the idea of  splurging for Sonos- now is a great time to consider taking the plunge. We’ve previously reviewed Sonos as a whole as well as their amazing subwoofer called “Sub”. In a nutshell, Sonos lets you play “all the music on earth” anywhere in your house effortlessly and wirelessly. More and more services are added all the time making it likely that whatever you enjoy listening to can be played from Sonos. Your own local library, Spotify, MOG, Songza, radio,, Pandora, Wolfgang’s Vault and Stitcher are but a few of the services available and ones that I use the most. With gorgeously designed apps for iOS and Android, as well as the ability to control from any computer, it is a joy to create playlists, find songs and create the perfect mood whenever you want.

    Play:3 is Sonos’ entry level speaker but don’t let that fool you. It packs a decent punch and can easily fill a room with sound sporting three separate drivers. With the ability to position vertically or horizontally,  it is versatile speaker that can be placed practically anywhere. As always, the beauty of the Sonos system is that you can start with one speaker and slowly add and build onto your system. This speaker is typically $299 but this promotion throws in a Bridge [$49] which connects to your router and allows you to set up your wireless mesh networks as well as free shipping.  90 days of Rhapsody is also included.

    Sonos Play:3[Sonos Play:3 available in White or Black]

    Fracture Glass Photo

    Prices Starting at $15

    Fracture is a company offering pictures printed directly on glass which produces quite a stunning result. Your picture and frame are one and the same and look sleek, crisp, and unlike a traditional framed photo.  Colors are bright, vibrant and the images pop! The modern looking photos lay perfectly flat on a wall or smaller ones can be put on a stand. With a variety of choices in how the print is ultimately produced, including a stained-glass look, you are sure to find one that will work for you. Grab a couple scans of your loved ones most memorable ticket stubs or concert shots and create a music collage. Any JPEG, PNG or GIF can be uploaded and turned into a Fracture. A variety of sizes including traditional photograph ratios, squares and custom sizes are available. I was really impressed when I saw a wall of several “Fractures” a couple of weeks ago and know you will love this cool way of printing as well. Can’t decide on an image to use? Gift a gift certificate and let the recipient design their own!


    [Fracture Wall Photos starting at $15]

    Griffin WoodTones Earbuds


    We’ve covered a bunch of reasonably priced earphones including pairs from RHA and Monoprice among others over the last year. Add Griffin’s WoodTones to the list of earphones that give you great sound for the money. Solid wood enclosures come in three colors (Beech, Walnut and Sapele) and are extremely light and comfortable. They can be listened to for extended periods without fatigue as they offer natural, full sound. Three sizes of eartips come with the WoodTones as well as a little hemp drawstring bag to hold them.  Given their unique look and great sound, this is a great gift idea for short dollars. Of course they can be used on any device with an 1/8 ” plug, but the in-line mic and button is specifically designed for iOS devices.


    [Griffin WoodTones]

    Hifiman EF2A Headphone Amp


    First of all, you might be asking…What exactly IS a headphone amp? Well, just like the amp that powers a stereo system, a headphone amp is a simply a smaller amplifier that is specifically designed to power the drivers (speakers) in headphones. Headphones amps can dramatically boost the clarity, details and dynamic range of your sound. And of course, the overall power and volume can be boosted to levels that your computer is not likely to be able to drive. With a reasonable pair of headphones, you’ll be surprised listening through a headphone amp the first time.

    This headphone is simply fantastic. Made by Hifiman which is known for their extraordinary audio products, and the maker of a fantastic DAC that we previously reviewed, the EF2A is a winner all-around. It has stunning good looks that help give it the “cool” factor with its mix of retro look with two exposed tubes and sleek design. Overall performance is excellent and you’ll hear amazing clarity in vocals, tremendous boost in overall volume and fine details that you may never had noticed before. With it’s USB design, simply plug and play- easy setup will have your gift recipient enjoying music in a snap. RCA inputs also offer more input options like an external CD player.

    Hifiman EF2A[Hifiman EF2A]

    Sansa Clip+ Music Player

    Starting at $30

    Before you laugh at me and sneer with disgust- hear me out. I understand most everyone and their brother has a smartphone or a fancy Mp3 player already. I get that. But the Sansa Clip+ makes for a fantastic second player and a great gift when loaded up with tunes from eTree or Mixed tapes used to be a common gift and when thought was put into them- could really be a huge hit. Why not download a handful of shows from your gift recipients birth year? The first show they saw of their favorite band? Bunch of shows from their favorite venue? You get the idea. I only recently used a Sansa Clip for the first time and was impressed with not only the size and weight, but also the build quality and the sound output. It is a rugged, easy to use player that you can take places that you may not want to risk bringing your smartphone-player. With internal sizes ranging from 2GB – 8GB, you can store thousands of songs. And unlike many phones, the Clip+ has expandable memory so you can just pop in a micro-SD card and double, triple or even quadruple your storage.

    Another few things that actually give this an edge over smartphones and iPods: It can play FLAC natively! Frankly, it can play tons of music formats including Ogg Vorbis, audible, and WMA. So rather than having the inconvenience of having to convert your live music downloads from FLAC to Mp3- just drag those files over to your Clip+ and they are ready to play. In addition to plenty of flexibility in formats- you’ll get plenty of playing time too with a long lasting battery (15-20 hours!). If that wasn’t all enough, there’s a built in FM tuner so you can listen to the radio. This little player packs a punch!  Oh yeah, and “one more thing” as Jobs used to say…It also has a built in microphone and lets you record audio and voice memos. Lots going on in a cheap, rugged and well-designed little player.

    Sansa Clip+[Sansa Clip+]

    Happy shopping! Don’t forget music subscriptions like Daytrotter, Wolfgang’s Vault, MOG, Spotify, Pandora One and other such things. People love getting free tunes! Also, always feel free to get in touch with me via Twitter, e-mail or the comments below if you have any questions.

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    posted in Technology Tuesdays by Parker Harrington

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    Tangerine trees and marmalade skies…

    Neils Children: Dimly Lit

    image02 (4)

    Seems like every three months or so, some new psych-rock album sneaks its way into my “now playing” playlist and sets up shop there for a while… at least til the next one arrives. Right now, that slot is being held down admirably by this fantastic album.  Hailing from the UK (of course), these guys have apparently been around a while, but they’re new to me… and maybe you, too. Groovy mellotron meets reverb’d guitars and vocals to give every song a darker, other-time/other-place feel. Lava lamp optional.

    Spotify: Neils Children – Dimly Lit
    MOG: Neils Children – Dimly Lit

    New Electric Ride: New Electric Ride

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    Of course, you should listen to this five-song EP in its entirety posthaste, but I’ll wait while you just go ahead and listen to the opening track Mr Bumblebee right now. Pretty good, right? An even four minutes of lollipop swirl perfection, a first cousin to the Grateful Dead’s Alligator. The remaining four tracks are nearly as good, a heady mix of blues- rock and Grateful Beatles psychedelica with the band name and the British zip code to match.

    Spotify: New-Electric-Ride – New Electric Ride
    MOG: New-Electric-Ride – New Electric Ride
    Rhapsody: New-Electric-Ride – New Electric Ride

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    posted in Editor's Choice by Neddy

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    In talking to a few folks who attended the Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois over Memorial Day Weekend, they raved about Allie Kral’s sit-in on Plane Crash (or “that too fucking high song” as it’s known by more casual fans) with moe. on Saturday night of the festival. Kral, who played her last show with Cornmeal at Summer Camp, has guested on Plane Crash in the past and her familiarity with the tune helped propel the Summer Camp version to heady heights.


    Exceptional pro-shot video of Allie performing Plane Crash with moe. has just surfaced on the Summer Camp YouTube Channel which shows of not only the extremely impressive performance by Kral and the jam stalwarts, but also the killer light design of Jason Huffer. Check it out…

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    posted in Allie Kral by Scott Bernstein

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    Longtime HT faves Vampire Weekend dropped their official video for the double entendre titled Diane Young this week. This song that takes some getting used to compared to the earlier material, but it’s definitely hooks you in sooner or later. The video has plenty of funny details including a Last Supper reference, some heady indie rock cameos, a creative use for the saxophone and a nod to the Brooklyn Nets. The new album Modern Vampires in the City marks a progressive step forward for Vampire Weekend, but without jeopardizing the hooky sound that brought people on board in the first place.

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    posted in Vampire Weekend by Ryan Dembinsky

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    Back in 2010 U-Melt brought seven years of touring to a close when the band broke up and went their separate ways. Since that time there hasn’t been a formal U-Melt reunion, but that will change on September 21 when the jamband plays Brooklyn Bowl.


    The ad above says it all: “One Night Only.” So don’t expect more performances from U-Melt in the near future. Tickets for the midnight show are on sale now for $10.

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    posted in Brooklyn Bowl by Scott Bernstein

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    Last night Phish drummer Jon Fishman played at Club Metronome in Burlington, Vermont with Cats Under The Stars as part of the “Dead Set” series of shows. Fish and TAB drummer Russ Lawton handled the two drum parts on a series of Grateful Dead covers for most of the evening, with Cats Under The Stars drummer Ryan Clausen and Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro performing behind the kit at points in relief of Lawton. Guitarist Mihali Savoulidis also guested at last night’s Dead Set.


    [Photo by Matt Kolinski]

    Another Phish-y connection came in the middle of the first set when saxophonist Dave “The Truth” Grippo, a member of the Giant Country Horns, emerged for takes on Row Jimmy and Bird Song.

    Here’s last night’s setlist thanks to the team:

    Set 1BerthaMississippi Half-Step Uptown ToodlelooRow Jimmy[1]Bird Song[1],They Love Each OtherNew Speedway Boogie[2]Scarlet Begonias

    Set 2Playing in the Band > Uncle John’s Band -> Morning Dew -> Uncle John’s Band -> Playing in the BandTerrapin Station

    EncoreFranklin’s TowerFire on the Mountain -> Drums -> Fire on the Mountain

    [1] Dave Grippo on sax.
    [2] Kevin Shapiro on second drum kit in place of Russ Lawton.

    Notes: Fish played drums (along with Russ Lawton) for the entire show. “Row Jimmy” and “Bird Song” featured Dave Grippo on sax. “New Speedway Boogie” featured Phish arcchivist Kevin Shapiro on a second drum kit in place of Russ Lawton.

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    posted in Jon Fishman by Scott Bernstein

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    The summer concert season is upon us and the Hidden Track staff knows that it’s virtually impossible for us to afford every show we want to hit, and still be able to pay our insanely expensive New York City rents. Luckily for us, there are a plethora of fantastic free concerts throughout the summer that don’t cost a dime. We decided to weed through all the listings and present to you our 6th Annual NYC Free Summer Concert Picks. Let’s take a look…

    HT Recommends: Fuzz / Ex-Cult / Jonathan Toubin (DJ Set)

    Where: Red Hook Park – Red Hook, Brooklyn

    When: Thursday, June 6, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: Releasing numerous records a year under his own name, Ty Segall has formed a new outfit, Fuzz, with Charlie Moonheart, who has played in his live band (they were also both in Epsilons). In Fuzz, Segall sings but is on drums and like their name implies, this is the kind of thick and heavy Rock that descends straight from Jimi Hendrix. The band’s debut single came out covertly, with no mention of the band members and sold out its initial vinyl pressing. Both songs, “This Time I Got a Reason” and “Fuzz’s Fourth Dream” are both flaming embers of molten rock that evoke serpentine head-banging and rage skyward on evil riffs.

    Taking cues from the psychedelic noise of the 1960s, the art-damaged post-punk of the late 1970s, and the aggression and immediacy of early 1980s US Hardcore, Ex-Cult has curated a sound that audiences nationwide find accessible, yet not quite like anything else they’ve heard. Conceived at the legendary Memphis dive, the Lamplighter, by longtime friends Michael Peery and Chris Shaw, the band played their first show three months after the first practice, immediately gaining a local fan base and grabbing the attention of the Memphis punk institution known as Goner Records. After going through a name change and releasing a couple of now impossible to find singles, they headed to San Francisco to record. The result is a post-punk juggernaut, oozing with flying saucer fuzz guitar, a pummeling rhythm section, and snarling vocals.

    Other Free Shows At Red Hook Park: 6/4 – The Flatbush Zombies / The Underachievers, 6/5 – Rakim, 6/7 – Comedy Central Live Presents Cristela Alonzo / Mark Normand

    HT Recommends: The Dirty Guv’nahs

    Where: Big Apple Barbecue & Block Party – Madison Square Park

    When: Sunday, June 10, 4:30pm

    Official Info: “Youth may be in their blood, but tradition guides their instincts”, reveals M! Music and Musician’s Magazine. “The Dirty Guv’nahs are wise in the ways of rock n’ roll beyond their tender years”. The swell of grassroots momentum for this 6-piece rock n’ roll collective from Knoxville, TN is undeniable. “The Guvs” have been steadily growing their fan base across the country, selling out shows in theatres and bars alike, and making standout festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and SXSW, to name a few. The band has also shared the stage with a diverse and notable list of major artists, including Wilco, Zac Brown Band, Levon Helm Band, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Train, Dr. Dog, and Chris Robinson.

    After two independent releases and relentless touring, The Dirty Guv’nahs’ new album, Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies (Dualtone Music) raises the bar significantly for this explosive ensemble. Somewhere Beneath These Southern Skies was recorded in Nashville, TN with producer Ross Copperman and Grammy winning engineer Richie Biggs (The Civil Wars).

    Other Free Shows During The Big Apple Barbecue & Block Party: 6/8 – Spampinato Brothers / Barrence Whitfield & The Savages / Marcia Ball 6/9 – Myles Mancusco Band / Elizabeth Cook

    HT Recommends: The Zombies / Django Django / Adam Green & Binki Shapiro / Modest P (DJ Set)

    Where: Central Park Summerstage

    When: Saturday, June 15, 6:00 PM

    Official Info: Hailing from St. Albans, and originating in 1961, The Zombies are a legendary English Rock band.  Led by Rod Argent on piano and Colin Blunstone on vocals, the band scored US hits in the mid and late 1960s with “She’s Not There,” “Tell Her No,” and “Time of the Season.” Their 1968 album, Odessey and Oracle is ranked 80th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” In 2011, The Zombies released their fifth studio album, Breathe Out, Breathe In.  This latest album enhances the legacy of this monumental rock group with The Independent declaring, “…an authentic 1960s prog-pop tone is sustained through Argent’s surging organ and sly piano, combined with the layered harmonies of Blunstone, whose voice seems impressively unravaged by time.”

    Coming together in 2009, Django Django is a British group that met at art school in Scotland and has its roots planted in London, England.  This adventurous Rock group melds indescribable electronic flourishes to live instrumentation.  Consisting of four members, Django Django’s debut self-titled album, has been voted by Rolling Stone Magazine as 26th in its “50 Best Albums of 2012” list.  Each track contains its own nation of harmonies, rhythms and textures.  Django Django’s story looks set to be a long and compelling one. By banging together their thirst for adventure and their exacting high standards, they’ve produced an album that seems to have everything, but on which everything never seems too much.

    Just one listen to Adam Green & Binki Shapiro is enough to become enchanted. With deceptively pretty arrangements that echo the emotions of late-sixties Folk-Pop and an easygoing rapport between singers, this duet’s collaboration may seem like the perfect accompaniment to a sunny summer’s day, Southern-California style. But it works even better as a comforting soundtrack at the end of a dark, lonely night in the big city. The atmosphere the pair conjures up with strummed guitars and discreet layers of synths indeed suggests romantic possibility, but the lyrics are more sweetly melancholic, gently but candidly addressing betrayal, incipient heartbreak, and conjugal discord. It’s an approach that makes for compelling repeated listening, as the intimate dramas reveal themselves, and it’s one that surprised even Green and Shapiro as their self-titled debut album went on sale in January 2013.

    A New Yorker by birth and Albanian by roots, deejay Modest P is best known for his long time Saturday night residency at the legendary East Village club Nublu. He is also known for being one of the founders of the seminal Easy Lover loft party and the now defunct Water Taxi Beach party in Long Island City, sharing the decks with world class DJs such as Carl Craig, Grandmaster Flash, Prins Thomas, and many more. He has performed at many venues in NYC and around the world. Modest P, or Petrit Pula as he is known by his real name also heads the Nublu record label.

    Other Free Shows At Central Park Summerstage: 6/14 - Ask Me Another from NPR and WNYC, 6/18 – Airborne Toxic Event / The Calder Quartet with Orchestra, 6/21 – IAM / Rakim, 6/23 – Femi Kuti & The Positive Force / Sinkane / King Britt (DJ Set), 6/24 – Yasiin Bey (FKA Mos Def), 6/26 – Adam Devine / Anthony Jeselnik / Nick Kroll / Jeff Ross / Amy Schumer, 6/29 – Joel Plaskett / Spirit of the West / Brasstrounaut, 6/30 – Big Star’s Third: An Orchestrated Live Performance of the Legendary Album featuring  Sharon Van Etten, Kurt Vile, Marshall Crenshaw, Pete Yorn, 7/10 – Tego Calderon / Cuatro Poder / Los Krakas, 7/11 – Lila Downs / Natalia Clavier / Pamela Rodriguez / Raul Campos, 7/13 – Julieta Venegas / Carla Morrison / Alex Andwandter, 7/14 – Fanfare Ciocarlia / Red Baraat / Joro-Boro (DJ Set), 7/16 – The Metropolitan Opera Summer Recital Series, 7/20 – Planet Hemp / Gaby Amarantos / Emcida / Greg Caz (DJ Set), 7/21 – Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits / Fatoumata Diawara / Krar Collective, 7/27 – Lianne La Havas / LP / Quadron / DJ Center (DJ Set), 7/28 – Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth with Special Guests, 8/3 – Shirley Caesear / Rickey Dillard / James Fortune & F.I.Y.A. / Donald Lawrence, 8/4 – Raheem Devaughn / Lyfe Jennings & Special Guests, 8/10 - DJ Kool Herc and Special Guests, 8/11 – Shuggie Otis / Jose James / Hiatus Kaiyote / OP! (I Love Vinyl) (DJ Set), 8/20 – Bobby McFarin

    HT Recommends: Color War / Psychobuilding

    Where: Ace Hotel – Sunday Night Live

    When: Sunday, June 23, 9:30 PM

    Official Info: Every Sunday evening in the lobby, see live local and traveling musicians we think are awesome. These enchanted evenings are curated by Chris Tucci, who DJs before, between and after the live sets.  It’s like a really great mix tape.

    Other Free Shows At The Ace Hotel: 6/9 – Color War, 6/16 – Color War / Jason Bartell, 6/30 – Color War / North America

    HT Recommends: Unknown Mortal Orchestra / Bass Drum Of Death

    Where: Seaport Music Festival – South Street Seaport

    When: Friday, June 28, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: Unknown Mortal Orchestra is Ruban Nielson, bassist Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare.

    The band released their debut self-titled album in 2011 on Fat Possum Records. They quickly received critical acclaim including Pitchfork who gave the album an 8.1, describing that with “an expert use of space rare for such a lo-fi record, UMO manages a unique immersive and psychedelic quality without relying on the usual array of bong-ripping effects.”

    In 2012, Unknown Mortal Orchestra announced that they had signed to Jagjaguwar and were working on their second full-length album. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s sophomore album is titled II and was released on February 5, 2013. The first single from the forthcoming album, entitled “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)”, was first available as a 7″ on their tour with Grizzly Bear.

    Unknown Mortal Orchestra has scheduled a 2013 world tour for their forthcoming album including this free show, destined to be a “do not miss” Seaport Music Festival show.

    Other Free Shows At The South Street Seaport: 6/7 – Oblivians / Ex Cult, 6/14 – PAWS, 6/21 – Fear of Men

    HT Recommends: 4Knots Music Festival

    Where: South Street Seaport

    When: Saturday, June 29, 1 PM

    Official Info: Making its home at New York’s legendary South Street Seaport, The Village Voice’s 4Knots Music Festival will be back for its third year on June 29, 2013. Continuing the Voice’s 13-year history with live music showcases, 4Knots will showcasing renowned and emerging artists on today’s breaking music scene.

    Working together with the Seaport, the festival will be located at this designated New York City historic district which features some of the oldest architecture in downtown Manhattan. The entire Seaport neighborhood is meant to transport its visitors back in time to the mid-19th century, to demonstrate what life in the commercial maritime trade was like. The name of the festival “4Knots” comes from this rich nautical history at the Seaport meaning “the speed of the waves as they meet at the Seaport in New York’s East River”.

    HT Recommends: BB King / The James Hunter Six


    [Photo by Dino Perrucci]

    Where: Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival – World Financial Plaza

    When: Wednesday, July 10, 6 PM

    Official Info: B.B. King is the “King of the Blues.” His complex yet readily identifiable guitar style, with precise vocal-like string bends and left hand vibrato, has become an indispensable component of rock guitar vocabulary. Over his long career, he has released more than 60 albums – many of which are considered blues classics – and his awards and distinctions are too numerous to list. They include 15 Grammy Awards, the prestigious National Medal of the Arts, the Kennedy Center Honors, and induction into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked him at number six in its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

    James Hunter’s classic yet modern brand of rhythm and blues has earned him a Grammy nomination, two Billboard Blues #1’s, and tours with Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Van Morison, and many others. His latest album with The James Hunter Six, Minute by Minute, showcases a leaner and punchier sound with the same electric, soulful voice at the helm.

    Other Free Shows During the Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival: 7/11 – Los Lobos / Los Lonely Boys / Alejandro Escovedo

    HT Recommends: Leon Russell

    Where: Rive to River Festival – Rockefeller Park

    When: Wednesday, July 10, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: Leon Russell has spent nearly seven decades in music as a singer-songwriter, pianist, and guitarist. Originally renowned as one of the premier session musician in all of popular music, Russell was a longtime member of the famed studio ensemble known as The Wrecking Crew, and played with Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys and many others. Russell attained superstar status as the music director for Joe Cocker’s legendary 1970 tour Mad Dogs and Englishmen, followed in 1971 by his thrilling appearance with George Harrison and Bob Dylan at the Concert For Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden. Russell was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after producing a Grammy-nominated album with Elton John in 2012.

    Other Free Shows At The River To River Festival: 6/13 – Brasslands, 6/16 – Bang on a Can, 6/18 – Dana Leong Trio, 6/20 – Sam Green / The Quavers / yMusic, 6/21 – Chassol, 6/23 - JG Thirlwell, 6/23 – Pauline Oliveros, 6/23 - Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez, 6/25 – Angelique Kidjo,  6/25 – James Maddock, 7/2 – Jeffrey Broussard, 7/2 – Pedrito Martinez, 7/9 – Clyne, Dufallo, Kauffman & Dorman,  7/11 – Hauschka, Kosminen, and Zeigler, 7/11 – Hungry March Band, 7/13 – So Percussion and The Joshua Light Show

    HT Recommends: !!! / Jacques Renault / Special Guest TBA

    Where: House Of Vans – 25 Franklin St, Brooklyn

    When: Thursday, July 18

    Official Info: It’s that time of year again! We’re back at it at the House of Vans with the third annual Vans x FYF House Parties. The first show of the summer kicks off Thursday, June 27th with Fucked Up, Title Fight, and Hop Along, with more rad parties to follow.

    All shows are all-ages and free with RSVP, but get there early to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun. RSVP for the first show opens up June 11th. Stay tuned to for the full schedule and RSVP info!

    Other Free Shows At The House Of Vans: 6/27 – Fucked Up / Title Fight, Hop Along, 7/11 – Toro y Moi / Shlohmo /Jonwayne, 7/31 – The Melvins / Baroness / Honky, 8/15 – Kid Dynamite / Joyce Manor / Red Hare / Swearin’, 8/29 – Les Savy Fav / Delorean / Plus Special Guest

    HT Recommends: Mikal Cronin

    Where: MoMA Nights – Sculpture Garden

    When: Thursday, July 25, 5:30 PM

    Official Info: Each Thursday evening in July, MoMA Nights features an up-and-coming band selected by MoMA’s PopRally committee. PopRally is a program of events organized by a cross-departmental committee and held at MoMA and MoMA PS1.

    The expertly crafted garage-pop of Mikal Cronin, shot through with the warmth of the California sun, features infectious tunes and earnestly personal lyrics. He released his second full-length album, MCII, this spring on Merge Records after touring the United States and Europe in the band of his old pal Ty Segall, with whom he has collaborated for close to a decade. Rooted in self-exploration in the face of new beginnings, Cronin’s music turns inner turmoil into effervescent pop. His compositions deftly move from acoustic strumming to full-on fuzz-pedal freak-outs, channeling both the indie-folk sounds of Elliot Smith and the loud dynamism of Nirvana. This summer Cronin is touring the United States and is featured on the line-ups of Toronto’s North by Northeast Festival and the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

    Other Free Shows At The MoMA: 7/4 – Ex Cops, 7/11 – TEEN, 7/25 – Ducktails,

    HT Recommends: The Lone Bellow / The Low Anthem / Joe Pug

    Where: Celebrate Brooklyn! – Prospect Park Bandshell

    When: Saturday, July 20, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: Breakout stars The Lone Bellow favor the term “Brooklyn Country” for the liquid smooth harmonies and heartfelt songwriting that have captivated fans and critics alike to make them one of the hottest bands of 2013. Of The Lone Bellow, NPR said: “The world of acoustic music is about to get a new household name.” Joining them are revered indie Americana outfit The Low Anthem, sporting a reconfigured lineup and new take on their timeless sound, and the Arkansas-born singer-songwriter producer and one-man record label Joe Purdy, who creates “gorgeous, beautifully-rendered acoustic-based folk songs—pop music with a gently-rounded edge.”

    Other Free Shows At The Prospect Park Bandshell: 6/5 – Patty Griffin, 6/8 – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (for Kids) with Winton Marsalis, 6/13 – Grouplove / Alpine, 6/14 – Mavis Staples / Cody ChesnuTT, 6/15 – Calexico / Susana Baca / Radio Jarocho & Akoko Nante Ensemble, 6/20 – Big Boi / Phony Ppl  / D-Nice, 6/21 – Amadou & Miriam / Bombino, 6/28 – Ladysmith Black Mambazo / Aurielo Martinez, 6/29 – Os Mutantes / Javelin / Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang, 7/6 – Theophilus London / Les Nubians / Aabaraki, 7/12 – Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich & Fussible / Mexican Institute of Sound / Mariachi Flor de Toloache, 7/13 – Dracula with the Philip Glass Ensemble / Kishi Bashi, 7/18 – The Tiger Lillies: Rime of the Ancient Mariner / Cynthia Hopkins, 7/19 – The Waterboys / Alasdair Roberts, 7/25 – BeBe Winas / Alicia Olatuja, 7/26 – Trampled By Turtles / The Devil Makes Three / Brown Bird, 8/2 – Jamie Lidell / Dan Deacon / The Stepkids, 8/3 – Eddie Palamari Orchestra / Banda Magda, 8/9 – Shaggy / TK Wonder, 8/10 – They Might Be Giants / Moon Hooch

    HT Recommends: Foxygen / Thao & The Get Down Stay Down

    Where: River Rocks – Pier 84

    When: Thursday, July 25, Doors 6 PM

    Official Info: Foxygen is the bi-coastal duo of Sam France and Jonathan Rado. Their hyper-real portrait of psychedelic sounds calls to mind 60’s era Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and David Bowie.

    San Francisco based Thao Nguyen has worked with a long list of acclaimed artists including Andrew Bird, Mirah, and Laura Veirs and has released two critically acclaimed records with her backing band the Get Down Stay Down

    Other Free Shows At Pier 84: 7/11 – Generationals / Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside / Waxahatchee, 8/8 – Titus Andronicus / Ducktails

    HT Recommends: Hurray For The Riff Raff / Martha Redbone Roots Project / Trixie Whitley

    Where: Damrosch Park Bandshell – Lincoln Center Out Of Doors

    When: Saturday, August 10, 1 PM

    Official Info: Hurray for the Riff Raff is Alynda lee Segarra, a 25 year old Puerto Rican from the Bronx. After leaving home at an early age to travel the country, she eventually settled in New Orleans where she began to perform and record with a revolving cast of musicians. She released two records (2008’s It Don’t Mean I Don’t Love You and 2010’s Young Blood Blues) mostly consisting of delicate folk and country songs. In 2011, the UK record label Loose Music (Felice Brothers, Dawes, Deer Tick), released Hurray for the Riff Raff, an album that collected the best songs from those records. The Times of London named Hurray for the Riff Raff one of the Top Ten Albums of 2011. Phil Alexander, the Editor-in-Chief of Mojo Magazine, raved that they “have immense potential and seductive power” and named them second best band at SXSW 2011.

    Back in the States, Alynda and her longtime gunslinger on fiddle, Yosi Perlstein, met up with a young honky-tonk band called the Tumbleweeds, just as Alynda began to expand her musical palette to include rock n roll, pop, and soul. In the tradition of Bob Dylan with Band and Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Alynda and Yosi recruited the Tumbleweeds to be their touring band, drastically altering the sound of Hurray for the Riff Raff.

    Look Out Mama is the result of almost two years of Alynda and the Tumbleweeds criss-crossing the USA, playing over 100 shows in small bars and clubs. Recorded in Nashville by producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), Look Out Mama is an exploration of classic American music as interpreted by Alynda lee Segarra. From the Swamp Pop of “Little Black Star” to the Classic Country of “Look Out Mama”, to the Psychedelia of “Ode to John and Yoko” and even the Surf-Rock of “Lake of Fire”, Look Out Mama covers a wide array of musical ground, with every song unified by Alynda’s soulful vocals and expert songwriting.

    Other Free Shows At Damrosch Park Bandshell: 7/24 – Red Hot + Fela Live! featuring Tony Allen and Superhuman Happiness, 7/25 – My Brightest Diamond / Emily Wells / Kronos Quartet, 7/26 – Kronos Quartet / The Gloaming, 7/27 – OzoKidz / Dan Zanes & Friends: Tribute to Lead Belly, 7/27 – Ozomatli, 8/3 – La Casita, 8/7 – Ruben Blades, 8/8 – No BS! Brass Band, 8/9 – Vau de Vire Society / Hungry March Band, 8/9 – Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra / Rosin Coven, 8/10 – Nick Lowe / The Crickets: Farewell Show / Jason Isbell, 8/11 – Bobby Rush / Allen Toussaint / Brian and Eddie Holland / Como Mamas

    HT Recommends: Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk

    Where: Madison Square Park – Oval Lawn Series

    When: Wednesday, August 7, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: A decade evolved from their debut at 2003′s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Dumpstaphunk offers fans an unforgettable live experience steeped in the Big Easy tradition of a good time. The quintet features Ivan Neville on vocals, B3 and Clav, the double bass attack and soulful voices of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, Ian Neville on guitar, and the monster addition of Nikki Glaspie on drums and vocals.

    From annual performances at New Orleans’ Jazz Fest — “The colossal low end and filthy grooves they threw down from the Gentilly Stage must have set a Jazz Fest record for baddest bass jams ever.” (Bass Player Magazine, 2012) — to music rooms and festivals across the nation (Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, All Good, High Sierra, Summer Camp, Hangout, Jam Cruise and Outside Lands), Dumpstaphunk continues to spread an unmistakably New Orleans groove with hard-hitting performances that dare listeners not to move.

    Dumpstaphunk’s summer 2013 release, Dirty Word, re-imagines their genre, holding true to the opinionated, vintage funk of Sly & the Family Stone and Parliament Funkadelic, but with a modern edge that forays into gospel, blues, second-line, R&B and straight-up rock n’ roll. True to New Orleans tradition, Dumpsta’s friends and family Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Rebirth Brass Band, Skerik, the Grooveline Horns, Art Neville, Ani DiFranco and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers kick the Dirty Word sessions up a notch.

    Other Free Shows at Madison Square Park: 6/19 – Suzanne Vega, 6/26 – Anat Cohen Quartet, 7/3 – The Grascals / Joy Kills Sorrow, 7/10 – Rene Marie’s “Experiment In Truth”, 7/17 – Ben Sollee, 7/24 – Dafnis Prieto Sextet / Yosvany Terry Quintet, 7/31 – Erin McKeown / Lake Street Drive

    HT Recommends: Shuggie Otis

    Where: R&B Festival at MetroTech

    When: Thursday, August 8, 12 PM

    Official Info: Irony is a part of life. Though the music business may at times have nothing to do with “real” life, irony is a part of the biz. Just ask singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis. Shuggie Otis, for those not familiar with him through David Byrne’s heroic disinterment of his 1974 album, Inspiration Information or through his authorship of the wonderful Strawberry Letter 23 – is the son of legendary R `n’ B bandleader Johnny Otis. A musical prodigy he was playing with his father by the time he was 13 and from the word go displayed an uncanny mastery of the blues guitar.

    He wrote “Strawberry Letter 23,” a gold single for the Brothers Johnson that went to number one R&B and number five pop in spring 1977. George Johnson was dating one of Otis’ cousins who gave him a copy of Otis’ 1971 Epic LP, Freedom Flight. Immediately, Johnson liked “Ice Cold Daydream” and “Strawberry Letter 23.” The duo recommended it to their producer, Quincy Jones, and recorded a cover version that sticks pretty close to Otis’ original version of “Strawberry Letter 23.” By the time “Strawberry Letter 23″ was a million-seller, Otis had been dropped from Epic three years earlier. The 24-year-old guitar virtuoso was sure he would get a new record deal. Ironically, the record executives would be impressed that he wrote a million-selling song, but they weren’t interested in anything else he’d done. Disillusioned, Otis dropped out of the music business before returning to it in the late `80s, playing with his father, Johnny Otis’ band. Later the axiom “good things come to those who wait” took effect. Spurred by sales and critical kudos of reissues of his 1974 Epic LP, Inspiration Information, from Sony Music Special Projects and David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, Otis performed “Strawberry Letter 23″ on May 2001 appearances on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

    Though in recent years he has chosen to remain out of the spotlight, he continues to be revered through musical circles, as evidenced by his 2009 performance with Mos Def in LA. Feb 2013 sees the re-release of Inspiration Information via Sony distribution, complete as a double album package with a set of sought after unreleased masters. He will perform his first live dates outside America in over 20 years.

    Other Free Shows At MetroTech: 6/6 – Mint Condition, 6/13 – Bobby Rush, 6/20 – Zozo Afrobeat Orchestra, 6/27 – Stooges Brass Band, 7/3 – Avery*Sunshine, 7/11 – TBA, 7/18 – Fatoumata Diawara, 7/25 – TBA, 8/1 – Shelia E.

    HT Recommends: DJ Spinna and Special Guests / Screening: Hotter Than July

    Where: Marcus Garvey Park

    When: Sunday, August 11, 7:00 PM

    Official Info: Fifty years ago, the legendary Stevie Wonder released his first single “Fingertips”, which reached number 1 on the BillboardPop Singles and R&B charts and launched his career. In celebration of this seminal release, SummerStage and ImageNation present an evening dedicated to one of Wonder’s historic music moments, his Soul Train performance. In this legendary episode of Soul Train, Wonder reinvents the Soul Train theme song. Taking from his inspiration, presenting partner Injoy Enterprises has guest-curated performances by a team of talented musicians and singers who will put their own personal spins on Wonder’s hit songs. “Hotter Than July” A Soul Train Tribute to Stevie Wonder will feature: Mika, Gloria Ryann, Asa Lovechild, Darien, Mike Hammond, Chris Robb, and Vivian Sessoms, all backed by the funk band Jesse Fischer & Soul Cycle with with DJ Spinna.

    DJ Spinna is an extraordinary deejay, producer, re-mixer, and music historian possessing a remarkable mix of musical abilities. He went on to become a cornerstone of Hip-Hop’s golden era providing the musical canvas for lyrical giants like Eminem, Mos Def and Talib Kweli. A producer of timeless classics and collaborator with hip-hop legends like Brand Nubian, Masta Ace, Guru, and The Jungle Brothers, he also built a reputation as a crucial re-mixer reworking major label hits for the likes of De La Soul, Mary J. Blige, George Michael and a hard-driving soulful remix of Michael Jackson’s “We’re Almost There.” A protégé of Stevie Wonder, audiences will often find him travelling and performing with the artist.

    “Hotter Than July” is a rare BBC documentary that examines Stevie Wonder’s musical insight and preparation for his 1980-1981 USA tour. Infused with personal interviews, backstage antics and an appearance at the Washington Rally to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr and more, this film gives intimate insight into one of music’s most celebrated stars.

    Other Free Shows at Marcus Garvey Park: 8/6 – Jungle Brothers / Zhigee, 8/7 – Bilal, 8/8 – Tye Tribbett, 8/23 – World Premiere of Bird Is The Word by The Jimmy Heath Big Band, 8/24 – Kenny Garrett / Cecile McLorin Salavant / Kim Thompson / Jaleel Shaw

    HT Recommends: 1st Annual Hot Strings Fest – Cynthia Sayer, Tony Trischka, Andy Statman and Michael Daves

    Where: Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival – 155 Varick St. @ Vandam

    When: Tuesday, August 13, 5:00 PM

    Official Info: City Winery is proud to announce the 5th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival – a fun, FREE “After-Work Backyard Party” held every Tuesday from June 4th through August 27th, from 5:00PM-7:30PM!

    Food and beverages will be available for purchase – there will be an assortment of wines from City Winery, ice cold beer from Radeberger, and food offered by Great Performances.

    The 5th Annual Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival features a diverse selection of live, multi-genre concert performances by both well-known and up-and-coming artists performing rock, folk, jazz, Latin, R&B, and world music!

    Other Free Shows at the Hudson Square Music & Wine Festival: 6/4 – Dave Davies, 6/11 – Los Straightjackets, 6/18 – The English Beat, 6/25 – Ben Taylor, 7/2 – The Pietasters, 7/9 – Eileen Jewell / The End of America, 7/16 – Tim O’Brien, 7/23 – Tulipa Ruiz, 7/30 – Rasputina, 8/6 – Early Elton: A Tribute to Early Elton John, 8/20 – The Lost Bayou City Ramblers, 8/27 – Carolyn Wonderland / Sasha Dobson

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    posted in Editor's Choice by Jeffrey Greenblatt

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    The A.V. Club has launched a new series of posts dubbed “HateSong” in which they ask a number of performers about “the one song they hate most in the world.” We were excited to see Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo participated in the series as he waxes poetic on his distaste for 4 Non Blondes’ 1993 single What’s Up?.


    Deaner, who is currently working on a fishing show with Les Claypool, didn’t hold back in his responses about the shittiness of What’s Up? Here’s his remembrance of the first time he heard the song:

     I don’t remember where I was, or what I was doing, but I remember hearing it and thinking, “This is the most obnoxious fucking hollering I’ve ever heard in my life.” I could envision the horrible, horrible female that was singing it, and I knew that it was gonna be a hit, just by how bad I hated it. I knew that it was going to be played for years by every fucking bad girl band that came through my local bar, and sung on every karaoke night for the rest of time. I was just instantly overcome with a sense of dread, and of course it’s all come to pass. Then I saw the video for it, and the people that I imagined would be so loathsome as to make such a piece of shit of a song looked identical to what I imagined them to be in my mind.

    He goes on to call the song “as bad as music gets.” Mickey also lambastes the Black-Eyed Peas, admits there’s a Maroon 5 song he likes and confuses Belly and Marcy Playground in the fantastic interview.

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    posted in News by Scott Bernstein

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    On the Friday of this year’s Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, IL; Keller Williams performed on the Sunshine Stage with his new band More Than A Little. During their set, the group covered the Grateful Dead classic West L.A. Fadeaway with the help of two very special guests – Flecktones bassist Victor Wooten and Umphrey’s McGee guitarist Jake Cinninger.


    The resulting version is funky as hell and has been shared by AxVault:

    [via Umphreaks Anonymous]

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    posted in Festivals by Scott Bernstein

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    Yesterday I came across the image below of a settlement from Phish’s March 29, 1990 performance at The Canal Street Tavern in Dayton, Ohio. You’ll notice that the club reported only 16 paid attendees for this Midwest gig far from the band’s hometown of Burlington, Vermont.

    DU7eY (1)

    When I came across the document, I noticed the name “JIM” and it triggered a memory of my early days as a Phish fan. Back in 1993, as I was first starting to get into the band, I met a friend of my sister’s named Brandon Milner who was an outstanding musician. I talked to Brandon about Phish and not only did he kindly provide two of the first bootleg tapes I ever owned, but he also revealed that a band he was in a few years prior had opened for Phish. For some reason, when I looked at the document above, it hit me that JIM might have been Brandon’s band! I reached out to my sister, who is still in touch with Brandon, and she promised she’d ask him about whether JIM was his band.

    This morning I received a response from Brandon that offers an interesting perspective on the early days of Phish and what went down at The Canal Street Tavern on a show from March 29, 1990 for which both and don’t have a setlist.

    Here’s Brandon Milner’s, who currently plays in the band Campfire Ok, remembrance:

    I’m flabbergasted at the randomness of that. That show was in Dayton in 1990. I was in an avant garde noise improv band called JIM that opened up for Phish. They only had their first album on cassette available then and as you can see from the bar tally, a whopping 16 people showed up, total, between both bands.

    I remember basically no one attending but all the 16 in attendance were there to see Phish, some having driven from neighboring states enthusiastically. A few were turned away at the door for being underage in spite of their trek.

    We did our thing (playing virtually unlistenable skronky, free jazz, Zappa-rock-meets-Grateful Dead meandering with two female lead singers who were half blues singers, half performance artists…At best) creating sheets of modern classical self indulgence and then Phish came on and blew our minds. We loved them and were thrilled when they asked us to join them on stage for a 20-minute version of David Bowie. All of us. I played some floor tom (I was a drummer who was playing bass in JIM) and others sang and made noise.

    After the show we hung out a bit. They were all as nice as could be and after nerding out on gear a little (they had the nicest guitars and amps of any band we’d ever seen play to so few people), Trey informed us we were the second most entertaining band he’d ever played with. The first had been a band that played speed metal while the guitarist did tricks on a skateboard with a wireless setup. Sounded genius to us.

    On a personal ego gratifying note, I remember Mike, their bassist, asking me how to do this certain double slap/pop combo I was doing a lot back then. I’d stolen it from Thomas Dolby’s bassist from the Aliens Ate My Buick album and Mike wanted a little lesson. I showed him and damn if he didn’t start doing it on bootlegs I heard soon thereafter!

    Phish were cool, warm-hearted guys. We stayed in touch for a while and they backstaged us for a show some months later at the local “enormodome” (they got popular *fast*). I haven’t spoken to them since!

    Thanks to Brandon for sharing his memories of that evening with us! Brandon’s take confirms the account of a commenter named Rasoup on the page for this show who says, “I attended this show. I do not have a setlist, but do know that the Encore was David Bowie with backing vocals/screams from the two ladies from the warm up band. I believe the name of the warm up band was Gem and they were from Yellow Springs, OH.” Well Rasoup, the name of that band was JIM and it was more than just the two ladies who sat in on that David Bowie!

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    posted in Features by Scott Bernstein

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    Since we had to skip out on yesterday’s God Street Wednesdays column due to server issues that, knock on wood, seem to be behind us, we wanted to get up a God Street Wine-related post today. It actually works out because on this date in 1994 God Street Wine drummer Tom “Tomo” Osander sat in with Blues Traveler at the intimate McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey.


    Now, it just so happens that I was in attendance that night, but it was an extremely bittersweet occasion for me. My beloved grandmother, who I called “Nana,” passed away that afternoon and I was stunned to learn the news when I got home from high school. She had been sick for a while and my parents were down in Florida with her for her final moments. These Traveler shows were a big deal as the band was blowing up and was returning to their hometown to play a venue that was way smaller than other places they were playing around that time. My folks were returning the next day to start making arrangements for the funeral and I decided to go to the concert instead of stewing with my tears by myself. Sometimes music is the only thing that can heal our souls.

    As a big God Street Wine fan, I was so excited when Tomo came out and sat in with Blues Traveler on Outta My Hands. A video from that evening shows some behind-the-scenes footage of Osander at the McCarter before we get to see Tomo’s guest spot. Take a look…

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    posted in Blues Traveler by Scott Bernstein

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    moe. @ Ives Concert Park, June 1

    Words & PhotosNick Irving

    This past Saturday moe. finished off a five-show, post-Summer Camp Festival run at Ives Concert Park in Danbury, Connecticut. Located on the campus of Western Connecticut State University, the unique and inviting venue is within reasonable driving distance for a huge chunk of the moe. fan-base. The stage is a pavilion located in front of a large pond and behind a moat (moat: a deep and wide trench around the rampart of a fortified place (as a castle) that is usually filled with water), with a very large lawn behind the reserved section – quite beautiful. It was the first show of the year for the venue, which offers a nice selection of food and full, well-priced bottles of wine – something that was clearly being enjoyed by most.



    [All Photos by Nick Irving]

    During the middle of the first set, The Wood Brothers emerged for a bluegrass heavy cover of The Band’s The Weight which was followed by a well suited and placed version of Water from moe. A highlight of the show was a blistering Farmer Ben into a full version of Rush’s Tom Sawyer. What first seemed like it was going to be a tease to many fans, some laughing, became a full on rocking tribute to recent Rock & Roll Hall of fame inductees.

    Set 1: She Sends MeItDeep This TimeThe Weight1Water > Puebla > Mexico

    Set 2: Chromatic NightmareBullet > Don’t Fuck With FloRunaway OverludeTime Ed >George > Farmer Ben > Tom Sawyer2

    Encore: Zed Nought Z

    1w/ The Wood Brothers

    2 LTP 5/13/95 or 1798 shows.

    setlist via Phantasy Tour

    Here’s a full gallery of photos from Nick Irving…

    _MG_3662 _MG_3677 _MG_3691 _MG_3696 _MG_3704 _MG_3719 _MG_3726 _MG_3736 _MG_3756 _MG_3759 _MG_3766 _MG_3774 _MG_3808 _MG_3857 _MG_3870 _MG_3883 _MG_3907 _MG_3916 _MG_3920 _MG_3927 _MG_3930 IMG_9884 IMG_9925 IMG_9927 IMG_9931 IMG_9945 Leave A Comment
    posted in moe. by HT Staff

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