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Classic Rock Magazine

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    Blind Boys of Alabama

    We all know Justin Vernon is a musical Renaissance Man. Over the past few years, he’s dominated the alt-rock universe with Bon Iver, and he’s also worked up a handful of intriguing collaborations (with art-rock impressionists Volcano Choir, blues-rock goofballs Shouting Matches, and psych-funk oddballs Gayngs). And now–because, you know, he really needs another resume boost–he’s also produced an upcoming album by Blind Boys of Alabama, the sightless, Grammy-winning vocal ensemble.

    According to Under the Radar, I’ll Find a Way was produced by Vernon in his Wisconsin studio, and it features contributions from “Sam Amidon, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden, tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus, White Hinterland’s Casey Dienel, Patty Griffin, and Vernon himself.” The album will be released by Sony Masterworks on October 1st.

    Here’s the full tracklist:

    God Put A Rainbow In The Cloud
    I’ll Find A Way (To Carry It All) feat. Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond
    I Am Not Waiting Anymore feat. Sam Amidon
    I Shall Not Be Moved
    Take Me To The Water
    I’ve Been Searching feat. Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs
    There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated At The Conference Table) feat. Casey Dienel of White Hinterland
    Take your Burden To The Lord And Leave It There
    Every Grain Of Sand feat. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver
    My God Is Real
    Jubilee feat. Patty Griffin

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Pearl Jam have officially announced their 10th studio album, the Brendan O’Brien-produced Lightning Bolt. It’s their first new album since 2009′s Backspacer, and it’s out October 15th. We’re very pumped.

    It’s the second big announcement the band has made so far this week. The Pearl Jam website has featured a series of Countdown Clocks — and the first time the clock hit zero, the band announced a massive Fall tour. The clock immediately re-booted, but it finally hit zero again this afternoon. Apparently another big announcement is happening in 94 days.

    Below, take a listen to the album’s first single, the punky, hard-hitting “Mind Your Manners.”

    Below is a teaser trailer for the album:

    Are you excited about this? What are your thoughts on the new stripped-down direction of “Mind Your Manners”? Sound off in the comments section.

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Peter Gabriel

    Last year, art-rock god Peter Gabriel released the incredible 25th anniversary box set for his 1986 classic So (Pause for math on that one), which included the long-awaited DVD version of the ‘Live in Athens’ concert (which previously existed on VHS). But now fans won’t have to sell their kidneys on the black market to raise enough money for it: On September 17, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release remastered 2DVD/DVD, Blu-Ray sets of the concert, making it the first time the concert has been available on its own.

    When it comes to actual recorded output, Peter Gabriel is one of the most unpredictable songwriter/producers in music history. (It’s been over a decade since his last studio album of original material.) In recent years, he’s released two albums of all-orchestral material: 2010′s cover-versions project Scratch My Back and 2011′s New Blood, which featured re-interpretations of his own material.

    More good Gabriel news: He recently wrote the instrumental score (along with an original song) for the spiritual-based film Words with Gods.

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    posted in Concert Films by HT Staff

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    Seriously, what? As Rolling Stone reports, the Syfy original disaster-monster movie Sharknado caused a major ruckus on Twitter. Everybody from regular geeks to geeky celebrities hopped on the Tweet Machine and delivered their zingiest one-liners about the film, which apparently concerns a trio of shark-tornados that ravage Los Angeles.

    Umm, that sounds pretty awesome. “#Sharknado” eventually became a trending topic on Twitter, so you know it must really be awful-genius.

    The only remaining question is, “When does this air again?” (Also, “How did we miss it?”) (Also, is it “better” than Snakes on a Plane? Also, is that possible?)

    Did anybody see this thing? Sound off in the comments section.

    Here’s the Sharknado trailer:

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    posted in Movies by Ryan Reed

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    With “The Chop House,” we explore classic performances from bands with — you know — “chops.” Genres like progressive rock, art-rock, jazz-fusion — they’re nearly extinct in our current music culture. These days, we live (and consume art) impatiently, favoring a quick fix over a challenge. But here at Hidden Track, we refuse to let the dazzling, confrontational spirit of these wonderful bands die.


    If you know me at all, you know that I worship at the altar of Genesis. They’re the greatest progressive rock band in history (and probably the most underrated band to ever make music). Of course, there are two distinctly different eras of Genesis: the early, outlandish, Peter Gabriel-fronted version (1968-1975) and the more tasteful, Phil Collins-fronted version that lasted until the early ’90s.

    This performance from 1973 finds the early version of the band (Gabriel, bassist Mike Rutherford, guitarist Steve Hackett, keyboardist Tony Banks, drummer Phil Collins) at the height of their progressive powers. It’s one of their most iconic live moments, filmed at the venerable Shepperton Studios in England.

    Highlights? Where to start? This five-track performance includes the psychedelic sing-along anthem “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe),” the ever-shifting “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight,” and the schizophrenic, 23-minute epic “Supper’s Ready.”

    Feel free to reminisce (and live-blog your wig being blown off) in the comments section.

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    posted in The Chop House by Ryan Reed

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    “That’s him?” my friend asks me as I indicate George Clarke, the lead singer of Deafheaven, who is standing at the bar with guitarist Kerry McCoy. “The ripped dude with the buzz cut?” I laugh at his incredulity. Unlike any other metal vocalist, Clarke invites a bevy of unique descriptions about himself from the musical press, including winners like “equal parts GAP model and wounded banshee.” My friend can’t help but participate, later going on to describe him as a “Bond villan,” though “without a gold front tooth.”

    To his credit, though, just like the salmon pink sleeve art to its incredible sophomore album, Sunbather, Deafheaven doesn’t do a lot to try to seem like a “black metal band” — despite what Clarke’s piercing Nazgul screams might indicate. Clarke dresses sharply, in a button-up black shirt, black jeans, and dressy boots, which he then caps off with a pair of black gloves when he gets on stage. McCoy wears a Cold Cave t-shirt. The band’s rhythm guitarist, Shiv Mehra, plays a Fender Telecaster — far from the humbucker-driven guitars one is likely to see metal bands sporting, such as McCoy’s beautifully honed Gibson Les Paul. And, since this show does take place in Portland, a couple cans of PBR set perched atop Deafheaven’s rumbling amplifiers. The greatest feat of the night, aside from the solid two hours of music the energetic crowd was in full synch with, is that the beer never fell off.

    Much like Deafheaven’s ability to usurp conventional genre images, the almost rustic coziness of Portland, Oregon’s Bunk Bar makes it a de-familiarizing experience for anyone who has a history of attending metal shows. The bar/restaurant, well known for its sandwiches (including a particularly tasty Pork Cubano), is situated right along the east side of the Willamette River in Portland’s Industrial District, placing it a ways away from some of the hotter concert venues in the city, including the Crystal Ballroom and the metalhead favorite Dante’s. Five tables are situated in the back of the room, leaving only the bar and a tiny, standing-room-only area for the rest of the concert’s hundred-some attendees. The wall mural backing the stage is a painting of a man walking down train tracks. It’s far from the kind of place one would expect a capital-L-Loud band like Deafheaven to play in, but few of the audience members take notice of the venue’s cloistered aura. Right at 9 pm, with lines flanking both sides of the building, the eager crowd — which includes a pretty awesome number of people sporting Converge shirts — files into the building, buys some reasonably priced beers, and waits. To kill the time, they listen to the curious choice for pre-show music — Purity Ring — as it plays through the bar’s speakers. In a city as attuned to all things hipster as Portland, it’s not hard to find a group of people who like indie electronic to lead into a metal show.

    Just after the clock strikes ten, Marriages take the stage. The trio, comprised of ex-Red Sparowes members Emma Ruth Rundle and Greg Burns, along with Incan Abraham’s Andrew Clinco, are a perfect choice to open for Deafheaven, especially considering the lighter side of the musical spectrum explored on Sunbather. Marriages purvey in a dreamy sort of post-rock, helmed by the airy, echoey vocals of Rundle. Being unfamiliar with the band’s work — though quite familiar with Red Sparowes — I was interested to see how its sound would work relative to Deafheaven’s harsher elements, and in the end I was pleased with the results. Major props go to the person responsible for mixing the instruments; excepting Rundle’s vocals, which on occasion I wished were more distinct, all three musicians mesh together yet remain individually distinct, particularly the bass work of Greg Burns, who balances a Flea-like smoothness with the atmospheric quality of fellow ex-Red Sparowes member and Isis bassist Jeff Caxide. Marriages only has one EP, Kitsune, to their name, but their unassuming yet intoxicating live presence is an indication that there’s still plenty to come. The undercurrent of melancholy doom that lingers throughout its set forms an ideal stage for what follows.

    Deafheaven (2)

    Before I describe Deafheaven’s domination of the stage, I should rewind a bit. Before the entire show starts, I walk up to Clarke  — who I had interviewed for PopMatters a couple of weeks before — and introduce myself. After talking with him for a little bit, I discover that he had, at one point in his life, had the misfortune of living in my hometown of Bakersfield, CA, a hot, mid-size city in California’s central valley where the air is as hot as it is polluted, with summer temperatures pushing upwards of 115 on a regular basis. “I did time at BHS [Bakersfield High School],” Clarke says with a smug smile, knowing full well that I would get and relate to the prison humor. “Suddenly,” I think to myself as he tells me this, “Sunbather makes a lot more sense.” Having lived in Bakersfield for all of my young life, I can relate to the feeling of wanting to scream—and, to use the final crushing words of Deafheaven’s masterpiece track “Dream House,” wanting to dream.

    With this “it’s a small world” encounter still in my head, I push close to the front of the tight crowd as Deafheaven takes the stage. No time is wasted, and as the feet of all five musicians are planted on stage, McCoy begins strumming the opening chords to “Dream House,” and from there the energy only continues to build. The group’s set list, a wise balance of material from Sunbather and its debut, Roads to Judah, comes together in a whole that brings out the best parts of each LP. Despite liking it some, I didn’t immediately love Roads to Judah when I first heard it in 2012 — even Sunbather took some getting used to — but the two album cuts that were chosen for this show (“Unrequited” and “Violet”) are a fine complement to the new stuff. Dreamy yet harsh, intimate yet voluminous, Deafheaven’s music proves to be exactly what this largely hip crowd had expected coming into the concert.

    McCoy, Mehra, bassist Stephen Clark, and drummer Daniel Tracy are all at top form on this cramped stage, packing the space with as many sound waves as there are corners for them to reverberate from. Much of the group’s sound centers on McCoy’s guitar, which after seeing it live is a lot more complex than the layered textures of Sunbather might indicate. His chord patterns are fascinating to watch; spanning whole octaves up and down the fretboard, he doesn’t go for the regular barre chords or tremolo picking techniques that many an up-and-coming metal band is likely to default to. At the same time, he doesn’t devolve into boring metal shredder tropes; the technical prowess of his instrument comes in his tasteful restraint. It’s an admirable, oft-overlooked quality in modern metal.

    As far as instrumental prowess is concerned, these guys give the audience nothing to complain about. For anyone in want of black metal’s legendary theatricality, however, McCoy’s playing is likely to seem not harsh enough, even though it is indisputably heavy. It’s here where Clarke, clothed in total black, comes in. Just before the drums kick in on “Dream House,” he grabs the microphone stand as a sort of support and leans right into the audience, making direct, chilling eye contact with the pumped-up folks in the front. This countenance doesn’t at all waver throughout the set, and, at times, it even gets a little weird. Like the Phantom of the Opera lamenting his face wounds, Clarke frequently strokes his sweat-slicked visage with his gloved hands. At some points he even sticks his fingers in his mouth, after which he reaches out into the audience to grasp the flailing hands of the more excitable fans, some of whom are trying to mosh (much to the chagrin of those who came to the show because they read that one Pitchfork review). Me, I’m content to have my hands saliva-free, but I’m nonetheless enthralled by Clarke. His performance takes on a whole new life considering that I’m familiar with the lyrics he’s singing, including the show-stealing coda to “The Pecan Tree”: “I am my father’s son/I cannot love/I am no one/It is in my blood.”

    It’s easy to see that people are feeling these words, not just hearing them; there’s a real intensity to the room. Yet for all of the portentous weight behind Clarke’s prose, few people leave in terror. As I depart Bunk Bar following the encore, “Violet,” I see smiles exchanged. Through ringing ears I make out exclamations of “Awesome!” and “Incredible!” “It’s been a good tour,” Clarke told me earlier, grinning, as I ask him how the tour is going, which I observe has sold out nearly every other show. Following this concert, the band had to pack up and drive straight through the Oregon night to its hometown of San Francisco, where it had a show the next day. Time has yet to slow down Deafheaven. But so long as it’s going at the whirlwind pace it’s presently at, things are only looking up for these guys, and deservedly so. Far from wanting to dream, it seems that these gentlemen are living it.

    Deafheaven Set List:

    1. Dream House
    2. Irresistible
    3. Sunbather
    4. Unrequited
    5. The Pecan Tree

    6. Violet

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    posted in Reviews by Shawn Donohue

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    It takes a special brand of nerd to attend Comic-Con, and it takes a special brand of weirdo (like myself) to buy The Sun is Sick, an “adult-themed” comic book designed by Wayne Coyne, alt-rock’s resident hippie-genius. At this year’s version of the event (which takes place July 18 to July 21 at the San Diego Convention Center), you can put your freaky money where your mouth is and purchase the limited-edition comic, which, according to an official press release, is a “40-page 6 ½” x 8 ½” full-color psychedelic fantasy in classic comic book form.” After the convention, the remaining copies will be available on the band’s website, though quantities will likely be scarce.

    We’ll let the press release handle it from here:

    “WARNING!! The Sun Is Sick may be a comic book but make no mistake; this is not suitable for children and depending on what sort of person you are, it may not be suitable for some of you non-children either. If you have doubts at this moment then The Sun Is Sick is not for you. If you happen to be a LIPS fan that has enjoyed Wayne’s beautiful artwork in the past and like adult-themed comic books then by all means this instant Collector’s Item is waiting for you, but you better be quick.”

    In the meantime, you can catch Coyne and company on their current tour, in promotion of this year’s excellent The Terror. Check out the remaining dates below:

    07/15     Wallingford, CT                      Oakdale Theatre (Spiritualized supports)

    07/16     Pittsburgh, PA                       Stage AE Outdoors  (Spiritualized supports)

    07/17     Lewiston, NY                         Artpark

    07/23     Oklahoma City, OK                Rock For Oklahoma Benefit  / Chesapeake Arena

    (with Kings Of Leon, Jackson Browne, Built to Spill and more)

    07/25     Salt Lake City, UT                  Twilight Concert Series, Pioneer Park

    07/27     Troutdale, OR                        McMenamins Edgefield

    07/28     Seattle, WA                           Capitol Hill Block Party

    07/30     Reno, NV                               Grand Sierra Resort & Casino

    07/31     Costa Mesa, CA                     The Pacific Amphitheatre

    08/01     Las Vegas, NV                       Bud Light Music First, House of Blues

    08/17     Omaha, NE                            Maha Maha Festival

    09/06     Isle Of Wight, UK                   Bestival

    09/07     Stekene, Belgium                  Crammerock Festival

    09/30     Boston, MA                           Agganis Arena (w/ Tame Impala)

    10/01     New York, NY                        Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)

    10/02     New York, NY                        Terminal 5 (w/ Tame Impala)

    10/03     Philadelphia, PA                    Penn’s Landing, Festival Pier (w/ Tame Impala)

    10/04     Columbia, MD                       Merriweather Post Pavilion (w/ Tame Impala)

    10/21     Tokyo, Japan                         Blitz

    10/22     Tokyo, Japan                         Blitz

    10/23     Osaka, Japan                        Hatch

    10/24     Nagoya, Japan                      Club Diamond Hall

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    John Fruscinate

    On August 27 (or August 14 in Japan), former Red Hot Chili peppers axe-man John Frusciante will release a new EP, Outsides. According to a statement written by Fruscinate himself, the tracklist features a “10 minute guitar solo and 2 abstract ‘out’ pieces of music.’

    The first track features an extended guitar improvisation, set to a heavily chopped-up drum loop. “The effect is that of an improvisation between the drums and guitar,” Fruscinate says, “but these specific interactions between those instruments could not take place with a traditional drummer and lead guitarist.”

    The sonic framework is apparently pretty chaotic and progressive: Fruscinate name-drops guitarists like Allan Holdsworth and Robert Fripp. “Rock music is electronic music,” he says, “dependent entirely on electronic circuitry and amplification. This song gives new life to the long ago popularly discarded form of the extended rock guitar solo, and is also progressive synth pop, just the same.”

    Since officially leaving the Chili Peppers in December 2009, Fruscinate has been incredibly active with his solo career: In 2012 alone, he released the Letur-Lefr EP and his 11th studio album, PBX Funicular Intaglio Zone.

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Louisville, Kentucky’s Forecastle Festival just wrapped up its 11th annual weekend, which allowed tens of thousands of fans to experience over 50 artists (over a variety of genres) during the course of three days at the 85-acre Waterfront Park. The festival offers a unique experience in several ways — one being the location, with the Ohio River flowing behind the main stage, and the city of Louisville looming in the backdrop. Culture and art from the area are represented, as several local vendors set up their homemade wares inside the festival, while some eccentric attendees roam the grounds dressed as weirdo Where The Wild Things Are-style mascots, and others spent their days hoisting and parading a giant mannequin of local hero Hunter Thompson. The wide variety of bands that play across the four separate stages can sometimes cause conflict, with certain artists playing at the same time. Though it was impossible for one person to attend each show, we’ve still compiled a list of the top ten favorite acts that we witnessed throughout the weekend.

    10. Big Boi

    Though it’s sometimes challenging for a rap artist to engage an outdoor crowd at a mixed-genre music festival, Big Boi managed to captivate the entire audience during his Friday night set on the Boom Stage. “Sir Lucious Left Foot” sported an injured left knee from a mishap at a previous concert (a totem to the high level of intensity of his live performance), but didn’t allow the hindrance to affect him, as he fueled the festival grounds with Outkast classics “Rosa Parks” and “Ms. Jackson,” and received equally positive crowd reactions to solo efforts like “Shutterbug.” The hip-hop legend didn’t miss a beat while performing from the confines of a large red and gold throne, spitting signature fast-paced barrages of lyrical flow for the duration of his memorable set.

    9. Old Crow Medicine Show

    On the first day of Forecastle, Old Crow took to the stage and performed their unique blend of old-timey bluegrass and modern alt-country to eager festival goers. The string-band plucked their way through an assortment of original material, proving that older songs like “Cocaine Habit” can really get a crowd moving, and “Wagon Wheel” can still sound fresh in a live setting. Traditional cover songs were also played (a common staple in Old Crow’s live performances), including a wonderful rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and an ode to the home turf of the festival with Karl Davis’ “Kentucky.” The twangy harmonies managed to stay sweet throughout the entire energetic, front porch style jam-session, as a perfect Louisville sunset decorated the backdrop.

    8. Dawes

    Early on Saturday, the threat of an oncoming storm prompted Forecastle staff to evacuate the festival grounds. The safety precaution upset several attendees, causing many to rush out of the gates and migrate towards distant parking garages. Others sat below the shelter of an overhead interstate bridge, ignoring the warnings while slow-sipping their 16-ounce beers and staring at the Mast stage waiting for the clouds to disperse. An hour later, the sky cleared, the gates opened, and Dawes welcomed fans back to the festival with their 45-minute set of harmonious folk rock. The band’s short set-list briefly touched on all three of their albums, ranging from the more upbeat, festival-ready cuts like “From a Window Seat” and “If I Wanted Someone” to the calming, down-tempo “Peace In The Valley.” The glossy, clean tones meshed with the newfound sunshine — offering sweet relief, rescuing the day from what could have been an abrupt halt.

    7. Kurt Vile

    Kurt Vile’s Saturday evening set translated well to the several hundred fans that congregated around the Boom Stage to hear his offering of psychedelic-tinted indie rock. Vile, along with his backing band The Violators, performed several tracks from his recently released Wakin on a Pretty Daze. The watery riffs of “Was All Talk” and “KV Crimes” almost seemed to cool down everyone in the sweltering July heat, as their attention was diverted away from their own rolling sweat and onto the mellow sonic-slopes that leaked from the speakers. Vile tackled a slew of songs from 2011’s Smoke Ring for My Halo, his signature deep drawl lurched through “Baby’s Arms” and “Jesus Fever.” Half-way through the set, he exchanged his electric guitar for an acoustic, and everyone within listening distance seemed completely mesmerized by his delicate finger-picking, even those dining on the deck of the Joe’s Crab Shack, which stood to the left of the stage, outside the festival grounds.

    6. Robert Plant Presents the Sensational Space Shifters

    Though a lot of the electricity and power from Zeppelin’s timeless classics are inevitably lost when Robert Plant performs with The Sensational Space Shifters, a slew of Zeppelin classic (“Black Dog,” “Going to California,” and “What Is and What Should Never Be”) still easily managed to give the Forecastle crowd chill bumps. The Led Zeppelin tracks were slowed down but still contained enough spark to send everyone into sing-along, head-nod, hip-twist mode, despite this being Day 3 of the festival (a time when most energy is waning thin). Plant also ran through a small selection of his solo material, including “In the Mood,” “Tin Pan Valley,” and “The Enchanter,” which allowed The Sensational Space Shifters to break through the stigma of not being Zeppelin. The band — along with Plant’s gracefully-aged voice — made one of the last concerts of the weekend also one of the most memorable.

    5. The Black Keys

    The Black Keys closed out the festival on Saturday, delivering an enthralling performance during the late night hours. Energy soared as the band blistered through the last date of their 16-month El Camino Tour. Several mainstream rock-radio anthems, including “Gold on the Ceiling” and “Tighten Up,” were played with glowing excitement and intensity, as if they were genuinely still eager to perform them, not just going through motions. Aurbach and Carney also managed to still consume the crowd when they harkened back to their bluesier, more aggressive past, syncing perfectly for “Thickfreakness” and “I Got Mine.” Solemnity also encompassed the entire audience while the ghostly “Little Black Submarines” settled softly against the wind gusting up from the darkened Ohio River that flowed behind the stage. Though the setlist may seem somewhat predictable for The Black Keys, applause still erupted out of excitement as the first note of any well-known track rang out. I watched a small group of festival-goers attempt to leave the concert a little bit early to avoid the end-of-the-day traffic, but stop dead in their tracks and turn around as “Lonely Boy” started to play, unanimously deciding that the wait was definitely worth it.

    4. The Avett Brothers

    The Avett Brothers’ festival-closing set on Sunday night ripped through an array of their extensive catalogue, satisfying old and new fans alike. They offered several tracks from their more polished, listener-friendly The Carpenter, including “Down With The Shine” and “Live and Die,” and also bookended their set with tracks from 2009’s commercial success I and Love and You (opening with “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” and closing with “I and Love and You”). The Avetts still visited their bluegrass days as they plucked their way through the barnyard romp of “I Killed Sally’s Lover” from 2003’s A Carolina Jubilee, and leading the crowd to sway along to the easy living nature of “At the Beach” from 2004’s Mignonette. While this was not their first rodeo as a headlining act at the festival (They also headlined in 2009), The Avett Brothers still played their ensemble of string instruments with the same vigor as a band still trying to make a name for themselves. It was a perfect way to close out the festival, leaving all who walked out of the gates satisfied on their way back home.

    3. String Cheese Incident

    The String Cheese Incident stepped up to their role as the festival’s only jam band headliner, delivering their psychedelic weave of progressive bluegrass to a crowd stuffed with devoted fans and first-time listeners. Their three-night stint in Louisville (Saturday’s being a concert at Louisville’s Palace Theatre, and Sunday being a bluegrass-collaborative effort known as “The Forecastle Incident”) allowed the Colorado group to cater their setlists to appeal to different crowds. Friday’s set was meant to be more accessible, so as to appeal to a larger demographic. This didn’t mean that they condensed any of the songs, over-stuffing tracks like “Song in My Head” and “On the Road” with the same amount of improvisational fluidity that made them so loved in the first place. Their cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way” was received extremely well by the Forecastle audience, as the familiarity seemed to warm new listeners up to understanding the fun, jovial mood that embellishes String Cheese. As seemingly an ode to Kentucky, the band closed the first day of Forecastle (and their first set of the week) by revisiting their newgrass roots with the dynamic “Colorado Bluebird Sky.”

    2. The Flaming Lips

    The Flaming Lips played the last set of the Boom Stage on Saturday night, broadcasting their surprisingly dark set to the ears of several absorbed fans. Almost half of the songs that were performed came from 2013′s The Terror. The onstage setup seemed way different from past tours, exchanging confetti and plastic-ball crowd surfing for a baby doll connected by tubes that lead singer Wayne Coyne span around his head and several metallic spaceship spheres that sat motionless on the stage. The dark vibes not only came in the form of eerie songs like “Butterfly, How Long It Takes to Die” and “Turning Violent,” but also during the onstage banter. At one point during the set, Coyne questioned “What would happen if a car flew off of the interstate bridge…?” (the section of road stretching right above certain areas of the festival). The audience was left dwelling on the hypothetical scenario as the band surged through Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots track “All We Have Is Now.” A rendition of Devo’s “Gates of Steel.” and “Turning Violent.” Coyne finally answered his own hypothetical question by stating, “We would stop the concert and make sure they were OK!” before jumping into their classic, “Do You Realize??” Though their set had an ever-looming uneasy feeling to it, Coyne kept trying to ease the audience into the experience with a comforting plea of “Don’t be sad” (most notably before “Race for the Prize” off The Soft Bulletin, in which he repeated it several times). The Flaming Lips seemed to want to guide the audience through an exploration of the dark areas of their mind, the same way that they used to guide them through uplifting, confetti-filled celebrations. The journey caused a few to leave the set early and post-up for the Black Keys, but kept several thousand eager to see where the band would lead them.

    Jim James

    1. Jim James

    The hometown hero of the Louisville Kentucky festival, Jim James played a perfect set consisting mostly of material from his solo effort Regions of Light and Sound of God. Though the concert was entirely different from one performed by My Morning Jacket (the band that heralded his initial fame), he was still able to completely broadcast his broad range of composition and performance during every song, notably with “State of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.)” and “Know Til Now,” which emphasized the R&B/rock fusion that glosses over the album. The backing band performed exactly as they should have, allowing Jim James space to showcase his soulful croon and spacey guitar/saxophone solos, yet they each filled in the instrumentation in all areas where a solid, steady jam was necessary. After the solo set finished, James finger-picked his way through My Morning Jacket’s soft, peaceful ballad “Wonderful (The Way I Feel), spreading positivity to the 10,000 fans that had expressed support through riotous cheers and thunderous applause for the entirety of the concert. He ended his set with a beautiful cover of The Beatles “Let It Be,” in which the entire crowd sang in unison when the chorus hit. Jim James seemed to be having as much fun as the crowd the entire, a fitting tribute to the Forecastle spirit.

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    posted in Festivals by Tyler Collins

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    Former Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon is featured on a 15-minute extended release of Beck’s new single, “I Won’t Be Long.” As Rolling Stone reports, this extended version of the track was premiered by Seattle station 107.7 The End and features Gordon’s iconic voice toward the song’s conclusion.

    “I Won’t Be Long” is Beck’s first new music since 2008′s Danger Mouse-produced Modern Guilt (unless you count his recently released Song Reader sheet music experiment — in which case, you and I have different definitions of “new music”). It’s hard to imagine how the 15-minute version will improve upon the five-minute original. It’s one of Beck’s loveliest, funkiest tracks in ages, built on spiraling vocal harmonies and intricate percussion.

    Beck seems to have a lot of new music up his alt-rock sleeve: He recently announced plans to release two new albums (an all-acoustic effort, along with a batch of material he started back in 2008). In the meantime, he still has remaining dates for his acoustic summer tour.

    07-27 Wantagh, NY – Americanarama Festival * !
    07-28 Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival !
    07-30 Portland, ME – State Theatre
    08-02 Boston, MA – Bank of America Pavilion ^
    08-04 Brooklyn, NY – Prospect Park Bandshell (Celebrate Brooklyn) ^

    * with Bob Dylan, Wilco, Ryan Bingham
    ^ with full band
    ! solo, acoustic

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    posted in News by HT Staff

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    You know people love your music when they’re willing to back a four-disc deluxe package around your least popular album. On August 27, Columbia Records will release The Bootleg Series, Volume 10 Another Self Portrait (1969-1971), which features 35 demos, unreleased recordings, and alternate takes recorded during the era of Dylan’s polarizing tenth studio album, 1970′s Self Portrait.

    The set is available in both a standard two-disc version and a mammoth deluxe four-disc version. The latter includes Dylan and The Band’s legendary performance from August 31, 1969 at the Isle of Wight Festival; it also features a newly remastered version of Self Portrait, along with “two hardcover books featuring revisionist liner notes penned by Greil Marcus,” who penned the infamous Rolling Stone review of Self Portrait (the one that opens with “What is this shit?”).

    There’s also a  vinyl version, which includes all 35 tracks on three LPs.

    Check out a trailer for the release below:

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Tool haven’t released a studio album since 2006′s 10,000 Days. But in an interview with Loudwire, drummer Danny Carey says the prog-metal icons are back in business, with their fifth album expected in early 2014.

    Carey notes that frontman Maynard James-Keenan (who remains busy with his other band, Puscifer) has yet to enter the sessions behind the still-untitled disc, but he says the remaining trio (himself, guitarist Adam Jones, and bassist Justin Chancellor) are currently “working on our compositions together.”

    “Stylistically, we’re trying to push things in different ways,” he says, “but it always comes out sounding like Tool no matter what we’re trying to do. We’re working everyday on it and it’s going really well, so I’m hoping we’ll get into the studio by the end of the year.”

    In the meantime, Carey has been active with his new band, Volto!, who will release their first effort, Incitare, on July 23. The band is also hitting the road this August, starting with a set at Yes’ fittingly titled music festival, Yestival.

    Below are Volto!’s upcoming tour dates:

    08/03 – Camden, N.J. @ Yestival
    08/04 – New York, N.Y. @ Highline Ballroom
    08/05 – Boston, Mass. @ The Synclair
    08/06 – Buffalo, N.Y. @ Waiting Room
    08/07 – Detroit, Mich. @ Magic Bag
    08/08 – Cleveland, Ohio @ The Grog Shop
    08/09 – Indianapolis, Ind. @ The Deluxe
    08/10 – Chicago, Ill. @ Lincoln Hall

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    In the Bandcamp/Soundcloud era, there’s a lot of crap floating around the internet — but there’s also a wealth of excellent music most people will never hear. With “Hidden Jams,” we give a spotlight to those great albums.

    Screen shot 2013-07-16 at 6.19.06 PM

    “We live in a world where there is obviously too much music,” Steven Wilson told me when I interviewed him earlier this year.Far too much music.” Coming from a man who stands atop the global progressive rock scene, the line can sound condescending; it’s easy to see the rest of the musical world as a hive of ants when you’re on top of the heap. But Wilson’s words were not an aesthetic judgment, but rather a true fact about the increasing democratization of music. With the advent of free services like MySpace and Bandcamp, in addition to the easy access, high quality software of programs like ProTools, it’s not terribly difficult for an aspiring gaggle of young musicians to put out something with reasonably good studio quality at little cost.

    The benefits of these advances are significant. Unfortunately, one of their biggest side effects is that for every one highly acclaimed album, there are probably ten equally good albums that won’t be heard because, for whatever reason, that one album had the luck of having the wind hit its sails at the right time. It’s a shame, too; if one takes the time to peruse through Bandcamp, she’ll find a wealth of fantastic music — a lot of it free — that, were it given proper attention, probably would be huge. Each year I’m reminded of the value of under-the-radar music (such as my choice for 2012 record of the year, BBU’s mesmerizing mixtape bell hooks) when I stumble onto various projects through channels like Bandcamp. Recently, I came upon two wondrous releases — an EP and an LP — that it pains me to say will fly under all of the critical radars come the year’s end. Both recordings fall under that ever-expanding label “post-rock,” and though each borrows from the genre’s luminaries and mainstays in obvious ways, they’re nonetheless engaging listens that are well worth the time.

    Ending Satellites—And so sing the black birds [Self-Released]

    The description for the French multimedia project Ending Satellites’ EP And so sing the black birds reads: “The original soundtrack of a movie for you to imagine.” This EP definitely fits the bill; but, of course, this isn’t exactly a new MO for a post-rock outfit to adopt. The trajectory the genre has followed since Mogwai’s seminal 1997 debut Young Team, in contrast to that record’s soft/loud contrast, has involved a compositional style best described as “ebb and flow.” Rather than the sharp bursts of chaos of cuts such as “Like Herod,” bands like Explosions in the Sky opt for the song-story format, where despite the lack of lyrics, it nonetheless feels like there’s a story being played out. These types of songs flow in movements; sometimes loud, sometimes soft, often times in between. Ending Satellites, a musical venture helmed by Damien Dufor, fits comfortably in this style, but this isn’t to say that it doesn’t stand out. In just over 30 minutes, Dufor’s compositions span many moods, with the emphasis on melancholy tying all of the different emotions explored. The ominous creature of EP’s title may to some appear a bit of foreshadowing, but the image evoked comes not from the bird’s dark plumage, but from the fact that it’s singing; it’s an omen lamenting its perpetual image as a harbinger of doom.

    Opening with the expansive title track, which mixes Hans Zimmer, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, and early Russian Circles, And so sing the black birds comes right out of the gates with the kind of aplomb many an Explosions in the Sky clone has spent its time trying to emulate. From there, the EP takes several rabbit trails that are never too far off from each other. All of this culminates in the beautiful one-two punch of And so sing the black birds’ strongest pieces: “We’re from near and far” and “A day in Port-Royal.” The former is an acoustic guitar-driven piece (something post-rock groups would be wise to utilize more often), which builds to a reflective crescendo in the style of Maybeshewill. The latter is an utterly gorgeous solo piano piece which, like Pain of Salvation’s “Pluvius Aestivus” before it, is definitive evidence that some of the best contemporary piano music is best found outside classical music circles. Dufor isn’t joking: This is the type of thing people take really meaningful walks to, imagining all the stories they’ll never forget — and never put up on the big screen. With music this cinematic, who needs celluloid?

    Solkyri—Are You My Brother? [Bird’s Robe Collective]

    Die-hard fans of post-rock would be crazy to overlook Bird’s Robe Collective, an Australian label that’s putting out some of the most exciting music both regionally and globally. Along with reissues of big names in the genre like 65daysofstatic, the label is behind promising young bands like sleepmakeswaves, Meniscus, and Panzer Queen. Bird’s Robe caught my attention last year with the release of Dumbsaint’s Something You Feel Will Find its Own Form, a — you guessed it — “cinematic” take on the bass-centric formula pioneered by the post-metal giants Isis, transcending all of its obvious reference points as a gem of a record that’s compelling on its own terms. Along with a few EPs, Bird’s Robe has put out one of 2013’s strongest post-rock albums in Are You My Brother?, the debut by the Sydney-based trio Solkyri. As its quasi-Biblical, beautiful sleeve art hints at, Are You My Brother? is gospel-like in its joyous demeanor, particularly on songs like the reflective closer “Threads of an Old Life,” which in a pleasantly surprising move incorporates a banjo. This elated air is similar in kind to Explosions in the Sky’s landmark The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place, but Solkyri makes this tried-and-true style its own.

    When one hears how some of these songs are composed, he’ll likely have a difficult time believing this is only the trio’s debut. Opener “His Ghosts Invade Puerto Rico” fluctuates between movements with the grace of a concerto; in its wide-ranging tonal and emotional brush strokes, it feels like an album in miniature. It helps significantly that this music is non-stop resplendent; even when things take a turn for the relatively morose, like on the Isis-esque “I am the Motherfucker,” it never comes off as all that dark. Sigur Rós circa Takk… is a close point of comparison here with respect to tone, due in large part to liberal usage of strings and glockenspiels throughout. And, just like Takk…, this record is exuberant and complex, drawing the listener in with its contagious optimism and keeping him around with its prodigious musicianship. For that reason and many others, Are You My Brother? sounds not just like a celebration of post-rock, but of music as a whole.

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    posted in Hidden Jams by Brice Ezell

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    On September 30, Warner Bros. will release a deluxe reissue of Van Morrison’s smoky 1969 masterpiece, Moondance. Along with a remastered edition of the album (available in a single-disc and two-disc format), there’s a massive five-disc set featuring studio outtakes, alternate mixes, and a whopping 50 unreleased tracks.

    Among the unearthed gems is “I Shall Sang,” which was “completed but left off the album,” according to a press release.

    “There are multiple, often lengthy, takes from the recording sessions of nearly every track found on the 1970 original,” the press release continues, “including ‘Glad Tidings,’ ‘Brand New Day’ and ‘Come Running’. There are also early takes of ‘I’ve Been Working,’ a song that would appear later that year on His Band And The Street Choir. The early version included here is quite different from the official album version. The Deluxe Edition also includes a Blu-Ray audio disc with high-resolution stereo and surround mixes of the original album, mixed by original engineer Elliot Scheiner, who also oversaw the new re-mastering of the album.”

    Check out the tracklists below:

    Moondance: Deluxe Edition Tracklist:
    Disc One – Original Album Remastered
    01. And It Stoned Me
    02. Moondance
    03. Crazy Love
    04. Caravan
    05. Into The Mystic
    06. Come Running
    07. These Dreams Of You
    08. Brand New Day
    09. Everyone
    10. Glad Tidings

    Disc Two – All Previously Unreleased
    01. What do we call this Van?
    02. Caravan (Take 1)
    03. Caravan (Takes 2-3)
    04. Caravan (Take 4)
    05. Caravan (Takes 5-6)
    06. Caravan (Take 7)
    07. Caravan (Take 8)
    08. I’ve Been Working (Early Version Take 1)
    09. I’ve Been Working (Early Version Take 2)
    10. I’ve Been Working (Early Version Take 5)
    11. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out (Outtake)
    12. I Shall Sing (Take 1)
    13. I Shall Sing (Takes 2-3)
    14. I Shall Sing (Takes 4-6)
    15. I Shall Sing (Take 7)
    16. I Shall Sing (Takes 8-12)
    17. I Shall Sing (Take 13)

    Disc Three – All Previously Unreleased
    01. Into The Mystic (Take 10)
    02. Into The Mystic (Take 11)
    03. Into The Mystic (Takes 12-13)
    04. Into The Mystic (Takes 14-16)
    05. Into The Mystic (Take 17)
    06. Brand New Day (Take 1)
    07. Brand New Day (Take 2)
    08. Brand New Day (Take 3)
    09. Brand New Day (Take 4)
    10. Brand New Day (Takes 5-6)
    11. Brand New Day (Take 7)
    12. Glad Tidings (Take 1)
    13. Glad Tidings (Takes 2-4)
    14. Glad Tidings (Takes 7-8)
    15. Glad Tidings (Take 9)
    16. Caravan Redo (Takes 1-2)
    17. Caravan Redo (Take 3)

    Disc Four – All Previously Unreleased
    01. Come Running (Take 1)
    02. Come Running (Take 2)
    03. Come Running (Takes 3-4)
    04. Come Running (Take 5)
    05. Come Running (“Rolling On 4”)
    06. Moondance (Take 21)
    07. Moondance (Take 22)
    08. Glad Tidings (Alt. Version)
    09. These Dreams Of You (Alt. Version)
    10. Crazy Love (Remix)
    11. Glad Tidings (Remix 1)
    12. Glad Tidings (Remix 2)
    13. Glad Tidings (Remix 3)
    14. Caravan (Remix)
    15. These Dreams Of You (Remix)
    16. I Shall Sing (Mix)

    Disc Five – Blu-Ray Audio disc with high-resolution 48K 24 bit PCM stereo and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound audio of original album (no video)

    Moondance: Expanded Edition Tracklist:
    Disc One – Original Album Remastered

    Disc Two – All Previously Unreleased
    01. Caravan (Take 4)
    02. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out (Outtake)
    03. Into The Mystic (Take 11)
    04. Brand New Day (Take 3)
    05. Glad Tidings (Alt. Version)
    06. Come Running(Take 2)
    07. Crazy Love (Mono Mix)
    08. These Dreams Of You (Alt. Version)
    09. Moondance (Take 22)
    10. I Shall Sing (Take 7)
    11. I’ve Been Working (Early Version, Take 5)

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    posted in News by HT Staff

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    It’s a strange idea, but it just might work: Trailblazing prog-metal outfit Opeth will perform on-board a cruise ship this fall as part of Sweden’s Silja Festival. Mellotronen Records organized the three-day floating fest, which sets sail from Stockholm on September 6th, with a destination of Riga.

    The line-up also features British prog-rockers Cressida, Swedish prog-rockers Trettioåriga kriget, and Italian horror composer Fabio Frizzi. For more information, check out

    Opeth announced the details today on their Facebook. According to the note, the “notoriously sea-sick” band is also currently working on their 11th LP.

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Credit: Rich Arden / ESPN Images

    Credit: Rich Arden / ESPN Images

    Some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment congregated inside Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre Wednesday night for the 2013 edition of the ESPYs, the biggest and most prestigious sports awards show on the planet. Or, as the show’s host Jon Hamm called it, “The world’s largest gathering of people wearing sunglasses indoors.” Or, as it should be called, the “oh-my-god-the-Miami-Heat-are-the-best-ever-let’s-give-them-all-the-awards” show. Suffice it to say, if ESPN would have put LeBron James in the “Best Jockey” category, he would’ve won that, too.

    In all seriousness, LeBron and his Heat teammates were basking in honors, taking home five of the six awards for which they were nominated. And the only reason they didn’t sweep all six categories is due to South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s near-decapitation of a Michigan running back during the Outback Bowl, which won him “Best Play.”

    With the majority of the categories being voted on by the fans, very little room was left for speculation as to who would win what, virtually sucking every bit of suspense that could have possibly existed out of the show. For real, with fans at the helm, who, other than Tiger Woods is going to win “Best Male Golfer?” And how about “Best Female College Athlete?” Does anyone even know the name of a female college athlete other than Brittney Griner?

    But, of the over 30 athletes who paraded across the stage, the two award recipients who stood out among the pack belonged to no team and had no endorsements. Robin Roberts — former ESPN sportscaster, current Good Morning America anchor and breast cancer survivor — received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and Jack Hoffman (a 7-year-old brain cancer patient from Atkinson, Neb. who ran a 69-yard touchdown at Nebraska’s spring game) nabbed the hardware for “Best Moment.”

    Aside from the few heartwarming instances, the real purpose for tuning in wasn’t because all of the sports stars, it was because of Hamm. Why? Because it’s Jon-freaking-Hamm. What more need be said? Who can’t appreciate roguishly good looks and a great jawline? Plus, you know, Mad Men. Even the yearly intro — comprised entirely of contrived, pseudo attempts at humor by poking fun at nearly everyone in the building — was made palatable by his presence. Especially his jab at Dwight Howard, which may have been the highlight of the night.

    Sprinkle in an uncomfortable, offbeat, entirely unfunny bit by Saturday Night Live comic Jay Pharoah depicting Jay-Z, a few forgettable laughs from Bill Hader and Jack McBrayer, and you have yourself an awards show.

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    posted in Sports by Timothy Wyatt

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    Credit: Eliot Lee Hazel

    Credit: Eliot Lee Hazel

    Bat for Lashes (or, as she’s hopefully known by her friends and family, Natasha Khan) has officially announced a U.S. tour behind her acclaimed, highly Kate Bush-ian 2012 LP, The Haunted Man. The tour is a mix of headlining spots and supporting dates for the legendary Depeche Mode.

    She’d previously been laying low with her live game, only playing a handful of American dates last year.

    Check out the full tour itinerary below:

    08-01 Dublin, Ireland – IMMA Royal Hospital Kilmainham
    08-07 Budapest, Hungary – Sziget Festival
    08-09 Göteborg, Sweden – Way Out West
    08-11 Helsinki, Finland – Flow Festival
    08-13 London, England – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
    08-16 Leipzig, Germany – Highfield
    08-17 Hasselt, Belgium – Pukkelpop
    08-18 Biddinghuizen, Netherlands – Lowlands
    08-22 Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre *
    08-23 Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
    08-24 Chicago, IL – First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre *
    08-26 Madison, WI – Majestic Theatre
    08-27 St. Paul, MN – Minnesota State Fair Grandstand
    08-28 Indianapolis, IN – Deluxe at Old National Centre
    08-30 New York, NY – Webster Hall
    08-31 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
    09-01 Toronto, Ontario – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre *
    09-03 Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre *
    09-06 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center *
    09-07 Boston, MA – Boston Calling Festival
    09-08 Wantagh, NY – Jones Beach *
    09-10 Washington, DC – Jiffy Lube Live *
    09-12 Atlanta, GA – Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood *
    09-14 Tampa, FL – Live Nation Amphitheatre *
    09-15 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center *

    * with Depeche Mode

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    It’s been four long years since AFI’s last studio album, the slick and propulsive Crash Love. But the art-rock quartet have returned in epic fashion with their new single, “I Hope You Suffer.” The track — which is the first glimpse of their upcoming ninth studio album — is currently streaming at the band’s website.

    “I Hope You Suffer” will be officially available on July 23. It’s a massive return-to-form, with the band channeling the brooding, gothic atmospheres of their 2003 breakthrough masterpiece, Sing the Sorrow. Hopefully the rest of the still-untitled album kicks a comparable amount of ass.

    AFI have been teasing the album for months, posting cryptic (and heavily creepy) videos on their website. No release date has been announced for the new LP, but keep your eye-liner’ed eyes peeled.

    Below, check out an ol’ classic, “Girl’s Not Grey.”

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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    On September 14, Radiohead diehards will have their shot at owning an extremely rare demo tape — one recorded during the band’s mid-80s formative years as On a Friday. The demo cassette will be auctioned off at Omega Auctions in Stockport, England.

    This On a Friday cassette has always been a Holy Grail relic for Radiohead worshipers. NME spoke with auctioneer Paul Fairweather, who predicted the sale price would exceed £1,000 (the equivalent of roughly $1,500). But for Radiohead fans, the high price is worth it:

    “It has come directly from an old friend of the band who was at school with them at Abingdon School,” Fairweather says. “We have copies of his school yearbook from 85/86 showing him and all four members of the band.”

    Some of the tracks are been circling in bootleg form for years. But this demo is more complete, featuring “Fragile Friend,” “Girl (In the Purple Dress),” “Lemming Trail,” “Mountains (On the Move),” “Everybody Knows,” and “Lock the Door” (with remixes of “Fragile Friend, “Lock the Door,” and “Lemming Trail”).



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    posted in News by Ryan Reed

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    Riot Fest 2013 sports one of the craziest line-ups of any fest this year. According to a press release, notable acts like The (Recently Revamped) Pixies, Andrew W.K., Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Suicidal Tendencies, and T.S.O.L. will be joining the three-day Chicago edition, which begins on September 13th. Previously announced acts for Chicago include The Replacements, Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Dismemberment Plan, Violent Femmes, Blondie, and Public Enemy. It should be a wild-ass weekend.

    Pixies frontman Black Francis is excited about pulling out some rarities at the fest: “Along with everyone’s favorites, we’ll be playing songs that we haven’t played in ages or never played live before,” he said. “Songs like ‘Brick is Red,’ ‘Havalina,’ ‘Tony’s Theme.’ and ‘Sad Punk.’ We’ve probably rehearsed some 80 songs, so we’ll be able to change up the set at the last minute if we feel like it.”

    Riot Fest will also feature unique line-ups in both Toronto (August 24th-25th) and Denver (September 21st-22nd).

    Below, check out the recently unveiled Pixies single, “Bagboy.”


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    posted in Festivals by HT Staff

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