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Classic Rock Magazine

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    The Black Crowes kicked off a two-night stand at the iconic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville last night and brought out a special guest with them. Saturday’s show was an all-electric rocker as opposed to tonight’s gig which is the Crowes’ only announced all-acoustic performance. Ironically, tonight’s show is billed as “with Special Guests,” but that didn’t stop the band from welcoming legendary guitarist Peter Frampton out to jam with them on a four-song string towards the end of their set.

    [Image via Muzikfreak70]

    Frampton first sat in with The Black Crowes on a cover of Medicated Goo by Traffic. While there was no talk box to be found, Frampton did duel with Rich Robinson on Thorn In My Pride and helped out on the Before The Frost…Until The Freeze track Appaloosa. The finale of the Peter Frampton/Black Crowes summit was the Crowes’ debut of Natural Born Bugie from Peter’s time with Humble Pie. Natural Born Bugie was Humble Pie’s debut single when it was released in 1969.

    Set: Jealous Again, Thick N Thin, Hotel Illness, My Morning Song > Stare It Cold > My Morning Song, Ballad In Urgency, Wiser Time, She Talks To Angels, Medicated Goo*, Thorn In My Pride*, Appaloosa*, Natural Born Boogie*, Remedy, Hard To Handle / Hush

    Encore: Descending > Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Happy

    * – w/ Peter Frampton

    Crowes fans were in for an additional treat in the encore. After running through the Descending > Jumpin’ Jack Flash segment they debuted last week in Chicago, The Black Crowes dusted off their version of Happy by The Rolling Stones.

    We came across a few fan-shot clips of Peter Frampton sitting in with The Black Crowes…

    The video is terrible on this vid of Medicated Goo and Thorn In My Pride, but the audio’s decent…

    Watch Rich Robinson and Peter Frampton duel during Thorn in My Pride…

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    We’re getting ready for “The Summer of Portugal. The Man” as the HT faves will release the Danger Mouse-produced Evil Friends LP on June 4th. If the rest of the album sounds anything like the recently released Purple Yellow Red & Blue, we think they’ll be winning themselves lots of fans over the next few months. Tonight, the Wasilla, Alaska via Portland, Oregon rockers visit Jimmy Kimmel Live!

    Monday, April 22 [All Times ET]

    • Grace Potter / MMJ – Love For Levon [AXS TV 5:45PM]
    • ZZ Ward on Conan [TBS 11PM]
    • Steve Earle on David Letterman [CBS 11:35PM]
    • Portugal. The Man on Jimmy Kimmel [ABC 11:35PM]

    Tuesday, April 23

    • Yes, Songs From Tsongas: 35th Anniversary Concert [AXS TV 4:15PM]
    • Edie Brickell on David Letterman [CBS 11:35PM]
    • M83 on Jimmy Kimmel [ABC 11:35PM]
    • The Coup on Carson Daly [NBC 1:35AM]

    Wednesday, April 24

    • Grizzly Bear on Ellen [Syndicated]
    • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club on Jay Leno [NBC 11:35PM]
    • Depeche Mode on Jimmy Kimmel [ABC 11:35PM]
    • Talib Kweli on Jimmy Fallon [NBC 12:35AM]

    Thursday, April 25

    • Justin Timberlake on Ellen [Syndicated]
    • Snoop Lion on David Letterman [CBS 11:35PM]
    • The National on Jimmy Fallon [NBC 12:35AM]
    • Superhumanoids on Carson Daly [NBC 1:35AM]
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    The Black Crowes promised special guests for their all-acoustic show at the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday night, but no one was expecting nearly a dozen guests to show up for the Nashville finale. Bluegrass legend Sam Bush, former Black Crowes member Audley Freed, Chuck Mead of BR549 and ALL of Old Crow Medicine Show were just a few of the musicians on hand to sit in with The Black Crowes.

    [Photo by @IdlewildSouth]

    The first guest to come out last night was mandolinist Sam Bush, who sat in with The Crowes on a total of seven songs including rarities My Heart’s Killing Me, Garden Gate and Deep River Blues (Doc Watson). Bush was also on hand when the evening’s second guest – Audley Freed – who played lead guitar with the late ’90s and early ’00s version of The Black Crowes, joined his old mates. Freed came out early in the show for a Rich Robinson-sung take on Feelin’ Alright and returned for the final song of the evening – Boomer’s Story. Jackie Greene showed off his versatility during the acoustic performance by playing banjo on Whoa Mule and Garden Gate.

    One of the evening’s biggest bust outs came towards the middle of the set when the Crowes dusted off a cover of Gram Parsons’ Cash On The Barrelhead with the help of Bush and Chuck Mead of BR549. Both Robinson Brothers had a solo turn during the show as Rich sang All Along The Way from his 2011 solo album, while Chris tackled Someday Past The Sunset from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s The Magic Door LP by his lonesome. Then, all the members of the Old Crow Medicine Show guested with The Black Crowes for a lengthy “Double Crow(e)s” segment that featured covers of East Virginia Blues (The Carter Family), Oh The Rain (Blind Willie Johnson) and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band). Other guests included a pair of female vocalists and a percussionist, while another cover debut came in the form of Bob Dylan’s Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues.

    Here’s a look at last night’s setlist according to CrowesBase

    Set: Soul Singing, Hotel Illness, Welcome To The Good Times, Whoa Mule, Feelin’ Alright, Thorn In My Pride, Cash On The Barrelhead, Garden Gate, My Heart’s Killing Me, Deep River Blues, All Along That Way, Someday Past The Sunset, East Virginia Blues, Lips That Lie, Last Place That Love Lives, Oh The Rain, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, What Is Home, Driving Wheel, Shine Along, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

    Encore: Poor Elijah – Tribute To Johnson (Medley), That’s How Strong My Love Is, Boomer’s Story

    • Sam Bush played on Whoa Mule, My Heart’s Killing Me, Feelin’ Alright, Cash On The Barrelhead, Garden Gate, Deep River Blues and Boomer’s Story
    • Audley Freed played on Feelin’ Alright and Boomer’s Story
    • Rich sang vocals on Feelin’ Alright
    • Jackie Greene played banjo on Whoa Mule, Garden Gate
    • Chuck Mead sang lead vocals on Cash On The Barrelhead
    • Jackie Greene sang lead vocals on Deep River Blues – this performance was Chris, Jackie and the girls only
    • Rich solo acoustic on All Along That Way
    • Chris solo acoustic on Someday Past The Sunset
    • Old Crow Medicine Show, Chris, Rich, Jackie on East Virginia Blues, Last Place That Love Lives, Oh The Rain and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

    We can’t wait to hear this show and we’ll keep our eyes out for video.

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    Last week we broke the news that the Allman Brothers Band would play a series of shows with Steve Winwood this summer. Today, the dates for the jaunt have been revealed. While the Allmans will share the bill with Winwood at a number of shows, they’ll also perform at Chicago’s Chicago Theatre by their lonesomes and have announced four shows with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

    The tour starts with the ABB’s headlining appearance at The Peach Music Festival before the band hits the road in earnest for a pair of “An Evening With” shows in Chicago. On August 23rd they kick off the run with Winwood who will share the bill for a total of six shows. The Allmans’ Summer Tour concludes in early September with four shows featuring Grace Potter and the Nocturnals opening.

    Here’s the full list of post-Peach Fest dates…

    8/20 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre – “An Evening With” – 5/4
    8/21 – Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre – “An Evening With” – 5/4
    8/23 – Darien Ctr, NY – Darien Lakes Perf. Arts Ctr. w/Steve Winwood – 4/27
    8/24 – Hartford, CT – Comcast Theatre w/Steve Winwood – 4/26
    8/27 – Gilford, NH – Meadowbrook w/Steve Winwood – 4/26
    8/28 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Perf. Arts Ctr. w/Steve Winwood – 4/27
    8/30 – Raleigh, NC – Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion w/Steve Winwood – 5/10
    8/31 – Charlotte, NC – Verizon Wireless Amph. w/Steve Winwood – 5/10
    9/2 – Alpharetta, GA – Verizon Wireless Amph. – w/Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – 5/10
    9/4 – Virginia Beach, VA – Farm Bureau Live w/Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – 4/26
    9/6 – Mansfield, MA – Comcast Ctr. w/Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – 4/26
    9/7 – Wantagh, NY – Nikon at Jones Beach Theater w/Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – 4/26

    Of the upcoming tour, Gregg Allman said in a press release, “This will be a good little run. We’ve always loved Steve and we’ve been listening to a lot of Grace’s stuff, so I imagine we’re going to have a bunch of fun together.” We can’t wait to see what happens.

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    After a successful 2012 filled with many Strangefolk Reunion shows, the original members of the band have announced a four-show run that will take place this September. Reid Genauer, Jon Trafton, Erik Glockler and Luke Smith will play Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on September 25th followed by two shows at Higher Ground in South Burlington, Vermont on September 26th and 27th. The run concludes with a September 29th performance at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine.

    Tickets for all four shows will go on sale this Friday.

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  • 04/22/13--08:00: Video: Deap Vally – Lies
  • Let’s face facts, if you’re in a blues-based guitar and drums rock duo, you’re inevitably going to get compared to both The White Stripes and The Black Keys. In the decade-plus since those two bands made their debut, rarely has an act come along that has actually lived up to the hype of those lofty comparisons, that is until Deap Vally. Comprised of Lindsey Troy (guitar, vocals) and Julie Edwards (drums), the Los Angeles-based act, who met at a crocheting class taught by Edwards, lay down heavy blend of fuzzed out garage rock and have earned a reputation for their raucous live shows.

    Earlier this month Deap Vally released their highly recommended four-song EP Get Deap!,which they will follow with their full-length debut Sistrionix later this year. The duo, who will open a string of dates for Free Energy, will also hit just about every major music festival this summer both here and abroad including Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Let’s check out the music video for their lead single – Lies…

    Deap VallyLies

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    Over the course of two full-length studio albums and an EP Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon has enchanted us with his heart-tugging falsetto vocals and lushly arranged folk-rock. If you think you’ve got him pegged as just the poster child for the beard-rock movement then think again, as Vernon has unleashed a new side with his latest project The Shouting Matches. The three-piece act, that also features Brian Moen (Peter Wolf Crier) and Phil Cooke (Megafaun), originally came together back in 2006, in the wake of the break-up of the much mythologized DeYarmond Edison. The band, who played one live show together, got put on hold when Vernon began to focus on Bon Iver and the recording and release of his instant classic debut album For Emma, Forever Ago.

    Fast forward some seven years later, with Vernon having seemingly said everything he could with Bon Iver and putting that project on the dreaded indefinite hiatus, we get GROWNASS Man - the debut album from The Shouting Matches. The ten-track effort is a jangly collection of loose Southern blues-rock that is steeped in vintage Bonnie Raitt, The Band and ZZ Top. The trio had their high-profile coming out party last weekend at Coachella, where they used their slot to played their album, sans one song, in order in its entirety. Watch I Need A Change from that set…

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    As previously reported, improv rockers God Street Wine will play The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on Saturday, August 3rd. GSW guitarist Aaron Maxwell announced the show from stage when he sat in with the John K. Band at Mexicali Live on April 13th. Maxwell also revealed that the John K. Band, featuring Furthur guitarist John Kadlecik, will open the show.

    [Photo by Cory Schwartz]

    Today, the God Street Wine / John K. Band show at The Cap has been officially announced. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 26th, at 12PM EDT. GSW last played the historic venue in 1995.

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    As I sit outside of his brightly lit, music-memorabilia filled, corner office at the headquarters of Relix Magazine, a publication he’s partially saved from the brink of extinction, and just one of his ventures we will eventually chat about, Pete Shapiro is talking loudly on a conference call with someone from one of his many project managers to bonafide rock royalty. Shapiro is exuding a palpable energy that I can feel through the closed door. I find myself nervously checking my recorder and rehearsing questions over in my mind, despite having written for Relix and attended numerous parties and functions here, knowing that for a number of years THIS was the interview I’ve truly been dying to do.

    From my days as a scraggly, long-haired teenager who used to frequent The Wetlands Preserve, the now-defunct hippie haven in TriBeCa, to becoming a frequent at his newest venues of Brooklyn Bowl and The Capitol Theatre, I also realize that Shapiro has essentially grown up, in the musical sense at least. The funny thing is though, I’ve watched him grow up, too.

    Shapiro is not only the proud owner of Brooklyn Bowl and The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York; but as he will talk about, is also the publisher of Relix Magazine and runs numerous other ventures. One other such venture is The Hoodie Shop, a store on Manhattan’s Lower East Side that sells just that: hooded sweatshirts. But, as you will see, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In short, the man seems to have more arms than an octopus.

    As Shapiro welcomes me into his office, he gives me a pound and half bro-hug as he invites me to take a seat on one of his couches across a table from his own. He scrambles to make sure he squeezes out that last email, to politely pretend that we won’t be interrupted for the better part of the next hour, which – surprisingly – we weren’t. A very tough task I assure you, for a man who is constantly on the move and in the highest demand.

    When we begin to talk, Shapiro is as enthusiastic as a boy on his first trip to the ballpark, shifting and moving positions on the couch. He’s also surprisingly honest and willing to talk about a number of topics. Shapiro originally made a name for himself by purchasing The Wetlands at the age of 23 from former owner and founder Larry Bloch. “I did something that was somewhat naive because of my inexperience and my youth, but also really smart that I may not even do today,” Shapiro recalls. “Larry Bloch was like, ‘There are no books.’ And so, more of the sophisticated people – or even me now at 40 – would say: ‘There’s no books! You won’t even show them to me? That sounds sketchy.’  But my response was, ‘What’s the rent?’ When you start a new business you don’t have the past books and [my position was], I’ll start fresh…but it’s already famous.” The boyish naivety is lingering in the air as Shapiro recalls this part of his tale, almost laughing at the casual silliness of it. “I should be able to figure it out.”

    “So I went with it,” he continues on about Bloch. “He helped structure it so I paid him over time on a monthly payment plan. Luckily, it about broke even. Because I didn’t really have really money to keep funding it, but I think he really knew it was about break even.  He would say later to me, and he was right, I was a good candidate because I didn’t have kids. I couldn’t be as good an owner of The Wetlands now because [at the time] I could stay up late, hang out with the bands, I was 20-something, I didn’t have kids…and used to take the subway home and always fell asleep on it [laughs]. I had very little responsibilities beyond [The Wetlands]. If I had a lot, it would have been difficult and I probably would have tried to do shit there that wasn’t good for the operations of Wetlands. And I don’t think Larry ever ran it just to pull money out, but more to run it right. So that probably helped me there, and also the fact that the lease wasn’t that long.”

    Shapiro also mentions that he knew Wetlands had a shelf life, “No one thought you’d re-up the lease down there because every one thought you’d have the building be sold for condos – which is what happened, along with every other building [in the neighborhood]. That’s why I was never that bummed that the lease was over and I had to leave because if it hadn’t been that way, I wouldn’t have had it [in the first place]. I knew that from the beginning. It wasn’t a surprise at the end. I always said: ‘If Wetlands hadn’t had to leave…Wetlands would have had to leave!’ Because of the how the neighborhood changed. And no more club. You know the North River Bar was gone, and The Knit was gone – it wouldn’t have worked.”

    Overall though, Shapiro sums up The Wetlands in a succinct statement: “I just believed that Wetlands was an important place and a cool place.” Anyone who shared Bloch’s, and ultimately Shapiro’s, vision of that magical place will surely agree with that statement.

    But Pete Shapiro was just getting started. In the years after The Wetlands closed, Shapiro had his hands in a slew of other ventures including making films with U2, “Preserving” The Wetlands legacy with a film about the venue, dreaming up The Jammys, becoming the publisher for the aforementioned Relix and seemingly everything in between.

    The entrepreneur always knew he wanted to own another music venue, but trying to recreate The Wetlands just didn’t feel right. That eventually led to his multi-year venture in constructing the Brooklyn Bowl in Willamsburg, in which he says he and his partner Charley Ryan got lucky and snagged the last 7,000 square feet for the venue at the last possible minute. “It would have been a different place. We wouldn’t be doing Bowlive and things like that. It simply would have been a different place,” Shapiro explains about the last-minute addition to the space that now hosts Brooklyn Bowl. Pete also confides in me when I ask him about the biggest band he ever tried to book for the venue. “Green Day,” Shapiro says proudly, but with a tinge of disappointment. “It was confirmed, then Billie Joe got sick and went to rehab,” he continues.

    We proceed to chat about a topic he’s casually looped me in on over the past years: what makes “The Bowl” unique and the organic process of it all coming together through spit, glue and a little bit of luck. “I knew it would be fun and cool and would work, but I try to not think too much about things. You never think about it – daydream maybe – but what we think about is how do we create the setting and the environment, and the structure, like a platform for things to take over and the momentum to happen. We are trying to do that in Vegas and other places.” Luckily for us, The Bowl turned out to only be our favorite room in the City – always allowing you to choose your own adventure of sorts between the bowling, the amazing food and the music – as opposed to the bar and stage setup of nearly every other music venue in the Big Apple.

    Shapiro points out many of the major differences about The Wetlands and Brooklyn Bowl, including the food, sight lines and the visual component, to name a few. “Yet, the regulars at Brooklyn Bowl who were at Wetlands, a lot of them say, ‘It’s the same…just different!’ [Laughs] The spirit is there and feeds itself,” Pete explains.

    He continues to explain why he was patient in this process of finding his next music venue venture. “I looked at some places and didn’t feel I couldn’t replicate [The Wetlands] in a way that would be really true to it, so I’m glad with what I did at Brooklyn Bowl. There are some touches of it, you can feel it. But it wouldn’t make sense for it to be Wetlands Bowl. It’s something I’ve learned from meeting so many people who had intense, personal and close experiences at Wetlands. I didn’t want to FUCK with that, mess with that, change their memory by being like ‘This is now Wetlands!’ I wanted to protect those memories! You have them, I have them and I felt the better way to do it was not try to do it again.”

    Pete Shapiro talks numerous times about wanting to make The Bowl “an experience.” And he aims to take that experience to Sin City, where he will soon open a new Bowl outpost in a 78,000 square foot building (about three times the size of the Brooklyn location) on the center of the strip in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas version of The Bowl will have 32 lanes broken up into 16 on each of the venue’s two floors. Shapiro advises that he’s aiming to keep the feel of the Brooklyn Bowl in Vegas by using the same couches and wood floor.

    “No one does live music late in Vegas,” Shapiro says. “It’s all early and then late night it’s club stuff and bottle service…you will see us doing late night, but  presenting live bands. And I think the bands will be in alignment with what you see at Brooklyn Bowl in New York. You’ll see a lot of The Funky Meters and you’ll see some Nevilles,” he uses as examples. “There’s really nowhere to go see live music late night [in Las Vegas], and hopefully we can give it a little bit of the feel of late-night at Jazz Fest.”

    So what does a guy like Shapiro do after Brooklyn Bowl, where he has created his own venue? He simply takes on one of the most historic theaters in the country and returns it to its full grandeur and glory: The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Only a few months after he reopened its door as a leasee, Shapiro purchased the building for $11.5 million. When I ask him how he decided on that number, he redirects the question back at me and others in general, “How do you put a price on a piece of history?” Currently, the Capitol is hosting Furthur for a nine-show run that brings back former members of The Grateful Dead, who played The Cap 18 times in the early ’70s, along with acts like Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.

    Just like his career, Shapiro is always on the move, and his ideas are plentiful as we bounce back and forth amongst many topics. When I ask him who his heroes and influences are, expecting him to cite the obvious picks like promoter-extraordinaire Bill Graham (someone I kind of equate him to, at least for my jamband generation), he takes a good 30 seconds to surprise me yet again with a truly creative answer. “I think it’s all the people who put on the shows, built the venues, did the festivals, do the music films and created technology. It’s not one person. It’s people who helped build all those things, the foundations, to a point that I can do what we do, like the projections at Brooklyn Bowl. Or even with what we can do from the technology we found from NASA to hold the cameras steady when a 140-year old building shakes. The guy that made that, that helps the camera not shake with some special putty that’s [similar to what's] used for NASA shit? That is influential. That’s enabled us to put a camera there or leverage or maximize the impact of those screens. We knew the dimensions of the screens would lead to a very cool visual experience, but it wouldn’t have looked so good if the camera shot wasn’t steady. So instead of me thanking the people that maybe you don’t know those names, but have built the tools that enable me to do these things…those are the people that I would say helped influence me most,” says Shapiro.

    After so many successful ventures, I ask what’s next and I’m curious to know how he does it. “I’m going to work on a kids play space with a rock and roll theme. I went to the other ones that have been done, but I’m trying to think of new ways to do that.” Shapiro admits it’s a leap of faith. He takes a vision or a seed and lets it progress organically. “The more that it’s like a snowball going down a hill…that energy feeds itself…and I always try to keep it in the spirit of where this all starts, which is Wetlands,” the impresario explains.

    “One day I’m going to sleep for like a year,” he ends with. Lord knows, you’ve earned it, Pete. And we also know, that won’t be anytime soon.

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    HT faves The Black Crowes have added a summer tour date as they will play Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York on July 26th with special guests The London Souls. This show comes in addition to the previously announced dates in which the Crowes are teaming up with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and The London Souls. Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 26th, at 10AM ET.

    Earlier we reported on last night’s guest-filled Black Crowes show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. We put the call out for a video of the Crowes’ performance of The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band with Old Crow Medicine Show, Sam Bush, Sarah Buxton and other guests.

    A fan-shot video of the cover has surfaced…

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    On December 11, 2011 Phish bassist Mike Gordon brought his amazing five-piece solo band to The Egg in Albany, New York for a show audience members raved about in strong terms. Gordon has just offered an audio recording of the show up for release as a free MP3 download, pay FLAC and ALAC files and a limited-edition 3-CD set in deluxe packaging. You can purchase the 3-CD set through Dry Goods, while the downloads are available through

    The CD sets are expected to ship on or around April 30th with deluxe packaging that includes a custom round tin with three discs tucked away inside a custom Egg cotton stash bag. In addition to every note Mike and his band played at The Egg, including a Dude of Life sit in on Suzy Greenberg, there’s a filler featuring three tracks from the group’s March 26th, 2011 show at Higher Ground.

    Here’s the track listing and more details for Mike Gordon – The Egg…

    Disc 1
    1. Horizon Line
    2. Only A Dream
    3. I’m Deranged >
    4. The Way It Goes
    5. Just A Rose >
    6. Voices

    Disc 2
    1. River Niger
    2. Don’t Do It
    3. Horizon Line
    4. Funky Bitch
    5. Sugar Shack
    6. Hand In My Pocket
    7. Dig Further Down
    8. Crumblin’ Bones

    Disc 3
    1. Skin It Back >
    2. Hap Nappy
    3. Won’t Get Fooled Again
    4. Suzy Greenberg
    5. Filler: Mound (3/26/2011 Burlington, VT)
    6. Filler: Got Away (3/26/2011 Burlington, VT)
    7. Filler: Black Tambourine (3/26/2011 Burlington, VT)

    The Dude of Life on vocals for “Suzy Greenberg”
    Recorded by Rachel Bischoff
    Mixed by Jon Altschiller
    Assisted by Danielle Warman
    Mastered by Jonathan Russell
    Technical Assistance by Kevin Shapiro
    Package/Design by Julia Mordaunt

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    Ever since The Four Tops released their hit single Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever in 1966, the Stevie Wonder / Ivy Jo Hunter penned tune has been covered by a wide range of artists that includes The Band, Phil Collins, Marvin Gaye and Eric Clapton. The latest act to throw their proverbial hat into the Loving You ring are HT faves Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.

    Bluhm and her band recorded a cover of the song, which is part of their live repertoire and a version of which was filmed for their Van Sessions series, for our friends at MoBoogie. Check it…

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    I was excited to listen to RHA’s new on-ear SA950i headphones. I’ve been using one of their earphones (MA-350′s) quite religiously since reviewing them last year and have really grown to love the “RHA sound.” These new headphones did not disappoint and have a lot going for them.

    An extraordinary value at $60, these headphones are among the lightest I have ever worn and offer great comfort, fantastic style and great sound. What is most impressive is the ability to provide relatively deep bass and high volumes without distortion given the 3.5 oz. weight. Typically, smaller, lighter headphones just can’t offer the overall sound quality and “oomph” that can compete with larger headphones. These do a great job stacking up against the sound quality of much costlier and larger headphones. But, are the SA950i’s right for you? Read on to find out.

    Overview and Specs RHA is a Scottish audio company that has been offering professional quality audio products at consumer prices. One of their recent offerings are the SA950i on-ear headphones which are extremely light and offer incredible sound at just $60. Normally, light headphones, good sound quality and distortion free high volumes are incompatible with each other. However, at only 3.5 oz., RHA has figured out the weight/quality issue by coating the 40mm mylar drivers with titanium. This titanium plating allows the speakers to be both sturdy & strong and also lightweight at the same time. On top of the great sound, these offer tremendous style and comfort.

    Comfort, Design, and Build Quality There’s lots to like about these. The headband has generous padding and the earcups are also very comfortable. The headphones are on chrome sliders and are easily adjustable to any sized head and offer just the right amount of clamping force to keep comfortably on your ears. These are most certainly headphones that you can wear for hours on end without any discomfort. The only drawback in comfort is that the earcups don’t articulate four-ways. I really like headphones that can swivel not only up-and-down but also left-to-right. While I was still able to get a nice fit, others may not with this limitation.

    The build quality is extremely high and they seem sturdy and well built despite the light weight. They are small and can certainly be packed for travel with but they do not fold-up all the way like other travel headphones nor do they come with a hard carry case. Like the MA-350′s I previously reviewed, the cable is fabric braided and is tangle resistant and has a gold plated tip. There’s integrated controls and a mic designed specifically for iOS devices.

    [SA950i's with Apple inline remote and Mic]

    Sound These are very enjoyable headphones that can be used for hours at a time. I find that closed headphones can often be fatiguing with extended listening.  However, these on-ear headphones (supra-aural) have extremely well balanced sound with open, wide sound that is relaxing and “easy listening”. Nothing is over emphasized and the sound seems very natural. There’s plenty of bass but it is certainly not “boomy” or artificial sounding. Sound is crisp and they perform quite well across many different types of music. Perhaps they are not nuanced or detailed enough to listen to classical or other demanding types of listening. However, I loved listening to most everything I threw at them. I listened to Page McConnell’s new album, Trey Anastasio’s new EP, and Mike Gordon’s recent release from the Egg in Albany. Keys, bass, guitar and symphonic components all sounded great. I pushed the volume quite high on each and was able to get great sound without any distortion. Pink Floyd, Sun Ra and Steve Reich also all sounded fantastic. I was especially impressed with some of the Reich material I listened to. Piano notes sounded like I was in the room with dueling grand pianos to each side of me.

    Koss Porta Pro have been one of the gold standards for a long time in the value category for on-ear, portable headphones. I find the sound on the SA950i’s much more impressive and well beyond what you’d expect of anything in this price category. Likewise, the materials, build-quality and style most certainly make the Porta Pro’s look like an ‘also ran’.

    Bottom Line Great sound quality in an extremely light and portable design complemented by great style. The build quality is high (three year warranty to boot) and they are quite comfortable. For $60, these offer quite a lot and should please most music listeners.

    Want a pair? I have one just for a lucky Hidden Track reader. Simply leave a comment below that you want to be entered and we’ll pick a random winner next week. As always, Tweeting, “Liking”, or Google+’ing isn’t necessary to win but certainly appreciated!

    RHA SA950i Supra-Aural Headphones $59.95 Amazon


    Hidden Track Technology Tuesday


    Have an idea for an article?

    Product, app, or web service you are passionate about? Feel free to get in touch with me.

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    Next Tuesday, April 30th, HT faves Phoenix will perform before an intimate crowd in-person and a huge worldwide audience as part of the Live On Letterman series of webcasts. Phoenix is expected to perform songs from the just released Entertainment! as well as hits such as 1901 and Lisztomania.

    You can watch Phoenix’s Live On Letterman set live starting at 8PM ET on the 30th or on demand at The broadcast will also be watchable through the CBS App for the iPhone and iPad.  Phoenix will also appear on that evening’s episode of The Late Show with David Letterman.

    As part of our Everybody Wins When We Plug Something And In Return They Offer Us Free Shit To Give Away program, we’ve got a pair of GA PIT tickets to watch Phoenix’s Live On Letterman performance in person. To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us your favorite Phoenix song. We’ll pick one entry at random at 3PM ET on April 26th. You can enter a second time by leaving a similar comment on the Hidden Track Facebook Page and a third time by following @hidden_track and tweeting your favorite Phoenix tune at us. You must be a @hidden_track follower and include both @hidden_track and #htphoenixlol in your tweet.

    Here’s the fine print…

    • To enter, leave a comment below telling us your favorite Phoenix song
    • Enter a second time by leaving a similar comment on the Hidden Track Facebook Page
    • You can enter a third time by following @hidden_track and tweeting the name of your favorite Phoenix song at us. You must include both @hidden_track AND #htphoenixlol in your tweet
    • Your comment(s) must be left by 3PM EDT on April 26th
    • Anybody entering more than once a piece on Facebook, Twitter and at the bottom of this post will be disqualified, tarred and feathered
    • The winner will receive a pair of pit tickets (standing room) to see Phoenix perform for the Live On Letterman series on Tuesday, April 30th. You must be able to get to the Midtown Manhattan location by 7:30PM ET on the 30th
    • HT staff members are not eligible to win

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    Now’s the time that we need to share…(new EP’s from three 2012 RecommNeds picks)

    Zeus: Cover Me

    Zeus is a band I am constantly trying to turn people on to, cuz… they’re awesome. Maybe this will convince you: as part of the “deluxe edition” to last year’s fantastic Busting Visions album, they’ve added an all-covers EP. This includes a killer studio version of their live-concert staple cover of Genesis’ That’s All, but also gotta-hear takes on the Flaming Lips, Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and more. Have fun figuring out which is your favorite!

    Spotify: Zeus – Busting Visions
    MOG: Zeus – Busting Visions Deluxe
    Rhapsody: Zeus – Busting Visions Deluxe

    El Ten Eleven: Transitions Remixed

    El Ten Eleven’s Transitions album was one of my favorites of 2012. Their music – with its ambient looping, techno drumming and heady riffage — lends itself perfectly to the stems-and-seeds remix thing. Here Com Truise, Slow Magic and more have their go at it, the result: a dreamy dancefloor delight.

    Spotify: El Ten Eleven – Transitions Remixed
    MOG: El Ten Eleven – Transitions Remixed
    Rhapsody: El Ten Eleven – Transitions Remixed

    Chicha Libre: Cuatro Tigres

    There ain’t one person I know who listened to Chicha Libre’s 2012 album, Canablismo, that didn’t love it. One friend I recommended it to was genuinely confused as to why everyone wasn’t listening to it on repeat. If you were one of those folks that ran it ragged, good news, there’s more. Four new tracks that pick up right where it left off, including La Danza De Los Simpsons which is a great take on a familiar theme. Enjoy!

    Spotify: Chicha Libre – Cuatro Tigres
    MOG: Chicha Libre – Cuatro Tigres
    Rhapsody: Chicha Libre – Cuatro Tigres

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    You knew it was only a matter on time before Diarrhea Planet got some real estate around here. I’m sure some people think it’s just a stupid gimmick name or perhaps a band of babies on antibiotics, but by the looks of it Diarrhea Planet puts on a great punk show.

    Here, they tackle the Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band classic Born to Run with friend Patrick Stickles, who’s best known as the front man of Titus Andronicus.

    [via Stereogum]

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    Next weekend, hard-hitting funk band The New Mastersounds will headline a pair of shows at the House of Blues New Orleans. The Leeds-based act has revealed the roster of guests that will join them and an intriguing theme for the two late-night performances on May 3rd and May 4th.

    TNM will be joined by Alecia Chakour and the West Coast Horns on May 3rd as they celebrate “The Funk Creations of 1973.” Then, on May 4th, Jans Ingber, Jennifer Hartswick and the West Coast Horns will help The New Mastersounds pay tribute to “The Boogie Creations of 1983.” Both performances are 2AM shows. Tickets are available through

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    Another batch of additions to the All Good Music Festival has just been announced. The Dark Star Orchestra will play an acoustic set at the event, which will also see recently added performances from HT faves Kung Fu, Cabinet and Superhuman Happiness. Moon Hooch, Feat Nuttin Band, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Founding Fathers and MojoFlo have also been added to the bill. Plus, Roosevelt Collier will perform with a variety of bands as an Artist At Large.

    Here’s the full list of All Good Music Festival additions…

    Dark Star Orchestra (acoustic), Kung Fu, Moon Hooch, Feat Nuttin Band, Roosevelt Collier (artist at large), Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Cabinet, Superhuman Happiness, Founding Fathers, Mojoflo

    The All Good Music Festival is set to take place from July 18 – 21 at Legend Valley in Thornville, Ohio. Furthur, Pretty Lights, Primus and STS9 are among the event’s headliners. Tickets are currently available through the festival’s website. Watch a new mini-documentary about the All Good Music Festival…

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    UPDATE: There have been more Bonnaroo additions that have just been revealed. Solange, Empire of the Sun, ALO with special guests, The Polyphonic Spree, Black Prairie and Delta Rae will play the ‘Roo this June.

    Bonnaroo organizers have revised this year’s lineup with a slew of additions, including HT faves the Ryan Montbleau Band, The Revivalists and Von Grey. Kacey Musgraves, Maps & Atlases, James McCartney, Rayland Baxter and Mac DeMarco are among the other acts that are set to play The Farm in Manchester, Tenn. this summer. Bonnaroo 2013 takes place between June 13 – 16 with a lineup that features headliners Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bjork and Wilco.

    Here’s the full list of Bonnaroo 2013 additions…

    Main Stage: Solange, Empire of the Sun, ALO with special guests, The Polyphonic Spree, Black Prairie, The Rubens and Delta Rae

    Club Stages: Alanna Royale, Alice and the Glass Lake, Andrew Duhon, Bean, Capital Cities, Casey Crescenzo (of The Dear Hunter), Cat Martino, Chris Stapleton, Cloney, Daniel Romano & The Trilliums, He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister, Houndmouth, James McCartney, Jillette Johnson, Jonny Fritz, Kacey Musgraves, KYNG, Lil Iffy, Little Red Lung, Lucius, Luxury Liners, Mac DeMarco, Maps & Atlases, Matrimony, Milow, Naia Kete, Nocona, On an On, Peanut Butter Lovesicle, Ranch Ghost, Rayland Baxter, Ri¢hie Royal, Thunder, Ryan Montbleau Band, SIMO, The Mowgli’s, The Revivalists, Tiny Victories, von Grey, Wake Owl, White Lung, William Tyler


    Larry Graham – Bassist (Graham Central Station, Sly & the Family Stone)
    Bilal – Vocalist Extraordinaire

    General admission tickets for Bonnaroo are currently on sale for $269.50 plus fees.

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    On May 10 – 12, The Purple Hatter’s Ball will celebrate the life of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The lineup includes HT faves Lettuce, Eddie Roberts’ West Coast Sounds and The New Mastersounds as well as Quantic, DubConscious and The Malah.

    We also have our eyes on a set dubbed “Sunday Gospel Surprise” that will see Roosevelt Collier and Nigel Hall joined by Lenesha Randolph (Robert Randolph & The Family Band), Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), Pete Shand (The New Mastersounds), Jermal Watson (Dirty Dozen Brass Band) and The Shady Horns (Ryan Zoidis, Eric Bloom and James Casey). Tickets for the Purple Hatter’s Ball are available now for $75.

    As part of our Everybody Wins When We Plug Something And In Return They Offer Us Free Shit To Give Away program, we’ve got a pair of weekend passes for the Purple Hatter’s Ball for one lucky reader. To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us what band you’re most excited to see at the Purple Hatter’s Ball. We’ll pick one entry at random at 3PM ET on April 30th.

    Here’s the fine print…

    • To enter, leave a comment below telling us what PHB band you’re most excited to see
    • Your comment(s) must be left by 3PM EDT on April 30th
    • A winner will be picked using on May 1st
    • Anybody entering more than once will be disqualified, tarred and feathered
    • The winner will receive a pair of weekend passes for the Purple Hatter’s Ball
    • HT staff members are not eligible to win


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