Friday, October 2, 2009
Before I begin this post, I would like to announce that as of yesterday, LA staple and Musicbleep favorite, Greg Laswell, launched his own site today! http://www.blogger.com/www.greglaswell.com. Here you can find tour dates, recent photo galleries, videos, RINGTONES, blogs, an online store, plus much, much more exciting things. It is truly like Christmas morning! I was excited to hear the news, and knew that I could not possibly go on another day without sharing it with my fellow Musicbleep fans! I would also like to take this moment to announce not only a show added to his US, Denmark, and UK tour @ The Troubadour in West Hollywood on October 25th, but on October 6th he will be releasing his second EP 'Covers'.
In this well put together album, he recreates songs from any music lovers heart, especially Kristen Hersh's 'Your Ghost', which I cannot stop listening to on repeat. It is truly genius, and not surprisingly so. Mr. Laswell, or Greg, as I hope to call him, has always followed through on creating thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes heartbreaking tracks from his debut album 'Through Toledo' up until his latest single 'Off I Go' which stumped downloading charts after debuting on the season finale of Grey's Anatomy. The 'Covers' Ep pays tribute to artists from my nostalgic past:
The Killing Moon (originally performed by Echo & the Bunnymen)
In Spite of Me (originally performed by Morphine)
Take Everything (originally performed by Mazzy Star)
Your Ghost (originally performed by Kristin Hersh)
This Woman's Work (originally performed by Kate Bush)
He has recreated each song with grace and emotion, and I have to say, I actually like most of these tracks better than the originals, especially 'Your Ghost' and 'In Spite of Me' (no offense to the original artists).
Most twenty-two year old pop stars have an army of professional image sculptors behind them: producers, songwriters, stylists, and abused assistants. But LIGHTS, who grew up all over the world, is used to traveling light. So she decided she'd simplify things by doing all those jobs herself. "It's easy to misconstrue a young girl singer as a total puppet. I am the opposite of that. This is what I do. I am LIGHTS."
Born in Timmins, Ontario, LIGHTS lived in the Philippines and Jamaica during her elementary school years. "My family is very get-up-and-go if we feel called to do something different," the singer explains. "It was a really important thing to learn about as a kid, that nothing is so important that you cant leave it behind." LIGHTS' mother home schooled the kids; but, one day a week the singer's father would take over. "We looked forward to that day because we got to recite poetry and learn music. Nothing was taken too seriously and we got to sing. That really instilled in me a passion for music."
In 1997 the family moved back to Canada and almost immediately, nine year-old LIGHTS got her hands on a guitar. By eleven she'd learned a handful of chords, which she used to write her first song. Then, at thirteen she turned her attention to production. "I had so many more ideas than just the vocals and the guitar. I wanted to put a glockenspiel and strings and a bass and drums in there!"
As a teenager Lights spent much of her time writing songs up in her attic bedroom, which she dubbed Starry Night studios after her favorite Van Gogh painting. By eighteen LIGHTS had moved out of her parents' house and was living in Toronto with only her pet tarantula Lance to keep her company. In this state of near-isolation LIGHTS finally found her signature sound- a merging of classic pop songwriting with deeply intimate yet universally appealing lyrics. She wrote "February Air," a poignant ode to the chill of winter love, which became the first of four LIGHTS songs used by Old Navy in the company's 2008 spring ad campaign.
Though her star was clearly on the rise, it was LIGHTS' online profile that really solidified her fan base. Between the singer's MySpace page (which to date has over eight million visits and fifteen million plays,) her personal web site iamlights.com and her passion for web-based fantasy games like World of Warcraft, the artist's online identity is as evolved as your nerdiest teenage boy's and this is something she's very proud of. "There's an entire world of people out there that play WoW and are talking about science fiction and they feel a little bit outcast, so if you can reach those people that's sweet! Even my look is inspired by video game characters – it's a cross between Laura Croft and Wonder Woman."
In April 2008 LIGHTS released her eponymous EP. It contained six songs including "February Air," which reached #3 on the MuchMusic countdown in Canada, as well as the epic "Drive My Soul," which was an even bigger hit; the song was added to radio without being serviced, climbed all the way to #1 on Much Music, and spent over three months in the Top 20 on Hot AC radio. On the strength of her EP alone, LIGHTS won the 2009 Juno (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy Award) for New Artist of the Year, joining the ranks of Feist and Nelly Furtado.
The singer's rapidly growing fan base was clamoring for live LIGHTS shows so she hit the road, playing countless sold out gigs in her home country, as well as numerous festival dates in the UK. In addition to touring extensively through the United States, this summer LIGHTS spent five weeks on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour and this fall will join Keane on their Canadian tour.
LIGHTS' full-length debut, The Listening, will be released this fall. It includes a few songs already familiar to die-hard Lights fans, as well as plenty of new material including the first single, "Saviour," a propulsive pop ballad that represents the essence of Lights. "My songs are spawned from moments of sadness or intense emotion," the singer says. "'Saviour' is a big example of taking one of those really dark emotional situations and turning it into something positive. I just happened to get hit with a really dark sad night. The melody started coming together and the words started pouring out. I was crying when I wrote the first line of the chorus and it actually sounds kind of like crying. It's a really, really powerful song for me."
Using music to translate something painful into something transcendent is LIGHTS' primary purpose. It's her commitment to keeping pure the connection that music creates that guides her as she prepares to release her first major album. "I think about how some of the greatest artists over time kind of went crazy because they didn't have that ability to show people who they were," the singer muses. "They were living a double life and that's not healthy. Now you can be yourself and people will still love you for it. Who you see is exactly who I am. And I think if I maintain that and don't fake anything with my fans, I'll never go crazy."
10/2 – North Star Bar – Philadelphia, PA
10/3 – Sonar Lounge – Baltimore, MD
10/4 – Middle East – Boston, MA
10/6 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
10/7 – Webster Underground – Hartford, CT
10/9 – The Brillobox – Pittsburgh, PA
10/10 – The Shelter – Detroit, MI
10/11 – Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH
10/20 - Buffalo, NY- Mohawk Place
10/21 - Covington, KY - The Madhatter
10/22 - Grand Rapids. MI - The Mixtape Cafe
10/23 - Des Moines, IA - House of Bricks
10/24 – The Pageant – St. Louis, MO
10/25 - Lawrence, KS- Jackpot Saloon
10/27 – Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
10/28 – Subterranean – Chicago, IL
10/30 – Hi Dive – Denver, CO
10/31 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
11/03 – Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
11/04 – Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
11/05 - Portland, OR- Hawthorne Theater
11/06 - Seattle, WA- El Corazon
In addition to being a freshman in the music scene she has reached incredible heights already by having MTV produce a show about her as a comic book superhero!
Keytar-wielding synth-pop sensation LIGHTS is starring in Audio Quest: A Captain LIGHTS Adventure. The short-form motion comic series, which features the art of Marvel Comics artist Tomm Coker, premieres today, Monday, September 28, 2009 on-air during MTV’s AMTV and online at MTV.com. Each Audio Quest episode, of which there will be ten in all, follows Captain LIGHTS as a super-hero on a galactic adventure to restore sound to the universe. Audio Quest is a natural evolution for LIGHTS: a talented visual artist herself, she is no stranger to science fiction and the world of comics.
To win a 'Lights' T-Shirt, her debut album "The Listening", email us here at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and address no later than Wednesday, October 7th, and one lucky winner will be chosen at random to win these exclusive prizes!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Last week we had the fortunate pleasure of seeing Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros not only once, but TWICE! If you are not familiar with this latest and greatest ensemble, please keep reading, but before that I would like to give a mention to the wonderful women who opened for these great talents: The LA Girls Choir. They sound just like they look, like a choir of angelic voices, with innocence and grace closely resembling a church camp chorus. I felt as if I had stepped into a venue where all the sisters from the film 'The Virgin Suicides' multiplied and went on tour. They sang familiar tunes, but a favorite of mine, and by the reaction from the SOLD OUT crowd, they did an amazing cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah', which was breathtaking. This was a very mild introduction to what we were about to witness.
Edward Sharpe, alter ego of Ima Robots frontman Alex Ebert, and his Magnetic Zeros, created the most amazing atmosphere that I have experienced in a very long time. They have put together something that is not that common these days, and completely blew me out of the water. I have been listening to them for quite some time now, watching online performances from the Hammer Museum and in studio performances on KCRW, but was still flabbergasted from the second they hit the stage.
With about 13 or so members (including some of the LA Girls Choir and whomever else wanted to join, invited up by Edward himself), they created a sound unlike anything giving off an enormous amount of positive energy. I felt as if I was so far out of the LA/Hollywood element and it was a nice musical vacation; by the end of the show I was dripping sweat from dancing and my face hurt from smiling the whole time. Not only were they inviting people up on stage to sing, dance, or to play an instrument, they often came down onto the floor and performed right in the mix of the highly energized crowd.
They sang "40 Day Dream", "Janglin", "Carries On", and my personal favorite "Home" accompanied by 'Jade', one of the Magnetic Zeros. They all have this undying kind of chemistry, but those two conduct magic on that stage. Their album, "Up From Below", was just released on July 7th of this year and they have already gathered quite the following. A sold out show at the El Rey (where they performed for almost 2 hours) and on Sunday at the Abbott Kinney Festival fans came in droves and packed the streets to see a FREE live performance as the sun set that day, of which Musicbleep trekked our way through the streets of Venice and waited to see them once again, as Tuesday was just not enough, we wanted more. And this is just the kick off, as they have many tour dates spreading all over the US and Canada. If they are in city near you, go check them out, you will not be disappointed!!
You can download their album on iTunes and check them out at http://www.blogger.com/www.myspace.com/edwardsharpe You will hear and see a band not of this world, but of a world all their own. To give you a little taste, below is their performance of my favorite, 'Home', from the El Rey last Tuesday, I love it!!
Part of the 2009 Next Wave Festival
Oct 28, 30 & 31 at 8pm
Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, and Matthew Ritchie
In an inspired collision of creative worlds, three inexhaustibly original artists—brothers Bryce Dessner and Aaron Dessner of indie rock band The National and omnivorous visual art phenomenon Matthew Ritchie—combine talents to create a song-filled myth about the beginning of time. A feast of images, instrumentals, and songs thick with primordial mystery, The Long Count pairs Ritchie's protean forms with a twelve-piece orchestra and the Dessners' gothic mix of electric and orchestral sounds.
Guest vocalists Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders, The Pixies), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National) round out the line-up in this visionary collaboration between music and art.
To learn more, go to www.bam.org/view.aspx?pid=1263
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
70min, no intermission
Tickets: $20, 25, 35, 45
Music director Rob Moose
Audio design by David Sheppard
Costume design by Rabia Troncelliti
Vocalists - Kim and Kelley Deal, Shara Worden, and Matt Berninger
Commissioned by BAM for the 2009 Next Wave Festival
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The official soundtrack to Spike Jonze's highly anticipated film, Where The Wild Things Are, is finally unleashed today! Take a step back into your whimsical childhood with fourteen Karen O and the Kids crafted tracks. The entire soundtrack is also currently streaming on IMEEM (http://www.imeem.com/
Pick up your copy of the soundtrack on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/
Monday, September 28, 2009
Multiple Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Norah Jones has announced the title and release date of her upcoming album, The Fall, her fourth studio album which will be released by EMI’s Blue Note Records on November 17. Jones has also revealed the cover artwork for the album, which features a portrait by photographer Autumn de Wilde.
Jones was the surprise guest performer at Apple’s “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll” press conference yesterday in San Francisco. Her breakout album Come Away With Me is one of the first albums to be released in the iTunes LP format, a new feature of iTunes 9 that reinvents the visual experience of the record album through live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more. After being introduced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Jones performed “Come Away With Me” and also debuted “Young Blood,” a new song from The Fall.
Jones has taken a new direction on the The Fall, experimenting with different sounds and a new set of collaborators, including Jacquire King, a noted producer and engineer who has worked with Kings of Leon, Tom Waits, and Modest Mouse among others. Jones enlisted several songwriting collaborators, including Ryan Adams and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff, as well as her frequent partner Jesse Harris. King also helped Jones put together a new group of musicians to perform on the album, including drummers Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.) and James Gadson (Bill Withers), keyboardist James Poyser (Erykah Badu, Al Green), and guitarists Marc Ribot (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello) and Smokey Hormel (Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer).
Since coming on the scene in 2002, Jones’ has sold a collective 36 million albums worldwide. Her three studio albums, 2002’s eight-time Grammy Award-winning Come Away With Me, 2004’s Feels Like Home, and 2007’s Not Too Late have each topped the Billboard top 200 album charts in the U.S. and gone to No. 1 around the world. All three have been certified multi-platinum, while Come Away With Me has been certified diamond.
The Telegraph UK recently proclaimed “Gossip are currently producing one of the most persuasive rock/dance hybrids ever.” One of the years most anticipated new releases, Music For Men is Gossip’s first album of new material since their iconic Standing In The Way Of Control catapulted the band into public consciousness in 2006. “Heavy Cross,” the first single from Music For Men, draws you in with Ditto’s vulnerable murmurs over a pulsing beat that crescendos into an explosive mix of dance and punk rock anchored by her thunderous wail. “Her voice walks a thin line between tenderness and violence, so that the overall effect strikes one like a ballerina wielding a chainsaw,” was how The Observer recently described Ditto’s vocal prowess.
Other new songs on Music For Men include “Dimestore Diamond,” "8th Wonder," "Love Long Distance," "Pop Goes The World," "Vertical Rhythm," "For Keeps," "2012," "Love and Let Love," "Four Letter Word," and "Spare Me From The World." The band recently performed these new songs at a sold out show in London where the Telegraph UK asserted “each song so tightly packed with elements of soul, gospel, punk and joyous electropop that the musical layers pile up like an enormous club sandwich that shouldn’t work but somehow does.”
Gossip will spend Summer ’09 touring Europe before returning for a stateside tour to coincide with the U.S. release of Music For Men on October 6. Gossip have toured extensively over the past couple years, covering the major festival circuits in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. The band's live show has garnered critical acclaim and has cemented Gossip's reputation as one of the most exciting and relevant must-see live bands. NME raved “The greatest punk rock’n’roll disco soul band on the planet. Gossip are mind-blowing. Everyone needs to hear this band and dance like there’s no tomorrow.”
Official Myspace: www.myspace.com/gossipband
Official Site: www.gossipyouth.com