Seattle-based trio Barcelona make passionate, melodic music that mixes elements of dance, electronica, and indie pop. Formed in 2005, Barcelona grew out of lead singer/songwriter Brian Fennel's solo material (featured on 2005's Safety Songs) after he paired with guitarist/vocalist Chris Bristol and drummer Rhett Stonelake. Initially, the trio focused on a more acoustic indie pop sound, an approach they showcased on their 2007 debut, Absolutes, and 2012 sophomore effort, Not Quite Yours. In 2013, Barcelona released the single "Background," which revealed a more synthesizer-heavy, dance-rock-oriented sound. A series of EP's collectively known as Melodrama is set for release in 2014. ~ Matt Collar
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On April 29th, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood returns from gathering the ineffable with Phosphorescent Harvest, their third long playing album for Silver Arrow Records. Having first unshackled the air with Big Moon Ritual (June 1012) and the Magic Door (September 2012), the band –Robinson (Lead vocals, guitar), Neal Casal (guitar, vocals), Adam Macdougall (keys, vocals), George Sluppick (drums), and Mark Dutton (bass, vocals) -trucked the realms relentlessly, including a 118-show stretch that never failed to illuminate blank nights to just this side of clarity. Late 2013 saw the fruits of that labor forever captured in the proverbial amber by legendary tape priestess, Betty Cantor-Jackson (Grateful Dead), on the eight-sided limited-edition vinyl release Betty's S.F. Blends Volume 1, which documented a glorious five night run at San Francisco's famed Great American Music Hall.
Momentarily content with dusting the globe and turning the sun out at its scattered dances, the Brotherhood reconvened with producer Thom Monahan (Vetiver, Devendra Banhart, Papercuts) to materialize a new set of sounds unseen to lean on ceilings, a music of the spheres not content to just envelop rafters. The writing partnership and dialogue between Robinson and Casal has never been as closely woven as it is on Phosphorescent Harvest, almost akin to the conversation you hear murmuring out of the mouths of the moon and the stars as they glide the celestial track. This isn't a range they ride alone though, and as strong as the songwriting gets does too the rest of the band's willingness to seek company in chaos' warm embrace, discovering that in familiar forms there can glow a vastness.
Phosphorescent Harvest features ten new songs that build on the California group's impressively growing repertoire by combining the direct and immediate songwriting Robinson has long been known for with an expansive sense of space and texture that has never been so fully realized until now. In an age when so many put their beliefs in trends, the volumes have all collapsed and rooms are filled with tiny rock and dampened lamps, the Chris Robinson Brotherhood rolls on to sharpen the blur at your brow and wind like smoke through your mind.
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Although they only came together as a band in 2003, the members of Athens, Ohio's Skeletonwitch draw the bulk of their inspiration from artists and musical styles born all of two decades earlier -- namely the undying flame of classic, Bay Area thrash, its creative bedrock in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and, to a lesser degree, death, black, and Viking metal. First introduced via 2004's independently released At One with the Shadows album, and 2006's Worship the Witch EP, Skeletonwitch's retro-fitted, yet modernly executed creative vision arguably reached a new level of maturity with 2007's Beyond the Permafrost full-length, their first for Prosthetic Records. In any case, Skeletonwitch members Chance Garnett (vocals), Nate Garnett (guitar), Scott Hedrick (guitar), Eric Harris (bass) and Derrick Nau (drums) then set out to prove their metal mettle on tour, Flying V's cocked and loaded. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Sleepwave is the new band from former Underoath singer Spencer Chamberlain.
"I believe in the power of a song and I believe in rock n roll but I also believe it is time for change in music. This is me bringing back things I think are missing from rock and pouring my heart and soul into my music to share with as many people that are willing to listen." – Spencer Chamberlain.
With his trembling voice, acoustic guitar, and confessional approach to songwriting, Conor Oberst played an important role in shaping the lighter, intimate side of indie rock during the late '90s and beyond. His main project was Bright Eyes, an eclectic group of rotating musicians that vacillated between pop, folk, electronica, and country-rock. Although Oberst remained at the center of that band, he also logged time in a number of other outfits, including Commander Venus, the Magentas, Park Ave., Desaparecidos, and an early version of the Faint. Finally, he supported like-minded artists on an executive level, co-founding Saddle Creek Records in the '90s and launching his own label, Team Love, in 2003.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Conor Mullen Oberst was born on February 15, 1980. He began playing guitar at the age of ten, receiving lessons from his brother Matt -- a part-time teacher who doubled as the vocalist for Sorry About Dresden -- as well as the boys' father. Conor's second sibling, Justin Oberst, joined the effort three years later by financing Conor's first release. Entitled Water, the album featured a cameo by fellow Omaha resident Ted Stevens, who also played alongside Mike Mogis in Lullaby for the Working Class. This early partnership set the stage for Oberst's collaborative discography; it also allowed Oberst to further his friendship with Mike Mogis, who would later play an integral role in Bright Eyes' success.
Although still a young teenager, Oberst joined the ranks of Commander Venus and Norman Bailer (who later rechristened themselves the Faint after Oberst's departure) in 1994. The Faint's Todd Fink then joined Oberst in 1996 for a short-lived band named the Magentas. That same year, Oberst expanded his résumé by playing drums for Park Ave., although the group disbanded two years later. Bandmates Jamie Pressnall and Neely Jenkins went on to form Tilly and the Wall, with Oberst issuing the group's albums under his own Team Love label.
Along with longtime partner Mike Mogis, Oberst experienced an unexpected amount of success with Bright Eyes. The group released several recordings in the late '90s and early 2000s, during which time Oberst also set time aside to play with Desaparecidos. He returned to the Bright Eyes project in 2002, issuing the intimate Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground that summer and following it up with several EPs. It was 2005's ambitious double-album release, however, that established Oberst as a commercial artist, with both discs (I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning and the electronic Digital Ash in a Digital Urn) enjoying high-ranking slots on the Billboard 200.
Bright Eyes released another album, 2007's Cassadaga, before Oberst decamped to rural Mexico to work on his first solo effort in years. Recorded in a makeshift studio with a cast of musicians dubbed the Mystic Valley Band, the self-titled Conor Oberst arrived in 2008. While on the road in support of that album, the Mystic Valley Band found time to compose another album, this time highlighting the group's collaborative spirit. Released in 2009, Outer South featured lead vocals and songwriting contributions from several members, a move that expanded the band's sound without threatening Oberst's status as bandleader. Three years later, a documentary about the Mystic Valley Band called One of My Kind appeared on DVD accompanied by a soundtrack collection of B-sides, outtakes, and the tour-only Gentleman's Pact EP. In late 2012, Oberst hit the road once again on a tour of North America and Europe, where he would play a variety of music from his many different monikers. Oberst then worked with producer Jonathan Wilson on the 2014 release Upside-Down Mountain, his first album for Nonesuch Records. ~ Andrew Leahey
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Craig Kinsey host's 90's Burned Out featuring:
and special guest Craig Kinsey
Come dressed in your best 90's garb and party like it's 1999!
Burned Out's are always a big party and we can't wait for this EPIC 90's night to take place.
So bring your N64's, throw on a slap bracelet, and put on your favorite 2 colored neon shorts and come down to Fitz on sept. 20th!
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Formed in 2007 after the break up of two local Doylestown, Pennsylvania bands, Balance & Composure is comprised of Jon Simmons (guitar, vocals), Andy Slaymaker (guitar, vocals), Erik Petersen (guitar), Matt Warner (bass), and Bailey Van Ellis (drums), all of whom were familiar figures on the local indie scene. Developing an effective, muddy, emo, hardcore post-grunge sound, the band released the I Just Want to Be Pure EP in 2008, following it up with another EP, Only Boundaries, in 2009. A debut full-length, Separation, appeared in 2011, followed by The Things We Think We're Missing, two years later in 2013. ~ Steve Leggett
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Parachute took root in the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, where the group honed its mix of pop/rock, funk, and contemporary blue-eyed soul under the original name Sparky's Flaw. Formed by high school students Will Anderson (vocals, guitar), Johnny Stubblefield (drums), Christopher "Kit" French (saxophone, keyboards), Alex Hargrave (bass), and Nate McFarland (guitar), Sparky's Flaw generated a healthy buzz around town and eventually became popular at the nearby University of Virginia, where they opened for Robert Randolph. After gaining more popularity with an independently released EP, 2005's One Small Step, the guys partnered with Red Light Management and later signed with Smash Records, an imprint of the recently revived Mercury Records.
Before entering their final year at the University of Virginia, Sparky's Flaw released a self-titled EP in August 2007 and began laying the groundwork for a full-length album. Several months later, the band adopted a new name -- Parachute -- and contributed a song to the national TV campaign for Nivea. Losing Sleep appeared in May 2009, marking Parachute's major-label debut and peaking at number 40 on the Billboard charts. The band opened for Kelly Clarkson that fall and appeared on the Internet broadcast Live at Daryl's House with Daryl Hall. More touring took place the following year, including additional dates with Clarkson and a headlining run with British songwriter Joe Brooks. Parachute began including newer songs in their set lists and eventually returned to the studio to record their sophomore effort, 2011's The Way It Was. Overnight, the band's third long-player, arrived in 2013. ~ Andrew Leahey
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A zany eight-piece (or more) ska unit from the bleached-out California coast, Aquabats earned respect for an energized new wave of ska-punk from figures ranging from Courtney Love to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Squirrel Nut Zippers. Apparently led by vocalist Christian Jacobs ("The Bat Commander"), the group -- which impersonated a different horde of thugs from the '60s Batman series on each LP cover -- also included a host of multi-instrumentalists: James Briggs (Jaime the Robot), Courtney Pollack (the Prince of Karate), Adam Diebert (Prince Adam), Chad Larson (Crash McLarson), Travis Barker (the Baron Von Tito), Charles Grey (Ultra Kyu), and Boyd Terry (Catboy). The debut Aquabats album, Return of the Aquabats, was released on Horchata Records in mid-1996. Their sophomore album, Fury of the Aquabats, followed in 1997 on Time Bomb, and two years later the group returned with Aquabats vs. the Floating Eye of Death! When Barker left the group to join blink-182, he was replaced by drummer Dr. Rock. Myths, Legends and Other Amazing Adventures, Vol. 2 was released in fall 2000; Dr. Rock and Ultra Kyu left the group soon after. Ricky Fitness was Rock's replacement. The Serious Awesomeness! DVD, a compendium of live Aquabats, appeared in 2003; the Check Out This Ride EP followed. When Charge!! (Nitro) appeared in June 2005, it was the Aquabats' first LP in almost six years. By that point the band's official lineup included vocalist Bat Commander, bassist Crash McLarson, guitarist Chainsaw, drummer Fitness, and sax-playing keyboardist Jimmy the Robot. ~ John Bush
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It's the hottest day of the year. Slender bodies swaying in the heat haze. You're on a beach, but it's more than a beach – the colours are brighter, the sunlight warmer, the cool sea a more psychedelic shade of turquoise. And somewhere nearby there's a band playing…
This is where Jungle want to take you. An infinite holiday, a place called bliss, a great escape from the grey and the everyday – because, as aesthetes from Oscar Wilde to Pharrell Williams knew, there is nothing so serious as fun and nothing as subversive as happiness.
There is no blueprint to Jungle's irresistible, life-enhancing, report-to-the-dancefloor sound but there are many ingredients. It's P-Funk and ‘Grand Theft Auto', it's Curtis Mayfield and ‘Tron', it's the Beach Boys and Joy Division and Marvin Gaye and Can, all cut up and refracted in a London neighbourhood where anything can happen.
Those with long memories might detect a resurrection of A Certain Ratio or Chakk's fractured funk here. But for most of Jungle's growing and increasingly fanatical crowd it's not about the history. It's about a remedy for overstuffed pop and bloated stadium house and dull social realist rock. It's about getting back to the groove.
And behind the rising buzz – the BBC Sound of 2014 nomination, the 4 millions plus plays of the ‘Platoon' video, the US tour that sold out on the back of their SXSW appearance before Jungle even had an official record out in America – it's a DIY story. Working from their home studio in Shepherd's Bush, the core Jungle duo known only as J and T set out their store long before they came on any label's radar with a brace of handmade mini-classics. A couple of singles – ‘The Heat''s supple 4am soul snap, the ice-cold search-and-destroy beats of ‘Platoon' – connected 2014 and 1974, London with Rio and New York, the feet with the unconscious mind.
Adding to the buzz and mystique were game-changing videos, made by the band and their mates, featuring skaters the High Rollaz and a stunning 6-year old breakdancer called Terra. They racked up major views on YouTube and spread the word far beyond the music hardcore that here was something different. Inscrutable press photos compounded the intrigue, suggesting that there might be two people in Jungle or there might be thirty. Who could tell? Like their sonic ancestors Public Enemy or The Art Of Noise, Jungle were a delicious riddle, an enigma with attitude.
Now perhaps some explanation is in order. We can reveal that J and T are a pair of sound obsessives called Josh and Tom, sharp and meticulous West Londoners who each play "pretty much everything" and tend to finish each other's sentences too. "The initials weren't a big deal, they're just our nicknames," explains T. "We weren't trying to hide ourselves, but we didn't want the whole thing to be about us. We wanted it to be about at the music. "
They've known each other they were ten years old, when J moved in next door to T's house in Shepherd's Bush back in 2000. T lived a mere stone's throw from the legendary Townhouse Studios where (omens ahoy) everyone from ABC to Frank Zappa recorded. J climbed over T's back garden wall and they've stayed friends ever since, from the time he tried to sell T his first guitar for £20 (Tom: "it was broken") through roller-skating to sharing music – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jehst, Braintax – to their first experiments with making their own.
"You know what it's like," says J. "You get a guitar and a busted old PC, then you find a bit of software on the Internet and suddenly you're actually doing it. Even when we were kids the idea was, Yeah, we can do that. You don't need a label or expensive equipment to make music. You just need to have a go." Their interest in sound became an obsession. At school T spent a year dissecting Marvin Gaye's ‘What's Going On' and the Beach Boys' ‘Pet Sounds' until he knew them inside out, two records he still adores for their marriage of recording technology with pure joyous emotion.
Shepherd's Bush gave them a musical identity before they even knew they wanted one – that stew of hip hop, rock, electronica, soul and reggae that comes from a true culture collision. "We love it round there," says T. "All of our mates are there. It's one of those parts of London that's kept its identity."
A brief spell in a mate's band confirmed that the worn-out strictures of indie rock weren't for them. Specifically it made them realise that if you're going to make music at all, it'd better be your own – something that you can pour your heart and soul into, something that you can up stand for, something you're proud of. "Jungle brought us closer together," says J. "It made us realise why we're best friends, and why we wanted to make music that's fun and honest and true to itself."
So they threw themselves into finding a sound that only they could make. Something epic and rhythmic, euphoric and sexual. "It's always been visual for us," explains the enthusiastic J. "We want the feel of a video game or a cartoon landscape, a hyperreal, colourful, surreal place. We want everything to be realer than real."
Half recorded at home and finished in the studios of their new label XL, where The xx made their own first album, Jungle's intoxicating self-titled debut delivers all that and more. There's technique and care in these seemingly weightless tracks but above all it feels effortless, a breath of fragrant fresh air, a touch of psychedelic sweetness for sour times.
Meanwhile things are gathering pace for Jungle. They're hearing covers of their stuff, rappers rhyming over ‘The Heat'. The shows get bigger. They had to break off recording for a quick tour with Haim, and the expanded seven-piece Jungle live band keeps swapping instruments, reworking songs on the fly, getting better and better.
"When people come to see us we want to shock them and surprise them," says T. "Getting people's hips and bodies moving is what music should be about."
"This stuff started out as escapism for us," adds J. "Now anyone can escape into it."
Damn right they can. Get your swimsuit together, lose those grey urban perspectives and begone, dull care. Underneath the pavement, the infinite beach of the mind awaits. And you know who's playing there – tonight, and every night.
Click Image To EnlargeThursday25September Fitzgerald's08:00 PMAll Ages$15.00 ADV $20.00 DAY OF$22.00 DAY OF BOX OFFICE
Hailing from the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, the Felice Brothers blend folk, Americana, and revivalist roots rock into a uniquely earthy sound. Brothers Ian, Simone, and James Felice grew up in the Hudson River Valley, several miles away from the musical hamlet of Woodstock. Such icons as Bob Dylan and the Band once found inspiration in the region, and the Felice youngsters were driven by a similar muse, gathering every Sunday afternoon for jam sessions and cookouts at their father's house. As their skills improved, the brothers opted to leave the Catskills and relocate to New York City.
With James playing accordion, Simone playing drums, Ian handling guitar/vocal duties, and a former dice-playing friend named Christmas Clapton on bass, the quartet held informal performances in subway stations while hawking its debut album, 2006's Through These Reigns and Gone. Recorded in a chicken coop by the bandmates themselves, the album was rough and imperfect, as was the follow-up effort, Tonight at the Arizona. Such a distinct, ramshackle sound found a quick audience, however, particularly after the band toured alongside Bright Eyes and participated in one of Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble performances in late 2007. The new year brought similar luck, as the Felice Brothers inked a deal with Team Love Records and released a self-titled LP in early 2008.
Several rounds of touring followed, including festival stops at Bonnaroo, All Points West, Mountain Jam, and the Newport Folk Festival (where an afternoon rainstorm cut power to the stage, resulting in an impromptu acoustic performance in the mud). The Felice Brothers then returned to the studio, emerging in 2009 with Yonder Is the Clock. More touring followed, including stints with Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle, and the Dave Matthews Band, culminating in the release of a new long-player, Celebration, Florida in 2011. Simone Felice subsequently dropped out of the group to pursue a solo career and work with his side project the Duke & the King, but in 2014 the new lineup of the Felice Brothers -- Ian on vocals and guitar; James on accordion, keyboards, and vocals; Greg Farley on fiddle and vocals; Josh Rawson on bass and vocals; and David Estabrook on drums -- released the album Favorite Waitress and set out on a major tour in support. ~ Andrew Leahey
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The music of The Growlers is unmistakable.
Sure, you can hone in on some influences baked into the work of this California-bred band. Heck, even they'd cop to a few, like Ricky Nelson and The Clash. But once those same RIYL tags have been filtered through the minds and hands and voices of this five-piece, there's simply nothing else like it.
The Growlers took the phrase "Beach Goth" as an apt descriptor of their music. Sunburned and salty, that term perfectly describes their distinctive melding of reverb heavy surf guitar and Bakersfield-style honky tonk with ‘80s post-punk.
This is especially true of Chinese Fountain, The Growlers' fifth full-length set to be released on September 23rd via Everloving Records. The 11 songs found on it are some of the strongest that they've committed to tape yet; a byproduct not only of eight years in the trenches together, but finely honing their gypsy folk dirges and psychedelic sea shanties to fans at close to 150 shows each year. The connection between vocalist Brooks Nielsen and guitarist Matt Taylor (the principal songwriters of the group) has only grown deeper.
"The band played better than they've ever played," says Nielsen. "We've got the process down now. There's less screwing around to get the songs laid out and we weren't waiting around for take after take. We knew it and we played without much time to spare."
That confidence bleeds through every track on Chinese Fountain, with the band assured enough to layer in shades of many new influences: the loping ska beat of "Dull Boy" and "Going Gets Tuff," the playful disco beat behind the title track, or the Teardrop Explodes-like agitation of "Good Advice."
Not that the band left themselves much room to second-guess anything. The five spent about three weeks writing the tracks, and about half that time in the studio recording them. That may sound rushed, but it's not as if you can hear any strain on the finished product; Chinese Fountain is as rock solid and watertight as anything in their still-growing discography.
There's evolution to be heard in Chinese Fountain as well, courtesy of some of Nielsen's most pointed and poignant lyrics to date. He takes our obsession with the online world to task on the funky title track. When he drops the bomb that obliterates that most famous of Beatles' claims with "The internet is bigger than Jesus or John Lennon" he re-contextualizes Marshall McLuhan's "the medium is the message" in the same breath. He urges positivity no matter the obstacles ("Going Gets Tuff"). Too, he reveals a tattered heart to the world on tracks like "Rare Hearts" and "Love Test."
"This is my chance to let it all out," Nielsen says of these songs. "I kind of bottle things up and don't really get emotional. But I think if I don't open up, I'd be a really stale person."
Mixing the grand-scale guitar attack of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine with a melodic sense and lyrical perspective that recalls Bob Dylan roaring down Highway 61, Philadelphia's the War on Drugs are the creation of a pair of Dylan fans, Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile, who met at a party in 2003. After several drinks, Granduciel and Vile discovered their shared fascination with the Bard of Minnesota, and began working on songs together. By 2005, the pair had enough material to launch a proper band, and the War on Drugs were born. With Granduciel and Vile fronting the band, a variety of accompanists drifted in and out of the lineup before the War on Drugs settled on a stable lineup of Granduciel on vocals, guitar, and keyboards; Vile on guitar and vocals; Charlie Hall on organ and drums; Dave Hartley on bass, and Kyle Lloyd on drums and percussion. While the War on Drugs were hesitant to quit their jobs and begin touring extensively, the band became a frequent presence on the Philadelphia music scene and impressed out-of-towners during occasional gigs in New York City. In 2007, the band completed its debut EP, a five-song set called Barrel of Batteries, posted online as a free download. Positive press for both the EP and the group's powerful live shows caught the attention of the noted independent label Secretly Canadian, which signed the band, releasing its first full-length album, Wagonwheel Blues, in June 2008. However, by the end of that year, Vile, Hall, and Lloyd all departed the band, with Vile making a name for himself as a solo artist soon after. Drummer Mike Zanghi joined Granduciel and Hartley, the lineup that made its recorded debut with 2010's mini-album Future Weather. Multi-instrumentalist Robbie Bennett joined the fold for 2011's Slave Ambient, the band's second proper album. While touring Slave Ambient, Granduciel set about writing and recording their third album. Taking nearly two years to complete, Lost in the Dream finally saw release in early 2014. ~ Mark Deming