*Awesome Holiday Gift

I’ve been volunteering at Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation for the last few months & it is amazing. The good folks there donate instruments to music education programs for kids. Brilliant & devoted work.

They have these holiday gift cards that are SO beautiful & my favorite part is they actually make a difference to real humans. Click HERE now to get involved. Each order requires a minimum of five cards with a minimum $5 donation per card. Please call Natalia at 818-762-4328 or email natalia@mhopus.org to place your order. Be kind & happy holidays!

*Showing My Hand: Early thoughts on Ryan Adams ‘Ashes & Fire’


Since my favorite musician/singer-songwriter has a new release & is streaming it entirely, I am posting it here. I’ve listened twice all the way through and a couple songs a few more times than that. I can’t tell how I really feel about the songs yet because I’m just so friggin excited the fella is back in action.

Ryan Adams and his former band The Cardinals performed my favorite blend of what I love in songs, both on studio tracks and live. When that broke, along with the sudden loss of Cardinals band-member Chris Feinstein (aka Spacewolf ~ RIP), I def didn’t even really understand what I was missing. Did I miss Ryan? Did I miss the Cardinals? Did I miss Chris? I guess it was all of that jumbled together. Perhaps someday, down down down the road the Cardinals will be back in some form, but that’ll be awhile, if ever. Chris is def gone for good (but NEVER forgotten). And now, Ryan returns with his pretty, mellow record that’s all lovey dovey. I’m not in love. I don’t much relate to the sweet songs so much. Glad for him, though. Don’t get me wrong, I love plenty of people & things & places.

And when I fast-forward to being in Big Sur a couple short weeks from now, I surmise I will become hypnotized again like I remember all those nights listening and watching him sing my favorite songs with that band I loved so much. I’m DEF excited about the solo shows and looking forward to the new tunes growing on me. So far, Invisible Riverside is my easy favorite on the album. Waaay early call. Need to hear the whole thing in my car ~ the best listening chamber!

Do you like Ryan’s new release so far?

*George Harrison & Friends, Wah-Wah

Landed on this vid, after “Beware of Darkness” came up on my iTunes shuffle. “Wah” means “wonder” in Sanskrit. I was feeling overzealous one night/morning & needed to know how I might say wonderpiece in Sanskrit, if I needed to. So, I learned about Wah at that time. I improvised “piece” with “Peace” – “Peace” in Sanskrit is “Shanti”… so that is that! WahShanti! This vid is so amazing. What an all-star gramble.

*The Mother Hips & Jay Blakesberg announce ‘NOW WE GIVE IT TO YOU’

Two great tastes that go great together! My affinity for both The Mother Hips AND Jay Blakesberg is unparalleled. Jay brought me to my first Hips show in 2006, for their Holiday Shows at the Great American Music Hall. Its been more than amazing to become entrenched with this quintessential California quad’ & all its ancillaries. A total honor & I have honestly made best friends in the process. We will celebrate on June 17 in San Francisco!

Thank you Jay and thank you Mother Hips!

RSVP on FACEBOOK: http://on.fb.me/Hips_Jay_FB
PRE-ORDER the BOOK HERE: http://bit.ly/h8YR8i

+++

This 88 page limited edition hardcover book features over 150 photographs of The Mother Hips. Beginning in 1994 when Jay was hired by American Recordings to photograph the band for their upcoming record “Part-Timer Goes Full”, Jay has had a close relationship with the band. This book shows the Hips as a young band making their way in the rock and roll world up through their recent visit to Mission Bells recording studio where they are working on their 8th studio recording.

There will only be 500 copies of this book , and all copies are signed and numbered by Jay Blakesberg and The Mother Hips. There will only be 1 printing of this book. Each advance copy ordered before May 15, 2011, will include the signed & numbered book with a signed & numbered 8×10 print of The Mother Hips. Books will ship in early June. PREORDER HERE: http://bit.ly/h8YR8i

To commemorate the release of this book Jay and the Mother Hips are collaborating on a show together where Jay will be curating the Mother Hips set lists for the night of June 17th at the Café Du Nord in San Francisco. There will be a cocktail party in the Café Du Nord lounge starting at 6:00pm till 8pm where fans may purchase the book and have band members personally sign the book for them. The band will play a 2 set show starting at 8:30. Tickets are $30 and will go on Sale this Friday April 8th at the Café Du Nord box office & online: http://bit.ly/hfeRTS

Digital Promo Poster: http://bit.ly/fRbk9H

*Chris Robinson Brotherhood – They Love Each Other, 3.28.11

First crack out of the gates, Chris Robinson Brotherhood’s debut at LA’s Echoplex brought me much auditory joy & many smiles. Friend & major guitar favorite Neal Casal fully brought his most excellent guitar playing towards CR originals & a few Jerry Garcia songs (Mr. Charlie, TOUGH MAMA!, They Love Each Other, to be exact). Chris’s voice sounds amazing & I look forward to hearing some lush harmonies as the tour goes on (couldn’t hear the other guys vocals so much).

After a relatively short incubation period, the tour seemed to kick off well. Pretty much allll the spots in CA will have stops so jump in where you can. From what I heard on Monday, it’ll be a very interesting few weeks of shows. If you like California Soul/Rock and/or Jerry Garcia, you will like this very much. Here’s the tour schedule: http://www.chrisrobinsonbrotherhood.com/crb_tour.html. I really do love California.

*Hipnic III, May 13 & 14, Big Sur, CA

Hipnic III presented by (((folkyeah))) & Relix:

300 Tickets (Weekend passes- all sets on all stages) on sale Tuesday, March 1st @ 10am by calling 831.667.2422 (first come first serve)! There will be camping passes and tent cabin/room packages available.

**** Thursday, March 03 UPDATE:  Less than 70 weekend camping tickets remain! :: Call 831.667.2422 to purchase a weekend camping pass (all access to all shows that weekend!)

50 non camping music pass tickets just released on sale through Eventbrite. This includes access to all the shows and a facility fee for Fernwood Resort. Only 50 available! http://hipnic3noncamping.eventbrite.com/

 

I’ve had the pleasure of being at both other Hipnic’s. The first was at Henry Miller Library in 2009. Bands like Red Cortez & Everest played, while last year’s Hipnic at Fernwood featured some of my ultimate favorite music like Neal Casal, Dawes, Nicki Bluhm… seeing California music in Big Sur is the most awesome thing ever. Very excited to spend my birthday in the big trees with some of my favorite people/music.

Mother Hips Official: http://motherhips.com
Mother Hips Facebook: http://facebook.com/TheMotherHips
Mother Hips Twitter: http://twitter.com/motherhips
Folk Yeah: http://www.folkyeah.com/

Local Natives Eve

Local Natives soundcheck, Walt Disney Concert Hall, 2.25.11

Its the night before Los Angeles based Local Natives perform with a 23 piece orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall. This is a show that I have (almost) inexpressively been more excited for than any other that I can recently recall. My favorite music often doesn’t stand a chance against my massive consumption of it. When I hear what I like, I normally dive in pretty hard. And since Local Natives only have one album, Gorilla Manor, I haven’t had so many opportunities to chew on that much material by them. Contemporary LA-based indie band Dawes also only had one album, North Hills, before I was full-tilt for them, but they played SO MANY TIMES in California, in spots that I could check out relatively easily, so I got to really sink my teeth in. Different than Dawes who travel & perform relentlessly around the country & specifically, California, Local Natives have been performing relentlessly… around the world! That’s to say, since I moved to LA in August. Apparently, I missed the early live (mostly free) area gigging.

Tomorrow night, Local Natives return to their home-digs at a venue described as having been “designed to be one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world, providing both visual and aural intimacy for an unparalleled musical experience.” Sprinkle that with a rock band + orchestra and I become almost speechless at the thought! It challenged me just enough to consider writing about my excitement levels. And holy hell, with as much expectation to be WOW’d as I’m throwing into this mix, I’m happy to say that I’ll be grateful to be living here in this town, for this performance & will happily accept whatever is dished out tomorrow night.

Those fellas played with a string quartet last week at KCRW – here’s the link: Local Natives Live at KCRW on Morning Becomes Eclectic 02.18.11.

Lastly (for now), here’s a beautifully acoustic’d version of WKWC (Who Knows Who Cares):

LN Official: http://www.thelocalnatives.com/
LN on FB: http://www.facebook.com/localnatives
LN on Twitter: http://twitter.com/localnatives

Nicki Bluhm /// Driftwood /// 2.01.11

Pretty, nice & talented friend Nicki Bluhm is celebrating the release of her new album -Driftwood – with The Gramblers tonight at Cafe Du Nord in San Francisco. You’ll get lucky if you go tonight (it’s sold out) or any other night because it just feels good to hear & see folks sharing their authentic gifts. I’ve literally gotten emotional from listening to Nicki sing. Something unique happens when you experience someone living & sharing from their heart. Listen to these songs!

Official website
Facebook
Twitter: @nickibluhm

Top Twenty Faves in TwentyTen

Where’d All the Time Go by Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame LP

Alphabetical list of my Top Twenty Faves in TwentyTen

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge)
Big Light – Animals In Bloom (reapandsow)
Blitzen Trapper – Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop)
Broken Bells – Broken Bells (Sony Music Ent)
Dr. Dog – Shame, Shame (Anti, Inc)
Elisa Randazzo – Butterflies & Bruises (Drag City)
Foals – Total Life Forever (Sub Pop)
Gorillaz – Plastic Beach (EMI)
Junip – Fields – (Mute / City Slang)
Laura Marling – I Speak Because I Can (Virgin)
Local Natives – Gorilla Manor (Frenchkiss)
Morning Benders – Big Echo (Rough Trade)
The National – High Violet (4AD)
Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)
Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah Dogs – God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise (Stone Dwarf)
Tame Impala – InnerSpearker (Modular Recordings)
Warpaint – The Fool (Rough Trade)
White Denim  - Last Day of Summer (Self-released)
Wild Nothing – Gemini (Captured Tracks)
Yeasayer – Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian)

Collected my thoughts on new releases from this past year, after a local LA (awesome) music blog, Grimy Goods, was running a recent contest. I was interested in taking the time to really give my studio music listening from this year a once-over. I’m often not at a loss for seeing shows, but this year offered a deeper cut at getting obsessed with new music. I can genuinely count ten out of this list of twenty to be tied for my favorite album of the year. Thanks to all the amazingly talented artists who are either brave, lucky or crazy enough to bring their art into the world. My gratitude for you/them is thick! Thanks espesh to my rad friends for always turning me onto the good stuff.

Everything Means Everything – October 2010 Recap

To celebrate walking out the door in a few minutes to see Roger Waters perform The Wall here in Los Angeles at the Staples Center THIRTY ONE YEARS to the day later from it’s release date in 1979, I decided to finally “press play” on this friggin October 2010 recap (just in time for me to start my November one). Time is weird. Thx, in advance, for running your eyes over these words, which are a very tiny way I choose to remember all the neat art I have seen, in this first real season (well, October anyways), living in Los Angeles.

Farmer Dave, Troubadour:  Farmer Dave plays your great old fashioned psychedelic rock. Yes, his songs are basically amazing, but what makes his performances most endearing is, as you can imagine, his vibe! He played this show with members of his band who mostly consist of people from up north. SO into seeing/hearing those songs played… majorly.
http://farmerdavezone.blogspot.com/
http://www.myspace.com/farmerdavescher

Jenny & Johnny, Troubadour: pleasant & fine; some good rockin’ tunes & the band was quite great. I went for Farmer D but was stoked to catch the J/J set. Like the album pretty well.
http://www.facebook.com/JennyAndJohnny

Broken Bells, Wiltern: hilarious flow for this show for me – left meditation early to see if a parking spot at the Wiltern would be easy, and it was. Next: how to get a ticket since it was sold out. Hmmm – I walked up to the guy scanning tickets & asked if he saw anyone with extras. He pulled one out of his pocket & handed it to me. SO NICE! Thank you! Walked in, lights went down & caught the entire Broken Bells set. Sounded tight, again. I LOVED their show in the Spring in SF & confirmed at the Wiltern that they perform GREAT.
http://www.facebook.com/brokenbellsmusic

Mother Hips, The Soho in Santa Barbara: two nights in a row of Mother Hips is like a little piece of home, finding me out on a trip. I had this wild moment, driving from LA to Santa Barbara, looking up at the “San Francisco North” sign on the 101, listening to a Tim Bluhm solo song called “The Transplant Song” & I almost didn’t know where I was for a second. My transition from Northern California to Southern California has been smooth. But I still think about my life up North often. Moving onto the shows… night one was great – I feel a major connection to the Hips songs lately. I mean, I always liked them, but they are expanding into this really cool DNA infusion & its going deep for me. Went back to the same bar the next night for a private party which was so interesting because there were not many people that knew the tunes. But the few of us that did were having a field day – it was like we were in their private rehearsal where they were loose & freestylin’ a little more than perhaps at a full fledge Hips show. & it was SICK.
http://www.motherhips.com/home.php

Hot Chip & LCD Soundsystem, Hollywood Bowl: twas weird to be back to the “Bowl” (as the natives endearingly call it) since the first & only other time I was there, I saw Ryan Adams & the Cardinals + Phil Lesh. Nutz! So, I was flooded with those memories. I really loved Hot Chip. The lead guy has great hair. Great voice. I was into it. LCD is mega. I sat for some, which was odd, but whatevz. Haven’t been to a big show like that in awhile or something. The Bowl was def raging.
http://www.facebook.com/hotchip
http://www.facebook.com/lcdsoundsystem

The National, Fox Theater in Pomona, California: I have so many venues to still check off my list since moving to Los Angeles & didn’t really include this Fox Theater. But if there was a band I was crazy about (like I am The National), I would EASILY go back there. Special thanks to Scenestar for hookin’ me with tix. AWESOME room. The sound was immaculate. Might have been because I was ten feet in front of the soundboard, dead center. I was so dead center that I was playing a lil game with myself during the show: leaning to one side while dancing to hear the left more, then leaning to the right to get the right vibe. Easily amused, what can I say… The show was unreal & I am totally infatuated with High Violet, their last release. Those songs are unbelievable – so happy I am a person who gets their vibe & art. Absolutely phenomenal performance by them. Yay. & that frigging Fox was my fifth – kinda fun.
http://www.facebook.com/thenationalofficial

Foals, El Rey Theater: this show blew me away, right outta the gates. I was thinking to myself during that show that music is like my ESL, or rather, MSL – Music as a Second Language. Anyways, there are not enough things I can like about the Foals performance. I was way into it. Tight! Slaying. Second show in a few days which had the lead guy CLIMBING through the crowd, which was somehow amusing (despite this lead guy’s slight air about him).
http://www.foals.co.uk/

Brooke Fraser, Largo: Thx to Sideways Media for the invite to see this nice overseas singer. Her voice is amaaazing & she is apparently quite popular where she comes from. I wasn’t totally smitten with her songwriting, but her voice was so gorgeous that I tuned out the songwriting part. Plus, she is adorable, cute & charming. LOVED the Largo. Beautiful-sounding room. No cell phones allowed. I liked that aspect.
http://www.facebook.com/brookefraser

Phish, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City: can’t even begin to spill all the magical ways my spirit was touched during that weekend. I was fully feeling the love & the music was SO GREAT. It seems these days, I’m always missing someone… been that way for awhile now, but having my SF friends now be part of those people I miss is frustrating! I had been slotted to catch up with a crew of them this same weekend in Yosemite, but Phish sucked me into its lair. I wish the word EPIC could be exponentially more descriptive of how great the music & friends were for these shows. Oh well : ) guess that’ll just have to do. EPIC.

http://www.facebook.com/phish

Massive shout-out to my phunkadelic soul sis who I got to see most of these shows with. Rocktober 2010 really worked out. Well. Next up… recap of ?Rockvember? (wah wa)

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