Zeus cover Big Star's Ballad of El Goodo (download)

Alex Chilton-               December 28, 1l 1950 - March 17, 2010
It's not all that surprising that when asked to cover an artist for Toronto's Q107 Classic Rock disCOVERy Series Session, Zeus settled upon Big Star's Ballad of El GoodoZeus is indebted to a certain sound from a certain time but it's difficult to gauge exactly what that time is and who those references are.  Their bio for their first full length Say Us acknowledged as much:

"Lots of young bands can conjure memories of the four B’s—the Beatles, the Band, the Beach Boys and Big Star—with the help of vintage gear and an ear for melody; very few can write songs that have a fighting chance of taking on the canon the way Zeus does here."

Possessed of three extremely talented songwriters Carlin Nicholson, Mike O'Brien and Neil Quin (with Rob Drake on drums)- when the group first emerged they were hailed with a new The Band type of acclaim owing to their coming into their own prominence while supporting Jason Collett (similar enough to how The Band came out from under Dylan's wing- and the Canadian angle worked).  But Zeus influences are so specific and they own them so fully as their own (Genesis and Queen are fairly obvious reference points and the only two bands they've covered since their earliest shows) that it's hard to seperate them out.  They are also deeply invested personally, physically and spiritually in their own vintage and jerry rigged laboratory Ill Eagle Studios on Toronto's east end.   Legendary bandleader Dave Azzolini of The Golden Dogs (having played on the earliest informal zeus recordings as well as led Quin and Nicholson for periods as members of his group) has said of Ill Eagle studio "that they have the drum sound down, and alot of the time that's what you work so hard to capture".

In other Zeus news the CBC recently paired them up for a performance with a true legend to them and all Canadian's Randy Bachman - choosing a Guess Who song (These Eyes) that suited all their strengths, 3 part harmonies, strong feel playing, intense instrumental proficiency.  Similarly Ballad of El Goodo plays to all of these strengths, with Neil Quin coming further and further into the fore as a truly unique voice blue eyed rock soul 'n roll voice.  With Alex Chilton's passing two years ago and the deep reverence with which he's held amongst independent musicians it seems only fitting that Zeus would tip their hat in their direction.

Kendrick Lamar - The Jig Is Up (Dump'n) prod. J. Cole and Canei Finch

Kendrick Lamar seems to be taking a victory lap banging out a new song apparently overnight with producer J. Cole and Canei Finch.  The track (The Jig Is Up (Dump'n)) has been made available for free download within the last 24 hours.Apparently some 'rapper' named Shyne has been bemoaning the unreserved praise for Lamar's release on his twatter feed.  The lyrical content refers to such as well as the 242,122 units good kid, m.A.A.d city with  sold in the first week landing him at the #2 spot on the Billboard 200 sales chart- putting the Top Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope talent one spot and a million units behind Taylor Swift.

Sean Price (Mic Tyson review)


Sean Price/ Seanwuar vs. Pharoahe Monch

It's hard to imagine that Canadian community radio and video journalism pioneer Nardwuar the Human Serviette (born John Ruskin legally Nardwuar the Human Serviette since 1986) is a recognizable enough presence in Hip Hop culture such that he's effortlessly and lovingly satirized by the genre's chief jokester Sean Price.  There is nothing funny about Sean Price.  His music is often deadly as a heart attack and whatever he means by 'merced' you don't want it to happen to you.  The contrast between his looming physical presence and his penchant for jokesterism is itself a source of humour.
Using all of Nardwuar's trademark interview techniques (garish costume, nasal whine, immaculately researched prop/ 'gifts' intended to  elicit broad responses) Sean Price ribs Pharoahe Monche to hilarious effect quizzing him with a Eugene Mc Daniels LP (headless heroes of the apocalypse) and specifics about Wolverine: "Which is stronger Admantium or Vibranium?"

As it turns out the parody is not all that surprising.  Although Nardwuar's character based interview style has rubbed numerous Hip Hop heavyweights (including Nas) the wrong way- making him the object of threats and taunts- he has gained numerous admirers for his highly admirable style of delving deeply into the influences that shape artists.  He is undoubtedly a consummate researcher and his own volume of interviews likely provide countless overlapping insights to his trade.   Considering just the genre of Hip Hop, Nardwuar counts amongst his admirers: Danny Brown, A$AP Rocky, Lil B, Flavor Flav, Currensy and Snoop Dogg.  During an interview with Pharell Williams, Nardwuar pulled out a vinyl 1992 record featuring the very first recorded track by Pharrell, causing him to pause and state: "This is one of the most impressive interviews I've ever experienced in my life. Seriously."

"Keep on Rocking in the P world and a bap bap aloo bop a bop... bam boom"

Watch Nardwuar consistently school Kendrick Lamar on Compton Rap


The Stepkids - Suburban Dream remix feat. Pharoahe Monch & Homeboy Sandman

Count on Stones Throw records to pair the perfect remix to get behind their artists The Stepkids, in this case stepping up the psychedelic wash of their Suburban Dreams with a remix by Union and perfectly reasonable verses from Pharaohe Monch and Homeboy Sandman.

The Stepkids - Suburban Dream (video and live)

The Stepkids are three singer/songwriters who've made better than average careers as sidemen for artists ranging from 50 Cent to Lauryn Hill and Alycia Keys. Guitarist Jeff Gitelman, bassist/ keyboardist Dan Edinburg and drummer Tim Walsh were raised on the East Coast jazz and R&B circuit where playing your part, soloing when given a chance, and generally giving life to other peoples songs and compositions is your paying gig.  "A lot of what excites us about this band is this band itself," says Edinberg. "It’s not either of us; it’s about creating an entity where the entity itself is what’s important.”   Gitelman, who resigned from touring as Alicia Keys' guitarist to concentrate full-time on recording the Stepkids self-titled debut album, has said "all three of us write and all three of us sing.  Drummer Tim Walsh concurs; "there's an equal split in the creative process. Any lyric, any melody, any idea could have been done by any of us."

Known for their phenomenal live show fans have dubbed the sound somewhere between Miles Davis On The Corner and the Talking Heads. The Stepkids groove is a fusion of punk and jazz, West African and 1960s folk, neo and classic soul, classic funk and 20th century classical. The band produce, engineer and record themselves on a reel-to-reel.   

Complimenting this lush live sound The Stepkids are known for their live performances featuring kaleidoscopic projections by experimental video artists Jesse Mann and David Knowlton Pond, enveloping the band in a wash of colours as they play.  They always perform dressed in white - it allows them recede into space, camouflaged by Technicolor paint drips.

Thursday, Nov. 24 - Paris, France - Le Petit Bain
Saturday, Nov. 26 - Toulon, France - Midi Festival
Tuesday, Nov. 29 - London, UK - Old Blue Last
Wednesday, Nov. 30 - London, UK - Notting Hill Arts Club
Saturday, Dec. 3 - Cologne, Germany - Weekend Festival
Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands - Paradiso
Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Porto, Portugal - Plano B
Thursday, Dec. 8 - Lisboa, Portugal - Music Box

Friday, Dec. 23 - New Haven, CT - Toad's Place
Saturday, Jan. 14 - New York, NY - Knitting Factory

Wednesday, Jan. 25 - Perth, Australia - The Bakery
Friday, Jan. 27 - Sydney, Australia - Sydney Festival @ Keystone Festival Bar
Saturday, Jan. 28 - Melbourne, Australia - East Brunswick Club


Mulatu Astatke & The Heliocentrics (Inspiration Information 3 review)

 Mulatu Astatke now stands alongside some of the most influential African musicians of all time including Youssou N'Dour, Ali Farka Toure, Fela Kuti and King Sunny Ade.  Were it not however for a particularly popular CD compilation series (Ethiopiques) and an auteur filmmaker (Jim Jarmusch who made Mulatu's contributions to Ethiopiques Vol. 4 the audio soundtrack of Bill Murray's mysterious journey in Broken Flowers) he may have never gone on to have the enormous impact that he's had on generations and microgenerations of musicians which have followed him.

The Heliocentrics are a London-based collective centered around drummer Malcolm Catto, bassist Jake Ferguson and producer Mike Burnham.  They first performed with the legendary Ethiopian Jazz composer/arranger/pianist/vibraphonist Mulatu Astatke in early 2008. The pairing went so well Astatke & The Heliocentrics started performing the classic songs Astatke recorded for the Ethiopian label in the late 60s and early 70s – that a collaborative recording session became a must. Thus began the landmark sessions in the Heliocentrics’ cavernous studio that resulted in Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics: Inspiration Information 3. 

This short documentary clip introduces you to the humble titan Mulatu and the young London bucks that revere his hugely impressive stamp on modern music.  Widely regarded as the father of self-styled Ethio-Jazz, Mulatu was a Berklee-trained musician- the first of his countryman to fuse American jazz and funk, with native folk and church melodies.  His music which came into prominence in the "Swinging Addis" era of the late 60's was revolutionary for its synthesis of traditional Ethiopian folk melodies, five tone scale arrangements and the influence of ancient Ethiopian Orthodox (Coptic Chuch) music.  Mulatu was deeply influenced by an opportunity to interact personally as an ambassador to Duke Ellington and his Orchestra when they came to Ethiopia in the early 70's.  Mulatu and his colleagues got a chance to play with Ellington's band and later Mulatu escorted Ellington to the presidential palace where he was presented with a medal by Emperor Haile Selassie.

We were due to play an evening concert so I discussed with him if he would consider playing one of my arrangements. I wrote an arrangement of ‘Dewel’ for his band, a different version which included some beautiful voicings on the horns. He found the structures so interesting and I remember him saying, ‘This is good. I never expected this from an African’. He made my day. His visit to Ethiopia remains one of the greatest moments in my life.  (Mulatu Astatke interview)

In 2007 Mulatu was living in Boston lecturing for the music academy (while holding the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University, where he worked on modernizations of traditional Ethiopian instruments and unveiled an opera, "The Yared Opera").  He was invited to play a show on London without much time to meet with  the  Heliocentrics; "We only had one day of rehearsal, but after the show was over, we felt we should collaborate. The album was very hard work. It was recorded in just 10 days, in the Heliocentrics studio in London."

Mulatu Astatke & The Helicocentrics, on their Stones Throw release Inspiration Information 3, do run though some of Mulatu’s classic recordings (like the instantly recognizable Yekermo Sew, Dewel or Esketa Dance) which they've also performed with Boston's Either/Orchestra.  Most of the album however is new material combining elements of psychedelic jazz, with electronic, dancefloor, funk and rock elements.   A fine example of the type of new material they collaborated on is Live From Tigre Lounge or the almost-breakbeat Addis Black Widow:


Bruce Springsteen (Ottawa setlist 10/19/12)

Credit Mike Bouchard www.jambands.ca

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Scotiabank Place 
October 19, 2012

Promised Land
Ties That Bind 
No Surrender
Hungry/Out In The Street
We Take Care Of Our Own
Wrecking Ball
Death To My Hometown
My City Of Ruins 
Spirit In The Night
E Street Shuffle 
Jack Of All Trades
Prove It All Night '78
Darlington County
Shackled And Drawn
Waiting On A Sunny Day
Racing In The Streets 
The Rising
Land Of Hope And Dreams

We Are Alive / Rocky Ground
Thunder Road
Born To Run
Bobby Jean
Dancing In The Dark
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out


Gaslamp Killer - Resident Advisor Mix (download, tracklist)

Here are a couple of very good professional mixes for free dowload that GLK has done for respected outlets like Resident Advisor Podcast (download) and another good one (download)  for BBC's Mary Anne Hobbs.  It's nice to hear a more sedate if you like, methodical run through of the kind of tracklist GLK's playing post-Breakthrough his phenomenal release of this year.

The Resident Advisor Podcast  has many of the familiar charms of a GLK set.  GLK drops oddball genre hopping sounds from contemporary producers: Elan (2 in 5 four), Coki (Lower Octave), Samiyam (Cushion), Adrian Younge (Turn Down The Sound) splicing into the middle of the set a full rendition of a very cosmic cosmic folk slab (Shira Small's - Eternal Life).  Eternal Life originally appeared on a record called Wayfaring Strangers: Ladies Of The Canyon and sounds like it.

There's something comedic about The Gaslamp Killer, a product of LA's fertile beat making scene, wedging some Laurel Canyon folk from the so-called second folk renaissance of the 70's into a set that also emblematically includes Jay Z (and Kanye West's) pensive Primetime as well as Dr. Dre's Nigga Witta Gun.  The humour is GLK's but also something of the cosmic joke which he seems to be in on.

What could be called a sort of sufi or mystical bent oozes out of his new album Breakthrough which plays out as a coda at the end of the mix.  Born William Benjamin Bensussen, The Gaslamp Killer, often tips his hand heavily to his love of Turkish pop and various traditional instruments.  On his brilliant Nissim, which featuring Daedalus on bass and Yagmar Aghmai on yiali tambur and guitar, he tries to recreate (his version of) a brilliant Turkish Pop record he found one day naming the new version after his grandfather Nissim.  He seems to often play a transition from Nissim into Apparitions (with Gonjasufi on vocals) devotional lyrics over a very long sample of a late period Mulatu Astatke sample from the Ethio-Jazz pioneer.   This suite is often wrapped up with GLK's brilliant, and much darker, chainsaw audio panning ride through 7 Years Of Bad Luck For Fun (feat. Dimlite) which sounds something like the audio equivalent of Frank Zappa's epitaph.


Sean Price - Mic Tyson (video, tracklist)

STFU pt. 2 - prod. The Alchemist

Out October 30th is Sean Price's long awaited follow up to his 2007 solo release Jesus Price Supastar.   Price's only other solo outing was 2005's Monkey Barz.  Although Price, originally affiliated with the Boot Camp Clik and a member of the duo Heltah Skeltah,  is a frequent and prized guest on others records his own catalogue is a little thin.  Apart from his membership in two Hip Hop supergroups (Boot Camp Clik and Random Axe), three solo albums and three mixtapes (most notably 2009's Kimbo Price), the Brownsville, Brooklyn native seems never to have quite gotten his due.

This is a crying shame.

Price brings humour, bravado as well as a nimble and streetwise sense to his often dense internal rhyme structures.  Prized as a rapper's rapper it's no surprise the calibre of both producers and MC's who vie to work with him.  The tracklist for Mic Tyson, from which Price has been debuting tracks in his live show over the past couple of years, demonstrates his range of collaborations:

 Mic Tyson Tracklist: 

01) Genesis of the Omega (prod. by The Alchemist)
02) Bar-Barian (prod. by The Alchemist)
03) Pyrex (prod. by Amp)
04) Price & Shining Armor feat. Ruste Juxx (prod. by Wool)
05) Title Track (prod. Eric G)
06) Straight Music (prod. by 9th Wonder)
07) STFU Part 2 (prod. by The Alchemist)
08) Hush (prod. by Khrysis!)
09) Solomon Grundy feat. Ike Eyes & Ill Bill (prod. by Eric G)
10) Frankenberry feat. Buckshot (prod. by Stu Bangaz)
11) BBQ Sauce feat. Pharoahe Monch (prod. by Evidence | Co-Produced by Babu)
12) Bully Rap feat. Realm Reality (prod. by The Alchemist)
13) By The Way feat. Torae (prod. by Evidence)
14) Battering Bars feat. Pumpkin Head (prod. by Beat Butcha)
15) The Hardest Ni**a Out  (prod. by Beat Butcha)

A Mic Tyson Deluxe-Edition album is currently available for pre-order through Itunes in advance of the album's release date October 30.

iTunes Bonus Tracks:

16) Haraam (prod. by Team Demo)
17) Remember feat. Freddie Gibbs (prod. by Statik Selektah)
18) I See (prod. by Quelle Chris)

Gaslamp Killer - live Coachella 2012 HD

You won't find much better shot footage of GLK than this footage from this year's Coachella.  Hear The Gaslamp Killer performing at the Gobi Tent at the Coachella Music Festival on Sunday, April 22, 2012.


The Gaslamp Killer - Boiler Room DJ set

In a long line of Turkish American musical visionary producers and genuine lovers of music, including Ahmet Ertegun and Arif Mardin, Willliam Benjamin Bensussen (also know as The Gaslamp Killer) stands alone.  Listen here to the Killer at London's Boiler Room debut the bulk of the stupendous Breakthrough LP, just released on Brainfeeder, in this devastating hour and a quarter DJ set.  Seeing The Gaslamp Killer execute his own material beyond-deftly in a club context is illuminating.  His raw enthusiasm for music- as expressed in his sufi-mental dance style - is only the entry point.  Hear him redefine so-called 'Bass Music' to suit his dervish instincts.  In his typically amped fashion  as the set dances through material of his own featuring Gonjasufi as well as recent releases from (Brainfeeder label honcho) Flying Lotus (Pattern and Grid World EP) and his cohort Thundercat including DMT Song, a hilarious Mark Wahlberg sample from The Fighter, new instrumental hip hop bangers from in demand producers Hudson Mohawke (solo) and with Lunice as TNGHT (which actually sound good in a well executed mix for once), some Ghetto Tech from both DJ Rashad and a quick cut of Danny Brown, Dilla, Wu-Tang's Ice Cream, Portland producer EPROM's Regis ChillbinFrank Ocean's Pink Matter, Clark's Fantasm Planes, the jungle classic Dead Dred, Zomby, Flosstradumus Lana's Theme, Coki, Zebra Katz, and DimliteThe cherry on the sundae likely comes just past the hour mark with Andre 3000 and Pimp C's verse off UGK's International Players- suddenly his whole system drops out on him and without losing any momentum at all gets it back up and wobbles the opening of Glory by Domo Genesis.  Somehow the whole set culminates with Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner mixed pitch perfectly into Pink Floyd's Great Gig In The Sky. Psychedelia. 

Then in several deep bows of reverence he closes his set with a sad, erstwhile Mariachi trumpet ballad. 

Daphni, Caribou, Manitoba (Dan Snaith's many faces)

The uber-educated mathematician and electronic music artist, and increasingly straight DJ, Dan Snaith has gone by a few guises now.  He'd likely still be Manitoba if a man appropriately named Dick Manitoba hadn't threatened to sue him for impinging on his right to pursue a career in punk rock.  Thus Caribou was born out of litigious necessity.  And there are Caribou in Manitoba aren't there? 
His latest transmogrification to Daphni has various origin stories.  The Guardian UK plots the birth of the moniker/production identity to "a remix in 2009, reimagining Cortney Tidwell's WatusiiDaphni later remixed Hot Chip and Emeralds.
His complete discography as Daphni spans from February of this year with five tracks he produced for a Resident Advisor mix that's unfortunately no longer available.  At the time he described the sound and style of the tracks as such: 
"The tracks on this mix are just sketches really—rough ideas that allowed for mixing the other tracks together in different ways. The tracks by other artists on this mix are there because I was excited about them when I was working on the mix—having just come home after being away for a long time there was a big pile of 12-inches that I'd bought but hadn't listened to."

Daphni seems to have been born out of a return from touring the hugely successful Swim album and exploring less rigorous and meticulous approaches to both producing and DJ'ing.  A press release compares Caribou's "meticulous compositional rigours" to Daphni's music which has a "more feminine, fluid energy".   The genesis of the sound seems in some way a return to the rigours of DJ'ing and pressing one's on white labels in a Serato world for an evening's performance.
"During the time I was making the [2010] Caribou album Swim, I'd fallen back in love with moments in small, dark clubs when a DJ puts on a piece of music that not only can you not identify, but that until you heard it you could not have conceived of existing," Snaith said. "Daphni tracks are rough and spontaneous … They're about working fast and intuitively, capturing the manic energy needed to start a track one afternoon, have it finished, and be playing it in a club that night."
Daphni discography

Resident Advisor, February 2011 (5 tracks of episode #246)
Daphni Edits Vol. 1, 12" [Resista], March 2011.
Pinnacles / Ye Ye, 12" split w/ Four Tet [Text], March 2011
Daphni Edits Vol. 2, 12" [Resista], August 2011
JIAOLONG001, 12" [Jiaolong], October 2011
Ahora, 12" [Amazing Sounds], November 2011
Jiaolong, LP [Jiaolong], October 2012

Daphni - Ahora

Daphni has just released a full length LP Jiaolong citing influences like Theo Parrish and Floating Points.  Generally Snaith cites influences, based on qualities of 'idiosyncracy and distinctiveness' including:  Ron Hardy, James Holden, Gary Davis, Todd Edwards, William Onyeabor, Ricardo Villalobos, Daft Punk, DJ Harvey and Moodymann.

This 45 minute DJ set from New York's Boiler Room shows Snaith mixing new tracks he's picked up in his travels alongside Daphni cuts.  Having toured extensively in various arrangements including various compliments of drummers and live musicians it's nice to see the man return to something resembling 'behind the decks'.   Parrish seems to have influenced Snaith's growth as an artist under his various names as far back as a DJ set Dan took in at London club Plastic People with Kieran Hebden of Four Tet after seeing Liquid Liquid play a live gig.
"We walked in and he was playing a Liquid Liquid record," he recalls. "The records Theo played that night were just amazing—they were so diverse and came from such a wide range of influences and sounds. A lot of them were quite deconstructed... [his set] reawakened me to the idea that there's quite a lot of space within dance music to do interesting things."





Justin Beiber - Phish (setlists)

Multiple sources are reporting on basically two stories related to Phish and St. Catherine's, Ontario native Justin Beiber.   On Wednesday August 15 (08/15/12 as it would appear on a live recording) Bieber, his girlfriend Selena Gomez and guitarist/ musical director Dan Kanter took in what would be called in the parlance of a Phish head the first night of the second leg of summer tour.  Phish has always played well in California delighting their west coast fans with their east coast antics.   Not surprisingly Kanter was the long time fan of the bunch and had been pressing Bieber to take in a concert for some time.  As the Hollywood Reporter, citing insiders, puts it it also helped that Bieber was finally 18.

Bieber and crew got some face time with the members of Phish (first Mike Gordon and then Trey Anastasio) and perhaps more importantly their kids got some face time with the pop duo.  The above photo taken at the time is credited to Brad Sands, Phish' longtime road manager (and hopefully one day author of tell-all biography).  Kanter notably got to meet his guitar god and Bieber and Anastasio apparently found common ground talking about music and most interestingly Phish' lighting director Chris Kuroda - who is considered so much a member of the band (likely moreso than any lighting director ever) that a group of fans CK5 have revered him for years.

In the accompanying clip from Justin's tourstop in the lovely city of Fresno, California (10/04/12) you can clearly hear the strains of  Divided Sky (around 13:40) an enduring touchstone for Phish fans.

The next night in the Grateful Dead and Crips capital of Oakland, CA (10/05/12) Kanter led the group in a blending of Love Me Like You Do (a Bieber delux edition number) into She Don't Like The Lights (more Bieber) dropping riffs from typically-huge-not-boy-size Phish instrumentals Sand (4:32) and First Tube (5:35).

The most interesting news to come out of all of this is not that Bieber went to a Phish show, participated in a glowstick war, or that his band is dropping Phish cues in concert but that Chris Kuroda will be designing the lighting for Bieber's next tour.


Eric D. Johnson - The Ballad of Easy Rider (The Byrds)

It's no secret that we here at NorthernHeads are big fans of Eric D. Johnson and his primary project over the years Fruit Bats.  Since the release of the last Fruit Bats album Eric's been busy composing the score for the excellent film Our Idiot Brother as well as co-founding a music festival in wine country in southern California.  I've always thought of Eric as a sort of modern day Jeff Lynne (of E.L.O. and Travellin' Wilburys fame- the Wilbury nobody knows but should).   True they both have masterful preening falsetto voices and excellent sense of phrasing, but they are also masters of the studio as an instrument.  This is what makes these Deschutes River Recordings so fascinating to listen to.  

The series of recordings (to also include the gifted Eric Earley of Blitzen Trapper and Laura Gibson are envisioned to raise money and awareness for the Deschutes River Conservancy in Oregon.  In a handy bit of cross promotion with the local brewery and also Pitchfork Media a series of live recordings by the riverside have been produced.  Described as "streamside high-wire: live, unadorned, far from a studio safety net", resulting in a completely unique sound blending acoustic tunes with the sounds of nature.  And this technique comes across in spades on Johnson's take on The Byrds Ballad of Easy Rider.  As the last keyboard strains of the song die off a beautiful singing response seems to come back from the birds of the basin watershed.


Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream (album review)

Kaleidoscope Dream is Miguel's second album after a disappointing 2010 release All I Want Is You.
Released in 3 parts: Kaleidoscope Dream: The Water Preview EP (July 31, 2012), Kaleidoscope Dream: The Air Preview (Sept. 11, 2012) and the album release of Kaleidoscope Dream (Oct. 3, 2012).

The title track Kaleidoscope Dream clearly anchors the whole undertaking and is one of the more exciting neo-soul songs to come along in a while.   If you were a genre whore, all of these labels have been used to describe Miguel's sound: neo-soul, new-wave soul, rock-soul (and you might add the ironic PBR & B - Pabst Blue Ribbon & Blues).

The album's cuts were produced by Salaam Remi, Pop & Oak, and Jerry Wonda.  But it's on Jerry Wonda's wonky psychedelic stab at Miguel's wonky psychedelic lyrics on the title cut Kaleidoscope Dream that one notices the producer as much as the singer.

While fairly solid across the board, lead single Adorn is strong as is the Adorn Remix featuring Wiz Khalifa.  The bulk of the album is written by Miguel Pimentel with a handful of co-writing credits to various parties notably Alicia Keys on her guested Where's The Fun In Forever? produced by Pop & Oak. Fun has a nice lilt to it, with a rock solid break whisper delivery that plays nicely with dynamics.  The album is consistently good and paces well but it's tend to drag down rather than build up it's highs.  There's also a fairly consistent pattern that the lesser songs on the album are, not all the time, when Pimentel also handles production duties. 

On How Many Drinks? (prod. Salaam Remi), which is very much in The Dream territory with its echo snap clicktrack and great breakdown, Miguel manages to make more of a simple equation of pussy math.   Whereas on Pussy Is Mine he makes a more earnest plaintive plea.  Where earlier his preoccupation was with how many drinks it would take to in obtain the pussy, here he seems to be concerned with pussy retention, encroaching on issues of ownership.   Candles In The Sun sounds very much in Frank Ocean without the searing emotional exploration nor savvy production sense.  While The Thrill (prod. Pimentel and Phatboiz) sounds in a not good way like Twin Shadow doing a Police cover you've never heard. 

I'm not sure I'd agree with Pitchfork's Andrew Ryce who described the album as cutting "through its own statuesque stateliness with raw emotion reined in by an ever-present sense of professionalism. And it succeeds in part because it sounds like Miguel's album and no one else's."  However I have no doubt about Jon Caramanica's (New York Times music critic/guru) assessment of his recent live show at the Bowery Ballroom.

This was a different thing altogether, past Marvin Gaye aching tenderness to James Brown shouts, and then past that into some soul outer world where the gravity is weaker, and outrageous twists possible. 
He tensed up and then melted.  He roared with fierce control. He breathed deeply.  It was an almost savage performance, and totally draining.  And it was macho, in a manner that felt startling and bold.  All adults should feel this intensely. 


Love For Levon setlist

Love For Levon
IZOD Center
East Rutherford, NJ

1. “The Shape I’m In,” with house band.
2. “Long Black Veil,” and
3. “Trouble in Mind,” . (Helm played drums on Kaukonen’s version of this on Kaukonen’s 2009 River of Time album. New Jersey’s own plays mandolin with Kaukonen tonight. A few other musicians also play on this but not the full band.
4. “This Wheel’s on Fire,” the ( on vocals)
5. “Little Birds,” the (Levon’s daughter on vocals)
6. “Listening to Levon,” Marc Cohn. A tribute song written by Cohn in 2007.
7. “Move Along Train,” Mavis Staples
8. “Life is a Carnival,” sings and plays keyboards. Toussaint arranged horns for the Band’s Cahoots album as well as the Rock of Ages and Last Waltz concerts.
9. When I Paint My Masterpiece,” also playing accordion on this one. Hudson of course was a co-founder of along with Helm. Big ovation for Hudson. Feel-good moment of night so far.
10. “Anna Lee,” Bruce Hornsby, very stripped-down acoustic version. Hornsby playing some kind of string instrument, I’m not sure what it is, with Campbell on violin and and Teresa Williams on backing vocals.
11. Full band back, with Rami Jaffee of The Wallflowers on keyboards. Jakob Dylan sings “Ain’t Got No Home,” the oldie from ’s Moondog Matinee album. Upbeat, swinging version. Very nice.
12. “Whispering Pines” w/ Lucinda Williams “God bless , his spirit lives on,” she says at the end.
13. “Rag Mama Rag”, John Hiatt and
14. “Baby Don’t You Do It,” David Bromberg and Joan Osborne
15. “I Shall Be Released,” Grace Potter, solo, backing herself on organ. “This is one of the great pleasures of my life,” she says before singing, echoing Neil Young’s line from “The Last Waltz.”
16. “Tears of Rage,” Ray LaMontagne,
17. “Rockin’ Chair,” , Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander
18. “Chest Fever,” , Jon Randall, Jessi Alexander,
Garth Hudson does wild organ improvisation for a couple of minutes as intro to song.
19. “A Train Robbery,”
20. “Get Up Jake,”
21. “Tennessee Jed,” ,
22. “Up on Cripple Creek,” on guitar and vocals, Robert Randolph on pedal steel. “Jersey boys are here,” says Walsh.
23. “Ophelia,”
24. “It Makes No Difference,”
25. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” w/ My Morning Jacket and G.E. Smith on guitar
holds up a red baseball cap. Says Levon gave him the cap after a show “and it’s been my fishing hat ever since … and this will be with me till the day I die, because it means a lot to me.”
26. “Wide River to Cross,” Roger Waters, G.E. Smith on guitar, Larry Campbell violin solo w/ *House Band
27. “The Weight,” Ensemble. Roger Waters does the “Crazy Chester followed me …”



Huge Lineup show 'Love For Levon'

Performers to Pay Tribute to Levon Helm and His Legacy at October 3, 2012 Benefit Concert at the Izod Center

LOS ANGELES (October 1, 2012) – On October 3, 2012, an unprecedented gathering of music stars and friends will join together to celebrate the life and music of Levon Helm at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey at “Love for Levon.” Roger Waters, John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Eric Church, Ray LaMontagne, Dierks Bentley, Joe Walsh, Gregg Allman, Grace Potter, Garth Hudson of The Band, Marc Cohn, Jakob Dylan, Mike Gordon, Warren Haynes, John Hiatt, Bruce Hornsby, Jorma Kaukonen, The Levon Helm Band, John Prine, Robert Randolph, Mavis Staples and Lucinda Williams will all be on hand to honor Levon. All net proceeds from the benefit concert will help support the lasting legacy of Levon Helm by helping his estate keep ownership of his home, barn and studio, and to continue The Midnight Ramble Sessions. Tickets are currently on sale to the general public.

An all-star band will be led by GRAMMY Award-winners Don Was and Larry Campbell who will serve as co-musical directors. Larry was Levon’s musical director for the last several years of his life. The benefit concert event will be produced by Keith Wortman, who most recently produced “We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash.” The show promoters are Ron Delsener and Jim Glancy, long-time friends of Levon. The event will be produced with the support of the Helm Family and Levon Helm Productions.

With a career that spanned over five decades, Levon Helm was an inspiration to musicians around the world with his deep respect, joy and love for music. Whether he was hitting the Arkansas 4-H Club circuit as a child, performing with Bob Dylan, garnering success with The Band and nurturing a successful solo career, that included multiple GRAMMY Award wins, Levon was always a passionate performer who captivated audiences with an unmistakable voice and rhythmic power all his own. His Levon Helm Studio has hosted musicians across multiple genres and his creation of The Midnight Ramble Sessions, a series of live performances at his studio, has seen performances from the likes of Elvis Costello, Kris Kristofferson, The Black Crowes and My Morning Jacket, to name just a few.

Tickets are available to the general public at http://www.ticketmaster.com/, charge by phone at 800.745.3000 at the Izod Center box office and at select Ticketmaster locations. All dates, acts and ticket prices subject to change without notice. A service charge is added to each ticket price.
For more information about “Love for Levon,” please visit www.loveforlevon.com

For more information on Levon Helm, please visit www.levonhelm.com

Neil Young w Crazy Horse, Global Citizens Festival (full set) setlist

Neil Young with Crazy Horse
Global Citizen Festival
Central Park, New York


Love and Only Love
Born In Ontario
Walk Like A Giant
The Needle And The Damage Done
Twisted Road
Fuckin' Up   
Keep On Rockin' In The Free World 
(w/ Dave Grohl, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and Taylor Hawkins [Foo Fighters], Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and K'NAAN)