Bill Murray @ Fare Thee Well Grateful Dead final concert

Bill Murray and Phil Lesh

Amongst the many celebrities and fans alike that attended the Grateful Dead core four's last show at Soldier Field (July 5, 2015) Bill Murray has to be the coolest.  Murray who lives in Chicago was spotted on the floor and thankfully captured on camera by the sublime Jenny Lewis (whose Instagram account has some great short short videos of her experience of the concert).

Murray seems to have spent a lot of his time with Lewis (understandably) whose phenomenal album The Voyager is steeped in personal pyschedelic references.

Other notables backstage for the concerts (according to Relix) included: 

David Axelrod, Al Franken, Perry Farrell (Jane's Addiction was onced described by Garcia as his favourite current band), self-avowed Deadhead George RR Martin, Lee Ranaldo, Liz Phair, Yo La Tengo's Ira Kaplan, Colts owner Jim Irsay and members of Wilco, The National and The Avett Brothers.  Also Phish' Mike Gordon and Page McConnell and members of various forgettable jambands (moe., the Disco Biscuits and Lettuce).

Oh and Chloe Sevigny and Katy Perry were there too.


Mbongwana Star - From Kinshasa

Mbongwana Star's From Kinshasa is a new album of Congolese music that bears little resemblance to more traditional styles.  Given this tossing away of or subversion of convention the group bears something in common with Konono no. 1 beyond both being literally from Kinshasa in the Democratic Rebublic of Congo.  Both groups retain some traditional instrumentation, for Konono it's the thumb piano and for Mbongwana Star it's the souskous guitars.  The tracks on Kinshasa have a warp and pull all there own pulling in threads of psychedelia, drone, post-punk and noise.  One of the stronger tracks is the album closer 1 Million C'est Quoi but their one-track collaboration with Konono no. 1 Malekayi is just as fine.


Roy Harper - I Hate The White Man (lyrics)

Far across the ocean 
In the land of look and see 
There once was a time 
For you and me 

Where the winds blow sweetly 
And the easy seas flow still 
And where the barefoot dream of life 
Can laugh and cry its fill 

Where slot machine confusions 
And the plastic universe 
Are objects of amusement 
In the fiction of their curse 

And where the crazy whiteman 
And his teargas happiness 
Lies dead and long since buried 
By his own fantastic mess 

For I hate the whiteman 
And his plastic excuse 
For I hate the whiteman 
And the man who turned him loose... 

And the reins of coloured thunder 
Of the stallion of the dawn 
Ride the coalfire morning 
On the beach where all is born 

Where the emperor of meaning 
Is burning up his forts 
And sits to warm his toes around 
A fire made up of useless thoughts 

And when the children tempt him 
With the riddles of their trance 
He flings the flames of solstice 
Casting laughs into their dance 

And while a crazy whiteman 
In the desert of his bones 
Lies as bleached as the paradise 
He likes to think he owns 

And I hate the whiteman 
In his evergreen excuse 
Oh I hate the whiteman 
And the man who turned him loose... 

And far across the reaches 
Of the drifting yellow sands 
The living carpet wilderness 
Forever joins its hands 

With heaven hell's attainment 
In a surging crest of fire 
Where more than all is thrown upon 
The ever lasting pyre 

And through the countless canticles 
Of Jason's charcoal fleece 
Are sung the songs of nothing 
In the timeless masterpiece 

And there stood in the middle 
Guess who? 
It's the everlasting burst 
Built by god's very own whiteman 
As he tries to rule the dust 

And I hate the whiteman 
In his doctrinaire abuse 
Oh I hate the whiteman 
And the man who turned you all loose... 

And the bowels of his city 
Have been locked into a safe 
Where the spew stains on the sidewalks 
Are defenders of his faith 

While back inside his kitchen 
The bowler hatted, long haired saint 
Cleans with soap and water 
But it's really just white paint 

While his golden headed scandal sheets 
Present their daily bite 
To give their righteous news-bleeders 
Drugs to keep them white 

While outside in the whitewash 
Where the guns are always, always right 
A shooting star has summoned 
Its dark angel from his night 

And I hate the whiteman 
And his evergreen excuse 
Oh I hate the whiteman 
And the man who turned you all loose 
And the man who turned him loose...


Prince & 3rd Eye Girl soundboard download (Fox Theater, Detroit)

Prince & 3rd Eye Girl
Hit n Run tour
Fox Theater, Detroit

Hitfile download

Mirror download

FLAC download

(* It is quite possible- given Prince's extreme litigiousness regarding unauthorized use of his music or copyright- that this is an 'official' unofficial soundboard release.)
01 – Intro
02 – Let’s Go Crazy
03 – Take Me With U
04 – Raspberry Beret
05 – U Got the Look
06 – Musicology – Mama Feelgood
07 – When Doves Cry
08 – Sign O’ the Times
09 – Hot Thing
10 – Nasty Girl
11 – Housequake
12 – I Would Die 4 U
13 – Cool – Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough
14 – Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)
15 – Play That Funky Music
16 – Controversy
17 – 1999
18 – How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore
19 – Little Red Corvette
20 – Nothing Compares 2 U
21 – Kiss
01 – Clouds
02 – Yes We Can Can – Thankful N’ Thoughtful – You’re The One – Green Garden
03 – She’s Always in My Hair
04 – Purple Rain
05 – Act of God
06 – What Have You Done for Me Lately – Northside – Theme Song From Which Way Is Up – Partyman – Dancing Machine
07 – Diamonds and Pearls
08 – The Beautiful Ones
09 – Darling Nikki
10 – If I Was Your Girlfriend
11 – Forever in My Life
12 – Alphabet St.
13 – The Most Beautiful Girl in the World
14 – A Love Bizarre
15 – The X’s Face
16 – U Know
17 – Pop Life
18 – 777-9311
19 – The Love We Make


Prince & 3rd Eye Girl setlist (Sony Performing Arts Centre, Toronto, ON) 05.19.15 8:00 pm

Prince & 3rd Eye Girl
Sony Performing Arts Centre
Toronto, Ontario
8:00 pm show

Rock and Roll Love Affair
Pretzelbodylogic > Hannah Welton drum solo
Dreamer >  psych blues guitar passage
> Whole Lotta Love @
Let's Go Crazy (Reloaded) > Frankenstein !

Enc. 1.

Love Me Tender +  (Prince solo piano)
The Beautiful Ones
Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)

Enc. 2.

Take Me With U / Raspberry Beret / Cream
U Got The Look
When Doves Cry
Sign O' The Times (full live rendition) *
Pop Life> Darling Nikki> Forever In My Life >
Most Beautiful Girl In The World >
Alphabet St.
(sampled partially)

Enc. 3

I Would Die 4 U
Purple Rain *#
Kiss *

Enc. 4.

The Love We Make
Nothing Compares 2 U ^

@ Led Zeppelin cover
! Edgar Winter Group cover
+ Elvis Presley cover (written by Ken Darby as 'Vera Watson' and Presley)
* w. Shelby J. and two back up singers
# w. Donna Grantis guitar solo, Prince on keys
^ sung in is entirety solo (w/o Shelby J.)

Read why Prince really cancelled his last two Hit n Run shows in Toronto at Massey Hall and why the media covered it up.

Compare to recent Hit n Run setlists (04.09.15 Fox Theater, Detroit) or other recent Prince Toronto setlists (11.25.11 Welcome 2 Canada, Air Canada Centre);
(11.26.11 Welcome 2 Canada, Air Canada Centre)


The Barr Brothers - (Live at Le Trianon, Paris 04.26.15) HD

The Barr Brothers are clearly a band on the ascent.  Having toured America opening for the most revered rock group of 2014 The War On Drugs touring their singular Lost In The Dream release.  Meanwhile in Canada on the first leg of their Sleeping Operator tour they swapped headlining and opening spots night after night with Bahamas on his Afie Is Bahamas tour - arguably the most popular (at least among women) independent rock musician in Canada.

On this occasion at Le Trianon on the Rue Pigalle- in what is essentially a mini-red light district in Paris- just below the highest point in the city the Sacre Coueur cathedral in Montmartre- The Barr Brothers opened for Calexico on their Edge of the Sun tour.  There is of course a deep and kindred connection between Paris and The Barr Brothers adopted home of Montreal (between France et Nouvelle France).  While Brad and younger brother Andrew Barr are by point of fact ex-pat Americans Montreal and the belle province of Quebec has adopted them as their own.   Now undoubtedly a large part of the appeal of the group is the presence of Sara Pagé (pron. pa-zjay) on concert harp.  Many in the audience which skewed in age between 35-70 were transfixed by her playing and undoubtedly thrilled to hear an accent aigu at the end of her name.  As the group has grown, and Sara has grown accustomed to playing in a rock context her attack on the harp has changed using on occasion strikes and slaps with the back of her hand to exhilirating effect.  On other occasions, for portability as much as anything else, such as when Andrew and Sara joined Calexico for the Lhasa De Sela cover Con Todo Palabra, Sara plays the Mountain Dulcimer.

Rounding out the group are strong Montreal players currently in Thus Owls Parker Shper (keyboards, percussion) and Morgan Moore (upright and electric bass). 


Pete Rock - Cosmic Slop (Petestrumentals 2)

Mello Music Group has in a very short time established themselves as the hitmakers of the day for independent conscious Hip Hop.  Much of this has to do with the label founders and their philosophy of paying a living regular wage to their artists instead of soon-to-be-blown advances (which must be repaid against earnings).  Using this philosophy of remuneration they have managed to dominate a string of spring releases from Drew Dave's Synthbased to Red Pill's Look What The World Did To Us. Signing the indomitable Open Mike Eagle to a two record deal beginning with the most intelligent Hip Hop release of 2014 Dark Comedy.  Meanwhile, former Little Brother progenitor, Rapper Big Pooh released Words Paint Pictures echoing the conscious midwest sound of his brethren including legendary albums such as Elzhi's (Black Milk produced The Preface from 2008).

But finding a home for one of the Big Four of sample based producers like Pete Rock for his Petestrumentals 2 (due June 23) was a true coup d'etat.  Petestrumentals 2 is actually the third installment of Pete's Beat Generation series which he updated to respond in kind to Jay Dee's (aka J Dilla's) landmark Welcome to Detroit album. 


Calexico - Le Trianon, Paris (05.26.15)

Calexico w. The Barr Brothers
Le Trianon, Paris (04.26.15)

Falling From The Sky
Across The Wire
Cumbia de Donde *
Miles From The Sea
When The Angels Played
Minas de Cobre
Inspiracion *
Tapping On The Line
Moon Never Rises
Beneath The City of Dreams
World Coming Undone
Let It Slip Away
Alone Again Or

Bullets & Rocks
Con Toda Palabra *#
The One I Love
Guero Canelo
Follow The River

* w. Amparo Sanchez
# w. Sara Page, Andrew Barr


Rapper Big Pooh - Augmentation

Augmentation is the lead cut off former Little Brother member Rapper Big Pooh's new Words Paint Pictures EP .  Augmentation is produced by Apollo Brown whose 38 did well for the Mello Music Label and whose thumbprint, like braintrust Oddissee, can be felt all over the labels various releases.

Words Paint Pictures definitely has the Mid West and Detroit sound that Little Brother and Pooh are known for.  The album has that brainy feel of Elzhi and has the heft of his seminal album The Preface.

At points its a fairly dense political statement:

Cointelpro, they infiltrated the crew
Then throw us in a jail operated like a zoo 
I'm just reminding you of things we already knew 
From that project concrete, a rose grew
But we only we the weeds in our view

Courtney Barnett Dead Fox live @ SXSW (lyrics)

Jen insists that we buy organic vegetables
And I must admit that I was a little skeptical at first
A little pesticide can't hurt
Never having too much money, I get the cheap stuff at the supermarket
But they're all pumped up with the shit
A friend told me that they stick nicotine in the apples

If you can't see me, I can't see you

Heading down the Highway Hume
Somewhere at the end of June
Taxidermied kangaroos are lifted on the shoulders
A possum Jackson Polluck is painted in the tar
Sometimes I think a single sneeze could be the end of us
My hay-fever is turning up, just swerved into a passing truck
Big business overtaking
Without indicating
He passes on the right, been driving through the night
To bring us the best price

If you can't see me, I can't see you

More people die on the road than they do in the ocean
Maybe we should mull over culling cars instead of sharks
Or just lock them up in parks where we can go and view them
There's a bypass over Holbrook now
Paid for with burgers no doubt
I've lost count of all the cows
There'll be no salad sandwiches
The law of averages says we'll stop in the next town
Where petrol price is down...
What do I know anyhow?

If you can't see me, I can't see you



Prince & 3rd Eye Girl Detroit setlist (Fox Theater, 04.09.15)


Prince & 3rd Eye Girl
w. Judith Hill opener
Fox Theater
Detroit, MI

Let's Go Crazy
Take Me With You
Raspberry Beret
U Got The Look
Musicology>Mama Feelgood
When Doves Cry
Sign O' The Times
Hot Thing

Sampler Set:
Pop Life>
Nasty Girl>
I Would Die 4 U

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough >Cool
Thank You (Falletin' Me Be Mice Elf Again)
Play That Funky Music 
How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore
Little Red Corvette
Nothing Compares 2 U

First Encore:

Thankful and Thoughtful
Green Garden
She's Always In My Hair
Purple Rain

Second Encore:

Act Of God
What Have You Done For Me Lately
(Theme song) Which Way Is Up?
Dancing Machine
Party Man
It's Alright

Third Encore (Sampler Set 2):

Sign O' The Times>
Pop Life>
The Beautiful Ones>
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World>
Diamonds and Pearls>
Alphabet Street>
Darling Nikki tease
Forever In My Life
X's Face snippit
Love Bizarre
The Love We Make

(Shut It Down played over PA for audience exit)

*Clouds was the only song performed from either Age Of Electric or Plectrum Electrum (the album he recorded exclusively with 3rd Eye Girl).
#Prince bass solo

Soundboard download (high quality) of this show


Ravensong - Chris 'Shuggie' Brown feat. Crystal Lameman

"All alone you might/ Hear it."

One of our national treasures is future Order of Canada recipient Hugh Christopher Brown.  In truth it's just Chris Brown from the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir, Chris Brown and Kate Fenner, former Barenaked Ladies and Tragically Hip sideman, as of late he's expanded the H. Chris Brown to a full nom de plum that distinguishes him from resolutely from the Rhianna beating hip hop star.

Ravensong is written in support of Beaver Lake Cree legal land claims.  Through sharp editing and interpretations of the native geography in the Cree tongue Chris has created a lasting statement. Reached for comment about this beautiful offering addressing the Tar Sands quagmire that Canadians seem not to have a strong mind about he had this to say:

"Indigenous Consciousness is the game changer. It is our principal defense against the proposed petrol-security state, and the principal reason for bill C51. I just asked a question of Crystal- what are the tarsands?


Requiem - Oddisee & Phonte (Persona - Mello Music Group compilation 2015)

Requiem is the lead track off the phenomenal label compilation from Mello Music Group entitled Persona.  Were this a lesser label full of lesser artists undoubtedly this release would quickly become part of the background noise and dust bunnies accumulating in the expanding/collapsing musical universe.  Mello Music Group is a constant.  Quality, Consciousness and Intelligence are their mandate.  Admittedly this shouldn't be so revolutionary in Hip Hop (admittedly Common fucked the 'genre' for micro-ages).

It's safe to say that Oddissee, who has made a name for himself on a handful of his own releases, production moves, but mostly as the braintrust behind the groundbreaking (second) Diamond District release March On Washington (along with yU and XO) is the bald wizard behind the curtain.

Requiem is an interesting opener though. Oddissee, deeply akin to producer Phonte (of the influential mid-west group Little Brother)  who is known for his phenomenal ear for soul and unique sample flips echoes the Detroit sound as championed by J Dilla, Black Milk and younger producers like Denmark Vessey.  Every hip hop reviewer hears something Dilla in the Requiem cut but its likely owing to laziness or vague ancestral sample memories (more likely lazy cellphone search engine research).  Admittedly a track was released in 2012 on Rebirth of Detroit credited to J Dilla and Allan Barnes entitled Requiem.  More recognizably Dilla, born James Yancey, samples Requiem on one of his more popular Unreleased Instrumentals Trashy.  But Trashy bares little resemblance to Requiem except perhaps in spirit.  As to who Oddissee is sampling in the opening bars and throughout that remains a minor mystery for a hot minute.  You know it though. Or you think you do.

For what it's worth later at the midpoint of the release Oddissee delivers Word To The Wise which samples indelibly - if you like - the original sample of (You) Got What I Need  by Freddie Scott as recalled through Biz Markie's Just A Friend. Slick.

Open Mike Eagle - Dark Comedy Late Show lyrics


Drew Dave - Everything's Gonna Be Alright

Three months into the year 2015 and Mello Music Group has come out with a staggering array of full-on hit releases.  While Drew Dave's SynthBased is not necessarily the best of them Everything's Gonna Be Alright drops the (Uptight) from Stevie Wonder's vernacular tune and gives us a Korg gem handily the best track on the outing.


The Barr Brothers - Lee's Palace setlist

(l to r) Joe Grass, Andrew Barr, Brad Barr

The Barr Brothers
Lee's Palace
opener: AroarA
March 12, 2015

Even The Darkness Has Arms
Deacon's Son
Come In The Water
Static Orphans
Little Lover
How The Heroine Dies
Half Crazy
Please Let Me Let It Go
Beggar In The Morning
Love Ain't Enough

Burn Card
Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying


Inventions - Maze of Woods

Inventions- the collaboration between longtime friends Mark T. Smith (Explosions In The Sky)  and Matthew Cooper (Eluvium) - has released their second album in eleven months with the sprawling Maze of Woods.  The album was mixed in a house on the Oregon coastline.

Inventions have stated that much of the inspiration for Maze of Woods comes from the closing paragraph of Denis Johnson's novel Train Dreams.

 'Johnson describes the nonverbal howl of a feral wolf boy, a pre-language that is yearning and instinctual; a statement of wordless distress and love. Maze of Woods is the product of two masters of their craft getting lost in the wilderness, "doing something that they don't know how to do," and emerging with something wholly unexpected and beguilingly beautiful.'

Maze of Woods runs from strength to strength.  At once incantation then invocation.  Some of the stronger collaborations include Peregrine, Springworlds, Moanmusic and the slow brillliant album closer Feeling The Sun Thru The Earth At Night.

The sound resembles something vaguely like Panda Bear or his Animal Collective lot but also bares a resemblance to something vaguely baroque like Fleet Foxes.  Overall the sound is gauzy, layered, moving with a sense of space and openness.

Inventions - Springworlds (official music video)


Lorn - Certain Limbs

Hot Sugar - God's Hand review

Hot Sugar's God's Hand is one of the first thoroughly inventive electronic albums to come out so far this year.  A slew of releases have already built up like a dirty snowbank since the new year and few stand out as albums on the whole.

Producer Nick Koenig was apparently moved by 'unexpected, disappointing life events' producing apparently his darkest album ever.  Oddly dark isn't a word we'd use to describe this album.   Perhaps melancholic but not maudlin and certainly not the other end of the spectrum into which so much EDM fits into - mawkish.

In an interview with Fox/Vice's Noisey Koenig had the following to say:

Despite the upbeat melodies, God’s Hand is the darkest album I’ve ever made. There’s nothing particularly evil or aggressive in any of the melodies, but a lot of the material I used as instrument voices sound bleak and sad. I tried to focus on the sadness in the mundane. “Not Afraid To Die” is a great example: the lead melody is the sound of a man across the street shoveling snow during a snowstorm (a futile, Sisyphean task in the face of nature). I had just dealt with a number of betrayals and unexpected, disappointing life events that made me very defeatist, so between the sad things, I chose to record and the happy redeeming melodies I’d turn them into. The whole thing feels bittersweet.
Personally if you want dark (we could give you a short and long list of 2014/2015 that distinguished themselves in no other way) look no further than Lorn's Certain Limbs that squeaked out a couple of months ago to not enough fanfare (that shit is Blade Runner dark and equally brilliant).  God's Hand is definitely pensive and has a lot of melancholic motifs but its the sort of left-field material one could easily see Gaslamp Killer or any of the Brainfeeder dropping live in one of their sets.

Learning more about Koenig it becomes clear that he's a real devotee of Associative Music and the belief that 'everything has a voice' and 'anything can be music'.  Koenig wants to prove that literally anything can be music, like the sound of people blowing bubbles or crushing cans on webcam for another project (Noise Collector) here represented by the track Bubblegum & Beer Cans, or the sound of a man shovelling snow across the street on Not Afraid To Die.  Elsewhere Koenig has recorded and played back the sounds of plants to themselves.


Brady Watt - Lifetronics review

Brady Watt's a hip hop session musician, and in demand bass player, whose stepping into the light with a strong release his debut Lifetronics LP.Watt's made a livelihood backing live Joey Bada$$, Ski Beatz, Statik Selektah and he's just joined DJ Premier's all-star band. Lifetronics is grounded by his understanding of the lagging beats of neo-soul and the rigeurs of hip hop which makes each of his compositions a unique springboard for the MC or sung verses from artists as varied as Talib Kweli to Melanie Fiona.

Across the board the album has a fresh, eccentric quality that is matched by the guests that compliment the beats rather than overshadow them.

Some tracks like Minds of the Future (feat. Smoke DZA) sound like they could be an outtake from Blakroc the Black Keys one-off album of hip hop collaborations.  As much as Watt's is primarily a bass player the album's most memorable hooks are slinky guitar leads a couple of which bear the deep imprint of D'AngeloSmoke Break is an obvious homage for instance - a short vamp that's just a few chords shy of the much longer tune The Root from D'Angelo's singular Voodoo album.  Watt's is joined by a slew of strong but little known MC's that bring the organic bounce of his beats to life.  It's not surprisingly on the instrumentals that Watt is strongest such as 80 Full-Color Plates (feat. Dave Gagliardi and Gary Busey).