Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

Classic and cutting-edge music, with New York-based musician, songwriter, and producer Sam Evian live in session.

Sam Evian, (real name Sam Owens) is responsible for recent Riley favourites Health Machine and IDGAF . He’s in the UK for a brief tour before releasing his second album You, Forever in June..

With his new album You, Forever, Sam Evian, the project of New York-based musician, songwriter, and producer Sam Owens, is here to add some eternity to that sentiment. “This is you, forever: deal with yourself,” he says. “It’s about accepting that you are responsible, that you are in charge of your actions. Everything that happens to you is because of you; no matter what happens, go there and learn from it.”

It’s a mantra that powers self-starter Owens, who released his debut Sam Evian full-length, Premium, in the fall of 2016. You, Forever (as well as 2017’s Need You, a collaboration with the multi-hyphenate musician Chris Cohen) was written on the heels of Owens’s experience touring that first album with his band. The tours—which included opening shows for bands like Whitney, Lucius, Luna, and Nick Hakim—taught him much about feel and interaction. Further fueled by a desire to escape from the glow of screens and to embrace a sense of limitation, he quickly developed a new set of instrumental songs written and recorded on a four-track cassette recorder in his parents’ house in North Carolina. Inspired by these limiting techniques, Owens borrowed an eight-track reel-to-reel tape recorder from a friend, rented a house in Upstate New York, and took his band there to record the new album in July of 2017.

That sensibility is both practice and theory on You, Forever. Dreamy album opener “IDGAF” provides suitable exposition with its notion of embracing one’s passions and pursuing one’s goals no matter the impositions in their path. “Health Machine” is a crunchy, slow-burning but deliberate stomper glowing with warm electric guitar noodling, saxophone wailing, and Owens’s reverb-laden lyrics that he says detail an abstract version of how he relates to his own physical form. “It’s about the unattainable health that I would like to imagine for myself on tour. Health is your job if you’re touring as a musician, although it’s a job I don’t do so well.” The song was the last recorded in the summer session, with Owens playing acoustic guitar through a heavily distorted microphone.


“There’s a ton of romance on the record,” he says. “It’s all romance. It’s also about living in New York and trying to separate myself from any idea I had previously of living in New York, and how I’ve kind of designed my own world there.” Whether traveling through America, navigating the bustle of his adopted home, playing festival stages with rock legends, or getting back to basics in his parents’ garage, no matter where Sam Evian goes, there he is… forever.

releases June 1st, 2018

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Chicago band Deeper make wonky post-punk that’s elegantly packaged in bursting riffs, swirling rhythms, and introspective lyrics. They’ve fittingly supported bands like Omni and Protomartyr, and are now set to make their mark with their self-titled debut, out May 25th via Fire Talk Records. The album’s shimmering opening track, “Pink Showers,” is a beacon of hope in a dark world. According to the band, the song “was conceived through the grid lock of Chicago traffic and the ‘pursuit’ to make your monotonous life meaningful.”



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As her career has progressed, singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe has been able to move further and further away from the standard Nashville plot. Some of that is due to the success that she has accrued through her association with her buddies Miranda Lambert and Angaleena Presley in The Pistol Annies, and her other friend Jack White, with whom she performed as part of his house band for a few years. But as her songwriting has gained strength and her commercial prospects have gotten brighter, her albums have shed many of the recognizable names that would hopefully pique the interest of curious listeners.The most notable name that is not on Sparrow, Monroe’s fourth LP, is Vince Gill, the country superstar who produced her previous two albums. Choosing instead to work with Nashville producer du jour Dave Cobb was a brilliant move on her part. Their collaboration has resulted in one of the strongest and most grown-up country albums to be released this decade.

The songs on this album were written from the most honest part of my soul. Dave Cobb is such a gem and took this project to another level. I’m beyond ready to share this new record with everyone.
You can pre-order ‘Sparrow’ now and you’ll get “Hands on You” and “Paying Attention” right away!

When I listen to ‘Sparrow’ from top to bottom, there is pain, forgiveness, for myself and others, and finally, a freedom. A freedom to move forward and grow. A freedom in being a 31-year old mother who feels stronger and more confident than I ever have. Sparrow is officially here. I hope you find freedom and healing in it, too, Ashley

Ashley Monroe’s upcoming record, “Sparrow”

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On Tuesday, 15-year-old Brynn Cartelli was named the youngest-ever winner of NBC’s The Voice, but the real winners of the night may have been the musical guest performers. Florence + The Machine played on the live season 14 finale on Tuesday night, treating the celebrity judges, contestants and viewers to two stellar performances.

Florence Welch and co. granted audiences a performance of their newest track, “Hunger,” which debuted earlier this month. A backdrop of long white drapes whipped like sails as Welch delivered her usual high-energy spectacle, circling the entire stage multiple times. Florence + The Machine’s newest album High As Hope is out June 29th.

Florence + the Machine perform “Hunger” during The Voice live finale.


Hello my dears, I hope you enjoy this musical video-film, made by the incomparable Joe Brett. This is pretty much an accurate depiction of what my life is like. Zipping around the San Francisco Bay Area, feeling insane, looking amazing. Reading, dancing, falling, encountering Death. This is how I live, moving wildly and freely through a world that has nothing to do with me. Special thanks to the fabulous Restless Year Dancers, the good people at Kayo Books, and Death, who as always was available at short notice.

Director Joseph Brett adds: “Ezra pushes so much energy through his music and I knew it would be important to find that same energy in the video for Restless Year. Stop motion might not seem like the obvious choice for that, but with a huge amount of patience from Ezra we were able to make something together which is as energising and adventurous as the song itself. Over a process of days we made our way around San Francisco frame by frame, step by step, in what is probably the slowest tour of a city I’ve ever been on. Ezra took to the technique almost immediately, and it’s his performance within that brilliant city which makes the video so fun.”

It was one of the biggest hits of 1967 and remains one of the most memorable, an intoxicating psychedelic-lite feel-good tune dripping with kaleidoscopic organ, taut and tough guitar licks, uplifting vocal harmonies, a bit of cowbell and prototypically opaque Summer of Love lyrics urging listeners to “Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around.”

It was called “Incense and Peppermints,” and the group, in the spirit of the times (Vanilla Fudge, Chocolate Watch Band, Peanut Butter Conspiracy), was Strawberry Alarm Clock. As is so often the case in rock lore, there’s more to the story than you might have known.

For starters, there was the lead singer, who was not even a member of Strawberry Alarm Clock. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves. They began as Thee Sixpence, a Los Angeles-based garage-style band that had already cut four singles for Bill Holmes’ All-American Records: “Long Day’s Care” b/w “Can’t Explain.” “My Flash on You” b/w “Fortune Teller,” “In the Building” b/w “Hey Joe” and “Heart Full of Rain” b/w “First Plane Home.”

For their next All-American single, the band recorded an original titled “The Birdman of Alkatrash,” with “Incense and Peppermints” as the intended B-side. The song was based on an instrumental concept by Thee Sixpence’s keyboardist, Mark Weitz, and guitarist, Ed King, but when it was released, full credit had been given to John S. Carter and Tim Gilbert, who had come up with the lyrics and part of the melodic idea but were not even members of the band.

In an interview Weitz explained: “I wrote the intro (the oriental-sounding riff), the verses and the ending (the major sevenths) while Ed King, at my request for some help on completing the song, co-wrote the bridge (the F # part) and of course the lead guitar parts. At the time when the music was recorded at Art Laboe’s Original Sounds studio in Hollywood, there was only a temporary title to the song, and lyrics had not yet been written. Our producer Frank Slay decided to send the fully mixed music track (recorded on eight tracks of mono!) to John Carter, a member of the band the Rainy Daze, who Slay also produced at the time. John Carter was solely responsible for conjuring up the lyrics and the controversial melody line extracted out of the finished musical track. Frank Slay ultimately credited that melody line solely to the writing team of John Carter and Tim Gilbert. To this day, they have received 100 percent of the royalties.”

There would be one other strange development before the single was released. While the SAC was in the studio recording the track, a visitor who sang with a band called the Shapes ended up becoming the uncredited lead singer of the soon-to-be hit. The others—King, Weitz, guitarist Lee Freeman, bassist Gary Levetro, drummer Randy  Seol were relegated to playing the instruments and singing harmonies and backup vocals. Steve Bartek, a non-member at the time, played flute on the song.

Weitz again said: “When it came time to record the vocal tracks, none of the members of the Alarm Clock sounded right for the lead vocal. We all tried. Greg Munford (a 16-year-old guitar player also produced by Holmes) was a guest in the studio that day, and gave a go at it. His voice sounded best, and we all agreed on keeping his vocal track on the final version.”

Munford never became a member of Strawberry Alarm Clock, but it’s his voice you hear when you play that recording.

“The Birdman of Alkatrash” was released as the A-side by All-American but, before long, disc jockeys had discovered the B-side and began playing it on the radio instead. MCA Records also heard it and decided to pick up the distribution, re-releasing the single in May 1967 on its Uni subsidiary—with the band’s name now Strawberry Alarm Clock, the flavorful part taken from the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and the rest from a small alarm clock in Weitz’s bedroom.

It took a while, but “Incense and Peppermints” finally entered the singles chart at the end of that September. By the week ending November. 25th, it had reached #1, and became 1967’s #23 biggest hit overall.

They also appeared in two films, 1968’s Psych-Out, a hippie exploitation film starring a young, ponytailed Jack Nicholson as a character named Stoney and 1970’s cult Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. For the former, they contributed four songs, including the self-explanatory and utterly enchanting “The Pretty Song from Psych-Out,” which played over the opening credits.Although they are known largely as a one-hit wonder today, Strawberry Alarm Clock stuck around long enough to place three further singles on the chart. Their Incense and Peppermintsalbum itself rose up the charts largely on the strength of the hit single. SAC constantly underwent lineup changes during its brief reign—Bartek and George Bunnell, a guitarist and bassist, joined the group after the “Incense” sessions and the latter became one of the group’s main songwriters and the group—and managed to release three further albums into 1969, none of which cracked the chart.

In 1971, no longer affiliated with a record label, Strawberry Alarm Clock split up. The following year, guitarist Ed King relocated to the South in order to join a group that had opened for Strawberry Alarm Clock on tour. Their name: Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Various reunions have taken place since the early ’80s, and the current lineup of Strawberry Alarm Clock includes Weitz, Bartek, Seol, Bunnell and drummer Gene Gunnells from an early incarnation.

Ian St. Pé’s always been a frontman at heart, and in the former Black Lips guitarist’s new band (aptly named Saint Pé), he doesn’t need to share the spotlight with anyone. That’s not to say his bandmates are inconsequential; on the contrary, Saint Pé features an impressive collection of members of Turf War, Concord America and Zoners. But Saint is called Saint Pé for a reason, and it’s very much his project.

It’s got that dirty south garage flavor, those whoop / yelling / singing vocals that remind you of Warren Zevon. But instead of the Black Lips’s jangly garage-attack, Saint Pè is a little bit poppier… maybe even a little bit sunny? And gone are the Atlanta vibes, coming out the EP Secular Music on Ian’s own record label theFixedFocus.

On Saturday at Side Bar, Saint Pé kept it loose, cracking jokes and playing songs from the band’s recently released EP, Secular Music, as well as some of his work from the Black Lips (“Time”) and Diamond Rugs (featuring a special appearance by his D-Rugs cohort T. Hardy Morris).


River Whyless announced their new album, Kindness, A Rebel – due out June 8th . This is the follow-up to the band’s 2016 breakout success We All The Light.

Produced & mixed by Paul Butler (St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Michael Kiwanuka), Kindness, A Rebel is some of River Whyless‘ most dynamic and heartfelt material yet. The album goes beyond the divide of our current political & societal state, as the band tries to understand what things are happening in our world, why, and how they can help to make it better. This band is an amalgamation of folk and pop and beyond. Brilliant harmonies and words. An abundance of talent from this Asheville band,


The Band:

Ryan O’Keefe: vocals, guitar
Halli Anderson: vocals, violin
Alex McWalters: drum set
Daniel Shearin: vocals, bass, harmonium

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John Fogerty has written some of classic rock’s most enduring compositions, for Creedence Clearwater Revival and for his own solo career. Last September. 30th marked the 50th anniversary of the start of his writing one of his best ever known songs.

“Today is a pretty important day in my life,” he says. “Fifty years ago, in the summer of ’67, I was released from active duty in the Army Reserve. I got home to the San Francisco bay area, right in the middle of the Summer of Love. I bought myself a little binder and on the first page I wrote the words ‘Song Title.’ And then I sat down and waited for something to happen.

“After about a week, I finally had an inspiration and I wrote it down in my little music book. The inspiration was the words ‘Proud Mary.’ I didn’t write the song right away. A few months later, right when I had received my honorable discharge from the Army, I was so happy and excited, I ran in the house and started messing with my Rickenbacker and some chords came together and some words came together and I realized I was writing a song about a river boat.

“I got my little song book and opened it up and right on the first page were those words, ‘Proud Mary.’ And, by golly, I decided that’s the name of the boat!”

It wasn’t until January 1969 that “Proud Mary” was released as a single. It became the first of CCR’s five songs to reach #2 on the charts. (Though they scored nine Top 10 hits, but they never earned a #1.) In 2005, Fogerty was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Recorded by John Fogerty (lead guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug Clifford (drums) at RCA Studios in Hollywood, California, with John overdubbing instruments and all the vocals later

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A final clip of ‘All I Wanted’, recorded live in one-take at the Asylum Chapel in Peckham, London.

Composer Josephine Stephenson oversaw the new arrangement, with Elena joined in the chapel by string & vocal quartets.

The original version of ‘All I Wanted’ features on the ‘Music From Before The Storm’ score, which today received an Ivor Novello Awards nomination in the Best Original Video Game Score category.

‘All I Wanted’ original song by Elena Tonra. From ‘Music from Before the Storm’: