Monday, May 21, 2012

Ticket giveaway - Simone Felice - Interview - 5.25.12 - Club Cafe - Show Preview - Concert Preview

The best place to see a singer/songwriter act in Pittsburgh, hands down, is Club Café. This Friday, Simone Felice – formerly of The Felice Brothers and The Duke & The King – will play an intimate early show, debuting music from his first solo album, Simone Felice, released in April. 

Felice's decision to go solo came after undergoing open-heart surgery in 2010. His condition was so tenuous that he was instructed to say goodbye to his family before surgery. His wife was 8 months pregnant at the time.
Surviving this ordeal led Felice to reorient his approach to music, family, and career. His self-titled album is deeply personal, fueled by Felice's commitment to his words and stories as much as his music. Join us at Club Café this Friday to see Felice up close for an early show (music starts at 7pm).

*Want a pair of free tickets? Email your name to Winner will be chosen on Thursday morning.

You've had some personal tragedies recently in your life. How has this affected your outlook?

I feel lucky. Not like a man at a horse race, more like the survivor of a shipwreck, singing each song as if it's my last night on earth.

You have an open letter to the memory of Levon Helm [founder of The Band, died in April 2012] on your site. What was your connection and how did his passing affect you?

I'm blessed and cursed to have been born just outside of Woodstock, NY in the mid 70s, riding my bicycle past Big Pink [the house where Helms and members of The Band lived and recorded]. So playing and singing with him on occasion has been a dream. Levon was the guiding light in our woods, his passing has left a major hole in our universe, but his was the kind of light that never really does out.

This is your first solo album. What made you decide to venture out on your own at this point in your career?

It's time to tell me own story. No costumes. No armor. Tell it true.

Was this written and produce by yourself primarily? Or did you collaborate with anyone? Was this more taxing than normal?

Some songs I did alone in my barn, some with my brothers, some with my friend Ben Lovett, not more taxing than normal, but I had to be more patient, wait for right light.

In most interviews I have seen you are always regarded as a storyteller. Was there a story to your first album that you were trying to express?

These are the dreams, nightmares, and wonders that passed before my eye two summers ago when I nearly died. Then a month later my daughter Pearl was born—the soundtrack of the fear and joy.

With the health issues you have had over the years, has this changed your opinion on our national health care system? A lot of artist in the ‘indie’ world do not have health insurance.

Yes, it's a weird country that likes its people ill.

Do you still collaborate with your brothers when they are creating a Felice Brothers album? Do they still ask for your input? Or is something you totally separate yourself from?

Yes, we've helped each other on both the most recent albums, [there's] nothing like blood on blood.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? Now being a solo artist is it time consuming to maintain a relationship with the public?

I don't know how to Twitter or go on Facebook, I just show up at the shows, in the flesh, I'm kind of old fashioned that way. I love to laugh with the fans, to cry, to sing together in the same room.

With albums able to be downloaded for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an independent act such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion?

Luckily it's all I know, I never made albums in the big money days so I've had nothing to lose. I think it keeps us humble, and down to earth. It's the live show that keep the wood in the fire at my house

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

Joni Mitchell's Blue. Pink Floyd's Live in Pompeii. Whitman's Song of Myself

What are your upcoming goals? Will you be creating more solo albums? Writing books?

All of the above. But mostly doing my best to find a little peace of mind, dance with my daughter in the sunlight.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Vacation - Slow Down May

We will be out of the country for much of May. Updates will be sporadic. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Damien Jurado - 5.17.12 - Warhol - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Damien Juardo will be making an appearance Thursday, 5.17 at the Andy Warhol Museum. The long time singer/songwriter has just completed his 12th solo album entitled Maraqopa. Produced by Richard Swift, the new album peaked on the Billboard top 200 albums last month. Damien was kind enough to give us an interview talking about he has been able to make it as an 'indie' artist, social media and his admiration for the Warhol museum. We are giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, just email us at with your name. 

This is your 12th album and came with extra bonus tracks, deluxe editions and giveaways. How did this come about? Was it successful with the number of sales?

A lot of the business decisions, not creative, come from my wife and the label. However, it was partly a result of the number of songs Richard Swift and I were able to record in the studio. We had tracks that just didn’t fit in the context of what became Maraqopa. As far as sales go? This was my first record to debut on the Billboard top 200, which I was happy to hear.

How have you been able to make it this long as an ‘indie’ solo artist? What is the secret from an economical and motivational standpoint?

A great record label, huge faith in your talent, and the ability to live on a tight budget for long stretches.

You have been writing/touring for the last 6 years full time. How has the life been? Do you miss working a regular position?

I do not miss working 9 to 5, though I miss the consistency and routine of home. If I could make music without having to be away from my son and my wife, I would. But touring is a part of being a songwriter.

I know one of your former collaborators David Bazan has switched up the way he performs to house shows plus releasing his music independently. Have you ever thought of going this route? Or does it make more sense for you to be on a label?

I’m on the best record label in the world. I’ll keep making records with them as long as there are records to be made.

How do you feel about the social aspect of music these days? Your songs, thoughts (twitter, soundcloud, blog) are all out there. Do you feel more connected with fans? Do you ever feel it’s too much?

My only problem with things like twitter and social media in general is that it takes away the ‘mystery’ that artists of my childhood had. I used to like the fact that I could buy a record and not know anything about the artist whatsoever. It made seeing them live that much more exciting. Nowadays, fans just feel like they know artists personally. I’m on the fence as to whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

Your new album, Maraqopa, was just released. What is the difference between this new and previous?

I think the answer is in the listening to that record versus the older ones. Though they’re all different from one another, I personally felt a lot more creative freedom in the studio with Richard Swift.

The new album was produced with Richard Swift (as was the last). What did he bring to the table that others you have worked did not? 

Richard Swift not only brought his own talents as a producer, engineer, and musician. He brought an open ear and an expansive concept of what these songs could be.

You are creating music with a band now and as a solo artist both signed to Secretly Canadian Records. Will these songs be written as collaboration (Gathered in Song)? And will you be pivoting between a solo then band album?

I will continue to write songs on my own, and record them in the studio with Richard. If the band will continue to join me for live performances, I’ll be thrilled, as they are great people to play and travel with. The world of touring and the world of recording are totally separate for me, and I like that.

What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?

- This was literally the only thing I knew how to do. This allows me to somehow make a living and feel creatively fulfilled, which I’m grateful for. Sometimes I see the ‘normal’ folks heading to their jobs in the morning when I’m at home, and I envy them. That’s just not me though.

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

I make no goals, I live in the now, so it would be hard to say what the next year or album will look like. I live for today.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

I really love the Warhol museum. I love the way the bridges get lit up at night. Pittsburgh doesn’t get enough credit as far as I’m concerned, it’s one of my favorite cities to visit, with great well preserved architecture. There’s also a really great selection of local potato chips, no joke.

Show begins at 8p with tickets only $15 and can be found here. More information on Damien at these sites:

Show Review - Sharon Van Etten - 4.28.12 - Carnegie Lecture Hall - Pittsburgh - Live Review - Concert Review

Sharon Van Etten made a stop last Saturday touring behind her recently released album Tramp. The show was presented by the Warhol, but the actual event was held in the Carnegie Lecture Hall. This was my first time experiencing a show here, and although not a musical venue, the auditorium was well maintained with quite respectable acoustics. While not at full capacity this evening (about 150 empty) the crowd was still attentive and quiet for the entire performance.

Van Etten's music is often melancholoy, with lyrics based on an unkind lover or scorned follower. She channels that painful ache from love gone awry onstage with an honest and fluid delivery. The singer was front and center supported by a four piece backing band that allowed her to be the focus of the performance. Often demonstrating her skills, SVE was able to bounce from one instrument to another with no trouble. 

SVE has a bit of a silly, self-deprecating stage presence, which is surprising since her material is rather expressive on a personal level. She and the band were having an interaction with a 'yogi girl' that was literally spread out on the floor in front of the stage. The 'yogi' talked with the band between every song while doing some acid-laced danced when they were playing (this same girl was at Oberhofer two nights later at the Warhol wearing an American flag skirt and laurel around her head). SVE and the band were having some fun with it at first, but for me (and them) it got tiresome to the point I wish they told her to shut it. We weren't at a Phish show. 

 Fortunately, this presence did not get in the way of the songs. Her and the band were able to switch focus and deliver an inspired performance, even after awkwardly talking to the yogi. The only downfall for me was her banter with the audience. At times it was meandering and uncomfortable to the point I asked why? But maybe this will smooth out with time. She will be in the limelight for a while. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Interview - Here We Go Magic - 5.15.12 - Brillobox - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Here We Go Magic will be playing at the Brillobox Tuesday, 5.15. They are touring behind their new LP A Different Ship that will be released on May 8th. The album was produced by no other than Radiohead mainstay Nigel Godrich. Here We Go Magic are known for their attractive harmonies, often featuring two to four vocalists feeling as if they are each singing a different song. What should be a train wreck instead becomes a layered dream effect, where you might not understand what they are saying but feel the extraordinary flow. Lead man Luke Temple was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new album, Nigel Godrich and his feeling that the CD is dead. We also have a pair of tickets to giveaway to the show, as usual just email us at: 

Your new album A Different Ship comes out in May. How was this album different from your previous?

If you are referring to how the process was different we worked with a producer for this one, Nigel Godrich, which we hadn't done before.

Nigel Godrich let a hand to this new album. How much of a factor did he play in the sound? How was it to work with a legend?

 He gave it much more space and clarity. It wouldn't have been productive to think of it that way, he's a lovely guy that happens to be extraordinary at what he does. 

You recorded this in Godrich’s London studio. Did recording this in London have any different affect on your songs then in the US?

Not consciously, his studio had an effect but I'm not sure the city did much. We didn't see much of it to be honest,we were in the studio the whole time

You have received a great deal of positive press within the last few years. How has this made you look at your career going forward? 

The problem is that I tend to focus on the bad press so I try not to read any of it.

I just watched your video for the first single ‘Make Up Your Mind’. There are girls in their underwear plus a bondage looking guy. What is the story behind the video?

My friend Nathaniel Johnson who made the video thought of it.

What do you think of the current media/social music world? With albums being able to d/l for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an ‘indie’ band such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion? 

I personally don't see the point of spending any money manufacturing CDs . We are in the last dying gasp of the CD era. As far as we are concerned as a band we take the live show as the most tangible and consistent vehicle for our music, if people want to come see us I figure we will be fine

What are your upcoming goals? What would you like to accomplish?

Much bigger audience, 10,000 cap sold out shows!
What mad you want to dedicate your life to music?

The love for music was just natural, I could always feel it very strongly. It's a world I would rather inhabit than any other, meaning the internal one of music.. Not the business.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh? 

 As for Pittsburgh, I always get lost there but otherwise a good town.

Show begins at 9:30p with doors at 9p. Tickets can be found here. More information about the band:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Show Announcement - Jenny Owen Youngs - 5.3.12 - 31st Street Pub - Pittsburgh - Show Preview

Just a quick note since we just confirmed this, Jenny Owen Youngs will be playing at the 31st Pub this Thursday, 5.3. We had featured her for a February show she just performed at the Brillobox. Let me just say she put on a tremendous set that evening. Very entertaining with a strong stage presence. She is touring in support of Tim Barry who will be headlining the evening. The show begins at 9p, not sure how much tickets are (I have never been to the 31st Pub), but you can find more information here.

From her press:

“I wanted to explore new territory, mess around with tones and textures that Dan and I hadn’t really dug into before,” she explains. “When we started working on this album, I was obsessed with Tom Waits’s Swordfishtrombones and Dan was wrapped up in Harry Belafonte’s Calypso.”

These influences are echoed in the loose, bouncy electric guitar lines and layers of woodblocks, oil drums, and varied percussion that can be found weaving through many of the album’s songs, most notably “Love For Long” and “Your Apartment.” “I also wanted to get loud,” she adds. “I cut my teeth on Nirvana, and spend a lot of time listening to bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes, and Sleater-Kinney.” And loudness prevails on the punked-out “Pirates” and the schizophrenic “Sleep Machine.”

There is also something here for those who gravitate toward the quiet and the sad. “O God” is a meditation on regret and taking a pass on perfectly good love, made all the more heart-wrenching by the mournful string arrangement by Romer. “So Long” explores the greatest loss with nothing more than a piano and a few voices (including soaring assists from Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel of Jukebox the Ghost). As Youngs puts it, “I love playing loud, but there are still plenty of feelings to go around.”