Spark Joy Music and Musical Family Tree unite for benefit for Tennessee fire victims


“As many of you know, wildfires are still spreading through eastern Tennessee, a place that is dear to me… and home to so many families, small businesses, and wildlife. Yesterday I reached out to Benjamin Cannon and Spark Joy Music for help, and in true Cannon fashion, a venue and bands were booked within a few short hours. We’re still gathering information on the disaster and where the most help is needed, but 100% of the proceeds will being going to those impacted by these fires. Please join us at Musical Family Tree in Fountain Square on December 17th for a wonderful cause to raise funds for wildfire relief. There will be live music, drinks, a raffle, and stay tuned for more.” – Chris Burch, via Facebook

Indianapolis musicians have come together before to raise money for a good cause in times of crisis, but this benefit has developed with more speed and organization than I’ve seen, bringing together some big names in local alternative folk and rock for an all-ages show where all money raised will benefit the Tennessee fire victims.

The benefit will feature, among others still to be announced, Chris Burch, It’s Just Craig, Jeff Kelly and the Graveyard Shift, Bobbie Morrone Trio and the always incredible Coup D’etat, and will be hosted by MP Cavalier, Music Editor and Co-Host of the DoItIndy Radio Hour. For more information about the show, or for how you can donate items for a raffle which will take place at the event, feel free to check out their Facebook event page.



Nashville rockers JEFF The Brotherhood are ready at last to release their follow-up to 2012’s Hypnotic Nights! Whether the three-year wait was worth it remains to be heard, since as of yet the only new track I’ve heard is “What’s A Creep” (posted below). But the new album Wasted On The Dream was co-produced by Jake and Jamin Orrall with Joe Chiccarelli, who has produced many of my favorite records including the Raconteurs’ Consolers of the Lonely and the White Stripes’ Icky Thump, as well as several classic albums from seminal Mexican garage band Cafe Tacuba. So I have high confidence that this album is going to have more than enough raw rock to get people excited about the state of 2015’s new music. As the band states in a recent press release:

Wasted on the Dream is the first JEFF The Brotherhood album to showcase the band’s recent evolution into a full-blown ROCK outfit: Jake plays six-string guitar (as opposed to his custom-made signature 3-string model), Jamin plays a full kit and Jack Lawrence (of Dead Weather and Raconteurs fame) plays bass on the entire album. The album also features guest contributions from Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, Diarrhea Planet guitarists Evan Bird and Emmett Miller, and a flute solo by Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. To accommodate their bigger sound live, JEFF has expanded to a highly voluminous, balls-out twin guitar monster of a quartet.

The album drops March 10th, and will include the following tracks:

  1. Voyage Into Dream
  2. Black Cherry Pie
  3. Cosmic Visions
  4. Mystified Minds
  5. Melting Place
  6. In My Dreams
  7. In My Mouth
  8. Karaoke, TN
  9. Coat Check Girl
  10. What’s A Creep
  11. Prairie Song

SOUNDTRACK YOUR BINGE: Orange Is The New Black releases Soundtrack album just in time for Season 2

If you, like my wife and I, became immediately hooked by Netflix’s bingeable hit Orange is the New Black, and you’re eagerly awaiting the second season so you can marathon the hell out of it, now’s your chance to pick up a copy of the soundtrack album! Among included artists are title-track songstress Regina Spektor, as well as contributions from Kelis, Betty Davis, The Staples Singers, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and much more to sink your aural shiv into. Worried you’ll miss a minute of the show? Don’t worry — “You’ve Got Time” So give it a listen! And if you get the chance, grab a copy on limited edition Orange Vinyl! Season two of the series releases in its entirety on Netflix June 6th.

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Track Listing
1. Regina Spektor – You’ve Got Time
2. Betty Davis – Walkin Up The Road
3. Latimore – Move And Groove Together
4. Tune-Yards – Gangsta
5. The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There
6. Kelis – Milkshake
7. Leagues – Walking Backwards
8. Little Foot Long Foot – Kickface
9. Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning
10. The Dutchess and The Duke – Living This Life Makes It Hard
11. Nancy Cassidy – Chicken
12. Whispering Jack Smith – Baby Face

Black Crowes’ Guitarist Rich Robinson will release solo album The Ceaseless Sight on June 3rd

Rich Robinson, of the Black Crowes, has announced he will officially release his third solo record The Ceaseless Sight in June, and has premiered the lead single “One Road Hill” via Paste. You can check out the song below, featuring its strong folk melody, hand-claps and Robinson’s patented jangling acoustic guitar style, all of which echoes through the entirety. I’m really excited to hear more from this one.

In related news, beginning March 8th, Robinson will proudly join the likes of stalwart names such as Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Robby Krieger, Jonny Lang, Bootsy Collins, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Billy Cox (Band of Gypsys, Jimi Hendrix Experience) and many more on the Experience Hendrix Tour presented by BandFuse: Rock Legends. Robinson will be performing on the following select dates:

March 8 – Shawnee, OK – Grand Event Center
March 9 – Midland, TX – Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center
April 4 – Milwaukee, WI – The Riverside Theater
April 5 – Merrillville, IN – Star Plaza Theater
April 6 – Peoria, IL – Peoria Civic Center
April 8 – Minneapolis, MN – State Theater

TUESDAY NEW RELEASES: Welcome to the “New Industry Normal.”

Excerpted from PJ Lifestyle — to read the entire article, click here— I highlight the best of new album and DVD / Blu-Ray releases, as well as interesting tech finds. It’s my weekly column, “Tuesday New Releases,” every week at PJ Lifestyle.

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As if one needed further proof of a downward-trending music industry, Adele’s 21 became the first album of the Soundscan era to lead all album sales two years running. In other words, nothing released during all of 2012 could unseat an album released in the first month of 2011. All that with Adele sidelined by vocal-chord issues and her pending pregnancy.

Taylor Swift tried and failed to block that path, with Red falling 1.3 million from 21 despite having four top ten hits, none of which ranked inside the year’s top ten overall. The year’s big winners — Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and Fun — dominated single sales with their first Hot 100 releases. No one knew their names when the year began, and it remains questionable whether either can follow it up.

With the fresh start a new year brings, we need to face facts: LPs no longer draw long-term interest from fans, who prefer the instant gratification of a viral hit single. And no matter how many singles get parceled out to radio stations month after month, an artist lives or dies by the success of the last one.

Singles don’t drive album sales — they simply drive demand for more singles.

Having sacrificed the long-term stability inherent in developing artists over the long term, labels must now watch as newcomers either instantly dominate or free-fall. Veteran acts, meanwhile, either find ways to continually churn out successful singles to dying radio while courting fickle audiences online or they cling to the hope that their next album will prove different. Just ask Aerosmith how that worked for them.

Welcome to the new industry normal. Observing which bands find ways to use these trends to their advantage will provide the real fun of chart-watching in 2013.

Serj Tankian Set To Release New Studio Album, Harakiri, July 10th

Serj Tankian

Serj Tankian to release new album in July

System of a Down’s Serj Tankian is ready to release his third solo album, Harakiri, this coming July. Recorded at his home studio in Los Angeles, Tankian used his iPad as an actual songwriting instrument. “We must trick ourselves into writing in different ways to get unexpected results,” he says. “The record is different than any I’ve made as a solo artist. It is much more driving and punk oriented with influences ranging from goth to electronic to 80’s vibes, dynamically heavy rock to epic melodic songs. Lyrically, it spans the gauntlet of themes from personal, political and philosophical to spiritual, humor and love.”

Not that Tankian’s ever someone who would likely be accused of playing things safe. His work with System of a Down has long been on the cutting edge of modern alt-metal, and his solo albums — Elect The Dead and Imperfect Harmonies — have pushed the envelope more each time out. A sample of the first single, “Figure It Out,” will be issued on Tankian’s website next week.

Until then, enjoy “Goodbye – Gate 21 (Rock Remix)” from the Imperfect Remixes EP, featuring his backup band the FCC and Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine.

Live-Blogging the 2012 Grammys

Grammys 2012

Will this be Adele's year, or a year of big shockers?

10:30 p.m. — And that’s a wrap! Feel free to comment the hell out of the comments section if anyone reads this, and I’ll respond through the day tomorrow!

10:25 p.m. — Sir Paul McCartney got “a little help from his friends” and is finally in his proper element. These are the best pop songs of all time for a bloody reason! He should have skipped his new song and just done this, but what a way to bring the night to an end! Beats seeing the credits roll over Adele’s final acceptance speech.

10:21 p.m. — Okay, Adele sealed it … not that anyone expected anything else.

10:20 p.m. — Album of the Year — Adele and all the others. If Foos win this would it be the upset of the decade?

10:17 p.m. — Not that I hate Paul McCartney or anything, but with this show going as long as it is, he’d better own those Beatles songs and rock this show out in the next few minutes. Because his first song did nothing for me.

10:12 p.m. — Record of the Year is won by Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” as expected. She’s now tied with the Foos, and soon to beat them with Album of the Year as well, barring an act of pure Grammy Insanity.

10:10 p.m. — Record of the Year — Adele should win this hands down.

10:10 p.m. — Proof the Grammys are out of touch with women in music. 1) They skipped over Nicki Minaj in any major awards; 2) They force fed us Chris Brown all night. Nice to see they at least gave her Roman character some room to shine on the show, though I’m sure half the audience in middle America are like “what the fuck was THAT?” I like seeing someone original, crazy and willing to showcase it taking the stage.

10:05 p.m. — I LOVE THIS SONG by Nicki Minaj!

9:57 p.m. — Nicki Minaj gets to perform but not win anything. And hey, Deadmau5 was actually pretty solid, I thought. Not that I know much about his brand of music.

9:50 p.m. — My wife Aimee: “Who gives a shit about CHRIS FUCKING BROWN?” Agreed.

9:48 p.m. — This is insane! Can’t keep your gun to yourself for more than three hours, Lil Wayne? Seriously … way to overshadow your “music,” Weezy. At least maybe you’ll get another prison book contract!

9:47 p.m. — That was the best performance of the night not done by Adele.

9:43 p.m. — Jennifer Hudson knows how to sing Whitney songs, let’s just say that right out front. I like that they kept this part vocals only. The rest of the arrangement, with the piano backdrop, kept the focus where it belonged, on the timeless song.

9:36 p.m. — I think that’ll be the new standard against which acceptance speeches like Pearl Jam’s will be judged.

9:35 p.m. — Glad they played him off, after he was so iffy about whether he even wanted the award.

9:34 p.m. — With discomfort, he has gratitude, and Justin Vernon pisses on his great opportunity to thank his fans and be grateful for those of us who buy his music and think it’s solid that he won, even if he doesn’t respect it.

9:32 p.m. — The Band Perry? Sucks. Bon Iver? Good. J Cole? Eh. Nicki? Awesome. Skrillex? Fuck that! The Grammy goes to ……. BON IVER! CALLED IT! Grammy’s biggest fuck-up of the year, is what folks are going to call this, at least all the Nicki fans!

9:30 p.m. — An hour to go! Grammy for Best New Artist … could this be an upset? Nicki Minaj SHOULD win, but I’m thinking this could be a “Grammy moment.”

9:20 p.m. — There he is! He’s still got the sound down to an art, and it’s nice to see a songwriting legend up there having gotten the chance to clean up his life rather than flaming out. It’s too bad he’s soon not going to have any memories of it all left.

9:15 p.m. — Taylor Swift introduces the tribute to Glen Campbell. Out with the old, in with the new. With the help of the Band Perry and Blake Shelton, neither of whom is relevant enough to warrant not just letting Glen sing a couple of his best songs unencumbered by Grammy trappings.

9:05 p.m. — Adele’s performance: at long last! Apparently she’s won four awards so far, not the two we’ve seen on TV … her voice is still in top form, that’s for sure! “Rolling In The Deep” is definitely the song of 2011 people will still remember in 2031. It’s also proof that the best songs are the ones with the most emotion behind the writing and performance. You can tell she’s invested in this song to the core. Same goes for the entire album 21.

9:00 p.m. — Entering hour three … we’re officially halfway there. Wow. I’ll buy an album if the money goes to the Grammy Foundation for Making Grammys Shorter and Awarding More Music On Screen. Join me!

8:57 p.m. — Best Country Album — Should go to Taylor Swift. Actually goes to Lady Antebellum. Double yawn. That album sucked!

8:53 p.m. — Katy Perry, one of the many who will lose to Adele, performs … by which I mean lipsynchs the hell out of things. Glow in the dark outfits are fine, but there was nothing about this “E.T.” performance that made me disappointed when the sound cut out. Then there was more. Yawn.

8:50 p.m. — An AWARD presented by Neil Patrick Harris: Song of the Year — four nominees + Adele. The award goes to Adele, who gets her second! Who thought “Rolling In The Deep” wouldn’t win?

8:41 p.m. — Chris Brown blowback:

8:40 p.m. — Taylor Swift may never be someone with wide non-country appeal, but I like her sound. At least she keeps things interesting, and her voice is better than she gets credit for. She brings out a banjo tonight and wins extra points from me.

8:35 p.m. — Common’s presentation of Gil Scott Heron was a nice touch — Best R&B album though: Chris Brown and R Kelly are terrible … of the five I preferred Kelly Price, but they gave it to Chris Brown. Disappointing. “Look at me now … I’m getting paper for being an asshole …” Ugh. Thank God and the Grammys for letting him “do his thang” …

8:32 p.m. — Stevie Wonder introduces Macca on the show, after busting out some “Love Me Do” on his harmonica … but man, I want to see Paul McCartney rock, not listen to this standards shit. Can’t we have a few more years of him as a pop singer and Beatle, rather than as the next Tony Bennett?

8:25 p.m. — Finally the Beach Boys show up and take over the Grammys with the real deal rather than lame cookie cutters of the real deal. “Good Vibrations” actually benefited from having Maroon 5 and Foster the People to add oomph to the layered harmonies. Maybe I was too harsh on both of those acts; they did good workmanlike covers of hard to imitate songs. But I wish there’d been more with the REAL Beach Boys.

8:20 p.m. — Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to hear Foster the People pretend to be relevant? We want the Beach Boys!

8:18 p.m. — Grammys take credit for the Beach Boys reunion. Lovely … by bringing in Ryan Secrest to then introduce Maroon 5, doing a surprisingly decent version of “Surfer Girl” which still doesn’t introduce the Beach Boys we want to hear from.

8:16 p.m. — The award goes to a garage and a tape machine! Long live rock … “the human element is most important!” DO YOUR CRAFT!

8:15 p.m. — Best Rock Performance: 1.) Coldplay isn’t rock. 2) The Decemberists aren’t rock. 3) Radiohead’s “Lotus Flower” isn’t rock. 4) Mumford isn’t rock. Give a fifth to the Foos!

8:07 p.m. — As the Grammys enter their second hour, as much as I’m enjoying it, I have to wonder why they booked three and a half hours for this, when they are only giving a handful of actual awards. So far we’re two awards in, and the score’s tied Kanye 1, Adele 1.

8:02 p.m. — No medley is complete without “Paradise,” the flat-out strongest pop song on the entire album! Hard not to do this song justice.

8:00 p.m. — Rihanna is proving why she’s the one who America wants to continue to hear more from (not that particular ex of hers who will not be named anymore on here.) And Coldplay’s not bad either … this is one of the better songs off their Mylo Xyloto album. So far the Grammy performances are definitely doing it for me for the most part!

7:46 p.m. — At least I can hear the Foos … so far, despite Adele’s best efforts, they’ll remain Grammy’s biggest winner for at least another couple hours.

7:45 p.m. — Shut up idiots! I can’t hear Jack Black talk!

7:38 p.m. — She’s a guilty pleasure, but damn it, I like Kelly Clarkson! And her new album’s nothing to sneeze at either. This performance is solid, but a bit odd coming right after Best Rap Performance gets handed out.

7:35 p.m. — The Grammy for Best Rap Performance goes to Jay Z and Kanye, so Kanye can … not show up! SUCK IT, GRAMMYS!

7:30 p.m. — I just got retweeted by Bruce VanWyngarden!

7:28 p.m. — I’m fine with turning up the music, if I can turn down Chris Brown. Weakest performance of the night so far.

7:25 p.m. — “Someone Like You” gives Adele her first award. No surprises there, it was definitely the best pop vocal performance.

7:20 p.m. — Alicia Keys is among the few today who can still do Etta James real justice. I love this performance!

7:12 p.m. — Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops and Hooligans is better as an album than the sum of its parts, and he’s a great performer. This one gets the feet pumping and does a lot to lead credence to the idea this is going to be a celebratory night, not a mournful one.

7:05 p.m. — I had no idea the Grammys needed a host. Let the music speak for itself, do we really need a voiceover? At least in the case of Whitney’s death, I think so.

7:00 p.m. — Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band opened the Grammys with their new single, and I stand by my opinion that the Boss could sing from the phone book and still draw a crowd into a frenzy. But “We Take Care Of Our Own” does a good job of introducing an album I suspect will be more varied than the song’s detractors would expect. Seemed a good way to get the show started.

6:54 p.m. — Should Chris Brown get a pass on his past re: Rihanna and being a spousal abuser?

6:50 p.m. — Spin’s spin on Adele’s 60 Minutes interview just went up here. My favorite quote:  “I don’t want to be some skinny mini with my tits out. And I don’t want people confusing what it is that I’m about. I just stand there and sing. And I don’t do stunts or anything. if I wanted to do all that, I don’t think I’d get away with it.”

6:10 p.m. — We’re still an hour out from the broadcast, but just keeping an eye on Twitter and, there’s a great deal going on that won’t make the broadcast but which is still worth noting — among the leaders being, as Jian Ghomeshi, co-creator of Q on Radio & CBC TV, notes:

Nice to see the Foos getting noticed for White Limo, which was a leader among the notable lack of solid rock albums from 2011. Too bad none of their glory is going to make it into the live broadcast.

As expected, Whitney Houston is also dominating pre-Grammy conversation. I particularly liked Eric Alper‘s take on comments by Tony Bennett, who for once was spot on:

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I tend to badmouth the Grammys a great deal, but was thinking about it today and realized I actually haven’t “watched” the live ceremony in several years. So my wife and I are going to “take one for the team” and give this year’s proceedings a live viewing, and we’ll be posting our commentary on this page throughout! That way those of you reading here can view vicariously through us.

Early questions:

1. What will the tribute to Whitney Houston be?

2. Will this be the year of Adele, or a year of typical Grammy “surprises”?

3. Will Bon Iver translate into a “good winter” evening for Nicki Minaj in the “Best New Artist category, or will indie rock rule the day?

Drop me your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll be updating this page throughout the night, starting at 7 p.m. Central!