Sunday, March 31, 2013

SXSW 2013 - Watch Lissie Perform Live at the Hotel San Jose in Austin, Courtesy of WFUV

On Saturday March 16th, Lissie played a set at South by San Jose @ Hotel San Jose in Austin and the WFUV cameras were rolling. WFUV and KUTX make the best quality video on the internet, it just doesn't get any better. Earlier we posted the KUTX video, now it's a total pleasure to see Lissie at SXSW.

Watch "The Habit"

Lissie played four times at SXSW, including a dynamite 5pm set Thursday at the Radio Day Stage at the Austin Convention Center. SXSW streamed video of all the afternoon sets at the
Radio Day Stage, and I caught and thoroughly enjoyed Lissie's set, without knowing it was her until after the set was over and I looked up the schedule to see who it was. Her guitarist was especially good.

Watch "Shameless"

Photos courtesy of Lissie except where noted.

Bonus Video: Lissie has done one full-length album and two EPs. Expectations are justifiably high for her next album. She talks new album in this WFUV Interview, conducted at SXSW.

Photo by Debi Del Grande

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Texas - New Album Due May 20th, Listen to the New Single, Title Track Sounds Stunning After Eight Year Hiatus, The Conversation (2013)

Good News from Glasgow:  Texas will release their eighth album, The Conversation, on the 20th of May, consisting of twelve new songs, their first album of new material since Red Book (2005). To celebrate the release, there will also be two deluxe versions of the album; one will be a double CD with ten live tracks on disc 2, the other is a 23-song download that includes everything on the double CD, plus one extra bonus track, "Where Do You Go", exclusively for pre-orders on iTunes.

The Conversation is available at U.S. iTunes, which is welcome news for listeners here in the States who have had to go the import route for all of Texas' albums since The Hush (1999). Tezas will celebrate not only the new album, but also their 25th anniversary as a band with two very special pre-release shows, one in Glasgow, one in London. These shows will be at small intimate venues with ticket sales handled by lottery at their website. "Only 50 pairs of tickets will be available for the Glasgow show and 75 pairs for the London show. Tickets for the shows will be £15.00 per ticket."

Texas unveiled the first single this week, the album's title track. Starting with a bluesy guitar riff that recalls the straight ahead guitar rock of the first album, "The Conversation" has the pop/rock sophistication that drove so many Texas singles to the top of the UK charts. The band sounds tighter than ever, and when they stop on a dime there's but one thing you can do. Play it again. "The Conversation" is out now on iTunes.

Texas - The Conversation

Here is the Tracklist:
1. The Conversation
2. Dry Your Eyes
3. If It Isn't Real
4. Detroit City
5. I Will Always
6. Talk About Love
7. Hid From The Light
8. Be True
9. Maybe I
10. Hearts Are Made To Stray
11. Big World
12. I Need Time

There will also be a special edition with a bonus live CD containing ten Texas favorites, recorded in Scotland in 2012.

Here is the tracklist for the bonus disc:
1. I Don't Want A Lover
2. Summer Son
3. Halo
4. In Demand
5. The Conversation
6. When We Are Together
7. Once In A Lifetime
8. Say What You Want
9. Black Eyed Boy
10. Inner Smile

Bonus Video:  We can't resist this classic video in which Sharleen Spiteri dances with Alan Rickman in a gas station. The song is "In Demand", one of the three new songs that were included in The Greatest Hits (2000).

Photos courtesy of Texas

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rae Morris - Third EP Due 4/22, Watch Title Track, From Above (2013)

Saturday Video: Newcomer Rae Morris is about to release her third EP, From Above, and this week she debuted a beautiful video of the title track. Rae talked about making the video, "Filming my second official music video was just as exciting as doing the first one, and getting to make a video full stop feels so surreal! We filmed From Above on a very cold January day in London and most of it was shot using a fascinating piece of new technology called an Omcopter. You'll see what i'm talking about when you watch the video!"

Rae also talked about the new EP and her plans to record her first full length album, "Being my third and final EP, I feel like this collection of songs is an insight into the journey I've been on over the last year or so prior to recording my debut album. Making these three EP's has been such an amazing learning process and i'm ready to make a record now, properly, for you all to hear later in the year. I can't wait."

Rae Morris - From Above EP

Bonus Video: This week we have a powerful solo performance of "Day One" from a video series called The Amazing Sessions. This video elicited one of our favorite viewer comments. 1104zion wrote: "I'm a 26 year old, straight, football loving, steak eating, Boddingtons drinking, MAN... But this gives me butterflies. TELL NO ONE!"

Photos courtesy of Rae Morris

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

SXSW 2013 - KUT at the Four Seasons, Next Best Thing to Being There, Watch All Four Days' Shows

South By Southwest 2013:  For a remote taste of SXSW you cannot do better than KUTX-FM, with their morning showcases at the Four Seasons, streaming the performances live and archived at plus live video clips in best-ever quality. Will post each morning's shows as soon as they are available. Thank you KUT.

Wednesday 3/13/13

Amy Cook - Summer Skin

Little Green Cars - The John Wayne

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside - Paris

James Hunter - One Way Love

Thurday 3/14/13

Wheeler Brothers - My Time

Lone Bellow - You Can Be All Kinds of Emotional

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - Holy Rollers

Robyn Hitchcock - The Abyss

Friday 3/15/13

Dana Falconberry - Cormorant and Crooked River

Frightened Rabbit - Backyard Skulls

Josh Ritter - Joy to you Baby

The Relatives

Saturday 3/16/13

Kelly Hogan - Golden

My Jerusalem - Preachers

Billy Bragg - Sexuality

Saturday, March 09, 2013

New Swing Out Sister Song & Video, Watch "Chuo Freeway", Plus Private View, Studio CD Special Package Includes Live DVD, Tokyo Stories (2013)

Saturday Video:  Jazz/pop-meisters Swing Out Sister just debuted a brand new track via Youtube video. In the last half year or so, Swing Out Sister has embraced social media with Facebook and Twitter accounts for the group and for founding members Corinne Drewery and Andy Connell. Andy has been very active and it turns out that he is a big sports fan, including American football (who knew?).

In addition to topical commentary, Andy often posts highly interesting music clips and videos. It's a treat for the audience when an artist does their own social media, rather than leave it to a publicist as many do. Andy has been making the most of social media, like posting this new track, "Chuo Freeway" with the following, from Facebook.

New Swing Out Sister track!
"A somewhat longer clip of the song we covered for the Yumi Arai tribute album, just released on Sony Japan. Still missing the faux-orchestral intro, which is my favourite bit, but gives more of a sense of the song I think.." - Andy

Personnel on the track is Corinne Drewery - lead vocal, Andy Connell - keyboards, Tim Cansfield - guitar, Jody Linscott - congas/percussion, and George Hart - drums.

Photos courtesy of Swing Out Sister

Private View (Special Deluxe CD + DVD)

While Swing Out Sister has a solid and loyal following in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and their native England, they are huge in Japan, so it follows that when it came time to do a live DVD, they recorded it in Japan. Tokyo Stories is a beautiful DVD. There's a concert by the "acoustic" Swing Out Sister which has been their configuration for about the past five years. There are some nice shots of Tokyo interspersed with the concert, and some really worthwhile extras. When it was released late last year, it cost about $30 U.S.

Swing Out Sister also released a new album last year called Private View and it has new arrangements of some great Swing Out Sister songs, arrangements that are more consistent with the way that the band plays them now, full description follows. The great news for fans in the U.S. is that after years of spotty releases and expensive imports, Private View has been released here on Shanachie in a deluxe edition that includes the Tokyo Stories DVD for a price that is currently under $20. Here's the full description from the label.

To celebrate 25 years of success with their unmatched fusion of jazz and pop, Swing Out Sister decided to look back to their past without melancholy or nostalgia. They do look at the future proud and happy about their 25 years of joyful relationship with their audience and fans.

"Private View" includes beautiful new recordings from the band's biggest hits and classic songs in a new jazzier treatment. Songs like 'La La Means I Love You', 'Am I The Same Girl?' or 'Notgonnachange' are not missing just as little as the band's biggest hits 'Breakout' and 'You On My Mind' now being completely new arranged. Listeners can witness the songs as instrumental versions, remixes or pure jazz versions.

Especially in Japan Swing Out Sister achieved great reputation with having played countless sold out shows. Their song 'Now You're Not Here' has been chosen to be the soundtrack of a famous Japanese TV series. Moreover, Swing Out Sister has been honoured with the Japanese Grand-Prix- Award in 1997 for being the best foreign band.

No surprise that the live concert of the bonus DVD has been filmed live at Billboard Live Tokyo in 2010. "Tokyo Stories - Live At Billboard 2010" captures the great live atmosphere and the energetic and incredible response from everyone that had the chance to enjoy the band live on stage.

Bonus Videos:  Here are two performances from the Tolyo Stories DVD, "Breakout" (slow)/"I'll Be There" and "Stoned Soul Picnic".

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Seven Psychopaths (Film4/BFI/Blueprint Pictures, 2012), Genius Writing, Casting, Direction

The average moviegoer will most likely see Seven Psychopaths thinking that it's going to be a crime drama with murders and worse - that's not this movie. Seven Psychopaths is the story of a screenwriter trying to write a movie called Seven Psychopaths.

It's ingeniously written and directed by Martin McDonagh and stars Colin Farrell as Marty Faranan, the struggling screenwriter. The movie is quietly funny in a way that plays off the viewers' own sense of the absurd. Watch the opening scene in which two hit men are engaging in dialogue in a manner befitting the Sopranos or a Tarantino movie. Michael Pitt from Boardwalk Empire plays one of the hit men. We'll pick this up after you watch the scene.

Colin Farrell

The masked gunman who shoots the hit men drops a jack of diamonds playing card next to each body (the Jack of Diamonds Killer) as the soundtrack plays "The First Cut is the Deepest", and a typewriter types on the screen, "Psychopath #1". This is funny even before we hear Marty bat ideas around with his best friend Billy Bickle, played by Sam Rockwell, ideas like a serial killer who only kills other serial killers.

Not content to just send up the conventions of crime dramas, McDonagh plays with the motivations and philosophies too. Marty wants his movie to be non-violent, and comes up with the idea of a Buddhist psychopath. After a while he crosses out "Buddhist" and writes "Amish", then, after thinking about it, scratches "Amish" and makes it "Quaker". The scenes that follow have a stereotypical old fashioned Quaker looking so menacing that the contradiction is just perfectly ridiculous.

Harry Dean Stanton as the Quaker Psychopath

Abbie Cornish, Sam Rockwell & Colin Farrell

The supporting cast is excellent. Australian actress Abbie Cornish is so crazy talented that it's almost a shame that as Marty's girlfriend, she's only in a few scenes in the first reel. Billy is a psychopath too, and he's involved with Christopher Walken, looking his psychopathic best as Hans Kieslowski, named as an apparent nod to Krystof Kieslowski, one of the greatest film directors who ever lived.

Hans and Billy steal dogs, returning them to their owners after a few days for the reward. Billy is sleeping with Angela, beautifully played by Olga Kurylenko. Angela is also sleeping with deranged mobster and psychopath Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson). Billy steals Charlie's dog (a Shih Tzu), much to Angela's dismay, and infuriating Charlie.

Woody Harrelson & Olga Kurylenko

Tom Waits

In a sweet side plot, Tom Waits is cast as Zachariah Rigby, a psychopath who answers an ad that Billy "helpfully" placed in the newspaper, looking for "psychopaths to call and share their 'crazy or quirky stories' for a movie script." Charlie's heavy handed attempts to get his dog back, lead inevitably to "the big shootout" which partially takes place in front of a sign that says "No Shooting".

The Big Shootout

Martin McDonagh

Colin Farrell is perfect in the leading role. This is his second project with Martin McDonagh writing and directing, they previously worked together on In Bruges, a similarly themed story of a couple of hit men hiding out in the beautiful Belgian city that gave the movie it's name. The black comedy in that movie was a little darker and bloodier than in Seven Psychopaths, but no less biting or dead on.

The genius of Seven Psychopaths in the writing. Some scenes are unquestionably the creation of the Marty character, but what about the psychopaths who populate Marty's reality? They are also the product of a screenwriter's imagination, one who is also writing a movie called Seven Psychopaths. The movie really gets good when you realize that the movie has folded in on itself and the line between the movie you are watching and the movie-within-the-movie dissolves to the point that they are one and the same movie.

Martin McDonagh

Christopher Walken

Writing like this doesn't come along every day. It is comparable to the writing achievement of The Sixth Sense, in which writer-director M. Night Shyamalan wrote a script that played one way (high suspense with a surprise ending) the first time through, and then it got even better on repeat viewings. Shyamalan's genius is that every scene plays differently once you know the ending; the scenes are better, more intense.

There's no surprise ending in Seven Psychopaths, but there is one hilarious scene that takes place after the credits start rolling, so you who who get up to leave or turn off your disc players at the first sign of credits (you know who you are) are going to miss it. Seven Psychopaths is comparable to The Sixth Sense in that the writing is so artful that the first time around it's good at face value, but it gets exponentially better, and funnier, with each successive screening.

Photos courtesy of Film4/BFI/Blueprint Pictures

Saturday, March 02, 2013

New Courtney Jaye Song & Video,  Watch "Say Oh Say" (2013),  New Album Coming 5/7

Saturday Video:  Nashville songstress Courtney Jaye has just released a new song and video, "Say Oh Say", the first taste of her new album, Love and Forgiveness, coming on May 7th. Courtney told USA Today that her new album is "a seventies-inspired country-pop album." From what we've heard, Courtney has never sounded better and we are more excited about this one than just about anything else on the horizon.

Courtney is giving a free download of "Say Oh Say" in exchange for your email address at her website. Love and Forgiveness will be her fourth album. Her last, The Exotic Sounds of Courtney Jaye, wound up on our list of the best albums of 2010.

Bonus Video:  Here is a live version of "Morning", a song which is also going to be on the new album. With your appetite thus sufficiently whetted, now would be a fine time to read Courtney's Tropical Nashville Five.

Photos courtesy of Courtney Jaye

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