You might expect a band that calls itself Yarn to, naturally, tend to spin a yarn or two. âthatâs what we do, we tell stories, live and in the studio, truth and fictionâ singer/songwriter Blake Christiana insists. âWe donât always opt for consistency. Thereâs a different vibe onstage from what comes through in our recordings. Thereâs a difference in every show as well, you never know what youâre going to get.â
Itâs with that in mind that Yarn has announced a series of singles that will be digitally released on the 13th of every month beginning in January and continuing throughout the year. Each âsingleâ will include an âA sideâ, a âB sideâ and an exclusive alternate version of one of the songs. Naturally, thereâs no better name for the project than âLucky 13.â
âThese are essentially road stories,â Christiana says. âThereâs an overriding theme that links these songs in a very broad sort of way, but again, the stories are not to be taken literally. The intention was to share the feeling of what itâs like to spend time traveling from city to city, with all the unlikely experiences that can be encountered along the way.
âPeople always ask us to tell them road stories,â singer-guitarist Rod Hohl adds. âWhile this batch of songs arenât exactly literal road stories, most deal with some degree of adventure and adversity as inspired by our tours and treks around the country. Yet like any good story, thereâs an imaginative element to it as well. Thatâs why weâve decided to release alternate versions of some of the tracks, to provide a glance at the oddities that exist just beyond sight...â
The titles of these tracks summarize the stories at a glance. Hohl describes âSioux City,â âRoad Less Traveledâ and âHurricaneâ as adventure stories as seen from the perspective of the road. âToo Youngâ re-imagines that road as an analogy, the highway of life. âWeary,â as the title implies, describes the toll taken by that seemingly endless journey. However, thereâs also hope on the horizon; âHeaven in Youâ suggests that there is an oasis out there somewhere. âPromised Landâ and âAmerican Dreamâ offer a reason why one might choose to embark upon that sojourn in the first place.
Yarn has never been content to simply ride a wave and see where it takes them. Their last album, This Is the Year, was celebratory in tone and boldly optimistic. A seamless blend of vibrant, inspired, back porch melodies and narrative, descriptive lyrics, it detailed the challenges one faces when life is jolted off its bearings and, in re-evaluating relationships, tough choices must be made that sometimes skirting the rules. It was recorded in the aftermath of real-life challenges that left the band splintered and unsure of their forward trajectory.
âWe were dealing with real-life issues,â Christiana said at the time. âBroken relationships, a sense of having to regroup and put some things -- and people -- behind us. Thatâs what I was writing about lyrically in the new songs and it became kind of a catharsis. Nothing was contrived. We didnât have to relate to it in the third person. We were living these circumstances, and that gave us the impetus and inspiration to share our sentiments. Ultimately those setbacks and difficulties led to new opportunities and allowed a little light to shine through.â
Yarnâs ability to persevere ought to come as no great surprise, especially for a band that spent two years honing their chops during a Monday night residency at the famed Kennyâs Castaway in New Yorkâs Greenwich Village. In effect, it allowed them to rehearse onstage, mostly in front of audiences that often ranged in size from five to a hundred people on any given night. Five studio albums followed -- Yarn (2007), Empty Pockets (2008), Come On In (2010), Almost Home (2012) and Shine the Light On (2013).
The band then took to the road, playing upwards of 170 shows a year and sharing stages with such superstars as Dwight Yoakam, Charlie Daniels, Marty Stuart, Allison Krauss, Leon Russell, Jim Lauderdale and The Lumineers. They performed at any number of prestigious venues -- Mountain Stage, Daytrotter, the Orange Peel in Asheville, the Fox Theater in Boulder, the 9:30 Club in D.C, South by Southwest, the Strawberry Festival, Rhythm and Roots, Meadowgrass, Floydfest and more, eventually surpassing 1,000 shows, half a million miles and performances in nearly every state. Theyâve driven nonstop, made countless radio station appearances, driven broken-down RVs and watched as their van caught fire. Theyâve paid their dues and then some, looking forward even as they were forced to glance behind.
Indeed, the accolades piled up quickly along the way. They have landed on the Grammy ballot 4 times, garnered nods from the Americana Music Association, placed top five on both Radio and Records and the AMA album charts garnered airplay on Sirius FM, iTunes, Pandora, CNN, and CMT, and also accorded the âDownload of the Dayâ from Rolling Stone. Shine the Light On found shared songwriting credits with John Oates (the Oates of Hall & Oates fame), and when audiences expressed their admiration, it brought the band a populist following of diehard devotees, popularly known as âthe Yarmy.â
As odd as that might seem, itâs proof positive that the Brooklyn and Raleigh based band -- which is currently comprised of Blake Christiana, Rod Hohl, bassist Rick Bugel, and drummer Robert Bonhomme -- have made their mark, and in dealing with their emotions, scars, and circumstances, they find themselves in a position to share those experiences with others who have juggled similar sentiments. Then again, one neednât take them at their word. When one unravels Yarn, itâs best to add oneâs own interpretations.
(Late Show) Opus One Comedy Presents Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show Hosted By Carly Ann Filbin
Let's be honest, love doesn't exist, couples suck, and Valentine's Day is bullshit. Join your bitter host Carly Ann Filbin as she tests real life couples to see if they are meant to be together (they aren't). The couple with the least amount of points at the end of the night will have to break-up because we all die alone anyway and what's the point of anything really? It'll be FUN!
(Early Show) Parker McKay with Special Guest Johnny Walylko
Northeast native, singer-songwriter, Parker Mckay has established herself in Nashville as the breath of fresh air that pop-country needs. Her eclectic influences ranging from HAIM, John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, and even Eminem are evident in her new take on country that is honest, conversational and has compelling melodies. Her powerhouse voice and engaging phrasing tie it all together.
Parker has opened for artists like Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Sheryl Crow, and Martina McBride. As both an artist and songwriter, her name has already made a notable impact on the industryâs community. Her debut music video premiered exclusively with Rolling Stone and she was recently added to CMTâs Artist Discovery Program. She brings a unique perspective to the table and shows that itâs a powerful thing to be a vulnerable, confident and fearless woman in country music.
Dirtyphonics with Special Guests Moonboy, Bassburgh Beatdown - Presented by Opus One & Bassburgh Promo
Parisian electronic duo Dirtyphonics (Charly Barranger and Julien âPitchinâ Corrales) have stood the test of time due to their boundless musical panache, their ability to not be pigeonholed into one genre and their willingness to challenge conventional composition standards.
Bursting onto the scene in 2008 with a ferocious sound touching on dubstep, electro, and drum ânâ bass, Dirtyphonics quickly built a reputation as voracious workhorses, crafting rip-roaring re-works for Skrillex, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, Nero, Diplo & Zeds Dead, The Crystal Method, Kaskade and many more. After dropping their heavy-hitting remix of The Bloody Beetroots and Steve Aokiâs timeless electro jam âWarp 1.9,â they went on to join Aokiâs Dim Mak Records, continuing their sonic assault under the umbrella of one of dance musicâs most prominent record labels. At Dim Mak Dirtyphonics unleashed their debut full-length albumÂ âIrreverenceâ, garnering critical acclaim for its fusion of electronic elements with a myriad of genres including neo-metal and drumstep, with Consequence of Sound asserting, "Dirtyphonics are proving worthy challengers for the pinnacle of the French electronic pyramid. "
Fast-forward to 2016, when the globetrotting duo embarked on their colossal and aptly-titled âNeckbreakerâ tour. They also kept their feet on the gas pedal in the studio, staying true to form with frenetic remixes of Skrillex and Alvin Riskâs âTry It Outâ and The Chainsmokersâ chart-topping megahit âCloser (feat. Halsey).â In a bass-heavy blur of genre-bending ululations, Dirtyphonics then barreled into 2017 with theirÂ Night RideÂ EP on Borgoreâs Buygore imprint. The Night Ride project flaunts the signature sharp Dirtyphonics sound (âNight Rideâ and âBeat Dem Upâ) in addition to a more melodic, poignant style (âLost In Your Loveâ featuring celebrated English musician Example), reinforcing their status as bass music favorites while calling attention to their position as global tastemakers.
2017 also saw them make a big splash on renowned dance imprint Monstercat with the huge collaboration with dubstep demigod Bassnectar on the explosive jungle-inspired banger âWatch Outâ featuring Ragga Twins. as well as their hit âGot Your Loveâ with blossoming dubstep duo RIOT.
More inspired than ever, Dirtyphonics lost no time and got back in the studio to write the now famous âVantablack EPâ, a metal infused / bass heavy body of work that resonates with their metal origins in collaboration with guitar prodigy Sullivan King.
In 2018, the duo played the legendary Coachella for the second time, headlined Rampage and played countless festivals such as EDC China, Lost Lands, Dreambeach, Arenal Sound and many more.
Energized by the movement they created Dirtyphonics have just released their new single âRise From the Deadâ on Disciple records and have announced their brand new Liive show starting with a headline slot at Rampage Open Air festival to celebrate 10 years on the road! More than ever Dirtyphonics is THE duo to watch in 2019.
âIâm a singer not a preacher, but these songs are my sermon,â says Paul Cauthen. âWeâre ripping each other apart out there, and forgiveness and mercy are whatâs going to get us through. I want to use my voice the best I can to spread that message while Iâm here on this Earth.â
Somewhere between an EP and an album, Cauthenâs new seven-track collection, âHave Mercy,â is a stunning showcase of the pure power of truth and love. Building off the success of âMy Gospel,â the Texas troubadourâs breakout debut, âHave Mercyâ pushes Cauthenâs songwriting to new heights as he searches for common ground and peace of mind in an increasingly polarized world. Fueled by nearly two straight years of personal and artistic growth on the road, the songs reflect a newfound maturity and creative self-assurance. Cauthenâs rich, velvety baritone is still very much the centerpiece here, but itâs the craftsmanship that dazzles more than anything. âHave Mercyâ is the work of an artist whoâs turned his life over to the music, body and soul, and the rewards for his devotion are undeniably on display throughout the record.
âI wanted to make an honest leap from âMy Gospelâ to âHave Mercy,ââ Cauthen explains. âI wanted to elevate everything: the songwriting, the sound, the live show, the look and the feel of it all. Iâve given up everything for the music and Iâve grown stronger because of it.â
While heâd already earned a reputation as a fierce and fiery frontman from his days in the critically acclaimed band Sons of Fathers, it wasnât until the 2016 release of âMy Gospelâ that Cauthen truly tapped into the full depth of his prodigious talents. Rolling Stone called the album âa triple-barreled blast of Texas country, soul and holy-roller rockabilly delivered by a big-voiced crooner,â while Vice Noisey dubbed it âa somber reminder of how lucky we are to be alive,â and Texas Monthly raved that Cauthen âsound[s] like the Highwaymen all rolled into one: heâs got Willieâs phrasing, Johnnyâs haggard quiver, Kristoffersonâs knack for storytelling, and Waylonâs baritone.â The album landed on a slew of Best Of lists at the yearâs end and earned Cauthen dates with Elle King, Margo Price, Billy Joe Shaver, and Cody Jinks along with festival appearances from Austin City Limits and Pickathon to Stagecoach and Tumbleweed.
It was during those relentless months of touring that Cauthen first began to explore the songs that make up âHave Mercy.â
âA lot of these songs are tunes weâve been playing live and fans have been asking about for a while,â says Cauthen. âTheyâre showstoppers when we play them out on the road, and I believe the whole purpose of putting out a record is so that people can have a little bit of that concert experience back at home.â
To that end, Cauthen and producer Beau Bedford recorded the album as live as possible at Modern Electric in Dallas, capturing all the raucous passion of the stage without sacrificing any of the nuance and sophistication the songwriting demanded. Fortified by contributions from The Texas Gentlemen, a 21st century Wrecking Crew of all-star musicians thatâs backed everyone from Leon Bridges to Kris Kristofferson, the album is a plea for kindness and grace, both internally and externally. As easy as it is to hear these songs as an appeal for compassion from his fellow man, there are moments when itâs clear that Cauthen is singing as much to himself as anyone else, a reminder that love and forgiveness arenât just for our brothers and sisters, but also for the faces staring back at us in the mirror.
âIâve done a lot of reflection lately,â Cauthen says. âIâve brought meditation into my life, and Iâve slowed my roll a bit. Iâve started to pull back on the reigns when it comes to living hard out there on the road. I love my band and Iâm thankful to be where Iâm at as a writer, and I think these songs really reflect that.â
The collection opens with the ominous chain gang percussion of âEverybody Walking This Land,â a righteous tune that thunders with the authority of God handing down the Ten Commandments. In a booming, half-spoken/half-sung drawl, Cauthen rattles off a list of all the things that divide us, insisting that they mean nothing compared to the humanity that we share. âLord we pray we make it through the day,â he sings, âall you mothers, you brothers, you sisters, you fathers, believers, pretenders, bonafide sinners, everybody walking this land.â
âThat song just means everything to me,â Cauthen explains. âBeau and I wrote it like two maniacs drinking coffee and pulling out our hair around a Steinway piano, laughing about doing the Lordâs work.â
Despite the albumâs sometimes-heavy themes, that underlying sense of levity and brotherhood is the lifeblood of the collection. Cauthen never loses sight of the sheer joy he derives from playing music, and through all the ups and downs, he recognizes that good times are hollow if you canât share them with the ones you love. On the funky âResignation,â he learns to appreciate the present by letting go of his struggles and joining his pals for a drink at the bar, while the playful Jerry Reed-meets-Elvis Presley shuffle of âMy Cadillacâ finds bliss in the simplicity of joyriding with friends, and the epic, horn-and-string laden âIn Love With A Foolâ pays tribute to the partners who keep the home fires burning while their lovers are out chasing dreams on the road.
Cauthen writes with a unique blend of Biblical and modern vernacular, a style he likely picked up from his preacher grandfather. âHave Mercyâ lands like a secular hymn for a country still coming to terms with the deep wounds of its bloody past and divided present, while âLil Sonâ lifts straight from generations of family teachings.
âThat song is a message from my granddad,â Cauthen explains. âThe lyrics come from riding around with him in his jeep when I was a kid, just listening to his instructions and learning from his morality.â
As Cauthen says, heâs ultimately a singer not a preacher, and the songs on âHave Mercyâ cut across cultures and creeds, speaking to truths that are bigger than any particular faith. The music is timeless, the themes universal. Whether you believe in the next life or not, our days are numbered, and Paul Cauthenâs here to remind us that a little love goes a long way.
âWhen Iâm gone,â he concludes, âI hope that someday somebody picks up one of my records and says, âThis guy was a hard worker. He honored the songs, he honored the music, and most of all, he honored his listeners.â Thatâs the legacy I want to leave behind.â
Acclaimed raconteur Ray Bonneville strips his bluesy Americana to its essentials and steeps it in the humid grooves of the South, creating a compelling poetry of hard living and deep feeling. His ninth release, At King Electric, delivers more than his trademark grit and groove. Rich guitar and harmonica lines resonate over spare but spunky rhythms, while Bonnevilleâs deep, evocative voice confesses lifeâs harsh realities. Whether performing solo or fronting a band, playing electric or acoustic guitar, Bonneville allows space between notes that adds potency to every chord, lick, and lyric. Often called a âsong and groove man,â he began writing his own music after two decades working as a studio musician, playing rowdy rooms with blues bands, and living hard. Heâs since released nine albums, won Canadaâs Juno award and other prestigious honors, earned wide critical acclaim, and garnered an enthusiastic following in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Andy Black with Special Guests The Faim, Kulick - Presented by Opus One & Iron City Rocks
On Son Voltâs new record, Union, present and past mingle into strong confluence. The thirteen new songs written by founder Jay Farrar confront our turbulent politics and articulate the clarity and comfort music can offer in the tumult. âThere are so many forces driving our country apart,â observes Farrar. âWhat can we do to bring our society back together?â
The country and blues sounds explored by Son Volt on its last two records (2013âs Honky Tonk and 2017âs Notes of Blue) linger in the grooves of Union. But the new record nods to many other mile markers along the bandâs 25-year path. Some tunes offer a powerful return to the ringing lyrical clarity of 2005âs Okemah and the Melody of Riot and 2007âs The Search. Others hearken back to the freewheeling poetic melodicism of 1994âs Trace and 1997âs Straightaways.
âBroadsides will be hurled to capture the truth,â sings Farrar on the brooding and blues-driven song that takes its name from the one-page bulletins that used to spread both proclamations and ballads. And songs such as âThe 99,â âWhile Rome Burns,â and âLady Libertyâ push up the acoustic guitar in the mix to underscore the enduring role of troubadours in troubled times. âA lot of these songs are songs of turmoil,â says Farrar. âQuestioning whatâs going on.â
On Union, Farrar taps into folk musicâs rich lyrical legacy. Itâs a tradition he has tapped often both in Son Volt and in Uncle Tupelo. âI was raised on folk music,â observes Farrar. âPolitics is a common thread there. In a time where we see threats to our way of life, and our democracy, from within, you say: What can I do? I put pen to paper and write music.â
The chorus of Unionâs title song was a âmantraâ of James Paul âPopsâ Farrar, about whom Farrar has written so affectingly in his memoir, Falling Cars and Junkyard Dogs. âHe thought the Israeli model was best,â says the songwriter. âEverybody serves in one capacity or another, and that was the best way to bring a country together. It did happen here in World War II. People of different spiritual and economic backgrounds brought together. And there was an immense period of prosperity after that â for a myriad of reasons, but the idea that all walks of life were working together is important.â
Union grounds its politics in startling images and portraits of the human costs of our divides. Guitar and organ commingle on âWhile Rome Burnsâ to underscore a connectedness in the way that âthe freeways lead to the gravel roads, to the town squares and the rodeos.â
The mournful shuffling âReality Winnerâ echoes direct protest songs such as âHurricaneâ â Bob Dylanâs ode to boxer Rubin Carter, who was wrongly convicted of triple homicide in 1967. Winner is a former intelligence analyst who leaked a National Security Agency document that detailed Russian attempts to hack voting systems to the media. She was convicted of violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to five years and three months in prison.
âWe have a reality TV show president,â Farrar says, âand we have this woman named Reality Winner, and theyâre linked in a way. She represents everything that you want in an American, someone whoâs learned three languages and does her part. Sheâs basically a whistleblower doing hard time. Maybe this song brings more awareness to her plight.â
A reinvigorated band chemistry anchors the new record, with new and returning members turning up in the Union mix. Longtime members Mark Spencer (piano, organ, acoustic slide, lap steel, backing vocals) and Andrew DuPlantis (bass, backing vocals) have been at the core of Son Voltâs recent work. Guitarist Chris Frame â who toured with Son Volt in the Okemah era â rejoined the group for the Notes of Blue tour and plays on the new record. DuPlantis recruited fellow Austin musician Mark Patterson to play drums and percussion.
âWe spent a lot of time together playing shows behind Notes of Blue,â says Farrar. âThat time playing together coalesced into a sense of purpose.â The Son Volt leaderâs return to playing acoustic guitar â after taking up electric guitar on the bandâs last record â also had an impact. âI took a step back,â says Farrar. The space allowed Frame âto add a lot of guitar elements.â The result is âa different flavor and perspective.â
Initially, Farrar intended Union to be an explicitly political statement. âMidway through,â he says, âI realized I needed some balance on the record.â The result is a cluster of new songs that reflect on the power of love, time, and music to heal and sustain us. âHolding Your Ownâ builds to a shimmering and powerful climax of piano and electric guitar as it relays the hopes Farrar identifies in âwatching kids grow up and find their place in society.â
âSlow Burnâ is an ode to hope and resilienceâs power to shake off darkness. The songâs piano chords pave a road out of futility and reminds listeners that âevery tunnel reaches the light.â Another highlight on the record is âDevil May Careâ â an ebullient celebration of the joys of playing music. Farrar strip-mined musical gear catalogues for the poetry in their terminology, reeling off lines like âharmonic fidelity boost high pass filter on a balanced line / Or a cigarette on a headstock, all the same just make it rhyme.â
The attitude of bands such as the early-era Replacements was present as he wrote the song. âThat is the essence of what a band is,â he says. âYou remember: Wait a minute: Music is supposed to make you throw your burdens to the wind, so I tried to include that approach as well.â
Eight of the thirteen songs on Union were recorded at places associated with two figures in American history who Farrar says âmade a differenceâ: Renowned American labor activist Mary Harris âMotherâ Jones and quintessential American troubadour Woody Guthrie. Three songs were laid down at the Mother Jones Museum in Mount Olive, Illinois, while four others were recorded at the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
âI felt doing it in a more challenging environment might inspire us along the way,â says Farrar. âDoing mobile recordings was a way to push myself a little bit. It also pushed Jacob Detering, our engineer, who had to assemble a mobile unit and did a great job.â
Proximity to Guthrie and his legacy pushed strongly into Unionâs closing song: âThe Symbol.â The songâs point of origin was Guthrieâs 1948 poem âPlane Wreck at Los Gatos,â which was later set to music by composer Martin Hoffman and is best-known as âDeportee.â Guthrie wrote at a moment when âworkers needed to work fields werenât even considered as people,â observes Farrar.
In âThe Symbol,â Farrar paints a compelling portrait of a Mexican man who helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina and now finds himself buffeted by the wave of anti-immigration rhetoric and vengeful law enforcement.
Farrar says that the key to writing songs on topical issues that stand the test of time is to be a truthful observer. ââDeporteeâ made such a lasting impression on me,â he observes. âBut it was written in the 1940s You have to give your own take. Say this is what happened. Even if it seems temporary. Hopefully itâs not.â
A soulful vocalist and innovative multi-instrumentalist, award-winning singer/songwriter and producer Rachael Sage is one of the busiest touring artists in independent music, performing 100+ dates a year with her band The Sequins throughout the US, UK, & Europe. She has earned a loyal following for her dynamic piano playing, delicate guitar work, and improvisational audience interaction. Sage has shared stages with Beth Hart, Howard Jones, A Great Big World, Judy Collins, Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, Jamie Cullum, The Animals and Ani DiFranco. Her latest release is "PseudoMyopia", an acoustic collection of timely songs focusing on the concept of vision (including narrow-mindedness) in all its many manifestations, touching on topics as varied as government surveillance, environmental protection, and female empowerment.
Rhett Miller Acoustic with Special Guest Anthony Heubel - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
Muscle Tough is Philadelphiaâs premier Futuristic Funk Fusion trio, with a sound that is a heavily improvised blend of modal jazz, funk, and psychedelia. Drawing from a widely diverse set of influences and a common love of sonic texture, their unique use of sound design and group-minded improvisation allows them to create eclectic original compositions, as well as stretch classic pop hits to new depths. In 2018 the band had notable opening slots for artists such as Lotus at the Capitol Theater, toured throughout the Northeast supporting Matador Soul Sounds, performed on WXPNâs âFree-at-Noonâ radio broadcast, and had a feature article in JUMP Philly, where they were lovingly described as âhighly skilled and hilariousâ. They have had guest appearances on stage by jam luminaries such Jon Fishman (Phish), John Medeski (Medeski, Martin & Wood), Eli Winderman (Dopapod), and the horn section of Snarky Puppy. In the Spring of 2016 the band released their first EP, âGreasinâ Up The Mediocrity Wheelâ, and their first full-length record âMagical Achievementsâ was released at the end of 2017. Their latest release, Modern Romance (released 2/14/19), is a set of adventurous instrumental compositions which lean heavily on dance grooves and bizarre sounds, all with tongue- in-cheek titles that serve as a playful take on the world of modern dating in 2019.
Television with Special Guest Rachel Lynne - Presented by Opus One & 91.3 WYEP
A dictionary entry for the word âinfluentialâ might easily place a picture of Television and stop there. The band has a devout following worldwide and has had a major effect on British post-punk rock as well as American indie rock.
Starting in New Yorkâs East Village in 1973, the band, consisting of Tom Verlaine, Richard Hell, Billy Ficca and Richard Lloyd, were at the center of the scene soon to be labeled punk. The band crystalized with the departure of Hell in 1975 and the addition of Fred Smith on Bass.
Televisionâs debut album released in February 1977 Marquee Moon was hailed by critics as one of the most striking and original recording debuts in years. The scissory, cascading guitar lines, the jabbing vocals, and the âpsychotic calypsoâ drumming demonstrated that there was nothing punky or muddled about Television â it has the silvery clarity of a poised knife â and the writers gushed:
âOne of the most deliriously exciting debut albums Iâve ever heardâ â Newsday
âAn obvious, unashamed classicâ â Sounds
âThey loom, as the Stravinskys of rockâ â N.Y. Daily News
âThe most powerful and passionate rock to come out of anywhereâ¦â â Village Voice
âAs of this moment, Verlaine is probably the most exciting electric lead guitar playerâ¦ N.M.E
Roy Trakin wrote in the SoHo Weekly, âforget everything youâve heard about Television, forget punk, forget New York, forget CBGBâs â¦ hell, forget rock and rollâthis is the real item. Recently, critics ranked it number 83 on cable music channel VH1âS list of the 100 Greatest Albums of Rock and Roll, number 128 on Rolling Stoneâs list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was ranked number two on Uncut magazineâs 100 Greatest Debut Records, and number 3 on Pitchfork Mediaâs list of the best albums of the 1970s.
Televisionâs second album, Adventure was issued in 1978 and the distinctive guitar work is still evident there, most notably on the tracks âGlory,â âFoxholeâ and âThe Fire.
Various problems within the group led to a breakup later that year, with Verlaine and Lloyd pursuing solo careers.
In 1992 Television reunited to record a self-titled album that was well received by critics, who noted admiringly that the bandâs trademarks â brilliant guitar work, clever songwriting, and noirish lyrics â were all still in evidence. The reunited band did a world tour in 1993, including showâs at the Glastonbury and All Tomorrowâs Parties festivals in England.
In 2007, the band announced Richard Lloyd would be amicably leaving the group and guitarist Jimmy Rip, a collaborator on most of Verlaineâs solo recordings and tours since 1981, would be taking his place.
2013â¦ 40 years since the bands founding, has seen them more active than anytime in many years. Not only have they have just completed a sold out tour of South America and Asia, there is a new record in the works. Television is back.
(Late Show) Joey Harkum Band (of Pasadena) with Special Guest Living With Monsters
Joey Harkum is a singer songwriter hailing from Pasadena, MD. For over a decade, Joey has performed all around the country as the lead singer of the band Pasadena. Joey has a unique way of connecting with his fans through deep, poignant lyrics which tell stories of happiness, love, loss and sadness. Joey is currently embarking on his first solo venture and will be touring the nation performing his own special brand of americana, folk rock.
(Early Show) Opus One Comedy Presents Ray Zawodni with Special Guests Senneca Stone, Collin Chamberlin and Matt Light
If youâve ever drafted an overly long text to someone and decided against sending it, then youâll probably hear something of yourself in SASAMI, out March 2019 on Domino. âItâs a mix of a diary and a collection of letters, written but never sent, to people Iâve been intimately involved with in one way or another,â explains Los Angeles songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sasami Ashworth, aka SASAMI, who wrote the albumâs ten tautly melodic rock tracks over the course of a year on tour, playing keys and guitar with Cherry Glazerr. âOk, maybe theyâre more like over-dramatic drafts of texts that you compose in the Notes section of your iPhone, but either way, they come from a place of getting something off my chest.â In an Instagram post announcing the release of âCallous,â a haunting ballad chronicling the disintegration of a relationship over wrenching guitar wails, she sums up the inspiration behind her engrossingly confessional debut more bluntly: âEveryone I fucked and who fucked me last year.â
Originating as a string of demos she recorded straight to her iPad on tour, the songs poured out of Ashworth in stream-of-consciousness fashion, tracking the thrills, disappointments, and non-starters of a year spent newly single and on the road. In many ways, though, they were the culmination of decades of hard work. After a studying piano as a child, she picked up the French horn in middle school, and has been playing music pretty much every day sinceâfirst as a long-time conservatory kid with her sights on a career as a classical French horn player, and later as an elementary school music teacher, running around a classroom, making up songs and dances, and directing rag-tag orchestras full of glockenspiels and bongos.
Where studying classical music and jazz had been an exercise in creating note-perfect renditions of other peopleâs music, teaching, quite literally, required her to improvise. âYou have to juggle so many skills when you teach,â she says. âYou have to be a musician and a babysitter and a clownâand secretly be teaching. âIf you can keep like 30 kids with tambourines entertained, [doing it for] a room full of drunk adults at a rock show is nothing.â
It didnât take long for Ashworth to start dipping her toe into pop music. A growing obsession with the noisy catharsis of post-punk and shoegaze and nights out with her brother Joo-Joo, a veteran of the Los Angeles indie rock scene who plays in the band Froth, led her to playing synth and guitar in the group Dirt Dress. In the past half-decade, sheâs worn basically every hat that a working musician can wear, scoring films and commercials, producing for and playing on other peopleâs albums, and doing string, horn, and vocal arrangements for artists like Curtis Harding, Wild Nothing, and Vagabon.
But it wasnât until March of 2017, about midway-through a two-and-a-half year stint recording and touring with Cherry Glazerr, that she felt the urge to sit down and write songs of her own. âI had just ended a year and a half relationshipâ a pretty serious relationship, that came right after another serious relationship,â she says. âIt was just like a beginning of a new life cycle in a lot of waysâthe beginning of my new single life, and also constantly being on tour, and being in this band all the time. And so I felt like I needed to write. I was just super emotional.â
At first, she viewed writing songs mostly as an opportunity to sharpen her guitar skills. Eventually, since she was on tour most of the time, she decided to forgo rent on an apartment and use the money to pay for studio time whenever she was back in Los Angeles, figuring that she might as well learn her way around an analog studio. Though the material she was working on was deeply personal, the record that would emerge from those sessionsâco-produced by Joo Joo and Studio 22âs Thomas Dolas, who also engineered and mixed SASAMIâis largely the sound of Ashworth having fun in the studio with her friends. Devendra Banhart and Beach Fossilsâ Dustin Payseur make appearances as âmale back-up vocalists,â and Joo Jooâher professed âguitar heroââand Froth bandmate Cameron Allen fill in guitar and drums, respectively. âAdult Contemporary,â a spacey reverie reflecting the existential uncertainty of our current moment, features an all-star crew of badass Los Angeles women, including French singer-songwriter and actress Soko on vocals, Hand Habitsâ Meg Duffy on guitar, Alvvays drummer Sheridan Riley on drums, and Anna Butters on electric and standup bass.
SASAMI is the sound of Ashworth reveling in the warmth and magic of analog recordingâ experimenting with different guitar tones and amplifier placements, embracing the imperfections that arise when you record on a 16-track and reconstruing them as strengths. Her years studying music theory and classical performance shine through in the tiny details that pepper SASAMI at every turnâfrom the sly bending of a guitar note on opener âI Was a Window,â to the expressive pause before the instrumental breakdown on âPacify My Heart.â Unlike your typical four-chord rock songs, her colorful arrangements draw from a classical technique called voice leading, where the different elements of a song (from voice, to keys, to bass) form distinct, interweaving melodic lines.
Just like her notoriously irreverent stage banter, Ashworth says her relationship to music, and to playing instruments, âcomes from a place of love and playfulness and joyââand itâs something you can hear at every moment of SASAMI, even as the emotional journey it traces veers into more introspective territory. âJealousy,â a smoky, minor-key number with a sinister choir of chirpy back-up vocals, celebrates the freedom of living life on your own terms as a single person, even as it makes those around you uncomfortable. âFree,â a softly strummed duet with Devendra Banhart, captures the pain of finally feeling ready to open up to someone new, only to discover that they arenât on the same page. âNot the Time,â an open-road rocker with crunchy shoegaze guitars and sweeping synths, explores the bittersweet feeling of realizing that your love for someone is reciprocated, even if the timing and geography donât add up. âIt's not the time or place for us,â she sings in her wispy alto. âBut you said that you would save some space for us.â
If SASAMI tells a story, itâs one about the surprising ways that oneâs relationshipsâwith lovers, with friends, with oneselfâcan shift in a single year. And itâs one that doesnât really have a solid conclusion or takeawayâother than the realization âthat your status of being in a relationship or not doesnât actually define whether you feel whole,â as Sasami describes it. âIt's about whether you feel grounded or not. Whether you feel at peace or not.â
Itâs inspiring to hear a woman who spent years playing other peopleâs music finally tell her own story. And itâs a feeling she says she wants to pay forward, just as her students and so many women in her lifeâlike recent tourmates Mitski, Snail Mail, and Japanese Breakfastâhave empowered her. Which is another way of saying that even in its saddest moments, SASAMI will put a little bounce in your step. Extra points if you decide to put on a clown costume and dance around in the street, as Ashworth does is the video for "Not the Time."
Itâs been said: if you want to change your mind state, change your scenery first.
For Emily King, the pop-soul singer from New York City who spent her first three decades living on the same downtown block, that notion was always easier said than done. A proud New Yorker, she loved her home, her family, her friends, and her life there. But a year ago, when she finally resolved to challenge herself by moving out of her comfort zone, positive changes started taking shape immediately. In Upstate New York, the fresh air and fresh mentality gave her the proper space and perspective to create what would become the album of her career. Its name: Scenery.
After over ten years as a professional musician, time that included a major label release of her debut LP and a Grammy nomination for it, a critically acclaimed and self-released follow-upâ which carried with it a certified smash in the song âDistance,â with more than 13 million streams âworld tours supporting artists like Alabama Shakes, Sara Bareilles, Maroon 5, and John Legend, and several major late night TV stops, King suddenly found herself anxious and slightly depressed. Her previous album, 2015âs The Switch, had been recorded with her longtime producing and writing partner Jeremy Most in their Manhattan apartments, but King was having a hard time envisioning another successful song-making scenario in the city.
âThere was nothing exciting me there anymore,â she says. âIâd see tourists wide-eyed and excited about the sights, but I had seen them for 33 years. Every street is a memory for me, so itâs hard to draw a new memory out of them. I felt like I was on a hamster wheel. I needed a place to record, and I knew I had to get out.â
For King, an escape was long overdue, and it was something she realized had been in her music for some time, as she rediscovered the theme in a lyric on The Switch. âThere was a line in the song âAlready Thereâ that goes, âThere must be a better way to escape my scenery,ââ King says. âIt was about freedom, because I was starting to feel trapped in the city and I was trying to move myself in my imagination. Being up here in my new place, itâs the manifestation of all those days spent wanting to run away. We found that line and just thought, âScenery,â thatâs what itâs all about!â Not every song on this record is directly related to that concept but they were all a result of making the decision to come up here.â
âUp hereâ is her new home located upstate in Catskills, New York, a cozy spot surrounded by nature with a separate garage she and Most converted into a studio upon her arrival in the fall of 2017. While the newfound seclusion offered much in terms of creating, country life also presented a new set of life skills for King to master, not the least daunting of which was her being forced to learn to drive a car. But in true Emily King fashion, she quickly turned that fearsome situation into yet another win for her writing.
âLearning to drive was big for me; being the person who didnât drive had always been a huge part of my identity,â she says. âIt felt wrong at first but now I love driving down the country roads. Thereâs a certain kind of musicâTom Petty, Tina Turnerâthat goes really well with that forward motion, and I wanted to write songs for the car like that. I got really into classic rock and I wanted more rock influence in my music. Tina Turner was this great combination of R & B and rock with a sense of urgency in her voice that I wanted to replicate for this record.â
Inspired, King and Most soon began the writing and recording process in the garage, nestled in among the crickets and the Catskills. The privacy of the countryside meant that King no longer had to tiptoe during her creative process, as there was no one within earshot to wake up. For the first time in her career, she could truly do whatever she pleased. Typically beginning a new song with bare percussion, guitar lines, or sometimes a raw vocal, King self-edits until it arrives at a point worthy of sharing with Most, who then fleshes the demo out by adding instruments and programming while building the tune into something bigger. King admits that she often is surprised by the direction a song ends up heading but relishes that morphing and the surprise that comes with their collaborations. âJeremy was a big part of this journey,â she says. âWeâve had this chemistry since the beginning. His no-bullshit filter is concentrated to the max. Itâs so good to have that painfully honest voice in the room.â
King, who grew up in a household dominated by music, is more than used to having other voices in the room. The daughter of a singing jazz duo and sister to a multi-talented musician, she learned the trade at home, forgoing formal training and often accompanying her parents on tour. But of all the lessonsâfor better or for worseâshe picked up along the way, she credits her folks for teaching her a sense of tenacity and perseverance above all else. âMy parents made a pact when my brother and I were born that they would never have day jobs, theyâd figure it out no matter what,â she says. âAnd even though we had no money we still went to beautiful, fancy places because music brought us there. That idea of keeping going, no matter what, definitely carried over to me.â
On the subject of carrying over, there is another memory from her familyâs past that plays a significant role in the theme of Scenery. When King was 10 years old, her family regularly visited a psychic medium in Manhattan who would help them tap into their past by identifying each of their spirit guides. The medium told King her spirit guideâs name was âPink Rose,â and the color, and flower, have been important to her ever sense. âIt was a fun thing to believe in. It was entertainment, and always positive. It was real for me, and I always kept that name in my head. The rose represents the dream this little girl had to get out and into nature.â
And so, gazing confidently at us from in front of a seamless pink backdrop and holding a pink rose, King graces Sceneryâs cover, dressed in her best New York power black, padded shoulders slightly askew, eyes leveled. The image represents a stark contrast between the masculine and feminine, yet another dynamic prevalent in Kingâs songs as well as her persona. âIâve always felt that contrast,â she says.
But for as much as she disdains the street attention, King has come to terms with the legions of eyes and ears that being a performer attracts. And now, Sceneryâs standout songs will be sure to bring even more to the mix. The album opens with âRemind Me,â an â80s-tinged pop jam with a sense of modern glitch and sophistication anchored by Kingâs ethereal vocals. The first song she wrote Upstate, it represents much for the artist. Fresh out of the city, King began by singing the lyrics to herself in the room, a small wood-burning stove her only company. âI thought, âJust let me sing these words into space,ââ she says. âI didnât even want the guitar, as sometimes figuring out the chords stops the creativity. I still cry when I sing that song, because it felt like I was alive again. Reinvigoratedâafter feeling like shit for so long, suddenly having this you-can-do-this feelingâ¦I knew I was onto something once I got that song in the bag. I knew it was gonna be alright.â
Another early single, âLook At Me Nowâ is all twinkling keys and plucked strings before building to its bubbly, bouncy chorus and stomping, confident strut. King says the songâs cockiness is tongue-in-cheek and more insecurity disguised as confidence than true grit. âCanât Hold Meâ and its almost tropical rhythms, synthesizer strains, and catchy, whispery refrain over popping bass slaps urges you to dance, as the singer asserts her strength as a woman. âRunningâ is a soft, sensitive, ballad whose light piano touches gradually head into a darker synth sound. The song showcases Kingâs incredible vocal range and power as she vows to stop running from whatever sheâs become and face the music. The album ends with âGo Back,â a rocking number King says was inspired by Tom Petty and despite its stated intention of ânever going backâ to the city, King reveals the sentiment is a metaphor. âMy family is there, and thereâs no place like the city. But, as Iâve learned, when youâre creative you have to find the space to be creative.â
Without a doubt, King has carved out such a space for herself. With Scenery, she has challenged herself to create new roots, both in physical form as well as sonically. âFor me, Scenery has themes of independence, confidence, and self-reliance throughout,â she says. âItâs about having a sense of freedom and self-worth, and taking a chance and having an adventure.â
Kick back and let the Scenery enhance your own mind state.