Free Music Friday With The Shutes

Hi everyone and welcome to another weekly edition of Project Rhythm Seed’s Free Music Friday. As usual, we have been scouring the globe looking for the newest sounds available. This week’s offering comes to us from London via our friends at Toast Press, who are one of the top music PR companies in the UK.

The band is called The Shutes and the track of the day is “She Said” off of their new 5 song EP titled Echo Of Love. Although we have only one track of the EP available for you today, you can stream the entire album on Soundcloud. We hope you enjoy the track and we look forward to bringing you more music news, reviews and interviews next week right here on Project Rhythm Seed.

The Shutes
Released in the UK on April 2nd by Cross Keys Records, The Shutes new Echo of Love EP showcases a band that sound like they are quickly accelerating towards the pinnacle of their powers with songs that demonstrate confidence and maturity. Based in London, England, The Shutes are only now being introduced to US audiences.

Singer/songwriter Michael Champion has delivered his strongest set of songs to date – recalling everyone from Ariel Pink to the Strokes – and, with his brother David joining the band on guitar, The Shutes have developed a richer sound, both in the studio and on the road. Their lyrics are thoughtful and intelligent. Their music is reminiscent of early Byrds or Jefferson Airplane and their production style is smothered in reverb. But it makes sense and fits with the overall styling of the EP.

The five-track EP was recorded with producer Julian Simmons (Midlake, Guillemots, Ed Sheeran) at East London’s Din Studios towards the end of 2011 and was mixed by Rich Woodcraft (Radiohead, Neil Young, The Arctic Monkeys). The track we have for you today is titled “She Said” and is a testament to the strength of The Shutes’ songwriting.

She Said – The Shutes

Paul Simon’s Graceland: 25th Anniversary Edition

The 25th anniversary of Graceland, Paul Simon‘s groundbreaking album that continues to influence and inspire generations, will be commemorated with musical and film celebrations stretching into the summer. Following its Sundance Film Festival premiere, the Joe Berlinger directed documentary Under African Skies, chronicling the creation and lasting influence of Graceland, will have its US television premiere on A&E this spring. The documentary has been garnering critical acclaim on the film festival circuit with screenings at SXSW 2012, where it received an Audience Award, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival.

The film is slated for variety of screenings this spring and summer including showings at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the Florida Film Festival and the RiverRun Film Festival. In May, Under African Skies will screen at the Seattle International Film Festival and Sundance UK as well as other festivals worldwide. The film will enjoy a limited theatrical engagement in New York and Los Angeles, beginning May 11th (check local listings for screening times).

To help commemorate the anniversary and celebrate the indelible musical legacy of Graceland, Legacy Recordings will be offering several 25th Anniversary versions of Paul Simon’s Graceland on June 5th:

Special Graceland 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Box Set – a 2 CD/2 DVD set which including the re-mastered original album, the Under African Skies documentary film extended interviews, the original 1987 “African Concert” from Zimbabwe, three original music videos and the iconic Saturday Night Live performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.” The box set also features the audio narrative “The Story of Graceland” as told by Paul Simon, replicas of an original Graceland poster and a handwritten lyrics pad, plus a deluxe 80-page book featuring new and archival photos and interviews with Paul Simon.

The official Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition CD/DVD set – a two disc music and film set featuring the re-mastered original album with five bonus tracks and audio narrative “The Story of Graceland” as told by Paul Simon. The DVD features the Under African Skies film with extended interviews, three original music videos and Saturday Night Live performance of “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.”

Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition Vinyl – This audiophile edition is re-mastered on 180-gram 12″ vinyl and includes an art-quality collectible Graceland poster and a download card with the full album plus three bonus tracks. It will be available beginning Saturday, April 21 at independent retailers worldwide participating in Record Store Day.

An ultra-deluxe Graceland 25th Anniversary Edition Box Set package – The ultimate Graceland set includes the boxed set, the 180-gram 12″ vinyl and a signed and numbered autographed commemorative poster–will be available direct-to-consumers during a limited time exclusive offer on the official Paul Simon website.

About Under African Skies
The story of the making of Graceland, and the controversy created when Paul Simon went to South Africa to record with local artists, is told in Under African Skies, the new full-length documentary from two-time Emmy, Peabody Award winner and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster,” the West Memphis Three/”Paradise Lost” trilogy) and producers@radical.media and A&E IndieFilms.

Featuring interviews with key anti-apartheid activists of the time and such musical legends as Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney, David Byrne and Peter Gabriel, Under African Skies travels with Paul Simon back to South Africa, 25 years after his first visit, and recounts the making of the record, surveying from the vantage of history the turbulence and controversy surrounding the album’s genesis. His artistic decision to collaborate with African musicians created a new world musical fusion, combining American and African musical idioms while igniting an intense political crossfire, with Paul Simon accused of breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.

Meet Diamond Rugs

Diamond Rugs is the new musical collaboration between John McCauley (Deer Tick), Robbie Crowell (Deer Tick), Ian Saint Pé (The Black Lips), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), Hardy Morris (Dead Confederate) and Bryan Dufresne (Six Finger Satellite. Last fall, McCauley decided he wanted to make another record during his downtime in his new home base of Nashville with producers Adam Landry and Justin Collins (Middle Brother, Deer Tick). While attending a Los Lobos show (one of his all-time favorite bands), he made his way backstage and met Steve Berlin.

McCauley convinced Berlin to come to Nashville to play on the record. Over the course of the next month, he also managed to convince Saint Pé (whom he’d met once before), Morris (who had opened for Deer Tick on tour) and his good friend from his hometown of Providence, RI, Dufresne. McCauley also recruited Deer Tick keys/sax player Robbie Crowell to play bass on the album.

What happened next was entirely unexpected – the musicians McCauley had recruited to play on his record, ended up contributing their own songs to the album and a fully-formed band emerged, rather than a group of musicians playing on another artists’ record. Between them all, the members of Diamond Rugs have, in the past, collaborated with the likes of Paul Simon, Mark Ronson, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and The Replacements; they have won several Grammy awards and performed on Letterman, Conan, Leno, Later with Jools Holland and even at The White House.

You can stream and download Diamond Rugs newest single “Country Mile” below. .  The band will release their next single, “Blue Mountains,” in May, and plan to shoot their first music video in June.

Country Mile – Diamond Rugs

Rhythm Seed Artist Spotlight On Black Taxi

Brooklyn quartet Black Taxi has been generating quite the buzz lately in the indie-rock world. From their seven performances at this year’s SXSW to the release of their critically acclaimed second album, We Don’t Know Any Better in January, it seems that the band is turning heads and garnering fans everywhere they go. Following up on these successes, the band is preparing to begin a series of spring tour dates that will see them traveling down the East Coast, along with appearances at several festivals. Additionally, the band has released a brand-new remix of their song “Friend”, off their latest album, by esteemed NYC producer Fake Money; it is available as a free download via their Facebook page.

Frontman Ezra Huleatt has teamed up with the organization Musicians On Call which brings live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities in New York and other cities around the country. Each week they bring a volunteer musician room-to-room to play for patients in children’s facilities, oncology units, nursing homes, and other sites which allows patients, families and staff a few minutes to forget about the complexities and troubles of their illnesses and focus on something else. “I’ve been hearing about Musicians On Call for the last few years via friends who have participated in it, and I finally decided to get involved,” says Huleatt. “Healthcare and healing are things that I am passionate about and music bridges those two in a way that not all medicine can. Having worked in hospitals in Haiti and in NYC, I have seen first hand the bizarre power music has to bring life into an otherwise staid hospital room, rejuvenating patients. Music is one of those unknowns – a crazy, rugged, beautiful language that needs to be shared, particularly with those who are suffering.”

The band, and Huleatt in particular, have also signed on to collaborate on the independent film Frajíl, which tells the story of an unjustly imprisioned Haitian youth named Frajíl who was accused of killing his boss and was sentenced to life in prison despite lack of evidence or legal representation. The song “Head on a Pike” (from their debut album Things Of That Nature) will be used in the soundtrack to help tell his story. “Dan Ramirez, the filmmaker and driving force behind the Frajíl story, knew of our band through our manager and we finally connected after he came back from a brutal trip delivering aid, post-earthquake,” explains Huleatt. “Dan initiated our collaboration because ‘Head on a Pike’ perfectly depicted the state of affairs for an unfortunate youth, Frajíl, who has been imprisoned unjustly for many years. ‘Head on a Pike’ speaks of love and truth in an Orwellian world where life is expendable, and the risks immense for any practitioners. A passion that understands death can come at any minute, but nonetheless screams its rebellion.”

Black Taxi’s 2012 full-length We Don’t Know Any Better received critical acclaim. The album was produced by Aaron Nevezie (The Black Keys, Dangermouse). Black Taxi is Ezra Huleatt (vocals/keys/trumpet), Bill Mayo (guitar/vocals), Krisana Soponpong (bass), and Jason Holmes (drums/vocals).

Free Music Friday With Trixie Whitley

Hi everybody! Another week in the bag and another Free Music Friday to help you ease into your weekend with positive harmonious, melodic and rhythmic energy, otherwise known as music. This week we have just one track for you, but it’s a fantastic song from a very dynamic artist from Belgium via NYC, named Trixie Whitley.

We first introduced you to Trixie Whitley last year as part of Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub. The woman has a phenomenal voice and she knows how to use it. Today we have a track called “A Thousand Thieves” which we just love. We hope you enjoy both tracks. Have a great weekend and well see you next week for more positive harmonious, melodic and rhythmic energy!

Trixie Whitley
Trixie Whitley was born in 1987 in Ghent, Belgium, into a family deeply immersed in the worlds of art and music.  A nomad at heart, her early years were split between Ghent and New York City, when she wasn’t touring the world with her parents.  Whitley began playing the drums when she was 10.  At 11, she was touring Europe with several theater companies, and, at the age of 14, with the renowned dance company, Les Ballets C de la B, as an actor, singer, dancer, and musician.  During this same period, she also became known as the youngest resident DJ in Europe, embraced by Belgium’s Museum of Modern Art and spinning at raves, festivals, and parties in Brussels, Paris, New York City, and Amsterdam.

At the age of 17, Whitley returned to New York City and began working odd jobs while starting to perform her own music in clubs throughout the city.   She recorded her first EP, Strong Blood, in the spring of 2008, produced with Me’shell Ndegeocello and Dougie Bowne.  That summer, she was invited to present two shows at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.   She has continued to be embraced by and to collaborate with some of the world’s finest musicians and producers, working with Marc Ribot, Robert Plant, Stephen Barber, Marianne Faithfull, Joe Henry, Craig Street, and Malcolm Burn, among many others.

In late 2008, legendary producer Daniel Lanois (U2, Bob Dylan, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young) contacted Whitley and invited her to the Berklee School of Music, where he was in residence.  Their stunning collaboration of Trixie’s song “I’d Rather Go Blind” – with drummer Brian Blade (Joni Mitchell, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman) – was filmed and started to create an immediate buzz in music circles.  Soon, with the addition of bassist Daryl Johnson (The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Neville Brothers), a super group – Daniel Lanois’ Black Dub – was born.

Whitley’s magnetic presence and stunning voice captivated audiences worldwide in 2010 and 2011 as she toured the world performing with Black Dub. During the Black Dub recording sessions, she also recorded her second EP, The Engine, featuring her own music, and began preparing to record her debut as a leader.  In late 2011, she released Live at the Rockwood Music Halla five-song EP of her solo performance recorded at Rockwood in New York City.

A Thousand Thieves (NOWNESS Mix)

Miike Snow ‘Happy To You’ Album Review

By Myles Crawley

Tis the season for new albums fa la la la la la la la la. Yes folks, they’re coming at us rapid fire at the moment. Everyone and their mother (that’s a good band name) are releasing this year’s new musical offerings, while we in the press weed through the lot looking for some nugget or shiny new ditty that we can cling to. As usual most of it doesn’t hold up and ultimately offers very little in the way of in-depth listening and enjoyment. Not to say that I expected anything like this from Miike Snow, but you never know what that second album will hold. It’s been a career killer for many an artist and band, especially following up an effort as well done as Miike Snow’s self titled debut.

Happy To You came as a bit of a surprise to me, but as it turns out, it was a very welcome surprise. The entire album is strong and extremely well done, not that that should come as any big surprise in and of itself. After all we are talking about three of the most prolific pop song writers and hit crafters in the business. But this album is still a departure from Miike Snow’s first effort. Straight out of the gate, “Enter The Joker’s Lair” sets the tone for new ground, as does the uplifting track “The Wave”. But the clincher came for me in the form of track 3. “Devils Work” is a work of art. It is drenched in Beatles-esque melodies and arrangements. From the French horns to the very Macca-ish chorus, it all works beautifully.

The entire album follows in the same vein, producing strong track after strong track. One of the elements that really sticks out is this band’s ability to have a little fun. Even though Happy To You could have easily been over thought, over produced and taken far too seriously, that is not the case here. “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)” is a perfect example. It’s light and fun and breaks so many molds. But the Beatles influence is undeniable. “Archepelego” drives this point home beautifully. Thank God its done in such an original Miike Snow way. There are no bad tracks on this album. The whole thing is very listenable and is highly recommended by all of us here at Project Rhythm Seed. Buy it, play it and enjoy it.

Madonna Is On Top… Again!

Madonna has returned for the 8th time to the top of the Billboard’s Pop  Charts with MDNA selling 359,000 albums according to Neilsen Soundscan and is  the biggest selling first week debut this year.  MDNA is The Material Girl’s  fifth  No. 1 studio album in a row and her first album for Interscope Records.

On the Billboard Dance Club Play Charts, Madonna remains queen of the clubs with two song from MDNA in the Top Ten including “Girls Gone Wild” which has gone to No. 4 and is the “greatest gainer” for the last three weeks.  Her first dance hit from MDNA  “Give Me All Your Luvin” after going to No. 1 remains in the Top Ten in the No. 8 spot.

Other facts:

  • MDNA debuted No. 1 on iTunes Charts in 40 countries and had the biggest one day pre sale on iTunes by any artist in history.
  • Madonna’s “Girls Gone Wild” video is her most viewed video on YouTube with 32 million views.
  • Barbra Streisand is the only other female to have more No. 1 albums (9) according to Billboard’s Keith Caufield.
  • In the UK, the  MDNA album puts Madonna in a league of her own.  MDNA’s No. 1 spot gives Madonna  the most No. 1 albums of all time in the  UK  (12) by a solo artist –  surpassing Elvis Presley.   The Beatles are the only artists who have had 15 No. 1 albums in the UK.
  • In Japan, MDNA is her 22nd Top Ten album passing The Beatles record of 19 Top Ten albums in Japan.   MDNA  entered their Oricon  international charts at No. 1 and the combined Oricon Charts at No. 4.

To celebrate the first week’s success with her millions of fans, Madonna will be live on Twitter tomorrow, Wednesday, the 4th of April at 10:00 pm. The link is:  @MadonnaMDNAday.

Slash To Release Apocalyptic Love

As SLASH gears up for the release of his second solo album Apocalyptic Love (Dik Hayd International, distributed through EMI), he’s announced a special release show set for Tuesday, May 22–the day the album hits the streets–in New York City at Irving Plaza. A fan pre-sale will begin this Wednesday, April 4th at 10:00 AM, with the regular on-sale starting Friday April 6th at 10:00 AM. Tickets will be available here.

On tap for this month, SLASH and his bandmates–Myles Kennedy and The ConspiratorsMyles Kennedy (vocals), Brent Fitz (drums) and Todd Kerns (bass)–will perform Tuesday, April 10th on ABC TV’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! On the show’s massive outdoor stage, they’ll play the album’s first single “You’re A Lie”–#1 most-added at Active Rock Radio for 3 straight weeks in a row and already #16 at Active Rock radio–for the first time on American television. Fans in attendance at the taping will also be treated to a mini-concert.

The next night, on Wednesday, April 11th, the iconic, Grammy-winning rock guitarist and songwriter will perform at the fourth annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards, presented by Epiphone®, that will be broadcast live around the globe on XboxLIVE.com from Club Nokia in downtown Los Angeles. SLASH’s headlining U.S. tour launches May 3rd in Baltimore and encompasses three festival appearances: Saturday, May 5th at Carolina Rebellion, Saturday, May 19th at Rock On The Range and Friday, May 25th at Rocklahoma. Tickets are available now on Slash’s website.

Free Music Friday With Empires

Hi everyone and welcome to another edition of Project Rhythm Seed’s Free Music Friday! Today we are pleased to bring you a 3 song EP from Chicago’s own Empires, who we first highlighted back when they were in the running for the “Choose The Cover Of Rolling Stone” contest.

The contest was ultimately won by Sheepdogs from Canada, but Empires have continued their climb up the ladder of popularity. Their first full length album, Garage Hymns, will be released on June 12th, 2012 by History Records. Today we are pleased to offer you a 3 song EP called Can’t Steal Your Heart Away. We hope you enjoy and we’ll see you next week for more news reviews and interviews on Project Rhythm Seed.

Empires
“It’s always felt like things just fall in place for us,” says guitarist Tom Conrad. “I think it’s a testament to how we approach things and the fact that we were friends long before we were band mates. We all have different perspectives musically, but there’s a collective mindset that makes it all work.”

Free from creative restraints, able to explore any sound they want, and build an identity that was true to their vision, Empires spent nearly a year crafting their debut record HOWL, which was officially released for free online in May 2008 via their website. HOWL was entirely written, engineered, produced, and art directed by the band, with youngest member, Max Steger at the helm of the tracking and engineering recording sessions. By the end of the year, HOWL had earned over 60,000 album downloads and had caught the attention of many.

With a recording and release process approached on their own terms, Empires’ collective kismet and cool confidence translates into a sound that’s bigger than their time together as a band might suggest. The experience surrounding HOWL also left the band feeling totally liberated and allowed them to focus on finding new fans via nontraditional methods. Especially by taking advantage of online communities and offering their music for free. “We’ve got fans from all over the globe now,” says lead singer and songwriter Sean Van Vleet. “It feels like a great way to start a relationship with the listener.”

“We’ve really learned how to work as a band,” says Van Vleet. “When you strip away all the worries about what comes next with the process of releasing music and all the other crap that just gets in the way, you end up really finding your sound.”

New and Notable

By J. Brown

Here is a rundown on a few new artists/bands that are worth your attention:

Alabama Shakes: If you haven’t already heard of the Alabama Shakes, then it won’t be long before you do, as this band is bound to blow up in a very big way. With so much new music out there, it can be hard to get excited about one particular band, but that’s not the case with Alabama Shakes.

This soulful rock band is led by singer Brittany Howard, who somehow manages to blend sounds similar to artists like Tina Turner, Jack White and Janis Joplin. All you need to know is that she hits all the right notes and the buzz this band is getting is well-deserved. Their debut full-length album Boys & Girls is out on April 9th. Just listen, and if you don’t like it, then it’s conceivable you have no soul:

The New Multitudes: There’s an interesting story behind the moniker “New Multitudes,” which is comprised of several artists you may be familiar with.  Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) came together to give new life to Woody Guthrie‘s previously unrecorded lyrics. Taking inspiration from Guthrie’s old notebooks, scratch pads, napkins, etc, the artists came up with 12 new songs for a great new album.

You can stream the whole album below.

Hurray for the Riff Raff: After hearing just once the amazing vocals of lead singer Alynda Lee Segarra, I was completely hooked on Hurray for the Riff Raff’s music. Her voice encapsulates so beautifully this deep sense of yearning, heartbreak, and authenticity. If you’re a fan of country-folk, as well as a blend of many genres, then this New Orleans-based band is for you. At the beginning of May they are releasing a new album entitled, Look Out Mama, which looks to be their best work yet.

You can hear the title track here:

And you can hear an amazing cover of Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow” here:

The Ruffled Feathers: If you’re a sucker for trumpet, then you’ll want to take a listen to this band, which can be characterized as indie-folk that is instrumentally very layered and just plain catchy. The use of jazzy trumpet interspersed in folk-based music is refreshing. They have a new album entitled “Oracle” coming out in April that you can pre-order now here:

In describing their new album, the band’s website states, “Coloured by the atmosphere of the horse farm in rural Oregon, where it was recorded, Oracles expresses the full range of the multi-instrumentalist five piece – from the decidedly beautiful bare-bones arrangement of Mockingbird to the orchestral composition of Rosin and Horsehair.” Listen to a track here:

Justin Townes Earle: The savior of country is back with a new album out March 27th entitled Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now. After the success of Harlem River Blues, Earle is back at it with an album that is far more somber in tone than his previous release. Tales of travel, New York, family troubles, and life on the road are familiar topics that Earle sings about in a way that few can rival.

You can stream the whole album below:

New and Notable

By J. Brown

Here is a rundown on a few new artists/bands that are worth your attention:

Alabama Shakes: If you haven’t already heard of the Alabama Shakes, then it won’t be long before you do, as this band is bound to blow up in a very big way. With so much new music out there, it can be hard to get excited about one particular band, but that’s not the case with Alabama Shakes. This soulful rock band is led by singer Brittany Howard, who somehow manages to blend sounds similar to artists like Tina Turner, Jack White and Janis Joplin. All you need to know is that she hits all the right notes and the buzz this band is getting is well-deserved. Their debut full-length album Boys & Girls is out on April 9th. Just listen, and if you don’t like it, then it’s conceivable you have no soul:

The New Multitudes: There’s an interesting story behind the moniker “New Multitudes,” which is comprised of several artists you may be familiar with.  Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Gob Iron, Uncle Tupelo), Will Johnson (Centro-matic, South San Gabriel), Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron) and Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) came together to give new life to Woody Guthrie‘s previously unrecorded lyrics. Taking inspiration from Guthrie’s old notebooks, scratch pads, napkins, etc, the artists came up with 12 new songs for a great new album.

You can stream the whole album below.

Hurray for the Riff Raff: After hearing just once the amazing vocals of lead singer Alynda Lee Segarra, I was completely hooked on Hurray for the Riff Raff’s music. Her voice encapsulates so beautifully this deep sense of yearning, heartbreak, and authenticity. If you’re a fan of country-folk, as well as a blend of many genres, then this New Orleans-based band is for you. At the beginning of May they are releasing a new album entitled, Look Out Mama, which looks to be their best work yet.

You can hear the title track here:

And you can hear an amazing cover of Billie Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow” here:

The Ruffled Feathers: If you’re a sucker for trumpet, then you’ll want to take a listen to this band, which can be characterized as indie-folk that is instrumentally very layered and just plain catchy. The use of jazzy trumpet interspersed in folk-based music is refreshing. They have a new album entitled “Oracle” coming out in April that you can pre-order now here:

In describing their new album, the band’s website states, “Coloured by the atmosphere of the horse farm in rural Oregon, where it was recorded, Oracles expresses the full range of the multi-instrumentalist five piece – from the decidedly beautiful bare-bones arrangement of Mockingbird to the orchestral composition of Rosin and Horsehair.” Listen to a track here:

Justin Townes Earle: The savior of country is back with a new album out March 27th entitled Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now. After the success of Harlem River Blues, Earle is back at it with an album that is far more somber in tone than his previous release. Tales of travel, New York, family troubles, and life on the road are familiar topics that Earle sings about in a way that few can rival.

You can stream the whole album below:

40th Anniversary Of Ziggy Stardust Celebrated Today In London

The Crown Estate today unveiled a commemorative plaque to David Bowie’s iconic creation, Ziggy Stardust, marking the 40th anniversary of his album, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The plaque was unveiled at 23 Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, London, W1, where the photograph on the front cover of the album was taken–a fact little known until now.

David Shaw, Head of the Regent Street Portfolio at The Crown Estate, said:

“Regent Street is famous for many cultural firsts. Not only was the first British cinema opened in Regent Street but the seminal album that launched Ziggy Stardust’s arrival  on planet earth had its spiritual home in Heddon Street  which is  now the food quarter to Regent Street. Regent Street is proud of the association with David Bowie, a true British cultural icon.”

Unveiling the plaque, Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet) said: “Ziggy was the ultimate messianic rock star, and with him David Bowie successfully blurred the lines not just between boys and girls, but himself and his creation. Bowie was Ziggy come to save us–and I bought him hook, eyeliner and haircut. It seems right that it should be the job of a fan boy and I am very honored.”

Attending the VIP breakfast were Mick Woodmansey and Trevor Bolder, original members of the band Spiders From Mars; illustrator Terry Pastor, who created the iconic album cover; and record producer Ken Scott, who came from his home in Los Angeles.

Part of The Crown Estate’s ongoing vision for the development of Regent Street and surrounding areas, Heddon Street today is completely different from that of 1972, when the album cover was created. Now one of Regent Street’s main Food Quarters, it has been transformed into a pedestrianised courtyard  ideal for al fresco dining with restaurants including Momo, Aubaine, Below Zero, The Ice Bar, Strada, Piccolino’s, Strawberry Moons  and The Living Room.

Back in 1972, the Bowie album depicts ‘Ziggy outside on a cold wet January night with his foot resting on a step outside 23 Heddon Street.  The late Brian Ward had rented a space upstairs in the building as a makeshift photographic studio, and had already shot 17 pictures when he persuaded Bowie to step outside onto Heddon Street. The other band members thought it too cold and declined to join him for the picture. Wearing the green jumpsuit that he later wore on the BBC 2 TV show “The Old Grey Whistle Test,” Bowie posed for the photograph. The images were shot using Royal –X – Pan black and white film and then lovingly hand colored by artist Terry Pastor. In the finished image, Ziggy’s jumpsuit is colored blue.

“It was cold and it rained and I felt like an actor,” Bowie recollected. “We did the photographs outside on a rainy night and then upstairs in the studio we did the Clockwork Orange look-a-likes that became the inner album sleeve.”

The iconic image cover catapulted David Bowie to international stardom, creating an army of pop stars with spikey hair and edgy alter egos, a trend which later evolved into the glam rock movement for which Ziggy was the poster boy. This plaque pays homage to an enduring iconic creation of British Pop, meaning fans from all over the world can visit the place where the dynamic character of Ziggy was immortalized on camera.

Mountain Man To Tour With Feist

Ethereal a cappella folk trio Mountain Man‘s intuitive, soaring harmonies are almost impossible to describe — lush yet minimal, reverent yet earthy. Formed when they were students at Vermont’s Bennington College, Mountain Man has captivated listeners with the sonic alchemy created by the blend of their voices.  This magical sound – three voices that join to create one beautiful instrument – caught the notice of Leslie Feist, who extended an invitation for the trio to join her onstage as part of her band. They agreed, and will accompany Feist on her world tour, which continues in North America beginning in April.

Mountain Man’s Partisan Records debut, Made the Harbor, catapulted the ladies into the national spotlight. They supported Sigur Ros front man Jonsi on tour in 2010, followed by winter 2011 tour dates with The Decemberists and a summer 2011 headlining tour culminating in a defining performance at the Newport Folk Festival. The trio’s spellbinding live shows won over fans and critics, including NPR, Pitchfork Media and the New York Times.

Summer 2011 also saw the release of Live at The Wiltern, a digital only release available in both audio and video versions that was recorded at a breathtakingly beautiful show at LA’s historic Wiltern Theater in fall 2010.  The footage, a powerful, raw affirmation of the trio’s quietly intense live performances, features live versions of songs from Made the Harbor as well as interview footage with the group’s three members: Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Randall Meath.

Below is a new video/remixmash of Mountain Man’s “Honeybee” and “Follow the Buffalo” by CSLSX entitled Aeromancer.

Free Music Friday With Amy Ray And Amanda Mair

Welcome to another edition of Project Rhythm Seed’s Free Music Friday. Today we are pleased to bring you two new tracks from female artists. One you know well, Amy Ray from the Indigo Girls. She has had a prolific career as a singer/songwriter and is touring to support her newest solo release, Lung Of Love. Amy is playing at the Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles tonight and, last we heard, tickets are still available.

Our second female artist for today comes to us from Sweden. Her name is Amanda Mair and the track we have for you today will be the single off of her upcoming self titled debut release, due June 5th. We hope you enjoy both artists and look forward to bringing you more news, reviews and interviews from the world of music.

Amy Ray
One of the most recognizable voices in pop music, Amy Ray has never been an artist to rest on her laurels and Lung of Love is no different, featuring tracks ranging from distorted guitar rave-ups to an Appalachian come-to-Jesus throwdown.  Lung Of Love was released on February 28th on Ray’s own Daemon Records imprint.  Amy is currently touring the U.S. in support of the album.

Backed by Greg Griffith (Bass and Guitars),  Julie Wolf (Keys, accordion), and former Butchies Melissa York (Drums) and Kaia Wilson (Guitars and Vocals), the songs have an urgent, bright economy and a pop sensibility not heard on Ray’s previous solo outings. Guest vocalists pop up throughout the record, including Brandi CarlileJim James, and Lindsay Fuller.

View the making of Lung of Love video here.  ) And feel free to download the new track titledGlowfrom Lung Of Love:

02 Glow Amy Ray

Amanda Mair
Swedish recording artist Amanda Mair will release her debut self-titled album in the US June 5th on Labrador Records. Produced by Philip Ekström of The Mary Onettes, the album features the new single “Sense,” out Spring 2012.  Released in Sweden just last week, the album debuted at  #16 on the Swedish charts.

The stateside release follows a slew of critical praise at home and abroad. Mair was recently voted “2012’s Big Breakthrough” by the Swedish Music Industry and Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest daily paper called the album “One of the best Swedish debuts ever.” The 17-year-old wunderkind – who began playing music at age four (she plays piano, bass, guitar, and drums but piano is her instrument of choice)– was discovered by pure coincidence when her music made its way to a Labrador exec before she even had a MySpace page or played in front of an audience.

Now with only a handful of live performances under her belt and still too young to play live without her parents (“I’m looking forward to turning 18 so I can play live shows without my mother and father”) Mair has performed live on Sweden’s biggest television programs and is set to embark on her first proper tour later this year. Check out her performance of “Sense” on Nyhetsmorgon (Sweden’s biggest morning show) from this past weekend by clicking here. And here is a free download of “Sense”:

Amanda Mair “Sense”

Squeeze To Play Coachella and Release Live At The Fillmore Album

UK pop legends Squeeze have announced that they’ll be returning to the States in April for select dates, including their debut performances at Coachella.  Kicking off in San Diego on April 10th, the tour brings them to Coachella on April 14th and 21st, along with other shows in select US markets. Squeeze will be releasing a limited-edition white vinyl package, Live at the Fillmore, on April 14th, available only at the band’s US tour dates and through their website.

Recorded at the historic Fillmore Theatre in San Francisco in August 2010 and mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Rolling Stones), Live at the Fillmore will also be available digitally through iTunes, Amazon and eMusic on April 17. Listen to a track, “Mumbo Jumbo“.

Mumbo Jumbo (Live At The Fillmore) by squeezeofficial

As teenagers on the South London Scene in the 1970s, friends Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook formed Squeeze and became one of new wave’s US success stories, with “Tempted” becoming a massive hit in the States.  Championed early on by the Velvet Underground’s John Cale, who produced their debut EP, Packet Of Three, Squeeze established their position as one of Britain’s most beloved bands with 1979′s Cool For Cats. The duo, often referred to as the “new Lennon and McCartney,” went on to have a string of US/UK hits such as “Pulling Mussels (from the shell),” “If I Didn’t Love You,” “Black Coffee In Bed,” “Up The Junction,” “Goodbye Girl” and others.

As befits one of the UK’s most enduring acts, their witty, kitchen-sink lyricism and clever takes on modern relationships continue to influence current artists, such as Mark Ronson, Kasabian and Lily Allen, with recent covers of their songs including James Mercer’s (The Shins) version of “Goodbye Girl” and Belle and Sebastian’s take on “Cool for Cats.” Difford and Tilbrook’s music have survived everything over the years, from the ever-changing musical landscape to their own internal reshuffles and acrimonious breakups.  Now the subject of a major BBC documentary in the works, Difford and Tilbrook are also working on the first new Squeeze material in over 15 years.

Feist Announces New World Tour

Following her highly acclaimed fall tour, Feist announces a new string of state side spring and summer dates in support of Metals (Cherrytree/Interscope). Kicking things off with a two weekend stint at Coachella, Feist will make stops everywhere from Austin, TX, to the famed Radio City Music Hall in New York City, a headlining spot at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, IL, and a set at the famed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

In addition, Feist is readying the release of her buzzed-about collaboration with Mastodon for Record Store Day. The limited-edition 7in single will be out on April 21st, 2012, and includes Mastodon covering Feist’s “A Commotion” and Feist returning the favor with a cover of “Black Tongue.” 

About Feist’s Metals
Feist returns with her highly anticipated new album, Metals. It’s the follow-up to her 2007 breakout The Reminder, which earned her four Grammy nominations, six Juno wins and the opportunity to teach Muppets to count on Sesame Street. Recorded in Big Sur, California and co-produced by Feist and longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, as well as newcomer Valgeir Sigurðsson (Bjork, Bonnie “Prince” Billy).

Catch Feist Live:
April 14th            Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 21st             Indio, CA @ Coachella
April 22nd           Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre*
April 23rd           Tucson @ TCC Arena #
April 25th            Marfa, TX @ Crowley Theatre*
April 26th            Austin, TX @ Stubb’s: Outdoors*
April 28th           New Orleans, LA @ New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 30th           Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room @ Old National Centre*
May 1st                Nashville, TN @ The Ryman Auditorium*
May 2nd             Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe Auditorium*
May 3rd              Raleigh, NC @ Memorial Auditorium@ Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts*
May 5th               New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall*
May 7th               Boston, MA @ House Of Blues*
May 8th               Philadelphia, PA @ Academy Of Music*
May 9th               Washington, DC @ The Strathmore*
May 11th             Burlington, VT @ The Flynn Theater*
May 28th            George, WA @ Sasquatch
May 29th            Boise @ Idaho Botanical Garden
May 31st             Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks #
June 2nd             Minneapolis @ Zoo Amphitheater %
June 3rd              Madison @ Orpheum %
June 5th              Ann Arbor, MI @ Ann Arbor Summer Festival %
June 6th              Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center %
June 8th              Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo
June 22nd          Calgary, AB @ Sled Island Festival
June 23rd           Saskatoon, SK @ Saskatoon Jazz Festival
July 4th               Winnipeg, MB @ Winnipeg Folk Festival
July 13th             Chicago @ Pitchfork Festival
July 14th             Pittsburgh @ Stage AE
August 4th          Montreal, QC @ Osheaga
August 8th          Oslo, Norway @ Oya Festival
August 10th        Gothenburg, Sweden @ Way Out West Festival
August 12th        Helsinki, Finland @ Flow Festival
August 15th        Hamburg, Germany @ Stadtpark
August 16th        Hasselt, Belgium @ Pukkelpop
August 17th        Biddinghuizen, Holland @ Lowlands Festival
August 19th         Brecon Beacons, Wales @ Green Man Festival
August 21st         Cologne, Germany @ Tanzbrunnen
August 22nd        Stuttgart, Germany @ Freilichtbuhne Killesberg

# With Bon Iver
* With Timber Timbre
% With The Low Anthem

Brandi Carlile Prepares To Hit The Road And Release New Album

On June 5, Columbia Records will release singer-songwriter-guitarist Brandi Carlile‘s fourth studio album, Bear Creek. Carlile, hailed as “the best voice in indie rock” by Paste Magazine, will tour extensively in support of the record. She’ll kick off a series of six dates with Dave Matthews Band on June 26 at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ and headline the 9,450-seat Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO on July 14. Additional tour dates will be announced soon.

Carlile will also perform at “We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash” at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theatre on April 20. The event will also feature such artists as Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kenny Chesney, Chris Cornell, Ronnie Dunn, Jamey Johnson, Kris Kristofferson, Ray LaMontagne, Amy Lee and Lucinda Williams.

“That Wasn’t Me,” the first single from Bear Creek, will go to radio in early April. The soulful piano-based track showcases the warmth and subtle power of Carlile’s vocals. It is the cornerstone of an earthy collection that embraces all of her musical influences – folk, pop, country, rock, gospel and blues. From the spirited “Hard Way Home” and chilling country blues of “Raise Hell” to the poignant “Rise Again” and ethereal “Just Kids,” Carlile manages to be at once plainspoken and poetic. The rich imagery of “Keep Your Heart Young” evokes childhood dreams with such unerring accuracy it is apt to elicit renewed vows to never grow up while “Save Part Of Yourself” and “100″ wistfully underscore the lifetime impact of a lost love.

Named for the studio where most of the album was recorded – Bear Creek Studios, which is housed in a converted early 20th century barn near Carlile’s hometown of Seattle – it features her longtime band mates: Tim and Phil Hanseroth (“The Twins,” who co-wrote many of the songs with Carlile and play guitar and bass respectively), drummer/percussionist Allison Miller and cellist Josh Neumann plus Dave Palmer on keyboards and Jeb Bows on violin and mandolin. Drummer Matt Chamberlain guests on several tracks.

GRAMMY® winning engineer/producer/mixer Trina Shoemaker (Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, Queens of the Stone Age) and Brandi and The Twins produced the Bear Creek Studios sessions. Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack) and Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Emmylou Harris) produced three tracks at Tragedy/Tragedy Studios in Nashville, TN.

Carlile has toured with the likes of Ray LaMontagne, Chris Isaak, The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow and long time fan Dave Matthews Band. Her songs have been heard in such television shows as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Good Wife,” “American Idol,” and “Parenthood,” and in advertising campaigns by General Motors (2008 U.S. Olympic ad), Hilton Hotels and JC Penney for Ralph Lauren. In 2008, Carlile established The Looking Out Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports such causes as the Fight The Fear campaign, Honor the Earth, Reverb, the United Nations World Food Programme and the American Diabetes Association.

Track Listing – Bear Creek:

1 – Hard Way Home
2 – Raise Hell
3 – Save Part Of Yourself
4 – That Wasn’t Me
5 – Keep Your Heart Young
6 – 100
7 – A Promise To Keep
8 – I’ll Still Be There
9 – What Did I Ever Come Here For
10 – Heart’s Content
11 – Rise Again
12 – In The Morrow
13 – Just Kids

Rhythm Seed Artist Spotlight On King Charles

In a forever sea of grey, every once in a while there is some color. In modern musical genres the amount of new, unique talent can sometimes be compared to a grey sea. When something new and colorful comes along, it generally gets copied and re-marketed to such a degree that you forget why exactly you liked the original in the first place. Since Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros came along, every new band wants to appear like one big, happy family of wandering minstrels. Since Mumford & Sons paved the way for a mainstream roots revival, the copycats are coming at us at the rate of one or two new accordion toting, banjo players each week. It’s the same thing right now with the hipsters and Brooklyn, NY. I think musicians by the droves are moving to Brooklyn just to say they’re from Brooklyn. It doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the music or the way it’s delivered. Can you say grey sea? But wait a minute, here is some color. It comes to us in the form of an artist from London who has this reggae-hip hop-pop thing going. He calls himself King Charles and at first glance we’d say he has something new and interesting happening.

Newly signed to Universal Republic, King Charles is hitting the music scene with both barrels. He emulates royalty; in particular a certain King Charles from the British court of the 1600’s. Actually there were two – Charles I and Charles II. But if I were to pick, I would say it is Charles II who our new King emulates.  Charles II was popularly known as the Merrie Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court. Charles’ wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no children, but Charles acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses.  Our new King Charles and the old King Charles II even look alike, particularly around the nose. Check it out…

In 2009 King Charles released his debut EP to critical acclaim. As he was writing the album he had an almost fatal accident that dramatically halted the process. A few months later, while still in recovery, he was invited to support Mumford & Sons in America, an offer he couldn’t refuse. King Charles then became the first and only British artist to win the International Songwriting Contest in Nashville and was signed on the spot by Universal Republic in America. He then returned home to continue what was in total an 18-month recovery. He finished writing and recording his debut album in his bedroom, then put the final touches to it in Los Angeles. The album draws down influences from Afro-beat, rock and roll, glam, folk, hip-hop and country; they are songs with spirit in their belly.

He is rather good at opening lines and first single ‘Bam Bam’ explodes into life with the observation, “That girl who is (is) but your beautiful daughter, she may be the cure, but for now she’s the torture…”, it’s a musical introduction fit for a King, a glam folk extravaganza, an attention grabbing pop chant, which reveals his Vampire Weekend and Bob Dylan influences. The heart of this song is lit up by joyous pop and the edges are colored in by wild and wonderful ideas.

There is a magic in King Charles that is infectious and unique, and has already captured the imagination of fans across the UK and America. He packs out venues wherever he goes, performing to within an inch of his life, master of the moment with a natural majesty of musical talent that makes him a British artist that is one to watch. But don’t take our word for it. Below are two new videos from the King. Watch them and draw your own conclusion. His first album, Loveblood, releases on May 7th.

Watch The Re:Generation Music Project

Electronic music producers/DJ’s The Crystal Method (Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland) will appear with legendary singer Martha Reeves of The Vandellas tonight, Wednesday, March 14 on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” They’ll perform “I’m Not Leaving,” one of the five songs created in Re:Generation Music Project, the music documentary feature produced by Hyundai in association with The Grammys®. The film and project examines the history of different music through the eyes of five of the most influential electronic producer/DJ’s in music today.

The “Re:Generation Music Project,” an official selection of the SXSW 2012 Film Festival happening in Austin, TX this week, is also now exclusively available on the free, ad-supported Hulu and the Hulu Plus subscription service. In the film, The Crystal Method with Martha Reeves and The Funk Brothers and other acclaimed producers DJ Premier, Pretty Lights, Mark Ronson and Skrillex use technology to mix musical styles and genres for the creation of five original tracks that are nothing short of magical.

The film will be featured as Hulu’s “Documentary of the Month” during March and April, and will available on the premium online video service through March 2014. Hyundai served as the benefactor of “Re:Generation Music Project,” in association with The Grammys®, as a joint commitment to celebrate innovation in music.

You can view the “Re:Generation Music Project” below.

“I’m Not Leaving” along with other original tracks and remixes from “Re:Generation Music Project” can be downloaded for free by clicking here.

Rhythm Seed Artist Spotlight On Memoryhouse

Memoryhouse formed some five years ago in the depths of southern Ontario, Canada, in a mid-size town called Guelph. It started as a collaborative project meant to serve as an artistic outlet for composer Evan Abeele and photographer Denise Nouvion. Evan, a dedicated student of classical music and an avid follower of pop-music, intended Memoryhouse to be a multimedia art project, pairing his instrumental compositions with Denise’s photographs and short films.

Testing ways to blur the boundaries between genres, to weave a synthesis of music and photography, they experimented with themes, lyrics and multiple layers of instrumentation. Denise’s soft, ethereal voice anchored the frozen textures of Evan’s compositions with frank sentimentality – a unique approach towards humanizing the electro-pop compositions they were creating. The results, at once timeless and new, were impressive and in September 2011 Sub Pop released a fully re-recorded, remixed and re-mastered version of the band’s 2010 self-released, digital-only ep, The Years.

The new album is called The Slideshow Effect and its title speaks to what hasn’t changed for Memoryhouse: their continuing interest in the synthesis of the aural and the visual. It refers to the photographic/cinematic technique of zooming and panning to animate still images, often used in documentary filmmaking to give movement to archival photographs.

The 10-track album, produced by Evan Abeele, with assistance from friend, collaborator, and occasional Memoryhouse bassist Barzin Hassani Rad, finds the band heading toward a new clarity in composition as well as sound; a more organic direction for artists who are, in their own words, transitioning from a ‘bedroom recording project’ into a fully realized band. Denise Nouvion’s voice has never been more present than on the new album, which finds her stepping away from Memoryhouse’s past reverb drenched sound in favor of a more upfront, and intimate vocal approach. They half-seriously refer to their new sound as ‘Taylor Swift with Built To Spill as her backing band.’ However The Slideshow Effect might be described, we are digging it. You can stream The Slideshow Effect below:

Memoryhouse – The Slideshow Effect by subpop