Monday, November 21, 2016

Rest in Audio: Company Will Turn Your Ashes Into Vinyl

Now your friends can scratch you into the afterlife

Figuring out how you want to be memorialized after your death is often a lifelong question, some artists spend their whole lives trying to commit one act that may resonate beyond their mortal coil, yet for the deepest (and somewhat laziest) of audiophiles there is a convenient new answer: having your ashes pressed onto vinyl.

Founded in 2009 by Jason Leach, And Vinyly is a pun-obsessed UK-based service that allows customers to press their remains onto a vinyl record. What began “just for fun” is now a bustling business for Leach, as people can use the skull and crossbones mouse icon to choose from a selection of different packages.

You can get album artwork portraits by James Hague (of the National Portrait Gallery) or street artist Paul Insect (or just choose your own art). You can hire musicians through the company who will write and record a track at £500 (about $650) a pop (or maybe you want to write your own song?). And for those who have a hard time making decisions, you can have parts of your body cremated and committed to vinyl while the rest of your body is buried (but why not just have a Viking funeral and save everyone the confusion?).

Yet some do take this option more seriously than the website’s “Live on beyond the groove!” type candor. Aeon’s Hearing Madge documents one And Vinyly customer’s process of making a record of his deceased mother. It does make one think, what song would be on your death record?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Grunge music had pretty much run its course by 1995. Kurt Cobain was dead. Mudhoney still wasn’t famous. The Seattle sound had been replaced on the radio by up-and-comers Hootie & the Blowfish and Blues Traveler. For many, it was like the revolution hadn’t even happened. But it had, and many of those that had benefitted from the grunge explosion were ready to move on—but not without first paying tribute to their forebears. But who were these forebears?

If you were to try to trace grunge music back to its source, you wouldn’t get far before running into Mike Watt. Watt was the bass player that launched a thousand other bass players. Ending every gig with words that encouraged audience members to start their own band, Watt defined punk rock in the ’80s as a member of San Pedro’s Minutemen and helped create the post-punk genre the following decade with his work in fIREHOSE. Many of the people who formed the bands that put Seattle on the map in the mid-’90s grew up idolizing Watt. As such, several jumped at the chance to help record his first post-fIREHOSE solo album.

The solo record was called Ball-Hog or Tug Boat? Released in February of ’95, it featured in-studio collaborations with, among others,Henry Rollins, Flea, Thurston Moore, J Mascis, members of the Beastie Boys, Frank Black, Dave Pirner, Evan Dando, Nels Cline, Pat Smear, Dave Grohl and Eddie Vedder. With this many cooks in the kitchen, there were bound to be some hits and misses. Honestly, this record has always felt a little unfocused and inconsistent to me. I’ve always loved it as an idea, though—an attempt from those who had gained popularity in the ’90s to lend their celebrity in lifting up one they considered a legend.

That’s where this live record comes in. Recorded in Chicago in May of ’95, Ring Spiel captures a single energetic night of the solo tour Watt spent opening for Hovercraft and Foo Fighters. Filling out his band were Sunny Day Real Estate/early Foo Fighter drummer William Goldsmith, former Nirvana and then-current Foo Fighters members Grohl and Smear, and Pearl Jam singer Vedder. Vedder contributed some vocals, but spent most of his time onstage playing rhythm guitar.

Any inconsistency I observed in the source material is quickly forgotten during this astonishing sonic time capsule. The band is raw and fired up, switching instruments and benching themselves to accommodate the different feel and shape of each song. Together, they power through a dozen and a half songs, including the Daniel Johnson cover “Walking the Cow” and the now-infamous Watt composition “Piss-Bottle Man.” Highlights include the Eddie Vedder song “Habit,” the Minutemen classic “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing” and a cover of Blue Öyster Cult’s “The Red and the Black.” It is a blisteringly solid performance by musicians that are almost having too much fun playing live. Is it as good as seeing Watt live today? Not even close. But for those that want to experience what it would’ve been like to see Watt lead a band of young bucks into their post-grunge music prime, this should be required listening.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A Tribe Called Quest's Final Album ''We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service' Is Here

A Tribe Called Quest's first full-length album in 18 years has finally arrived. We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service is a 16-track project that includes features from Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Elton John, André 3000, Jack White, and Busta Rhymes. Q-Tip revealed the album's release date with a note shared on social media on Oct. 27. In it, he said that a group reunion on The Tonight Show inspired the rappers to get back in the studio, where they laid down the "blueprint" for what would become this album.

Phife Dawg, who tragically passed away earlier this year, is also heard throughout the album. “It’s so hard for me to sit in there and hear his voice,” Q-Tip said in a New York Times interview about working with Phife's recorded material. “Sometimes I just have to like take a break and walk away. It gets heavy. It doesn’t necessarily get sad, it just gets heavy. I literally feel the energy from him when I hear his voice." It also includes original members Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

In his initial announcement, Q-Tip also noted that due to Phife's death, this will be the final album from A Tribe Called Quest. This caps off an incredibly influential run from the group, including the release of the highly influential albums Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory in the early 90s.

You can purchase A Tribe Called Quest's final album We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service on iTunes now or stream it via Apple Music. You can also stream it below via Spotify.

Friday, November 11, 2016

RIP Leonard Cohen

THE TERRY KATH EXPERIENCE at SVA Theatre, November 13!


The Terry Kath Experience is a trip into the mind of one of the most underrated guitarists in rock history. Kath was one of the original members of the band Chicago whose guitar playing and voice has been praised by such icons as Jimi Hendrix and Joe Walsh. The film follows first-time filmmaker Michelle Sinclair, Terry’s daughter, as she searches for the truth surrounding the life and untimely death of her father.

Official Site:
On Twitter: kathguitar
On Facebook:

Director: Michelle Kath Sinclair

Producer: Michelle Kath Sinclair, Tony Papa & Jordan Levy

Cinematographer: Jordan Levy

Editor: Micah Levin, Tony Papa

Running Time: 89

Language: English

Country: USA

Year: 2015

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Loss Haunts A Tribe Called Quest’s First Album in 18 Years

On March 22, at 3 a.m., Q-Tip and Phife Dawg were on the phone. The two rappers — lifelong friends from Queens and half of the influential hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest — were “yucking it up,” Q-Tip recalled, and talking about a project few people outside their inner circle knew was in the works: a new Tribe album, the first in 18 years.

Q-Tip was in the million-dollar recording studio he built in the basement of his stately New Jersey home; Phife was at his place in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Phife was fired up about a potential track: “Yo, make sure you send me that beat. I’ve got to put some verses to it. That beat is fire!” Q-Tip said in a recent interview in the lounge of his studio, surrounded by white shelves holding hundreds of vinyl LPs. The lighthearted conversation ended around 4 a.m. and Q-Tip went back to work. Nineteen hours later, Phife’s manager called. His friend and lifelong collaborator was dead.

The cause was complications from diabetes; Phife was 45. The other members of A Tribe Called Quest were shattered. The rapper Jarobi White was at Q-Tip’s house and heard people screaming. “We broke down,” he said. “There were two puddles of goo on the floor.” The producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad was in Sherman Oaks, Calif., walking out of an Apple store with a replacement iPhone when the call came in. “I was in shock,” he said. Without any of his contacts, he stood paralyzed, unable to reach out to anyone.

“I had no idea that his days was numbered,” Q-Tip said. Retelling this story in the same room where he had had so many conversations with Phife, he became too emotional to speak. He buried his face in his hands and sobbed. Finally he said, “I just want to celebrate him, you know?”

On Friday, Nov. 11, A Tribe Called Quest will do just that, releasing on Epic Records “We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service,” the group’s sixth album. It features all four of the group’s members plus a host of guests — André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Jack White and Busta Rhymes, a longtime Tribe collaborator who made a heralded appearance on the 1992 posse cut “Scenario.” Busta Rhymes said he saw Q-Tip and Phife in the studio vibing the way they did in the old days. “I seen them laughing and joking and high-fiving, and you can just see that young, invigorated ‘we’re-just-getting-our-first-opportunity-to-do-this’ energy again!” he said. Q-Tip noted, “I hadn’t seen Phife that happy since we were kids.”

They went through so much to reach that point. Tribe assembled as teenagers in Queens — Q-Tip and Phife, who first met in church at the age of four; plus Mr. Muhammad, who created much of their music; and Mr. White, who Q-Tip has called “the spirit of the group.” In the early ’90s, they made what are widely considered two of hip-hop’s greatest albums: “The Low End Theory” and “Midnight Marauders.” (Mr. White left after recording “The Low End Theory” to pursue a career as a chef.) The group was known for thoughtful lyrics, jazz samples and a more artful, less macho, approach to hip-hop. Q-Tip was the artistic, esoteric, philosophical M.C. while Phife Dawg was the streetwise, confident yet humble rapper with a little Trinidadian “ruffneck” swag. “He’s like your common man’s homeboy,” said André 3000. “He’s like the dude next door that watched sports and is always talking about the game. And he was funny.”

Three of Tribe’s five albums went platinum, and the other two went gold, but the group’s influence extended far beyond sales figures. As part of the Native Tongues movement, which also included De La Soul, they were into Afrocentrism and positivity and showed a generation how to make music that was both fun and substantive. “Tip’s kind of like the father of all of us, like me, Kanye, Pharrell,” André 3000 said. “When you’re a kid, it’s kind of like, O.K., who am I going to be? Can I be Eazy-E? Nah. But Q-Tip? Yeah. He seems more like a common kind of person.”

The Apollo Theater marquee for Phife Dawg’s memorial service in April. CreditChad Batka for The New York Times

Around the same time, a teenager in Detroit was also studying Tribe’s music. “They were trying to break new ground, and they had a musicologist’s attitude toward what they were doing with their samples,” Jack White said from his studio in Nashville. “I mean, you’ve got ‘Can I Kick It?’ over a Lou Reed sample from ‘Walk on the Wild Side.’ That really showed that they were miles and miles deeper than most other people in pop music.”A Tribe Called Quest - "Can I Kick It?" Video by TribeCalledQuestVEVO

By the end of the ’90s, Tribe’s members had broken up. In the ensuing years, they would occasionally reconvene to do shows, but the relationship between Q-Tip and Phife was difficult at times, as can be seen in Michael Rapaport’s sometimes brutal 2011 documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.” Q-Tip said the group had grown so popular that it was hard to maintain the friendships that were at its core. He also felt uncomfortable being cast as the de facto leader. “I’m more of a special-ops soldier,” he said.

Even still, Phife repeatedly asked about doing another group album; Q-Tip would respond, “Not now.” He was on a self-imposed sabbatical. “I wanted to rethink my life as an artist and as a man,” he explained.

He stepped out of the spotlight to re-energize himself and flowed into a yearslong period of spiritual rejuvenation. He studied music theory. He read a lot — Duke Ellington’s “Music Is My Mistress,” Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon,” George Orwell’s “1984,” the fiction of Paul Beatty, the poetry of Nikki Giovanni. He worked on his own poems. He tried all sorts of things.

From left, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg and Jarobi White at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, in 2013.CreditDave Kotinsky/Getty Images

“I was celibate for like a year,” he said. “I just wanted to ensure my mental health as a human being.” Then one day he said to himself: “How much longer are you going to be here? It’s good that you sat and you’re reading these books and you’re leaving the girls alone but, like, get over yourself.” It was time to get back to work.

Shortly afterward, in November 2015, the group was asked to perform on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its debut album. It was the group’s first television appearance in 15 years, and everyone agreed. “It felt right,” Q-Tip said. “The energy was right. It felt like we was those kids that had that big show in Paris when they were 19. It felt fresh. It felt exciting. It felt new. Plus, it was just good to be with my brothers after all of that time.”

Mr. White said the group easily slipped back into the zone: “It was like, oh man, this is the feeling that we’ve all been missing!” That was the night when Q-Tip finally said: “Let’s just do an album! Let’s just start tomorrow!”

But just because you put out the bat signal doesn’t mean everyone can come running. Q-Tip and Mr. White were ready to work on a new album but Mr. Muhammad was in Los Angeles working as the music supervisor for Netflix’s “Luke Cage.” And Phife was in Oakland, recording his own music and dealing with his health problems.

Primal Scream + Anton Newcombe 12"

Primal Scream + Anton Newcombe

"We gave Anton an ecstatic depressive post punk blue eyed soul song to remix and he gave us back a paranoid crushingly heavy claustrophobic 9 minute dub of medicated dread psychosis and we love it" - Bobby.

'100% or Nothing' feat. Big Belly Nothing 100% Dub (Bobby Selassie and Primal Jah). Out Friday August 19th on clear vinyl. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Former Pearl Jam Drummer Dave Abbruzzese Responds to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snub

Former Pearl Jam drummer Dave Abbruzzese isn’t happy about being left out of the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. Rather than going after the Rock Hall, Abbruzzese has challenged Pearl Jam to speak up against the “injustice.”

Dave Abbruzzese played on two of Pearl Jam’s most essential records: Vs. and Vitalogy. The percussionist also performed during the band’s Ten tour after the departure of Matt Chamberlain. His three-year tenure with Pearl Jam ended in 1994, but Abbruzzese believes he should be alongside Rock Hall nominees Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready, Stone Gossard, Jeff Ament, Matt Cameron and Dave Krusen. Chamberlain and fellow former drummer Jack Irons was also left off Pearl Jam’s Rock Hall ballot.

“It’s just a fine opportunity to see what Pearl Jam has to say in response,” Abbruzzese wrote on Facebook. “Let’s see if they do the right thing. It’ll be interesting to see the spin that is put on it. That band and its management have never been ones to shy away when an injustice is done. Let’s see if they still have the courage to fight the good fight!”

The drummer added, “I’ve seen them change a 15 year old settlement agreement just by ignoring its contents and withholding money that didn’t belong to them in order to force me to accept the changes. They know how to play the game…their way! … The members of Pearl Jam have got to know what’s the right thing to do. They can’t justify ignoring my contributions. Like me or not.”

Bridget St. John, Dylan Golden Aycock, Lake Mary at The Schoolhouse, October 21

The Orb at Webster Hall (Marlin Room), October 20

Shellac, Shannon Wright at The Bell House, October 24|utmccn=(not%20set)|utmcmd=187737&__utmv=-&__utmk=225685530

Monday, October 10, 2016

Mark Newman & The Doobie Brothers at The Paramount, October 13

Having recently performed at LIU Post for the “Musicians Without Borders” Benefit Concert this past September and releasing a bluesy new single titled “Scapegoat” singer/songwriter and guitarist Mark Newman is getting ready to open for legendary rockers The Doobie Brothers this Thursday, October 13th at The Paramount- 370 New York Ave, Huntington, NY!

Although Newman has played a ton of exciting solo and full-band showcases in the past few months--notably NYC’s B.B. King’s for the Delbert McClinton Birthday Show, The Space at Westbury opening for the one and only Don Felder, The Blue Note in Tokyo, Japan, The Space at Westbury opening for David Bromberg, NYC’s Legendary Bitter End, and the Pig’n Whistle in Los Angeles with Fred Herrera and Alex Del Zoppo, founding members of Sweetwater--he has also worked as sideman to so many soul, blues, and rock greats of our time like John Oates (Hall and Oates), Jim McCarty (The Yardbirds), Willy DeVille, Sam The Sham, and Sam Moore! 

A New York native, Newman’s musical prowess has taken him around the world several times over, playing with an eclectic mix of noted musical talents from Sting to Elvis Costello, and Travis Tritt as well as his own solo work. A multi stringsman, Mark has mastered electric/acoustic/lap steel guitar as well as the mandolin and dobro, and with a voice reminiscent of many rock and bluesmen before him- it has the familiarity of an old friend yet the power and soul of many of today’s rock, soul, folk and R&B icons. For over five years, Newman and fellow songwriter Naomi Margolin have run the “Music From the Hive” Singer/Songwriter Series, and for the past two years- “The Original Music Series” for bands, in an attempt to keep original music alive on Long Island. Newman also records and produces local artists in the Long Island/NYC area. 

“Walls of Jericho,” which was released in 2010, is filled with intricate guitar work and mixed with a plethora of sounds from hard rock to a lighter more Dylanesque folk tinge, but this style comes even more to the forefront on 2015’s “Brussels” out now on Danal Music and available via iTunes and CD Baby. The live acoustic-driven EP packs a bluesy punch reminiscent of Clapton’s “Unplugged” album through both the guitar work and raw vocal power. On the first track “Mean Season (Lucille, Lucille)”, Newman bellows “I waited til’ dawn, see if the sun will shine when you’re gone // You turn away, I just can’t stay where I don’t belong” and like many early bluesmen before him, you can hear the soulful longing and strife in his voice. With the brilliant slide-guitar work in “Dead Man’s Shoes” we’re easily transported in our minds to the West in the era of outlaws and cowboy boots, and in “Must Be A Pony” reminded about the power of a child’s enthusiasm and the efforts not to lose it as time goes by. 

His most recent release “Scapegoat” is yet another tune that brings Newman’s full-scale musicianship into the forefront as not only a brilliant slide-guitarist, but a gifted lyricist as well. His imagery depicts an innocent man on the run from the law after being framed for a murder he didn’t commit when he bellows “Walking home through an alley when I witnessed a hit, he was fightin’ for his life when his throat got slit // I screamed ‘hey stop!’ but not in time, I saw their faces and they saw mine”. The story takes an even darker turn when he continues “The police showed up to take care of business // They were looking for a weapon, looking for a witness // Though I know who it was I refused to name names // They took me downtown, I think I’m about to get framed”. Though a darker tale, the song itself verges more on the upbeat and danceable blues feel with a hammond organ solo that wouldn't be out of place in The Band, The Doors, or many of the great iconic rock songs of our time. But to judge for yourself, check it out via SoundCloud

With further shows coming up in the next few months including a Tao Jones Reunion (8PM) performance in Sea Cliff, NY Monday, October 17th and Saturday, December 3rd at Bar Louie (Commack) (10PM), you won’t want to miss a great opportunity to see Mark open for The Doobie Brothers on the Main Stage at The Paramount Thursday, October 13th at 8PM!

Aaron Comess group with Teddy Kumpel and Richard Hammond at Rockwood Music Hall, October 10