“Competing for most modern sound, Dawes will get beat a million times over,” says Taylor Goldsmith. “We didn’t hang up our guitars for washed-out keyboard sounds.”
When it comes to compliments, Taylor Goldsmith is impressively modest. The lead singer and songwriter of California rock quartet Dawes doesn’t want to hear that the band’s the most talented, the coolest or sexiest. “When someone hears a song by us they’ve never heard and says, ‘That’s Dawes’-that’s our proudest moment,” he says.
The sentiment isn’t unfounded: Nary a fan or critic referred to the band’s acclaimed first two albums without a caveat of how much they sounded like the legendary ’70s rock of the Band, Jackson Browne, Neil Young or Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Due April 9, “Stories Don’t End,” Dawes’ third album-their first on the band’s own HUB Records after leaving ATO Records-isn’t likely to put a halt to those comparisons. By Goldsmith’s admission, it’s a natural growth from 2009′s understated debut, “North Hills,” and 2011′s rawer “Nothing Is Wrong,” not a left turn. But with intimate production by Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones) and some of Goldsmith’s strongest songs yet, “Stories Don’t End” will likely mean the singer hears his favorite compliment more than ever before.
“Competing for most modern sound, Dawes will get beat a million times over. We didn’t hang up our guitars for washed-out keyboard sounds,” Goldsmith says. “We’ll always be a band that looks at a guitar solo as a big part of a song, and arranges a performance with bass, guitar, drums and a keyboard.” Continue reading
Held just before the Jewish holiday of Purim – during which everyone in Israel dresses up in costume and heads to street parties, like a grown-up Halloween – it wasn’t too surprising to see more than a handful of Tel Avivi’s in faux-Rasta garb for Feb. 20’s Ky-Mani Marley show. Thing is, Tel Aviv has its fair share of actual Africans – a solid third of the audience were first or second generation Ethiopians, whose dreadlocks were, of course, far more convincing.
The odd juxtaposition didn’t tamper with the party atmosphere too much; everyone at the Wednesday night show came to feel good, and Ky-Mani delivered high energy, hip-hop infused reggae. But the inarguable success of the show came almost in spite of a few factors dragging it down.
Namely, the product hawking of Ky-Mani’s older brother Rohan before and after the show. House of Marley is the family-endorsed, earth-friendly, Rasta-themed company currently selling canvas bags, headphones and other ‘lifestyle’ products. Whether you agree with the Marleys slapping their father’s lyrics and likeness on a watch is beside the point – Rohan Marley speaking for no less than 10 minutes about the superior quality of House of Marley products, complete with a promotional video, was an utter and complete buzzkill. Continue reading
For the past few years, Andy D has been conquering the local music scene, converting one fan at a time with his energetic, positive vibes and electro-clash sex jams.
He leads the funkiest “baptisms” ever, clad onstage in white denim cutoffs, a fanny pack, a Viking helmet and a mustache, healing the woes of the workweek with a healthy dose of weird. But Andy D can’t be Andy D all the time. The king of so many drunken parties is also, yes, a man of the suburbs. Greenwood, to be exact.
And on the eve of the release of his third album, “Warcries,” there’s nowhere Andy D would rather be.
“I’m not a big-city guy. I’m not a rural country guy. I’m a mid-sized American city type of guy,” the 31-year old Andy said, speaking from the home he shares with his wife and bandmate, Victoria, and his parents, Tom and Karen Duncan.
The house is where Andy grew up, and dashes of his childhood abound: His current in-home recording studio is also the space where his high school heavy metal band once played. Continue reading
The peace that I seek, it helps to keep me in a safe place. Mind still racing — never going to lose that. However, now, I know how to use that.
If that line sounds more like a mantra your yoga instructor might say in a meditative state than a line from a hip-hop song, you’d be forgiven.
Indianapolis’ own Mr. Kinetik isn’t your average rapper, and he doesn’t rap about your average topics. Spirituality over sex. Self-reflection over boasting. Peace and love over guns and drugs. The 26-year-old artist is just the latest in a growing local hip-hop scene that’s increasingly varied and engaging, but his secret weapon is an unexpected one: Mr. Kinetik, born Marc Williams, draws inspiration from his day job — as a teacher of children with special needs.
Williams grew up with a dad in the military; his family was constantly on the move, from Maine to Indiana, then California, Texas and Ohio. He was “kind of a nerd, always reading something,” he said. “I loved the way people put words together.”
As a high school student in Dayton, Ohio, Williams began writing rhymes and recording his work on a friend’s computer, a single, cheap microphone picking up his words. “We just rapped about being rebellious, video games we liked, talking to girls, stupid stuff,” he said, laughing, “Nobody will ever hear that stuff. Oh, goodness. I wouldn’t play it for anybody.” Continue reading
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and Alabama rapper Yelawolf certainly share some passions: hip-hop; tattoos; fast, aggressive music; and fashion — Yelawolf runs his own line, Country Fresh, through Barker’s Famous Stars and Straps brand. Until recently, the artists also shared an executive in Paul Rosenberg. (Yelawolf is signed to Rosenberg and Eminem’s Shady Records, and Barker was long repped by Rosenberg.) So sharing an EP shouldn’t come as a surprise.
On Nov. 13, the duo will release “Psycho White,” a collection ranging from reggae-rap to mosh-pit hip-hop to near-dubstep, all in just five songs. The project will arrive through Barker’s LaSalle Records/Killer Distribution. While the music often blasts with teeth-rattling intensity, it couldn’t have been a more casual affair. And Yelawolf and Barker intend to keep it that way.
While Barker has a punk-rock background, as a kid he played along to “Whodini, Beastie Boys, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh albums, while also playing along to Master of Puppets,” he says. With enough Blink-born notoriety under his belt (the band has sold 13.6 million albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan), he began producing hip-hop tracks for artists like T.I. and Paul Wall. Continue reading
At first glance, the notion of Yoko Ono pairing with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth to create a mini-album of experimental noise rock with Ono’s spoken word and howled syllable vocals over minimalist guitar seems like the weirdest music news to come down the pipeline this year. But think about it a second longer, and the whole project makes a lot of sense. All three figures have been leaders in experimental rock. All are proud outsiders, all seasoned vets.
“YOKOKIMTHURSTON” is the most recent project in one of Ono’s most fruitful periods. Now nearing 80, she’s released three albums in the past five years, including 2007′s remix record “Open Your Box,” which helped launch her current incarnation as dance club queen. She’s also remained an outspoken peace activist – like her days with husband John Lennon – most recently awarding her biannual LennonOno Grant for Peace to jailed Russian activist musicians Pussy Riot on Sept. 21, the UN’s International Day of Peace.
To mark the release of “YOKOKIMTHURSTON,” out today on Chimera Music, Billboard caught up with the legendary icon of out-there. Continue reading
On a recent afternoon, Chad Stokes stuffed a van with all of his worldly possessions and emptied the junk at the local dump. After a few years living with his wife and daughter at his parents’ house in a sleepy little bedroom town, Stokes had decided to head back to Boston.
The move is symbolic, too: Following a decade away from the music scene, Stokes’ first band, Dispatch, is back. No more one-time “reunion” shows, like the instant sellouts the band played in 2004, 2007 and 2009. On Aug. 21, Dispatch will self-release “Circles Around the Sun” on its Bomber Records label, its first batch of new music in 12 years, then tour through the fall in Europe and the United States.
While “indie rock” is a term often used by many bands with major-label-strength backing, Dispatch was the rare exception. Formed in the early ’90s at Vermont’s Middlebury College, Stokes, Pete Francis and Brad Corrigan became a cult campus favorite, with self-made CDs and mixtapes the most common method of distribution. The advent of Napster only made the act bigger and, by the time labels took notice, Dispatch was too big to need them, or even care. Continue reading
On the last night of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Israel Centennial Mega Mission, the participants gathered by the sea in Tel Aviv to say goodbye.
Enjoying dinner outside of their hotel, they ate, drank and talked as the sun set over the Mediterranean, filling the water and sky with a soft orange glow.
The setting had all the makings of a party, but the mood was subdued. It was time to go home. But each participant, whether they were making their first trip or their 21st, knew this one was something special.
Any trip takes planning — numbers and logistics and maps and reservations. But for the Mega Mission, which just returned to Pittsburgh late last week, the planning was staggering: nearly 300 people, eight days, six buses.
“This mission was like planning a different wedding every day for 10 days, each with 300 guests,” said Becca Hurowitz, Centennial Mission manager. “All that planning and envisioning and dreaming is gone,” she said. “You get to the moment and you’re so anxious, you need to tell yourself to step back and enjoy it. You get to the last night, and you just don’t want it to end.”
Looking back on the trip, which wound all over Israel from June 19 to 28, the 290 Pittsburghers won’t remember the logistics. It’s the stories and the memories that will last. Continue reading
Mark Breslin never really felt at home inside a synagogue, hunched over a Torah. But in 1976, he created his own Jewish house of worship: a comedy club.
Thirty-six years later, his club Yuk Yuk’s has become Canada’s biggest comedy chain, with over 100 resident comics and 17 locations all over the country. And yet, while Breslin’s connection to Judaism grew alongside the expansion of his business – “The history of North American comedy is the history of Jewish comedy. The two are inseparable,” he says – he never made it to Israel. But now, at 60, Breslin aims to change that in a big way.
On May 31, Breslin will arrive in Israel with six of his best comics in tow for a culture-swapping week-long comedy tour. Co-sponsored by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the trip is meant not simply to make a few bucks off of Israeli audiences, but rather to strengthen Canada-Israeli bonds in a fun, creative way.
When Gilles Chuyen landed in India in 1994, his mission was clear: research the country’s caste system to work toward a PhD related to cultural issues. Born in Toulon, in the south of France, Chuyen had long been interested in Eastern religious traditions, and he sought to understand how the Hindu Brahmin priest class adapted to contemporary Indian society. It was heavy work, so it only made sense that Chuyen needed a way to unwind. And he found it in Chhau Mayurbhani, a form of Indian dance.
Seventeen years later, 41-year-old Chuyen travels the world leading workshops in Indian dance – specifically Bollywood – in between stints of choreographing and acting in Indian films, working on internationally touring dance shows and performing with his own dance troupe. On May 2 and 3, he’ll bring his Bollywood workshop to Israel, teaching in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, as part of the Indian embassy’s second annual “Celebrating India in Israel” festival, which also includes events showcasing Indian food, film, music, yoga and theater.
So how did a French researcher become one of the world’s leading teachers of Indian dance? A long, long history of rhythm was certainly a start.
“My mother tells me I was always dancing, from before I could walk,” laughs Chuyen in a phone conversation from his home in New Delhi. Continue reading