Goodbye to Gordo. Escape is at hand for the Travelin’ man

photo from Gord Downie’s Facebook page

2016 has been a tough time for us music lovers. With David Bowie and Prince not part of our physical world anymore, I check the morning headlines very cautiously hoping that we do not lose another one.

I am not sure if 2016 will be the end for Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip but it will be the end of touring. Earlier this year he announced a diagnoses of terminal brain cancer.  I have to believe that they determined the touring schedule around a doctor’s longevity timeline. His music and impact will, of course, live forever.

I have had the good fortune of seeing the Tragically Hip live several times.  Their music, and front-man, grabs you by the strongest emotions.  You experience feelings that you didn’t know you had.  Gord could inspire you into battle and the next minute have you on the floor in a fetal position crying uncontrollably.   I remember attending one Hip show and all of a sudden I was galvanized towards the merchandise stand to purchase a Tragically Hip hockey jersey.  They only took cash and I didn’t have cash.  They only had XL and I am not an extra large, but I found a cash machine and I purchased the XL Tragically Hip hockey sweater.   The next day when the haze cleared I was out $85 for a hockey sweater that was as big as a dress and it was the middle of summer.

Today that hockey sweater hangs in my office with my other rock and roll memorabilia.  Tonight the whole world will feel that joy and pain that Gord makes us all feel.  I especially feel for our neighbors to the north, Canada, as I know how much this band means to the whole country.

“Gord Downie is a true original who has been writing Canada’s soundtrack for more than 30 years.” – Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister

The concert is being broadcast on Canadian TV as a National Celebration.  I plan on watching the show online with a Molson.  Cheers to Gord and The Hip for all the good times.  Let’s rock the house one more time tonight.

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8 Tips for Summer Festival Season

Hopefully you are attending some outdoor music festivals this summer.  There is nothing quite like sharing the good vibes with like-minded people in the beautiful outdoors.  You start to think that world peace is possible when you see so many different colors, ages, hairstyles, band t-shirts getting along and just enjoying the day and good tunes.  Summer has already had a few good events but more is to come.

This weekend is the Pitchfork festival.  Lollapalooza will hit at the end of July and Outside Lands starts off August.  In September you can look forward to RiotFest where you realize that GWAR is really funny and you shouldn’t have waited so long to check them out.

Here are some good tips for survival:

1. From Leah Garass at Pitchfork festival. She suggests that you take a picture of  your daily schedule and save it as your lock screen wallpaper.

2. Signs of dehydration are important…

Pitchfork Festival

#p4kfest Safety Tip—
Signs of dehydration:
Rapid heartbeat
Rapid breathing
No tears when crying

      3. A pocket size umbrella is good for rain as well as too much sun.

       4. Check out the food vendors.  This is no longer deep fried funnel cakes.

       5. Start a conversation with a complete stranger.

                  (This is the opposite of posting an anonymous comment on the internet)

         6. Be happy, it’s contagious

          7. Buy some of the music from the bands you see to remember this day

          8. Dance like no one is watching because you probably are not being filmed and posted to youtube.

You can watch Pitchfork online here

Upcoming Lollapalooza and Outside Lands with headliners like Radiohead and Red Hot Chili Peppers are sure to please.  Don’t forget Riot Fest before summer ends.

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Independence is a Good Thing

Life is great here on earth. After we defeated the aliens and made them our butlers it has been nothing but cocktails and dream-like euphoria.

Happy Independence Day!

Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory. Independence does not necessarily mean freedom. (from Wikipedia)


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Stone Roses Resurrection

There will never be a time when the Stone Roses don’t sound good. They are back and it is great! All for One and One for All.  Has it been 20 years?

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Every Man has a Blackstar

It sounds like an internet hoax but just like reading the Inquirer odds are they’re going to report a real story once in a while. This is a cool story that adds to the awesomeness of David Bowie and Elvis Presley.

photo from

These two giants of song shared a birthday but they also knew someday their physical form wouldn’t last as long as their legacy. In a finding that may have started, or at least been passed through Moby, there is another connection and it is a Blackstar.

Elvis Presley lyrics
Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star

Elvis recorded a song found above that was originally called “Black star” the lyrics are haunting as it describes a man who knows his time has come.  The Elvis song was eventually changed and released as a song called “Flaming Star” to go with his 1960 western movie of the same name starring Barbara Eden.

David Bowie released the awesome album Blackstar before his death earlier this year.  The album continues to intrigue and surprise us.   Newly revealed is the fact that the Blackstar logo on the vinyl album cover, when exposed to sunlight, opens up a new galaxy of stars as seen below.

photo from

Shine on Mr. Bowie.  We love and miss you.


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Press Play and Feel Sunday

on sunday you must chill from Spool Going Round on 8tracks Radio.

photo from

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Beth Orton delivers some ’70’s Funk on new release

Beth Orton 1973

Beth Orton photo

When I was a DJ at The Mountain here in Seattle we were one of the first, if not the first, to break a young talented Beth Orton.  I was able to see her live as part of our Holiday concert that same year.  Great to see she is still putting out challenging music and touring the US, including a stop in Seattle.

Following on from “Moon,” Beth’s first release in four years, “1973” is both forward-thinking and insanely catchy. Framing Beth’s unique voice against her heavy, low-slung mechanized synth riff, “1973” is a gorgeously panoramic summer road trip of a song that immediately transports the listener into a sunshine state. The song features George Lewis Jr. on guitars and Guillermo E. Brown on drums.

“1973” is taken from Kidsticks (released on Anti- on May 27th, 2016), Beth Orton’s seventh album. Kidsticks is the first record Beth has written on synthesizers instead of acoustic guitar. The album started with 10 days of Beth and co-producer Andrew Hung making loops in a garage in LA. Over the next 18 months, Beth built the tracks up from basic four-bar loops into beautiful multi-layered electronic songs augmented by live musicians, in her first official foray into production.

The album was mixed by David Wrench (the man responsible for recent hits by Hot Chip and Caribou) and features work from a cast of guest musicians assembled by Beth including Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr and Dustin O’Halloran from Winged Victory for the Sullen.

Beth will be touring the US.  I hope she brings this band from the album with her.

6/07 – Chicago, IL – City Winery
6/09 – Pittsburgh, PA – Three Rivers Arts Festival
6/11 – Washington, DC – U Street Music Hall
6/12 – Philadelphia, PA – The Foundry
6/14 – New York, NY – Le Poisson Rouge
6/15 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
6/19 –  Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom
6/20 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
6/21 – Portland, OR – Revolution Hall  
6/23 – Seattle, WA – The Triple Door


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Identical Twin Brothers Danny and Daniel Create the Sound of The Veldt

I have been listening to a lot of Cocteau Twins lately so when I was introduced to The Veldt it segued right into my playlist nicely.  They break all preconceived notions you could have about them.  You can not know the sound by looking at the band.  They take your mind on a musical adventure but also appeal to your warm heart. Genres do not define their music.  They are adventure-takers with sound and they have soul.  That’s really all you need to know.

This is the story of The Veldt.

Identical twins Daniel and Danny Chavis may originally hail from Raleigh/ Chapel Hill, North Carolina, but they have been East Village residents for the past 28 years. They are also co-founders of thegroundbreaking band The Veldt, who lifted their band’s name from a Ray Bradbury science fiction story. Musically reared in the church and juke-joints of their native southern state, the twins have been performing since they were children, listening to music that included gospel, Motown and Pink Floyd. They now make music, together with bassist/programmer Hayato Nakao, returning to their roots with the release of The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP.  The album releases on April 8 and to celebrate, the band is doing a whirlwindl tour of Central Canada (see tour dates below)

The first single is the emotionally wrought Sanctified, a ballad that perfectly captures the lush sound of Danny’s screeching guitars and decibel-breaking distortion, along with Daniel’s soulful wail and Hayato Nakao’s deep bass grooves and guitar feedback, the track serves as theperfect re-introduction to this dynamic band. The title The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur was borrowed from an E.E. Cummings poem. Its raging sound was influenced equally by the emotional soul of Marvin Gaye, free jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders, various Drake hip-hop tracks, and their own fertile electric imagination.
In their early days, the Chavis brothers making a name for themselves playing throughout the south at a time when fellow southerners REM and Superchunk were securing major label deals. As more black rock bands (Living Colour, 24/7 Spyz) began selling records and gigging throughout the world, The Veldt was courted by various labels, including IRS Records and Capitol.

Initially signed to Capitol Records in 1989, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. Soon, they were in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie working on their initial recordings, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and recording Marigolds with Linco ln Fong (Moose).


The Veldt were a sensation from the start as they became a part of a movement of innovators who came of musical age at a time when rhythmic rebels were reflective, gritty and wild. Their sound inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.
They switched labels and Mercury Records released Afrodisiac in 1994, produced by Ray Shulman (The Sundays, Bjork, Sugarcubes). Their single Soul in a Jar was an underground hit.
As the brothers moved to expand their musical language, fusing more electronics into their soundscape, they retired the “Veldt” name and, for various reasons, began recording and touring under under the name Apollo Heights. In 1999, the Chavis brothers met bassist Hayato Nakao, who would become their permanent partner. Their music was loud, exploring color, space, sensuality and beat driven melodies with rhythmic and dynamic tension. Daniel’s falsetto vocals cast a contrast upon the wall of sound created by Danny’s heavy rock dreamscape guitar and Hayato’s pounding and licentious beats.

Although The Veldt had signed to two major labels after leaving Mercury Records in 1995, the brothers decided to remain indie and self-released their 2008 album White Music for Black People. “The major labels were always trying to get us to change our sound, our look or both,” Daniel laughs. “But, we had no interest in being the next Lenny Kravitz or Tony! Toni! Toné! Unfortunately, not everyone shared our vision. We weren’t trying to be rock stars, we just want to play our music and pay our rent.”
Apart from Robin Guthrie and A.R. Kane, who produced ‘And It’s You’ from this EP, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and have shared the stage with My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, Echo & TheBunnymen, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Living Colour and TV on the Radio, among others.
They eventually changed their name back to The Veldt. The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur serves to mark the band’s re-emergence and will be followed by another full album of material on their Resurrection Hymns LP later this year (via SonaBLAST! Records). Indeed, for these veteran musicians and passionate noise technicians, this newest EP marks a new beginning.

PRE-ORDER The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur will be released via UK label Leonard Skully Records on April 8, 2016.
The Veldt will be touring central Canada and North Carolina in early to mid-April and also will be opening for The Brian Jonestown Massacre for various east coast dates during their forthcoming U.S. tour in May.


  1. Sanctified
  2. In a Quiet Room
  3. Token
  4. One Day Out of Life
  5. And It’s You


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Hipster Bands Bring The Dead Back To Life

Talked about for years, an album of Grateful Dead covers by some of today’s hottest Hipster bands would be some day be released.  There is now a release date of May 20th and some song samples to share.  5 -CD’s for only $29.99

Various - Day of the Dead (Red Hot Compilation)

This has been an act of passion by the band The National.  They found many other like-minded bands and have put a collection together like no other for a cause.  I also became passionate about this band of misfits, The Grateful Dead.   I had just come out of the 80’s, enjoying life to the fullest with non-stop parties and good times.  Then we hit a very dark period in music, the 1990’s.   During this period of time I decided not to take my own life like so many of the artist of that day were doing but instead got caught up in a traveling group of music-loving, life-loving gypsies.   The deadheads brought me in and what a long strange trip it has been.   I saw many Grateful Dead concerts, Jerry Garcia Band shows, then A.J. (after Jerry), attended shows by Furthur,  The Dead, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir’s Ratdog.  Many of these wonderful songs have been reinterpreted by a wide range of artist on this new benefit compilation.

“Morning Dew” by The National

Day of the Dead was created and curated by brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National.  The compilation is a wide-ranging tribute to the songwriting and experimentalism of the Dead which took four years to record, features over 60 artists from varied musical backgrounds, 59 tracks and is almost 6 hours long.

Day of the Dead will be released digitally, on a 5 X CD, and as a limited edition vinyl boxed set.

All profits will help fight for AIDS/ HIV and related health issues around the world through the Red Hot Organization, a 501(c)3. This is the 20th album of original music produced by Red Hot to further its mission. Day of the Dead is the follow up to 2009’s Dark Was The Night(4AD), a 32-track, multi-artist compilation also produced by Aaron and Bryce for Red Hot. Dark Was The Night has raised over $1.5 million for the organizations fighting AIDS to date.

Some highlights from the tracklist are:

  • The War on Drugs – Touch of Grey
  • Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis & Friends – Sugaree
  • Jim James & Friends – Candyman
  • Bruce Hornsby and DeYarmond Edison Black – Muddy River
  • The National – Peggy-O
  • Courtney Barnett – New Speedway Boogie
  • Mumford & Sons – Friend of the Devil
  • Lucius – Uncle John’s Band
  • The Lone Bellow & Friends – Me and My Uncle
  • Lee Ranaldo, Lisa Hannigan & Friends – Mountains of the Moon
  • Anohni and yMusic – Black Peter
  • Angel Olsen – Attics of My Life
  • Wilco with Bob Weir – St. Stephen (live)
  • The National – Morning Dew
  • Lucinda Williams & Friends – Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad
  • Tunde Adebimpe, Lee Ranaldo & Friends – Playing in the Band
  • Local Natives – Stella Blue
  • Tal National – Eyes of the World
  • Bela Fleck – Help on the Way
  • Orchestra Baobab – Franklin’s Tower
  • Luluc with Xylouris White – Till the Morning Comes
  • The Walkmen – Ripple
  • Richard Reed Parry with Caroline Shaw and Little Scream (featuring Garth Hudson) – Brokedown Palace
  • Real Estate – Here Comes Sunshine
  • Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Shakedown Street
  • Hiss Golden Messenger – Brown-Eyed Women
  • The Lone Bellow & Friends – Dire Wolf
  • The Flaming Lips – Dark Star
  • Sam Amidon – And We Bid You Goodnight
  • The National with Bob Weir – I Know You Rider (live)

Here is The War on Drugs doing “Touch of Gray”

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Sad Lovers and Giants First Ever US Tour

I know it is easy to see what crazy times we live in.  Donald Trump, really? Maybe that is why we need this more than ever.  But whenever I am feeling that way I reflect back on being so lucky to have lived in these musical times.  We had Mtv and we grew up loving music.  Saving up allowance money and birthday wishes to get the latest releases.  We had passion for music.  It wasn’t disposable or free and we never thought it should be. There may never be the musical output that was the 1970’s and 1980’s.

I have seen over a 1000 concerts in my life.  I made a point of seeing all the greats.  A few slipped through and those will always be regrets but some just never came.  So is the case with Sad Lovers and Giants.  They never had the large devoted base of Joy Division or The Cure.  They were never lucky enough to end up in a John Hughes film but they were none the less great, and still are.  They have decided to bring their greatness to the US for the first time and I think it is great!


SLAG are reported to be working on new material and should gain some inspiration from new bands in this movement.  Along with some great local bands keeping this sound alive in 2016, this will be a great night of music here in Seattle on March 17th.   If they are playing near you I would strongly suggest a night out with the lads.

What’s the subtext here?

Sad Lovers & Giants are a rock band from Watford, England who formed in 1980. Their sound blends post-punk, atmospheric keyboards and psychedelia which has been described as ‘pastoral Pink Floyd’ and to many they are the best kept secret of the 1980’s.
Following their debut EP ‘Cle’ and the ‘Colourless Dream’ single, both issued in 1981, they released two studio albums, Epic Garden Music (1982) and Feeding the Flame (1983) before splitting in 1983. During this initial period they recorded a John Peel Session for the BBC and a live concert for the Dutch Radio Hilversum station in 1983 which was subsequently released as the album Total Sound in 1986. After the split they returned in 1987 with a new line up and released ‘The Mirror Test’ album that year. As interest abroad grew the band performed extensively in the Netherlands, Spain and France and headlined regularly at the old Marquee Club in London’s Soho.

In 1990 they released their fourth studio album, ‘Headland’ followed swiftly by the often overlooked album, Treehouse Poetry in 1991, before splitting once again. 1996 saw the release of a best-of compilation called ‘E Mail from Eternity’ then things went quiet until the release of their last album ‘Melting in The Fullness of Time’ in 2002 with two gigs in Italy a year later. The current era began in 2010 with gigs in Italy and Greece and has continued with a handful of performances every year extending into Berlin and Spain.

For the US Tour they will play warm up gigs in Lisbon and Porto with a rare London appearance on 5th March headlining at The Garage in Highbury & Islington. Their atmospheric and beautifully crafted set comprises songs from their extensive back catalogue but also from recording sessions for the new album.

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