Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Exclusive Interview: Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers

Today I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak to Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers. As I've mentioned before, The Avett Brothers just released their brand new album yesterday titled I and Love and You. They just got signed to a major label, Columbia, and the infamous Rick Rubin produced their album. They played Late Night with David Letterman just two days ago. The Avett Brothers make wonderful music with heavy influences from bluegrass, punk, folk and alternative music. Their new album is a bit of a departure from their more raw, off the cuff punk style but I think this is a good thing. This is a band that truly deserves a wider audience. They are making some of the most honest music in the business today and their lyrics are poetry. Thankfully for me, Scott Avett is a completely nice and humble dude and he agreed to chat with me over the phone.

Firstly, congratulations on the release of the new album and playing Letterman, the performance was phenomenal! That was your first live television performance if I’m not mistaken? Were there any on stage nerves?

Scott: Actually we did one show out in LA that won’t come out to the 6Th of October. Letterman was the first to actually air for this record. It was a really, really exciting experience and environment. About half way through the performance my adrenaline was definitely pumping

Was that performance the first time you have played as a 5 piece band?

Scott:We’ve played as a 5 piece band before. Rick actually recommended Mike Marsh from Dashboard Confessional to play drums for us, and he also recorded with us on the new record.

How did the band get paired up with Rick Rubin, arguably the most sought-after record producer in North America, if not the world?

Scott: We always had the mentality as a band that if we kept doing what we were doing and were true to the music that good things would come. This feels rehearsed but it’s the honest truth. We just kept faith in the band and in the music and kept writing and playing shows. Rick found us and asked to work with us on the new album.

Rick has produced records for virtually every genre of music. Was there any fear that the band’s unique sound wouldn’t mesh with his ideas? Or did you have complete faith in Rick?

Scott:Oh man, we had complete faith in Rick. The guy is a genius so we had to trust him.

That said, how much was Rick really involved in the recording process on a day to day basis?

Scott: Rick was there every day in the recording studio with us. He would stay with us for 7 or 8 hours a day every day for the entirety of the recording process. We bounced ideas of each other and respected each other’s creativity.

The album is certainly a bit poppier than older albums like Four Thieves Gone and the Gleam, but it no doubt sounds like The Avett Brothers through and through. Do you find that as a maturing band this more “radio-friendly” sound was the direction the band was always heading towards?

Scott: Me and Seth have always been writing music and this album was just a focus on trying to write more good songs and good music.

Marketing a successful album is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in the music industry today. Where did the idea for releasing short chaptered videos come from?

Scott: That idea kind of came from everyone who we work with. It came from the band and our management. We just wanted an original way to show off the fans and the music. We also had a million ideas for cool things to put up on the website and the short chaptered videos kind of just came out as the best ones in the end.

Integrating your fans and brief clips of the songs into these videos really gave the viewer a sense of how close the band is with their audience. Ultimately was the goal of these videos to display this intimacy perhaps even more so than the new music?

Scott: Yah those videos are amazing. They’re actually kind of difficult for me to watch. It’s tough to believe that something you make can have such a strong impact on people. We have a close tie to our fans and we know they love the music we make. I try and distance myself from those clips when I watch them because they are simply overwhelming to an amazing extent. A dude named John that actually used to go to my high school produced the videos. He now works out in Los Angeles but he’s a big fan of the music and spent countless hours on the road filming fans and the music. He’s doing some amazing things and we can’t thank him enough.

Being a Canadian myself, it’s always interesting to see a band play a single show in Canada. I hate to lump you guys into the jamband scene but I do believe you exist in it even if you’re just on the fringe. Most bands in this extended family do not gig in Canada for the quote unquote “safety of its fans” if you know what I am getting at. Does your fanbase extend to Canada or will this be a one-off show?

Scott: We don’t mind being lumped into the jamband genre. I think that the term “jamband” is very loose. We actually know that at least a handful of our fans are going to make the trek out to the show. We had a show booked in the States and had to cancel it, so we rescheduled it to Toronto. We saw some of our die-hard fans out in New York and they told they had booked flights out to Toronto or were driving in. We know we have fans in the U.S. and we hope after this show tonight in Toronto that the fan base will expand at least a little bit.

Unfortunately due to some digital noise issues with my recorder, some of the interview was inaudible. What you just read was the bulk of the interview that I could transcribe accurately.

I strongly encourage everyone to purchase the band's new album from either their website or itunes. My review of the album will come shortly.

Here's a video of The Avett Brothers playing the punky "Kick Drum Heart" and an older tune "Famous Flower of Manhatten". Directly below is the edited version of "I and Love and You" played on Letterman

The Avett Brothers Interview

HUGE news today as Back In 15 Minutes will be interviewing country/punk/folk band The Avett Brothers! Expect the interview to be up either late this afternoon or early tomorrow. The Avetts just dropped a huge new album produced by music legend Rick Rubin and played Letterman only two nights ago!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Phish - Joy Box Unveiled

Finally the Joy Box has arrived. Although a full fledged description of Phish's new album and its accompanying collectors box was given in writing, I've been super curious to see what it would look like in person. Unfortunately for me, I'm not willing to dish out the cash to purchase the Joy Box. I had to look no further than my buddy's Dog-Gone Blog to find an excellent video of the unveiling of the Joy Box. Check it out below.

Phish Dropping Halloween Hints

Phish recently updated their Festival 8 website with a brand new Halloween game. For those of you dying to know which album the boys will cover during their Halloween set, just log on to the site and view the 100 potential albums. As the festival approaches, more and more albums will be eliminated. Frankly, I'd be surprised if they announced the cover album through their website. It's more likely that the boys will leave a couple of albums for people to ponder over. So far six different albums have been killed: Medeski, Martin & Wood’s Shack-Man, Tom Petty’s Damn The Torpedoes ,The Who’s Who’s Next, Huey Lewis And The News’ Sports, The Velvet Underground and Nico’s self-titled album and Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man.

Here's Back In 15 Minutes' top 5 picks for albums I would love Phish to cover at Festival 8 (in no particular order):
1. Blind Faith - Blind Faith
2. The Band - The Band
3. The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
4. Steely Dan - Pretzel Logic
5. Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Here's the full list of albums on the Phish website:
AC/DC – Back In Black
Aerosmith – Toys In The Attic
Allman Brothers Band – Eat A Peach
Arcade Fire – Funeral
The Band – The Band
Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty
Beatles – Rubber Soul
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Blind Faith – Blind Faith
Bob Dylan – Blood On the Tracks
Bob Dylan And The Band – The Basement Tapes
Bob Seger – Against The Wind
Boston – Boston
Brian Eno – Before And After Science
Chicago Transit Authority
The Clash – London Calling
Credence Clearwater Rivival – Green River
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly
David Bowie – Scary Monsters
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
Declan McManus – This Year’s Model
Devo – Freedom of Choice
The Doors – The Doors
Duran Duran – Rio
Eagles – Hotel California
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Blvd
fIREHOSE – flyin’ the flannel
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Frank Zappa – Apostrophe
Frank Zappa – Hot Rats Genesis – The Lambs Lie Down On Broadway
Grateful Dead – American Beauty
Guns & Roses – Appetite For Destruction
Hall & Oates – Private Eyes
Huey Lewis And The News – Sports
Jane’s Addiction – Ritual de Lo Habitual
Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced?
Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
Jonathon Richmond and The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers Journey – Escape
KISS- Alive II
King Crimson – Larks’ Tongues In Aspic
Led Zeppelin – I
Led Zeppelin – IV
Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
LOVE – Forever Changes
Manu Chao – Clandestino
Medeski Martin & Wood – Shack Man
Metallica – Master Of Puppets
MGMT – Oracle Spectacular
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Michael McDonald – If That’s What It Takes
Miles Davis – A Tribute To Jack Johnson
Minutemen – Double Nickels On The Dime
Neil Young – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night
Nirvana – Nevermind
Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
Pearl Jam – 10
Peter Gabriel – So
Pink Floyd – Meddle
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Pixies – Come On Pilgrim
Police – Ghost In The Machine
Pork Tornado – Pork Tornado
Primus – Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
Prince – Purple Rain
Queen – A Night At The Opera
Radiohead – Kid A
Rage Agaist The Machine – Evil Empire
Ramones – Ramones
Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
The Roots – Phronology
Rush – Moving Pictures
Saturday Night Fever-Soundtrack
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic
T.Rex – Electric Warrior
Talking Heads – Fear Of Music
Television – Marquee Moon
Tom Petty – Damn The Torpedoes
Tom Waits – Rain Dogs
U2 – Joshua Tree
Van Halen – Van Halen
Van Morrison – Astral Weeks
Velvet Underground And Nico-Self-titled
Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
Ween – White Pepper
White Stripes – Elephant
Who – Who’s Next
Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
X – Los Angeles
Yes – The Yes Album
ZZ Top – Tres Hombes

The Shins Frontman & Danger Mouse Team Up

James Mercer, lead singer and guitarist for The Shins is teaming up with famed producer and one half of Gnarls Barkley, DJ Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse has been all over the map lately, putting out a slew of new material with Gnarls as well as producing The Black Keys' 2008 album "Attack and Release". But I digress, Mercer and Mouse's new band will tentatively be called Broken Bells, and their new album will be released later next year through Columbia. The two are apparently so fond of each other that they plans that extend far past this project. What exactly they have planned is still under raps but it's sure to be interesting.

Thom Yorke's New Band

Radiohead's Thom Yorke has enrolled a new band to perform his solo material. The band (pictured above) consists of himself, Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Beck/R.E.M. drummer Joey Waronker, percussionist/multi-instrumentalist Mauro Refosco, and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass. Two shows have been scheduled for October 4 and 5 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles. Yorke is quoted saying ""the set will not be very long cuz ..well ...we haven't got that much material yet!" It will be interesting to see how Flea's slap bass, funk styling will mesh with Yorke's psychadelic crooning. Perhaps the eccentric bass player will hold back a bit and mostly stay in the pocket.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Warner Music Group & YouTube, Friends Again

For those of you who remember, back in December a break in negotiations led to Warner pulling all of its musical content off of According to Advertising Age, a deal has been agreed upon by Warner and Youtube which will allow the label's music back on the ever popular site. Furthermore, Warner is "in talks" to join Vevo, the new music video site that Youtube and Universal Music Group are planning to launch.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jay-Z's College Tour

Jay-Z just dropped his new album The Blueprint 3 and it's filled with some pretty epic bangers. Being a man of the people and maintaining his reputation as being one of the hardest working men in hip-hop Jigga is doing a college tour. It comes as no surprise that Jay will be hitting the standard American colleges/universities but it was amazing to see that he will also be coming to Canada, and not just Toronto or Vancouver. Jay-Z will be hitting small town London Ontario, Ottawa and Montreal. To sweeten the deal, he's bringing long-time collaborators N.E.R.D. and up-and-coming D.C. rapper Wale. Both openers are brilliant artists and there is sure to be plenty of on-stage collaborations. What's more, Jay will also be bringing new comer J.Cole with him as well. B Full dates below.

10-09 State College, PA - Bryce Jordan Center *
10-10 Highland Heights, KY - The Bank of Kentucky Center *
10-13 Edmonton, Alberta - Rexall Place *
10-14 Calgary, Alberta - Pengrowth Saddledome *
10-15 Kelowna, British Columbia - Prospera Place *
10-16 Vancouver, British Columbia - General Motors Place *
10-17 Seattle, WA - Key Arena *
10-21 Ypsilanti, MI - Convocation Center *
10-23 Philadelphia, PA - Wachovia Center *
10-24 Providence, RI - Dunkin Donuts Center *
10-25 Amherst, MA - Mullins Center *
10-27 Baltimore, MD - 1st Mariner Arena *
10-28 Columbus, OH - Value City Arena Ohio State *
10-29 London, Ontario - John Labatt Centre *
10-30 Montreal, Quebec - Centre Bell Centre *
10-31 Toronto, Ontario - Air Canada Centre *
11-01 Ottawa, Ontario - Scotiabank Place *
11-07 Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center *
11-12 Champaign, IL - University of Illinois, Assembly Hall *
11-19 Albuquerque, NM - Tingley Coliseum *
11-20 El Paso, TX - Don Haskins Center *
11-21 Lubbock, TX - United Spirit Arena *
11-22 Austin, TX - Frank Erwin Center Arena *

* with N.E.R.D., Wale, J. Cole

Here's a video of Jay-Z performing "Empire State of Mind" from The Blueprint 3. Jigga claims to be the new Sinatra. I can't say I disagree.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monsters Of Folk Interview

This is a pretty funny interview featuring the Monsters Of Folk. Evidently MTV asked them to shed some light on famous "supergroups" of the past and present, musical or not. Jim James is pretty hilarious as always. Dig it.

Phish Confirm Festival 8 Schedule & Acoustic Set

Phish will play 8 sets of the course of the 3 day festival. 7 and 10 PM sets Friday, 3, 7:30 and 10 PM sets Saturday and noon, 5:30 and 8:30 PM sets Sunday. The group’s 7:30 PM Saturday set will include a musical costume meaning that the band will pay tribute to another band by playing their album in its entirety. In the past the band has performed all of the Beatles' "White Album", The Velvet Underground's "Loaded" and The Who's "Quadrophinia". Phish's "crack of noon" performance on Sunday will be their first acoustic set since 1998s Bridge School Benefit show.


FRIDAY (10/30)

4:00PM Concert field opens
7:30PM Set 1
10:00PM Set 2

SATURDAY (10/31)

12:00PM Concert field opens
3:00PM Set 1
7:30PM The Halloween Set
10:00PM Set 3

SUNDAY (11/01)

10:00AM Concert field opens
12:00PM Acoustic Set
5:30PM Set 2
8:30PM Set 3

Here the boys play "Savoy Truffle" & "Cry Baby Cry" from the Beatles' White Album 10.31.1994. Check out Trey's huuuggeee t-shirt from Big Red's husky days. Classic.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jay Farrar, Ben Gibbard & Jack Kerouac

Jay Farrar of Son Volt and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie will be playing four special concerts in celebration of their new collaborative album One Fast Move Or I'm Gone: Kerouac's Big Sur. The album which will be released on October 20 features 12 original songs inspired and based off of the prose from legendary writer Jack Kerouac's 1962 novel "Big Sur". A companion documentary film directed by Curt Worden and produced by Gloria Bailen and Jim Sampas of Kerouac Films will accompany the album. The film features appearances by writers, poets, actors and musicians including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sam Shepard, Patti Smith and Tom Waits.


10/23 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
10/24 – Bimbo’s 365 Club – San Francisco, CA
10/26 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
10/28 – Webster Hall – New York, NY

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cat Stevens - First Tour Since 1976

Cat Stevens a.k.a Yusuf Islam will embark on his first proper tour in 33 long years. His first show will take place in Dublin on November 15. The shows will feature a mix of both old and new material which is sure to please all die hard fans. Music from his new musical Moonshadow will also be played. Stevens had this to say regarding his new musical "It's taken a long time to arrive but it's always been a dream of mine to write a musical. Growing up in the West End of London, surrounded by theatres and shows obviously left a strong impression on me. I originally wanted to be a composer, not a pop star."

Dublin, The O2 Arena - November 15
Birmingham, NIA - November 23
Liverpool, Echo Arena - December 5
London, Royal Albert Hall - December 8

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pavement to Reunite

Big news today as seminal indie-rock band Pavement will reunite. Now don't go off and get too excited, the reunion show will not take place until September 21 2010. That's right, Pavement will not be playing together until about a year from now. On the plus side, they will be playing in New York City's Central Park. Could one really ask for a better, more intimate outdoor venue to see a huge reunion concert? I think not.
Here's the very first Pavement song I ever heard at the tender age of nine. It's called "Shady Lane" and its terribly catchy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vampire Weekend Announce 2nd Album

Vampire Weekend have just announced their second album which will be titled Contra and will be released January 12, 2010. Vampire Weekend was easily the most blogged about band in 2008 as people all over the internet were falling in love with their new-age, preppy take on African rhythms and pop melodies. Some even went as far as to compare their album to Paul Simon's monster Graceland. While this may have been a bit extreme, the album was no doubt quite good. Hopefully the guys will have a nice mix of new ideas on the album, without straying too far away from their infectious sound.

Here is the tracklist for Contra:
01 Horchata
02 White Sky
03 Holiday
04 California English
05 Taxi Cab
06 Run
07 Cousins
08 Giving Up the Gun
09 Diplomat's Son
10 I Think Ur a Contra

Upcoming Tour Dates:
10-06 Montreal, Quebec - Le National
10-08 Toronto, Ontario - Horseshoe Tavern

The Bridge School Benefit 2009

The lineup for this year's Neil Young hosted Bridge School Benefit show has just been announced and like always, its stacked with some major artists. This year ticket holder's will be lucky enough to catch the newly reunited No Doubt, supergroup Monsters of Folk (Jim James, Mike Mogis, M.Ward, Conor Oberst), Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Sheryl Crow, Fleet Foxes, Gavin Rossdale and the new Wolfmother lineup. Jimmy Buffet and comedian/musician Adam Sandler will also take the stage. Expect some serious collaborations and as always, a fantastic set by Mr. Young himself.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Michael Jackson's This Is It

It seems as though we will have to wait until October to find out what Michael Jackson's final string of concerts was going to be like. A movie titled This Is It will be released and will feature never before seen live footage from the rehearsals at London's O2 Arena. From the trailer alone it looks as though the shows were going to be epic. Wild stage setups, crazy dancing and lots of drama litter the trailer. Surprisingly enough, Jackson also looks like he was in decent shape at the time despite all the nasty rumors. The trailer itself is filled with the standard Jackson rambles about his music and like always, he comes off as pretty creepy. That being said, the music is fantastic and the film looks like it was beautifully shot. I'm sure waves upon waves of people will be lining up to see the King of Pop one last time.

The Black Keys Reveal New Hip-Hop Album

The Black Keys are always up to something, and 9 times out of 10 its great. Following their last release Attack and Release produced by Danger Mouse, the Keys have just announced that their next album will be a hip-hop album. While the Keys will provide vocals and instrumentals, they won't be doing the actual rapping. Instead, the boys have enlisted some of the heaviest names in hip-hop to spit on their tracks. Jim Jones, Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA, Raekwon, Ludacris, Pharoahe Monch, NOE, Nicole Wray, Billy Danze and the late Ol' Dirty Bastard will all be heard on the project which is ironically titled Blakroc. The album will be released on November 27. Check out the album trailer

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You Live

I just stumbled across this video while browsing the interweb. The Avett Brothers are an incredible band with a highly anticipated new album which will be released on September 29. The new record is titled I and Love and You and was produced by musical genius Rick Rubin. Needless to say there is a ton of hype around this country/punk/folk band and for good reason. The title track on the album is completely infectious with some superbly, deep lyrics. Stay tuned for an album review. In the meantime, enjoy this live video of the aforementioned track.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Album Review: Phish - Joy

The road to recovery has brought us Joy, Phish's first studio effort in five years. Joy is equal parts therapy and provocation. The lyrical themes are heavy and filled with honesty while poppy, often psychedelic music provides the contrast that we have come to expect from Phish. The band isn't afraid to address its shady, public history as lead guitarist Trey Anastasio sings "Got a blank space where my mind should be, got a Clif Bar and some cold green tea " on the standout rocker "Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan". What good, partying Phish fan hasn't lived off a similar diet either on tour or at college? Things get a little more serious on the title track "Joy", a dedication to Anastasio's now departed sister who passed away last year from cancer. In true Phish fashion, the album also has a few odd-ball moments, most notably on the Mike Gordon penned and sung "Sugar Shack" which is both funky and strange in true Gordo fashion. Joy also contains some soon to be Phish classics such as "Ocelet" which is filled with child like imagery and is a welcomed return to Anastasio's playful, narrative style approach to songwriting. Pianist Page McConnell steps into the spotlight on "I Been Around", the albums modern day response to the Phish classic "Lawn Boy". The only downfall of the album is the 13 minute prog-rock number "Time Turns Elastic". With meaningless lyrics such as "But, I'm a submarine, submarine sinks below the ground. A submarine, I'm a submarine, submarine sinks below the ground" its quite difficult to understand what Anastasio was trying to accomplish with this tune. It's safe to say that Joy is a return to Phish being a rock and roll band with pop sensibilities and this is easily their most accessible album to date. While old-school Phish fans may view this this as a downfall, new listeners are sure to have the catchy choruses of "Backwards Down The Number Line" and "Kill Devil Falls" stuck in their heads for days. Ultimately, Joy is a recharged and reinvigorated Phish proving to the world that their reformation is not simply an attempt at testing the waters, but rather a statement that the boys are back for good.