Philly Beats: The End of America

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The End of America is a band of friends, singers and travelers who blend three-part harmony with rock and Americana. The Philadelphia-based outfit masters a style that resonates with fans of Ryan Adams, CSNY and Dawes.

All frontmen of previous bands, Brendon Thomas, James Downes and Trevor Leonard met on tour in 2005. They went on to form a trio that highlights their vocal chemistry and captures the raw honesty of their performances. TEOA recently wrapped the recording of their debut LP, a follow-up to their previous EPs, Shakey and Steep Bay.

The new album was written in the wake of a series of close calls: one involving a van accident on tour, and the other when drummer Jarrod Pedone was involved in a hit-and-run that left him in a coma for months. Fortunately the band walked away unscathed, and Jarrod made a stunning recovery. The following winter all members relocated to Philadelphia to write and hone their new sound. Joining forces with longtime friend and engineer Dave Downham in the producer’s chair, the band tracked 11 new songs at nearby Gradwell House Recordings in Haddon Heights, NJ.

With the album released, the band is gearing up for a full year of touring. Anyone who has seen TEOA can attest to their powerful harmonies and stage presence.

 

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AngloFiles: London’s Another Sky

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When you listen to Another Sky, it’s probably Catrin Vincent’s voice that’ll catch your attention first. It is a weapon – peculiar, androgynous, lurching and defiant – that she wields to beautiful, evocative effect. When Guardian music critic Caroline Sullivan saw the band perform at The Great Escape this year, she tweeted, “I’m almost dumbstruck by the singer – she has the strangest, most haunting voice I’ve heard in ages.” Catrin is delighted that people find it so strange. “A lot of people think I’m a man,” she laughs. “I think people are embarrassed when they initially think it’s one of the guys singing, but I love it. It’s like I’ve got two voices – there’s this soft, whispery voice that can go really high, and then suddenly there’s this angry chest voice. Somewhere along the way, I drew two voices together.”

Catrin’s unusual vocals certainly caught the attention of her future bandmates – drummer Max, bassist Naomi and guitarist Jack – when they were studying music together at Goldsmiths University. Before they came together to form Another Sky (which is named after an Emily Dickinson poem), “we were all just drifting,” says Catrin. But as soon as they found each other, something clicked. “We started by jamming, and songs would come out of just hours of jamming. Then I would put the melody and lyrics down. It’s really collaborative, no-one’s really in charge. I think that’s the best thing about it.

Their latest EP Life Was Coming In Through The Blinds is not available.

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A Sound Recommendation: Son Of Town Hall

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Welcome to the mythic world of Son of Town Hall, the unusual union of Ben Parker of London, England, and David Berkeley of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Parker, a highly sought-after London-based songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist, and Berkeley, a celebrated singer/songwriter/author have imagined a world that transcends time and space, complete with Victorian-era outfits, meditations about the sea and songs that beg you to sing along. The show is three-parts concert, one-part theater. It will leave you transformed, with your heart full of laughter and tears, drunk on adventure and the tragic beauty of the human condition.

Son of Town Hall was born when the two found themselves side by side aboard a junk raft (“The Son of Town Hall”) crossing the mighty Atlantic in search of new lands, new inspiration, and to recover squandered fortune. The two have sailed their ship back a century or so, and their song and story cycle follows the pair across the open waters and from town to town as they travel the frontier bouncing primarily from one failed endeavor to another. Though they fall for temptation and countless false promises, their belief in humanity and each other never flags.

Their struggles have only strengthened their harmony, a blend that would have made Simon and Garfunkel take to drink and push off to sea as well, had that duo been fortunate enough to hear Son of Town Hall sing. “Perhaps it was the solitude out there,” Parker explains when we caught up with the bearded duo off the coast of Maine, “or maybe it was the strong gratitude you feel for your companion as you make it through your first (or twelfth) near-death experience. Or maybe it was all the cheap rum we consumed… well whatever it was, we learned to sing out there. More importantly, we learned to sing together.”

You learn a lot on the high seas,” Berkeley adds. “Skills and endurance you didn’t know you possessed, you know?” We didn’t exactly know, but we let him continue. “Music and storytelling kept us afloat, kept us alive, really. That was the bond. We developed a blend and a sound that led even the sea creatures and the moon to pay attention. We just had to hope that it would translate if and when we ever reached the shore.”

Well, as anyone at one of Son of Town Hall’s packed shows across America or Europe can attest, their sound has translated just fine. Audiences consistently leave a show swaying like they’ve been to sea themselves and muttering that they’ve never quite experienced something like it. If the early indications prove true, the two will soon need to build a bigger boat, for everyone who floats near them wants to jump aboard.

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A Celebration of Alan Longmuir’s Life Raises £5,000 For Children’s Charity

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Alan Longmuir’s sisters Betty and Alice Longmuir, wife Eileen Longmuir and brother Derek Longmuir, who played drums for The Bay City Rollers.

On Friday, 21 st June, friends, fans and family of original Bay City Roller Alan Longmuir celebrated his life at a memorial evening and fundraiser for the benefit of Children’s Hospices Across Scotland, better known as CHAS.

Raising in excess of £5,000 in Alan’s name, the event was held at McQ’s in Bannockburn, Stirling, and involved live music, comedy, an auction, raffle and three course meal for an international crowd of 130 people who had travelled from far and wide to attend. 

Performers: Brian Gold and Craig Weir

Alan – dubbed the ‘Proud Son of Edinburgh’ – who sadly passed away last July, was  remembered in a night of joy and laughter, two things CHAS endeavours to spread.

Gail Shackley, one of the instrumental figures behind the event, said: “I was a fan of the Bay City Rollers in 1974-1979 and thanks to the internet, reconnected to the BCR scene in 1997. I have made so many friends for life from all around the world as a result, and feel my life has been enhanced by these friendships.

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Gail Shackley with Drummer and Brother of Alan, Derek Longmuir

Organising this memorial event for Alan has been a privilege; we wanted to create an evening of music, happiness and fun to celebrate the life and legacy of an amazing, kind, gentle and fun-loving person. I think we got it right! Our committee comprised myself, from England, Suz Rostron from Philadelphia, USA, Lesley Stirrat and Gillan Watkins from Scotland.”

“A raffle and auctions of memorabilia were very generously supported on the night by all attendees and entertainment was provided by Craig Weir and Brian Gold, with McQ’s resident DJ Gary on hand to fill in too.”

“We would like to thank Alan’s wife Eileen Longmuir who gave us her blessing to put this event on and who ended up doing as much as the rest of the committee in order to pull it off!  Thanks also to Dave from McQ’s for all his help and support.”

Lyndsay Stobie, CHAS Community Fundraiser, said: “It was a fantastic night where the love for Alan radiated through a night filled with moments of joy. We are so privileged to have shared in this experience and cannot thank everyone enough for these donations in memory of a much loved and iconic Scottish star.

“Alan’s memory was represented in true Scottish fashion with tons of tartan and music galore. It was definitely a night to remember and with attendees from England, Scotland, Wales, Norther Ireland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, United States, Canada, Australia and Japan, his international influence was certainly felt.”

In Scotland, nearly 16,000 children and young people live with life-shortening conditions and CHAS is determined to reach every family who needs it. CHAS works across Scotland, able to provide its hospice services nationwide for babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions., CHAS offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care from Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch.  

CHAS at Home supports families with the services of a hospice yet in their own homes across the whole of Scotland and through its Diana Children’s Nurses working in hospitals across the country, CHAS supports families and clinical teams.

 

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About CHAS:

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS) is on a mission to reach every family in Scotland that needs its care, providing hospice services nation-wide to babies, children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

CHAS offers palliative, respite and end-of-life care from Rachel House in Through its Diana Children’s Nurses working in hospitals across the country we support families and clinical teams.

We make sure that no matter how short family’s time together may be, it is filled with happiness and vitality. We keep the joy alive by helping families to celebrate the lives of their children while they are together, and to honour their
memory when they are gone.

Nashville Beats: New Music From David Wax Museum

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David Wax Museum , the duo of David Wax and Suz Slezak , released “Uncover The Gold,” the first single from their seventh studio album Line of Light today .

The album is now available for pre-order and will be released on August 23 via Nine Mile Records .

PRE-ORDER UNCOVER THE GOLD

The album was produced by Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket and was the first full length album he produced in his newly built recording studio in his home of Nashville, TN.

BrooklynVegan called the track “a beautiful-sounding song about a very ugly topic.”

White nationalists gathered in our hometown of Charlottesville in August of 2018. We, along with everyone else in our community, have been struggling to process the hate rally and the anti-Semitic chants we heard in our otherwise quiet, progressive college town,” explains David Wax. “I’ve seen our community radicalize in positive ways and strengthen as a result of this terrible event and wanted to write a song that reflected on how an awful situation can reveal something beautiful. I wrote this song for our children as a reminder that light can come out of darkness and as a prayer for a world with less strife and ugliness.”

David Wax Museum have also announced a US tour in support of the album that begins in October. Find a full list of dates below or on their website.

Line of Light marks the band’s return for their first full-length album in four years. It finds the duo tackling subjects both political and personal in a way they haven’t explored in the studio before. With Broemel taking the band’s folk-pop underpinnings and outfitting them with serious sonic force, the songs push deeper into themes of interconnectedness, spiritual longing, and deep personal reflection. Being artists from Charlottesville, VA, where they raise their two children, they found themselves responding to the political milieu we all find ourselves in at this moment. While not necessarily sunny, the collection shares a firm optimism in the human condition: there’s light beyond the darkness. Line of Light shows David, Suz, and their collected accompanists on a sonic evolution – making music that rewards repeated listens.

Ultimately, this record feels more like an expression of the mysterious alchemy of the songs, the studio, the producer, the musicians, and the time in our life,” explains Wax. “There was a lot swirling around behind us in the studio while we recorded Line of Light.”

The album features performances by multi-instrumentalist Danilo Henriquez, bassist Ben Kogan, keyboardist Paul Curreri, Russ Pollard (formerly of Sebadoh and Folk Implosion), and Carl Broemel and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket.

Line of Light tracklist:

1) “Uncover the Gold”
2) “Equal in the Darkness”
3) “How Do You Know If You’re Dreaming?”
4) “Big Sur”
5) “Wake Up and Dream”
6) “Touch of Gold”
7) ” Human Chain”
8) “Janaree”
9) “Little Heart”
10) “Night Gods”

Tour Dates:

10/23: Baltimore, MD – Creative Arts Alliance
10/24: Lancaster, PA – Tellus 360
10/25: New Haven, CT – Cafe Nine
10/27: Brattleboro, VT – The Stone Curch
10/30: Rochester, NY – Abilene
10/31: Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
11/1: Thomas, WV – Purple Fiddle
11/2: Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe
11/3: Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
11/5: Ann Arbor, MI – The Ark
11/6: Grand Rapids, MI – Listening Room
11/7: Fort Wayne, IN – ArtsLab
11/9: Milwaukee, WI – Colectivo
11/10: Chicago, IL – Schubas
11/13: St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
11/14: Davenport, IA – Raccoon Motel
11/15: Kansas City, MO – Knuckleheads
12/27: Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s
12/28: New York, NY – Mercury Lounge
12/29: Washington, DC – Union Stage

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West Coast Beats: Americana Duo 3 Pairs of Boots Release Their Debut

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San Francisco, CA-based Americana husband-and-wife duo 3 Pairs of Boots (Andrew Stern and Laura Arias) have released thir debut album, Gone South today.

Produced by Stern and recorded in the band’s own studio, the music is an amalgam of twangy two-step, gritty guitars, dusty pop, and bluesy, bittersweet folk from the Left Coast. While Tennessee and Texas reap most of the Americana glory, one cannot discount California’s contributions to the form. After all, the wide and deep genre’s roots reach back into the West Coast’s folk-rock scene just as much as they do the South’s blues and country traditions.

We had a great time writing and recording these songs and got so much enjoyment as they revealed themselves during the recording process, discovering what they were all about, taking us places where we did not expect,” say Stern about Gone South. “We feel very close to all of them.”

Stern and Arias, who have performed together for years, originally met through a “Singer Wanted” ad. Within a year, they were not just bandmates; they were also spouses. Ever since, they’ve rolled their way down a long, winding road through various genres — including rock, dance, Latin, fusion, prog rock, and punk — only to end up in the melting pot of Americana with all their influences and experiences still intact. “This music encompasses all of the artists who influenced us: The Beatles, Buffalo Springfield, The Who, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, Tom Petty, Nick Drake, and more,” Stern notes. “They all have a place in what we create now.” Indeed, with 3 Pairs of Boots, jangle-pop guitars might well sidle right up alongside a two-step groove.

Lyrically, Gone South is anchored by several recurring themes. One that jumps out time and again is working hard for very little. Having — or not having — love is another thread that weaves through the album. As a happily married couple, neither has turned their pen upon themselves just yet. Instead, they prefer the observational approach of writing about others, which is a tool easily employed in any given situation, whether it’s the western traveler in the spry chug of “Hey I’m on My Way,” the working woman in the laid-back groove of “It Ain’t Easy,” or the sentimental parent in the driving bop of “Slipping Away.”

Stern and Arias write separately, though he always writes with her voice in mind. Having a man write from the female perspective can be tricky in the best of circumstances. So what happens when you add on classic country themes — like the man doing a woman wrong on “One More Ride” — and the #MeToo era? “I find it quite interesting and very enjoyable to write about subject matters from a woman’s perspective, like being a screenwriter for actors,” confides Stern. “I have been blessed to be married to an incredible woman, and she has taught me well.”

 

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New EP From Singer-Songwriter Dante Mazzetti

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Born and raised in New York City, Dante Mazzetti started playing the fiddle at the age of three. By five, he was learning guitar and writing his own songs. By the time he was a teen, he was playing on New York City subway platforms and performing in music clubs. Mazzetti was accepted to the Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan where he studied voice.

He then went to Purchase College Music Conservatory to study Studio Engineering before moving to Austin, TX (for 6 months) to write his first album.

Mazzetti began his music career with the release of his self-titled debut album in 2002. After exploring the genre of Americana and indie folk, Mazzetti experimented with his sound by releasing his rock album, Lost and Drifting, in 2005. This album showed off his ability to capture different genres through his songwriting. In 2007, music took a backseat when he decided to join the New York Fire Department. In June 2011, Dante Mazzetti was awarded the Emily Trevor/Mary B. Warren Medal, “In recognition of your heroic actions placing yourself at risk to rescue an elderly female,” for his service in the FDNY.

Mazzetti is pleased to make his return with his new 4-track EP Hotel Vol. 1, slated for release July 26th, 2019. With new original songs, the upcoming EP combines acoustic, indie folk and soul, laced with lyrical storytelling. The album draws inspiration from iconic artists of Mazzetti’s childhood, including Bob Dylan, The Band, Otis Redding, and Slim Harpo.

On this new EP, Mazzetti brings together a remarkable team – Oscar Zambrano (two-time Grammy-winning engineer) and Adam Sussman (named “New York City’s Best Studio Engineers of 2013” by URB Magazine). After taking time off from music to join the FDNY, he started experimenting with songs he had written years prior. The EP is the first of two volumes that bring together various unreleased songs in folk and Americana, but emphasize Mazzetti’s ability as a songwriter to express struggles and triumphs in life. For the artist, a piece of music is a living organism – always evolving, improving, finding new creative avenues to explore.

Mazzetti says, “The music on this EP is a mixture of accessibility and wild imagery. I’ve always enjoyed making music that goes off on a tangent but doesn’t fall off the cliff. The songs are doors that open easily into bizarre worlds rather than places of comfort.”

Check out the first single, Hey Now:

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