The Oh Hellos to Release New EP “Notos”

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Acclaimed brother-sister duo The Oh Hellos will release their forthcoming EP, Notos, on December 8.   The duo has debuted the lead single, “Torches,” via NPR Music this week, who proclaim, “Fittingly, the track churns with the strength and fury of a hurricane, but maintains a sense of crisp precision.”

Notos is the first EP in a series of four, which will be released in the coming months. Each EP is named after one of the four Greek mythological wind deities that bring the seasons. Throughout the series, there’s an overarching question being asked: “where did my ideas come from?” With each EP and the “wind” it represents, siblings Tyler and Maggie Heath are exploring the stages of answering that question.

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Most of Notos is about Maggie and Tyler reflecting on a time when they weren’t even aware there was a question to ask. Musically, they wanted to recreate the feeling of the summers spent exploring the Pacific Northwest with their grandparents when they were kids as well as their experience growing up on the Texas Gulf Coast and dealing with the frequent threats of/evacuations from hurricanes—because Notos is the wind that brought violent summer storms, they felt it was a good thematic parallel to the backfire effect you experience when you’re confronted with new information for the first time.
The Oh Hellos began making music together in 2011 with a song written for their mother’s birthday followed later that year with their self-titled, self-produced, independently released debut EP. The 4-track recording featured the hit song “Hello My Old Heart,” which received national airplay and currently has over 26 million streams on Spotify. Since forming, The Oh Hellos have earned a reputation as a very special live act. The sibling duo is surrounded on stage by a rotating cast of pickers and players, numbering as many as 13 at any given time, often spilling into the audience.

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West Coast Beats: LA’s Post Punk Trio Moaning

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Photo: Sarah Cass

Los Angeles-band Moaning is the abrasive post-punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie.

The three initially met as teenagers while growing up in the San Fernando Valley, and immediately developed a kinship through Los Angeles’s local music scene. The three began regularly frequenting DIY institutions like The Smell and Pehrspace, eventually selling out dozens of their shows at both venues with their first few bands.

From the sentimental to catastrophic, hiding meek and introspective lyrics within powerful droning dance songs, the music Moaning makes also gives sonic nods to some of the band’s musical heroes like New Order, Broadcast, and Slowdive.

Moaning is currently at work on their debut full-length, which will be released sometime the spring of 2018.

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AngloFiles: From London – Flyte

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In early 2017, London based quartet, Flyte, flew to Australia to work with Courtney Barnett’s producer Burke Reid on their debut album.

Focusing on their live performances and the band’s four voices around one microphone, they took their production cues from David Bowie, Nick Drake, The Beatles and Lou Reed, lending a ‘classicism to the songwriting’, but still creating an ‘ultimately modernist record’ (Clash Magazine).

The band began to form when Will Taylor (vocals, guitar) and Jon Supran (drums, vocals) started playing together age 11 at school. Later Nick Hill (bass, vocals) joined and finally Sam Berridge (keys, vocals) who they discovered singing down in the London Underground.

After a video of Will and Sam covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ went viral and following their highly successful live shows, the band signed a deal with Island Records.

In Autumn 2017, the band released their debut album ‘The Loved Ones’ to widespread acclaim, The Sunday Times calling it ‘The Best British debut of the year’.

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A Sound Recommendation: Hannah Gill and the Hours

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Hannah Gill & The Hours combines 70s lo-fi pop and rock with contemporary soul and blues and transforms them into sweet and sultry songs that overflow with feeling.

Steered by soulful 19-year old vocal powerhouse and songwriter Hannah Gill combined with skilled guitarist, songwriter and arranger Brad Hammonds, the group offers up music with contagious melodies and wise lyrics.

Each song presents a thrilling story about how humans connect through their experiences that reveals the intrepid singer’s intimate perspectives on love, loss, longing, hope and transformation.

Gill’s lush voice, Hammonds’ sparkling fretwork and both members’ background in improvisational jazz give the duo’s hypnotic recordings and dynamic live performances otherworldly gravity.

Hannah Gill & The Hours’ debut EP, The Water, is now available HERE.

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Americana Trio The Devil Make Three Announce 2018 Tour

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Credit: Giles Clement

The Devil Makes Three has announced an extensive North American tour for 2018 with tickets going on sale this Friday, November 10, HERE.

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The 23-show run will kick-off in Madison, WI on January 10 and hit major cities throughout Canada and the American Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast, ending in Dallas, TX on February 10. Last year, the internationally beloved, Americana trio released Redemption & Ruin on New West Records to critical acclaim. The album is a thoughtfully curated collection of covers that pays tribute to its versatile genre’s staple players and the band’s most penetrative influences. Divided into two sides, the subjects of “redemption” and “ruin” are explored through various songs written by blues, roots, and rock legends like Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt and more. On the album, the band is also joined by an all-star cast of special guests like Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Darrell Scott and guitar great Duane Eddy. The archival piece is tightly wound together by The Devil Makes Three’s rigorous energy and masterful musicianship, both of which shine through their live set. Please see below for full tour details, which includes the band’s current U.S. run that ends with two shows in Denver, CO on November 18 & 19.

American Songwriter calls Redemption & Ruin “a wonderfully successful foray that solidifies and expands the band’s already impressive credentials around a concept that’s a natural extension from their existing catalog of originals.” Additionally, Entertainment Weekly premiered the band’s interpretation of “Champagne and Reefer,” originally written and recorded by Chicago blues legend Muddy Waters, noting, “California trio The Devil Makes Three have served up their singularly spooky blend of blues, folk, and rockabilly for the past decade and a half.”

While Redemption & Ruin brings listeners directly to the source point of the band’s inspiration, original songwriting and a zeal for early Americana is what helped propel The Devil Makes Three through celebrated gigs big and small, including appearances at an array of festivals such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Hangout Fest, Shaky Knees, and Bonnaroo. Through multiple acclaimed albums featuring infectious songs like “Old Number Seven” and “Graveyard,” they have assembled a coalition of indie rock and folk music fans; and their punk spirit, along with some Santa Cruz history, has long pervaded their proudly raw presentation. That ethos helped the band connect with Nashville mastermind Buddy Miller for their 2013 project I’m A Stranger Here, which the Boston Globe praised for “a loose-limbed vibrancy that mimics the intensity of their live shows.”

The Devil Makes Three comprises Pete Bernhard, Cooper McBean, and Lucia Turino. The trio has been playing stomping folk for nearly 15 years and long before it started trending. As early roots influence in America grows, we can count on them not to sanitize its source material, or purge the suffering or the deviance or the repentance, from the stories they sing. “That’s what we think the best stuff is,” Pete says. “And it belongs there. To take it out is to destroy it.”

THE DEVIL MAKES THREE ON TOUR:
November 7 – Arcata, CA @ Humboldt State University
November 9 – Eugene, OR @ McDonald Theater
November 10 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom (SOLD OUT)
November 11 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox Sodo
November 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
November 15 – Missoula, MT @ The Wilma
November 16 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory Concert House
November 17 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
November 18 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre (SOLD OUT)
November 19 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
January 10 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theater
January 11 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
January 12 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
January 13 – Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall
January 14 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
January 16 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
January 18 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
January 19 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
January 20 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
January 23 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Ballroom
January 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
January 25 – Providence, RI @ Fete
January 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
January 27 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
January 30 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre
January 31 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
February 1 – Saxapahaw, NC @ Haw River Ballroom
February 2 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works
February 3 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre
February 7 – Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
February 8 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
February 9 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
February 10 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater

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JAMES McMURTRY AND JASON ISBELL TOUR DATES

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James McMurtry and Jason Isbell  will join forces for an extensive co-bill tour together in early 2018. The highly lauded tunesmiths will launch the run at the Criterion in Oklahoma City on January 4 and serpentine for weeks throughout the South, Midwest and East Coast before concluding at the Charleston Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia on February 17. Major markets on this exciting tour include the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh and Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

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“James McMurtry is one of my very few favorite songwriters on Earth,” Isbell says, “and these days he’s working at the top of his game.”

The McMurtry-Isbell combination offers fans lyrical and musical depth and weight few tours can match. After all, they’ve both been hailed as the finest songwriters of their respective generations whose latest releases — McMurtry’s Complicated Game and Isbell’s The Nashville Sound — show them in absolutely peak form. “James has that rare gift of being able to make a listener laugh out loud at one line and choke up at the next,” Isbell enthuses. “I don’t think anybody writes better lyrics.” “Jason Isbell is one of the best songwriter-performers working today,” McMurtry counters, “and unlike most of us, he seems to have a work ethic to match. I will be studying him from the wings on this run.”

McMurtry continues riding waves of universal acclaim for Complicated Game. “At a stage where most veteran musicians fall into a groove or rut, McMurtry continues to surprise,” Texas Music magazine recently noted. “[Complicated Game] is a collection of narratives as sharply observed as any from McMurtry, but with a contemplative depth that comes with maturity.” Indeed, the Austin resident’s latest collection spotlights a singular craftsman as he turns inward (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtry says. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman.”

Either way, McMurtry spins his stories with a novelist’s eye (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”) throughout. “[McMurtry] takes listeners on a road trip of unprecedented geographic and emotional scope,” No Depression raved of Complicated Game. “Lyrically, the album is wise and adventurous, with McMurtry — who’s not prone to autobiographical tales — credibly inhabiting characters from all walks of life.” “[McMurtry] fuses wry, literate observations about the world with the snarl of barroom rock,” NPR echoed. “The result is at times sardonic, subversive and funny, but often vulnerable and always poignant.”

Longtime fans know McMurtry’s vibrant vignettes have turned heads for more than a quarter-century now. His critically successful first album Too Long in the Wasteland (1989), which was produced by John Mellencamp, marked the beginning of a series of acclaimed projects for Columbia and Sugar Hill Records. In 1996, McMurtry received a Grammy nomination for Long Form Music Video for “Where’d You Hide the Body.” Additionally, It Had To Happen (1997) received the American Indie Award for Best Americana Album. In his long career, songs like “Childish Things,” “Choctaw Bingo,” “Peter Pan,” “Levelland,” and “Out Here in the Middle” only begin the list of high watermarks. (Yes, Robert Earl Keen covered those last two, “Levelland” remaining a live staple.) Childish Things (2005) scored endless critical praise and spent six full weeks topping the Americana Music Radio chart. In 2006, it won the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year. The track “We Can’t Make It Here” was named that rapidly rising organization’s Song of the Year, and was cited among The Nation’s “Best Protest Songs Ever.” Just Us Kids (2008) earned McMurtry his highest Billboard 200 chart position in nearly two decades and notched Americana Music Award nominations. Just Us Kids alone includes fan favorites “Hurricane Party,” “Ruby and Carlos” and “You’d a Thought.” Songs detailing the lives of everyday people, like “Fireline Road,” pierce listeners’ hearts with sharp sociopolitical commentary. “James McMurtry may be the truest, fiercest songwriter of his generation,” said Stephen King.

Meanwhile, Isbell’s The Nashville Sound follows his critically acclaimed Something More Than Free (2015), which won two Grammy Awards (Best Americana Album and Best American Roots Song, “24 Frames”) and two Americana Music Honors and Awards (Album of the Year and Song of the Year, “24 Frames”). Nashville Sound’s ten tracks address real-life subjects, including cultural privilege, politics, love, and mortality. The release also finds Isbell and his bandmates returning to their rock roots full force.

Isbell steadily has become one the most respected and celebrated songwriters working today. “With his honeysuckle drawl and unrivaled knack for lyrical detail,” Rolling Stone noted, “Jason Isbell is arguably the most revered roots-rock singer-songwriter of his generation. Isbell sings of the every day human condition with thoughtful, heartfelt, and sometimes brutal honesty, and the new album is no exception.”

The Nashville Sound was recorded at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A and produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, who also produced Something More Than Free as well as Isbell’s 2013 breakthrough album Southeastern. The Nashville Sound is the first official Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit album since 2011’s Here We Rest. Isbell’s band the 400 Unit features Derry deBorja (keyboards), Chad Gamble (drums), Jimbo Hart (bass), Amanda Shires (fiddle) and Sadler Vaden (guitar). The group’s five-night stand at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in October sold out in less than three hours.

McMurtry’s no stranger to sold-out venues himself. He’s been packing houses with the James McMurtry Band since the release of his first record. In 2004, the popular Live in Aught-Three, on Compadre Records, demonstrated McMurtry & co.’s power on the road. In 2009, the CD/DVD Live in Europe was released, capturing the band’s first European tour and extraordinary live set. Along with seasoned band members Ronnie Johnson, Daren Hess, and Tim Holt, the disc features special guests Ian McLagan (the late Faces keyboardist and longtime Austin fixture) and Jon Dee Graham (True Believers, Skunks).

McMurtry tours year round and consistently throws down unparalleled powerhouse performances. The Washington Post notes: “Much attention is paid to James McMurtry’s lyrics and rightfully so: He creates a novel’s worth of emotion and experience in four minutes of blisteringly stark couplets. What gets overlooked, however, is that he’s an accomplished rock guitar player … serious stuff, imparted by a singularly serious band.”

U.S.Tour Dates

Thur., Jan. 4 OKLAHOMA CITY, OK The Criterion

Fri., Jan. 5 DALLAS, TX The Bomb Factory

Sat., Jan. 6 BATON ROUGE, LA Baton Rouge River Center

Sun., Jan. 7 MOBILE, AL Saenger Theatre

Thur., Jan. 18 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Fri., Jan. 19 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Sat., Jan. 20 BIRMINGHAM, AL Alabama Theatre

Sun., Jan. 21 LITTLE ROCK, AR Robinson Performance Hall

Tue., Jan. 23 CEDAR RAPIDS, IA Paramount Theatre

Wed., Jan. 24 MILWAUKEE, WI The Riverside Theatre

Fri., Jan. 26 ANN ARBOR, MI Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Sat., Jan. 27 INDIANAPOLIS, IN Murat Theatre at Old National Center

Mon., Jan. 29 PITTSBURGH, PA Heinz Hall

Tue., Jan. 30 BUFFALO, NY UB Center for the Arts

Wed., Jan. 31 ALBANY, NY The Palace Theatre

Fri., Feb. 2 PROVIDENCE, RI Veterans Memorial

Sat., Feb. 3 BROOKLYN, NY Kings Theatre

Mon., Feb. 5 RED BANK, NJ Count Basie Theatre

Tue., Feb. 6 BALTIMORE, MD The Modell Lyric

Thur., Feb. 8 ATLANTA, GA Fox Theatre

Fri., Feb. 9 ATLANTA, GA Fox Theatre

Sat., Feb. 10 DURHAM, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Sun., Feb. 11 DURHAM, NC Durham Performing Arts Center

Tue., Feb. 13 ITHACA, NY State Theatre of Ithaca

Wed., Feb. 14 READING, PA The Santander Performing Arts Center

Fri., Feb. 16 RICHMOND, VA Altria Theatre Richmond

Sat., Feb. 17 CHARLESTON, WV Charleston Municipal Auditorium

ARTIST LINKS

JAMES MCMURTRY      JASON ISBELL

Americana Duo The Contenders Debut Album Tomorrow

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Americana/folk-rock duo The Contenders (singer-songwriter Jay Nash and singer/drummer Josh Day) are set to release their  debut full-length album, Laughing with the Reckless, tomorrow via Rock Ridge Music.

The record is very much about the perseverance of hope in dark times along with the powerful connection of music, old friends, and loved ones, all delivered with a wry and wistful narrative, and is the follow-up to their 2014 EP, Meet The Contenders. Dear friend and fellow troubadour Joey Ryan of The Milk Carton Kids has said that it is not just an album of “infectious rhythms and sublime two-part harmonies,” but one that conveys a balance of hope with a unique and powerful sense of heartbreak.

The pair makes the sort of music found in the intricate and varied tapestry that is real Americana—full of grit, with a steady heartbeat and a hint of honky-tonk—writing songs that speak of wanderers and highways, lovers and losers, good times and missed chances, all of it with a ferocity born of hard work and honed skill. The Contenders’ raucous foundation of rhythm and harmony is based upon such simple things—glorious two-part vocal harmonies, a guitar and drums. Wrote Country Weekly of the pair’s music: “The duo’s sound paints a picture of open stretches of road as well as lazy days at home—sonic comfort food constructed on a bed of groove and storytelling.”

Nash and Day, who are based in Vermont and Nashville respectively, met in Los Angeles over a decade ago when they bonded over a shared love of The Band, roots music, and a sacred admiration for the great American songbook. As their paths continued to cross over the years, collaboration, they concluded, would be inevitable.

Jay Nash’s music is like the river that raised him—strong and deep, with a little bit of lullaby and a big damn current. Twenty years ago, he played loud in bars along the Saint Lawrence River, in the reaches of New York so far-flung they’re almost Canadian. For the last decade, he’s journeyed the U.S. and Europe solo, selling over 60,000 records without ever putting ink on a conventional record deal. Now in the Green Mountains, the quiet cold of winter rarefies wit and musicianship into the kind of Americana that knows where it comes from.

Hailing from the sweet, sticky hill country of North Carolina, Josh Day brings a percussive virtuosity that shapes the music and supports the vocals. With unusual creativity and fine-boned craftsmanship, Day has that special something that resonates with audiences and always feels a bit like a party. Be it playing bluegrass with the Kruger Brothers, roots rock with John Oates, touring with Sara Bareilles, or drumming for Jennifer Nettles, Day keeps it steadfast honest, just what one would expect from a man who plays with so much heart.

2017 has already been busy for The Contenders, with a performance at MerleFest (their second appearance there) in April, as well as a number of tour dates across the U.S. Plans are in place for touring in the Netherlands and Germany in October. More U.S. dates in support of the forthcoming album are scheduled for November (see tour schedule below). Additional dates will be announced soon.

The Contenders Tour Schedule:

11/8 – Somerville, MA – The Rockwell

11/11 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2

11/12 – Philadelphia, PA – World Café Live Upstairs

11/13 – Vienna, VA – Jammin Java

11/14 – Minneapolis, MN – Aster Café

11/15 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

11/17 – Spring Lake, MI – Seven Steps Up

11/18 – Columbus, OH – Rambling House Music Bar

 

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