Allison Burnett, an LA-based filmmaker friend, may have discovered a new revenue stream for struggling musicians and a way for indie filmmakers to afford quality music. While he was plotting the production of his latest film Undiscovered Gyrl (image above), he decided he didn't want his budget to be consumed by the cost of music publishing and sync rights for well-known songs. Instead he invited female singer-songwriters not much older than the protagonist to submit tracks to be considered for his movie. Unbelievably, he did this reach-out on Craig's List and soon had a hundred songs to chose from. Here's Mr. Burnett's take on his unprecedented song-gathering process:
This is the sound of the modern era; the brand new track from electronica pioneer and LA-based Gary Numan. AI is alive and well and coursing through the veins of all homo sapiens and proof that robots do dream. His 20th album Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind) will be released in North America on October 15th and touring from August through November.
Damn, playing a Gibson SG never looked or sounded so sexy! Before the press folks dropped her new album on me, I didn't know of this compelling singer-songwriter formerly with the North Carolina outfit The Biscuit Burners. This is my pick hit from her new effort. Collaborating with bassist Bill Reynolds of Band of Horses has given her a chiming folk-rock vibe on her third solo effort. And tours with the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Chris Isaak certainly helped inform her "new" sound.
"The Gift" - Tony Joe White: Hoodoo (Yep Roc)
Two notes, a pinch of natural distortion from an old tweed tube git-tar amplifier, a short harmonica solo, and plenty of boogie chillen groove and attitude. It sounds too simple a formula, but it's not. Need a master of the form to pull it off. Enter veteran roots-rocker Tony Joe White -- 70 years young -- of "Polk Salad Annie" fame who rocks it for 4 minutes and 23 seconds on this amazingly engaging track from his new CD due in September.
Back with a corker! The Brothers with a Cousin Followill get some summer rock and roll on their first single from their sixth album Mechanical Bull, due Sept. 24th.
US singer-songwriter Willy adds some Tom Waits boho clanking -- courtesy of Hot Chip producer Dan Carey no doubt -- to this simple, evocative tune and it keeps things percolating along quite nicely. Sharing a label and sometimes touring stage with fellow new folk artists Mumford & Sons seems like a logical bookend. Good thing, too, as we need more music like this, all the time. Three albums in and it's safe to say that this young man is a musical marvel.
Hot! Hot! Hot! The Main Squeeze!!! One of my favorite new live bands and I haven't even seen them live...yet. Do not miss this funky fresh jam band tomorrow night, Thursday, July 11th at 8 pm at Brooklyn Bowl! This young Chicago-based quintet is making big waves on the festival circuit -- Bonnaroo, Electric Forest and Equifunk. Watch this video and you'll know why. Get off of that thang!
These past few months, I've grown weary trying to find albums that engage me from start to finish. In fact, I've yet to find one album in the past few months I can listen to top to bottom. I truly believe that we are back in the land of "singles." Not saying that a Blood on the Tracks, Dark Side of the Moon, OK Computer, or (What's The Story) Morning Glory? isn't lurking in the shadows, but.... I'm old enough to have bought 45s back in the '60s when I was a young pup; my first was The Beatles' "Rain"/"Paperback Writer." In the land of digital, I'm happy to download one song from some new noteworthy act and let it fall into my enormous random shuffle playlist (over 8,700 songs and counting). And that "single" is not always the band or label's choice; in the age of iTunes, we all have the opportunity to decide for ourselves what the "single" should be! If you love an album that you truly believe holds your attention for ten (or more) songs, I'm all ears. In the interim, here are 12 "singles" I've added to my summer playlist. I'll have more next month...and maybe, just maybe, one entire album!
"Get Up" - Wiretree: Get Up (Cobalt Works)
First time I heard this track from Kevin Peroni's Austin-based quartet, I was certain it was by an alt-pop U.K. band like Teenage Fanclub or The La's. I had to double check their website. Regardless, this is really catchy, vibrant alt pop-rock that will make you sing along. Now is that so bad? Their fourth album will be released on July 9th.