ICYMI…

In case you missed it, today, Monday July 18th was filled with music news: tour announcements, new albums, new videos, new songs.  Here’s a recap if you weren’t following along today:

Chris-Farren-Cant-Die-coverFirst up, Chris Farren (Fake Problems, Antarticgo Vespucci, all around punk celebrity) announced that in conjunction with Side One Dummy Records, he would be releasing his debut solo LP entitled “Can’t Die”.  The album is due for release on September 2nd, 2016 and there are many different options for pre-order here: https://sideonedummy.com/store/artist/chris-farren/1dummy.com/store/artist                                                          

Having heard a few of the songs via his Stage-It performance, and on the Brian Fallon tour just recently, I am already very excited to receive my album and hear the mastered versions.  In the meantime though, you don’t have to wait to listen to the first single off of the album- Chris has released his new music video for “Say U Want Me” today as well, and I’ve linked it for you to enjoy below!


againstmeNext, punk rock band Against Me!  have announced their new album, entitled “Shape Shift With Me”, set for release on September 16th, 2016.  This will be released by their own label, Total Treble, though they’ll be partnered with other labels in other parts of the world for wider distribution- for example, UK label Xtra Mile Recordings will be handling distribution outside of North America.  You can pre-order the album here: https://againstme.myshopify.com/products/pre-order-shape-shift-with-me-limited-edition-vinyl

And because they know we like instant gratification, they’ve also dropped the first single from the album, called “333”, which you can listen to below!  Against Me! has also announced a bunch of new tour dates; visit www.againstme.net/tour  to find out when they will be in a city near you.


Frank-Turner-The-Sleeping-Souls-credit-Ben-MorseEdit-640x465Frank Turner (the man who seemingly never stops touring) and the Sleeping Souls also announced a new fall tour throughout the US today.  They will be headlining with The Arkells and Will Varley providing support.  You can find the list of dates for this tour here: http://frank-turner.com/live-gigs/

*Please note that although the Kalamazoo, MI gig at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe is listed as 18+, we have confirmed with the venue that it is in fact a 21+ gig.  Just an FYI if you are planning on attending that show but are underage.


Miranda_Lambert_Photo_PRViceFinally, country superstar Miranda Lambert released her new single “Vice” today, and it is reminiscent of slowly sipping a glass of whiskey in dark smoky bar.  A sultry tale of trying to escape heartache by running to the closest bad habit for distraction.  In short, it’s a perfect song for her to release following the dissolution of her marriage in the last year, and to welcome in a new sound for Miranda.  “Vice” is available to purchase on iTunes now, or you can head to Spotify and stream it there.  It’s a great track and I’ve been listening to it on repeat  for the better part of the day, so make sure you give it a listen.

 

Advertisements

Pleased To Announce!

Hi Everyone!

If you follow me (Ashley) on social media, you’ve probably noticed even more posts than normal in regards to Xtra Mile Recordings.  I am so happy to tell you that I have been chosen to be part of the inaugural Xtra Mile Market Rep program.  This summer, I will be working closely with the label to help promote and spread the word about Xtra Mile and their amazing artists.

This is an exciting opportunity for me to explore the inner workings of the music industry and behind the scenes work that a label does to help promote their up and coming artists, so I hope that you’ll like, follow, retweet and interact with our posts on social media.  Not only that, this label houses some of my absolute favourite artists!  It’s really an honour to play any part I can in helping them to be even more successful, and to help introduce them to a wider audience!

I’ll be attending several shows over the summer, so if you see a black Xtra Mile shirt in the lines or in the crowd, come over and say hello- I will have Xtra Mile swag and download cards so you can check out some new music too!


The first artist we will be focusing on this month is Chris T-T, based out of Brighton in the UK.  Chris has been active in the music scene for a number of years, releasing 9 studio albums as well as two live albums.  This Friday, he’ll be releasing his 10th album, “9 Green Songs”, which promises to follow his penchant for political and activism-charged songs.  His current single, “#worstgovernmentever” can be heard here– you can also preorder the album and you’ll receive “#worstgovernmentever” as an instant download.   The video is below for your viewing pleasure:

You can listen to more of Chris T-T’s music on Spotify as well.  Let me know what you think!

Stay tuned, folks:  I’ll have a lot more music, information and fun stuff to follow in the next coming months!

-Ash

Fresh Music Video!

Dierks Bentley has released the third video in his four part series of music video yesterday, and it’s got a nice dramatic twist.  If you haven’t seen the previous two, make sure you check them out so you’re caught up on the plot line.

I’m super into how he’s marketing his new album Black with these interconnected videos by the way.  Especially with Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and Florence and the Machine releasing “The Odyssey”, the genre of music videos is becoming more in depth and involved, and really allowing the listener/viewer to be part of the story.  I’m all for this.

Check out the video for “Pick Up” below:

Breaking News: Singer Prince Dies at Age 57

According to multiple reports, Prince has passed away this morning at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota.

News broke out that a flight he had been on was grounded for a medical emergency, and that he had been hospitalized for the flu last week on April 15th.

Known for massive hits like “Little Red Corvette”, “Kiss”, “Purple Rain and “When Doves Cry”, Prince was an incredible performer and musician, with a career that spanned decades.  He will certainly be missed by millions.

His death is another crushing blow to the music industry as well, following notable singers like David Bowie, Lemmy and Merle Haggerd.  As the news spread, celebrities took to their Twitter and Instagram accounts to mourn the loss of yet another music legend.

 

More Cancellations Plague North Carolina

Joining the ranks of Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam and classic rock band Boston have just announced cancellations in the state of North Carolina due to the HB2 bill.

Pearl Jam issued a handwritten statement yesterday, which you can click to read below, denouncing the HB2 law as “a despicable piece of legislation that encourages discrimination against an entire group of American citizens.”  They have also committed to donating funds to local activist groups in North Carolina who are working to have the law repealed.

Statement from Pearl Jam regarding the recent show cancellation.

Statement from Pearl Jam regarding the recent show cancellation.

 

Elsewhere, the Community Transportation Association of America has cancelled their planned event that had been scheduled for June 2018.  Organizers had intended to bring at least 1000 attendees to the state, and were estimated to spend $1.7 million.  The event has now been moved to Baltimore, MD.  According to the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, they have lost an estimated $3 million due to the cancellations associated with the HB2 bill.

Hopefully the vast economic losses will be enough for Governor Pat McCrory to take a serious look at the mess he’s made and try to do some damage control.  Try as he may to explain away his decisions for signing the bill into existence, the reality is he is unable to back up or provide supporting arguments for his reasoning.  The video below, in which Chuck Todd from Meet the Press speaks with Governor McCrory, shows McCrory skirting around the hard questions and, like a true politician talking in circles to avoid actually answering many of the questions.  Most specifically, note when Todd questions what McCrory’s stance is on someone who is biologically born male, but identifies and appears as a female, having to use the male restroom.  He simply can’t answer the question at hand.

Things only stand to get worse for North Carolina’s economy as more people boycott the state.  Money talks, and right now Governor McCrory should be doing all he can to come to more reasonable terms that stand to benefit ALL of the citizens of North Carolina.

 

Weighing in on… those recent concert cancellations

This past Friday, Bruce Springsteen announced publicly that he would be cancelling his show that had been scheduled for Sunday, April 10th in Greensboro, NC.  This cancellation came not as a result of illness, or family emergency, or any of the common reasons;  Bruce instead chose to cancel this show as a show of protest against the recent passing of HB2- the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, more commonly known as the Bathroom Bill.

To give some background on the issue at hand, in February Charlotte, NC officials passed an ordinance to expand upon anti-discrimination laws.  Specifically, the ordinance prevents businesses from discriminating against customers who identify as gay, lesbian or transgender.  It also allowed for people who are transgender to use the public facilities that correspond to the gender they identify as.

Sounds pretty reasonable, right?  (and if it doesn’t, you should probably stop here).

On March 23rd, approximately once month after the ordinance in Charlotte was passed, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 2, which effectively reverses the ordinance in its entirety.  In fact, as per the Charlotte Observer, it “limits how people pursue claims of discrimination because of race, religion, color, national origin, biological sex or handicap in state courts. The law also means a city or county cannot set a minimum wage standard for private employers.”  Still sound like a good plan?

Going back to the whole bathroom issue at hand, since this is the issue that has undoubtedly received the most attention.  Supporters seem to cling to the argument that allowing people to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with is going to allow predators to attack their women and children, since they believe that it gives free public bathroom access to everyone.  “Think of the innocent children!”, they say (mostly in online arguments, but I picture them dramatically clutching at their chests all the while), “I don’t want someone exposing themselves to my child!”  My question to them is, what exactly are you doing in the bathroom that this is of a significant concern to you??

I’m not going to lie, there were many a time in my hard-partying bar days when the line up for the ladies room was excessively long, and some gentleman would take pity on us and lead us into the men’s room to relieve ourselves.  The guys never seemed all that offended, there were stalls for us to use and we didn’t have to wait- and not once did anyone try to attack us, or did we see anything inappropriate.    Also, I hate to break the news to the HB2 supporters, but if a predator is really after your child, do you think he or she (because yes, there are female predators too, though men often are showcased in their fairy tale imaginings of who or what a predator is) is going to let the little plastic sign on the door that indicates ‘male’ or ‘female’ stop them?  I don’t.  Trans people want to use a bathroom that corresponds to their gender as much as anyone else.  The truth is, they are subject to much more abuse when in an improper facility than the ‘innocent children’ are perceived to be.

Bryan Adams (Reuters)

Bryan Adams (Reuters)

North Carolina is not the only state that has come under fire recently either.  Bryan Adams announced today that he would be cancelling a show in Biloxi, MS that had been scheduled for this Thursday, amidst the passing of a controversial ‘religious liberties’ law; a law which allows private businesses and religious organizations the ability discriminate against the LGBT community who are in violation of their ‘sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions’.

I guess what my next question would be, is how exactly they plan to determine who is sincere in their religious following and who is simply using it as an excuse to discriminate against something they don’t understand.  I would suppose it would be in the same way that they intend to identify transgender people before heaven forbid they use a bathroom that doesn’t adhere to their genitalia (assuming they haven’t undergone gender reassignment surgery).  The truth is, you can’t.

I feel terribly for the fans of both Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams who had purchased tickets to their respective shows.  I know if it were me, I’d certainly be disappointed.  However, I think their intentions are honourable and they are using their celebrity status to try to make a difference, whether controversial or not- and this is certainly a topic that has a very strong dividing line between opposition and supporter.  Only look at comments on each of their Twitter feeds, on articles on the internet and this is blatantly apparent.

In the end, this comes down to human rights, with a strong emphasis on human.  These superstars are able to use their wide-reaching public persona to advocate for those that can’t.  In the end, the best way to do that is to hit a state where it hurts, and that’s the economy.  By pulling out of these shows, both North Carolina and Mississippi stand to lose a lot of money.  Hopefully with this realization will come a resolution that will be more acceptable to all parties in North Carolina.

Note:  this is strictly my opinion, not the opinion of anyone else related to this blog.  I stand by it, but understand and realize that not all people will or do.  With that being said, if rude or abusive comments are made here, they will be deleted.

 

 

ICYMI…

Lots to talk about today, folks, so let’s get to it.

merleCOUNTRY LEGEND MERLE HAGGARD PASSES AWAY AT AGE 79

After a short battle with pneumonia, the music world lost a man who has helped shape and influence many of today’s popular musicians.

Social media sites like Twitter and Instagram were flooded with condolences and heartfelt messages about the life and loss of Haggard, with singer-songwriters like Jason Isbell tweeting: “Merle Haggard was the best country songwriter there ever was.”  Truly, if he lived it, he wrote about it- drinking, crime, prison and loss are common themes in his lengthy repertoire.

So tonight, take a listen through songs like “Today I Started Loving You Again” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”, and be sure raise a glass in salute of one of country music’s most legendary outlaws.


Photo credit: Danny Clinch

Photo credit: Danny Clinch

BRIAN FALLON ANNOUNCES NEW SUMMER TOUR DATES

Technically, these dates were released yesterday but today fans were treated with an opportunity to get pre-sale tickets in advance.

Nice to see that a lot of smaller cities or cities that weren’t included on the last tour were able to be accommodated this time around.  I for one am greatly looking forward to the Detroit date and I know Ashleigh plans to check out the London show, so stay tuned for those show reviews!  Check out the listed dates below and be sure to check out Brian Fallon and the Crowes in a city near you!

May 13 Centennial Olympic Park Atlanta, GA Tickets RSVP
Jun 24 Higher Ground Ballroom Burlington, VT Tickets RSVP
Jun 25 Town Ballroom Buffalo, NY Tickets RSVP
Jun 26 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OH Tickets RSVP
Jun 28 St. Andrew’s Hall Detroit, MI Tickets RSVP
Jun 29 Bogart’s Cincinnati, OH Tickets RSVP
Jul 01 Summerfest Milwaukee, WI Tickets RSVP
Jul 02 Wooly’s Des Moines, IA Tickets RSVP
Jul 03 Slowdown Omaha, NE Tickets RSVP
Jul 04 Summit Music Hall Denver, CO Tickets RSVP
Jul 06 The Ready Room St Louis, MO Tickets RSVP
Jul 07 Deluxe at The Old National Centre Indianapolis, IN Tickets RSVP
Jul 08 London Music Hall London, Canada Tickets RSVP
Jul 09 Fairmount Theatre Montreal, Canada Tickets RSVP
Jul 10 Festival D’Ete De Quebec Quebec, Canada Tickets RSVP
Aug 25 Chiemsee Summer Festival Ubersee, Germany Tickets RSVP

FRESH MUSIC VIDEO: “I’LL BE THE MOON” BY DIERKS BENTLEY

Country singer Dierks Bentley releases a steamy new music video to accompany his song “I’ll Be The Moon”, featuring Maren Morris.  This is the first in a four part series of videos that he’ll be releasing in conjunction with his upcoming album, “Black”, and I can’t wait to see how the story plays out.  Check out the video below:


FRESH MUSIC: “WHEN I’M WITH YOU” BY HURRY

Finally, head on over to the AV Club website for an exclusive premiere of new music by Philadelphia rock band Hurry.  We’ve talked about them here before, but it bears repeating:  “Guided Meditation”, up for release on April 29th, is one that you won’t want to miss!

You can listen to “When I’m With You” at http://www.avclub.com/article/hurry-channels-brian-wilson-when-im-you-234848 where you will also find information on how to go about pre-ordering “Guided Meditation”.

In the meantime, check out the recently released video for “Nothing to Say”, their first single from the album below:

 

 

Zombies, The Wild West and 90s Boy bands

Surely by now you are aware that in conjunction with the SyFy network, Nick Carter will be teaming up with other members of the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, O-Town and 98 Degrees in a made for TV movie entitled ‘Dead 7’.  Penned by the Backstreet Boys heartthrob himself, the film follows the band of misfit boy band members as they battle a zombie apocalypse in the Wild West. From the Syfy official website:  “Nick Carter began writing the Dead 7 script over eight years ago. ‘It takes a long time, especially when you have no credibility whatsoever and you’ve got to figure it all out yourself,’ he admitted. Things took a turn for the better (and the undeader) when he launched a campaign on Indiegogo and received $156,214 in funding.”

RAYMOND LIU / THE ASYLUM/SYFY

RAYMOND LIU / THE ASYLUM/SYFY

I actually thought this was a joke, particularly because its release date is none other than April Fool’s Day, April 1st.  The good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) is that it appears to be legitimate.

Sneak a peek at the official ‘Dead 7’ movie trailer below, and tell me the flame of your former boy band love doesn’t flicker just a little:

Are we surprised that the makers of ‘Sharknado’ are involved?  Maybe not.  I think the more surprising aspect of this is that so many former boy-banders were willing to have a part in the creation of this movie.  There is representation from nearly all of the major groups of the 90s, which is pretty impressive.  I mean, I could have used a little New Kids on the Block in the mix, but that’s just me being an old boy band purist.

Taken from Nick Carter's Instagram account, Joey Fatone (N'Sync) and Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys) are suited up to battle zombies

Taken from Nick Carter’s Instagram account, Joey Fatone (N’Sync) and Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys) are suited up to battle zombies

Today, we were also treated to the premiere of the new song that will be featured in the film, released exclusively to Buzzfeed.  You can listen to this collaborative effort here, and because this is a gift that just keeps on giving, they have also provided a link to a free download as well.  It kind of brings me back to the days when we’d argue over which band was better, and which boy band-er was the cutest (personally, I flip-flopped from Nick Carter to Justin Timberlake often, although Lance Bass had a starring role in my dreams for the briefest of times).

“Dead 7” makes its debut on Syfy officially on April 1st, 2016.  Check your local listings for times.  I know how I’ll be spending my Friday night!

Weighing In On the Latest Bieber Controversy…

In case you missed it, Justin Bieber announced this week that he would no longer be offering a meet and greet package on his “Purpose” world tour, effective immediately.  Bad news for fans (and probably more likely, parents) who shelled out anywhere from $900 to $2000 (!!!) for the opportunity to meet the 22 year old performer- these meet and greets are non-refundable.

Due to the fact that the meet and greet passes were purchased in conjunction with the tickets to the show, fans have been told they cannot be given a partial refund.  This means that fans who want their money back for the meet and greet passes will also be forced to forfeit their seats (I believe all of which are located in the pit, front of stage) and will have to look at buying tickets in less desirable areas of the venue if they still want to attend the show; or, they have essentially paid $2000 to see Justin Bieber.  Either way, a loss.

bieberJustin released a statement on Instagram, saying “I enjoy meeting such incredible people but I end up feeling so drained and filled with so much of other people’s energy that I end up so drained and unhappy…I always leave feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression…”  He accompanied the statement with a photo of conceivably one of the last fans to participate in a meet and greet with him.

Now, I’m under no pretense that artists are obligated to meet their fans after their shows.  Your ticket guarantees you a live show and nothing more.  I am fortunate that many of the bands that I listen to will very often make themselves available to fans before or after the show to sign autographs and take photos.  Granted, they are also not on the same level of fame as Justin Bieber (which is a travesty, but I digress), but regardless, they put themselves out there to meet their fans, probably also at the risk of emotional exhaustion.  They do this because I believe they genuinely appreciate their fans.  At 22 years old, Justin Bieber needs a wake up call.  His fans have made him what he is, helped him build his empire, and he is essentially allowing them them to become victims of theft.

Now I’m certainly not saying he’s obligated to do meet and greets, but this could have been handled more appropriately.  I would have suggested that he follow through with the meet and greets for the rest of this tour, and then going forward discontinue them.  Barring that, accommodations should have been made for the partial refunds;  if you are not willing or able to provide a service that has already been paid for, the logical step is to refund that money.  To someone in Justin Bieber’s tax bracket, I’m sure that $2000 is chump change, but for the people who are paying it, that is probably at least a month’s wages, if not more.  I would hope that he would advocate for his fans a bit more and work with his people to ensure that these people are compensated appropriately without losing out on the prime seating- because, for some odd reason these people still want to see him perform.

Given Justin’s ‘colourful’ history (see a full timeline of bad behaviour, including fights with paparazzi and various traffic violations, here), I don’t know how much more bad publicity he can afford before the ‘Beliebers’ finally abandon ship.  Up until now, they’ve been extremely forgiving, but that good will is bound to have an expiration date, and he’d be smart to realize it now.  It’s safe to say that Justin’s PR team will be working overtime to try to fix yet another media disaster, but is it too late to say sorry now?

 

Laura Jane Grace Releasing Memoirs!

trannyLaura Jane Grace, front-woman for punk rock group Against Me! has announced today that she will be releasing her memoir, entitled “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout”, set for release on November 15th, 2016.

Laura came out publicly as transgender in 2012, and has since been very active in advocating for the LGBT community.  Not only did she continue to perform with Against Me! through her transition, with whom she released “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” in 2014, but she also collaborated with AOL to produce “True Trans”, a series focusing on the experiences she and other members of the transgender community have had during their respective transition periods.

Laura worked with Noisey editor Dan Ozzi on this book, which certainly adds to the excitement about its release- Dan Ozzi has produced some of the best pieces of music journalism I’ve read- and it includes not just her life story, but also personal journal entries.

As someone who seems to always be forthcoming and willing to share details of her life in connection with her fans, Laura’s literary venture is sure to be one to watch out for.

“Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” can be pre-ordered at Amazon here in both hardcover and digital formats.  Scheduled release date of November 15th, 2016.