(Free Download) Umphrey’s McGee Releases New Studio Song “Wellwishers” and Announces “Bite Sized” EP Series

Chicago jamband heroes Umphrey’s McGee this week announced a plan to release their first studio recordings since the release of Mantis in January of 2009.  The Mantis release was an innovation in music distribution in that the CD unlocked content live songs, videos and cover art that was made available every month for a year. If you pre-ordered the album, you also got a large collection of demos and rare mp3’s.

From a collector’s perspective, this was quite a haul and frankly quickly solidified them as a band I wanted to follow.

So, this week’s announcement, while unexpected, is in line with the innovation they started with Mantis. The are going to release a collection of songs “in bite size pieces,” per their website. The songs will be new unheard songs (not performed live, yet) and some live favorites.

The upcoming releases will be available as series of digital EPs. You will have a few options to acquire them: buy the EPs separately or as a bundle; or splurge for the holidays on the box set which will include music and video for the discerning UMphreak, including a wealth of bonus tracks, previously unreleased rarities, and hand-picked, band curated material from studio and live work. The tracks will be available in multiple formats: MP3, FLAC, and 24-Bit Hi Res FLACs for select titles. Details will be released shortly.

Mantis was the first time the band had worked on an album in the studio that was largely not drawn from live performances. I say largely because at least one song had an early genesis in an improvisational jam that is known as a “Jimmy Stewart.” In the live shows leading up to that album’s release Umphrey’s was still debuting and playing songs that hadn’t made it to an album– tracks with working titles like “Search 4,” “Wappy Sprayberry,” “Gulf Stream,” and “Wizard Burial Ground.” I hope that these are the songs that will make it to this collection.

To kick things off, UM has provided a free download (with optional upgrades to FLAC and Hi Res FLAC) of a new song “Wellwishers.” It’s a laid back jam with a pumping electric piano part that reminds me of Gerry Rafferty. The song wouldn’t sound out-of-place on Mantis, in my opinion. It’s a free download, so check it out!

Here is a post from the bands blog about the recording of “Wellwishers”

Click Here to download “Wellwishers”

Or you can click on this nifty widget:

Umphrey’s McGee’s current list of fall tour dates is as follows:
Wednesday, October 6 Arcata Theatre Arcata CA
Thursday, October 7 McDonald Theatre Eugene OR
Friday, October 8 The Showbox Seattle WA with S2 EVENT
Saturday, October 9 The Wilma Theatre Missoula MT
Thursday, October 21 Mr. Smalls Theatre Millvale PA
Friday, October 22 Kalamazoo State Theatre Kalamazoo MI
Saturday, October 23 House of Blues – Cleveland Cleveland OH
Sunday, October 24 Bluebird Nightclub Bloomington IN
Wednesday, October 27 People’s Court Des Moines IA
Thursday, October 28 – Friday, October 29 Canopy Club Urbana IL
Saturday, October 30 – Sunday, October 31 The Pageant St. Louis MO
Wednesday, November 3 – Thursday, November 4 Higher Ground Ballroom South Burlington VT
Friday, November 5 – Saturday, November 6 9:30 Club Washington D.C.
Tuesday, November 9 Jefferson Theater Charlottesville VA
Wednesday, November 10 Legends at Appalachian State University Boone NC
Thursday, November 11 – Friday, November 12 Bear Creek Music & Art Fest Live Oak, FL
Wednesday, December 29, Thursday, December 30, and Friday, December 31 Riviera Theatre Chicago IL
Thursday, January 20 – Monday, January 24 Mayan Holidaze Puerto Morelos MEX

Click Here to visit umphreys.com

(Free Download) Karyn Paige – “Want To” from Hola Mademoiselle

When it comes to HipHop I tend to favor the musical pastiche typically purveyed by the Bay Area. Some of this is because I really cut my HipHop teeth on the seminal Bay Area label artists on Solesides (later Quannum) including Lateef, Lyrics Born, DJ Shadow, Blackalicious. In some respects California HipHop is considered a second generation from the early New York days of HipHop and rap, but it might be this distance that makes California HipHop more of a converged sound with funk. Of course these days, Left- and Right-coast isn’t so much a discernible distinction. These days there are still stylistic differences between, say Jay-Z and Snoop but beyond that there has been a lot of cross-pollination so it is difficult to make the same comment about today’s HipHop and rap.

Still, the last releases from Lyrics Born, The Gift of Gab, Blackalicious and DJ Shadow really show a very wide view of their art and I think shows them pushing the boundaries of what defines HipHop.

It’s this cultural and musical diversity in the Bay Area that fosters artists like singer Karyn Paige who, after several years of working and performing with various bands and musicians including the Jazz Mafia collective as well as Lyrics Born (who also worked with the Jazz Mafia Orchestra “Brass Bows and Beats) and Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli), is ready to release her first solo record titled Hola Mademoiselle which will come out fall of this year. Prior to that she will release a digital EP this summer titled The KP EP.

The releases promise to be a “diverse blend of pop, R&B, New Wave, Soul and Funk” and this is certainly delivered in the first single being offered as a free download titled “Want To.” “Want To” was co-writted and produced by Joe Bagale and Matt Berkeley of the Jazz Mafia with Karyn and to me really recalls the purple funk heyday during Prince‘s reign in Minneapolis– the funky analog synths and beats that were the signature of Mr. Rogers Nelson and the production duo of Jam and Lewis. It is a super-catchy track  and has already made it to two of my car mp3 mixes! I can’t wait to hear the EP and album when they come out!

Do yourself a favor and grab this mp3.

Click Here to listen to “Want To” by Karyn Paige from her upcoming release Hola Mademoiselle.

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s website and sign up for her mailing list

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s Facebook Fanpage

Click Here to visit Karyn Paige’s MySpace Page

(Free Download) Local Natives Solicit Remixes of 4 Gorilla Manor Tracks

Local Natives posted on their Facebook wall today that they are providing the “stems” of four songs off their new album Gorilla Manor to encourage some remixing. The songs the band is making available are “Camera Talk,” “Who Knows Who Cares,” “Wide Eyes,” and “World News.”  “Stems” are files of individual digital tracks of a multi-track recording which gives you the isolated instruments and vocals of the songs. This is useful for making remixes as you can edit and individually manipulate or replace parts and pieces of a song. To gain the .zip files of the stems you need to provide your name, e-mail address and postal zip code– a tricky way to build their e-mail list…

The band will be making the resulting works done by the remixers available on the stems page so keep an eye on that. The remixes will need to be submitted via e-mail to stems.fans@gmail.com. One idea for the band would be to provide an RSS feed of these remixes as the show up.

Click Here to get the Local Natives Remix Stems

Upcoming Show: Death Ships Set Sail for Iowa City 2/27

The story of Dan Maloney’s Death Ships is one of a band outgrowing a local scene, gaining embrace of the Indie Tastemakers riding an arc of success but ultimately stalling. A familiar story to be sure (see: Tapes ‘N Tapes).

For over nine years Dan Maloney has been Death Ships— a band whose beginnings in Iowa City were as a side project. According to his January 2009 interview with Splice, he was in an Emo band called Faultlines when he decided to work on some solo songs. “…on the side I was experimenting with writing songs along the style of the music I grew up with. It took me a while to figure out I could sing better within a certain range rather than “shout/scream.”

Death Ships started initially as a solo accoustic effort and then expanded into a revolving cast of members and became known for having different lineups for every show. In fact, the first time I ever heard about Death Ships was in the context of them seemingly opening for every band at the Mill Restaurant. My friend saw Low and Why? at the Mill and Dan’s Death Ships were openers both times (without drums) and I believe that they opened for Tapes ‘n Tapes and The Hold Steady during their early tours as well. “When Randall (Davis) and Adam “Lars” joined the ranks,” Dan said in his Daytrotter interview, “they really helped shape Death Ships into a functional band.” In September of 2006 the debut Seeds of Devastation was released to some critical acclaim and Alternative Press named Death Ships “Best Unsigned Band.”

The band met ex-Wilco member Jay Bennett through a shared manager and he took the band under his wing and on the road with him as his backing band for two tours. In a recent email exchange with Dan, it is really clear that this time with Jay– who passed away last year— made a big impact on him. “[Jay’s death] was a big blow. I didnt know him better than others did, but from touring with him twice and spending a lot of time with him I got a good sense of the man he was: a caring, compassionate man with a love of music and joy that only comes from a child’s first Christmas. He picked us up and gave us a boost that I will never forget.”

Dan moved to Chicago from Iowa City a couple of years ago and has been carrying on the Death Ships name with occasional shows in the area and watershedding the follow-up to Seeds which will be called Circumstantial Chemistry. Additionally, a four-song EP Maybe Arkansas will be released on iTunes. The EP is produced by Luke Tweedy who runs Flat Black Studios in Iowa City and is in (ft) The Shadow Government. “I started working on a follow up a couple years ago and only scraped together four of the songs for this new EP. I moved to Chicago and basically had to start from scratch again. It’s hard– like any band– to sell everyone on commiting to [it], forfeiting the fact that there may not be much money involved but also requiring a lot of time and dedication. I hope I have this with this new group and am finally ready to start pushing Death Ships forward and getting these songs and new songs heard.”

Dan generously let me listen to the songs that make up Maybe Arkansas, and it is a flat-out charmer— hook-filled and standing out in my mind as a testiment to the great music that comes from the Midwest. These guitar pop songs draw easy and complimentary comparisons to other Midwest greats like The Jayhawks, The Honeydogs and, yes, Wilco. Each of these songs stick in my head with earworm intensity. Dan’s soft vocal approach on “I Like It A Lot” gives a breezy lead up to the break down “it’s dreams like these/ little melody/ i got plans for you/ you got plans for me” which very nicely launches in the double time and urging cry “put it all on me!”

This is followed by the fun, piano pumping, Beatle-y “Somethings Gone Awry” with its superb use of horns. I love how the song goes from this ironically upbeat drive complete with “do-do-do-do’s” to the mood change as the song runs out “It’s hard to blame the darkness for the rain/It’s hard to see clearly when when we’re reeling from a long black cloud…”

“Let Me Think It Over” is a promise to a former love. It has a undeniable 60’s R&B tinge to it– kind of like when Springsteen used to cover Mitch Ryder in concert– particular with the 3/4 time switch from driving 4/4 at the chorus. “We can get together like we used to be/the same old fool you’ve been dying to see.”

The EP wraps up much too early with the title track. It starts as a melancholy aching sentiment of escape to starting over. “With a furrowed brow you slide across the seat/So, maybe Arkansas– another change in plans” It’s the narrator’s thoughts at the halfpoint of the song of the people they are leaving behind halfway that transforms the song to shouting anger. “Write a letter to your dear sweet mother/tell her that we’re only running from our halted, November mind…”What’s that you gain from this song??”

This EP is a calling card and statement of direction for this new phase of Death Ships. Dan continues from the e-mail he sent me, ” There were times after Seeds where I felt the fruit of my efforts were grossly being undermet and underappreciated, but I have come to peace about being jaded. This is music I make and part of my story. If a few people enjoy it I’m willing to accept that. It’s truly a labor of love and sometimes I forget that. If it ever stopped being fun I would hang it up, but clearly I can’t, because I’ve been doing this project for over six years.”

Dan is sailing his Death Ships to Iowa City on Saturday, 2/27 at The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City. They will be headlining a show with Datagun, Olivia Rose Muzzy, and the Vagabonds. 9PM and admission is a measly SIX BUCKS!

Click Here to download “I Like It A Lot” from Maybe Arkansas.

Click Here for the Death Ships MySpace Page which has some of the tracks from Maybe Arkansas streaming.

Click Here for the Death Ships Daytrotter Session

Click Here for the Jay Bennett Daytrotter Session with Death Ships as his band

Click Here for the Splice interview with Dan Maloney from 2009 that has some unreleased tracks and a couple from the upcoming EP

Mojo Nixon to Burn Down The Malls By Making Entire Catalog for Free Download for Three Weeks!

According to Digital Music News, in celebration/honor/whatever of Mojo Nixon’s new album Whiskey Rebellion which comes out on October 7th, 2009 he and Amazon.com are making his entire catalog free for downloads for three weeks starting October 7th!!

You might recall Mojo Nixon from his halcyon MTV days when he seemed to host every other week and his videos for “Burn Down the Malls,” “Elvis is Everywhere,” and “(619) 239-KING” played very frequently. He also had the video for “Debbie Gibson is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child” which starred Wynona Ryder as Gibson banned from the network, which precipitated his slow decent from the public eye. You might remember his song “Don Henley Must Die” as well.

Nixon has continued to record under various side bands and projects over the years after sucessfully wrenching his catalog from the Enigma/EMI/IRS deathclinch. He is apparently as onery as ever and during this economic recession is hoping that his package of free mp3’s will stimulate everyone.

Click Here for Mojo Nixon’s website

Click Here to purchase Mojo’s catalog on Amazon.com
for free for three weeks starting October 7th!

Free Download: Euforquestra – “Soup” from New Album, Live Show & Full Album

Iowa City-expats and current Fort Collins, CO residents Euforquestra have a new album titled Soup coming out on October 6th. The band is offering up the title track for free download.

As if that wasn’t enough– as a motivator to get people to “fan” them on Facebook, the band planned to give a free download of Soup on October 6th if they achieved 3,000 fans by October 1st. Looking at their fan page they seemed to have accomplished that at 3,427 fans at 11:30 AM today!

The band also posted a download of their 7-18-09 Camp Euforia set which had their BFF’s Public Property on stage with them. The show was taped by Ryan Sibert and it sounds amazing! The first seven songs are Euforquestra and the rest of the set excluding the encore has the band joined by Public Property on stage calling the amalgam “Public Porquestra.”

If you pre-order Soup online, you can get two unreleased bonus tracks: “Ochun (Dub Remix)” – mixed by Sir Mel F. Lewis, and “The Events of December 11” – Live in Lone Tree, IA – April 25, 2009.

Additionally, the band will be playing four dates in Iowa as a record release before returning to Colorado. Here are the dates lifted from the band’s website:

Wed. Oct 7 The Hub Cedar Falls, IA
Thu. Oct 8 DG’s Taphouse Ames, IA
Fri. Oct 9 Iowa City Yacht Club Iowa City, IA
Sat. Oct 10 Magic Bus Iowa City, IA

Click Here to become a fan of Euforquestra on Facebook and get the details for the Soup download.

Click Here to visit Euforquestra’s website and download “Soup” from Soup.

Click Here to download a .zip file of “Public Porquestra” live at Camp Euforia ’09.

Here is the setlist of that show courtesy of the band:

1. Intro by Ty Byerly
2. Ogun>
3. Called You>
4. Change Me
5. Trinidad Blue Basin
6. Free
7. Girlfriend Is Better
8. Melody Truck
9. Dread None*
10. Obatala*
11. Smoothie*
12. Work To Do>*
13. Reggae Got Soul*
14. Mutha Funk Y’all*
15. E: Samba

*= w/ all of Public Property (aka “Public Porquestra”)

Free Download: “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” by Lyrics Born w/Lateef!

Lyrics Born released another new free download from the upcoming As U Were— a reunion of sorts with Lateef the Truth Speaker called “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart.” The track is an interesting sort of 80’s-inspired head bobber featuring the distinctive rapping and vocals from LB and Lateef. I liked the first track “leaked” “Funky Hit Records,” but this track has summer jam written all over it.

The first track off of As U Were offered as a free download was “Funky Hit Records” back in March. That song got a video, and so does this one, and it’s directed by Raphael LaMotta from ApSci who incidentally have a new album out as well.

The video and MP3 were shared via Urb this morning. I’ve listened to the track about a dozen times already!

Lyrics Born – “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” feat. Lateef The Truthspeaker. from World’s Fair on Vimeo.

Click Here to download “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart” featuring Lateef the Truthspeaker.

There is also another remix contest– this one for “Pushed Aside, Pulled Apart!”

Upcoming Show: Squirrel Nut Zippers in Iowa City 6-5-09

As part of the Iowa City Arts Festival (June 5-7) North Carolina band Squirrel Nut Zippers will be playing Friday night June 5th on the Main Stage with The Damnwells opening. This show– as is all of the Iowa City “Summer of the Arts” shows– is free.

You may remember Squirrel Nut Zippers from their 15 minutes of fame in 1997 with their platinum album Hot, which included the singles “Hell” and “Put a Lid On It.” While the band didn’t consider themselves part of the late-90’s neo-swing movement (which included Big Bad Voodoo DaddyCherry Poppin Daddies and The Brian Setzer Orchestra) their single “Hell” which made it to #13 on the charts with it’s calypso sound was retro enough to be included in most folks’ minds.

After a quick run and a couple more albums the members pursued individual efforts. But, the band reunited in 2007 with the original members and recorded a live album in 2008 titled You Are My Radio that is slated to come out this month (May), and according to their website, it will come in a “dizzying array of download and physical CD bundles” as well as a limited deluxe bundle. If you sign up for their e-mail list, you will be sent a link to download an mp3 of “Memphis Exorcism” from the upcoming release– a 320K mp3 no less. Incidentally, it appears based on the URL of the mp3, that the Zippers are working with TopSpin for the promotion and release of their new album. TopSpin, as you may recall is the company who is helping Wendy and Lisa with their newest album.

The opening act, the Damnwells are a really good straight-up rock band with great harmonies and guitars that I hear little bits of Petty, Counting Crows, Matthew Sweet in the mix. The Damnwells had a failed relationship with a major label which left them stranded, but they continued on an independent route. The Damnwells new album One Last Century is freely available as mp3 download from their site. I highly recommend it!

Click Here for more information on the Iowa City Arts Festival

Click Here for Squirrel Nut Zippers on MySpace

Click Here for the Damnwells website

Click Here for the Damnwells MySpace Page

Free Download: New Lyrics Born! “Funky Hit Records” Upcoming Shows

It doesn’t seem that long ago that Lyrics Born released his last album Everywhere At Once— in fact it was released just under a year ago! (4/22/08) Not one to rest on his laurels when there is inspiration– LB has been spending time in the studio working on the release of his next album to be titled As U Were to drop this fall.

To help spread the buzz, LB has made available for FREE the old school stylee track “Funky Hit Records.”  “Funky Hit Records” is a tribute to classic 80’s style hip hop– a different direction than the production of his last two albums using only beats and scratches to propel the track from Trackademicks. A fun track with trademark tongue-in-cheek bravado from the man LB. The song has a video produced by Justin– the guy who handles all of the on-line activity for the Lyrics Born camp including the LBTV videos.

In other news, Lyrics Born is making a quick jump to the Midwest in April with Joyo Velarde and DJ D-Sharp. They’ll be at The Majestic in Madison, WI on April 14th, and Trocadero’s in Minneapolis on Friday, April 17th! I’ll be at the Minneapolis show, of course!

Apr 8 2009 9:00P
The Nightlight Lounge – Bellingham, WA Bellingham, Washington
Apr 10 2009 8:00P
Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR Portland, Oregon
Apr 11 2009 8:00P
McDonald Theatre – Eugene, OR w/ The Roots Eugene, Oregon
Apr 14 2009 9:00P
Majestic Theatre Madison, Wisconsin
Apr 17 2009 8:00P
Trocadero’s – Minneapolis, MN Minneapolis, Minnesota
Apr 18 2009 8:00P
Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, CA – Adam Theis with special guest Lyrics Born San Francisco,

Click Here to download “Funky Hit Records” from the forthcoming As U Were.
Click Here to visit Lyrics Born’s website
Click Here to visit the LBTV YouTube Channel with the video for “Funky Hit Records” as well as a bunch of other videos.

Free Download: Phish Live at Hampton 2009

In celebration of Phish’s reunion shows– Phish is generously offering 256Kbps mixed, soundboard recordings of their upcoming three-night run at the legendary Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA for free download. From their press release:

In celebration of Phish’s first shows in over four years, we’re thrilled to be able to offer fans free, high-quality downloads of the band’s sold-out March 6th, 7th and 8th concerts at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia at LivePhish.com.

Each show will be professionally multi-tracked and mixed onsite and within 24 hours, 256kbps MP3s will be made available for free for a limited time at LivePhish.com. Fans who wish to download higher quality versions may purchase FLAC downloads. The shows will also be available on CD. Both are available for pre-order now. Register at LivePhish.com to receive an email when the free MP3s are available.
“We really wanted to show our gratitude to all the Phish fans for their support and the overwhelming response they’ve had to these shows. It’s going to be an amazing celebration and we only wish everybody could be there,” said Trey Anastasio.

Hampton Coliseum is notable in Phish’s history as being the location for the shows on November 20 & 21, 1998 that was the basis for the six-disc box set Hampton Comes Alive. Hampton Coliseum has been a favorite stop for Phish and these upcoming shows on March 6th, 7th, and 8th mark the 13th, 14th, and 15th time Phish will have played there.

These upcoming shows are also where Phish is looking to legally block the sale of bootleg products like unauthorized “lot shirts” and other paraphernalia with Phish tie-ins. An interesting move considering how ingrained in the jamband scene the lot scene sales have become. Certainly Phish is entitled to defend their very valuable trademark and image– especially since the future of the band seems unclear, and licensing of products in addition to the sale of recordings would be the only way the band could continue to profit if they don’t continue to tour.

Update: Apparently Phish is in it for the long haul and have plans to record a new album with a focus on their proggy side!

Click Here to pre-order the three shows in mp3 format.