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

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 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 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.

B-Sides in the Bins #41 – Wendy & Lisa Interview

Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman– collectively known as Wendy & Lisa are probably best known as the creative songwriting force in Prince’s 80’s backing band The Revolution. It’s my opinion as well as others that it was Wendy & Lisa who were a strong (and necessary) compliment to Prince and that relationship fostered the creative energy of the three that spawned music that was more than the three could have achieved individually. After Prince dissolved The Revolution Wendy & Lisa stuck together and continued to work through the 90’s on their career as a songwriting duo. While the four albums released through 1998 had been received well critically, none of the albums really took off for them– quite a bit of it due to label switching that was outside their control and it was this experience that formed their approach to their new album.

In the ten-plus years since their last album, the pair have stayed together focusing on studio work, songwriting, production and some significant soundtrack scoring for shows like HBO’s “Carnivale,” Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie” and NBC’s “Heroes.” At the end of 2008, Wendy & Lisa self-released White Flags of Winter Chimneys which seems to be a new declaration of purpose with a vision towards the next phase of their partnership. It may prove that the long gap between releases is enough for the pair to be judged upon their own merits as artists and musicians rather than continuing in the shadow of their work with Prince.

I had an opportunity to talk to Wendy & Lisa during a short break in their busy schedules last week to talk about their new album, the promise of an upcoming tour, and their unique distribution model. They were very cool to talk to– funny and excited to talk about their new work. They had me on speakerphone and it was a lot of fun talking to them. They are kindred spirits with me in a lot of respects, their tastes in music are as varied as mine and their passion for their work is infectious as I found myself re-energized to focus on this blog!

Me: A lot of bands are looking into a self-distribution model. Yours is unique in that you are selling it from your website first and then moving to other electronic distribution channels– is it going to get regular distribution as well?

Wendy: It will get regular distribution later, yeah. We’re doing this in steps right now because we’re trying to make a little cash so we can get to the next level because we are distributing it ourselves in a little room with our little postage machines and our little weighing machines and our packaging and this-and-that. We bypassed getting a regular distribution deal because a lot of times the artist ends up having to pay back a lot of money to the distributor because the distributors ordered way too much product. So, we opted to not do that and just to do it as it’s being ordered. So, the best way to get a sense of what is being bought is to take it one step at a time. Basically, our manager Renata who is the computer genius in the family came up with this model– that we go ahead and release FLAC digital downloads and 320Kbps mp3’s and offer it at a reasonable price on the website first to get an idea of what was being sold. And, actually, it’s coming back that we are doing quite well on that. So, the little bit of money that has come in from that is being put into packaging now and getting more product out to people. On February 24th when it is on digital download sites like iTunes, Amazon, and Rhapsody–

Lisa: we have to mention TopSpin who has been with us since the very beginning and helped us get this up and going.

Wendy:  That’s right.

Lisa: I think it is important for people to know that what’s been really cool is that we’ve offered all of these different packages– including just single-song downloads– you know– to just the get things going. All we needed was just the first bit of artwork to have some design up on the webpage. So, you can download a single song, you can download the whole record, you can download the record plus order the CD when it becomes available– you can order the beautiful vinyl which we made a limited amount of– this blue-and-white splatter vinyl which is going to be FANTASTIC!

Wendy: Yeah, and the mastering on the record is FANTASTIC– it’s almost sounds better than the CD as far as I’m concerned.

Me: So, can you tell us a bit more about the vinyl pressing and who did the mastering?

Wendy: Yeah, Paul du Gré did the mastering of the vinyl and he’s from North Hollywood. He’s one of those guys who’s just done everything for ages– he’s a classic engineer, mastering and an audiophile kind of guy. You can Google “Paul du Gré” and find all kinds of wonderful things he worked on. The pressing is being done by Pirates Press using GZ Digital Media in the Czech Republic. There was a problem with doing the splatter– we found a plant that could pour the paint by hand instead of using machines. There is a whole environmental consideration and things like that. [It’s important to note, also that this first limited pressing will be in a gatefold sleeve. -ed]

To get people to pre-order these things over the website has allowed to finance getting these things done. I think it is helpful for other musicians to know that are trying to put things out– that you can start lining your ducks up and start selling things and it will help finance things like producing the product.

Lisa: For me, I feel like this is more satisfying than having a record deal.

Wendy: It really is, and more has come from this in satisfaction for us than any record label we’ve ever been signed to– and we’ve been signed to A LOT. And dropped from every one of them… This is so much better and I highly recommend it! Haha!

Me: So, did you create a label for this?

Wendy: Yeah, we just created our own thing.

Me: What is the label called?

Wendy: It’s called “Lisa Coleman/Wendy Melvoin” hehehe. Literally, that is what it is called. We don’t have a label name. It is just “L. Coleman/W. Melvoin”

Wendy: That’s it– we aren’t going to put out anyone else’s records.

Me: Well, yes I suppose you aren’t going to make a “Paisley Park” or something.

Wendy: Nah, it’s not going to happen for us.

Me: Will you be selling the LP without the CD at some point?

Wendy & Lisa: Oh, yes! Absolutely!

Me: It seems that the other part of the equation for working bands is touring and, in some cases the album is promoted by the touring. Do you see the success of this preventing the need to tour? Are you going to tour?

Wendy: We’re going to need to tour. All of this is leading into the two of us hopefully getting out this summer to do some gigs. We have so much work to do before we can even put our eye on that– but our sights are on being able to tour. I’d love us to be able to spend at least three months– six weeks here in the States to do just some key places and six weeks in over in Europe would be fantastic.

Lisa:  Yeah, it’s not a matter of even needing to tour, we really would like to tour.

Wendy: Yeah that’s true…

Lisa: …And play this record out and play these songs and give them a life. But, we don’t have the financing to rehearse a band and pay for hotels and travel and things like that so we’re trying to raise the money first. Maybe find some smart ways of doing it– maybe pairing it with another band or a promoter or something that makes sense.

Wendy: Or what we talked about before is that we have this group of musicians that we have this band with called Edith Funker. It has members of the Roots– ?uestlove on drums, Erykah Badu on vocals, My brother-in-law on guitar Doyle Bramhall [Wendy’s sister Susannah Melvoin is married to Doyle -ed], with [Susannah] doing vocals and guitar, James Poyser on keyboards with Lisa, me on guitar, this really phenomenal record producer-musician named Mike Elizondo on bass. And, we want to go out possibly as each other’s band.

Me: Oh, like a package tour!

Wendy: Yeah, a package tour. So, for like 45 minutes we’re Eryka’s band, and for 45 minutes they’re Wendy & Lisa’s band, and for 45 minutes we’re Doyle’s band– you know what I mean? Kind of do that. We’d love to make that happen.

Me: That would be really great!

Lisa: We think that would be the ideal thing, but you know it would be pretty hard to coordinate. Everybody’s doing their records and tours and things like that. We’re hoping maybe by summertime. Also, that’s when the TV season ends because our day job, of course, is scoring TV.

Wendy: “Nurse Jackie” and “Heroes.”

Lisa: Yeah, so after the TV season is over and everybody kind of gets done doing what they’re doing right now…

Wendy: Which is the end of April…

Lisa: Yeah, we’re going to try aim for late June or something around there to try to get out and do something like that.

Me: Are you going to try to hit the festivals?

Wendy: You know, if we could get that group of people together, I don’t even know that we have to do the festivals. We could probably get a venue on our own and make it a two-and-a-half, three hour event with all of those people– bypassing the festivals.

Me: By the way, I think that White Flags is a brilliant record. You have somehow managed to hit a lot of the buttons I care about in music.

Lisa: Oh wow, Thank you!

Me: I had a pretty tough time describing it while writing the one paragraph I did write for the article talking about the upcoming release. The record either sounds like it’s been a long time coming or– I don’t know. It’s all over the place and it has one sound– a consistent production value. I’m going to call it “shoegazer” because I don’t know what else to call it.

Wendy: Yeah, and I related to your comparisons, I do listen to Lush a little bit and My Bloody Valentine and Radiohead– of course and I feel those things when I hear this record as well.

You know, this has been a long time coming for us, this record.  We needed to start fresh. We didn’t really use anything that we had in the can from ten years ago, but we opted basically to let all that got to define who we are right now. After being in film composing and TV composing for this long and producing for other people and being on a million other records during this time and writing for other people. And, when we got the writer’s strike– for good or for bad– the strike allowed us the opportunity to get in our room, shut the door, turn the red light on and keep everybody out and make this record. We were lucky for the time– really lucky for it because I’m really proud of this record. When my kid’s a teenager, I wouldn’t hesitate handing him this record and say, “here, give this a listen.”

Lisa: It was like opening the flood gates for us, too. After having the responsibility to write music all the time, having the freedom to write music was a totally different experience. The things that came out of us were– and we’re guilty of being all over the place anyway because we love so many different kinds of music– we like to groove and we like to be introspective, we like to trip out and then we like to get really classy or intimate. So, all these things just started pouring out, and when we hit a certain song or a certain place after a month or so of writing we knew we had stumbled upon the sound that could carry through. There was even this Mellotron “voice” sound that I think we used on every song or as a way to segue between songs was the emotional thread through the album– like it was one story.

Wendy: Michael, when you listen to the LP, we actually made this– segued this so it would sound as if you were having the LP experience. It’s been so many years since people have had that mindset and boy do I miss it!

Lisa: To listen to a whole record and to have it be different– so many times I put on a record and then it’s kind of the same song over-and-over again. I’ve never liked that– I like records that have different feels on it, like it takes you on a trip.

Wendy: Yeah, like one of the coveted LP’s that I have is the Bill Evans/Claus Ogerman Symbiosis. Side A is all of the horn arrangements that Claus Ogerman did– Bill isn’t even playing on side A! Symbiosis is this composition where side A is playing at double-time and side B is an orchestra and the Bill Evans Trio playing it at half time. That’s a fucking LP experience to me! That, to me, is a high achievement.

Me: Was that a Prestige title?

Wendy: I think maybe it was.

[Although Evans famously recorded on Prestige, this 1974 release was originally released on the German label MPS. It was re-released on CD in 1995 on Verve Records and is now sadly out-of-print, however you can download mp3’s at Amazon. -ed]

Me: It sounds like I need to find that one– I like Bill Evans.

Wendy: You need to find that. It’s breathtaking. Michael, this LP is BREATHTAKING, it’s so beautiful! Side B– that’s the heartbreak side. Side A is more like the bible of harmonics.

Lisa: It’s almost Supersax, but really um…

Wendy: It’s more Steve Reich-ian meets Supersax.

[I had to stop myself from talking about Reich’s “Different Trains.” I saw the original configuration of Kronos Quartet performing this in Madison, WI in the early 90’s.]

Lisa: Way more sophisticated harmonically. It’s really, really cool.

Albums are so much better when they aren’t just a collection of singles. Even though there is a place for that– you can go buy the “greatest hits.”

Wendy: In defense of a lot of records out there, I think it is just the Pop stuff that is geared towards that. I listen to plenty of CD’s right now that aren’t a collection of singles. It’s too blanket of a statement– it’s just not true.

Lisa: Well, I just think with the failure of the record companies (assumes stuffy documentary voice) “in our historic times”– record labels have completely failed the art and it makes the art difficult to master. When you’re making a record, you’re not sure what you’re supposed to be aiming at. I think that Wendy and I in this situation had the perfect opportunity to not care about that. We had our studio already set up, we had been scoring TV, and the writer’s strike hit and we had nothing to do.

Wendy: It was a perfect storm.

Lisa: Right, exactly, so we were “snowed in,” had all this gear, all this inspiration and nobody to answer to except each other and we just started writing and it was such a gift to be able to do that.

Wendy: Even our engineer kept looking at us and saying “What kind of music is this? What is this?” Just go with it man, just go with it.

Lisa: “Is this supposed to sound like a rock record? Should I make it tight or loose? Should I use echo?” We said, “Just make it sound cool.” He has great taste and great ears and great techniques.

Wendy: We just guided him and said, “Stay there! Don’t move! That’s just where we want to be!”

Me: So, you did this in one sitting, effectively? It’s a bit astounding that you could achieve this record like that.

Lisa: Yeah, it was easy– well I shouldn’t say that and jinx myself! With the exception of “Niagra Falls,” which we re-recorded, yeah. We just have a lot of music in our bones. It just comes out.

Me: I haven’t had this record to listen to that long, but the two songs that stand out for me are “Niagra Falls” and “Sweet Suite.”

Wendy: Yeah, those are the two that a lot of people are gravitating towards.

Me: I have to say that out of the whole Revolution catalog “Sometimes It Snows In April” [from Parade] is probably my favorite song.

Wendy & Lisa (in unison): Wow, thank you!

Me: So, I hear “Sweet Suite” and I kind of hear that in there.

Wendy & Lisa: Yeah, for sure, definitely.

Lisa: “Sometimes It Snows In April” was really the pinnacle of our relationship together [with Prince]. The three of us had kind of a love affair. And when we wrote that song– again– it was just the three of us sitting together in a room. I really loved it, and I had hoped we would follow that trail further, you know? Like make a whole record like that or something. But, that didn’t happen.

Wendy: He opted out.

Me: And there was that B-Side to “Mountains” What was it, “Alexa de…”

Wendy: “Alexa de Paris.”

Me: Yeah..

Lisa: Oh, wow, yeah…

Wendy: That whole Parade record, that was a great time. Parade, and Sign O’ The Times. Actually, the three albums: All Around The World In A Day, Parade, and Sign O’ The Times, those were incredible records to make…

I’ll tell you what my friend– we don’t want to– but, we have to go. We have to deliver thirty minutes of music for “Heroes” for tomorrow morning and we’ve only done one reel out of five! We have a deadline…

Me: I really appreciate the time, ladies, and it was really great talking to you at the beginning of this phase in your career!

Below is a full-album stream of Wendy & Lisa’s new album White Flags of Winter Chimneys:

Upcoming Show: Mark Olson & Gary Louris at CSPS in Cedar Rapids 2/19/09

Mark Olson & Gary Louris by Steven Cohen Photography

Mark Olson & Gary Louris by Steven Cohen Photography

Ready for the Flood, the new album from former Jayhawks members Mark Olson and Gary Louris is due for release on January 27th according to and other sources. Ready for the Flood was originally supposed to be released on September 15th on Olson’s home label Hacktone but was moved to New West Records, current home of John Hiatt, The Old 97’s and The Drive By Truckers and other artists who compliment Olson and Louris’s country-influenced sound.

Ready for the Flood was recorded in January with production help from Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes, who also worked on Louris’s brilliant solo album Vagabonds. Since both Louris and Olson had solo records released last year that still needed to be promoted and toured, they decided to delay the release until late this year, and now the release is moved to January with the label switch.

Shortly on the heels of Flood’s release Olson and Louris will kick off a tour during February in support of the album hitting small venues across the nation, wrapping up at a hometown show in Minneapolis at the Varsity Theatre. If any of the torrents of the live shows in Europe are any indication, these shows will be a Jayhawks fan’s dream pulling songs from the new album and songs from the Jayhawks catalog in an intimate stripped-down acoustic set.

Olson and Louris will be playing the (sadly) best-kept secret venue of Cedar Rapids, CSPS on February 19th. Mark Olson played a well-received show there in February this year– in fact it will be almost a year to the date! Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 the day of the show.

Feb 3 2009 7:00P
The Ark Ann Arbor, Michigan
Feb 4 2009 7:00P
The Mod Club Toronto, Ontario
Feb 6 2009 7:00P
Somerville Theater Somerville, Massachusetts
Feb 7 2009 7:00P
Zankel Hall @ Carnegie Hall New York, New York
Feb 9 2009 7:00P
Sellersville Theater Sellersville, Pennsylvania
Feb 10 2009 7:00P
Birchmere Alexandria, Virginia
Feb 11 2009 7:00P
The Arts Center Carrboro, North Carolina
Feb 13 2009 7:00P
Eddie’s Attic Atlanta, Georgia
Feb 14 2009 7:00P
Exit/In Nashville, Tennessee
Feb 15 2009 7:00P
Phoenix Hill Tavern Louisville, Kentucky
Feb 17 2009 7:00P
Blueberry Hill St. Louis, Missouri
Feb 18 2009 7:00P
Mojo’s Columbia, Missouri
Feb 19 2009 7:00P
CSPS Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Feb 20 2009 7:00P
Park West Chicago, Illinois
Feb 21 2009 7:00P
Varsity Theater Minneapolis, Minnesot

Click Here to visit the MySpace page for Ready for the Flood with song samples

Click Here to visit the Facebook Event I created.

Streaming Calexico Concert at

Thanks to the folks at the Yahoo Group CasadeCalexico, we bring you a streaming video of Calexico’s concert on 10/15/08 at Paradiso Main Hall in Amsterdam. Calexico plays a nice set that focuses on Carried to Dust but also delivers old standbys like “Across the Wire” and the cover of Love’s “Alone Again, Or.”

Upcoming Show: Backyard Tire Fire @ The Picador 9/10/08

Backyard Tire Fire is a band I’d heard of, but never searched out. So, it was cool that the band’s manager reached out to me via MySpace last week to be a friend. I gave a listen to some of the songs on their page and checked out the streaming songs from their upcoming album on their website, too.

The guys from Backyard Tire Fire are from Bloomington, Illinois which is next to Normal, where I spent part of my childhood and one of my brothers was born there in the early Seventies while my dad worked at General Electric. Not that this makes them my neighbor, but they might be the only band I’ve ever heard of from there.

I bought and downloaded from Tire Fire’s 2007 release Vagabonds and Hooligans in an acceptible 256K rip. The band delivers a confident mix of Americana-leaning rock with Indie sensibilities. Across the album we are offered glimpses of the bands influences– “Green Eyed Soul” comes off like an early Wilco track, “Tom Petty” draws a bit from Tom Petty. The Black Crowes could stand to write a soulful ballad like “The Wrong Hand.” But, to break Backyard Tire Fire down to comparisons misses the fact that it is a strong album from a band that is growing with every release.

In a time when bands that tour as much as Backyard Tire Fire does tend to wait a while between releases, it’s a bit surprising to see that they are releasing the followup to Vagabonds and Hooligans at the end of this month (August 26th) titled The Places We Lived. The three songs streaming from their website and MySpace page shows the promise of another great release. According to the press info on their website, the band holds true to an analog asthetic preferring to record with tape over ProTools. The logical The There will be a vinyl version of this album as well!

The band is getting ready for a run of late-summer Midwestern dates in support of the release that will run through the end of September. Here are the dates as of today from their MySpace page.

Aug 13 2008 9:00P
Lucky Aces – Ed Anderson acoustic Le Roy, Illinois
Aug 16 2008 9:00P
J Bucks – Ed Anderson acoustic Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 20 2008 9:00P
Official TPWL Chicago Listening Party – Alive One! Chicago, Illinois
Aug 21 2008 9:00P
Highdive Champaign
Aug 22 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Dirty Hands Band Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 23 2008 9:00P
Paulie’s – w/ Company of Thieves & Peter Adriel Bloomington, Illinois
Aug 28 2008 7:00P
Kiss the Sky – BTF acoustic instore Geneva, Illinois
Aug 31 2008 10:15P
Strip Mines Music Festival – Shawnee Cave – Strip Mines Music Festival Murphysboro, Illinois
Sep 5 2008 8:00P
Metro w/ Ha Ha Tonka Chicago, Illinois
Sep 10 2008 7:30P
The Picador w/ Ha Ha Tonka Iowa City, Iowa
Sep 11 2008 7:00P
The Rave w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Sep 12 2008 8:00P
The Annex w/ Ha Ha Tonka & Blueheels Madison, Wisconsin
Sep 13 2008 9:00P
7th Street Entry w/ Ha Ha Tonka Minneapolis, Minnesota
Sep 17 2008 7:00P
Blue Note Summerfest w/ Avett Bros & Ha Ha Tonka Columbia, Missouri
Sep 18 2008 8:00P
Record Bar w/ Ha Ha Tonka Kansas City, Missouri
Sep 19 2008 9:00P
Josie’s w/ Ha Ha Tonka Emporia, Kansas
Sep 20 2008 7:00P
Lucas School House w/ Ha Ha Tonka St. Louis, Missouri
Sep 24 2008 8:00P
Grog Shop w/ Ha Ha Tonka Cleveland, Ohio
Sep 25 2008 8:00P
The Basement w/ Ha Ha Tonka Columbus, Ohio
Sep 26 2008 8:00P
Spin w/ Ha Ha Tonka Indianapolis, Indiana
Sep 27 2008 7:00P
Southgate House w/ Ha Ha Tonka Newport, Kentucky

The band will be in Iowa City at the Picador on September 10th. The show is at 7:30PM so maybe it will get over early enough for me to do a mid-week show. Opening is Ha Ha Tonka who did a Daytrotter session in July. Tickets are $7 and if you order them in advance you get a signed poster of the album art you can pick up at the show.

There are a lot of places to stream or download content for Backyard Tire Fire.

They did a session for the kind folks at Daytrotter in March with some new material.

Click Here to download a FREE EP called Sick of Debt (a zip file of mp3’s)

Click Here to download live shows of the band from

Click Here to stream Vagabonds and Hooligans at Indie911

Click Here to download an in-studio recording with My Old Kentucky Blog from last year.

Click Here to visit their MySpace page which has six tracks from The Places We Lived.

Calexico New Album News: Carried to Dust due September 9th

Joey and John visited the KXCI studios on Friday, May 23rd to perform songs, talk about their new album and to promote the benefit show they played Friday night at the Rialto in Tucson to send Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School to Washington DC for the National Independence Day Parade.

During Friday’s Home Stretch show hosted by Kristi Lloyd which I heard thanks to a fan on the Calexico Yahoo group who snagged the Internet feed of that show it was announced that the new album is finished and will be called Carried to Dust and will be released September 9th in the U.S.

Calexico played three songs (I think) but I only heard two of them. The first song was new and they didn’t announce a title for it, but it was a slower song with a road or driving theme, and they played another new waltzy song titled “The News About William” played on acoustic guitar and brushes on drums. No earth-shattering change in direction in my opinion, but more strong music in the familiar Calexico vein.

The tour dates are filling in for Calexico this summer and it looks like they might be holding most of the U.S. dates until after the album release. There are three dates, though, Detroit on 7/5, The Newport Folk Festival in Newport, RI, and the World Music Festival in Chicago on 9/25. The World Music Festival will be a free one, so I might consider making a long weekend in Chicago for that one.

Upcoming Show: Glen Phillips at the Hub in Cedar Falls, IA 4/16/08

Glen PhillipsGlen Phillips is the frontman for the 90’s alt-pop group Toad the Wet Sprocket. Since the group’s split in 1998, Glen has participated in the occasional Toad gig, but has recorded four albums– the most recent being 2006’s Mr. Lemons— and two EP’s.

Last night Glen kicked off a run of solo acoustic dates that wrap up at the end of May and include a substantial number of Midwestern dates and two in Iowa! I had a chance to see him last night at World Cafe Live in Philly and it was great! I’ll collect my thoughts on this show and post a review later. The majority of the songs come from his solo catalog but include the occasional Toad cover and an inspired cover song or two. Glen Phillips in a live solo setting is typically a pretty intimate engagement and well worth seeing.

If, like me you hadn’t been following Mr. Phillips’s solo career I recommend signing up for MyTracks if only for a month so you can download all of his solo albums and EP’s except for his 2004 effort on Lost Highway that unfortunately seems to be a sore point for him. MyTracks is a subscription download service like eMusic is. For $7.95 you can download as much as you want for a month. Unfortunately Glen Phillips likely the most recognizable artist in their growing catalog. I’ll check some other tracks out before I cancel. The live acoustic album SOhO Live is an exclusive to MyTracks. Recorded last Fall it is fairly representative of what his set is like. Another unfortunate thing about MyTracks in general is that all of the tracks are encoded at 128 Kbps. I guess with unlimited downloads one shouldn’t complain, but I might have paid more for at least SOhO Live to get a higher bitrate. The other albums are available for download at higher bitrates from Glen’s site. While you’re there take a listen to his new EP Secrets of the New Explorers— fantastic stuff!

Glen will be in Des Moines at The Temple Theatre on Monday, April 14th, followed by a show at The Hub Live on Wednesday March 16th. The Hub is a new venue to me, so it would be cool to see it– however, I’m out of town on the 16th. As I was informed last night at Glen’s show in Philadelphia by a friendly fan (thanks, Heather!), Toad the Wet Sprocket will be touring this summer and will be hitting Philly again– June 11th at the Trocadero as confirmed by their MySpace Page. My friend Andrew and I saw Calexico a couple of years ago at the Troc, and it is another fantastic Philly music venue in addition to World Cafe Live and TLA now rebranded “The Fillmore at TLA.”

Click Here to see all of the dates Glen is playing this summer.

Click Here to visit Glen’s Website
Click Here to visit Glen’s MySpace Page
Click Here to visit Toad the Wet Sprocket’s Website (which includes their live dates)
Click Here to visit Toad the Wet Sprocket’s MySpace Page