Monday, April 27, 2009

Summerstage 2009 Schedule Posted

The schedule for the concerts at Central Park Summerstage have been posted, and as usual there is a mix of rock, jazz, blues, spoken word, and more. Most of the concerts are free, with a few paid concerts used as benefits to pay for the free programs.

Among the highlights:

Friday, June 12, 8pm (opening night) - Josh Ritter and The New York Pops (not his usual backing band... should be interesting)
Saturday, June 13, 3pm - Smokie Norful, Tye Tribbett & G.A., & Ruben Studdard
Thursday June 18, 7:30pm - Sharon Olds & Thomas Sayers Ellis
Friday, June 19, 8pm - Comedy Central Park with Gabriel Iglesias & Pablo Francisco
Wednesday, July 8, 7pm - Juana Molina, Curumin, & El G (ZZK)
Saturday, July 11, 3pm - Los Fabulosos Cadillacs & Eric Bobo
Friday, July 24, 7pm - Bettye Lavette, the Budos Band, & the Felix Hernandez Rhythm Revue
Saturday, July 25, 3pm - Jerry Rivera and special guests & N'Klabe
Sunday, July 26, 3pm - Ginuwine, Joe & Chico DeBarge
Saturday, August 1 - M. Ward, Mike Watt, & Nels Cline
Monday, August 3, 8pm - Béla Fleck & Toumani Diabaté

There are also shows featuring poetry and films. The benefit shows include TV on the Radio, the Indigo Girls, Explosions in the Sky and Constantines, and Matisyahu and Umphrey's McGee. Check the Summerstage Web site at for full schedule and details on all shows.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Music News: Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup, Heart Prepares New CD, Richie Havens Remembers Woodstock

While the world digests the verdict and the next moves in the Pirate Bay trial, there have been lots of other developments in the music world. Among them:

Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup Announced: The more than 100 acts that will make up this year's Lollapalooza Festival lineup on August 7-9 have been announced. The festival in Chicago's Grant Park will feature headliners Depeche Mode, Tool, the Killers, Jane's Addiction, Beastie Boys, and Kings of Leon. Also on the bill are a diverse range of acts including Lou Reed, Ben Harper and Relentless7, Thievery Corporation, Snoop Dogg, Rise Against, TV on the Radio, Neko Case, and Arctic Monkeys.

Heart Working on New CD:The sisters Wilson are working on a new Heart album, and according to this Reuters story Nancy will be sharing more of the singing duties. Ann had always been the lead singer of the group, with Nancy doing backing vocals in addition to playing guitar.

Richie Havens Remembers Woodstock: Americana music legend Richie Havens is returning to the site of the landmark Woodstock festival. Havens will play at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, on the site where the original festival took place, to mark 40 years since that seminal concert and be-in. Havens looks back on his Woodstock experience: he had the distinction of being the festival's first performer. He was scheduled to go on fifth, but was called up early when the acts to play ahead of him were delayed in the massive traffic jams that plagued Woodstock.

Havens is still going strong, and is currently touring to support his 2008 album, "Nobody Left to Crown."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Coachella 2009 is Here: Previews, Streaming Video, and More

The Coachella festival is underway in Southern California, and Santa Monica's excellent radio station KCRW is all over it. The festival seems to be set to have another successful year, despite the economic downturn that has led other festivals to scale back or cancel this year.

The station's Web site features videos of performances that artists at this year's Coachella festival have made at KCRW's studios... including Franz Ferdinand, The Black Keys, M.I.A., the Thievery Corporation, Paul McCartney, Band of Horses, and many more.

KCRW also plans on having exclusive performances from Coachella at ita Web site ... check there for updates throughout the weekend.

AT&T Music is also showing live performances from Coachella throughout the weekend, which you can view online for free. Right now (11 p.m. Eastern time, Friday night) I'm watching the set from The Hold Steady. Later to come tonight are Conor Oberst, Morrissey, and Paul McCartney; check the AT&T Music Coachella page for the schedule for the entire weekend.

Ann Powers of the L.A. Times gives a guide to her must-see acts of Coachella 2009.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Unofficial Neko Case Week in New York

No, this hasn't officially been declared "Neko Case Week" in New York City, but the redhead with the haunting voice has definitely the queen of all media in town the last few days.

First off, she played two shows at the Nokia Theatre Times Square on Monday and Tuesday, April 13th and 14th, to support her new album "Middle Cyclone" (see the video for "People Got A Lotta Nerve," from the new album, below). I was at Tuesday's show, and it was a great performance by Neko, her band, and a few guest vocalists.

On Tuesday, New York radio station WFUV featured Neko Case's music throughout the day during the station's regular weekday programming from 6 am to 10 pm. On Tuesday afternoon WFUV had Neko in the studio for a live performance and conversation, and this session will be archived on WFUV's Web site for later listening at

On Wednesday Neko Case was on televisions throughout the U.S. on the Late Show with David Letterman, with her band and the additional vocal power at her New York shows: Rachel Flotard (of Visqueen), Nora O'Connor, and Lucy Wainwright Roche.

Yes, it's been all Neko, all the time in New York this week!

Shop for Neko Case albums and downloads at

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Sound of Music - Song and Dance in Belgium Train Station - VIDEO

Easter is the time of year when "The Sound of Music" is always aired on TV, so thought folks would enjoy this video of a song from "The Sound of Music" sung and acted out in a train station in Antwerp, Belgium! The performance is quite good, but the real priceless part of this is the reactions on the faces of the passersby in the train station. (What I'm wondering is, how did they get the music broadcast over what sounds like the station's public address system?)

Feel free to sing or dance along... "Doe, a deer, a female deer..."

If the video above doesn't work for some reason, you can view the "Sound of Music" train station video here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs on Saturday Night Live

New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs appeared on the pre-Easter edition of Saturday Night Live, and Karen O. and the band were in good form. Naturally they were promoting their brand-new album It's Blitz!, which just came out March 31st. (Video of "Zero" from SNL below.)

I've liked the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for a few years but haven't yet caught them live. But they'll appearing at this year's All Points West Festival, a good local gig for them, and I'm hoping to see them there.
They'll be performing at the festival in Jersey City's Liberty State Park July 31st, in between European gigs. Check their Web site for Yeah Yeah Yeahs tour dates.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Music News: New iTunes Pricing, Beatles Remasters

Digital music and reissues are a couple of the leading music-related news stories this week...

iTunes pricing: This week iTunes finally introduced its new pricing structure. While much of the attention has been on the new $1.29 price for popular tracks, there's been much less mention of the fact that many tracks will remain at 99 cents, and some songs will sell for 69 cents. As iPod Observer notes, all iTunes songs are now DRM-free and encoded at 256kbps (which the store calls iTunes Plus).

On a related note, I've read that Amazon has increased the price of some of its MP3 downloads to $1.29, but a quick scan through some of their offerings showed tracks at the usual 99 cents. Anyone come across tracks costing more?

Remastered Beatles albums coming: The music industry is expected to get a big boost in the Fall when all of the studio recordings by the Beatles are to come out in remastered versions. Sept. 9th is the expected date for the reissues, which many music fans say is long overdue. As for digital versions of Beatles music... well, no news on that, unfortunately.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Yahoo Unveils New Yahoo Music with Artist Pages

Yahoo has been involved in online music for years, but now they've revamped their Yahoo Music division to better compete in the digital music space. Released today, the new Yahoo Music features both paid and free music services and partners with other online music providers. Yahoo is the second leading online music destination, after AOL Music.

It offers different modules (which you can drag and move around) such as free audio streaming services from and Pandora, videos from Youtube, and the ability to buy music downloads from iTunes and Yahoo Music also offers a new feature called Artist Pages that gives access to information and products from various musicians (500,000 in all, Yahoo says), including concert dates and tickets, photos, lyrics, and blogs.

I'll post more about Yahoo Music after I get the chance to kick the tires and take it for a spin.