In the true essence of keeping an old sound new again, Soulive has enlisted a number of very special guests for Break Out, their first release with the Concord Music Group after breaking ties with Blue Note. This time Ivan Neville, Corey Glover, Robert Randolph, Chaka Khan and Reggie Watts lend their talents in the key of soul to the mix. Not to be overlooked, the
hankfully once ever decade or so Neil Young gets back together with his most underrated band, The Stray Gators (in this case the surviving members of the band), and releases an album that is an immediate masterpiece. Young ditches his electric guitar and gets back to a rootsy, acoustic sound with songs that seemed ripped from some small Midwestern town that has tumbleweeds blowing down the street, and an old man on every porch with a story to tell. Completing the trilogy that started with 1972
After two albums of lushly orchestrated pop that brought them to a new level of acclaim, the Flaming Lips are returning to guitar-based rock’n’roll as they finish up their next studio set. “At War With the Mystics” is due in February or March via Warner Bros. Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tells Billboard.com the group was inspired to plug in after featuring a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” in its live shows.
“You can’t tell if [the members of Sabbath] are farmers, wizards, hippies or members of a cult,” Coyne says. “It’s mysterious territory. Part of that, we really fell in love with. So, there are some tracks we’ve delved into production-wise, where we’re trying to get some of that heavy rock’n’roll with heavy guitar riffs, but not just to be aggressive. On the last couple of records, we’ve tried to be more expressive in beautiful ways. But sometimes, volume and intensity are great too.”
The idea for one particularly Sabbath-influenced cut, “The Wand,” came to Coyne after observing a homeless man wandering around Oklahoma City who always carries a giant stick with him.
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Longtime hip-hop colleagues Mos Def and Talib Kweli will team for a fall tour under the heading Breed Love Odyssey, marking their first appearances together since a one-off reunion of their group Black Star earlier this year at the Coachella festival. The trek will be sponsored by PlayStation and will kick off Oct. 28 in Sacramento, Calif. Jean Grae and Pharoahe Monch are also on the bill.
PlayStation will offer a variety of giveaways at the shows, including PSP software and free downloads from the Sony Connect store. Fans will also be able to sample PSP games.
Of late, Mos Def has focused on furthering his acting career via such films as “The Italian Job,” “The Woodsman” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” He is presently in Brazil shooting the movie “Journey to the End of the Night,” and will also create original music for the soundtrack.
The artist’s next solo album is expected to be released early next year via his Geffen; sources say it is his last album under contract with the label. It will be the follow up to 2004’s “The New Danger,” which debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
As for Kweli, he will unveil his next album, “Right About Now,” Nov. 22 via his own Blacksmith Music imprint through Warner Bros., which is also home to Grae.
Here are the Breed Love Odyssey tour dates:
Oct. 28: Sacramento, Calif. (Memorial Auditorium)
Oct. 29-30: San Francisco (Mezzanine)
Oct. 31: Santa Cruz, Calif. (Catalyst Club)
Nov. 3: Los Angeles (Gibson Amphitheatre)
Nov. 4: Anaheim, Calif. (House of Blues / 2 shows)
Nov. 5: San Diego (House of Blues / 2 shows)
Nov. 6: Las Vegas (House of Blues)
Nov. 7: Phoenix (Marquee Theatre)
Nov. 10-11: Denver (Ogden Theatre)
Nov. 12: Albuquerque, N.M. (Sunshine Theatre)
Nov. 13: Austin, Texas (Stubbs BBQ)
Nov. 14: Houston (Warehouse Live)
EMI has set a Dec. 5 U.K. release for the long-awaited DVD debut of the Pink Floyd concert film “Pulse,” which will arrive the following day in North America via Sony Music. The project was originally released in 1995 in conjunction with a double-disc CD set of the same name. The film chronicles the band’s 1994 tour in support of the album “The Division Bell,” which turned out to be its last.
The DVD was taped during a 14-night run at London’s Earl’s Court and is highlighted by the first complete performance of the 1973 album “Dark Side of the Moon,” which can be found on the second disc. The first disc features a blend of older hits (“Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2,” “Learning To Fly”) and material from “The Division Bell” (“Keep Talking,” “Take It Back”).
Among the bonus features are the back-screen stage projections for such songs as “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” “High Hopes” and the majority of the “Dark Side of the Moon” material, plus videos for “Learning To Fly” and “Take It Back.”
Bonus performances of four “Division Bell” songs are included in the feature “Bootlegging the Bootleggers,” while the documentary “Goodbye to Life As We Know It” offers previously unseen off-stage footage of Pink Floyd on the road.
This year’s Voodoo Music Experience will return home to New Orleans for the first of its two back-to-back concerts. The October 29 event in New Orleans will be an invitation-only celebration dedicated to those who have worked tirelessly in the clean-up and recovery of the Crescent City.
The New Orleans concert is being held at Riverview Park for police, firefighters, National Guard, military and countless others who have aided in the recovery efforts of the city.
The October 30 concert will be held in Memphis, Tenn. The event takes place at AutoZone Park in the heart of downtown. In addition, a series of free concerts in downtown Memphis will commence October 27 and continue through the weekend.
Among the dozens of artists donating performances to this year’s event are: Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, New York Dolls, North Mississippi All Stars, DJ Tiesto, Carl Cox, Cake, Digable Planets, The Decemberists, Secret Machines, The Bravery, Sevendust, HIM, The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Better than Ezra, Cowboy Mouth, Supagroup, New Birth Brass Band, and Flaming Arrows Mardi Gras Indians.
Tickets for the October 30 Memphis concert are available for $35 as of 5 p.m. EST October 12 through Ticketmaster and voodoomusicfest.com.
Current ticket holders should visit www.voodoomusicfest.com for important details regarding their tickets.
Cat Power chanteuse Chan Marshall soaks up Memphis soul on her new album, “The Greatest,” due Jan. 26 via Matador. The 12-track set was recorded in three days at the city’s Ardent Studios and produced by Stuart Sikes, who previously worked with Marshall on her 1996 album “What Would the Community Think.”
The artist is surrounded on the set by a who’s-who of Memphis session veterans, led by Al Green guitarist Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, who plays guitar on all but three tunes. Among the other contributors are bassists Leroy Hodges and David Smith, guitarist Doug Easley, keyboardist Rick Steff, saxophonist Jim Spake and trumpeter Scott Thompson.
Marshall had been playing some of these songs live before the sessions, but as Sikes tells Billboard.com, “I don’t think she had any idea how they were going to turn out. When they got to the studio, she played them the song and they charted it out and then just played it. Most of it was done by the first, second or third take.”
And while Marshall has become notorious for her erratic live performances and shy demeanor, Sikes says the musicians quickly set her at ease. “The first day, I know she was pretty nervous walking into a room full of these guys who have been on a gazillion records,” he says. “But all those guys are amazingly nice. All they wanted was to make her comfortable.”
“The Greatest” is highlighted by such jaunty soul-infused tracks as “Could We” and the organ-tinged first single “Living Proof” and emotional numbers with a country bent like “Lived in Bars” and “Empty Shell” (sample lyric: “All that’s left of my heart is an empty shell / it’s crushed”).
The songs “Where Is My Love” and “Hate” return Marshall to the ultra-sparse musical backdrops of her early work; the first a drum-less lament with piano and strings and the latter featuring just Marshall and a repeated three-chord electric guitar figure.
Marshall will begin a solo tour tonight (Oct. 12) in Oberlin, Ohio, but is planning to mount a number of high-profile shows with the Memphis backing band around the new album’s release.
“The Greatest” is the follow-up to 2003’s “You Are Free,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and has sold 131,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
Here is the track list for “The Greatest”:
“Lived in Bars”
“After It All”
“Where Is My Love”
“Love & Communication”
Rock legend Eric Clapton, now sixty, is set to write his autobiography for Doubleday, due for publication in spring of 2007.
The as-yet-untitled book, which will also be issued in audio format by Random House, will be written in collaboration with Christopher Simon Sykes, a close friend of Clapton’s since 1967. The book will also coincide with a North American tour and a Warner Brothers release of a complete retrospective box set of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s recordings.
The announcement finds Clapton following in the footsteps of two other high-profile rock autobiographies: Sting’s Broken Music: A Memoir (2003) and Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One (2004). Both were strong sellers.
Meanwhile, Clapton will join his original Cream bandmates — bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker — for three nights at New York’s Madison Square Garden from October 24th through the 26th. The performances come on the heels of their triumphant four-night stand in London last May. Those shows were released on a two-CD live album and DVD earlier this month.
Clapton released a new studio album, Back Home, featuring guests John Mayer, Steve Winwood and Robert Randolph, in August. The set debuted at Number Thirteen.