There’s no denying MGMT’s blatant connection to the jam scene. But did you know that co-founding member Andrew VanWyngarden played in a highscool jamband of his own? While attending White Station High School in Memphis, TN VanWyngarden joined up with Hank Sullivant (of the acclaimed indie band The Whigs as well as a touring guitarist for MGMT and later Kuroma) who was attending Memphis University School at the time. The two formed Accidental Mersh, a funk-inspired jamband that recalls many of the jam scene’s most prominent acts. As VanWyngarden told Relix magazine in the June 2010 cover story:
“My sister got me into Phish and that is pretty much all I listened to to from the time I was 12 through high school.”
In its brief period of existence,—around 2000-2001—Accidental Mersh quickly grew into a popular local act on the Memphis scene releasing two albums during that time. Below you’ll find streams for two of the songs off the band’s debut album Mirror Israeli, along with a link to download the full album. This is a terrific sounding, 2000-era jamband record with killer guitar parts and infectious horn lines. I think many of you will enjoy it.
Listen as “Trailmixx” moves through several measures of Phish-inspired jamming into an unmistakable nod to the Biscuits circa ’99. Also notice the similarity of Sullivant’s solo to the one from “DWD.”
“San Diego Psychocity“
Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne tweeted yesterday that his band’s highly anticipated collaboration with producer Prefuse 73 would be “coming out later today.” Always true to his word, today saw all four tracks from the EP appear on YouTube after the 12″ arrived at a record store in Oklahoma City (as first reported by Psych-rock blog Psych Explorations of the Future Heart). As previously reported, instead of a traditional album the Lips plan to release a series of EPs and recordings throughout 2011. You can stream all four
DGB is proud to announce its first giveaway ever. Thanks to the kind people at Phish Inc., we’ll be sending out a copy of Phish’s Live in Utica DVD, which hits stores today, to one of our lucky readers. All you have to do to enter is head over to the DGB Facebook page, “like” us and comment on this post with 5 songs (in order) that you think Phish will open up the summer tour with in Bethel. If one of the songs you pick is chosen by the band as the opener on Friday in Bethel, you will be entered to win. Now, because there will likely be some overlap, your choices will be weighted. So someone who has the correct opener in their #1 spot will win over someone who has it in their #5 spot. Also, the total number of songs you pick that are played in the show will act as the second tie-breaker, so pick wisely. Winners will be announced next week. Best of luck!
Click here to head over to DGB’s Facebook page and post your guess!
Here are in the home stretch of the Phish off-season and, like many of you, I find myself listening to much more of the band’s music. So to go along with the recently released Live Bait vol. 4, I’ve assembled a special 2-hour long Phish playlist for your listening pleasure. You can stream the playlist or download it and take it with you on the road this summer.
For those of you headed to Bethel this weekend, I’ve also posted a message from the venue’s promoters along with some details worth noting. I think you’ll find them to be quite fan-friendly.
“The Home Stretch“
David Bowie > Lifeboy (6.24.95)
Bathtub Gin (9.22.99)
You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (7.30.03)
Gumbo > Sanity (8.15.98)
Wolfman’s Brother (11.18.98)
Bethel Woods Details:
Fans are welcome to Bring:
Blankets, backpacks, small soft cooler (cloth/bag style), hand-held umbrellas
Cameras that do not have the capability of multiple lenses are permitted, except when prohibited by the artist
Water – two 20 oz. factory sealed plastic bottles of water per person — water is the only beverage permitted into Bethel Woods Center for the Arts concerts
Food — one 1 gallon clear zip lock bag per person
Strollers or carriages for small children
[via Bethel Woods Center]
To all phans attending Phish @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts. My name is Andrew Jacobson and I’m a member of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts for the past 2 years. Bethel Woods is one of the most beautiful venues in the country. Alan Gerry, who created Bethel Woods, created an atmosphere that is very friendly, bucolic settings, and maximum fans concert’s experience. Take advantage and check out the Woodstock Museum, it’s one of a kind experience. For all of you music lovers, the museum is a must see! The staff of Bethel Woods are some of the most down to earth people you’ll ever meet. Therefore, I would like to request to all phans to respect the staff of Bethel Woods. Please follow their instructions, as they are trying to create the best concert experience for all fans. If all phans behave and respect the venue, the more likely Phish will be able to come back in the future. Personally, for me, this is a dream come true. Enjoy the weekend and have a safe, pleasant weekend!
I put together a little Saturday afternoon playlist today. And while listening, I was digging it so much I thought I should share it with the rest of you. With a few nods to the rapture mixed in, I think you’ll find this a nice way to pass this Spring day. Have a great one!
Intro (Ace of Cups – Music)
1. Bishop Manning & The Manning Family – I Wanna Thank You Jesus
2. Moby Grape – Omaha
3. Jerry Lee Lewis – You Can Have Her (With Eric Clapton & James Burton)
4. Phosphorescent – Heaven, Sittin’ Down
5. Country Joe & The Fish – Flying High
6. Nick Lowe – Cruel To Be Kind
7. The Jerry Garcia Band – The Harder They Come
8.Kurt Vile – Jesus Fever
9. Dino Valenti – Let’s Get Together
10. Fairport Convention – Matty Groves
11. Bert Jansch, Devandra Banhart & Beth Orton – Katie Cruel
12. Voice of the Seven Thunders – Dry Leaves
13. Mountain Man – White Heron
14. The War on Drugs – Arms Like Boulders
Another one of our favorite Brooklyn bands (by way of Burlington)—Rubblebucket—have released a new video for “Silly Fathers” off their upcoming album Omega La La. It captures the band’s “march from the city into never never land,” and was shot on Super 8 film through the streets and bridges of Brooklyn. Guitarist Ian Hershey’s punchy funk riffs paired with the afro-beat style horn lines make this an easy candidate for ‘song of the summer.’ The album will see its official release on June 21, but you can download it right now for free by heading to the band’s website. You can watch the new video and download the mp3 for “Silly Fathers” below.
In other Rubblebucket news, the band also kicked off its tour last night in Colorado and will be traveling all through the country this summer. See the full list of tour dates below and check them out live!
Last night, a new Phish discussion forum kicked off on Twitter called Game Tapes Forum. This new version of a classic taper listening party included myself, Scotty B. from YEMBlog, Type II Cast panelist Eric Wyman and DJ Wade “Wyllys” Wilby. For the first trial run, we analyzed and discussed set III of 1991.12.31 over twitter using the hashtag #gametapes to collect all of our tweets in the same spot.
Following each Game Tapes Forum you will be able to find some of the best comments or discoveries here on DGB. This will become a regular thing where we will tackle shows that are less talked about, and aren’t as familiar to our ears. Next time we’ll give more notice and provide a download link for the show well in advance so that anyone who wishes to listen along may do so. I hope many of you will join in as we pioneer this new and exciting concept. Find the comments and the setlist below.
Set 3: Wilson, The Squirming Coil, Tweezer, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove
Encore: Lawn Boy, Rocky Top, Tweezer Reprise
A few months back, my good pal Mike Newman from Beyond Beyond is Beyond hipped me on to this great band called The Paperhead. Upon first hearing it, you’ll likely think its some lost treasure from the 60′s psychedelic-era. But, in fact, it was recorded by a group of 18 year olds from Nashville in the summer of 2010. Below, you can stream or download “Back to those Days” off the band’s self-titled release on Trouble in Mind records. The song is but a mere glimpse of these promising young musicians, but it will give you an idea of their sound. If you dig the droning garage-y, psych-rock sound then you’ll likely enjoy this. You can check out my full review of the LP in the June issue ofRelix Magazine.
The Paperhead will hit the road this summer for an extended tour across the country. Read on for a full list of dates.
In 2005, jazz piano legend Herbie Hancock released an album titled Possibilities. Over 10 tracks, Hancock teams up with musicians from all corners of the musical world including a lone instrumental called “Gelo Na Montanha” featuring a Mr. Trey Anastasio. The title translates to “Ice on the Mountain” in Portugese and was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category. Below is the excellent instrumental track which also features percussionist Cyro Baptista.
“Gelo Na Montanha“
Around the time of this recording, Trey and Herbie headed up to the Barn where they recorded several abstract jams. They were later released for a brief time as a free download through Trey’s website. Not to worry if you didn’t get them the first time, as you can stream or download each of these three jams below (click the “jams” to download).
“Jam #1” - Trey with Herbie Hancock 2004.10.19 The Barn, Burlington, VT
“Jam #2” - Trey with Herbie Hancock 2004.10.19 The Barn, Burlington, VT
“Jam #3” - Trey with Herbie Hancock 2004.10.19 The Barn, Burlington, VT
Earlier today, the folks at Pitchfork shared a new song off of Woods’ upcoming LP Sun & Shade. The highly anticipated new album from the Brooklyn psych rockers comes out June 14 on their very own Woodsist label. You can stream “Out of the Eye” over at Pfork, and also check out another song off the LP below. If “Out of the Eye” doesn’t remind you of Neu’s “Hallogallo,” then I don’t know what will.
Also, check out my recent interview with Alex Bleeker of Real Estate where he discusses his new theatrical collaboration with G. Lucas Crane of Woods.
Today’s Ambient Alarm Clock takes a turn in a new direction. While staying true to the jam format, in this edition we sidestep the regularly featured bands and move over to avant-rock trio The Slip. It’s amazing how many people are still unfamiliar with The Slip’s greatness, and even less familiar with their music. So here’s a few tracks to get you started, and for us Slip-geeks to gawk over. These selections all come from various shows throughout 2004. Have a great week. This one goes out to Lucas from Artist Mixtapes.
Click here to stream today’s playlist.
1. Get Me With Fuji (Valentine’s Compilation ’04)
2. Proud (10.2.04)
3. Lots of Socks > (10.2.04)
4. Chasing Rabbits (10.2.04)
5. Soft Machine (8.7.04)
Also be sure to check out my interview with Brad and Andrew Barr of The Slip over at Jambands.com.
In this week’s edition of The Listening Station, we head back to Brooklyn to check out another superbly talented up and coming band. Chances are, you probably haven’t heard the name Minerva Lions. Well, that is about to change. Having been recently written up in Paste, L Magazine and the LA Examiner, it seems the band is poised to take the next step. And with Wilco’s Michael Jorgensen remixing one of their songs, along with psych-darling Nicole Atkins championing them as her “favorite band right now,” it’s only a matter of time.
Formed in the summer of 2010, Minerva Lions is filled out by Jared Samuel (keys, acoustic guitar, lead vocals), Grey McMurray (electric guitar, backing vocals), Joseph McCaffrey (bass, backing vocals) and Tim Kuhl (drums). Jared also moonlights in another DGB favorite, Superhuman Happiness, as well as playing with Nicole Atkins’ band and others.
Minerva’s sound is difficult to label—and its been called every name under the moon already—but melodious psych-folk of the third kind would do it justice in my mind. In short, it’s tough music to label because, like the best bands, they don’t sound like anyone else. They sound like Minerva Lions. As Mr. Samuel told me recently:
“Our band is named after a letterman jacket. Our EP is titled for an approximate English translation of an Italian description of a beautiful tango dancer/fine-art model. If none of that makes any sense to people it’s okay; we’d like to think that the music will.”
Since its inception, the band has been making waves on the Brooklyn music scene. The quartet are set to release their debut EP, Great Strides, Priestess & Queen, on June 21 with Dubshot Records and will also perform a recorded in office performance at Relix Magazine. Stream or download the psych-rock gem “Megrims” below, along with the group’s original take on Talk, Talk’s “Ascension Day.”
Spread the word about this great band and please let people know you read about them on DGB.
This is a new feature on DGB, purely for laughs. Each week a photo will be posted along with a caption. I welcome you to leave a caption of your own in the comments section, if you so desire. Here’s one of a seasoned-looking Mr. McConnell from Harford ’09 taken by Andy Hill, courtesy of our friends at GlowStickWars.com.
Nearing the end of Phish’s ’97 Summer Europe Tour, the band rolled into Nuremberg after playing a pair of shows at the legendary Paradiso club in Amsterdam. The shows from the weed capital are well-known, but much less discussed is the following night’s performance which boasts an exploratory 30 minute version of “Ghost” (hereby known as “The Ghost of Nuremberg”).
This tour saw the band riding a wave of new material that included “Ghost,” “Twist,” “Piper,” “Dog Stole Things” and many more.”Ghost’s” minimalist structure and bass-heavy groove lent itself perfectly to the funk transition that was occurring, and it quickly it became a staple in the catalog. Following its genesis in Dublin on 6.13, a distinct spaciness began to appear in the jams indicating a capacity to reach beyond the funk. And after the acid-induced version that opened the show in Amsterdam on 7.1, the doors were pushed wide open for it to become the next major jam vehicle.
The next time the song appeared was on 7.3 in Nuremberg. This was the first version that fully opened up, allowing the band to truly explore its musical offerings. Over the course of 30 minutes, you’ll hear the jam transition from a funk-laden groove to a melodic section of delectable psych rock. You can hear the band’s excitement as they stretch out their new tune and toy with various themes throughout.
This particular version is also a fine example of what my pal Scotty B. from YEMblog would call a “butter jam”—meaning it modulates from minor to major (or vise versa). Listen around [17:00] as the music begins to modulate from one key to the next, leading the jam in a whole new direction above Fishman’s calypso drum beat. At [19:25] you can hear the entire group collectively change the progression as an entirely new song unfolds. Or several new songs, rather. The jam ends with a vocal reprise concluding one of the lengthier and more unique versions of “Ghost.”
Stream the song or download the full show below.
Serenadenhof, Nüremberg, Germany
Set 1: Piper > My Soul > The Divided Sky, Beauty of My Dreams, Taste, Train Song, Theme From the Bottom, Rocky Top
Set 2: Ghost > Cars Trucks Buses, Billy Breathes, Sparkle > Harry Hood > Cavern
Encore: Character Zero
Welcome back to another edition of Ambient Alarm Clock. Today we return to the Phish format, with three great jams to start off your week. All three selections come from the summer tours past, displaying the “outdoor element” at work. Without the kick-back of the indoor arenas, Phish’s music takes on an entirely different form amid the vast, open surroundings. Oh, and we’re now only 18 days away from the kick of to Summer Tour 2011! Here’s some summer jams to help pass the time.
“Runaway Jim” (7.31.97 Shoreline Amphitheater)
It was the eve of Jerry’s birthday when Phish rolled into the Dead’s former home in the summer of ’97. This version of “Runaway” payed tribute, with a 20+ minute adventure into all of the various facets of Phish’s jamming style. Later in the show, the band actually sang “Happy Birthday” during “Weekapaug.”
“Bathtub Gin” (6.23.00 Lakewood Amphitheatre)
On the first of two nights at Lakewood in 2000, Phish dropped this monstrous “Gin” early in the first set. This is a great example of Phish’s wide-open summer jamming style with the “outdoor element” heavily at work—almost went-like. Just sit back and picture the sun going down with the music soaring through the air around you…only 18 days away now.
“Theme From the Bottom” (7.26.99 Deer Creek)
Finally, we close out the day with one of my favorite versions of “Theme” from the second night at Deer Creek in ’99. Another soaring “summer jam,” that takes a turn when Mike starts laying arpeggios under Trey’s howling feedback. I find “Theme” lends itself perfectly to the outdoor setting, this being one of the best examples.
By now, you’ve probably heard of the New Jersey born indie-psych band Real Estate—whether it be through the various videos and statements I’ve posted supporting them, the Pithfork-sized buzz that follows them around or the house music leaving Phish’s performance at DCU Center on November 27, 2010 (listen to “Suburban Dogs” here). But, it’s less likely that you’ve delved some of their side-projects. So allow me to introduce to you, Alex Bleeker and The Freaks.
Alex Bleeker plays bass in Real Estate, but in his side project Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, he is the principal songwriter and rhythm guitarist. The band features a rotating cast of supporting musicians that often includes members of Real Estate, or other closely-related groups. Departing from the indie-psych sound in his primary outfit, Bleeker takes the Freaks into fuzzed out Crazyhorse-ish, Grateful Dead-esque terriroty. As he told me in a recent interview for Jambands.com:
“I think I’m the member of Real Estate that has the biggest jam background. So probably my side project, just by nature of the fact that I’m the lead songwriter, is going to be the most jammy, in a way…I’ve said in multiple other interviews that some of the first psychedelic and most experimental music I’ve ever heard were spacey jams at live Phish shows that taught me to open my ears and be patient and listen to music like that.”
Stream the opening track on The Freaks’ album “Summer” > “Epilogue” (yes, he records studio segues) along with Bleeker’s homage to the Dead, “Dead On,” below. Also, check out a live video of the Freaks performing the above mentioned segue at a show in their home state of New Jersey.
“Summer” > “Epilogue“
There are those shows we seek out for their lengthy exploratory jams. And there are others that fill our listening with something different—perhaps something that brought us to Phish in the first place. Whether its just songs that we loved early on, the playful humor, or just a taste of the band’s early days, these shows remain an essential piece of Phish listening.
It has been touched on before, but especially these days it’s important to bring attention to certain shows that act like building blocks for the band’s career. With the age of downloading upon us, many of the once-essential analog tapes have gone the way of the wind. Surely, those who were active in the tape-trading years will know this one. But for those who don’t, add the show from November 4, 1990 at Fort Ram, Fort Collins, CO the your list of essential, must-hear shows.
This performance took place on the final night of Phish’s trip out west in the fall of 1990. Early on, Colorado served as a second home for the band outside of New England, where they performed the majority of their shows. This was the second visit of the year to the Rockies, and one that saw them eagerly delivering a wealth of new material behind the release of Lawn Boy. A friend who was present for many shows on this tour (although not this one) shares some thoughts on the scene at the time:
“I remember being very conscious of the fact that these guys were going to be huge. Fans were already rabid by 1990. You can really hear/feel it on the 11/17 AUD. A girl in my group would scream for “Tweezer” all night. She KNEW. I clearly remember The Strand show 4/28 “BBFCFM” encore was like a mini mosh pit. Also, I would guess 95% of people were tripping every show. So perhaps pseudo acid tests, except the band was on point most of the time. Phish shaped my college experience.“
Now, some may already be deterred from listening as I’ve mentioned that this show does not have a “best-ever” version of “YEM” or something of the sort. But without hearing shows like these, it’s hard to understand how the band developed to allow for those great moments. Consider this a glimpse of the magic as it was just beginning to unfold.
In many ways, Phish’s sound at this stage was dominated by Trey’s guitar playing. This show is a great example of why, but also (thanks to the SBD) demonstrates the close communication that had already begun to take form. Trey and Page can clearly be heard riffing off each other in the “Bowie” jam, and it’s quite obvious that it’s much more than a one-man show. The early rehearsal techniques are present and the tightness borders on telepathy. That’s what makes each and every song in this show enjoyable to listen to—no matter how “standard.”
Both sets are packed with songs that would all eventually become Phish staples, many of which had only recently been debuted. The first set “Hood” is a highlight, along with the set ending “Bowie. In the second set, “Weekapaug” stands out to me as a version that sounds way ahead of it’s time. “YEM” is also worth your time, and features a lengthy vocal jam. Dizzy Gillespie’s “Manteca” was also debuted in this show, set to the music of “Caravan.” Just like our friend said above, it was obvious this band was going to be huge, and the fans knew it.
The tape itself is also significant. According to Phish.net, these shows were recorded on a separate recording console and mixed apart from the main board. As a result, this is one of the highest quality Phish tapes in existence. Stream some highlights and also download the show via the link below.
Set 1: Carolina, AC/DC Bag > The Curtain > Bouncing Around the Room, Tube, Harry Hood, Funky Bitch, The Asse Festival, My Sweet One, David Bowie
Set 2: Golgi Apparatus, Rocky Top, Llama, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Manteca -> Caravan, Runaway Jim, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Jesus Just Left Chicago, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Contact, Highway to Hell
[Setlist via Phish.net]
Yellowbirds, a DGB favorite, recently stopped by 5th Street Studios in Austin, TX for a video session. In this clip you’ll find guitarists Sam Cohen and Josh Kaufman performing the opening track off the Yellowbirds recent album, The Color. The duo takes on “Rest of My Life” with Cohen sporting a new custom-looking guitar and Kaufman on a flamenco style acoustic. Yellowbirds will make their next appearance at the NYC Freaks’ Rocks Off Boatcruise on May 15; May 27 at The Loft in BK; and June 9 at Cameo Gallery (w/ Sean Bones). Thanks to DGB reader Matthew H. for tipping us off to this great vid.
This week’s edition of Ambient Alarm Clock focuses on what some might call jazz. The line between jam music and jazz is a line that has little meaning. Improvisation is improvisation. That is why Jerry Garcia played Miles Davis’ music, and Miles Davis played Cindy Lauper’s music.
The selection begins with the same song Count Basie would begin his sets back in the 50s, “April in Paris.” This song features one of the best endings in music, or rather, three of the best endings in music. Next, we move to “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” sung by Billie Holiday. Her backup band at the time was the Benny Goodman group and on this recording you will hear Benny deliver one of his hottest solos. Then, on “Listen to the People,” we have the late Don Pullen playing another best-ever solo on piano.
In 1998, Marc Johnson—a very highly regarded bassist—released an album called The Sound of Summer Running with Bill Frisell and Pat Metheny on guitar. The album’s title track was the first time the pair had recorded together, and features the two of them playing in harmony. We then move to Miles’ cover of Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time.”
John Coltrane may have been the greatest musician of the 20th century. And, surprisingly for a jazz saxophonist, he actually made the charts with his jammed out version of “My Favorite Things”— one of the greatest musical recordings of all time.
Recently, I had the great pleasure of seeing Jim Hall at the Iridium in NYC. The legendary guitarist—still performing in his 80s—is known for his uncanny use of theory in crafting complex, yet wonderfully melodic solos. One of his best is on the classical Spanish number “Concierto de Aranjuez”. While Miles’ version is great, this one edges slightly ahead.
You may recognize the name Bill Bruford as the drummer who has played in Yes, King Crimson and even a short stint with Genesis. But outside of those projects, Bruford is actually a jazz drummer. Several years back, I made a trip across the pond and caught him playing with Earthworks at Ronnie Scott’s in London. That performance had a massive effect on me, and he has remained my favorite drummer till this day. The selection on today’s playlist is from the band’s 1987 self titled debut, with a drum line very similar to the one he played on King Crimson’s “Discipline.”
Next, Gary Burton and Stephane Grapelli playing the classic Django theme—”Daphne.” This version, from the late 60’s has Django’s long time partner, violinist Stephane Grapelli teamed up with Pat Metheny’s mentor, Gary Burton. And finally, Eric Dolphy’s take on the essential jazz standard “On Green Dolphin Street.”
Today’s playlist was curated by my father who is responsible for all of my musical knowledge. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
1. Count Basie – April in Paris
2. Billie Holiday – What a Little Moonlight Can Do
3. Don Pullen – Listen to the People
4. Marc Johnson – Summer Running
5. Jim Hall – Concierto de Aranjuez
6. Miles Davis – Time After Time
7. John Coltrane – My Favorite Things
8. Bill Bruford’s Earthworks – My Heart Declares a Holiday
9. Gary Burton & Stephane Grapelli – Daphne
10. Eric Dolphy – On Green Dolphin Street