Friday, June 09, 2006

News From The Great Beyond: The Hush Sound

He had been in rock bands for several years. She was a classically trained pianist who began playing at the age of 3. They begin playing together when a mutual passion for music is kindled. She has tremendous stage fright, but he, recognizing talent, will not allow her to give up her passion. Eventually, they start writing original music.

Today, Bob Morris and Greta Salpeter, along with Darren Wilson and Chris Faller, comprise The Hush Sound. This Chicago based outfit has recently released Like Vines on the Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen imprint. The band will also be headed out on the road with Panic! At The Disco. The band writes on their website, "We're really excited to be playing with those guys and feel very lucky to be part of such an amazing tour. We've got some new songs we'll be playing for everyone as well and can't wait to see you all!"

Check out the band's Pure Volume site for mp3's.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

News From The Great Beyond: Six Degrees Records

Six Degrees Records has an eclectic mix of world music. They also feature one of TGB's favorites: Los Mocosos. The months of June and July will be rather at this San Francisco-based label.

Nigerian born Cheb I Sabbah has elected a group of remixers to create new sounds based on his 2005 release, La Kahena. Temple of Sound, Bill Laswell, Fnaïre, Bassnectar, The Chakadoons and Yossi Fine all have contributed their talents to the forthcoming release of remixes aptly entitled La Ghriba: La Kahena Remixed. This release hits stores on June 13th.

The 4th of July brings Farewell Ferengistan from Banco De Gaia. According to the Six Degrees website, "Toby Marks, under the pseudonym Banco de Gaia, has spent most of his career focusing on issues that he finds bewildering by expressing his thoughts and observations through music. He wrote his critically acclaimed 1995 album Last Train To Lhasa to highlight the plight of the Tibetan people and successfully mixed electronica with a braver vision. Farewell Ferengistan, his upcoming release from Six Degrees, captures the spirit and mood of Last Train To Lhasa but this time Banco de Gaia's concerns are much closer to home: what are we doing to ourselves? Where is our materialism taking us, would it not be wise to consider our position?"

Recife-born Lenine is well known to music fans all over the world. He combines original music with the rhythms of Northeast Brazil over a base of rock, pop and electronica. Now, Lenine will bring his music to American ears when Six Degrees releases his self-titled, full-length, American release on July 25th. FYI: Lenine's website is in Portugese.

For more information, go to

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

News From The Great Beyond: Gym Class Heroes

While the idea of using live instruments as opposed to samples is not new, the members of Gym Class Heroes have taken their brand of hip hop to a new level. The band's Pure Volume website has two tracks ("Taxi-Driver" & "Papercuts") available for download. "Taxi Driver" is two minutes name dropping daftly put together in bedtime story form. Bands such as My Chemical Romance, Jimmy Eats World, The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, and Sunny Day Real Estate are all lyricized. To quote the lyrics, "This is the story of the year."

Check out the band's forthcoming release, As Cruel As School Children, on July 25th, on the Fueled By Ramen imprint.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Billy Preston 1946-2006

Billy Preston, the man known as "The Fifth Beatle" passed away recently at the age of 59. Preston wrote and recorded such hits as "Will It Go Around In A Circle," "Nothing From Nothing," and "With You I'm Born Again," the latter a duet with Syreeta, penned "You Are So Beautiful," an international megahit for Joe Cocker, and had roles in the remake of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Blues Brothers. Preston played keyboards on The Beatles Let It Be, The White Album, Abbey Road, and was also featured in the band's rooftop performance. Most recently, Preston is heard on the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium.

The online edition of the BBC News quoted Beatles drummer Ringo Starr. "Billy was an incredible musician and an incredible man who will be missed. As Billy said, that's the way God planned it."

Fans are asked to make donation in the name of Billy Preston to the American Kidney Foundation or Musicares.

For more information about Billy Preston, log on to

Monday, June 05, 2006

News From The Great Beyond: Michael Franti & Spearhead

To say that Michael Franti is a busy man would be a gross understatement. How the man has time to brush his teeth in the morning is beyond me.

The journey began back in 2004 when Michael Franti took an unsponsored camera crew to the Middle East to learn for himself the "human cost" of war. From this trip comes the documentary I Know I'm Not Alone, a film born from Franti's desire to "...hear about the war by people affected by it most: doctors, nurses, poets, artists, soldiers, and, my personal favorite, musicians." Franti and his entourage visited Iraq, Israel, and the occupied territories of Palestine. While many may perceive this as political, Franti stops short of calling this a political movie.

"I wanted to make a film about people, and the things they do to overcome the stresses of war and occupation: chief among these being friendship, humour, art and music," says Franti on the Spearhead website.

From this journey also comes the music for his forthcoming release, Yell Fire!. The album captures the stories of images of war through songs such as "Yell Fire!," "Time To Go Home," "I Know I'm Not Alone," "One Step Closer To You," which features backing vocal by Pink, and "Is Love Enough," featuring reggae star Gentleman. At the urging of Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell, Franti, along with spearhead members Carl Young (bass) and Dave Shul (guitar) made his way to Kingston, Jamaica, and recorded with the legendary duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.

Of the trip to the Middle East, Franti comments on his website that "The thing that I found when I was in war zones was that nobody wants to hear songs about war. They want to hear songs about connection to people, and songs about love and life, songs that make them dance." Of the new material, Franti says, "I feel this is our best record yet."

Franti also had a chance to make a statement in front of members of the World Health Organization at the United Nations Complex in Geneva, Switzerland. Franti spent two days meeting with WHO staffers as well as members of the United Nations and was part of a panel on "The Human Face of Conflict and Health: Impact on Health Care Systems."

Finally, as if this weren't enough, Michael Franti and Spearhead are off to tour and spread his truth to audiences around the globe. The tour begins in the U.S. with a stop in my backyard on Saturday, June 24th, as part of the Taos Solar Music Festival in pristine Taos, New Mexico. In August, the tour makes its way to Europe for a round of festival dates before returning to the states for a date in San Francisco at the Power To The Peaceful Festival on September 9th in Franti's hometown of San Francisco, CA.

For more information, log on to

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Vince Welnick 1955-2006

Grateful Dead keyboardist, Vince Welnick, died on Friday, June 2nd, at a hospital in Northern California. The cause of death was unknown, but, although unconfirmed, but according to published reports, it is believed he may have taken his own life.

Welnick began his career as keyboardist for The Tubes, performing on their hits "Talk To Ya Later" and "She's A Beauty." Welnick took over as keyboardist for the Dead in 1990. He was the fourth person to hold that position. Original member Ron "Pigpen" McKernan died in 1973, Keith Codchaux in 1980, and Brent Mydland passed on 1990. Of course, band leader Jerry Garcia died in 1995.

Welnick continued to play for several bands, including Mickey Hart's band, plus his own outfit, the Missing Man Foundation.

Welnick is survived by his wife, Lori.

Go to for further information.