Thanks for making 2011 and awesome year for us at Blog Rocking Beat. We hope you have a most excellent 2012.
The 2 Bears, aka Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and Raf Daddy, has announced the release of their debut full-length, Be Strong, which will come out digitally on January 31st via DFA Records, with the physical release following in the spring. The band has shared a new music video for “Work,” the first single from Be Strong.
A London record through and through, Be Strong ducks and weaves to the myriad sounds of the city, as The 2 Bears pursue the perfect party record. Alongside tracks like “Be Strong,” “Church” and the mighty “Bear Hug” — a pummeling treatise on the benefits of the peak time dancefloor cuddle. Raf and Joe mutate genres into previously unheard territories of dancehall country on the bouncing prison yard lament “Time In Mind” and garage reggae on “Heart Of the Congos,” a track that manages to simultaneously channel both Wookie and early ‘80s Madness before placing them each at a system in the heart of Notting Hill Carnival at dusk.
Raf Daddy — aka Raphael Rundell — met Joe Goddard (taking time out from his day job as one fifth of Hot Chip) through a party scene that saw them share deck duties at the legendary Greco-Roman parties. Upon venturing into the studio in an attempt to replicate some of the records that they’d lost themselves in the night before, Raf found himself laying down vocals over Joe’s skipping, bassomatic backing tracks safe in the knowledge that they’d soon be replaced by someone with sweeter, more melodious tones. In the end, it was Raf’s voice that characterized and personalized The 2 Bears.
Over its 10 tracks, Be Strong conjures up that elusive spirit of the dancefloor without pretension, and with ultimate precision. It’s a soul record in that it’s from the soul, wearing its imperfections with pride. It’s a dance record in that it’ll get you off your seat. It’s a London record in that it couldn’t have come from any other city in 2011, echoing the glorious schizophrenic sound of a late night cab ride listening to a radio with a mind of its own.
With minimal effort and maximum respect from their peers, tracks began to be hammered in clubs and on radio by the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Erol Alkan, Pete Tong and Annie Mac. This summer’s Bear Hug EP cranked things up yet another notch with Chris Moyles giving the track some early morning airings and Elton John and Paul McCartney declaring themselves fans.
Denver-based indie rock band, Dressy Bessy, is back with a new holiday single and a new plan. This time, the band is playing by its own rules. Having previously taken cues from its ’60s and ’70s heroes, Dressy Bessy is taking that one step further and plans to start releasing a series of singles next year and beyond.
Lead singer and guitarist, Tammy Ealom, along with rocker boyfriend, lead guitarist John Hill (The Apples in Stereo), founding bass player Rob Greene, and the solid backbeat of Craig Gilbert, intends the work to be a full-length album, but released one or two songs at a time, “So this way,” Ealom says, “you won’t have to wait more than three months for new songs, ever.”
Dressy Bessy is kicking things off early with a new holiday single. “Mister Kringle’s” is dedicated to and inspired by Ms. Ealom’s father, Terry Atherton, a life-long record collector, dealer, and music lover, who succumbed to terminal illness in February, 2011. Ealom reflects, “My Dad was a mod in the sixties, so it’s really no wonder why I turned out the way I did. From the time he gave me my first record (“Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys) he has always been a major influence on my music and me.”
The upcoming “album” plans include full digital releases every three months starting in March 2012, with videos and limited edition vinyl along the way. CD and vinyl collections will follow in 2013. All songs will be available at select online marketplaces and directly from the band’s website. There you will find a variety of single downloads, various merchandising, as well as several “Club House” subscription packages that should be enticing to both the casual Dressy Bessy fan and the most dedicated.
“We’ve always had an emphasis on having fun,” says Dressy Bessy guitarist and recording engineer, John Hill. “Recently we realized the ups and downs that come with a full album production. It was just getting in the way of our fun. We want to make music our way, release it, and keep it coming. This should keep us happy and in turn our music and our fans will benefit,” Hill concludes.
While Dressy Bessy’s holiday single is only one track and might leave you wanting more, rest assured that the next pop gem by Dressy Bessy is on the horizon, and Ealom, Denver’s here-and-now girl, is up to the task. “I can keep up this pace forever,” she says, “So you’d better get ready to rock!”
The Cure: Bestival Live 2011 saw a release on December 6th via Sunday Best Recordings, and today the band is sharing a live video for “A Forest.” The video was filmed during their historic Bestival performance, and is one of the 32 tracks that comprise the career-spanning live album.
All proceeds from album sales benefit the Isle of Wight Youth Trust, which is a charitable, independent and professional organization offering counseling, advice, information and support services to young people aged 25 and under on the Isle of Wight (the home of Bestival). The Youth Trust has been working on the Isle of Wight for 27 years and has made a positive input to the wellbeing of people locally.
Of the live album, Robert Smith of The Cure says, “We had such a great time in the Isle of Wight at Bestival that we wanted to release this show as a way of thanking fans and islanders alike. Bestival is the best!”
Dana Falconberry’s newest release, Though I Didn’t Call It Came, celebrates, explores, and at times laments the vast landscapes in which they are set. Touching on themes of childhood curiosity, mortality, and the aching beauty of solitude, the EP’s songs interweave the human experience with the world surrounding it. She guides her listeners down moonlit paths and sandy shores until they are standing right alongside her under the birches, wide-eyed and wondering at the eagles circling overhead.
A Michigan native, Falconberry has thrived musically in Austin, TX, hailed by the Austin Chronicle as one of the city’s “most promising singer-songwriters” and “most arresting female vocalists.” She has captivated audiences with her powerful live shows and haunting recordings, receiving acclaim far beyond the reaches of her hometown. The past few years have found her touring extensively through the US, Europe, and Japan. In 2011, she starred in the critically-lauded music documentary on the Austin music scene, Echotone, which was awarded a New York Times Critics’ Pick.
Recorded in an old church in Austin, TX, Though I Didn’t Call It Came is an energetic leap forward for Dana Falconberry. It is a prelude to a full-length release recorded during the same session, which will be released later in 2012. While her past records have emphasized the sparse and delicate, these songs are lushly orchestrated with a full six-piece band, a string quartet and harpist, rich four part harmonies, and a host of unexpected accents from torn paper to prepared piano.
It’s December 8th again, and while most of the Western world is scrambling around trying to get their holiday plans nailed down, the musically inclined among us are taking a few moments to remember two of the most iconic figures in the history of rock and roll: John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell Abbott.
Lennon and Abbott were two of the most influential figures in rock and metal, respectively. Lennon’s contributions as a member of The Beatles, as well as a solo artist, paved the way for not only the sounds of rock and roll, but the use of rock and roll as a vehicle to promote political messages, mainly of peace.
Lennon’s importance in history of rock and roll is almost immeasurable, but a good start would be with the hundreds of millions of albums sold and his constant monitoring by the CIA as a person of interest. If the goal of an artist is to help others see the world in a whole new way, artists don’t get much more influential than John Lennon.
Lennon was assassinated in New York City on December 8th, 1980.
Twenty-four years later, on December 8th in Columbus, Ohio, influential guitarist and founding member of Pantera and Damageplan, Dimebag Darrell Abbott, was also assassinated.
While Abbott may not be the household name that Lennon is, his influence on metal music, in particular among metal guitar players, is almost unequaled. He emerged from the Dallas metal scene as one of the most complete guitarists ever. Writing in lockstep with is Pantera bandmate and brother, drummer, Vinnie Paul, Abbott pioneered a style of metal they called “groove metal,” that has continued to prove influential.
His distinct solid-state guitar sound punctuated soaring leads that seamless combined the fireworks of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhodes with the Texas boogie of Billy Gibbons. This signature sound made him a staple in music magazine readers polls of which he routinely won “Best Metal Guitarist” and “MVP” awards.
Copenhagen’s The Asteroids Galaxy Tour have been winning over audiences globally with their unique brand of cutting edge, soulful, infectious pop. Since forming in 2007, the Danish group has racked up accomplishments that include having singles featured in two global television ads and sharing the stage with superstars like Amy Winehouse & Katy Perry. The band recently announced their national headlining US tour. The tour kicks off in NYC on the new album’s release date, January.
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour has already shared the album track “Major.” Now they are offering another taste of the new album Out Of Frequency. Check out the new “Heart Attack (CSS Remix)” here.
Brandishing a signature sound that infuses indie-pop with neo-psychedelia, dance and retro-futuristic soul, the band was first put on the map when its song “Around The Bend” was featured in a popular iPod Touch ad in 2008, launching The Asteroids Galaxy Tour’s career worldwide. The Asteroids’ latest single “The Golden Age” was chosen by Heineken for use in a global 2011 campaign which also features frontwoman Mette Lindberg.
Catch the band live on tour with Vacationer this winter.
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour US Tour Dates Winter 2012
1/31: New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
2/1: Washington, DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
2/2: Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
2/3: Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
2/7: Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
2/8: Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
2/10: Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
2/13: San Diego, CA @ Belly Up
2/14: Los Angeles, CA @ Echoplex
2/15: San Francisco, CA @ Independent
2/17: Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
2/18: Seattle, WA @ Neumos