Cards, meet table: Roomful of Blues formed in 1967, and are currently celebrating their 45–year anniversary. Think about that for a second—how many bands can you name that have been around for 45 years and are still kicking?
Hmm, let’s see. Motorhead? Nope, formed in ’75. Cock Sparrer? Close at 1972. The Rolling Stones? Well, they formed in 1962, so they check out OK… but that means when it comes to finding a contemporary for Roomful of Blues, The Stones are the only fair comparison?
Seriously. The Stones? The Stones? Yep. Wow.
While lineup changes are to be expected in an outfit of this vintage, Roomful of Blues is currently a horn-heavy octet fronted by powerhouse vocalist Phil Pemberton. They’ve been known to draw from blues of all shades, and as a result have developed a sound that incorporates swing, soul, and some New Orleans flavor that keeps even blues aficionados guessing as to what the band will do next. Critics have taken note as well, and to date the band has earned five Grammy Award nominations, seven Blues Music Awards noms—including a win.
45 Live was just released on July 30, 2013, in celebration of the aforementioned anniversary. The band packed a three-day party at Mantunuck, Rhode Islands’ The Ocean Mist, and played their hearts out evey night, recording every note. The best performances from the anniversary show make up the 45 Live disc—which sounds a lot better than most live records, BTW.
I understand that some might argue that it’s not about the years, it’s about the mileage—and if so, RoB is the blues’ equivalent of an unstoppable Mack truck that has steadily, reliably been shipping music lovers up and down Highway 95 for a lifetime. The Roomful of Blues Nimbit store boasts a handful of T-shirts, but the real star here is the discography—SEVENTEEN full-length albums available via CD or HD download! In the time I’ve been writing these Nimbit Artist of the Week Posts, that’s the most I’ve seen a band offer. It sets the record for number of records.
From now until March 31, 2015, smart customers who buy the AudioBox iOne, iTwo, or iTwo Studio will get some great bonuses: The Ampire XT Metal Pack and the Complete Acoustic Drum Loops bundle, both for Studio One. These are valued at $29.99 and $59.99, respectively, so that’s nearly $100 in free software.
Oh, and Studio One Artist is included with the interface purchase anyhow, BTW, even when we don’t have a promo rolling—and that’s another $100 in free software. Just sayin’, that brings the total value of this deal to around $200 in free software.
In case you don’t already know, the iOne and iTwo interfaces allow you to record audio in sterling 96kHz quality. Beyond that, you can record mobile-style to your iPad into the included Capture Duo software, and then wirelessly z-z-z-zap your recorded tracks over to your main workstation for mixdown in the also-included-and-aforementioned Studio One Artist.
The Ampire XT Metal Pack features six new bröötal amp models for Ampire, Studio One’s included amp and cabinet simulator—as well as six new cabinet emulations. Furthermore, we’ve recognized that metal drums (and metal drummers) have rightfully begun to infringe on the guitar’s monopolization of the metal spotlight. As such, we’ve included a brand-new metal drum kit for Impact, rife with clicky kick drums, anvil snares, and… well, metallic cymbals. All told, this package is heavier than depleted uranium, and probably about as dangerous.
The Complete Acoustic Drum Loops Bundle features multitrack and stereo mixes of professional live drum performances, recorded in a state-of-the-art studio with world-class microphones. are ready to use in stereo and multitrack format. Each style is an entire library of matching loops that can be arranged to fit any song form, just as a real drummer would play them, and includes individual loops for verses, bridges, choruses, fills, and variations. The multitrack loops contain separate tracks for kick, snare, hi-hat, toms, overhead mics, room mics, and ambient mics so you can mix and edit to taste. Styles include:
How do you take advantage of this deal? Easy. Just buy yourself an AudioBox iOne, iTwo, or iTwo Studio and register it to your account at my.presonus.com. The software download links will appear in your account upon successful registration.
Suzanne Vega is an incredibly prolific singer/songwriter. She is most widely known for 1987’s million-plus-selling Solitude Standing—a record which boasts arguably the most pandemic earworm of all time, “Tom’s Diner.” While this is the record that launched Vega into the big-time, theres 11 other records she’s released in her 32-year career, and they’re worth your attention. While the years have found Vega shifting into some surprising sonic territory from time to time—the industrial experimentalism 99.9F° comes to mind first—this Barnard College English Lit grad knows that ultimately, the song’s the thing. Of late, Vega has just released a boxed-set collection of her four-album Close up series, which find her re-visiting catalog material in a stripped-down, intimate approach.
Suzanne’s Nimbit presence is anything BUT stripped-down, however, and is in fact pretty rockin’. There’s no fewer than eight CDs, vinyl (YEAH!), t-shirts, a boxed set, live performance DVDs, and combo packs of much of the prior. Oh, and best of all: an official Tom’s Diner Coffee Mug.
Well, no. The mug is cool, but what’s really best of all here is the aforementioned Close-up Series Box Set, a gorgeously-packaged set that includes all four CDs from the Close-Up series alongside a hardbound lyric/photo book, DVD of live performances at City Winery in NYC, and another bonus CD of formerly-obscure bonus tracks. If you’ve ever wondered what might constitute the gold standard of boxed sets, look no further.
The music of Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands is the sort that can only begun to be described by listing other styles of music. First, start with old-timey. I could name-drop Gogol Bordello, Jason Webley, The Crow Quill Night Owls, and other carnivalistic freight-train drifters and associated rattletrap ruckus. There’s certainly a horizontal stripe of Burton/Elfman-via-Django Reinhardt-bonkers in there. The band calls their sound “Kaleidophrenic Cabaret,” I call it “a colony of bats drunk on apricot moonshine set loose upon the Stringband Jamboree.”
As you may have now surmised, the best way to really understand their music is to simply listen to Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands. And listen in person, if you get the chance, because this infectious, colorful, high-strung band is all about the live show.
While the Silver Hands are indeed no joke, bandleader Crystal Bright is a force unto herself, a globetrotting multi-instrumentalist with backgrounds in Ethnomusicology and Anthropology. As such, no instrument or singing style is far from her grasp, and many are leveraged on their recordings: accordion, singing saw, piano, concertina, and a Ugandan harp called the adungu are all listed on her sonic CV. I imagine she can also play a bunch more that I’ve never heard of.
Crystal is taking advantage of the complete PreSonus/Nimbit solution. Every song on the latest album, The Absolute Elsewhere, was inspired by and written to a piece of art by Rusty McDonald of DividingME Photography. She pre-released the album on Nimbit, and also used the AudioBox Stereo and Notion 5 while writing for the record. You can download “The Fall of Seraph,” the first single from The Absolute Elsewhere for FREE by clicking here.
Their Silver Nimbit Store has five CDs available for purchase—in HD, no less, so you’ll really hear the airiness in those washboard solos. There’s also t-shirts, hand-made mugs, a poster, and an innovative USB drive option that includes their entire discography, including artwork and lyrics, no discs required.
With the arrival of the StudioLive RM-series rackmount mixers, we’ve received a lot of questions about the functionality. 96K? Can they be cascaded? What about the Dante cards? When can I get one?
We’ve answered those questions (and more) in the RM-series mixer FAQ, which can be had by clicking here. But we’ve also gotten a lot of other questions that we feel are worthy of their own FAQ—particularly regarding Ray’s beard. While we understand and appreciate your curiosity, we have had to keep some secrets for a while for competitive reasons—but, the cat is out of the bag and we can go public with the announcement of the Garibaldi FH16K. Read below for more info.
The Garibaldi FH16K is a true-analog face-mountable beard that allows for maintaining facial warmth in the coming winter months, as well as unsurpassed soup and juice filtering. Beta testers of the Garibaldi have reported up to a 30% increase in their dates-per-week ratio shortly after concluding installation. Garibaldi is compatible with all walks of life, and enjoys cross-fashion compatibility with both corduroys and flannel.
While currently only compatible with human males over the age of 14, we plan to broaden availability to women and younger users through a hormone therapy add-on kit available in Q3 2015. At the time of this writing we have no plans to make the beard available to Androids.
*Gandalf has not yet tested for compatibility with OSX Mordor, please wait before updating your OS
Santa Barbara, California’s Glen Phillips is probably best known for his work with 90s alt-rockers Toad The Wet Sprocket, whom he formed when he was a mere 15 years old. After a six-album career with TTWS—peppered with mainstream radio hits—the band called it a day in 1998. Since then, Glen has been a prolific solo artist, with no fewer than five records and two Eps to his name available on his Nimbit profile. He’s also collaborated on three other projects: the Mutual Admiration Society, Works Progress Administration, and RemoteTreeChildren.
Toad has enjoyed sporadic reunions and tours since 2006, and Glen has concurrently managed to maintain creative output for both the band and his solo material—atop the aforementioned collaborations. The man stays busy!
Sonically, Phillips’ solo work is quite diverse, including the folky/spacy terraforming concept album Secrets of the New Explorers, the spooky stomp and rootsy snarl of Unlucky 7. Toad fans will find a lot to like here while exploring some new sonic territory—but will have Glen’s familiar voice to guide them along. Dig in, and get a t-shirt while you’re at it. There’s six to choose from.
That was twenty years ago, and Dana’s still belting it out. For other artists this could be where the story ends, or at least gets boring. She could be just another songbird with a dream who flew the coop for the Big City, only to be lost in the shuffle.
No. Not this one. Dana’s the rare sort of artist with absolute mastery of her gift. Not only does her voice simply do whatever she wants—but if you’re fortunate enough to be within earshot, you’re going to feel whatever she wants you to.
And it can turn on a dime, too. Dana will be cooking up a batch of heartache one second, and then serve up unbridled joy the next. The sonic equivalent of a Leatherman. I didn’t know a voice could look right through me until I heard hers.
The producer of an off-Broadway production of Janis heard it, too. You can probably guess what that show is about, and what happened next. Janis was a hit, Dana was a hit-within-the-hit, and segued from her off-Broadway show to more shows even farther off-Broadway, and she brought a hell of a rock band with her.
Fast forward hundreds of shows and five albums. The latest from said eponymous band, Songs from the Road, is a live affair recorded (and shot, DVDs available now!) The Highland Ballroom that is an ideal snapshot of not just Dana—but also the band at their collective peak. Featuring Dana’s longtime collaborator Jon Diamond, the band is incredibly tight, providing exactly the sort of anchor that a wild voice needs.
Dana and company’s Nimbit store offers a wide array of great stuff: CDs, downloads, and DVDs of Songs from the Road, t-shirts, autographed 8x10s, and four full-length recordings from Dana’s back-catalog—available autographed or vanilla. Buy how you want: most recordings here are available both as digital download and compact discs, and there’s even a CD/DVD/T-shirt combo pack, appropriately discounted for the completest on a budget.
The Dead Milkmen
The Dead Milkmen are most widely-known to the public through the success of their 80s hits “Bitchin’ Camaro,” and “Punk Rock Girl,” the latter of which features my all-time favorite guitar solo. The Philly foursome’s brand of punk rock is instantly recognizable and completely inimitable, and evocative of a very particular brand of smart-ass. Think back to high school, and you can picture the guy I mean. He sat in the back of the class, needed a haircut, got a B+ in English but barely passed algebra or physics. This is his soundtrack.
He could have gone somewhere if he’d really applied himself. Or he could have joined The Dead Milkmen. They’re essentially a humble bedroom four-tracker project gone horribly correct, with DIY recordings dating back to 1979—though they didn’t form as a “proper” band until 1981. Their 1985 debut, Big Lizard in my Backyard, eschews the templated, humorless hardcore that was climbing the punk-popularity ladder on the east coast at the time of the band’s formation. Where Minor Threat hit like a neutron bomb, The Dead Milkmen chose to hit more like a pie in the face. 30 years and ten albums later, the decision to err on the funny side of life continues to make TDM’s catalog stand apart. Heavy on polka-pogo rhythms, jangly guitars, and enough non-sequitur lyrical snark to fill about 17 bathtubs. Add a dose of surprisingly pretty surf guitar from time to time, and you still probably won’t get the idea. Just listen.
The Dead Milkmen’s Nimbit Store boasts two full-length albums, The King in Yellow (their first release in 16 years at the time of release) and their latest, Pretty Music for Pretty People, as well as a handful of 7-inch compilations, available as digital downloads or good ol’ vinyl—”in a desperate ploy to appeal to the still stubborn vinyl fetishist,” their profile admits with a knowing sneer.
Notes for Notes is a non-profit organization which builds, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios (inside Boys & Girls Clubs) packed with guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ gear, digital music stations and full recording studios offering youth completely FREE access to explore, create, and record music. They currently manage studios at Boys & Girls Clubs in Santa Barbara, Nashville, and Los Angeles—with more coming soon to Brooklyn, San Francisco, Detroit, Austin, and Atlanta thanks to the CMA Foundation. Notes for Notes has a policy of letting young artist own their art—they don’t censor lyrics or promote themselves as an anti-gang/drug program… it’s all about music and the positive bonds that form as a result. Notes for Notes’ curriculum extends beyond music creation and into education on the multitude of careers around the industry.
Here’s a quick video on what Notes for Notes is all about.
If you’re interested in learning more and/or getting yourself or some young ones involved, contact Notes for Notes at their website by clicking here.
FREE Live Webcast | $5,000 in prizes!
ASCAP invited 18 top songwriters and producers to write the hits of tomorrow at its fourth annual songwriters retreat in France.
Held September 17-25 at the 14th-century Château Marouatte in the Dordogne region of France, the retreat was designed to produce hits and get cuts in a variety of genres. Each session placed a producer, a topliner and a recording artist together to write and record in a different room of the castle. By the end of the retreat, nearly all the participants had worked together. They left France with hard drives full of professional-grade demos, ready to pitch to artists and record labels.
Château Marouatte is owned by famed music industry executive Miles Copeland, founder of IRS Records. Copeland once brought music legends like Jeff Beck, Jon Bon Jovi, Belinda Carlisle and Desmond Child to high-level songwriting summits at the Château. In 2011, ASCAP convinced Copeland to revive the tradition, and has brought a new group of songwriters and producers to France every year since.
The 2014 participants hailed from around the world and across the genre spectrum. They were: Anjulie, Martin Brammer, Ashley Campbell, Mike Daly, Chris DeStefano, John Fortis, Elyar Fox, Dia Frampton, JT Harding, Brett James, Giovanni James, Brian Kennedy, Emmy Palmer, Autumn Rowe, Amir “Azeem” Salem, Sharon Vaughn, Peter Wade and Oren Yoel.
PreSonus provided the following for the event:
Recordings from the event can be heard on SoundCloud by clicking here.