Jeff Penfield Best Of 2016 So Far <p>2016 has been a year marred by the passing of a number of great musicians. Fortunately we have been consoled by great new music and here's a quick look at some of KCSN's favorite albums half way through 2016.</p> <p><strong>Ray LaMontagne <em>Ouroboros</em></strong><br>Coming off of his 60’s influenced Supernova album, Ray Lamontagne remained in a throwback kind of mood. He brought in Jim James of My Morning Jacket fame to produce a very psychedelic rock influenced <em>Ouroboros</em>. From the seconds of “Homecoming” to through “Wouldn’t It Make A Lovely Photograph”, you could swear Pink Floyd recorded this album around the same time as Dark Side Of The Moon. “The Changing Man” into “While It Still Beats” is definitely a highlight.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Lucius <em>Good Grief</em></strong><br>Normally a band with two or more lead singers looks to highlight their differences. Lucius, on the other hand, keeps reminding you how similar Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig are. Good Grief is a culmination of their hard work over the years. In an age of music where dynamic range is all but forgotten, they can rock out on tracks like “Born Again Teen” before keeping you on the edge of your seat with the sparse “Dusty Trails”.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Sturgill Simpson <em>A Sailor's Guide To Earth</em></strong><br>The country rock revolution continues with Sturgill Simpson leading the way in 2016 on A Sailor’s Guide To Earth. Sturgill has a very special ability to take an everyday country song and quite literally take it beyond this world. Who else would think of a country song like “Keep It Between The Lines” getting a horn section? Or how about a dark cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom”? This album is rich with passion and fire, maybe more so than just about any other release in 2016.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Radiohead <em>A Moon Shaped Pool</em></strong><br>Is there any band who shrouds their album releases in as much mystery as Radiohead? A Moon Shaped Pool is their first album in 5 years and yet again the band surprises us with another transition. This time “Burn The Witch” previewed what was to come – strings. Compared to the last few albums, the band returned to more melodic sounds without escaping who Radiohead is at heart. Gorgeous arrangements bind the album together while the band continues to push the envelope on what constitutes a great song.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>David Bowie <em>Blackstar</em></strong><br>The sudden death of David Bowie hit many music fans hard, yet we were consoled by his final studio album, now clearly his swan song to the world. Recorded over Bowie’s final years as cancer ate away at his health, the always adventurous artist left us with an album that is beautiful yet ugly, evocative yet mysterious, and challenging yet comfortable. Bowie’s influence on the music world is unquestioned and Blackstar was a fitting end to one of the all-time greats.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>So how about what's coming for the rest of the year? <strong>The Head And The Heart</strong> have already made big waves with "All We Ever Knew" off of their upcoming album <em>Signs Of Light</em>.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>Is there anything that has blown you away so far in 2016? Any upcoming relelases you're excited to hear?</p> Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:16:39 -0700 Transmissions: Pete Yorn <p><strong>Pete Yorn</strong> released his 6th solo album earlier this year and took time to visit Nic Harcourt for an episode of Transmissions. Check out his performance of "Halifax" below and <a href="" target="_blank">click here to watch the full episode</a>.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:21:07 -0700 Transmissions: The Rubens "Hoops" <p>Australia has been a hot bed of new music the past few years, with acts like Courtney Barnett, Gotye, Boy &amp; Bear, and more receiving praise as they come over to America. The Rubens are looking to be added to the list. Nic Harcourt sat down with the band and recorded a few songs for Tranmissions. Check out "Hoops" below and <a href="" target="_blank">click here to see the full session</a>.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Tue, 17 May 2016 10:09:45 -0700 Transmissions: LP "Death Valley" <p>Nic Harcourt's new web series <strong>Transmissions</strong> premiered earlier this year and has already welcomed legends like Lucinda Williams and hot new Los Angeles bands like The Record Company. His next episode features new music from KCSN favorite LP! Check out her new song "Death Valley" performed live for Transmissions below and <a href="" target="_blank">click here to watch the full episode premiring May 3rd</a>.</p> <p> </p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Mon, 02 May 2016 12:39:53 -0700 SXSW 2016 In Review <div align="center"><img class="left" style="margin: 10px;" title="" src="" alt="SunflowerSXSW2" width="600" height="300"></div> <p>KCSN was proud to host its official SXSW Radio Day Stage on Thursday, March 17th, but of course we went to a TON of shows featuring the best new acts around. Here are a few of my superlatives from the conference:</p> <p><strong>Most Surprising Artist We Heard Of Before: Fantastic Negrito</strong><br>He was the first act of our Radio Day Stage so how could we be surprised? Sometimes what you hear on a recording is very different than what you see live. Fantastic Negrito not only rocked the stage, he has a great rapport with the audience.</p> <p><strong>Most Surprising Artist We Haven’t Heard Before: Seratones</strong><br>Imagine a band that plays grunge with a Southern twist and soulful vocals. That’s Seratones in a nutshell.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Most Pleased To Welcome Back: The Avett Brothers</strong><br>Republic Records’ Thursday Showcase featured the North Carolina band playing old favorites along with some brand new tunes. I can’t wait to share the new music!!</p> <p><strong>Most Rock &amp; Roll Moment: The Struts</strong><br>A lot of fuss has been made the last few years over the corporatization of SXSW and that certainly was the case at the Bud Light Lounge for The Struts. As flashy as the room was with a “Swag Wall” and a DJ between sets, The Struts came on stage as classic rock and roll badasses. The room they occupied didn’t matter - they were going to rock and you were going to listen.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Personal Pick: Bombino</strong><br>I have a soft spot for West African/Saharan Blues. Ever since Robert Plant performed with Tuareg band Tinariwen and recorded the heavily influenced Mighty Rearranger, I’ve been hooked. Nigerian band Bombino is similar and their cyclical beats with great jamming guitars were such a joy to see in person.</p> <p><strong>Best Band Runner Up: Lucius</strong><br>Performing songs off their brand new album Good Grief, the lovely ladies of Lucius were jaw dropping. Forget the fact that they have an uncanny ability to sing in unison, they brought the new songs to life on stage.</p> <p><strong>Best Band: Sunflower Bean</strong><br>Sure, this could be a bit of bias considering they performed our Radio Day Stage, however their uncontainable sound was undeniable. For a three piece, they certainly do get quite a bit of sound out of their instruments. I couldn’t resist seeing their mesmerizing performance a second time at midnight on Friday night. That was before a 7 a.m. flight mind you.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Tue, 22 Mar 2016 10:45:07 -0700 Download "Overnight" From The Wild Feathers <p>In case you haven't heard, <strong>The Wild Feathers</strong> new album <em><strong>Lonely Is A Lifetime</strong></em> comes out this Friday. The Nashville band's first album was a rousing success and the upcoming release sounds amazing so far. Download the first single <strong>"Overnight"</strong> for FREE below. Don't forget, <a href="" target="_blank">KCSN Presents The Wild Feathers at The Troubadour on April 6th</a>!</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="380" height="373" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 08:34:15 -0800 Lake Street Dive Album Preview <h3>Listen to Lake Street Dive's new album Side Pony below! KCSN Presents Lake Street Dive at the Wiltern on February 26th. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here for tickets</a>.</h3> <div align="center"><iframe src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:31:19 -0800 Should You Film At Concerts? <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="EvolutionLiveAudience" width="400" height="400"></div> <p>Everyone who went to Jack White's concert at the Mayan in 2014 was greeted by the poster above. Using some of the hand signs from concertgoers in each decade, it highlights an emerging issue for artists and fans at modern concerts: the rise of the smartphone camera.</p> <p>The concert experience is one of the most unique in our culture: a small group of people, and in some cases one person, connects on a personal level to an audience of hundreds if not thousdands through music. There are other examples of similar experiences, like theatre or public speaking, however the abstract nature of music makes the concert far more personal. The artist feels the energy from the audience while each attendee may react to the performance differently from the next. I vividly remember Sam Beam of Iron &amp; Wine silencing the entire Hollywood Bowl by himself, Danny Elfman performing "Dead Man's Party" for the first time in 20 years, and my first Robert Plant concert. These memories unique to the concert setting.</p> <p>In modern times, we like to share our everyday lives through social media. With the power of a camera in our pockets, we can capture anything at any time. I can't tell you how many random pictures and videos of my dog I could share. On top of that, we have moved beyond the simple photo to a host of different ways to capture video as well.</p> <p>So what does this mean for the concert experience? We used to focus our attention solely on the band, but now concerts are filled with little screens floating in the air as people film away. Instead of focusing on becoming one with the music we want to capture the show, with bad picture and poor audio I might add, to share with our friends. Is this really what going to a show is about? Shouldn't we be focusing on connecting with the artist and not our phones?</p> <p>Personally, I keep a simple rule: take pictures during the first song and then put the phone in my pocket. I can share my experience through a simple photo. When it comes to video, I avoid it altogether. The sound won't come out correctly and it's nowhere near the same experience. Most of the videos on my phone will never see the light of day again anyway.</p> <p>Some musicians have taken arms against filming concerts. Jack White not only has the poster above, a member of his crew comes onstage to requst people find pictures to share on Jack's website. Father John Misty uses a neon "No Photography" sign hanging behind him on his latest tour, however you never know if he's just joking or actually serious.</p> <p>So what do you think? Do you film concerts with your smartphone?</p> <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="ColdplayPhones" width="600" height="450"></div> Thu, 14 Jan 2016 12:00:00 -0800 2016 Album Preview <p>Now that we've taken a look at the Top 50 Albums of 2015, how about we take a look ahead at 2016? So far we have a few early looks at what's to come...</p> <h3>Lake Street Dive <em>Side Pony</em></h3> <p>Lake Street Dive is one of those viral success stories it's hard not to root for. After humble beginnings as Berklee trained musicians busking on the streets of Boston, a fortunate tweet from Kevin Bacon sharing their cover of "I Want You Back" started building a nationwide following. The first taste of their second album seems to show a little more of a sophisticated soul sound compared to <em>Bad Self Portraits</em> as they look to evolve and grow as a band.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <h3><br><br>The Wild Feathers <em>Lonely Is A Lifetime</em></h3> <p>Another band looking to take a step forward on their second release is The Wild Feathers. Their rock sensibilities combined with epic melodies and gorgeous vocal harmonies make them a throwback band but, as great bands do, they find a way to modernize their sound. Tracks like "Overnight" highlight how they're back and better than ever.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <h3><br><br>Nada Surf <em>You Know Who You Are</em></h3> <p>Moving on to a more established band, Nada Surf is preparing their 8th studio album after a 4 year break. The band returns to form on "Believe You're Mine".</p> <div align="center"><iframe src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="166" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> <h3><br><br>Pete Yorn <em>Arranging Time</em></h3> <p>Excitement can't begin to describe what we feel about Pete Yorn's upcoming record. His first solo album in six years, Yorn gave us a taste of another infectious melody that we've come accustomed to hearing.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>So, any releases you're excited to hear in 2016?</p> Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:55:25 -0800 New Coldplay Teaser <p>Looks like Coldplay is getting ready to release a new album as they share teasers over the past couple of days! Will we hear our first full song soon?</p> <div align="center"> <blockquote class="twitter-video"> <p dir="ltr"><a href="">#AOAL</a> <a href="">#AHFOD</a> <a href=""></a></p> — Coldplay (@coldplay) <a href="">November 4, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> <p> </p> <p>The band's 7th, and <a href="" target="_blank">supposedly final</a>, album will be called A Head Full Of Dreams and is rumored to be coming out on December 4th.</p> Thu, 05 Nov 2015 11:30:25 -0800 Preview Israel Nash's Silver Season <p>Israel Nash has been a traveler so far in his musical career. Born and raised in Missouri, he moved to New York to start a music career. Even with initial success in Europe, he moved from New York to a 25 acre ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, leaving the big city and delving deeper into analog recording technology.</p> <p>Using his nomadic experience, he crafted a deeply atmopheric and lush album<em> Israel Nash's Rain Plans</em> in 2013. He returns again with <em>Israel Nash's Silver Season</em>, out on Loose/Thirty Tigers on Friday, transporting the listener through space and time using his experience around the country as inspiration. The first single "LA Lately" exemplifies this spirit. Nash says, "'LA Lately' is a track that was written on the road while we were leaving LA after my first headline show. There is something magical about that city and the song is all about our experience. From getting there, to being there, and -as we do- moving along and leaving too. No shame, this is an LA song." Truly, with sounds that transport you to Laurel Canyon in the late 1960's, the song represents Los Angeles.</p> <p>Listen to the album in full before it hits stores!</p> <div align="center"><iframe src=";color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%" height="450" frameborder="no" scrolling="no"></iframe></div> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 10:00:00 -0700 Jimmy Page Finishes Zeppelin Re-Masters <p>Jimmy Page released the final three re-mastered albums from Led Zeppelin on July and fans received one final look into the band’s recording sessions.</p> <p>On Presence, the band displayed their live prowess as they powered through recording seven songs in just eighteen days. Their most straightforward rock and roll release, the album featured no keyboards and only one rhythm acoustic guitar on “Candy Store Rock”. Due to the limited schedule, the companion disc does not offer as many nuggets as the previous re-masters, but it does include an early look at the next album with the piano track “10 Ribs &amp; All/Carrot Pod Pod (Pod)” and dirty vocals on “Royal Orleans”.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>In Through The Out Door was the final album from the band before John Bonham’s sudden death in 1980. It marked a very different direction as the album was filled with more processed sound and keyboards than any record before it. It still kicked off with the band’s standard explosive start on “In The Evening”. From there, they went into mellow tracks not guided by acoustic guitars like the early days. Instead, John Paul Jones led them into the upcoming decade with keyboards. Robert Plant’s voice shined through literally and figuratively as he headed the creative direction of “Fool In The Rain” and “All My Love”.</p> <p>The final Led Zeppelin album came about from their record contract, which required them to record one more album even though Bonham had passed away. Jimmy looked through the band’s outtakes from their 11 year run and found enough to make a new album released in 1982 called Coda. For the re-masters, Jimmy may have chosen the best demo and rare cuts of any release. On the first companion disc, he included a few demos of tracks from Coda along with most of the other songs the band released as b-sides, including “Hey Hey What Can I Do?” The second disc starts off with an indian orchestra performing two Zeppelin songs. Robert and Jimmy sat out on “Four Sticks” but accompanied the orchestra on “Friends”. The rest of the disc includes a new instrumental jam “St. Tristan’s Sword” and a shorter, bluesier version of “Bring It On Home”.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>The final re-masters leave the impression that the last three albums left originally: what would become of Led Zeppelin in the 1980. We never found out as Robert, Jimmy, and John Paul Jones went their separate ways. We can still dream though, can’t we?</p> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 10:15:03 -0700 The Rebirth Of Jason Isbell <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="jasonisbell copy" width="600" height="375"></div> <p>One of the best new albums of the year comes out today from emerging singer-songwriter Jason Isbell. He's had a successful career to this point, but his re-birth over his last two albums has been nothing short of extraordinary.</p> <p>That's not to say his work in Drive-By Truckers or solo with the 400 Unit isn't as good. His latest efforts, though, show a man re-born with a fresh perspective on life. Much of his evolution tracks back to February 2012, when his manager, soon to be wife Amanda Shires, and Ryan Adams confronted him about an issue that has affected many great musicians: substance abuse. He went to rehab and returned with a new stable of songs for Southeastern, including "Stockholm".</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>Now comes "Something More Than Free" with subtle lyrics dealing with many of the emotions of being a progressive man from the south. He sings about concepts of freedom and identity, themes not only from his new life but also much of the discourse in the US over the last year. His music comes out as genre bending but unique. Not quite Americana, not quite rock, he melds a sound that connects directly to his lyrics. "24 Frames" is just one of the tracks that encapsulates this blend.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>With a new album, a new baby due in Septemeber, and a new look at life, we'll see how continues to grow as a musician and songwriter in the coming years.</p> <p>See Jason as he performs live when KCSN Presents him at The Wiltern on August 12th. <a href="" target="_blank">Click here to purchase tickets.</a></p> <p> </p> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 10:00:00 -0700 2015 First Half Recap <p>Hard to believe it but 2015 is already half way over. There has been a ton of great new music this year so what has been some of the best?</p> <p><strong>Laura Marling</strong> helped kick off the year with a gorgeous new album <em>Short Movie</em>, featuring the song "False Hope".</p> <div align="center"><object width="575" height="324" bgcolor="#000000" data=";playlist=false&amp;autoplay=0&amp;playerId=null&amp;playerType=embedded&amp;env=0&amp;cultureName=en_us&amp;cultureIsRTL=False" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="wmode" value="transparent"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="src" value=";playlist=false&amp;autoplay=0&amp;playerId=null&amp;playerType=embedded&amp;env=0&amp;cultureName=en_us&amp;cultureIsRTL=False"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></object></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Father John Misty's</strong> sophomore release <em>I Love You, Honeybear</em> is even better than his first with just as many interesting song titles like "Chateau Lobby #4 (In C For Two Virgins)"</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>We're happy to see our good friends <strong>Dawes</strong> continue to evolve on their latest release <em>All Your Favorite Bands</em>. We can't get "Things Happen" out of our heads.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>So how about the rest of the year? Well, <strong>Beck</strong> released a new track "Dreams", which will be on his next album. The phrase song of the summer may be a bit cliche, but this one certainly fits the bill.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>There's still much more to come from <strong>Coldplay</strong>, <strong>Jason Isbell,</strong> and more! So is there any new music you're excited for heading into the second half of the year?</p> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:00:00 -0700 Celebrating U2 At The Forum <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="u2wide2014" width="400" height="243"></div> <p>I get it now.</p> <p>For years, people around me either praised or derided <strong>U2</strong>. To me, at least, no one seemed to be in the middle. They either loved the band or hated them. The controversial release of <em>Songs Of Innocenc</em>e did them no favors either. I liked them, but they weren't high on my list of greatest bands.</p> <p>After seeing their show at The Forum last Wednesday, however, I know where I stand. Never have I seen a band welcome the crowd and keep their attention quite like U2. Yes, they have all the amenities of the biggest band in the world: a giant wak through video board, a huge custom stage, more roadies than you can image, and more. Yes, Bono demands your attention as the frontman. Yes, this was an inspired show after their friend and tour manager Dennis Sheehan's death. Even with all that considered, I get it now. I love U2.</p> <p>This is a band who's heart is still in their hometown of Dublin. They still carry the violent memories of terrorism in their homeland from their youth. Bono described the inspiration to the new songs, many incorporating those themes, and allowed them to highlight the early part of the performance. The band clearly knows the position they are in. Their work with (RED) continues with their special ticketed area on the floor and their message of peace permiated the show. Looking back, they told a story: a story about the band, about a country, and, above all else, human nature in just a few short hours through their music.</p> <p>You can still bash U2 all you want, say they're over the hill, or whatever. I'm just going to keep rocking out to their music and help spread their message of peace and understanding.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:00:00 -0700 An Oasis Reunion On The Horizon? <p>Any artistic endeavor requires a great deal of passion to complete. When you work in a team, egos must be handled and emotions kept under control. We know all too well this doesn’t always happen in the music world, however one of the longest feuds may be coming to an end.</p> <p>For the first time since their breakup, <strong>Oasis</strong> appears to have an outside chance. <strong>Noel Gallagher</strong>, on tour with his group <strong>High Flying Birds</strong>, stated in recent interviews that he is open to a reunion...for a price that is. Then his brother <strong>Liam</strong>, who recently broke up his band <strong>Beady Eye</strong>, tweeted this:</p> <div align="center"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p>Keeping it in the family...LG x <a href=""></a></p> — Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) <a href="">March 14, 2015</a></blockquote> </div> <p>So how does this compare to historical feuds? Well, the <strong>Eagles</strong> had a long running feud that broke up the most successful American rock band in history for 14 years. The disagreements were so bad that <strong>Don Henley</strong> consistently said the band would reunite when “hell freezes over”. Of course their reunion album was aptly titled <em>Hell Freezes Over</em> and the band continues to tour today.</p> <p><strong>Pink Floyd</strong>, on the other hand, could never get over their issues. <strong>Roger Waters</strong> increased his songwriting control in the group throughout the 1970’s to the point that <strong>David Gilmour</strong> received no writing credits on 1982’s <em>The Final Cut</em>. Waters left the band and attempted to keep Gilmour and <strong>Nick Mason</strong> from using the name. They reunited once since that album, however the band appears to have cut all ties after releasing last year’s outtakes album <em>The Endless River</em>.</p> <p>So what do you think? Is Oasis bound to be the next Pink Floyd? Or will they come back better than ever like the Eagles?</p> Mon, 16 Mar 2015 16:08:43 -0700 Physical Graffiti's 40th Anniversary <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="LZPG PS 300dpi RGB copy" width="400" height="400"></div> <p> <br>1975 was when <strong>Led Zeppelin</strong> reached their peak. Sure, their second and fourth albums receive more praise, but Zeppelin truly ruled the world in 1975. Their new label <strong>Swan Song</strong> released <strong>Bad Company</strong>’s debut platinum record the year before. All five of their albums had gone platinum and they were selling out stadiums. <strong>Earls Court</strong>, the largest venue in the UK, sold out five nights of shows, each of which would last over three hours.</p> <p>Behind Led Zeppelin’s wonderful year of 1975 was <strong><em>Physical Graffiti</em></strong>. The double album was the most expansive musically with their standard blues rock along with folk, boogie piano, new technology, and even a few Middle Eastern influenced songs. It was some of their most polished work but also one of their loosest albums with sounds from the studio between tracks, including the plane flying overhead before recording <strong>“Black Country Woman”</strong>.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>To celebrate the album’s 40th anniversary, <strong>Atlantic Records</strong> released a remastered deluxe version of the record. Jimmy Page beautifully remastered the record much like he did for the first five Led Zeppelin albums. The companion disc holds early versions of songs like <strong>“Houses Of The Holy”</strong> and <strong>“Trampled Underfoot”</strong>, which was originally labeled <strong>“Brandy And Coke”</strong>.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>More information on the remasters is available at <strong><a href="" target="_blank"></a></strong>.</p> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:03:40 -0800 Guest Post - Around the Dial: A Personal Appreciation of KCSN <div align="center"><img class="center" title="" src="" alt="jeffhirsch2" width="220" height="228"></div> <p>I fell in love with rock music and radio at an early age. Like all great love affairs, the peaks have been exhilarating and the setbacks deeply disappointing. Eventually, I was resigned to a comfortable but passionless relationship as the years went by and radio seemed to lose all interest in me.</p> <p>Where did the excitement go? Was I, along with my follow baby boomers doomed to spend my middle age listening to the same handful of classic rock hits over and over again? Or worse, tune into the artificial, overly produced, formulaic songs of the pop divas or watered down country music hits?</p> <p>There still had to be great music out there, but it was hard to find on the dial. Here in Los Angeles, we had KCRW, a NPR affiliate that played music from 9 ‘til Noon on a show called “Morning Becomes Eclectic.” A blend of indie rock and world music, there was a lot to discover and enjoy there. It was much better than anything else on the radio, but there was only three hours of it each day and it was a bit esoteric and hit and miss for my tastes.</p> <p>Things got much more interesting for several years after Nic Harcourt took over the show. An Englishman, a one-time wannabe rocker who spent several years in Australia before discovering his calling as a DJ and music programmer in Woodstock, NY, Nic had a distinctive voice, impeccable taste and a singular talent for recognizing great music. He was the first to play bands like Nora Jones, Coldplay, David Gray, Franz Ferdinand and others.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>He eventually gave up the grind of the morning show, but still hosted a Sunday night show for the station. Then one day he was gone completely, fired suddenly for doing a one-hour show, for no pay, on a small, public, college radio station called KCSN. I had never heard of it, but having read about his controversial firing, I made my way a bit further left on the dial to 88.5 to see what the fuss was about.</p> <p>I was fortunate to find Nic back on the air every morning, and learned that the station had brought on veteran music executive and radio personality Sky Daniels as General Manager, chief programmer and afternoon drive time DJ. He gave KCSN a distinctive sound like no other blending the thrill of discovery with the pleasures of rediscovery, something entirely different from nostalgia.</p> <p>KCSN plays a good deal of classic rock, but it’s not “Stairway To Heaven” all day every day. They’ll play The Kinks, but you’ll more than likely hear a deep cut from “The Village Green Preservation Society” instead of “Lola.” Bruce Springsteen will pop up every now and then, but you’re more likely to hear his cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Trapped” or the very early “Incident On 57<sup>th</sup> Street” rather than “Born To Run.”  The station programs old music in a way that’s intelligent and stimulating, decidedly not mind numbing, repetitive or wistful.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>If those deep cuts were all they played, it would still be an improvement over everything else on the air. But now I’ve got Spotify on my iPhone, and I’m damn good at curating playlists of old and delightfully obscure songs myself.</p> <p>The greatest pleasure I derive from KCSN is the new music. It’s exhilarating to be connected to the freshness of young artists like Dawes, Real Estate, Cage The Elephant, War On Drugs, Laura Marling, Edward Sharpe &amp; The Magnetic Zeroes and Courtney Barnett.</p> <p>Maybe the thrill isn’t as intense as sneaking my transistor radio into bed as a 10-year-old to listen to the sounds of the British Invasion until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, or when the free-form, album oriented format of WNEW-FM emerged in the late sixties with seminal DJ’s Rosko, Jonathan Schwartz, Zacharly and Allison (The Night Bird) Steele.</p> <p>Still, hearing KCSN for the first time reminded me of a time in the late 70’s when I was back living in New York, working at my first job after grad school in an ad agency, with the dreaded disco era in full swing. One morning day I was awakened by my clock radio, tuned to WNEW-FM of course, to be mesmerized by a raw, driven sound that was kind of like my favorite 60’s garage bands on steroids. The New Wave had arrived and young guy from England named Elvis Costello rocked my world.</p> <p>It’s been a very long time since I felt that way. But thanks to KCSN, radio is as compelling as ever. </p> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 14:16:05 -0800 Song Similarities - Coincidence? <p dir="ltr">Have you ever heard a song you could swear was based off of someone else’s work? Every once in a while a hit song seems too good to be true.</p> <p>Sam Smith had a smash hit with “Stay With Me”, but publisher’s of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “I Won’t Back Down” felt the chorus matched to closely. In this case, Sam Smith’s publisher has settled to add Petty and the song’s co-writer, ELO’s Jeff Lynne, to the songwriting credit. Smith’s rep says that the similarity was a complete coincidence. Listen to both songs below:</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>In some cases, these fights don’t come to an easy end and last decades. Spirit’s Randy California claimed that Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” ripped off “Taurus”, which was released two years earlier. Last year, California’s estate sued Led Zeppelin for songwriting credits and the band has fought the accusation. Take a listen for yourself below:</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>So what do you think when you hear about copyright infringement? Do you think bands intentionally take other material or is it mere coincidence?</p> <p><em><strong>UPDATE</strong></em></p> <p>So Tom Petty has weighed in on the settlement and he did it in classic Tom Petty fashion. Check out his response below:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>About the Sam Smith thing. Let me say I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam.  All my years of songwriting have shown me these things can happen.  Most times you catch it before it gets out the studio door but in this case it got by.  Sam’s people were very understanding of our predicament and we easily came to an agreement.  The word lawsuit was never even said and was never my intention.  And no more was to be said about it. How it got out to the press is beyond Sam or myself.  Sam did the right thing and I have thought no more about this.  A musical accident no more no less. In these times we live in this is hardly news. I wish Sam all the best for his ongoing career. Peace and love to all.</em></p> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:56:50 -0800 Best Music Coming In 2015 <p>Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed the Top 50 Album countdown on New Year’s Eve. If you missed out, <a href="[sitetree_link,id=191]" target="_blank">check out the full list</a>. So what about the best coming in 2015?</p> <p>The list has to start out with <strong>The Decemberists</strong>. They announced their new album <em>What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World</em> with lead singer Colin Meloy busking on the streets during the CMJ Conference in October.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="420" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p>The album comes out January 20th. Here’s the first single “Make You Better”, featuring Nick Offerman in the music video.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p><strong>Father John Misty</strong> also made waves with his introduction of his upcoming album <em>I Love You, Honeybear</em>, out February 10th, with his eccentric performance of “Bored In The USA” on Letterman.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>Let’s not forget about good friends of KCSN <strong>The Lone Bellow</strong>. Their new album <em>Then Came The Morning</em> Comes Out January 27th. Here’s the title track.</p> <div align="center"><iframe src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></div> <p> </p> <p>So what new releases are you excited for in the new year?</p> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 12:13:15 -0800