The Los Angeles-based independent jazz label is releasing two newly discovered Wes Montgomery and Bill Evans recordings, “Back on Indiana Avenue: The Carroll DeCamp Recordings” and “Evans in England,” on limited-edition 180-gram 2LP for Record Store Day and deluxe 2 CD/digital on April 19.
“Back on Indiana Avenue” surveys the early music of Montgomery, a jazz guitarist, made in his hometown of Indianapolis during the years before he rocketed to fame after signing with Riverside Records in 1959. The 22-track album features studio and live recordings of Montgomery’s music along with Indianapolis pianist and arranger Carroll DeCamp.
It’s the sixth archival release of Montgomery’s from Resonance Records and includes an essay by jazz scholar Lewis Porter and jazz guitar giants George Benson and John Scofield. On the DeCamp recordings, Montgomery is heard in full flight in a variety of settings – piano quartets, organ trios, sextets and drummer-less Nat “King” Cole-style trios, including “Round Midnight,” “Jingles,” “Whisper Not” and others.
“‘Back on Indiana Avenue’ is a very important release of previously unissued material from guitarist Wes Montgomery, and it’s not music, it’s 2LPs, 2CDs worth of unissued material and nearly a 50-page book with all sorts of different people who have a story to talk about, a narrative of these recordings in provenance and where they came from,” said Zev Feldman, Resonance Records co-president and independent producer.
“We tell these stories, and we put out these projects, and George Klabin, God bless him, my co-president and the founder and owner of Resonance Records, he is so generous allowing this to happen. This is like fantasy land, and every day, I wake up in this different dimension and wonder, ‘Is this really my life?’”
Spirits of Fire knows how to rekindle a heavy metal flame.
The heavy metal supergroup is reigniting fans with the release of their highly combustible self-titled debut album today on Frontiers Music.
Together, Tim “Ripper” Owens (vocals), Chris Caffery (guitar), Steve DiGiorgio (bass) and Mark Zonder (drums) fuse 11 scorching tracks that blaze an invigorating musical trail heavily influenced by Judas Priest, Savatage, Testament and Fates Warning.
“To get a chance to do this record was really special to me, and to work with somebody like Roy Z., who I have always considered to be one of the good, really modern minds of heavy metal, it was just a win-win thing all the way around to have this going and to get a chance to make these songs,” Caffery said.
With the help of Frontiers Music, Caffery teamed up with longtime pal Owens and new friends DiGiorgio and Zonder to form Spirits of Fire in August 2016 and recorded their debut album with renowned Los Angeles-based producer Roy Z.
“I’d say there was about a year in the writing process before we went into the full recording process of it. Then, just because everybody’s on different schedules, it took about another six months to get everything finished, to get the guitars, bass and vocals and everything done, it was finished completely by the beginning of April 2018,” Caffery said.
In November, Spirits of Fire released their first single, “Light Speed Marching,” a turbocharged heavy metal anthem featuring electrifying guitar solos, pounding drums and surging bass lines. The band also met in downtown Los Angeles last summer to film the video, which features a fast-paced performance in a hot industrial underground setting.
“I was the one who put my foot down to have ‘Light Speed’ as the one that was going to get the video because it’s got a longer guitar solo,” laughed Caffery, who also performs as a solo artist as well as with Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. “I thought it mixed together the instrumental music a little bit better, and it went through Ripper’s voice a little bit better.”
In response to the success of “Light Speed Marching” Spirits of Fire also has released two explosive follow-up singles, the victorious, ready-for-battle masterpiece, “Stand and Fight,” and the personal ode to darkness, “It’s Everywhere,” to spark attention from the heavy metal music community. The band also plans to release a video for “It’s Everywhere” soon.
“There’s a lot of different metal and a lot of different tones in the music on this record,” Caffery said. “I really like ‘Temple of the Soul’ because it comes together in way that I really enjoy the band musically, or when you look at something like ‘Light Speed Marching’ and listen to Ripper just using his full range, there’s a lot of different things that I like for a lot of different reasons.”
In addition to their three powerhouse singles, Caffery admits the band’s signature and self-titled track, “Spirits of Fire,” best captures the feeling, inspiration and approach behind their music. It beautifully weaves the album’s 11 tracks together and provides an intimate look into the band’s musical soul.
“I remember when I first wrote the ‘Spirits of Fire’ song, I took something and added a short description of a character into a thing that was talking about something in a positive way,” Caffery said. “The spirit of fire is the most powerful of the good spirits, so when people would be looking to summon spirits to get rid of evil, they would call for the spirits of fire. That was the most badass, powerful good spirit.”
Luckily, the band remains in good spirits with the release of their debut album and hopes to play festivals later this year to support it.
“I’m hoping this develops as a band so people will want to hear us more and turn around and say, ‘Hey, there’s a week of shows that this guy wants you to do in Brazil with Spirits of Fire,’” Caffery said. “That’s the type of thing I’m looking for, the main things I’m gonna find out or what’s going to happen once it gets out there.”
With thumping bass lines, catchy drumbeats and bright synths, Grass Bat is swooping up a new era of ‘80s-fueled indie pop through his latest single, “Mistake.”
Released in November, the glistening four-minute track explodes with refreshing synth pop sensibilities reminiscent of The Human League mixed with the experimental psychedelic electro rock of MGMT and Animal Collective.
“For some time now, even in my previous band, the reviews I had gotten were ‘You sound very ‘80s,’ and I didn’t grow up listening to a lot of ‘80s music,” said Noel Herbert, aka Grass Bat. “It was something was that never really piqued my interest at the time, and I kept on getting this review. I was like, ‘If this is what I’m going to sound like, then I might as well go all out.’”
While writing and recording “Mistake,” Herbert quickly absorbed ‘80s pop rock and adapted the song’s melodies, structure and synths to recreate the era’s sound with a modern flair. It also features Adventures with Vultures’ Matt Sauter on guitar and Kayo Musiq on bass.
“Part of it being modern is the structure of the song, there’s an intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge and a double chorus at the end,” said Herbert, who grew up playing piano and guitar and was inspired by Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, Joan Baez and Celtic folk music. “Part of the reason I did that was for sync licensing, it makes it easier if the song is ever going to get played in a commercial or on a TV show.”
For Herbert, the song’s lyrics take on a personal meaning about a past failed relationship and allow him to process the whole situation. They’re written through self-awareness and his internal experience of the outside world.
“I wasn’t sure what the song was about when I first wrote it. It wasn’t until probably a month ago that I was listening to it, and it finally clicked in my head where it came from,” he said. “It can be interpreted in so many different ways. It’s so important that each person interprets it in their own way, and that they can have their own feelings toward it.”
LOS ANGELES – Brilliant-colored fireworks exploded over Dodger Stadium as Fleetwood Mac closed out their two-hour set for The Classic West Sunday night.
Hues of red, green, yellow and blue popped over the crowd while the legendary band performed a spirited version of “Don’t Stop.”
The “Rumours” hit single served as the perfect ending to The Classic West, a new two-day classic rock music festival based in Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium featuring the Eagles, Steely Dan, Journey, The Doobie Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Curated by Irving Azoff in response to last year’s profitable Desert Trip, The Classic West is the ultimate recipe for whipping up a memorable dish of music nostalgia – early 1970s classic and folk rock fused with jazz-inspired tunes, southern California harmonies, groovy R&B, disco and arena rock anthems.
It also served as the perfect time musical time machine for nearly 50,000 attendees and me. I was ready to board a mythical aircraft similar to the one featured on the cover of Journey’s 1981 album, “Escape,” and travel back to a bygone era.
Local Natives know how to properly channel the primal energy of Fleetwood’s Mac “Tusk.”
The Los Angeles-based indie rock band recently covered “Tusk” as part of Spotify’s “Music Happens Here” video series, which highlights how “local culture has inspired music throughout history” and kicks off with an inaugural 26-minute episode about Los Angeles.
“To say Fleetwood Mac has a huge influence on our music is a bit of an understatement,” the band wrote March 21 on their Facebook page. “As part of a new Spotify series called Music Happens Here, we covered Tusk in the same room, same studio as Fleetwood Mac covered it.”
I was elated the moment I read those words on Local Natives’ Facebook page. If you’re a Fleetwood Mac fan, then it’s not stretch to like Local Natives’ music, which features lush harmonies, adventurous percussion and multiple singer-songwriters.