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Got Live If You Want It…

we were promised jetpacksThe title of this blog post is the title of the Stones’ first “live” album (a play on bluesman Slim Harpo‘s “Got Love If You Want It”). It’s a poor recording (even rumored to be live in the studio with overdubbed cheering) and the Stones essentially disowned it. We’ve come a long way…

In the beginning, every song was recorded live. Get everyone in the room and get that tune down on cylinder, then wax, eventually tape and so forth. The pioneering Les Paul (at Bing Crosby‘s suggestion, apparently) helped to develop multi-track recording (which he had experimented with since the 30’s) in 1949 when he began working on an eight-track recording machine with Ampex, which was finally produced in 1957. Prior to this, every recording was virtually live.

So we’ve gotten used to the studio sheen of echoes, reverbs and gated drum machines — effects that keep our favorite new songs modern and up-to-date. But there’s nothing quite like a stellar recording of a great show in a memorable venue to bring a sense of history to a listener… early live landmarks like Judy (Garland) at Carnegie Hall and James Brown Live At The Apollo 1962 give almost equal (and deserved) billing to the venue and artist. As recording techniques got better, the live Rock albums of the 70’s came into vogue (The Who Live At LeedsLou Reed Rock & Roll Animal and The Allman Brothers Live At The Fillmore East are varying examples) culminating in one of the biggest sellers of all time: Peter Frampton Comes Alive. Check out the similarly warm room sound in the Fillmore East during that time on the Allman Brothers sets as well as the albums recorded there by Neil YoungFrank Zappa & The Mothers and Derek & The Dominoes. Records recorded at Bill Graham‘s other venue, the Fillmore West, by SantanaMiles Davis and especially Aretha Franklin also have a unique, warm sound.

As time marched on, improved recording techniques brought a lot of live albums to the forefront; simultaneously, cranking up the cheering and crowd noise also came into vogue with mixed results. While Supertramp‘s Live 1988 and Ted Nugent‘s Double Live Gonzo might seem like polar opposite ends of the sound spectrum, they both suffer sound-wise. Coming into the 21st century, contemporary artists of all genres are finding that performing live is their bread and butter. While there is a dearth of live albums now, many artists have steered those recordings toward thematic albums of innovative versions of their hits and/or clever covers. Our own Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes Live At The Greek is a very strong seller; Daft Punk produces a live album every decade (in 1997 and 2007 so far); Pink, Beyonce and Katy Perry all have shows available, and Eric Clapton‘s Crossroads Guitar Festival features him alongside Robert Cray, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Buddy Guy among others.

Our taste for hearing live shows remains insatiable, and enough is never enough. There are 89 show recordings by the legendary SF Blues/Rock group Hot Tuna in The Orchard catalog… isn’t that enough? I think not. Just released: We Were Promised Jetpacks‘ E Rey (Live In Philadelphia) is a sonic feast for your ears!

Dim Mak’s Up All Night at Electric Zoo

August 30, 2013 Artist News No Comments

Dim Mak LogoIt’s Labor Day weekend already, and what does that mean? BBQs, beach time, and for thousands of East Coasters, the Annual Electric Zoo festival. For any EDM fan that lives in the Northeast U.S., this is the place to be. With headliners like Tiesto, Bassnectar, Avicii, Armin Van Buren and Steve Aoki, this is a festival that is not to be missed.

Our good friends at Dim Mak once again have the great privilege of hosting a stage this year, and it is killer. The “Up All Night” stage will feature artists new and old, with a lineup that includes Yolanda Be Cool, Dirtyphonics, Felix Cartal, Dan Sena, Autoerotique, Angger Dimas, Clockwork, Chase & Status, Keys N Krates, Proxy, and a special guest slot by the one and only Jacques Lu Cont. This is where it is all going down on Sunday, September 1.

Don’t be surprised if Dim Mak’s owner Steve Aoki graces the stage as well, as a recent Huff Po interview hints at loads of surprises. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your gear, jump on the ferry and get ready to be caked, as this will be a Labor Day weekend that you won’t forget.

Oh yeah, and while you are waiting patiently for the day to arrive, grab this exclusive mix Steve did for Electric Zoo and Rolling Stone.


Get to Know Charles Bradley, The Soul of The American Dream

charles bradleyFall down seven times, stand up eight. If anyone is the embodiment of this motto, it’s Soul singer Charles Bradley. Award-winning director Poull Brien’s 74-minute documentary, titled “Charles Bradley: Soul of America,” reports on the months between Charles’ 62nd birthday and the release of debut album No Time for Dreaming. His story is truly inspiring, full of trials and triumphs that influence the music conveyed through his deep, soulful voice. This documentary epitomizes the American Dream and shows that anyone can achieve their goals through hard work and perseverance.

Growing up, Charles’ childhood was plagued with tragedy. He was abandoned as a child, lived in constant poverty, was homeless and suffered the loss of his brother. Instead of getting down on himself, he found the drive to turn all these negative experiences into heartfelt songs about the struggles of making it in America. Charles began to develop his unique voice and kept pursuing his dream of becoming a professional singer, while acting as a James Brown impersonator to pay the bills. Eventually, his hard work and talent came to fruition and he earned a spot to perform on tour with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, where he delivered passionate performances that struck a chord with audiences around the country.

At that point in his life, Charles was still plagued by financial and emotional burdens. The release of No Time for Dreaming with the support of Daptone Records could not have come at a better time, and it became a hit among fans and critics alike. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it as one of 2011’s Top 50 Albums, and Charles secured spots on talk shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Last Call with Carson Daly. Charles was finally living his dream and his fan base has been growing ever since. It’s hard not to connect with Charles — he always wears his heart on his sleeve and bears his soul for the world to hear, making each performance a moving and transcending experience.

Charles Bradley: Soul of America” premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, is screening around the U.S. starting this month, and was just released wide on iTunes and Amazon Instant Video, so you can witness Charles’ path for yourself. Even better, you can also witness Charles working his magic live — full dates below.

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Collision Course with AM & Shawn Lee

March 12, 2013 Artist News No Comments

AM & Shawn Lee - La Musique Numerique

It’s not too often that a collision between two very musically diverse artists comes to fruition. However, for AM & Shawn Lee, their collaboration sprouted from an idiosyncratic shared passion: both were fans of vintage French and Italian Soundtrack music as well as digital effects from the ’80s.

The duo’s somewhat serendipitous covalent bond led to them writing music together, and they eventually penned enough songs to release their first record together, Celestial Electric, in 2011. Now, two years later, they’re back with their sophomore release, La Musique Numérique, out May 7th via Park The Van Records — also home to Dr. Dog, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister and Generationals.

Perhaps the reason why this creative fusion works so well is because both musicians in the band come from very distinct musical backgrounds. AM hails from Los Angeles and is originally a soulful, folk singer/songwriter whose songs have been featured in a plethora of TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights and Criminal Minds as well as movies such as Spread and Flakes. Shawn Lee, on the other hand, is a multi-instrumentalist from London who has become one of the most sampled artists in Hip-Hop. Together, this duo has toured with the likes of AIR, Phoenix, Sigur Ros, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and many more.

With the release of La Musique Numerique, AM & Shawn Lee explore the themes of love, addiction, and even economic bitterness. The record is a throwback to the days of the Casio keyboard, but also remains a futuristic piece of art that is a testament to the fact that the duo continues to innovate. To give listeners a taste of what’s to come in a few months, AM & Shawn Lee have released the album’s opener, “Two Times,” for streaming and download on Rolling Stone as well as SoundCloud. The band has encouraged fans of the music to share the music in hopes of spreading the tune to as many ears as possible.

On that note, enjoy and share AM & Shawn Lee‘s amalgam of musical wonder…

To Be The Best (Of) 2012

December 20, 2012 Artist News, Orchard News 1 Comment

The Orchard Best of 2012 listsIt’s that time again — list time, that is. (In addition to holiday party time, tacky sweater time, prepping for vacation time…) So, we’ve gathered all the intel and put together the list below of Orchard artists selected in these editorial beasts’ top albums, songs, artists, labels, and more… in 2012.

We got nods in a ton of revues and editorial outlets, including Billboard, iTunes, Pitchfork, Spin, Stereogum, Paste, Consequence of Sound, Forbes, Gorilla vs. Bear, NPR, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The New Yorker… and all the other folks below.

Congratulations to all the artists who made awesome music this year! We’re looking forward to a great year to come in 2013, with lots of exciting releases from new bands, favorite artists and those we don’t even know about yet.



Best Albums of 2012

Best World Album — Antibalas: Antibalas [Daptone Records]
Best World Reissue — Tim Maia: World Psychedelic Classics 4: Nobody Can Live Forever – The Existential Soul [Luaka Bop]
Best Metal Album — TestamentDark Roots of Earth [Nuclear Blast]
Best Jazz Vocal Album — Gregory Porter: Be Good [Motema Music]


Top 200 Albums

#160 — Various Artists Project X: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Watertower Music / New Line Productions]

Independent Albums

#15 — Various Artists Project X: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Watertower Music / New Line Productions]

Uncharted Artists (MySpace and Next Big Sound chart)

#22 — The Bloody Beetroots Death Crew 77 [Dim Mak Records]
#32 — Com Truise [Ghostly International]
#36 — Datsik [Dim Mak Records]

R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

#30 — Various Artists Project X: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Watertower Music / New Line Productions]

Hard Rock Albums

#47 — Testament: Dark Roots of Earth [Nuclear Blast]

Top Country Artists

#45 — Colt Ford [Average Joe’s]


#6 – Various Artists Project X: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Watertower Music / New Line Productions]

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