Lee Fields Drops New Track on Spinner

Lee Fields & the Expressions released new single, “Love Comes and Goes,” on May 18th as the Free MP3 of the Day on Spinner.com. Sultry guitar playing and hypnotic drum patterns spice up the rousing mid-tempo instrumentation of the song, while Fields’ velvety vocals serenade the listener. The group, who seemingly effortlessly channel soul greats of the ’60s and ’70s, will release the track officially on their new album My World, which hits retailers on June 2nd via Brooklyn’s Truth & Soul Records.

Behind The Music: Record Labels On Trial

A mock court hearing last week asked an audience to judge whether labels were irrelevant. Their verdict? Not guilty

At the Great Escape festival in Brighton last Friday, record labels were put on trial, with the prosecution accusing them of being irrelevant. It might not have been a proper trial – the audience were acting as jury – but the labels still recruited a real-life lawyer (Tom Frederikse, from Clintons, who deals with digital ventures) to defend them. Scott Cohen of digital music distributor The Orchard acted as prosecution.

It was clear Cohen was going to struggle to prove his point right from the start, as a large part of The Orchard’s clientele consists of independent record labels. One of his witnesses came from AWAL, Artists Without A Label, who used the example of US singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson as someone who’s managed to forge a successful career without a record label. She signed the usual one-page non-exclusive contract with the company, which distributes and promotes her music digitally. Some would argue that AWAL is, in fact, a label, albeit with straightforward and advantageous contracts for the artist.

Cohen’s second witness was Ian Grenfell, the managing director of Drowned in Sound and manager of Simply Red. Using Simply Red as an example for the irrelevance of record labels is misleading, as their career was built by a major label in the first place. Would they have been able to sell millions of albums if they’d never been signed to a record label? It’s doubtful. Besides, the witness admitted that they have a deal with Universal in South America to look after their interests there.


TOMMY Celebrates Its 40th Anniversary w/Digital Release of Performance by the LSO & Chambre Choir w/Guests

The deaf, dumb and blind boy is 40 years old this summer! And to commemorate this unforgettable event, Ode Records presents the London Symphony Orchestra joined by The Who and other distinguished guests performing this classic album.

Considered the first album to be recognized as a “Rock opera,” Tommy is celebrating its 40th with this all-star production featuring; Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, Rod Stewart, John Entwistle, Merry Clayton, Steve Winwood, Richie Havens, Richard Harris, Ringo Starr, Maggie Bell, Graham Bell and Sandy Denny.

Tommy was originally released in 1969 as the first concept album in the history of rock & roll and went straight to #2 in the UK charts. In 1972 entrepreneur Lou Reizner presented the concert version of Tommy backed up by The London Symphony Orchestra and Chambre Choir with guest appearances. The piece landed Pete Townshend’s support because he saw it as the realization of what he had visualized when he wrote the original piece, with multiple instruments in mind.

This release of Tommy was performed by a 100-piece orchestra and was one of the more elaborately conceived albums of its era. It became a gold record, selling in excess of 500,000 units. Tommy hits all digital stores next week, but is available one week early on iTunes, so grab it now!


Tea Leaf Green Announce New Live Album As Acoustic Alter-Ego Coffee Bean Brown

San Francisco based rockers Tea Leaf Green are gearing up for a new live release that shows their softer, more stripped down side. Taking the stage without the aid of amplifiers is something the band enjoys doing so much, they invented themselves an alter-ego, cleverly dubbed “Coffee Bean Brown,” to channel their acoustic energies. The java will be brewed up strong on June 2nd when the group unveils Coffee Bean Brown Comes Alive on their own Tea Leaf Green Partnership imprint. A more intimate sound than their fans may be used to, the live release features the four-piece experimenting with acoustic guitars, piano, banjo, cello, mandolin and more.

The group has released five studio albums since their formation in 1997, but they’re primarily known for their energetic live performances which have garnered them a devout following. Tea Leaf Green’s sound is heavily influenced by seventies rock and prog, but with a modern twist, and is best when freshly served up on stage. Recorded at NYC’s now defunct East Village venue Mo Pitkins, Coffee Bean Brown Comes Alive documents a different side of the fun loving group, for fans and newcomers alike who are eager to hear the band at their roots.

In preparation for the live set, Tea Leaf Green are set to hit the road this month for a 15-date tour across the US, unleashing their alter-ego on several of the dates. The band also has some highly anticipated appearances at the Mountain Jam Music Festival, All Good Music Festival, and 10,000 Lakes Festival.


Jimmy Somerville Releases New Album Suddenly Last Summer Today!

Sometimes you have to travel to the other end of the world to realize where your home really is. In the summer of 2006, acclaimed Bronski Beat/Communards frontman Jimmy Somerville did just that, performing two acoustic concerts in Sydney and Melbourne, and finding himself re-inspired by the acoustic format and many of the songs he grew up with.

Suddenly Last Summer was born out of that inspiration. Somerville recorded the album live over six days in a hot Mangrove Mountain studio, in New South Wales, Australia, with notable producer Andrew Worboys (who also co-wrote “Hey Sydney,” the opening number to the 2002 Sydney Gay Games) at the helm. It hits stores on May 19th, and is already arousing interest from Jimmy’s fans and gay culture blogs all over the world. This LP is a full departure from the synth-heavy, electro sound and relentless beats that we’re all so accustomed to from Somerville, and instead offers simplified arrangements of songs that mean something to him – chosen via ipod shuffle and his most vivid memories. Some of the many highlights include: Nina Simone’s “Black Is The Colour Of My True Love’s Hair,” (for which he wrote additional lyrics), Blondie‘s “Hangin’ On The Telephone,” The Doors’ “People Are Strange” (“because they just are,” muses Somerville), and standards like, “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” and “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.

After releasing eleven albums, selling seven million records, and twenty-five years after landing his first worldwide hit, “Smalltown Boy” with Bronski Beat, Jimmy Somerville goes back to his roots on Suddenly Last Summer, delivering a powerful performance using only his voice and the simple brilliance of acoustic instruments. An amazing performance from the first track to the last, Jimmy’s voice touches the soul in places seldom visited, making Suddenly Last Summer one of his sexiest and most heartfelt records yet. While it’s a different approach for Somerville than what he’s used to, the force behind the album remains the same: the incredible voice of one of the most well-known and loved gay icons of our time.