Thursday, December 15, 2011

You Don't Need a Weatherman - just Jeff Tweedy

"You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows"

Wilco's Jeff Tweedy stops by the hometown television station to talk a little hirsute weather. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

MMJ Melts Faces, Warms Hearts, Saves Souls

Jim James, photo by
Rock and roll has always been about salvation. 

It has always been about redemption, deliverance from the mundane, the oppression, and the repetitiveness of the daily grind.  It is a release and an escape.  

My Morning Jacket's Saturday night show at the Boca Raton's cozy Sunset Cove Amphitheater was all this and more.  Jim James and Carl Broemel's twin guitar attack created a pure rock and roll moment.  There were more than a few times where all one could do was thrown your hands to the heavens and bask in the music's glory. 

The publicly-owned amphitheater, which is one of the more obscure and quirky venues in South Florida, was populated with a small (think large private party) but appreciatively hazy crowd.  The small attendance did not affect the band's stellar performance.  It was an arena show and we all had floor seats. 

The Louisville-based group featured cuts from each of their six albums during the past dozen years.  The majority of the songs came from the band's excellent spring release "Circuital."  The band was tight and funky, but, James, the charismatic frontman, was the focus.  From his searing guitar licks to his penchant for wearing capes, James demanded your attention. 

Opening the night was Delta Spirit who will most likely be headlining these types of shows next year after their new album is released in March. 

Rarely has South Florida seen two strong bands play on the same bill.  For those willing to venture out to west Boca, their efforts were greatly rewarded. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

It Is Time To Start The Top Ten Season

Tis the season for your Top Ten albums, songs, concerts and whatnot. After Hours favorite Tristan Clopet jumps out of the gate with a quality album list.  Above is his cover from The Black Keys' "El Camino" album from his renowned Living Room sessions.  "El Camino" will camp out on most lists this year including Tristan's and the After Hours HQ.  Lykke Li's spring release "Wounded Rhymes" is Clopet's intriguing top pick

Sunday, December 4, 2011

MMJ, Radiohead, Avetts, Elvis Headline SoFla Concert Season

With a break in the weather here, the world's itinerant musicians are headed to South Florida and we are the beneficiaries. Two of the best live bands going, My Morning Jacket and Radiohead, will be visiting and providing must-see shows on the peninsula during the next several months. 

There are several "wild-card" shows on the agenda - with Dan Hicks at the intimate Bamboo Room and the Nashville duo, The Civil Wars, - that deserve the discerning music fans attention.  

Dec. 5th - Daryl Hall & John Oates - Hard Rock Live
Dec. 6th - Paul Simon - Hard Rock Live 
Dec. 9th - Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers - Bamboo Room 
Dec 10th - My Morning Jacket w/ Delta Spirit - Sunset Cove Amphitheater 

Dec. 15th - John Ralston - Bamboo Room 
Dec. 15th - Dar Williams - Lyric Theater 
Dec. 15th - Alice Cooper - Hard Rock Live 
Dec. 17th - Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks - Bamboo Room 
Dec. 29th - Matisyahu - Kravis Center 
Dec. 30th - Jan. 1 - Cee-Lo Green, Boys II Men, Pete Wentz - Orange Drive Miami Beach Music Festival
Jan. 2nd - B.B. King - Kravis Center 
Jan. 6th - Donna the Buffalo - Revolution Live
Jan. 12th - Bob Seger - Bank Atlantic Center 
Jan. 14th - Galactic - Revolution Live 

Jan. 18th - Gregg Allman - Hard Rock Live 
Jan. 26th - G Love and Special Sauce - The Culture Room 
Jan. 28th - Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band - American Airlines Arena 

Jan. 28th - The Kills - Revolution Live 
Feb. 2nd - Keb' Mo - Lyric Theater 
Feb. 3rd - John Prine & Sara Watkins - Coral Springs Center for the Arts 
Feb. 4th - Patti LaBelle - Kravis Center 
Feb. 4th - The Civil Wars - The Culture Room
Feb. 23th - The Saw Doctors - Revolution Live 
Feb. 10th - The Avett Brothers - Sunset Cove Amphitheater 
Feb. 24th - Doobie Brothers - Hard Rock Live
Feb. 27th - Radiohead - American Airlines Arena
Mar. 3rd - Dropkick Murphys - Pompano Beach Amphitheater
Mar. 9th - Henry Rollins - Spoken Word - Revolution Live 

Mar. 10th - Big Head Todd & the Monsters - The Culture Room
Mar. 16th - MuteMath - Revolution Live 
April 25th - Elvis Costello and The Imposters - Hard Rock Live 
June 15th - Roger Waters: The Wall Live - BankAtlantic Center

Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking The Tumblr - After Hours On The Move

After a long respite and finding the Blogger format unforgiving, I am shifting After Hours to Tumblr.  Hope to see you there

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Surfer Blood To Play Respectable's This Saturday

After touring through Europe and criss-crossing the U.S. several times during the past two years, West Palm Beach's indie rock heroes, Surfer Blood, will be playing a hometown show this Friday Saturday night at Respectable Street.  The band earlier reported on their social media that the show was Friday. 

The four-piece band is playing a rare local show before hitting the road this fall, including a one-month stint opening up for the Pixies.   The Warner Bros. artists will spend most of their time along the eastern coast this fall before heading to England in December to play an All Tomorrow's Parties festival.

The easiest way to catch them will be Friday in West Palm at Respectable's.  Ironic T-shirt and skinny jeans optional.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tristan Clopet Makes The Album For The Summer

After Hours favorite Tristan Clopet has created an outstanding summer album.  An album destined to be played loud, speeding along the coastal highway with the windows open and the warm, fresh air blowing through your hair. 

From the bright guitars of the opening track, "A Summer in Sussex," through Clopet's signature soaring vocals, the Miami singer-songwriter has created a delicious indie pop album.  It is Clopet's best work yet - a real breakthrough in his art. 

Clopet's first long player is entitled, Name It What You Want, and is the result of four months of work with both LA-based producer Raymond Richards (Local Natives) and NY-based producer Justin Gerrish (The Strokes, Vampire Weekend). The result is a spacious mix of infectious rock that masterfully incorporates a wide range of instruments and sounds.  The album mixes the best of British Indie Pop melodies with Clopet's blue-eyed soul, funky guitar riffs and beat-crazy nature.  The LP features several Beatlesque flourishes that can't help but bring a smile to the listener.

Favorite tracks include the wonderful single, "A Chat with My Brain;" the breezy "When You Were Younger;" and the ambitious "Toutes Directions." I have been humming this album for the past week.  

Clopet is giving fans a chance to name their own price for LP from his website.  iTunes is also featuring the album at its standard price.  In another nod to our social media-based world, Clopet had 7 of his Facebook friends back him up on vocals on the album's opening song. Currently, Clopet is touring major eastern and midwestern cities in support of the album.  Looking forward to Clopet's return south.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goblin Review

Right off the bat I'm going to say that Goblin has some of the most shocking lyrics ever put on a major label's CD, is a long trip into a dark psyche that part of you wants to escape and finally is one of the best rap albums in recent years.

Tyler, the Creator is seen by some as the savior as hip hop, and by just as many as a destroyer of values and moral codes. Music and controversy has been married for long back when people called rock "the devil's music." The one I remember most is Eminem, the rapper who gladly scared middle America with his dark lyrics. Eminem's influence is like a stamp on the album, felt from the rape/murder fantasy lyrics of "Tron Cat" to the various alter ego's Tyler has. The alter ego's, known as Wolf Haley, Tyler and Dr. TC, are the focus of the album. Not simply okay with keeping his alter ego's to their own songs they begin to invade other songs slowly taking over the (mostly) sane Tyler until he reaches a breaking point that leaves him a wreck but with the possibility of being saved from himself.

If you only buy one song off this album get Yonkers, which has gotten over 8 million hits on YouTube. Filled with great beats and clever lyrics it grabs you from the beginning with it's proclamation "I'm a f**king walking paradox, no I'm not." It's a perfect little slice of the insanity that has turned Tyler into a cult success. The real surprises are the more slow songs that Tyler is surprisingly good at "Her" tells the tale of Tyler being in love with a girl who complains to him about her boyfriends to him but still stays with them. It's a weirdly sweet song, that reveals that Tyler may not be the psycho he pretends he is. On the other side is "She" that while sounding like a John Legend/Kanye West team up, tells the dark story of Tyler spying on a girl through her blinds and escalating to murder and rape, in that order. The hook on this one is especially nice courtesy of Frank Ocean (who I also heartily recommend).

"Tron Cat" is probably the most shocking song on the album and it where Wolf begins to invade the song and Tyler loses contact with himself. The slow piano under the beat only fleshes out the horrifying lyrics and even Tyler seems shocked by what he's said. Golden in which Tyler manages to bring himself if only for a moment of light is a great way to end the album with some actually touching lyrics. It becomes clear that Tyler is no more then a scared teen who plays the psycho card for attention. Rather then feeling tricked, you feel pity for him and root for the guy who killed someone last track. It's weird and it somehow works.

When the album fails though, it fails hard, the opening and title track "Goblin" is subpar and it doesn't help that in the lyrics Tyler reminds us of the much better Bastard intro. The track "Radical" has been a hit at live shows and it should probably stay there, meant to incite mosh pits it just kinda sit there on the album. "B***ch S**k D**k" (my that's a lot of asterisks) is supposed to be a parody of bad rap, but lacks the fun energy of Tina from Bastard and is just bad rap instead of a parody. "Window" is okay, but it seems to be more about Tyler showing off his friends then making good music. Nothing wrong with that, but eight minutes of that can get grating.

Goblin is already being talked by some as that album. The one's that played by 21st anarchists as they burn down a school. However I think Tyler deserves a critical listening by us blogging hipsters with our flannel and our suave mustaches. That's because if you actually take some time to scratch off the grime there's gold in these hills.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Wolf Pack Descends

If you read any music blog, magazine, newspaper or flyer you've probably heard about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. A collection of rappers, beat makers, producer and even a RnB singer. They've taken the indie world by storm with Pitchfork loving them and appearing on the covers of several big magazines. They've appeared on Jimmy Fallon, got a record deal and there's talk of a TV show. It's another story of a small group getting very big, very fast. We've seen it countless times in the music business. The thing that makes Odd Future different though is that they have attained this level of fame without selling a single album.

The group looks more like a group of skaters hanging out in a parking lot then superstars, mostly because that's what they are. The majority under drinking age their youngest, Earl, being 15 at the time he made his first and only album, they bring a mix of over the top excitement and awkward shyness.

Odd Future has released several mixtapes all for free on their Tumblr. The mixtapes quality range from Hodgy Beats' so-so Dena Tape to Tyler the Creator's amazing Bastard. Over all twelve mixtapes were made available for free over a two year period. Even groups like Wu-Tang have trouble getting that many albums out. It's a stroke of marketing genius though, anyone who hears about Odd Future can become a fan in a few easy clicks.

The music industry isn't all about the music though, from day one each member has updated their fans on Twitter, Tumblr and a multitude of silly youtube videos that not only keep them connected, but help them keep their fans attentions. Odd Future fans will stay up all night checking tweets and posts just for a new photo, new song or even a new album that gets dropped without any warning.

Tyler the Creator's new album Goblin comes out May 10th and as his first pay album and among a leak of the full album the odds are stacked against him. It still seems to see if the fanbase they've created, mostly made of internet savvy teens, will back him up now that it's pay to play.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

SunFest Day 3: Sound Mix Abandons Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman deserved better.

The sound mix for Allman's Friday Night SunFest show was as muddy as the Delta. And, at times, Allman's distinctive vocals were buried so far down in the mix that they only could be found with a Geiger counter.

Once again, Gregg Allman deserved better. And so did the audience.

The venerable bluesman is touring to support his first new album in more than a decade, Low Country Blues. If you don't have this album, stop right now and buy it. It is required music.

Allman and his six-piece band covered songs from the Allman Brothers, his past solo work the latest album during the 80-minute set. The band started ragged with the aforementioned sound mixing debacle and with its own internal struggles with playing together on Allman's latest work. Halfway through the set, the band found its footing and ended the show with a rousing version of "Statesboro Blues." Percussionist Floyd Miles spelled Allman of his vocal duties for two funky Chicago blues tunes, which were one of the highlights of the set.

Recovering from his liver transplant from last June, Allman was playing his seventh show in the past 10 days and he was showing his 63 years. Allman has just started a younger man's tour for the next five months. The tour will make stops at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, Bonnaroo and the European festival circuit. This Sunday, the band will be in Memphis for the Beale Street Blues Festival.

With that wonderfully whiskey baritone, Allman is all bluesman. I only hope to hear him again when sound mix arises to the quality of the performer.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm Famous For These Glasses Baby

Cee-Lo Green has had a rough time, getting booed off Coachella doesn't go down easy. I'm sure having a number one pop song and a Grammy nomination ease the pain. I'm talking about the brilliant NSFW hit that we've mentioned many times before on this very blog. As the crowds gathered, we all had the same question on our lips... well my mom did because she made a five dollar bet that he wouldn't. Will he sing those forbidden words?

The answer to the five-dollar question was no, well kinda. I should probably back up. As Cee-Lo made us wait around twenty minutes after his starting time, we joked about what was keeping him. Marty said that he was backstage watching the walls drip. As the lights dimmed and Cee-Lo's all-girl band took the stage, the man himself came on the P.A. introducing himself as "The Lady Killer." He started off with his earlier songs when he was still with rap group Goodie Mob, who joined him on stage, as Cee-Lo paced in the background providing a line or two as his homies spit their rhymes.

But as they were ushered off stage Cee-Lo started to go into soul - where he really shines. His voice really is an amazing thing to listen to, even on CD, which is probably why he's judging on a show called The Voice. He quickly changes between styles from the soul powered "Crazy" to a very rock version of "Run." Cursing like a sailor all the way through Cee-Lo brought hit after hit to the people of Palm Beach.

At the end, though, people were still expecting the song they came for, and he knew it. Kicking it out as his finale, he relied on the audience to sing the oh-so essential part, never actually uttering the phrase. The crowd didn't care and who really should? Despite that, it's still got a killer hook. Even better, he ends it with an awesome and seamless transition into "Rock The Casbah," mash up artists, get on it!

Cee-Lo delivers an impressive show for anyone. Going from rap to soul to rock, he'll deliver something for everyone. As we left the show, my mom was handed five dollars. Damn technicalities.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SunFest Day 1: Avett Brothers and the Lyrics that Sing

By Emily J. Minor
I live with two grown men who are gaga over music. Our son, now 20, was getting an music allowance back way back in early middle school. Forget cash for taking out the garbage, how about another Gorillaz download? My husband - Mr. After Hours Music Proprietor Marty Minor himself - has resisted the iPhone for one simple reason: he couldn’t put all his music on it.

This might seem like one of those “blessings” all the hyper-happy like to talk about.

The Minors are so hip! We’re all so groovy. Yet, here I am, paying the monthly iTunes account, stuck in some sort of unsettling music limbo.

I am not resistant to retro; I embrace it.

Consequently, their music is way over my head.
My under-the-counter kitchen radio is set on NPR and the local oldies station. (Well, station choices in West Palm Beach are to blame for the latter, but that’s a whole other - what do they call this again? - blog post.)

It might be spring, 2011, but I still like James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac and really old Linda Ronstadt.Oh! And The Avett Brothers. I love The Avett Brothers, big time.

The Avett Brothers - two of them are really brothers, which makes me happy for their mom - are adorable. They are full of energy. They appear physically fit, which leads me to believe they eat their vegetables. And they gave a REALLY, REALLY FUN show Wednesday at SunFest. I drank three beers in their honor!

The best thing about The Avett Brothers isn’t the banjo or the bass or that one guy who plays the cello almost like it’s a guitar.

It’s their lyrics.

Scott Avett and his little brother, Seth, can write. Really write.

Funny lyrics. Happy lyrics. Lyrics that make you cry.

Somber lyrics. Sensitive lyrics. Lyrics that make you sing.

I hate to be too old-fashioned, but I think The Avett Brothers are a little bit John Prine and a little bit They Might Be Giants and a little bit Barenaked Ladies and a whole lot of them, all rolled up into something fresh and new and fun.

Every time I listen to them, I just feel happy. And Wednesday night, it was especially nice.

Monday, April 25, 2011

SunFest's Here! Time To Find A New Band

The roadies are here.  They are setting up the multiple stages as there are only a few hours left until SunFest begins on Wednesday night.  

While most of the well-meaning music fans have mapped out their headliners (After Hours will be visiting The Avett Brothers, Cee-Lo and Gregg Allman), there a multitude of up-and-coming bands and regional acts to check out.  Hell, that is the beauty of a music festival - to blithely stumble upon a band that becomes a favorite. 

During a sugar-like craving for sweet, pop music, two, early opening acts - both based in South Florida - have piqued the interests here at AF HQ.  

The product of an Irish schoolteacher and her musician father from India, Sarah Packiam plays a sultry acoustic pop that includes flourishes of Irish folk and Indian music.  Now based in Miami Beach, Packiam is now recording her debut album of indie world folk in Miami's Cutting Cane Studio.  Packiam is opening the show Thursday night (5:15 p.m.) at the main Bank of America stage. 

The southern-infused pop rock of The Gallery is as catchy as one of their hook-laden songs. Formed in Massachusetts, the quartet has been based in West Palm Beach for the past three years.  The unsigned band just released their first EP and continues to tour around the country.  The band has the unenviable slot of 12:15 p.m. Saturday as the first band of the day at the Tire Kingdom Stage.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ready for the Breakout: A Chat with Tristan Clopet and His Brain

After Hours favorite and Miami singer-songwriter Tristan Clopet has found his voice - and his groove - with his new single, "A Chat With My Brain."  With that, Clopet will be finding a much larger audience in 2011.  

Clopet's previous recordings are a pleasant and intoxicating mix of blue-eyed soul and rock/funk thumpers.  On this new single, and the new album coming out next month, Clopet has found his indie rock groove and it's terrific.  With the song and the album, the Toronto-born singer worked with indie producer Raymond Richards, who gained well-deserved praise for last year's superb Local Natives debut.  

The song, driven by piano and drums, creates enough room for Clopet's vocals to soar.  The chorus features a great, addictive hook. It is one of the best indie pop songs you'll hear this year. I have been humming it for the past week.  

With the release of the new single, available for download on iTunes, Clopet took some time to chat about his music, the recording process and creativity's breeding ground.  

After Hours: The new song, "A Chat With My Brain" is more of a straight-ahead Indie rock sound than your past recordings.  Was that a conscious decision to go in that direction or more of an organic process?
Tristan Clopet: It was a conscious decision to try to be more organic in my songwriting. To really extract from a natural place. I felt like I've really come into my own on this record. Feels really good.

AF: How did you hook up with Raymond Richards and how has that been?
TC: We were fortunate to have a few options for this album. One day I was thinking about our immediate future and had Local Natives on in the background. It suddenly occurred to me that the sound of the new songs were very similar to the feel of Gorilla Manor. So I got on the internet and looked up who did it, emailed him and he really loved the demos. We talked on the phone, hit it off and the rest is history.

AF: After two EPs, this is your first album coming out in May.  How has the recording process changed for you?
TC: You know, not a lot. Obviously, its a different animal playing with the red light on and one gets better at it over time but the process itself is pretty much the same. I value the opinons of everyone in the room and I encourage a really healthy, lighthearted mood. Creativity really needs a healthy breeding ground. Great performances tend to come in between belly laughs.

AF:What was the best show you saw during the past year?

TC: Beach House at the Fillmore was great.  As was Foster the People at SXSW.  The latter is a new band that should be making some noise this coming year. 

Clopet will be touring this summer in support of the album.  Keep tuned for upcoming dates.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vinyl Dreams on Record Store Day

I received my education from Haffa's Fine Used Records in Athens, Ohio.

In that small, grimy basement store, I learned the passion, joy, despair and the cold hard realities of buying and selling used vinyl.  I discovered Miles Davis, Tom Waits and the cutout bin there.  

It was a beautiful way to kill that hour between classes and to watch, in fascination, as the used vinyl was sorted for rejection or acceptance for a quarter or two.  The best records were bought for a buck. I sold vinyl there when I needed money.  Spent it there when I had it. 

For me, Haffa's was a portal.  A transmitter linked to a much wider world.  A world of musicians playing in smoky clubs and sweaty, downtown bars  - and all the excitement, rebellion and freedom it represented to me.  I wanted to drink it all in - like it was coming from a fire hose.  It made me want to leave my cave and take a look around.  I can't thank Haffa's enough for that. 

I will be paying my respects to Top Five Records in Lake Worth - a great, vintage vinyl and CD place. Cash only.  Singer-songwriter and Local Hero John Ralston will kick off the full day of in-store performances at 1 p.m.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chocolate Drops Hit Florida, Tropical Heatwave

Unbelievably cool band and NPR favorite, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, are headed to the Sunshine State next month for stops in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando before helping headline WMNF's 30th Tropical Heatwave extravaganza.

The truly eclectic Chocolate Drops play traditional, black banjo/fiddle music with a definitive modern twist.  The result is damn near magic.  The Boone, North Carolina trio update traditional music with soul, blues, and, at times, a beatbox. Fiddle Rhiannon Giddens, classically trained in opera, touches your soul whenever she sings.  

The trio plays the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale on May 11th.  The next night, they head to Mickey City to rock The Plaza Theater.

On Saturday, May 14, the Drops will help headline perhaps the best Tropical Heatwave lineup evah in Tampa for the legendary WMNF community radio station.   The Carolina Chocolate Drops open up for Cracker (?!?!?!!!!) at the El Pasaje Plaza.  After Hours' heroes, Lauris Vidal and The Whigs, also help round out a solid lineup of great music of a warm, Florida night.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Langerado Lives!!

South Florida's beloved and beleaguered music festival, Langerado, is back.

Two years after the popular festival closed up shop, promoters announced that Langerado will re-appear this fall as a two-day festival.  The October 8th & 9th musical festival will return to the location of its best days at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida.

Promoters are promising a "diverse collection of artists from indie rock to electronica to modern roots" encompassing 22 acts.  The first line-up announcement is set for June 1st.  Special "on faith" tickets are $75 for two-days of undetermined music.  After the acts are announced, the advanced tickets go up to a throat-clearing $150 for the two-day festival.  This will be the first autumn dates for the festival, which usually ran during the March spring breaks.

The festival left Markham Park after the 2007 event when Broward County received numerous complaints about lax drug law enforcement at the show.  The 2008 event was moved to the remote Seminole Big Cypress Indian Reservation in the Everglades. The 2009 festival was planned for downtown Miami, but was quickly cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

After Hours HQ is cautiously optimistic and thinking about getting new concert chairs.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Band You Should Know: Sam Friend

Photo by Jorge Velasquez
In an age where music has been whittled down to invisible bits and bytes, Miami singer-songwriter Sam Friend builds his pop-infused Americana with the skill of a master carpenter.  

Crafting captivating songs about love and loss, Friend uses a variety of instruments from classical strings to a mandolin. His voice is reminiscent of early Conor Oberst and James Mercer of the Shins with a touch of Thom Yorke.  Friend is bound to be a player in the anti-folk scene for years to come. 

Friend will be performing Saturday, April 12th at the Art Walk in the cooler-than-cool Miami Design District.  Friend, who is currently recording in NYC, will be performing at The Garden Lounge, 191-A NE 40th Street, Miami. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. 

The Miami/Dade native took some time from recording to discuss with After Hours his new album, finding the right sounds and the liberal return policy at Radio Shack

AFTER HOURS: I guess one of the obvious questions is, “How does a University of Miami jazz student become an indie folkster?”
SAM FRIEND: Simplest answer is I always basically was, way before I knew about the term. And still am, an indie folkster. I’m totally cool with that. Jazz was the thing that you did during school hours. I was never one of those people who placed jazz above all music. It’s super hard on all levels, no question, but there have been great players in all genres. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re any good. I connect with music at the source. And that has little to do with perfection and execution. That stuff can help, of course. Oh man though, jazz can say so much when it’s working. 
AH: You open your latest album, Lady Madly, with the "environmental" recording of a street scene and end the album with a recording of you singing in what sounds like a separate room.  What is the attraction for you of these non-traditional recordings?
SF: A lot of that’s the Seattle thing. There’s a real sense out there that music should be honest and gimmicks are transparent. There’s emphasis placed on finding time to let things develop at their natural pace, easing in. That and all those ambient infused moments on records I listened to growing up were a big influence. Especially on mindset and approach when giving Lady Madly her parenthesis. In retrospect, they act as a reminder that these songs came out of real things. Things like people reading this article right now even. I guess that be boring though, to hear someone reading, unless you’re John Cage. The beginning of Lady Madly is a reception outside the Henry Art Gallery at UW. One girl says, “I feel like she wants to.” That’s where it starts. For the finale, I bought a tape recorder at Radio Shack, walked home, recorded a live take in a bathroom, walked back to Radio Shack and returned the recorder.

AH: Your music welds together many different types of musical genres and beats. It is not unusual to hear a rock guitar riff, strings, and pop harmonies over an Americana stroll that gives a nod to a reggae beat.  Is this a conscious decision to expand the vocabulary of your music or is it an organic evolution? 
SF: Mostly organic. Not to say I don’t think about what I’m doing. I’m a thinker. But the vast majority of what I write that makes it into my shows and on my records are ideas that happen when the thinking stops. Not on purpose, just fleeting creative energy that happens when it happens. And so if something works, it works. I don’t know how people write in one style all the time. My attention drifts. I like the idea of making songs that reflect an entire record in each song. Not in the way of changing things abruptly as to confuse, but to take the listener through various ideas without them noticing the shift until they’re already there.

AH: Growing up and living in Miami-Dade, does the exile nature of the residents (snowbirds, refugees, retirees and fortune-seekers) and the multiple cultures of the area influence your music?  
SF: Sure. But not the way you might expect. As a young guy, I spent time in West Virginia, where my mother’s from. So that seed was planted early. And growing up in Miami, I felt an attraction to the idea of music that I couldn’t touch. Like British rock and American folk. It was difficult for me to identify with a lot of the Latin influences in music that are prevalent in the area, so I think it kind of intensified my connection to the music I was into. And it was hard to find at record stores, so that probably added to the allure. But I have to say, recently I’ve come around and learned to really get into all the unique convergences of cultures down here and the music that comes out of all the vibrancies.

AH: You have been recently recording in NYC, are you preparing a new album? EP? single?  With the continual flux of music business, how does an artist move forward in this uncertain environment for the music industry. 
SF: I think that’s a good question. For me, it’s about putting myself in a position to continue creating. And this music industry allows that. I got into this game because I was moved by the power of music early on. And I felt a kinship with the people who made it. So far, I’ve been able to continue making music and continue learning how to do it. To answer your question, it’s going to be a document of style including songs I’ve been writing since my last release, and I’m calling it Spirit Mirror.

AH: What was the best show you saw last year?
SF: Chris Thile and Michael Daves at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. Both these guys are the real deal. I had just got in from Chicago, and was playing the same venue days later. It wasn’t too cold yet, and Max Fish was still open. It was interesting to catch that rural associated sound in the most major of metropolises. The whole crowd was right there. The room’s energy really resonated to the rafters. I was buzzing. 

Sam Friend - Part of the Show from Adam Fairholm on Vimeo.

"Part of the Show" - iTunes