Alton Nehemiah Ellis OD (1 September 1938 – 10 October 2008) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter. One of the innovators of rocksteady who was given the informal title "Godfather of Rocksteady". In 2006, he was inducted into the International Reggae And World Music Awards Hall Of Fame.
Born Alton Nehemiah Ellis in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica, Ellis was raised within a musical family which included his older brothers Leslie [who performed as one of his back up singers and co-wrote some of his songs], and Irving [known as 'Niney'] who was a popular singer and steel pan player on Jamaica's North Coast. He learned to play the piano at a young age. He attended Ebeneezer and Boys' Town schools, where he excelled in both music and sport. While at Boys' Town Ellis performed as a dancer (in a duo) in the first show that a school director called Mr Bailey had organized for Vere Johns who had been invited down to talent scout. He would later compete on Vere Johns' Opportunity Hour. After winning some competitions, he switched to singing, starting his career in 1959 as part of the duo Alton & Eddy with Eddy Parkins.
Amadou & Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the Bamako-born couple Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals) (born 24 October 1954) and Mariam Doumbia (vocals) (born 15 April 1958).
Their album Welcome To Mali (2008) was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album.
Amadou lost his vision at the age of 16, while Mariam became blind at age 5 as a consequence of untreated measles. Known as "the blind couple from Mali", they met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, where they both performed at the Institute’s Eclipse Orchestra, directed by Idrissa Soumaouro, and found they shared an interest in music. Between 1974 and 1980, Amadou played guitar in the West African band Les Ambassadeurs du Motel de Bamako.
In 1980 the couple married and by 1983 they began to play together while Amadou continued a successful solo career and ran the blind institute's music programme.
Amadou is a fan of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin.
The duo's early recordings in the 1980s and 1990s featured sparse arrangements of guitar and voice. Since the late 1990s Amadou & Mariam have produced music that mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. In combination these elements have been called "Afro-blues".
Damon McMahon founded the band Amen Dunes in 2006 in New York, New York.
Amen Dunes' fifth record, Freedom, has received positive reviews, with Pitchfork calling it McMahon's "euphoric breakthrough". In addition to his regular collaborators Parker Kindred and Jordi Wheeler, Freedom features Delicate Steve and underground Roman musician Panoram. Chris Coady (Beach House) produced. The record was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City and Sunset Sound in Los Angeles.
Amen Dunes is made up of McMahon and a rotating cast of musicians. In an interview, McMahon explained: "It's a solo project, but it's a band when it's in action, you know what I mean? I always relate to people like David Bowie, who were very considered with their collaborators, and collaboration is what he did, and it's a big part of what I do, but it's a solo project. I have a band per album, you could say. Even less, I have different band for each stage of album development. Because I had a band that helped me flesh out these songs, and then there's a different group of guys who are coming on the road with me."
American Music Club was an American, San Francisco-based indie rock band, led by singer-songwriter Mark Eitzel. Formed in 1983, the band released seven albums before splitting up in 1995. They reformed in 2003 and released two further albums.
Although born in California, Eitzel spent his formative years in Okinawa (Japan), Taiwan, Southampton (the United Kingdom) and Ohio (United States) before returning to the Bay Area in 1981. After a brief stint with the bands The Cowboys (one single: "Supermarket"/"Teenage Life") and The Naked Skinnies (one single) he founded American Music Club in San Francisco in 1983 with guitarist Scott Alexander, drummer Greg Bonnell and bass player Brad Johnson. The band went through many personnel changes before arriving at a stable line up of guitarist Vudi (Mark Pankler), bassist Danny Pearson, keyboardist Brad Johnson and drummer Matt Norelli. This lineup would change over the next several years, but Eitzel always remained the core of the band in terms of its vocals, lyrics and thematic focus, with Vudi and Pearson accompanying him on guitar and bass.
Their 1985 debut, The Restless Stranger, released on Grifter Records, is widely considered as the first slowcore release, establishing the band as major pioneers of slowcore and an early influence on post-rock. It was later followed by 1987's Engine which saw record producer Tom Mallon as a full-time member.
American Music Club earned a solid cult following in Europe on the strength of 1988's California. Their next LP, 1989's United Kingdom, was a UK-only release comprising new material, some of which was recorded live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. These two albums were described by Ian Canadine in Rock: The Rough Guide as "the band's two unequivocal masterpieces".
In 1991 American Music Club released Everclear, which has been described as "more polished and radio-friendly" compared to the previous albums, with David Sprague, writing for Trouser Press stating the "slickened production works against the band", but as the band's masterpiece by Allmusic writer Jason Ankeny. Critical acclaim attracted the attention of several major labels. Rolling Stone called it the Album of the Year and named Eitzel Songwriter of the Year for 1991. Eventually, AMC—now consisting of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan and drummer Tim Mooney—signed with Reprise in the US and Virgin throughout the rest of the world.
The band contributed the track "All Your Jeans Were Too Tight" to the 1993 AIDS-Benefit Album No Alternative produced by the Red Hot Organization. The album Mercury, produced by Mitchell Froom, followed in 1993 and, despite positive reviews (although Canadine considered it over-produced), the album only reached number 41 on the UK Albums Chart and got little radio and television exposure. In 1994, AMC issued San Francisco, which balanced confessional tunes like "Fearless" and "The Thorn in My Side Is Gone" alongside more accessible offerings such as "Wish the World Away".
The band disbanded in 1995, with Eitzel concentrating on his solo career, having already released a solo live album and en EP as side projects. Vudi subsequently formed Clovis de la Floret while working as a bus driver in Los Angeles.
The band reunited in 2003, with Eitzel joined by Pearson and Mooney, and later Vudi and keyboard player Marc Capelle, to record a new album, Love Songs for Patriots (released in 2004), which is described by Allmusic reviewer Mark Deming as "a stronger and more coherent effort than the group's last set, 1994's San Francisco, and while it's too early to tell if this is a new start or a last hurrah for AMC, it at least shows that their formula still yields potent results. Here's hoping Eitzel and Vudi have more where this came from."
A performance in Pittsburgh on November 10, 2004, was released as a live CD, A Toast To You, on January 1, 2005. The band then consisted of Eitzel, Vudi, Pearson, Mooney, with Jason Borger on keyboards.
On June 20, 2007, AMC announced a new lineup connected to the band's base of operations moving to Los Angeles. Eitzel and Vudi remained, while Mooney and Pearson stayed behind in San Francisco. They were replaced by bassist Sean Hoffman and drummer Steve Didelot from the band the Larks. AMC's next record, entitled The Golden Age, was released in the UK on February 4, 2008, on Cooking Vinyl and in the US on February 19 on Merge Records.
The band split up again around 2010.
Tim Mooney died of a blood clot in June 2012; he was 53.
Tom Mallon died after a long battle with brain cancer on January 9, 2014; he was 57.
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter. She was known for her deep, expressive contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including soul (sometimes labelled as blue-eyed soul and neo soul), rhythm and blues, and jazz. Winehouse's debut album, Frank (2003), was a critical success in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her follow-up album, Back to Black (2006), led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made her the first British woman to win five Grammys, including three of the General Field "Big Four" Grammy Awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Winehouse won three Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors: in 2004, Best Contemporary Song for "Stronger Than Me"; in 2007, Best Contemporary Song again, this time for "Rehab"; and in 2008, Best Song Musically and Lyrically for "Love Is a Losing Game." She also won the 2007 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist, having been nominated for Best British Album, with Back to Black.
Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011, at the age of 27. Her album Back to Black posthumously became, for a time, the UK's best-selling album of the 21st century.
In contrast to her jazz-influenced former album, Winehouse's focus shifted to the girl groups of the 1950s and 1960s. Winehouse hired New York singer Sharon Jones's longtime band, the Dap-Kings, to back her up in the studio and on tour. Mitch Winehouse relates in Amy, My Daughter how fascinating watching her process was: her perfectionism in the studio and how she would put what she had sung on a CD and play it in his taxi outside to know how most people would hear her music. In May 2006, Winehouse's demo tracks such as "You Know I'm No Good" and "Rehab" appeared on Mark Ronson's New York radio show on East Village Radio. These were some of the first new songs played on the radio after the release of "Pumps" and both were slated to appear on her second album. The 11-track album, completed in five months, was produced entirely by Salaam Remi and Ronson, with the production credits being split between them. Ronson said in a 2010 interview that he liked working with Winehouse because she was blunt when she did not like his work. She in turn thought that when they first met, he was a sound engineer and that she was expecting an older man with a beard. Promotion of Back to Black soon began and, in early October 2006 Winehouse's official website was relaunched with a new layout and clips of previously unreleased songs. Back to Black was released in the UK on 30 October 2006. It went to number one on the UK Albums Chart for two weeks in January 2007, dropping then climbing back for several weeks in February. In the US, it entered at number seven on the Billboard 200. It was the best-selling album in the UK of 2007, selling 1.85 million copies over the course of the year.
The album spawned a number of hit singles. The first single released from the album was the Ronson-produced "Rehab." The song reached the top ten in the UK and the US. Time magazine named "Rehab" the Best Song of 2007. Writer Josh Tyrangiel praised Winehouse for her confidence, saying, "What she is mouthy, funny, sultry, and quite possibly crazy" and "It's impossible not to be seduced by her originality. Combine it with production by Mark Ronson that references four decades worth of soul music without once ripping it off, and you've got the best song of 2007." The album's second single and lead single in the US, "You Know I'm No Good," was released in January 2007 with a remix featuring rap vocals by Ghostface Killah. It ultimately reached number 18 on the UK singles chart. The title track, "Back to Black," was released in the UK in April 2007 and peaked at number 25, but was more successful across mainland Europe. "Tears Dry on Their Own," "Love Is a Losing Game" were also released as singles, but failed to achieve the same level of success.
Ancient River is a psychedelic rock band formed in 2008. The band was created by singer/songwriter James Barreto, and features Barreto (vocals/guitar/songwriter) and Alexis Cordova, Jr. (drums/vocals).
Formed in 2008, with friends and now past members Zachary Veltheim on bass (from Barreto's previous band The Ohm) and Chad Voight on drums.
The band name was taken from the Neil Young song "Thrasher": “Where the eagle glides ascending/There’s an ancient river bending/Down the timeless gorge of changes/Where sleeplessness awaits.”
In reviewing 2011's Songs from North America, the Knoxville Mercury described Ancient River’s music as reminiscent of "the sun-baked desert twang of the Meat Puppets and Crazy Horse."
Cordova and Barreto met when Cordova moved to Gainesville to join another band. In the Mercury interview, Cordova is quoted as saying, "when I found out about [Ancient River], if I hadn’t joined, they probably would have been my favorite band in Gainesville. I kind of feel like it was the right time, right place." Cordova now plays drums in the band, which was his first instrument growing up.
The band's origins can be traced back the music scene in Gainesville, Florida and its thriving home grown DIY scene. Barreto, who had trained as an audio engineer, had a home studio and was busy recording local musicians.
Ancient River made their debut at Austin Psych Festival on April 24, 2010. Cordova joined the line up in 2011 and the band began regularly playing the live circuit, playing Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia and Austin Psych Festival for a second time in 2012. Appearances at Los Angeles’ Psycho De Mayo and Desert Stars Festival Pre-Party followed in 2014 along with Milwaukee Psych Fest in 2015.
Andrew Wegman Bird (born July 11, 1973) is an American indie rock multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. He was a member of the bands Squirrel Nut Zippers and Bowl of Fire before pursuing a solo career. His main instrument is violin, but he also plays guitar and glockenspiel and is an expert whistler. He wrote and performed "The Whistling Caruso" for The Muppets movie and composed the score for the television series Baskets.
Trained in the Suzuki method from the age of four, Bird graduated from Lake Forest High School in 1991 and Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in violin performance in 1996. That same year he self-released his first solo album, Music of Hair. Vastly different from his later work, this album showcased his violin skills and paid tribute to his fascination with both American and European folk traditions, as well as jazz and blues. Following this, his initial commercial exposure came through collaborative work with the band Squirrel Nut Zippers, appearing on three of their albums (Hot, Sold Out, and Perennial Favorites) between 1996 and 1998.
Taking on the role of bandleader, Bird released Thrills on Rykodisc in 1998 with his group Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire, shortly followed by second album Oh! The Grandeur in 1999. Both albums were heavily influenced by traditional folk, pre-war jazz, and swing, with Bird relying on the violin as his primary musical instrument, as well as providing vocals along with his trademark verbose lyrics. The Bowl of Fire featured musicians from Bird's home town of Chicago, including Kevin O'Donnell, Joshua Hirsch, Jon Williams, Nora O'Connor, Andy Hopkins, Jimmy Sutton, Colin Bunn, and Ryan Hembrey. During this period, Andrew Bird was a member of the jazz group Kevin O'Donnells Quality Six, for which he was the lead singer and violinist and contributed to arrangements and songwriting for the albums Heretic Blues (Delmark 1999) and Control Freak (Delmark 2000) (both Delmark albums were produced by Raymond Salvatore Harmon).
In 2001, the Bowl of Fire released their third album, The Swimming Hour, a dramatic departure from their previous recordings. It featured a mixture of styles, from the zydeco-influenced "Core and Rind" to more straightforward rock songs such as "11:11". Due to this eclectic nature, Bird has often referred to it as his "jukebox album". Although gaining critical praise (The Swimming Hour received a 9.0 from indie music website Pitchfork), the band failed to attain commercial success or recognition, playing to audiences as small as 40 people. In 2002, Bird was asked to open for a band in his hometown of Chicago, but fellow Bowl of Fire members were unavailable for the date. The reluctant Bird performed the gig alone, and the surprising success of this solo show suggested potential new directions for his music.
Andrew Duhon is a songwriter from New Orleans, a teller of stories with an undeniable voice, weighted and soulful. Duhon has released 3 recordings, the latest of which, ‘The Moorings’, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 for ‘Best Engineered Album’. He has toured solo for much of his career, and that troubadour element is certainly present, an usher of modern day folklore.
Shauf was a drummer in the Christian pop punk band Captain until 2006.
He released his debut album, Darker Days, in 2009, and followed up with the EPs Waiting for the Sun to Leave (2010) and Sam Jones Feeds His Demons (2012).
He released the album The Bearer of Bad News independently in 2012. The album was rereleased in 2015 on Tender Loving Empire and Party Damage Records.
In 2015, Shauf signed to Arts & Crafts Productions in Canada and ANTI- internationally, releasing the non-album single "Jenny Come Home" as his first release on both labels. "Jenny Come Home" was Shauf's breakthrough on Canadian radio, charting on both CBC Radio 2's Radio 2 Top 20 and CBC Radio 3.
Through early 2016, he toured Europe as an opening act for The Lumineers. He moved from Saskatchewan to Toronto in April, and his album, The Party, was released in May. After some experimental recordings with a group of musicians, Shauf ended up playing almost all of the instruments on the album himself, recording the tracks sequentially.
His song "Wendell Walker" from The Bearer of Bad News was shortlisted for the 2016 SOCAN Songwriting Prize, and The Party was a shortlisted finalist for the 2016 Polaris Music Prize. Following the release he toured throughout 2017 accompanied with a five-piece band that included multi-intrumentalist Karen Ng.
In 2018 Shauf recorded an album with D.A. Kissick, Avery Kissick and Dallas Bryson, under the band name Foxwarren. The album was released on November 30, 2018.
Angel Olsen (born January 22, 1987) is an American singer-songwriter and musician from St. Louis, Missouri who lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Angel Olsen was born on January 22, 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. At age three, Olsen was adopted by a foster family that had cared for her since shortly after her birth. The difference in years between her and her parents left an impression. "Because there are so many decades of difference between us, I became more interested in what their childhood was like," she says of her parents, both of whom still live in St. Louis. "I fantasized about what it was like to be young in the ’30s and ’50s, more so than other kids my age." Olsen explained that "my mother just has this capacity for children."
Despite early adolescent aspirations to be a "pop star", her interests later shifted in high school. Olsen became more introverted, regularly attending punk rock and noise music shows at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center and the Creepy Crawl as well as Christian rock shows throughout the city. She began learning the piano and guitar and writing her own music. At the age of 16, she joined a local band called Good Fight, self-described as "a meeting of early No Doubt and punk rock." Two years after graduating from Tower Grove Christian High School, Olsen moved to Chicago.
After releasing her first EP, Strange Cacti, and a debut studio album, Half Way Home, on Bathetic Records, Olsen signed with Jagjaguwar, ahead of her first full-band record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness, which was released on February 17, 2014. The closing track of the album, "Windows", was featured in the final episode of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why in 2017.
Olsen's third studio album, My Woman, was released on September 2, 2016. In a review for Consequence of Sound, critic Ciara Dolan described the album as a "startling record of unimpeachable strength and honesty", while Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly described it as "her best record yet".
In addition to her work with Bonnie "Prince" Billy and the Cairo Gang, Olsen has collaborated with a number of other notable figures of American indie rock, including Tim Kinsella of Cap'n Jazz, LeRoy Bach of Wilco and Cass McCombs. Her collaboration with Kinsella and Bach, as well as with Chicago poet Marvin Tate, resulted in the album Tim Kinsella Sings the Songs of Marvin Tate by Leroy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen which the group released on Indianapolis label Joyful Noise Recordings on December 3, 2013.
Olsen's fourth studio album, All Mirrors, was released on October 4, 2019 to critical acclaim. Laura Snapes of Pitchfork described the album as "breathtaking", and a "strong wind" that blows in and "leaves you undone", while Alexis Petridis of The Guardian described it as "challenging and intriguing", and Luke Saunders of Happy Mag described it as a change of "theatric transcendency", when compared to her previous releases.
Olsen plays a vintage Gibson S-1 guitar from 1979.
On August 28, 2020, Olsen released her fifth studio album Whole New Mess through Seasick Records.
Angelo Badalamenti (born March 22, 1937) is an American composer, best known for his work scoring films for director David Lynch, notably Blue Velvet, the Twin Peaks saga (1990–1992, 2017), The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive. Badalamenti received the 1990 Grammy Award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for his "Twin Peaks Theme", and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Soundtrack Awards and the Henry Mancini Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Badalamenti was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Italian-American family; his father, who was of Sicilian descent, was a fish market owner. He began taking piano lessons at age eight. By the time Badalamenti was a teenager, his aptitude at the piano earned him a summer job accompanying singers at resorts in the Catskill Mountains. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music and then earned Master of Arts degrees in composition, French horn, and piano from the Manhattan School of Music in 1960.