Singer, painter and songwriter, Piers Faccini, was born in England but grew up France. He first appeared on the music scene in London in 1997, when he performed with performance poet Francesca Beard the group Charley Marlowe, playing spoken word gigs initially, and moving on to acoustic melodies after.
In 2004, Faccini released his first solo album, Leave No Trace and toured extensively. He toured with Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. In 2006, he released Tearing Sky, featuring backing vocals from Harper and accompaniment from several members of his band the Innocent Criminals.
When not busy with his musical career, Faccini is also a visual artist who has exhibited his paintings of landscapes and portraits.
If I is a great song off his Tearing Sky release.
Folk Indie-Rock band, Port O'Brien, is named after the bay on Kodiak Island where founder member Van Pierszalowski's parents met. The group was originally a duo of Pierszalowski and Cambria Goodwin. Eventually they added Caleb Nichols and Joshua Barnhart as rhythm.
They have done a lot of travelling and toured with Nada Surf, Bright Eyes and The Cave Singers and toured Europe with Modest Mouse. They have released three albums; a self record album called The Wind and the Swell and two studio-recorded albums.
Stuck On A Boat is off their 2008 release, All We Could Do Was Sing.
Visqueen is a Seattle based power pop/punk band that formed in 2001. The band formed from former members of Hafacat (singer/guitarist Rachel Flotard and drummer Ben Hooker) and legendary punk band Fastback (bassist Kim Warnick).
With the release of their first two albums, King Me and Sunset on Dateland, the group quickly moved from a local band with a loyal following to a nationally known power punk band. Following their second release in 2004, Flotard took a hiatus to care for her father after he was diagnosed with cancer. She then worked with Neko Case before regrouping with the others and releasing Message To Garcia in 2009.
My House is off their debut release, King Me.
Trivia: The band takes their name from the brand of polyethylene film that US Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge once recommended as a defense against bioterrorism.
I've been a Rush fan since an old friend had me listen to Fly By Night. Uh, wow, that was a long time ago. Anyway, since then, they have always been on my music rotation.
Rush started out in 1968 in Toronto. After the release of their first album in 1974, original drummer John Rutsey, left the band right before their first US Tour due to diabetes and a distaste for touring. He was replaced by Neil Peart. This change would have a monumental impact on the band as Peart soon took over most of songwriting and helped move the band from a straight forward Rock 'n Roll band to one that played unique and technically complex compositions. Their sound is only possible due to the incredible talent of each member. Each has won several awards in magazine readers' polls for their particular instrument; especially Peart who is widely recognized as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.
Over the years, Rush has had incredible success. They have had 24 gold records and 14 platinum (including 3 multi-platinum) records. According to the RIAA, Rush's sales statistics also place them fourth behind The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith for the most consecutive gold or platinum albums by a rock band.
Their sound has changed over the years and recently, they have gone back to more solid rock sound devoid of synthesizers. But their fan base after 3 decades is still strong and they continue to find new fans who can still be amazed at the decades old releases like 2112 and Moving Pictures.
Today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track is the excellent tune The Spirit of Radio is off their 1980 release, Permanent Waves.
Breakestra is a ten-piece funk "orchestra" from Los Angeles. The group is lead by Miles Tackett who put the group together as the house band for the legendary club called the Break.
The style in which the band plays is much influenced by late 60's and early 70's soul and funk music. Through the course of their nearly decade-long existence the only two members that have remained constant are bassist/guitarist/upright cellist/producer/vocalist Miles Tackett and vocalist Mixmaster Wolf. When asked about the rotating members of the band, Miles responds, “The Breakestra has always been an amorphous project.
After releasing several EPs and two full-length albums of mostly covers and sample-filled breaks, Breakestra put out Hit the Floor in 2005 on Ubiquity Records, which included all-original recordings fusing elements of hip hop, funk, and soul.
Family Rap, off their 2005 release, Hit The Floor, is an excellent example of the soul, hip-hop and R&B fusion of Breakestra.
Austin, Texas based, Bob Schneider, gained his initial fame in the late 90's as the frontman for the Ugly Americans, a Phish style jam band, and later with The Scabs. They were regulars in the Austin scene and gained some national recognition when they toured with the Dave Matthews Band.
In 1999, he went left the band and started a solo career. He has an diverse and eclectic sound; a little bit singer/songwriter, bits and pieces of funk, country, rock, and folk. He released his first solo album, Lovelyland in 2001 and followed up with I'm Good Now in 2004. Bother releases were very well received.
During this same time, he released several albums as side projects on Vanguard records with limited number of copies released. Although he could play to larger crowds, Schneider would rather play smaller venues and he tours relentlessly.
Schneider dated Sandra Bullock for two years and it was speculated that the breakup following their passionate relationship became fodder for his music, although Schneider has been known to deny autobiographical content in his music.
40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) is off his 2009 release, Lovely Creatures and is perfect example of Schneider's unique writing style.
Folk singer, Langhorne Slim actually hails from Langhorne, PA. Now, I can see someone named East Texas, Slim or Baton Rouge Slim, but calling yourself Langhorne Slim, which is a really a north suburb of Philadelphia, is pretty funny. But this fits perfectly with him. He has been described as a one-man mixture of the Cramps, Beck's early indie records and the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou. Quite an interesting sound.
Langhorne Slim, whose real name is Sean Scolnick, released his first album, When The Sun's Gone Down, in 2005. He put together an album in 2007, but before the release, his label V2 Records folded and the self titled album did not come out until 2008.
His popularity grew with performances on Dave Letterman, US and European tours including festivals like the Newport Folk Festival, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Lollapalooza, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. He also sang "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch during a Phillies-Marlins game in August 2009.
His latest release, Be Set Free, came out in 2009 and the track, Say Yes, is getting a lot of airplay.
Set Em Up is off his debut album When The Sun's Gone Down.
Post-punk, New Wave band, The Cure, has been around since the late 70's. The band lineup has changed many times with front-man, Robert Smith, being the lone constant member. Early Cure music was more of a goth-rock sound with dark lyrics. They released an album per year from 1979 throughout the 80's, slowly gaining popularity. In 1982, Smith wanted to move past the gloomy sound the band was know for and inject more of a pop sound with songs like In Between Days and Let's Go To Bed.
They finally broke through to the mainstream with the 1987 release Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me which had the song Why Can't I Be You. In 1989, they brought back some of the goth-rock sound from the early days with the release, Disintegration. It built on that success with the track, Love Song, making it to #2 on the US charts. The Cure was now a world-wide success and the 1992 release, Wish, made it to #2 on the US album charts.
Although they continued to record and release albums, it was much more spread out than their early career. The band line up also changed quite a bit through the 90's. Recent releases, 2004's self-titled release and 2008's, 4:13 Dream, have continued to be successful and the band routinely sells out live shows.
In 2009, received the Shockwaves NME Award for Godlike Genius.
For today's Hump Day Retro-Closet track, I chose one of my favorite Cure songs, the track, Boys Don't Cry, off their 2nd release, 1980's album of the same name.
7 Worlds Collide is a musical project by New Zealand singer/songwriter, Neil Finn. He first put together the group in 2001 and released an album under the name 'Neil Finn & Friends'. The group consisted of many artists like Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr, Ed O'Brien, Tim Finn, Sebastian Steinberg, Phil Selway, Lisa Germano, and Betchadupa (featuring Neil's son Liam Finn).
Finn got the project back together at the end of 2008 and recorded a new album with most of the original members and some new ones like Jeff Tweedy and three other members of Wilco, KT Tunstall, and New Zealand songwriters Don McGlashan and Bic Runga.
Hazel Black is off the excellent 2009 release, The Sun Came Out.
TRIVIA: Finn takes the band name from the line "Seven worlds will collide / whenever I am by your side" from Crowded House's 1993 single "Distant Sun".
Originally born in Freiburg, Germany, Corneille, spent most of his childhood in Rwanda. He discovered his passion for music in 1993, and joined an R&B group doing most of the songwriting and musical composition. However, his life changed after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. His father, Émile Nyungura, was a leader of a political party and as a result his parents and some of his relatives were killed in the massacre.
Corneille fled back to Germany, where some of his parents' friends took him in. In 1997, he decided to leave Germany and pursue a degree in communications at Concordia University in Montreal. But the draw of music was strong and Corneille founded the R&B group O.N.E. Although it did not last long, he continued to pursue music writing and composing music.
In 2003, he released his first solo album, a French language release called Parce qu'on vient de loin, which became a success, selling more that one million records. He then released Les marchands de rêves in 2005. Most recently, in 2007, he released his first English language album, The Birth of Cornelius.
Too Much of Everything is off his The Birth of Cornelius release.