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Antje Duvekot Added To Rocky Mountain Folk Festival

Antje DuvekotThe Rocky Mountain Folk Festival in Lyons, CO has revealed their 2014 lineup to include OurStage artist Antje Duvekot alongside such crossover favorites like Josh Ritter, DISPATCH, Lake Street Dive, and many more. The festival will run from August 15-17. You can also catch Duvekot at The Song School four days prior. Check out the initial festival lineup below.

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Exclusive Q and A: Dispatch Talk New Album And Fall Tour

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsEarlier this year we reported that Dispatch was back at it after a nearly 12 year hiatus. With the studio album now complete and the tour about to kick into high gear, we caught up with Chad Stokes Urmston on reuniting Dispatch and what to expect from their most extensive album yet. Make sure to pre-order Circles Around The Sun, out August 21st, from the bands website.

OS: So Circles Around The Sun is the first full-length studio effort in over a decade, but you also released the Dispatch EP last year in support of your first widespread tour since calling it quits in 2004. Is it safe to assume Dispatch is back?

CSU: I think this kind of built on when we decided to get back together last summer, we decided not to just play one or two shows but to do a little tour. Then, when we decided to do a tour, we thought “wouldn’t it be great to play some new songs?” And we all write, so we knew that the songs were out there. We did the EP, and still had some songs left over and that turned into the album. So I think we’ll ride this album out and take some more time off.

OS: You guys have never really settled into one style, the evolution from Silent Steeples to Bang Bang alone can prove that. This album continues your forward progression but still sounds like a Dispatch record. What do you attribute your growth as musicians/songwriters to?

CSU: I think in the beginning we were really just learning our instruments. We all played guitar, but Brad and Pete; Pete switched over to bass and Brad switched over to drums. It wasn’t until Four Day Trials or Who Are We Living For?, our 3rd and 4th albums, where we felt like we were at our full power trio abilities. So I think you can account the evolution of the sound to that. But we all come to the table with different influences so it really depends on the timing of the recording and what we’re into at the moment. As we grow up and get exposed to different things… it’s really easy not to get locked into one sound when there’s three of us writing.

OS: And how do you still always sound like Dispatch?

CSU: There’s always been some simplicity to our songs… but our hallmark has really been our harmonies. We can almost do anything, and as long as we’re singing over it it’ll sound Dispatch-y.

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Dispatch Announces New Album And Fall Tour

Jam-fans rejoice, Dispatch are back at it again. After spending the better part of the last decade working on their respective solo projects, Chad Stokes, Brad Corrigan, and Pete Francis have teamed up for their first full-length effort since 2000’s Who Are We Living For?

From their press release:

Dispatch, one of the most successful independent rock bands, today announced they would release Circles Around The Sun, their first studio album in twelve years on August 21st on their own Bomber Records.  Produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, Jonsi, The National), Circles Around The Sun is an eclectic all-American rock and roll record that delivers the gutsy storytelling, compelling songwriting and radian harmonies that has earned the band fans throughout countless countries.

After a string of festival dates, Dispatch will also be embarking on an extensive fall tour in support of the album. You can register for the ticket presale through the band’s website. Read on for a list of tour dates.

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SoundTrax: Beachside Bonfires

In the age of the playlist, everyone has access to collections of songs hacked together due to arbitrary similarities. But what does that accomplish other than aid our forever shortening attention span, while making the idea of an album obsolete? SoundTrax is here to provide you with playlists that are more thought out, but still provide you with that instant gratification.

This week we’ve put together a soundtrack that will let you escape your daily grind, dig your toes into the sand, crack open a Corona, chat with friends and smell like a chimney for the next three days. Catchy choruses, funky rhythm sections and campy lyrics hightlight this playlist, so sit back and enjoy.

SoundTrax: Beachside Bonfires from OurStage on 8tracks.

OurStage band Bronze Radio Return kicks things off with their feel-good vibe, and when the whole band starts singing together during the hook you won’t be able to resist. Dispatch picks up where Bronze Radio Return leaves off and pushes the tempo just a bit, before The Kooks rattle our nerves with an infectious hook and incredible arrangement. Mumford & Sons are the epitome of campy, sing-a-long rock-n-roll, so how could we not include them in the power slot of this soundtrack? Get Back Loretta and Ivory Drive have totally different styles, but both manage to infuse a sense of funk and a breath of life into the second half of this playlist, sandwiching indie-dance-rockers Foster the People. Finally, Dave Matthews Band closes us out with a summer classic from ’96.

Q&A With Dispatch

With a thirteen-date US tour and plans to release a new EP in a few months, everyone’s favorite funk-rock-folk-reggae-roots band Dispatch is gearing up for a busy summer “But wait,” you’re asking, “Didn’t Dispatch play their last show in 2004?” They did indeed, which is why we sat down with Dispatch frontman Chad Stokes to get the lowdown on the reunion, the dangers of calling a concert “The Last Show Ever” and the new middle class of musicians.

OS: So why did you guys decide to get together and play some shows this summer?

CS: I think Pete and I were hanging out. I see those guys every now and then, and we hang out, and it’s always good. I guess enough time had gone by where we just felt like playing again. I guess I personally felt like we got State Radio to a really good place, where it was kind of off and running and out from underneath the shadow of Dispatch. I just felt like I could be in two different bands, and try and make it work. I think it was mostly timing, just time passing and feeling like it would be fun to get together again.

OS: Is that something that’s been difficult”balancing time between State Radio and Dispatch and your other projects?

CS: Yeah, it’s tricky because then you feel like you’re not giving your all to each one. And also, you’re trying to squeeze a semblance of regular life into there, so it is tricky. But with Calling All Crows, the foundation I started, I got a lot of help with that from the co-directors and interns. So that runs really well. We just have a good team, you know, with State Radio and Dispatch, where people really are good at what they do. So it makes it easier so I don’t have to have hours of phone calls every day. There are some things that should go on without me.

OS: You posted a YouTube video suggesting you’ve been trapped underground for the last seven years, but can you give us a little info about what you have really been up to for that time?
CS: [Laughs] I’ve just been doing State Radio. Just touring for eight months out of the year, and recording. It’s been pretty full-on. And Calling All Crows is our women’s rights organization, and we started that two years ago, or almost three years ago, so that takes a lot of time. I’ve been doing How’s Your News, which is a movie and a TV show and a band about and involving people with disabilities. So that takes a bunch of time. And then just… a couple of trips here and there. I went out and jumped some freight trains with my brothers with a few months. But a lot of it’s with State Radio. We’ve toured all over and it’s been really fun. Trying to incorporate Calling all Crows, we’re doing service projects before shows and stuff. So it’s pretty busy when we’re out on the road.

OS: You’ve referenced all the charities you work with”how do you feel about music activism today? Do you think there are a good number of musicians promoting change in their music?

CS: I think there’s a bunch of them. They’re not the mainstream musicians, I think the industry is set up so that there’s a much bigger middle class of musicians out there than their used to be. I think there used to be just those who were on the big record labels and those who were trying to make it. Now there’s a good chunk of musicians that are in bands that are making a career out of it, but they’re not necessarily on the radio or on videos or on Conan or something. I think they’re out there, they’re just harder to get to know. But bands like RX Bandits and Michael Foxy and John Butler Trio, these are all bands that are doing pretty well for themselves and they’re also really socially conscious.

OS: So what are some ways you recommend for our readers to get involved in charity work?

CS: Two things. One: callingallcrows.org. We’re focusing on women’s shelters in Afghanistan that offer safe havens for women and also vocational training. And then we’re still really big supporters of Troy Anthony Davis, who is on death row in Georgia and has been there for twenty years. We believe that he never received a fair trial, and his appeal was denied by the United States court, so we’re nervous about his future. We’re trying to get information about him out to the people, so we can all be informed about this kind of thing. We’re against the death penalty overall… Troy is just a great guy, we’ve become friends over the years, and we first heard of him through Amnesty International. It’s just a really great example of why the death penalty shouldn’t exist, because the people making those decisions are all human, and we all make mistakes. It can never be foolproof.

OS: Are ticket proceeds from this tour going to charity as they have in the past?

CS: Yeah, with the Dispatch tour we’re doing a dollar ticket tax that’s going towards education, towards mentoring programs and different education reform programs. We feel like you start with the kids, and then the future can look a whole lot brighter.

OS: Awesome. And there’s also been a lot of speculation that a new album might accompany this tour, is that the case?

CS: I think we just put another video out there called SquataFriend and it’s on YouTube. That has some new music in there behind it, kind of background music, but you can hear the tunes. So yeah, we’re working on a bunch of new songs.

OS: So are you planning to release a new EP with the new material?

CS: I think so! We’ll try to get five tunes out before the summer, right before the tour, we might be able to finish them, and then have a more full-length album come out late next fall.

OS: You guys have played a last show ever, once or twice. Why do you think you keep getting pulled back in?

CS: I think the quote-unquote Last Dispatch Show Ever… [Laughs] I never really liked that name, because I was like, Of course we’re gonna play again at some point. But I think since then”so that was like, 2004”I think since then we always knew we’d play again, whether it be once every four or five years, or something like that. We’re pretty careful never to use the word last again, ever since that show in Boston.

OS: It’s funny because that seems to happen to a lot of artists today”they play a last show and then put out some new material.

CS: Yeah, I mean it does mean The last one for a little while. But it seems like a lot of bands get back together at some point, to some extent.

OS: One last thing: you’ve been called the biggest band that no one’s ever heard of, yet you sold out arenas on this tour. Do you still feel like you’re flying under the radar?

CS: Yeah, I still feel like that. We’ll do our tours and they’ll be pretty big, but still if you were to talk to someone from the major labels or MTV or radio, if they’re over the age of 40, no one knows about Dispatch, or seems to care, really. The only waves that we’ve made in the industry are because people are impressed by the numbers that come out to see us. We’re such a fan-driven band that if you’re part of the business, you don’t really know about us unless you’re impressed by numbers. So I still feel like we exist in this kind of other world where it’s the band and the people who listen to the band, and the quote-unquote industry just kind of shakes their heads or isn’t interested or doesn’t believe in it. I don’t know. [Laughs]

OS: I guess having a crazy fan base isn’t the worst thing in the world.

CS: It’s awesome, it’s so cool. I’m so surprised and thankful for the turnout. It’s really, really amazing.

Check out Dispatch’s Web site to see all the upcoming tour dates!

Under Covers 9: Social Commentary Collaboration

OSBlog02_UnderCovers_MASTER1There’s no denying that musicians today are far less outspoken about political affairs than they were during the 60s. Maybe this wouldn’t be so alarming if we lived in a state of eternal peace, but we don’t. Far from it. Among the handful of musicians still giving the political scene its due publicity is roots rock band State Radio. Straight out of Boston, the group sings social commentary covering everything from Guantanamo Bay to the American government’s treatment of Native Americans. Led by front man Chad Urmston (formerly of Dispatch), the group just released their fourth album ”1/3 studio recording, 2/3 live acoustic takes. With 41 songs in total, there’s plenty of protest to go around, and Mr. Urmston’s voice never losing any hint of passion throughout all of his devoted storytelling. Given the state of heated political affairs and debates in the recent weeks, we thought it would be cool to catch up with Chad and ask him a few questions about who he would have cover his material if it could be anyone in the world. Keep reading to find out what he said! (more…)

METAL MONDAY: WHY ARE TOOL FANS SO OBSESSED WITH TOOL?

osblog_metalmondays_01No matter what the genre, each music scene seems to have a band notorious for its overly obsessive fans. For the jam band crowd, Phish gets this accolade; for college rock, Dispatch might get the bid. In metal, there is no doubt that Tool gets the honor (or is it dishonor?) of having fans who have unhealthy obsessions with their music. Perhaps it is because of the mystery involved with the band member’s personas, or the intricacy and vagueness of Tool’s lyrics. Whatever it is, few people seem to be able to ween themselves off of it once they have had a taste. Numerous destinations on the web are devoted to Tool, one of which is a forum with close to 35,000 registered users”all there to talk about the band.

Tool 1As an act known for mocking its fans’ lemming’s lack of defiance, Tool managed to garner quite a following. Maynard James Keenan is a well-known advocate of forward and original thinking, and naturally denounces any sort of gossip or bandwagons that his fans latch onto. In an interview with Alternative Press back in March of 1997, Keenan is quoted as saying I get resentful and upset when people don’t use their heads about stuff. It upsets me when people are selling themselves short or letting themselves down, whether it’s education or information.

Keenan’s actions are somewhat paradoxical at times, because there are a lot of free-thinkers among the Tool Army. A shining example of this would be the idea of Tool’s Holy Gift in which an anonymous Tool fan discovered a way to rearrange the tracks from Tool’s most famous release, Lateralus, that corresponds with the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.). How is that for open-minded? Another great, but lesser-known, idea spawned from Tool obsession is overlaying three tracks from their most recent album, 10,000 Days (dubbed as 10,000 Days Synchronicity around the Internet), placing “Vigniti Tres” and “Wings for Marei (Pt. 1)” end to end on top of “Wings for Marie (Pt. 2)” to make an entirely new song. Regardless of whether or not these ideas and theories are correct, they are certainly forward-thinking (after scouring the Internet, any legitimate thoughts or comments by the band about these theories are not available).

Tool 2Being largely hidden from the public eye can only lead to speculation. The fact that Keenan (as well as the other members the band to a certain degree) does not have large public personas only adds to the intrigue of Tool as an entity, something that has stirred many a rumor about the band over the years. In the end, all of this seems to help the band’s popularity and notoriety. Complex music about complex themes that the fans can make mean whatever they like. While Keenan has dismissed most of the assumptions about their music and themes as false, from time to time some ideas are confirmed as true (which only feeds the fans to keep the speculation up).

So why do Tool fans adore the band so much? Appreciation from the band is not the only thing that can give you fans. It is the malleability of the song meanings, it is the dismissal bandwagon thinking, and the freedom that you get with making the music personal to you. It is their stunning live show. It is the power given to the listener by the band and the music Tool makes. It is the thought of I get it, you don’t. It is the feeling of belonging to something bigger than you, me, or the band itself. Tool fans understand, the members of Tool do too. It may sound cheesy, but there is no other way to describe it. The facts are the facts, but they do not make up the entire story.

Tool 3

Photos courtesy of Ryan Mastro

BENEFIT BANDS TO BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY

In the age of “generation Obama,” community service organizations and charities are gaining momentum in their efforts to promote and fund a number of good causes. These days, there is an ever-growing call for action on many fronts”both mainstream and unconventional”and the music industry is responding. New artists are emerging as advocates in support of charitable work, human rights and similar causes everyday, a positive trend that can bolster both career and personal beliefs.

5rOne such organization benefiting from industry support is called 5 Rights Inc. 5 Rights exists to try and promote “a local, sustainable culture of human rights.” These rights are protected by a United Nations bill and are the basis of the organization’s goals. We caught up with 5 Rights representative Jeff Lipman, who has worked closely with community-minded OurStage band the Adam Ezra Group. When asked about the advantages of an artist supporting a cause, Lipman agreed with the idea that musicians can raise awareness by encouraging  fans to take an interest in a particular cause. This is especially important for the 5 Rights organization since basic human rights is a global topic that needs greater awareness. Although 5 Rights doesn’t focus solely on the music industry as a partner in their cause, they do plan on organizing some human rights festivals, utilizing music as a central point of the event.

state-radioWhen talking about 5 Rights and the music industry, it’s almost a given to discuss Calling All Crows. This is an organization that was started by Chad Stokes (Dispatch, State Radio) and his activist partner, Sybil Gallagher. Per their Website, Calling All Crows is dedicated to mobilizing musicians and fans to promote human rights.” We spoke to Matt Wilhelm, Co-Operator of Calling All Crows, to get his opinion on bands’ roles in charitable organizations. He agrees that a band can bring a new level of awareness and passion to a cause, beginning with the community of fans that surrounds the artist. But Wilhelm also feels that it works both ways. If a band can be a catalyst for activism, then a band can also benefit from the community of fans they gain from supporting a particular cause. In his words, “doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive.” Bands like State Radio and Dispatch have certainly supported this idea in the past as evidenced by the droves of fans coming out to hear both their music and their messages of political, environmental and social activistism.
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