Marathon Music Works

Joshua Radin, A Fine Frenzy

Lightning 100.1 Presents:

Joshua Radin

A Fine Frenzy

Madi Diaz

Fri, November 9, 2012

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Marathon Music Works

Nashville, TN

This event is 18 and over

18 & Over with proper photo ID. no re-entry

Joshua Radin
Joshua Radin
From Ohio via New York and California, Joshua Radin is a uniquely word-of-mouth success story. Radin only started playing music after college at Northwestern University when he moved to New York City, bought a guitar and began learning to play his favorite Beatles and Bob Dylan tunes. His alternative route to prominence began when a friend gave a demo featuring his very first composition, “Winter", to a TV producer—who promptly used it to score a scene of the sitcom Scrubs in 2004. Other Hollywood types found his music just as evocative, and now various Radin songs have been heard over 100 times on TV shows (Grey’s Antatomy, Brothers and Sisters, American Idol), as well as many films and commercials.
His debut, We Were Here (Columbia), drew critical acclaim and a four star review from Rolling Stone. 2008’s follow up, Simple Times, which hit number one on the overall iTunes chart upon release, saw Radin collaborating with producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliott Smith). Simple Times went top 10 in ten different countries including the UK where lead single "I'd Rather Be With You" went all the way to number two at radio. This past year Radin released The Rock and The Tide (Mom+Pop) produced by Martin Terefe (Cat Stevens, Ron Sexmith). He has appeared on Ellen, the Today Show, Conan O'Brian and many others. He has begun co-producing his fourth album with producer Kevin Augunas (Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Cold War Kids). Joshua co-produced LP his latest LP underwater, due out July 2012.
A Fine Frenzy
A Fine Frenzy
A Fine Frenzy is the enchanting musical world of Alison Sudol. And her sprawlingly ambitious new album PINES reaches for the stars. It is nothing less than the story of our age: an elegy for a planet on the brink of catastrophe. Our planet.

A magic-realist allegory about the enduring beauty and awesome power of nature, PINES is a wildly diverse musical adventure ¬ and a cautionary tale for the 21st century. “It began life as a children's story,” says Sudol. “Then I thought it would be an album of lullabies. But once I'd started writing, it just kept on growing.”

In time, it grew into the story of nature's fight for survival against the destructive encroachment of mankind. But because Sudol is an artist filled with optimism and compassion, it's filled not with gloom and doom, but with hope for a better future.

"The record begins in a time of endings, where everything good seems to be lost forever," says Sudol, "and then one day, something changes, bringing a flicker of hope to that dark place, and from that hope comes a chance to begin again... to choose a life instead of having it chosen for you."

Recorded over a week of torrential rainstorms in Los Angeles just before Christmas, PINES takes the listener on a voyage of discovery that at once celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the indestructible power of nature.

"It's about facing your fears and going through all the highs and lows, and wonders and delights and tragedies that come with learning how to live your life,” adds Sudol. “And finally finding where you belong.”

The singer-songwriter and passionate environmental campaigner, whose 2007 debut album ONE CELL IN THE SEA spawned the breakthrough hit 'Almost Lover', began work on PINES after undergoing a crisis of confidence after completing her 2009 collection BOMB IN A BIRDCAGE.

“I had lost my way,” admits Sudol, 27. “I was disillusioned, I was suffering from writer's block... life block. Everything was distant and hazy. I knew I had a capacity to feel joy and wonder, and that life had definitely felt like an adventure once, but that feeling had gone. I couldn't feel much of anything anymore. I was pining for something I felt I once had, or perhaps just the idea of it... this record was an effort to reclaim that feeling, instead of just mourning its loss.”

The process began when a close friend fell pregnant, prompting Sudol to reassess her life, and the world in which her friend's child would be born. “I thought back to my early childhood in Seattle, where we were surrounded by nature, and of moving at the age of five to Los Angeles, which had no trees and was quite urban and scary to a child from the Pacific North West.

“I retreated at a young age into reading books because they contained so much beauty; so many beautiful places that you could travel to in you mind. For many years I relied on my imagination to be more magical than life because the real world seemed like a disappointing place to live.”

Retreating more literally to the Cascade Mountains in Washington state two years ago, Sudol once again began to dream, surrounded by the vastness of nature. "It was hugely inspiring. I absorbed as much of it as I could and then put that into the songs when I got home." She found further inspiration in the awe-inspiring redwood forests of Northern California. "When you're really deep in the sequoias, it's like being in a cathedral. It's so quiet, and the trees are so ancient. I could feel things stirring deep in my heart, so much so that it was almost overpowering at times. I was so happy there, truly happy, for the first time in what felt like ages."

And so was born a single song, 'Avalanches,’ about a solitary pine tree atop a mountain peak: the last survivor of a once vibrant and verdant forest, sadly surveying the destruction of the forest below ¬ until one day, a bird alights upon its branches. This would be the first stepping stone in what became PINES.

Epic in scope and sound, PINES was recorded with a dizzying cast of musical accomplices collected by Sudol's chosen producer, Keefus Green, whose credits as a musician range from rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube to bluegrass superstar Alison Krauss, jazz diva Cassandra Wilson, and punk legend Iggy Pop.

"Keefus is the kindest person in the world, soft spoken and humble, and he brings out the best in people, but his mind is also a musical carnival. Some of the things that came out of it made me laugh - they were so wonderful and unexpected. We had a lot of fun."

To inspire the musicians, who included longtime A Fine Frenzy collaborator Omar Cowan (guitar) and acclaimed producer-musicians Jon Brion (guitar, synth, pump organ) and Jonathan Wilson (drums, percussion, ukulele), Sudol decorated the historic Capitol Records studio in Hollywood with boughs of pine, film slides of national parks, and fairy lights. She meticulously explained her vision for every song - “I told them about the natural environment, how each place would feel - even the weather” and the musicians played in a miniature village of individual 'huts' around Sudol's piano, with drummer Wilson in a separate 'Eagle's Nest' overhead.

"It was thrilling, working with such gifted people. It was like Christmas every day, wondering what colors and textures they would bring to the next song when we opened it up. We tracked everything live, with everyone playing at once. It was an incredible feeling - your whole body sort of hums with the energy of it. I found myself thinking, ‘Just stay out of the way,’ midway through takes that were going perfectly... because at that point, you're really just part of something bigger than you and the best thing you can do is surrender to it."

Just seven days later, a suitably biblical time frame for the creation of a magical new world - they had brought to life Sudol's dazzling hymn to the natural world.

There are still lullabies, like the haunting, childlike 'Dream In The Dark.' There are wistful reminiscences, such as the elegaic 'River Song.' There are gentle interludes like the instrumental 'Dance Of The Grey Whales' and there are euphoric anthems such as 'It's Alive' and 'Now Is The Start,' ¬ two hit singles in waiting. Plus much more besides.

Sudol explores her musical world in minute detail, giving each song space to breathe. A multitude of instruments and effects are featured, including a birdsong she recorded herself in the redwood forests and at one point, a squeaking piano chair transformed into a creaking ship's deck. But never at the expense of the song's integrity; even when that meant making songs seven minutes long. "Even before we went into the studio, I made a conscious decision to use space, and not try to cram every song into three-and-a-half minutes," she explains. "I wanted to allow the listener to really sink into the music and the emotion, and be allowed to stay there for a little while."

Even though the recording of PINES is completed, this story has only just begun. A book based on the fable is already under way, and Sudol has completed the script for a companion film, too. PINES contains its own universe, but it also marks the beginning of another chapter in the ongoing adventure of A Fine Frenzy.

Alison Sudol serves as an ambassador for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and performed at the 2011 Environmental Media Awards. She is also a member of TakePart, the social action network of Participant Media (motto: "Entertainment that Inspires and Compels Social Change"). She is one of the earliest adopters of Twitter (@AfineFrenzy) and has 1.7 million followers.
Madi Diaz
Madi Diaz
"When I was a teenager," Madi Diaz recalls, "my dad and I would hang out in the living room and learn songs by bands like the Eagles and Alice in Chains. We'd pick parts to harmonize and sing our way through them, over and over. My dad would get so excited when he figured out something by Yes or the Mamas and Papas, then he'd let me pick my favorite Silverchair song or whatever I was obsessing over at the moment and we'd learn it together, too. It was the best."

Diaz's full-length, Plastic Moon reflects a lifelong attraction to song craft as well her deep-rooted affinity for contrasting types of music. One part pop music and one part organic Americana, the album is a hooky, confident collection of songs that is as heartbreaking in places as it is catchy in others, sometimes within the span of a single song.

The 25-year-old, Nashville-based musician is herself a bit of a contrast, growing up in Lancaster, PA, surrounded by Amish farms, where she was home schooled by her Peruvian mother, Nancy, a proponent of early childhood development and the visual arts, and her Danish father, Eric, a woodworker and musician. Madi began piano lessons at age five at the behest of her father, himself a keyboard player in the Frank Zappa tribute band, Project Object. The family's home stereo fed her a steady diet of Metallica, Sheryl Crow, The Beatles and Whitney Houston.

In her early teens, Diaz switched from piano to guitar and when she sought advanced instruction, she landed at School of Rock in Philadelphia. Her family eventually moved to the city and both Eric and Madi's brother, Max, went on to become part of the faculty.

"The school was a big part of my life," she acknowledges. "It showed me how to be in a band, and taught me about dynamics and orchestration, taking apart sections and basically leading and directing other musicians. I'm definitely opinionated and I was always the one to come into a room where everyone's doing what they want and try to get them organized."

Diaz was a standout among the pupils and became a focal point of director Don Argott's 2005 documentary about the program, Rock School. Nearly a decade later, she holds a fondness for the fierce teenage Madi captured on screen, but doesn't plan to see the movie again any time soon. "It's embarrassing enough to have pictures of you when you're 15 or 16 years old; I have an entire doc."

After high school, Diaz was accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston and began spending every waking moment making music: writing, singing and recording. She credits the period with helping her get serious about pursuing music as a career.

"It was one of the smarter things I've done," she says. "It made me focus on finding what I wanted to do. It helped me realize I didn't want to work in production; that's not my brain. Do I want to work in film scoring? No, not that either. I came to recognize that I liked songwriting the most."

A fellow student's production assignment provided the first opportunity to work with Kyle Ryan. The Lincoln, Nebraska-raised guitarist would turn into her future songwriting collaborator and right-hand man. Diaz was in awe of his guitar playing, and Ryan had similar admiration for Diaz's abilities, yet the two cagily circled each other for a time. Diaz was convinced Ryan was just being nice when he gave her his number and asked her to write together, while Ryan was sure Diaz hated his guitar playing, which was why she wasn't calling.

"We were kind of awkward to each other around campus for a while," she says. "Turns out we were both just completely intimidated."

The ice was broken when that fellow student, a producer looking for a project, offered Diaz the chance to record an album in Hawaii—all expenses paid, no strings attached. It was a no-brainer for Madi and she worked up the courage to ask her favorite guitar player on campus to come along as part of the band. The self-released, alt.country-leaning Skin And Bones was the result, and a songwriting and performing partnership between Diaz and Ryan was struck for good, as well as a friendship.

"I was going through a lot of weird stuff personally at the time," she reflects. "My parents had recently divorced. I was going out with shitty boyfriends. My brother was still living at home and having a hard time. But Kyle was really great. He'd come over to my apartment and we'd write and talk for hours. It was super helpful and I'm still grateful for it."

Not long after that, Diaz tired of Berklee and subsequently left the program. She and Ryan kept writing though, and, armed with a strong batch of new material, the pair began heading down to New York City regularly for gigs. One otherwise inauspicious night at Greenwich Village landmark The Bitter End led to a chance meeting with a manager who had come to see another artist and stayed when she heard Diaz's voice. The manager left her card, and soon thereafter she began representing Madi. Their first order of business turned out to be sending Diaz and Ryan for a month-long visit to Nashville to do some co-writing.

The trip went so swimmingly that Diaz and Ryan relocated to Music City in mid-2010. "When we moved to Nashville it was like clouds lifted off our heads," she says. The pair was quickly thrust into the center of the city's nascent indie-pop scene, eventually landing Madi on the Ten Out Of Tenn tour showcasing the best of Nashville's emerging artists.

With the release of the EP, Ten Gun Salute, Diaz began receiving some encouraging exposure, touring with The Civil Wars and Landon Pigg, garnering favorable press in Paste (who dubbed her one of the "Top Ten Buzziest Acts" at SXSW 2009) AOL's Spinner and on NPR, as well as and having her songs licensed for ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars and Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva and Army Wives.

Plastic Moon initially began as a self-produced project. Diaz and Ryan gathered up "60 or 70" songs in progress and started paring them down, looking for a collection that held together as a singular work. At the same time, producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Liz Phair) was seeking his next project and connected with the pair, who then decamped for Dave Matthews' palatial studio near Charlottesville, Virginia. The result departs from Diaz's early rootsier side, though the record is no less heartfelt and arguably even more so with its poignant melodies and inventive arrangements.

"It's funny," says Diaz, "we moved to Nashville and moved out of the alt-country box."

After years of perfecting her craft, it's no surprise that the album boasts uniformly strong songwriting, ranging from the power-pop bounce of "Nothing At All" and the unshakably inviting "Let's Go," to the soaring, introspective majesty of "Heavy Heart." Diaz's pure, effortless voice and unerring sense of song craft shine throughout. Thanks to Alagia's meticulous and sympathetic production, the music keeps Diaz's indie spirit intact while bringing forth a more sophisticated soundscape, with everything from Fender Rhodes to marimba popping up in the mix.

"Hopefully the next few years are going to be terrifyingly busy," Diaz says, her voice excitedly rising. "I don't want to rest on my laurels. I have had people say to both of us, 'You've done so much; aren't you ever going to be happy?' I think that's such a silly thing to say. Of course we're never going to stop."