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Syfy’s Wizard Wars Is Your New Favorite Reality Competition

Let’s face it, reality competition shows are getting a little old. You’ve seen all the cooking, sewing, and voting off you can stand. Syfy is trying to change that attitude with shows like Face Off, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, and now, Wizard Wars.

How about if we put magicians to the reality challenge test? But, what could that mean? How do you put magicians through the paces of a reality competition show? Well, according to Wizard Wars, you give them a random assortment of everyday items, and make them impress Penn & Teller.

Yeah. That sounds about right.

Be sure to set your DVR so you don’t miss this one. It’s hitting August 19th, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Photo by: Dale Berman/Syfy

Syfy Premieres New Competition Series Wizard Wars On Tuesday, August 19 At 10 P.M.
See full article at AreYouScreening »

Song Premiere: Black Prairie - "Let It Out"

In 2007, Chris Funk gathered local musicians together to write and play music. Bringing in fellow members of the Decemberists – Nate Query, Jenny Conlee, and John Moen – along with Annalissa Tornfelt, Jon Neufeld, this eclectic group of musicians from Portland, Oregon had plans to jam simply for fun. But an undeniable chemistry quickly revealed itself as ideas began to spark, and by 2013 the was constantly touring, breaking out everywhere from Bonnaroo to the Oregon Symphony Orchestra and late-night TV. Creating two albums in 2013, A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart and Wild...
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Red Fang new album and tour dates (Video)

Red Fang return this fall with their as-yet-untitled third studio album on Relapse Records. The Portland-based group is currently in the studio finishing the disc with the producer Chris Funk (Decemberists) and mixer Vance Powell (White Stripes, Raconteurs, Kings of Leon). This same team worked on their last album Murder the Mountains, tagged by NPR as .a sleeker style of riff-heavy metal. (April 2011) and Alternative Press magazine as .a near masterpiece of tangled tar pit riffs and whisky-and-bong-hit vocals. (April 2011). .We.re hyper excited about this new album. The basic tracks are like rabid monkeys we.re wrangling at Type Foundry in our hometown of Portland, Or. Producer Chris Funk has almost been amputated twice. Surprise guests abound!
See full article at Monsters and Critics »

Paul McCartney covers 'The Christmas Song' for new album - listen

Paul McCartney covers 'The Christmas Song' for new album - listen
Paul McCartney has covered a festive classic for a new compilation album. The singer has recorded a stripped-back rendition of 'The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)' for upcoming record Holidays Rule. It can be heard in full on The Guardian's website. The album was produced by Sara Matarazzo and the Decemberists' Chris Funk and features Christmas covers by Rufus Wainwright, The Shins and Fun. Speaking about McCartney's involvement, Matarazzo said: "Having him on this record (more)
See full article at Digital Spy - Movie News »

Catching Up With Black Prairie's Chris Funk

The members of Black Prairie read like a who’s who of the Portland music scene. Made up of three Decemberists, Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee, Bearfoot and the Woolwines’s Annalisa Tornfelt and Dolorean’s Jon Neufeld, the band will release their second album, A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart , Sept. 18. With its combination of styles, the album is an eclectic mix of folk, bluegrass and European sounds. The album plays around with new elements, including the addition of vocals and drums....
See full article at PasteMagazine »

The Decemberists: We All Raise Our Voices To The Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11)

The Decemberists have always been a hard band to pigeon hole. Their earlier albums celebrated and recalled the great prog-rock bands of the seventies, but in the last few years they’ve been clearly enamored with the Appalachian sounds of antique American folk as exemplified by artists like Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. The Decemberists’ music has always been complex and it’s easy to imagine how difficult it could be to recreate in a live setting. Lead singer and main songwriter, Colin Melloy - like Shane McGowan of the Pogues before him - writes extremely literary - if occasionally verbose - lyrics that the band molds into a traditional music framework that gives extra weight and power to the stories the songs tell. On record, it is a formula that works brilliantly, but as compelling as the concerts that these live recordings are taken from may have been to witness in person,
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Interview: Talking With Red Fang At The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival

Through our experiences at the 2011 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, we have taken an immense liking to metal music, but it still is refreshing to hear rock n’ roll music within the festival’s metal line up. So thank you, Red Fang, for adding some spice to the festival. The “outcast” band consists of vocalist and guitarist, Bryan Giles, vocalist and bassist, Aaron Beam, guitarist, David Sullivan and drummer, John Sherman. Red Fang dropped their self-titled debut in 2009 and recently released, “Murder The Mountains”, which The Decemberists’, Chris Funk, produced, on April 12th via Relapse Records. With two albums down, the hard rock band has been on the road,...
See full article at ShockYa »

Album Review: The Decemberists' 'The King Is Dead'

Album Review: The Decemberists' 'The King Is Dead'
While a lot has been made of “The King Is Dead” being a more country or Americana-leaning set, the ‘90s guitar rock makes quite an appearance, too. Particularly on “Down By the Water” (hey jealousy?) and “Calamity Song,” frontman and songwriter Colin Meloy allowed for a specific showcasing of R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, doing what he does. Buck’s contribution (or perhaps Chris Funk’s) on “This Is Why We Fight” really ties the room together and makes for one of the best songs the Decemberists have ever made. The drumming is tight; the chugga chug of acoustic properly preps the listener for...
See full article at Hitfix »

Black Prairie Releases Video and New Tracks, Announces Tour

Black Prairie quickly became one of our favorites when the band released its debut, Feast of the Hunters’ Moon, back in April. The side-project-turned-rightful-band boasts several members in common with the hugely-popular Decemberists, including bassist Nate Query, organist/accordionist Jenny Conlee and multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk, plus vocalist/violinist Annalisa Tornfelt and guitarist Jon Neufeld. Recently, the group just announced its first-ever tour dates and dropped two new downloadable tracks....
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Abigail Washburn Announces Album, Tour

On her last release, Abigail Washburn & The Sparrow Quartet, Washburn joined forces with Béla Fleck, Casey Driessen and Ben Sollee. For her upcoming album, City of Refuge (due Aug. 31 on Foreign Children Records), Washburn is in the spotlight, but some of her more musical friends—including The Decemberists’ Chris Funk and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket—contributed to the album, which was produced by Tucker Martine (Sufjan Stevens, Spoon)....
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Black Prairie: Feast of the Hunters’ Moon

Instrumental quintet bridges continents Combining the forces of Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk and Nate Query of The Decemberists with folk musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld, Portland’s Black Prairie crafts an eclectic mix of traditional bluegrass and eastern European sounds. Though peppered with Tornfelt’s wispy vocals, this debut album is primarily instrumental, shifting between twangy folk (“Atrocity at Celilo Falls”), fiddle-heavy bluegrass (“Back Alley,” “Annie McGuire”) and gypsy swoon, full of weeping strings and bouncy accordions (“A Prairie Musette,” “Tango Oscuro”). The melodic ebb and flow through time and space is full of surprises—just when you’ve settled into the rootsy...
See full article at PasteMagazine »

SXSW 2010: Black Prairie

<small>[<em>Photo by Rachel Bailey</em>]</small>Black Prairie, a project from the Decemberists' Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee along with fellow Portland musicians Jon Neufeld and Annalisa Tornfelt, played two of our day parties this week. The first was Thursday in the Galaxy Room backyard. Today, they took the stage at The Belmont, where they were joined by Austin's own Sarah Jarosz, who earlier in the day picked a mean banjo during a solo performance. ...
See full article at PasteMagazine »

Pic Post! It's Lollapalooza!

Will Roan of Amazing Baby performs onstage during the 2009 Lollapalooza Music Festival at Grant Park on August 7, 2009 in Chicago.

You may be thinking "did we flashback fiffteen years? Lollapalooza?" Actually, one of the great pop culture touchstones of the 90's was revived a few years ago, and plays at Grant Park in Chicago for two days every August (and just signed a deal with the city to keep it there through 2018). If nothing else, it's a chance to catch some hot new upcoming alternative bands like ... Depeche Mode.

Seriously though, take a look at this year's festival, and enjoy the fashion, and talent, and ... unique looks.

Krispy Kream and Rah Al Millio of The Knux

Andrew Bird poses backstage after his performance Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes

Kevin Barnes, Dottie Alexander, Jamey Huggins, and Bryan Poole of the band Of Montreal

Janelle Monae

Perry Farrell and LeeAnn Rimes  

Becky Stark
See full article at The Backlot »

Seven things about The Decemberists' debut performance of The Hazards of Love at SXSW

SXSW is great for discovering new bands, so I try not to see many acts I've seen before. But not only did I check out The Decemberists' set Tuesday night at the IFC party with Gomez, I caught their full concert at Stubbs the next night. But Wednesday night's show marked the band's first public performance of their new concept album, The Hazards of Love. It was like watching an indie rock musical based on some long-lost Shakespearean tragedy. Here are seven random things about the show:

1. Playing the whole album without a break left the usually talkative Colin Meloy without any time to banter from the stage.

2. While Becky Starks sung the role of Margaret, Shara Worden sung the role of the Forest Queen and somebody's iPod played the role of the ghost of the three murdered children, Colin Meloy had double duty as William (the hero) and the
See full article at PasteMagazine »

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