Category: Belle Brigade

A Bob Dylan tribute album with 76 tracks and a 2012 mind-set

STORY: Bob Dylan tribute album honors Amnesty International too

The new  Bob Dylan tribute album, “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International,” which is being released today, salutes both the songwriter and the human rights organization for half a century of their respective work.

But the album itself has been assembled and is being marketed with a very 2012 mind-set.

Veteran record industry executive Jeff Ayeroff, who is leading the charge for the benefit project, with proceeds going to Amnesty International, fully expects that few potential customers will be equally passionate about all 76 tracks by more than 80 artists appearing on the four-CD set.

Artists that participated constitute a diverse aasemblage spanning the pop music spectrum, and a bit beyond it, from young pop hit makers Adele, Miley Cyrus and Kesha to indie rockers the Silversun Pickups and the Belle Brigade to veteran folkies Joan Baez and Pete Seeger, alt-country musicians Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Brett Dennen and the Avett Brothers, mainstream rockers Dave Matthews, Joe Perry and Maroon 5, hard-edged  rock band Queens of the Stone Age, world music acts Ziggy Marley, Mariachi El Bronx and Somalian rapper K’naan and punk bands Bad Religion and Rise Against.
"Whatever I’ve learned in the evolution of the album, I know people who pay $20 for this are not going to like every song,” Ayeroff said. “But there are several records inside this album: There’s a country record, there’s an all female record of women interpreting Bob Dylan songs, which is probably the most significant part of the album for me. It shows that Bob speaks with many voices for many people.

“There’s an adult pop record, there’s a peer record, there’s an alternative rock album, and the rock record,” continued Ayeroff, adding that in the iTunes age he anticipates some people who buy the download version will pick and choose which parts of it they pull down.

In addition to the official four-CD version that’s going to all the usual online and physical music retailers, Starbucks has created a two-CD version.

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Grammy preview: L.A. bands in the running

Local acts Foster the People, the Belle Brigade, Tyler the Creator, Far East Movement and Fitz & the Tantrums vie for Grammy glory.

Mark Foster

While it’s never a bad year for music in a city the size of Los Angeles, 2011 was a particularly notable one, at least when it came to fresh voices garnering attention at a national level. In fact, between just Foster the People and Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator, Los Angeles boasted one of the year’s biggest success stories as well as one of its most controversial.

Dig deeper, and the city had a little of everything that generally appeals to Grammy voters, including a pair of critically beloved pop traditionalists, a dash of vintage soul and an act that spawned multiple Top 10 singles. Nominations will be announced Wednesday.

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KCRW holiday concerts slated for Dec. 2, 3 at the Orpheum

Sam Beam-Iron & Wine 
KCRW-FM (89.9) has enlisted a cadre of acts that have been championed on its airwaves for a pair of holiday shows Dec. 2 and 3 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles to help support the station’s programming costs.

The Dec. 2 lineup is topped by reggae star Jimmy Cliff, and also includes pop singer Brett Dennen, world music group Fool’s Gold, psychedelic-funk band White Denim, Oklahoma chamber pop group Other Lives and L.A. singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd.

The following night’s show will feature headliner Iron & Wine, L.A. indie pop band the Belle Brigade, English rock-noir singer-songwriter-guitarist Anna Calvi, Malaysian pop singer Zee Avi and retro country-folk duo the Secret Sisters.

“When envisioning a holiday concert to celebrate KCRW, I wanted to bring it back to basics and create an event that resonated with the spirit of the season,” station music director and “Morning Becomes Eclectic” host Jason Bentley said in a statement.

Tickets will be $55 to $200 and go on sale Tuesday to KCRW subscribers at, and a week later to the general public.


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Nic Harcourt: KCRW misrepresented my departure

-- Randy Lewis

Photo of Sam Beam, lead singer of Iron & Wine, during a concert in January at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theatre. Credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

Belle Brigade postpones Grammy Museum performance, cuts short Sunday show

No word on what the food in question was, but the Belle Brigade has been forced to cancel Monday evening's anticipated performance/Q&A at the Grammy Museum in support of its eponymous debut release, which came out in the spring.

The group played Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena Sunday night in the best "show must go on tradition" after its lead guitarist dropped off the gig because of a migraine and despite food poisoning affecting Barbara Gruska, who with brother Ethan constitutes the duo. Barbara made it through the one-hour set, which included songs from the debut album plus two unrecorded numbers, until she was forced off stage midway through the final song. The band could not return for an encore despite an enthusiastic audience.

The band released a statement early this afternoon expressing disappointment about the postponement and said that it would reschedule at a date to be determined.


Belle Brigade: A pop duo that's kin tight

Album review: 'Belle Brigade'

SXSW 2011: The Belle Brigade at Chop Shop's afternoon showcase

-- Craig Turner and Randall Roberts

Photo: Ethan and Barbara Gruska, a.k.a. Belle Brigade. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For the Los Angeles Times

L.A.'s Levitt Pavilions booker Eddie Cota brings edgy sets to outdoor stages



Friday's Nightlife page in The Times' Calendar section features a profile of Eddie Cota, the 28-year-old booker given the task of revamping the Levitt Pavilions in Pasadena and MacArthur Park into essential summertime music destinations. With lineups including No Age, Ximena Sarinana, Ana Tijoux, Belle Brigade and a Brainfeeder showcase with Daedelus, it seems he's done his job this summer. Read the full profile here.


No Age Turns up the noise

Belle Brigade: A pop duo that's kin tight

Latina rappers make their voices heard

-- August Brown

Photo: Mike Chavez / Los Angeles Times

SXSW 2011: The Belle Brigade at the Chop Shop showcase


It says something about the stickiness of the Belle Brigade's songs that they can not only endure but prevail during the onslaught of noise at South by Southwest this weekend.  Case in point: I'm walking down 6th Street at midnight on Friday and dodging drunk fans, drunk musicians, drunk bratwurst eaters, drunk label reps, brass bands, funky street drummers, guitarists, dancers -- and drunks.  The eardrums are working overtime trying to absorb all the chaotic soundwaves attacking them, the screams, the songs coming out of the clubs, the sirens, the beats thumping the low end. It's a lot of sound. And yet drowning all that stuff out is a song by the Belle Brigade running through my head.

Big-boi-sxsw Four hours earlier the Los Angeles band had played music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas's Chop Shop party on the Maggie Mae's rooftop, their third gig of the day, and the six-piece band had completely captured the imagination of the crowd, who were bouncing their heads to the young band formed by the brother/sister team of Ethan and Barbara Gruska. Their self-titled debut will be released by Warner Bros. on April 19.

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