Marlon Williams creeps in and releases one of the best singles of 2017 – “Vampire Again.”




“Channeling Roy Orbison at moments with a good sense of humor, great songs and one of the best voices at Newport, New Zealand’s Marlon Williams.” – Bob Boilen

“His songwriting is prolific—he paints songs as characters and remains gender-fluid throughout his nine-song masterpiece. Williams is such a gifted storyteller that there is no telling which tracks are autobiographical and which are fictional.” — Paste

Marlon Williams returns with “Vampire Again,” his first new material since releasing his acclaimed debut album early last year via Dead Oceans and touring relentlessly around the world, including performances on CONAN, Later…with Jools Holland, opening for Bruce Springsteen and picking up both an ARIA Award nomination and two New Zealand Music Awards.

In creating “Vampire Again,” Williams returned home to Lyttelton, New Zealand to re-engage in the writing process and work again with producer Ben Edwards. Below he discusses the story behind the song. Watch the accompanying video, directed by Williams in collaboration with UK cinematographer Steve Gullick. It’s a tragicomic vignette of a societal outcast – misshapen, uncomfortable, humorous and a little touching.

Following Williams’ recent performances at the Newport Folk Festival and Pickathon, he’ll hit the road throughout the rest of the month supporting City & Colour, before playing headline shows in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto this fall.

The germination of this song began in LA last year. It was indeed Halloween again, and I was bored, having spent a week locked away in an Airbnb by the airport trying in vain to write a song. Any song. Nothing came. So Halloween comes around and I figure, “Hey, I’m gonna go out tonight. Alone. Comfortably alone. Comfortably alone to see the LA Opera performing a new score to accompany my fave scary flick Nosferatu at the Ace Hotel. I’m gonna dress as the spindly creep himself. What’s more, I’m gonna get super blazed before I go. And be comfortably alone.”

So, off I go, having spent far too much on a last minute outfit, and step out of the Uber and onto the red carpet with a nauseating air of self-confidence. “This is my night. I am strong. I am human and it is my right to express myself how I see fit.” Turns out I was running late, and when I finally enter the theatre everyone was already seated and the overture had begun. What’s more, no one else was dressed up. Well they were, but in tuxedos and lovely dresses. And there was nowhere for stoned ole spindleboots to sit. So, I hunched and crawled my way down the aisle and sat on the floor like it was the most reasonable thing to do at an opera.

I made it through the whole film and then calmly turned tail, satisfied that I’d had a good time and sure that I’d heard whispers of “bad-ass” as I left the building. I’d like to believe that this was, at least in part, the catalyst for a whole new period in my life and my art. But that’s bullsh*t.

Anyway, here it is, my own demented tale of New Age self-affirmation; “Vampire Again.”

Watch Marlon Williams’ “Vampire Again” Video –

Purchase/Stream “Vampire Again” –

Marlon Williams Tour Dates:
Fri. Aug. 11 – Boulder, CO @ Triple A Festival
Sat. Aug 12 – Sun. Aug. 13 – Edmonton, AB @ Edmonton Folk Festival
Tue. Aug. 15 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant #
Wed. Aug. 16 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown #
Fri. Aug. 18 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre #
Sat. Aug. 19 – Bellevue, CO @ Mishawaka Amphitheatre #
Mon. Aug. 21 – Kansas City @ Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland #
Tue. Aug. 22 – Springfield, MO @ Gillioz Theatre #
Thu. Aug. 24 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
Fri. Aug. 25 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues #
Sat. Aug. 26 – San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre #
Mon. Aug. 28 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues #
Tue. Aug. 29 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s #
Sat. Sep. 2 – Rutbeek, NE @ Tuckerville Festival
Tue. Oct. 24 – London, UK @ Omeara
Wed. Oct. 25 – Paris, France @ Espace B
Thu. Oct. 26 – Berlin, Germany @ FluxBau
Sat. Oct. 28 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ London Calling Festival
Mon. Oct. 30 – New York, NY @ Rough Trade
Wed. Nov. 1 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake
Thu. Nov. 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ Moroccan Lounge
Fri. Nov. 10 – Auckland, NZ @ Point Chev RSA
Sat. Nov. 11 – Welllington, NZ @ San Fran
Sun. Nov. 12 – Christchurch, NZ @ Blue Smoke
Wed. Nov. 15 – Sydney, Australia @ Oxford Art Factory
Thu. Nov. 16 – Melbourne, Australia @ Howler
Fri. Nov. 17 – Mullumbimby, Australia @ Mullumbimby Music Festival

# = with City and Colour

Download hi-res jpegs –

Official Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Dead Oceans

(“Vampire Again” Single Cover Art)

Numero Group to release rare Jackie Shane records.


The first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work features all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern,
including three previously-unreleased tracks 


(Any Other Way album art)

Recognized by genre aficionados as one of the greatest singers and most riveting stage presences in soul music, Jackie Shane has remained largely unknown outside of Toronto, where her career briefly flowered in the 1960s. Ms. Shane is a star without parallel — a pioneer of transgender rights born in a male body, living her entire life as a woman at a time when to do so seemed unthinkable. Any Other Way, out October 20th via the Numero Group, is the first artist-approved collection of Ms. Shane’s work, collecting all six of her 45s and every highlight from the legendary 1967 live sessions at the Sapphire Tavern, including three mind blowing, previously-unreleased tracks.

Ms. Shane’s identity and sexuality were never a secret. She wore makeup, silk shirts and jewelry onstage and off, projecting a sense of refined femininity, and did so in a manner exuding class, self-respect and dignity. Her identity was never an act designed to play with an audience’s sense of exotica.

With her last appearance taking place onstage in Toronto in December of 1971, the city which Ms. Shane considers her second home and where she lived during the peak of her success, this collections marks Ms. Shane’s first communication with the public in nearly half a century. Extensive liner notes tell, for the first time ever, Ms. Shane’s story in her own words, copiously illustrated with never-before-seen pictures from a career and life unlike any other.

Listen To “Any Other Way” —

Watch Any Other Way Teaser Video —

Any Other Way Tracklist:
01. Sticks And Stones
02. Any Other Way
03. In My Tenement
04. Comin’ Down
05. Money (That’s What I Want)
06. I’ve Really Got The Blues
07. Send Me Some Lovin’
08.  Walking The Dog
09. You Are My Sunshine
10. Stand Up Straight And Tall
11. New Way Of Love
12. Cruel Cruel World
13. Intro [Live]
14. High Heel Sneakers [Live]
15. Barefootin’ [Live]
16. Knock On Wood [Live]
17. Money (That’s What I Want) [Live]
18. Raindrops [Live]
19. You’re The One (That I Need) [Live]
20. Don’t Play That Song (You Lied) [Live]
21. Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag [Live]
22. Any Other Way [Live]
23. You Are My Sunshine [Live]
24. I Don’t Want To Cry [Live]
25. Shotgun [Live]


Download hi-res images & album art —

Pre-order Any Other Way

Numero Group Online:

Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: Kilo Kish

Singer, songwriter, painter, visual artist, and textile designer Kilo Kish will be playing an early set on July 16 at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival.  Ms. Kish has a neat vision of the world and witty lyrics that cut right to the heart of issues of gender, politics, art, race, and being a Millennial.  She’s intriguing.  That alone makes her set worth a look, as do her slick beats that blend trip hop with R&B.

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Pitchfork Music Festival artist spotlight: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

I don’t know what I can write about George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic that hasn’t already been written.  The man is the godfather of funk and pretty much spearheaded a musical revolution in the 1970’s.  His bassist, Bootsy Collins, is one of the greatest of all time.  They’re responsible for more psychotronic freak-outs than you can imagine, not to mention a thousand beats and bass lines you’ve heard in ten thousand hip hop songs.  Their set on July 15th at the Pitchfork Music Festival is a can’t-miss show.

Keep your mind open.

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Mamby on the Beach artist spotlight: Thundercat

Bass guitar whiz, rapper, singer, and producer Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) is one of the funkiest musicians around right now.  His music ranges from funk to soul to psychedelia to prog-rock (and he also plays bass in Suicidal Tendencies).  His collaborations with Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar have all earned him wide acclaim (and a Grammy).  His June 25th set at Mamby on the Beach is sure to be a must-see.

Keep your mind open.

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Mamby on the Beach artist spotlight: Rayvn Lenae

Chicago’s Rayvn Lenae is a teenaged R&B artist who is talented beyond her young years.  Her blend of soul and electro is so smooth that you could practically ice skate on it.  She’ll be playing the Beach Stage at Mamby on the Beach June 24th.  I have a feeling her show will be one many will be talking about over the weekend and for years when she explodes into the mainstream.

Keep your mind open.

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Sharon Jones has left the building.


Sharon Jones, lead singer of the funk / soul / R&B powerhouse band Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings has died at the young age of 60 of pancreatic cancer.  She fought a good fight, even releasing two more records and touring after her cancer diagnosis.  Her albums with the Dap-Kings were a shot in the arm to the music industry which had pretty much ignored her for years.  They couldn’t ignore her when she was dropping future classics like “100 Days, 100 Nights,” “How Do I Let a Good Man Down?”, and “Your Thing Is a Drag.”

Her live performances (none of which I ever got to see, apart from recorded video) were fiery affairs, and she caught and held your attention from the moment she stepped onstage.  You knew things were about to get real when she’d kick off her shoes so she could get down harder.

She will be greatly missed, but take heart in knowing she’s strutting with James Brown somewhere right now.

Keep your mind open.

Live: Seal – August 27, 2016 – New Buffalo, MI

I’ve been meaning to make it up to my wife for dragging her to see Japanese acid rockers Bo Ningen (a band she just doesn’t understand) at Levitation Austin a couple years ago, so I thought taking her to see Seal might do the trick.

He played at the Four Winds Casino Silver Creek Event Center in New Buffalo, Michigan.  The “Silver Creek Event Center,” mind you, is just a big carpeted room the casino can use for everything from a Seal concert to a wedding reception. It is much smaller than the venue  map on Ticketmaster’s website makes it appear.  I’m happy to say that the acoustics in the place are quite good, however.  The whole show sounded great.

Part of that is because Seal is a great performer.  It was him, a DJ / synthesizer player, and a guitarist on stage.  No drummer.  No horn section.  No bass player.  They didn’t need any of them.  Seal opened the set with “Crazy,” his biggest hit here in the U.S., and the crowd was instantly on its feet.  His voice hasn’t lost any power since the song was released in 1991, and I loved the way his band turned it into a bit of a dark wave tune with the synth work.  “Killer,” another early hit, followed it with even more of a dark wave feel to it with heavy synth bass.

IMG_3326The first track they played from Seal’s new album, 7, was “Daylight Saving,” a gorgeous love song that preceded another from the same album, “Do You Ever.”  “Prayer for the Dying” was another heartbreaking cut (to the point it made my wife cry) that led into “Love’s Divine.”


A surprise was his cover of Hall & Oates‘ “Sara Smile” (with Seal on back-up guitar).  “Love,” the last song on 7, led into the first verse of David Bowie‘s “Space Oddity,” and I thought my wife was going to slide off her chair.


“Deep Water” was another beautiful track, and then came another surprise – Seal’s cover of Tears for Fears‘ “Mad World,” which he dedicated to the victims of the recent earthquake in Italy.  “My Vision” and “Right Life” got everyone up and moving again, and he even threw in a little bit of Chic‘s “Le Freak.”  The fourth cover of the night was Prince‘s “Hot Thing,” which was one of the funkiest tunes of the night and closed out the main set to a standing ovation.

The encore consisted of “Kiss from a Rose” and then another track from 7, “Life on the Dancefloor,” which had everyone dancing and grooving and leaving on a good buzz.  I saw two ladies a few rows behind us when the houselights came up, and they were dumbfounded in their chairs.  They didn’t move for several minutes.


I asked my wife if the show made up for Bo Ningen.

“Almost,” she said.  “Probably the Bo, but not the Ningen.”

I took that as a win.  Thanks, Seal.

Keep your mind open.