Chris Robinson: Transit of the Binary Star

On the heels of a formidable run with The Black Crowes, Chris Robinson cobbled together a new band for his musical inclinations—the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. After logging more than a 100 shows last year, the quintet entered the studio and recorded enough material for two albums: Big Moon Ritual, released this past June, and this month’s The Magic Door. As contributing editor Richard Simon finds, Robinson and company don’t make any bones about what they’re aiming to be, which is a psychedelic rock band steeped in California’s deep legacy of freak folk and stoned-out country a la Gram Parsons-era Byrds. Simon, who’s followed the band since their inception, caught up with them in Denver as atmospheric conditions loomed.

The New Sound of The Shoals

During the ‘60s and ‘70s, Muscle Shoals, Ala., was a musically fertile area where artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan visited and recorded. Then, the Muscle Shoals hits started to dry up. But, in recent years, the magic has returned and The Shoals is once again a musical mecca. Cherokee Lair traces the area’s rich musical history and zooms in on Muscle Shoals’ current crop of buzz bands. While stylistically diverse, bands like The Pine Hill Haints, The Local Saints, Fiddleworms and Nightmare Boyzzz are all leading the charge behind Muscle Shoals’ renaissance.

Dispatch: The Road Well-Traveled

Even by grassroots standards, Dispatch had a unique career arc. After forming at Middlebury College in the mid-‘90s, the trio made their name playing sweaty, beer-soaked shows at Northeast colleges and prep schools as well as jam-friendly clubs like New York’s Wetlands Preserve. Without a record label or support of a major management team, Dispatch was a bonafied grassroots success story for the new Internet age. At the peak of their popularity, they called it quits. Having settled their personal differences, the members of Dispatch recently reunited and hit the road for a national tour. Executive Editor Mike Greenhaus catches up with the band as they prep for their first album in more than a decade, Circles Around the Sun.

Yeasayer: Apocalyptic Happiness

When they first formed, Yeasayer showed early indications of a more electronic-based musical trajectory. But on their 2010 critically acclaimed sophomore album, Odd Blood, they were informed more by beats funneled through a global-minded sonic sensibility. With their latest, Fragrant World, the Brooklyn art-pop collective shake things up once again, replacing the overtly romantic musings of their previous efforts with cinematic grandeur, undeniably danceable rhythms and dark lyrical commentary. Relix visits Yeasayer at their rehearsal space on the eve of their world tour to find out why they’re not “Laurel Canyon jamband prog-rock hippies.”

Plus:David Grisman, Keller Williams, John Cale, Matisyahu, Gordon Lightfoot, Grizzly Bear, Nathan Moore, Sarah Jaffe, These United States and much more!

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