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Through each decade of triumphs and tragedies, our musical heroines and heroes have inspired us by tapping into our collective angst and anger, and then translating those emotions into song, releasing timeless tracks that are appreciated and adored from one generation to the next.

2017 is definitely one for the world’s-gone-mad record books, making Stephen Emmer’s Home Ground, released in June of this year, highly relevant as it resonates with political and socially-powered lyrics of this time in history while inspired by defiant, classic soul tracks from Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Gil Scott-Heron, and Billie Holiday that wielded “an iron fist with a velvet glove.”

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It's already Day 2 of the Life is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival and the weather has been cooperating nicely, with an unusual, and almost Los Angeles-like "sunny and 72 degrees" flow going for this time of year. Today the live streaming feature on of the festival continues on Yahoo.com/lifeisbeautiful, brought to fans by Toyota.

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Toyota's Music Den has been on tour during the festival season and arrives this weekend for Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival in downtown Las Vegas (September 22-24). The Music Den serves almost as a mini-festival within a festival, curating more intimate musical experiences for the fans by bringing the performers up close and personal within a smaller setting. At this year’s LIB the Den line up includes Viceroy, David Shaw and Zack Feinberg of The Revivalists, RAC, Kamaiyah, Day Wave, Local Natives, Broods, Ella Vos, Classixx, Mondo Cozmo, Middle Kids, Tycho, FRENSHIP, Hippo Campus, with Sofi Tukker having to cancel (Quinn XCII is replacing them during their 6:00-6:50pm slot on the Ambassador stage).

This week I fly out to Toronto (unfortunately, on United Airlines...wish me luck) for my third Canadian Music Week, the annual music business conference and festival.

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In addition to having the pleasure of being on the panel, "Brands in the Music Space: A Debate on the Pros and Cons" (sorry, couldn't resist the plug), attending sessions, reuniting with our unofficial music festival family (you know who you are), and hearing Live Nation's Michael Rapino speak, catching local Canadian bands and international acts is a top priority.

SXSW is almost upon those of us who are attending, so we’re trying to keep up with emails and RSVP's while prepping our bodies for the marathon and packing major doses of vitamin B12.

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For those who can't make the trek to Austin, there will be a number of opportunities to experience the minute-by-minute happenings, performances, and exclusive video that even the people there on the ground won’t have access to. Plus, audio streams broadcasting live will give everyone in Austin and beyond, stories, news, and music they can take in on the go.

Now in its 16th year, FADER FORT returns with four full days of musical performances from March 15 - 18. Since 2001, FADER FORT grew in popularity, expanding its footprint with massive crowds showing up to check out the artists and the FORT experience, following Twitter rumors of evening shows with suprise appearances, all of which contributed to the magic of SXSW.

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This year they return to their roots in a "nod to The FADER’s inaugural showcase in 2001," moving the festivities to a more intimate venue at 1209 East 6th Street (Volcom Garden) while still presenting a multi-use, indoor and outdoor environment to mashup music, the arts, drinks, lounging and playing.

“It has been ELEVEN days, Stephen,” Jon Stewart said during his January 31st guest appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, “Eleven. Fucking. Days. ELEVEN!” And then, looking into the audience and the camera, he stated what we were all experiencing, “The presidency is supposed to age the president, NOT the public.”

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That was only eighteen f*#king days ago. What’s happened since then plays out like a TV reality show based on a mashup of “Hunt For Red October 2: Defecting TO Russia,” “Dumb and Dumber,” and “ Liar Liar.”

2017 SXSW Music Round One Artist Announcement - The Drums 

After last month’s sneak peek at 50 artists approved to perform in 2017, SXSW took the next step in their music programming with the Round One Artist Announcement. To date, this tallies up to just over 200 bands. Expect that number to increase 10 fold by the time March comes around. March 10-19, 2017 to be exact.

Here is my first sneak peek of the Kaffeine Buzz pick list that will continue to grow over the next six months, with the full SXSW Music list to follow.

03 Aug 2016

With less than a month until Riot Fest and Rodeo descends on Denver once again, the after shows' ‘who, where, and when’ details emerge. Tickets go on sale this Friday for a chance to see bands from the big festival stage perform on slightly smaller stages at the Marquis and Summit in downtown Denver, and slightly south at Hi-Dive.

It’s been 15 years since I said farewell to my Bay Area homeland and set out for Colorado. After checking out the line up of bands set to perform at the inaugural showcase of Bay Area bands, sponsored by Balanced Breakfast and the Recording Academy at this year’s Underground Music Showcase, the Bay's music is just as diverse and spirited, as dark and gritty, and as subdued and haunting as ever.

In addition to the Balanced Breakfast showcase that takes place Sunday, July 31st at Skylark from noon to 5pm, each of the acts are playing other UMS slots during the festival.

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