Tommy Keene 1958-2017

November 27th, 2017

Power-pop legend, acclaimed singer-songwriter, and venerated guitarist Tommy Keene has died.

The 59 year-old Keene passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, in his sleep at his Los Angeles area home on Wednesday. Keene – who recorded for Geffen, Matador Records, and Second Motion, among others – built an impressive and acclaimed catalog over the course of his nearly 40-year career, spanning eleven full-lengths, four EPs, three compilations, and a live album.

Hailed by fans, critics and fellow musicians for the moving and consistently high quality of his pop songcraft, he was also consummate rock and roller. Over the course of his career, Keene worked with a range of artists who admired his work, including The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard, the Goo Goo Dolls, and the Gin Blossoms, among others.

Born in Evanston, Illinois and raised in Bethesda, Maryland, Keene launched his career in the late-‘70s as a guitarist with a series of Washington D.C.-area combos including the Rage and the Razz, before hitting the national scene as a solo act in 1982 with the release of his debut Strange Alliance.

In 1984, Keene followed with a six-song effort titled Places That Are Gone (Dolphin). Blatantly romantic, unapologetically melodic, bittersweet but absolutely invigorating, the record landed high on the CMJ charts and atop the Village Voice Pazz & Jop EP of the Year poll.

Keene was soon being courted by major labels and ultimately signed with Geffen Records for 1986’s Songs From the Film. Produced by Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, the album spawned two MTV videos and spent 12 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200. The accompanying Run Now EP led to the singer as well as its title track appearing in the Anthony Michael Hall movie Out of Bounds.

For 1989’s Based on Happy Times (Geffen) Keene headed down to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record with producers John Hampton and Joe Hardy. The ironically titled disc is the darkest album in the Keene catalog, with heavier guitars, fewer jangles, and a more brooding, fatalistic outlook.

Following the album’s release, Keene took a break from recording, eventually signing with Matador for 1996’s acclaimed “comeback” Ten Years After and its 1998 follow-up Isolation Party. Between 2000 and 2004 he released a live disc called Showtunes (Parasol), The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (SpinArt) and rarities/demos/unreleased-tracks collection Drowning: A Tommy Keene Miscellany (Not Lame).

Keene also developed a career as in-demand sideman: he was a touring member of Sony/Creation-signed rockers Velvet Crush, and appeared on their 1995 live album Rock Concert. In 1996 he joined Paul Westerberg’s band, handling lead guitar duties on the Eventually tour and making appearances on “The Larry Sanders Show” and “The Late Show with David Letterman.” A trek opening for Guided By Voices led to his joining Robert Pollard in 2006 as a touring member of Pollards post-GBV band the Ascended Masters and, two years later, Boston Spaceships.

Meanwhile, 2006 also saw the release of Keene’s Crashing the Ether (Eleven Thirty), along with Blues and Boogie Shoes, a collaboration with Pollard under the Keene Brothers moniker. He put out a double-disc career-spanning set in 2011, Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective 1983-2009.

In recent years, Keene continued to delivered a series of accomplished solo records for the Second Motion/School Kids labels, including 2015’s Laugh in the Dark, his final studio album. Keene had spent much of the past year on the road opening shows for fellow pop-rocker Matthew Sweet.

Keene is survived by his longtime partner, Michael Lundsgaard, his father Robert Keene, step-mother Dorothy Keene, brother Bobby Keene, nephews Hunter and Jason Keene, and his beloved dog, Coco.

Redeye Welcomes n5MD

October 10th, 2017


Just shy of celebrating its 17th year n5MD is proud to announce its exclusive North American physical and worldwide digital distribution partnership with Redeye Worldwide.

n5MD (“No Fives, Minidiscs!”) is a record label based in Oakland, CA and is most known as a berth for more emotive styles of contemporary music. Founded in late 2000, its aim was to release music solely on the MiniDisc format. After a small string of releases on MiniDiscs, SONY deemed the format antiquated so n5MD forged ahead with more consumer friendly formats, including vinyl. The label is often name-checked for its international roster and broad catalogue encompassing such genres as post-rock, IDM, shoegaze and modern composition.

Redeye Welcomes Greenleaf Music

October 9th, 2017


Greenleaf Music is New York-based independent music company owned, operated and curated by trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas. A modern jazz label devoted to the original work of living musicians, the company’s primary focus is creativity in musical expression. Greenleaf’s sound is defined by the artists signed to it, and the room they are given to explore their own sonic world. Greenleaf is a platform for a diversity of expression by Dave Douglas and our other artists. Each recording represents a new and distinct vision.

In addition to being a home base for all of Douglas’ diverse projects since 2005, Greenleaf Music has been a launching pad for emerging artists and composers including Ryan Keberle, Kneebody, Donny McCaslin, Linda Oh, Rudy Royston, Matt Ulery, Greg Ward and others. These releases have helped to establish these voices in today’s jazz scene both domestically and internationally. Producing CDs, vinyl records, downloads, sheet music, subscriptions, and podcasts as well as a blog with artist commentary and discussion, Greenleaf Music creates a dynamic community of listeners that supports artists fully and fairly.

Charles Bradley 1948-2017

September 26th, 2017

It is with great sadness that Redeye has learned of the passing of Daptone Recording artist Charles Bradley. Redeye has had the extreme pleasure of working to share Charles’ releases with music lovers for many years and our thoughts and prayers go out to our friends at Daptone and his family in their time of loss. Redeye will continue to champion the amazing music that Charles brought into the world for many years to come as new fans find their way to his catalog and long-time fans continue to celebrate the career of the “Screaming Eagle of Soul.” In lieu of flowers, his family and Daptone Records have asked that donations may be made to the following organizations in memory of Charles.


Redeye Inks Distribution Deal with Topshelf Records

June 5th, 2017

Redeye, the North Carolina-based music company, announces a new partnership with Topshelf Records for worldwide physical and digital distribution on new releases and catalog titles. The partnership will be effective June 1, 2017.

Based in San Diego CA, Topshelf Records’ roster includes toe, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Braid, Prawn, No Vacation, Wild Ones, mouse on the keys, among others. Forthcoming albums from Topshelf artists Ratboys and tricot will be released under the new agreement with Redeye.

“We are stoked to get rolling with these guys. They’re smart and super passionate about what they’re doing and we know this is going to be a great fit for us all,” said Glenn Dicker, co-founder of Redeye.

“We’re excited to join the amazing group of like minded labels currently distributed via Redeye,” says Topshelf co-founder Seth Decoteau. “The Redeye team is knowledgeable and has been great to deal with which makes us feel enthusiastic about the future.”

ABOUT REDEYE: One of the largest independent digital and physical distributors in North America, Redeye’s client roster includes Acony Records, Barsuk, Burger Records, Daptone, Kill Rock Stars, Warp and Yep Roc Records, as well as artists including Death Cab for Cutie, Iris Dement, Nick Lowe, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Gillian Welch. Redeye was honored with the Independent Spirit Award by the Music Business Association in 2016.

ABOUT TOPSHELF: Started in Massachusetts in 2006, Topshelf Records is an independent record label run by Seth Decoteau and Kevin Duquette who quit their 9-to-5 jobs at Bridge Nine Records and Boston Globe respectfully to focus on Topshelf full time. Now in their eleventh year, Topshelf boasts a robust catalog of eclectic artists with diverse musical backgrounds including seminal releases by Sorority Noise, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, You Blew It!, Pianos Become The Teeth, and Into It. Over It. and groundbreaking developing artists such as Ratboys, Slingshot Dakota, tricot, Wild Ones and more.