Archive for April, 2011


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Formerly known as Lonny Breaux, Frank Ocean has written songs for John Legend, Brandy, and even Justin Bieber. Long story short: Ocean moved from his hometown of New Orleans to LA after Hurricane Katrina. He later signed a deal with Def Jam. Which leads us to the present moment and the topic of this post, the release of his first mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra.

Nostalgia, Ultra was recently released by Ocean for free (see link below for downloading) and it’s fucking amazing. I absolutely love it.

According to NPR: The hype for Nostalgia, Ultra is well-deserved, although its charms might easily be overlooked in a passing listen. The beats are crafted by big-name producers like Tricky Stewart (Beyonce, Rihanna) and Midi Mafia (Bieber, 50 Cent), who were no doubt poached from Ocean’s major-label sessions. The producers don’t stray too far from their poppier efforts, give or a take a touch of haze and a meandering feel meant to win over the indie set. Ocean is a talented enough vocalist, not overwhelming in his ability but certainly strong enough to hang with most of the middle-tier crooners cluttering urban radio.

Whatever, NPR! Frank Ocean is too sexy for you anyways! (Just kidding, they’re actually raving about the piece. The “not overwhelming in his ability” pissed me off, which lead to my stupid banter, lol.)

Seriously guys. I think I’m in love.
(Sorry Drake. I may have found a new baby daddy.)

Download Frank Ocean’s Mixtape for free here.

And listen to the smokingly hot Nature Feels below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Slowly put down the double stuffed Oreo and no one will get hurt!

Beyonce’s new goal is to blast the fat right off yo body.

Knowles, who has teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama for her Let’s Move campaign, has remixed her song Get Me Bodied as an effort to bring awareness to childhood obesity. The campaign was developed to deal with the epidemic of overweight children with the goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation.

For the record, I think fat kids are adorable. But I realize it’s not healthy for kids to look like the Michelin Man. So yay for this campaign and for Beyonce lending her voice to such a positive movement. Also, I’ve gained some weight (thanks, harsh winter of NYC), so I need to get my boogie on to this video as well!

Check out the video below & get off those buns, kiddies!


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

From one band to another, this song has been passed down from generation to generation. Check out Incubus covering The Rolling Stone’s classic Paint It Black. Press play and repeat.


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

BTB favorites Augustana, are back with a new self-titled album, and I wish I could kiss the speakers. On their third disc, Illinois-born, the L.A.-based band gets some Midwestern Dustbowl grime on its adult-alternative roots-rock style. I am totally convinced that these guys don’t get enough credit. Beautiful music with beautiful lyrics from beginning to end, completely full of well-crafted, melodic piano-driven rock.

If you’re looking for a great band to add to your library, check out first single Steal Your Heart.

[Related Post: Augustana: Unrefined Piano Rock]


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Last year we had the wonderful opportunity to interview Talia Coles. At the time, she was making us all move with her reggae influenced Nikki Wine record (which featured Elephant Man and appeared on over 100 mixtapes last summer). And now, the glamorous hip hop songstress is back…

Talia Coles has released her newest single, Never See You Again, via Couture Music/Phase One and is currently #19 on the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart!

Written by Talia Coles (and produced by red hot producer Teetimus), Never See You Again is laced with Talia’s slick yet relatable lyrics: “Everything was picture perfect ’til you moved the frame, and now because of you it’s barely hanging. Boy in a flash it’s like you start to replace him, that photograph is fading.”

Adding an extra drug to the already intoxicating tune, DJ Extraordinaire Fatman Scoop adds his signature hype track for a special club banger version. In addition, Couture Music artist KO Stiggity lends a memorable 8 bar verse to set the tone on the original version.

Managed by Jojo Brim from KWL Enterprises (Trey Songz, Estelle, Big Sean, Nelly), Talia Coles is also an accomplished songwriter, stylist and designer who has lent her talents to some of today’s top notch creative forces. Whether its styling videos for Trey Songz and P. Diddy, or writing songs for Slim from 112, Musiq Soulchild or Tyler Perry, Talia proves that she has what it takes to be amongst the elite of the entertainment industry.

The song is now available for purchase worldwide.

Listen to Never See You Again below.

[Related Post: Exclusive Interview: Talia Coles]

Talia Coles – Never See You Again by PhaseOneCom


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

With one quick glance, most would toss Kimberly Caldwell into the wrong box. With blonde waves and flickering eyes, one might toss her into the manufactured pop category of the majority of Idol castoffs. But that categorization would be wrong.

Don’t let the pretty looks fool you.

Kimberly Caldwell isn’t just another marketable face sculpted by a record label. The girl’s been through the ringer and it’s apparent on her debut, Without Regret. One thing that has always remained certain: Kimberly Caldwell’s raspy vocals and emotive execution is more than just pretty. It’s genuine, relatable, and real.

Go pick up her debut album, out now.

I love this record!

Listen to two of my favorite numbers from Without Regret below.


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Everyone knows that Silverstein ranks high on the hard-core list. Anyone with ears, anyway. Their melodic tampering with screamo vocal effects and acoustic patterns is nothing short of artistic exploration. Therefore, it seems apt that their most recent single happens to be titled The Artist. It has exactly the kind of kick you hope (and expect) from Silverstein, those luscious Toronto boys with their thrashing skills and huge hearts.

The Artist has come just in time for me to land my hands on their new album, coming out in a mere few days. You can pre-order the dish on their website, and I’m not usually one to vouch for commercialism, but these guys deserve official sponsorship.

Can’t spare a buck? No matter. Dig into the delectable appetizer below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Felt appropriate.

To those celebrating:



By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Photo courtesy of my mobile phone! How 21st century.

So tonight, I saw JJ in concert and as expected, was completely blown away dot com! Socks knocked off dot org! Yup, and I even met her after the show and she signed my cell phone. Holla! That was pretty cool. Such a genuine, down to earth performer who deserves every bit of praise that’s been coming her way.

Check out three videos from the show last night as recorded from my iPhone 4. And I can’t believe I’m saying this but screw it! If you’re on YouTube subscribe to my channel, por favor.

Sorry for not hyping this post up with grandeur and detail but to be honest, it’s currently 12:41AM and I’m exhausted dot net! (LOL, sorry, last domain reference I promise. It’s just something that’s attached itself to my vocab lately.)

[Note: I tagged this post under ‘Covers’ (among other tags) but wanted you to know (if you didn’t already) that JJ wrote Party In The U.S.A. so technically it’s not a cover. Ok, I’m tired and rambling but felt the need to clarify because I have issues!]


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I think it is safe to say that everyone knows the Foo Fighters are rock and roll legends, and their newest release does nothing but back up that statement. Wasting Light is without a doubt one of the tightest releases by the group ever, and one of the most sought out albums of this year. Recorded to tape on analog equipment in front man Dave Grohl’s garage, Wasting Light sounds nothing like anything the band has ever done previously, in the best way possible. It’s fascinating to see a back-to-basics recording method being used by a man who pretty much has achieved everything. The deep, pristine environment inspires the integrity of a stadium groove, combining all forms of hard, college, and down and dirty rock.

Sometimes I can’t help but feel that rock and roll gets lost in a music biz conquered by image and packaging, neglecting unadulterated raw talent. Luckily, bands like the Foo Fighters grab my hand before I fall off the ledge; for the sound on this release revives rock and roll to the state it should be in. Just as tracks such as White Limo (hardcore as hell feel) and Rope (first radio single) will leave you jumping and punching, the boys turn tables with love, emotion and melody (in the lyrical content) on numbers like Back and Forth, I Should Have Known and Arlandria. Not to forget probably the best, melodic record ever, Walk (closing out the album). Every track on this record brings something different to the table, for fans of all types of music.

I am not here to review this record and tear it down piece by piece, but simply want to bring it to your attention. Wasting Light will take fans to a dimension where music is rooted in the rock and roll tradition; showing that you don’t need million dollar studios to create a psychological, emotional, physical, musical triumph.

Long live the Foo Fighters.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

[Photo of Keenan via Alex Markow]

Ok, let’s cut the crap, shall we? I think S&M is a gross song. There! I said it. I love Britney to death and even though I’ve referred to Rihanna as a “red headed floozie” (joke, for dancing with my man, Drake) in the past, I like her, too. The simple truth, however, is that this song is kinda nasty. I mean, do I really need to know that Rihanna likes the smell of sex? Negative! It’s tries too hard to be sexy, thus making it not sexy at all. But hey, maybe it’s just me.

On the flipside, Keenan Cahill has really brought the song to life.

Keep doin’ you, Keenan. And hey, not everybody can say that Britney is a fan of their work like you can, buddy! (Britney showed her love of the song yesterday when she posted the video on her Facebook fan page.)

Love it!

Get ready for one helluva laugh!

[You can also catch Keenan in Sara Bareilles’ latest video here.]


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

American Idol alum, David Cook, is proving he is ready to strike back on his sophomore album. His latest single release, The Last Goodbye, is a triumphant return after a long hiatus. Nothing like an up-tempo breakup song, with passionate vocals, scrupulous production, and destructive guitars. All of this combined with a memorable chorus proves David Cook can pilot the pop territory without deserting his roots. This song will fit well in the radio environment, and the singing and receptivity behind it will prevail with popularity.

Take a listen.

Welcome back, David Cook…


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: So, tell us about Brian.

BRIAN MACKEY: I defy main-stream. I’m the kind of guy that shows up to a gig without a guitar case, and just a guitar strapped around my back, I jump on stage and do my thing. I’m not really into being hip or what’s cool at the moment, I kind of just do what I feel, and if it makes other people feel in the process, then that’s a good thing, good or bad, happy or sad, doesn’t matter. (But I would like to make them feel good.)

RB: Your video for ‘Honest Love’ was just released and it carries a pretty heartfelt message. Can you take us back to the moment you started writing this song, what was the driving force behind this record?

BM: The song, ‘Honest Love’ came out of a conversation with myself, to try to make sense of what Love really means. The waiting, the wanting, the abandonment, the moving on, the changing of the heart, the mind, and still being able to sum it all up in one word, and putting Honest in front of it, which seems like a contradiction, but a beautiful one at that. The record was supposed to be a full-length album, but I didn’t really have the money to do it. So I made it an EP, and put together the songs that I truly wanted to get out there with the limited resources I had at the time. I just needed to get the song ‘Florida’ on there, because a lot of people came up to me at shows and said they could really relate to that song. So I figured if enough people told me they could relate, I felt it was a good fit for the album.

RB: Your song, ‘Sunshower’ (off the ‘Honest Love’ EP), was chosen to be on the official ‘Songs of Love for Japan’ compilation (among great artists like Sara Bareilles and others). Can you tell us a little more about this project?

BM: Yes, this one came to me last minute, and it’s really just a super great cause for the ravaged country of Japan, which is just going through so much turmoil. It was strange because I was saying to myself, what could I do to help, I’m only one person. And then there was this opportunity to help, so I took it. It’s a 100 song compilation of not so well-known songs, but by really great artists. 100% of the proceeds go to Shelterbox, the charity committed to helping the victims and their families in Japan. Also, Ani DiFranco will be on there too, and many more.

[To learn more click here.]

RB: Any current pop culture addictions? Ones that may have influenced your music in any way?

BM: Pop-culture addictions… there are some, mostly in the film world. I love certain TV shows like ‘True Blood’, or anything where someone is ripping their neck off, all done in the name of love. I love this great UK show called ‘Doc Martin’, I discovered it on Netflix. So what I do is go to the British TV section on Netflix, dim the lights, get out my chutney and talk like Sherlock Holmes the whole night. I’m not sure how any of this influences my music, but I love all kinds of music, for example, I love piano, and classical music like Beethoven privately, but never play it on stage.

RB: Finally, where can new listeners keep up with your work? What new tricks do you have up your sleeve? Oh, and thank you for chatting with us.

BM: They can find me in all the usual places, like Facebook, Myspace (when it was popular), Reverbnation, iTunes – oh and by the way I have a Brian Mackey App releasing this week, so for all of you who have iPhones and iPads, so if you are somewhere lost and the GPS drops out, the only thing that comes in will be Brian Mackey, you’ll surely be pissed off, and want to break your phone. Also, I will be the featured artist in the launch issue of Rising Magazine, they will be featuring new photos taken by their photographer on location “behind-the-scenes”-like candid stuff, so keep a lookout for that. In May I’m shooting my next video, ‘Sunshower’, with the brilliant director Nick Cavalier, to be released in the summer, and have some new tour dates coming out for the summer/fall.

Thank you so much for the time, and letting me ramble on about stuff!

Watch the just-released video for ‘Honest Love’ below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

As I’ve mentioned before, if Jessie J’s charisma and powerhouse vocals could be sculpted into car form, the result would definitely be a hot pink Cadillac. That, or an 18 wheeler. That’s the kind of force that’s steering Jessie J into superstardom.

And with the release of her debut album, JJ’s left a mark as unforgettable as seeing a freakin’ UFO. Honestly, this might be the best mainstream pop record I’ve heard all year. If you haven’t picked up a copy, do it now.

Besides Who You Are (I know, I know, I’ve raved about this track way too damn much), my favorite tracks are Rainbow and Stand Up.

Listen/watch below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Who run this motha?!

Finally, Beyonce has returned. Girls (Who Run the World), the first single from her highly-anticipated fourth album, is an empowering anthem full of electric hip hop & energized beats. Sampling Major Lazer’s Pon de Floor, the song is backed and totally charged.

It’s full of energy but not as instantly catchy as Single Ladies, the lead single from her previous Grammy-winning multi-platinum album, I Am…Sasha Fierce. But as always, Beyonce makes it her own and makes it work.

Please note that this is the leaked demo and not the final product.

Listen to the return of Queen B, below.