Archive for October, 2012

HURRICANE SANDY

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

***DONATE***

Post-apocalyptic NYC from the Williamsburg Waterfront.

Dear BTB readers,

Power and connectivity is limited and spotty here in New York City due to Sandy.

Please forgive us for lack of updates over the next few days.

Below are a few pictures I captured today in Williamsburg.

Hopefully we’ll be back up and running soon!

XO,
Rob

Still standing.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW W/ CAGE THE ELEPHANT’S LINCOLN PARISH

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


MARIA CIEZAK: BTB fans, please allow me to introduce you to Lincoln Parish of Cage the Elephant.

So we haven’t heard new music from Cage the Elephant in a while, so let’s cut right to the chase! When are you guys going to brace the world with another smash record?

LINCOLN PARISH: [Laughs] Well I promise we will in the fairly near future. We had been on the road solid for almost three years touring the second record, and we all felt we needed some time to go home and do some normal things again, like taking out the trash, and that kind of stuff, so we got off the road and just took it easy for a couple of months. We’ve been writing now for almost two and a half months, and we should be going into the studio within the next month… So we apologize for the delay, but we’ll be just that much stronger when we get back. Hopefully we’ll have some new stuff out to your ears this coming spring. 

MC: Now, I really noticed the growth in the band from the self-titled record in 2009 to Thank You, Happy Birthday in 2011. Both records are completely different styles, in the best way possible. I’m not going to ask you to describe your sound, but can you explain what direction you guys are headed in with the new music?

LP: Sometimes it can be hard to tell ourselves if we are taking a certain direction with our music. I guess the music that you listen to rubs off on you, and a lot of times heavily influences what you write. Everyone in our band has their own taste, and although we do share many of the same, every individual brings in their own thing, and I would say that’s probably the biggest part of Cage’s sound right now.

MC: Some bands become sort of complacent, where a lot of their material sounds the same. Do you personally feel it’s important as a band to keep your sound evolving?

LP: YES, YES, YES. We have always said from day one that we never want to make the same album twice; I guess we have the world to witness our attempts at doing it. [Laughs]

MC: I recently interviewed Micah from Iration about the new single you guys did together, Porcupine. He spoke very highly of you by the way. Do you have any other side projects up your sleeve in the near future?

LP: That’s awesome; I love those guys. No side projects for me, but I do love working with other bands on the producing side of things, and it’s cool to watch how all these other bands work and operate, and their songwriting approach. It definitely rubs off on everyone in the process.  

MC: Cage the Elephant goes on the road a lot, and when you’re not, you’re in the studio, or starring in live DVDs! What would you be doing right now if you weren’t in Cage?

LP: You know, I don’t really know. I dropped out of high school when I was 15 to join the band, so I’m not really sure at all, but I definitely would be doing something in music I feel like. It’s always been my best friend and had my back when I needed it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything outside of music regardless of what avenue that may be.  

MC: You guys are one of those live bands I always tell my friends “you have to see live before you die”. And each time I have seen you live, the set list has been different. How do you go about deciding what songs you are playing each night?

LP: Usually at the beginning of a tour we find a basic order of the songs that we like, and then throughout the tour we will re-arrange or tweak to whatever we feel will move the show the best. Then sometimes we like to just mix it up an occasional night or two if we’re feeling saucy. [Laughs]  

MC: You guys have been together for a while now, and it always seems like you’re having a good time and really enjoying each other’s company, which is sometimes uncommon to see. How do you think that factors into your success?

LP: We have never been shy to call each other out, and it’s about as simple as that really. We all like to keep each other in check; this band is a family, family argues at times, but love each other no matter what.  

MC: Who is your favorite band at the moment?

LP: Hmm, there are a couple… but that would be Electric Guest, a band from Nashville called Bad Cop, and another band from Nashville called Western Medicine with a very Cure-esque sound.  

MC: Since everyone was a startup once, can you give any smaller or local bands looking to get gigs and airplay some advice?

LP: Best advice I can give is play as many shows as you can, and never stop. One show is the equivalent of five practices.  

MC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Lincoln, and if you need someone to test out the new songs on, I am offering an ear!

LP: Definitely. Thanks for having me, and the band hopes to see you all soon.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW/MORNING PARADE

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


MARIA CIEZAK: Your debut album and single Headlights are blowing up. How do you feel about all of the success you have encountered this year?

MORNING PARADE: It’s great to start seeing our record do the rounds and giving us ever-growing opportunities! Things have been building very nicely, to the point where I’m sitting in a dressing room right now about to soundcheck for our first support with The Smashing pumpkins! So yeah, it’s been an amazing journey, and we are all very lucky to be on this great ride!

MC: How did you guys meet? What is the backstory behind Morning Parade?

MP: Well, Steve and Phil went to school together and had played in a few bands around that time. I met Steve in college and then joined a band him and Phil were working on. Andy and Ben were in bands in the local area, so we all knew each other. One day we all crossed paths and decided to jam together just for something to do on the weekends. It seemed to just click right away, and here we are.

MC: I feel like this record emphasizes a lot of situations in your life, for they are somewhat deep. Would you agree?

MP: The record is about us, friends and family, basically everything that we witness from our point of view. Writing songs is a way of escaping or working on emotions that we would be either apart from or analyzing.

MC: On that note, how do you guys go about writing your songs? Do you work on them one by one, or does it sort of just happen?

MP: There isn’t a set pattern when it comes to creating songs. Sometimes Steve may have a song worked out on an acoustic or piano and we have a clear picture of where it is going, or sometimes inspiration may come from a drum beat or a single sound. You never have a set formula, so it always keeps it interesting.

MC: My personal favorite track on the record is Under the Stars. Have you guys noticed it as a fan favorite while taking it out on the road?

MP: Under the Stars is probably our all-round favorite. It always seems to give off something special on the stage. It was the first song we recorded for the album, and it still seems to be shining through.

MC: You guys have been on the road with The Smashing Pumpkins and will soon be joining Anberlin. What an incredible opportunity to be on the road with such established acts. Have you learned anything from these bands while on the road?

MP: Well, I’m not too sure on tips just yet. I’m still in the dressing room about to play our first show with the Pumpkins! Give me a couple of days and I’ll let you know some tips!

MC: Other than music, what are some of your influences as a band?

MP: It’s hard to find time to get out of the world of music, especially when you’re into a heavy touring circuit as we are, but we have our outlets. I have an interest in science, spirituality and ascension, reading a book called “The Source Field Investigations” by David Wilcock. That keeps my mind busy and inspires me as a person. I wouldn’t like to say what truly inspires everyone else’s minds, you may have to ask them next time.

MC: I love the video for Headlights. Who thought of the concept?

MP: We worked with our record label and they threw out a few ideas. We wanted to keep things as real as possible and give the audience a chance to see what we are like live, and listen to the song without too many bells and whistles. Stripped and to the core.

MC: Have you all discovered your favorite venue to play at yet?

MP: I think this may differ for everybody, but my personal favorite is Rock City in the UK. A really good venue with amazing people who work there. Always leave there feeling respected and having a good show.

MC: Any advice for bands just starting out?

MP: It can be a long road! Play music for fun, and keep that in the forefront of your minds! Always evolve and progress your art! Be ready to sacrifice everything for your dreams. If you don’t, then you are not living.

LUKE VAJSAR

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


With the seasons rolling on, one may find the need to delve into something new. If not for the sake of experience, than at least to break from routine.

Luke Vajsar’s got that covered for ya: he’s a solo bassist. Mhm, you read that right.

This guy’s a nose-to-the-grindstone, eyes-to-the-sky kind of musician. The sounds he makes on his lone instrument are astoundingly unique. With one bass, he’s able to compound a musical quality akin to an entire orchestra.

Usually I’m not a fan of instrumentals without a side dish of lyrical awesomeness, but Luke’s skill transcended my typical tastes. I felt compelled to be bobbed along to his rippling waves. He says everything without having to vocalize a word.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: IRATION

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MARIA CIEZAK: First and foremost, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions. I’m a big fan; in fact, Lincoln Parish of Cage the Elephant actually turned me on to you guys. I had the chance to interview him back in June, and he is your biggest promoter!

I recently saw you play with The Expendables, and you are an amazing live band. How did this tour happen, and how is it going?

MICAH from IRATION: We have toured with The Expendables before, and we were both going out at the same time, so we figured instead of having competing tours we should just combine efforts. It’s been great; one of the smoothest tours we have ever been on, and the crowds have been great.

MC: It almost seems as if you guys had success overnight, which I am sure is not the case. How was the music scene in Hawaii, and what made you all reunite in Cali?

MICAH: Well, we weren’t a band until we met up in California, so we were never really in the scene in Hawaii, although we love local music. We were all friends in school in Santa Barbara, so it made sense.

MC: Was it hard to break out? What would you say was your first big break as a band?

MICAH: Yes, it took a lot of hard work, and we don’t even feel like we have ‘broken out’ yet. We are still working hard. But our first breakthrough was probably the release of the Sample This EP. Falling is still one of our popular songs, and its success kind of jump-started our career.

MC: You guys combine such a cool blend of genres, including rock, reggae, and more. Your sound is very unique. What do you guys categorize yourself as, or do you not put yourself into one specific genre?

MICAH: I guess you could consider us reggae/rock, but yeah, we also kind of consider the songs ‘cheeky pop’ in that many of them have a tongue-in-cheek feel to the lyrical content.

MC: If you could tour with any band in the world, who would it be?

MICAH: That is tough, but probably a big rock band like the Foo’s or Chili Peppers. Muse, arena bands.

MC: How is the response to the new single Porcupine, and how did you hook up with Lincoln?

MICAH: The response has been great. We realize that it is a different sound for us, but we know our fans are music fans first and foremost, not genre fans.

We met Lincoln at a 92.9 KJEE radio show and Lollapalooza. Our manager made the connection, and the rest is coffee-fueled history.

MC: What do you guys prefer more: recording or touring?

MICAH: We love making records and the creativity of the studio, but we are a live band first and foremost, and playing in front of our fans is the most fun we can have.

MC: What’s next after the tour with The Expendables?

MICAH: Back to Hawaii for some vacay, then back on the road for our Winter tour in early 2013.

MC: For any BiggerThanBeyonce.Com readers who are not familiar with Iration yet, any parting words?

MICAH: Beyonce… Huge Iration fan.

NEW OBSESSION: YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


I love Passion Pit with a passion, so needless to say, whenever I found out that Youngblood Hawke would be opening for band, I had to do a little investigatin’. Turns out, these guys are the sh*t.

Recently signed to Universal Republic Records, their debut single, We Come Running, is one undeniable gem. It’s anthemic, hook-heavy, and hypnotizing.

Speaking on the track, the band told Rolling Stone: “We wrote the song ‘We Come Running’ to lift us up. It was a personal anthem for the band. It was written during the early stages, when we were all working terrible jobs that left us drained and uninspired. All we wanted to do was create music and, at that time, that dream felt galaxies away. The song served as a reminder to always follow your passion. Do what makes you happy and keeps you fulfilled, no matter what.”

Such a relatable message! Cubicles suck!

For the video treatment of the song, the band headed to the coast of the Bahamas to swim with live tiger and lemon sharks, enlisting award-winning director Marc Klasfeld (Jay-Z, Foo Fighters, fun., Red Hot Chili Peppers) to create a video that’s both original and visually captivating.

I f*cking love it!

Upcoming Youngblood Hawke Tour Dates:
# – w/ Passion Pit

10/16 – Washington, DC – 930 Club #
10/18 – Raleigh, NC – Disco Rodeo #
10/19 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm #
10/20 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade #
10/22 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues #
10/23 – Hollywood, FL – Arts Park Amphitheatre #
10/24 – Gainesville, FL – Stephen O’Connell Center #
10/26 – Oxford, MS – Lyric Oxford #
10/27 – Memphis, TN – Minglewood #
10/29 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave #
10/30 – Minneapolis, MN – First Ave #
11/01 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside #
11/02 – Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater #
11/03 – Columbus, OH – LC Pavilion #
11/04 – Covington, KY – The Madison House #
11/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE #
11/28 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy (KROQ show)

fun. LOVES THE GAYS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This just tickles me pink!

Nate Ruess, Andrew Dost and Jack Antonoff of the band fun. + designer Rachel Antonoff have teamed up to create The Ally Coalition (TAC), an awesome partnership set out to inspire the music, fashion, and entertainment communities to take action in supporting/speaking out for LGBTQ equality.

The Ally Coalition’s core belief? That it’s the responsibility of all allies to use their voices to fight discrimination against LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer) people through education, awareness and advocacy. For those of you unaware, an “ally” is a heterosexual person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQ social movements, while also actively challenging homophobia and transphobia.

Thanks, guys. What a beautiful idea! Hugs and kisses to you all.

[Related Post: fun. Covers Carly Rae Jespen]

KATY PERRY OFFERS SEX FOR CHARITY, COVERS ‘I CAN’T MAKE YOU LOVE ME’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Katy Perry recently closed the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR) Inspiration Gala by covering Bonnie Raitt’s iconic heart-stomper I Can’t Make You Love Me.

Earlier that evening, before hitting the stage, Perry auctioned off a signed guitar for $32,000, after offering up an extra incentive to the highest bidder: “I’ll have sex with you too!” Later clarifying that instead of sex, the winning bidder would receive a date to West Hollywood gay bar the Abbey… Ummm, that’s not the same thing there, Katy! Oh well. Anything to support a good cause!

Listen to Katy’s take on the Bonnie Raitt tearjerker below.

I think she did a beautiful job!

PAPA ROACH SHAKE THINGS UP WITH ‘THE CONNECTION’

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


BTB favorites, Papa Roach, are back in full force with a brand spankin’ new record, The Connection. They have returned to tear things up, unleashing a new album which invokes a vicious, vivacious intensity that is raw, relevant and ready to rock. With hit after hit, and no pun intended, they are Still Swingin.

This is a band that in my opinion has always evolved for the better with each album. While always trying something new, they are still fully aware of what works for them and how to make a smash. Every time they pick up their instruments and record a track, or perform a show, they are out for a rock war. I am a huge fan of their early work, including Infest, and was a huge fan of Metamorphosis, along with every other one of their CD’s, and I almost feel this record combines all of the essentials from their discography. It’s completely kick-ass from start to finish.

Jacoby had us all nervous this year, having to undergo surgery for his vocal chords, but he is back, and clearly better than ever. You can feel every emotion and pain throughout the lyrics he sings.

I am not writing this to review each track, or the album as a whole, but simply because of my pure, endless love for the sound of Papa Roach. No matter how young or old I was, their lyrics have always spoken to me, and still do. This record shows that this band has no signs of slowing down. I highly recommend picking up the Deluxe Edition, for two of the bonus tracks are some of the best on the album.

[Related Post: Papa Roach Is Still Kickin’ It]

FIONA REALNESS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

[Fiona, Live From Terminal 5!]

FIONA APPLE, LIVE FROM TERMINAL 5!

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Just got in from seeing Fiona Apple, live from Terminal 5 here in New York City. To say the show was intense would be an understatement. Homegirl sang 17 of her best jams (see set list below; don’t sue me, Fiona!) with microscopic pauses in between each track. Seriously, it was impressive. She barely spoke the entire show, and when she did, her voice felt rattled and uneasy, as if she was a young girl unsure of her words.

Obviously, that was not the case. When Fiona’s frail body stepped foot on stage, she f*cking owned it. Every moment she owned- her vocals dilated; her pain piercing like an open wound. Her voice was beyond groundbreaking.

I’ll reserve making judgements that have no bearing on her actual music or talent. All I’ll say is that it was pretty apparent that Fiona was not in the same room that the rest of us were in. Like many brilliant artists, she was floating in a different orb. Whether that was raw intellectual depth, drugs, or a mixture of both, it doesn’t matter. Because in the end, none of us were there to figure out this bold, complicated girl. We were there to appreciate the complexity, the beauty slash brains, and relish in the truth that oozes from her incredible body of work.

It was truly an honor to witness the magic of Fiona in person.

Thank you for an unforgettable show, Miss Apple!

[Pseudo-Related Post: Punk Rock Boobies]

ASAF AVIDAN

By: Natalie Yarden
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Very few vocals are literally heartwarming, but Israeli-born Asaf Avidan’s voice truly is. Every time I hear him sing, I immediately smile. A lot of people say that his voice is the male equivalent to Janis Joplin’s legendary pipes.

So far, Asaf Avidan has released four albums and has one on the way. Despite being based in Israel, Avidan sings only in English, because according to himself, he sounds better in English than he does in Hebrew.

The album that first got him noticed was The Reckoning, in which he collaborated with (now previous) bandmates called “The Mojos”. The album is a blend of folk, blues and rock, and was a success back in Israel, gaining Asaf some international respect. The group later went on to release the albums Poor Boy/Lucky Man (which included their hit song Small Change Girl) and Through the Gale, both just as successful as their debut. As the years went by, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos gained more and more international success and respect.

Avidan sings with such soul and power, which is very rare nowadays. His self-written lyrics are about love, heartbreak, life and death. He is great both recorded and live, so much so that it’s often hard to tell the difference.

Asaf is now set to release his solo album, Different Pulses, in 2013.

WILLIAM BECKETT FEAT. RYAN ROSS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Former frontman for The Academy Is, William Beckett, has just released a new single with former Panic! At The Disco’s Ryan Ross. Entitled Stuck In Love, the rock-infused breakup jam will appear on Beckett’s upcoming EP, What Will Be, due October 30th via YIKE.

What Will Be is Beckett’s third EP of 2012, after April’s Walk The Talk and July’s Winds Will Change. To promote the new material, Beckett is currently set to tour with BTB mainstay, The Rocket Summer, in November.

Amidigginit? Obvs!

Check it.

KELLY CLARKSON – ‘CATCH MY BREATH’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Kelly Clarkson is back with a brand new single entitled Catch My Breath, and as usual, homegirl is werkin’ it. Co-written with Jason Halbert and Eric Olson for her upcoming album, Greatest Hits – Chapter 1, the track showcases a more lyrically mature Clarkson pressed against the backdrop of her pop-rooted comfort zone. AKA this is the Kelly we all know and love!

Clarkson explained the inspiration behind the single via her website: “To own a company, lead an organization as a business woman, and be able to create music I’m proud of has been tough, but inspiring, for me,” she writes. “To celebrate the strength and longevity that my fans, friends, and family have supported me with I wrote this song ‘Catch my Breath’ with one of my best friends that has seen me through everything. This song represents who I’ve been, what I’ve felt, and where I’m headed as not only an artist but as a 30 year old that is now smart enough to know that it’s time to stop, catch my breath, and be proud of not only what has been accomplished but of all the people that have helped me become the woman I am today.”

Love it!

Brand new track + the first-ever live performance of the song following.

KID FELIX

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

[Photo Cred: Jeff Crespi]

I’m always on a mission to find the next big band to unleash on the world, and currently, that band is Jersey’s own, Kid Felix. This six-piece rock band hails from Laurel Springs- a small town that many of you BTB readers probably have never heard of until now. Well, Kid Felix’s about to change all that. With one EP under their belt already, they are set to release an explosive new record on October 20th called Young Luck, and this very well may be the one that gets them to the top.

They have only been a band for a little over a year, but have already played major festivals including The Vans Warped Tour and Bamboozle, and even have radio play in the tri-state area. They’re original, fresh, and full of raw talent. Their live set is also one you do not want to miss, for they get the crowd going like no other. When you cover artists as broad as Incubus to Muse to Florence and the Machine, you know you are a band that can pretty much play anything and make it sound good.

I am not asking you to get to know this band. I am demanding it. Check out their social media and tour dates to can catch them now before they start selling out arenas.

In the meantime, you can watch a live performance of one of their new tracks, Wait, below.

Enjoy.

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