Archive for January, 2013

NEW BAND ON THE BLOCK: PYRAMIDS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

It’s not always easy being the new band on the block, but Pyramids makes it look effortless and easy. This is undeniably a band to watch in 2013.

Pyramids are:

Richard Hutchison – Vocals and Guitar
Imran Mair – Drums
David Cuzner – Guitar
Ed Thomas – Bass

On March 1st, the boys will release their debut, three-track EP Always Something, which will be celebrated with a headline performance at Hoxton’s Underbelly on the same date. Produced by Adam Noble (Muse, Placebo, Guillemots) and mastered by Dick Beetham (the man behind over 45 UK No.1 singles), the band’s prepped to cause a dent.

Uniting the group are their eclectic musical tastes, which cover everything from Laura Marling to Bon Iver to rock stadium fillers like Foo Fighters and Arcade Fire.

Judging by their sound, cute faces (yeah, I said it!), and artistic direction, it’s just a matter of time before they’ve captured a legit following of their own.

The band has already secured a high profile appearance at Hop Farm 2013, in the same slot Ben Howard played two years ago, which they hope will be the first of many summer announcements.

Pyramids. Mark it down. They be goin’ places, y’all.

JESSICA ASHLEY ENTERS THE BUILDING

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Get to know 20-year-old singer/songwriter/producer Jessica Ashley before she’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Ashley is the latest New York pop star to pick up momentum, catching attention with her debut EP, Prelude.

Ashley first sparked a following after gaining some serious buzz as a high school student, quickly becoming a YouTube sensation for her cover songs. She has since gone on to write hits for many noteworthy artists, including BTB favorite JoJo; a track that will be included on her upcoming album.

Currently, Jessica is promoting her newest music video for Neverland, which has garnered nearly 1,000,000 views in only two weeks. Werk!

This song and video has an old school, late 90s/early 2000-2002 vibe to it that totally works. Sure, it’s a bit sugary… But who the hell doesn’t love sugar?

The track can be found on her debut EP, Prelude, available now.

Oh! And I guess I should point out that the love interest (AKA the cute dude in the video) is Miley Cyrus’ ex-boyfriend/underwear model Justin Gaston. Random pop culture fact of the day, kids!

[Related Post: JoJo Goes “Genreless”]

AWOLNATION AWESOMENESS

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Not every artist or band has the ability to hold your attention hostage quite like Awolnation. Honestly, watching these dudes in action is like staring at your opponent during an intense game of poker via partycasino.com. This band delivers and captivates in a way all their own. And with much success (two million sales of their breakthrough single Sail in the US) under their belt, the band have released a new deluxe edition of their debut album Megalithic Symphony on iTunes, with six bonus live tracks.

Recorded at the Summit Music Hall in Denver last September as part of the band’s massive US tour, the deluxe release includes a new live version of the next UK single Kill Your Heroes (which came out earlier this week), as well as live versions of Guilty Filthy Soul, Sail, Soul Wars, All I Need and Burn It Down.

On top of the re-release comes some UK tour dates, where the band will be supported by Itch, the ex-frontman of The King Blues.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

13 February BIRMINGHAM, Institute
15 February LONDON, Heaven
16 February MANCHESTER, Academy 3
17 February GLASGOW, Garage

Woot!

BTW, I’m pretty much obsessed with this video at the moment!

[Related Post: Awolnation]

LOVE, HIP HOP & MIDIAN

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Sometimes, wasting our lives by watching reality TV can have its payoffs. Ya know, when you discover a fresh, new artist playing in the background as something dramatic happens on the screen. That’s exactly the story behind Midian’s Bitter, which had people buzzing after it was used on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

Her massive and soulful voice may remind you of Etta James, Adele, or even Christina Aguilera. On first listen, I actually thought it was Adele singing, but then realized Midian’s voice paints a different shade as she pouts the lovesick blues.

Regardless, the sound stings and leaves a mark behind.

Bitter is one of five tracks on Midian’s debut, self-titled EP, which was released earlier this month.

Bask in the bittersweet glory of the live version of Bitter below.

Pretty!

BREAKING NEWS: BEYONCE CAN SAAANG

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This just in! Not only did Beyonce fake-sing, she also fake-scalped. Yes, you read that correctly. The same with the faux singing, what appeared to be real, luxurious hair coming out of the top of her head was actually strands of locks taken from an Indian tribe in the Far East and inserted into — get this — a weave!

Oh, the horror!

Leave. Beyonce. Alone.

ZAK WATERS USED TO BE A SLUT

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


Yep! I said it!

Sometimes, all it takes is a guy to own up to his flaws to make him worthwhile. Amiright, ladies?! That’s exactly what up & coming LA musician Zak Waters does in his latest video for Runnin Around. In the clip, Waters is seen on a rotating bed with numerous chicks, living the life of a playa before coming clean: “I will never have another one-night stand/ I will never be nobody else’s man,” he croons, after finding a girl that sticks.

The track goes down smooth with its funky fresh beats and old-school Jamiroquai vibe. Basically, it’s a good ol’ time.

Check it!

[Waters’ debut LP is set to drop sometime in February.]

ASHLEE SIMPSON TAKES ON BALLET, DROPS F BOMB IN NEW VIDEO CLIP

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Lez be honest, Ashlee Simpson is no Courtney Love. However, the pop tart does know how to pack a suckerpunch. In the just-released black and white clip for new single, Bat For A Heart, Simpson declares that she’s here to f*ck you up! The you in this case being her ex-hubby (Pete Wentz) perhaps?

The video comes backed with a voyeuristic vibe, with scenes of Ashlee showcasing her flexibility and pretty impressive ballet skills. Well, impressive for a pop star, that is.

I personally find joy in the sass that she brings to the pop punk arena, even when countless others find her stuff questionable.

The most memorable line comes in the breakdown of the song when she pouts:

My hands are stained from your dirty black hair
My heart is cursed ’cause you were never there
Am I the crime that you left behind?
Or just a name that fit at the time?

Watch the clip in full below.

BEN HOWARD

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to English singer/songwriter Ben Howard. He’s been getting a ton of buzz recently, and rightfully so. His latest video for Keep Your Head Up has over 6 million views, and the song itself works its timeless tunesmith magic best upon repeated listens. I promise, you will be hooked to this track in no time.

However, let us not forget about the rest of his album, Every Kingdom(available now on iTunes). Coming from someone who appreciates well-crafted musicianship from serious singers/songwriters, Ben is at the top of my list, next to artists such as David Gray and Nick Drake.

Come February, he will be hitting the road with Mumford & Sons. I can only imagine how excited he must be, having his music heard by thousands on 15 dates all over the globe. This tour has already sold out venues including Melbourne, Australia’s The Corner Hotel! Mumford & Sons are huge, so this will grant exposure to countless new and current fans.

Well-deserved attention for an artist you simply must know.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: TOOTHGRINDER

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


MARIA CIEZAK: For those who don’t know Toothgrinder, what’s the backstory?

JUSTIN MATTHEWS of TOOTHGRINDER: Everyone in the band has pretty much known each other for most our middle and high school careers. We have all played in other bands at one time, and coincidentally, all of our previous bands have played shows together. When everyone went off to college and our high school bands had broken up, Wills, Jason and Milky were still jamming on and off. One summer after my first year of college, Milky asked me to jam with them. I was a little hesitant at first, considering I thought my music career was over and I didn’t want to get involved in something that wouldn’t last. We had a couple jam sessions in Wills’ parent’s back room and realized we could make this work. We then picked up Matt as a bass player; we knew he had a background in jazz composition which helped evolve our eclectic style. I ended up going back to school as well as everyone else. Considering all of us were attending school full time, it was extremely hard to practice and play shows. Up until this year, we were only able to play during the summer and short winter breaks. I was going to school in North Carolina and remember about ten different occasions where I was driving a total of 20 hours to play one show. Though it was stressful, it made me more emotionally committed to the band and solidified my passion for it. Now that we have all graduated, I feel this is the first year we can call ourselves a real band. Up until now it has felt more like jam sessions and random shows. Fortunately, it is now more exciting than ever.

MC: Was the lineup always the same?

TG: Yes, the lineup has always been the same. I feel I can speak for everybody by saying the band would probably end if one of us split from the group. Each and every member of the band is irreplaceable. This goes beyond talent and creativity, we are pretty much family. I have spent more time with these guys than I have with a lot of close people in my life. It is something hard to understand unless you are in that particular situation.

MC: Where was your first show?

TG: Our first show was at a place called “Good Times”. Let’s just say it was very anti-climactic. This band started off extremely different than other bands I have been in. We pretty much began playing shows with absolutely no buzz and no one knowing who the hell we were or that we even started a band. We were the anti-facebook, anti-myspace band, with a more grassroots style.

That has clearly changed.

MC: What are your thoughts on the metal scene in New Jersey? Is there much of one?

TG: Yes and no. Yes, there is a metal scene with some great bands and great musicians, and no, in the sense that I feel the local fan base is not what it used to be. I remember chewing my nails to the bone just trying to find some sort of live video online, and now they are everywhere. I feel technology has a little to do with why so many kids do not go to local shows on the weekends anymore. I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Though, I am extremely grateful there still is a metal scene, because for a while I thought it was going to completely die out.

MC: Who are some of your musical influences as a band?

TG: I cannot speak for everyone on this topic since we all have very different tastes in music. As a vocalist, I am greatly influenced by Mike Patton, Daryl Palumbo, Phil Anselmo, Phillip Lebonte, Greg Puciato, Chris Conley, Geoff Rickly and Maynard James Keenan, to name a few.

MC: What is on Toothgrinder’s iPod right now? Digging any new bands?

My iPod is ridiculous. I have been listening to a lot of nostalgic throwbacks lately. Some bands include Glassjaw, The Bouncing Souls, Shai Hulud, Pantera, Gin Blossoms, Pink Floyd and Crosby Stills Nash & Young. As far as “new” music goes, I am really digging this dude Wills introduced me to. His name is Charles Bradley. He has this James Brown style that I tend to like a lot.

MC: You guys just released a new record, however, it’s only three songs long. Explain!

TG: We have all decided that as an unsigned band it is better to release little bits of music more frequently, rather than an album with 60 minutes of music on it once every two years. We feel it gives people the chance to listen to everything we have to offer rather than skipping through an entire album until they find their favorite song… Technically, the album we just released is one song, but we split it up into three parts so people can skip rather than fast forward to a part they want to hear. It really is just our preference. We tend to do things our way, and we hope people appreciate that.

MC: Where can fans go to learn more about you?

TG: As cliché as it sounds, our facebook page and live shows. Personally, I feel our fans will not learn what we are about until they see us live. That is where the magic happens.

MC: What is your proudest moment in your career thus far?

TG: Honestly, I do not have a “proudest moment”. I am just so happy and thankful that I have come to a point in my life where I am involved in a musical project that is putting out quality music that people like to listen to. The fact that people listen to something we write, and enjoy it, blows my mind. It really does.

MC: What’s next for Toothgrinder? Tour? Studio again?

TG: All we want to do at this point is get on the road and keep putting out music. We are all at the crossroads where we want to quit our day jobs, say goodbye to our families and be gone for nine months. That is our dream and we are doing all we can to make it happen. Right now we are putting together a “do it yourself” tour for late spring. It is extremely hard, but I have the confidence that we will get it done. New music will be out in the next three months as well. Until then, we just got to keep on keepin’ on.

SEXY NEW CIARA (FEATURING FUTURE): ‘WAKE UP, NO MAKE-UP’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Ciara and Future are back at it! Making music, that is. After collaborating on a remix of Ciara’s single Sorry, the pair have just created a brand spankin’ new track entitled Wake Up, No Make-Up.

Are you guys thinking what I’m thinking? As if Ciara ever really needs makeup. I mean, have you seen this bitch’s skin?! I digress…

Co-written by Future and produced by Mike WiLL Made It (Bandz a Make Her Dance), Wake Up, No Make-Up is an edgy, urban banger overflowing with sick beats. Basically, it has Ciara written all over it, and I’m lovin’ it.

Turn it up!

BAND ON THE RISE: THE LONE BELLOW

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

There is no denying that American music has recently joined forces with folk, crossing the genre over to mainstream success with bands such as The Swell Season and The Lumineers. Following these acts is The Lone Bellow, a band on the rise with their single Bleeding Out, which is currently sitting for free over at iTunes as the featured single of the week.

I fell in love with this three-piece from Brooklyn after they captured my attention touring with The Civil Wars (before the band’s hiatus). Their sound is timeless, playing an insanely catchy style of country and gospel-inflected folk that is heartfelt, raw, and amazing.

Their self-titled debut record will be released on January 22nd, and I cannot wait to see what else this band has to offer.

In the meantime, bask in the glory of Bleeding Out (live) below.

THE RETURN OF JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

After six long, treacherous years, Justin Timberlake is back with the just-released Suit & Tie, a Timbaland-produced track featuring hip hop heavyweight champion, Jay-Z. Sounds fancy, but is it?

As someone who completely adores JT (on numerous levels), I’ve been craving new music from the former Mousketeer for what feels like ages now. To be frank, I actually gave up on the dude. So you can imagine that I was pretty stoked to hear that JT was planning on releasing some fresh material. I was all but ready to die of a musical eargasm, as I sat behind my laptop in my PJs like a big nerd, pressing play at midnight like the rest of the internet, to hear the new single.

After first listen, however, I was left a little disappointed.

Don’t freak out. This is not meant to deteriorate the song or the talent that Timberlake clearly brings to everything he creates, it’s just an honest opinion.

The track to me feels somewhat outdated and lackluster. It’s certainly seared with Timberlake’s signature style stamp, which is good, but the arrangement and the overall vibe feels more like a filler track than a re-introduction to someone who sits comfortably in a league of his own.

Bottom line: JT is pop royalty… And this song is missing some jewels.

You be the judge!

Listen to Suite & Tie HERE + check out more via Fuse below.

RANCID RETURNS WITH BIG ‘F*CK YOU’

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I’ll do my best not to gush. It’s just… Rancid was a landmark group for me. …And Out Come the Wolves was one of my first proper punk albums (right next to Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols). Songs like Daly City Train and David Courtney still boil my blood with nostalgia. They’ve got a rev in their rocket that made undeniable ripples on the alt. seascape. And Tim Armstrong’s voice is always set to make me melt.

…I just channelled fan-girl. Geez.

Even if they’re not your favourite, you must concede that they helped revive street punk in the ‘90’s. Not only did they blow dust off the underground, but they dared to bring it to mainstream attention. Amazingly, they did so without sacrificing their essence or honesty.

People have, however, been pining for new releases. Almost each core member has pursued side-projects through the years, and prolonged silences have popped up here and there. Their last album Let the Dominos Fall was released in 2009, and there’s been little mention of upcoming projects since.

But hope prevails! They’ve just released a single.

A red-hot, pure punk, NSFW single.

My heart’s pumped full of happy. Fuck You goes back to their radical roots (see what I did there…?), never sacrificing tone for tension. It removes previous ska influence and replaces it with hard-boiled chorus-lines.

The song was enough to add sizzle in my step, but the fact that it’s a free download rocked me into overdrive. That’s want you want to see from punk veterans: legitimacy.

I ended up gushing, didn’t I? Oh well.

VITA CHAMBERS IS A GIRL ON FIRE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Fresh meat alert!

Currently signed to Universal Republic/SRP Records (whose credits include the discovering of Bajan artists such as Rihanna and Shontelle), Vita Chambers is a girl on fire and certainly an artist to watch in 2013.

To ignite the buzz, the Barbados beauty is fresh off the press with her new video for Fix You, which premiered on VEVO this morning. Painted with electronic strokes, the track is catchy with an emotional edge.

Check it!

[Fix You is available now in iTunes.]

JERRY BIEBER, AKA THE BIEBS’ WANG

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

And I’m officially disturbed!

So I don’t keep up with all the stupid teeny-bopper nonsense in the world, so I’m a little late to this perhaps, but I just found out that Justin Bieber’s fans call his, um, wing wang, Jerry. Yup! As in your friend’s dad. Or the guy sitting next to you at Starbucks. Or that dude from Parks & Recreation.

Funny, because it’s absolutely ridiculous. Depressing, because I have no faith left in the human race. JK, you guys!

See Jerry in action below! The little fella’s got some moves, huh?

Wait a second. What the hell am I talking about?!

Is it Friday yet?

To redeem myself/make up for the stupidity of this post, check out the incredible Biebs cover by VanLadyLove below. Love!

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