Archive for July, 2013
By: Maria Ciezak
When Brandon Boyd isn’t melting hearts and tearing up stages across the globe with a little band called Incubus, he makes time to expand in other outlets. Being an Incubus junkie since my youth, I get excited anytime I hear that his name is touching a project, but perhaps I am just bias. However, if you’re a fan of talent, you’ll listen.
His most recent solo project is called Sons of the Sea, which is in collaboration with one of the most well-respected producers in the industry, Brendan O’Brien. His latest video is called Come Together, which also features Brendan on the keys and guitar. It’s raw from the studio, really giving you an in-depth feel of the recording process.
Brandon recently took the time to talk with Fuse TV, in which he commented on the song: “I had a strong visual reference for how I wanted the song to sound — the scene in the movie Fast Times At Ridgemont High where Phoebe Cates comes out of the pool in slow motion, water spraying everywhere, and she undoes her bikini top to show the world the glory.”
Basically, the song exuberates that sacred topic, sex, and he admits it openly.
Sons of the Sea’s new EP, Compass, is available now on iTunes. A full-length is expected to be out September 24th.
Come Together below.
By: Maria Ciezak
Every now and then, something in life comes along that grabs you by the neck and demands that you eat, sleep, and breathe it. In this scenario, for myself at least, it’s music. Artists and their craft always fascinate me, for it’s their own form of individualized expression. When I have a feeling or emotion that I want to share, it’s through writing. I also find a sort of release when listening to music that isn’t mine, even though I can always find a way to relate it to a situation in my life. This example shines through when attending a show. For an hour plus, I lose myself in an imaginative moment where I can pretend that every lyric is for me, and then when that last note is hit, reality strikes back in. Musicians perform and express their craft to put on a show and to entertain people who come out to see that show. Sometimes we forget that artists are real people, and when the lights go off on stage, they lead lives and strive to reach goals while perfecting their craft. However, in this instance, I am happy that one of my favorite bands, and certainly one of the most influential of my generation, are just as cool and as hardworking as they are portrayed to be.
I am currently 27 years of age, the same age as Brian Fallon when he wrote a little single called 59 Sound. I wonder what went on in his head upon writing this track, and if he anticipated that people would idolize his music. I don’t think anyone can ever be prepared for a situation like that, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s my time at this moment to let him know how much it’s affected me.
Saturday night, July 27th , marked a special anniversary for me. It was my 10th Gaslight Anthem show. Yes, I said it. 10th. I still feel like it was just yesterday when I was hosting a radio show in college, roughly in 2007, and I got this demo recording of a track called I’da Called You Woody, Joe. I needed to know more about this band, and more about their story. I started playing them, and slowly and steadily people started calling in, just as curious as I was. I attended a small show of theirs, and I knew in my head they were going to be one of the biggest bands on the planet. Sure, you can say that I must think that often while working in the industry. Hell, I don’t blame you for thinking that, but truthfully, I rarely ever have that thought. Another band from Jersey hoping to make it big? Well, I say, why can’t they? Why can’t a real rock and roll band sell a million records in days like this? Well, the answer is there is no reason that they can’t, because they prove everyday that they can. I think about a few bands that make hits, get thrown into categories and so-called genres, all battling for the same listener, just hoping to get that 15 seconds where they can grab your attention before you turn the dial. The Gaslight Anthem, however, struck me with originality, emotion, and talent. As weird as it may sound, I tend to get nervous when attending shows, for I feel as if it’s almost taking a ballsy risk. When you hear music on a record, it doesn’t always prepare you for what you are going to go see live. I personally want to see something original, I want to see a band perform their own work, and get the respect they deserve for it. And with The Gaslight Anthem, this is a match for what I feel.
Flash forward to 2013, six years later, and I am once again playing their music on the radio. Only this time around, you know all of the words, you won’t stop requesting it, and you attend their sold-out shows.
This, my friends, is a success story that I wish I could paint onto a canvas, because it’s more than music to me; it’s art.
Upon walking into Irving Plaza on Saturday night, I could hear the excitement, most of which consisted of fans wish-listing songs they hoped the band would play. Now, I have a confession to make: I am very protective of bands that I like, and truly believe in. If someone says something disrespectful, or even that I don’t agree with, I find myself having a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Again, I have to remember that these musicians are also human, and the idea I have formed of them in my mind may be completely tainted. Who they are on stage is not necessarily who they are in real life. Take actors, writers, and even people who work in major corporations for example. They always act different outside of work. However, with regards to Gaslight, I have the credentials to back up my thoughts. I had the opportunity to interview The Gaslight Anthem twice, once with the whole group, and once with Brian solo. Not to sit here and blow smoke up your asses, but they are just as genuine as they appear. They are a band that will never forget where they came from. They embrace their NJ roots and truly care about their craft as if anyone would care about their job. I found talking to Brian easy, like I could talk to him about music for days, because it’s not just a gimmick that he has to portray as a musician, it’s his passion. It’s truly who he is, and I honestly couldn’t see him doing anything else, just from the total 60 minutes I have spent with him in my life. I found it almost mesmerizing how much he cares about his projects, and how much thought process goes into each song. He once told me that bands would be a lot better off if they could admit that not every song they write is good. That statement alone made me respect him (and the band) even more than I already had.
As the lights went on Saturday, and they began singing Handwritten, I felt proud to be in that room, and grateful to be a part of the story that they always tell. As the iPhones came out and the pictures began to be taken, I really hoped inside my messed up brain that people would put their phones down and just pay attention — pay attention to what this man and his band have to say — because for that hour and fifteen minutes of time, they are yours. You could capture any digital picture, but just always know, that’s their craft, and it should be appreciated and respected for what it is. Even for a veteran concertgoer like myself, who has seen them a significant amount of times, it’s always a new show. Gaslight has established a dedicated following that has them stuffing every venue they play in. Aficionados, critics, and inquiring ears keep coming out because the band’s rigid, zealous rock and roll and raucous live shows make them the fieriest ticket in any town they play in. I write reviews on this band because I want to spill my heart out with how I’m feeling, just like they do in their work. Take this as more of a page in my diary instead of a person from the media boasting and critiquing music. Forgive me while I say some shit that may be offensive, but when you go to their shows, go because you want to experience the band, their work, and their art, not because you heard they may sound like this other band or because some celebrity may randomly pop up on stage. Yeah, those are fighting words, but these five fine individuals are worth a few knockouts.
In regards to their future work, I love the fact knowing that whatever they release will be different. I love watching artists grow and witnessing changes in their work. As we get older and wiser, different things influence our writing. I would never be a fan of a band whose records all sounded alike, and that whole “selling out” theory, to me, just goes in one ear and out other. I must admit, writing a live review of The Gaslight Anthem is somewhat complicated. They play incredibly hard each and every time, so yes, it can be hard to stay impartial. However, they will always give you an insane amount of positive content to rant on about. The band always finds the time to thank the crowd for coming out, but in reality, we should all be thanking them — not only for putting on a great show and pumping out amazing records, but for breathing new air into the lungs of a somewhat stale rock and roll era.
Until next time, boys. I’ll see you on the flip side.
By: Rob Brayl
Brooklyn-based duo XNY (Pam Autuori and Jacob Schrieiber), who originally met after overhearing each other practice through the walls of their apartment building, are creating buzz with their new music video for Jaw.
Directed by Raber Umphenour, Jaw shows the indie rockers having one major jam session on top of a New York City rooftop. The track, much like the city’s surrounding shell, is blunt and visceral.
Regarding filming the clip, Autori said: “It was 18 degrees out, on the top of a seven-story building… snowflakes, goosebumps, and all.”
That’s dedication, kids.
XNY’s new album, Orange, is set to drop August 13th.
By: Rob Brayl
After rising to fame in 2003 with her massively successful + multi-platinum debut album, The Soul Sessions, Joss Stone is back and better than ever. With the release of The Soul Sessions, Volume 2, Stone has just released the worldwide premiere of new single The Love We Had (Stays On My Mind), a piercing and powerful cover of The Dells’ hit from 1971.
All that really needs to be said is that her voice is crystal clear and potent. She owns this song completely and reclaims her throne as the heroine of soul pop.
Welcome back, Miss Stone!
By: Rob Brayl
By: Maria Ciezak
I recently had the opportunity to chat with one of rock’s hottest up and coming acts, Beware of Darkness. Kyle and Tony took the time to talk to BiggerThanBeyonce.Com about their new music, life on the road, and rising success. Their debut record, Orthodox, is available on iTunes now!
MARIA CIEZAK: First and foremost, I want to congratulate you guys on all the success. Tell us a little bit about how you the band came to be.
BEWARE OF DARKNESS: Thank you. We all met in LA. Tony and I met at an R&B show downtown, and we met Dan a bit after. Dan was living in New Jersey and found out he had a half-brother living in Santa Monica. He came out here to visit, and we all wound up meeting each other. Fate.
MC: Your sound is extremely full for a three-piece. In the past, did you ever consider adding more members?
BOD: Yes. It’s still a passing thought every now and then. Anyone and everyone who plays tuba or a related brass instrument should email email@example.com.
MC: Your debut record, Orthodox, is really getting quite a buzz. Can you tell us about the writing process on this album?
BOD: The writing process was get out every single idea and then organize them into a complete cohesive record.
MC: Single Howl is doing very well on active rock radio. What made you guys decide to pick this track?
BOD: It was a no-brainer. The people around us reacted to it, and it acts as a very powerful introduction to the band. Like hello world, here we are! Bam! Honestly, I never thought it would be doing this well, and it’s still going. We played Pohoda Festival in Slovakia yesterday and people freaked the fuck out when we played it and were singing along and dancing. It’s crazy to be halfway across the world and have people react like that.
MC: I see you have a heavy tour lineup this summer with various different artists! I will be catching you guys in New Jersey on August 17th. Any venue in particular you are most looking forward to?
BOD: We’re about to play Wembley with the Smashing Pumpkins on July 22nd. To be able to play there already is surreal.
Tony- I’m really looking forward to Verizon Wireless in Irvine, CA in September, because last time we played it was for Epicenter Festival and we had technical difficulties. I feel like we owe the venue a great show.
MC: Do you guys ever get homesick on these long touring stints? Any “band rituals” you stick to on a daily basis?
BOD: I don’t at all. I’ve been at home my whole life writing songs and wishing I was touring. Now we get a chance to travel the world and play music.
MC: What would you say you enjoy more, recording or live performances?
BOD: To say we get to do both is pretty cool.
MC: Any insight on what the next single will be?
BOD: All Who Remain. It’s going to be big.
MC: There are so many bands out there these days battling for the same listener. I feel you guys fit in the format well, yet still have your own unique style. How do you maintain that “stick out” sound? Or do you even think about this when recording?
BOD: Thanks. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is good songwriting. Style and production change over time, but at the core, there’s got to be a real song under it. Also, about sticking out, it’s not hard when every other band out there is either feebly whispering and hiding behind 14 synthesizers and backing tracks, or playing folk music, dressed like fairies, stupidly smiling on stage and singing happy songs for two hours. Is there depth to that? Is that real? Is there sex to it? Is that fulfilling? Absolutely not. To answer your question, we stand out because of that.
MC: If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
BOD: I would’ve graduated college and either pursued a career in social psychology or be at home writing a novel.
MC: Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
BOD: J. Cole’s new record is brilliant. Other stuff we’re listening to is Ryan Adams, St. Vincent, Regina Spektor, King, Dead Sara, and Joanna Newsom. Arctic Monkeys are great. The new Queens of The Stone Age record is good too.
MC: Any plans for a fall tour?
BOD: We’re playing Uproar with Alice in Chains and Janes Addiction in August and September. Going back to the UK for Reading and Leeds, playing Rob Zombies Horror Night on Halloween, and then we tour America again.
MC: For BiggerThanBeyonce readers who are unfamiliar with Beware of Darkness, give five words to describe your band.
BOD: Raw, Soul, Rock, Love & Passion.
By: Rob Brayl
Electra Heart by Marina & The Diamonds is an incredible gift-giving machine of an album. So far, sleek visuals have been delivered for tracks Radioactive, How To Be A Heartbreaker, Primadonna, and The State Of Dreaming. And now, the Welsch singer/songwriter is back with the bittersweet video for new single Lies.
Produced by Dr. Luke + Diplo, Lies is repetitive truth that Marina & The Diamonds never disappoints. In the stripped black-and-white clip, Marina oozes realness. Her vocals are lush and her honesty is raw. It doesn’t get more emotionally crystal clear, kids.
Press play and fall in love.
[Related Post: Obsessed W/ Marina & The Diamonds]
By: Rob Brayl
Fifth Harmony catapulted to fame after competing in the second season of The X Factor (US version), placing 3rd. Post competition, the girls signed a record deal with Simon Cowell (via Syco Music) and recently premiered the music video for lead single Miss Movin’ On.
Video highlights include: amusement park awesomeness, sassy text messages, oversized teddy bears, and the ripping of ex-boyfriend photos. Ya know, the typical girl-getting-over-boy routine.
Miss Movin’ On is available on iTunes now.
By: Maria Ciezak
Sometimes I yearn for the days of good rock and roll music, and then I remember Pearl Jam is still active. Proof that getting older makes you wiser, their new single Mind Your Manners is taking the world by storm. With a grungier, heavier feel on this release, I can only imagine how good the full album, Lightning Bolt, will be. The record is slated for release on October 15th, and will once again be produced by the amazing Brendan O’Brien.
I think it’s safe to say everything Eddie Vedder touches turns to gold.
By: Rob Brayl
Ellie Goulding recently dropped the single Burn and has now premiered the video that accompanies the track, which the blonde songstress co-wrote with hitmaker Ryan Tedder. Produced by Greg Kurstin, Burn is a radio-friendly slice of electronic pop that cements Goulding as an American staple, alongside other Top 40 mainstays.
The video captures the light (pun intended) of the song perfectly, featuring visuals suffocated by endless orbs of glowing sparks.
“Strike the match, play it loud, giving love to the world,” Goulding sings. “We’ll be raising our hands, shining up to the sky.”
Burn will be released on August 11 via Cherrytree Records.
Watch the just-released video below!
By: Rob Brayl
California electro-poppers The Frail are creating buzz with their new track You Just Wanna Leave. Perfect for summer and backed with a cool new video, the track is taken from the San Francisco-based band’s forthcoming debut album, LoveDeathLegend.
Directed by Frank Door, the You Just Wanna Leave video is a series of black-and-white scenes with pops of color and features the band on a summertime road trip. The end result goes down smooth.
The Frail’s debut, LoveDeathLegend, will drop later this year.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Liquid Casing isn’t so much a band as a team of philosophers who wrap their musings in rhythmic dress. At least, that’s my impression. Their experimentation with prog-rock is so avant-garde I feel music is simply their conduit. These guys could make a splash with any medium, whether colours, words, or fired-up fret dances.
Their new album A Separate/Divide is a workout for both the ears and brain. The LP “explores the politics of division and seeks to expose our lack of unity and its consequences”. Catering to academics and noise-rockers alike, the songs are jagged, like rusty razors you learn to love.
The best break from tradition is their adding a saxophone to the line-up, creating stark, intriguing contrast from the otherwise predictable use of guitar, drums and bass. Yet even with these standard instruments, they inspire sounds you wouldn’t expect.
If you belong to the post-punk, new wave or underground, Liquid Casing’s got you covered.
By: Rob Brayl
Last year, Jay-Z rode the New York subway and bumped into 67-year-old Ellen Grossman, who charmingly had no idea who he was.
After the clip of the encounter went viral, it’s safe to say that she’s now become a new-found fan of the iconic Brooklyn rapper. In fact, she’s digging the rapper’s latest LP, Magna Carta Holy Grail, and offered her opinion on his latest body of work.
Grossman told MTV News: “It sounds like he’s really going deep into his heart and into fatherhood and even the meaning of fame. He’s saying that the money’s nice, but there’s life beyond that, that he’s exploring. I picked that up from the papers but I felt it in the man too, when I met him. That he had a depth to him.”
With regards to the track Holy Grail (featuring Justin Timberlake), she said: “It started out as a complaint about lovers and relationships. It was pretty mellow and you could go with it… but when Jay-Z came in and he was talking about Kurt Cobain, [he was saying] ‘OK, fame has its price.’ And even someone very famous and rich is capable of suicide. It really hit you hard and the soundscape was just exquisite, so it was pretty amazing.”
Grossman also offered two thumbs up when dishing on the track Part II (On the Run), featuring Queen Beyonce.
“It was very sexy. I heard Jay-Z refer to himself as an outlaw and I think [Bey’s] response seemed to be that she would embrace it all. There’s a real connection and real willingness to show their vulnerability… It was pretty awesome.”
Grossman, a visual artist (visit her website HERE), even shared her thoughts on Jay-Z’s aesthetic choices for the new album: “He does a lot of the glamour stuff — the lights and the good clothing, or even the casual clothing, but incredible lighting, strobing and audience reaction but I wonder, since his album seems something of a shift, if he’ll go somewhere else with it.”
Magna Carta Holy Grail is out now.
Footage of the subway encounter/interview below + new Jay track following.
I love this woman! So cute!
By: Rob Brayl
Introducing Los Angeles-based 78Violet!
You may recognize these striking faces as the sisters (Aly and AJ Michalka) formerly behind the pop duo AJ & Aly. Shedding the skin of their past to create a sound that’s lush with a smooth edge, the girls are back and better than ever. Six years after releasing their last LP, Insomniac, Aly and AJ are in the process of finishing a brand new album and have just released the stunning video for lead single Hothouse.
With visuals that would make any earthy-chic fashion label swoon, the video comes back with a beautiful landscape: meadows, stallions and wild flowers. (Eat your heart out, Free People!)
Note: Lana Del Rey-esque intro = actual music starts at the 3:30 mark.
Welcome back, ladies!