Archive for September, 2013
By: Rob Brayl
John Newman is f**kin’ rad. Period. Point blank. The soulful newcomer is quite possibly the next big thing to come from the UK, and we couldn’t be more stoked. His fantastically crafted mixture of pop and soul with an indie rock edge is fresh and instantly addictive. Love Me Again is pure gold, and one can only imagine what the rest of his debut will deliver – will the States be lucky enough to have this talent crossover permanently? Only time will tell!
Newman is set to release his debut album, Tribute, on October 14th in the UK, and a day later, he’ll make his US debut via Republic Records with his four-track Love Me Again EP.
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
Watch the official Love Me Again clip + his album sampler following.
By: Rob Brayl
Cher Lloyd is about to make a few wishes come true.
The multi-platinum British songstress returns with her brand new single I Wish featuring hip-hop icon T.I. This past weekend, the song made its worldwide radio debut on Saturday Night Online – Live With Romeo, and the rising star just premiered a lyric video for the track.
I Wish delivers more than Lloyd’s infectious swagger; it also comes threaded with a thoughtful message.
Says Lloyd: “I think a lot of girls struggle with body image or get pissed off because the prettier girl with everything gets the guy. You want all of the things you think that other girl has. That’s not fair, and I think I should challenge that with the song. My favorite line of the song is, ‘I wish I woke up with a butt and a rack’. That’s exactly how I feel, and I think a lot of girls feel like that. That’s what I really want my fans to connect with. I’ve always said, ‘If you can’t take me as I am, don’t take me at all, because I will not change for anyone’.”
With that audience in mind, Lloyd has launched the “Cher Grants 100 Wishes to Her Fans” campaign in tandem with the song release. Listeners can enter to win prizes through a genie-style app culled from the single art. Just visit her official Facebook page to make a wish! Five prizes will be granted each day over the course of 20 days. Each prize will be a surprise though, and winners won’t find out what they’ve won until they’re contacted. Potential prizes include a voicemail from the singer, autographed poster, $50 Top Shop gift card, a pair of concert tickets, a pair of Nikes, and #CHERS100Wishes iPhone Cases.
I Wish is available on iTunes now!
Check out the official lyric video below.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: Can you give us a little background on how you guys met?
BURNIE BAKER “THA HIT MAKER” of NEW BEAT FUND: Not sure what was in the background when we met, perhaps a hippo going down on a mermaid? All I know is New Beat Fund Iz, and our Iz chills with Oz.
MC: Is there a crazy story behind the band’s name?
NBF: Depends on what you believe in. If you believe we baked the ashes of a piggy bank labeled “New Beat Fund” into a batch of double fudge brownies and ate them to initiate the birth of our band — then you might be on the right track. If you believe in anything else, then you probably enjoy watching paint dry.
MC: I recently saw you guys play with Blink 182 at The Starland Ballroom in NJ — I liked your set. How did you land up on tour with Blink?
NBF: Thank you. We sent an ice cream Oreo cookie cake decorated as a yin yang symbol to Tom’s PO Box. Not sure if he liked it, but we’re now on tour with them.
MC: You guys played a sick cover of Sublime. Do you do a lot of covers?
NBF: No, we only do one, but we combine two halves of two different songs into one cover song. We eventually hope to be a Celine Dion cover band. That is our dream.
MC: Can you tell us a little bit about the new EP?
NBF: It’s called CoiNz ($) and you can get it for free at newbeatfund.com. If you like layin’ out on the beach with a beer and a blunt in your paws, then you should probably download it.
MC: What was it like growing up in LA? Do you find that it’s harder starting out there as a band?
NBF: It’s all we know of growing up. Yeah, people try to come here to make it, but if you know your hustle and your hustle is true, then LA is the place for you.
MC: If you had to place your music into a specific genre, what would it be?
NBF: G-punk / Beach Funk.
MC: I noticed you just announced a nice fall tour with 3OH3! That should be cool. Any venue in particular you are most excited to play?
NBF: To be honest, we’re stoked to play all of them. We’ll find out which venue likes to play with us most and report back to you.
MC: If you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing?
NBF: Cereal killer.
MC: I heard Scare Me on the radio the other day. People seem to really be enjoying the single. How did you know that was the one?
NBF: The same way I picked all my ex-girlfriends.
MC: Sum up New Beat Fund in five words.
NBF: Uh Shut Up Stupid Idiot.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: For those unfamiliar with Heavy English, what’s the brief backstory?
SAL BOSSIO from HEAVY ENGLISH: Well, Dan & I have been making music and touring together since 2005 with our former band. The band broke up and we all went our separate ways for a few years, but the two of us eventually reconnected. We lived on opposite sides of the country initially working on some of my ideas via Skype, until we realized it was slowing us down. At the very end of 2011, I moved back to New York and went at it full force. We spent over six months writing before Ari was introduced to us through our mutual friend and longtime collaborator/producer, Bryan Russell. This is when Heavy English was starting to feel like a band.
MC: The name of the band — any crazy story behind it?
HE: The story of our name is simple and not very interesting. It’s two words that randomly came to me on a flight in the prelim stages of the band, and a year later we all decided it was the one. But it really just means to put heavy spin on a ball. We all thought that was cool, so that’s just a plus.
MC: I’m in love with the single 21 Flights and have been hearing it on Sirius radio a lot lately. How has the reaction been to people hearing your music on the radio?
HE: The reaction to 21 Flights has been phenomenal; to be honest, I haven’t seen a bad word about it. That definitely doesn’t happen nowadays. Everyone is so critical and they’re all haters.
MC: Do you blast it when you hear it come on?
HE: We’re constantly hearing from old friends that are hearing it on the radio, but we still have yet to hear it ourselves, so no blasting just yet.
MC: Being from New York, I know you guys play a lot of shows locally (which I’m hoping to check out soon!) — any plans for a tour in the near future?
HE: We do plan to tour, but not exactly sure when as of now.
MC: What about an album? Possibly an EP?
HE: We will be putting out an album; it’s looking like early 2014. You probably won’t ever see an EP from us.
MC: Your sound as a group is so full for a three-piece. Did you ever consider making the lineup larger, or was this always the plan?
HE: We wrote the album and recorded it live as a three-piece (drums/bass/guitar). If we felt something needed to be layered on the studio, we did that. Dan is responsible for supplying us with that extra layer live. It’s actually pretty amazing; he plays drums & SPDS at the same time. SPDS is a pad that triggers certain notes or chords and he plays it like an instrument with his drumsticks on all the off-beats. So at the very least, we sound like a four-piece, even though there’s only three of us on stage. Have we thought about adding people to the live show? Yes, we thought about having two girls sing harms and do percussion like Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense. That’s about it.
MC: What is the ultimate goal for Heavy English?
HE: The ultimate goal is to make good music first and foremost, be able to share it with the world and hope that people enjoy it. We just want our music to be heard everywhere and we want to tour on it cause our live show is fun.
MC: For fans to get to know you better, what is the best way for them to reach you?
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Welcome back to my hip-hop fix!
In case you’ve forgotten (though I hope you haven’t), Cata9tales consists of two boys with sizzling brains and beats to boot. (See? When an act inspires excessive alliterations, you know they’ve got something special!)
Chameleon’s Dream (the album that had me raving last year) was downloaded over 10,000 times, which not only propelled their act into a well-deserved spotlight, but also (I hope) helped the underground rap scene recognize its own evolution.
Our world is digital, which means our music is the same. Instead of fighting it, we need to breathe deep and dive in, determined to create something worthwhile and meaningful inside this new, unfeeling system. Who knows- we may even change it from within. Cata9tales’ utilization of electro undertones to unmask societal corruption does just that.
Hello Maybe Everything (the album I’ll be raving about this year) surprised me when I hit play. While their alternative influence is undeniably modern, more of their rhyming schemes evoke old-school associations. Berkley Priest saves his tongue-splitting lyricism for certain verses; Kreator’s mixing pulls him back and slows him down. In particular, their choruses have grown increasingly mellow. As a result, their sound is more passive, less abrasive. Perhaps that’ll make their message easier to swallow. (Truth always chokes the throat at first.)
No particular song stood out to me. Every track was unified with its successor, blending every quick-drop. Maybe they’d have done better with a short n’ sweet, ear-hooking EP. Oh well. Either way, I’m giddy they’re back.
By: Rob Brayl
AJR’s a fresh new band with infectious indie pop appeal. Made up of brothers — Adam, Jack and Ryan — the up & coming band recently opened up for BTB fave Demi Lovato at the LA County Fair, taking the stage in front of 10,000 fans.
Ahead of the official music video release for their single I’m Ready (which will premiere on VEVO in mid-October), the guys have released a lyric video for the track. I’m Ready is a non-pretentious, feel good ditty that’s steadily building a presence at radio, gaining spins on Sirius and landing a feature on New York’s #1 Hit Music Station, Z100.
Not too shabby for self-produced music made in their living room!
This is certainly a band to watch.
Check out the AJR’s lyric video for I’m Ready below.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
More and more, I’m finding myself strung out by soul. Combining fiddles, electric mandolins and fizzling guitars with unexpected drumbeats, The Boston Boys have hooked a soniferous strangeness. At first play you find yourself insta-chilled, yet the longer you listen the more you find there’s definite movement beneath their deceptively cool exteriors.
Apparently they belong to the music style “Future Roots”, a smoothie-blend of soul, rock, americana and blues, topping it all off with the cherry of pop-friendly melody. One of the seven bands nationally selected for Obama’s re-election campaign, they are the poster boys of luck as well as hard work. What You Say?!, their first EP, was released in 2012, yet they’ve already snuck back into the studio to put down Keep You Satisfied, which won’t be officially let loose until October. However, if you’re thirsting for new vibrations, they’re already streaming it HERE.
Better still: though they formed in Boston (hence the name), they’re currently based in Brooklyn, and we all know how much BTB loves that borough!
By: Rob Brayl
Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
By: Rob Brayl
Currently on heavy rotation!
Los Waves are an indie act formed in early 2012 in London by Jean River + José Tornada. Coming from an ethnic and psychedelic soundscape, their music is an intricate and harmonious meltdown of their own experiences, from months living in a tent on deserted beaches, long drifts through South America and the Indian Ocean, to the modern pace and flavor of one the world’s most music-loaded and trendsetting world capitals.
Got A Feeling is the first EP being released via indie label Summer Filth Records. The record drifts between sunshiny fuzzy guitar riffs and melodies with ethnic electronics and a more timeless (even existential) feel. Got A Feeling lyrically and sonically hails from a nostalgic hunger for epic purposes and great questions, with the past and future blurring into one.
Got A Feeling is set to drop on September 23rd.
By: Caitlin Hoffman
Ever wonder how the Beatles would have sounded if they were a sister duo? No? You’re about to find out regardless.
The MonaLisa Twins hail from Austria, where they started out singing covers and releasing the results on Youtube. Creativity is a forceful drug (as many of us know), and it wasn’t long until Mona and Lisa (yes, those are their actual names) were stitching quilts of original music. When We’re Together is their debut album, and while I’m one year late in my discovery, their poppy 60’s throwback is still fresh.
I find their act endearing, if not a wee bit twee. Though really, what sort of indie folk is without a spoonful of the saccharine? And the cute doesn’t stop with their recordings. The music video for the album’s title track is swamped with sweetness.
The girls explain the premise best themselves: “We installed a canvas on the walls of Stables market in Camden, London’s world-famous art district. We… started with a big red heart in the centre. Pedestrians joined in and added their ideas… to the painting. …Everyone walked away with a smile on their face.”
The way I see it, that’s what these girls want to do: make people smile. Thus far, they’re getting it right.
By: Rob Brayl
Kiana Brown’s a blossoming pop star who has officially won me over with her cover of Katy Perry’s Roar. A native of Phoenix, Arizona, Kiana sings, plays the piano, and recently took up guitar to begin writing her own material. In 2011, she landed a recording contract with RCA and has since be working on her debut.
Not bad for someone who’s only sixteen freakin’ years old!
Listen to her Roar cover below + the official music video following!
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. For those who are unfamiliar, can you provide a brief background story on the band?
BEN RINGEL of THE DELTA SAINTS: David Supica (Bass), Ben Azzi (Drums), and I (Ben Ringel – Resonator/Vocals) moved to Nashville in 2007 to finish up college. The band pretty much started as a necessity for a social life. We each played music and had some idea of doing it as a career, but at first it was more for the drinking and conversation. We started writing songs, and a few months later, we played some of our first shows. We started touring more and more, and after a few personnel changes, and five years, we’ve arrived here.
MC: The Delta Saints, I dig the name. Is there a whole crazy meaning behind it?
TDS: I wish that there was some great deep meaning behind the name. You hear stories of bands who have these religious experiences with songs and books, and their names come out of these crazy experiences. Our name came out of necessity and in passing. We had a few songs written, a gig or two booked, and no name. Someone just threw it out, and we all like the sound of it, and felt that it worked for this swampy sound that we all had heard in our heads. One day we’ll make up a great story about how we got our name. It will involve prison and bourbon and voodoo, but until then the truth will have to suffice.
MC: I always hear such fantastic things about the Nashville music scene, and how it’s like no other. Would you agree?
TDS: I definitely would. There is something for everyone… Well, almost everyone. There’s obviously a lot of country music, and that dominates a big part of Nashville. But there is a really great rock scene in Nashville. Some of the big guys moved their camps down to Nashville, like the Black Keys, and Jack White’s seemingly endless endeavors. We’ve also got guys like Kings of Leon coming from just south of Nashville. There’s a whole other level of rock and indie rock just below the obvious surface though. I’ve been super impressed over the past few years of great bands starting up around Nashville. Bands like The Apache Relay, Kopecky Family Band, and The Blackfoot Gypsies are some groups that are just killing it lately. I think one of the big reasons, is that the atmosphere in Nashville is pretty supportive for new artists. It’s still the same cut-throat industry, but there is community in the struggle.
MC: You guys have a nice solid US tour in the works for the fall. Any venues you are most excited about in particular?
TDS: We’re really excited about the whole fall run. We’ve spent five of the past six months over in Europe, so it’s nice to be able to come home and finish the year with a solid US tour. We have started a tradition of always playing a Halloween show in Lawrence, KS. It’s basically our home away from home (and a few of the guys are from right around there). It’s always a great time and a great show. It’s nice to be able to look forward to traditions like that. We’re also really excited to be coming back up to NYC. That city is just enchanting and overwhelming. It’s always a huge rush in both time and adrenalin when we’re up there. We never end up staying for more than 18 hours, but we always seem to leave happy and usually still well within the effects of the night before.
MC: I know you also just wrapped up a stint in Europe. Did you bring back any exciting stories with you?
TDS: We’ve certainly found ourselves within situations that we hadn’t planned. On this last Euro tour we had a fly-out date to Las Palmas, which is in the Canary Islands. We essentially didn’t sleep for 72 hours, because there were gigs on each side of that particular show. We walked off stage in Las Palmas around 3AM and had a taxi scheduled for around 4. After load-out, we had just enough time for a shower and to collect our things. Our cab driver showed up on time, and it was about then that we all recognized him from the club. He was the one pounding drinks at the bar all night. We also noticed that he had some company in the front seat, and a cooler full of beer in between them. So there we are, at 4AM, speeding down the Spanish highway, having not slept for 2 days, our cabbie is drunk and still drinking, there’s what seems to be a prostitute in the front seat, and the sky is just starting to show signs of dawn. It was a bonding moment between us and God.
MC: I’m obsessed with single Liar, and have a few other personal favorites too, including Steppin. What are your influences as a band, and is the writing done as a group effort?
TDS: Between all of us, we listen to a pretty wide variety of music. I feel confident in saying that no one in this band listens to the same thing. There are bands that we can all agree on, but if you compared what everyone was listening to at any given moment, it would range from commercial pop, to hip-hop, to indie rock, to funk, to blues, and folk. Because of that, each person brings a different perspective and idea to the music. We definitely write as a band. I write all of the lyrics, but songs don’t necessarily start with lyrics. When we first started writing, the process was very one dimensional, but as we’ve grown, it’s really opened up, and now they can come out of nowhere. I think it’s the same with our influence. At first, everything came from a really small box. It was very much in the blues or swampy realm. As we’ve grown and progressed, that box has opened up. Now, we’re able to listen to bands like My Morning Jacket or The Derek Trucks Band, or even guys like Townes Van Zandt and experiment with ideas that come from listening to their records. It’s certainly gotten a lot more interesting as the years have gone by.
MC: Your sound is very unique and original. I feel it can be tough in the music business these days to maintain that originality. Is that something you guys ever think about when recording?
TDS: I think it’s all about deciding what you want and how you want to get there. I think that will decide how original and how much control you are able to have. We have high aspirations, but we know that growing slowly will allow us more control and a bigger space for creativity. We definitely have a specific sound that we all hear for the band, and we try to write songs that will not only progress and strengthen that sound, but will also push the band forward. It’s just a balance of art and commerce.
MC: Would you say you prefer recording over live shows?
TDS: They are two different worlds. I love both, personally. I think my favorite part of the entire process is actually writing the songs though. I just enjoy the freedom that it allows for, and being able to create and conceptualize every little detail of an idea.
MC: I actually found out about you guys from Red Bull Sound Select. How did you guys get involved with that awesome program?
TDS: There is a great radio station in Nashville called Lightning 100 (100.1 FM) that really puts a lot of focus on local artists in Nashville. They partnered with Red Bull for the Sound Select campaign, and a few of the guys over there talked with us about getting involved. It was a really great thing to be a part of, and the show was awesome. Red Bull seems to be one of those companies that is doing things right. They are not only doing really interesting things with athletes and artists, but they offer opportunities to smaller bands, like the Sound Select campaign, that really give support to bands like us. It’s nice to see a company actually investing in entertainment, and not just throwing money at the same old tricks.
MC: It seems like the future is very bright for you guys.. Was there ever that one moment where you thought: “This is actually going to work out for us?”
TDS: I think that we are all still waiting for that moment, and I’m curious as to what that moment would look like. For us, everything has seemed to grow slowly but steadily. So, it’s never this eye opening, trumpets sounding moment, but when we step back and look at where we are compared to where we were the year before, it’s always surprising to us.
MC: This is a question I ask a lot of artists, because I like to see what else you are feeling on a personal level. If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing?
TDS: In various forms of rehab… I would probably be in a kitchen somewhere. I’ve been a line cook since I was about 14, and really loved it.
MC: Where can fans learn the most about you and access your music?
TDS: Our website is a great place to start, but we’ve also got a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and various other social media outlets. There’s even a Myspace for those looking for a nostalgic look back.
By: Maria Ciezak
MARIA CIEZAK: First and foremost, I want to talk about the new music video for Free Tree. I love it! Where did the concept come from?
CISCO ADLER: I want to make videos that stand the test of time and that I will be proud of forever. This song is a protest song about Mother Earth and all she gives us, and how we always end up getting charged for things that should be free. Marijuana, a medical miracle, is one of them. I figured a classic propaganda vibe with tons of imagery that leaves the viewer asking questions would be awesome. My friend Matty Smooch, who shot the video, edited for two days to make sure all the visuals were thought-provoking and would make you want to watch again.
MC: You’ve had quite a busy year with music, touring, and everything else in between. Any plans for a fall tour?
CA: I’ll be out this winter. Some great plans are in the works.
MC: Your very active on socials — what is your favorite platform to communicate with fans?
CA: Instagram is a pure pleasure platform, as it’s not too much advertising and spamming, and a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Snapchat is the next one, I think. They are entering the music space as we speak and will be making a splash.
MC: I’ve been a fan of yours for quite some time now, back to the Whitestarr days. You must’ve seen a lot change in the industry over the years. Would you say it’s gotten harder remaining a relevant artist?
CA: It’s always going to be yes and no. It’s never been harder and never been easier.
MC: I love your remix track with Sammy Adams. How did that collaboration come about?
CA: Sammy is a friend and a great artist on the rise. I always like to cross-pollinate and create bridges between audiences I think would get it. The song is amazing, and his verse brought a new energy and connected our communities.
MC: You must have a ton of songs in your “vault”. How many would you say don’t make your records?
CA: [Laughs] Thousands, literally.
MC: This may be random, but I’ve always wanted to know: Who designs your tour flyers? They’re always so rad!
CA: Thank you! I do. I am an artist at all costs. I love to be creative in any medium.
MC: Who are some artists that you’d like to collaborate with?
CA: Flea, Rick Rubin, Kanye, Keith Richards, and Damian Marley, to name a few.
MC: If you weren’t making music, I picture you running a tiki hut somewhere. What would you be doing?
CA: I’d be dead. Music is my lifeblood. It keeps me ticking. This is why I am here.
MC: For fans who may not be familiar with what you are about yet, how would you describe your music in five words?
CA: Perfect for a sunny day.