Archive for February, 2014

PHANTOGRAM CREEPS INTO YOUR PSYCHE

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

They describe their sound as “street beat, psych pop”, and upon first listen, it’s easy to understand why. Phantogram is electronic rock that haunts and creeps into your psyche. Comprised of singer Sarah Barthel + producer Josh Carter, this is one duo worthy of space in your ears.

Their new album Voices is super fresh and comes SPIN-approved, who placed the disc on their 50 Albums You Gotta Hear in 2014 list.

Personally, I’m obsessed. Specifically with single Nothing But Trouble. It’s such a dramatic song – I love it!

Dark/raw/synth-pop at its finest.

Listen to the sexy track below!

NEW MONGRELS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


This is too cool for metaphors.

The New Mongrels are an Americana folk band with an acoustic, indie lull. Sounds pretty standard, right? Wrong. These guys date back to 1861! (No, they’re not time travellers.)

Haynes Brookes has set it upon himself to carry the musical tradition first tailored by his great-grandfather Henry. This Civil War veteran founded the “Smythe County Mongrels Society”, a band unified by a love of music, Psalms, and hard cider. When Haynes discovered his rockin’ roots, he fostered his own reincarnation of the group. So the New Mongrels were born.

Raised Incorruptible, released in the earliest days of 2014, is the band’s first album since 1998. With such a gap between installments, one is never sure what may be gained or lost. As far as I can see, The New Mongrels have retained their charms. They’re relaxed, salty-sweet, a glass of lemonade (or cider?) left on a porch.

A project like this proves creation can inspire, no matter the time of its conception. Music is burned into our genetics, our instincts, our evolution. Even if the archives burn and the tracks are deleted, the spirit perseveres.

Creativity is far from a modern concoction. It’s part of the human condition.

#LOVEJO

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


We’ve never been shy when it comes to proclaiming our love for pop/r&b songstress JoJo. Now free from her former deal with Blackground Records, the 23-year-old is giving us a box of chocolates in the form of a free EP called #LoveJo.

In lieu of Valentine’s Day, the 4-track compilation tackles the theme of love in true JoJo fashion – melding sleek hip hop soul with sultry modern pop.

Aside from the intro + an unexpected gospel tune entitled Glory, JoJo covers two classic songs – Take Me Home by Phil Collins and Caught Up in the Rapture by Anita Baker.

All in all, as usual, JoJo delivers the vocal chills with ease.

Listen to JoJo’s modern take on Phil Collins below.

[Related Post: JoJo Goes “Genreless”]

POPPING COLLARS WITH KATE MILLER #BUZZWORTHY

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Move over Lorde!

19-year-old singer/songwriter Kate Miller is a hidden gem waiting to burst. Like cotton candy, the broodingly infectious Collar Up was instantly satisfying when I discovered it a few hours ago.

I’ve literally played this song on a loop ever since.

Listen to the kick ass Collar Up by Kate Miller below.

MOXI PREMIERES ‘IN MY DREAMS’ VIDEO

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Nearly a year ago, we placed an #ArtistToWatch spotlight on LA based creation Moxi and the wondrously hypnotic Terrible Disguise. Now, Moxi has released a new music video for track In My Dreams which is just an endearing and genuine.

Comprised of singer-songwriter Anna Nelson, multi-instrumentalist Andy Toy, Bobby Hartry and Blaine Stark on guitars, and Paul Doyle on drums, Moxi’s bare approach to capturing a sound is delicate and ethereal.

Moxi’s EP In My Dreams was released February 12th, 2013 via CatBeach Music and is available now.

Watch the video for In My Dreams below.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BRAVESOUL

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: Let’s dive right in. So you’re getting your music out there partially from the buzz created by winning the Whole Foods Team Member Music Project. Did you ever think this type of contest would be what would catapult you to a larger audience?

BRAVESOUL (Max): I had no idea. I moved to Northern Virginia a year ago knowing I was only going to be there for a year. It was really hard for me because it was the furthest thing away from the band and playing music. In reality, it was the thing that jump started us and actually helped us. I think that’s pretty surreal.

RB: I admire artists who have worked hard to get to higher grounds. What’s the struggle behind Bravesoul?

BS: Well, as for recent struggles, we stayed together as a band the past year with Max being 3,000 miles away. Having a baby at 23 was a pretty challenging thing, but the band hung in there for him and kept it together until he could make it back. That said, we did tell ourselves no more long distance relationships after that. But as for our lives, Marty and Max came from low-income homes, growing up together in the valley. Max ended up playing music and touring with various artists and bands. Marty ended up going to Yale and getting the whole thing paid for by the school and government. That’s where he met Eric and they bonded over their similar upbringings (Eric grew up in LA proper) and obsession with music, which were both a bit rare in the ivy league environment. Everyone ended up back in LA, happily ever after…

RB: I’m really lovin’ your sound – it’s fits in the vein of Kings of Leon, but with a flavor all its own. What artists or bands would you say have rubbed off/influenced the sound of the band?

BS: The Walkmen, Radiohead, Muse, REM, Joy Division, to name a few.

RB: What’s the story behind the band’s name?

BS (Marty): It’s from a song I wrote in 2009 called Bravesouls which was about the Iranian student uprisings that happened right around that time. It’s specifically about a girl named Neda that was murdered on the streets of Tehran and became a martyr for the movement. My parents grew up there and so the whole thing was pretty emotional for me to watch, and the song was my way to pay honor to the courage of these kids putting their lives on the line against a tyrannical government. Sometimes it’s hard to realize how good you’ve got it until you see people fighting for something so basic as freedom. Those students are heroes to me, so the name represents that ideal and what we should all strive to become.

RB: The video treatment for If The Morning Ever Comes is fantastic. Image and style direction is crucial in this business and I think you guys are doing it right. Who directed the video? Location? What’s the breakdown for how the video came to be?

BS: Evan Weinerman. He’s great. He directed Time to Run for Lord Huron, another L.A based band we like a lot. We shot it way out in Ridgecrest, California at a demolition derby track. It was about 18 degrees outside while we were shooting it. We had complete creative control over the video, so we were shooting ideas back and forth with Evan and he had some great ideas.

RB: You’re prepping the release of your debut album in February, correct? Nervous? Excited?

BS: We are ready. I think that’s the best way of putting it. We’ve been crafting this album for over a year now and it’s been way too long to not release anything. We’re ready to put it out there.

RB: Tell us something random about the band. Give us something good.

BS: Max has three nipples.

RB: For those just now discovering your music, what’s something we should know?

BS: We worked really hard to make it possible for you to hear these songs, and every single song is something special for us. We’re not interested in just making singles, so we hope everyone will take the time to hear the entire EP. Every penny we earned went into it and the whole thing was funded by ourselves and the generous donations of our Indiegogo supporters, so it’s a project of blood, sweat, and tears.

RB: What was the last album you purchased on iTunes?

BS: That new one by Pretty Lights.

RB: Finally, are you touring with this release? Shoot us some dates. Also, much continued success going forward!

BS: No formal tour announcement yet, but we’re playing February 18th @ Hemingway’s Lounge in Hollywood, February 22nd @ Empire Control Room in Austin, and March 12th @ VH1 Showcase during SXSW. We’re confirming some more LA dates, so keep on the lookout for more show announcements.

GAVIN

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Seeing Gavin DeGraw recently perform at VH1’s Super Bowl Blitz reminded me of: A. his ability to rock out live, and B. what an awesome singer/songwriter he is.

Following sets by J. Cole, Janelle Monae, Fall Out Boy, TLC and the Goo Goo Dolls, DeGraw owned the stage in a manner all his own – no excess necessary/no smoke and mirrors.

The standout, and charmingly so, was recent hit Best I Ever Had. Not only is the track infectious with an upbeat toe-tapping rhythm (something not typical of DeGraw), it’s also full of real-life, relatable connections – something that makes his music tick.

Watch the official video below + live performance of the track following.

ON HEAVY ROTATION: MACKLEMORE – ‘STARTING OVER’

By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

This song changed my life. Thank you, Macklemore.

//
And every kid that came up to me
And said I was the music they listened to when they first got clean
Now look at me – a couple days sober, I’m fighting demons
Back of that meeting on the East Side, shakin’ tweakin’
Hope that they don’t see it, hope that no one is lookin’
That no one recognizes that failure under that hoodie
Just posted in the back with my hands crossed, shook-en
If they call on me I’m passin’ it, they talk to me I’m bookin’
Out that door, but before, I can make it
Somebody stops me and says “Are you Macklemore?
“Maybe this isn’t the place or time, I just wanted to say that…
If it wasn’t for ‘Otherside’ I wouldn’t have made it…”
I just looked down at the ground and say “Thank you.”
She tells me she has 9 months and that she’s so grateful
Tears in her eyes lookin’ like she’s gonna cry, fuck
I barely got forty-eight hours, treated like I’m some wise monk
I want to tell her I relapsed, but I can’t
I just shake her hand and tell her “Congrats”
Get back to my car, and I think I’m trippin’, yeah
Cause God wrote ‘Otherside’, that pen was in my hand
I’m just a flawed man – Man, I fucked up…
Like so many others, I just never thought I would
I never thought I would, didn’t pick up the book
Doin’ it by myself didn’t turn out that good
//

UNCLE TIM

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Uncle Tim is a crisp R&B artist from Cameroon, delicately blending Gospel, Rap, and spiritual energy. Not Alone, his first available track, is soothing and lush with a soft-pop groove. Though he treads lightly in beat and verse, the message is strong.

I love seeing musicians weave positivity into their work. In an industry that often focuses on the negative (or even worse, the self-involved), hearing someone sing encouragement through my speakers makes me surge with gratitude.

Maybe it’ll do the same for you?

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