Posts Tagged ‘Acoustic’


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

I hear an honest streak: pulses of pain, plashes of rapture, intelligence, openness, aching optimism.

Bravery. Struggle. Joy.

Nehedar is the project of NYC-based singer-songwriter Emilia Cataldo, a character as complicated as she is poignant. There aren’t enough genres in the world to keep her creative curiosity satisfied. The Warming House (released this summer) is a lively, cultural event, sometimes weird, always magical.

I’m most impressed by her unabashed philosophies. It’s ridiculous that a feminist lean remains a dangerous stance for musicians to take, but Emilia proudly declares her ideals. (Take Is It Annoying, a feminist anthem all about ‘wanting out of the gilded cage’.) Some songs she even reminds me of a less abrasive -but equally brazen- Kathleen Hanna (see her delivery of Don’t Look for comparison, or how she belts it in Loshon Hara Barbie). There’s a lot of punk in her funky folk- if not in timbre, then attitude. Then, when she softens (as with Flying and Come Into The Light), it’s deep and sweet.

I leave you with the last song mentioned, not ‘cause it’s my favourite, but ‘cause it’s the one with a video. (Practical, no?)


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

You know a band doesn’t give a shit about hype when their name is pretty effin’ hard to Google. Enter The Amazing, a Swedish music-making machine that proudly lets the music speak for itself. How refreshing.

They’re an act of mystery and allure, crafting songs that sting and rip heartstrings, especially the one below – the hauntingly bittersweet The Strangest Thing — which recently gained exposure from appearing in an episode of Bates Motel.

Listen to the stunning track below.


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.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Originally signed to Warner Brothers Records by songwriter/former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, comes Brandyn Burnette, a soulful pop talent whose potential is blatant.

Burnette recently shared an acoustic version of Beautiful Beginning to stir some buzz before releasing what is rumored to be an upcoming EP, according to Arjan Writes.

This kid definitely has the formula for next level success. We’ll see what happens once more music is unveiled.

Listen to the stripped down number below. #ArtistToWatch


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MARIA CIEZAK: For those unfamiliar, can you give us a brief background? How did you meet the band?

ARIANA AND THE ROSE: Sure. I actually started as an actress, doing musical theater, commercials and film from the time I was a kid all the way through college. I wrote and played music on the side as a release. Throughout high school and the beginning of college, I wrote with people in New York, LA and Nashville, but it wasn’t until a year before I graduated from NYU that I decided I wanted to pursue music full-time. I put a band together as soon as I graduated, meeting guys through my managers and friends’ suggestions. I decided to call the band Ariana & the Rose since we perform all the music with live instruments and we’ve been together ever since.

MC: I love the new acoustic video for Heartbeat — the song is beautiful. The video is very raw and personal. What made you choose the dark color theme?

A: Thank you! Well, the song has this theme of a beautiful thing falling apart. I created that video with my friend and fashion designer, Daniel Silverstein. We wanted to make something that spoke to both of our styles. (I’m wearing a dress from his Fall 2013 collection in the video.) There’s something so classic about black and white and we felt that having the color of the video to be completely de-saturated would be a modern way of capturing that classic feel.

MC: What would you say you enjoy more: Recording? Writing? Or performing?

A: I really go back and forth with this. I always say that I enjoy whatever I happen to be doing at the moment the most. I’m currently in the studio writing, so right now I enjoy that more. But I’ll be on tour in a couple weeks and that will be my favorite part. I look at it as a good thing to be indecisive about.

MC: Do you write all of your own material?

A: Yep. I play piano and usually start most of my songs on an acoustic instrument. I do a lot of co-writing, typically me and another writer/producer. I find that writing alone can get a bit lonely sometimes. I’m a really social person and I like having another person to bounce ideas off of.

MC: If you had to place your music into a certain style or genre, could you?

A: I would choose synth pop, as a broad genre. More specifically: singer-songwriter with heavy electro and synth influences.

MC: I see you have been compared to many artists but I think your sound is very original. Do you find it flattering when placed with artists?

A: Thank you. I really try to create music I feel sounds just like me. Of course, it’s always flattering to be compared to other artists, especially ones that have been so successful. I’d like to think that when people compare you to other artists they love it’s because they love you too.

MC: What’s next for Ariana & The Rose?

A: My single Heartbeat came out on Nov 19th and my EP Head vs Heart will be released in early 2014. I’m also headed on a US tour with Heffron Drove (Nov 23-Dec 22). So lots of new material and live shows. It’s the perfect way to end the year.


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Amelia Scalies caught my attention soon as I sat down to listen.

I was braced with sudden drums, emphatic, easy-going guitar, and a voice twirling on the tightrope between indie and radio pop.

I Should Have Known is her breakaway album, boasting ten original tracks and one cover (a string-fuelled strip-down of MCR’s The Black Parade).

Through this AP, you can get a peak of the world through the eyes of a poetic girl budding into a wise, talented woman. While some may use access to a microphone as a chance to bask in narcissism, Amelia wants to make a difference. Take Don’t Let Them Win, a song encouraging bullying victims to persevere.

I only wish the guitar was ten times harder. However, lots of young artists start with a low volume. I’m sure her mellow playing will empower the next generation.

This is what would have happened to Kelly Clarkson if she’d started a real band. (Though saying that I sell Amelia short.)

It’s encouraging to hear another girl perform songs that are clearly her own. She plucks the guitar, she strokes the violin, she pens the lyrics. Her music is accessible, and not so intimidating that singer-songwriter hopefuls may shy away.

In that sense, Amelia is right at the heart of indie philosophy.

I leave you with Don’t Let Them Win. Not the rockiest tune, but one of the most relatable.

Amelia Scalies – Don’t Let Them Win (Audio)


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com


The one + only Beck has teamed up with cool eyeglass makers Warby Parker to create a line of hip frames.

To give a little background on the partnership, most recently Beck released Song Reader, a collection of 20 compositions available only as sheet music (and never before recorded). To celebrate this affinity, Warby Parker have released a pair of limited-edition frames, named Carmichael. Inspired by Beck’s genre-bending music and unimpeachable personal style, Carmichael is a tad eclectic, and completely charming.

The collection is sleek-chic and could easily be worn with a variety of styles. To see the entire collection, click HERE.

Glasses + Beck in action below.


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

MARIA CIEZAK: I must admit that I am just starting out on getting my fix of Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas — you all are fantastic! How did you guys meet?

JESSICA HERNANDEZ: I’ve met the guys at different points over the last couple years. When I was playing around as a solo act I would play shows with them in their other bands or run into them at shows. When things started picking up and I needed a full time bigger band, it was an easy transition into working with these super talented guys I already knew from the Detroit music scene.

MC: What was the music scene like growing up in Detroit? I mean, after all, it’s known for so many iconic things!

JH: You probably wouldn’t guess from the style of music I play now but I was actually really into the hardcore/grindcore/ riot girl scene when I was in high school. I always had a love for soul and Motown and a million other things, but I didn’t get heavy into going to shows every weekend and making music a lifestyle until the high school hardcore days. I spent a lot of time at the Shelter and St. Andrews getting kicked in the head and yelled at by straight-edge kids.

MC: You have a very distinct tone in your voice that I feel is very different from anything out there today. How often do you practice?

JH: I guess I don’t really “practice” singing, but I write every day which involves using my voice and constantly trying out new things vocally. I’ve been singing pretty much my whole life, but I didn’t really find my voice and my own vocal style until I started writing.

MC: I love the new video you released for Dead Brains (acoustic), and I feel like it sums you guys up in a nutshell, almost like a documentary. Would you agree?

JH: Thanks! Yeah, I guess you could say that. There are definitely no frills and it’s really honest. It was all shot in one take on iPhones and I edited it myself knowing very little about video editing.

MC: You have a kick ass tour lined up for the Fall. For a first-time, live-set goer like myself, do you guys switch your performances up at each stop?

JH: Yeah, we try to switch it up. Sometimes we will have a set that we all just really love to play and we will stick with it for a few shows though. We always adjust the set to fit the vibe of the night. If it’s a really chill show, we might play more slow songs than usual or do all of our fun songs if we’re playing a rowdy bar. Whatever fits the vibe of the crowd.

MC: What would you say you enjoy more: recording or live shows?

JH: I don’t think I could say. They are so different for me. Live is all about the energy of the crowd and how they feel and how they respond. That’s what gives you the energy to perform at your best and go nuts. Recording is so personal and all about your own mood and your own energy in that moment.

MC: I bought your EP Live At the Magic Bag, and I must say it hasn’t left my iPod in a few days. Any plans for a full-length in the near future?

JH: Yes! The album has been recorded for a while now but has been taking a while to finish mixing and mastering and getting the final touches right. It’s finally there and is set to be released in March. I can’t wait.

MC: If you describe Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas in five words, what would they be? Go!

JH: Soulful, feel-good, carnie rock. Is feel-good one or two words? [Laughs]


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“Someone said to me yesterday that this album is like taking a knife and stabbing myself in public. And it’s true — I’m letting everyone watch while I rip my guts out. There was not an ounce of me left to put on this record. It was the most fearless I’ve ever been, in anything that I’ve ever done.

“After people have written my life for me for the last four and a half years — and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not, it’s what sells the most magazines that week — this was the first time I could dig into my emotions and write from this perspective, and not have to apologize for being human. A lot of people don’t see me as that, and haven’t for a long time.”

-LeAnn Rimes
On new album Spitfire

This is the most honest record I’ve heard in years. LeAnn Rimes has taken the pain of tabloid fodder and created an album that solidifies her place as one of the greatest female performers in country music. Her voice is crystal clear and her nails are sharp. Not many women could have handled the sexist double standard in this situation the way that she has. She is no longer a child prodigy but a female pioneer, tearing down the celebrity walls and revealing a vulnerable human being underneath.

Two of my favorite tracks from Spitfire below: Who We Are (tear-felt live performance) + the incredible Where I Stood following.

Painfully gorgeous!

[Related Post: Rimes Releases Stunning Ballad To Ex-Husband]


By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Haven’t heard of Frank Turner? You need to. The English singer/songwriter has been melting hearts in the industry for a few years now, while making the deep conversion from punk rocker to acoustic solo-throb. His new single, Recovery, can be found on his latest record, and fifth solo release, Tape Deck Heart. He spoke of this release in recent interviews saying that (without going into lengthy details) it instantly became a “breakup” record.

This single is the perfect opener, with a radio-friendly sound and a lustrous production that has certainly evolved from his past releases. It’s backed by a triumphant piano, almost throwing a bright coat of paint on a fresh breakup. Meaning it’s unexpectedly uplifting despite its gut-wrenching topic. If you’re hesitant about indulging head-first into the whole record, this track will guide you on the right path.

Having only listened to a few tracks, I can tell this is an insanely personal record, almost opening the lock to his diary (if diaries still exist nowadays) and giving fans a taste of what really happens in the mind of Frank Turner.

Check out Recovery and then move on to the rest of Tape Deck Heart.

Whether you are going through a time of sorrow or not, this record will move you, in one way or another.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

It’s not a coincidence when a song finds you at the exact moment it’s needed. That’s precisely what happened to me with this stunning gem. Emeli Sande’s stripped-down/piano-drenched Read All About It Pt. III.

This track is gorgeous and its words bleed a vulnerability that’s nothing short of naked. Painfully honest. Sincere.

Watch + listen to a live version of the track below.


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Cutie alert!

Craving a slice of bubblegum pop? Budding artist Alex Aiono will satisfy your fix. His new video for Doesn’t Get Better is high in sugar content. And although it’s apparent that he’s trying to reach a certain niche (*cough* teen girls *cough*), don’t let his infectious sound fool ya. He’s spent time writing songs with Grammy writers/producers like John Legend, Billy Mann and Babyface.

Check out Doesn’t Get Better + the hilarious Horny Unicorns following.

I’m likin’ this guy!


By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

It’s a wonderful thing when people use music not only to express, but to connect.

Let me shoot you a hypothetical. Say you and your bestest buddy get arrested with charges of marijuana trafficking conspiracy, and you are both required by law not to contact each other. (I know it’s specific- bear with me!)

Your buddy’s in NY; you’re in UT. When you hear the news of his sentencing (30 months in prison), what do you do? Mope, moan, bitch to no one? Or do you find a way to support him without breaking the rules?

Rob Reinfurt of The Weekenders did just that. Rather than fighting against the system and getting himself in more trouble, he channelled all his feelings into the song Chin Up, hoping the heartfelt message would reach his friend Eric through the grapevine.

It did. And it caught my attention too.

The tone of the song isn’t typical for the band in question. The Weekenders merit a smoky-eyed blues rock thrum, reminding one of The Black Keys or a stoned Led Zeppelin set. Chin Up is even more low-tempo than their usual repertoire, but it still shoots ripples on my brain-lake. You can feel the pain of separation in the lyrics and rusty twang of the guitar, and that makes it legitimate.

Rob express his motivation for writing the song: “I wanted him to know we’re all thinking of him and shining light his way.”


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“I’m hoarse tonight, so I’m gonna need a lot of love to get through, but I don’t cancel shows and I don’t lip-sync because that’s bullshit.”

-Pink, Live from the Izod Center

Seeing Pink over the weekend changed my life. While her acrobatic skills were out of this world, and yes, it was mind-blowing to see her fly around a stadium packed with 20,000 people, it was her vulnerably naked songs that sent me over the edge. Songs like Who Knew and Perfect, emotionally belted through a microphone, wearing a simple white gown while sitting next to an acoustic guitar. Because the truth is, Pink doesn’t need the sing upside down to prove that she has talent. That’s just the icing on the cake.

[Related Post: P!nk Creates Flawless Piece Of Art]


By: Rob Brayl
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

ROB BRAYL: I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the new album (‘Wax Wings’, due out May 7th), and it’s an exquisite record! You MUST be getting butterflies leading up to its release?

JOSHUA RADIN: I am but mainly because I’m self-releasing a record for the first time. It’s scary but fun.

RB: I’m literally sitting here with my headphones on, trying to pick a favorite track from the record. I’m having a hard time, but I’m leaning towards ‘Your Rainy Days’ and ‘Like They Used To’. May I ask your personal favorite?

JR: Thank you so much! Well, that’s nice to hear. I guess if I had to pick a favorite it would be ‘Back To Where I’m From’.

RB: Being that this site is known for spotlighting indie artists, I was particularly fixated on the fact that you chose to release your new album independently. What was your frame of mind regarding this move?

JR: I like releasing music more often than most labels will allow. So I’m going at it on my own in order to put more music out into the world.

RB: I understand the title comes from Greek mythology. Can you speak on this a little bit?

JR: In several past songs, I’ve referred to my love as the sun. The album title is a reference to the myth of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun on wings made of wax and feathers. The wings melted and he fell, just as I have, over and over again. Sometimes I think love is something I’ll never get too close to again, and other times I feel the confidence to fly too closely to it.

RB: Obviously rap will never be an influence in your work, but since you’re from Cleveland and all, I have to ask: What do you think of Cleveland rapper Machine Gun Kelly?

JR: To be honest, I don’t know who that is.

RB: Speaking of influences, what is your driving force when creating music?

JR: Love.

RB: I always ask this, because it’s fun… Current guilty pleasure(s)?

JR: Girls. (The TV show)

RB: If I were to steal your iPod, are there any artists I may be surprised to find?

JR: Probably not. But who knows? I like all kinds of music.

RB: I saw you perform last year here in the city and actually met you very briefly after the show. You seemed as genuine and real as your music and I think it shows in your performances. The connection you have with the audience is incredibly honest. Are you planning on touring with the new material?

JR: Thank you! I try really hard to connect with everyone during live performances. I am going to tour this record but in just a few intimate venues in just a few cities. I spent half of last year on the road and I’m a little burnt. I’m needing home right now.

RB: It’s a well-known fact that you performed at Ellen DeGeneres’ wedding. I just wanted to end this interview by saying thank you for supporting gay rights. We love you!

JR: [Laughs] Yes, I did, and I do. She is an amazing woman as is her wife.