Saturday, September 25, 2010
Vanina (vocals, synths) and Girardeau (drums, vocals), the faces of this modern duo, are two hipper than hip kids. So hip, they even live east of the hipsters in Sierra Madre. So hip they convinced Steve O to skateboard in their latest music video for the "hit song" "Contrary to Popular Belief," the title track to their latest album. And definitely hip enough to give all of their music away for free at www.oddmodern.com.
Check out these eastsiders downtown at A Loft Space. If you can't catch that, they play American Legion in October. Hopefully some smart talent buyer at one of the small east side venues (ahem, Echo, Spaceland, Silverlake Lounge) catches on and invites this duo in for a show.
Friday, September 24, 2010
If you're anywhere close to having your finger on the pulse of the music industry, by now you have certainly seen OK Go's cute video for "White Knuckles." If you haven't, you'd be wise to view it, not only because it is clever and entertaining, but because it begs the question - why did EMI ever let a band as creative as OK Go out of their contract? And for what reason(s)?
On March 10, 2010, about 2 months after the initial release of Of The Blue Colour of the Sky, OK Go's third album which features "White Knuckles", EMI and Capitol cut ties with the band. If you've ever seen the band's music videos, especially "Here It Goes Again" and "This Too Shall Pass (Rube Goldberg Machine version)," both of which were released before the band cut ties with EMI and Capitol, you may have already asked yourself that question.
Although the separation was allegedly on good terms, rumors circulated that the rift concerned disagreement with the label regarding viral distribution of their videos. After viewing the recently famous "White Knuckles" video, which allegedly was played close to 3 million times within 24 hours of release on youtube, who can blame them? With a track record of videos that clearly have viral potential, why would a band ever willingly restrain themselves from taking advantage of their own viral capacity? Especially when that viral capacity is monetizable.
If a record label wants to own that viral capacity or prevent an artist from using their viral capacity as a vehicle for distribution, the record label should pay the artist for the right(s). I imagine (hope) a company would be willing to do it. How valuable would it have been to PetCo or PetSMART to have the exclusive right to host the video for a day? A week? A month? To have their banner in the background or have the video open with Presented By INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE? If the companies weren't willing to pay for it before, I'd guess they'd be willing to drop loot on the sequel video once they got wind of these viral numbers. It will probably happen. Companies already sponsor tours, mixtapes, etc.
On a side note....if someone at PetCo or PetSMART is reading - I'm suggesting you sponsor an OK Go concert where they try and execute this music video live. Have it stream on UStream. People will pay to tune in if it is marketed. Believe me. People watch the West Minster dog show in droves...and this could be like the West Minster Dog Show on drugs with live music. Dogs high-fiving (or pawing?) musicians? Seriously.
But, the real point is that the record company had the upper hand and could have controlled the viral music video market all along. EMI being the label in this case. The record labels owned the master sound recordings that are in these music videos., although they were re-released by Paracadute Recordings. Why couldn't the record company (EMI) build infrastructure to host videos like OK Go's? So that the millions of views happened on the label's site, where the label could benefit from the advertising and increased usertime spent on that site? The record company could have run ads for other products in the side bar to make additional income of the traffic being generated from the music video.
The record company could have even hosted contests inviting fans to make their own videos and one lucky winner would get the entire catalog of OK Go records and a meet and greet. The contest could have easily required that you have purchased the "White Knuckles" track because how can you make a music video to a track you don't actually have a copy of? Or submit a music video in a contest to the record label that owns the sound recording of the song in the video without legally owning a copy of the track contained in the video? Would you be dumb enough to send in a video with a bootlegged track attached to it, essentially admitting to your copyright infringement? The contest may have even required the videomaker to buy a physical copy. Rather than take advantage of these golden opportunities to use the viral music video market to prop up physical sales of OK Go records (and possibly other records), the major record labels (or at least EMI) allegedly resisted OK Go's desire to go with viral video and the rest is history.
OK Go's willingness to embrace viral culture represents the new regime of DIY artists. With a track record of the most "favorited" music video in YouTube history ("Here It Goes Again") and "This Too Shall Pass" before parting ways, it was going to be hard for OK Go to one up themselves as independents. But, they did. The virility of "White Knuckles" and the internet frenzy it inspired metaphorically slaps EMI and Capitol in the face and basically says "we knew what we were doing."
You can watch "White Knuckles" here.
You can watch "This Too Shall Pass" here.
You can watch "Here It Goes Again" here.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The latest (and perhaps greatest) OK GO video is all the rage on the interweb this week, along with the talk of the music world. Big music companies are still searching for their jockstraps, trying to figure out how OK GO juked the industry out of being on a label and went on to much bigger, more relevant and presumably more profitable success.
Having abandoned the industry/corporate machinery, OK GO has a lot going for them. Not only do they seem cool, but they no longer are identified with any of the things us true music fans hate about the music industry...mainly the corporate bullshit that gets forced down prospective listeners' throats. Rather, OK GO stands for good music, supergood music and they make really amazing videos too.
As opposed to the glitz, glamour, spinners, sexy ladies and other random unnecessary video elements of your standard MTV Jams spot or even some crappy, I want to be artsy and have street cred lo-fi indie video, OK GO makes clean, well thought out and carefully executed music videos. The footage is always fun to watch, and their latest "White Knuckles" continues in thattrend. Not to mention that it has a gang of supercute dogs!
In this linked article http://www.spinner.com/2010/09/22/ok-go-white-knuckles-video/ Damian Kulash explains how it took over 100 shoots to execute the video in one continuous shot. This video is quite an amazing feat that took a lot of practice and preparation, but look at the dividends it is paying off (over 2 million views already). If only record companies knew how to efficiently allocate their time and resources they may just be able to make something this cool....
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
After Kele from Bloc Party and Does It Offend You Yeah? tear up the stage at The Music Box down the block, their entourage and indie-electro dance fans will march down Hollywood Blvd. to Cinespace for Dim Mak Tuesdays. Not only are the guys from Does It Offend You Yeah spinning a late night set, but resident DJs Dan Oh and Them Jeans will be too, while Donnis and Theophilus London will be performing to the hipster crowd.
Dim Mak usually brings the heat on any given Tuesday, but tonight's line-up is just the absolute fire. We highly recommend you go to this. You can RSVP for a discount by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
ECC, originally from Philadelphia, is an American indie-rock trio featuring Joshua Ostrander, Greg Lyons and Melissa Dougherty. They've been building a steady buzz recently after receiving some hype when word got out that they would be featured on The Twilight Saga: Eclipse soundtrack. The band has furthered that buzz with performances at a handful of local festivals, including Sunset Junction and their current Spaceland residency. Last night, they upped the ante even more when they invited bloggers, including myself, out for some beer and pizza before their show.
Calmly enjoying the tasty (and free) suds of a freshly poured Stone IPA, I got to meet the bandmates, chop it up with Buzzbands Kevin Bronson and talk to the bands publicity team. The soiree, which took place in the back room at Spaceland, became a healthy forum for blog blotter, indie band rumors and brief arguments over who is the next LA band to blow. Although some of the tangential conversation may have taken away from the focus of the event (I got pretty caught up explaining how exactly Foster The People had screwed over me and SUPERGOODMUSIC), I left the soiree thinking I'd made new friends (shout outs to the members of ECC, Buzz Bands Kevin Bronson, J.J. from LA Beets, the new LA Chapter of Owl City, and all the lovely ladies from Planetary Group) and excited to see a rising band perform.
Before ECC hit the stage, local indie duo, The Pity Party, were throwing down their eclectic blend of music. I paid close attention to the drummer, who is clearly talented - she plays drums, keys and sings simultaneously while her partner strutted his guitar and maintained an image of being not that into it. The guy girl duo reminded me a lot of a reversed version of Odd Modern (those two bands should play a show together). Pity also employs some live video streaming and editing, a la Saint Motel.
Post Pity Party the crowd swelled slightly for Eastern Conference Champions - who after the show were taking off to Madison, WI and Chicago, IL for performances later this week. Although not familiar with all of their tunes (they've been a band since about 2005), I was eager to catch the entirety of their show. I unfortunately had to dip out, so seeing their encore will have to wait until next week....
In toto, it was a great time; what struck me most about the evening gathering was that other bands aren't doing this. I thought it was a great way to pull me into the venue early and actually get some face time with the band. I'm not sure who had the brilliant idea - whether it was Planetary Group or Eastern Conference Champions - but cheers to that genius. The simple act of kindness got me to write an article AND I am going back next week to catch some more ECC!
Hope to see you there; it will be the last performance of the Champions' residency.
Friday, September 17, 2010
FILTER, festivals and food trucks! Oh my! What does every half-employed, LA-based hipster love? Vivacious tunes with a side of PBR and grilled cheese, of course! Luckily, FILTER Magazine has decided to appeal to the music masses and offer up a multi-day street festival composed of radical bands from all over the world, and delectable food trucks from all over the city. Seriously, what’s better than that? The answer is: nothing. We’re lucky enough to live in Sunshine Central with an over-abundance of creative minds all looking to let loose and get their dance on. So let’s prove to our parents that our college degrees were worth it, and take advantage of this. Don’t make me tell you twice.
October 7th through 10th FILTER magazine is taking over the streets of Echo Park and Downtown to give us musical, as well as edible, deliciousness. From Klaxons to Sea Wolf, and Casiokids to Caribou, they’ve got a United Nations of enticing beats to appeal to your own individual tastes. Wristbands for all four days are a mere $20 - that’s $5 per day, or to put it in hipster terms, is the near-equivalent to one PBR on tap during Cha Cha Lounge’s happy hour. For more information go to culturecollide.com, or better yet, take my word for it and get your ticket directly from ticketweb.com. It’ll be the best (and least expensive) decision you made since... well, let’s face it, you guys probably make bad decisions all the time. Buy your ticket, and then proceed to make your bad decisions at the festival in typical LA-fashion, you’ll be happy you did.
by Lauren Lomma
Over at SUPERGOODMUSIC, we are stoked to have the stellar line-up of Blockhead, Signal Path and Nocando coming to town next weekend. After listening to Signal Path's recently released (AND FREE) album, Imaginary Lines (which you can play at the bottom of this post) we reached out to the artists to learn more and get amped for the upcoming show.
Not only did we discover that Signal Path's Damon Metzner is a cool mo-fo who formerly lived in Michigan, we found out he trained under Galactic's Stanton Moore too!!! Imaginary Lines had me sold on attending The Roxy initially, but armed with the knowledge that Damon is a funk master's disciple, I definitely won't miss a minute next Saturday!
Below is our full interview with Damon from just before he hit the road to tour (first show was last night Seattle), along with a stream of the album. ENJOY :D
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Where did you grow up?
Damon: I grew up in the great city of New Orleans, with a little bit of time in America's High Five: Michigan!
SUPERGOODMUSIC: How did you decide to chase a career in music? When did you give up the typical "day" job?
Damon: I've been bouncing between being a performer and working the music industry side of things since I was 17. The last job outside of either the music industry or performing was at a pizza shop in New Orleans when I was 16.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Did you go to school for music or take any music lessons growing up?
Damon: I did both. I started out taking lessons with the great teacher Mark DiFlorio in New Orleans who then introduced me to Stanton Moore. Stanton was a gigantic inspiration in my playing and having him take the time to show me a few things was a huge motivator to say the least. I then went on to major in jazz at The University of New Orleans before changing my major to business at The University of Montana.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Where did the name Signal Path come from?
Damon: Ryan Burnett (guitar production) came up with the name in 2000. It makes sense for an electronic act, no? Haha.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: What is Signal Path all about?
Damon: Signal Path is a musical project created by Ryan Burnett (guitar/production) and myself, Damon Metzner (drums). We try to incorporate deep melodic ideas that wrap around compositionally focused core of intricate rhythm and massive low end. Both Ryan and I draw a lot of influence from american roots music, and try to incorporate those influences with our electronic production. Rhythmically, we definitely identify with a lot of glitch, hip hop and big beat music, but intertwine acoustic instrumentation as well. We regularly incorporate acoustic guitars, mandolins and lapsteel guitars that weave inside synths, massive leads and heavy basslines. Our goal is to produce deeply meaningful unique music that can be both beautiful and intense live.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: What's brewing at the moment?
Damon: Right now we are 100% focused on the recent drop of our free album Imaginary Lines, that came out on September 1st. Getting ready for one of the most exciting headlining tours in our history too. We couldn't be more thrilled to share the stage with some of our favorite artists in the nation including Blockhead, Bluetech, Designer Drugs, EPROM and EOTO. Having the opportunity to perform with artists of this caliber is a HUGE inspiration.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: What makes this tour that you're embarking on different from all your previous ones?
Damon: This tour really stands apart as it's giving us the opportunity to perform music from an album that we spent more time on than any other release. This tour also is allowing us to work with some of our favorite producers in the country.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: When will you be playing LA?
Damon: Saturday September 25th. At The Roxy. We're giving you a pair of tickets to give away. (tweet and mention @supergoodmusic @signalpath & @theroxy for chance to win or e-mail email@example.com with the Subject: Signal Path)
SUPERGOODMUSIC: When was the last time you played LA? Where? How was it?
Damon: We haven't played in LA since 2007 when we did a run with the Pnuma Trio. We played a place called Fais Do Do. It was a great time for sure. LA throws down.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Where have you stayed in LA when you've come? Do you have a favorite place? Do you have a favorite spot to hit up to eat?
Damon: Hahahaha - Well, we pretty much always stay at some seedy motel....this one time, naw, forget it.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Have you had In n Out? Is it the best fast food burger there is?
Damon: I have had In n Out...and although a fantastic burger, I have to say that the Burgerville's in Portland, OR takes the cake for the organic(ish) fastfood chains...I hope I get some free burgers out of this!
SUPERGOODMUSIC: I hope I do too. So, what's next?
Damon: We're focused on making the next several months some of the most positive in the history of the band. We couldn't be more proud of the music we've put out on the new album. We just really can't wait to get on the road and share the music with the fans live. Ultimately, none of this would be possible without their support.
SUPERGOODMUSIC: Anything else you want to let the SUPERGOODMUSIC community know?
Damon: We just really want to thank all the fans. Like I said, NONE of this could happen without them which is one of the reasons why we give the music away for free. Of course we'd like to give props to www.supergoodmusic.com for the opportunity to share these thoughts and help spread the word. We'd also really love to thank all the artists we're fortunate enough to work with including the amazing visual artist Josh Keyes who donated a fantastic piece of art for our use as our album cover.
FULL TOUR SCHEDULE:
09/16/10 Thu - Seattle, WA Nectar Lounge - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/17/10 Fri - Bellingham, WA The Wild Buffalo - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/18/10 Sat - Portland, OR Refuge - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/21/10 Tue - San Diego, CA Casbah - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/22/10 Wed - Santa Cruz, CA Moe's Alley - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/23/10 Thu - Arcata, CA Arcata Theater - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/24/10 Fri - Berkeley, CA Shattuck Down Low - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
09/25/10 Sat - West Hollywood, CA Roxy Theatre - w/ Blockhead, Nocando
10/01/10 Fri - Dallas, TX La Grange - w/ Eprom
10/02/10 Sat - Austin, TX The Parish Room - w/ Eprom
10/09/10 Sat - Denver, CO Ogden Theatre - w/ EOTO
10/14/10 Thu - Minneapolis, MN Cabooze - w/ Sovereign Sect
10/15/10 Fri - Aberdeen, SD VFW Post 42 - w/ Sovereign Sect
10/16/10 Sat - Fargo, ND The Aquarium - w/ Sovereign Sect
10/20/10 Wed - Ann Arbor, MI Blind Pig
10/21/10 Thu - Grand Rapids, MI Founders Brewery.
10/22/10 Fri - St.Louis, MO 2720
10/23/10 Sat - Madison, WI Annex
10/28/10 Thu - Missoula, MT Wilma Theatre - w/ Designer Drugs
10/29/10 Fri - Bozeman, MT Filling Station
10/30/10 Sat - Chattanooga, TN Collective Vision
11/11/10 Thu - Oxford, MS Proud Larry's - w/ Bluetech
11/12/10 Fri - Nashville, TN 12th + Porter - w/ Bluetech
11/13/10 Sat - Asheville, NC Club 828 - w/ Bluetech
11/15/10 Mon - Blacksburg, VA Awful Arthur’s - w/ Bluetech
11/16/10 Tue - Knoxville, TN Southbound - w/ Bluetech
11/17/10 Wed - Raleigh, NC Pour House - w/ Bluetech
11/18/10 Thu - Wilmington, NC Kefi - w/ Bluetech
11/19/10 Fri - Charleston, SC The Pour House - w/ Bluetech
11/20/10 Sat - Atlanta, GA Apache Cafe - w/ Bluetech
12/4/10 Sat - Chicago, IL TBA
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Last night I had the privilege of being at the 2nd performance of the Karmaloop Up In The Air Tour at House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. In addition to a grip of solid supporters, including Far East Movement, Bad Rabbits and 2 AM Club, the night was highlighted by one of the hottest acts in the game right now, Mike Posner.
Flying high off his debut release, 31 Minutes to Take Off, Posner soared to new heights last night with his sensational performance. In less than a year, I've personally witnessed the MC/singer transform from mixtape maestro to charismatic and fun performer to the NEXT Justin Timberlake pop-star.
He began the night with "Please Don't Go," the second single off his record. Immediately you could see Mike's development because he quickly and easily got the crowd clapping for the majority of the song. Staring down the House of Blues crowd from behind his cooler than you sunglasses - he moved fluidly from the single to his sexy sleeper "Cheated." To my surprise, it felt like the entire room knew and was belting out the lyrics. Sitting next to a group of college aged women (or possibly younger - it was all ages) during the songs' chorus, it was almost like I was at a sorority sleepover.
But Posner's consistent requests for crowd feedback reminded me that I was, in fact, at the House of Blues for his performance. Now backed by a smooth band of brothers (he was not backed by a band at previous performances), Mike is free to spend more time engaging with and massaging the crowd. And Mike certainly took advantage of his new found freedom - he paced from end to end of the stage, reached for the hands of young co-eds near the stage and demanded attendees to move their hands from side to side. So I did....because I basically would have been the only person not doing it if I didn't participate. I kept waving my hands because he got all Michigan rapper on me and busted out perhaps my favorite song of his "Drug Dealer Girl."
What I thought would have been the song that helped me identify who in the crowd was a long-standing and true Posner fan (i.e. fan before 2010), I found myself blown away by the number of tweeners in braces who knew the opening lines "Now you may never be on a maybelline commercial..." And I certainly knew I was in California when the entire crowd chimed in for the follow up "but you always let me know when you got some purple." I bet some of the 15 year olds in the audience probably had never smoked weed, let alone driven a car (he performed "Smoke and Drive" later on), but that wasn't stopping them from singing along.
Posner riffled through some more of his R & B and ballad type material, including "Bow Chick a Bow Wow" (probably my least favorite) and a little Red Hot Chili Peppers medley as a homage to Los Angeles. Of course, these were part of a sequenced build up to the hot single "Cooler Than Me."
BUT, before that closer - Posner finished his R&B medley with his take on Electric Light Orchestra's "Evil Woman." A song that I've seen him perform alone, it is clearly better with the backing of his new band. Gone is the slightly Fischer-Pricey sounding synth or clavinet or whatever that sound is (or at the very least it is muted out by the other instruments). Posner's back-up vocalists gave this new live band twist just the right amount of soul and Mike laid his vocals down pretty smoothly too.
Anticipating that it might be the end of his set and knowing the single still had not yet been played, the crowd began chanting Posner before him or the band even made a motion to leave. The band abruptly cued up "Cooler Than Me" and within a few seconds of the beat dropping the floors shook so hard you questioned whether there was an earthquake. Keeping his street level, fan friendly cool, Mike passed the mic over the crowd to get West Hollywood's version of the catchy chorus before finishing the vocals off himself.
Posner and the band walked off the stage and it easily would have been a perfectly satisfying performance. But, with half the crowd anxiously awaiting a possible encore return and claps and hollers brewing, the man of the evening returned to his piano. He treated the crowd to a short keys solo before doing two songs, the last of which was "Gone In September."
The show was spectacular , but the increase in the volume and frequency of crowd participation is what really blew me away at House of Blues. Whereas your typical hip-hop show will call for the occasional swaying of hands, and the cliche "all the ladies say, all the fellas say ho," Posner's repertoire of tricks to engage the crowd feels considerably larger. Perhaps he studied what more veteran acts were doing all summer on Warped tour? Maybe he just got more comfortable after experiencing some pop success? Or maybe it just takes time for a performer to find their comfort zone? Regardless, it is clear that Mike Posner has come a long way in a very short period of time.
The recent Duke graduate has dramatically improved his stage presence since I first saw him on October 16, 2009 at The Roxy. At that show with Big Sean he certainly was an exciting performer, but he hadn't quite mastered the art of maintaining crowd participation and controlling the crowd with the simple point of a finger. His next performances at The Roxy (New Years Eve and a brief appearance in February at a Gift of Gab show) exhibited the artist's maturation on stage - Posner was noticeably more active, energized and comfortable in the now familiar venue. He'd engage the crowd and keep the party moving, eliciting more of a response from the audience at each performance. But, last night was EPIC.
Whether it be calling for hands to go up in the air, requesting people to snap or clap along, encouraging the crowd to sing the hook or simply pointing to sides of the room for their responsive screams - Mike does it - and he has become really good at it. The maturation of his performance is impressive. Simply put, Mike Posner has begun to the master the art of being not just a touring artist, but an entertainer/performer.
It is clear that a hit single, a summer on WARPED tour and the backing of a full band were all this Michigan man needed to vault him into the exclusive category of NEXT BIG THING.
The guy has swagger, charisma, stage charm and talent. He writes creative flows, raps and sings them well enough and he really gets the crowd involved.
With a top I-Tunes single ("Cooler Than Me") at his disposal, a top 10 Billboard album (I know 31 Minutes to Take Off hit #8...may have gone higher), and now a top notch performance - Mike Posner should be on your radar because he is not going anywhere anytime soon. Check Posner out in a different city on the Up In The Air Tour - tickets are available here. (FYI - they may sell out, so buy them NOW)
Below is the very first ever SUPERGOODMUSIC interview, its an interview we did with Posner in February 2010 before he even knew how much hype the album would receive.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Today the world received their latest dosage of Electro Majic when Keith Masters released "Photo Op."
The hip-hop electro hipster crossover has a melodic instrumental beginning before Masters drops his lyrically crafty first verse. Opening with some thematic word play on the song title, the lyrics sync perfectly with the ambient track, including the well positioned "Concert Blast" shout out.
Shortly after the SUPERGOOD shout out (we were in the studio when he was recording vocals), Keith picks up his flow double time and exhibits why he should be on any electronic fusion fan's radar. Embracing the structure and creative depth of electronically driven music, Keith and Brandon Dermer (producer) built a pseudo hip-hop song that evolves both musically and lyrically from ambient and slow to fast and rhythmically driven.
Masters maintains the imagery of photo opportunities with creative visual references to the stereotypical pursuit of a flash worthy lifestyle before entering into the easy to rap/sing "Photo Op" chorus. Following the first batch of "op"s, Keith gets deep and introspective about the dreams of chasing a career as a performer, even calling out those that make the leap of faith to pursue careers in L.A in pursuit of those photo ops.
Dropping references to not only SUPERGOOD, but Hollywood swag and Melrose Ave., and with production from Los Angeles' own Dermer, this just might be my next cruising LA cut.
"Photo Op" was written by Keith Masters, features Babe Lincoln and was produced by Brandon Dermer (Los Angeles).
You can download the song from Keith's soundcloud page here - http://soundcloud.com/keithmasters/photo-op-featuring-babe-lincoln
Australian prog-metal alt-rock five piece Karnivool hits The Troubadour tonight as part of a promotional tour for their recently released second full length album, Sound Awake. Over four years in the making, Sound Awake is a technically sophisticated, multi-dimensional record that can be appreciated by even casual listeners such as myself who are not huge fans of the genre.
Just like their first ecord, Themata, their most recent offering has been critically acclaimed by all sorts of music journalists, including receiving a glowing 4 star review from Rolling Stone Australia that defined the album as "a sprawling work of melody, mood, tempo and musicianship." With additional praise being offered from other publications and musicians, including both Guitar Edge and even Guns-N-Roses' Slash, Sound Awake appears to have avoided the sophomore slump that plagues so many artists.
Although we have not had the pleasure of consuming the whole record yet, we're eager to see the bands live performance tonight. We've been rocking out to "Set Fire to the Hive," which they've offered for free download. You can that tune by clicking this link here.
You can also listen to more tunes and learn more about the band by following any one of these links:
Tickets for the show can be purchased here up until about 6 pm today. Tides of Man, KYNG and Cage 9 are supporting.
Friday, September 10, 2010
You thought we only brought you news on shows at concert venues, but that's not the full picture. We love fashion here at SUPERGOODMUSIC and occasionally we give you the scoop on that too.
Tonight - you can get your fix of both music and fashion at Ron Herman's Melrose location (8100 Melrose Ave.) as part of Fashion's Night Out.
From 6 to 11 pm, the doors will be open for a special fashion event featuring a performance by the Dandy Warhols. With their cool jean bar and high end clothing, you could end up getting lost in the racks at Ron Herman. That's okay, just make sure you pick your head up from your Friday foray into fashion around 8 pm, when lead singer Courtney Taylor is slated to arrive to mingle with the die hards. Courtney will also be available for interviews and chat with the press before the Dandy Warhols 9:30 performance.
We heard these key timing details first and want to make sure you're in the know. A free intimate Dandy Warhols show is about as good of a reason to go to Ron Herman as any fashion necessity. The only thing that would make this in store event better is if shoes are on sale!
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
SUPERGOODMUSIC arrived on the scene of Sunset Strip Music Festival shortly after the gates opened to experience the full spectrum of L.A.'s finest non-electronic music festival. The early day crowd consisted primarily of high school kids in cut-off denim shorts and midriff tops...not as offensive as lingerie clad EDC attendees, but still the kind of clothing that their parents would probably kill them for wearing (if they only knew). Their bellybutton rings and braces glistened in the Saturday afternoon sunshine as they made an attempt to appear oh-so-very rock n’ roll while sucking on their cigarettes in front of The Key Club. Sadly, half the kids there didn’t even know who Billy Corgan was (or The Smashing Pumpkins for that matter) but merely came to swig vodka from water bottles and grind up on girls while Big B performed in the background.
Maybe I age myself here, but frankly, I don’t give a damn if I do. The Smashing Pumpkins are one of the biggest bands I remember from when I was growing up. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is arguably the best album of their entire career, and their music video of “Tonight, Tonight” (back when MTV actually played music videos) is still etched in my memory. I remember first seeing that video in my living room and being absolutely blown away. Needless to say, it won an MTV Video Music Award in 1996, and in case 1996 is a little before your time, it was also covered by Passion Pit in a collaboration with Levi’s just earlier this year.
Long story short, I was not missing their performance that night for anything... not for some drunk kid blowing chunks next to my boots, not for some juiced-up meat-head trying to trample me, and definitely not for some loud-mouth nosy chick who couldn’t hold her liquor (I experienced all these things). So here we have my story of finally getting to see The Smashing Pumpkins and all the revelry that happened along the way. This experience is also known as The Sunset Strip Music Festival...
AJ from Saint Motel (is that a gang sign?)
Anyone who has lived in LA knows the traffic on Sunset Boulevard near the strip is absolute chaos. If you’ve never lived in LA, then for a moment just imagine a primary artery running through a city, that is constantly undergoing construction and being bombarded with tourists, but unlike the Hollywood Boulevard tourist traps, the strip is a bevy of historic bars, legendary hangouts, and a Mecca for the music scene. Now envision dealing with that on a Saturday afternoon during the Sunset Strip Music Festival and also trying to make it in time to see Billy Corgan’s interview at The Viper Room.
Maybe after four years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve learned a thing or two about side roads and slick maneuvering skills because I managed to make it just a few precious minutes after Billy took the microphone. The Viper Room is a dark, small cave-like place that tonight consisted of maybe thirty people at most, primarily of diligent reporters, but entirely of appreciative fans. Billy sat with his young son Jason, who donned some sort of super-hero/wrestler mask. Billy came off as a kind, soft-spoken individual, a caring father, and a seasoned musician. He spoke about the first record he bought (Meet the Beatles! for only a quarter), the pros and cons of an internet saturated society, and of course, he talked about the band. After awhile, Billy spoke about the importance of being entirely you and not trying to be someone else, or even one particular version of yourself, because the act will wear thin in a short time. As this theory applied to his career, he reflected, “at least it’s me pissing them off and not the imitation of me pissing them off.” A few moments later, Billy and his son left the stage, graciously stopping to thank those who expressed their appreciation for his talents. They stepped off the curb and into their silver SUV, vanishing into the sunshine.
After that, I realized I'd missed the majority of Saint Motel (pictured above and apparently exceptional) and had some time to kill so I decided to check out Big B. I liked him... he was a large fellow with tattoos, what wasn’t to like? The crowd was still sparse at this point, especially with anyone over 20 years old, but I barely look 18 so fortunately, I fit right in. Big B grabbed the mike and engaged the crowd shouting, “If you like to smoke weed and drink whiskey, put your hands up in the air!” Of course, the teenage crowd immediately threw their hands madly into the air because words like “weed” and “whiskey” naturally excite them. I only threw one hand in the air because even though my smoking weed days are done, my whiskey days are forever. Trying to outdo his brethren, a 15 year-old shirtless boy next to me decided hands in the air were not enough and threw up in the middle of the crowd, half on a garbage can and half next to my boots.
After my Big B experience, and the blown chunks taboot, I decided to check out Neon Trees, a group with which I am somewhat familiar, mostly because of their mainstream hit “Animal." Personally, that song is a little too pop for my taste, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway. One thing I can say about Neon Trees, especially the lead singer Tyler Glenn, is that they have high energy. High energy is always something I enjoy in a performance, but it looked like Tyler may have watched too many cliche rock n’ roll videos pre-show. The 26 year-old was saddled up in black leather pants, using his microphone as a lasso, humping his guitar players leg, and spitting on the stage any chance he got.
If anything, maybe he should take a note from Billy Corgan’s interview earlier in the day and work on being himself, and not just some version of someone else (ahem, Jim Morrison). But again, he’s 26 and relatively new to the mainstream music scene, so I’ll cut him some slack. Plus, the set was pretty good. Did I know most of the songs? No, definitely not. But was the band enjoyable musically as well as performance-wise? I’m going to say yes.
Now I have got to be honest - I unfortunately skipped out on most of Semi Precious Weapons to sit in my air-conditioned car and charge my cell-phone, which now doubled as my camera (thankfully, SUPERGOODMUSIC employed someone else to take pictures for us - a very talented Megan Thompson) Luckily, however, I came back just in time to see Stevy Pyne from Semi Precious Weapons hanging from the rafters. The lead singer, Justin Tranter, beckoned the crowd to “Forget Security! Climb on stage!” And that’s just what they did... taking some of the Sunset Strip Music Festival banner with them.
Next up on my list was Common. Unfortunately, they had severe technical difficulties and the sound check went on for over thirty minutes. The drunk, over-heated crowd was getting antsy, and the time left before Slash would start playing on the opposing stage was diminishing. Ultimately, the trio decided to play off-monitor and Common finally took the stage. Let me say that it was completely worth the wait. He was seriously one of my favorite performers of the night, pulling from classic hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and even The Fugees. I knew I wanted to catch some of Slash’s performance (as he was the 2010 SSMF honoree) but Common was so good that after each song I kept telling myself, “Okay, just one more song and then I’ll go." But each song just kept on getting better and better, and eventually he even broke out some freestyle jams.
Needless to say, by the time I made it over to Slash, I could barely snake my way to the front of the crowd. Luckily, I’m rather small and pushed my way through the scantily clad girls and aging blondes who were whining to the club promoters about their lack of drugs. A few songs and “Sweet Child of Mine” later and I had my Slash fix, so I made my way back to the east stage to catch Kid Cudi.
Since so many artists had been having difficulties with the sound system, Kid Cudi couldn’t take the stage until way after his allotted time slot. By then it was getting dark, and the crowd was working on hour six or seven of beer-guzzling. I stood waiting for Kid Cudi for nearly forty minutes while getting pummeled by drunken men and teenagers lacking in body control and annoyed by intoxicated women. The time that Smashing Pumpkins would take the stage was drawing near, and as much as I enjoy Kid Cudi, Smashing Pumpkins trumped all the rest of the performers for me that evening. After nearly getting trampled by a mass of inebriated concert attendees, I decided to throw in the towel and bail.
I watched Kid Cudi from the back and heard one song before I trekked over to see my boy Billy Corgan. It was a good thing I did because I think they were the only performers of the evening to actually go on early. They took the big stage with no introduction, just an epic light show and their trademark guitar-heavy and densely-layered sound. They opened with “Astral Planes” and continued with some of my personal favorites such as “Today” and “Bullet with Butterfly Wings."
My mission was accomplished. My day-turned-night was a success. Maybe it was full of half-dressed and completely drunk teenagers, but hey, when it comes to rock n’ roll anything goes, and I like it (yes, I do).
Article by Lauren Lomma; All Photography by Megan Thompson