SoundTrax: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Summer is beginning to come to a close, and it’s about time to start packing. As much as we hate to admit it, we need to leave the lake houses and beach bungalows behind and return to the real world. Home Is Where The Heart Is features an eclectic mix of songs about  just how great home is, whether you’re missing familiar surroundings or simply anticipating the happy return to your domicile. So load your trunk, say goodbye to summer friends, and begin the trek back home.

Here are 15 tracks from Native June, The Beatles, Seven Handle Circus, Rancid, The Dear Hunter, and many more to help you on your journey.

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Exclusive Q and A: Vanna Talks Family, Friends, and Monsoons

It’s time to get out of this town. It’s haunting, this presence. If the verse lyrics from post-hardcore band Vanna‘s Safe To Say ever referred to their hometown of Boston, Mass., we’d never guess it now. After kicking off 2012 with tours through Europe and the U.S. from February to April, then almost immediately turning around and jumping on the Warped Tour, Vanna front man Davey Muise and guitarist Joel Pastuszak told us about how great it was to be home at the Warped Tour stop in Mansfield, Mass. Apart from touring, in the last six months Vanna have picked up new members Pastuszak and Erik Gross, and have begun working on a fourth LP after releasing their third full-length album, And They Came Baring Bones in 2011. Muise and Pastuszak talked to us about friends, family, and tour craziness over the last few months.

OS: You guys are playing back in your hometown, that’s got to be great. What’s it like to be back?

DM: It’s awesome to be back, all of our families are here and you know, we’re just looking forward to our New England date to prove to the rest of the tour that we are a ˜worth it’ band [laughs].

OS: You haven’t played with Four Year Strong in a long time, how does it feel to be touring with some hometown friends again?

DM: It’s cool, it’s cool ˜cause like Four Year [Strong], Transit, A Loss For Words, Man Overboard, Make Do, and Mend (even though they’re kind of from Jersey), it’s a lot of New England bands on this tour and it just feels really really good to tour with bands from New England; slash I apologize to everyone who’s not from New England on this tour because we can get pretty rowdy and obnoxious. It’s cool; it’s definitely cool to have everybody out. Four Year’s killing it, A Loss For Words is killing it, all the New England bands are doing so well, I’m just proud of my friends.

JP: We pretty much just took over the whole tour.


Felony Fame Talks Freestyling, Coors Light Search For The Coldest, and DJ Drama

It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work for North Carolina rapper Felony Fame since he left Newark, N.J. at a young age, but now that struggle is finally paying off. Fame was recently crowned the winner of the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition by judges DJ Drama and DJ Khaled (joined by host emcee Ice Cube), his versatility and originality overtaking several other competitors in the final round of freestyle battles. Now, the competition title, a DJ Drama-produced track, and a feature on Drama’s mixtape are helping this phenomenon become a sweeping sensation in the world of hip-hop. Felony Fame took a minute with us to talk about life before hip-hop, his alter-ego, and where he’s headed from here.

OS: You’re originally from Newark, N.J., how did you end up settling in North Carolina?

FF: I was really born in Newark, New Jersey. I ended up moving to North Carolina with my grandmother. I was raised by my grandmother, then my mother decided to move to North Carolina from Newark herself. So I was raised in North Carolina.

OS: Who are some other artists who you look up to and draw inspiration from? Did any of those artists influence the start of your career?

FF: Some of the artists I draw inspiration from, for me, definitely The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, you know, Notorious B.I.G. He was one of the first big artists I was in to. As a kid I used to want to perform his songs at talent shows, and things like that. Usher too, I did a couple of his songs too, that was in elementary school. Those are some of the artists I came up listening to and made me want to do music.


SoundTrax: Hold Me Closer Tiny Hipster

Listening to good music that other people already know about is totally overrated nowadays. This week, OurStage’s own hipster correspondent Kristin has built us a playlist that’s more anti-mainstream than PBR and lens-less wayfarers. This playlist was developed around the supernatural hipster ability to discover great music before anyone else has the chance to hear it. By studying the hipster in its natural habitat, we can learn about how songs start to become trendy at the earliest stages, and predict what music is on the rise based on what hipsters are listening to currently. SoundTrax’s Hold Me Closer Tiny Hipster features popular music that these groovy trendsetters were listening to months ago, before it was cool (of course) and songs they’re listening to now that’s sure to catch on to mainstream popularity soon enough. As an added bonus, there are also a few tracks that were previously overlooked by conformist popular culture that hipsters have attempted desperately to keep to themselves. Sorry for spilling the beans, hipsters.

Post up in a local coffee shop on your MacBook then work on your Avant-garde screenplay while listening to these awesome tunes by Lana Del Rey, Bronze Radio Return, We Were Lovers, Imagine Dragons, and many more.

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Owl City Could Go Screamo

Widely known for his breakthrough single, Fireflies, Owl City has mentioned the possibility of recording a “screamo rock” album in the future. The electronica act, whose real name is Adam Young, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that he grew up wanting to do nothing else except that. I haven’t had a chance to do it, and do it right. Young is releasing his fourth album on Aug. 21 titled The Midsummer Station, featuring collaborations with Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry/Kelly Clarkson producer Dr. Luke, and Rihanna/Ne-Yo co-writing team Stargate. Growing up I was really into the whole underground, obscure, artsy, heavy, screamo, chaotic, angry angst music. I love it. That was my thing “ that’s what I identified with.

Young expressed concern with whether or not his fans would take to the new project and the drastic change in style. I feel like I could do it right. Do it all myself and record it all and make it sound good. It’s tempting. It might go over the heads of my fans but it might open some new doors and that’s what it’s all about. Every now and again I need to put on one of my old records [that] make me feel that same thing. There’s a place for that.

There’s no word yet on whether the Owatonna, Minnesota multi-instrumentalist would pull a Snoop Lion and take on a fiercer animal name (though our vote is for ˜Pterodactyl Town). You can watch Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for Good Time below.

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Asking Alexandria Talk About A Third Album And Mayhem Festival Madness

After four years of international touring, chart topping albums, and self-destructive partying habits, British metalcore band Asking Alexandria have come a long way since leaving York, North Yorkshire in 2008. We caught up with the group to talk about their upcoming third studio album, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and the famously reckless lifestyle for which they’ve become notorious. OurStage also had the chance to see what they’re capable of at the Mansfield, Mass. stop on the Mayhem Fest. tour on Friday, Aug. 3, where they shared the stage with the likes of Mí¶torheadSlayer, and Slipknot.

Opening with their aptly-named “Welcome,” leading straight into “Closure,” AA set the mood early with heavy, thrashing amplification and very animated movement. The band unleashed the strong music and lyrics from Reckless and Relentless with “Breathless” and “A Lesson Never Learned,” saying: “Every mistake I’ve made leaves a scar that burns every day. Yet still I carry on” and “Please you have to help me. This is not my true face. If you could see my soul as I have seen my soul…I could show it to you. It’s rotten, it’s poison.” The group demonstrated their dynamic stage presence and energy throughout the show; with every member running to and from either end of the stage, and leaping from amp stacks, monitors, and platforms during “To The Stage” and “Dear Insanity.” So it’s no surprise that Asking Alexandria’s fervent synergy made for a strong sense of camaraderie that engaged the audience with every synchronized head bang.

The band closed their set with “Morte Et Dabo,” which translates from Latin as “Death, I will give you.” The song opens with epic drums and Gregorian chant-style vocals, leading quickly into a fast-paced, thunderous condemnation with the lyrics, “I’ll never bow to he who claims to be divine; I’ll tear down your gates with my bare fucking hands; And burn the world that you rule over.” As “Morte Et Dabo” fading out in epic stylewith bellowing drums and the sound of crashing wreckage, the hardcore quintet exited the stage, leaving the ruins of a brutal performance behind them.

During our interview, lead guitarist Ben Bruce told us about Asking Alexandria’s growth as a band through the years, how they always need to do things to stay busy, and what to prepare ourselves for on the third album.

OS: What was your writing process for the new album, and did that change or evolve since Reckless and Relentless?

BB: The fact that we tour so much makes writing a new album a pretty tough ordeal, so I actually bought a tour bus at the end of last year and built a full recording studio in the back of the bus. I spent most of our headline tour, Still Reckless, in my bus writing.