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New Ben Folds Five Album – First One In 13 Years

After a 13-year hiatus, Ben Folds Five are back with a new album called The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind. The three original members, including pianist/singer/songwriter Ben Folds, bassist Robert Sledge, and drummer Darren Jesse, started the band in 1993 but split up in 2000 while Folds went on to pursue a solo career. Since then, nostalgia has grown among fans and band members alike, with a 2008 reunion show that found them performing their last album The Unauthorized Biography Of Reinhold Messner in its entirety, and a “best-of” album released by Folds last year, reflecting upon some of the highlights of his and the band’s career.

The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind is due out September 18th, accompanied by a two-month international tour starting on September 13th. Head to Hypetrak.com to see tracklisting and hear a new song called “Erase Me.”

Modern Men

Don Drapery

Don’t let the name fool you ” Don Drapery isn’t a hotshot curtain maker who works at a company called Sewing-Cooper. It’s a Columbus, Ohio, band made up of two enterprising musicians: Jason Turner and Dan Gillis. In fact, the only obvious thing the band has in common with Mad Men is its love of retro. Vintage R&B and surf guitars trade time with post-punk angles and rhythms in Don Drapery’s catalog of songs. Folks In Charge is a loose-limbed, herky jerky rocker brimming with a rough sort of joy. On I Can’t Apologize, the duo combines ’50s-era pop tropes with modern-day sentiments like, You say everything sucks. From the spaghetti guitars of No Place To Raise A Child to the sparkle and distortion of Hard To Survive, Don Drapery gives a callback to rock’s glory days without losing their footing in the modern age.

Love and War

EarlyRise

There’s nothing wrong with being different, Orly Lari sings on Wasteland over a torrent of guitars and drums. And being different, to EarlyRise, means raging against the powers that seek to tear us down. Lari, along with co-conspirator/guitarist Raz Klinghoffer has created a leitmotif of unrest that carries over from one punishing track to the next. On Wasteland the bass gurgles, guitars shriek, drums thrash, and Lari’s climbing vocals offer the only succor from the storm. Every song is a battlefield. From the sinister slouch of Become Mad to the stuttering, crashing Face Me, EarlyRise delivers hard rock that’s as angsty as it is melodic. On the latter, Lari sings, I’m not afraid anymore as I declare war. You may as well surrender.

The Tempest


The Arts & Crafts Movement describes its music as being noisy and ugly, tender and awkward. And that’s true, but it’s also searching, discontented, romantic ¦ and probably a million other things. The Philadelphia band is of the same ilk as Silversun Pickups”think of them as their tormented younger brothers. Their raucous post punk weaves from sinister to sensitive and back again. The wild rumpus begins with War Chords, where piercing guitars is answered by a counter offensive of rolling drums and bass. Singer James Alex’s reptilian voice is hard at times to decipher, but the message is clear: Watch your step. His warning carries over to the bracing Punks of Privilege. We are anarchists, turning chords and truth into heroic hymns, he sings, You’ve been warned. But don’t let that stop you.

Opposites Attract

The Dandelion War

Like Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly, The Dandelion War should immediately give you a hint about its music by name alone. The tension between contrasts”low and high, heavy and light, gentle and violent”has long provided creative fodder for artists. The Dandelion War deftly weaves those contrasts together for diaphanous songscapes that range from story to placid. Jail Bird adds layers of glacial guitars, synths and drums to create the soundtrack to a dream. But the subconscious can be a fitful place, too, and on Spectacle the five-piece band creates a gyre of piano, drums, guitar and bass that falls somewhere between Sigur Rós and My Morning Jacket. The Petals of Lipaceli is equally mesmerizing”a long instrumental intro contains pianos echoed by chimes, reverb-drenched guitars, chants and rhythms that become more insistent as they build to crescendo. Sweet dreams are made of these.

The Second Coming of Garbage

Let’s face it, sometimes the past should stay dead. But when an awesome musical artist fades from popularity, their fans later wonder, Where are they now?  You may not know it, but many artists you loved in the past are still hard at work writing new albums or preparing to tour once more.  Fortunately, you now have Second Coming to reintroduce you to some of your favorite acts of the last few decades and give you the scoop on what you can expect from them in the future!

THEN: During the alt-rock boom of the mid-90s, Garbage were in their prime. Their single “Stupid Girl” garnered numerous award nominations (including two GRAMMYs), and their debut album earned multi-platinum status in several countries. Garbage’s follow-up album, Version 2.0, was equally as successful as their debut. They were once again nominated for two GRAMMY awards and were even comissioned to write the new theme song for the James Bond film, The World Is Not Enough. Unfortunately, the band’s third record”released in 2001”was not as well received, which eventually lead to the band’s breakup in 2003. Though they were able to re-group in 2007 and release a fourth album, Garbage went on hiatus before their first tour back was even finished. Drummer Butch Vig continued to pursue his love of recording; after working with the likes of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Sonic Youth, he had become one of the most sought-after producers in rock. Meanwhile, frontwoman Shirley Manson began work on a solo record, which is yet to be released.

NOW: Garbage reunited again in 2007 to release a greatest hits album, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they returned to the studio. The band decided to release their fifth album independently through their brand new record label, STUNVOLUME. In an October 2011 interview with Billboard, Butch Vig said: “We’re looking at this as free agents. We’re out of all our corporate responsibilities from the past, and initially we thought that was terrifying but now we think it’s liberating. We’re going to put the record out on our own label and just figure out how to license it and market it because we want it under our control.” A recent press release from Garbage’s publicist states that the record is being recorded “in a basement in the Atwater Village of Los Angeles,” proving that this band is pretty serious about going back to DIY. Glad to see they’re still keeping that 90s alternative rock mentality!

Fun fact: the video for “Stupid Girl” was inspired by the opening sequence of David Fincher’s film Se7en. Enjoy!

Going the Long Distance

 

Ringer T

The members of Ringer T began playing together in middle school, before life led each member to different corners of the country. But diaspora hasn’t slowed them down. With four full-lengths under their belt, the band is holding steady. And the fruits of their long distance relationship are pretty impressive. Walk It Straight is an easy, approachable melody that has a weary sweetness a la Wilco, Grandaddy or Nada Surf. It’s mellow stuff, but still packs an emotional wallop. In The Easy Road the band carefully layers sparse piano and acoustic guitar for a purist approach to longing. Let Me Be Your Man is more plugged in, but not by much. With electric guitars, drums and a male back-up chorus, the band engineers a rousing love song that will rattle your heart. If anything, Ringer T shows that wearing your emotions on your sleeve can be pretty badass.

 

GuacaMusic: B45

Whatever comes to your mind when you hear the name B45 probably has nothing to do with an awesome Colombian alternative rock band. But, it will from now on because these talented guys are here to stay.

B45 was born in 2009, when friends Sebastain Giraldo, Daniel Pedroza and Ricardo Paz decided to join forces and enter the music scene in Bogota. Their intention was to create an innovative music project that would conquer the hearts of fans everywhere. Soon, they were following this dream with additional band members Julian Carvajal and Nicolas Sanchez.

Ever since, B45 has been quickly climbing the ladder of success. By 2010, the band was recording its first album and was set to release their single “2+2 (Nada Será Igual)”. A year later, they recorded their third single Tal Vez, a piece full of electric guitars and a strong noisy rhythm.

Here on OurStage, B45 is getting great feedback with Tal Vez, but we also love Un simple Juego! and 2 + 2. Perhaps one of the best things about this band is that their lyrics are not only exciting but also profound which, combined with the aggressiveness in their sound, makes for a very spiritual connection. Can’t wait to try it? Visit B45’s profile or seat down, relax and enjoy this playlist. ¡Provecho!

Q&A: They Might Be Giants Rock The Grown-Up World

In almost thirty years of musical collaboration as They Might Be Giants, John Flansburgh and John Linnell have been involved in a mind-boggling array of projects.  They have won two GRAMMY awards, written numerous TV show theme songs, released the first ever full-length online-only album and recorded three albums of children’s music.  After such a varied and successful career, it might seem like the band would be content with resting on its laurels, but the Johns have no intention of stopping just yet.  We caught up with Flansburgh to discuss the band’s relationship with technology, their close work with producer Patrick Dillett and the need to preserve the classic pop song format.

OS: Recently, you’ve been releasing a lot more children’s music than rock music.  After your two most recent children’s albums, what prompted the decision to write a new album of adult rock music?
JF: After the GRAMMY win for [Here Come] the 123s there was a lot of momentum for the kids stuff so we broke our “back and forth” rhythm of releases and did the Science album which is ostensibly for kids but certainly was celebrated within the fact-based community. But the truth is we live for our regular stuff. We don’t want to lose that side of things even if it’s not the money pot of doing kids stuff.
OS: Did your foray into children’s music shape your process of writing music for adults?
JF: For the most part, the opposite scenario was the real process-shaper. I think that’s always been the secret to our success with the kids stuff”it’s still our basic sensibility in a very undiluted way. The one specific thing I can point to that working on kids stuff brought back to our recordings was general basking in the psychedelic moment. The cycle of touring and recording had wound up the arrangements pretty tight over fifteen years. Making a kids record”especially recording songs we figured we’d never be called on to reproduce”that brought our loosey goosey home recording vibe back in to play.
OS: The producer of Join Us is Patrick Dillett, who has worked pretty consistently with you for the past twenty years.  How has his continued involvement influenced the band?  What keeps you coming back to work with him?
JF: Pat’s a gent and he’s fast and he cares a lot about quality. He’s a little bit younger but not so much that we feel old! He also has a unique blend of modern and classic studio skills. He has a quality that I think everybody we end up working with long term has”which is he lets us go when it’s clicking and jumps in when we’re stuck. A lot of producers want to make their mark on recording from beginning to end, and they really want to dictate the process. And sometimes that’s an education”there is a lot to learn. But over the years we’ve figured out a way to work that gets good results and Pat’s approach fits in well with those little strategies.

Get Lyrical: It's So Hard To Say Goodbye

You know what they say: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Wait, hold on, that’s not the old adage we were thinking of. What we meant to say was: “All good things must come to an end.” And unfortunately, it’s as true of weekly blog features as it is of depressing Nelly Furtado songs and Brett Favre’s football career (probably). That’s right folks”this is the last week your computer screen will be graced with the fine stylings of Get Lyrical. We’ve had some laughs, we’ve shed some tears, we’ve dispelled some myths and we’ve celebrated some pretty obscure holidays, but before we go our separate ways you should check out these OurStage artists and their musings on goodbyes. There’s no denying that parting is such sweet sorrow, but hopefully these tracks will help ease the suffering.

Stockholm “ “Goodbye Tomorrow”

Stockholm frontman Chris Arter says that the group’s song “Goodbye Tomorrow” was inspired by the conflicts in Iraq and Sudan. “It was basically created with the message that if we just simply slaughter each other, turn our backs on our neighbors and friends or those less fortunate than us, that we essentially are saying goodbye to anything we could ever be, other than killers.” But while “Goodbye Tomorrow” references these conflicts, Arter is careful to point out that it isn’t an anti-war or anti-US song. Instead, the track is aimed at all those who commit violent acts “simply because they think they live in a part of the world that no one pays any attention to.”

Stockholm makes a powerful case for peace with the song’s bleak imagery. “Let’s get to know the eyes of a terrified girl/Let’s get to know the price of a terrified world/Let’s get to know the hand that draws lines in the sand/Man away from man, terror to the land.” But despite featuring ideas that are occasionally discouraging, like being “swallowed by the sea,” Arter’s lyrics also display some cautious optimism. “I wanted to balance a sense of despair with a reminder that while we are capable of such destruction, we are capable of immense good, and that our ‘tomorrow’ isn’t gone quite yet,” he says.

Arter also has some interesting thoughts on what it is that makes songs about goodbyes so common. “Though our song isn’t really saying goodbye to a person, or a love, but rather to ourselves and our potential, the finality of the word goodbye holds a lot of power,” he says. “Goodbye has a sometimes heartbreaking connotation of forever, making it an irresistible part of life to write about, because everyone has either heard ‘Goodbye,’ or said it.”

Maren Morris “ “Goodbye”

Maren Morris wrote the lyrics to “Goodbye” when she was sixteen, after a close friend was cheated on by her slightly older boyfriend. “She was definitely in a delicate condition and I sympathized with her a great deal,” Morris says. “The song lyrics came to me very organically.” While “Goodbye” has its roots in a sad story, it isn’t all bad because the track’s protagonist is staying song. “You can’t hurt me,” Morris sings, adding that not a single tear has been shed “’cause I’m better than that.” It all leads up to the last line of the song’s anthemic chorus: “Don’t try to get to me, ’cause I’ve already said goodbye.

Morris’s intended for her lyrics to keep her friend from getting lost in her grief, and help her maintain a positive outlook on a not-so-positive situation. “I wanted to present this song to my friend to empower her, not keep her feeling broken about the situation,” she says. And since goodbyes are such a common theme in songwriting, that theme of empowerment is how Morris sets her song apart. “I suppose what’s different about my interpretation of that experience is that it ends on a positive note rather than wallowing about it.”

There you have it, OurStagers, the end of Get Lyrical. Now take a page out of Morris’ book and don’t dwell on the loss”get back out there and enjoy all the fantastic lyricism available to you on OurStage!