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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Confirms The Mars Volta's Hiatus

When bands break up, it’s usually with a shout, a big announcement, or a farewell note. But when bands enter the shady and undefined realm of the “indefinite hiatus,” they usually do so with a nothing more than a quiet murmur. In a recent interview with CityArtsOnline, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the guitarist of The Mars Volta and former member of seminal post-hardcore outfit At The Drive-In, responded to a question regarding The Mars Volta’s hiatus with the type of uncertain language characteristic of bands who have entered the liminal space of their lifespans. When asked about the current status of the band, Rodriguez-Lopez responded:

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All About It

 

All About A Bubble

There’s a pantheon of music constructed of staccato guitars, thrashing drums, and searching, volatile vocals. Some call it emo, some call it pop-punk, some call it alternative. The name itself isn’t important. What matters is the legion of fans who flock to festivals like Warped Tour, snatch up records put out by Fueled By Ramen, and pour their love into every note, every word uttered. Band like At The Drive In, Taking Back Sunday, Motion City Soundtrack and countless others have supplied this demand over the course of two decades. You can add the name All About A Bubble to the list. The Tulsa, Okla. group delivers frenetic, precise rockers like West Coast, with its chugging guitars and monster melody. Impossible to Fade begins with singer Dustin Storm’s innervated croon before kicking into a coursing power ballad. The calm after the storm comes from Paper Planes, a mostly acoustic heartbreaker moved along by”you guessed it”big guitars and drums. Welcome to the pantheon, guys.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will Band Reunions Define The Shape Of Punk To Come In 2012?

The reveal of the Coachella music festival lineup rocked the Internet early last week. As has been the case in years past, a few narratives have emerged from the announcement; which indie darlings would be in attendance, the bands (and this year, DJs) representing whatever flavor of the moment genre that was blowing up the year prior, the handful of rappers mixed in with all of the rockers and, of course, the band reunions. Last year saw the return of noise pop rockers Death From Above 1979, 2010 had the likes of Faith No More and Pavement taking the stage and other heavies like Rage Against The Machine and The Pixies have also come together at the Indio, CA based music festival.

But this year’s big reunions had something special in store for punk fans. The first hints that something special was afoot came from the Twitter of post-hardcore four piece At The Drive-In. On January 9th, the group tweeted that they would be “will be breaking their eleven year silence” and visitors to the group’s band page were greeted with the same message before the Coachella announcement confirmed ATDI’s reunion.

This news might be enough for most post-hardcore enthuiasts, but there was one more bit of news featured prominently in Coachella’s lineup that didn’t receive the same social media fanfare. Sandwiched between the likes of Swedish House Mafia, Arctic Monkeys and fellow reunitees Pulp were none other than ’90s hardcore outfit Refused. The incendiary group broke up right after the release of their seminal album The Shape of Punk to Come and have remained inactive as a group until now.

While word of these two reunions is not completely unheralded, Omar Rodrí­guez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, both members of At The Drive-In and prog outfit The Mars Volta, have been hinting at a possible reunion since 2009 and Refused reunion rumors have been swirling since the deluxe reissue of The Shape of Punk to Come in March of 2010. However, to have both reunions announced on the same day was enough to make the punk blogosphere explode.

So, yeah, even though punk is dead it doesn’t change that it is having a big moment in early 2012. Bands like The Promise Ring, Gatsby’s American Dream, The Receiving End of Sirens and Cursive are either preparing for releases, touring or hinting at some combination of the two for 2012.

Very little is known about what ATDI and Refused have in store after Coachella. American tour dates haven’t been established (though if you’re itching to see Refused and you’re in Belgium or Germany, then you’re in luck) and future releases (if there will be any from either group) haven’t been announced yet. All that is know for now is that At The Drive-In’s station is now operational and that Refused aren’t dead anymore.

Riffs, Rants & Rumors: Zechs Marquise Carries The Mars Volta Torch

It’s hard to believe it all started with a ’90s post-hardcore band. Admittedly, At The Drive-In was one of the weirder exponents of that style, but still, even given the relative eccentricity of the El Paso band’s output, it would have been pretty damn tough to prognosticate what would come in their wake simply by analyzing their discography. Of course, as any halfway-serious follower of either band knows, At The Drive-In gave birth to The Mars Volta around the turn of the century, as ATDI’s singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez defected to follow their own quirky vision.

Soon, Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez were turning heads with their new band, blasting out an in-your-face amalgam of progressive rock, fusion and hard rock that would eventually earn them a GRAMMY and a Gold record. Since then, the tireless Rodriguez-Lopez has also unleashed a whirlwind of extracurricular projects that would make even Robert Pollard seem unproductive, including a sideline as a ridiculously prolific solo artist. But there’s a Mars Volta offshoot that boasts one MV member and at least two Rodriguez-Lopezes but does not contain Omar. Confused? It’ll all become clear as we dig into the details of the Zechs Marquise story.

Zechs Marquise was formed in 2003, releasing a live recording in ’06 and their first studio album three years later. Their latest, Getting Paid, is a bold sonic statement from a band that includes Mars Volta percussionist/keyboardist Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and bassist Manfred Rodriguez-Lopez, both Omar’s brothers. Since the making of the album, yet another sibling, keyboardist Rikardo, has apparently come on board as well. It will probably not come as a huge shock to anyone that Getting Paid inhabits a similar stylistic universe to that of the “big brother” band, and in turn, Omar’s solo work.

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Rock 'n' Roll Call: Best Of OurStage 2010

This year was certainly a huge one for rock on OurStage. Our 2010 competitions allowed winning artists to play with incredible acts, such as Bon Jovi, Hanson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayday Parade, Anberlin and John Mayer.

Outside of the site, our artists have received national radio airplay, scored festival performance sets and had songs placed in TV shows, commercials and movie trailers. From experimental to pop punk, here are 10 of the best OurStage rock artists from 2010!

The Worsties

The Worsties

It takes a very talented band to be able to reach the Number 1 spot on the Best of Rock Charts, and The Worsties kept that spot for 20 weeks! After having their songs placed on MTV and Oxygen, the band won the coveted opening spot for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Chicago. Take a listen to “What’s Her Face” in the player below”we guarantee you’ll be headbanging with this female-fronted rock outfit in no time.

Eclectic Approach

As their name suggests, Seattle’s Eclectic Approach pull from a variety of influences to make funky pop rock that is sure to get you off your feet. Meeting somewhere between Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas, Eclectic Approach have got it all” tight beats, catchy hooks, sweet guitar licks and smooth vocals. This year was a big for these guys thanks to six Top 10 wins, including two in the “Shout It Out with HANSON” Competition (they ended up opening for the trio in Portland, OR). Check out “Cool” in the player below and be sure to add it to your next party playlist!

Again and Again

They’ve played at the Vans Warped Tour, sold over 150,000 records and had their album mixed by top modern rock producer Marc Hudson (Chiodos, Saves the Day). They’re Again and Again from Renton, WA and they’re shaping up to be the next big electronic pop rock act. While competing in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition (they finished in the Top 10 for their region), the bad was out on tour across the US. Listen to “Excuse This Honesty” in the player below and get ready to mark your calendars with future tour dates!

Take One Car live at Bamboozle

Take One Car

Millerton, NY’s experimental rock group Take One Car have had an extremely successful year. Having released their full-length album When the Ceiling Meets The Floor last year, the band set out to tour and promote their effort as much as possible in 2010. Their hard work paid off when they were selected to perform TWICE at New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival in May (once at Hoodwink, covering At The Drive-In, and a daytime set on Saturday, as themselves). The group followed their Bamboozle performances with more touring, competing in Airwalk Unsigned Hero Contest and opening for the likes of VersaEmerge and The Gay Blades. Check out “The Menagerie” in the player below and be sure to stay tuned, because these guys (and girl) will be releasing a new album next year! They’ve also been invited back to Bamboozle for 2011, so don’t miss their set!

Transmit Now

Can you imagine watching the People’s Choice Awards and hearing your song play as Hugh Jackman accepts his award for Best Action Hero? Well, Tampa, Florida’s pop rock group Transmit Now experienced it in 2010. Additionally, they were featured in J-14 Magazine as a weekly “Hot Band” and released their first full-length album, Downtown Merry-Go-Round. Listen to “Let’s Go Out Tonight” in the player below and blast it on your next night out!

Bronze Radio Return

Bronze Radio Return won fans over in 2010 with their smooth and sultry indie rock. With a warm acoustic sound, Bronze Radio Return are easily compared to Damien Rice and Coldplay. They won the coveted John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition for the Boston date and racked up four more Top 10 wins in Acoustic, Indie Rock and Modern Rock Channels. Check out “Digital Love” in the player below by BRR, a band that MySpace Records calls one of the best unsigned groups.

Cedar Avenue

Minneapolis acoustic rock outfit Cedar Avenue had great success on OurStage this year. They opened for Hanson in Milwaukee, had their song placed on ABC’s Cougartown and had eight Top 10 wins on the site, including the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition for their region. Fronted by husband and wife team Derrin and Jesse Mathews, Cedar Avenue has also opened for sold out crowds at Augustana, A Fine Frenzy and Graham Colton concerts. Check out “Up North” in the player below and get ready to rock!

Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue

From one avenue to the next, pop rock group Orange Avenue was named as one of MTV’s newest Buzzworthy bands for 2010. They’ve shared the stage with the All American Rejects, Rihanna, Smash Mouth and more, and had three Top 10 wins on OurStage, including one for their region in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition. They also had their music featured on “MLB Tonight” and their video for “Just Refrain” was played at the Winter Olympics. Listen to the track in the player below and be on the lookout for Orange Avenue on MTV and on the radio!

The Appreciation Post

After being named Alternative Press’ Top Unsigned Band in 2009, The Appreciation Post took 2010 by storm. In addition to releasing two EPs, the group also competed in the “Converse Battle of the Bands” Competition and took home the title of champion after opening for Mayday Parade and Anberlin. Check out the synth-heavy “The Beating of a Lifetime” in the player below and check out the band’s webstore for awesome deals and free music!

The Black Rabbits

Indie rock group The Black Rabbits spent 2010 as both the winners of a year’s worth of guitar strings from Ernie Ball and one of our Needle in the Haystack artists. They were subsequently signed to Rock Ridge Music and have been working hard putting together their debut album! Listen to “Emotion” in the player below and stay tuned for new music coming soon!

We’re already looking forward to meeting the next rock stars of 2011! Who were your favorite OS rock artists this year? Let us know in the comments below!