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Casey Desmond Premieres "Bad Habit" Music Video

If you’re not yet familiar with OurStage artist and recent MTV Buzzworthy sensation Casey Desmond, you’ve really got to change that. Luckily, we’re about to fix that. Between her stint on Season 1 of The Voice, writing, performing and re-mixing her own music, and even designing her own costumes, we don’t know how she had time to create one of the funkiest music videos we’ve seen in a while for her song “Bad Habit.” But  boy, are we glad she did. Filled with silhouettes, electro-pop, and plenty of energy, you don’t want to miss this. Check it out after the jump. (more…)

Exclusive Q and A: Owl City Talks EDM, Touring, and Purple Rain

Last year, Owl City was riding a huge wave of success, buoyed by a multi-album major label deal and collaborations with GRAMMY award“winning producers.  It was hard to imagine that Adam Young’s star could rise any higher. Leave it to him to prove us wrong. Since we last spoke to the singer-songwriter, his electropop project has gotten even bigger. He recently teamed up with pop queen of the moment Carly Rae Jepsen to record “Good Time,” a chart“topping summer smash, and released his fourth studio album, The Midsummer Station in August. We caught up with Young to chat about the collaborative process with Jepsen, his love of Dutch DJs, and his literary inspirations.

OS: Good Time” was a huge hit this past summer. Did you go into the studio with that goal in mind, and how did the process of collaboration work?

AY: I definitely didn’t expect the reception the song has been getting. It is an honor when you see and hear such positive feedback. Carly was an absolute pleasure to work with. It turned out she was a fan of my music and our managers knew each other, so I asked her to be on the song, sent her the stems, and within a day she sent her parts back to me.

OS: Good Time has the lyric What’s up with this Prince song inside my head? Which song are you referring to? As a fellow Minnesotan, are you a Prince fan?

AY: “Purple Rain” and yes, massive fan. (more…)

Live Wired [Review]: Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding has had a huge year, and it’s only August. A 24-year-old pop singer from England, she has been getting more attention in the US recently. She was selected by Prince William and Kate Middleton as the only live musician at possibly the biggest event of the year: the royal wedding reception in April. A week later, Goulding was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. She toured the US for the first time earlier this year, playing smaller venues. She’s back on tour, and on July 27th in Boston played an even bigger venue during her second time in the states. The sold out crowd was loud and ready for a great night of live music.

Bag Raiders, a house duo from Australia made up of Chris Stracey and Jack Glass, started the show off as the tour’s only opener. They pumped up the already-packed house and got everyone dancing. They closed with one of their bigger songs, “Shooting Star,” leaving fans in excited anticipation for Ellie to begin.

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When you listen to Ellie Goulding’s music, it’s easy to get hooked right away. Yes, she has a pretty voice. But most of her songs also feature catchy beats. Her live show really illustrated what a talented artist she is. Throughout the entire show, Goulding was dancing around the stage, showing off her incredible vocals and playing a couple of different instruments. She had the crowd interacting the whole time and was having as much fun as the audience.

The setlist illustrated Goulding’s versatility and did a great job of throwing together sing-along and dance songs. There were definitely a few numbers that stood out. Any song that featured Goulding playing the drums was a blast to watch. She had a trap kit at the front of the stage next to her microphone, as well as an acoustic guitar. The guitar served as the main component of her beautiful acoustic rendition of “Wish I Stayed.” It was sad and stripped-down, as she explained the song was written about a time when she really missed her home. Later, to a large round of applause and cheers, she introduced one of her cover songs: A quiet piano version of Elton John’s “Your Song.” The crowd sang every word at the top of their lungs.

 

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After the set, Goudling and her band came back for a two song, high-energy encore. They first played “Your Biggest Mistake,” a piano-filled pop song that leads up to a great chorus everyone can sing. They ended with their often-remixed, biggest hit “Starry Eyed.” The crowd was at their liveliest and so was Goulding, finishing the night with everyone dancing as she belted out the last note of the song.

Check out the dates for the rest of Ellie Goulding’s tour with Bag Raiders!

The Glam Gamine

Casey Desmond

With a shock of flame-red hair and a voice that can shake the rafters, Casey Desmond is not one to be easily overlooked. Just ask Adam Levine, who picked the Boston artist for his team on NBC’s The Voice after hearing her power through Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Desmond belongs in the same echelon of electro-pop performers as Natasha Khan and Alison Goldfrapp”all are sequined sirens able to lure listeners to the dance floor in seconds flat. Rendezvous is steeped in ˜80s pop, a punchy mix of wiry guitars, swirling synths, driving drums and Desmond’s dreamy, sailing vocals. Loose Ends is another quick hit of adrenaline”glammy, sexy and kinetic. If you ever wonder why I’m never surprised, I’m over here babe, listening to your phone line, Desmond purrs. She may like to tease, but if you’re looking for electrifying pop, heavy with hooks, Desmond’s a sure thing.

Owl City Electrifies Boston

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I headed to Owl City‘s June 26th show at Boston’s House of Blues. After all, Adam Young’s electropop project is famous for earning a 1/10 from those notorious indie tastemakers over at Pitchfork for sounding too similar to The Postal Service. How good could his show be? Well, pretty damn good, actually, as a sea of poster-wielding fans in homemade tee shirts”a level of fandom formerly reserved for JoBros fanatics and Beliebers”will attest.

Seattle’s Unwed Sailor kicked off the evening with their triumphant instrumental rock. For those who haven’t yet heard from them, picture a more uplifting version of Minus the Bear, then subtract the vocals and add insistent cymbal crashes. The four-piece elicited cheers from a crowd who showed up to hear a fun and dance-y electropop outfit, which in itself is a testament to their skill. Unwed Sailor was followed by singer-songwriter Mat Kearney, whose name you probably know from catchy, television drama-ready hits like Undeniable and Nothing Left to Lose. Kearney drew heavily from his smash 2006 album Nothing Left to Lose as well as his 2009 follow-up City of Black and White, but closed out his set with Hey Mama, the foot-stomping, hand-clapping romp of a first single from his upcoming album Young Love.

And then, at ten minutes to 9:00, Owl City took the stage to shrieks and thunderous applause. Here was the moment of truth: Would an artist who’s famous for largely writing and recording his breakout album Ocean Eyes in his parents’ Minnesota basement, and is often described as reclusive and press shy be able to wow the audience? Everything I know about him led me to believe he’d pull a Ray LaMontagne and spend the set huddled in a corner of the stage, barely making eye contact with the audience. That all changed the moment Young stepped up to the mic and launched into The Real World, belting out his lyrics while practically attacking his guitar. This was no basement-dwelling hermit, but a rock star who was perfectly at home both playing for and chatting with the sizeable crowd.

Throughout the course of his set, Young told fans that they were kind, sweet, cozy and very huggable” all terms that could describe Owl City’s comfortable, radio-friendly pop. But that’s not to say Young’s set lacked vigor. He delivered pristine electropop gem after pristine electropop gem to the adoring crowd, and although it was one with a slightly younger mean age than those usually present at the House of Blues, even this jaded, wordly 20-year-old found herself smiling at the unbridled cheer his music inspired.

Perhaps most impressively, Young didn’t rely on the runaway success of hits like Hello Seattle or Fireflies to carry him through the evening. He made the ballsy decision to play the former only two songs into his set and unleash the latter with a half hour left to play, letting lesser-known tracks like “Umbrella Beach” and “The Bird and the Worm” stand on their own. The synth master even had a few tricks up his sleeve”during “Alligator Sky,” rapper Shawn Chrystopher makes an appearance via some sort of crazy, futuristic hologram projection thingy. I couldn’t tell you how it works, but it looked totally awesome.

Boston, I kind of have a crush on you, Young joked as he neared the end of his set, a feeling that 90% of the females in attendance (and probably some of the young men as well) certainly reciprocated. But after witnessing the levels of fun and joy Young’s music inspired, that adoration seems more than deserved. Those tweens in their homemade shirts are onto something.

Don’t miss Owl City when the All Things Bright And Beautiful Tour rolls through your town!

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Colorfire

Combining the synth-laden beats of Owl City with the vocal stylings of MuteMath, Colorfire is poised to become one of the next great electronica acts.

The Nashville, Tennessee trio released both an EP and a full-length in less than a year. The self-titled full-length dropped back in March, showing that the band can be both laid-back and upbeat, soothing and energizing. Programmed drum beats and piano parts are woven tightly into every track, along with swirling, layered vocals that are refreshingly free of autotune. “One Way Love” is a standout track, with bright, spacey instrumentation backing vocalist Landon Austin’s breathy, “It’s such a beautiful sight when you keep me running/You let me look, but you’re just a one way love.

In addition to winning the coveted opening spot in our Shout it Out with HANSON Competition, Colorfire has also shared the stage with Rooney, The Undeserving and This Is the Good Fight. They were also selected by Coldplay for a feature on the band’s official Web site, where their video for “One Way Love” was displayed to thousands of fans.

Check out some tracks from the full-length album (now available on iTunes) below and pick up a free download of “By My Side” on Colorfire’s official Web site.

Download of the Week: Lion of Ido

Hailing from New York, the electro-pop band Lion of Ido uses their musical witchcraft to create tunes that are hard to resist. Armed with extensive tour experience along the east coast, Lion of Ido is this week’s talented Needle in the Haystack pick! Their front man/producer/songwriter, Ido Zimishlany, utilizes a mult-layered hybrid recording process that he experiments with until he reaches musical perfection. We’re sure that their upcoming EP to be released in October will offer the same high level of musicianship as their current tunes. WARNING: It’s hard not to move to their music.

Download the track below and stay tuned to hear more about the band as the week goes on!

The Passion of the Synth

City City

Can man love machine? It’s a theme that’s been explored exhaustively, from Blade Runner to Small Wonder. Time and time again, the answer seems to be a resounding yes. Chalk City City up as more evidence to build the case. The LA electro-pop outfit builds towering monuments of synths, samplers and laptops. Within seconds of listening to the ultra-cool Of Sands Beneath, listeners are introduced to The Machine: wiry, grinding guitar gives way to an exploding cascade of synths and skittering, ersatz drum beats. Analog is dead, technology is king and resistance is futile. From the crystalline, slightly precious Oh Chandelier to the hyper, delirious Ring the Bells, City City marries their looming synthetic textures and beats with cool, ethereal (and thankfully human) vocals. Theirs is a match made in heaven ¦ or in some lab in Silicon Valley.

3OH!3's hybrid style

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Today, the music industry is all about finding a unique sound, and the boys of 3OH!3 took that concept to the extreme. To get a sense of their hybrid style and immense buzz worthiness, just combine hip-hop with electro-pop, mix in a little indie rock, and maybe even a hint of Fall Out Boy or Panic at the Disco.

3OH!3 is known for their synchronized dance moves, vulgar references and clever puns on stage. The band’s eye-catching personality has afforded them opportunities including a major spot on the Warped Tour, a cover story in Alternative Press and a booking on the AP tour. The group also took the stage this year with mainstream pop artist, Katy Perry. Beyond their busy tour schedule, the music video for Don’t Trust Me is getting air time on MTV2 and MTVU.

These guys are making a name for themselves in a huge way. Don’t miss out! Head on over to their fanclub, pick up the debut, full-length album Want, and catch them on tour. They’re sure to make you talk with your hips.

Plushgun sure can throw a party!

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What do you get when you combine late-night dancing, upbeat electro-indie, glow sticks/necklaces, and a lot of jumping? Well, a Plushgun show, of course! A new CD release party, actually.

plushgun_08Last night, Plushgun tore up the stage at Harper’s Ferry in Allston, MA with some high-class “jump around” music. Dan Ingala and company rocked the stage by playing a nice long set, chocked full of songs off the new CD. They opened with “Dancing in a Minefield” quite appropriately as it opens the album as well. The segue into track two of the album was equally appropriate as they got the crowd moving with “How We Roll“. Being there right in the crowd as numerous glowing items were thrown out, was just further indication of one simple fact: These guys know how to perform and have the stage presence of a band 4 times their experience.

After speaking with a few crowd members, I discovered that many people were there because they “heard it was going to be a killer dance party and had no idea that they’d end up walking out of there with a new CD and a new band to follow, religiously”.plushgun_46

You may remember reading my review of Plushgun‘s new album “Pins and Panzers” earlier this week. If you haven’t checked out the album, or any of the songs off of it, please do so by heading on over to the Plushgun Fanclub. You can also check out the album review here. Stay tuned here, because you won’t want to miss Plushgun‘s next show when they come around.

Photos Courtesy of Zack Bonin