On November 19th, Bloodshot Records released Bottle Rockets/The Brooklyn Side as a two-disc package, including a detailed 40-page booklet. Released in 1993 and 1995 respectively, these two records are crucial early planks in the bridge from The Replacements through Ryan Adams‘ Whiskeytown and to the now-established alt-country scene.
Not only do the records hold up to their countless progeny, they sound even more vital than many of today’s roots rock releases. The albums’ straight-ahead, raw and roomy production (enhanced by a fine remastering job) has nothing in common with the budget indie sound that dates so many of their contemporaries and, along with the top-notch songwriting and fearless performances, makes for an exciting listen.
We had a quick Q&A with Bottle Rockets drummer Mark Ortmann to see what he thought accounted for the great sound on these records, as well as his thoughts on touring, playing with Marshall Crenshaw, and bands on other planets.
SJ: I had never heard these two early records, and being a fan of lots of independent releases from the early ’90s, I can’t believe how vibrant these sound in contrast, with a really high production value. That can’t just be the remaster, right? To what or whom do you attribute the sound of the recordings?
Mark: John Keane produced, recorded and engineered the debut album Bottle Rockets, whereas The Brooklyn Side was produced by Eric Ambel and recorded by Albert Caiati. Although the remastering did put a new polish on those albums, it’s John, Eric and Albert who are responsible for the vibrant quality of the original recordings. The common approach they took was to record a faithful representation of the band while avoiding the audio fads/trends of the times (gated drums, digital effects, etc.) There is more production on The Brooklyn Side because there was more studio time to work with by the second album, but neither album sounds dated due to the recording methods used.
Rise Records has carved a unique niche in the modern alternative world as the go-to label for all things heavy. Their entire roster reads like a who’s who of breakdown bands, and we could not be most excited to present an exclusive Q&A with one of their biggest acts, The Plot In You.
Having just released a new album in January of this year, we had plenty to talk about with the members of The Plot In You. Click below to find out the story behind their album titles, their plans for 2013, and much more. (more…)
[Léelo en español abajo.] There are musicians who find a market in their corner of the world, finding comfort in familiar surroundings and culture. They can climb through the underground to become national treasures, occasionally with minor tours around the world. Then there are international superstars who are more likely to be found on a trans-continental flight, taking the world by storm all at once. Of these, Daddy Yankee is decidedly the latter. Over the course of his career, Daddy Yankee has set the bar for pop artists, including both Latin musicians and artists worldwide, with a steady stream of hits that permeate cultures around the globe. Now, having just finished 2012 with yet another multi-national trek, Daddy Yankee speaks with OurStage about his journey to the top, what aspiring artists can do to reach their own career goals, and what fans can expect from him in 2013.
If you’re a Latin musician looking to take your career to the next level be sure to enter the Tr3s “El Headliner” Competition for a chance to win artist features on Tr3s’ show Top 20, as well as Tr3s.com’s Music My Güey, Descubre & Download, and Blogamole.
OS: Since OurStage.com is the leading online destination for emerging artist in the US, can you talk about your first big break in music?
DY: My first big break really came in 2004 when the release of my album Barrio Fino opened the door for me not only in the states, but worldwide. That album included the classic song that launched it all for me, “Gasolina.”
Who are some undiscovered artist that you’re excited about?
I’m always trying to support undiscovered talent in the Latin market. For instance I’ve taken under my wing an incredible production team called Los De La Nazza, who were unsigned and trying to make it, and have proven to be a key element in my success.
In the US, your music crosses many radio formats, including Latin, Urban, Rhythm, and Pop. Talk about why you think audiences of all types love your music?
Music is a universal language; sometimes you don’t have to understand the words that are being spoken to enjoy it. My style of music is unique – it makes people want to dance and have fun. I have fans from all around the world that don’t speak either English or Spanish, but they still buy my music and go to my shows. I don’t limit myself. I like to try new things and new sounds and I’ve been blessed by the success it’s brought me.
What’s next for Daddy Yankee? What can fans look forward to in 2013?
I’m looking forward to 2013. In addition to all my Latin projects, I’m also going to be putting more focus in targeting the mainstream market. This last album I released has a song called “Lose Control” that has been receiving a lot of love from English radio over the past few months. I’ve also got a great collab with French Montana due out in 2013 [and] I’ve been working with some incredible DJs and producers in the Dance genre that are helping put a new spin on the Daddy Yankee sounds that everyone already knows and loves.
What would you say to undiscovered artists who are working so hard to catch that first big break?
We live in a moment in music where the power is in the hands of the artists themselves and their fans. There are no excuses, the Internet is [the] most powerful platform to get your music out to the masses. If you stick with it and are committed, your time will come. As long as what you’re doing in the studio is right, you have just as good of a chance as anyone else in landing your big break.
[Léelo en español abajo.]
Imagine an alternate reality where rock ‘n’ roll and hip-hop come of age simultaneously, and greasers blast fat beats from vintage car stereos on their way to the sock hop. This is the world of G-Eazy, a New Orleans-bred emcee and producer whose been on a precipitous rise to the top of the rap game for the past few years. After a string of mixtape releases culminating with The Endless Summer, which demonstrated his pitch-perfect blend of doo-wop and hip-hop, G is poised to take over the national scene. He’s opened for Lil Wayne and A$AP Rocky, and is currently one of the few hip-hop artists on the Vans Warped Tour. We recently caught up with G about the tour, his upcoming album, and what he’d really do with a trip back in time.
OS: You’re playing on every date of the Vans Warped Tour this summer. What has it been like so far as a hip-hop artist on a mostly punk tour?
G: Well, it totally feels like I’m an outsider, but it’s all working out just fine. I think that having Mod Sun and T. Mills playing the same stage that I’m playing helps a lot because we have a lot of crossover fans that we share. But other that that it’s been fun. It’s been interesting being the outsider and not always fitting in, but there are a ton of cool people here and a ton of cool bands. It’s not really my scene and I wasn’t even into this as a kid, so it’s definitely strange, but it’s really awesome in its own way. There’s a lot of fans here that straight up look like actors from a Tim Burton movie.
OS: But you’re also kind of an out-of-the-box hip-hop artist yourself, with the ’60s doo-wop vibe that you bring to your tracks. What if you could go actually back to the era that you emulate in your music? Which artist would you want to collaborate with?
G: The obvious answer would be The Beatles, but that’s not really a possibility. I feel like they wouldn’t collaborate with anybody. They were kind of in their own world. But if it would be possible to squeeze into one of their sessions and find a way to work with John Lennon, that would be really unbelievable. Also, I mean, if I could go back in time and I could get Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers to the studio and have them lay parts down, I think that would be kind of awesome.
The band’s 2011 album with Steve Martin Rare Bird Alert went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart and won a GRAMMY Award nomination. The band’s 2010 album Deep in the Shade stayed in Billboard’s Top 10 Bluegrass chart for eighteen weeks. Headlining gigs at MerleFest, Bonaroo and other high profile events have followed.
Now the band is set to join with Martin again when it co-headlines DelFest, named for founder and bluegrass legend Del McCoury, the annual bluegrass extravaganza on Memorial Day Weekend in Cumberland, Maryland.
Although other events with Martin will follow, the band’s main focus this year is touring behind its just-released album Nobody Knows You.
Steep Canyon Rangers guitarist and lead vocalist Woody Platt took time out of his jam-packed schedule to talk to OurStage about the past year and just where Steep Canyon Rangers is headed in the near future.
OS: It had to be great working with Steve Martin and playing all the high profile events you’ve done in the past year or so. How did you work in a new record, too?
WP: We had great success with Steve and we wanted to follow that up with a solo record from us. The exposure we got through Steve was great but we also want to work on just our own music. When we’re traveling, we are usually out ten to twelve days in a row and sound check isn’t until about 4:30 so we had some time [to write, demo and otherwise develop the album]. We worked very hard on it last year. Charles [R. Humphrey III, the bassist) and Graham [Sharp, the banjo player] are very, very serious about songwriting and very good at it, so they worked on [the new songs] all the time.