Bloodshot Reissues Bottle Rockets' First Two LPs; Exclusive Q and A

The long out-of-print first two albums from beloved rootsy rock underdogs The Bottle Rockets have finally been reissued, and with the deluxe treatment, no less.

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 AdamsWhiskeytown 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.

Exclusive Q&A: The Plot In You

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…)

Exclusive Q&A: Daddy Yankee

[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’s Music My Güey, Descubre & Download, and Blogamole.

OS: Since 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.]


Q and A: Hatebreed Talk Purpose, Pop, And The Pit

Hatebreed bring it hard, fast, and heavy with no excuses and no apologies. It’s a formula that’s built up an incredibly devoted worldwide fan base, which in turn has propelled the Connecticut outfit to the top of the metalcore heap. We caught up with frontman Jamey Jasta to chat about the band’s new album The Divinity of Purpose, the production process, and CNN’s erroneous categorization of the band this past summer that had fans up in arms.

OS: What does the title The Divinity of Purpose mean to the band?

Jamey Jasta: We just want to spark a new thought. It’s open to the listener and probably means something different to everyone in the band. Music and my family have been my purpose for a long time. I’ve had other purposes in life, but finding music and having my daughter were definitely divine experiences for me. So for me, finding a purpose is a major thing in life and I want this album to spark something in the listeners’ minds. (more…)

Exclusive Q and A: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Mine The Past, But Look Forward

The primal bellow of the The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is unmistakable.  For over 20 years, the band has blazed a path uniquely and entirely their own, pioneering an inimitable, cacophonous, and burly blend of punk and blues. Though the band decided to take a break after 2004’s Damage, it wasn’t long before lead singer/guitarist Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins, and guitarist Judah Bauer were back together writing and recording again. The result of the last few years is Meat and Bone, a classic return to form for the New York three“piece. We recently caught up with Spencer to talk about the changing face of rock ‘n’ roll promotion, social media, and why the passage of time plays a big thematic role on the new record.

OS: After your recent hiatus, what spurred you, Judah, and Russell to start writing together again?

JS: Playing concerts again. That’s what did it. In 2007, the label In The Red put out a compilation of a bunch of singles that we had done for them over the years. So, after that there was something of a renewed interest in The Blues Explosion, and in summer 2008 me and Judah and Russell figured, “Well why not take a few shows?” We went over to Europe and played a few festivals and enjoyed doing it, so we kept playing and took more concerts. About a year and a half ago we began writing songs and thinking about making an album. That followed along naturally, quite organically, out of the return to playing live and touring.


Exclusive Q and A: Wade from Gallows Talks About Upcoming Album And Tours

About a year ago, the cutthroat British hardcore/punk band known as Gallows parted ways with their iconic frontman Frank Carter due to creative differences. Around that same time, Canadian post-hardcore band Alexisonfire decided to call it quits after over a decade of international success. However, these two losses birthed something new. Guitarist and vocalist of Alexisonfire, Wade MacNeil, joined Gallows in place of their former singer, and since then the band has been barreling through the international punk scene with a reaffirmed disdain for all the terrible things in the world. Despite the obvious geographical differences, the band has not let this lineup change slow them down one bit. With a new self-titled full-length being released, followed by months of touring in both continents and a farewell tour with Alexisonfire, Wade talks about the past year and what lies ahead for Gallows.
OS: Through the titles and lyrics of your new records, you seem to be making a clear statement about your status as a band, particularly with the EP title Death Is Birth followed by your upcoming self-titled album. Do you see this as a new beginning? If so, what would you say it is the start of?

WM: It’s the rebirth of old ideas, old politics, old attitudes.  I’ve stopped waiting for a new band to come along and challenge the way people think and live their lives.  I want us to be that band.  I want us to be the soundtrack.