Rock 'n' Roll Call: Find Vienna

With charming melodies over electronic pop rock, Philadelphia’s Find Vienna have garnered the attention and earned the adoration of music lovers from coast to coast.

Led by vocalist Patrick Mencel, Find Vienna have been dubbed “Philly’s Buzz Band” and have racked up numerous local music awards, including Best Band, Best Lead Singer, Best Drummer and Best EP for their release In Your Favorite Colors.

The EP, which was released in November of ’09, has seven tracks of beautifully-crafted pop numbers, placing FV somewhere between Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie. Mencel’s vocals are soft and ambient against the more industrial sounding instrumentation, complete with driving drums, melodic picking, piano chords and the faint sounds of tambourines and acoustic guitars.

In addition to touring the country, Find Vienna have also shared the stage with The Script, The Ataris, Mae, Parachute and more. While they’ve been actively considering signing to a label, they’ve had their music placed in MTV shows like The Real World, True Life and The City!

With big choruses, dynamic instrumentation and pristine production, each track on the record is radio-ready. The group has been working on new music, and will hopefully be putting out a new album in 2011.

Be sure to check out some of the tracks from In Your Favorite Colors below! You can also purchase the whole album on iTunes.


Rock 'n' Roll Call: 2011's Most Anticipated Rock Albums

Last week, we covered ten of our favorite rock albums for 2010, which included records from My Chemical Romance, VersaEmerge, Foxy Shazam and more.

With new records from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Coldplay and Beyoncé scheduled to drop, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big year for music.  This week, we’re taking a look at ten of the most anticipated rock releases, which stretch across subgenres from hardcore to electronica to indie rock.

Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin – TBA

After 2008’s heartfelt release The Glass Passenger, Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon is ready to release new material. Passenger, which chronicled McMahon’s battle with leukemia, was a darker record then sunny debut Everything in Transit. But going on what we’ve heard so far, the new release will be yet another masterpiece, with plenty of well-executed piano-drenched pop rock.

Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys (Spring)

Indie rock kings Death Cab for Cutie will be releasing their seventh album early next year. Frontman Ben Gibbard promises that this record will be “less guitar-centric” than any of Death Cab’s previous records, which have typically been of slower, chord-based song structure. Lyrically, bassist Nick Harmer insists that this album will have a much broader emotional scope than 2008’s Narrow Stairs.

Pete Wentz and Bebe Rexha of Black Cards

Black Cards – TBA

After the band announced their hiatus, Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz decided to keep doing what he does best”make undeniably catchy pop music. Teaming up with then-unknown vocalist Bebe Rexha, Saves the Day drummer Spencer Peterson and The Receiving End of Sirens guitarist Nate Patterson, Wentz created Black Cards. The group’s music (especially Rexha’s vibrato-soaked vocals) is reminscent of early No Doubt, with an influx of dance-worthy electronic beats.

Taking Back Sunday – TBA (Spring)

Taking Back Sunday‘s lineup has changed so many times that their Wikipedia page has a full chart to help fans understand the eleven-year timeline of the group’s career. After a few missteps with new members”even frontman Adam Lazzara apologized for 2009’s New Again”the original lineup is back, making this one of the most anticipated releases for any fan of TBS’ genre-defining album, Tell All Your Friends. From the sounds of the demos that have already been posted, it looks like TBS is returning to their roots and ready to make a big comeback.

No Doubt – TBA

No Doubt

It’s amazing to think that ska-princess-turned-pop-superstar Gwen Stefani had any time in 2010 to return to the studio and make a brand new record with her band, No Doubt. Since the band’s humble beginnings in the late ’80s, Stefani has become a powerhouse solo artist, entrepreneur, fashion designer, wife and mother. But, somehow, she was able to make some time for writing music, and No Doubt’s comeback album is eagerly awaited by fans young and old. As of now, details have been pretty hush-hush about this release, but we’re betting that the new No Doubt will be bigger and better than ever.

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.) – February

After a full-year hiatus from the stage, charismatic ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens is back. Joined by members of Underminded, From First to Last, Story of the Year and Matchbook Romance, Owens has already made a huge splash on the modern rock scene with his new project, D.R.U.G.S. The band will be releasing their album in February, before they head out on Alternative Press’ AP Spring Tour 2011. From the sounds of the tracks already released, this post-hardcore supergroup is poised for a massive takeover.

fun.

fun. –  TBA (Summer)

As we learned in our Q&A with Nate Ruess of fun., the group is hard at work on their sophomore LP and are hoping to release it next summer. The band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, was an exciting, refreshing and eclectic mix of everything from indie pop to showtunes. Fans are definitely on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what this band will do next.

Cobra Starship – TBA

Still riding high off the success of their latest record, Hot Mess, Cobra Starship have already begun recording their next album. Hot Mess spawned the 2009 smash “Good Girls Go Bad” and launched the band from the small-scale modern rock scene to rulers of Top 40 radio. Though no details have been released about the new album, Cobra’s history dictates that it will be chock-full of undeniably catchy, dance-worthy rock numbers.

The Mars Volta – TBA

Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta

GRAMMY-award winning experimental rock group The Mars Volta have kept pretty quiet about their upcoming release, which will be the sixth in the band’s career. The band entered pre-production back in May, and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez recently announced via Twitter that they were putting the finishing touches on the record. This will also be the first record where vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala will be writing all of his own lyrics, with no guidelines or concept provided by chief songwriter Lopez.

Emery – TBA (January/February)

Seattle-based rock group Emery delighted their fans when they returned to their roots on 2009’s …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Full of charging instrumentation, sweeping vocals and shimmering with top-notch production, the record left Emery fans satisfied, but also craving more. The band announced that they are planning to release the album in the early months of 2011, hopefully with some tour dates to follow!

What records are you most looking forward to hearing in 2011? Let us know in the comments!

Rock 'n' Roll Call: The Best Rock Albums of 2010

Pop artists like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Ke$ha and Rihanna dominated the charts in 2010. For us rock fans, though, this year was equally huge. There were countless bands reuniting, going out on anniversary tours, playing massive festivals and releasing new material.

In no particular order, here are some of the best rock albums released this year!

My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Those of us who are diehard My Chemical Romance fans were awaiting the band’s fifth studio album with nervous excitement and eager anticipation. We hoped it would live up to the all the hype, but we were also completely unsure of what style the band would try on this time around, as each release has been vastly different from the last. Luckily, MCR delivered a beautifully bright, energetic and well-produced record that shows a freshly polished sound that includes everything from punk to disco. Check out our full review of the record here!

Recommended track: “DESTROYA”

Pierce the Veil – Selfish Machines

San Diego post-hardcore group Pierce the Veil released their sophomore LP, Selfish Machines, back in June. In the first moments of opening track “Besitos,” this album grabs your attention with hand claps, guitar picking, layers of harmonizing vocals and a Latin-influenced beat. PTV ramped up everything on this release, from Vic Fuentes’ unmistakable tenor shrieking to heavy breakdowns and impressive guitar solos. But these rockers can pull off the ballads as well, with the slow number “Stay Away from My Friends” being one of the strongest tracks on the record.

Recommended track: “Caraphernelia” (feat. Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember)

Automatic Loveletter – Truth or Dare

Charismatic singer-songwriter Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter has not been an overnight success story. As she recounts on the track “Story of My Life,” she moved from Florida to LA at fifteen after being offered a record deal from Epic. As the label struggled, Juliet wasn’t dropped, but wasn’t supported either. Armed with her DIY attitude, Simms sold handmade copies of her record and feather hair clips to help support her band out on tour. All the hard work paid off, and Simms became one of the most sought-after guest vocalists, having provided her instantly recognizable raspy pipes to albums from All Time Low, Secondhand Serenade, Cartel and more . On the band’s major label debut, Juliet’s simple acoustic songwriting is taken to new heights, with stadium-ready choruses and charging electric guitars mixed with soft, piano-based ballads.

Recommended track: “Let it Ride”

Envy On the Coast – Lowcountry

Long Island, NY natives Envy on the Coast released the impressive Lowcountry in March. With creative lyrics, daring and experimental musical choices and stellar vocals from frontman Ryan Hunter, this record stands out among its peers as having some of the most original songwriting of the year. Equal parts Incubus, Circa Survive and The Dear Hunter, Envy on the Coast unfortunately called it quits this year as well. Be on the lookout for Hunter’s and guitarist Brian Byrne’s  new project, North Korea, which also features Dilinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Ryan.

Recommended track: “The Great American T-Shirt Racket”

Chiodos – Illuminaudio

When post-hardcore outfit Chiodos kicked out founding member and frontman Craig Owens, many fans were outraged. With his dynamic voice and inspiring stage presence, Owens was not only the band’s most charismatic and well-known member, but also a staple in the modern rock scene. Thousands were sure that this decision was the nail in Chiodos’ coffin, but the release of Illuminaudio showed that this band could carry on, and release one hell of a record. New vocalist Brandon Bolmer not only matches Owens’ range, but he also shows a flair for the dramatic on his lyrics, which was one of Owens’ strongest facets. The band members stepped up their game as well, adding more technical parts to each instrument and keeping the orchestral touches that made 2007’s Bone Palace Ballet a masterpiece in its own right. The breakdowns are heavy, the instrumentation is tight, the vocals are spot-on, so it’s clear Chiodos aren’t going anywhere.

Recommended track: “Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together

VersaEmerge – Fixed at Zero

Due to the success of Paramore, there are now hundreds of identical young female-fronted pop bands trying to find their place in the spotlight. But make no mistake, that doesn’t include Tampa, Florida natives VersaEmerge. Fronted by the electrifying 20-year-old Sierra Kusterbeck, Versa take pop rock to a new level, adding in complex electronic arrangements (courtesy of guitarist Blake Harnage), tightly layered harmonies and wonderfully honest lyrics about Kusterbeck’s own inner conflicts. The band’s first LP, Fixed at Zero, was released this summer and has catapulted the band to buzzworthy status, aided by a full-episode on MTV’s The World of Jenks and placement on the entire 2010 Vans Warped Tour.

Recommended track: “Fixed at Zero”

The Deftones – Diamond Eyes

When The Deftones‘ bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a horrible car accident that left him in a coma, the band shelved their near-completed album, Eros. A year later, they decided to return to the studio (with Sergio Vega of Quicksand filling in for Chi) and wrote what would become Diamond Eyes. The record is mercilessly heavy, verging on metal at times, but also has some slower numbers that add depth and atmosphere to the record. Vocalist Chino Moreno keeps up with the band’s flawlessly-executed prog rock with his high-intensity screams, which can quickly morph into soft and soulful melodies. If you’re looking for a record to rock out to, Diamond Eyes is definitely a front runner this year.

Recommended track: “Rocket Skates”

Ludo – Prepare the Preparations

Few lyricists today have the incredible imagination of Ludo‘s Andrew Volpe. Anyone who needs proof need look no further than 2006’s jaw-dropping five-song rock opera, Broken Bride, which is about a man who mistakenly time travels between the Pre Historic Era and a future apocalypse to save his dead wife. Though Broken Bride is brilliant and beautifully written, it’s going to be tough for Ludo to ever top it. That being said, Prepare the Preparations is an eccentric and quirky pop record, with lyrics that cover everything from robots to dancing skeletons to leprechauns. The songwriting is creative and more experimental than in the past, as Ludo covers everything from acoustic to electronic pop to straight up showtunes.

Recommended track: “Too Tired to Wink”

Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam

As we learned in our Q&A with Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, it’s very difficult to categorize this outrageous and energetic rock group….and that’s the way they like it. Pieces of punk, soul, funk and indie rock make their way into the band’s self-titled record, which dropped in April. This isn’t a record that you’ll listen to and have to wonder if the group is just as fun live, as Foxy are well known for their off-the-wall theatrical performances. They may be an acquired taste, but either way, you have to give Foxy Shazam props for being genuinely original.

Recommended track: “Count Me Out”

Isles & Glaciers-  The Hearts of Lonely People

Since Pierce the Veil and Chiodos were both on our list, it makes sense that a supergroup including PTV’s vocalist Vic Fuentes and his brother, drummer Mike Fuentes, as well as Chiodos bassist Matt Goddard would also be included. Isles & Glaciers also includes (ex-Chiodos, now D.R.U.G.S.) vocalist Craig Owens, Emarosa/Dance Gavin Dance vocalist and solo artist Jonny Craig, Underminded/D.R.U.G.S. guitarist Nick Martin and ex-Boys Night Out/The Receiving End of Sirens‘ Brian Southall on keyboard and guitar. After many months of pushing back the release, their debut EP The Hearts of Lonely People was released in 2010. Different than any of the members’ past or present bands, Hearts is a mash-up of post-hardcore, electronica and pop rock. The three vocalists here, especially Jonny Craig, really steal the show.

Recommended track: “Hills Like White Elephants”

Leave us a comment below and let us know what your favorite rock album of 2010 were…then check back next week for our list of most anticipated rock albums for 2011!

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!

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Dashboard Confessional's "The Swiss Army Romance" 10th Anniversary Show Review

Artists like Chris Carrabba, a.k.a. Dashboard Confessional, are a dying breed. Genuine, sensitive and undeniably talented, he has been the premiere singer-songwriter on the contemporary emo scene for ten years.

And though he has inspired many artists to follow, Chris is truly in a league of his own”completely unconcerned with what’s cool, and honestly in love with his art. Over the last ten years, fans have fallen in love with his heartfelt music and have watched Carrabba morph from a soft-spoken young man with an acoustic guitar into a full-fledged rock star. Now, he is usually found fronting his band in sold-out arenas, composing songs for movie soundtracks and touring with the likes of Bon Jovi, Brand New and New Found Glory.

For reunions and anniversary tours, 2010 has been a huge year”with artists like Something Corporate, Good Charlotte and The Dresden Dolls all celebrating their ten-year milestones. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the release of his first album, The Swiss Army Romance, Carrabba decided to do it old school: just him and his guitar. The tour began on November 27th in Fort Lauderdale and will run until January 22nd in San Diego, with Carrabba playing the ten acoustic songs of Swiss Army in order every night.

The intimate performance at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club began with Dashboard’s magnum opus, “Screaming Infidelities.” The ecstatic crowd sang every word at the top of their lungs (and would continue to do so for the remainder of the hour and a half-long set). After all, Swiss Army is known best for Carrabba’s poetic lyrics, echoed time and time again by any teenager going through a rough breakup. Because of this, the audience consisted of almost all people in their mid-twenties, as Swiss Army was a defining album for many of them during the trial and tribulations of high school.

Chris played through the entire record with finnesse, letting the audience sing for him many times, as well. Though he claimed to have a cold, he laughed it off, saying that it made him sound more like he did on the original recordings. The crowd went crazy for fan favorites “The Sharp Hint of New Tears,” “The Swiss Army Romance” and “Again It Goes Unnoticed.” The impeccably well-versed audience did make one mistake, however, when during “Age Six Racer,” many of them started singing lyrics at the wrong time. Chris chuckled and said, ” I guess that’s how it goes now, huh? Actually, I kind of like that. I should start playing it that way!”

Once Swiss Army had been played all the way through, Carrabba announced he’d be staying on stage to play some tracks that we may have been hoping to hear. He then played a mix of songs from his first three albums (though, interestingly, none from his latest two), including “The Brilliant Dance,” “So Impossible,” “Stolen” and “Vindicated.” He then announced his last song and closed the set with the Dashboard classic, “Hands Down.”

As a long-time Dashboard Confessional fan, it’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since the release of The Swiss Army Romance. But it’s clear that no one is more surprised than Carrabba, who smiled with disbelief throughout the night. What made the show so special was how incredibly thankful he was to be there”constantly commenting on how amazing it was that we made it this far. He even said that he recognized many of the fans from years ago and thanked them tirelessly for their support. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing him another ten years down the road.

If the Swiss Army Romance 10th Anniversary Tour hasn’t come to your city yet, check it out at these dates:

Dec 14 – Westchester, PA @ The Note
Dec 15 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall
Dec 17 – Pontiac, MI @ Crofoot
Dec 18 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Dec 19 – Chicago, IL @ Bottom Lounge
Jan 10 – Denver, CO @ The Summit Music Hall
Jan 11 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
Jan 13 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
Jan 14 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
Jan 15 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency Ballroom
Jan 16 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
Jan 19-21 – West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour
Jan 22 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues

Rock 'n' Roll Call: Floor Thirteen

Is it possible for an indie rock band to outsell major label pop stars? If you’re Canadian rockers Floor Thirteen ”who outsold Miley Cyrus, Coldplay and Kid Rock in their hometown of Winnipeg when they released their debut album, Mmmm!, in June of 2008” the answer is “Hell, yes.”

With the aid of Grammy-nominated producer Brandon Friesen, Mmmm! spawned the hit “Blame It On Me,” which has since been featured in the video games Need for Speed:Undercover and The Sims 3 and on The Strombo Show. These opportunities has exposed “Blame It On Me” to millions of people in over 30 countries.

Mixing the sounds of Jet and Led Zeppelin, Floor Thirteen include both retro and contemporary influences in their music. There is certainly a classic rock feel to “Blame It On Me,” but the gang vocal-heavy anthem “Shut ‘Em Out” sounds more like an Aerosmith B-side from the ’80s. This versatility works to the band’s advantage, as their album contains something for rock fans of several genres.

In addition to having impressive placement deals, Floor Thirteen has also proven their ability as a live band, opening for the likes of Our Lady Peace, Buckcherry and 3 Doors Down. They’ve also played at MUSEXPO Europe in London and have been a featured artist on the internationally syndicated radio show Passport Approved.

As you eagerly anticipate the next installment from Floor Thirteen, check out their music in the player below!