Although I may be biased with my unexplainable affection for Seattle, whenever I discover a new band from that area, my expectations are high. After all, it’s the home of Nirvana and Starbucks. When you’re in Nirvana town, the community has to be a little critical, right?
For indie pop outfit, As It Starts, it’s hard to believe this has ever been a concern. Citing influences from Adele to Death Cab for Cutie, these guys cover everything from acoustic serenades to folk rock riffs. Take a listen to Symphonies below and let us know what you think!
Infinity Overhead, the fifth LP from Seattle-based indie math-rock band Minus The Bear might be the group’s most mature and eclectic record yet.
Right away, the first sound you hear as track 1, “Steal And Blood,” starts is distorted guitar. Much to the dismay of those who may be yearning for some more Omni-ous synth power, that first sound proudly marks the return of the guitar as MTB’s primary instrumental focus and sets the tone for the rest of the album. However, that doesn’t mean the record is completely void of synths and electronic effects (Oh don’t you worry, there are plenty of those). In fact, the mixture of tones on Infinity Overhead is more eclectic yet balanced as a whole than ever before. It’s clear that over the past decade, the guys in Minus The Bear have truly mastered dynamics and flow within an album. This new product seems to be an accumulation of everything they have learned in that time. The sound is still unequivocally “them,” but in a way that is re-inspired and more “mature.” (more…)
Expect the unexpected. Converse has announced they’ll be releasing a collaborative track and music video featuring three top names: Gorillaz, James Murphy, and Andre 3000. Due to drop February 23, the anticipation increased after Seattle ‘s alternative rock station 107.7 The End posted a making-of video on their show – the Daily Swarm. Here’s what we know: it’s entitled DoYaThing and the video will be “ of course “ a hybrid of cartoon animation and film. In addition to this sneak peak, Jamie Hewlett, the cartoonist behind the Gorillaz characters, released a storyboard/teaser of the video. However, the direction of the video remains unclear because of the two additional artists involved. To leave you even more confused than you already are…lets just say, I smash 2-D’s face in the wall… and Get out of my bed… (see videos).
Take out your Converse and enjoy “DoYaThing!” Holding true to the Gorillaz’s signature sound, the track’s groove is funky and downtempo, but Andre 3000’s abstract lyrics and fast rapping style provides the upbeat energy of Outkast, giving the song a truly unique favor. Also, Jamie Hewlett’s input provides some cool electronic sensations. Overall, it’s simply a bangin’ collaborative tune you’ve got to experience for yourself. Check it out by clicking the link above and keep on groovin’!
Below is the official making-of video released by Converse, as well as Jamie Hewlett’s storyboard:
Forget about dog years. Bands years are even more unforgiving. Ten of them can seem like one hundred when a group is constantly out on the road or in the studio. Luckily, the rigors of touring life haven’t dampened the spirits of Seattle-based indie rockers Minus The Bear. After writing songs all summer for the follow up to last year’s Omni, they’re embarking on a national tour to celebrate their tenth anniversary this fall. We sat down with bassist Cory Murchy to discuss the band’s favorite Seattle venues, their predilection toward remixes and what it’s like to look back on ten years of hard work.
OS: This fall you guys are playing your 10 Year Anniversary Tour. Where did you think the band would be in ten years when you began playing together?
CM: You know, when we first started playing I don’t think we had a vision far outside of just having it be something that we did as a side project. We were all in bands before and had bands going on at that time. But I will say that once we started writing songs and did get a little more serious we just wanted to do this as long as we possibly could and let the band run its course. We’ve been stoked that it’s taken us ten years so far.
OS: How do you look back on some of the earliest Minus The Bear songs, like those on Highly Refined Pirates?
CM: It’s always fun to revisit them and listen to the records all in sequence to check out where we were musically. For us, they’re little time capsules as far as what was going on at that time. Maybe it doesn’t even have to do with the song, but certain songs can remind us of certain places in our lives, which is cool. It’s kind of a retrospective of our lives. It’s neat to have that sort of marker.
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.
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.
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
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. – 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
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!
New Year, new music! Welcome to the jump start of 2011’s Needle In The Haystack. Hailing from Seattle, Go Periscope‘s music is anything but dreary. In fact, it could be the perfect antidote for the rainy landscape of the band’s homestead.
Featured in Editor 2010 Picks: Heavy Rotation Playlist, Go Periscope serves up fist pumping eighties music infused with modern twists on pop songs. They recently released a killer take of Day N’ Night (Kid Cudi) Vs. Crush Me (Go Periscope) and their cover of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” could give the original a run for its money.
Listen and learn more in the sweet vid below, and check back over the week to see more interviews, posts and songs from Go Periscope. Also be sure to check out the homepage to grab a free download of “Crush Me”.
For fans of: 3OH3!, Odd Year, Metro Station, The All-American Rejects, Cobra Starship
Musical genre labels are a funny thing. Terms like underground hip hop and indie rock exist to attract fans who define their tastes outside the mainstream noise, but what happens when the acts belonging to these categories net themselves an enormous following? The classic case is that of Kurt Cobain and his unwanted yet astronomical success with Nirvana, but I’m going to use this platform to illuminate another northwestern subterranean dweller: Micah B. Their sounds are different but the mentality is similar. Seems there’s just something about spooky Washington state that breeds artists flying delightedly below the commercial radar, several of whom wind up wildly successful. With 30,000 Twitter followers, 2,300 fans on Facebook and 45,000 plays of the first track to leak from his upcoming release on YouTube, Micah B could be the next to break.
Of course there is a flaw, Micah is a tease. I say this not because he promises to deliver and then disappoints, in fact quite the opposite is true. Instead, it’s because his songs dump you right after you’ve been hooked. However, aside from the fact that his longest piece is just short of two minutes, this recent high school grad fills that handicapping space with enough poetic punch to make us forgive him. At least for now.
The aforementioned single to leak from his Zom-B Mixtape (available now), When I’m High, is one of those songs. Jerking tears precipitous as Seattle’s infamous rain, this overcast song’s content is contrary to what its ironic title might have you thinking at first glance. It chronicles the familiar saga of a love lost with Micah relating the gap between his ecstatic highs and grim lows using rhymes like I don’t really trip cause the walls closed in/ I’m settin’ shop down like the spot’s closin’/ stonin’ I’m lookin’ like the chosen/ my Jesus piece gleams off the sun and stays frozen that hit home for anyone who’s ever experienced the creeping onset of deep-seated depression.
A perkier yet equally witty Micah is put on display in Say Something Freeverse, a playful beat that lays framework for his entertaining ego to shine. From channeling rock legend Warren Zevon in rap form through lines like Sleep when I’m dead no slumber for a hustler to cringe-worthy but guiltily gratifying statements of self affirmation like I’m hot dog, plenty mustard, Micah proves here he’s capable of making you smile if nothing else.
The play counts and fan interaction on his various web pages speak not only for the success of his budding career, but also for the fact that growing a movement organically with no support from a label is more possible now than ever if you have the right formula. Check him out around the web, and be sure to grab a copy of the recently released Zom-B Mixtape!