2012 was a big and busy year for music. From Carly Rae Jepsen‘s infectious singles to Chris Brown‘s horribly offensive behavior, so much has happened that we decided to look back and reflect on some of our favorite releases and events by various artists this year, including those on OurStage.
Mikel, OurStage Community
Sharks “ No Gods
Sharks take the best of classic British working-class punk and wrap it up in a shiny package topped off with jagged guitars, shiny harmonies, and hooks for days. No Gods is a fists-in-the-air call for self-reliance that never takes itself too seriously. Bloody brill’.
Jeremy Squires “ In The Dark
OurStage artist Jeremy Squires’ 2012 release In The Dark is folk at its most lonesome and plaintive. Acoustic guitars intertwine with Squires’ delicate and twangy vocals. Harmonica lines whisper and echo in the background. This stuff is beautiful.
Mike G, OurStage Accounting
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Murder By Death – Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon
Royal Thunder – CVI
Greg, OurStage Community
Gallows – Gallows
When Frank Carter, the original iconic frontman for UK punk hardcore band Gallows, decided to leave in the summer of 2011, fans feared it was the end of the band all together. At that same time, Canadian post-hardcore rockstars Alexisonfire were just calling it quits all together. Before anyone could react, AOF vocalist and guitarist Wade MacNiel was already scheduled to take the place of Frank Carter in Gallows. Their first full-length self-titled album since the lineup change came out a few months ago exceeding all expectations and solidifying MacNiel as the new face for the band. Looks like “death is birth” after all.
Yellabird – Mountainosaurus
Many of us here at OurStage happen to be musicians ourselves, but without bias, I have to say one of my favorite releases of 2012 was Mountainosaurus, the debut album by our account manager Martin’s band Yellabird. If you like The White Stripes or The Black Keys, then you haven’t heard nothin’ yet because this duo leaves those guys in the dust. The riffs and rhythms will leave you drooling for more. Can’t wait to see what our buddy “Mahty” has in store for 2013.
Martin, OurStage Account Management
Angela, OurStage Editorial
It seems that every album Anberlin makes they pour their heart, soul, and tons of talent into. That being said, it’s been a long time coming for an album that hits as hard as 2007’s Cities. This year’s release,
went above and beyond with fast paced, aggressive hooks, and addictive anthems that I still find myself listening to on heavy rotation.
The Glass Child – “Who Am I” and “Letdown”
Last year we were introduced to OurStage artist,The Glass Child ‘s debut EP,
This Is How Ghosts Are Made
. This year, we saw the release of two incredible singles, Who Am I and Letdown. Showcasing her unbelievable vocal range within these telltale anthems of self discovery, the woman behind the talent, Charlotte Eriksson proves once more why she’s at the top of my radar; and why she should be at the top of yours.
Andrew, OurStage A/V
I don’t know if it counts, but for me, a real gem of 2012 was Delta Rae‘s music video for “Bottom of the River.” Now, the video actually came out in October of 2011, but I didn’t discover it until this year when we interviewed them. That video was one I felt compelled to share.
Exclusive Q and A: Wade from Gallows Talks About Upcoming Album And Tours
OurStage Originals: Mieka Pauley
It’s that magical time of year when we get to hear all of our favorite Christmas and holiday classics. In honor of this festive occasion, we decided to review one of the most popular and highly anticipated holiday albums that came out this season, CeeLo’s Magic Moment by R&B singer CeeLo Green.
By now you are probably sick of hearing all the same old carols over and over, but if there’s anyone to breathe new life into these standards it’s CeeLo. As you can imagine, he brings a certain element of class and glamour to each track, while also introducing some fitting originals. However, the first half of the 14-track record is about all you need to get into the Christmas spirit. After that, it gets a bit boring.
Though needless to say, CeeLo has captured this “magic moment” the one way he knows best, with nostalgic soulful 70’s style flair mixed with contemporary pop sensibility. His duet with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is surprisingly reserved and charming, whereas one might have expected the two powerhouse singers to overdo it. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of rifs and runs between the two, but they manage to balance them dynamically with the smokey jazz club vibe.
To continue this feeling, CeeLo follows up with a cover of Donny Hathaway‘s “This Christmas.” With smooth basslines, orchestral brass accents, and subtle strokes of clean guitar , the 70’s homage sounds like it was recored in the same era in which it was written. Of course, this must lead into a smooth downtempo version of “The Christmas Song,” which sounds like it easily could have been the work of R. Kelly. Yet, there’s something uniquely comforting about Green’s voice that makes this track an instant standard for holiday radioplay. In fact, many of these renditions are so respectfully executed that I am sure they will be welcomed into the ever-growing repertoire of iconic holiday classics. With the slick production quality and “sexy” R&B/jazz vibe, I can picture this album being the soundtrack to some high-class New York penthouse Christmas party.
There are plenty of fun tracks for the whole family, though. “All I Need Is Love” is an upbeat original featuring none other than the jolly old Muppets themselves. While the song is a bit awkward, upon listening, you can tell it was clearly made for the video, which is fun and hilarious. Believe it or not, however; the track that follows is probably the most interesting and unusual piece on the record. Green teams up with the all-male a capella group Straight No Chaser for a comically theatrical rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch,” interspersed with excerpts from the original Dr. Seuss text.
This is about where the album reaches its peak. Some of the songs that follow are more obscure, like “River” and the heavily religious “Mary, Did You Know?,” both of which are beautifully performed, but just a little too solemn. Almost too typically, Green tackles Mariah Carrey‘s “All I Want For Christmas,” without straying too much from the original, making for a pretty blasé listen. Of course, not to be short on cameos, Green throws in one last duet with renowned adult contemporary singer Rod Stewart and the famous Trombone Shorty. Still, the impact is not nearly as lasting as the first half of the album. However, he elegantly closes with possibly the best cover on the record. Green’s version of “Silent Night” is soothing and poignant at first, building in dynamics with a marching rhythm, multiple modulations, and an uplifting orchestral and choral arrangement to finish.
Although there are plenty of Christmas albums that come out every year, CeeLo’s Magic Moment strikes just the right balance of fresh and traditional, without being too cheesy. Whether you like it or not, these songs are here to stay and will likely become a regular addition to annual Christmas shopping playlists.
If you like CeeLo Green, then you might also like Ourstage’s own Jasper Sawyer.
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It’s been about five years since Josh Homme‘s Queens Of The Stone Age released their last album Era Vulgaris, which means the stoner rock project is way overdue for a new installment. Rest assured though, this day is nigh. According to their Facebook page, QOTSA have finished recording and will be releasing a new album in early 2013 (no specific date yet). Judging by the note they sent to Mojo, it sounds like the group really lost their minds with this one, creating a record that “[sounds] like running in a dream inside a codeine cabaret.”
From the list of high caliber artists involved with this record, we’re expecting something big. As we mentioned last month, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who played drums for QOTSA’s infamous Songs For The Deaf, returned for this album, along with bassist Nick Oliveri who was also a quintessential contributor to that record. In addition, it looks like Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters might be collaborating with the band as well. Get ready for what will hopefully be another landmark rock album.
If you like Queens Of The Stone Age, then you might also like OurStage’s own Yellabird.
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With all those Grammys she won in early 2012, it comes as no surprise that powerhouse soul/pop singer Adele has been dubbed Entertainer Of The Year by Associated Press. Not just singer of the year, or musician, but entertainer. That means she even beat out that guy down the street with the flaming hula hoop and the unicycle! And let me tell you, that guy is one hell of an entertainer. AP readers and staff rated her far above other major entertainers and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey), PSY, and the entire Twilight cast. Now that’s some high praise.
While she did not release a new album or do a world tour this year, Adele’s singles from 2011 still remain among the most highly played tracks on radio, television, in movies, and more. We seemingly can’t get enough Adele. Her most recent accomplishment, apart from delivering a baby, of course, is the single “Skyfall,” written to be the title theme of the new James Bond film. According to Billboard, “The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination. No Bond theme has ever won the best original song Oscar, but given Adele’s awards success thus far, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think she has a chance of changing that.” Regardless of whether she wins or not, Adele has still achieved more in one year than most entertainers do in their lifetime.
If you like Adele, then check OurStage artist Brittany Campbell.
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New England folk rockers The Tower And The Fool have gone through a few lineup changes since their formation a few years ago. They originally started as an acoustic duo-fronted band, but have now downsized to a more electric 4-piece with Alex Correia as the one remaining frontman. Click here to check out their new song called “Let It Ride” from their live performance at Great Scott in Allston, MA last week.
Correia used to be the frontman for Boston post-hardcore band Therefore I Am before they broke up in 2010. The band will be coming together again for the first time in 2 years for two “end of the world” reunion shows tomorrow night and Saturday night at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. The first show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the second one. Click here to buy them online.
If you like The Tower And The Fool, then check out OurStage artist Mieka Pauley.
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