The Wandas rarely deliver exactly what you expect. When this writer happened upon their afternoon set at South By Southwest a couple of years ago, they were about three-quarters of the way through and had nearly reached the crashing crescendo that would find them spilling off the small roofdeck stage and into the enthusiastic crowd, instruments held aloft, strummed, banged, and fedback, for what seemed like the entire last song.
The band and I happened to be leaving the venue at the same time and when I told them how I’d enjoyed the set, they handed me their self-titled 12 LP. Based on their show, I looked forward to a hooky, high-octane garage rock romp. Yes, a romp, dammit. What I heard was indeed energetic rock and roll, but it was deeper, more thoughtful and introspective. It was the first new album I’d heard in a while that contained honest-to-god guitar work, in the vein of Television and Neil Young. It was psych and pop and jamming, all rolled into a concise musical language. I knew what they meant.
Now, a new album for 2013. New Interface (A Design with Friends for the Future) was released June 25th. And once again, the band has confounded expectations with appreciable growth. Having fully realized on their first album the often-elusive cohesion of being in a gritty yet cerebral rock band, The Wandas have added a diverse songwriting palette, highlighted by increasingly elaborate and deliberate production.
Folk-rock? Roots-rock? The gentlemen of Darlingside weren’t too sure about either of those monikers as it relates to their music, and so they became the Northeast’s top string-rock outfit. Call it whatever you want, but we took notice of this band after they placed at #1 in the OurStage Rock channel twice, with an additional five Top 10s, four Top 40s, an Editor’s Pick, and a two-week appearance in the Best of the Best Top 20.
But what finally made Darlingside a lasting favorite was stumbling upon a video performance of their song Blow The House Down, recorded live back in 2010. String-rock starts to make more and more sense, as these guys clearly aren’t just a folky act leaning more heavily on the bluegrass side of things. The strings they employ have a more classical tint to them. The tension created between that proper school of music and their otherwise loose “ and indeed rootsy “ melodic vibe.
And we’re suckers for frontman-bassists. Especially with that Rickenbacker. So please check out Darlingside, our Artist of the Week.
Click here to donate and download a great playlist to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
OurStage is grateful to be an international hub for musicians and music fans, who are looking to share and connect with something new. But we also have a soft spot for our hometown of Boston, MA, one of the world’s most vibrant music communities. Like the rest of the world, that community was shocked on Monday to learn of, and in many cases to see firsthand, the horrifying disturbance of one of our biggest and best days – Patriot’s Day and the yearly running of the celebrated Boston Marathon.
As readers probably know, there are many victims today, and as a city and a nation, we are reeling. But as many have already pointed out, if someone was hoping to terrify us, they failed. Within moments of the blasts, average people became heroic, rushing to aid the victims, running toward the danger. Runners continued past the finish line to give blood, locals opened their homes to visiting marathon participants with nowhere to go, restaurants and bars sheltered all comers, and police and medical personnel performed at the highest level.
And the rest of us, like you, just want to know what else we can do. Well, what we do is music. Of the many memes that have made the rounds of social media in the last several days, one quote spoke brilliantly to us: “This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more devotedly than ever before.” – Leonard Bernstein.
In that spirit, our friends at the popular Boston-centric music blog Allston Pudding worked quickly to compile a fantastic playlist of local music that could be offered for download to benefit the victims of the bombing. They put out a call for submissions, and the response was overwhelming, and they finally cut it off when they reached 130 tracks. So now, you can donate anywhere from $1 or more to get 130 tracks of eclectic, quality independent music, knowing that 100% of your donation is going to The One Fund Boston. Download it RIGHT HERE.
Over a quarter century ago, record players and the accompanying 12 vinyl discs were packed up in the attic, left to collect dust, and eventually sold at tag sales for a few bucks. But within the past few years, there has been resurgence in the demand for more vinyl among listeners. In 2011, vinyl sales rose nearly 40% from the previous year. Interestingly enough, the past 6 years prior to 2011 marked a steady decline in vinyl sales each year. In 2012, that number climbed nearly an additional 18% from 2011.
This week’s OurStage Pro Artist of the Week is Asheville North Carolina’s The Black Rabbits. The band made waves in 2010 after their debut EP cracked the CMJ Top 100, garnering some serious press and catching the attention of the great Stan Lynch, producer and drummer, formerly of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Lynch produced their first LP, Hypno Switch. The band’s rather varied take on rootsy-to-modern rock and roll is always catchy, moody, and compelling. Shades of The Strokes slip in via singer Jetson Black, while the musical canvas ranges from slick, driving, classic guitar rock to spare acoustic breakdowns. And everyone can dig a little guy-girl vocal interaction, no?
With a lot of road work under their belt and a new LP in the works (tentatively titled Requiem For A Princess), The Black Rabbits are poised for a breakout 2013. Listen to “Hypno Switch” below:
This is Tour Manager James checking in from the Orlando, FL date of Van’s Warped Tour 2012. For the last month, I have been riding aboard the OurStage.com tour bus with Larry G(ee) and his band, as well as a few stage hands, and thought it might be a nice change of pace to shed some light on my day-to-day life here on the world’s largest traveling music festival.
Every morning, I rise around 7:00am and check with our driver (Jens) to learn about our arrival time and whatever information he is able to offer about the venue. We arrive and I wake up Larry so he and I can begin promoting the day’s performance. We stroll the venue, setup merch, locate stages, promote on social networks, drink coffee, and sweat the equivalent of roughly two gallons of water before getting the day’s set times at 10am. Once that happens, the grounds become a rampage of managers and promo kids doing their best to get the word out about their act’s time. It’s hectic, it’s crazy, it’s Warped before gates.
Once the gates open, the real day can finally begin. The band and I regroup from our morning promotion then set off to promote within the gates until (and usually after) the performance. When Larry has somewhere to be, something gig-related to do, or when the band is in need, I’m there. When they perform, I’m there both as manager and photographer. On the rare occasion the day allows for me to have some time to explore the grounds, I do my best to catch as many sets as possible (most of which I’ve shared on the OS Warped Tumblr) and, if at all possible, shower.
Evening brings a cooler temperature, but our efforts never end before dark. I assist Larry and his band as needed, begin packing up our belongings, and do my best to catch a glimpse of the sunset before diving into some editing work on the day’s photos. It’s tiring, and most of the time you want to sleep for days on end, but the night Warped Tour crew BBQ keeps us up and lifts even the lowest spirits. It’s one of those rare moments when everyone from main stage to catering is really together, and not one has passed that’s let us down.
After all this, Larry, his band, the crew, and I return to the bus and exchange stories before bed. It’s a long, long day, but one you’re always excited to begin again in the morning.
I’ll be writing another entry next week highlighting my favorite moments of this tour, but for now, here are a few of my favorite images thus far:
More like this: