Kingdom Hearts Orchestra--World Tour

A Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour!?! Be still my beating heart.

Disney Concerts, Square Enix, and La Fee Sauvage have teamed up to bring this magical world of Disney and Final Fantasy to life! Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra brings together the game's director Tetsuya Nomura and composer Yoko Shimomura. Exclusive scenes and surprise appearances await fans on this spine-tingling adventure.

Check out my REVIEW.

You can purchase your tickets HERE.

Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour Dates:

Singapore – May 6 & 7, 2017 – Esplanade Concert Hall (Singapore) 

Kuala Lumpur – May 13, 2017 - Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (Malaysia) 

Hong Kong- May 21, 2017 - AsiaWorld-Expo Runway 11

Los Angeles – June 10, 11 & 14, 2017 – Dolby Theatre (USA)

New York – June 24, 2017 – United Palace Theatre (USA)

Osaka – July 8, 2017 – ORIX Theatre (Tokyo)

 

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: No Issues With The Re-issues

Written by Brody Duggson

On May 26, 2017, the lyric “Twenty years ago today” turned fifty years old. 

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on May 26, 1967.  It was a Friday.  The album came out in the United States a week later. 

Why is this album so important?  Why should you care what four musicians did before you were born?  Before your parents were born?

What’s so important about music released prior to the advent of the internet and the rise of personal computers?  Why bother with an album that was recorded on magnetic tape and originally mixed in mono?

You should care because Sgt. Pepper is the greatest album of all-time.  Even if you don’t think it’s the greatest album of all-time, it’s been regarded as the greatest album of all-time for half-a-century.

It was the ipso facto start of the Summer of Love, a milestone for Baby Boomers, and the culture apex of the 1960s.

It was the first rock album to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  It has sold more than 32 million copies.

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine put it first on their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-time.”

If your favorite artist has ever recorded a concept album, or used the studio as an instrument, they owe a debt to Sgt. Pepper.  The album didn’t necessarily invent those techniques, but it certainly popularized them.

Therefore Sgt. Pepper has influenced, either directly or indirectly, current artists as diverse as U2, Green Day, and even Lady Gaga.

In fact, music historians often credit Sgt. Pepper with starting the “album era.”  If we accept this accomplishment, then the sphere of the opus’ influence increases even more.

Sgt. Pepper legitimize rock as an art form.  It laid the foundation for progressive rock and was the zenith of British psychedelia. 

Songs from Sgt. Pepper have been successfully covered by numerous big-name artists including Elton John, The Flaming Lips, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Thievery Corporation, Gomez, and Billy Brag.

It has survived half-a-century.  Not many things survive five decades.

Think about this: recordings celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 1967 were Billy Murray’s "Over There" and "Livery Stable Blues”—the first commercial jazz recording. 

There were no 50-year-old albums in 1967.  The album format was invented in 1952.

It’s highly likely that Sgt. Pepper will be celebrated in 2067.  Do you think the same can be said for Ed Sheeran’s Divide, Katy Perry’s Witness, or The Chainsmokers' Memories... Do Not Open?  No offense to those artists, but probably not.

Beyond all those accolades, it’s just a damn good record.  From the title track to its closer, “A Day in The Life,” the album has no weaknesses.  Every song is a classic.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Sgt. Pepper has been reissued via four versions: a single CD, a double CD set, a double vinyl collection, and a super deluxe edition that contains six discs.

Giles Martin, son of the Beatles producer, George Martin, went back to the original masters and made a stereo remix out of Sgt. Pepper’s original mono mix. 

The Beatles participated in the original mono mix.  They did not participate in the stereo mix.  So, this 50th anniversary edition allows fans to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s the way the band intended it to be heard (but in stereo).

If your budget allows, pick up the super deluxe edition.  It contains three discs of outtakes, instrumental versions, and mono mixes. 

These extra tracks reveal the genius of the Fab Four and provide listeners a glimpse into how the greatest album in the history of rock and roll was created. 

Longtime fans, many of whom bought the album when it first came out, have been blown away by the extras.  Fans are hearing sounds, riffs, and phrases they’ve never heard before.

The reason behind these sonic discoveries lies in how the Beatles recorded their music.  They played like an orchestra, with each instrument performing a different part.  When heard without the vocals, the songs of Sgt. Pepper sound very different.

For example, the chorus of their psychedelic masterpiece, “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds,” sounds like garage rock sans John Lennon’s singing. 

That transformation, and others like it, allow longtime fans to experience the Beatles’ masterpiece in an entirely new way.  For new fans, the extras are a master class on how to make a rock album that’s impervious to the ravages of time.

If you’re a music fan, Sgt. Pepper’s should be in your collection.  The 50th anniversary re-issue is the perfect place to start.  It doesn’t detract from the original, it adds to it.

 

Interview with Justin Levinson

Growing up, 60's music was a staple in my household. While all the other kids followed 90's artists, I was engrossed with the classics.  I can fondly remember listening to The Monkees, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys on the way to school. There was such purity in the music back then. The focus was all about the lyrics and instrumentals. Sadly, this innocence is lost within most of today's top hits.

Justin Levinson is one of the few musicians that dare to dig back into the golden era of music. His newest album, Yes Man is a 60's stylized power pop that tells the story of a lost soul taken advantage by only being able to say yes. Levinson draws from his own personal experiences to make music that's authentic to him.

Check out my interview with Justine Levinson HERE. We discuss his new music, musical inspirations, and tour plans.

Essence at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Essence photo by Jessica Klausing

Essence photo by Jessica Klausing

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent." -Victor Hugo

This quote has been in my head since I started this concert review. Music is an effective outlet for communication. I find it easier to express myself through a song or score than in person. It's also cheaper than therapy. I tend to fixate on the lyrics. Allusions are always fun but I can appreciate someone who just tells it like it is.

My musician friend invited me to check out Essence at Hotel Cafe last week. I fell in love with this singer-songwriter's bluntness upon first listen.  Her Nashville rich voice takes you on a folk journey through finding yourself after heartbreak. 

Check out my concert review HERE

Blake Morgan & Janita Return to Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Blake Morgan and Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Blake Morgan and Janita. Photo by Jessica Klausing

I discovered Blake Morgan through his #IRespectMusic Campaign.

This ethical movement has gained nationwide support in favor of the Artist Pay for Radio Play Act. Morgan stands firmly behind that all artists deserve to be paid for their work. He's a recording artist, record producer, and founder and owner of the ECR Music Group. He runs ECR under the moral principle that all of its artists and labels own one-hundred percent of their master recordings.

While on a national tour, Blake Morgan and Janita played a double headliner at Hollywood's famed Hotel Cafe last year. I was in awe of these two artists. Both are powerful vocalists with different musical genres but just click beautifully together.

This year, I was in glee to see the two returning for another gig at Hotel Cafe. I'm convinced that these two just get better each tour! I refer to these artists as the dynamic duo.

Blake Morgan has a bell pure vocal delivery, haunting lyrics, and is a graceful guitar and keyboard virtuoso.

His touring partner, Janita is a Finnish American singer-songwriter who has released her most recent album, Didn't You My Dear, through the ECR Music Group. She has a stunning blueswoman voice with a stellar guitar talent. 

Together they are simply magic.

Check out my concert review HERE.

Mimosa Music Series - Mt. Joy & Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express

Chuck Prophet photo by Jessica Klausing

Chuck Prophet photo by Jessica Klausing

I decided to spend my rainy Sunday afternoon in North Hollywood. Two things I learned:

1. LA drivers will always be the worst.

2. Gary Calamar hosts his free Mimosa Music Series once a month at NoHo's Federal Bar.

The Mimosa Music Series are lots of fun for music lovers of all ages! The event started out of Calamar's living room in Laurel Canyon but had to be relocated due to high attendance. Patrons may purchase a brunch or snack on the free bagels. Each month showcases talented local singer-songwriters. January featured Mt.Joy and Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express.

Mt. Joy is an upcoming folkish acoustic jam band making waves. "Astrovan" has already received an impressive 230,000 streams in just 10 days on Spotify. The duo is currently hard at work on an EP. Their lyrical metaphors and soulful ballads are not to be missed.

Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express are another Bay Area music legend on my radar. This band does not disappoint! Prophet plays old fashioned rock n' roll. The kind that takes you back to memorable melodies, vibrant instrumentals, thoughtful lyrics, and a whole lot of passion for the sake of the song! 

Read my concert review HERE.

Ryan Beaver and Dan Layus at the Troubadour

Ryan Beaver and Dan Layus played hauntingly beautiful sets at West Hollywood's Troubadour. Check out my review HERE.

Dan Layus photo by Jessica Klausing

Dan Layus photo by Jessica Klausing

I'll be the first to admit it-- I'm not much of an Augustana fan! I have seen them on tour a couple of times and the music just did not click for me. My music buddy Eric was the one that encouraged me to give Dan Layus's solo album a listen.

I was a bit hesitant at first but found myself quickly engrossed with Dangerous Things. The title track song blew me away with Layus's delicate vocals accompanied with the pedal steel and fiddle. The more I listened the more I fell in love with Layus. His vocals are tender enough to show off his vulnerability. You feel the heartbreak in "Destroyer," "Only Gets Darker," and "Call Me When You Get There." The minimal production really enhances the intimate experience.

Seeing Dan Layus live was as much of a treat as listening to his album. You can hear the sincerity in his voice, the lyrics paint a vivid picture of love and regret, and his melodies are simply beautiful. It really feels like he is playing just for you.

Another surprise of the night was the opener Ryan Beaver. An upcoming artist with a voice as big as his heart. If you love Americana and Roots then you are destined to love both of these artists!

DTCV & Guided by Voices at the Teragram Ballroom

DTCV and Guided by Voices rocked out the Teragram Ballroom in downtown LA! Check out my concert review HERE.

Guided by Voices perform at the Teragram Ballroom. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Guided by Voices perform at the Teragram Ballroom. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Guided by Voices may require a second listen. You'll notice that most of the songs are short or end abruptly with poor sound quality. Robert Pollard records his music like this on purpose. The band might not seem like much other than some bizarre experimentalists upon first listen.

I encourage everyone to re-listen to them but more closely. Pollard gets to the heart of the message instantly. No industry filler. No over-the-top lyrical metaphors. No bullshit. He just simply spits it out. The sound is heavily influenced by British post-punk and psychedelic rock. Pollard's work is a surrealist art form. He's brash with no interest to fit into the cookie cutter mold of rock perfection. Thankfully we still have a rebel in the music industry!

"Window Of My World" from Half Smiles Of The Decomposed is my favorite Guided by Voices song. Not all of their music is quirky and loud. Some of them have beautiful compositions. This band deserves a listen.

The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 3)

Written by Jessica Klausing

                                                       Original art by Man On Fire Design

                                                       Original art by Man On Fire Design

Day 3: The Final Installment

Saturday was the last night of the Outlaw Roadshow in the Big Apple. This night promised fans more surprises and great music. You can bet that no one went home disappointed! It would be difficult to pick which night was the best. Each night these bands have shared something special with the fans.

Live music has a way of making you forget about everything going on in your life.  It allows personal reflection without judgment. It’s that feeling of being surrounded by like-minded souls. It’s a spiritual journey through suffering and redemption that makes us who we are as people. This generates the dynamic energy shared between the bands and fans during a performance. This type of energy cannot be felt through a recording; It's what fuels a musician to push their artistic boundaries. It’s that moment of being able to watch something creative happen and transform right before your eyes. It is what makes live music an incredible experience.

These eight bands have honed their skills in their respective genres and brought an electrifying close to this action packed weekend at The Bowery Electric.

Click on the links below to read the other two Outlaw NYC reviews:

DAY ONE

DAY TWO

 

Tony Roberts

Tony Roberts. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Tony Roberts. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

“This ocean has my soul/ Long lost love that won’t let go,” is a lyric in “Siren Song” that's the heart of Tony Roberts’s music. His laid-back vocals paired with his acoustic guitar make his music ideal for a lazy day at the beach with an ice-cold margarita in hand. His musical style stood out among the other Outlaw bands.

This Key West singer/songwriter attributes his sound to his time spent on the surf scene in Costa Rica. While he may have the sound of Jack Johnson and Michael Franti, his songwriting is closer to that of Bob Dylan. Roberts identifies the average man's worries but with a positive outlook. 

Recommended Tracks:

Siren Song: “Siren Song,” Dreams of Gold,” “The Only Thing Missing,” “The Same Old Stupid Love,” and “A Damn Cold December.” 

 

The Rationales

The Rationales venture outside of the indie rock norm. The dreamy orchestration make up the power pop melody while the ripping guitars proudly show off the alt-country roots. The band considers themselves simply rock N’ roll.  David Mirabella’s lush vocal delivery compliments well within a softer ballad like "Ruby Colored Halo" and the more hard rockin' songs like "Radio."

These guys are an absolute joy to watch live. Mirabella pours his soul into heartfelt lyrics and channels passion through his guitar. When asked about the thought process behind their music, David Mirabella responded, “I just start playing guitar and let my subconscious thoughts take over.”

Recommended Tracks:

The Going and The Gone: “Guardrail,” “Far Away,” “On the Vine,” and “Ruby Colored Halo.”

The Distance In Between: “Real Life,” “Jaded,” “Burned Again,” “Try to Tell Me,” “Tongue-Tied,” and “The One You Wanted.”

Dream of Fire: “Drunk all the time,” “Radio” and “Let it Go.”

 

Star Anna

Star Anna performs "Dancing in the Dark." Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Star Anna performs "Dancing in the Dark." Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Star Anna’s stage presence was a sheer vision of mystery. She donned a large black hat that hid most of her face in the dimly lit Map Room while her voice cried out the lonesome blues that has put her heart through the wringer.

Her Bruce Springsteen cover of “Dancing in the Dark” gave the upbeat song a dreary air of nostalgia. Star Anna’s performance will take you on a journey through how to heal after hitting rock bottom.

Recommended Tracks:

Light in The Window: “Light in the Window,” “Big Bad Wolf,” “3X3,” “Everything You Know,” and “Down to the Bottom.”

 

Kirby Brown

Within the theme of being misunderstood comes Kirby Brown. In the song "Joni," Brown sings of a woman that claims she's an open book when in reality, she's aloof. Brown uses allusion and his hometown inspiration as the tools for his poetic narrative style. 

I found Brown’s performance quite engaging and charming. He does not try to come across as something he is not. Instead, Brown shines with his acoustic guitar and modest vocals. His overall sound is a delicate balance between country and bluegrass.  

Recommended Tracks:

Child Of Calamity: “Young! Young! Young!,” “No…My Generation,” “Coattails,” “Talk,” and “Throw You Away.”

 

Julie Rhodes

Photo credit by ROBERTO TERRONES 

Photo credit by ROBERTO TERRONES 

I discovered Julie Rhodes thanks to my die-hard music friend Eric. We had listened to her album, Bound To Meet The Devil all the way to the venue. A powerhouse voice with the soul of Billie Holiday, the grit of Janis Joplin and the charm of Bonnie Raitt all rolled into one. Her live performance is as mesmerizing as her album.

Rhodes’s prowess will have you throwin’ your hand up and declarin’ ‘Hallelujah’ to her gospel cries! “Faith” offers a positive message about holding on through the dark days. Her soulful hums and crackling guitar riffs ignite her fiery passion.

Recommended Tracks:

Bound To Meet The Devil: “In Your Garden,” “Faith,” “Hey Stranger,” “Holes,” “See the Sun,” and “Skyscraper Blues.”

 

Town Meeting

Photo credit to HOWL Magazine

Photo credit to HOWL Magazine

Town Meeting is an Americana folk band with music that serves as the soundtrack for the small-town underdog destined for something great. “But if we know who we are, who can tell us what we’re not” in “If This Were a Movie,” offers the inspirational message of being true to yourself. Their story-driven lyrics and gorgeous harmonies rank them in the same league with folk legends The Avett Brothers.

The song “Phoenix” shows off what this band is capable of with their sensitivity to lyrical content and musical arrangements. The lyric “California isn’t what I thought it’d be when I put myself inside a plane and left my family,” was made more heartbreaking with a bluesy harmonica and a simple guitar strum.

Recommended Tracks:

If I Die: “Time,” “Verge,” “If This Were a Movie,” “Phoenix,” “Wash My Hands,” “Digging,” and “Orange and Reds.”

 

Matt York

Matt York’s music teeters somewhere between indie rock and rockabilly. His sound is closer to The Hold Steady but I would compare his lyrical wit to The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

York’s lyrics offer playful jabs at a simple man going through the motions of life. It often reflects sad scenarios but with an optimistic sounding guitar. However you want to interpret his music, it is pure rock N’ roll goodness and it got the audience up and dancing without a care.

Recommended Tracks:

Boston, Texas: “Big Fan of Why,” “Let’s Go to the Beach,” “Losing Streak,” “New to You,” and “Sick of it all.”

 

Old Jack

Old Jack closes out Outlaw Roadshow NYC 2016. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Old Jack closes out Outlaw Roadshow NYC 2016. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing.

Old Jack brought the house down at The Bowery Electric! Dan Nicklin is the epitome of Boston rock swagger. Nicklin took stage sporting a brown fedora, sweet shades and a plaid scarf loosely tied around his neck. The moment he crooned his fireball whiskey-smooth vocals into the old soul aficionado “Drivin’ All Night,” I just knew this was special.

Nicklin belts out the woes of a ramblin’ man with infinite wisdom. Backed with bluesy backup vocals, vibrant percussion, and some stellar guitar solos, he had everyone up clapping and singing along. This much lightning in a bottle called for an encore. Dan Nicklin sent the fans off with enough musical passion that would make any Outlaw proud.

Recommended Tracks:

Gone Before You Know: “Chorus Line,” “Deny Me Not,” “Face Like Mine,” and “Hold Tight.”

What is Home to You: “Miles Away,” “Oh Daddy,” “What is Home to You,” “Easy to Love,” “Lonely Alone,” and “Whistle Blowin.”

The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 2)

Written by Jessica Klausing

                           Original art credit by Man On Fire Design

                           Original art credit by Man On Fire Design

Day 2: More Surprises

Outlaw Roadshow continued with another night of stellar music in Manhattan. On Friday Outlaw fans were teased with the promise of a “secret set.” It is quite obvious by now that the secret set is always Counting Crows. However, this year, rumors leaked of Rob Thomas joining the band onstage as a special guest. Festival attendees were highly encouraged to “RSVP” early on the website to ensure priority access into the venue. About an hour before the show started, a huge line had already formed inside the bar. 

Usually most people only show up for the “secret set,” and as great as those main acts were, I want to take a moment to encourage everyone to give the other Outlaw bands a listen. After all, Outlaw Roadshow is about supporting new music. You will be pleasantly surprised and may discover some new favorites.  I know I did. Day two had an impressive lineup of eight talented bands worth checking out.

 

The Harmaleighs

The Harmaleighs’ folk music paints a watercolored portrait of a journey through difficult times.  Each simple, rhythmic strum is a delicate brush stroke that slowly builds the melodies up into a faster, livelier pace.  Their poetic lyrics dare to show vulnerability that adds to the depth of their bittersweet sound.

Haley Grant and Kalee Jasperson are the mistresses of timing and pace. The opening song, “Hesitate,” begins with a gorgeous a cappella part that launches right into an instrumental jamboree without rushing the song.

Recommended Tracks:

Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush: “Pretty Livin,” “Hesitate,” “Doll Made of Glass,” “Last One Standing,” “Sticks and Stones,” and “I Keep Ticking On.”

 

Don DiLego

Don DiLego plays a mix of country rock and jangly pop. His newest album, Magnificent Ram A uses vivid storytelling lyrics with a bluegrass influence. “Up in Smoke” was my favorite and perhaps the most whimsical track on the album.

The analog synths and sonic effects champion him as a country rocker among the best of his kind, but it is DiLego’s compelling voice that keeps me coming back.

Recommended Tracks:

Drive Like Pirates EP: “Drive Like Pirates” and “Different Man.”

Magnificent Ram A: “Idiot Heart,” “Don’t Bury Me Alive,” “Up in Smoke,” “I’m On Fire,” “Drive Like Pirates,” and “A Wishful Poem.”

 

Kathleen Sieck

Just imagine: It’s an Autumn evening in the countryside. You sit back and relax on the porch with a glass of wine as you watch the sun set on a golden pasture, reminiscing over that long, lost love. As tears stream down your cheeks, that warm, tingling feeling of your old lover still lingers on your lips.

This is what I envision when I hear Kathleen Sieck’s haunting reflections. With a gorgeous voice, old country melodies and emotive lyrics, her Americana music is bound to strike a chord in the coldest of hearts.

Recommended Tracks:

Where the Sleepers Lie: “Sea Shanty,”Good Day,” “Stay Beside Me,” “Bury Me High,” “Where the Sleepers Lie,” and “Sad Song.” 

 

Corey James Bost

Corey James Bost has a unique and evocative indie rock sound. He doesn’t write traditional guitar ballads filled with morose lyrics, folks. Instead, his music pulls you down a dark route of psychedelic melodies and imagery. You get the sense he’s battling some inner demons.

My favorite song is “Kingdom Come.”  The lyric, “This is earth, this isn’t heaven,” pulls us back to the harsh realities of romantic disappointments while the drumming builds on the emotional intensity. His music is a beautiful reflection of sorrow without being overly EMO or too pretentious.

Recommended Tracks:

Herritage: “Heritage,” “Hide in the Shade,” “Features,” “I’ll Let You Down,” “Nothing You Can Do,” “I’ll Let You Down,” and “Kingdom Come.”

 

Love & The Zealous

Love & The Zealous serve up a hearty, soulful helping of the gospel blues with a generous side of Southern Rock.

“Devil is a Woman,” delivers playful keys alongside a ripping guitar, with Richard Love ferociously chanting the infectious hook, “I am the devil, you better run, Run/ Whisper in your ear and you do just what I want/I can breathe fire, baby, fire/ Come around my way and I’ll bite you, baby, I’ll bite you, baby.”

Love belts out the woes and hardships with a passionate intensity that could bring a proud man to his knees begging for spiritual forgiveness.

Recommended Tracks:

Expand Your Mind: “Devil is a Woman,” “Horses,” and “Wild Child.”

Love & The Zealous Live EP: “Dock of the Bay” and “All in All.” 

 

Nate Leavitt

Nate Leavitt’s sound is modest and stays within the quieter realm of folk. His songs are musical therapy for anyone on a rebound from heartbreak.

Leavitt’s delicate guitar compliments his soul-baring, tender vocals. The soft harmonies and graceful piano make heartbreak quite a beautiful place to be after all.

Recommended Tracks:

Someone Send a Signal: “Someone Send a Signal,” “Take Me Back,” and “When I Was With You.”

You, Me and the Silence: “You, Me and the Silence,” “Where Did Your Love Go,” and “Taking the Long Way Home.” 

 

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead

Andrew Leahey & The Homestead can crank out electric rock n’ roll anthems without having to sugarcoat any feel-good content. The album Skyline in Central Time was written after Leahey had a brain operation. His songs offer a raw look into how it felt to be alive during his long recovery.

The band showcases the Hammond organ, bluesy rooted harmonies, and solid country melodies that proudly pay tribute to the American heartland. If you like Gram Parsons, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, then you’re bound to like these guys.

Recommended Tracks:

Skyline in Central Time: “Little in Love,” “Better Medicine,” “The Good Life,” “When the Hinges Give,” “Penitentiary Guys,” “10 Years Ago,” “Shot,” and “Who Wants an Easy Love.”

 

K Phillips

I first saw K Phillips & The Concho Pearls play a gig a month ago in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, the band’s set had to be cut short, but when I heard “Kat’s Song,” I knew I had to hear more!

K Phillips is simply a Motown dream: gritty lyrics laced with sarcastic wit, a smooth, soulful vocal delivery backed by country rock guitars, bluesy percussion, and keys. “Get It” is my absolute favorite song. The infectious hooks paired with jazzy saxophone with the risqué “this is the sound of sin on sin, this is sound of skin on skin,” will have you swaying to this sultry delight.

Recommended Tracks:

American Girls: “Sherriff’s Wife,” “Get it,” “Kat’s Song,” “Not My Baby Anymore,” “You Don’t Hafta,” and “To Dance With You.”

 

To be continued for part three...

The Outlaw Roadshow-NYC Review (Part 1)

Written by Jessica Klausing

   

 

 

Day 1: Who Wouldn’t Want to Be an Outlaw?

October may be the season of crisp air and colored leaves but to a music fan it means Outlaw Roadshow in New York City! What’s so special about this festival besides that entry is free? The Outlaw Roadshow is a three day celebration of indie artists for music fans that are eager to discover something new. To many of the Outlaw veterans this event has become a big family reunion. This festival has spawned lifelong friendships that have resulted in many creative collaborations. A few of these collaborations have included stunning artwork by Frank Germano (Man On Fire) and artist Felipe Molina, along with official Outlaw Roadshow wine from Standing Sun Winery.

Founded in 2011 by Counting Crows lead singer Adam Duritz and Boston music blogger Ryan Spaulding of Ryan’s Smashing Life, The Outlaw Roadshow has showcased a lineup of over thirty bands in Austin, Nashville, NYC, Tel Aviv and now Toronto!

This year Outlaw Roadshow has partnered with crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic, which offered free music, t-shirts, stickers and other cool band swag for fans to enjoy.

This was my first Outlaw Roadshow and I am very excited to share my experience watching every one of the amazing bands that performed at The Bowery Electric.

I will be breaking this review up into three parts. Each part will cover the bands that performed on that particular night.

Brick Briscoe

Frank Funaro, Brick Briscoe and Sal Maida. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Frank Funaro, Brick Briscoe and Sal Maida. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Brick Briscoe had my full attention as soon as he took stage in the Map Room. His vocals reminded me of a whiskeyed-up Michael Stipe. What I liked best was that his clever blend of jazz and punk sets him apart from the progressive rock genre. Briscoe performed a tongue-in-cheek set backed by Cracker’s Frank Funaro (drummer) and Sal Maida (bass).

Be warned: Briscoe is not afraid to tell it like it is! With exclamations such as “I got your ‘kiss my ass’ right here!” in “You Scare Me” and “You can be a dumbass anywhere,” in “Heading to Kanorado,” his music offers bold, thought-provoking messages intertwined with melancholic guitar parts.

Recommended Tracks:

Travel & Leisure: “60 Seconds with Colleen,” “Don’t Let Her Back into the House,” “Lullaby,” “Running to Main Street,” and “Stenographer.”

Lovers & Amateurs: “The Dig,” “ShamRock, TX,” and “You Scare Me.”

What Happened to Me (2000-2014): “Heading to Kanorado,” “She Let the Balloons Go,” “Pittsburgh-Hampton Inn,” “Go Away a GoGo,” “Running to Main Street,” “Burn Much Brighter,” “Stenographer,” “60 Seconds with Colleen,” and “JacktheRipper.” 

 

Kim Logan

Kim Logan performs downstairs at The Bowery Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Kim Logan performs downstairs at The Bowery Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

I like to refer to this artist as the beautiful pin up girl of Honky Tonk. Kim Logan's stage presence is mesmerizing--that of an Old Southern Rock soul with shimmering eyes, a playful innocence, and a vocal range that belts out the devilish woes of the past.

Her sultry, bluesy voice pulls you deeper into a bayou of power, sin and love with no chance of ever coming back. Logan delivered a heartfelt set with sympathetic lyrics that portrayed a wealth of experience. “Devil Makes Three” tells the rebellious tale of living with a troubled boyfriend while “Donnie” relives the moment of heartbreak from a failed relationship. Even if you’re not much of a country fan, her music is too intelligent to ignore. 

Recommended Tracks:

Kim Logan: “Devil Makes Three,” “Gentleman,” “Voodoo Man,” and “Donnie.”

 

Alan Wuorinen

Alan Wuorinen performs acoustic set. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Alan Wuorinen performs acoustic set. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Alan Wuorinen took stage with his acoustic guitar and delved right into folklore that inspired an instant audience sing-along with hand clapping. He entertained us with stories of exes, arcades and zombie survival tips. Very important.

After his set, it was recommended that I check out Wuorinen’s band, The LongWalls. I did and found them to be quite comely on the ears—a fitting vibe for a long afternoon drive in the countryside.

Recommended Tracks:

Field Guide for the Zombie Survivalist: “Zombies!,” “Marmalade” and “Coal Miner.”

 Keep Boston Safe 2016: “Too Many Prayers.”

Dark Academy: “Playwrights,” “Saturday” and “Brave Arms.”

 

Brothers in Yarn

 

Brothers in Yarn. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Brothers in Yarn. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The wind was knocked out of me as soon as frontman Shawn Fogel took the mic. Don’t be fooled by all of the electronic gadgets on stage, this group understands the importance of sound without auto-tuning it to death.

Each song on the EP is based off of a different book that Fogel read in attempt to rid his writer’s block. My absolute favorite was “The Mind’s Editorial,” which is based on City of Thieves by David Benioff. The euphoric harmonies made this song pure magic to me. Long after the show, I am still listening to it on repeat.

Recommended Tracks:

Volume 1 EP: “Simple Math and its Consequences” and “The Mind’s Editorial.”

 

Workman Song

Workman Song. Photo credit by Baeblemusic

Workman Song. Photo credit by Baeblemusic

I found the Workman Song’s set to be as endearing as a cup of hot chicken soup on a cold day. This indie folk rock sound will enlighten the soul and question the human existence. Sean McMahon tells a tale of personal struggles with religious undertones.

His vivid storytelling, early Bob Dylan-esque chords and hypnotic vocal arrangements make up the perfect recipe of a folk album worthy of a listen.

Recommended Tracks:

Lamb: “Jesse Winters” and “Patient like a Lamb.”

 

 

Brandy Zdan

Brandy Zdan. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Brandy Zdan. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Watch out for this one: She’s fierce. She’s impressionable. She’s a total badass on guitar.

Brandy Zdan brought the house down with her soulful voice’s call to the broken hearted. Her songs are the anthem for those experiencing losses and looking for redemption.

Recommended Tracks:

Brandy Zdan: “Back On You,” “Cut N Run,” “Love to a Ghost,” “People Like Us,” “Courtship Of Wild Horses,” and “More Of A Man.”

 

Alan Semerdjian

Alan Semerdjian. Photo credit by Fensepost

Alan Semerdjian. Photo credit by Fensepost

Alan Semerdjian played a beautiful set that touched on the themes of coming of age. His poetic lyrics resonate with one’s inner dialogue such that it almost feels you’re watching a biographical movie.

The musical fluidity of the stringed instruments easily compliments Semerdjian’s smooth vocals.   

Recommended Tracks:

Quiet Songs for Loud Times: “For Blackbirds,” “You Can’t Teach Trouble to Sing,” and “Your Enemy.” 

 

Skunkmello

Skunkmello. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Skunkmello. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Skunkmello is a complete mind trip. The music weaves between the blues, country and the raggae-tinged electric rock that will keep the listener guessing where the song will end up.

That’s all part of the fun with this band. At first listen you may think you are listening to 1920s saloon music but, then an electric guitar rips through alongside some R & B vocals, taking the song in an unexpected direction.

Recommended Tracks:

Lowlife Dreams: “The Way Down,” “Two Dudes on a Moped,” and “Bukowski Blues.”

Stars & Stripes: “Stars & Stripes,” “Easy Come, Easy Go,” “Disco Cruiser,” “Gravity,” “Chocolate Milk,” “Mad Dog,” and “Bad Morning Blues.”

 

High Fascination

High Fascination. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

High Fascination. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Today’s mainstream pop groups could learn a lesson from this band. Making good music can be as simple as going back to your roots. Andrew Weiss and his band rely on 70s style guitars, carefree lyrics and rich melodies reminiscent of late 60s psychedelic pop to drive the point across.

Their sound is very chill, much like Oasis. In fact, “Miss Valentine” sounds similar to Oasis’s “Champagne Supernova.”

Recommended Tracks:

The Optimist: “Paper Walls,” “Birthday Girl,” “Miss Valentine,” “Time Will Tell,” and “How The West Was Won.”

 

Morningsiders

Morningsiders. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

Morningsiders. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Morningsiders sound as though Foster The People abandoned their hipster vibe to play alternative folk music. Their music offers an honest voice to those awkward years of trying to fit in.

The line “I’m telling lies to get out socializing,” in “Dots” paints the simple picture of social anxiety. Morningsiders open doors into a world of acoustic guitars and vibrant percussions.

Recommended Tracks:

Unfocus: “Dots” and “Lucianne.”

 

The Life Electric

The Life Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Life Electric. Photo credit by Jessica Klausing

The Life Electric closed out night one on a high. The lower level of the Bowery Electric turned into a huge underground dance party. There were arms flailing, booties shaking, and feet stompin’ in delight to these indie rock fused disco beats. Yes, disco.

These guys are breaking down barriers by bringing the two genres together. The end results are lush harmonies, plenty of clashing guitars and dynamic synthesizers that keep the energy high and the music quite catchy.

Recommended Tracks:

The Real You: “Gone Gone Gone,” “The Real You,” “Ladders,” “Heartbeat,” “Perfect Soul,” and “A Ghost.”

To be continued for part two...

Interview with Megan Slankard

Megan Slankard performs with the Bose Troubadour. Photo by Jessica Klausing

Megan Slankard performs with the Bose Troubadour. Photo by Jessica Klausing

I have heard Megan Slankard's name echoed throughout the Bay Area music scene for many years. It was not until early this year that I was properly introduced to her music. Oh boy, have I really been missing out! Her heartfelt ballads are perfect for anyone that appreciates thought provoking lyrics and a little soulful guitar.

Megan, alongside Jeff Campbell, Matthew Szlachetka and Jamie Kent did a special writers-in-the-round tour across the country known as the Bose Troubadour Tour. I caught a show on one of their stops at the Hotel Cafe in Hollywood. This was my first experience at an "in the round" performance as well. My expectations were met and then some more. These talented friends provide honest lyrics with beautiful harmonies. All worth checking out!

I was able to chat with Megan after the tour about Patreon, the Bose Troubadour Tour, and her experience as a young, indie artist. You can check out my interview HERE.

Megan Slankard is currently on an American solo tour. You can buy her music and check out the tour dates on her website. She will play Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, CA on October 23rd. Tickets can be purchased HERE.

You can support Megan on her Patreon page right HERE.

Below is a video of Megan performing "Like Always, Alex" on one of the Bose Troubadour stops. This is my favorite song and what inspired me to check out her music.

 

Laura Michelle & Drake Bell at the El Rey Theatre

Laura Michelle at the El Rey Theatre photo by Jessica Klausing

Laura Michelle at the El Rey Theatre photo by Jessica Klausing

 

Laura Michelle hosted her first album release at the El Rey Theatre in downtown Los Angeles last Friday night. Michelle along with special guest, Drake Bell celebrated with a full length concert. 

Check out my review.

Special thanks to Music Junkie Press for featuring my review on their site!

Information & Links:

 

 

 

 

New Site & New Digs

Welcome to On The Flipside Music!

My newest music blog that will hopefully showcase some of your favorite artists as well as introduce you to some new ones. You can find all of my original work from my old blog (ontheflipsidewithjess.blogspot.com) over here now. I will not bore you with a redundant intro--see the "About" section for that!

Instead, I'll bore you with some announcements:

I'm in the process of editing lots of interviews and new music reviews. Stay tuned!

I am also accepting music submissions! If you have your own music or would like to make a request then send them my way! I may not always be able to respond in a timely manner but I will be in touch.

Check out my latest concert review of The Mother Hips at West Hollywood's Troubadour. The band covered a "surprise album" and shared a new single off their upcoming album. You can read the review and listen to the new single, "I went in hard," right HERE.

Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips Photo by Jessica Klausing

Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips

Photo by Jessica Klausing

AIR + STYLE 2015

Written By Jessica Klausing

For the first time, AIR + STYLE brought big air, snow, and music to Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Hosted by Shaun White, This two day festival featured world elite snowboarders and skiers qualified from the Innsbruck and Beijing events. This was also the first time skiing was added the lineup where 16 professional skiers competed on the Big Air Jump.

Despite the cold weather and rain showers, the competitions were completed with more than 40,000 spectators in attendance!

For the results and additional information check out the AIR + STYLE  main page.

In addition to the competition, AIR + STYLE brought 18 incredible bands performing over two stages. The Saturday lineup consisted of: Bad Things, Phantogram, Diplo, Kendrick Lamar, Teenage Wrist, In the Valley Below, Metz, The Black Lips, and Portugal The Man.

Below are my favorite songs from each of these bands. Enjoy!

Bad Things

These guys were the first act of the day. This is an American Synthrock band that features professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White on lead guitar. I didn't think at first I was gonna dig it. Despite White's athletic celebrity status, this band has some songs worth checking out. "Caught Inside" stands out among their predominant garage band sound. This song is smooth with a nice steady drum beat. The group also includes lead vocalist Davis LeDuke, bassist and former Augustana member Jared Palomar, guitarist Anthony Sanudo and the lovely Lena Zawaideh on drums and vocals.

Phantogram

This band was my favorite of the day! Their music is catchy, chill and motivating. What's not to love? Sarah Barthel can belt out the pop vocals like nobody's business! It's hard to find a bad song out of their catalog, but "Fall in Love" is their ultimate best in my opinion. Barthel's voice just pulls you into a deep hypnotic spell with no chance of ever coming back. Seriously, I can't stop playing this song on repeat.

Diplo

Electronic music lovers unite! This American DJ is usually seen with his associated act, Skrillex, or as the duo are better known as Jack U. This electronic dance music (EDM) sound can be described as Dubstep. Honestly, I am not much of a fan to Dubstep. I personally prefer the more traditional House or relaxing Trance. "Revolution" is one of the exceptions to the rule for me. It's upbeat and fun, which is the whole point to EDM, right?

Teenage Wrist

When it comes to music I'm genuinely a sucker for 90's garage and indie sounds. So, I was quite pleased to discover Teenage Wrist. In a world full of autotune it's pleasant to get back to the simpler sound of sweet nostalgia. Not a whole lot of information can be found other than their Facebook and Twitter accounts. What we do know is the band is a collaborative side project that consists of Kamtin Mohager (The Chain Gang of 1974), Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero) and Anthony Salazar. "Slide Away" is the second single off the band's forthcoming EP. According to the band, this song is a sample of what we can expect for future releases. If that is true, then I don't think music lovers will be disappointed.

In the Valley Below

Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob blend the beautiful harmony that is Americana, blues and synth pop. Their sound is almost a dead ringer in the style of Peter Bjohn and Jon Jon. This dynamic duo has already gained attention by European alternative radio. "Peaches" is the opening song on the their debut album The Belt. It's a fitting pick to give listeners an introduction into Gail and Jacob's synchronized chemistry.  

Metz

This Canadian post punk trio are a real punch to the gut. If you are not too much into the heavy metal scene then you might have a hard time listening to their new stuff. It is heavier, darker and much more sloppier. Those that love heavy distortion, screeching vocals with growling guitar riffs may appreciate "Wet Blanket" or "The Swimmer." My pick is the somewhat tamer "Spit You Out." This song has the right amount of feedback in which can almost resemble Nirvana.

The Black Lips

The Black Lips are a self described "flower punk" garage band. Basically, it's another term for psychedelic rock. Despite their provocative stage antics, their sound has a 60's British rock vibe. Granted a demented 60's sound but the lyrics are quite catchy. "Bad Kids" is one of those dark songs that you can't help but sing along.

Portugal the Man

Portugal The Man is an American rock band that hails from Wasilla, Alaska. Most of their songs have a quirky synth sound to them while under toning symbolism for the darkness of human nature. I like "Sleep Forever." That song has a beautiful "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis like eloquence to it. However, "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue" receives the honorable mention for its deliciously dark combination of bells and falsetto vocals.

Kendrick Lamar

Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar closed the AIR + STYLE Day 1 as the last performance of the night. And what a fun way to close the festivities indeed.  Lamar brings a fresh sense of swag to west coast hip hop. His arty self expressions give hip hop a much needed positive look on life. "I" is perhaps the best example of that point. The song is a reminder to keep happy and be blessed in things that you have despite the bad times.

Plus the line "These days of frustration keep ya'll in tucking rotation" is a real doozy. It gets stuck in your head for days!

In Memory of Davy Jones & Leslie Carter

I wanted to make a special post in honor of  Davy Jones and Leslie Carter. Both of these talented artists are near and dear to my heart. I was devastated to have heard of both deaths, but after watching Jones' tribute on Good Morning America, I kept thinking about the prior month when I read in a local magazine of Carter's death. I couldn't shake the fact that two of my favorite artists had died just a few months apart.  I have been listening to The Monkees and Leslie Carter since elementary school and will proudly continue to do so. They were the first artists that inspired me at such a young age that it is cool to like different styles of music

DAVY JONES

1945-2012

I was in the second grade when I first discovered The Monkees. My mom had bought a couple of VHS tapes of their 1960's tv show. I was enamored. I must have watched those videos about a million times. I even remember listening to their CD non-stop on a 6 hour car trip to Florida and still not growing tired of hearing it. I was a 90's kid stuck in the 60's. As far as who my favorite Monkee is still a tie. Micky Dolenz cracks me up no matter what mood I'm in but Davy Jones was simply a heartthrob. Like millions of other girls, I was dazzled with Davy's boyishly cute looks, optimistic personality and flirtatious accent. Whenever I think of Davy Jones, I smile. His music is upbeat, fun, and reminiscent of innocent times. The shows of today will never withstand the test of time like The Monkees have done.

"Daydream Believer" was Davy's most popular song but "She Hangs Out" is my all time favorite Davy song. Plus, this song was featured at the end of my favorite Monkees episode. The one where the two Russian spies are watching Davy break out into a song and dance number to "Way Down Upon the Swanee River." Davy will always be remembered as the adorable entertainer.

LESLIE CARTER

1986-2012

In my opinion, Leslie Carter is one of the best pop bubblegum artists of the Y2K generation. Her music is highly underrated which as a result only her single, "Like Wow!" was the only music ever released. She formed a pop/rock band, The Other Half, which disbanded in 2009. The song, "Like Wow!" is the definition of what 90's pop music was all about. It was about the campy and cheery feeling of being in love. When I listen to the song it reminds me so much of my carefree childhood memories. A time of innocence before fully understanding the trials and woes of becoming an adult. 

The "Like Wow!' music video has been rarely seen by viewers. I think its a shame that the world could not have seen more of Leslie's talents.

Social Networking's Impact On the Music Industry

INTRODUCTION

FacebookMySpaceTwitter, and YouTube are popular social networks that have revolutionized the music industry. Major recording labels have lost CD sales and marketing revenue because of the free downloads offered on the internet. In the past, artists and fans were at the mercy of the record labels. An artist’s success depended on getting signed to a major record label. Major record labels had the money and sole power to influence mainstream audiences. These record labels could sell music, create music videos, and distribute artist information to all media outlets. However, the recent emergence of social networks makes all this possible to everyone. Fans and artists alike can now share music, tour dates, videos, information, and pictures on the internet that reaches a diverse audience. According to Neilson SoundScan, CD sales have dropped 18% in 2007. The rapid evolution of the internet cannot be stopped but it can be controlled. Many record labels have teamed up with social networking websites to take advantage of this mass marketing.

ONLINE DEMOGRAPHICS

  • In the early beginning, social networks were geared towards teenagers and young adults in their early twenties. However, in the last year, social networks have been able to attract the older generation, according suite 101.

  • Social networks allow fans to share music with their friends or find out what other people with similar interests are recommending according to Spinner.

  • According to Wired, on social media sites, users categorize themselves into useful demographics based on media consumption, so music-oriented sites can offer advertisers more value than the ones where all people do is talk.

  • The music industry realizes that social networks allow marketers to learn about specific interests. According to Catherine Halohan , social networks allow anybody to create an account for free to gain access to the same number of people as large corporate businesses.

  • Facebook’s iLike application gives marketers insights to specific fans’ interests.  iLike notifies fans when their favorite artist is in town, which sends them links to Ticketmaster or to iTunes to buy music.

  • 139 million users access MySpace, 175 million uses Facebook, and 344 million uses YouTube.

WARNER MUSIC GROUP AND YOUTUBE

In 2006, Warner Music demanded all of its copyrighted videos be removed from YouTube. Warner Music hoped that users would seek out the Warner Music official website to access these videos. YouTube appeals to the most internet users regardless of age or gender. Users can obtain videos of their choice without payment. The official website required users to pay for these videos. The label hoped to regain some of its lost video revenue.  Despite the label’s efforts, audiences were still finding ways to beat system.

  • Warner Music copyrighted videos were still being shared across the internet to other networking websites such as MySpace. Fans refused to pay for something that they could easily obtain for free.

  • Once someone obtains a video through file sharing it becomes viral. There is no exact way to trace a source or to stop the video from re-appearing. Using these free services is a great way to cater to fans’ needs.

MYSPACE MUSIC

In 2008, MySpace created a specialized division for artists to sell and market their music. Top record labels
 such as Sony BMGWarner Music, and Universal Music unveiled MySpace Music, which allows fans to listen to online music for free and buy songs for download, along with concert tickets and merchandise.

  • MySpace Music offers fans exclusive secret shows of their favorite artists. The secret shows are offered for MySpace users only. The record labels and the social network work together to generate the most users.
  • Black Eyed Peas, Bruce Springsteen, and Good Charlotte, and many other famous musicians have premiered music on MySpace, allowing fans to preview upcoming CDs.

ONLINE INTERACTION

Another popular aspect of social networks is they allow fans more personal time with the musicians.

  • Twitter has become a great way for artists to interact indirectly with their fans (Topping, 2010). Artists such as Kanye West have taken advantage of their “tweets” to promote a new album or make an instant personal statement, according to Guardian.co.uk.

  • Fans can obtain the “tweet” and then re-tweet it for others to see or pass on.

  • Fans can follow their favorite band to learn about upcoming concerts, watch videos, or read online interviews.

SOCIAL PANEL VIDEO

In the social media panel video, social network executives talk about their plans to continue to promote the music industry.

  •  Jason Kirk, executive of Ustream says 15% of its broadcast is dedicated to live music.  "Fans are interested in obtaining on demand web streams. "

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, social media is constantly evolving. The music industry has also faced many phases of evolution.

  • Similar to vinyl and cassettes, CDs may fade out of style for a while. However, music has always remained a major impact on our society. I think that social networks will continue to work together to promote the music industry.
  • In the earlier years, we were used to reading about a band in a magazine or watching a music video on MTV. Now, we are in a high technological state where we can obtain all this and more with the click of a button.
  • We are increasing our demand for instant online notifications. Someone reading an artist’s “tweets” might also be watching their video on YouTube at the same time. We will continue to move forward with technological advancements and evolution.