Static and Surrender @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

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Static and Surrender are on tour throughout California in honor of their debut album release. Their energetic riffs and rhythms are on par with the alternative superstar acts such as Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty. Jeff Campbell (lead vocals, guitar) backed by John Schuman (drums), Adam Schuman (guitar, vocals), and Lauren Stockner (bass player) – all stars in their own right – delivered a passionate performance at Hollywood’s Hotel Café.

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Check out Static and Surrender’s debut album. If you get the chance to see them live, do it! Very few artists have that special knack to sound better live than in the studio. Static and Surrender is definitely one of those bands that kick it up a notch in the live shows.

Interview with Matthew Phillips

 Matthew Phillips photo by Noah Gilman.

Matthew Phillips photo by Noah Gilman.

Up-and-coming singer-songwriter Matthew Phillips has been making waves through San Diego’s music scene with over 100,000 followers on Instagram and receiving endorsements from Fender Electric Guitars, Taylor Acoustic Guitars, GHS Strings, and Voss Water, just to name a few.

We got to chat with Matthew about his journey becoming a solo artist, independent artist struggles, and his mad videography skills!

INTERVIEW.

Be sure to follow Matthew Phillips:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
SOUNDCLOUD
YOUTUBE

 

THROWBACK: M2M

 M2M.

M2M.

M2M defined the bubblegum pop genre in the Y2K era.

The Norwegian pop duo comprised of childhood friends Marion Raven and Marit Larsen. Their debut album, Shades of Purple (2000) sold over 1.5 million units worldwide with the single, “Don’t Say You Love Me,” receiving critical and commercial success. Raven and Larsen wrote the lyrics and played instruments on their songs which set them apart from most pop artists.

Check out our Top 5 M2M song picks.

READ MORE.

 M2M:
FACEBOOK

Marion Raven:
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM

Marit Larsen:
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM

KNOW YOUR PROS: Heather Hudson - CEO & Owner of REVOLT WINE CO

 Heather Hudson photo by Sydney Prather.

Heather Hudson photo by Sydney Prather.

Heather Hudson is our featured industry professional for July 2018!

Heather and Steve Hudson own and manage the wine label, REVOLT WINE CO, a brand that focuses solely on the connection between music and wine.

The Hudsons' brand has gained attention in the music and wine world by having partnered with many artists such as The Offspring, Atlas Genius, Pepper, Less Than Jake, Yellowcard, Cartel, and The Spill Canvas. The company also partnered with The Vans Warped Tour VIP party, was an active participant in the Wine Riot Chicago, and sponsored the Skateboard Marathon in San Diego, along with Rock Vs. Cancer event at The Gibson Showroom in Beverly Hills.

READ MORE.

Follow REVOLT WINE CO:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
INSTAGRAM

Coby Brown @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

 Coby Brown performs at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown performs at Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Coby Brown treated fans to a beautiful, laid-back set in the intimate Second Stage Room at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Thursday.

Brown is no stranger to the Hollywood music scene. He’s a composer and songwriter who’s had his work featured in numerous films and TV shows; most recently he completed the score for the biopic, “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” 

Brown is an acoustic folk artist, but more importantly, he’s a keen observer able to capture the singer-songwriter genre in the personal stories the lyrics tell, and the sensitive, emotional accompaniment of his band.

READ MORE.

Coby Brown Social Media:
Spotify
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Website

Food + Travel

 "Come On You Wanna Let Me" tiki drink photo by Jessica Klausing

"Come On You Wanna Let Me" tiki drink photo by Jessica Klausing

"If music be the food of love, play on," - William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

I am excited to announce FOOD + TRAVEL to our music blog roster. Check out our reviews/recommendations of food, drink, travel, and other random musings with a musical flair. 

Here is a sample of some of our reviews so far:

-Summertime is here! Why not cool off with a delicious tiki drink and some Beach Boys playing in the background? We stopped by Hollywood's Harvard and Stone to check out their seasonal tiki drink menu. READ MORE.

-For a limited time - Hollywood's Ever Bar is serving up 2018 Oscars inspired cocktails. We tried the "Get Out" based off of Jordan Peele's Best Original Screenplay Winner of 2018. READ MORE.

-Fellow Star Wars nerds! Warp speed on over to Hollywood's Scum and Villainy Cantina for some Sci-Fi themed drinks and fun galore! We tried out the famous "Wretched Blue Milk." READ MORE.

-Happy National Wine Day! Join us as we crack open a bottle of Red Decadence Chocolate Wine and listen to steampunk artist, Jordan Reyne. READ MORE.

-We LOVE brunch in LA! We visited WKNDR in Los Feliz to try their famous Japanese Air Pancakes. READ MORE.

Monks Of Doom @ LA's Cafe NELA

 Monks Of Doom photo by Jessica Klausing

Monks Of Doom photo by Jessica Klausing

Monks Of Doom are back on tour. Yes, you read this correctly.

The surrealist progressive rockers are back in support of their newest album, The Bronte Pin. This album is the first of new material released in 25 years. The long wait, though highly frustrating, was indeed worth it. Victor Krummenacher (vocals, bass, and guitar), David Immerglück (vocals, guitar, bass, and mandolin), Greg Lisher (guitar), and Chris Pederson (drums, percussion) pulled listeners into a post-rock world of cryptic hysteria and psychedelic instrumentals at LA’s Café NELA.

Check out our REVIEW.

Victor Krummenacher took some time to chat with us about the new MOD album. Check out our INTERVIEW.

Interview with Falling Doves' Chris Leyva

 Falling Doves. From left: Mike Dorsey and Chris Leyva. Photo by Kelli Hayden.

Falling Doves. From left: Mike Dorsey and Chris Leyva. Photo by Kelli Hayden.

The Falling Doves never play it safe.

Chris Leyva (guitars, vocals) and Mike Dorsey (lead guitarist) create an unpredictable mix of garage rock with jazz, metal, Latin, and pop infusions. Known for their deep lyrical confessionals and aggressive playing, this band is not afraid to combine the classics with the new.

Falling Doves' Chris Leyva chats with us about his musical influences, international touring, and the new upcoming Falling Doves album.

Check out our INTERVIEW.

Falling Doves Social Media:

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Szlachetka @ Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

 Szlachetka performs "Heart Of My Hometown" at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka performs "Heart Of My Hometown" at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe. Photo by Jessica Klausing.

Szlachetka (pronounced SLA-HET-KA) is out on tour in support of his new album release, Heart Of My Hometown. Rolling Stone Magazine praised the album citing Szlachetka as a ‘New Country Artist to Know.’ That was evident as many Angelinos packed into the Second Stage venue at Hollywood’s Hotel Café on Wednesday night. The music was Americana roots rock superb, the storytelling honed the heartland spirit, and with the added chemistry of Szlachetka’s full band— it was transcendence into musical nirvana.

Check out our CONCERT REVIEW.

Szlachetka social media:

Official Website
Twitter
Instagram
Facebook

Snow Patrol @ LA's Fonda Theatre

 Gary Lightbody and Minnie Driver at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by U2Soul/Flickr.

Gary Lightbody and Minnie Driver at the Fonda Theatre. Photo by U2Soul/Flickr.

Snow Patrol performed a legendary set at Los Angeles' Fonda Theatre over the weekend.

Check out Courtney Lavender's REVIEW.

The mark of a great singer is measured less by vocal quality, and more by believability. Do you believe what you are singing? Do others believe you when you sing it? Though he may have tripped up technically at points, I never once doubted what Gary Lightbody was communicating, nor did anyone in the rapt audience. "Heal Me" was dedicated to someone who saved his life. I've been standing in the fire for way too long, he sang, and I could feel the flames.

SONG REVIEW: Aidan James - "What My Friends Talk About"

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Aidan James shakes up the pop scene with his Hawaiian inspired melodies.

At age 9, James uploaded a Youtube video cover of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” while playing a ukulele. The video went viral with over 20 million views inspiring the young Hawaii native to venture into a music career.  In the last couple of years he has released an EP, “Live Again,” and a full-length album, “Echoes.” He has toured with many notable acts such as Train, Jack Johnson, Lisa Loeb, and Michael Bolton. Currently, 16 year old, James has been hard at work to release his new full-length album sometime later this year.

In his new single, “What My Friends Talk About,” James uses his ukulele to the bridge the melody gap between contemporary pop and R&B. Think sound wise similar to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” The ukulele fades as the song progresses into an eclectic fusion of finger-snaps, hand claps, and percussion.

James’ warm vocals evoke a sweet innocence as he admits, “And you know I can’t remember anything before I saw your face.” His versatile talent and individuality shines through on this track. I can’t wait to hear what Aidan James has in store on his new album.

Purchase Aidan James’ MUSIC

Follow Aidan James:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Youtube

Spotify

 

Umphrey's McGee @ LA's Wiltern

 Photo by Paul Citone.

Photo by Paul Citone.

Jam band Umphrey's McGee made a legendary comeback to Los Angeles this past weekend!

Amidst the hypnotic psychedelic light show and LED visuals, Umphrey’s McGee seamlessly weaves progressive rock, jazz, disco, funk, metal, and electronic genres into a cohesive dance mix. Each band member has a keen musical ear and an uncanny talent to communicate with each other on stage.

Check out the concert REVIEW.

Special thanks to Paul Citone for allowing me to use his amazing concert photographs!

KNOW YOUR PROS: Jack Austin - Fashion Stylist

 Photo by Rudy Astudillo

Photo by Rudy Astudillo

Jack Austin is our featured industry professional for March 2018.

Austin hails from Melbourne, Australia but studied fashion in Los Angeles at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. He currently works as the Head Stylist at Astudillo Photography working alongside celebrity photographer Rudy Astudillo of TV Guide. Austin has worked with many Hollywood starlets and has had his work published in lookbooks and magazines worldwide.

Read more HERE.

Follow Jack Austin on Instagram.

Check out Jack Austin's website.

Valentines Day Song: The Brothers Johnson - "Strawberry Letter 23"

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The Brothers Johnson's "Strawberry Letter 23" is our Valentines Day 2018 song pick.

Check out our RECAP.

"Strawberry Letter 23" is a psychedelic transcendence into bliss. The lyrics paint a vivid, colorful imagery about the innocence of love. The heavenly harmonies swirl magically with the funky bass beats and hypnotic chimes. However, the real show stopper is Lee Ritenour's extensive trippy progressive rock layered guitar solo towards the end.

 

Animal Hope and Wellness Charity Event - A Dog's Night

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Last month the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation hosted A Dog’s Night at North Hollywood’s Federal Bar. Guests enjoyed a night of vegan appetizers, drinks, and live entertainment. Hosted by Kemble and Jen Walters, guests could participate in a silent auction to help raise money for the foundation. Auction items varied from gift cards to exclusive television set tours. All ticket and auction proceeds went directly to the foundation’s animal rehabilitation services.

DONATE

The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF) helps rescue abused and neglected animals, providing full rehabilitation services, and working to help find them new homes. The foundation has recently been focused on rescuing dogs from the Asian Dog Meat Trade.

Founder and CEO Marc Ching has made countless trips overseas to videotape and document evidence of the brutalities and torture of live dogs before they are slaughtered for human consumption.

 Marc Ching photo by Jessica Klausing

Marc Ching photo by Jessica Klausing

Ching has saved thousands of dogs, even going as far as risking his own life to smuggle them out of the slaughterhouses. By raising awareness, Ching and the AHWF team expose these barbaric rituals in order to enact change and force the government to create laws to protect these animals. Ching continues to fight for these dogs and to help the dog farm owners find new occupations.

AHWF has a few upcoming fundraiser EVENTS in March.

VOLUNTEERS are always more than welcome to stop by the foundation's headquarters in Sherman Oaks, California to help with the dogs.

Looking to ADOPT? Look no further than an AHWF rescue pup! Please READ the adoption process on the website.

 Petty Cash photo by Jessica Klausing

Petty Cash photo by Jessica Klausing

Petty Cash entertained guests with a powerhouse performance of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Johnny Cash covers. Setlist highlights included “Ring of Fire,” “Runnin Down a Dream,” and “I Won’t Back Down.”

Surprise musical guests joined onstage were Noodles (The Offspring), Kevin Martin (Candlebox), Mark Schulman (PINK), Brett Scallions (Fuel), Abby Gennet (Slunt), and Sean and Juliette Beavan (8MM).

 Noodles photo by Jessica Klausing

Noodles photo by Jessica Klausing

 Juliette Beavan photo by Jessica Klausing

Juliette Beavan photo by Jessica Klausing

 Kevin Martin photo by Jessica Klausing

Kevin Martin photo by Jessica Klausing

SONG REVIEW: Justin Levinson - "I'll Make It In Hollywood"

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Los Angeles based singer-songwriter Justin Levinson’s new single “I’ll Make It In Hollywood” promises he’ll do just that. Coupling the ambition to ‘make it big’ in the entertainment industry with doo-wop harmonies and touches of 60’s pop and soul, Levinson embodies the spirit of the struggling underdog: “I’ve been so tired lately/LA can wear you down sometimes/Working for survival while you try to keep your dreams alive.”

“I’ll Make It In Hollywood” is an endearing ballad that instantly soothes a soul, lifts a mood, and inspires a weary mind. The song strikes an inspirational chord of determination to overcome life’s obstacles and see a dream fulfilled. This track follows up his 2017 release, Yes Man.

Check out my interview with Justin Levinson HERE.

Purchase Justin’s music HERE.

Follow Justin Levinson:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

ALBUM REVIEW: Brick Briscoe - Songs To Yell To

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Brick Briscoe returns with his ninth studio album release, Songs To Yell To. The album is a restless continuation of Briscoe’s knack for brash post-punk songs about sexuality and identity, citing influences from The Ramones, Buzzcocks, and the 70’s era CBGB club scene. 

From the opening chords of the opener, “Give Me a Lift,” you’re pulled into a punk-fueled road trip that twists and turns, driven by Sal Maida’s bass and Frank Funaro’s rollicking drums. Of course, Briscoe is along for the ride with some tongue-in-cheek jabs like, “this haircut cost me 50 bucks and when they write about me, they’re gonna laugh. It’s their choice.”

Fan favorite “Jack the Ripper” returns stripped down, accompanied by a melancholic bass riff that permeates the track with a very different feel than the hard shredder version featured in the What Happened to Me (2000-2014) compilation album.

“Everybody Sings,” has a distinctly low-fi vibe similar to the likes of Guided By Voices. The melodious, punk rock trailblazer “5 Sick 7” follows with Joey Ramone stylized drumming.

No Brick Briscoe album is complete without snarky yet strangely relatable wisdom. Briscoe offers life advice in “I’m Not Impressed By This Life Very Much” with the lyric, “At 20, you suck/at 30, you suck/ at 40, you’re fucked.” Relationships are questioned in “The Great Maybe,” with, “Being with you never made any sense/though sometimes I like the way you dress/if I drink enough maybe I could reinvent you.”

Briscoe seems to acknowledge his offhanded remarks in “Constant Banging” with, “Nice ass/ those were the first words out of my mouth/ I say things I’m not proud of but I can’t help it.”

As Songs To Yell To winds down, it does so gently, with the reflective “Boys Keep Swinging.” An acoustic guitar accompanied by television noise playing in the background, while Briscoe reminisces about life being simpler as a young boy.

If you want to hear an album that captures the spirit of punk perfectly then Songs To Yell To would be a great choice. Brick Briscoe embraces the best elements of abrasive language and delivers it with guitar-driven fury.

Check out Brick’s radio show called “The Song Show.” Join Brick as he discusses various music topics with surprise musical guests. Listen HERE.

Purchase Brick's music HERE.

Recommended Tracks: “Jack the Ripper,” “Everybody Sings,” “5 Sick 7,” and “I’m Not Impressed By This Life Very Much.”

EP REVIEW: Xs & ARROWs - From Here

Written by Jessica Klausing

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Xs & ARROWs bring an acoustic charm to an EP filled with the infectious warmth of the desert sun. Courtney Lavender (vocals and guitar), Susan Peterson (bass), and Pam Bluestein (drums) guide listeners through a soul-searching journey, appropriately titled, From Here. The EP features soothing melodies with heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics.

The opener, “Missing,” kicks off the EP with a luscious laid back pop melody ready to lull you into summertime bliss. Vibrant and catchy, it’s a perfect listen for a sunset drive on a scenic route. The song is about the inner struggle of trying to let go of a complicated relationship. Lavender reflects this thought with “I never wanted you to be the only thing I see,” against a wailing electric guitar.

“Fire from Gold” is a tender ballad with lyrics almost suggestive of Native American folklore. Delicate finger-picking and percussion intertwine while the honey smooth vocals evoke comfort and positivity. Lavender sings, “No rush coyote/no rhyme coyote/no fear coyote/We are only blessed/There’s no devil in this hole.” Extremely calming and reassuring, it’s the kind of track that will put a smile on your face and fill your heart with hope.

“Par Ici” follows with a Cranberries-esque vibe that’s filled to the brim with angst. Sharp guitar work rips through the pummeling drums while harsher vocals wail out, “the walls all came down on me/They spit and they shout at me.”

 The closer, “Questions” is a piano centered meditation on relatable frustration and unresolved feelings. Glen Hansard lends his vocals to this heart- wrenching track. The accompaniment is simple which leaves all the attention on Hansard and Lavender’s passionate vocal delivery.

From Here is a self-reflective and passionate collection of tracks that touches on the Irish storytelling spirit. Warm harmonies and mellow guitar glide smoothly throughout the EP. Lavender uses her soft vocals to convey in heartbreak, drama, and emotion into all four songs creating a beautiful listen.

From Here is available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, and Spotify

All sale proceeds go to the Peter McVerry Trust, helping the homeless in Dublin.

Recommended Tracks: “Missing” and “Fire from Gold”

Kendrick Lamar's DAMN Collector's Edition

Written by Brody Duggson

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When Kendrick Lamar confirmed that DAMN can be played in reverse, I immediately threw “Blood” into Audacity and reversed the soundwave. What came out of my wireless headphones made no sense.

Then I realized Lamar meant “reverse order” not backwards.

In early December of 2017, Lamar released a collector’s edition of his seminal opus, and hopefully soon-to-be winner of the Grammy award for Album of the Year, DAMN.  The edition contains all the songs from DAMN, with no new production, in an order opposite of the original.

Instead of starting with “Blood” and ending with “Duckworth,” the collector’s edition begins with “Duckworth” and concludes with “Blood.”

It may sound like a distinction without a difference, but before it dropped in mid-April, conspiracies swirled that Lamar/DAMN had more to offer.

DAMN was introduced to the world on Good Friday.  One theory said Lamar will release another great album on Easter Sunday.  

A second conspiracy, this one piggybacking on a tweet by TDE producer Soundwav—“But what if I told you... that's not the official version…”—claimed more new material was forthcoming.

A tinfoil-hat-wearing fan theorized that Lamar’s next album would be titled "NATION." This appellation was inspired by acrostics made from some of the last letters of DAMN’s tracks. 

By the way, those phrases were “Earth Led 2 Death” and “Death 4 Leader.”

Many “KenFolk” immediately recognized that the last line of DAMN’s finale, “Duckworth,” is the first line of DAMN’s opener, “Blood.”  Some concluded that those songs were connected, and the tracks in between, are Lamar struggling with a slew of contradictory ideas.

Releasing his masterpiece with a reverse track order may seem a bit underwhelming, but it does satisfy those who believed there was always more to DAMN than originally assumed.

Our cynical side says the collector’s edition is nothing more than a money grab.  After all, the power to listen to DAMN in reverse order is inside of all us.  Well, inside our media players.

There’s reason to applaud Lamar’s efforts.  By releasing his album with a different track order, he forces listeners to accept DAMN as a single work of art and not a collection of interchangeable singles.

There was a time when listening to an album out of its original order meant putting on side B before side A.

Nowadays, it’s a piece of cake to listen to albums out of order.  It’s just as easy to listen to them randomly, as part of a playlist with a bazillion other songs, or piecemeal—just download the songs you like.

Taylor Swift Builds 'Reputation' At Jingle Balls

Written by Brody Duggson

 Taylor Swift photo courtesy of HollywoodLife.com 

Taylor Swift photo courtesy of HollywoodLife.com 

On Dec. 1, Taylor Swift returned to the stage for the first time in ten months.  She was the headlining act at the KIIS FM’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2017 in Los Angeles.

Eight days later, she fulfilled the same role at a similar event in New York City, although that iHeartRadio ball was produced by Z100.  Then, the next night, she participated in the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball in London.

The three mini-concerts foreshadow the superstar’s upcoming concert trek.  “Taylor Swift’s Reputation Stadium Tour” kicks off May 8, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona.  The singer will then visit Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Atlanta as well as several other cities in North America.

As of now, her final U.S. date is Oct. 8 in Arlington, Texas.  She’ll finish her tour with five stops in Australia and New Zealand.

Swift is hitting the road to support her sixth studio album, Reputation. The album dropped on Nov. 10 and sold two million copies during its first week of release.

All three Jingle Ball performances were punctuated by the singer’s high energy, a cadre of backup dancers, and fashion-forward outfits.

There are absolutely no traces of the singer’s country roots.  She’s the world’s biggest pop star and a full-on force of nature who’s in the prime of her career.

Swift’s setlist included “Shake It Off,” “I Don't Want to Live Forever," “Ready For It,” and "Look What You Made Me Do."  

 Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift perform "End Game." Photo courtesy of Variety.com 

Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift perform "End Game." Photo courtesy of Variety.com 

The highlight of her L.A. appearance was her duet with pal Ed Sheeran.  It was the first time the superstars had ever performed “End Game” live.  Swift and Sheeran must have enjoyed their performance because they repeated it in The City That Never Sleeps.

Actress Katie Holmes, and her daughter Siri Cruise, introduced Swift prior to her Big Apple shindig.

Another visitor of note was Joe Alwyn, Swift’s current boyfriend.  In London, attendees saw them steal a kiss during Sheeran’s performance.  In Metropolis, after the ball, the couple was seen holding hands.

Mother Nature got in on the act in London.  We’ll have Taylor Swift explain:

“Guys, it snowed today!  That is all I’ve been talking about today is the fact that it snowed today on the morning of Jingle Bell Ball. It’s so perfect!”

While Swift’s music, performances, and life reveal consistent maturity, the previous quote reminds us that she’s still a down-to-Earth girl From Reading, Pennsylvania. 

Regardless of how many diva-like and artistic elements she adds to her repertoire, the performer can always charm our socks off.