Sunday, June 16, 2019

Greetings from 2019!: An Overview

>> Hello, hello! Greetings from 2019! This lil blog hasn't been updated in well over a year and it was time to change that. I have no idea how often I'll update this going forward, but figured I'd start with an update on where life has taken me on my adventures in music.

>> Currently, I'm working at Fearless Records which is a dream come true. I run the socials for the label and do a lot more as half of the digital marketing team. If you've read any classic post from this blog, you'll know I used to street team for Fearless and review virtually all of the releases... so it's pretty sweet that I get to be a part of those releases on the label side now. I also get to work with a few unsigned artists in my spare time, including Patent Pending and Makeshift. It's the best of all worlds.

>> This blog started in 2008 as a fun way to keep track of and share the music that inspired me. Looking back eleven years later, it was the beginning of my wild journey in this wild industry. From writer to publicist to digital marketer to some combination of the three, I wouldn't change a thing. 

>> I recently started a small thread on Twitter where I've been highlighting awesome artists - mostly friends, all worth hearing - and that inspired this return to ye olde Music Obsession. I suppose the goal as of now is to start using this platform again to highlight the incredibly talented artists in my life and see if it grows from there. My inbox still gets flooded with daily press releases - which I love, don't get me wrong - but if you have a passion project that deserves a spotlight, let me know. And if you see this post, tweet me a hell yeah or something. 


The Music Obsession

Kate Russell

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Live Highlights of 2017

>> 2017 was a wild year all around. I started working at a major label that I had wanted to work at for years, my writing was published in print for the first time, and I had my first taste of touring. While there wasn't time to keep this site updated, there was plenty to share.

Kasador @ The KEE to Bala - September 2 & 3 
I had the pleasure of seeing Kasador in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Buffalo, Muskoka, Montreal, and Toronto this year in addition to spending time with them in Kingston and Waterloo, too. They’ve come to New York so often this year and it’s been amazing to see the difference from last January to now, to watch the set list change and see them play in so many different settings. Every Kasador show is a special one, but the back to back days at The KEE to Bala were some of my favorite days of 2017 by far. Spending a week in Canada with these guys was incredible and I’m excited for the next time I get to hit the road with them. (Video)
BONUS - Ballroom Bowl in Toronto on NYE. Couldn’t have asked for a better way to start 2018.

Raleigh Ritchie @ The Bowery Ballroom - May 1
I first heard Raleigh Ritchie about two years ago, and I have been listening daily ever since. He has a song for every mood - softer thoughtful tunes, heavier hip hop tracks, and the smoothest R&B jams. All perfect. This show at Bowery Ballroom was his first show in the US and I was so excited to be there to witness the moment. I got to attend with two of my favorite people, and the show was incredible. His energy was unreal and it was so wonderful getting to see him as excited as the audience. Truly unforgettable, and I can’t wait for him to return to NY.

Patent Pending @ Playstation Theater - March 10
I’ve known the guys in Patent Pending for nearly a decade, and they’re some of the greatest people I know. They made a song and video a few years back to try convincing Simple Plan take them on tour. It finally happened this year (!!) and it all started with the Pendings opening for SP in New York City two days before my birthday. It’s by far the biggest show I’ve seen them play over the years and I’ve never been more proud. Side note: Shout out to this band for including my lil face in the album artwork for Other People's Greatest Hits and for covering "Spice Up Your Life" at my request. 
BONUS - Save Each Other anniversary show on 12/22 at Revolution. The room was packed with so many friends, and being surrounded by so many amazing people with such positive energy was unreal. It made me remember why I loved growing up in the Long Island music scene which is a reminder I definitely needed.

Nick Jonas @ Archway Under the Manhattan Bridge - August 15
Working at Island Records has been the greatest, and one of the beautiful perks was seeing Nick Jonas perform a super special set underneath the Manhattan Bridge. He performed “Find You” for the first time in addition to the ultimate jams like “Jealous.” It was really special getting to see an artist I love perform an intimate set with coworkers and teammates (and Pete Wentz) by my side. 

With The Punches, Keep Flying @ Foreclosure Fest - April 30
I’ve lost touch with pop punk to a certain degree. I don’t go to as many local shows on Long Island now that my schedule is always so slammed, and I’m working in the land of pop. Going to this house show in New Jersey and seeing so many great friends and people equally passionate about one of my favorite pop punk bands was the exact reunion I needed with the scene. With The Punches will forever hold a special place in my heart, and getting to sing along to their songs from the front row one more time was the absolute best. The ultimate bonus was getting to support the amazing guys in Keep Flying at this event. So many people drove out to show love for these guys and for good reason. The energy was wild and so full of love that day and I would have been devastated if I had missed it.

The Glorious Sons @ Mercury Lounge - November 15
The guys in Kasador recommended I listen to The Glorious Sons who are also from Kingston, and I am so glad they did. This band RIPS. They released their album ‘Young Beauties And Fools’ this year which I still can’t stop listening to. Mercury is definitely a more intimate setting compared to the venues they play in Canada - for reference, they sold out the K-Rock Centre in Kingston which is sure to be an amazing show in February - so seeing them live for the first time in a small room like that was a treat. 

Heavy English, Rare Futures @ The Studio @ Webster - June 10
Admittedly, I never thought I’d get to see Heavy English live. Their album Pop Wasteland is an incredible piece of art that I had the opportunity to help support, and I’m still thrilled I got to hear those songs performed live at one of my favorite venues. That combined with a set from my favs in Rare Futures? Can’t beat it!

Fall Out Boy @ Elvis Duran’s Summer Bash on 34th St - July 27
Another incredible Island perk is working with one of my favorite bands. Fall Out Boy performed on a stage on the street in front of Madison Square Garden for a Z100 event. Not only did I get to see the show, but I actually got to pop into the photo pit for some social content. The Empire State Building was directly behind the stage, and it lit up purple in honor of the band's forthcoming album MANIA. It was such a unique moment that combined two things I love so, so much - NYC and FOB.

Joywave @ The Bowery Ballroom - November 14
Joywave released one of my favorite albums this year. It was introspective and catchy and overall everything I wanted in an album, so naturally I had it on repeat for days at a time. Seeing those songs live in addition to the jams from their last album was the best, especially since it had been about two years since the last time I saw them. I attended their 2015 show at Bowery Ballroom with my cousin Mark who actually passed a few months later, so seeing them in 2017 at the same venue without him was strange yet beautiful. I'm very glad I got to keep the tradition alive in some way. Go make me happy and listen to the album Content, okay? It's flawless.

Texas King @ Maxwells - September 7
I first met Texas King in April of 2016 at Launch Music Conference. This show in September was the first time I’d seen them since then, and it was the best! I have Texas King to thank for telling me about Kasador, and in a full circle moment, I got to see TK play a sweet show with Kasador’s frontman Will on my last night of my first trip to Canada. It was really stellar seeing them play songs I’d listened to and loved for over a year, and I’m genuinely thrilled to have these guys as friends. They've finally released their album Circles and I'd highly recommend giving that a spin.

Honorable Mentions
Envy On The Coast (ft Matt Fazzi!) @ Brooklyn Bazaar (March 17) & Mulcahy’s (Dec 23)
The Killers @ Brooklyn Steel (September 19) & Global Citizen Fest (September 23)
Enter Shikari @ Rough Trade - September 30
Bishop Briggs @ Music Hall of Williamsburg - December 11
The Beaches @ Brooklyn Steel - October 25
Steel Panther @ Irving Plaza - April 6
Makeshift @ Millennium Music Conference - February 27
Tove Lo @ Irving (June 2) & @ Elsewhere (Nov 17)
Dean Lewis, BANNERS @ Mercury Lounge - November 7
Ocean Park Standoff, Silversun Pickups @ Jones Beach - June 24

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Interview with Deaf Poets

>>  Deaf Poets are a garage rock band from Miami, FL. While that's not the musical norm where they're from, Sean Wouters (Lead Vocals/Guitar) and Nico Espinosa (Vocals/Percussion) never let that stop them from creating in their own way. Having just released their stunning album, titled Lost In Magic City, the dynamic duo is an act that needs to be on your radar. Read our interview with the duo below, and be sure to pick up a copy of the album if you haven't already.

How long have you guys been making music together?
Nico: In Sean's room while we were recording the album, I was sitting there thinking, we’ve been making music in this room for thirteen or fourteen years. We were thirteen when we started playing together in different projects. We finished the record there, we’re already writing the new one, and it feels like it’s just a circle. We’ve been going on and off with different bands for a while we know each other so well.

And I’m sure your writing styles have evolved together since you’ve been together so long.
Sean: Our influences consistently change. Nico loves Kendrick, I love My Morning Jacket. Our influences always vary but when it goes back to what we really love and our roots it’s always gonna be classic rock, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, all those kinds of sounds and tones that’s what we’re trying to do.

Your song "Celestine" is really gripping. What were your favorite parts about shooting the video for the song?
Nico: We worked with two guys actually in New York  called Dogs of Passion, two Russian dudes that came to the states to do music videos and they got in contact with us and they had this whole concept. We tweaked it a little and it was really fun, and it looks like it was big budget but it was one camera and a couple lights

Sean: It was very DIY, but it worked out perfectly, the special effects were cool too.

Tell us about your latest single, "King (Don't Matter)."
Sean: It’s one of the most recent songs we ended up writing when we were finishing up the album. We wrote them about a month and a half before we did the finalization of it so it was the last addition to the album. It's kind of like a nostalgic heavy rock and roll song, reminiscent of bands were into like Nirvana and so on.

How do those two songs represent the full project?
Nico: It’s actually a good representation of what the whole album is. There’s probably "Celestine" and one more song that’s slow, and everything else is kind of fast paced, just like "King (Don’t Matter)." We figured it’s good contrast - we release something slow and something fast so you can get an idea of what we do.

Do you guys have a favorite track off the record?
Sean: For me, "King (Don’t Matter)" for sure.

Nico: For me I have to say "Eighty Eight" is one of my favorite tracks. "Are You DP", the first song, is one of my favorite tracks too. I love playing it live more than anything.

Sean: The whole album has a very live feel and that’s what we’re trying to capture, a very massive big sound but also a live feel to it.

Did you make a point of maintain that live feeling while recording?
Sean: Simplicity was what we were trying to get with it. We felt like with our last album we had, not necessarily overproduced it, but we put a lot of pieces in it and with this one we wanted to represent what we do live exactly in the recording. So that was the main direction - to have a heavy rock and roll album that once we played it live, it sounds exactly like that.

Nico: We wanted to have the live feel to it and have imperfections, they were welcome. If we were off beat, it’s rock and roll it doesn’t matter! It’s not meant to be perfect and that’s what we really like about it.

Sean: We wanted to go back to our roots, how we started music. There was a point in our projects where we were looking to perfect certain things, it has to be this it has to be that, but when we first started music it was just playing some rock and roll. It’s the same thing at this point, with this album we wanted to do that exact kind of thing.

You guys have personal touches on the record, but I really like the personal touches you have with the merch for this tour, too.
Sean: I think that’s essentially what it is, we really wanted to be completely behind every little piece of the band.

Nico: I guess we worked retail for so long that we already had an idea of how to market it. Everything that we do - the shirts and the crop tops and everything - we make everything ourselves. It has our own hand finish to it.

For anyone who doesn’t know your band yet what would you want them to know about you? 
Sean: Easy thing is that we’re a rock band and is our new website. Nico made it and it has everything - all of our social media pages, our new youtube page - everything that’s on it is exactly who we are.

Nico: We’re just two dudes who like playing music, two childhood friends doing what we love. Come to a show, have a beer with us! And we just want to thank anyone who helped us and our team behind the scenes.

- Interview by Kate Russell

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Found Glory Release "Party On Apocalypse" Video

>> If you’ve ever wondered where you’d want to be when the world ends, ponder no more. New Found Glory have won the coveted title of “Most Happenin’ Apocalypse Preppers” with their new video for “Party On Apocalypse.” This party has everything: an underground tunnel, nuclear fallout, skeletons, a dance off… and most importantly, a reminder that even if the end is near, your friends are always closer.

>> Echoing the sentiments of a nervous generation, guitarist Chad Guilbert notes, “Is the end of the world near...? It sure feels like it sometimes. If the end is inevitable, haven't you thought about rounding up all the people you love for a celebration? A Party On Apocalypse. This video was intended to feel like a 2002 TRL video, trapped in a Hollywood Apocalypse gritty film. Try to be a light in a dark place!

>> The band is currently on the road on their 20 Years of Pop Punk anniversary tour which wraps up on May 18th, and their new album, Makes Me Sick, drops on April 28th. Get more information on both via

-  Written by Emily Becker

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Side Saddle Release "Dog In The Night"

Photo Credit: David F Choy

>> Having made a name for themselves in their beloved Astoria music scene, Side Saddle just released a brand new song and video to further highlight their signature indie rock goodness. Their latest tune, "Dog In The Night," marks the beginning of a new phase for the band as they relocate to Boston, MA, and you can see the video for it below. 

>> Side Saddle was the grand prize winner of Silver Sound Showdown 7 which allowed to them create the "Dog In The Night" video with unparalleled director Fletcher Wolfe. The stunning visuals perfectly match the energy of the song itself, making this something worth watching again and again.

>> New to Side Saddle? Be sure to give their 2016 album Stunner a listen and stay tuned for what they release next.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Steel Panther Announce 2017 Girls In A Row Tour

>>Get your shockers ready: Steel Panther is coming out with a new album, titled Lower The Bar, on March 24th. To properly celebrate, the band is hitting the road for their 2017 Girls In A Row Tour shortly after. Catch metal's favorite hooligans performing songs from the new album as well as classics starting April 5th. Tickets go on sale Friday 2/17 with dates and details available here.

>> Get hyped for the tour by watching the band's latest raunchy video for "Poontang Boomerang" here!

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

From First To Last Release "Make War" with Sonny Moore

>> From First To Last just released a new song with former frontman Sonny Moore for the first time in a decade. Moore, who further made a name for himself as Skrillex after his time with the band, shared the song as a gift to fans on his birthday (January 15). Stream it below:

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From First To Last: Facebook | Twitter
Skrillex: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
*Download "Make War" on iTunes here

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Kasador Announce 2017 Tour Dates

Photo credit: Taylor Simon Photography

>> Having released their charming self-titled EP in 2016, indie rock band Kasador have announced a tour slated for early next year. The Ontario natives will be performing throughout Canada and the United States starting on January 12th, and I highly recommend catching at least one of these shows. See the full list of dates and watch the group's video for the groovy "Talk About It" below!

Kasador 2017 Tour Dates:
Jan 12 – Ottawa, ON – LIVE on Elgin
Jan 13 – Hamilton, ON – Stonewalls Restaurant Hamilton
Jan 14 – Waterloo, ON – Maxwell's Concerts & Events
Jan 19 – Buffalo, NY – Tralf Music Hall
Jan 20 – Watertown, NY – The Flashback Lounge
Jan 21 – Burlington, VT – Radio Bean
Jan 22 – Brooklyn, NY – Gold Sounds
Jan 26 – Kingston, ON – The Brooklyn
Jan 27 – Toronto, ON – Adelaide Hall
Jan 28 – Burlington, ON – The Dickens
Feb 02 – Brooklyn, NY – The Well
Feb 03 – New York, NY – PIANOS
Feb 04 - Philadelphia, PA – The Fire
Feb 09 – Guelph, ON – Jimmy Jazz

>> For the month of December, you can download Kasador's self-titled project for free. Snag the tunes at

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