Friday, January 29, 2016

The Energy Talks Brooklyn, DIY, & More

>> It goes without saying that pursuing a career as a musician is no easy task. Staying true to yourself and your fans on top of maintaining some sort of hype can be overwhelming, and not every band is meant to last. Brooklyn-based rockers The Energy definitely break that mold through channeling the true spirit of rock 'n' roll. The group has been together for nearly a decade and they're gearing up to release their 5th studio album, titled When We Were Young, later this year. A lot has changed since the band first formed and things haven't always been simple, but these four musicians are determined to keep making the music they truly care about.

>> Guitarist Ian VanderMeulen recently shared the band's history as well as his thoughts on how things have shifted in the industry while the group has been active. Read about their New York roots, the significance behind When We Were Young, and goals for the future below.


How did The Energy come together? What led to pursuing music as more than a hobby?
The band indeed started as a cover band roughly ten years ago, but quickly turned to writing originals, recording records, and touring to promote them, the real bread and butter of any original band. So the band was already a pretty serious project—much more than a hobby—before I joined, about eight years ago. I had come from a conservatory background but had also been writing a lot of music that fit stylistically with what the guys had been doing—guitar-driven, commercially viable rock but with depth, with soul. When I joined, the fit was glove tight, personally and musically. We shared a diverse set of musical tastes, from classic acts like Led Zeppelin and U2 to the grunge era to more contemporary stuff. And we also shared a seriousness about what we were doing—a desire to “make it” in a pretty fickle industry while also remaining dedicated to the artistry of what we do. I think that led to a lot of experimentation on Realize Your Sin, my first album with the band, and more self-consciously commercial approach on Streets of In-Between, the album that came after. It feels in many ways like we’ve come full circle on When We Were Young—the songs are heavier and more experimental again, but still catchy.

How would you describe your local music scene? Do you think being based in Brooklyn has influenced your sound and style?
The music scene in Brooklyn is incredibly diverse, but indie rock and hip-hop are probably two that come to most peoples’ minds when they think of the borough. I think the indie rock scene in Brooklyn is internally quite diverse, and we take maybe an “older school” approach, really relying on a core guitar-bass-drums setup, with very little in the way of synthesizer or special effects. We also have our own fist pump to the hip-hop scene by having the up-and-coming MC Kid G4shi on the new album. That collaboration grew fairly naturally out of having him sit in on a couple of our big headline shows. Beyond that, though, historically Brooklyn has more of a “working class” reputation, and I think that’s been an subtle influence too. Our approach has always been centered on performing—hitting the road, playing shows, and connecting with fans directly. At our peak we’ve done 100 shows a year. And when we’re not out on the road we’re always writing, always working on our craft. So I’d like to think we embody that Brooklyn work ethic. But I moved to Queens about a year ago, so we’ll see, I hope that doesn’t change!

What major changes have you experienced in the industry throughout your near decade as a band?
The music scene has certainly changed a lot, in both global and local senses. One of the big local changes a while back that hit really close to home was the Knitting Factory’s move from the West Village out to Brooklyn. You might think we’d be psyched, as a Brooklyn based band. But the Manhattan location was really the New York venue where The Energy grew the most, both before and immediately after I joined. Selling out that room became an important stepping-stone to headlining bigger New York venues like Gramercy, Highline Ballroom, and Irving Plaza. So it was kind of a shock when it closed. Social media has of course been huge as well. We’ve also certainly followed the shift away from MySpace—which used to be a huge part of our media game—toward more emphasis on Facebook and now SoundCloud as ways to connect with fans.

How have those changes influenced the way you operate as a group?
Although we certainly continue to play sort of traditional club shows, we have tried to mix things up with more DIY kinds of productions as well. One thing we’ve done a lot of is smaller acoustic shows, sometimes in an art gallery or similar space, with catering and cash bar that we organize. It brings us closer our most loyal fans and it’s also a contrast to the bigger electric shows—which we also love—so it stretches us as musicians and performers. We’ve also done some private parties. Obviously, seeking out these kinds of opportunities often requires making connections beyond the normal or established “music industry” networks, which is perhaps another way the industry has changed. Even our headline club shows we often put together the entire bill, and choose the other acts not just based on style or genre but who we like working with. That more personalized approach may seem counterintuitive in such a social media-driven age, but maybe that’s just how we stay rebellious!



How did you do things differently with your upcoming album, When We Were Young? What made writing and recording this release stand out for you?
As I said, the finished product feels like we’ve come full circle, and I think a lot of that has to do with the process. The songs were written and recorded over a longer period of time than on the previous two albums, so I think there was more opportunity to polish them, or even test them out live during our shows. We’ve always been independent, never on a record label, but I think in the past we’ve operated like we were—deadlines, get the product finished, out the door, etc. It really is rewarding to take our time with a project like this. Looking back, its amazing how cohesive this group of songs turned out, and I think that’s a result of sort of finding “our sound,” even though it’s still someone eclectic. In that sense it’s interesting that we decided to call the album When We Were Young—and feature pictures of our younger selves in the album artwork—even though the album feels like our most “mature” effort yet.

What is the main goal with this new album? What do you hope listeners will get from these tunes?
This is not just hyperbole—there really is something for everyone on this album. Unless you just don’t like rock n’ roll, which is your own problem. A bunch of the songs are just heavy—big guitars, big choruses. I think “California Sun” is the only time we’ve ever had a “shout” chorus with a bunch of people in the studio all singing. I also get to wail a bit more—longer solos and more of them. So that’s fun. The title track starts out all smoky and mysterious but the chorus is just bursting with heat. I remember I wasn’t crazy about Adam’s lyrics when we first wrote the song, and then when he sang it in the studio they were totally different and just hit me right in the gut. It’s really kind of a desperate plea for a more direct and honest type of relation—so incredibly personal and political at the same time. And as an antidote to all the riffage we close with “Little Man,” which is kind of Adam’s lullaby to his first-born son. Every rocker has to have one of those, don’t you agree?

What's next for The Energy?
We’ve kind of slowed down our pace during the process of recording this album, at least in terms of touring. So I think we’re eager to start playing out a more again, connecting with audiences directly, the best way we know how. We’re also hoping to snag some higher profile placements in other entertainment media—film, TV, etc. This is one aspect of our game plan that’s been a bit lacking. I think the depth and diversity of our sound is a double-edged sword in that kind of market. We have a lot of different sounding songs that would work in a variety of settings, but that also makes it more difficult to pigeonhole us—to say, “The Energy sounds like X, so let’s use them for Y.” 

Is there anything else you'd like to say? 
Just that we all hope the new album turns you on in some way. And if you do find yourself at an Energy show for the first time (or the many-eth time) in the coming months, don’t be a stranger. We’re all approachable dudes and love to connect with fans directly.

- Kate Russell



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Monday, January 25, 2016

Rare Futures (formerly Happy Body Slow Brain) Announce New Album



>> Let's open with a brief timeline, shall we? After being a member of Taking Back Sunday for the band's New Again album cycle, Matt Fazzi left (for one reason or another) and went on to pursue numerous other projects. While he played with Atlas Genius, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, NK, and others, his own project always had his heart. That project was Happy Body Slow Brain, and their 2010 album Dreams of Water went over swimmingly (pun intended). HBSB teased a follow-up album for over a year without an official release date in sight. Then, last month, fans were surprised with an announcement. Going forward, HBSB would be known as Rare Futures, and today we discovered that the mysterious and highly anticipated album will finally see the light of day.

>> Rare Futures will release their new album, titled This Is Your Brain On Love, on March 4th, 2016. The album features fellow TBS alum Matt Rubano who plays bass on a handful of tracks as well as guest vocals from Gavin Castleton. The band just unveiled a fresh teaser video for the album as well as the lead single, "The Pressure." Pre-orders are available now via rarefuturesmusic.com and each option includes the enchanting single as an instant download. Watch the teaser, stream the song, and stay tuned for more.




This Is Your Brain On Love Track listing:
1. ////ove
2. Reminding Me To Live
3. Ride The Snake
4. Mercury [And Opposite Planets]
5. The Pressure
6. Cool My Mind | Reverie
7. Worst Thing I've Ever Done
8. This Is Your Future [Lost In A Black Hole]
9. Your Past
10. Hope [Feat. Gavin Castleton]
11. You're An Island
12. Standing On The Precipice
13. Not Giving Up Yet



- Kate Russell

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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Panic! At The Disco and Weezer To Co-Headline Summer Tour



>> Summer tours are known for awesome line ups and killer tunes, and this new announcement is no exception. Two bands that have undergone fairly tremendous sonic changes since their inceptions are co-headlining a tour, and if we're being honest here, Team TMO is thrilled.

>> On the heels of releasing their latest album, Death Of A Bachelor, Panic! At The Disco just announced that they'll be spending their summer on the road with Weezer. The two will co-headline a full US run starting June 10th with Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness along as direct support. Tickets go on sale on Friday January 22nd at 10am local time, with Weezer's pre-order starting on Tuesday January 19th for those subscribed to their mailing list. Scope the full list of dates below!

Tour Dates:
June 10 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
June 11 - Corpus Christi, TX @ Concrete Street Amphitheater*
June 12 - New Orleans, LA @ Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square
June 14 - Miami, FL @ Bayfront Park Amphitheater
June 15 - Tampa, FL @ Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater
June 16 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
June 19 - Daniel Island, SC @ Volvo Cars Stadium
June 20 - Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
June 21 - Raleigh, NC @ Walnut Creek Amphitheater
June 22 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
June 24 - Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
June 25 - Canandaigua, NY @ Constellation Brands – Marvin Sands PAC
June 26 - Scranton, PA @ Pavilion at Montage Mountain
June 28 - Gilford, NH @ Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook
June 30 - Wantagh, NY @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
July 01 - Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
July 02 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
July 05 - Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
July 06 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
July 08 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 09 - Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest - Marcus Amphitheater
July 10 - Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 12 - Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
July 13 - Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater
July 15 - Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
July 16 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Amphitheater*
July 17 - Rogers, AR @ Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion
July 19 - Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 20 - Kansas City, MO @ Starlight Theatre
July 22 - Brandon, SD @ Badlands Motor Speedway*
July 23 - Council Bluffs, IA @ Harrah’s Hotel & Casino Council Bluffs - Stir Cove*
July 24 - Englewood, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
July 26 - Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
July 28 - Burnaby, BC @ Festival Lawn at Deer Lake Park
July 29 - Redmond, WA @ Marymoor Park
July 30 - Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield
July 31 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre*
Aug 02 - Phoenix, AZ @ AK-Chin Pavilion
Aug 03 - Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre*
Aug 05 - Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl
Aug 06 - Irvine, CA @ Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre

*Weezer and Panic! At The Disco only




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Andrew McMahon: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Weezer: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Panic!: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Steel Panther Release New Video, Announce Live CD/DVD



>> Outrageous glam rockers Steel Panther are shaking things up in a brand new way thanks to a new release and bassist Lexxi Fox's mom. The band is set to drop Live From Lexxi's Mom's Garage, a full-length film featuring a live ten song acoustic set among other various shenanigans, on February 26th.  For those unfamiliar, the fellas are known for raw, in-your-face, and often NSFW lyrics on top of a clearly unrivaled fashion sense. For a taste of what's to come with the new CD/DVD, watch Steel Panther's acoustic performance of their latest single, "That's When You Came In."




>> Pre-order Live Fro Lexxi's Mom's Garage through several different bundle options here, or on iTunes here



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Friday, January 8, 2016

The Rocket Summer To Release 'Zoetic' in February



>> The Rocket Summer is officially back in action! Musical mastermind Bryce Avary has been quiet on the album front for quite some time, with the exception of a stunning live album released in 2014. His brand new album, titled Zoetic, is set for release through Aviate Records on February 26, 2016. "The word 'zoetic' is defined as 'of or relating to life. Living, vital, alive'... which to me is how this album sounds and feels," Avary explains, and that's not the only reason this album is so intriguing.

>> Avary is best known for the classic jams off his debut album, Calendar Days, and 2007's Do You Feel, but this artist is looking to create without simply following previous formulas. "There wasn't any kind of deliberate attempt to make something that would be this different from my past records," Avary states. "I just knew that I wanted to tear down any barriers, including the subconscious ones, and make a record that had no rules. So I just followed the songs that were coming out of me and made sure there were no boundaries in the process of arranging and recording them. That approach allowed me the freedom to push myself to make sure everything that was being recorded would be something new and unique."

>> Zoetic is currently available for pre-order, and opting-in now comes with an immediate download of the project's first single, "Same Air." There's also a tour in the works to celebrate the release, so stay tuned for those details! For now, check out the album's artwork and track listing below.



Zoetic Track Listing:

01)  Cold War
02)  Same Air (*watch the video here!)
03)  UNI
04)  Help Me Out
05)  Get Over It
06)  White Fireworks
07)  You Are, You Are
08)  FL, CA
09)  Rule of Thirds Kind of Life
10)  Sharks
11)  Emergency Landing







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Monday, December 28, 2015

A Side Note from Jaeger Wells

>> Happy Holidays, everyone! This time of year comes with reflection, resolution, and of course relaxation.  It seems like the perfect time to launch a new feature where artists get to discuss what's on their mind, so allow me to introduce you to Side Note. Houston-based singer / songwriter Jaeger Wells is kicking off this feature for us, and after touring to support his Fever Dream Anthology EP, he has a lot of great thoughts to share.


I am currently sitting in my apartment with the lights off, staring at the lights on the house across the street from me. It is a couple days before Christmas and I have been back from tour for about a week now. While most people really look forward to this time of year to see their families and loved ones, I have always found myself more excited about the impending new year. It is pretty incredible how fast 2015 has flown; as it seems just like yesterday I was sitting in my old apartment wondering if the year would beat back the things I’d like to forget from 2014. Over the last decade, I have tried to fully embrace the eery magic that the start of a new calendar year entails - where you almost feel like a snake shedding its skin (technically still the same, yet vastly different). It can be tough, and most people try to plan out what they want to accomplish with resolutions. Resolutions always have the best intentions but most of the time never turn into action. Personally they seem pretty constrictive - with all your focus being on those one or two things you resolve to do. Every new year provides not only another year of experience being a human on this world, but another year of unknown experiences and memories to be made. 

To all the readers of The Music Obsession - I challenge you to think of 2016 as a clean slate; where there is so much newness around that you want to take it all in. I want you to close your eyes and dive head first into the unknown of what 2016 will bring you. Don’t limit yourself to resolutions; because the things you experience and the choices you make from those will shape you into the person you will be over the year. I started 2015 with that mentality and it has helped me to have some of the best experiences in my life. So, in conclusion - I hope you take a deep breath embrace the newness of 2016 with arms wide open.    - Jaeger Wells



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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Let's Get Festive!

>> It's that time of year again, folks! While it doesn't exactly feel like Christmas time here in New York, we're only a few days out from the big holiday. In anticipation for the annual season of cheer, several artists have taken it upon themselves to release songs to fit the feeling of December. This is only a handful of the stellar holiday songs out there, so be sure to check these out and share your favorites - old and new!


ORIGINALS

>> Night Argent - "Cold (Carol of the Bells)"

A Message from Night Argent:
"We wanted to do something special as a thank you to all of you for such an amazing year! We've recorded our own unique take on one of the holiday classics. It's so easy to get wrapped up and swept away in the excitement of the holidays that we sometimes forget that winter is one of the most difficult and dangerous times for those of us without food, shelter, and warmth. You can help raise awareness and #FightTheCold by joining us in donating clothes, time, and/or your talents to your local homeless shelters and missions. Thank you for all of your love and support, we can't wait to see what the next year has in store!"



>> The Drama State - "It's Starting To Hurt A Lot Like Christmas"

A Message from The Drama State:
"I wrote this song around the time I spent my first Christmas alone out of a long-term relationship. I’ve never been a fan of Christmas or the holiday season in general. Winters in Indiana are usually pretty bad, so not only was it cold outside but it seemed like my whole life was infused with this stale, frigid kind of feeling. So I wrote this song in an attempt to release some of that." - Vocalist Ryan Diskey




>> Stellar Young - "No Presents But Your Presence"



COVERS

>> The Holidaze (Members of All Time Low, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, 5 Seconds of Summer, Goldfinger) - "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"

A Message from Alex Gaskarth:
Hello my loves! Around this time last year, me and some good friends thought it'd be fun to record a holiday jam for the world to hear. We lit a fire, made hot chocolate, and put our musical spin on a holiday classic, with producer genius, John Feldmann at the helm! We all knew we wanted to do something special with it to help people, so we decided to wait until this year to give everyone a listen! We've been working with Ryan Seacrest Foundation to raise money for an amazing cause, so we ask that in return for this track, you donate whatever you can spare to the foundation. Please follow the links and give whatever you can!

Big thanks to Ashton (5 Seconds of Summer), Joel (Good Charlotte), Pierre (Simple Plan), and John (Goldfinger) for collaborating on this with me! Holiday super groups are the best kind!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and thanks for listening! Hope you enjoy!

Xo
Alex

You can donate to The Ryan Seacrest Foundation here: http://ryanseacrestfoundation.org/make-a-donation


>> Sheppard - "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" Cover


>> Fable Cry - "Kidnap The Sandy Claws"



>> Enjoy these tunes and of course, let us know which are your holiday favorites! Happy Holidays, everyone. Thanks for another year of amazing support. Cheers to 2016! xoxo, Kate


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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

New Acts Announced for the So What?! Festival


>> Formerly known as South by So What?!, The So What?! Music Festival is returning to Grand Prairie, Texas for its 9th year on March 19th and 20th! Previously announced headliners include Underoath, New Found Glory, Bayside, and that's only the beginning. Dance Gavin Dance, Silverstein, Unwritten Law, Hail The Sun, Slaves, A Lot Like Birds, and even more have been added to an already thrilling line-up. 

>> The So What?! Music Festival takes place just a few hours away from Austin, Texas and clearly this line-up makes a trip worthwhile. See the list of acts performing below!



>> For more information, and for your chance to grab So What?! Tickets visit sowhatmusicfestival.com. Single day tickets are $50, weekend passes begin at $75, with VIP packages starting at $150.

- Jody Seidel and Kate Russell


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