Monday, July 29, 2013

Feature: NGHBRS Release 'Twenty One Rooms'

>> I love artists that make a name for themselves.  Rather than being labeled simply 'a band of this genre' or 'a band from that state,' I like bands that gain recognition for making music they're proud of.  Personally, I enjoy artists that don't fit one genre, or ones that could potentially be categorized as more than one genre.  If an individual song can cross genre boundaries, that's even cooler.  I like things that are different, unique, and full of passion.  That's probably what has drawn me to NGHBRS over the years - this is a band that was born to stand out.

>> NGHBRS recently released their debut full length, titled Twenty One Rooms, on July 16th, 2013.  A few days later, the band played a record release show at Revolution in Amityville, NY.  I talked to the band before the show about the recording process, how they made a point of doing things differently, and where they want to go next.

>> I first interviewed NGHBRS via email back in 2011. I got to see them live for the first time a while later at a small venue on Long Island (Rogue Studios in Hicksville, NY).  They played a show with a bunch of other local acts, but something about their set really stuck with me.  I'd heard songs from their Hellomind EP when I was getting ready to do that first interview, but hearing those songs live was a completely different experience.  I was genuinely blown away.  On that day, I knew I'd found a band to watch.  Not only did their EP sound great, but their live performances of those songs brought the greatness to another level.  NGHBRS is a band that consistently puts out excellent music, and seeing and hearing that music performed live is something else entirely.  If you like what you hear on a NGHBRS CD, do yourself a favor and experience a live show.  Between 2011 and now, the shows have become even more electric.

>> The bill for the Twenty One Rooms record release show was full of talented local acts including Coasta and Heavy English. People filed in as the show went on, and by the time NGHBRS was set to start, the place was packed.  The room was full of faces both familiar and new, and that's a great environment to be in.  I ran into friends, people I saw at the last NGHBRS show, and plenty of people I'd never seen before.  Everyone seemed connected that night and while the band got set up on stage, the shared anticipation in the room was practically visible. Two people even dressed up for the occasion (left). We were all there for one reason, and that reason was to celebrate what the guys in NGHBRS have been working so hard on for so long.  It was worth the wait.

>> The album is different than the band's Hellomind EP in many ways, but it has characteristics that can only be described as 'classic NGHBRS.'  There are certain qualities or techniques that only NGHBRS can really pull off.  These songs start out one way and end up completely different.  One of the best parts about a NGHBRS song is the fact that it never really goes where you expect it to.  If a song starts out calm, it usually doesn't stay that way for long. Take "We Were Wolves" for example.  The track starts out with vocals softer than on some of the others, but all the while there's a driving feeling that hints at where it's going.  The intro of the song is almost like a warning growl from a wolf, and when the chorus hits, it turns into a full on attack.  Every part of that song, and each of the others, is put together so well.  There isn't a predictable track on this record.  "Wake Me In The Morning" starts and ends the same way, but it serves as more of an interlude.  It's almost as though the tracks before it were thoughts and experiences throughout a day, and that this track is a man's reflections on the day- softer, more personal.  This introspective song is immediately followed by "Beneath the Raging Sun" which is anything but tame.

>> One of the many cool things about this record is the fact that there's nothing typical on it.  The edgier songs aren't trying too hard to fit a mold, and neither are the tamer tracks.  There are mini interludes within songs as well as solos and beats that make you want to bang your head, but through it all the band maintains their individual style.  Drummer Jordan Schneider summed up the band's goals for the album: "We recorded the whole album live. ... We didn't want to record in a studio. We wanted to live somewhere and just live the record."  This isn't your typical rock band: The only mold NGHBRS fits into is the one they made for themselves.

Source: Aud Lew Photography
>> The album is impressive.  NGHBRS have grown but have maintained their recognizable sound.  This definitely comes into play during the live shows.  The record release show was one of the most energetic and lively shows I've seen the band put on.  There were points where singer Ian Kenny looked as though he was in his own music-filled world, swaying and moving wherever the songs took him.  Between that and the overall passion put forth by every member of the band, the set was amazing.  Hearing an album come to life on a stage is a treat especially with this band because they don't play the songs exactly as they were written.  Instead, the band adds to each song.  There are extensions, riffs, interludes, and special effects (not in the cheesy way, but in the "damn, that's cool" way).  A megaphone comes into play at least once during the set, something that I always find really unique and interesting.  There are also hints of dubstep scattered throughout some of the songs in the live performance, making it feel like you're watching a remix happen right in front of you.  I've seen NGHBRS countless times now, but every show is different.  They're all great but for different
reasons.  This record release show was really something special.  When the band left the stage, the fans wanted more.  The "one more song" chants led to an encore during which a fan jumped off the stage and crowd surfed his way to the back of the room.  Even during the last song, the energy in the room could not have been higher.  Between the band's excitement and pride in getting to share their work and the crowd's excitement to hear it all, this was a show to remember.

>> The band just released a live video for their song "We Were Wolves." Check it out for a taste of what you would get at a NGHBRS show.

>> Back when I first spoke with the band in 2011, they had this to say about what set them apart from other acts - "We take a lot of pride in being out of the box. I think our passion, raw energy, and intense live show is what sets us apart."  It's a great feeling to be able to say that while the band and their fan base continue to grow, that statement is more than true today.  If you don't know NGHBRS yet, now is a good time to get acquainted.

Source: Dani Sacco Photography

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Warped Interview with Gunz

>> The Gunz Show is a show that airs Wednesday and Sunday nights on idobi radio.  This show is hosted by none other than Gunz, one of the silliest yet hardest working guys in the scene today.  Gunz has been doing his thing for years, and it's about time that I got around to interviewing him.

Gunz and I in 2010
>> In his interviews, Gunz has a knack for asking the important questions while making it seem like it's just friends catching up after time apart rather than a formal Q&A.  He lets his interviews flow like conversations, which is something that heavily influenced my own interview style.  Gunz has made it a point to not only talk to big, well-known artists, but to also give the little guys a shot.  He often interviews local bands and will play their music on his show even when he's talking to those bigger artists.  Everything he does has a purpose behind it.  He's not only looking out for himself, which is a great thing to see in the music industry.  While he's getting new opportunities and expanding the Gunz empire left and right, Gunz won't forget the people who supported him from the start.  He knows where he came from, and he certainly has a plan for where he wants to go next.  

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tancred (Now, Now) To Release LP in October through Topshelf

>> Tancred, the solo indie pop project of Now, Now guitarist Jess Abott, will release a self-titled LP on October 1 through Topshelf Records. The 11 song album was recorded and mixed by Brett Bullion at Tarlton Music, mastered by Huntley Miller at HM Mastering and features artwork by Now, Now drummer Bradley Hale. The LP will be available in CD, vinyl and digital formats.  Stay tuned for more information!

 >> Can't wait for the new album? Listen to Tancred's String & Twine EP below or through bandcamp.

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Tour Dates: State Lines and No Good News

>> This weekend, State Lines will start their summer tour with No Good News.  The two bands will be hitting the road on Saturday 7/21 after the tour kickoff at The Wood Shop on Long Island and will travel the US through 8/16.

Tour Dates:
7/21 - Long Island, NY @ The Wood Shop [Event]
7/23 - Philadelphia, PA @ House Show
7/24 - Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Art Space  [Event]
7/25 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Shaka’s  [Event]
7/26 - Greensboro, NC @ New York Pizza  [Event]
7/27 - Birmingham, AL @ The Forge  [Event]
7/28 - San Antonio, TX @ House Show  [Event]
7/30 - El Paso, TX @ The Percolator  [Event]

7/31 - Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
8/1 - San Diego, CA @ VFW  [Event]
8/2 - Corona, CA @ House Show
8/3 - Pleasanton, CA @ House Show
8/4 - San Francisco, CA @ House Show  [Event]
8/5 - Reno, NV @ TBA
8/6 - Salt Lake City, UT @ TBA
8/7 - Denver, CO @ TBA
8/8 - Kansas City, MO @ Art Closet Studios
8/9 - St. Louis, MO @ Rad Skellar
8/10 - Springfield, IL @ The Black Sheep Cafe
8/11 - Chicago, IL @ Gnarnia
8/12 - Kalamazoo, MI @ The Milhouse
8/13 - Akron, OH @ It’s A Kling Thing
8/14 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Evolver Tattoo Arts  [Event]
8/15 - Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar
8/16 - Albany, NY @ TBA

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bellwether Release Video for "Compromise"

>> My friends in Bellwether just released a video for "Compromise," a song from their latest EP ...but I have to.  The video, directed by Samuel Gursky, can be seen below.  In addition, Bellwether's ...but I have to EP, produced by Vinnie Caruana and Brett "Ratt" Romnes of I Am The Avalanche, can be downloaded here.

>> Bellwether is currently on tour with The Weeds.  Go to a show!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

NK Post Live Video for "Confessional"

>> NK (formerly North Korea) have released a live video for their song "Confessional." The video was filmed at the band's record release show at Revolution in Amityville, NY on June 15th.

Confessional - LIVE

>> The song "Confessional" is featured on the band's latest album, Nothing To Be Gained Here.  You can order a copy of the album at or on iTunes.

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Bellwether Announce Summer Tour with The Weeds

>> Bellwether will be hitting the road with The Weeds later this month.  The tour kicks off on Long Island on July 14th and will come to a close in Nashville on July 25th.  The full list of dates can be seen below.

Summer 2013 Tour Dates:
July 14th - Bay Shore, NY @ Even Flow
July 15th - Bethlehem, PA @ House Show
July 16th - Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Art Space
July 17th - Norfolk, VA @ The Iguana
July 18th - Greenville, NC @ TBA
July 19th - Charleston, SC @ Big Gun
July 20th - Douglasville, GA @ The 7 Venue
July 22nd - Pembroke Pines, FL @ The Talent Farm
July 23rd - Orlando FL, @ Backbooth
July 24th - Jacksonville, FL @ Burro Bar
July 25th - Nashville, TN @ House Show
July 26th - Lexington, KY @ House Show

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Ashley Allen Releases "Let's Go" Video

>> NYC-based Ashley Allen does some time traveling in the video for her single "Let's Go."  Like the video, the song itself is full of fun, energy, and a great summer vibe. Watch the video below.

>> If you like what you hear, download the song "Let's Go" for free at .

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