Wednesday, May 27, 2015

An Interview with Fox & Cats

UPDATED 6/8: It was announced today that Fox & Cats have broken up.  Their music is still available online, of course, but sadly there will be nothing new from the band.

>> I've unintentionally taken a break from pop punk recently. Where that genre was usually my go-to, I now find myself seeking fresh tunes that differ from that sound.  But when I came across Fox & Cats, I didn't want to stop listening.  The band has pop punk vibes in their music combined with other elements to create something fun and worth jamming.  I spoke with the band a few weeks back about their new album, Ampersand, and their excitement surrounding its release.
*Note: At the time of the interview, Fox & Cats were represented by The Catalyst Publicity Group.

Please introduce yourselves.
Josh Willems- Guitar/Vocals, Nicole Wigginton- Drums, Chris Dunaway- Bass

How did Fox & Cats first get together?
We met playing in different bands back when we were in high school. We started playing together a few years after we graduated with a couple other friends just to see what would happen. We went through a few line-up changes and came up with our band name based off a conversation we had about Megan Fox and cute cat videos on the internet. We spent about 4 years playing as a duo until we recently added our friend Chris Dunaway into the mix on bass.

Did you have an idea of the sound you wanted going into it, or did that develop gradually?
We actually started off writing only experimental instrumental music. We quickly got tired of not having vocals and started writing more conventionally structured tunes. Naturally our sound has evolved a bit over the years. The biggest change is probably the amount of energy in our songs. Or older music is a bit mellower while our new album is pretty hyperactive all the way through.

Describe what your writing process is generally like. Was that the same process used for your new album, Ampersand?
Josh works up most of the songs we write on an acoustic guitar. Once the basic structure is in place we get together and polish it out. Sometimes we’ll just start jamming random riffs together and the next thing we know we have a full song.

Where did you pull inspiration from when writing the album?
Mostly just from life experiences. I find it easiest to write songs based on feelings. Musically at the time of writing I was listening to a lot of Foo Fighters so I think some of that rubbed off on some of the guitar riffs I came up with.

How is this album different from other music you've put out in the past?
Again, I think the biggest difference is the amount of energy in the songs. I feel like every new song we write has to outdo the last one, otherwise what’s the point? That’s probably the main reason the energy levels keep rising.

Tell us about the first single, "Black Hole."
We chose to release this song as the single because we felt it was one of the more catchy songs on the record. We knew we wanted to make a music video to go along with whatever song we chose to be the single and "Black Hole" has this punky, care-free attitude about it that we knew would make for a fun shoot to work with.

You performed at SXSW this year - what was that experience like?
That was our first time playing shows at SXSW. There’s so much going on all at once and everything is so hectic that it can be pretty stressful getting set up to play. I think if you get booked the right shows it could be a fun experience but unless you’re already well established in the music scene I don’t think the juice is really worth the squeeze.

What is your favorite part about performing live? Has any show you've played so far stood out in particular? 
It’s truly the only time when nothing else matters. All the stress and problems that come with the everyday struggles of life get completely drowned out. I don’t think anything else gives me that feeling. One show in particular that stands out is a show we played at Scout Bar in Clear Lake last year for the Texas Buzz Awards. The amount of support we got from the audience was unexpected and definitely made it a night to remember.

Is there anything else you would like to say?
If you see us at a show please don’t ask us which of us is the fox and which of us is the cat… We’re real live human people. Plus I think it’s pretty obvious that Chris is the foxiest member.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

New Music Video: "Raising The Skate" by Speedy Ortiz

>> "Illegally loud" band Speedy Ortiz released a video for "Raising The Skate," the single from the band's album Foil Deer which came out in April through Carpark Records.  The video, directed by Casey Herz, features the band's somewhat cheesy yet wholly awesome take on haunted houses and horror flicks. Guess which one of them (if any) makes it out alive before watching it below!

>> The band is performing at this year's Fun Fun Fun Fest, taking place on November 6-8 in Austin, Texas. Get more information on the fest here.

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Friday, May 15, 2015

Today's Mixtape Festival Announces 2015 Line Up

>> Today's Mixtape Festival is back and better than ever in 2015. The two-day event will take place on August 15th & 16th at The Emporium on Long Island, and the line-up has just been announced. Headliners The Movielife, who will play their first Long Island show in over 10 years as headliners at the event, will be joined by fellow headliners Every Time I Die. Other acts performing at this year's festival include A Loss For Words (who will sadly be playing on Long Island for the last time here), Real FriendsState Champs, Incendiary, Iron Chic, and more. Plus, Andrew W.K. will be performing at the official after party on Saturday night.  

>> A portion of this year's festival ticket sales will go towards The Safe Center, Nassau County's only comprehensive victims' services agency, offering confidential and cost-free services to victims of child abuse, domestic and dating violence, rape and sexual assault, and human trafficking. "The Safe Center is an important resource for sexual abuse victims on Long Island. This relates directly to issues in the punk rock and hardcore communities, issues that are usually ignored instead of being made aware of, discussed, and resolved," shares TMF founder Jake Zimmerman. "As a community and as decent human beings, we cannot stand by and let these victims' voices go unheard." For more information on The Safe Center, please visit:

>> "Today's Mixtape Festival 2015 lineup includes the most exciting and well-known bands that we have had on our festival to date," states Zimmerman. "We are thrilled to bring a variety of the heaviest hitters in punk rock, hardcore and emo. After years of requests, The Movielife will make their hometown return as part of Today's Mixtape Festival-their first Long Island show in thirteen years." Tickets for the fest are available now here. Visit or the links below for more information!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Music Video: "Torn Apart" by Enter Shikari

>> Enter Shikari just released a new video for their song "Torn Apart." Once again, the band has taken advantage of their platform in order to shed light on problems they see in the world through stunning visuals. The video was directed by Mike Tyler who also did the video for the band's previous single "Anaesthetist." The song is the band's third single from their album The Mindsweep, which was released through Hopeless Records back in January. Watch the "Torn Apart" video below, and be sure to catch the band at a festival this summer!

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Head North Announce Tour with Light Years, A Will Away, Casey Bolles

>> Head North will be touring with Light Years, A Will Away, and Casey Bolles this summer. The band released their latest EP Bloodlines back in March and are looking to continue sharing it with fans on the road. Further info on these artists: Light Years are currently in the studio, A Will Away recently released an EP on March 20th titled Bliss, and Casey Bolles has been doing cool stuff like this for the past few months. Catch these acts at the dates below starting June 5th.

Head North // Photo Credit: Taylor Rambo

>> For those wondering, No Good News was initially supposed to be on this tour as well, but the band has disappeared from the internet following sexual assault allegations. 

Tour Dates:
6/05 - Buffalo, NY @ Waiting Room
6/06 - Albany, NY @ Trickshots
6/07 - Boston, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
6/09 - New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall
6/10 - Long Island, NY @ Amityville Music Hall
6/11 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
6/12 - Freehold, NJ @ GameChangerWorld
6/13 - Baltimore, MA @ Sidebar
6/14 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Shakas Live
6/16 - Greensboro, NC @ Shiners Tavern
6/17 - Jacksonville, FL @ Birdhouse
6/18 - Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
6/19 - South FL @ Anyamous Guitars
6/20 - Tampa, FL @ Epic Problems
6/21 - Atlanta, GA @ Purgatory
6/23 - Houston, TX @ Walters
6/24 - San Antonio, TX @ The Korova
6/25 - Dallas, TX @ Sons Of Herman Hall
6/26 - Albuquerque, NM @ The Works
6/27 - Mesa, AZ @ The Underground
6/28 - San Diego, CA @ Hob Voodoo Room
6/30 - Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
7/01 - Los Angeles, CA @ White Oak Music Hall
7/02 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
7/03 - Portland, OR @ Alhambra Theatre
7/05 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon Lounge
7/07 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Loading Dock
7/08 - Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
7/09 - Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
7/10 - St. Louis, MO @ The Demo
7/11 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
7/12 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

An Interview With Janet Devlin

>> Good afternoon, readers! It's about time that we at The Music Obsession introduce you to Janet Devlin - a fiery Irish singer / songwriter who has already accomplished quite a lot for a 20 year-old. I stumbled upon her music a while back, and I've been hooked on her combination of 'sweet and strong' ever since. I recently spoke with Janet about her debut album, Running With Scissors, as well as The X Factor, YouTube, and living out dreams.  Read my interview with Janet below.

How has your time in New York been so far?
Oh my gosh, it’s been, it’s been really good. The Last time we were here it was snowing and we couldn’t really go outside without you know, getting very very cold. But this is nice because it’s actually quite English weather right now where I feel oddly at home with the coldness right now. [laughs]

Have you seen the sights recently or have you been focused on business?
Well I did a gig, like a private function event kind of thing, and it was like really near the East River so that was pretty cool. Had a bit of a stare, zoned out a little bit.

That sounds fun! I’m glad you’re getting to enjoy the sights while you’re here.
Yeah doing the press and travel things, you do get to see lots of the city so it’s pretty cool.

When did you first realize that you wanted to start making and pursuing music?
Oh, gosh. Well I’ve always done it. But when I was like really young my mother would ask me ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I used to say ‘a singer’ and she used to be like ‘have fun finding that job,’ you know? I’ve always wanted to do it - it just never seemed like a reality or an attainable thing so...I’m not sure when I decided to take it seriously. I ‘spose I took it seriously when my friends gave me my first video camera, and I was like 15? They gave me a camera on the clause that I would make music videos. So that worked very well because I built up a following on YouTube so that was good.

So you kind of got your start through YouTube and started putting your music out there on your own?
Yeah. I had about 15,000 subscribers which was cool. Terrifying, but it wasn’t as bad because you could just make these videos and no one was in the house because I was on my own and you’d put them on the internet and then they’re just there, you haven’t informed anyone or anything so it was actually quite fun.

How was the experience of being on the X Factor back in 2011, especially compared to starting out making YouTube videos in your house?
My mom found out you could send in a video so I sent in one of my videos from YouTube. So I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t really think I’d get very far, but ah...I did [laughs]

What was it that kind of motivated you to first submit that video? Just the fact that you could?
I didn’t really watch the show or anything, my mom made a good point by saying ‘What have you got to lose?’ So whenever she said that I would say that’s a fair point so eventually I just sent it in.

What was one major thing that you learned from that whole experience?
I was only 16 when it happened. I was in school and stuff so it taught me kind of how to stand up for myself even though I was quite shy and reserved,  that if someone is trying to change you you’ve just gotta stand up and just say ‘no.’

It seems like The X Factor really gave you the confidence to pursue this as something you wanted to go far.
I ‘spose whenever I got the live show aspect I had to reevaluate what I wanted to get from the experiences like I didn’t think I would get very far at all, I didn’t think I’d even make it past the first part so like I had to sit down and think about what I wanted and what I wanted was to make contact with the industry and be able to make an album and all that kind of stuff so I set up this little, like, plan then.

So that’s where it really went from being a hobby to being something that you wanted to do full time.
Yeah. Cause it seemed attainable then. So, yeah.

How would you say that your music has grown since then? I know that you’ve been putting out EPs and albums ever since.
I always used to write poetry and stuff, so as I grow up I feel like my lyrics grow up. I write about my life and things that go on in my life so there’s that level of growth. Furthermore the more songwriting you do the more you understand it, the better your songs will be so I suppose there’s that as well.

Was Running With Scissors also inspired by similar experiences?
Yeah, that was.

What was the writing process with that whole album?
It was really cool. I got to write with so many great people and I took a couple of months and just traveled around England really writing with people, whoever would have me so it was really freeing. It was really cool to be able to do that at 17 years, travel around and write and it was great, I was able to write with Newton Faulkner, who was like a hero of mine when I was growing up so that was pretty cool [laughs]

Do you have a favorite track or something that really resonates with you?
"Whisky Lullabies" is my favorite track on this album and I even liked it so much I did it in Irish. It was the last song written for the album so maybe that’s why I like it more because I’d grown up a bit but I don’t know. I still feel something when I sing it to this day, so I think that’s good.

Ideally, what would you like listeners to get from the album? Is there a certain feeling or message you wanted to share?
Every song has a different message in it. I ‘spose you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in it. If you’ve ended a relationship recently, there’s a couple of songs on there for you, if you’re struggling with life there’s a couple of songs in there for you, and growing up songs and coming to terms songs..  so I feel there’s a lot of something in there for everybody. And even some upbeat happy-go-lucky trippy songs to drink to. [laughs]

How does it feel to take these songs written from personal experience and perform them in other countries?
I’m not gonna lie, it’s terrifying. It’s very scary but so far so good. I’ve only heard positive things back from over here. Everything people say when they come up to me after the show is so nice and it’s just refreshing.

That must be such an incredible experience - being so young and able to travel and pursue what you love.
Yeah it is! If anyone would have ever told me that when I was 12 I would have thought that was the coolest things you could have ever said to me. It’s just insane and I love it, I absolutely adore it.

You seem to have a really great presence on social media. Has that helped you connect with fans while you're traveling? 
I’m pretty much on all social media: facebook, twitter, tumblr, instagram and stuff. It’s great to be able to directly contact fans and for them to be able to directly contact me. It’s really cool and that’s probably why I’m so proactive on it. I get to reach people that I wouldn’t necessarily get to reach and I do these gigs online that are streamed worldwide. I try to do 2 gigs whenever I do it and I suspect different time zones so people from around the world can choose whenever to watch a gig they wouldn’t necessarily see, so that’s probably my favorite thing about social media is those gigs.

It’s kind of combining your start with YouTube videos and your live performance aspect.
I must admit the first time I did it was pretty strange, but I get used to it - my little webcam and the fact that there’s people behind it. It’s actually really fun, really good fun. Viewers enjoy them, I enjoy them so I’m just gonna keep on doing them until I get bored.

Are there any hobbies or interests you keep up with outside of music?
It definitely takes over my time, I’m not gonna lie. I do enjoy reading if I’ve got a Saturday off or something. I’ll get up, walk in to town, go get a coffee and sit down and read a book. I love films. I mean who doesn’t, but I have a very short attention span so it has to be a really good film. [laughs] I did horse riding quite a lot as a child and I’d love to get back in to that. I go home for Easter so I might try to get in some horse riding while I’m there.

I hope you have time for that.
Me too!

Is there anything else you want to say or that you want the fans to hear?
Thank you to anyone who has actually taken the time out to listen to the record. That’s the really important thing because they don’t have to listen. A lot of them didn’t even have to buy it, you know what I mean? So it’s really cool that they’re so supportive, especially over here in the states - everyone’s being so nice so I hope that continues.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Anthony Raneri Announces New Solo EP

>> Anthony Raneri (Bayside) announced the details of his forthcoming solo EP.  The EP, titled Sorry State of Mind, will have 6 tracks and will be released on June 30th through Hopeless Records. After the announcement, Raneri tweeted "Every song on Sorry State of Mind is a totally different style. Get ready for a fun ride." The album art, track listing, and a lyric video can all be seen below a message from Raneri.
"Just like with New Cathedrals, I worked really hard on this and got the whole record and pre sale together on my own. The support I've gotten on this project over the past few years has been amazing and I'm asking for your help and support again."

Track listing:

 1) Smithereens
 2) Gone
 3) No Good
 4) Sorry State of Mind
 5) I Never Want to Fix Myself Again
 6) Run and Stumble

>> Watch Raneri's new lyric video for "Gone" below, and pre-order the EP here.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

An Interview with AyOH

>> The four members of Chicago-based band AyOH have been working extra hard lately. The group put out an EP in February, titled Dangerous Questions, and recently released a new music video for "Shout Shout" - all while finding time to perform at SXSW. The band has been together for a few years now, but it looks like 2015 might be the year they really shine.  Read my interview with the band below!

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Avi Dell, I'm the lead singer and lyricist for the Alt/Dance/Pop band AyOH out of Chicago, Illinois. I also play guitar and keys.

How did the band first come together?
AyOH is a Chicago formed band arriving from all over the globe. AyOH first came to life when singer Avi Dell (from Pittsburgh) met with drummer, John Arrotti (from Chicago), to work on some original tunes. Avi gave John some recordings that he had been working on including demos and simple lyrical themes and the two quickly formed a strong collaboration. Within a few months they had over a dozen original tunes and today constitute the bulk of writing, but our bassist Lin (from Thailand) and guitarist Austin (from Seattle) contribute creatively in an ever increasing way.

How did you all decide to name the band AyOH?
Before we were a band, we were just dudes playing music, writing songs, sharing ideas. and this one song I brought to the group had this great refrain at the end that went "Ay-OH, Ay-OH" we really clicked with this song and it started feeling like we had a clear direction. "We were like, okay, we can build a band around this sound and this song" the song is now called "Out Alive" and was the first single off our first EP "Take it to the People". It charted nationally on CMJ and has received regular play time on a few local radio stations and college radio across north America.

You released your sophomore EP, Dangerous Questions, in February. What was the writing and recording process like for this EP?
We took this project to the next level. It was an extremely long process, but every rock was turned. We didn't leave any detail untouched. Steve Gillis, our producer, was our fearless leader.

Where did you find inspiration for this EP? Would you say it has a certain theme to it as a whole, or does each song speak to something different?
Inspiration came from everywhere for this. People like Paul Simon to the Killers and Imagine Dragons. We just wanted to create big sounding songs. Each song definitely has it's own personality, but in general there is a real message of hope throughout the EP.

Is there one particular track that has a special meaning for you? 
I don't think I have a favorite, but I'm really proud of "Lion to the Lamb". When I was writing, lyrically it started out pretty heavy and I was worried we wouldn't find the musical weight for balance. But Gillis (producer) recognized our ambition for the song and fearlessly guided us through that process. John Arrotti (drums) came through with the amazing piano arrangements that supported the entire piece.

Ideally, what would you like fans to get out of your music?
Smiles... When we get on stage people just seem to be happy.

You recently played a slew of shows at SXSW. What was that experience like and how does it compare to other shows you've played in the past?
SXSW is an experience all-unto-itself. I've described it as a singular moment in my life. Surrounded by people that love music as much as I do, playing their hearts out. There really isn't anything like it. I feel incredibly fortunate to be playing on such a high level.

Now that you've conquered SXSW, what can fans expect next from AyOH?
We'll be traveling quite a bit but those details are still in the works. If anyone is looking to tour, we're looking for bands to join up with. So please reach out and be in touch!

Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you so much for the time and for helping us spread the word. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.

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No Good News Sign With Pure Noise, Then Disappear From Internet

>> No Good News signed to Pure Noise Records on May 1st, and a lot has happened since.  Harry Corrigan, the drummer of NGN, was accused of sexually assaulting a girl back in 2012 and the Internet never forgets. Pure Noise was under fire recently when a musician on their roster (Front Porch Step) was accused of sexually harassing several young girls. People were outraged at their decision to sign No Good News so soon afterwards, given the accusations.  After demands for a statement (then demands for a better statement) on top of calls for Harry to leave the band, Harry issued a statement. The statement was his attempt to show remorse, and in it he mentioned plans to step back from the band "for a while." People were still very upset, and within a week's time, No Good News has vanished.  Their websites are gone - from social media accounts to their bandcamp page.  In addition, both Skate and Surf and Spring Fling have revealed line-ups that no longer include NGN, and there are signs it is now confirmed that NGN won't be going on tour with Head North and Light Years. It seems like No Good News is no longer a band, and you can be sure there will be more updates here if anything else comes up.

>> Long Island natives No Good News have signed with Pure Noise Records. The label will be re-releasing the band's Disposable Summer EP later this summer.  In addition, the band will hit the road with Light Years, Head North, and Casey Bolles starting June 5th. The full list of dates for that run can be seen below a message from NGN:
We're really excited to be joining the Pure Noise Records family. Jake has always been great to us and we have a lot of respect for the way he has grown Pure Noise and the bands he works with. We're grateful that he's given us the chance to have our songs heard by more people and to spend the rest of the year on the road playing those songs. Thank you to everyone who has supported our band, very stoked for the future.
>> Update: On May 6th, NGN drummer Harry Corrigan released a statement in which he shared plans to step away from the band "for a while" following sexual assault allegations stemming from an incident in 2012. Jake Round of Pure Noise Records, having recently dealt with a similar situation with Front Porch Step, also posted a statement which you can see here.

>> Another UpdateAnimal Style Records, home to Light Years, has issued a statement about the state of the scene.  A snippet can be seen below, and the full statement can be seen here.
There's a real problem in our community and instead of getting better, it's only getting worse. I don't want to sit on the sidelines and keep my silence. We need to make a stand that misogyny and sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. 
This community needs to be a safe-place and where we can accept everyone from all walks of life; regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I've seen what we can do when we join together and help lift each other up. We're all in this together and have a responsibility to take this stand. Please, don't support anyone who tells you otherwise.

Tour Dates:
06/05/2015 - Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room
06/06/2015 - Clifton Park, NY @ Trickshots
06/07/2015 - Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East - Upstairs
06/09/2015 - New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall
06/10/2015 - Amityville , NY @ The Amityville Music Hall
06/11/2015 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
06/12/2015 - Freehold, NJ @ GameChangerWorld
06/13/2015 - Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar
06/14/2015 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Shakas Live
06/16/2015 - Greensboro, NC @ Shiner's Tavern
06/17/2015 - Jacksonville, FL @ The Birdhouse
06/18/2015 - Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
06/19/2015 - Sunrise, FL @ Anonymous Guitars
06/20/2015 - Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem
06/21/2015 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Purgatory
06/23/2015 - Houston, TX @ Walter's On Washington
06/24/2015 - San Antonio, TX @ The Korova - Basement
06/25/2015 - Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall
06/26/2015 - Albuquerque, NM @ The Works
06/27/2015 - Mesa, AZ @ The Underground
06/28/2015 - San Diego, CA @ Voodoo Room @ House of Blues
06/30/2015 - Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
07/01/2015 - Van Nuys, CA @ White Oak Music
07/02/2015 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
07/03/2015 - Portland, OR @ The Alhambra Theater
07/05/2015 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon - Lounge
07/07/2015 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Loading Dock
07/10/2015 - St Louis, MO @ The Demo
07/11/2015 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
07/12/2015 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness

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