Artists on the Rise: Wallows, Yellow Days

Wallows

Wallows is a three-piece alternative rock band from California, comprised of Cole Preston, Braeden Lemasters, and Dylan Minnette.  The band released their first sing “Pleaser” in April of 2017, and quickly amassed over 3 million streams, and over 150 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify.  Their next single, “Sun Tan” was released shortly after.  Early in September they released their merchandise store, which features t-shirts, hats, and sweatshirts.  A few weeks later, their third single “Uncomfortable” was released, which is my personal favorite.  Their signature distortion on the guitars and production gives the music a perfect road trip feel.  If you are into the sounds of HUNNY or COIN, you would love Wallows.  Definitely look out for them in the near future, because they are on their way up.

Listen to Wallows on Spotify here.

Yellow Days

George van den Broek is Yellow Days.  The melancholy rock is perfect for hanging out with a group of friends.  Hailing from Haslemere, England, his soulful voice pairs with his deep and emotional lyrics perfectly.  His newest single “I Believe in Love” was released in mid-September.  In an interview with Wonderland Magazine, Broek says the following about his latest single: “The song is about believing in love despite the pain that goes on when you’re with someone. For me, love is a reason not to give up on your life. The sheer power of love makes it the one most meaningful thing that you can find/experience on this earth, so regardless of the hurt as a romantic I will chase that feeling to find a true honest love.”  Yellow Days has one album, Harmless Melodies.   His first single, “Your Hand Holding Mine,” was released a year ago in October.  Since that release, he has over 370 thousand Spotify monthly listeners, and close to 35 thousand followers.  The indie rocker is going to make a splash real soon.

Listen to

Yellow Days on Spotify here.

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Release Radar: 10/13/17

This Friday the 13th gave us new albums from Beck, St. Vincent, and King Krule, and new singles from WALK THE MOON and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Colors – Beck

Beck returns with his 13th studio album, on Friday, the thirteenth of October.  The 45 minute LP reminds us of why Beck has been around long enough to have 13 studio albums.  The alternative/indie connoisseur plays with pop melodies and feels while sticking to his guns as an artist.   Colors earned 4/5 stars from a Rolling Stone review.

Listen to Colors on Spotify here.

MASSEDUCTION – St.  Vincent

MASSEDUCTION, the fifth studio album from American musician, St.  Vincent, is raw and emotional.  Featuring her single “New York,” produced by Jack Antonoff, which got plenty of radio play in the alternative world.  This is her first full-length album since her self-titled LP in 2014.  St.  Vincent is currently embarking on her “Fear the Future” tour.  She will be at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn on December 2nd.

St. Vincent Live

Listen to MASSEDUCTION here.

The OOZ, King Krule

The return of King Krule has come.  His first studio album since 2013 is refreshing,  His soulful voice brings something to indie/alternative rock that I love.  Hearing his iconic guitar sound with new music made me more excited than I thought it would.  The album is different than the last, with more emphasis on drums and percussion.

King Krule

Listen to OOZ here.

“Headphones” – WALK THE MOON

WALK THE MOON’s second single “Headphones” from their upcoming album, What If Nothing.  This single follows their alt-rock politically charged anthem, “One Foot.”  The two songs differ in message.  One is political, one is personal.  The song has a classic WALK THE MOON vibe, and the end of the song is loaded with a half-time guitar solo powered through by the rhythm section.

Listen to “Headphones” here.

“Holy Mountain” – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher is best known for the band Oasis, in which he and his brother, Liam Gallagher, started.  If you don’t know, the brother’s don’t get along very much anymore, and Oasis split in 2009.  In 2011, Noel released the self-titled album for “Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.”  Their new song “Holy Mountain” is gaining a lot of traction in the U.S.    The song tells a story about meeting a girl and wanting to get to know her, and she eventually falls right under her spell.

Listen to “Holy Mountain” here.

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Dermot Kennedy

When he’s singing to me Glory.

Singer-Songwriter Dermot Kennedy is a native Irishman, hailing from County Dublin.  In 2013, he released his first, but not his debut, EP, Dancing Under Red Skies.  Three years later, he released three singles, “An Evening I Will Not Forget,” “Shelter,” and “After Rain.”  “After Rain” earned him nearly 30 million streams on Spotify, and commercial success and exposure.

In 2017, he released his debut EP, Doves & Ravens.  The four track EP features his single, “Glory.”

Dermot Kennedy

Kennedy finds a way to mesh R&B and Hip Hop drum feels and combinations into his hybrid genre.  He writes songs about being human.  Love, loss, life, and death.  Inspired by poetry, his lyrics often feel like somewhat of a masterpiece.  In his track “Glory,” he sings “I guess I’m tired of talk of hope, I’ve learned that doves and ravens fly the same.”  His use of ravens in this context can be tracked back to the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven.”  Whereas ravens often symbolize a bad omen, doves symbolize hope and love, or for Kennedy’s sake, loss, and falling in love. The other three songs on Doves & Ravens deal with the same theme.

The Dulbiner’s soulful grit is something I haven’t heard in a while.  His music is incredible, and he is the only artist I have been listening to for the past week.  His single, “Boston,” is included in Taylor Swifts popular Spotify playlist, Songs Taylor Loves.

Kennedy just announced a European tour, hitting popular venues across the continent, ending in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.  The tour will begin in January of 2018, and will finish up in February.

“Moments Passed” is the newest single Kennedy has released.  The song is much bigger than his past songs, with more Hip Hop elements added to his Singer-Songwriter vibe.  If this song is any indicator of his future music, then I can’t wait.

Dermot Kennedy Guitar

Kennedy is often linked to the same type of music as powerhouse Bon Iver.  Other related artists include Blanco White, Fenne Lily, and Harrison Storm.

Stream Dermot Kennedy on Spotify here.

Album Alert: Wonderful Wonderful

The Killers are back.

I repeat.

THE KILLERS ARE BACK.

On September 22, 2017, The Killers made their comeback with their fifth studio album, Wonderful Wonderful.  This album earned them their first ever number one, and it is well deserved.  The politically charged powerhouse of a record resonates with many feelings people have today about government and politics.

The Killers in Concert

It’s been a long nine years since Day & Age, but the wait was definitely worth it when you hear the opening notes of the title track.

The debut single for the album was “The Man,” back in June.  The song dominated alternative rock radio all summer.  The second single “Run For Cover” followed, and is the poster child for the message of the record.

Wonderful Wonderful sounds reminiscent of their older albums, as if they are getting back to their roots.  In my opinion, this is their best album since Sam’s Town.

The Killers are timeless, and one of the biggest rock bands of the century so far.  They have given the millennial generation so many anthems that we will be listening to for the next 50 years, like “Mr.  Brightside,” “When You Were Young,” “Somebody Told Me,” and so many more.  They are one of the few versatile bands that can release alternative rock songs, but make it to the top 40 easily.  Other acts that can do this are Imagine Dragons and Bastille, but not on the same scale as The Killers.

The Killers are so big, and loved by so many, they can headline venues like Madison Square Garden and Wembley Stadium, and headline musical festivals like Governors Ball, without even releasing new music and everyone knows all of the words.  I saw The Killers headline at Governors Ball in the summer of 2016, and hearing 80 thousand people sing alone to every song was something I will never forget.  They put on such a great show, and to this day they will be one of the best live performers I have ever seen.  The way Brandon Flowers (lead vocals, piano) commands the stage is something every up and coming tock band should look at, and take notes.

Take a listen to the #1 Album, Wonderful Wonderful, on Spotify here.

My Heart is with Las Vegas…

Tragedy struck last night as more than 50 were killed, and more than 400 injured at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, as country artist Jason Aldean took the stage.

Many survivors believed the noises to be fireworks before they realized they were under fire.

Music should be a safe space for all.  These acts of cowardice will not get the best of us.

Music is an escape from reality, somewhere that love is spread.

My heart is with the families and friends of the victims and all who were present during this selfish act of hate.

Cowboy Hat - Route 91

If you are currently looking for loved ones call: 1 (866) 535-5654.

If you are in crisis, call this number, toll free: 1 (877) 941-8079.

Throwback Thursday: The Lumineers

My love for alternative rock stems from The Lumineers and their first album.

I remember one of my favorite actors (Colton Haynes) posting a screenshot of the song “Slow It Down” onto his instagram page when I was in high school, so I decided to check the album out, because I never heard of them before.  They were my gateway into listening to different music, and I am forever thankful for them.  The Lumineers are comprised of founding members Wesley Schultz (guitar, lead vocals) and Jeremiah Fraites (drums, percussion).  They were joined by Neyla Pekarek (cello, vocals) in 2010.

The Lumineers

The Lumineers (2012)

The album opens up with a short song called “Flowers in Your Hair.”  It starts the album off with a very old school feel, and sets the tone for the rest of the songs.  From the lyrics, down to the production, it captivates you.

The third song, “Submarines,” tells the story of Schultz’s grandfather seeing a submarine and everyone labeling him a liar.  The second verse is as follows: “I did spy a periscope, dead of night on the eastern coast, the police made them jokes, told me I’d seen a ghost, everyone thinks I’m a liar, no one knows the truth, if it was a bigger fire, I would be on the roof.”

Following this track is one of the most beautiful love songs, “Dead Sea.”  “You told me I was like the dead sea, you’ll never sink when you are with me.”  Schultz puts a lot of himself and his experiences into his music.  The music he writes tends to be about his life, or stories others have told him about theirs.

Next, is The Lumineers’s biggest single, “Ho Hey.”  This song reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the last week of the year 2012, and it remained on the chart for 62 weeks.

The eighth track, “Big Parade,” The Lumineers take us back in time to the 1960s, singing about John. F Kennedy, as the blue-eyed boy from the United States.  The rest of the five-minute story speaks of many other American traditions like civil war, faith, and music.

The Lumineers 2013

The album ends with the heart wrenching “Morning Song.”  A song that outlines the details of a break up.  Schultz asks many questions in the song, asking his former lover if it was easier for her to leave than to stay and fix their relationship.  He goes through the emotions, jealously, resentment, bitterness.

To this day, The Lumineers, is one of my favorite albums.  Listen to it on Spotify here.

Artist Spotlight: HAIM

Este, Alana, and Danielle Haim.

The three sisters comprise of the powerhouse band, HAIM.  Their 80s soft rock combined with sounds from 90s R&B make a combination I have never heard before.  The band has (obviously) been playing music together for their entire lives.  They started as a cover band, Rockenhaim, with their parents.  All three of the sisters are incredible musicians, playing different instruments and each participate in the song writing process.  HAIM was formed in 2006, but the three sisters didn’t take it seriously until a few years later.  The first few years Alana was still in High School (she would later drop out in her first year of college to focus on the band), and Este was studying ethnomusicology at UCLA.  During this time, Danielle found minor fame while being a touring guitarist with Jenny Lewis, and later The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.  It wasn’t until 2012 when HAIM went back to business.  HAIM later signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and a U.K. record label, Polydor Records.

Haim in LA

The sister-act released their first EP, Forever, in 2012, followed by their debut album Days Are Gone in 2013.  To this day, Days Are Gone, is one of my favorite records of all time.  The album peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200.  Their lead single, “The Wire,” debuted at #1 in the U.K.  The band was also featured in Calvin Harris’ fourth album, Motion, providing vocals for the song “Pray to God.”

All three sisters play percussion, as well as sing.  Alana plays the guitar, Danielle plays the guitar and also drum set, and Este finishes out the rhythm section with the bass.

HAIM’s second album, Something to Tell You, dropped this year, and peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200.  The band released an album teaser video with their song “Right Now,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The video got fans excited, for this was their first reappearance since Days Are Gone.  Their first single from their sophomore album was “Want You Back.”  The catchy song embodies everything the band is, and was a great choice for a single.

Haim Way Out West 2013

(From left to right) Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim.

Today, HAIM released a 14 minute video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson called “Valentine.”  The short film gives fans an insight on HAIM’s new album, where they perform live versions of “Right Now,” the albums namesake “Something to Tell You,” and “Nothings Wrong.”

Check out HAIM on Spotify here.

Throwback Thursday: My Oldest Friend

In 2012, four-piece indie rock band from Baltimore, Maryland, Have Mercy, released their debut EP, My Oldest Friend.  The EP contains four tracks, and is 12 minutes long.  The band’s original members were Aaron Alt (drums), Nick Woolford (bass guitar, backing vocals), Andrew Johnson (guitar, backing vocals), and Brian Swindle (lead vocals, guitar).  Swindle is the only founding member that remains in the band.

My Oldest Friend earned them a record deal in 2013, with Topshelf Records, later being signed to Hopeless Records in 2014.  Other notable bands signed under Hopeless Records would be Neck Deep, Moose Blood, The Ready Set, Sum 41, Tonight Alive, The Used, The Wonder Years, and Yellowcard.

Have Mercy mesh indie rock with post-hardcore, punk, and emo feelings.  Their driving drum tracks aligned with their hardcore melodies showcase their songwriting talent as a band.

Have Mercy’s most popular track is a song called “Let’s Talk About Your Hair.”  This song is so emotional and raw.  The song deals with post-breakup feelings, and dwelling on the past.  It starts out with “We went to bed that night, and dreamed of better things… I always wondered when you stopped loving me.”   The chorus follows with “I know that you know that I know that you don’t really care, let’s talk about your hair and how its grown and how that we’re not getting anywhere.”  The former couple is making small talk, but the girl is obviously uninterested, and the smalltalk gets them nowhere.  The second verse changes from the first, when Swindle sings “I went to bed that night, and dreamed of better things.”  His we changed to an I.  This track has over 3.8 million listens on Spotify, and the band itself has around 150 thousand monthly listeners.

Check out Have Mercy on Spotify here.

Who You Need To Know: Andrew McMahon

Who is Andrew McMahon?

Andrew McMahon has been in the music business since 1998.  He is an American singer-songwriter and producer.  McMahon is an incredible live performer, where he spends most of his time on the piano during his live shows.  Since he has been active since 1998, he has been apart of a few different projects, and he has a handful of dedicated fans.

Something Corporate

Andrew McMahon - Something Corporate

Andrew McMahon – Something Corporate

Something Corporate was McMahon’s first project.  Comprised of Josh Partington and Reuben Hernandez (later replaced by William Tell) on guitar, Kevin Page on bass, and Brian Ireland on drums, SoCo was the kick starter for each of their careers, for they all still work in the music business.  SoCo was a pop-punk, alternative rock group who was finding their roots.  They found minor success with a 10 and a half minute ballad called “Konstantine” from their independently released EP Ready… Break.  The song was recorded live, and was only supposed to be four or five minutes long, but during the live show McMahon kept going, singing new verses as he went along.  The story the song tells transcended to their listeners.  It’s about a first love, and how the love McMahon has for her will always be there, she was always be his “Konstantine.”  Even today, McMahon gets heckled at his shows to play this song.  Because of the length, he only performs it about once or twice a year.

SoCo disbanded in 2004, which is when McMahon launched his side project, Jack’s Mannequin.

Jack’s Mannequin

The reason for the split of SoCo, was because their contract with their label ended in 2004.  McMahon wrote a song called “Locked Doors” which inspired his second project, Jack’s Mannequin.  He felt as if the song was too different from other SoCo songs and that if he ever wanted to release it, it wouldn’t be with SoCo, thus, Jack’s Mannequin was born.

The inspiration for the name of the band comes from a track called “Dear Jack.” In 2009, McMahon released a documentary under the same name, where he documented his battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  McMahon began the Dear Jack Foundation, which helps fight against adolescent and young adult cancer.

Andrew McMahon - Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin strayed from the pop-punk scene, and moved into full on alternative rock.  Their first album, Everything in Transit, was released in 2005, featuring their most popular songs, “Dark Blue” and “The Mixed Tape.”  “Dark Blue” went gold around eight years since it’s initial release.  The songs McMahon wrote for this project were more emotional and vulnerable than those of SoCo.  He wrote from a place of things being different than he remembered, and a place of change and acceptance of himself.  The most powerful music is music that relates to people, and that’s exactly what the music of Jack’s Mannequin does.  His fans from SoCo continued to support him.

Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin – Andrew McMahon (piano), Jay McMillan (drums)

Jack’s Mannequin released one EP and three studio albums, with each one getting more popular than the last on the BillBoard 200.  Their full discography is as follows:  People in Transit (2005), The Glass Passenger (2008), The Dear Jack EP (2009), People And Things (2011).  The albums grew and matured with McMahon as a writer.

In September of 2012, Jack’s Mannequin played their last show together (besides the Everything in Transit 10 year tour).  McMahon would then move on to his third and current project.

Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness

McMahon’s third project began in 2014.  The self titled album was his biggest release to date.  The indie pop and alternative rock album is loved by many, including myself.  The track “Fire Escape” peaked at #4 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart, and “Cecelia and the Satellite” peaking at #5.  This is his most popular project, and more and more people are falling in love with him and his music.  With this endeavor, McMahon toured with Weezer and Panic! At The Disco during the summer of 2016.  His second album, Zombies on Broadway, was released in 2017.

Andrew McMahon is a fluid artist, continually changing and not afraid to try new things, and part with what is old.  He has been popular since 1998, and he will continue to stay relevant.

Throwback Thursday: Room for Squares

Room For Squares is the debut album from rock/pop/blues singer-songwriter and producer John Mayer, which was released in 2001, when he was just 24 years old.  Room For Squares features his hit singles, “No Such Thing,” which peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” which peaked at #18.  The Connecticut native earned a Grammy award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2003 for Wonderland.

The acoustic rock album follows themes of a younger version of himself.  In “No Such Thing,” he sings about going back to high school and screaming on the top of his lungs.   “I just can’t wait til my ten year reunion
I’m gonna bust down the double doors
And when I stand on these tables before you
You will know what all this time was for.”  He is referencing him becoming a musician.  Even his parents forced him to go to college.  Although he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, he dropped out.  In his song “83” he references going back to 1983, when he was 6 years old, singing “what ever happened to my lunchbox?”  He struggles with the idea of getting older.

John Mayer live in 2007

Room For Squares laid the foundation for the rest of Mayer’s career.  Even though the album was released in 2001, it did not peak on the Billboard 200 until 2003.  It spent 95 weeks on the chart.  The seven time Grammy Award winning artist has faced many struggles in his professional and personal life, just like anyone else in the spotlight.  His newest album The Search for Everything was released earlier this year.