Category Archives: Independent Labels

Musicians Corner at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

After sweating for a couple hours at The National Folk Festival last Saturday, I decided to head over to Centennial Park where Nashville was kicking off its free fall concert series called Musicians Corner.  Two events in one day?  Well, three actually.  I ended up going to another concert later that night, but I haven’t written about that yet.  Musicians Corner featured seven bands from 3pm to 6pm on a medium-sized stage with a decent turnout of a few hundred people at its height.  The artists that played this week were The CO, Metro Parks Jamband, Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes, Damien Horne, Striking Matches, and Attwater.

I arrived a little late and missed The CO open up with their set, so I’ll have to catch them at another event in the future.  I did get there just in time to hear Metro Parks Jamband finish up their set with a funky sax and guitar duet.  Next up was American singer/songwriter Andrew Osenga.  He was formerly the lead singer for The Normals and is a member of the band Caedmon’s Call.  His performance on Saturday took place as part of his solo career, for which he has released four albums.  The bands rhythms and tones were super tight, and the crowd really took to his music.  After Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes took the stage and played an acoustic set with just two of their members.  The pop rock duo serenaded listeners with a short set of a few songs that they will hopefully be performing live at their next show as a full band tonight at 12th & Porter.

The next act was Damien Horne, a pop-rock soul artist from Nashville.  Also known as Mista D, Damien has collaborated and performed with Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, John Legend, 3 Doors Down, Hank Williams Jr., Faith Hill, Robert Randolf, Jewel, Velvet Revolver, and more.  Damien is working with John Legend who when asked about Damien said, “I’ve been working with this guy who is based in Nashville, his name is Damien Horne, he’s good.  Look out for him, he’s a good song-writer and performer.  He plays the guitar too.”  You can get some free downloads of his music on his website.  Check out this video of Damien Horne performing “Sacrifice” live at The Rutledge.

I posted an article two months ago about a blues duo called Striking Matches.  They were the next band to play at Musicians Corner and they were a huge hit.  Performing as a duo with their acoustic guitars, Justin and Sarah had a great set showcasing their clever songwriting, tight harmonies, and ripping solos.  Like I said before, this is a Nashville band that you want to keep close tabs on because of their huge potential.  The last band to perform was Attwatter.

Attwater is a country band from Sacramento, CA that signed with the independent production company and label, Twenty Ten Music in December of 2010.  They were discovered through Twitter by Grammy Award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Switchfoot), the Sr. VP of A&R for Twenty Ten Music.  Check out this official music video of Attwater’s first single called “Never Gonna Happen.”

You can download the song for free at http://www.attwatermusic.com/.  Attwater’s foundations lie with Erika Attwater and Jonathan Richards, the duo songwriting team that first started the band.  Their discovery occurred after they played their first set of tunes in the Northern California Area.  With a good product and intentional use of social networks, Attwater was picked up by Charlie Peacock and the band was on its way to having a beast of a debut project.  The recordings include co-writes and musicians from some really great teams that have produced music for Carrie Underwood, Sixpence None The Richer, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Lady Antebellum, and more.  Attwater’s music combines modern country with bluegrass flavors and classic rock roots.  Keep an eye on the country charts for this band and stay tuned for an article on next week’s Musician’s Corner!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

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Kaskade Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA [PHOTOS]

Kaskade Live at Identity Music Festival in San Diego, CA

Click the pic for more concert shots!

Check out Kaskade!!!

Photography By: Shane Suski |Ambassador of Photography | San Diego, CA| @shanewithmwl | Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

The War On Drugs “Slave Ambient” [NEW MUSIC]

Tuesday’s are funny days.  In most cases I hate Tuesday far worse than I hate Monday’s.  I don’t really have a point to make here just a casual dumb statement from the mind of me.  Tuesday’s suck, but one good thing came out of yesterday’s specific Tuesday, The War on Drugs.  Dum dum dummmm.  Now I’m not here to give you a lecture about the pot you hide in your sock drawer or under your mattress, I’m giving you the good tuneage to listen to while you may or may not use said drugs.  An indie rock outfit who embraces mellow sounds and intense euphoria, The War On Drugs might just be the next big thing.

Best Night – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs most recent release is called “Slave Ambient.”  It has all kinds of goods.  It has the elements of a great 60’s/ 70’s classic rock record mixed with awesome effects and synth touches we have come to love from modern indie rock.  Bright guitars and cool laid back vocals are the keys to this record.  Easy going back beats with keen bass work all come together for me on this record.  Upon first listen I was immediatly hooked.  This is music I like to listen to.  This is the kind of stuff when you play it in your office on re-peat people ask you “who are these guys.”  And then you say nothing and just point to the album cover on your spotify.

I Was There – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs is from Philedelphia PA.  Current members include Adam Granduciel who seems to be a jack of all trades on vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards and samplers.  He is joined by Dave Hartley on bass and other guitars and Mike Zanghi on drums, percussion and sampler.  Past members included Kurt Vile who had some fame on his own with his solo project and was recently chosen by Animal Collective to perform at this years All Tomorrow’s Parties.  But he’s not in the band any more so enough about him.  Stripped down to three members this record doesn’t sound like it at all.  With all the samples and loops coming from all different directions its easy to get lost in the harmonic and euphoric over load.

It’s Your Destiny – The War On Drugs

I read a bunch of reviews (pitchforks rave review is here) and people dig this band just as much as I do.  I think it brings new appreciation to a tired classic rock folk scene elevating it to a new level while keeping the continuity from past to present.  It’s almost as if they are re-inventing the wheel in the best way possible.  These are new sounds for a new generation who happen to love the music of the old generation.

Come to The City – The War On Drugs

The theme of Americana runs steadily throughout this record.  This music is well traveled.  There is experience behind the words.  Ramblin’ and drifting as is quoted from that last track “Come to The City” seems to be what it’s all about.  This music will put your ass in a euphoric trance from first track to last simple as that and I don’t think I’m alone in saying it’s pretty rare for bands to do that these days.  I listen to this record (for the 4th time now) and each time I hear something new in the songs and bob my head along even more so than the first or second time.

Baby Missiles – The War On Drugs

I’m excited to see where this band goes from here.  They have a pretty extensive tour in the works hitting Europe and multiple spots in the US.  Having already appeared on big time indie music blogs (this one included) I wouldn’t be surprised is these guys blew up more than actual Baby Missiles (hilarious/ terrible to think about, but your thinking about it already so you might as well chuckle).

Their tour page is HERE if you can read it.  I had to squint so hopefully they fix that shit soon because I have a feeling people are going to want to see them live.  They are playing The Satellite Lounge in LA on October 22nd and at 10 bones a ticket it’s 100% completely and utterly worth it to go and go twice.  I bought a pair of tickets already so basically if you have a poor excuse for a credit card like me you don’t have an excuse not to.

Black Water Falls – The War On Drugs

That was the last track.  I would give these guys some serious attention.  I know I say a lot of bubbly good things about a lot (all) of the bands I write about and I mean it all, I really do.  Once in a while a band comes around that has the potential to do a little more damage than your average small rock club indie band.  Mark my words.  Let them get some shows under their belts and soon they will be playing big venues in a city near you.  They have a sound that people have liked for decades.  They have taken that sound and turned it on its ass… so you should listen to them.  It’s as simple as that.  Oh yea and buy their record here.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Heavy Cream, Useless Eaters, and Feral Beat at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

It’s a Sunday evening in Nashville and you’re not quite done with your weekend, so what do you do?  You check out the bands that you could possibly see for only five bucks at The Basement on 8th Avenue South!  This past Sunday was a night filled with indie punk rock music derived from soul and rock-and-roll influences.  The show started at 10:00pm with a band called Feral Beat.  I had a chance to talk with their lead singer Seth Sutton after the first set, and learned that he was also fronting Useless Eaters and playing bass for Heavy Cream.  A very talented guy from Memphis, TN, Seth moved to Nashville to fully pursue music, and you can tell that he’s going after it.  The second set required a change at bass and drums in preparation for Useless Eaters, a Neo-soul trio from Nashville.  After a driving, high-energy set, Heavy Cream took the stage as the headline act, which closed out a great night of underground Nashville indie punk rock.

Feral Beat is a very new band in Nashville, TN featuring Seth Sutton on guitars and vocals, Allison Waid on drums and vocals, and Mimi Galbierz on bass.  It seems as though the group formed as a side project from Useless Eaters and Heavy Cream.  This was a fun new band to see live, and I hope that they continue to play around town.

Useless Eaters is an indie neo-soul band from Nashville, TN.  With pumping beats and infamous bright guitar tone, they seemed to have locked in a sound that suits them.  It almost makes you feel like you’re part of a early 90s garage band show, but this band is far removed from playing for themselves in some old box with poor acoustics and oil on the floor.  They have positioned themselves in a new light within Nashville’s independent scene.  Check out this song from Useless Eaters called “Daft Love.”

Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream is a local punk rock visual band featuring Mimi on guitar, Daniel on bass, Tiffany on drums, and Jessica on strings.  They are the most well known of the three groups that played on Sunday night, and their performance showed it.  The band describes their journey simply; “We started in 1997, broke up in the fall, got back together January of 2009 and sealed the deal on Valentine’s day.”  They also uniquely describe their genre as “Stonehenge punk.”  Check out one of their songs called “Tina.”

Be sure to check out The Basement’s “New Faces Nite” most Tuesdays for free shows with great local artists!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

O.A.R. “King” [NEW MUSIC]

HOLD ON A SECOND!   I can hear you yelling at me for this post already.  Jeeze louise.  I will cautiously start this post by saying I LOVE THIS BAND so take a hike if you’re a hater.  I always have and they have always held a special place in my heart right near where my 17 year old self lives.  OAR is awesome.   Crazy Game of Poker, Night Shift, Hey Mr. Brown (NOTE:  So the title “Hey Mr. Brown is wrong and I got called out on it.  The song is actually titled “ABOUT Mr. Brown!”  Man I was wayyyyyyy off… And for the record yes I do listen to this band.  Also for the record I hate the word “about” so I changed it to “hey” cuz I can do whatever I want.  Just saying),  Ok now we’re back… City on Down and many many more are songs that we all listened to while drinking our first underaged beers or attending our first concerts (Sprite Liquid Mix Tour!  What! What!)  I honestly don’t know if it’s cool or not to love this band anymore and I don’t care.  I can hear you stripping me of the little/ any indie cred I may or may not have had.  I don’t give a shit.  The boys in OAR have just released a new record and I got to say they are sporting somewhat of a new sound with the same old roots rock vibe they’e always worn on their sleeve.  Their new release is called “King”.  Clocking in at 16 tracks take a listen as we go through this.  You might stay in love with these guys or fall in love all over again., no homo.

King – OAR (feat. Russell Simmons and DJ Logic)

WHAT?  Yea, I know, BOOM!  DJ Logic and Russell Simmons in your face, first track!  See, I told you they were sounding different these days.  As the record moves on they have embraced the pop music they are oh so good at creating and have added more production, samples and goodies.  Moving on.

Heaven – OAR

Horns are just killing it all over this record.  OAR tours with Jerry and his signature sax sound, but I think the addition of a larger horn section on the recordings really supports OAR’s cause.  I think lead singer Marc Roberge has a great voice and with the addition of great backing vocals makes him sound even better.  With Benji on bass and Chris on drums they are just building on a great root sound they have perfected over the last 10 years if not more.  The next track I love has a little island flare and once again features big horns and great vocals by Marc.

Are You Low? – OAR

As I moved through this record.  I’m in love.  Big electric sounds, samples and under it all is the OAR we all know and love.  The sound is bigger, heavier.  The guitars rock and blare like I have never heard from this band.  They are firing reggae infused roots rock on all cylinders.

Gotta Live – OAR

I think I am running out of things to say about this band, but I will say this.  Since “In Between Now and Then” I have been a fan.  Years later, I admit, I have fallen out of love with OAR and moved on to other musical tastes, but after stumbling on to these guys again I immediately remember why I was drawn to them in the first place.  Great songs, melodies and rhythms.  They are just a fun band.  If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing them live you will know ten fold what I’m talking about.  I think I saw them upwards of 10 times in high school and college and those were some of the best shows that defined my earlier years as a music lover.

Almost Easy – OAR

The dudes are currently out with Dave Matthews and their traveling caravan.  They are also wrapping up their tour and are making a stop locally in San Diego on October uno.  Road trip anyone?  Here’s the tour page, hopefully they are coming to a city near you and I’m sure they will announce more dates soon.  Here’s the last tune from OAR’s “KING” as well as a sweet bonus track.  You can buy thier record just about anywhere, even on the internet.  Enjoy the new sounds OAR is making.  I know I am.

Back to One – OAR

World Like That – OAR

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Slightly Stoopid (Seedless Summer Tour) Live at Red Rocks, Morrison, CO [Photos]

Slightly Stoopid (Seedless Summer Tour) Live at Red Rocks, Morrison, CO

Jimmy Iles Beat-Play Slightly Stoopid (Seedless Summer Tour)

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Check Out Slightly Stoopid!!!!

Photography By: Jimmy Iles | Director of Operations | @JimmyMWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Stroked “Is This It” [ALBUM REVIEW]

One of the best parts about writing this blog is the music.  Learning about new music and constantly listening to new bands and sharing it with you is a major perk.  Thinking you have your finger on the pulse of the Los Angeles music scene is also nice and completely unrealistic in this massive behemoth of a musical metropolis.  LA has so much to offer music wise and the ever changing musical landscape here is mind boggling but there are certain things that are definitive and one hundred percent accurate and one of them is popularity.  Good or bad popularity of a rock and roll act can’t be denied.  This blog is about one of the my favorite bands of all time and a very popular one at that.  They are called The Strokes.  Now your probably ready to punch me in the face for writing about something so mainstream?  Hold your horses cowboy and let me explain.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Stroke’s seminal album “Is This It.”  It’s a hit fest from start to finish.  Stereogum has put together a special tribute to “Is This It” with major and non major indie artists doing takes on the songs.  Get excited.

Peter Bjorn and John – Is This It

I don’t know or have heard a lot of the bands on this awesome tribute but I will highlight some of the best.  The opening tracks guitar laden effects slathered and the awesome vocal stylings of Peter Bjorn and John of “Young Folks” fame brings some major indie cred and star power to this record.  “Is This It” is one of the best / my favorite Strokes songs ever.  As a fitting introduction to the band ten years ago it has now become yet again a fitting introduction to “Stroked.”  For those keeping score I’m going to skip “Modern Age” and move into the third track on the record.  This version of “Soma” by Frankie Rose is a completely mellowed out pseudo electronic version of the original.

Soma – Frankie Rose

Pretty awesome version if I do say so myself.  A lot of these artists are new to me so perk up and leave a comment if you know more or can suggest something I should listen to.  This next track is The Strokes most famous and popular song.  It’s called “Last Night” and it’s done by a great band called The Morning Benders.  Recently The Strokes have toured the festival circut and released a new record of great music as well as efforts after “Is This It,” but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of this pop gem.  People (mostly me) go nuts when they play it on a nightly basis and it has defined the band since it was released 10 years ago.

Last Night – The Morning Benders

Awesome cover, awesome song.  Deep breaths, I’m getting all worked up.  The synth in that version kills it (kills it in a good way).  There is just enough of the original, great melody mixed with a quick pop beat, awesome cover.  Ok moving on.  This is where it get’s interesting.  I said earlier this record is a complete and utter hit fest.  Obviously I wouldn’t lie to you.  Many of the concert staples The Strokes play come off this record and from what I’ve read they actually enjoy playing them on a nightly basis.  On of the tunes I love so much is called “Hard To Explain.”  For me it’s the iconic example of how good of a singer Julian Casablancas actually is.  The tribute version keeps that in mind giving it the acoustic treatment, more specifically the string quartet treatment.  It’s a light touch with heavily effected vocals and I think it does the trick while keeping in mind how good the original is.

Hard To Explain – Owen Pallett

Gorgeous composition and great vocals from Owen Pallett that track is a stand out in the second half.  The next song is “New York City Cops.”  Yet another fan favorite and live staple.  The version on this compilation is, in a word, interesting?  It’s a hip hop song.  SAYYYY WHATTTTT?????  But, Steve “NYC Cops” is one of the most rockin’ tracks on the whole record why would they give it the hip hop treatment?  To be honest I have no idea, but its a pretty cool version of the song using a sample of Julian’s vocal as the chorus.  Check it out here.  I won’t judge if you won’t.

New York City Cops – Heems

This brings us to the end of the record.  We’ll skip over “Trying Your Luck” and get right after it with “Take it or Leave It.”  This epic show closer tells you like it is and that’s the way The Stroked have been since day one.  They make their music and quite frankly don’t give an f-bomb what anyone else thinks.  They have made some of my favorite music of all time and this tribute Stereogum put together is a fitting tribute to a great record and a greater band.  Enjoy The Strokes.  Enjoy this entire compilation for FREE HERE, take it or leave it.

Take It Or Leave It – Computer Magic

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Incan Abraham “Sunscreen” [NEW MUSIC]

Adventures are always fun.  I spent this weekend with an old college roommate basically just trying to avoid being arrested.  Spent Sunday afternoon up at the Getty Museum in LA at a great event called “Off The 405”.  The band Lord Huron was playing.  I have written about them before on this blog so check it out here.  They served booze which, if you haven’t been drunk at a fancy shmancy museum, it’s a pretty awesome activity.  Lord Huron played and were great as usual, but this blog isn’t about them.  Later that night I called a friend of mine and he told me about this show happening in the Silverlake neighborhood of LA.  It was called “Sound Effects Art”.  It was put on by a good friend of mine named Rebecca and my new good friend Logan.  Together with the help of others created one part amazing art show and one part awesome concert.  Throw in a bomb taco truck and last night was pretty legitimate.

Sunscreen – Incan Abraham

Incan Abraham are a local band making a big splash in the LA music scene.  They are constantly playing shows in and around LA with countless residencies under their belt already.  I was told I needed to be there to hear their set and boy am I glad I made it in time.  They are a tight 4 piece dream/ pop/ drum/ hypnotica band comprised of members Giuliano Pizzulo, Spencer Mandel, Andrew Clinco and Teddy Cafaro.  They just released a new EP called Sunscreen.  Here’s the other track from the EP, “Third Man”.

Third Man – Incan Abraham

You can download “Sunscreen” for FREE at Incan Abraham’s Bandcamp page HERE and if you act now you can also download their previous EP called “Adult World” for FREE as well at the same site.  Here’s a pretty bitchin’ track off “Adult World” called “Helium Eggs”.

Helium Eggs – Incan Abraham

Incan Abraham have a bunch of shows lined up in and around LA.  They are playing one of my favorite small venues in this city, The Bootleg, on August 11th.  Check out their facebook and tour page HERE.

Also keep your finger on “Sound Affects Art”.  It was an amazing event with a musical score that went along with each of the paintings in a really really cool space.  This wasn’t a one off thing so keep tabs HERE.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Stacy Clark Live at The Walnut Room, Denver, CO [Photos] [Video]

Stacy Clark Live at The Walnut Room, Denver, CO

Jimmy Iles Beat-Play Stacy Clark

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Currently Stacy is on tour promoting her album “Connect The Dots”, check to see if she’s coming to your area and show her some love!!!!

Check Her Out!!!!!!

Photography By: Jimmy Iles | Director of Operations | @JimmyMWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Jeremy Parsons – “Doggondest Feelin'” [NEW MUSIC]

Time to hear some country music!  I’m not talking about pop country contemporaries like Taylor Swift or Lady Antebellum…  I’m talkin’ ’bout some good old traditional country like Hank Williams and George Straight.  I’m talking about Jeremy Parsons, a significant up-and-coming singer-songwriter in the Nashville country music scene.   It’s not often that you meet younger guys interested in traditional country music, but this 22 year-old has taken it to another level.  He grew up in San Antonio Texas surrounded by country music since he was young.  His father worked at a country radio station, so Parsons became accustomed to the vibe from a very young age.  While most high schoolers played the top 40, Jeremy stuck to what had been running through his veins.  Check out this video of the title track from his debut album “Doggondest Feelin.’”

From being widely recognized at songwriter rounds to being a frequent backstage guest at the Grand Ole Opry, you can’t miss the stage presence and personality of Jeremy Parsons.  With over 750 songs in his personal catalogue (ASCAP), it’s no wonder why his songs have hit the country radio stations so soon.  Shortly after moving to Nashville two years ago, local bluegrass legends The Grascals cut a Parsons song called “Out Comes the Sun.”  In recent news, Jeremy was the 2011 winner of the Artistic Excellence Award for the 9th Annual Texas Music Awards.

It was a pleasure to meet Jeremy at The Commodore on July 15.  We talked about everything from current music industry business and pop culture to the struggles of local musicians and the logic in how to grow one’s career.  It’s not surprising that he quickly signed with local PCG Nashville Records in 2009.  If there is anyone to boost life back into traditional country, it’s Jeremy Parsons.  “I am a ‘blast from the past’ or ‘blast of the past,’ reviving a sound that I feel is missing these days. I have taken it upon myself to take the torch from the hands of Hank Williams, Porter Wagoner and Little Jimmy Dickens and carry it front and center to the Grand Ole Opry stage.”  Parsons has a long list of influences with the likes of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young, Bob Wills, Jim Reeves, Elvis, Johnny Horton, and Johnny Cash to name a few.   If you’re a country music fan of any kind, or even just a regular music fan, check out Jeremy Parsons today!

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC