Category Archives: Nashville

PUJOL from Nashville, TN [MUSIC]

Alright, it’s time for some more music from Nashville’s indie music scene. PUJOL is a southern gothic rock band from Nashville, TN.  The band was started by Daniel Pujol after he moved to Nashville and began writing songs about life, theology, and family.  After growing up in Tallahoma, TN, Daniel is now a very talented punk singer/songwriter in Music City who has made a name for himself the last couple years.  His band consists of Adam Tanaka on drums, Sean Thompson on lead guitar, and Joey Scala on bass.  They’ve been described as “buds bonded by the brain.”  Other members include Dan Burns, Mitch Jones, Steward Copeland, Forever Young, Angelbaby, and The Wez.  Check out this song by PUJOL called “Black Rabbit.”

As you can hear, PUJOL has developed their own distinct sound.  From the intricate guitar riffs to the scratchy vocals, their music has true originality.  It also doesn’t hurt to have Jack White producing songs for your band.  In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Pujol said, “Jack White was very polite and professional.  It felt good to finally be in a situation where knowing what you wanted to sound like was just normal and not high maintenance. Everyone involved respected my judgment as an artist, and we all worked together to help mutually refine the single as a satisfactory meeting ground between the Third Man aesthetic and my own.”  The music is a great new take on the punky garage rock music that has been coming back with a strong underground following in major cities like Nashville.  This is a band that you should definitely see live if you haven’t already.  Here’s another one of their songs (by Stewart Copeland) called “Too Safe.”  The song is “a b-side from PUJOL’s “Black Rabbit” 7-inch, which is being released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.”  You can download it here: DOWNLOAD MP3

Daniel Pujol is an advocate for vinyl records and “almost exclusively releases music on tape, vinyl or digitally.”  In an interview done by Nashville SCENE last year, Daniel describes his very intriguing view on CDs and why he chooses not to release music in the CD format.  He has some great points that I think should be discussed by any independent band thinking about releasing an album these days.  His main ideology on the topic is basically something like “CDs blow, they’re overpriced and nobody cares.”  It’s definitely something I haven’t thought about much, and I can’t really argue with the stunning truth in his argument.  Check out this video from the interview:

Pretty interesting huh?  If you like the music and like the discussion, check out PUJOL’s music here, buy one of their albums, or move to Nashville and come see for yourself some awesome concerts.  Live music has really been coming back the last couple years, so continue to support local music in your hometown and don’t be afraid to go to a concert even if you have never heard of the band.  If you’re an optimistic adventurous music lover, you’ll usually find something that you like about the music.  Thanks for listening!

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

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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

Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue at Rock The Desert in Midland, TX [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Earlier this month, I was invited to hop on the tour bus with the production crew for a band called Skillet.  The weekend included a 15-hour drive to Midland, TX, a six-hour load-in/setup, a three-hour load out, and another 15-hour drive back to Nashville.  This is only a portion of what goes into the band’s hour set filled with lights, pyro, cryo, mechanical stage pieces, and a drum riser that lifts 20 feet in the air and spins 360 degrees.  It all makes for a pretty awesome concert experience.  That’s almost a given when a band invests their money in production, but most bands don’t have the money to afford even a basic lighting rig.  Well, how are independent bands supposed to compete with thousands of dollars of production gear?  Easy answer.  They don’t have to!

This is where Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue come into play as a prime example.  They pre-headlined before this set filled with monster production.  He didn’t have fire, or strobe lights, or a crazy drum riser, but he didn’t need it.  The energy, positivity, and musicianship that he brought to the stage with his band was enough to get everyone’s attention.  The band members, including Mike Farris, are pros and touring veterans with many years of experience.  For example, most touring bands encourage their drummer to play with a click and a lot of bands have backing tracks that make this necessary.  Mike’s band and drummer was so tight and so raw that they didn’t have to use either.  With horns, organ, electric guitar, bass, drums, and the McCrary Sisters, their music was driving, pure, organic, and fun.  Unfortunately, the band doesn’t have any live videos from their recent tour, but check out this video of Mike Farris playing “The Night the Cumberland Came Alive.”

Mike Farris was the founder and lead singer of a blues-rock band from Nashville, TN called Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, but has continued his career as a solo act since 2001.  He won an Americana Music Award for New/Emerging Artist Of The Year in 2008 and a GMA Dove Award for Traditional Gospel Album of the Year for SHOUT! Live in 2010.  Today, he tours and makes music as a gospel music artist with his band called the Roseland Rhythm Revue.  His music focuses on early American gospel and blues, distinguishable from today’s contemporary gospel artists.  The Roseland Rhythm Revue has some of the great touring musicians of today including the McCrary Sisters (Bob Dylan’s backup singers).  Mike’s latest project is a six song EP released last year called The Night the Cumberland Came Alive, which was created to support the victims of the Middle Tennessee floods that occurred nearly two years ago.

All facts aside, Mike Farris is a truly incredible live performer.  If you ever get a chance to see him play, don’t let the opportunity pass you by!

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

Roundhand Rowan live at The Hardscuffle (CMC) in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

When I moved into my new house in Nashville a couple days ago, I had a decision to make.  Should I stay at home and keep unpacking or put it off to go see some friends at a hardcore show?  Well, I’m glad I went with the later because I got to see Roundhand Rowan take the stage with full production.  I’ll be honest.  I don’t get out to too many hardcore shows, but these guys had some fresh ideas and killer stage presence.  Their creativity was reflected the most in their breakdown sections with different time signatures and various intricate combinations of rhythms and melodies.  I’m sure glad that I brought my -15db earplugs because like most hardcore rock shows, it was loud.  Here’s a photo from the show with sweet production.  (I did what I could without the luxury of an SLR)

Roundhand Rowan, aka RHR, is a melodic-hardcore band from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and last night was the last out-of-state stop on their summer tour.  The band is composed of Jesse (vocals, guitar, synth), Cody (guitar, synth, vocals), David (drums, vocals), and Derek (guitar, synth, screams).  They started playing together two years ago, and have really started to develop within the last year.  RHR has shared the stage with The Devil Wears Prada, Attack Attack, Asking Alexandria, Gwen Stacy, For Today, and many more.  Check out their music video for one of their songs called “They Hunt the Defeated.”

One of my favorite things about Roundhand Rowan (besides the gut-wrenching screams from Derek) is their message.  A lot of hardcore, screamo, or metal bands out there don’t relay a very positive message in their music.  Roundhand Rowan has made it a point to “spread love and positivity to those they entertain.”  Even though their music is hard, loud, and one of the furthest things from Jack Johnson or Colbie Caillat, RHR strives to “lift up others to rise over the negativity perpetuated in this world.”  These aren’t your typical cookie-cutter straight edge rockers, but they certainly long to express a positive lifestyle through their music.

I talked with a couple members from the band for a while after the show.  Having toured with a band myself, I know from experience that the road can take a toll on a person physically and emotionally.  Despite a busted van and trailer, the guys seemed to be in good spirits coming into the last leg of their travels.  Touring with little to no budget is a huge test for any independent band.  The financial struggles alone can cause doubt and frustration to set in.  RHR might have been tired, but their spirits were high and they put on a good show.  For more information on Roundhand Rowan, check out their Facebook page or Myspace.

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

Two Door Cinema Club from Northern Ireland [SHOW/MUSIC]

The summer drag in the music industry is coming to an end and the touring season begins!  Things are about to get a little nutty in the music industry.  Bands will be starting their fall tours, students will be back at college, and I will be officially moved into my new house in Nashville.  Fortunately, there won’t be any mid-terms, lectures, or group meetings because I finished up with school in May!  As I look back on a solid year of changes, music, and transitions, I can’t help but think about my favorite bands and concerts that I experienced last year.  One of those bands is Two Door Cinema Club.  From only being active for four years, this indie rock group from Northern Ireland claimed my attention from first listen of their debut album Tourist History.

This spring marked the year anniversary of this historic album released by their Europe-based label called Kitsuné, and let me tell you, it’s still just as good as it was a year ago.  Two Door Cinema Club filled my summer of 2010 with pumping grooves and fresh original music.  Well, enough of me trying to describe their music, give yourself a listen!

For me, last fall was my first time in Nashville, and I wanted to experience Music City in all of its glory.  If it meant eating less so that I could afford to go to more concerts, that’s what I did.  I never regretted that decision, especially after seeing Two Door Cinema Club at Mercy Lounge.  The place was packed with your typical indie-rock crowd, but the show was anything but typical.  Alex Trimble (lead vocals, guitar, synths), Sam Halliday (guitar, vocals), Kevin Baird (bass, vocals), and Benjamin Thompson (drums) put on a killer show with high energy from start to finish.  They truly own their sound, which can be easily recognized over their contemporaries.  Songs like “I Can Talk” have been featured in video game soundtracks and TV, while other songs have appeared in dozens of other promos around the world.  Want to hear more music?  Check out their newest music video for “What You Know.”

Two Door Cinema Club has gained a lot of attention in a short amount of time since they started in 2007.  With previous interest and support from fans online, the band released their first recording on an EP “Four Words To Stand” in January 2009.  After quickly increasing in popularity in only six months, they decided to begin recording their debut album in July.  Tourist History was released in the spring of 2010 in Ireland, the UK, and the USA.  This strong dedication to producing music didn’t go without reward.  The last year for Two Door Cinema Club has featured countless advances in all aspects of their music.  From new remixes to appearances, they have been hard at work and their music has been well-received.  The band has played a number of festivals this year including Orange Evolution, Glastonbury, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, and has toured with bands such as Phoenix, Metronomy, and Tokyo Police Club.

Two Door Cinema Club will be touring the US in September 2011 with special guests Bombay Bicycle Club and The Lonely Forest.  Unfortunately, Nashville will not be one of their stops next month, but be sure to check out if they are coming to a city near you.  This is going to be a tour that you don’t want to miss!

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

Stephen Sebastian from Nashville, TN [NEW MUSIC]

There are quite a few Americana folk rock bands out there, but Stephen Sebastian has his music dialed in.  With influences like Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, and Elliott Smith, you can almost piece together what his music sounds like, but Stephen Sebastian has found a middle ground and his own true sense of musical style.  Somewhere between alt-country and classic rock, you will find a combination and swarm of blues, pop, and rock and roll in Stephen’s music.  Similarly, the passion and vulnerability of his lyrics seem to lead the way in a similar fashion to those of his influences.  With killer riffs and solos from Sebastian’s guitar and driving rock grooves from his rhythm section, his music gives one the option to let go and rock out.  It’s amazing how he seems to work between big, heavy, and intimate vocal styles in different songs.  “Check out this video of “No Time for the Weary:”

Stephen Sebastian has been in Nashville, TN for a number of years, but he is a recent graduate from Cleveland, Ohio.  He has played all over Nashville and has just finished recording a new record this summer.  His band also includes Chris Leonard on drums and Josiah Lightle on bass.  When I saw him perform in the Fall of 2010, I was immediately interested in his music.  I absolutely love the clean harmonica over the vintage crunch of his electric guitar in instrumental sections.  Stephen Sebastian has the ability to bring you into an intimate song or rock you of your seat.  The band really drives the folk grooves home, and his show is thoroughly entertaining overall.  At the same time, anyone can also sit back and listen to his intelligent lyrics.  Have a listen to this song called “Ohio:”

I hope that his newest project will bring some much-needed attention to The Stephen Sebastian Band.  He has great potential as an Americana folk rock artist, and I am excited to see where his music takes him.  He just played a great free show at The Basement on Tuesday August 9, so don’t miss his next local show in Nashville if you hear about it!

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

Mucca Pazza is a Circus Punk Marching Band from Chicago, IL [NEW MUSIC]

Imagine your typical high school marching band.  Now cut it in half, and cut it in half again.  Then age them, add some instruments that you wouldn’t usually see, some informal cheerleaders, and then let them “march” wherever they want and however they want.  Throw in some rebellious and quirky style, and you will have something along the lines of Mucca Pazza.  Since I was unable to attend their show in early July 2011 here in Nashville, I wanted to at least spread some hype about this totally original, unique, and independent band.  From what I heard, their show at Exit/In was outstanding, so allow me to describe this remarkable phenomenon that is Mucca Pazza.

I saw Mucca Pazza for the first time when they toured through my college two years ago.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect from a 30-piece circus punk marching band, but it was definitely something that I had to see for myself.  This is one of the most memorable concerts that I, and anyone else that has ever been to one of their shows, will never forget.  Mucca Pazza is a 30-piece circus punk marching band from Chicago, Illinois.  The band contains instruments and members that you would not find in a typical marching band.   They have cheerleaders, accordion, electric guitar, mandolin, violin and a megaphone to name a few.  They have played at Lollapalooza, Rothbury Music Festival, and Tour de Fat.  The band was even featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2006.  Their repertoire encompasses themes from Shostakovich and Bartok, covers of 60s TV show themes, and even Balkan-brass covers.  Balkan-brass originated in the 19th century when trumpeters in the Serbian military transposed Folk music to music they could play in a more upbeat style during rough times.  Here is a video of Mucca Pazza performing “Peace Meal” at Tour de Fat 2010.

Playing on each other’s instruments, interacting with crowd members, and dancing around the venue is all part of what makes Mucca Pazza an outstanding show.  The venue is their stage, and who knows where they’ll end up during a performance.  This is originality at its finest.  I’m not sure what I would do if I was their tour manager, but they seem to keep their crew of around 30 members in tact.  What a band!  Don’t miss their next show August 19 at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL.

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

Belle Histoire at The Hardrock Café in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Belle Histoire is a new indie-pop alternative band from Covington, KY that’s been getting a lot of attention for their music in a brief amount of time.  The band consists of Jane Smith (vocals, keys), Aaron Hunt (guitar, keys, vocals), Austin Livingood (guitar/vocals), Mitch Winsett (bass, vocals), and Wes Comer (drums).  Their new original music has sparked interest in many new fans from their hometown of Cincinnati and Nashville, TN.  They have just released a debut EP on iTunes called “Spirits.”  Check out this song from their EP called “Nightmares.”

My friend Chrissy attended their show in Nashville on July 25.  “I was able to see Belle Histoire at the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Nashville last week.  I went to the show without any pre-conceived opinions of the band and was pleasantly surprised!  The 5-piece group began their set with poise and maturity kicking off the show not with a timid “hello” into the microphone but with a powerful combustion of sound as they began their first song with confidence and excitement.  From the first note to the last, their songs were intriguingly eerie, and their performance, captivating.  Also to be noted was the vocal performance and stage presence of front woman Jane Smith.  Her voice is honest and pure and her presence on stage is of confidence and expression!  Being only 17, her maturity in these areas is, in my opinion, beyond her years!”  From getting the opportunity to spend time with Belle Histoire after the show, she soon learned that their personalities were just as pleasant as their music.  It’s no wonder that this band is acquiring so many fans in so little time.

Belle Histoire has shared the stage with Cold War Kids, Parachute, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business, Aaron Gillespie, Jarrod Gorbel, MANSIONS, and many more.  They will be playing a show with the Cold War Kids tomorrow night in Covington, KY at the Madison Theater.  If you are in the area, it would be a great show not to miss!  If you can’t make this show, check them out here.

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

The Black And White Years at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

Want some fresh electro-pop, but don’t want to stray to far from the comfort of your favorite indie rock band?  You’re in luck.   The Black And White Years are an indie art rock band based out of Austin, TX, and the members met while attending school in Nashville, TN.  The band consists of Scott Butler (vocals, guitars, keys), Landon Thompson (guitars, keys, vocals), John Aldridge (bass, brass), and Billy Potts (drums).  This is a creative group of guys that combine distinct sounds from electronics, keys, and guitars to create their unique style.  They have been recommended to be one of the best up-and-coming electro-pop bands in America.  Check one of their most popular songs from their newest album “Patterns” called “Up!”

As you can see, this band has their original electro-pop style dialed in.  The Black And White Years were officially discovered at South by Southwest in 2007 by Jerry Harrison, a member of Talking Heads and Modern Lovers.  Jerry offered to work with the band and produced their debut self-titled album in Sausalito, CA.  The album was released in 2008 and kick-started the group’s success at festivals such as CMJ, Austin City Limits Music Festival, and MIDEM to name a few.  Check out this music video for their song “Cold:”

The band will be playing a show tomorrow night at The Basement in Nashville.  They will continue to tour throughout the east this summer with hype surrounding their newest album called “Patterns.”  This album is their second solid release in three years.  While their music may seem odd or quirky to some, The Black And White Years must be heard live for a full-engagement with their art.  With great sounds, danceable grooves, and a solid all around performance, these guys are worth your time.  Listen to another song called “Patterns” from their latest album.

Visit their website to keep listening, or simply come to the show tomorrow night at The Basement in Nashville, TN.

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