Category Archives: New York

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

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Caleb Hawley – Harlem, NY [NEW MUSIC]

Caleb Hawley is a pop folk artist from New York that brings more than catchy melodies and incredible talent to his music.  Caleb combines soul and passion into his music to surround his voice, humor, and songwriting.  After seeing him play this spring, I was hooked.  That’s because his intricate guitar playing and incredible sense for melody and groove in songs is far above average.  Hawley continues to impress people with his music by receiving honors in the New York Songwriters Circle Contest (2008 and 2009), the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (2009), the Telluride Festival (2010), and the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (2010).  He has written and produced three albums in his career as a songwriter, and he continues to tour the country playing a variety of venues and festivals.

The real inspiration to be a songwriter came after Caleb graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition.  He then decided to fully pursue his passion and moved to New York City.  He has since shared the stage with industry greats such as Mark Cohn, Rusted Root, Dave Matthews Band, Shawn Mullins, and Edwin McCain.  Caleb Hawley can cover a wide range of music because of his talent and influences.  While one song may seem as relaxed as James Taylor, another may capture the soul and passion from a singer like Stevie Wonder.  Add riffs and rhythms that you might find in music like John Mayer or Dave Matthews, and you have Caleb Hawley.  Seeing him perform was definitely one of my favorite shows in the last six months.  He gave his audience energy, joy, and laughter from the first song to the last.

Caleb Hawley may have talents like some other artists mentioned above, but he has his own original style and sound.  He is an outstanding guitarist that is capable of producing riffs rarely heard by his contemporaries.  You can tell he hears the whole song when he writes it because the feel is so dialed in.  From his first album titled “Greatest Hits” to his latest “We All Got Problems,” you will hear the cleverness and the excellence that is Caleb Hawley.  From personally purchasing and listening to his second album “Steps,” I definitely recommend that you check him out.  Listen to Caleb Hawley’s music and see his tour schedule here.

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

Click The Photograph For More Concert Shots!!!!!

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

Anvil “Juggernaut Of Justice” [NEW MUSIC]

I was feeling a bit nostalgic today.  I looked back on a couple old blogs I have written and I was reading the other awesome stuff on this site when it finally hit me.  There is NOT ENOUGH METAL on this blog!  Now I am not a metal-head by any means, but who doesn’t like to turn it to 11 and destroy shit?  There’s only one metal band in my opinion that continues to embody the spirit of what Beatplay is all about.  They are called Anvil and they have just dropped a gem called “Juggernaut of Justice.”  Do me and your neighbors a favor and TURN. IT. UP.

Turn It Up – Anvil

Anvil has come back from Metal oblivion (although with 17 full length releases I believe they have never gone away) with an amazing documentary released last year covering all things Anvil and the difficulties of relentless touring and the ideas of “what could have been” taunting a band still trying to make it huge after 20+ years and being considered one of the best in the business with out the cash to show for it.  Anvil is one of the originals, simple as that.

They have been playing fast, loud and crazy music for decades.  This most recent release dominates.  It’s non stop and in your face.

Fuken Eh! – Anvil

It’s hard to review this record.  Problem #1: my hands literally won’t stop playing air guitar and air drums.  Problem #2:  I just threw my desk across my apartment and my computer was on top of it.  Problem #3:  My elderly (expletive) of a neighbor just came up and told me to turn it down to which I said nothing and awkwardly/ slowly closed the door in her wrinkled face.  All great problems to have and my luckily indestructible computer survived so I can continue.  But first…

When Hell Breaks Loose – Anvil

Hell has broken loose.  It’s time to stand up and give these guys the respect the have deserved for years.  They have great lyrics and great hooks.

Lips is the lead singer/ guitar player.  His voice is like razor blades ripping through a wall of guitar and drums.  This band embodies metal.  They live it.  From the start of this record, title track “Juggernaut of Justice” though the final punch in the face “Tonight is Coming” Anvil just doesn’t stop.  ALL the songs are heavy.  ALL the songs are fast.  ALL of my brain cells have turned to mush.  I feel bad I wasn’t a fan/ didn’t know about this band earlier in my life.  Granted they have been around since before I was a fetus.  Who knows?  I may have just become a metal-head from the start.  Here’s the last track from “Juggernaut of Justice.”

Tonight is Coming – Anvil

Anvil currently has a couple US dates on their TOUR PAGE and are touring heavily in Europe.  “Juggernaut of Justice” was released back in May so go buy it right now.  It was recorded not to far from my house at Dave Grohl’s Studio up in Northridge, CA, which makes it even cooler in my book.  So throw the devil horns up and repeat after me.  Long Live Metal but most of all  LONG LIVE ANVIL.

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

Danielson “Best of Gloucester County” [NEW MUSIC]

I bought a pair of wooden sunglasses today.  I also heard a band called ‘Danielson’.  Both happenings made my day.  ‘Danielson’ has a great, fresh sound.  One part loud perfect imperfections  and the other part pretty rockin’ for a folky acoustic outfit.  Danielson is weirdly religious.  I am not however, so this blog with be pure music…

Grow Up – Danielson

Daniel Christopher Smith is ‘Daneilson’.  He has an ever revolving family of musicians he plays with.

“Danielson has, during the five years, let go (reluctantly, perhaps) of some family collaborators—namely his brothers Andrew and David, the percussionists, and childhood friends Chris and Ted, on keys and bass/guitar respectively. While sisters Megan and Rachel and Daniel’s wife Elin, the essential chorus for many a Danielson Famile song, still appear, the bulk ofBest of Gloucester County revolves around a completely new “team.”

His new band consists of musicians from in and around Gloucester County in New Jersey.  Evan Mazunik plays piano and organ while Joshua Stamper holds it down on bass with Patrick Berkery rounding out the rhythm section on drums.  Andrew Wilson plays electric guitar and the one and only Sufjan Stevens plays banjo which is pretty incredible.  Pretty awesome instrumentation and extremely talented musicians support Danielson making this record really professional, fun and exciting to listen to.

Lil Norge – Danielson

I like the “obla-di-obla-da”-ness of the tune ‘Lil Norge’.  It’s a fun bouncy little tune complimenting the heavy hand of “Grow Up,” which come before it on the record.  One awesome thing among many on this record is that the songs individually are completely unique.  I think thats what drew me in.  I listened to the first couple tracks because they were loud and in my face.  As I continued into the guts of “Best Of Gloucester County” I got completely swept away.  Each song was different in its own awesome unique way (I know I already used it once, but it’s true so deal).  The guitar definitely drives this record.

Danielson’s sometimes piercing vocals actually work with the guitars and the choppiness of the music.  A good example of this is the song ironically is called “But I Don’t Wanna Sing About Guitars.”

But I Don’t Wanna Sing About Guitars – Danielson

As the record continues it get a little quieter and quieter.  Songs like ‘You Sleep Good Now’ and ‘Denominator Bluise’ are quiet simple as that.  I don’t really know why the track list isn’t mixed a little bit better, but there’s obviously a reason in ‘Daneilson’s’ head.  Artists intuition I guess.  It’s not bad, but I just expected the end of the record to be a little bit like the beginng.  All in all it’s a solid effort straight though.  The song writing is fantastic and with musicians like Sufjan Stevens playing banjo on your record ‘Danielson’ holds his music to a very high standard.  This is the bands fifth release and although I can’t speak for their prior releases I will say that “Best of Gloucester County” is worth while feel good music to listen to.  With that said I’ll leave you with a soft end to the record, “Hosanna in the Forest”

Hosanna in The Forest – Danielson

Check out Danielson’s tour page for more info on that although it doesn’t look like they have anything coming up too soon.  Do yourself a favor and download “Best of Gloucester County” HERE.  I guess it must be the old punch your listener in the face and then play quiet nice music to relax them and get them to forgive you method.  For me it’s working.  I forgive you.

PS.  I got to include this video of “Did I Step On Your Trumpet”.  It’s so wierd.

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

[PREMIERE] The Nico Blues Unveils Latest Music Video to “Folk Song Number Two”

The Nico Blues have been featured by our editors on multiple occasions (See previous features). Recently, we were alerted by the band that they were on the brink of releasing a new music video for “Folk Song Number Two” off their self-released Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements album, which is still available for free download on their website.

The video features a fixed-guitar view that follows the band throughout the entire self-produced video. I often find home-made music videos to be quite endearing and this video certainly follows suit. For those who may not have seen previous posts, The Nico Blues is an alternative rock/indie rock outfit from the Tri-State Region. Their previous video to “Living Proof” was even featured in an MTVu contest earlier this year. When you’re finished viewing their latest video, make sure you swing by their facebook page to show them some love.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com

Long Walks On The Beach [NEW MUSIC]

I received an e-mail a couple weeks ago which read, “This is my brother’s band.  He knows what the people want… blog about it.”  How could I not dig deeper?  I was so enthralled by this epic demand that I rushed ever so swiftly to the nearest computer and immediately Googled the shit out of them.  I almost fainted….  Ok it didn’t happen that way but, if these guys know what the people want then obviously I had to oblige and check this band out because after all don’t we all what to know what people want?  Yes we do.  Here’s a band that made me real glad I check my e-mail.  Long Walks On The Beach.

TRUE LOVE or bust – Long Walks On The Beach

I literally know nothing about the DC area local music scene, but I do know good music when I hear it.  Long Walks on the Beach has the mellow-ness of a beach bar down in Venice, CA with the punch of a big city such as DC.  An odd mix that works amazingly.  Also, if a band or in this case a musician by the name of Fritz Kramer describes his music as “bedroom pop,” on his facebook page a closer listen based on this description gained Long Walks a new fan in me.  The song writing is great and the tunes are right up my alley.  I read a quick little bio and like most people Fritz has a day job,

associate producer of a world class investigative journalism series wins Emmys by day then retreats to his carriage house bedroom near Howard University to make perfectly crafted pop songs by night.”   

Sounds good to me.  Fritz’s day job hasn’t stopped him from creating and releasing a handful tunes on Long Walks website.  It also hasn’t stopped 14 year old girls from making video picture retrospectives of Fall and Winter 2010 set to his tunes either.

metaPhysical – Long Walks On The Beach

A lot of people say, “don’t quit your day job.”  They usually say this to me when I sing off key like an asshole when I hammered, but I think Long Walks on The Beach really has something here.  So I say “f-it” quit your day job!  Why not?20,000+ people agree with me on the ole’ facebook.  It’s a tough road and obviously it doesn’t work out for everyone, but in this case the sound is right and ripe for more and more people to hear.  This last song is my favorite of the three tunes up for FREE on their site right now.  It has nothing to do with 14 year old girls or picture retrospectives on youtube.

I Didn’t Want to Make Out (I wanted to kiss) – Long Walks On The Beach

Long Walks On The Beach are playing local shows in DC right now and Saturday night (June 11th) they are playing the All Things Go Summer Showcase at the Gibson Guitar room with Penguin Prison.  Obviously check them out if you’re in the area or actually do yourself a favor and drive long distances to see this band.  An inside source has revealed that he may or may not be releasing an EP later this summer so get pumped.  I know I am.

The three tunes I posted above are available for FREE HERE.  Also Fritz and the rest of the band are collaborating with artist Jesse Treece on a digital download of pretty awesome ringtones and artwork where 100% of the proceeds go to Japan relief.  So let’s help Japan get some relief by going HERE and buying the digital download package and ringtones for a few bucks.

We all know people love “long walks on the beach” so joke all you want on your e-harmony profile, but I think as a band “Long Walks” has something special and Fritz has only scratched the surface of what has the potential to be some pretty cool music.  Keep an eye on this guy.  He might quit his day job and take over the world and I have a feeling that’s what people want.

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

Cotton Jones “Tall Hours In The Glowstream” [ALBUM REVIEW]

After a week off from writing this blog I wanted to come back with a bang.  I wanted to come back with something new, fresh, fast and awesome.  I definitely got the fresh, new and awesome parts down, but the fast I guess is debatable and ok fine maybe not totally new, sue me.  Cotton Jones has been on my radar for years now and as we all know bands find there ways out of our thoughts no matter how good they were/ are.  I was reintroduced to them on a brief trip to Boston last week.  The musical heavens parted and I was reunited with a cool band with a mellow sound to reintroduce myself to on a laid back trip.  Doesn’t get any better.  This is Cotton Jones.

Sail of The Silver Morning – Cotton Jones

Cotton Jones is the brainchild of lead singer Michael Nau.  I was introduced to him as the lead singer of the band Page France in Boston and soon after he started Cotton Jones.  Since 2005 Cotton Jones, a solo moniker for Nau, has released either an EP or a full length offering.  Their most recent full legnth release is called “Tall Hours In The Glowstream”.  Released in 2010 “Glowstream” features the soothing harmonies and great atmosphere I have come to appreciate from Cotton Jones.  This folk record has all the elements I like to hear when I want to sit down, listen and relax.

A Place At The End Of The Street – Cotton Jones

I love the drums on this record.  Nice and loose with limited low end.  I’m addicted to the rattle of the loose snares.  They compliment the twang of the spacey guitars and the twangy drawl of Michael Nau’s voice.  The effects on this record in my opinion are very appropriate.  I sometimes hate when the vocals are flooded with reverb and delay is added to give spacey texture or they sound like your in a closet or oversized bathroom, but in this case it adds to the music instead of take away, which for my taste is really rare.

Most of this music tends to be mellow, which is awesome. However this is one great track on “Glowstream” which I do believe it a Cotton Jones jam.  The song is called “Goethe Nayburs.”  It’s completely instrumental and it features the horns that are kept quiet on the rest of the record.  It’s a great little driving song and after listening to this record a number of times now I think it’s starting to grow on my as my favorite because I didn’t expect it.

Goethe Nayburs – Cotton Jones

I don’t think I need to sell you on Cotton Jones any more.  They have an amazingly mellow sound and they are my personal choice for easy listening on a hot California day.  There’s just one problem…  They are on tour and they aren’t coming to California!  There tour page is here and they have a bunch of dates coming up so obviously I must insist you see them live.

Cotton Jones recently released a short 4 song EP in February of 2011 .  The EP is called “Sit Beside Your Vegetables” and I can’t find it on their site, but I was able to buy it on iTunes.  He’s my favorite song from it.

Egg On A Sea – Cotton Jones

Of course I wouldn’t leave you hangin’ without the last tune from “Tall Hours In The Glowstream” as well.

No Things I Need (Like Some Time Ago) – Cotton Jones

Buy all their music HERE.  Seriously do it.

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

Arsonist & Dot The One – “Let My Tape Rock” [Music Video]

This is the newest from Philly rapper Arsonist feat. Dot The One and Jimmy Konway. The Biggie sample on this beat is dope. Off of Arsonist’s new mixtape Human Torch Swagger hosted by Dj R to the Izza, this is “Let My Tape Rock”:

Dot The One has really been gettin busy lately, readying up for his new mixtape Above. Ground. Level., to be released on July 6th. This will be the must-have underground hip hop mixtape of the year, if you want my opinion. Here’s a little preview of what you can expect on A.G.L.:

Download the full song here

Here’s a sick freestyle a cappella from Dot The One too. This mixtape is looking promising.

Stay tuned for more on Dot. I’ve been sayin it for a while, but really, it’s just a matter of time with this dude. Crazy talent.

– Dante Cullari CEO Beat-Play, LLC

Shapes – “I’m OK” [VIDEO]

Shapes, an NYC-outfit, self -describes as “Gutter-glam, A true melding of pop and punk, sans penis and fart jokes. Brutally honest and ugly lyrics set to undeniably poppy music. Songs of love and death. This music is the sound of yearning. An earnest, sober (sometimes… but not too often), & mournful acceptance that life will never be what you want it to, tempered by an undying youthful exuberance and acceptance of nothing. It is the sound of going down drinking and swinging. SHAPES, will forever go, anything, but gentle(!), into that good night.”

I enjoyed hearing Shapes for the first time, partially because it was refreshing to hear something different, but mainly because it’s just a pretty awesome song. The video invokes nausea because of the camera perspective, but if you close your eyes (or minimized the browser) that feeling will be alleviated. You can check out their facebook page or follow them @shapesband for more information.

Kyle C. Stilley | Marketing Strategist | @stillz | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC | kyle@musicwithoutlabels.com