Tag Archives: los angeles

The Muppets “The Green Album” [NEW MUSIC]

Muppets fans get ready.  A couple weeks ago the soundtrack to the new highly anticipated Muppet movie was released.  Amazing indie rock acts takes on Muppet classics.  I love the muppets more than sunshine to the point where it is extremely awkward when people come into my office and see my collection of Muppet shit, but guess what?  I don’t care.  Muppets are cooler than skinny jeans and flannel.  Before I get into the artists and the record itself I wanna kick it off with a Muppet classic we all know and love done a little bit differently… ok, go.

Muppet Show Theme Song – OK Go

This soundtrack features 12 tracks from folks like the aforementioned OK Go to the sweet solo sounds of Andrew Bird and Rachel Yamagata and pretty much everyone in between.  These new takes on old classics are re-energizing my childhood dreams of becoming Animal when I grow up.

As you can see from OK Go’s take on The Muppet Show Theme Song people are doing things a little differently on this record.  One of my favorite songs is Rainbow Connection.  Done by Weezer and Hayley Williams of Paramore fame. They take a more straight forward approach to the tune and thats not a bad thing at all.

Rainbow Connection – Weezer feat. Hayley Williams

Singer Sondre Lerche stands out among a crowd of greats with his version of Mr. Bassman.  A country vibe mixed with great a cappella “bass” vocals his version of the tune is awesome.

Mr. Bassman – Sondre Lerche

Other great artists include My Morning Jacket with “Our World” and Alkaline Trio with “Movin’ Right Along”.  Both are hugely successful acts who have come up through the indie and jam scenes.  Another great standout is LA’s own Airborne Toxic Event with an awesome take on “Wishing Song.”

Wishing Song – Airborne Toxic Event

As a compilation this record is a gem and as a compilation involving the new Muppets movie it’s even better.  We all know and love these songs and we all know and love the artists covering these tunes.  Here’s a full track list just incase your gonna be “that guy” and not just go out and buy the record based on the awesome tracks you’ve already heard.

  1. The Muppet Show Theme” (OK Go)
  2. The Rainbow Connection” (Weezer and Hayley Williams)
  3. Mahna Mahna” (The Fray)
  4. Movin’ Right Along” (Alkaline Trio)
  5. Our World” (My Morning Jacket)
  6. Halfway Down the Stairs” (Amy Lee)
  7. Mr. Bassman” (Sondre Lerche)
  8. Wishing Song” (The Airborne Toxic Event)
  9. Night Life” (Brandon Saller and Billy Martin)
  10. Bein’ Green” (Andrew Bird)
  11. I Hope That Somethin’ Better Comes Along” (Matt Nathanson)
  12. I’m Going to Go Back There Someday” (Rachael Yamagata)
There is a great balance between the full band blowouts and the small gentle solo acts on this compilation.  Songs to note aside from what I mentioned above are “I Hope That Something Better Comes Along” by Matt Nathanson and The Fray with the popular “Mahna Mahna”.  To end this thing properly I have to post the latter of those two tracks and then as usual with all my blogs, the last track on The Green Album.
Mahna Mahna – The Fray
I’m Going to Go Back There Someday – Rachael Yamagata
By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
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Cymbals Eat Guitars “Lenses Alien” [NEW MUSIC]

Cymbals Eat Guitars is an awesome band name.  Cymbals Eat Guitars is an awesome band.  Cymbals Eat Guitars is loud energetic and just the right kind of music for the mood I’m in right now.  I think I’m going to get tired of continuously typing Cymbals Eat Guitars, but I’ll do it for you in the name of rock and roll.  If you like this kind of stuff and hate typing, feel free to proceed.

Rifle Eye Sight (Proper Name) – Cymbals Eat Guitars

When I’m in the mood for distortion I think I have a new band to turn too.  Cymbals Eat Guitars is that band.  They hail from the NY/ New Jersey area.  Their record comes out today and, duh, I HAVE IT ALREADY so were gonna move through this, it’s going to get loud and soft and loud and soft and you’re going to like it.

Keep Me Waiting – Cymbals Eat Guitars

“Lenses Alien” was produced by John Agnello.  His past clients include the likes of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. two bands that make evident where Cymbals Eat Guitars draws their influence from.  Dinosaur Jr. is a hometown (Boston) band for me and also one of my favorite bands of all time so when I started putting 2 and 2 together I was excited to see the resemblances between the two acts.  I was also excited to see Cymbals take their obvious influence and turn it on its head.

There is a little more pop to their music.    I can only speak for “Lenses Alien” but I will most definitely be diving into their back catalog VERY soon (as in right after I’m done writing this entry.)   High powered heavy guitars, distinct melodic vocals and great bass lines are what is driving this record for me right now.

Definite Darkness – Cymbals Eat Guitars

Appropriately enough the band started with drums and guitars.  They have grown since then and found popularity on the indie rock circuit nationwide.  As I write this and listen to Lenses Alien I’m pretty blown away.  One of my favorite tracks is the eerie tune called The Current.

It has a driving rhythm throughout under darkly distorted vocals.  It’s a far stretch from the music I usually enjoy, but for some reason it stands out for me on an album of good stuff.  The juxtaposition between that and the following partially acoustic track, Wavelengths, was a really cool transition.

Wavelegnths – Cymbals Eat Guitars

Cymbals Eat Guitars is the perfect kind of rock music for pretty much anyone who wants a new flavor of style of music from our younger years.  Either that or if you are into guitar laden, harmonic, sonic or whatever else ends in “onic” type of music.  Lenses Alien is refreshing, loud and most of all this record is honest in the fact that even though the inspiration is obvious they have stayed true to themselves and have created awesome new music because of it.  Here’s the last track.  I love it.  A great ballad to leave us on a soft note… if your not in the mood to be left in a soft note just replay the damn thing from the top on today when you buy this record.

Gary Condit – Cymbals Eat Guitars

Cymbals Eat Guitars are about to tour from Boston to LA and back to NY for the fall.  They play LA’s Echo on the 7th of October.  See you there chumps.

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

Washed Out “Within and Without” [NEW MUSIC]

The dawn of a new electronic musical era is upon us.  As if you didn’t already know.  Now more than ever its easy to get your hands on a synth and some fancy computer apps, a cheap mic and a mbox and you can make music for the masses.  For most this is both a blessing and a burden.  It’s a blessing because the potential is at the tip of our talentless fingertips only to be lost in a “oh man I wish I could do that” moment.  It’s a burden because of the frustration the consumes you when you hear someone doing it right.  Washed Out has recently released “Within and Without.”  If you are feeling euphoric and ready for a sonic blast from another planet throw some cans on lay back and turn it up.  This is Washed Out.

Eyes Be Closed – Washed Out

I’m sitting in my bedroom right now as I write this.  Earnest Greene other wise known as Washed Out is putting people like me in a euphoric trance as I listen to the music he is making from his.  His “chillwave” style of music caught the attention of many music bloggers like myself and propelled him to indie fame having been chose by Battles and Pitchfork to perform at their respective curated festivals.

Amor Fati – Washed Out

I’m just now getting into this kind of music.  I find it incredibly relaxing.  It’s the type of music playing at a dark LA club.  Not much dancing just something cool and ambient to listen to as you fade into the night.  I’m not really a “fade into the night kind of guy,” but hey if the tunes take you there I’m all for giving it a shot.  With that said I love the synth work and the simplicity of the drums compliment the spaceyness of Mr. Greene’s voice.

You and I – Washed Out

I normally post the album cover at the top of the blog entry, but this time it’s here:

Ding Ding Ding.  This is one of the sexiest album covers I have ever seen.  Maybe move the dude out of the way, but hey we can’t win em’ all.  I was going to bring this up earlier, but resisted.  Then I saw the album cover and realized how sexy this music is.  I don’t think I have ever said that before, but hey today’s a new day and these tunes are incredibly sexy.  Like right out of a movie where the heroin is getting out of a pool with perfect hair (somehow) or the big reveal at the top of the stairs as she blows the room away kinda stuff.  When my girlfriend get’s back from her trip I’ll throw this on and see what happens.  I think it’s a safe bet she’d call me an idiot, turn it off and put on Katy Perry.  Here’s the last track from Washed Out’s “Within and Without”.

Dedication – Washed Out

Washed out currently resides in Georgia and is also currently, and appropriately, on tour with Cut Copy making a stop in Los Angeles on Wednesday October 12.  I think I might make my way down.  See you there?

Here’s a fan made video for the song “Feel It All Around” which has been making a splash recently.

Get it?

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

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

Will Gray – Broke* Documentary – “Introducing Will Gray” [FILM & MUSIC]

Every single aspiring independent artist, band, producer, or musician should pay close attention.  We all know that the music industry has undergone extreme changes, and it continues to change in this current age of transition.  Labels are folding, music is free, and the digital age is upon us.  What do we do?  Can artists still do this, be happy, and support themselves?  All these questions and more are discussed in Will Gray’s Broke* Documentary.  However, Will didn’t just wake up one day and decide to do a documentary about the struggles of emerging artists.  He has been living it for over a decade.  Broke* is about the music industry, and what it takes to thrive as an independent artist or music executive in search of their big break.  The documentary features interviews from industry names like Don Was, John Legend, Isaac Slade from The Fray, Seth Godin, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.  After sifting through 300+ hours of footage and more than 60 interviews, Broke* has been created and directed with perfection.  In fact, the film won the Special Jury Prize at the Nashville Film Festival this spring.  “The film digs beneath the clichés and standard storylines to reveal an industry struggling to find a new identity and an artist who’s simply trying to establish one.”  The question: “Can a new act be “broken”?”

Will Gray is not only a great director for his documentary Broke*, but he is an amazing musician that combines folk and hip-hop to create some truly incredible, fresh, and intelligent music.  His influences range from jazz greats like Miles Davis to pop icons like Michael Jackson.  “Will Gray is an independent Hip-Hop/Americana artist who has shared the stage with acts ranging from Erykah Badu, Twista, and Jurassic 5, to Justin Townes Earle and Los Lonely Boys. His original songs have been licensed by MTV, Ford Motor Co., Warner Bros. Records, Playstation, and Motorola.”  This is music that I feel speaks to everyone musically, and conceptually.  Will Gray released his debut album “Introducing Will Gray” under the production of Grammy Award-winning producer T Bone Burnett.  Check out one of my favorite songs from the album called “Back to the Wall:”

Will Gray may be one of the most influential artists of this generation; not because his music is number one on the charts (although it certainly could be), but because he is grabbing the industry by the horns and showing the world what it takes.  As the industry continues through a transitional period, this film gives an inside look at how music executives, producers, and artists feel about its current and future status.  Will music survive the digital age?  Will true and significant art be able to endure pop culture?  What is the breaking point, if it still exists?  As music continues to thrive upon the feel-good listener, Will Gray’s music explores new musical concepts as well as lyrical concepts untouched by the mainstream.   Please explore what this artist has to offer at willgraymusic.com.  Check out the Broke* Documentary, and buy “Introducing Will Gray.”

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

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers “Rare Bird Alert” [NEW MUSIC]

It’s summer time and I’m completely obsessed with bluegrass music.  Two things that don’t really have anything to do with each other, but in my own little weirdly wired brain they go hand in hand perfectly.  This is outdoor music.  It’s acoustic.  It can happen anywhere and sound fantastic.  Add arguably the greatest comedian of all time turned banjo virtuoso Steve Martin into the mix and you have something very interesting on your hands.   High quality bluegrass licks with a hint of comedy.  Just like summer and bluegrass they seem to mix just fine.  Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers have recently released a full length record called “Rare Bird Alert.”  Get ready for a good ole’ fashion barnstormer.

Rare Bird Alert – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve Martin plays banjo on all the tracks.  Although he limits himself to minimal singing the Steep Canyon Ranger’s more than make up for it.  After the instrumental opener in “Rare Bird Alert” this record moves into some great tracks featuring multi harmonies and a special featured guest.  See if you can recognize his voice.

Best Love – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (Feat. ?)

This is not a comedy record at all as you can see.  This is good ole fashion blue grass ass kickin’.  Honestly I worked for like 13 hours straight today and went home and all I wanted was a drink.  As I started to listen to this record more to prep for the blog my brain kept saying “go to the bathtub, make moonshine… it’s not a dumb idea”.  Whiskey was a much better choice than making my own moonshine, but I guess great music makes you think of doing wierd stuff from time to time.  Anyway, I just finished Steve Martin’s biography “Born Standing Up” which in part inspired me to look into his music more.  The banjo has been a part of Steve’s vaudeville/ variety act since very early on in his career.

He’s an amazingly accomplished banjo player and he reaches out on this record and shreds… yes I said shreds on the banjo.

Northern Island – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Now don’t me wrong I don’t think Steve Martin would put out a comedyless product.  There are awesome little gems in here for comedy lovers as well.  Funny little lyrics and an ending that I’ll get to later.  One hilarious little song is called “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs”.  The song is a hymnal with Steve featured on vocals.  It’s pretty hilarious and has become one of my favorite tracks of many on this CD.

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

We all know the man is multitalented, that’s never been a debate and this music isn’t that far of a reach for the comedic and now musical genius of Steve Martin, but there’s just a sense of professionalism that comes through even more on this record than in Steve’s larger body of work.  It’s a pleasure to hear him use bluegrass as a vehicle for comedy and music.  It’s an amazing record.  Well at least I thought it was an amazing record…

Then I go to the last track.  The last track on “Rare Bird Alert” is called “King Tut”.  For Steve Martin fans out there this tune is all too familiar.  Back in his SNL and arena (yes arena) standup tour days he performed this song as a sketch and it has gone down in history has one of the greatest SNL sketches ever.

King Tut” is a novelty song performed by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons (actually members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). It was released as a single in 1978, sold over a million copies, and reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Martin previewed the song in a live performance during the April 22, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live. The song was also included on Martin’s album “A Wild and Crazy Guy.”

King Tut – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

This record is awesome.  It’s available everywhere and Steve and the Steep Canyon Rangers are currently on tour HERE.  They are playing San Diego on 8/18.  No LA dates are announced yet, but he has been know to pop in down at the Largo from time to time and play some banjo and tell some jokes.  I’m so happy I got to write about Steve Martin.  He is one of my comedic idols and the guys pretty much dominates everything he sets his mind to.  Enjoy this CD and if you don’t like bluegrass I’m sorry, but you can go take a hike.  Oh and by the way.  The guy singing on that track earlier was Paul McCartney,  no big deal.

Jubilation Day – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

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

Rave On Buddy Holly [ALBUM REVIEW]

You know every song I’m about to post.  I would hope that you know every artist I’m about to post.  It’s also important that you know who a guy named Buddy Holly is.  I think you do.  “Rave On Buddy Holly” is one of the best tribute records I have ever heard.  The artist lineup and the song choices are epic and spot on.  Buddy Holly, in my opinion, embodied the spirit of local music.  Constantly touring until his untimely death.  I think it’s only proper that a site like this one devoted to spreading the word of good music and artist recognition take a breather from the underground hip hop and indie rock and take a look back at one of the original indie rockers and the people he has inspired.

Fiona Apple and Jon Brion – Everyday

See I told you!  Fiona Apple and Jon Brion own the second track and one of Holly’s greatest tunes.  Brion is an LA local and he plays shows every Friday night down at the Largo on La Cienega.  Fiona just has such an amazing voice.  I figured that would be a good tune to start out with to wet your whistle.

Dearest – The Black Keys

The video was a little lame, but it has some cool pictures so I left it.

If it wasn’t for that damn plane crash Buddy Holly may well still be with us and who knows what other great music he would have created.  This record is in honor of the man’s 75th birthday and what an impact he has had.  This tribute features everyone from friggin’ Kid Rock to Lou Reed to Modest Mouse to Patti Smith to She and Him to PAUL MCCARTNEY (he gets all caps cuz he’s a Beatle).  It’s pretty all over the place pulling artists from every possible genre of popular music.  My favorite track however is by the one and only Cee Lo Green.  His voice is just unbelievable.  He has found pop success of epic proportions and is far from an indie artist, but he branches out here an gives us an amazing take on a Buddy Holly classic.

(You’re so square) Baby I don’t care – Cee Lo Green

I really don’t have much to review here.  The music is classic and the artists on this record are really dead on in their interpretations of Holly’s music.  There is just enough of the original song and the best part is the obvious individual touches each artist put on his or her song.  One of the best examples of that is Florence and The Machine doing Holly’s tune ‘Not Fade Away.’

Not Fade Away – Florence and The Machine

I think Buddy Holly is beaming with a huge smile somewhere up in rock and roll heaven.  This is really just a fantastic assembly of talent all playing their asses off in honor of a great man.  I know I already said that, but who cares I’ll say it again.  I’m gonna finish this up with a few more tracks by She and Him and one of my favorite singers of all time, Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash (duh) and Young fame.  Lastly I’ll leave you with a surprising track.  I’m not going to tell you who’s singing it.  Guess in the comments section below and don’t cheat and look at the track listing.  It’s a very far attachement from what this artist usually does and it’s freakin’ amazing.

She and Him – Oh Boy!

Graham Nash – Raining in My Heart

???????? –  Well…All right

He died at 22 and at that age he had already helped define rock and roll as we know it.  He is arguably the most important figure bridging the gap between rockabilly to rock and roll.  He has obviously been missed, but after listening to this record I know for a fact he is not forgotten.  Rave on Buddy Holly…

Here’s the complete track list to inspire you to buy this record.  I’ll be back tomorrow with some good local music, but I had to get this one out.  It’s too good to ignore.

1. “Dearest” – The Black Keys (2:06)
2. “Every Day” – Fiona Apple & Jon Brion (2:19)
3. “It’s So Easy” – Paul McCartney (4:35)
4. “Not Fade Away – Florence + The Machine” (4:02)
5. “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” – Cee Lo Green (1:31)
6. “Crying, Waiting, Hoping” – Karen Elson (2:25)
7. “Rave On” – Julian Casablancas (1:55)
8. “I’m Gonna Love You Too” – Jenny O. (2:11)
9. “Maybe Baby” – Justin Townes Earle (2:06)
10. “Oh Boy” – She & Him (2:18)
11. “Changing All Those Changes” – Nick Lowe (1:41)
12. “Words Of Love” – Patti Smith (3:20)
13. “True Love Ways” – My Morning Jacket (3:25)
14. “That’ll Be The Day” – Modest Mouse (2:15)
15. “Well…All Right” – Kid Rock (2:09)
16. “Heartbeat” -The Detroit Cobras (2:20)
17. “Peggy Sue” – Lou Reed (3:19)
18. “Peggy Sue Got Married” – John Doe (3:57)
19. “Raining In My Heart” – Graham Nash (3:30)

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

Trevor Menear “Some Kind Of Sunshine” [NEW MUSIC]

It’s been just over a week since my last blog post.  Sorry.  Had to go visit the lady in North Carolina.  Thought I’d use my trip to discover some cool local bands out there, but instead I found hippie jam band drum circles and people playing homemade instruments (the terrible sounding kind) in the street.  Kinda cool if your deaf, but not really my cup of tea.  There is a time and place for hippie jam band drum circles and a romantic evening with the lady you haven’t seen in a couple months is not the time and in my ear drums wasn’t the place.  Instead I stumbled upon this awesome new artist named Trevor Menear.  I signed up for his mailing list at The Satellite Lounge in LA right before I left and he gave me his CD for free.  I listened to it on the plane ride back to LA and I wish I knew it was this good because honestly would have paid 20 bones.

River Blues – Trevor Menear

Chicago native Menear is a blues man.  His most recent and second full length offering “Some Kid Of Sunshine” he features the blues with a small hint of pop mixed in just for fun.  Two things hit me right off the bat.  His guitar work and the originality and distinctness of Trevor’s voice.  Both are the stars of the show on this record.  His take on the blues is fresh and his acoustic picking is just awesome.  This record has a good mix of heavy and light.  A good example to contrast that first track “River Blues” is the track “Better On The Way”.

Better On The Way – Trevor Menear

It’s pretty awesome when you stumble on an artist with this kind of range.  He keeps the same general tone throughout the record, but each song is very different and the mix between his acoustic picking and the electric guitar is awesome to listen to.  All that acoustic light stuff is nice, but lets be serious this guy can wail so lets hear some more.  Here’s an original off the record and a video of Trevor and band covering “Champagne and Reefer” by the legendary Muddy Waters.

Make Me Howl- Trevor Menear

That’s my favorite song on this record.  Come to think of it maybe “Blues River” is.  Eh, whatever they are both awesome tunes and as the starting two tracks on this record needless to say my attention was grabbed in a big way.  There are other little gems on this record as well.  One tune in particular is the track “Giver Her a Name” It’s kind if buried near the end of the record, but the haunting melodies and the strings are really cool especially after the heavy distortion of the guitar on the previous tracks.

Give Her a Name – Trevor Menear

Now for the good part.  Here’s where I get to tell you that Trevor lives locally in LA and has played and is playing a bunch of local free shows namely the Venice Beach Music Festival on August 13th.  I guess it’s really only good for me and the rest of the Californians, sorry.  His tour page is here and he’s playing The Foundry on Melrose tomorrow night from 8:30 to 11:30 for FREE.  I’ll see you there.

Now for the second good part.  On his website Trevor’s new record “Some Kind Of Sunshine” is available in the “pay what you want” format.  Do yourself a favor and throw him a 5 or a 10, whatever you can afford.  You won’t be disappointed
and you’ll get to hear the rest of the tracks I wasn’t able to fit above.

Here’s the last track as usual.  There are 13 tracks on this record.  Seriously buy it, I honestly think its worth a 20…

November (a long way from here) – Trevor Menear

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

10 Awesome Independent Record Labels [LIST]

Here at Music Without Labels we do our best at providing you with some of the top independent music worldwide, which is why I’ve decide to show some love and promote the main industry that helps manage these artists’ insanely busy music schedules; Independent Record Labels! Now this list is in no particular order so their is no hierarchy of which label is better than the next. This is an independent community so it’s our job as indie people to promote quality independent music equally together. We will continue to promote the Independent Record Labels in this new series. Hope this comes as a great reference, and please stay tuned for more:

1. Toolroom records

Label Genre(s): Dance (HOUSE)

Description: Being started by one of the United Kingdoms’ largest dance DJs in Mark Knight, it was certain to be a hit immediately following their release to the world in 2003. After 8 years the label has continuously gained international recognition for it’s unprecedented release of non-stop quality, throughout the entire dance spectrum. Their focus on originality and funk influenced HOUSE has really brought them to the level they are today having taken a stronghold on their niche from the beginning.

tool room records

Artist Count: 46 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): Having had one of Music Without Labels favorite HOUSE DJs in the game made it a bit of an easier decision when trying to figure which labels should be on the list. We all know Mark Knight is a genius (the guy started toolroom! duh) but Toronto, Canada native progressive-house DJ DeadMau5 has set a whole new standard for the work ethic of a modern day House DJ, which was sure to have helped propel Toolroom Records down their long road to success. It was bit tough to pick a track here since we’ve posted DeadMau5 about 8 times on here, but it was decided that everyone enjoys some “HR 8938 Cephei”

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

2. Sumerian records

Label Genre(s): Metal | Hardcore | Rock

Description: Coming from both sides of the United States in LA and DC, co-founders Ash Avildsen and Shawn Keith have managed to open the independent heavy metal market not only domestically but internationally as well with their first non-US band, Fellsilent, signing back in 2008. Sumerian was created ‘by artists, for artists’ which has continued to help ship their music to the top of the metal genre, representing 25 bands with endless potential. The labels’ ability to expand their demographic early has surely given them the edge they’ve needed in the grueling music industry of today. More recently Sumerian has worked with the video game series Rock Band to provide music to their network. Songs by Asking Alexandria have made it into the mix already in the past and you can expect to hear more in the latest production with groups Veil of Maya and After the Burial.

sumerian records

Artist Count: 25 current

Beat-Play Feature(s): A bit earlier this year we were halted by a follower on our Facebook page by the fact that we hadn’t posted metal music in awhile. After digging into some newer metal tracks I was more than pleased to come across Sumerians own Chicago, IL band Born Of Osiris with their latest single release entitled “Follow The Signs”. Since the release of the song in February the band has completed their full-length album “The Discovery” which dropped in the later days of March. Here is “Follow The Signs” by Born of Osiris:

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

3. Stones Throw records

Label Genre(s): Mostly Hip-Hop

Description: Stones Throw was created in 1996 by San Jose, CA native Chris Manak, aka DJ Peanut Butter Wolf, to originally produce and distribute music he had recorded with his best friend and fellow artist Charizma, who had been killed 3 years earlier. With that being said this label is very personal to Chris and has gained countless recognition and the overwhelming addition of 44 more artists than day one of Stones Throw Records back in ’96. The success of the label has come primarily from the approval of Chris Manak in all music represented. As the executive producer, he picks what he likes, and that’s the final decision, and main key to their ongoing success. It’s that old school vibe that keeps them alive, with artists like Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc who so smoothly bring old into the new with everything they do, from music, to merch, to design, and videos, this is a cool class of music with a lot to offer.

stones throw records

Artist Count: 44 all-time

Beat-Play Feature(s): So I had to add the “(s)” on the end there specifically for these guys because we have posted many tracks from Stones Throw and would like to share 2 with you right here. Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc are just non-stop turning heads all across America, each having albums released by Stones Throw early this year, they’ve seen much hype with their videos and multiple hit singles. With two tracks to play let’s jump right into it:

Aloe Blacc – “I Need A Dollar”

Mayer Hawthorne – “No Strings”

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

4. Sub pop records

Label Genre(s): Indie Rock | Alternative | Punk Rock

Description: Created by Bruce Pavitt in the early 80s as a fanzine (non-official fan magazine of independent musicians) called Subterranean Pop this label has undergone some pretty influential transitions throughout their long journey to the top of the independent label scene. Today Sub Pop Records is one of the leading producers and distributors for independent rock, with 2 Platinum and Gold Records from past artists such as Nirvana, The Postal Service, The Shins, and Flight Of The Conchords, it comes without question why such high interest has been carried out throughout the years. Some of today’s biggest names in indie rock still call Sub Pop their home as the fans continue to hear hit after hit.

subpop records

Artist Count: 71 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): With 71 active artists it’s really tough to try and pick one out and go with it as your best choice, so this is not my best choice, just a damn good song like the long list of others Sub Pop has to offer. Fleet Foxes bring a great deal of originality to the modern music scene, and sometimes their old soul makes it difficult to appreciate at first, but with the release of their latest album “Helplessness Blues” we’ve seen a great deal of excitement stir up about the group. Here is the title track off their new album:

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

5. easy star records

Label Genre(s): Reggae | DUB

Description: These guys are an absolutely unstoppable force in the reggae scene today with an incredible talent pool in their list of artists. Music Without Labels has had the pleasure of working with a number of these artists, including Cas Haley, Easy Star All Stars, John Brown’s Body, and The Black Seeds, writing reviews and capturing live concert photos for them in our select cities. The earlier in-house productions of Easy Star All Stars brought 3 best-selling reggae albums of the decade, giving Easy Star Records the glory moment they needed to transition into that next step as an independent label. After capturing an impressive sound they knew people loved, it was at that time where they began focusing on other artists as well as themselves. Having that re-inventive reggae niche on hold in the Easy Star All Stars, bringing in progressive, classic, and modern reggae proved to be an essential decision for where they’ve come to be.

easy star recordsArtist Count: 13 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): As mentioned in the ‘Description’ above, we have done many types of promotions for Easy Star Records’ artists, from album and song reviews to live concert photography. The Easy Star All Stars brought a whole new world to the reggae scene with the release of their Beatles and Pink Floyd classic  full-album reggae/dub remixes in “DUB Side Of The Moon” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts DUB Band”.  Since it is Easy Star All Stars show here, I’m going to go ahead and choose a track by them along with a link to their concert photos. Here is one of my personal favorites by Pink Floyd and now Easy Star All Stars, “Money” (The Alchemist Remix).

Easy Star All Stars [PHOTOS]

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

6. partisan records

Label Genre(s): Folk | Alternative | Country | Experimental

Description: Being one of the younger independent labels in our list of longtime forces, this Brooklyn, NY label has quickly made a name for itself within it’s short 4 year life-span. Partisan Records brings a different style to the record label business, encouraging their artist to create and share their own sound and stories, indicative in the labels’ wide-range of genres. This sense of originality is the key to their fast growth in such a competitive market, harnessing some of the great indie artists of today in, Deer Tick, Dolorean, Holy Sons, Paleo, Middle Brother, and Mountain Man. Expect to see much more from this label in the near future including new artists, videos, music, merchandise, etc…

partisan recordsArtist Count: 13 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): It was just the early part of March when we were blessed with the joyous ring of Middle Brother and their self-titled hit track “Middle Brother”. A driven group of musicians in search of their next great sound, the band consists of John J. McCauley of Deer Tick, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit. The fun-filled tone they bring with their first release was a sure hit, joining that classic oldies vibe with the popular folk sounds of today.

Middle Brother – “Middle Brother” 

Contact Link: Website | Facebook | Twitter

7. Alpha pup records

Label Genre(s): Experimental | Creative | Adventurous

Description: This isn’t your normal independent label. Or should I say labels? Alpha Pup Records has made it’s mark in the music industry by perfecting the art of collaboration, not only bringing artists together but harnessing 40 independent labels under one outstanding network. This is the sort of collaboration you expect from a label pumping out tracks for artists such as P-Funk All Stars, Hello Morning, dak, Busdriver and many more.

alpha pup records

Artist Count: 160 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): With such a long list of artists it’s kind of hard to miss an Alpha Pup client when promoting the independent world. We’ve featured a number of theirs including Abstract Rude, Nosaj Thing, and Shlohmo. Being big fans of electronic music, Shlohmo had caught our attention earlier this year with the release of “Places”.

Shlohmo – “Places”

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

8. Hopeless records

Labels Genre(s): Alternative | Punk | Pop | Rock | Metal

Description: Spending a majority of their focus on the independent punk scene Hopeless Records has owned this sound, claiming the top spot of the punk record labels since their early 90s start. Some of the greatest artists in punk rock and metal during the mid 2000 era were represented by Hopeless. Aritsts including Avenged Sevenfold, Thrice, Yellowcard, All Time Low, and Silverstein were putting in some serious work to help take the new label to it’s forefront of being one of the great independent labels. With the recent addition of Yellowcard, it is expected to see them reach another milestone in the near future with this incredible collaboration.

Hopeless Records

Artist Count: 15 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): After leaving the spot-light they had earned through Capital Records in 2008, Yellowcard decided to rejoice with the indie world and post up with none-other than Los Angeles, California’s Hopeless Records. They followed up their longtime run of major label success with the amazing production of their latest independent album release, “When You Are Finished, Say Yes”. Here is their hit featured on The Beat-Play Experiment:

Yellowcard – “For You, And Your Denial” 

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

9. ghostly international

Label Genre(s): Experimental | New Age | Everything

Description: With 12 years in the game this Ann Arbor, Michigan label has managed to capture an entire style through the many different forms of expression art has to offer. Ghostly International isn’t just about music but the art within music and everything that comes with that art including their roles in design, clothing, technology, innovation, and publishing. They represent a plethora of genres that all seem to fit a similar expression or feeling within the overall tone or message of their art.

ghostly international

Artist Count: 15 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): I am unfortunately unable to provide any tracks from the Beat-Play Experiment archive, but you can guarantee a few tracks throughout the year. One of my personal favorites, being Com Truise, has been on the fence for an artist review for a couple months now and it’s probably about time to pull the trigger on that. To show some love to the electronic expertise of Com Truise here is his track “Pyragony”.

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

10. vicious Recordings

Genre Label(s): Dance | Electronic | HOUSE

Description: With over 18 years of experience in the dance music game, this Melbourne, Australia label has perfected the industry, producing some of the top HOUSE DJs of the world in Avicii, Mind Electric, and butterBOX. Founders and Producer/DJs Andy Van and John Course have an energy that is unprecedented in the electronic dance scene, helping them gain the attention of many up and coming house DJs from all over the world including, the US, Sweden, Australia, Indonesia, and many other countries.

vicious recors

Artist Count: 15 active

Beat-Play Feature(s): Being a huge fan of the growing HOUSE scene from Europe, Avicii has continued to capture our ears here on The Beat-Play Experiment with hit after hit. So we’ve probably featured 3 tracks so far on the blog by Avicii and it’s pretty hard to determine which one is the best, but judging by the stats, the people love to hear “ID + Vocal”. In this new dance era the progressive sound of Avicii has proven to be the best joining an eclectic group of DJs such as DeadMau5 and Benny Bennasi.

Avicii – “ID + Vocal”

Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Written By: Mark G. Valente | @MarkwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC