Narrative: A day in the life of a group of friends as they hang out and go to a show.
Performance: Surrounded by fans in the basement of VFW hall. As it should be.
Song: Yes. A churning, stomping four minute seventeen second injection of YES.
Why You Should Watch It: Steel Train’s a band you need to know. They write the kind of music that should be the gold standard in rock: jangly, full-steam-ahead guitars and wild, wailing melodies that come barreling out of frontman Jack Antonoff’s throat. Being from Jersey, a pinch of young Springsteen is inescapable, and they’ve embraced it.
Here, they further flaunt their Jersey roots by producing a “day in the life” piece that wraps itself in nostalgia for the simple days of goofing off and hanging out. It’s simple but eye catching and some of the photography is striking. The performance here is the capstone. Dark, intense reds, oranges and yellows illuminate the basement where the band is playing. Beers and cheers and rock fists are raised high, chests are pounded and sweat drips off the faces of all involved. It feels like the best show you’ve ever been to.
Highlight of the whole thing? When Jack shouts “And I wouldn’t mind if/Together we died alone,” the whole crowd shouts it with him, and it feels like watching the statement of a generation being born.
BONUS: Scarlett Johansson covered this song! Chill and moody.
By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
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
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.
Ladies and gentlemen presenting Jersey’s own, Davon ‘Wise Vega’ Brown. Just beginning his rap career a year ago, Wise Vega has been writing at a very young age. Creating a split personality in his name, his name Wise displays his conscious rap side, attacking all of the world’s struggles through his lyrics and Vega, which is his mother’s last name displays his cocky raw side. Getting ready to release a double mixtape, College Kid and Mindstate88 in May, Wise has recorded almost eighty songs since he began a year ago and will begin shooting videos for the world to see him and vibe out to his songs. In addition, Wise has been performing and competing against other rappers in New York City at the Webster Hall in downtown Manhattan. His most popular lines, “You can call me what you want, a rapper or writer, professional shit talker…” That line simply describes the his music and the direction he’s going in with each song, “That’s basically what it is. I don’t care who you are, Talib Kweli or Fabulous that’s basically what you’re doing.”
His favorite song on the album is Piranha, which was written when Wise was on his low point and decided to go in full effect after he heard the hook his producer wrote which fit his situation like a glove, “Everything that was going on at that time was in that song. It was really perfect.” As far as looking for a deal Wise is looking for the best situation possible, perfecting his craft, performing his work, and in the midst of releasing his double mixtapes in May, this young artist has the world a his feet waiting to be formally introduced.
By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC
When you think of Harvard, you think of great Political figures, Litigators, Doctors, and Business folks. However, when you first take a glimpse of Mike Philson, it’s hard to tell that this artist had gone from public housing to a Harvard educated lifestyle within his young lifetime, graduating in Political Science and actually was invited to meet President Obama himself. Philson grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he encountered hard struggles growing up, “I went from some of the worst circumstances that made me say, I want my life to be the opposite of what it’s suppose to be, and to strive and push forward in a journey to do great things.” After attaining a Wall Street job working at an investment bank at a Switzerland-based bank, he decided to leave to pursue his music. In 2010, he began his journey to chase his dreams full- time and educate underprivileged children for college.
Internationally, Philson has performed on three different continents and now is traveling coast to coast in the United States performing, recording, and promoting his music, “Ignorance is dangerous, so many people are afraid to step outside of their bounds and leave their neighborhood. I’m not that person.” His music embodies his relatable struggles he has encountered and shares it with the world. While on his MMP Global & DVE Asian Promo Tour, Philson shot his video for his song, On My Way Home in Shanghai, China where his fan base following is strong. Non-believers can view his Chinese love on Youtube, where fans flock to him in public and some fans even begin crying when meeting him. The young Harvard grad turned rapper is now in LA working in overtime drive, “One thing I don’t want to be is just another nigga rappin’ just for the sake of rapping and not getting anywhere.”
Mike Philson is now working on his next album, The Purple Album, which describes the type of zone he was in during his production, “I see a lot of music in colors and purple is that color.” He plans on expanding his work and head out to Africa for a performance sometime soon. As for now, he has a few performances lined up in LA and will shoot out to New York soon for more projects. Some may call Philson crazy for leaving a secure job for his passion, but his inspirations is what keeps him going, “When you’ve seen the type of things that I’ve seen, and you’re on the bottom level and you gradually ascend and knowing God chose me to succeed and to succeed on a level that’s unfathomable, inspires me everyday.”
Another great album given away for FREE by the guys of The Nico Blues from New York and New Jersey. If you’re a classic alternative indie rock lover than don’t hesitate to download “Blame the Boredom, Blame the Basements” and show some love by donating to keep their sound alive! Please enjoy their album opener, ‘Three’s A Crowd”.
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