Tag Archives: philadelphia

Alex Brubaker – Deconstructing The Temporal Lobe [NEW MUSIC]

What would rock music be without the guitar?  What would most music today be without the guitar?  It’s difficult to imagine, and nearly impossible to really think about.  We wouldn’t have Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and other legends that have directly influenced much of today’s music.  Fortunately, we can all relax because the guitar exists.  However, for Alex Brubaker, the guitar is not just a guitar.  It’s a rhythm section and an entire musical ensemble that can be looped, distorted, delayed, scratched, hit, tapped, and transformed into new musical opportunities.  With influences ranging from Dream Theater to Trace Bundy, you might expect that his style would reflect progressive experimentation with this age-old instrument.  You would be close to correct, but listen for yourself to one of his songs called “Ice Mountain.”

After starting on prog rock and metal in high school, Brubaker transformed his style by applying the same ideas and techniques to the acoustic guitar, but that’s not all.  He has incorporated looping, tapping, alternate tuning, and using two guitars.  His creativity is refreshing and his ideas are unique.  Brubaker released his debut album called Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe in September 2009 after only two years of experimenting with percussive fingerstyle guitar.  You’ve got to give it another listen if you are the least bit interested in the guitar or if you just like music!  In this next song, Alex incorporates both acoustic and electric guitar to create a pretty dope riff.  It’s called “Phoenix.” Check it out.

Slightly different than your typical I IV V, huh?  In today’s music industry, we get sucked into songs with the same progressions, forms, rhythms, and bass lines.  It’s like walking through an art gallery with paintings, sculptures, and art forms that are just modern copies of what’s been done before.  They’re good, but they are just communicating what’s been said in earlier paintings without any creative change.  It’s not only rare to try to be an innovative artist, but it’s also difficult.  Similar to the rise of street art in recent years, the rise of new independent music has seemed to explode through channels like youtube and social media.  It’s easier now than ever to go searching for new artists and music because of technology.

Alex Brubaker likes to challenge music.  What new sounds can I make using this instrument, and what obscure pattern of rhythms can I fit here?  These are common questions for Alex.  His debut album Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe features sounds and feelings created by using the guitar in a variety of ways.  With electric and acoustic, distorted and clean, Alex displays a mixture of experimentation on the guitar that makes for great listening anytime.  Songs like “Phoenix” display powerful riffs with creative loops and textures, while songs like “Debris of a Brainstorm” take you from one melodic idea to another.  When you listen to Alex Brubaker’s songs, they allow your mind to relax and just listen, because each guitar medley paints an incredible picture.  Check out more of his music and purchase Deconstructing the Temporal Lobe at alexbrubakerguitar.com.

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

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“Always Anyway,” the new album from Three Legged Fox releases with hit single “Let You Down”

Five years ago, Three Legged Fox unleashed its musical vibes upon the masses. Since then, they have hit the national scene, sharing the stage with some of this country’s most prominent reggae acts, such as SOJA, Rebellution, and many others. On August 16th, this conglomerate, formed in the suburbs of Philadelphia, released their third full-length studio album, entitled Always, Anyway.

Three Legged Fox is comprised of four members: Kyle Wareham provides the vocals and fret play, Kory Kochersperger the beats, with Tommy Mosca and Mark Carson rounding out the guitar section, lead and bass respectively. Of the album, they’ve noted, “We knew from the word ‘go’ that we wanted to go really big on this one.  We wanted big sounds, accessible songs, and an overall modern approach.  We felt as though we had already done the raw, stripped down thing twice; and we had done the whole reggae horns, arrangement type of thing with the last album.  It was within us to understand that we’re not a traditional American reggae band; we’re an alternative rock, reggae band.  Ultimately, realizing what we are, and what we aren’t made it much easier and a lot of fun making this new album.”

This approach is evident in Always, Anyway. The music seems so organic. Even though they claim to be a hybrid-genre outfit, it never seems as though they are overreaching to fit into a certain genre, but rather celebrating the juxtaposition of the two. To the listener, the experience of having varying styles from track-to-track definitely creates anticipation while moving through the album. From the guitar-driven “Half Filled Boxes” to “Grace (Here With You),” a sweeping ballad of sorts, Always, Anyway is very well-rounded album that will continue to gain exposure as Three Legged Fox tours to promote the album. You can find tour dates as well as more information about the album at their official website. As aforementioned, “Let You Down” is the first release single from the out. Check out the video below.

by: kyle c. stilley | marketing strategist | @stillz | music without labels & beat-play, llc

Deerhoof – “The Merry Barracks” [MUSIC]

Deerhoof

Deerhoof are currently on tour supporting their tenth LP, Deerhoof vs. Evil. They formed in San Francisco around 1995 by drummer/multi-instrumentalist Greg Saunier and guitarist Rob Fisk. Satomi Matsuzaki (who’d just arrive in San Francisco from Tokyo, Japan) soon began singing overtop of Greg and Rob’s raw tape recordings.  Since then the band has had numerous line-up changes and successful tours.  Deerhoof vs. Evil may be the band at their most unpredictable: songs sung in Japanese, Catalan, and English as complex acoustic guitar flourishes, sharp bursts of electronic noise, and J-Pop influenced dance-a-longs hide around every corner—sometimes within the same song.  Check out The Merry Barracks for a taste of this eclectic indie band. AND they will be  playing in Brooklyn on September 20th at The Music Hall of Williamsburg, then the following night in Philadelphia at World Cafe Live.

By: Elizabeth Stene | Beat-Play Ambassador South Africa | @LizMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Talain Rayne – “Attic Lights” Album and Music Video Release for “Dear Brother, your Sister” [NEW MUSIC/VIDEO]

Everything in the music industry starts with a song.  In the case of Talain Rayne, it also starts with a motivation, passion, and enthusiasm that is unmatched by many of today’s upcoming artists.  With an excellent debut album and growing fan base on the east coast, it’s no question that Talain’s passion for music has caused him to give it everything he’s got and empower others to keep him going.  His album “Attic Lights” is filled with songs that drive, rejuvenate, and take you away to a listening bliss.  It all came together when Talain joined forces with engineer Jonathan Castelli and guitarist Jonny Kapps in the fall of 2010 to co-produce the album.  The passion is in the music folks, and Talain has poured everything he has into his music and more.  Hear for yourself and check out the title track “Attic Lights” from his debut album:

Still reading?  Good, I thought you might.  The realization that music was his ultimate passion and goal came when Talain spent a semester at the Contemporary Music Center (CMC) at Martha’s Vineyard, now located in Nashville.  With only a few years experimenting with playing piano and singing, Talain took off writing songs and performing, growing his recently discovered talent.  “His dynamic personality is reflected in the melodramatic, electronic-infused, pop-rock that is bound together by his characteristic voice.”   His songs were drawn from his family and closest relationships.  The love, struggle, and honesty of Talain’s life story is captured in each and every one of his songs.  I encourage you to give them a listen because I can guarantee that there is something for everyone to appreciate here.  From the first to the last song on the album, Talain lays it all out in the tracks.  Honestly, there is not a song that I wouldn’t recommend listening to.  Songs like “Dear Sister, Your Brother,” and “Family Wall” have received radio attention in the Philadelphia area, while electronic-influenced songs like “Owls” and “Lemonbright*” bring the listener to a different place in music entirely.  Check out this video of “Family Wall” which was featured on MTV’s The Seven:

I was a fan of his music before he stepped foot in the studio.  It was after meeting with him and playing some music together when I realized that he is also an amazing photographer and videographer, has a passion for youth, and has great taste in fine wine and cheese.  After all, he is French.  He is also a big fan of Phoenix, the French band that lit up the charts with the song 1901 from the album Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  His biggest inspiration comes from the bands Sleeping at Last, Coldplay, Sigur Ros, The Rocket Summer, and Shiny Toy Guns.  Check out this song Lemonbright* from his debut album:

With only a $125 budget and some help from his friends at CMC, Talain Rayne just released a new music video today for “Dear Sister, your Brother.”  Check it out!

Last time I saw him live, it was at the Lazerdome in central, PA.  The crowd got rocked by Talain’s energy, his band’s solid groove, and the dialed in tone from the keys and guitars.  This summer, Talain Rayne is playing main stage this year at Purple Door Music Festival in central Pennsylvania.   You can check out his new tour dates at www.talainrayne.com, which has links to his latest media.  Be sure to keep an eye out for his tour coming this fall!

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

Strand of Oaks Live at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

One thing that sets Nashville apart from most cities is that you can take a chance of just showing up at one of the city’s staple venues on almost any night and be completely taken away by the talent on stage.  I had one of those nights last week when I decided to check out The Basement in Nashville to scratch my Saturday night concert itch.  Allow me to describe what it was like to hear Timothy Showalter’s Strand of Oaks perform songs from his album Pope Killdragon.  From my hometown of Philadelphia, PA, Strand of Oaks performs by creating a masterful tone with his guitar and voice.  The combination of pedals and reverb create a beautiful sound that allows you to really enter in to each and every song.  With apocalyptic imagery and the creation of new worlds that seem somewhat familiar, the songs elaborate more than most with quality in writing. Check out this awesome song called “Bonfire:”

Strand of Oaks’ performance was pretty epic for a guy and his guitar.  He enters in to each song, fully emulating the emotion that it deserves.  Following each dramatic song, Timothy emits a lighthearted smile, which is rare in many singer-songwriter performances today.  To the audience member, it seemed to show that this artist was privileged to be able to share his music with me, and I was certainly privileged to hear it.  There was a fun side to this apocalyptic poet, like between songs when he said, “If only I could write a song about flip-flops.”  I, for one, am thankful that his creativity encompasses more than just songs about popular American footwear.

There seems to be more to Strand of Oaks than meets the eye and ear.  Even with what seems like a rough past, Timothy remains persistant and seemingly more inspired than ever.  He is definitely one of the most gracious and humble artists I’ve had the pleasure to talk to yet.  I would love to take a step inside his mind to view some of what inspires his creative genius.  Margan Galen King describes his most recent album, “Pope Killdragon pulls you in magnetically, forcing your attention to its every word in desperation to comprehend both your own surroundings and the threat looming in the distance.”  I encourage everyone to take a listen to this astonishing album because there is certainly nothing else like it out there.

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

The Wonder Years – “Melrose Diner” [VIDEO]

Narrative: Backyard wrestler The Lone Wolf must defeat the The Evil Kraag to get his title and his girl back.

Performance: The band plays in the ring.  Singer Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell performs from the audience and in closeup.

Song: Top shelf pop-punk from one of the best bands in the scene.  If you haven’t heard The Upsides, buy it here immediately.  No one’s more relatable, honest or hardworking and the songs are instant classics.

Why You Should Watch It:   The band is amazing and the effort is noteworthy – it’s a great example of applying a record’s themes (never giving up, victory through persistence) to a video concept and having some fun with it.  The video’s just a little too scattered to be a classic.

“Melrose Diner” seems to want to make up for its lack of flash by overloading it with content. The video starts as a wrestling promo, then briefly takes on the feel of a movie trailer before going into the song and Lone Wolf’s battles.  The action is frantic, but moves so fast it’s hard to follow until the final fight.  The video’s flat, unlit look is spiced up with filters throughout, and it works with the back to basics energy of the song but isn’t a highlight.  So why the recommendation?  It’s a perfect example of what friends can do with some perseverance and camaraderie – just like the album itself.  Everyone involved is clearly having the time of their lives, and that goes a long way.

Also, you’ll want to know these guys before they blow up.  They’re readying a new release, “Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing,” that’s shaping to be as much or more of a touchstone than “The Upsides.”  Check out one of the new tracks below:

“Local Man Ruins Everything”

Honest, hooky punk, an album named after a Ginsburg poem, and a Simpson’s reference as a track name?  Sold.

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

King Of All Kings, Selassie [Interview]

People gathered at a small West Philadelphia bar in anticipation for Selassie’s farewell performance. The Philadelphia rapper by way Ethiopia was now heading to LA to expand his career and follow his dreams of a successful music career. Many friends began smiling and were excited to see which songs off his album he was going to perform, as strangers kept a neutral Philly facial expression and refused to show any interest until Selassie could prove himself. Dressed in a burnt orange shirt with an imprint of his face in all black in the middle, that purposely resembled his mixtape cover for marketing purposes and a plain black fitted on his head. Fresh and ready to start his show, he grabs the microphone and spits his rhymes for the last time in Philadelphia.

At the age of 11, Selassie picked up his older brother’s rhyme book and rapped his lyrics to his older cousin and her friends; the reception he received was immense. “ It made me feel so good, that I decided to pursue a career as an emcee. Becoming a rapper helped me find the one thing – that I was great at writing. After years of perfecting his craft Selassie decided to make the ultimate move three years ago, the Philadelphia native left Philadelphia for Los Angeles with only $300 to his name, taking the chance of a lifetime in pursuit to expand his rap career and further educate himself about the music game, ”A doctor goes to Medical school, a lawyer goes to Law school. So I thought I should do the same, and that’s when I enrolled at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.”

His stage name, Selassie which comes from his deceased father Haile Selassie Fekadu, who was also named after the great Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, who was believed to be the second coming of Christ by Rastafarians. Selassie wasted no time and began networking and building a studio in his home producing and recording non-stop. His latest mixtape is called Mind on Pluto, which explains his state of mind, “The state of mind I’ve always been in, which is so far left that I feel foreign to today’s common man. His favorite song on the freshman mixtape is “Aurora Borealis,” which he plans on making it his intro to his mixtape, “It really gives you a view of my world and really sets the tone of the mixtape.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Lyrically Born To Be Great [Interview]



At the age of fourteen Kenny discovered his jones for rapping, but music had been in his blood long before the thought of his existence. His youthful father, who was an amazing base player was named “Toomuchbase” because he would rip a lot of James Brown cover songs, which had got him noticed by Kenny’s maternal grandmother who was a singer in the group, Norma and the Heartaches.  Though passionate about his music, Toomuchbase had his eyes set out for Norma’s daughter and later married her. Like most artists, college was an option that he pursued for a year, but then took the wise words of his professor who encouraged him that a degree will help, but if there are other certain opportunities, take it. Not motivated by fame or money, Kenny just wanted to be able to be the rock for his family who inspires him to fulfill his family’s musical destiny, “My family never really made it. Outside of just having a good job, no one has hit that big money to where you can do stuff for your family. Everyone has a ‘cash counter’ in their family, an uncle or aunt with money, but not us. I want to provide for my family and community.”

 

The rapper describes his music as Urban Heavy Metal, which is also his Mixtape title, which is a mixture of Hip Hop, R&B, and Rock and Roll. This genre of music isn’t new to him, but apart of a generation who accepts everyone for who they are from the Gagas to the Beibers,“ I call it ‘Urban Metal.’ It’s all urban music in one. It comes with a lifestyle and the younger generation accepts anything… no more racism, gay bashing, and everyone is equal.” His perfect example of his genre would be Kanye West’s, All of the Lights single, where different artist from different genres came together and blended their styles in one song, which was epic. His album will contain songs you can dance to and creative lyrics that the streets can respect.

After performing to a receptive crowd at the Walnut Room in Philadelphia, Kenny is preparing to release his mixtape entitled, Urban Metal by July 4th, declaring his own independence. During his show he performed a song called Translucent, which explains his stance in the competitive rap game as a lyricist, “Translucent means you can see through it sort of. Some people can see me, but you can’t see me rappin’.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

AVIATORZ Are Ready To Take Off [Interview]


The Aviatorz are a duo from West Philadelphia that has been rapping for almost eight years. Mike V and Shizzy, were both solo acts, that merged after an independent label they were signed to liked their sound as a duo. The group combines many genres to create their sound, “We don’t do gansta rap, we don’t do gangsta rap. We do commercial rap.” Just a chance to be heard encourages the group to chase their dreams of one day going mainstream and have a voice. The group usually does three shows per month and even had the chance to tour across the nation and open up for comedian, Cedric the Entertainer, fortunately enough, the group had an investor who also invested the Cedric’s tour which helped expand their name.

The group wants to be the first successful rap duo from Philly, patiently waiting for their turn grinding every chance they get. There are promoting their album called, The Departure, which has many fun tracks that gives a distinct sound, looking for success on a major standing apart from State Property and Young Gunz. Their new single, I’m Wavy, is a lay back and cool sound that they produced a year and half ago, “it’s a fun track and describes the type of music we do. We got a lot of swag on it.”


Now the duo is searching for the best possible deal but first plan on creating a much bigger buzz than they have now, “We want a deal to come to us, we’re not looking for it we’re trying to make one.” A year from now they want to make major connections and are hoping to have a deal, and possibly getting the best deal ever. You can check out the Aviatorz rhymes with the rest of the world on their YouTube Channel, and by their persistence they are not too far from their goal.

By: Mereb Gebremariam | Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @merebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

And The Winner Is: Dot Dot Dot [Interview]

It’s 4am in Central Harlem, the city is fairly quiet, with the exception of the blaring loud music that Brandon “Dot” Cromwell is playing for a couple of friends in the studio.  Dressed in all black with his signature black rosary around his neck, he nods his head to the selection of beats his producer, Nana Kwabena created.  “Yo, let this loop real quick,” Dot, says to Nana. Quietly, he starts mouthing invisible lyrics, and grabs his iphone to record the words along with the beat. His friends just sit back and nod with his melodic lyrics.  “Ok, I’m sorry, I’m ready to talk now, I tend to get lost in this (music), that I forget my priorities.” He laughs, “I guess I have ADD or something.”

Earlier this year, Nana came to Dot with a plan that consisted of them moving from Philadelphia to New York to pursue music, “The decision was so easy for me that I sold my car and left.”  After moving to Southwest Philadelphia at a young age Dot, found his passion in rap after surrounding himself with a group that held rap battles with each other, “My friends were much better than I was, until I got better, now I’m the best.”   Philly has been known for it’s legendary singers such as Patti LaBelle, Teddy Pendergrass, and Marian Anderson, just to name a few. Theses legends have achieved a great amount during their eras, respectively carving their names in stone within the music world, but also giving Philadelphia some attention other than popular tourist attractions such as: the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. In the turn of the century Philadelphia was on top after Jay-Z signed State Property, which consisted of Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Peedi Peedi, Oschino, Omillio Sparks, and the Young Gunz. After many hits and two movies State Property and State Property 2, In 2008, Jay-Z dismantled Roc-a-fella, and since then there has been a missing voice to represent the City of Brotherly love on national airwaves in rap. However, Neo-Soul artist such as Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, The Roots have remained in the mainstream targeting their audiences in their genres. Gathering his thoughts, Nana sits back and reminisces of State Property’s fall out with Rockfella,  “Having our own brand, our own team, our own message, and having our own movement, I think is what gives people longevity.”

Now, in 2010, many may disagree that Hip Hop is Dead because it went from just a genre of music to an era that continues to redefine itself. Today, rappers now sing, create dance trends, and fashion trends that are seen from Los Angeles to Tokyo. While visiting his native home of Ghana, Nana, witnessed Hip Hop away from home with his own eyes, “People in Ghana are still wearing bandanas TuPac use to wear, spitting lyrics he use to say. I feel Nas, when he says ‘Hip Hop is Dead’, but I also realized that the form of rap has changed from before his time and after him and to him, his form maybe dead, but to the people of Hip Hop they’re adapting doing what they use to in a new form.”

In the works for the Philadelphia native Dot, is his mixtape called Aviators & Bombers, which is set to debut by the end of this year and draws a concept with how people equate success with materialistic items, “All we have to do is work really hard and buy all these nice things for attention, and I have people in jail right now because all they were trying to do was look nice.” Dot, briefly looks down at his diamond incrusted watch,  “Not saying that these material things that we strive for are wrong, just saying this is happening, this is what we’re all into and I’m no stranger to it, I’m apart of it too.”

By: Mereb Gebremariam| Beat-Play Ambassador Philadelphia | @MerebwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC