Tag Archives: Youtube

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

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Nashville Symphony with K.S. Rhoads at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Live On The Green is a free yearly concert series that takes place every fall in downtown Nashville.  Last Thursday was the first show and kick off event for a number of great concerts yet to come featuring some great local artists.  After attending this show from start to finish, I highly recommend that you check out music from an artist named K.S. Rhoads.  He was the headline act of the night and performed with the Grammy Award winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra… but that’s not all.

It’s not everyday that an artist get’s an opportunity to play a show with an entire orchestra, but it’s quite a fitting opportunity for Rhoads.  Kevin grew up in Fort Myers, FL, where at age 15 he began focusing intensely on music, learning many instruments including bass, piano, and harmonica.  He purchased a four-track recorder in ninth grade and started to record his own music.  He moved to Nashville in 2001 after attending school in Texas, but it wasn’t until 2007 when he began work on his first album.  His debut, critically acclaimed album Dead Language was released in 2007.  It received excellent reviews from publications like American Songwriter who said it was “an exhibition in style, grace and limitless possibilities…”  Being a composer and music-producer, he has since written string arrangements for artists like Trent Dabbs, Erin McCarley, Third Day and By The Tree.  In addition, Rhoads has had continued success as an American songwriter with songs on shows like CSI: Miami and World of Jenks on MTV.  From songwriting and performing to composing and producing, K.S. Rhoads has immersed himself in music and isn’t stopping anytime soon.  Check out this video of “Dark Hotel” from the album Dead Language by K.S. Rhoads.

After months of preparation, he took the stage last Thursday with his band and the 70-piece Grammy winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra in downtown Nashville to put on one of the greatest performances of his career.  Rhoads had been working on this performance since March 2011 and scored all of the music himself.  He began the set with a really cool new song called “Invisible Fortress” by looping beat box, vocal harmonies, and piano riffs.  After establishing this creative foundation for the song, he added his band and orchestra to produce a beautiful full sound.  They continued to perform songs from his new album, and even covered Paul Simon and Katy Perry with the full orchestra.  While the covers were truly entertaining, I really enjoyed his original songs.   My favorite song of the night was a powerful new song by Rhoads called “The Wilderness.”  The song’s presence resembled that of “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, and it was awesome.  Rhoads said that his ultimate goal with this project was “for people to come hear it and really get how important and still current classical music is,” and how it relates to the music of today.  It’s a great goal, and Rhoads definitely accomplished it.

But wait, there’s more!  His big performance also marked the debut of a five song EP called Cannons containing three unreleased songs from his soon to be released second album called The Wilderness.  Click on the album cover below to snag a copy and/or visit his website for more music and information on K.S. Rhoads!

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

New Faces Nite at The Basement in Nashville, TN with Emily Davis, Jeffrey James, Stephanie Nilles and more! [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I’ve been going to a lot of shows recently.  I’ve been to five venues in the last four days; one festival and four concerts.  Am I tired?  No.  Am I sick of music?  No.  Am I nuts?  Well, that has yet to be proved or disproved, so we’ll leave that question out of the mix for now.  What you should know is that on most Tuesday nights, The Basement in Nashville has New Faces Nite, a free show with great bands.   In case you missed it, that’s a FREE show with GREAT bands.

This week was another example of a stellar New Faces Nite at The Basement.  First up was Emily Davis, an acoustic folk rock artist from El Paso, TX.  With the tough job of opening the night, Emily used her strong vocals and “darkly optimistic” lyrics to warm up the crowd.  Second of the night was a new local rock artist named Jeffrey James.  Jeffrey and his backing band called The Professional Children took the stage and released a blend of blues and soulful rock from his latest EP called Goin’ Back Down.  The album was produced by Nashville veteran Lex Lipstiz, who said, “Jeffrey James has one of those classic soul voices.  With his bigger than life stage presence and commanding vocal delivery, he definitely sells you on every word… I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s a huge star.”  Well, I think that’s about one of the biggest compliments you can get from a producer, so if you like rock with a little country, blues, and soul thrown in the mix, check out Jeffrey James.  These artists had good music and played well, but I would like to highlight the crowd favorite of the night.

Photo by Kellie Coughlin.

Stephanie Nilles is not your typical jazz-infused punk folk artist.  If you want to listen to something fresh, but are tired of all the Ingrid Michaelson, Grizzly Bear, and Feist indie band imitations, her music is sure to wake you up.  New Faces Nite at The Basement was my first time hearing Stephanie Nilles, and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard an artist be so creatively bold with their music on stage.  She has taken her training as a classical pianist and developed an amazing jazz and blues style filled with her own unique embellishments for each song.  Rolling Stone has even said, “she’s like ‘Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor.’  Whoa!  There’s a review that won’t go in one ear and out the other.  Even if you have your own personal preferred style of music, I think that her music is powerful enough that you can appreciate it at the least, especially if you’re a musician.  Check out the song “For a High Life Commercial” by Stephanie Nilles.

Photo by Leonard Lopp.

She’s different, but brilliant in a twisted sense that maybe she writes from thoughts that you have had, but didn’t exactly want to communicate because of what people would think about you.  I think this is a huge part of Stephanie’s music.  She also has the musical talent to back up anything she sings in that dirty Regina Spektor tone of hers.  These also aren’t your typically structured songs either, with syllables that land when they want and fully diminished seventh chords that appear in thoughtlessly considered, appropriate places.  Stephanie communicates what she wants when she wants to, and it’s thoroughly entertaining every time.  Check out another one of her songs called “Cool Aid Stand.”

If you’ve been having as much fun listening to Stephanie Nilles as I have, check out more of her music at www.stephanienilles.com.  The other bands that played that night (that I didn’t get to see) were Boom Forest, I Believe in Hotpants, and Haley Dreis.  I’ll be on the look out to cover some of these artists at a later date.  Until then, keep supporting independent music!

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

Cameron Bedell, Foxes Have Foxholes, and Natalie Royal at 12th & Porter in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Nashville is home to a lot of colleges and universities.  One of the staple schools in Nashville is Belmont University, a private school with a well-known music business program in the heart of Music City.  Belmont also has some very talented artists at its core.  Earlier this week, with the help of music business student Allen Smith, 12th & Porter presented a concert showcasing some of Belmont’s best up-and-coming artists.

First up to start the evening off right was Natalie Royal, a soulful folk rock artist from Charlotte, NC.  Natalie has passionate music, and a voice with both presence and dynamics.  She was joined by two backup singers and a violin player.  Like many of her contemporaries, Natalie writes from experiences and thoughts that come through life events.  This is a great new female folk artist with a lot of potential in the near future.

Next up was one of my favorite new local bands Foxes Have Foxholes.  This was my first time seeing them perform full band and I was super impressed with their musicianship and confidence on stage.  They had a tight band, great sounds, and most importantly, good songs.  At the core, Foxes Have Foxholes is Kyle Sapp (vocals, guitar) and Ryan McAdoo (keys, vocals).  In less then a year, Kyle and Ryan started the band and recorded a great EP available for FREE on Noisetrade.com.  Check out this official music video of a song called “Whistle Blower” from their EP.

That’s some good stuff right there.  I, for one, am excited to see where Foxes Have Foxholes take their music this year.  Check them out and download their EP for FREE!

(photo courtesy of Travis M. Ball at TMB.Productions)

Last but definitely not least was Cameron Bedell, a fresh pop-soul artist from Wichita, KS.  Cameron was joined on stage by his band called The Skunks, a ten-piece band with drums, bass, keys, lead electric guitar, rhythm guitar, trumpet, sax, trombone, and BGVs.  Wow!  It’s even better live than it sounds in words because every musician in Cameron’s band was excellent.  Cameron’s music is exciting to watch and thrilling to listen to.  His influences consist of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jason Mraz, and John Mayer.  He has been writing and recording music since he was 12 years old, and released his first EP when he was 18.  He says that the reason why he continues to pursue music is, “Music is the best way to bring people together, and with my music I intend on bringing joy and hope to everybody willing to listen.”  Check out one of his most popular tunes called “Flower Song.”

While “Flower Song” is a laid back song, Cameron has others that will really get you out of your seat.  Just remember that if you plan to see Cameron Bedell live, you better bring your dancing shoes, cause he’s gonna get you movin’!  Make sure you check out these artists and give them your support if you like their music.  Stay tuned for more new music and shows from Music City.

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

Introducing… Kendrick Lamar [NEW MUSIC]

In his neighborhood of Compton, Kendrick Lamar is as known as K. Dot . I don’t need to explain how much of a struggle it is growing up in an environment that is built to fight social and individual progress. With such suppression Lamar has harnessed this emotion to be recognized as one of  West Coasts’ top lyrical geniuses. He dedicates much of his success to his upbringing and being surrounded by his father and the rest of his small family that consists of around 13 aunts/uncles, baring at at least 6 kids apiece. Lamar grew up around it all as a youngster; the good, the bad, the drinking, the smoking, the gangs and the violence, all of which seems to be portrayed in his music.

His music has been acknowledged by the best of the west. I saw footage a couple weeks ago of a concert where Snoop Dogg, The Game, Dr. Dre and The Dogg Pound all publicly showed their full support of the young rapper and his style of music. Have a look at the footage below:

Let me throw some examples your way,

The Heart.1

A.D.H.D.

In the song A.D.H.D. Kendrick makes continuous drug references, attributing this to experiences that he has come across along the west coast streets. This song is not about him, but rather the generation that he sees beside him being too often brought down the wrong path of drugs and violence. Lamar speaks openly on not even smoking weed (a very rare thing coming from the coast that brought you such green-leaf endorsing rappers such as snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, game, Cypress Hill, Nipsey Hussel)

Now Kendrick does not look highly on featuring big names in his music, for he doesn’t look for such quick exposure, or fake press. Another +1 in my respect book, ya, I keep tally. What are some artists that Kendrick would love to include on some of his upcoming music you might ask? Well the list includes such names as Erika Badu, Andre 3k, Bilal, and Floetry. When I heard those names come out of this dudes mouth I about dropped my glass. These are all artists that put out music with a message, not just a club hit. You can instantly tell by listening to just a couple of songs of his that he is different. Then you listen to a couple more songs, and realize that Kendrick Lamar is the truth. He is every hip-hop fans great hope, lyrically he can only grow. Having such a rich west coast background look for a couple exclusive Dr. Dre beats to be thrown his way to be used as canvas for Lamar’s lyrical masterpieces.

After reviewing his thoughts on the music industry you can’t help but get excited for lies ahead for Kendrick Lamar.  He seems to fully understand the way the industry works and is taking advantage of the benefits of owning your music.  His music is art and, seeing how great music spreads, I can’t wait to see where he is this time next year.

Lamar’s newest mixtape, Section.80 grabbed much attention and is now on itunes.

Hiiipower

Kian Bardikalaie | San Diego, CA| @KianwithMWL

Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

Guster’s Caught Up in The Game’s latest “Pot Of Gold” [MUSIC]

gusterAll hip-hop beats come from great samples that are guaranteed to instantly stick into the heads of millions of listeners. That’s exactly what New York independent rock group Guster provided in their 1997 hit single “Rocketship”. It was one unforgettable guitar riff that caught the attention of star hip-hop artist The Game to be used on a track featuring Chris Brown off his latest album release The  R.E.D. Album. Now they obviously didn’t create the new Game song but they were a contributor of it so they will be receiving royalties from all sales. But they are giving to charity… which is lovely.

This is why we love our independent community! They know how and when to do the right thing. The band will be donating a portion of the money they earn from The Game’s track “Pot Of Gold” to the Crittenton Women’s Union. The band actually made a few comments regarding the new use of their creation in this written interview. When asked specifically about this track they responded:

I think we feel some flattery and some confusion.  The Game’s album just came out a week ago and the video for “Pot of Gold” already has over six million views.  Do we feel exploited? Well, we’ve been in this business a long time and it’s not our first time watching “Rocketship” get plucked from us for the glory of others.

With an incredible debut chart ranking of #1 on the Billboard 200, Guster will have a great shot at some high-level exposure, hitting the ears of youtube viewers 6.64 million times. Unfortunately the band feels differently on this matter, as drummer Brian Rosenworcel stated,

Mostly we’re flattered to have been sampled in a hit song. I don’t think it’ll send droves of people out to discover our ‘Goldfly’ album…

You’ll notice, that there is no version of this Guster song to be heard within this post, and I’m hear to tell you that you won’t find one either. That’s pretty sad, considering they have another version of their song out for everyone to enjoy without ever knowing where it came from. I mentioned something to the individual who was running their campaign, so if something comes up on Youtube like suggested, you all will be the first to hear it!

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

Musicians Corner at Centennial Park in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

After sweating for a couple hours at The National Folk Festival last Saturday, I decided to head over to Centennial Park where Nashville was kicking off its free fall concert series called Musicians Corner.  Two events in one day?  Well, three actually.  I ended up going to another concert later that night, but I haven’t written about that yet.  Musicians Corner featured seven bands from 3pm to 6pm on a medium-sized stage with a decent turnout of a few hundred people at its height.  The artists that played this week were The CO, Metro Parks Jamband, Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes, Damien Horne, Striking Matches, and Attwater.

I arrived a little late and missed The CO open up with their set, so I’ll have to catch them at another event in the future.  I did get there just in time to hear Metro Parks Jamband finish up their set with a funky sax and guitar duet.  Next up was American singer/songwriter Andrew Osenga.  He was formerly the lead singer for The Normals and is a member of the band Caedmon’s Call.  His performance on Saturday took place as part of his solo career, for which he has released four albums.  The bands rhythms and tones were super tight, and the crowd really took to his music.  After Andrew Osenga, Foxes Have Foxholes took the stage and played an acoustic set with just two of their members.  The pop rock duo serenaded listeners with a short set of a few songs that they will hopefully be performing live at their next show as a full band tonight at 12th & Porter.

The next act was Damien Horne, a pop-rock soul artist from Nashville.  Also known as Mista D, Damien has collaborated and performed with Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, John Legend, 3 Doors Down, Hank Williams Jr., Faith Hill, Robert Randolf, Jewel, Velvet Revolver, and more.  Damien is working with John Legend who when asked about Damien said, “I’ve been working with this guy who is based in Nashville, his name is Damien Horne, he’s good.  Look out for him, he’s a good song-writer and performer.  He plays the guitar too.”  You can get some free downloads of his music on his website.  Check out this video of Damien Horne performing “Sacrifice” live at The Rutledge.

I posted an article two months ago about a blues duo called Striking Matches.  They were the next band to play at Musicians Corner and they were a huge hit.  Performing as a duo with their acoustic guitars, Justin and Sarah had a great set showcasing their clever songwriting, tight harmonies, and ripping solos.  Like I said before, this is a Nashville band that you want to keep close tabs on because of their huge potential.  The last band to perform was Attwatter.

Attwater is a country band from Sacramento, CA that signed with the independent production company and label, Twenty Ten Music in December of 2010.  They were discovered through Twitter by Grammy Award-winning producer Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars, Switchfoot), the Sr. VP of A&R for Twenty Ten Music.  Check out this official music video of Attwater’s first single called “Never Gonna Happen.”

You can download the song for free at http://www.attwatermusic.com/.  Attwater’s foundations lie with Erika Attwater and Jonathan Richards, the duo songwriting team that first started the band.  Their discovery occurred after they played their first set of tunes in the Northern California Area.  With a good product and intentional use of social networks, Attwater was picked up by Charlie Peacock and the band was on its way to having a beast of a debut project.  The recordings include co-writes and musicians from some really great teams that have produced music for Carrie Underwood, Sixpence None The Richer, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, The Civil Wars, Lady Antebellum, and more.  Attwater’s music combines modern country with bluegrass flavors and classic rock roots.  Keep an eye on the country charts for this band and stay tuned for an article on next week’s Musician’s Corner!

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

The National Folk Festival in Nashville, TN September 2 – 4, 2011 [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Saturday morning and it’s time to go… to The National Folk Festival in Nashville, TN!  Sorry for the Jack Johnson lyric reference.  I couldn’t resist, even though I probably should have.  It was 100 degrees in Nashville this past Saturday, which made it one of the hottest days of the summer and a difficult day to perform outside for the dozens of artists on the seven stages under the sun.  The free festival took place at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and featured a variety of performers and artists from different cultures and heritages.  This is the 73rd National Folk Festival that presents “the folk and traditional arts that are rooted in and reflective of the cultural life of a community.”  The festival featured multiple genres of artistic activity including music, dance, crafts, and oral expression.  It’s a celebration of America’s cultural roots featuring over 250 traditional artists that express their art in different ways.  What an amazing concept!  Maybe this video will give you a better look at the overall idea.

I know the video was kinda lame, but it’s definitely interesting to see all those artists in one place.  This was an amazing opportunity to see art and music that you don’t typically see at major venues.  The music is all historically part of todays pop culture, but you would never hear most of the deep-rooted cultural stuff on the radio.  We’re talking PBS special at the most.  However, it was a fairly eventful day of visiting different stages and learning about the variety of folk music that exists within the city.

The most interesting part of the day for me was watching the World Percussion Traditions group perform.  They had percussion from Japan and North America.  It was bizarre at first to hear string instruments from Japan play with drums from the Middle East, congas, and a keyboard, but it sounded cool.  Then there were other acts like The Holmes Brothers that brought some great old time, gospel-style R&B music to the stage.  These guys have kept the tradition of their music for so long, and it’s nearly the same style as when they first started playing in 1978.  Talk about not selling out!  That’s some dedication right there.  They have won countless awards and have shared the stage with many of the other greats in blues and soul music.  Hopefully that can provide some encouragement to those up-and-coming artists out there to stick with what you love to play, even if it’s not Top-40 music.  Allow me to leave you with a fine piece of entertainment.  Sit back and relax as The Holmes Brothers join Willie Nelson for “Opportunity to Cry.”

The National Folk Festival will be held in Nashville for the next two years, so if you missed it this year, be sure to check it out in 2012 or 2013!

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

CABAL live at Ceviche in Sarasota, FL [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I said goodbye to Nashville last week for a little vacation in Sarasota, FL.  However, my music and ambassador senses were still fully intact, keeping an ear out and listening for any interesting new music that might come my way.  This has been a long weekend of afternoons on the beach, and dinners by moonlight.  You will almost always hear live music playing if you eat out for a couple meals in this town.  Whether it’s lunch at Clearwater beach, dinner in St. Armonds, or a night on the town in the Village, you’re going to see some performers.  This is when we came across a hidden gem amidst the typical beach bars of the town.  After dinner one night, we decided to have a drink at Ceviche Tapas Bar & Grill and boy were we pleasantly surprised.

Contemporary flamenco music filled the air and we were thoroughly entertained by a reggae flamenco band called Cabal.  Because of the Spanish tapas atmosphere, Cabal was in flamenco mode, and it was awesome.  Ever since visiting Spain last summer, I have really enjoyed and appreciated flamenco music, especially the guitarists. The skill level is far above your typical rock guitarists, and the feel is so precise, but also natural.  Every member of Cabal is an excellent musician and the fact that they are able to play flamenco music so well proves it.  “Individually, the band members have achieved an abundance of diverse experiences and accolades, including: Cordoba Guitar Company endorsements; a 4 star review in Modern Drummer magazine; performances with Santana, Willie Royal of Willie and Lobo, Greg Osby, and Christina Aguilera among others; tours in Western Europe, Latin America, and North America; and numerous CD recordings.”  Cabal has been able to combine their individual experiences to create a truly excellent sound with powerful vocals, ripping solos, and pocket grooves.   Check out a video of the band performing their Tango arrangement of “Besame Mucho.”

I know this is different from your typical article here at the Beat-Play Experiment, but we aim to cover a variety of genres, and this band has talent that shouldn’t go unheard.  There are a lot of bands like Cabal that don’t get much credit for their performances just because their music isn’t very popular in our current culture.  However, I think a lot of people could appreciate it.  Cabal consists of Ari McManus on vocals, Nicolaas Kraster on guitar, Christopher Austin on percussion, Jon McLaughlin on guitar, and Daniel Brock on bass.  If you’re ever in Sarasota, FL, be sure to see if this band is playing at a local spot.  Ari is a fantastic performer and creates a sensitive and fun vibe on stage.  They create a performance and atmosphere that you don’t want to miss!

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