Music

Artist Of The Week: ZZ Ward

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One of the most unique sounds coming out of the music industry is Oregon’s, ZZ Ward. I also took some time to download her four track EP, Criminal, and was blown by its overall style and soul. It had modern hooks like those you’d hear from Adele or Grace Potter, but also the sole of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Big Mama Thorton. Needless to say I was impressed.

Her song, “Til the Casket Drops” was what originally drove me towards Ward, but once I discovered her song, “Put the Gun Down”, I was hooked. She has a unique energy that is all her, but takes modern music and combines her blues influences that were instilled by her father at a young age, and creates a magical mix of new and old, a perfect combo. By far my favorite track that shows Ward’s melting of the two styles is the soulful, “Criminal” which features a hip hop like beat, but keeps a very classy R&B feel.

Hollywood Records has something special on their roster with Ward. I hope they let her grow as an artist in a natural way. She has a lot of talent, and I also believe she will have a great deal of crossover appeal. It’s rare to see that combination, but Ward has it and knows what to do with it.

Ward will be playing Bonnaroo this summer so be sure to check her out!

Check Out The Music Video for “Put The Gun Down” Below:

 

Is This Kurt Cobain Statue The Creepiest Thing You’ve Seen Today?

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(Vice)–  As you may have seen from the Facebook statuses of your friends who haven’t bought a new album in 15 years, yesterday would have been Kurt Cobain’s 47th birthday. But of course, he is not 47. He killed himself in 1994. He’s dead. People stop aging when they’re dead and that’s sort of how age works. But in honor of the day, Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, WA, a place Cobain once called “Twin Peaks without the excitement,” a town he said he was run out of and “chased up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches just like the Frankenstein monster” named February 20 “Kurt Cobain Day” and honored their hometown “hero” by a performance from local band, Gebular, a speech by his first guitar teacher, Warren Mason, and an appearance by original Nirvana drummer, Whatshisface McReallyblewit. Oh and also the unveiling of a horribly gaudy statue of him at the Aberdeen Museum of History

 

So I’m a big fan of tributes. The Bill Russell tribute statue and the Bobby Orr statue are two of my favorite things, but to be honest they’re both still alive so their statues aren’t creepy. Neither is the Late Ted Williams’ statue outside of Fenway Park, but this; this is creepy… I mean first of all the statue is very realistic looking. But the tear… That just adds this odd aura which I don’t like. It really freaks me out to the point that I could only look at it for a short while.

So this leads to another important debate. Should people be allowed to create images of deceased people, and interpret them with this type of emotion? Are the tears necessary?

Artist of the Week: Chance the Rapper

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Since it’s breakthrough in the 1980’s rap has helped to breakout many

unique and individualistic artist. Rappers like Biggie, Tupac, Eminem and Jay-Z

have all set the stage for the next wave of rappers. But what sets them apart from

other rappers? One of the major things that set them apart from others is the unique

sound they create. Whenever someone like Andre 3000, Eminem or Busta Rhymes

hits the mic you instantly recognize them, their individuality evident from the first

This week’s Artist of the Week is independent rapper, Chance the Rapper

who without a doubt one of the most unique sounds of any rapper in the game

currently. His sound, best described as what he self-proclaimed to be “Acid Rap” sets

him apart from his friends and competitors. His vocal style has been described as

everything from childish to drugged out. I guess it’s up to your own assumption to

how to go about characterizing his style.

This twenty-year-old breakout star comes from Chicago and began his

music carrier in high school, forming a rap duo with a friend. After being ridiculed

by teachers for his interest in music and for his aspirations to rap for a carrier,

Chancelor Bennett released his first mixtape, 10 Days, fittingly named following a

ten-day suspension he served during his senior year of high school in 2012. After

the instant success of the mixtape and over 100,000 downloads, rapper Donald

Glover, better known as Childish Gambino, asked Chance to be the opening act on

his 2012 US Tour.

In 2013, Chance followed up his debut mixtape with what would truly

skyrocket his success. His second mixtape, Acid Rap, was released in April and

collected over 250,000 downloads, shattering the number of downloads from his

previous mixtape, finding help from a few friends, including Childish Gambino,

Twista, Action Bronson and Ab-Sol.

It’s hard to go through both mixtapes and be forced to pick favorites, but I

would highly suggest checking out his tracks, Good Ass Intro, Cocoa Butter Kisses,

Juice and my personal favorite, fittingly titled Favorite Song featuring Childish

Gambino.

Make sure to go out and check out Chance the Rapper, show some love for

independent artists and show some love for a rapper who won’t be going anywhere

anytime soon. I’m beyond excited to see Chance this summer at both Firefly and

Bonnaroo, let’s hope his live show is as wild as his music.

Michael Tozeski

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Should Fans Be Able to Take Videos of Whole Concerts?

Recently, Elliot Levin of the NY Hard Rock Music Examiner conducted an interview with  legendary Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, who is currently on a speaking tour of the U.S. In The Interview Ian was asked about his point of view towards people taking videos of whole shows on their cell phones to which he responded:

“I think it’s idiotic. I think the fact that someone would come to a show, spend the money to come to the show, and stand there holding their freakin’ phone over their head for 90 minutes is pathetic. It completely defeats the purpose of coming to a live show. I think it’s a joke. I’ve seen Bruce Dickinson [IRON MAIDEN] go off on audience members for doing that. Granted, he’s in IRON MAIDEN and they’re big enough to say that to their audience, but I think it’s idiotic and I don’t understand that mindset at all. You’re standing at a live show and you’re watching it through a screen on your phone.”

I read this, and thought to myself about that very concept, and after a long deliberation I came to the conclusion that I agree with him. When I go to a concert the thing that annoys me more than anything is the stereotypical teenage girl or fan boy with a cellphone in the air for the whole set. First of all you’re at a live show. Enjoy it live because it will never happen again. If you want videos of your favorite band playing live, just look on youtube, there are plenty of great HD live videos of bands performing at various venues. So put your camera away please. You’re annoying. And the band thinks so too. The band is traveling from country to country, state to state, and pouring their collective hearts out on the stage. These among many other reasons that I think make a valid point on putting down your phone, and enjoying the show.

Speaking of the live show lets talk about the first reason that I believe you should stop video taping at shows. First of all its a live show. When the band finishes their set it is the last time that they will be in your town for a long time, thus its important if you’re a real fan to take this moment and enjoy it as it is happening. With two arms in the air holding a phone I don’t know how you could honestly enjoy the live experience. I mean your legs hurt enough the day after. Why make your arms hurt too? Another thing about the live experience is that by participating in this behavior you are subtracting from your fellow concertgoers experience which to me is unacceptable. Now I was at a festival over the summer and the guy in the front row directly ahead of me had his arms up all the way. To me this was simply unacceptable.

From a musicians viewpoint I can understand how this is incredibly annoying. I mean you’re traveling the world, in little buses with multiple people living in them, and away from home for more than 80% of your time. It must be incredibly annoying to know that there are people who are focused more on getting a good video of the concert than actually watching the concert. To me this is incredibly poor edicate. I mean respect these musicians who are just scraping by with touring money as record sale revenues have dried up. Please respect these musicians and put your phones down. I don’t mind a video of an intro or something like a picture of the band, but videoing the whole show is downright disrespectful.

Please concertgoers do the courteous thing and be respectful and enjoy yourself.

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Artist of the Week: Cloud Nothings

One of my favorite parts of any music festival is discovering new artists. I mean lets face it, what’s better than discovering a group before they blow up? When Bonnaroo announced their lineup, I knew it was that time of year to check out some of lesser-known artists on the bill, and that’s where we can find this week’s artist.

This weeks Artist of the Week is an American indie-rock trio from Cleveland, Ohio, Cloud Nothings. After dropping out of college in 2009, founder Dylan Baldi began to focus on recording music, leading to the release of the groups first few songs via his MySpace page. This led to the group’s discovery, bringing sudden recognition from fans of the genre. After releasing their first full-length album in 2010, “Turning On,” the group has gone on to release two more full-length albums, including a self-titled album “Cloud Nothings” as well as “Attack on Memory.” After recording for some time at a studio in Hoboken, New Jersey the group has confirmed their fourth studio album, titled “Here and Nowhere Else” which will be released in the coming year.

Cloud Nothings bring a new age rock sound combining aspects of their indie rock roots with a lo-fi, hardcore sound. Their sound, comparable to The Strokes or some vintage Arctic Monkeys, delivers what the genre is looking for with this bold new band. Personally, they give off such a vintage punk sound, reminding me so much of The Clash, Joy Division and even the Ramones, just my opinion. The trio brings together handfuls of great riffs combined with bits of melodic musical insanity, and if that doesn’t make sense check out their song “Wasted Days” and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

After being blown away by how unique their sound was, I couldn’t help but think to myself how sick they must be live. It’s easy to tell when artists seriously get into their music, making it wicked easy to give the listener the feel that they would kill it every time they take the stage.I’d highly suggest checking out their 2012 album, “Attack on Memory”. Up and down there is nothing missing from the album. When talking about specific songs, you can’t go wrong with listening to “Fall In,” “I’m Not Part of Me,” “Stay Useless” and my personal favorite “Wasted Days.” Check out Cloud Nothings, listen to it, love it, rock out to it, and support one hell of an American grown band. Can’t wait to see these guys this summer at Roo.

Michael Tozeski

Artist of the Week: Arthur Beatrice

This week’s Artist of the Week is English indie rock group Arthur Beatrice. After forming in 2010, the group has been quietly gaining attention in England, and has now moved their way to the United States. The four-member group brings a rare sound to the stage where they combine the haunting yet relaxing melodies with fantastic lyrical writing, comparable to The xx. But even then, the group adds their own style to every song, making it hard to compare them to other groups.

The group debuted their first song titled “Midland” in April 2012, and has since released “Carter,” the groups first official EP in July of 2013. The group hasofficially announced that their debut album titled “Working Out” would be officiallyreleased in February 2014. But their process of spreading the word about the album has been totally unique. After keeping their material a closely guarded secret, thefirst single off of the album, “Grand Union,” was spread through word of mouth and on the groups Facebook and other social media pages. This strays away from the traditional idea of having it publically distributed through advertisements and such. The full version of the groups debut album is available to stream on their website via sound cloud, and will be released on iTunes in the coming weeks.

I am extremely impressed with the exceptional lyrics and the chilling voice ofthe female lead vocal, Ella Girardot. Reminding me of the voice of Florence Welsh, Girardot brings a completely unique sound to the album and makes it absolutely chilling and beautiful. Along with the exceptional lyrics, the various styles the band combines in each track help to make each song personalized and different from the last. It’s hard to say to listen to specific tracks on this album, but if I had to choose make sure to check out “Midland,” “Carter” and my personal favorite “Grand Union.” I’m looking forward to seeing this band break through in a big way. Makesure to check out Arthur Beatrice through the link below.

Michael Tozeski

http://openassembly.tumblr.com/

 

Bonnaroo 2014 Lineup Release

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and something like a holiday. Last night, Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival held their annual line up release extravaganza. The Bonnaroo Lineup Announcement Megathon, also known as BLAM!, was held last night through the Bonnaroo website. The preshow started at 7pm and consisted of a montage of videos of live performances over the past few years at Roo. All of the songs that were played were not original songs, but instead covers. It helped to relive some of the most memorable moments at Bonnaroo such as Ben Folds covering Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and fun. covering The Rolling Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

At 9pm BLAM! was underway. Comedians Taren Killam and Hannibal Buress started in an absolutely obscure video where they attended party where The Flaming Lips and Ben Folds rocked the stage together in their own Superjam. Over the course of the half hour the bands were released.

Headlining the festival this year are the legendary Elton John and Jack White. The third headliner came as a surprise and, in my opinion a pretty big let down, Kanye West. Kanye is infamous at Bonnaroo due to his 2008 performance after coming on stage five hours late after refusing to play because his light show wasn’t going to look good enough. Over the past six years, signs like “Fuck Kanye” can be seen throughout the festival, and most of the time located on the port potties. But maybe this six-year hiatus from Roo is what is needed to make Kanye’s worth it? The verdict is still out. Under the headliners, the lineup is off the hizzy. Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers, Phoenix, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, Frank Ocean, The Flaming Lips, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Kaskade, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wiz Khalifa, Fitz & The Tantrums, Cake, Zedd and The Naked and Famous will all be greatly welcomed to the Farm this summer. And there are even more artists that will be there, ranging from classic rap such as Ice Cube, to this years classic throwback artist, Lionel Richie. Another major part of the Bonnaroo lineup is what is known as the ”Superjams.” This year’s Superjam will feature “Skrillex and Friends,” Which begs the question, WHO THE HELL WILL SKRILLEX HAVE PLAY WITH HIM? Unfortunately, well just have to wait until the Farm to see what he has in store. Along with Skrillex’s Superjam, a second Superjam has been confirmed, but it has not been released, so look forward to seeing who is headlining that in the upcoming month.

The comedy lineup is also still highly anticipated. Bonnaroo is known for having big name comedians such as Aziz Ansari, Daniel Tosh and Louis C.K. and I doubt this year will disappoint. Announcements to be released later this month.

So there you have it, the Bonnaroo 2014 lineup has been released, but thankfully not finalized. With the addition of a handful of more bands, including a few more major surprises, the lineup will top out at 150 artists.

Tickets go on sale on February 22, 2014 on Bonnaroo’s website, so make sure you get yours because they go fast.

When we hear something new, we’ll let you know. In the mean time I look forward to seeing you this year at the Farm! Radiate Positivity everybody.

Michael Tozeski

Twitter: _tozeski

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Sir Elton John

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Jack White

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Kanye West…

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…more like this

Don’t Drink The Water At The Cyrus House

Well just when you thought that the Cyrus family couldn’t get any stranger Billy Ray Cyrus comes out with this collaboration with unknown rapper, Buck 22. A remake of “Achy Breaky Heart” just what the world needs right now…

Not.

So lets look at the music video. It starts out with Larry King and then Buck 22 and Billy Ray Cyrus get abducted by some weird alien chicks. I mean this just screams weird, and makes me wonder what kind of hallucinations and or stupid ideas you would get if you lived in the  Cyrus house hold .

Example 1.

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Example 2.

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Example 3.

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If Axl Rose Bitches in the Woods Does Anyone Care?

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In The Name Of Science, In regard to the internet’s “no wireless” controversy regarding the Red Hot Chili Peppers Superbowl performance as reported on ESPN… I enjoyed the show and I’ve no idea what the real story is nor would I want to suggest or imply anyone wasn’t actually performing or that what they were playing wasn’t what we actually heard. That said I feel it’s important to always look on the positive side of things and to give the benefit of doubt. So consider that maybe sometime before their actual performance that rather than use a guitar cord or standard wireless, that in the name of science and for all mankind Flea courageously had a newly invented breakthrough in microchip technology installed in his ass that picked up the frequencies of his bass and transmitted them to his amplifier. Maybe they all had microchips installed in their asses and not only pick up the frequencies of their instruments but get Direct TV and the internet too! Like Google Glass… Google Ass! They could be “Scientific Pioneers!” Like Buzz Aldrin and shit! True (pardon the pun)ASS-tro-nots! Or like Superbowl crash test dummies for bands kinda like those cars that drive themselves!And besides… If the band wasn’t really playing or wireless or whatever and Anthony was really singing they may have set a new world record for the largest karaoke audience ever! Awesome! So relax and show some pride! This is probably all just Google finding new ways to enrich our lives with the selfless volunteering of the Peppers and the ever ongoing creative process of true innovation or perhaps a new lounge bar record of super magnificent proportions and a new pinnacle of human achievement not seen since the sign language guy in South Africa!God Bless America, the Peppers n’ technology… PN’T!

Ax

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So Axl Rose has chosen to open his mouth about the Superbowl halftime show, but at this point does anyone care? I mean Axl is completely irrelevant, and he’s been fronting a Guns N’ Roses tribute band since 96′ so why is he given the chance to right an op ed? For this I will never know. Someone get Axl his oxygen tank and tell him to shut up until the real Guns n’ Roses gets put back together and Slash and Axl burry the hatchet

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SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW REVIEW

Let me just say congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on being the winners of Super Bowl XLVIII. It was quite the performance by the Seahawks, but there was also another performance, The Super Bowl XLVIII halftime show. Now this was actually a highlight of the night, as the game was quite boring towards the end, and Bruno Mars did not dissapoint, but the Red Hot Chilli Peppers did.

Now the performance (un-traditional medley) started off in a very unusual way with a children’s chorus singing a heavily harmonized version of Travie McCoy’s and Mar’s “Billionaire.” This was followed by an awesome drum solo by Mars himself. His band then played a rendition of “Locked Out of Heaven” which was followed by “Treasure.” and an awesome version of “Runaway Baby.”

Now this is where the trouble started. The Red Hot Chili Peppers appeared, and started playing “Give it Away” now at the time I thought they sounded awesome, but just like Denver’s offense, they were there, but they weren’t playing. I mean Flea didn’t even have his bass plugged in (as seen in Exhibit A.) Anthony Kiedis sounded like he was singing live, as did Mars, but it didn’t seem like anyone cared whether or not it was live at the time.

Exhibit A.

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The final song in the misguided medley was Mars’ hit “Just The Way You Are.” The song featured a touching military tribute, and again Mars sounded great. This was one of the better superbowl half time shows, but nothing will top Aerosmith’s Super Bowl XXXV half time show.

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