Artist Of The Week

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:

 

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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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

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