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:

 

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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?

It’s A Trap! A History of the Trap Music Takeover

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For more than 40 years dance music has been a crowd and club favorite for anyone who is looking to get out and have a hell of a good time. Dance music has evolved significantly since the disco days of The Bee Gees and Carl Douglas’ “Kung Fu Fighting.” After the disco days came the dance-pop and boogie era, followed by countless other subgenres which all held their time in the limelight. Nowadays there are too many forms of dance music to even begin to mention, but headlining the modern craze includes House Music, Trance, Rave and of course Dubstep. But over the past few years another genre has began to gain huge fan fare and major publicity. This new craze is known as Trap Music.

Trap music originated in the early 2000s where it began to be incorporated in with Southern hip-hop. The Trap sound deals heavily with the sound of the 808 sub-bass kick drums, mostly being played in double-time, triple-time or even faster times where hi-hats and synthesizers are in abundance. Rappers like UGK and Three 6 Mafia were some of the first pioneers to incorporate these new sounds into their music. The term “trap” literally meant a place where drug deals were made during rap concerts, leading to these rappers who preformed using the sound as “trap rappers.” Since the days when UGK and Three 6 Mafia were on top, other well known rappers such as T.I. and Young Jeezy continued the legacy, and a new wave of rappers came in to take the reigns the trap rap position. New age rappers like Chief Keef and Future have kept the tradition of trap rap alive.

But while all the focus was on the rapping aspect of the music, dozens of producers and aspiring DJs dissected the unique new sound from the rap and made it entirely their own. New styles of electronic music were incorporated to the trap, creating a brand new baby to the EDM sphere. By combining the original sounds from Southern hip-hop beats with the trap-style drum patterns of EDM synthesizers, the new sound, often described as aggressive, dirty and dark. Electric producers, including Diplo, Baauer, Flosstradamus and RL Grimes expanded the popularity of Trap Music in the past few years, and it only looks like it’s going up from here. This new wave genre still holds true to its roots of rap while mostly focusing on the intense trance feeling it gives the listener.

Up until 2013, Trap Music was not at the center stage of the music world, but that was quickly about to change. After a fan made video became the largest Internet sensation to him the mainstream in years, Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” was an instant hit. The success of the video propelled the Harlem Shake to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first trap song to ever do so. From there, the EDM community recognized the skyrocketing popularity of the genre, adding major names to the 2013 Ultra Music Festival, the United States premiere EDM festival. Worldwide, the impact was being made as well. The 2013 Tomorrowland Festival featured a stage dedicated a stage entirely to the booming genre, where Carnage, RL Grimes, Baauer and Flosstradamus gave the fans exactly what they were looking for.

One of the most popular aspects of Trap Music is incorporating original beats to already wildly popular songs. Among the most well known trap remixes includes Flosstradamus’ remix of Major Lazer’s “Original Don,” Carnage’s remix of Hardwell’s “Spaceman,” and RL Grimes’ remix of both Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” and Kanye West’s “Mercy.”

Though the Trap Music scene is new, the future looks incredibly bright for this new age genre, and it can only go up from here.

Check out a few of my personal favorite bellow.

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/

 

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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