Changes to the monthly competitions

Hi and welcome back to Amazing OurStage. We want to let you know that there will be changes to the prizes we are offering. Every month will be different.
This month we are awarding prizes of $100 to winners of the competition finals. In the future there will be prizes to help your musical career. Check back to find out.

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Greg’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Albums Of 2013

We’re saying farewell to our co-op Greg, who was a lifesaver for us here at OurStage, as he picked up tasks ranging from Community to Account Management, to Editorial. If you’re a frequent reader of Plugged In, you’ve no doubt read his work. We asked Greg to list some of his music picks for 2013:

Last week, we recapped our favorite releases from the past year. Now, as we bid 2012 adieu, we welcome 2013 and all of the awesomeness it has in store. While there are so many great releases to look forward to, coming up with this list couldn’t have been easier for me. Most of these records are still in the early stages of post-production, but I say it’s never too early to get excited. So here are my top 5 most anticipated albums of 2013 (in no particular order):

City and Colour – (Title TBA)
2011′s Little Hell really put Canadian rock star Dallas Green on the mainstream map. His 3rd full-length solo album was his most powerful yet. Now, after leaving Alexisonfire, his band of 10 years, to focus full time on City and Colour, we can only imagine that the sky is the limit for this talented singer-songwriter. Green wrapped up recording for the fourth album this past November and expects to release it sometime early-mid 2013.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – (Title TBA)
Dillinger are one of those legendary bands who go years without releasing a new album, but then when they do, you realize the wait was worth it. 2010′s Option Paralysis was possibly the most eclectic and eccentric installment by the brutal math-core wizards. With recording for their fifth full-length in the bag, fans are primed for the release this Spring.

Bad Rabbits – (Titles TBA)
In 2009, these Boston locals burst onto the scene with their groundbreaking debut EP Stick Up Kids, 7 songs of non-stop head banging funk soul party pop. On that release alone, they’ve had outstanding momentum, including their run on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. However, as infectious as those songs are, three years is too long to go without giving fans more. Luckily, Bad Rabbits have a whole arsenal of finished recordings just waiting to be released via shotgun blast in 2013. Get ready for two more EPs, along with videos, limited edition merch, new live dates, and more.

Queens Of The Stone Age – (Title TBA)
The most anticipated rock album of 2013 may be the new Queens Of The Stone Age record. Not only has it been over five years since Josh Homme‘s last release with the project, but now, among all of the rotating members that have played in the band, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has returned on drums along with Nick Oliveri on bass. As two of the quintessential members of QOTSA’s breakthrough album Songs For The Deaf, they helped define the band as many fans know it today. Now that they’re back on board and finished recording, we can only imagine the sheer magnitude of this next album, due out early this year.

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OurStage’s End Of The World Playlist; Songs For The Apocalypse

OurStage’s Staff Favorites From 2012

2012 was a big and busy year for music. From Carly Rae Jepsen‘s infectious singles to Chris Brown‘s horribly offensive behavior, so much has happened that we decided to look back and reflect on some of our favorite releases and events by various artists this year, including those on OurStage.

Mikel, OurStage Community
Sharks
No Gods
Sharks take the best of classic British working-class punk and wrap it up in a shiny package topped off with jagged guitars, shiny harmonies, and hooks for days.  No Gods is a fists-in-the-air call for self-reliance that never takes itself too seriously.  Bloody brill’.

Jeremy SquiresIn The Dark
OurStage artist Jeremy Squires’ 2012 release In The Dark is folk at its most lonesome and plaintive.  Acoustic guitars intertwine with Squires’ delicate and twangy vocals.  Harmonica lines whisper and echo in the background.  This stuff is beautiful.

Mike G, OurStage Accounting
Mumford & SonsBabel

Murder By DeathBitter Drink, Bitter Moon

Royal ThunderCVI

Greg, OurStage Community
GallowsGallows
When Frank Carter, the original iconic frontman for UK punk hardcore band Gallows, decided to leave in the summer of 2011, fans feared it was the end of the band all together. At that same time, Canadian post-hardcore rockstars Alexisonfire were just calling it quits all together. Before anyone could react, AOF vocalist and guitarist Wade MacNiel was already scheduled to take the place of Frank Carter in Gallows. Their first full-length self-titled album since the lineup change came out a few months ago exceeding all expectations and solidifying MacNiel as the new face for the band. Looks like “death is birth” after all.

YellabirdMountainosaurus
Many of us here at OurStage happen to be musicians ourselves, but without bias, I have to say one of my favorite releases of 2012 was
Mountainosaurus, the debut album by our account manager Martin’s band Yellabird. If you like The White Stripes or The Black Keys, then you haven’t heard nothin’ yet because this duo leaves those guys in the dust. The riffs and rhythms will leave you drooling for more. Can’t wait to see what our buddy “Mahty” has in store for 2013.

Martin, OurStage Account Management

Meshuggah – “Marrow” - Koloss

King Orchid – “Plaguin’ Me” - For Battle

Baroness – “Green Theme” - Yellow & Green

Tame Impala – “Elephant” - Lonerism

Heartless Bastards – “Got To Have Rock And Roll” - Arrow

Delta Spirit - “Empty House” - Delta Spirit

Angela, OurStage Editorial


Anberlin -

Vital


It seems that every album Anberlin makes they pour their heart, soul, and tons of talent into. That being said, it’s been a long time coming for an album that hits as hard as 2007’s Cities. This year’s release,

Vital,

went above and beyond with fast paced, aggressive hooks, and addictive anthems that I still find myself listening to on heavy rotation.

The Glass Child - ”Who Am I” and “Letdown”

Last year we were introduced to OurStage artist,The Glass Child ’s debut EP,

This Is How Ghosts Are Made

. This year, we saw the release of two incredible singles, “Who Am I” and “Letdown.” Showcasing her unbelievable vocal range within these telltale anthems of self discovery, the woman behind the talent, Charlotte Eriksson proves once more why she’s at the top of my radar; and why she should be at the top of yours.

Andrew, OurStage A/V
I don’t know if it counts, but for me, a real gem of 2012 was Delta Rae‘s music video for “Bottom of the River.” Now, the video actually came out in October of 2011, but I didn’t discover it until this year when we interviewed them. That video was one I felt compelled to share.

Mieka Pauley‘s emotionally charged Songs Of The Revolution performance of “Wreck” was a standout.

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown‘s bluesy rock were a welcome contribution amidst all the pop sounds.

Holiday Album Review: CeeLo Green – “CeeLo’s Magic Moment”

It’s that magical time of year when we get to hear all of our favorite Christmas and holiday classics. In honor of this festive occasion, we decided to review one of the most popular and highly anticipated holiday albums that came out this season, CeeLo’s Magic Moment by R&B singer CeeLo Green.

By now you are probably sick of hearing all the same old carols over and over, but if there’s anyone to breathe new life into these standards it’s CeeLo. As you can imagine, he brings a certain element of class and glamour to each track, while also introducing some fitting originals. However, the first half of the 14-track record is about all you need to get into the Christmas spirit. After that, it gets a bit boring.

Though needless to say, CeeLo has captured this “magic moment” the one way he knows best, with nostalgic soulful 70′s style flair mixed with contemporary pop sensibility. His duet with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera on “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is surprisingly reserved and charming, whereas one might have expected the two powerhouse singers to overdo it. Don’t get me wrong; there are plenty of rifs and runs between the two, but they manage to balance them dynamically with the smokey jazz club vibe.

To continue this feeling, CeeLo follows up with a cover of Donny Hathaway‘s “This Christmas.” With smooth basslines, orchestral brass accents, and subtle strokes of clean guitar , the 70′s homage sounds like it was recored in the same era in which it was written. Of course, this must lead into a smooth downtempo version of “The Christmas Song,” which sounds like it easily could have been the work of R. Kelly. Yet, there’s something uniquely comforting about Green’s voice that makes this track an instant standard for holiday radioplay. In fact, many of these renditions are so respectfully executed that I am sure they will be welcomed into the ever-growing repertoire of iconic holiday classics. With the slick production quality and “sexy” R&B/jazz vibe, I can picture this album being the soundtrack to some high-class New York penthouse Christmas party.

There are plenty of fun tracks for the whole family, though. “All I Need Is Love” is an upbeat original featuring none other than the jolly old Muppets themselves. While the song is a bit awkward, upon listening, you can tell it was clearly made for the video, which is fun and hilarious. Believe it or not, however; the track that follows is probably the most interesting and unusual piece on the record. Green teams up with the all-male a capella group Straight No Chaser for a comically theatrical rendition of “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch,” interspersed with excerpts from the original Dr. Seuss text.

This is about where the album reaches its peak. Some of the songs that follow are more obscure, like “River” and the heavily religious “Mary, Did You Know?,” both of which are beautifully performed, but just a little too solemn. Almost too typically, Green tackles Mariah Carrey‘s “All I Want For Christmas,” without straying too much from the original, making for a pretty blasé listen. Of course, not to be short on cameos, Green throws in one last duet with renowned adult contemporary singer Rod Stewart and the famous Trombone Shorty. Still, the impact is not nearly as lasting as the first half of the album. However, he elegantly closes with possibly the best cover on the record. Green’s version of “Silent Night” is soothing and poignant at first, building in dynamics with a marching rhythm, multiple modulations, and an uplifting orchestral and choral arrangement to finish.

Although there are plenty of Christmas albums that come out every year, CeeLo’s Magic Moment strikes just the right balance of fresh and traditional, without being too cheesy. Whether you like it or not, these songs are here to stay and will likely become a regular addition to annual Christmas shopping playlists.

If you like CeeLo Green, then you might also like Ourstage’s own Jasper Sawyer.

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Queens Of The Stone Age To Release New Album Early 2013

It’s been about five years since Josh Homme‘s Queens Of The Stone Age released their last album Era Vulgaris, which means the stoner rock project is way overdue for a new installment. Rest assured though, this day is nigh. According to their Facebook page, QOTSA have finished recording and will be releasing a new album in early 2013 (no specific date yet). Judging by the note they sent to Mojo, it sounds like the group really lost their minds with this one, creating a record that “[sounds] like running in a dream inside a codeine cabaret.”

From the list of high caliber artists involved with this record, we’re expecting something big. As we mentioned last month, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, who played drums for QOTSA’s infamous Songs For The Deaf, returned for this album, along with bassist Nick Oliveri who was also a quintessential contributor to that record. In addition, it looks like Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters might be collaborating with the band as well. Get ready for what will hopefully be another landmark rock album.

If you like Queens Of The Stone Age, then you might also like OurStage’s own Yellabird.

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Associated Press Names Adele Entertainer Of The Year

With all those Grammys she won in early 2012, it comes as no surprise that powerhouse soul/pop singer Adele has been dubbed Entertainer Of The Year by Associated Press. Not just singer of the year, or musician, but entertainer. That means she even beat out that guy down the street with the flaming hula hoop and the unicycle! And let me tell you, that guy is one hell of an entertainer. AP readers and staff rated her far above other major entertainers and celebrities such as Taylor Swift, E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey), PSY, and the entire Twilight cast. Now that’s some high praise.

While she did not release a new album or do a world tour this year, Adele’s singles from 2011 still remain among the most highly played tracks on radio, television, in movies, and more. We seemingly can’t get enough Adele. Her most recent accomplishment, apart from delivering a baby, of course, is the single “Skyfall,” written to be the title theme of the new James Bond film. According to Billboard, “The song recently received a Golden Globe nomination. No Bond theme has ever won the best original song Oscar, but given Adele’s awards success thus far, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think she has a chance of changing that.” Regardless of whether she wins or not, Adele has still achieved more in one year than most entertainers do in their lifetime.

If you like Adele, then check OurStage artist Brittany Campbell.

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The Tower And The Fool Perform New Song

New England folk rockers The Tower And The Fool have gone through a few lineup changes since their formation a few years ago. They originally started as an acoustic duo-fronted band, but have now downsized to a more electric 4-piece with Alex Correia as the one remaining frontman. Click here to check out their new song called “Let It Ride” from their live performance at Great Scott in Allston, MA last week.

Correia used to be the frontman for Boston post-hardcore band Therefore I Am before they broke up in 2010. The band will be coming together again for the first time in 2 years for two “end of the world” reunion shows tomorrow night and Saturday night at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. The first show is sold out, but tickets are still available for the second one. Click here to buy them online.

If you like The Tower And The Fool, then check out OurStage artist Mieka Pauley.

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Improving Your Community: The Perils Of Pre-sales

As more bands emerge every day and venues continue to close, opportunities to play better shows become fewer. In addition, the overhead costs of running shows have seemed to increase along with the risk of low turnouts. As a result, an increasing number of promoters are turning to a new business plan. Anyone who has been in a new/local band within the past 5 years or so has probably encountered the rising phenomenon of pre-sales.

Here’s how it works. Bands who want to play a show are asked by the promoter to sell a certain amount of tickets before the show to ensure their spot on the bill. Rules change for different promoters, depending on how lenient or strict they are. Sometimes, the pre-sale requirement is just a suggestion with no consequences if the requested amount is not sold. But often, the promoter expects a certain amount of money from the band regardless of whether or not they can sell all of the tickets. If the band does not pre-sell their share, they run the risk of having to pay to play or drop from the show.

From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense to a promoter. By getting bands to pre-sell tickets, you can guarantee attendance, thus covering certain venue costs and eliminating some of the risk involved with putting on a show. However, too many promoters are taking advantage of and abusing this system because it allows them to work less while the bands are required to work more for the same pay or even none at all.

Continue reading ‘Improving Your Community: The Perils Of Pre-sales’

Instagram Users Enraged At New Terms Of Service

Over the past few years, Instagram has worked its way up through the ranks of social networking apps and websites, earning itself a place of significance alongside Twitter and Facebook (which happens to own Instagram). Needless to say, when companies like these reach such a level, every little change they make to their product or rules falls under strong scrutiny by our society.

Therefore, as you can imagine, Instagram users did not take too kindly to the company’s new terms of service adjustment, which, according to the L.A. Times, stated that “Instagram had the right to turn images into advertisements without any approval from or compensation for users starting Jan. 16. — part of Facebook’s drive to make money from the service it bought this year for $715 million in cash and stock.”

Backlash from users has been rampant, with threats to delete their accounts and move on to similar photo apps like Hipstamatic. In respond to the uproar, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom was quick to try and quell everyone’s concerns by publicly stating, ”Instagram does not claim any ownership rights over your photos,” he wrote. “We respect that your photos are your photos. Period.” While somewhat reassuring, this does not change the fact that the company tried create such a dubious policy. Some might say that the app service is on thin ice right now, as users will be on their toes, keeping an eye on Instagram’s next move.

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Hear The Studio Version Of “Cut Me Some Slack” By Paul McCartney And Members Of Nirvana

In case you missed it last week, Nirvana reunited and Paul McCartney is the new Kurt Cobain… Okay, maybe not quite, but Nirvana members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic did perform together for the first time in 20 years, joined by Pat Smear on guitar and Macca on vocals. The group had been jamming together just for fun and ended up writing a song called “Cut Me Some Slack,” which they premiered at last week’s 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at Madison Square Garden. Apparently the song was also written and recorded for the soundtrack of Grohl’s Sound City documentary. I have to admit, it’s not the most impressive work by these musicians. Listen to it below and see what you think:

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A Lot Like Birds End “Rock Yourself To Sleep” Tour With Pillow Fight

Last month we held a competition offering OurStage artists a chance to open for multiple dates of the “Rock Yourself To Sleep” tour with Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, I The Mighty, Hail The Sun, and The Orphan, The Poet. Judging from the following video, it looks like the tour was a blast. A Lot Like Birds seem to have taken the theme of the tour pretty seriously, ending their set on the last date with an all out mosh pit pillow fight on stage and in the crowd. Check out the comfy carnage below:

If you like A Lot Like Birds, then you might also like OurStage’s own The Origin Animate.

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