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Under Supervision: That’s A Wrap

All good films and television shows have the typical bittersweet ending—the one where the characters all smile through tears, look around at each other and embrace the end and the future.  Well, that time has come for the Under Supervision blog.  But before the end credits roll, I thought I’d share with you the 10 most interesting things I’ve learned while delving into the supervision industry.

1. A Web site that supplements your placement can give you an extra push to make it big.  For example, Gossip Girl’s soundtrack is not only badass, but heavily supplemented by a Web site that works as an electronic guide to all of the featured music.  Webisodes, detailing the use of music and how it enhances each scene, are posted each week by the show’s music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas.  Also included in each webisode are introductions to new artists so viewers can learn more about their back-story.

2. Being featured on the hippest primetime shows isn’t always the way to go.  Children’s shows like Yo Gabba Gabba are offering excellent exposure.  The creators started the show with the simple idea of showcasing music that’s suitable for children but still fun for adults while presenting back to basic lessons for kids.  As time progressed, they found popular artists were knocking on their door asking to perform for the younger audience who in turn were treated to performances that rocked.

3. Scoring placements in America can be difficult, but you can find success overseas.  Pop duo the you know who… found success with their cover of “Putting On The Ritz” which was used by Lindex, the Swedish equivalent of a combined H&M and Victoria’s Secret, for their Fall 2009 campaign.  Subsequently, the band signed with Warner Chapel Sweden and produced their first full-length debut.  Passing up Britney Spears and Beyoncé on the iTunes Swedish charts, “Putting On The Ritz” became a European hit.  Now the band is back in the states and ready to get America up to speed using their arsenal of irresistibly synthy tracks.

Continue reading ‘Under Supervision: That’s A Wrap’

Folkin’ Around: That’s All Folks

It’s time for me to hand over the reins of this here Folkin’ Around blog.  But that doesn’t mean the folk slows down!  Good ole’ Jay Schneider will be taking the drivers seat from here on out.   Before I go, I want to share with you guys some of my favorite OurStage artists that I’ve come across during the past six months.

Talking About Commas: Bear Connelly is no stranger to the folk scene, but the Rhode Island native has been experimenting with different kinds of sounds since college when he moved out west in hope of inspiration. Mastering guitar, piano, bass, drums, Rhodes, congas, melodica, synthesized strings and mandolin, Connelly plays under the moniker Talking About Commas.  His raw musical abilities have always supported telling stories that captivate listeners.

Crissi Cochrane: Artists often sing about relationships and can easily inspire their fans to want to fall in love. Singer/Songwriter Crissi Cochrane is one such artist.  Filled with sweet lyrics and a gentle voice, her songs transport listeners to a world where everything is good.  Her delightful melodies are sure to catch on within the next few months.

Alain de Courtenay: Alain de Courtenay is no newcomer in the world of folk, spending nearly a decade perfecting his craft.  Both inspiring and distinct, Alain’s music is evocative poetry at it’s finest.  A few years back, he joined forces with violinist TJ Callanta and has been producing deep, poignant compositions ever since.  In the vein of Alexi Murdoch and Nick Drake, Alain draws from experience to create organic music that pulls at the emotions.  It goes without saying, the young star shows great promise in his future.

The Weathered Road: As a well-needed breath of fresh air in today’s music industry, The Weathered Road aren’t out to make it to the top. They’re out to inspire and enjoy the moment while making music —and that alone might just make them the next big thing in folk.  With intricate Celtic musicianship and captivating vocals, the group transports listeners to a fresh, empty field immersed in sunshine.  Perfect harmonies paired with organic strings make The Weather Road a trio worth a listen.

Carl Hauck: Carl Hauck is a lovechild of sorts.  Born of Andrew Bird, raised by Damien Rice, tended by nanny Nick Drake and befriended by Modest Mouse in high school,  Hauck seems to take everything good from other prominent acoustic folk acts and combines it into one sugary treat.   His voice, often compared to that of an angel, is honestly just thatangelic.  Like a sunburst from heaven, Hauck’s songs stream like rays upon playlists, juxtaposing the sullen acoustic crooners.

Wes Kirkpatrick: Wes Kirkpatrick has always been a go-to artist for this OurStager on those seemingly endless days.  His previous albums, recorded with his brother, have been a staple on the Folk Channel for months now.  A softer Jack Johnson with a stronger voice, Wes Kirkpatrick seems to make anyone’s day a little better.

This Frontier Need Heroes: Comprised of siblings Brad and Jessica Lauretti, This Frontier Needs Heroes’ sweet indie folk sound fits right in here on OurStage.  So it’s no wonder they have received acclaim from publications such as NPR’s All Songs ConsideredTime Out New YorkTime Out London, Decider.com, and have done live sessions for Daytrotter.com and SPIN.  OurStage got their chance to catch up with the duo about their success as folk artists, their influences and their extensive touring.

So take a look back at those fantastic artists and get ready for the new era of Folkin’ Around with Jay.  He’ll be sure to show you guys some fresh talent and a new take on the genre.  So everyone give Jay a hearty “Howdy!”  Happy trails!

Under Supervision: The Soundtrack To OurStage

Here at OurStage everyday is jam-packed with musical goodness.  From waking up to the commute to falling asleep at night, we live and breath OurStage tunes.   We often even imagine OurStage songs being placed during our day to day activities.  So, in the spirit of those never-ending Facebook and MySpace surveys, we’ve decided to let our favorite tracks out of the bag in the form of the Soundtrack to OurStage!  Enjoy!

Opening Credits: “Get Together”- Sons of the Sun
Waking Up: “Morning Blues”- Squid
First Day At School: “Fingers Crossed” – Allison Weiss
Falling In Love: “No Comfort” – Parachute Musical
Fight Song: “Switch Hit Resistor” -Woodward
Breaking Up: “Disengage” – Sleeperstar
Prom: “Here In Your Arms (Cover)” – High Off You
Life: “Hard To Love” – Lion of Ido
Mental Breakdown: “Broken In All The Right Places”- i am jen
Driving: “OFF We Go”- the you know who…
Slow Motion Romantic Flashback: “Sex on Fire (Cover)” – That Noise
Wedding: “Your Sweet Love”- Stereobuss
Birth of Child: “This Wind”- Tallest Man on Earth
Final Battle: “Kitty Litter”- The Worsties
Death Scene: “Devil’s Thunder”- Rachel Cantu
Funeral Song: “Push On”- Bella Ruse
End Credit: “Well Done Son”- Mad Staring Eyes

We want to hear which OurStage tracks you imagine playing the soundtrack to your life!

Folkin’ Around: Sofia Talvik

We all know the Swedes can write a mean pop songs—but what about folk songs?  Well, one artist is nonchalantly transferring the charm and fun found in most pop songs into sweet, acoustic twang.  Sofia Talvik, brings bubbly blonde ambition to this raw and often quiet genre with a captivating breath of fresh air.  After her 2008 Lollapalooza performance, Sofia became a force in the States and went back into the studio to record her fourth album and latest release, Florida.

With a focus on drums and electronic beats, Florida brings a sense of pop fun to an otherwise sensual and introspective album.  Says Sophia, “Some songs are dark some are sunny, but all of them have a groove.  I actually wanted the album to sound like what the intro to HBO’s True Blood looks like. I think the songs have the same kind of weirdness to them as those pictures, and that’s the American south to me.”

On top of bringing this interesting take to folk, Sophia manages her fan base using pop artist strategies.  Fans can tweet at her to get her new single, she offers an acoustic version of her entire album for free with purchase of the full one and she even live streamed the recording the new album online.  The new album is currently streaming on her Web site, but until it’s released, check out some tracks from her last album Jonestown below!  Do you dig the pop/folk style?

Under Supervision: Placement Round Up

Here on Under Supervision, we’ve barely scratched the surface of the number of OurStage artists that have been placed in film and TV.  So, we’ve decided to give you guys the rundown on who’s getting what placed where!  Take a look at some of the OurStagers hitting the spotlight:

Shelly Fraley: This singer/songwriter’s catchy and thoughtful tunes have been placed on One Tree Hill, Knight Rider, Ghost Whisperer and the movie Free Willy 4.  Check out her song “Up, Up & Away” here.

April Smith: Her eerily awesome “Terrible Things” was featured in the Weeds promotional commercial for this upcoming season.  Check it out here!

Andrew Belle:  With soulful and quirky indie pop, this powerhouse has been featured in Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, 90210, MTV’s The Real World, The Ghost Whisperer and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Stacy Clark: This bubbly singer is no stranger to getting placed, having brought her pop rock hits “Empty Bottles,” “Matter of Time” and “Strange” to MTV’s The Buried Life. Her songs ”Strange,” “Matter Of Time” and “Won’t Let You” were used on Jessica Simpson’s The Price of Beauty. “Recluse,” “Won’t Let You,” “Say What You Want” and “Hello Again” where also used on the CW TV show Fly Girls.  Her song “Touch & Go” was used for the National Sprint Bell Palm Pre Commercial. Additionally, “All Time Low” was played on the CW’s One Tree Hill, and ”Matter of Time” was played on ABC’s hit TV show Make It Or Break It.

Jes Hudak

Streetlab:  The electric duo had their powerful hit “The Supernatural” featured on CSI.  Check the actual synched footage here!

Mike Del Rio: With pop rock hooks, Mike Del Rio has been making his way into film and TV by writing a song for the 2010 Census and covering Buddy Holly’s “Everyday” for the History Channel.

Jes Hudak:  This sultry songstress covered Tom Jones’ “Chills and Fever” for a national Pantene commercial.

Do you know any OurStage artists that have been placed on TV or film?  Let us know!

Folkin’ Around: This Frontier Needs Heroes

With the surplus of folk artists on OurStage, finding an artist that you really connect should be easy.  After wading through the thousands of artists vying for attention, the task is much harder than it appears.  However, there is one duo that seems to capture listeners’ attention time after time— This Frontier Needs Heroes.

Comprised of siblings Brad and Jessica Lauretti, This Frontier Needs Heroes’ sweet indie folk sound is really a breath of fresh air here on OurStage.  So it’s no wonder they have received acclaim from publications such as NPR All Songs Considered, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Decider.com, and have done live sessions for Daytrotter.com and SPIN.  OurStage got their chance to catch up with the duo about their success as folk artists, their influences and their extensive touring.  Check it out!

OS: As siblings, how did you come together to create music?

TFNH: Jessica started out as the tambourine player in my last band the Mountain Men. Everyone else in the band quit, so we were the only ones left!

Continue reading ‘Folkin’ Around: This Frontier Needs Heroes’

A Q&A With Rooney

Rooney’s back and their new album has everyone saying “Eureka!”  As both the name of their new album and a statement of independence, Eureka is the culmination of a long journey for the four-piece California band.  It’s been a while since fans have heard from the band, but after a long awaited break from their major label, Rooney is back on track and happy to be doing their own thing for once.  Their latest release is proof of this.  With catchy pop hooks and honest enthusiasm, Rooney keeps up with their signature sound all while showcasing more mature and in touch writing.

With the boys reaching a new level of confidence and pride, fans are taking notice.  OurStage got the chance to catch up with Rooney’s Taylor Locke (guitar, harmonies) t0 talk about their upcoming tour with Hanson, their newly declared freedom and advice for other artists.

OS: With your latest release, Eureka, you’ve declared independence by recording and producing it on your own.  What has the road to freedom from a major label been like?

TL: Getting out of our old deal was a stressful and slow process.  We are happy to be an independent entity now, and it suits us much better.  The major label system is dated and corrupt and non-conducive to creativity.

OS: The title of the album seems to point towards the moment of breaking free from a major label’s control.  But what does “Eureka” mean to you?

TL: “Eureka” is a word that appears on the California state seal. It has a regal look and sound to it. I suppose it means pride. We are proud to have made this album ourselves, and to be a band without ties to a major label.

OS:  The album shows your maturity especially in your lyrics, yet maintains that catchiness and pop feel of your previous albums.   How has your growth shown through the writing on the album?

TL: Most of the songs are by Robert. Like any songwriter, he has a bag of tricks that he pulls from, but naturally he’s always going to want to try new things too. The combination of striving to do something different and not repeat yourself, yet maintaining some staple go-to styles, shapes the identity of the writing. I think most artists want their music to be both expressive and catchy. When you can show a part of yourself and also craft a hook, it’s a winning combo.

OS:  What was it like self-producing and recording the album?

TL: It was freeing to self-produce. We’ve done so much recording with a handful of great producers, so we took with us the best techniques from each of them and made the record how we wanted to. In a sense, we didn’t produce ourselves— we produced each other. Whether it was somebody coaching me through a guitar solo, or somebody giving Robert feedback on a vocal performance, we took turns and made sure everything was sounding good.

OS:  That sounds like a lot of fun.  Your new video for “I Can’t Get Enough” looks like it was a great time as well.  With all of this moving forward from the past, why go with such a retro, yet awesome, feel for your “I Can’t Get Enough” video?

TL: The video relied heavily on special effects treatments that were done in post-production. Therefore, we had to trust the director’s vision completely, because we wouldn’t know what it looked like until it was finished. It was a leap of faith, and we’re glad that it’s getting favorable reactions.

OS:  You guys have always been very fun and imaginative in your blogs and videos.  Have you come up with any creative ways to promote Eureka?

TL: We have an epic US tour coming up. We’ll be out there for 9 weeks. As for the techy online stuff, we’ll be using all the networks that everyone uses these days—Facebook blasting and tweeting every five.

OS: Speaking of touring, you’ve toured with a lot of very prominent pop rock bands before.  Which bands have been your biggest mentors or friends on the road?

TL: It was exciting to open for The Strokes because they had just really broken wide open. The shows had so much vitality to them. They played like they really meant it. They were riding a huge success wave at that moment and they were having a shitload of fun. The Donnas were also great to be on the road with, because they’ve been together for so long and they are incredibly respectful and friendly people. It was always great to play with The Redwalls, because I never get sick of watching them. Their songs are so cool and they sing so well. Speaking of great singing, The Bridges are another great group to be on the road with. They’re excellent and I miss seeing them. I like touring with girl bands. They smell better.

OS:  Agreed!  You guys always put on a great, energetic live show.  When supporting Hanson on tour this summer, there will be OurStage local winners playing as well.  What advice do you have for these up-and-coming bands while sweating it out on stage?

TL: Starting at 5am you’ll want to do Bikram Yoga. You should sweat out at least 7 lbs. Then you’ll want to find the nearest organic macrobiotic market and buy some raw fruits and vegetables for the day. At this point, it’s best to take a 10 mile jog, and then immediately do 500 sit ups. After that you’ll be ready for a cold plunge. Find the nearest spa and shock your system by jumping into a small pool of nearly freezing water. After that you can shower. Use an exfoliating gel-scrub. Make sure it’s organic, too. Once you’ve dried off and put on a clean outfit that you’ve never worn before, it’s best to read the first 200 pages of an extremely dense novel, in a single sitting. Since your mind is already opened at that point, it’ll be just the right time to practice a new language. Pick something that’s both tonal and character-based, because you love the challenge. When your Cantonese lesson is over, you’ll want to look at the stock market, make some trend forecasts, and tweak your portfolio a little. Shift some money around. Then you’ll want to call all of your living relatives, and have a meaningful talk with each of them. Finally, you’ll take the stage and play a very focused show. You wont make any mistakes, and you’ll look natural and at-ease up there. After the standing ovation and triple encore, you’ll have no problem calming your adrenalin in a natural, drug-free way and drifting off to sleep. This rigorous touring lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it sure works for me.

Check out Rooney on tour all summer long and get pumped up with “I Don’t Wanna Lose You” as a free download on their Web site.

Under Supervision: Twilight

Vampires are all rage lately, so it’s no wonder that fans are dying to get their hands on the new Twilight Saga soundtrack. At OurStage, we’re digging the fresh tracks off the album and loving the selection of artists even more. Everyone from Metric to Vampire Weekend (finally!) makes an appearance on the latest Twilight masterpiece. From big, atmospheric pieces that suit the themes in the movie to blaring, fun pop bangers, Twilight: Eclipse has more range than the previous Twilight soundtracks. Some great appearances on the album are Fanfarlo’s “Atlas,” Sia’s “My Love,” and Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Kahn and Beck’s “Let’s Get Lost.”

All of these killer tracks seem to be almost handpicked by fans themselves, which got us here at OurStage to thinking… What if we made the Twilight Soundtrack? Here’s what we would do with it…

Folkin’ Around: Folk Goes Pop

Here at OurStage, original material is king.  We always encourage artists to upload songs that they have written, recorded and produced themselves. But, after a while, a lot of artists just want to do something fun and carefree—like cover another artists songs!  For boring, yet necessary copyright reasons we can’t allow cover songs in any of our standard channels. Luckily, we have both a specific cover channel and a lot of artists finding unique ways to cover songs outside of their genres.

Some of the best covers are those songs that have been completely rearranged to reflect an artist’s own particular style and sound. So we’ve compiled a list of folk artists covering pop songs. One such artist dominating the Cover Bands charts is Rob Kara, who covers the hip hop classic “Hey Ya” in typical folk style.  Another artist who maintains his folk and acoustic guitar stylings is Kevin Lien who covers “Buy U a Drank” and “Viva La Vida.”  He even incorporates autotune into one of the covers!  You’ll have to listen to find out which! Do you have any favorite folk covers on OurStage? Let us know in the comments!

Under Supervision: True Blood

HBO is just about to kick off Season 3 of its seductively addicting series True Blood, and here at OurStage we’re just dying to sink our teeth into the new season’s soundtrack.  Out in stores now, True Blood: Volume II features tracks that range from classic standards to fresh hits, captivating all ages of viewers.  The compilation has styles ranging from Bob Dylan to Beck with splashes of everything else in between.

One particular highlight of the new album is King Britt’s track, “New World in My View.”  The song uses samples of a classic gospel tune from the 70s  sung by Sister Gertrude Morgan.  This southern, vintage quality is something the show emphasizes and the music reflects.

Now, the most important point the music supervisors made was to include tracks that truly represent the themes presented in the series.  For instance, Bob Dylan’s “Beyond Here Lies Nothin’” deals with the struggles of addiction— something that many characters experience throughout their time on the show.  The song is so fitting that the season finale of Season 2 was named after the song.

Some other tasty tracks on the new album include M. Ward’s “Howlin’ for My Baby,” Beck’s “Bad Blood,” Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello’s “Kiss Like Your Kiss” and Eel’s “Fresh Blood.”  Jace Everett, the creator of the True Blood’s infamous theme song, “Bad Things,” is also featured on the album with a new song, “Evil (Is Going On)” sung alongside C.C. Adcock.

Overall, the album pleases with its collection of new and old tracks that harkens the sensual drama and danger of True Blood. Check out the track listing after the jump and the actual album here!

Continue reading ‘Under Supervision: True Blood’


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