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SoundTrax: Home Is Where The Heart Is

Summer is beginning to come to a close, and it’s about time to start packing. As much as we hate to admit it, we need to leave the lake houses and beach bungalows behind and return to the real world. Home Is Where The Heart Is features an eclectic mix of songs about  just how great home is, whether you’re missing familiar surroundings or simply anticipating the happy return to your domicile. So load your trunk, say goodbye to summer friends, and begin the trek back home.

Here are 15 tracks from Native June, The Beatles, Seven Handle Circus, Rancid, The Dear Hunter, and many more to help you on your journey.

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Exclusive Q and A: Vanna Talks Family, Friends, and Monsoons

“It’s time to get out of this town. It’s haunting, this presence.” If the verse lyrics from post-hardcore band Vanna’s “Safe To Say” ever referred to their hometown of Boston, Mass., we’d never guess it now. After kicking off 2012 with tours through Europe and the U.S. from February to April, then almost immediately turning around and jumping on the Warped Tour, Vanna front man Davey Muise and guitarist Joel Pastuszak told us about how great it was to be home at the Warped Tour stop in Mansfield, Mass. Apart from touring, in the last six months Vanna have picked up new members Pastuszak and Erik Gross, and have begun working on a fourth LP after releasing their third full-length album, And They Came Baring Bones in 2011. Muise and Pastuszak talked to us about friends, family, and tour craziness over the last few months.

OS: You guys are playing back in your hometown, that’s got to be great. What’s it like to be back?

DM: It’s awesome to be back, all of our families are here and you know, we’re just looking forward to our New England date to prove to the rest of the tour that we are a ‘worth it’ band [laughs].

OS: You haven’t played with Four Year Strong in a long time, how does it feel to be touring with some hometown friends again?

DM: It’s cool, it’s cool ‘cause like Four Year [Strong], Transit, A Loss For Words, Man Overboard, Make Do, and Mend (even though they’re kind of from Jersey), it’s a lot of New England bands on this tour and it just feels really really good to tour with bands from New England; slash I apologize to everyone who’s not from New England on this tour because we can get pretty rowdy and obnoxious. It’s cool; it’s definitely cool to have everybody out. Four Year’s killing it, A Loss For Words is killing it, all the New England bands are doing so well, I’m just proud of my friends.

JP: We pretty much just took over the whole tour.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Vanna Talks Family, Friends, and Monsoons’

Felony Fame Talks Freestyling, Coors Light Search For The Coldest, and DJ Drama

It’s been a long journey and a lot of hard work for North Carolina rapper Felony Fame since he left Newark, N.J. at a young age, but now that struggle is finally paying off. Fame was recently crowned the winner of the Coors Light “Search for the Coldest” Competition by judges DJ Drama and DJ Khaled (joined by host emcee Ice Cube), his versatility and originality overtaking several other competitors in the final round of freestyle battles. Now, the competition title, a DJ Drama-produced track, and a feature on Drama’s mixtape are helping this phenomenon become a sweeping sensation in the world of hip-hop. Felony Fame took a minute with us to talk about life before hip-hop, his alter-ego, and where he’s headed from here.

OS: You’re originally from Newark, N.J., how did you end up settling in North Carolina?

FF: I was really born in Newark, New Jersey. I ended up moving to North Carolina with my grandmother. I was raised by my grandmother, then my mother decided to move to North Carolina from Newark herself. So I was raised in North Carolina.

OS: Who are some other artists who you look up to and draw inspiration from? Did any of those artists influence the start of your career?

FF: Some of the artists I draw inspiration from, for me, definitely The Wu-Tang Clan, Biggie, you know, Notorious B.I.G. He was one of the first big artists I was in to. As a kid I used to want to perform his songs at talent shows, and things like that. Usher too, I did a couple of his songs too, that was in elementary school. Those are some of the artists I came up listening to and made me want to do music.

Continue reading ‘Felony Fame Talks Freestyling, Coors Light Search For The Coldest, and DJ Drama’

SoundTrax: Hold Me Closer Tiny Hipster

Listening to good music that other people already know about is totally overrated nowadays. This week, OurStage’s own hipster correspondent Kristin has built us a playlist that’s more anti-mainstream than PBR and lens-less wayfarers. This playlist was developed around the supernatural hipster ability to discover great music before anyone else has the chance to hear it. By studying the hipster in its natural habitat, we can learn about how songs start to become trendy at the earliest stages, and predict what music is on the rise based on what hipsters are listening to currently. SoundTrax’s Hold Me Closer Tiny Hipster features popular music that these groovy trendsetters were listening to months ago, before it was cool (of course) and songs they’re listening to now that’s sure to catch on to mainstream popularity soon enough. As an added bonus, there are also a few tracks that were previously overlooked by conformist popular culture that hipsters have attempted desperately to keep to themselves. Sorry for spilling the beans, hipsters.

Post up in a local coffee shop on your MacBook then work on your Avant-garde screenplay while listening to these awesome tunes by Lana Del Rey, Bronze Radio Return, We Were Lovers, Imagine Dragons, and many more.

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Owl City Could Go Screamo

Widely known for his breakthrough single, “Fireflies”, Owl City has mentioned the possibility of recording a “screamo rock” album in the future. The electronica act, whose real name is Adam Young, told BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat that he “grew up wanting to do nothing else except that. I haven’t had a chance to do it, and do it right.” Young is releasing his fourth album on Aug. 21 titled The Midsummer Station, featuring collaborations with Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry/Kelly Clarkson producer Dr. Luke, and Rihanna/Ne-Yo co-writing team Stargate. “Growing up I was really into the whole underground, obscure, artsy, heavy, screamo, chaotic, angry angst music. I love it. That was my thing – that’s what I identified with.”

Young expressed concern with whether or not his fans would take to the new project and the drastic change in style. “I feel like I could do it right. Do it all myself and record it all and make it sound good. It’s tempting. It might go over the heads of my fans but it might open some new doors and that’s what it’s all about. Every now and again I need to put on one of my old records [that] make me feel that same thing. There’s a place for that.”

There’s no word yet on whether the Owatonna, Minnesota multi-instrumentalist would pull a Snoop Lion and take on a fiercer animal name (though our vote is for ‘Pterodactyl Town). You can watch Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen’s video for “Good Time” below.

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Asking Alexandria Talk About A Third Album And Mayhem Festival Madness

After four years of international touring, chart topping albums, and self-destructive partying habits, British metalcore band Asking Alexandria have come a long way since leaving York, North Yorkshire in 2008. We caught up with the group to talk about their upcoming third studio album, the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, and the famously reckless lifestyle for which they’ve become notorious. OurStage also had the chance to see what they’re capable of at the Mansfield, Mass. stop on the Mayhem Fest. tour on Friday, Aug. 3, where they shared the stage with the likes of MötorheadSlayer, and Slipknot.

Opening with their aptly-named “Welcome,” leading straight into “Closure,” AA set the mood early with heavy, thrashing amplification and very animated movement. The band unleashed the strong music and lyrics from Reckless and Relentless with “Breathless” and “A Lesson Never Learned,” saying: “Every mistake I’ve made leaves a scar that burns every day. Yet still I carry on” and “Please you have to help me. This is not my true face. If you could see my soul as I have seen my soul…I could show it to you. It’s rotten, it’s poison.” The group demonstrated their dynamic stage presence and energy throughout the show; with every member running to and from either end of the stage, and leaping from amp stacks, monitors, and platforms during “To The Stage” and “Dear Insanity.” So it’s no surprise that Asking Alexandria’s fervent synergy made for a strong sense of camaraderie that engaged the audience with every synchronized head bang.

The band closed their set with “Morte Et Dabo,” which translates from Latin as “Death, I will give you.” The song opens with epic drums and Gregorian chant-style vocals, leading quickly into a fast-paced, thunderous condemnation with the lyrics, “I’ll never bow to he who claims to be divine; I’ll tear down your gates with my bare fucking hands; And burn the world that you rule over.“ As “Morte Et Dabo” fading out in epic stylewith bellowing drums and the sound of crashing wreckage, the hardcore quintet exited the stage, leaving the ruins of a brutal performance behind them.

During our interview, lead guitarist Ben Bruce told us about Asking Alexandria’s growth as a band through the years, how they always need to do things to stay busy, and what to prepare ourselves for on the third album.

OS: What was your writing process for the new album, and did that change or evolve since Reckless and Relentless?

BB: The fact that we tour so much makes writing a new album a pretty tough ordeal, so I actually bought a tour bus at the end of last year and built a full recording studio in the back of the bus. I spent most of our headline tour, Still Reckless, in my bus writing.

Continue reading ‘Asking Alexandria Talk About A Third Album And Mayhem Festival Madness’

Felony Fame Takes the Title For Coldest MC In The Nation

Zip up your coats because the Coldest MC in the country has been named.

Many weeks ago, we teamed up with Coors Light® to find the country’s coldest MC, one who could spit rhymes like the frostiest winters, and after brutal competition through several different judging and voting rounds, New Jersey-bred rapper Felony Fame has been crowned the coldest of them all. Also known as Propane Fame, the Newark native moved to North Carolina at a young age and got an early start on his rapping career, soon becoming a rising phenomenon. After some tough times in NC, he returned to his roots in New Jersey to focus on developing as an artist, dedicating himself to the art of hip-hop. Fame describes his title by saying, “I chose the name Felony Fame because I wanted to be known for making records, not having a criminal record. I have an alter ego, ‘Propane’ Fame, which showcases my versatility and creativity on records that are for any genre. Felony happens to be for the streets.”

Fame put that versatility and creativity to the test on July 26 at the Coors Light® “Search For The Coldest finale, hosted by Ice Cube, where he competed with seven other finalists in a random freestyle battle to see who was really the coolest spitter in the game. With help from judges DJ Khaled and DJ Drama, the score was settled as Felony Fame held it down for the Charlotte, NC crew with his heavy hitting punchlines and unique use of metaphors. Now, he’ll cash in on $10,000 in studio time to build a track produced by DJ Drama, and will be featured on the upcoming Search For the Coldest Mixtape, presented by Drama himself. Congratulations to DL, Chris Akinyemi, Tarik Trotter, The Lyrical Maze, KOVE, Lois LS Lane, and Aquil for making it to the finals in NYC.

Randy Blythe Releases Statement After Prague Incarceration

Almost six weeks after his incarceration in a Czech prison on June 28, Lamb Of God singer Randy Blythe is finally back home in Richmond, VA. The 41-year-old frontman was jailed for allegedly pushing Daniel Nosek from the stage at a concert in Prague on May 24, 2010. Nosek later died from injuries sustained during the event. Blythe was arrested over two years after Nosek’s death when Lamb Of God returned to perform at Prague’s Hard Rock Cage in June. However, he is now home safe after initially having been denied bail on two separate occasions, and he’s got some things to say.

 

“Greetings. This is D. Randall Blythe, checking in from my beloved hometown of Richmond, VA, United States of America. I was recently released on bail from Pankrác Prison in Prague, Czech Republic, after over a month of incarceration. Now That I am out for the moment, I would like to say a few things… I was told by my attorney that I had a lot of support from peers in the music industry, my hometown, fans, and of course my family. I cannot express how emotional it made me upon my release to read about even a fraction of the voices that were raised on my behalf. From legends in my music community, to fans across the world, and even people who were previously unaware of my existence but sympathized with my plight- I am truly humbled…”

Later in the statement, Blythe makes it absolutely clear that he will return to Prague to serve trial if called upon, saying that he considers “the charge leveled against me ludicrous and without qualification, [but] my opinion makes no difference in this matter. The charge exists, and for the family of this young man, questions remain…It would be both irresponsible and immoral for me not to return to Prague if I am summoned.”

You can read the entire statement here. Below is Blythe’s first video interview after being released on Thursday, Aug. 2.

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Soundtrax: Hip-Hop Out The Box

Sometimes, your average, run-of-the-mill hip-hop just won’t cut it. You need some beats and rhymes that are a little…different. This week, OurStage’s own technical liaison Jordan has put together a playlist for all those alternative hip-hop fans out there. Here’s a mix of rappers who are all thinking outside the box, creating odd combinations of sounds and lyrics to form a synthesis of head-bobbing tunes. These unusual rap songs from artists like Outkast, Philadelphia Slick, Gorillaz, and many more are sure to give you a whole new way to look at rap music. Post up, and contemplate the unique stylings of alternative hip-hop.

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Exclusive Q and A: Lokixximo Talks About Challenges, Hard Work, And Sebastian Krys

LokixximoSeven years of hard work has taken Latin urban artist Lokixximo to a whole new level of stardom and all over the map—from The Bronx to The Dominican Republic to Los Angeles. After catching his big break in the Tr3s Dame Un Break Competition, OurStage artist Lokixximo has nowhere to go but up. He was awarded the opportunity to record with four-time GRAMMY-winning producer Sebastian Krys, along with professional direction and production of a music video for his club single, “Noches Europea”. We caught up with him after the whole experience to see how things went, and to find out where he’ll be going next.

OS: Your music career started over seven years ago, how would you say you’ve developed as an artist since you first began making music?

L: Well I started when I was 13 years old. You know, doing shows and stuff like that, I think it was 2005. That’s when I really branched out and started doing songs and stuff like that. It takes years, you know, to come up with your own style.

OS: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face so far in your career?

L: The biggest challenge for me really is just trying to get my music to the fans. If you’re working alone, and you don’t have a label or anything, it’s really hard, trying to work and trying to make money in your career. That’s always been a big challenge. But to tell you the truth that’s really like, the fun part of it—the struggle, the process… It’s a challenge, you know? Not everyone is willing to do that, to spend their money on their own talent… That’s where it really comes. The ones who really believe in themselves are the ones who go far.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q and A: Lokixximo Talks About Challenges, Hard Work, And Sebastian Krys’

 


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