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SOUL SISTER

jess

Ladies, have you had your fill of dubious dudes who ask for your number then never call? Or pursue you relentlessly, and then when you finally start to respond, lose interest and move on? Jess Godwin feels your pain. More than that, she’s put it to music. And not just any music—big, soulful R&B that comes out swinging and demands your attention, if not your love and respect.

This is not to say that men won’t appreciate Godwin’s fiery piano invectives; many will. But Godwin has a way of succinctly summing up the single lady experience with wit, intelligence and brass that will have a lot of women putting their hands up even higher than they did for Beyonce. In her potent soul single, “Three Weeks Shy,” she takes a negligent love interest to task by asking, “If I had worn the blue dress, if I had a burger, if I had been blonde / Would you have tried to reach me sooner?” Her expressive vocals swing from lilting jabs to heart-wrenching explosions, putting her somewhere in between Regina Spektor and Alicia Keys. After the seismic soul chorus of “Three Weeks Shy,” Godwin cools things down, singing sweetly and simply, “Let’s call it what it is / Just that not in to me.

Maybe he’s not, but the rest of us most definitely are.

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CAUSE AND EFFECT

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The game of hip hop is one that’s fraught with disses and beefs, rodomontade and schadenfreude. These aren’t friendly waters for a newcomer, and many don’t survive first impact. When a young MC steps up to the mic, the hip hop community pauses—poised to either erupt into hisses and jeers, or break into thunderous applause. Those few seconds are where careers are made and broken … and only the strongest survive.

When it comes to New York rapper CAUSE, prepare to start clapping. The 22-year-old phenom explodes out of the gates, showcasing a bright young mind and an old soul. CAUSE is “straight from the boogie down Bronx,” a crucible for legendary hip hop acts during the early 80’s. On his searing single “In Too Deep,” he promises a renaissance for his community. “Hip-hop started in my borough now I’m bringing it back to get it on.” With a serpentine, lightning-quick flow and ceaseless wit he establishes his reign over his home turf: “I’m a king, I could never be a pawn.” It’s not an empty assertion—CAUSE already has a Billboard songwriting award under his belt and was cherry-picked by Bow Wow as the Hip Hop Channel winner on OurStage. In other words, this kid’s no joke. Don’t believe us? Check out the single “Banga,” where CAUSE name checks Tribe Called Quest over an irresistible vintage funk soul beat with a refrain that sums up his mission statement: “We’re bringing back what was missing so long.”

Welcome CAUSE. Now get to work.

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DRAMA KINGS

daddysmilk

Rock and theater have always been ardent bedfellows, ever since The Rocky Horror Picture Show did the time warp and Meatloaf did anything for love. Broadway has delivered countless rock musicals from anonymity to mainstream consciousness, from Jesus Christ Superstar to Hedwig and The Angry Inch. The aforementioned Meatloaf along with KISS and Alice Cooper took their rock to operatic heights during the ‘70s and inspired recent theater kids like My Chemical Romance and Panic at the Disco to update the rock opera canon with youthful sensibilities.

When you think of Daddysmilk, consider them as equals to MCR and PATD. Hailing from Manchester, UK by way of Norway, the band churns out fantastically cheeky rock with a theatrical sweep. There’s plenty of dissonance and distortion – guitars careen herky jerky to the raucous stomp of drums. Singer Kris Zeigler teases, mocks and croons like a rakish pied piper, beckoning listeners to follow him through his tales and character sketches. Surrender now, and you’ll find yourself doing anything for Daddysmilk’s deliciously melodic rock drama. (But you won’t do that.)


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MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

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In the world of animated vehicular robots, The Constructicons are a special team of six Transformers that combine to create the ultimate fighting machine known as Devastator.

Funny enough, The Rescues share a similar blueprint. The band is made up of four established singer-songwriters (Adrianne Gonzalez, Kyler England, Gabriel Mann and Rob Giles), who combined in 2008 to form a songwriter supergroup. Yet unlike their robot counterparts, this team uses their powers for good, not evil.

When you put four solo talents in a room together to flesh out songs, the stakes are always high. Too often the result is a disjointed compromise of styles. Luckily, The Rescues trim the fat and deliver unified and exciting arrangements on their sophomore release, Let Loose The Horses. Whether it’s the romantic sweep of the title track with its four part, call-and-response vocal harmonies or the bluesy bohemia of “Can’t Stand The Rain,” the group understands that a great joyride is knowing when to veer and when to merge.

The Rescues have already been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and the major motion picture, The Lucky Ones, and completed a residency at the famous Hotel Café in Los Angeles—proving that you don’t have to be a robot to combine forces and kick some serious ass.

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POP GOES THE PIANO

amycrawford

There are two ways to deal with a Magic Man. If you’re Heart, you run away with him beg your mama to “try to understand.” If you’re Amy Crawford & The Electric, you temper your emotions with a healthy dose of skepticism.

The songwriter lays down the law with a spry piano melody and fool-me-not lyrics on her song, “Magic Man”: “Don’t tell me you’ll do the best you can / You’re wasting your time unless you’re a magic man.”  It’s infectious and effervescent piano pop with vintage textures à la The Beach Boys, only fronted by a clever girl with a lot more serotonin in her system. On her self-titled debut, Crawford and her band—The Electric—dole out a collection of upbeat gems that fall somewhere between Mates of State after a nap and Feist after a couple of sodas. Crawford’s comely vocals and nimbleness on the ivories make for some bewitching listening. In other words, it’s magic.


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MEDILINQ: HELPING ARTISTS DEAL WITH RISING HEALTHCARE COSTS

With today’s rising healthcare costs it’s getting harder and harder for any serious musician to support their own medical insurance. OurStage always strives to provide services that benefit musicians, both personally and professionally. To this end we have partnered with MEDILINQ to help bring benefit discounts to our artist community.

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From the MEDILINQ website: “Medilinq is not health insurance. Instead, we have agreements with large networks of providers and pharmacies. This gives you access to purchasing power for affordable health care, including savings of 20-40% on medical and dental care and 40-60% on lab and pharmacy services.”

MEDILINQ is active is the artist community, supporting non-profits like Rock For Health. They are offering a health benefit program for musicians and their crew (up to 15 members). 

One of the first OurStage band’s to sign up with MEDILINQ were modern rockers Landsdowne. New to OurStage, they placed within the Top Ten in April’s 92.9 Channel Contest. They are one of Boston’s premiere rock acts known for their explosive live shows, and are tireless in their efforts, perfectly content to tour indefinitely. Landsdowne has already shared the stage with such acts as Saving Abel and The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

zmlllgplxrev-320x2401“Health is vital in an industry as unpredictable as music where performance is everything and the band needs to be at the top of it’s game mentally and physically at all times. MEDILINQ gives us a cost-effective way to ensure that everyone stays healthy on and off the road.”  - Ryan Ziemba, Manager of Landsdowne. 

MEDILINQ is offering free benefit packages for high-ranking musicians on OurStage for the months of May, June and July. In addition to offering this prize, MEDILINQ’s Discount Pharmacy program is FREE to Ourstage members and provides savings of 40-60% at over 58,000 retail pharmacies nationwide.

Click for more info and for your FREE Discount Pharmacy Card.

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Noise Pop 2009 Preview: Get the Most Noise for Your Pop

San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival may just be the best kept secret on America’s indie festival circuit. But this year’s loaded lineup may just blow its cover. Indie legends Stephen Malkmus and Bob Mould share the bill with “it” bands like No Age, Ra Ra Riot, and Antony and the Johnsons. If you’re a Noise Pop Newbie looking to make the most of the experience, here are a few tips:

Map it Out:

Think of Noise Pop as the Bay Area’s mini version of South By Southwest. Tons of great bands descend upon San Francisco and play venues across the city. Like SXSW, it can get incredibly difficult to keep the schedule straight. Before you walk out the door, print out Noise Pop’s online schedule. Highlight the bands you really want to see and make a plan.

Bands to See (bigger names):

rarariotStephen Malkmus: Those pining for a Pavement reunion can at least get a solo fix from their ex-frontman. Good to see him back in NoCal.

Ra Ra Riot: With strings, horns, and an electric stage performance, seeing them live is like watching a feel-good version of Arcade Fire.  Scroll to the bottom on this page to watch my interview with them at last year’s SXSW.

Martha Wainwright: Persistent comparisons to her brother Rufus undermine her own astounding talent and skill. If you haven’t heard her voice live, do yourself a favor and get to this show.

Bands to See (hidden gems):

Sholi: After opening for Iron and Wine this past fall and signing with Touch and Go, Sholi is poised for a breakout year. Be there as they officially release their new CD at Bottom of the Hill. (P.S. They booked the gig through OurStage’s Marketplace!).

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Clues and Harbours:  If you want to see the show all the in-the-know critics will be attending, spend Saturday night at The Rickshaw Stop where Clues (featuring former members of The Unicorns and Arcade Fire) will be playing one of their first shows.  Don’t miss the roster of impressive openers, including Harbours whom OurStage fans will know for their spacey-pop masterpiece, “Telling Lies.”

Scissors for Lefty: After winning over OurStage fans by releasing a free preview of their EP this past fall, SFL kicks off Thursday night’s festivities with a free happy hour show at Benders.  Don’t miss their catchy blend of pop/punk.

Things to Do During the Day:

scissorsforleftyIf you’re visiting San Francisco from out of town, skip the city’s overrun tourist traps (i.e. Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, etc…) and head to the much hipper Mission District.  Get over a hangover with an excellent brunch at The Pork Store Cafe at 16th St. and Valencia (the mango mimosas are delicious).  Head south on Valencia (stopping at the abundant thrift stores along the way) until you arrive at the Pirate Supply Store (which actually masks an excellent writing center for kids in the back).  Don’t ask, just go.  And if you could use a cool treat, Mitchell’s homemade ice cream is worth the wait in the inevitable line out front.

Start Preparing Now:

Figuring out what bands to see can be exhausting and overwhelming.  We’ve made your life easier by creating this playlist of all the OurStage artists at Noise Pop.  Enjoy!

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Artist Vs Poet Interview

Check out this interview with Artist Vs Poet, and if you like what you hear stay tuned for an exclusive performance of “Lisa Marie” tomorrow at 10am EST.

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