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Tour Update Day Two: Jitta On The Track’s Club Paradise Odyssey Begins

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN TEXAS AND NORTH CAROLINA - Just 48 hours ago, he had no weekend plans, but last night Jitta On The Track, the winner of the OurStage/Real Hip-Hop Network “Rise” Competition, played his first date on Drake’s “Club Paradise” Tour. While Twitter buzzes about his performance in Houston, Jitta took a minute to give us a shout from his tour bus. More soon:

Rhythm & Cool

Brittany Campbell

You want untapped, gutsy, street cool? You go to Brooklyn. And if you’re lucky, you just might find an artist half as interesting as Brittany Campbell. The singer-songwriter/producer/guitarist cross-pollinates doo-wop, Motown, new wave and pop rock for a completely fresh and revelatory sound. Like Amy Winehouse, Debbie Harry and Santigold, Campbell’s an original. On “Call Me Baby,” vintage guitars strut against a beat while Campbell summons the soulful angst of a 1950s teen, singing “There’ll be no mercy now / Wherever you are is where I’ll be.” “Nerd,” with its handclaps, 8-bit synths and bouncing beat is instantly infectious even as the singer delivers dubious lines like, “Guess you haven’t heard / God, I’m such a nerd.” As if. “Goody Goody” is the track you’ll want to put on repeat. New wave synths, surf guitars and Campbell’s powerful voice make for a smart and sexy rocker with a vintage edge. Have mercy.

Pumped Up Kicks

 

The Kicks

One normally doesn’t think of Lowe’s as an arbiter of music, but you gotta hand it to them—they nailed it when they placed The Kicks’ “Good Morning” in their “Fresh Cut Grass” spot. The sailing power ballad is catchy to the extreme, burrowing down into your brain and setting up camp. As great as that track is, it isn’t the only ace up the Nashville band’s sleeve. The Kicks straddle pop and Southern rock spheres, taking big hooks and roughing them up with a little grit. “Hawk Eyes” is a ballsy little rocker that slips into a garage rock groove, deft as Jet. But unlike the erstwhile Aussie band, The Kicks take their rock all over the place. The soulful “This Feeling” reads like vintage R&B, while “Sore Thumb” has an almost ‘80s attitude. Like Lowe’s, these guys never stop improving.

True Grit

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

Tyler Bryant was only eleven when he got the calling. It was in a music store where Roosevelt Twitty, a sixty-three-year-old bluesman, was playing. A decade later, Bryant’s come into his own as a blues musician. He’s got a song on Guitar Hero 5; a feature in the film Rock Prophecies alongside Santana, Beck and Slash; and serious hype from Vince Gill, who called Bryant a “future guitar god.” One listen to Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and you’ll realize the future is now. The band delivers sweaty and swaggering rock with plenty of blues gristle. From the droning, shivering “Say A Prayer” to the bruising guitars of “The House that Jack Built,” to the delta blues moan of “Kick the Habit,” Bryant and his comrades know how to give listeners a visceral thrashing. If you worship at the altar of whiskey-soaked, cigarette-singed, explosive blues rock, well, you just met your gods.

The Tempest


The Arts & Crafts Movement describes its music as being “noisy and ugly, tender and awkward.” And that’s true, but it’s also searching, discontented, romantic … and probably a million other things. The Philadelphia band is of the same ilk as Silversun Pickups—think of them as their tormented younger brothers. Their raucous post punk weaves from sinister to sensitive and back again. The wild rumpus begins with “War Chords,” where piercing guitars is answered by a counter offensive of rolling drums and bass. Singer James Alex’s reptilian voice is hard at times to decipher, but the message is clear: Watch your step. His warning carries over to the bracing “Punks of Privilege.” “We are anarchists, turning chords and truth into heroic hymns,” he sings, “You’ve been warned.” But don’t let that stop you.

Cheers

Champagne Morning

Champagne Morning seems to have it all figured out. The band, based in Kiev, spends part of their time creating euphoric indie pop, and when they’re not doing that, they drink champagne. It might explain the mix of revelry, chaos and camaraderie that permeates their music. Take, for example, “Miracle,” a psychedelic mash of jaunty piano, guitars and drums that bounce along, feckless and free. “Fly High” keeps the party going with a neo-soul/rock groove, blissed-out female backup singers and an American rapper by the name of Fanamonon who somehow ended up in the Ukraine just in time to spit some lyrics on the track. Even “Pain Plane,” which starts off as a moony solo number, bursts into a crescendo of joyful noise at the end. Like the best drunken nights, you can only brood for so long before your friends show up to shake you out of it.

OS @ Warped Series: The Constellations

With summer right around the corner, we can’t help but be totally stoked for Warped Tour. In case you haven’t heard, we’ll be sponsoring our own stage for twenty-two dates and bringing twenty-three artists out to perform on it. Twenty-two acts will snag a performance at their local tour stop, and Dallas native Larry g(EE) will be rocking the stage at each and every date. In addition, there are a handful of other OurStage artists already booked to play various dates of the tour. We decided to catch up with them to get the scoop on their summer plans.

Bassist Wes Hoffman is one of eight members in The Constellations, an OurStage band with a plan for world domination. This eclectic Atlanta group mixes elements of R&B, indie rock, blues and electronica, creating music that pleases people of all ages and backgrounds. We caught up with Wes to talk about the Atlanta music scene, who comes to their shows and what it’s like to work with the one and only Cee-Lo Green.

OS: You guys have eight members in the band. How did all of you meet?

WH: We met in Atlanta, through various other projects…work…the Atlanta music scene is pretty small, everyone kind of bumps shoulders with everybody. Myself and Elijah [Jones, vocalist] were involved in other projects before The Constellations, so we met each other doing that. My project came to a sliding halt and I started getting involved with other stuff, like booking shows. Before I was a member of the band, I actually booked them a couple times. I was trying to get them on this one show and the guy that was playing bass at the time couldn’t do it because he was out of town with his other band. I offered to fill in and that was almost three years ago.

OS: Since your music spans a few genres, do you see a significant mix of people in the crowd at your shows?

WH: Parents come to the show with their kids and they’re both fans, believe it or not! [laughs] Some of the hip-hop/soul kids that are there for the rhythms, and then there’s hipsters, standing there with their arms crossed, and then there’s people dancing, having a good time. It’s totally across the board, as far as age goes, too…young kids to grown adults, which is cool.

Continue reading ‘OS @ Warped Series: The Constellations’

Cool Like That

Brae

Drummers-turned-front men are a rare but illustrious lot. There’s Dave Grohl, Phil Collins, Iggy Pop and Bon Scott—all of whom left the kit behind to seduce audiences from the front of the stage. Singer-songwriter Brandon Husken spent twenty years on drums, playing for multiple bands in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan. Now, as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, he performs as Brae, crafting melodies with a Brit pop sensibility. Glistening guitars and piano permeate the glacial “Planks and Haystacks,” a song for restless, moonlit nights. “Come Back” has the same wintry feeling, delicate swaths of textures blow through like December winds, but Husken’s voice provides some embers to warm yourself. The sun comes out on the folksy “Best Foot Froward,” where Husken warns, “Just because you put your best foot forward doesn’t mean you move in the right way.” True, but we’re liking the direction this guy’s going.

The Kind-Hearted Kid

Roads

Bad stuff is out there—in nasty Facebook posts, shocking headlines and mean people looking to kill your buzz. Next time you feel a deep and abiding despair about humanity, put on Roads, a Washington-based band led by singer-songwriter Ian Vidovic. Along with keyboard player Abram Bardue and drummer Justin Abel, Vidovic crafts indie pop patchworks of found parts, binding them together with an unwavering hopefulness. On “Love Will Grow” piano and strings are met with yawning textures, rattles and creaks. “I Don’t Know How,” on the other hand, is a quixotic ukulele song, played sweet and easy. If you’re not a fan of high whimsy, you’ll want to bypass Roads. But if you like the gentle and earnest croon of vocalists like Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard and the quirky balladry of Decemberists, well, you’ve found your jam.

Kid Vicious

Vicious Corleone

Before he became Vicious Corleone, Terance Williams was just a kid with a thing for Atlanta rap, who happened to have a dad with a thing for Queen, The Eagles and Journey. You can hear the convergence of those two schools in the rapper’s self-described “Southern rebel music.” Vicious mixes ‘90s hip hop with up-tempo, bass-heavy hooks and rock riffs—an intentional departure from both the dance hits and trap music that rule the Atlanta rap scene. On “Shots Fired (Reload)” snippets of sirens and 8-bit audio come in lashes, whipping up the audience. “M.P.B.” (that’s “Music, Party, Bullshit”) combines scraps of different beats, over which Vicious delivers his manifesto: “We don’t want to be doctors or lawyers / We ain’t Huxtables.” But don’t think that the rapper doesn’t have ambition. In “100 Miles and Running” he sets his sights high, saying, “I’d settle for Kelly Rowland / Ms. Knowles is taken.” Atta boy.

 


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