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April Smith And The Great Picture Show: Artist Of The Week

This week, we stumble through the OurStage catalog and find a couple of audio gems by April Smith and the Great Picture Show. We did a little Q&A with April back in 2010 when she was on the road with Langhorne Slim. Now, having rediscovered her catchy and unique songs, we’re gonna go ahead and call her our Artist of the Week.

Check out her track “Terrible Things,” from her LP Songs for a Sinking Ship. It’s a driving cabaret number, with some punk passion, delivered with Smith’s strong and authentic voice. And we’re not alone in being compelled by the song – Dancing With The Stars staged an incredible and somehow appropriate choreographed number featuring the song earlier this year.

 

 

One of the great things about discovering music on OurStage is that artists often post demo versions of their songs, as a way to easily deliver it to their fan base and occasionally just to gauge reaction. On April’s page, it’s quite a trip to hear the demo of her “Colors” up against the finished version (from the same LP as “Terrible Things,” both complete with kazoo solos. The stripped-down version is a testament to the power and charm of her voice.

We look forward to hearing what might come next from April and her band.

 

Sarah Lindsay: 2010′s Intel Superstar

As we really get rolling with the 2013 edition of our Intel Superstars Competition, we’d like to take a look back at some of our previous big winners. Each year there have in fact been several winners of prizes ranging from a new Intel Ultrabook™ device to new instruments and equipment to straight-up cash. But only one per year can be named the top Superstar and walk away with the grand prize, which this year will be a check for $10,000.

In 2010, the Superstars Competition was a new idea, and a lot of artists weren’t sure what it was all about. Enter Sara Lindsay.

As an established member of the OurStage.com community, Sara stumbled upon the Intel Superstars Competition in the summer of 2010. She submitted her upbeat single “Best Of Me” to the Singer-Songwriter category on a whim. When she heard the news of her grand prize winnings, including an Intel® Core™ i7 processor-based mobile device, she was elated.

“Winning has been unbelievably great and has opened a lot of doors,” she said. It has given me a boost of confidence and the opportunity to record and play a lot more,” Lindsay recounts. “It’s great being able to lay down tracks using all these electronic sounds and with my Ultrabook I can show people those ideas.”

Do you think your song can take you to the top? Enter the competition now, tell your fans to judge for you, and you may very well be next. Remember, Intel and our sponsors are giving away eight prize packages, in addition to the grand prize. And fans, you too can win a new Ultrabook device, just for judging. Find out more here.

Coles Whalen: OurStage Artist Of The Week

Coles Whalen is our latest Artist of the Week here at OurStage. The country singer and songwriter has been on our Best of the Best charts for over 140 weeks, and perched at #1 on the Best of Country chart for the better part of that time. And it’s no surprise. Whalen’s voice is strong and commanding, but without the usual grit many singers employ when striving for power. Often delivering her lyrics in a kind of hushed whisper, they only come off as more insistent.

Whalen has just released her newest LP, Come Back, Come Back on XMG Records. It’s a collection of alternately seething and jubilant country songs. The Denver-based musician straddles the line between commercially accessible and alt-country, hitting the sweet spot for an artist possessing both soul and ambition. The lead single, “Catch Hold” captures this perfectly, with a flowing melody atop a clever arrangement that adds harmonies, banjo, shaker, and a subtle, phasey guitar solo to some roomy drums and bass as the song builds.

Having crossed the country many times, opening for the diverse likes of Rufus Wainwright, Paula Cole, and Joan Jett, Coles Whalen is no stranger to the road. Starting in May, she’ll be out again in support of the new record. Check out her tour dates below.
Continue reading ‘Coles Whalen: OurStage Artist Of The Week’

The Wandas: OurStage Artist Of The Week

The Wandas rarely deliver exactly what you expect. When this writer happened upon their afternoon set at South By Southwest a couple of years ago, they were about three-quarters of the way through and had nearly reached the crashing crescendo that would find them spilling off the small roofdeck stage and into the enthusiastic crowd, instruments held aloft, strummed, banged, and fedback, for what seemed like the entire last song.

The band and I happened to be leaving the venue at the same time and when I told them how I’d enjoyed the set, they handed me their self-titled 12” LP. Based on their show, I looked forward to a hooky, high-octane garage rock romp. Yes, a romp, dammit. What I heard was indeed energetic rock and roll, but it was deeper, more thoughtful and introspective. It was the first new album I’d heard in a while that contained honest-to-god guitar work, in the vein of Television and Neil Young. It was psych and pop and jamming, all rolled into a concise musical language. I knew what they meant.

Now, a new album for 2013. New Interface (A Design with Friends for the Future) was released June 25th. And once again, the band has confounded expectations with appreciable growth. Having fully realized on their first album the often-elusive cohesion of being in a gritty yet cerebral rock band, The Wandas have added a diverse songwriting palette, highlighted by increasingly elaborate and deliberate production.

Continue reading ‘The Wandas: OurStage Artist Of The Week’

Darlingside: Artist Of The Week

Darlingside

Folk-rock? Roots-rock? The gentlemen of Darlingside weren’t too sure about either of those monikers as it relates to their music, and so they became the Northeast’s top “string-rock” outfit. Call it whatever you want, but we took notice of this band after they placed at #1 in the OurStage Rock channel twice, with an additional five Top 10s, four Top 40s, an Editor’s Pick, and a two-week appearance in the Best of the Best Top 20.

But what finally made Darlingside a lasting favorite was stumbling upon a video performance of their song “Blow The House Down,” recorded live back in 2010. “String-rock” starts to make more and more sense, as these guys clearly aren’t just a folky act leaning more heavily on the bluegrass side of things. The strings they employ have a more classical tint to them. The tension created between that proper school of music and their otherwise loose – and indeed rootsy – melodic vibe.

And we’re suckers for frontman-bassists. Especially with that Rickenbacker. So please check out Darlingside, our Artist of the Week.

Brittany Campbell: Artist Of The Week

Brittany Campbell

Instead of “Artist of the Week,” this post should be titled, “Artist You Are Hearing All Over Commercial Pop Radio.” Unfortunately, making that latter a reality is not directly within our powers. It’s also a little wordy, and so we announce that our Artist of the Week is the incomparable Brittany Campbell.

Campbell is a singer, songwriter, and producer from New York. Sure, that describes a hundred thousand people. Campbell is better than them. Her music is the perfect storm of pop, soul, R&B, and rock. She cites Amy Winehouse, Blondie, Joni Mitchell, and Jimi Hendrix as influences. Do you really not want to get on that train? Is that how you want to live your life? Get it together, do the right thing, and listen to these songs.

 

The Deloreans: OurStage Artist Of The Week

Our latest Artist of the Week is The Delorians. We were captivated by this band the moment we discovered their track “Attacked By A Panther,” a track really unlike anything else we’ve heard on OurStage.

The band, out of Louisville, Kentucky, cites a wide range of influences, including but not limited to “‘classical’ music.” It’s not a surprise to see a number of ‘60s acts, from The Kinks to The Crystals, on their list. Don’t think that this is another throwback pop act, though. Their sound is indeed retro, but difficult to pin on a certain era. It’s romantic, spooky, grand, but simultaneously fuzzy and somewhat lo-fi. Yet it’s not garage rock. There are sweeping elements from the pre-rock and roll era of pop, filtered through the ‘60s and into ‘70s glam. In fact, some of their songs evoke very early Bowie, himself a student of the music-hall vocalists of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Perhaps the band has summed it up best in their one-line bio: “The Deloreans are like Sinatra in Vegas, David Lynch, and being at the beach.”

Anyway, the songs are catchy as hell, is the main thing. Check out “Attacked By A Panther” below. Continue reading ‘The Deloreans: OurStage Artist Of The Week’

Felony Fame: Artist Of The Week

Felony Fame

It is once again Search For The Coldest time, when our friends at Coors Light® invite MCs from across the country to show what they’ve got for the chance to be crowned COLDEST MC. Naturally, our thoughts turn to last year’s winner, Felony Fame (aka Propane Fame), who made it to the top spot on the strength of his track “Beastie Boy” and, of course, his formidable lyrical skills and ability to deliver in a live performance. Since his win in 2012, Felony Fame has been on the rise and so we’re happy to name him this week’s OurStage Artist of the Week. Coming to us from North Carolina, by way of New Jersey, Fame has a distinct sound, with a gift for rhymes and compelling imagery backed by rich sonic textures and off-kilter beats that keep listeners hooked. No wonder he’s been featured in Hip Hop Weekly, Source, XXL, and on Cam’Ron‘s U.N. presents: Heat In Here Vol. 1 and Funk Master Flex‘s IFWT: Indie Vol. 1. Hear what it’s all about:

Think you’ve got skills like this? Enter the 2013 Search For The Coldest to win some amazing prizes, including $20k.

 

The Wallies: Artist Of The Week

The Wallies

Who would suspect that America’s best hope in fending off the vibrant young hordes of Arctic Monkeys, Fratellis, Subways, and Bloc Partys from overseas would spring not from, say, Brooklyn, but instead from Sarasota, Florida? A hopeful nation should be turning their eyes to that city’s very own The Wallies, an indie rock band with the fire, visceral appeal, and goddam great songs to stand up against any frenetic guitar chargers. Singer Neven Skoro (who, okay, originally hails from Croatia) has a casual delivery that compliments the urgency of the band, in contrast to so many singers who struggle to keep pace with the charging, post-punk smash being laid down around them. If The Strokes all took uppers and Julian Casablancas stayed down on Quaalude level, you’d have something like The Wallies.

These guys keep it to three minutes at a pop, for the most part, with songs like “Subtle Romance” and the wonderfully titled “What I Like About You Is You’re Rock Bottom.” A notable exception is “Wrong Way,” which errs on the side of brevity with a 1:44 running time. You’re going to love them all.

JKL Files: Go Backstage At ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ With Three OurStage Artists

In the past six months, OurStage, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and the OurStage community of fans have given three talented, unsigned artists the incredible, career-changing chance to show what they’ve got by featuring them as the musical guest on Kimmel’s hit late-night show. Now go backstage with the artists in these exclusive clips, as they tell their stories and prepare for their moment in the national television spotlight.

Larry g(EE)

Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown

Eclectic Approach

 


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