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Bodega Girls’ Jacob Otis Tells It Like It Is…

OSBlog_QA_BodegaGirls_02There’s several schools of thought when it comes to forging a career in music. One is to play as often as you can, appreciate the people you meet along the way and take every opportunity presented to you. Another is record what you want, when you want, gig on your own terms and above all else, be authentic. Bodega Girls subscribes to the later school of thought. For those of you not hip to the Boston quartet’s vibe, they’re self-proclaimed hustlers resurrecting art spaces and turning out hedonistic dance parties. The group says that they are busy making “awesome music” and “don’t have time to flirt with the industry,” so they’ve come up with an innovated plan to release their new album via fan donations.

The Bodega Girls Artistfunding Campaign is the group’s initiative to raise 4K to fund an iPhone application en lieu of the traditional CD release. The application will feature ten songs, video, photos, touring info, real-time blogging, access to exclusive shows, merch and additional features to enhance the artist and fan relationship. For $40 you can get the application plus an array of adds-on such as original artwork, digital stems to remix the album and a book of poem’s by member King EvRock. For $250,  the John Cusack Level,  the band will accompany you (trench coat and boombox in tote) to the front yard of your choice and serenades the object of your affection.

Jay Sweet and frontman Jacob Otis (a.k.a Jake Brennan of the Confidence Men) recently got together to talk about the band’s unconventional approach to their local scene and how sexy Jacob finds himself. Read Jay Sweet’s Interview with the Bodega Girls

Domino Effect

Talk to the Mano: Domino Saints

Talk to the Mano: Domino Saints

If Domino Saints prove anything, it’s that a lot of sound can come from just a few people. The duo, comprised of singer Giselle Ojeda and percussionist David Leal, infuse their dance music with contemporary trends and vintage textures that span several cultures. Nothing is off limits in this melting pot. Expect anything from time-honored Latin traditions like bomba and plena to island music like reggae and dancehall, old school funk and soul and new school reggaeton.

Domino Saints’ Puerto Rican heritage is never more apparent than in their single, “Buenos Dias San Juan,” which won a Billboard World Songwriting Contest award and was featured as an iTunes single of the week. The song opens with guitars that nod to Isaac Hayes’ “Shaft” and a burping horn section that leads into a raw bomba groove. Sung in Spanish, the lyrics may be obscured to Gringos, but the message comes through loud and clear—standing still is not an option. On the subversive, darker funk track “Machiavelic,” Ojeda sings, “I’ve got a plan to take over the world / I’m gonna do it with music.” Let’s hope Domino Saints follow though on the threat.

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Q To The A With The Submarines & Jay Sweet

The Submarines are widely recognizable for their jangling pop single,”You, Me, and the Bourgeoisie,” used in the recent iPhone 3G commercial. Others may know them as the artist-turned-producer and singer-songwriter from Boston who fell in love while working on an album, moved to California and started a band. The love story of Jack Dragonetti (a.k.a Jack Drag) and Blake Hazard (a.k.a. great grand daughter of F. Scott Fitzgerald) is really the bittersweet muse of The Submarines. The story goes that the couple broke up shortly after moving out West but Blake continued to record in Dragonetti’s home studio. The duo soon realized that the new songs that they were each writing were filled with sadness and longing for one another. They decided to rekindle their musical relationship which lead to The Submarines and eventually to marriage. Continue reading ‘Q To The A With The Submarines & Jay Sweet’

Download of the Week: Bullet & Snowfox

In 2008 musicians Kristen Wagner and Josh Shapiro met in a West Hollywood cafe and decided they needed a change. Frustrated with their former bands, they chose to join forces as musical partners. It proved to be a songwriting match made in heaven with Kristen taking care of lyrics and vocals while Josh pounds out the electro-rock fused backings. Under the moniker Bullet & Snowfox, the duo is heating up the L.A. scene with infectious tracks like “Bad Days” that display a punk at heart attitude and a new wave finish. The handful of the band’s songs circling the web demonstrate a common theme: these kids are determined to make fans dance their feet off and have fun while doing it. Bullet & Snowfox is currently working on new material amid word of the possible involvement of the best DJ/Producers in the biz, Baron von Luxxury. We suggest you bite the bullet and check out the rest of their tracks available on OurStage.

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: EMERALD

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Brisbane, Australia’s  Sarah Thomas and Steve Robin form the slick indie pop duo Emerald. A flair for latin conga rhythms and shimmery guitars in conjunction with Sarah’s silky smooth vocals give this band a beautiful and unique sound. Emerald bring something organic to Pop music’s table in a world dominated by auto-tuning and crazy synth patches. Their track “Shine” won the hearts of fans in the OurStage Pop Channel last spring, earning them a Top 10 placement in April. Currently the two are promoting their recently recorded EP and gigging around their home turf in Oz. There’s no place like home, but with any luck, Emerald will bring the green to the United States soon.

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: GIDGETS GA GA


The Chicago power pop trio known as Gidgets Ga Ga is offering all the singalong choruses and jangly guitars you’ve been missing since the Gin Blossoms broke up. The band’s guitarist and songwriter Michael Flores has been the stalwart behind the band’s DIY work ethic; heavily promoting and managing the band on his own via online means such as OurStage. Despite lacking an overdone, expensive production value the band’s LP The Big Bong Fiasco is straightforward “no nonsense” pop that shows off the group’s raw talent. This week’s free track “Beki” is bound to get stuck in your head the same way you can’t forget the the lyrics to the theme song from Friends. Sometimes a little nostalgia goes a long way.

EASY RIDER

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Sittin' Pretty: Philadelphia's Viv Peyrat

James Dean—ageless dreamboat, immortal rebel. If you’re gonna channel someone, you may as well aim high.

Viv Peyrat does so in his song, “So James Dean.” And though the 22-year-old singer-guitarist may share some of Dean’s rebel allure, he also begs more contemporary comparisons: Jeff Buckley for looks, and Jason Mraz for musical sensibility.

Peyrat, a Philadelphian by way of France, mixes pop with R&B, funk and blues, sometimes organically, sometimes with the amps turned up. Like Mraz, his singing is insouciant and breezy; with lyrics revealing a pure heart and a positive mind. Though most songs may shuffle along at an unhurried pace, they’re still driven by hooks—lots of them. “So James Dean” is a lackadaisical little melody, brightened by an organ and Peyrat’s pretty arpeggios. But “Mine Tonight” inches closer to pop rock—reverberating guitars pulse and break into an anthemic chorus:

We can ride out in the sunset / We can walk right out the door / We can fly up to the stars/ I’ll leave you running back for more.” To all the Natalie Woods out there, this rebel promises a pretty sweet ride.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: MIDORI AND AUDIOCLIQUE

Midori Longo is not your average teenage girl. After all, not every 16-year-old gets nominated for Vocalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Music Awards while fronting her own rock band. Backed by Audioclique, Ms. Longo is pop-rock tour de force waiting to explode out of California and onto the national scene. Fans of Avril Lavigne and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz are destined to make room for Midori and Audioclique‘s Bring It album on their iPods. This weeks free track is a synth-infused rocker called “Do You Love Me.” With ready-for-radio production and an infectiously catchy hook, you’ll be singing into your hair brush in no time.

NEXT IN LINE: A Q&A WITH PATRICK MEESE

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If you had describe the current Denver music scene in three words, you might pick “killer piano rock.” Over the past few years, bands like The Fray and OneRepublic have taken their melodious, ivory-driven pop balladry to multiplatinum levels. Rounding out this Rocky Mountain trifecta is Meese, a group formed by brothers Patrick and Nathan Meese. After rising to the forefront of the Denver scene in 2006, Meese hit the road opening for their friends in The Fray. Fan adulation and industry buzz quickly ensued. This month marks their major label debut, Broadcast, led by the irresistible single, “Next In Line.” We caught up with Patrick on tour to see how rock stardom was treating him.

What’s the biggest “we’ve made it moment” you’ve had so far?
I turned on my iPhone and saw our ‘free single of the week’ logo on the front page. That was definitely a cool moment. Then I checked out our website and saw we actually had a whole summer of tour dates posted, which is new for us. I also like the smaller ‘we’re making it’ moments too, like when we meet new fans.

You’re the third major band to emerge from the Denver music scene (behind The Fray and OneRepublic). Do you see yourselves as part of a Colorado piano rock movement?
We know both those bands pretty well and we’ve learned a lot from them. We have a good amount of piano-based stuff like OneRepublic and The Fray, but our set is becoming more guitar heavy. We’ve also started incorporating more electronic elements into our music, like a bonus track we released called “The Working Class” that is very Postal-Service-esque. Colorado is really great for bands right now though. And when you learn how to sing at the elevation, you feel like Pavarotti when you get to sea level.

Tell us a little bit about the tour so far. What has life on the road been like?
Right now we are out with Copeland. They are a band we’ve listened to for a long time, and they are nice dudes. We’re leaving San Diego right now and headed towards San Luis Obispo, one of our favorite towns. All the crowds have been very receptive and I really think performing these songs is becoming more natural each night. Our band and crew are all really close friends, which makes a lot of days feel like vacation. I almost got arrested for setting off fireworks in Albuquerque, however. I’m talking hands on the hood. We bought some real deal fireworks in Texas, but apparently those laws change from state to state. Who knew?

What is your favorite song off Broadcast and why?
My favorite song off the record changes. I’ve been in a more rockin’ mood lately so my favorite track right now is ‘Say You’re OK.’ It’s a fun one live too. But I’m most proud of a song called ‘Margot.’ I really pushed myself musically on that track.

You’ve shared some details about your past addiction to drugs… Now that you’re in a major rock band, is it a challenge to stay sober?
I don’t do drugs anymore. I’m surrounded by a crew of great guys who always keep me in check. It’s inevitable that drugs will pop up on the road from time to time. But this summer we’re touring with very respectful bands. No Guns ‘N’ Roses stuff backstage or anything. I view this band as a job, and it’s a job I don’t want to lose or forget about.

Have you had any crazy fan moments on tour?
Not particularly, but there’s a lot more summer left! I’m just fascinated that people want to take their picture with me right after the show when I’m sweating an ungodly amount.

What’s one thing you have to have on the road?
I just got my first iPhone, and I have to admit I totally love it. Every band guy I meet on the road has one. It really is useful when driving around the country and sitting in a van for hours and hours. Also, sun tan lotion is important. My white Scottish meat can’t handle all this summer sun.

What’s next on the agenda for you guys?

Tour, tour, tour. We got to spread the word. We’re touring with other bands this summer like The Fray, Barcelona and Our Lady Peace. The road beckons…

For more on Meese, visit www.atlanticrecords.com/meese. If you like what you hear, check out this OurStage artist:

GAME ON, PLAYERS

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When the first 8-bit version of Nintendo Entertainment System was dethroned by the slick, 16-bit Super Nintendo in 1993, there was plenty of cool gear left to gather dust in the basements of teens all over America: the zapper gun from Duck Hunt, the Power Pad from World Class Track Meet and countless controllers with their tiny microphones. It was the end of an era. Or was it?

Enter I Fight Dragons, a band from Chicago with a penchant for video game nostalgia. The group, fronted by singer-songwriter Brian Mazzaferri, repurposes vintage NES parts and churns out irresistible power pop. They scavenge old soundchips, dance on the Power Pad and work the controllers, festooning their songs with cheerful bleeps and blips. Ostensibly, they are dorks. Their shtick is kitschy. But it’s also full of passion, intelligence and big juicy hooks.

“Heads Up, Hearts Down” and “Money” are radio-ready salvos of distorted guitars, swirling electronic chirps and emotive vocal harmonies. But even in the most action-packed video game, things can’t always be on warp speed. I Fight Dragons also turn out some lovely and languorous slow songs like “With You.” Even if the ballad is inspired by Princess Toadstool and not a real girl, who cares? I Fight Dragons make their video game rock appeal to the masses. And in that regard they score big.

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