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Download of the Week: Fast Forward Romance

Four years ago, the musical affair between rocker Kyle Archer and Natalie Distler began in a NYC elevator. The duo soon began to write and record tracks together and the rest, they say, is history. Skipping ahead to today, the pair—better known as Fast Forward Romance— is this week’s Needle in the Haystack pick.  The band has recently been highlighted on BMI’s Indie Spotlight and has been trying to earn a spot on the Warped Tour’s Carson California stop. Currently, the band is working with GRAMMY-nominated producer Ron Aniello who has collaborated with many major hit-makers including Lifehouse, Guster and Matt Nathanson. For all you FX fans, you may recognize Distler as Denis Leary’s daughter for the last 6 seasons on the hit show Rescue Me (watch for her in the new season which premiers on June 29th).

Download the duo’s free track Dirty Laundry” and just push play. Keep an eye out for more from Fast Forward Romance in the coming days.

50 States In 50 Weeks…Week 50: California

Welcome to the final installment of our “50 States In 50 Weeks” feature. Over the past 49 weeks, I’ve discovered fun facts, cool venues and awesome OurStage artists from all over the US. For those of you who can’t get enough of discovering new artists across the country, check out OurStage Blog’s newest column “Scene and Heard,” which will be bringing you even more details about the music scenes in major US cities. The “50 States” virtual road trip comes to a close this week with The Golden State, California. It’s been a long, strange trip, but I wouldn’t have wanted to do it with anyone else but the OurStage community. Without any further delays, California, here we come!

Fun Facts: State Animal; California Grizzly Bear, State Songs; “I Love You, California,” State Flower; Golden Poppy

Home of: Green Day, N.W.A., The Go-Gos, The Byrds, Snoop Dogg

The Venues:

The legendary Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco was the the epicenter of psychedelic music in the mid 1960s.  Concert promoter Bill Graham booked a who’s who of classic rock at the venue, including Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Greatful Dead, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and more. While the auditorium was out of commission for a while due to earthquake damage, the original Fillmore building is still hosting concerts as a Live Nation venue.

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Poptarts: Lion of Ido

You’ll have to forgive me for my unrelenting love of Top 40 pop hits, but the first song I listened to by Lion of Ido was their kick ass cover of “No Air” by Jordin Sparks.  As much as I love Jordin, I give huge props to Lion of Ido for this cover. It’s absolutely awesome. After falling in love with them via our mutual love of “No Air,” I discovered their covers weren’t the only  thing that’s awesome. Front man Ido Zmishlany has a voice equipped with the power of pop rock groups like Panic At The Disco and depth of indie favs such as The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. And he writes pop hooks that could compete with any Top 40 hit. Their songs are perfect for any indie pop lover with an affinity for hand claps and snaps mixed with electro pop beats.

Hailing from NYC, these guys have headlined at marquee venues all over the city. They have performed with the like of Matt & Kim and have written songs with The Click Five, The Cars and Tommy Lee. Ido is also currently producing fellow OurStage artist Amanda Kaletsky’s new album. Lion of Ido’s video for “Hard  To Love” (below) showcase why this band is actually easy to adore. The montage of incriminating pictures during a night on the town in NYC is the perfect backdrop for this relentlessly catchy song about the struggles of love. Check out the band on OurStage and their song “Day By Day” below! You can also download their new EP for FREE right here!

This Week On

Check it! Every Friday on the OurStage Blog, we will be featuring exclusive content from the one-and-only Stay tuned for weekly photos, music, news and reviews coming straight from the source that’s redefining hip hop.

Kanye West’s Comeback Single Trying Too Hard?

It’s been months since we last saw Kanye at the 2009 VMAs, hugging a bottle of Henny and raping Taylor Swift‘s spotlight, but perhaps more significantly, it’s been three years since we’ve heard Mr. West rap on his own song. Continue reading on…

50 Shots Of 50 Cent

Talk about dedication. Fans of 50 Cent were stunned to see the rapper after taking on an intensive weight loss diet for his upcoming indie flick Things Fall Apart. The signature chiseled figure has been replaced by a ghastly trim frame reminiscent of the cancer patient he’s portraying. Continue reading on…

Alicia Keys & Swizz Beatz Confirm Baby x Wedding Bells

No more covering up that tummy for Alicia Keys. Just as rumors have been swirling about the singer’s suspicious baby bump, a rep has confirmed that what we see is real. According to People, Keys and boyfriend Swizz Beatz are not only expecting a baby but will soon be walking down the aisle. Continue reading on…

Viewer Discretion Advised: Tops In Pop, Rock and Hip Hop

Well it’s arrivedthe end of the month here on OurStage. The time when fans make a mad dash to the Internet to put their 2 cents in on their favorite artists. On Tuesday we entered the sacred quarterfinals of judging, just 2 days left before the Top 20 are locked in and your fave artists are closer to being Number 1. So we thought we’d take this opportunity here on “Viewer Discretion Advised” to show you just what’s out there in terms of top music videos on OurStage. Think you’ve seen something better? Let us know! Check out the top contenders below, and judge now or forever hold your peace!

Off their fourth album Oh Boy, Stampead‘s “Red, Green, Yellow” has jaunty vocals and an upbeat, quaint tempo. But don’t let the cheery sound fool you, the song is actually about a relationship ending. The video for the song has the same deceptively rosy vibe, incorporating bright colors, sunshine and rainbows. But pay attention, heartbreak is in the air. “Red, Green, Yellow” is currently a finalist in Pop Videos.

Click To See More Of May’s Top Music Videos

Tour De Force: Road Songs

Life on the road can be tough. It can be at once the greatest, most exciting time of your life and the most trying and tiresome. For many artists, being away from home and their loved ones can be rough but, as we all know, out of pain and heartbreak comes the best songs. That’s why this post is dedicated to road songs—tunes written by bands while on  tour detailing life on the open highway. The honesty and insight these songs offer is unparalleled. It really gives the listener a chance to hear each band’s point-of-view and of their experiences on the road. Check out some of my favorite examples of road songs below!

OK, this Steel Train song is adorable—a true throwback to classic rock-esque anthem. The band crowds around a mic to sing in beautiful three-part harmony: “When I was a little kid/ My father told me to see the world for him /So I took my things/ And painted pink sunsets over the vast oceans /Send your dad a note you made it kid you’re on the road.” These guys have been around in some form or another for the past decade (lead-singer Jack Antonoff formed the band back in 1999) and even though touring is nothing new to them, it seems they still have a deep appreciation and love for the road – “Don’t you know I was resting under the tracks /Even then I knew I would always be back /And I know that this steel train is gonna ride on ’till the end.

While Steel Train’s song is more about the love of the road, Phantom Planet’s song is focused on coming home — “Pedal to the floor /Thinkin’ of the roar /Gotta get us to the show /California here we come /Right back where we started from.”  Many road songs are only played live, or released as b-sides and are not very well known. “California” is not your average obscure road song. It was the theme song for both The OC and The Simpsons episode “Milhouse of Sand and Fog”and is one of Phantom Planet’s biggest singles.

Click For More Songs From The Road

A Q&A With Colbie Caillat

California girl Colbie Caillat may be blond and bubbly, but this woman has got more brains and bravery than most artists her age in the business.  Born into a musical family (her father co-produced Fleetwood Mac) Caillat has been working with producers and songwriters since she was a teenager.  She began writing for herself in 2004 and released her debut single, “Bubbly,” in 2007 to critical acclaim.

Since then, she has written with Jason Mraz, Taylor Swift, Juanes and Jason Reeves.  Caillat’s has been traveling the world to promote her second album which was released in 2009.  The singer songwriter was named BMI’s Songwriter of the Year in 2009 and even won two GRAMMYs this year for her work with Taylor Swift’s and her duet with Jason Mraz.  And now Caillat is continuing her ongoing success by embarking on a summer tourappearing alongside other empowering women during Lilith Fair.

Caillat got the chance to get OurStage up to speed on her career, songwriting and feelings on Lilith Fair.

OS: You grew up in a very musical environment.  How did that benefit you as an artist and help you get to where you are today?

CC: I was around music all the time, it was just natural for me. It was my dad’s business, just the same as if he had been a teacher, and I was in a classroom—only it was a musical classroom.  So, I was always singing. In fact, one day when I was just visiting the studio one of the producers he worked with, Mikal Blue, heard me humming background vocals and he started using me to record on his music.  Mikal eventually produced my first album, Coco.  My dad, of course, made a huge contribution to my career by telling me that it was really important that I write my own songs.

Continue reading ‘A Q&A With Colbie Caillat’

Poptarts: Transmit Now

Since beginning their music career in 2008, this pop rock quintet from Central Florida have aimed to take over the power pop rock world full-speed ahead. One of the band’s first gigs was a slot at the Orlando stop on the 2008 Warped Tour.  After singing to Warner Bros. subsidiary Silent Majority Group (home of bands such as Candlebox and Tantric) a little over a year ago, Transmit Now have since shared the stage with Anberlin and Mayday Parade. (Boston bands: Click here for your chance to play with Anberlin and Mayday Parade!) They also teamed up with producers Pete Thornton and Brooks Paschal (Paramore, Shinedown) for their 2009 Test, Test EP. Now, you may have heard these guys during the 2010 People’s Choice Awards on CBS when their song “Let’s Go Out Tonight” was played while Hugh Jackman accepted his award for Best Action Hero. Even before they were signed, their song “Tarantism” was featured on MTV’s Video Music Awards as well as Paris Hilton’s My New BFF. Most recently, the band was featured in the popular teen magazine J-14 as one of the weekly Hot Bands this past February. Maybe you think credits ranging from Paris Hilton’s and teen rags makes Transmit Now seem like they’re all fluff. You would be wrong.

These guys follow an extremely rigorous touring schedule and will be heading out across the southeast May 27th to promote their first full-length album Downtown Merry-Go-Round. The album will be available on iTunes April 20th with an in-store release date set for May 25th — so keep an eye out!

Check out their OurStage playlist below and their MySpace for upcoming tour dates!

Needle in the Haystack Follow Up: Sierra Noble

Closing out this week’s Needle in the Haystack, we have an interview with singer-songwriter and string-player extraordinaire, Sierra Noble. Grab her free download and take look at her MTV Music interview from earlier in the week.  Keep an eye out for more Needle in the Haystack next week!

Tour De Force: Free Bird!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been at a concert and, during a lull in the set, heard someone yell “Freeeee Biirrdd!” Without fail, this happens at nearly every concert I’ve attended. It happened at the Lady Lamb the Beekeeper show, the Amanda Palmer show (she actually started playing the opening riff), at the Tegan and Sara show and more. So, why is it that everybody yells “Free Bird”? There are many theories about the how the cliché term came about, but if I were to venture a guess I would say part of it has to do with the fact that everyone loves a good cover song. For unknown bands who aren’t quite at the point where they have audience sing-a-longs, a cover can be a great way to make a connection with the audience. Even for bands that play to an audience full of fans, it can be a great way to re-engage the crowd—keep them on their toes and make sure they’re having fun.

Jukebox the Ghost

In an interview with Jukebox the Ghost, the band mentioned one of their favorites songs to cover is “Temptation” by New Order. They said, “We’ve used it a lot of times as our “hail Mary pass” if we’re not sure people are having a good time — dance songs never fail.” Looking back through “Tour De Force” history, you’ll see many artists share a similar train of thought. While on the Spring Break Forever Tour, Bess Rogers had everyone rocking out to her rendition of “Pour Some Sugar On Me”. And later, as part of the Ingrid Michaelson band, she and her bandmates did a hilarious version of “Toxic” by Britney Spears complete with a very well choreographed dance. Other memorable TDF covers include Steel Train’s raucous cover of “Under Pressure” during the Tegan and Sara show at The Orpheum and Amanda Palmer’s spirited rendition of “Creep” which began her intimate set at Northeastern University.

Continue Reading Tour De Force


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