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Category: Pop
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There Will Be Hooks

Single Serving Friends

Single Serving Friends

No strangers to the art of reference, Single Serving Friends have been known to double dip into film when it comes to the naming of things. From Fight Club to There Will Be Blood, the Milwaukee band packages their songs with references to provocative cinema, but rarely flip the script when it comes to their own arrangements. Frenetic pop-punk with thundering drums, chugging guitars and dissonant hooks is the modus operandi. Add to that an earnest female frontwoman, and you have a band that falls somewhere between Paramore and Pretty Girls Make Graves. But the problem with Single Serving Friends isn’t that it’s derivative, it’s that the compositions are openly formulaic. Angular guitars deliver terse chord progressions, chug with an urgency and inevitably lunge into a break. The notes may change from track to track but the effect doesn’t. Look, polyrhythmic, multi-part, hooky rock songs are a lot of fun, but you gotta switch it up. The kids might drink your milkshake the first time, but they may not ask for seconds.


Getting Down With OK Go

OSBlog_QA_OKGOSince their breakout success in 2005, OK Go has been one of America’s most creative and memorable bands.  Their DIY videos, most often done in one take, showcase unusual, yet energetic dance moves that make their songs even more irresistible than they already are.  With the release of their new album, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky, OK Go is back for more and ready to get down.  OurStage got the chance to catch up with Damian Kulash, frontman of the band, to chat about recording the album, their upcoming video and expansive world of OK Go.

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Poptarts: Woodward

OSBlog02_PopTarts_MASTER_01Woodward is more than just a band of talented vocalists and songwriters with insanely catchy synth hooks. The band, and the name, can be looked at as a sort of metaphor. Woodward Ave. (the band’s namesake) connects the Northern suburbs of their home-state Michigan to Detroit, essentially bridging two different worlds together. Woodward the band accomplishes something very similar using vintage sounds effortlessly combined with modern sounding pop/rock synth hooks. The resulting vibe is one that, at once, reminisces about the past while looking toward the future. From their four-part vocal harmonies to their old-school electric piano, there’s no doubt this band is heavily influenced by classic sounds.

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Needle in the Haystack: Apple Trees and Tangerines Follow Up

 As we wrap up this week’s “Needle in the Haystack,” we want to take a moment and check in with Apple Trees and Tangerines one last time. After Ourstage blog and MTVMusic blog coverage, as well as a Tweet and A, things are looking pretty solid for the duo. Check out more in the video below:

Tour De Force: April Smith and the Great Picture Show

OSBlog02_TourDeForce_01Listening to April Smith and the Great Picture Show is like stepping into a 1930s honky tonk cabaret — ragtime rhythms and stunning sultry vocals with all the flash, flair and debauchery of the prohibition era. The songs on her upcoming album Songs for a Sinking Ship effortlessly combine upbeat melodies buoyant enough to save Jack and Rose with sassy, witty and seductive lines alluring enough to tempt any listener into a false sense of security.  Take her song “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, also included on her EP Live From The Penthouse. It’s best described as a sort of blues-infused tarantella, a dance between two partners characterized by a “lively 6/8 rhythm and teasing, flirtatious behavior.” The lines “you’re so enchanting/when your mouth is closed/and with a mouth like that/who needs politics and prose,” and a rousing chorus of, “now I’m staring into those vacant eyes/trying to figure out if you’ve understood a single word that I’ve said/is there anything going on in that pretty little head?/cause if you’re just drop dead gorgeous/you should just drop dead,” paint a clear picture of her lyrical prowess and sharp wit, not to mention her affinity for poking fun.


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Ife Lessons

Ife Soul Music

Ife Soul Music

Sometimes respect is won not by showing others what you can do, but rather what you won’t do. Like demonstrating your vocal chops with self-indulgent acrobatics, or showcasing your production skills by overloading a song with bells and whistles. If restraint breeds admiration, Ifé (pronounced “ee-fay”) Thomas deserves a round of applause. Under the moniker Ifé Soul Music, the LA-based chanteuse melds jazz, R&B and pop into simmering slow-tempo numbers that say a lot about who she is without overstating anything. “Mocha Mellow” features only two instruments: Thomas’ expressive voice and an acoustic guitar. On “Aim to Please,” a steamy groove about the art of seduction, multi-tracked Ifés sing backup and soft synths set the mood without eating up any space. Thomas’ delivery is always cool, belying the heat of her words. And yes, sometimes those words are a little inelegant (“When I talk in your ear / Nasty words that you’ll hear”). But hey, Sade once sang, “When you require streetcar desire for higher heights” and no one stopped making out to question her lyrical choices. Groove is in the heart, not the pen.


Poptarts: The Hollow Sound

OSBlog02_PopTarts_MASTER_01Nowadays, MTV’s image mostly consists “reality” shows starring superficial, plastic LA girls and fist-pumping “guidos” from the tri-state area. Not exactly the cutting-edge music giant we once knew. However, under that horrifyingly hilarious exterior lies a sleeping giant, percolating with innovative new acts with just enough pop hooks and power to bring the music back into Music TeleVision.  One such band can be found right here on OurStage. Not only has The Hollow Sound‘s music been featured on MTV’s College Life, but the band was selected as four- time finalists on MTVU’s Best Music On Campus as well. As the 2009 grand prize winners, the band got the opportunity to perform at Six Flags as part of MTV’s VMA Tour along with All Time Low and The White Tie Affair. (Check out their VMA Tour video here!) They also performed at the 2008 Warped Tour and SXSW in 2009. These guys obviously have a pretty impressive résumé , but what is it about their music that makes it so popular with the MTV folks?

Click here to find out…

Tour De Force: Tony Lucca

OSBlog02_TourDeForce_01At first it may not seem like Tony Lucca, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears have much in common, and in reality this is true. Tony Lucca’s never been brutally mauled by the tabloids, has never been a ’90s teen idol or gone through a shaving head phase. He does, however, create some pretty awesome music. (Side note: Some may disagree with the correlation between Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears and awesome music. However, you have to at least give props to JT and X-Tina for actual badass vocal talent, and Britney… well she’s got her first three-ish albums going for her.) Lucca was also a fellow cast member on The All New Mickey Mouse Club in the early ’90s, and was the only Mickey Mouse Club member to ever play a live instrument during a taping performance — a testament to his musical ability even at a relatively young age. 20080822tonylucca

When a person goes to see Tony Lucca live, it’s immediately apparent that the man has a huge amount of natural talent and stage presence. His voice is powerful, full of soul and depth, and seems to be able to switch seamlessly from soft and sultry to pure rock ‘n’ roll power. When he sings you can’t help but really feel his words. His song ”Melancholy Collar,” off of his latest full length album Come Around Again, is a perfect example of the versatility and power of his voice. It’s rhythm, melody, and overall feel showcase his vocal capabilities perfectly, but don’t just take my word for it. Check this out. Read more about Tony Lucca’s music and tour adventures!

The Heart of the Matter

Nuff Said: Michael Logen

Nuff Said: Michael Logen

Dudes: There will inevitably come a time when you’ve riled your girlfriend and find yourself racking your brain for some sort of grand gesture to set things straight. Before you reach for the boombox and your Peter Gabriel CD, try something a little subtler and give Michael Logen a spin. Logen’s music is the sort of dreamy folk-pop that lends itself to quiet romantic interludes. With his lightly husky falsetto, the Nashville songwriter paints pretty pictures of adoration; i.e. wishing he could rearrange the rain so as not to interfere with his lady’s ‘do. Now that’s the kind of thinking that will get you back in a girl’s good graces. Logen’s compositions are far from formulaic, but they do have certain touchstones in common: low, keening string sections, dreamy, gauzy guitar waltzes and coasting melodies. Sometimes the surest way to the heart isn’t the most epic. Restraint can be a powerful romancer, too.


Download of the Week: The Plastics Revolution

OSBlog02_MTVNeedleHay_PlasticsRevolution_01With over 120,000 artists to discover on OurStage, it can be tough to take notice of every amazing act. That’s why MTV Music and OurStage are teaming up to present “Needle in the Haystack.” Each week, in conjunction with MTV Music, OurStage will be giving one deserving up-and-coming artist some extra love with free downloads and exclusive interviews. Get the latest scoop on the tomorrow’s hottest acts every week here at OurStage and the MTV Music Blog. And now without further ado, our first “Needle in the Haystack” artist…

Mexico City may not seem like a hotbed for danceable powerpop, but that’s nothing The Plastics Revolution can’t fix. Since 2008 this unsigned band has been building up their Mexican fanbase with infectiously catchy sing-a-long hooks and more swagger than you can shake a stick at. To get their name out there, the five piece entered their track “Cars From Mars” in the OurStage Indie Pop Channel this past November. The tune mixes lyrical silliness with Britpop sentimentality akin to bands like Mystery Jets and Arctic Monkeys. The fans fell in love with the song; voting it into the Top 10. The band released the track on their self-produced debut LP. In true DIY fashion, The Plastics Revolution is currently self-distributing the album, making it somewhat difficult to get a hard copy into the hands of fans outside Mexico. Luckily the band was kind enough to offer up “Cars From Mars” as this week’s free download so the whole world can get a taste. Expect more amazing music to come from these guys: The Plastics Revolution plans on releasing a follow up full-length in 2011.


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