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Download The “Show Us Your Hits” Playlist For Free Now

With almost 2,000 entries in this month’s “Show Us Your Hits” Mardi Gras Competition, it’s clear that the artists (and fans) on OurStage like to party. Nothing makes a party like the music, so go stream, share or download the Show Us Your Hits playlist for free—and be sure to save us a spot on the dance floor. Mardi Gras beads not included. And don’t forget to keep judging in the channel for your favorite partiers!

Rapper’s Delight: Group Hip Hop

Hip hop groups have long had a major impact on the evolution of the genre. The Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Run DMC were some of the earlier influences later followed by the Wu Tang Clan, NWA and A Tribe Called Quest—just to name a few. But what is it about certain groups that we find so appealing? Some collaborating emcees have the ability to feed off of and compliment each other to create something that’s bigger than themselves.

Take a look at Wu Tang, for example:  they have nine members (if you include ODB) with nine distinctive personalities, and each with a distinctly different flow, voice and lyrical style.  What’s impressive is how, when combined, they still have one distinctive Wu Tang sound that is not defined by any single member… and of course their amazing depth of talent. Some of them have launched successful solo careers as well, but none have come close to surpassing the combined Wu Tang Clan clout.  They do, however, frequently feature one another on their solo albums.

That being said, we’ve compiled a playlist for you that highlights some hip hop groups here at OurStage. These tracks all feature multiple rappers, so pay attention to their contrasting styles and let us know what you think!


Free Downloads Of OurStage Editor Picks For March Now On Facebook

I hope you snagged February’s Editor Picks off Facebook while you had the chance, because now its March which means this month’s hot list is coming in like a lion (get it, in like a lion, out like a lamb? Whatever). We’ve handpicked a batch of artists and songs that will get you stoked for spring, basketball’s March Madness,  whatever tickles you about this month. Read on, check out the March Editor Picks below and be sure to head over to the OurStage Facebook page, “like” us and download for free now!

Hip Rose “Emily Brum” – Peaches meets “Mean Girls”. Irresistible low-fi bitchiness.

Lady Daisey “Soul Strut” - Lady Daisey keeps the vibe vintage and the soul sweet.

Bryan Titus “A Little More” - Whiskey soaked vocals, dirty guitar licks and sexy lyrics. We’ll forgive the obvious commitment issues…

Ready Set Go “Already Gone” - Looking for a cure for the Bieber Fever? This talented sibling group of teens and tweens will cure what ails you.

Kamali “Gone” - Fiance and Business undergraduate by day, aspiring R&B artist defined with sweet vocal textures by night.

We Set Sail “Stole Your Heart” - Seems like tastemakers are all a buzz with electro pop love. All are sure to be enamored by these chirps, compositional soaring and boy/ girl harmonies.

Mirk & the New Familiars “Love and Music” - Critically acclaimed Albany-based pop-soul band, fronted by Joshua “Mirk” Mirsky, who produced Ciara’s remix for “Never-Ever”  featuring Yung Jeezy from her Fantasy Ride album.

FERA “Dark, Dirty, Dusky Hallway” – Canadian twins raised on everything from The Beatles to HANSON, from Patty Griffin to Bryan Adams.

Oh My! “21″ – If The Kooks were from Sweden, and on OurStage, they’d be Oh My!

Darlingside “Good Man” – We’re not really sure if its rock, country, pop or folk, but we don’t really care.

Miss out on previous Editor Picks? Don’t worry, we planned for you slackers. You can stream all previous months on 8tracks.com.

The Beat Generation – Ambient Playlist

Of all the electronic music genres, it’s probably ambient music that is the most overlooked. And… that’s kind of the point of ambient anyways. So much of electronic music is designed to be in your face. Dance will always want to make you move, dubstep will try to nod your head and industrial has a certain crushing quality to it. Ambient is a different kind of animal; a genre designed to exist in the background, to be taken in subconsciously. Brian Eno’s Music For Airports, landmark recording in the genre that it is, truly was inspired by Eno’s experience waiting for flights in airport terminals; the record is meant to be looped continuously in a public space (or any place where you could have sound continuously looping, really). Ambient received a boost in popularity during the ’90s as it was played in clubs as a sort of comedown for all the ravers that had partied a little too hard. Maybe that ‘s the job it does best then; settling you down and chilling you out. That doesn’t mean that it still can’t engage you, that you won’t fall under the bubble and sway of some of these songs. Ambient music just wants to make sure you’re getting on with your life.
Picture yourself on a Sunday afternoon. The weekend is almost over, the work week is just around the corner with the afternoon sun setting in the west. You should kick back and relax and what better way to do that then with this playlist? If you like what you’re hearing then you should consider checking out our Ambient/Chill Channel.

Soundcheck: J.Cole And Wale Show Review

If, like me, all the hype had you doubting the futures of these two young MC’s—consider it solid.

Wale and J. Cole kicked off NBA All-Star Weekend with a sold-out show at the House of Blues on Sunset Friday night with one goal in mind—crowd-pleasing.

By the looks of the throngs of people clamoring to gain entrance, it was hard to believe both headliners are relative newcomers. J. Cole, who will release his debut album next month, looked like a seasoned performer when he stepped on the stage. His understated style (plain black T and jeans) left plenty of room for his smooth delivery to set the mood for his set, which included tracks from past mix tapes and new music, that I can only assume will be on his currently untitled record.
The already hyped crowd went crazy when surprise guest, Drake, took the stage during Cole’s set to spit his super sexy verse on their latest hit single, “In The Morning.” “Baby, you wintertime cold/ The night is still young, drink that dinner wine slow/ I’m trying to make the goose bumps on your inner thigh show.”

It turned out Cole wasn’t the only one with a trick up his sleeve. Wale hit the stage in a letterman’s jacket, baseball hat, and a giant diamond chain hanging from his neck. True to form, hedelivered a high-energy set that included tracks from his latest mix tape, More About Nothing, as well as singles from his debut LP, Attention Deficit. He even squeezed in some of his chart-topping collaborations, including “No Hands,” with the crowd filling in for Waka Flaka while Wale danced across the stage. He performed his latest single, “Beautiful Bliss” alongside Melanie Fiona for the first time, introducing LA to Roc Nation’s next rising star. The Canadian-born songstress is currently flying below the radar, but if her performance is any indication, it won’t be long until the whole world knows her name.

Wale, who is known more for his pop-culture references and broad content than his mainstream counter parts is no stranger to the buzz that is currently surrounding him. Although Attention Deficit debuted in late 2009 under Interscope, he has released five seriously successful mix tapes in the past five years, prompting bidding wars from major labels and constant confusion from fans about whose roster he would be headlining. While his singles, like “Chillin’” featuring Lady Gaga and “Pretty Girls” featuring Gucci Mane garnered high marks from critics, album sales were ultimately disappointing. Still, he’s managed to maintain his hip-hop crown by flooding fans with new material on a regular basis, and is constantly co-signed by hip-hop heavyweights like Lil Wayne and Bun B.

Cole, who famously  became the first artist signed to Roc Nation by Jay-Z in 2010, is best known to the mainstream for his features, including Miguel’s summer sensation, “All I Want Is You” as well his latest mix tape, Friday Night Lights which features cameos by Wale, Drake, and Omen.

J. Cole will be playing the Black History Month Concert in Florida on March 20,  joining acts like B.O.B. and Playboy Tre, then on to the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee in June. View a full list of Wale’s spring tour dates here.

Metal Monday: Metal Covers Of Non-Metal Songs

Cover tunes have been a big part of pop music in the last few decades, and an even bigger part of music throughout history (though the idea of a cover tune is rather new, they’re historically known as standards). Some covers are well known to be remakes, other times people don’t even know songs they love are covers. For example, you might not know Jimi Hendrix wasn’t the original performer of “All Along The Watchtower” —that one’s a Bob Dylan song. But, cover songs aren’t only for rock and pop artists.  Metal artists do their fair share of covers as well, sometimes even full albums (See Overkill, Rage Against The Machine and Evergreen Terrace).

Personally, I think metal musicians covering songs that weren’t originally metal songs is rather brilliant. Here are some great renditions of songs that are decidedly more heavy than their originals:

  1. “Still Fly” by Big Tymers, as covered by The Devil Wears Prada for the compilation Punk Goes Crunk
  2. “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears, as covered by August Burns Red for the Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2 compilation
  3. “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, as performed by Children of Bodom on their album Skeletons In The Closet
  4. “The Sound Of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, as performed by Nevermore on their album Dead Heart In A Dead World
  5. “Everything Counts” by Depeche Mode, as covered by In Flames on their 1997 album Whoracle
  6. “White Room” by Cream, as performed by Demons & Wizards as a bonus track on their self-titled album
  7. “Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting” by Elton John, as performed by Flotsam & Jetsam on their album No Place For Disgrace
  8. “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, as performed by Motörhead

Sets And The City: The Sound, The Fury – The New Music Of Friendly Fires

A week ago today you could find me smiling ear-to-ear at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. Friendly Fires, one of my all-time favorite dance bands, played a solid sold-out show. My seventh time seeing the energetic trio, this venue proves particularly special to me. Hands down best date I’ve ever been on took place here nearly two years ago. And whom had we come to see? None other than the ever-catchy Friendly Fires. And White Lies, another UK-hailing favorite. Sigh. It was quite a night.

This time, I decided to fly solo, taking in the animated Saint Albans-based threesome all by my lonesome. I must say, though, that their performance style has somewhat shifted; while lead singer Ed Macfarlane still delivers the same sexed-up, hip-thrusting dance moves we’ve not seen since Elvis’ pelvis, which is oddly comforting, their delivery has taken a turn. In part I think the BB sound system was a bit botched, but the instrumentals were especially augmented. You know when you expect something to resemble your record, only live? Well, this was different. More so than the expected differentiation. I welcome change, and disappointed the audience was not (there were cheers, clapping and whistles aplenty), but it caught me off-guard. It wasn’t simply the new tracks that threw me, but the familiar tunes too. Regardless, I adapted.

Joining Macfarlane and his partners-in-crime Jack Savidge (percussion) and Edd Gibson (guitar) on stage were a second drummer, a saxophonist and a third on his horn. While they’ve been accompanied by additional backup band members before, still something’s tweaked. Live, they’re all around more, well, big band. Jazz. R&B. Our main man seemed to scat at times too. (Keep an ear out for “Running Away,” at least live.) As per usual, Macfarlane intermittently rocked two mics and, frequently, as is his signature maneuver, clunked himself on the skull with one. And, to be sure, there was no lack of cowbell or maracas adding texture to the set.

Photo by Vincent Cornelli; Prefixmag.com

This show was the first time I’d had the opportunity to hear several songs from their forthcoming album Pala. I’d heard their single “Kiss of Life” live the last time they were in town, but, apart from that, their sophomore record remained a mystery. Of their thirteen-strong setlist, only five were classics (“On Board,” “Skeleton Boy,” “Jump in the Pool,” “Paris” and “Lovesick”). “On Board” brought the club beat and “JITP” made the floor shake so much I thought we’d all fall through. “Paris” was essentially shouted in unison by the crowd.

FF went on a tad after 10:00 with a newbie entitled “Blue Cassette” and closed (a tad after 11:00) with “Kiss of Life,” which I’m counting as new too. During the latter, Macfarlane frequently bark-sneezed the word “life” and, after the song had essentially ended, he continued to shake that thang. Surprised? Of the new material, “Show Me Lights” proved extremely ’90s-esque R&B. Even the lyrics alluded to this similar aesthetic; “Late night dri-vin’,” Macfarlane crooned, showcasing his soaring falsetto whilst reinforcing the fact that indeed white men can dance, too. “Hurting” was another in this same vein. There were several fist formations, yanked down emo-female style. (P.S. Based on firsthand research, the next disc is poised to be the bomb for shower sing-a-long sessions.)

The direction Friendly Fires have taken lyrically is especially love- (and love lost-) centric, with titles like “True Love” and “Pull Me Back to Earth,” the latter a new favorite that maintains this same romantic strain. It’s all legit, I’ve just got to acclimate to the new tune of Friendly Fires. I wouldn’t go so far as to say they’ve spun a 180, but they’re taking an audible risk a bit. Given how hard the world fell for their eponymous debut, I applaud them for challenging themselves and their fans. I personally cannot wait to hear Pala through headphones.

An acknowledged departure from my memories, Friendly Fires nevertheless remain the same passionate, sweaty, dance-y dream team I came to know and love so long ago. Macfarlane’s lost the slippers (which he used to don onstage, presumably to help him better bust a move), but cutie’s still a smokin’ sex symbol in the eyes of women and men, his gyrating body and facial contortions bypassing PG-13 and approaching R. At least some things can be counted on to stand the test of time.

Looking forward to their return to New York this spring when they’ll play Webster Hall in May and also be making cameos in several other cities across the country. Get your tickets stat, if they’re not all gone already…

Photo credit: Vincent Cornelli, PrefixMag.com.

Metal Monday: The Warriors Want To See Who You Are

Finding the line between awesomely simple and just plain old boring can be a major struggle for many bands, but The Warriors have found just the way to separate mundane and pure with their second Victory Records release, See How You Are. Forgoing lofty string sections, extensive and elaborate guitar solos, and just about every other frill on modern hardcore/metalcore records—The Warriors are back to basics.

The first two tracks on See How You Are don’t set the mood very well for the nine tracks that follow. “See How You Are” acts as the overture of the record, giving you only a glimpse of what is to come. Even the upbeat “The War Unseen” feels quite leashed in with both the riffs and vocals in”The War Unseen” packing less than the expected punch. Immediately starting at track three, however, the album gains a lot more power. Guitar riffs hit harder, Marshall Lichtenwaldt’s vocals are more abrasive and the brutal march to the finish begins.

Songs such as “Where I Stand” and “Mental Chains” serve as the only room for a breather in the densely-packed See How You Are, as they toss in some catchy riffs and licks to sweeten up the mix. Outside of that, every riff, breakdown and lyric is as densely packed with fire and vitriol as any fan of hardcore could ask for. The level of intensity increases with each song after “Mental Chains” until the final breakdown of the album as “Along The Way” comes to and end and it feels like the band has reached its breaking point.

See How You Are doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table in terms of new and innovative things, but what it does bring is very well executed. If you’re looking for powerfully presented intelligent lyrics, breakdowns to make you move, gang vocals and emotion, See How You Are is worth checking out. Not sold yet? Check out the video below to see if you might dig what The Warriors have going on:

Happy Valentines Day From OurStage: Download The OurStage Is For Lovers Playlist For Free

Can you smell it? Love is in the air. And it smells like free music. Okay so maybe love doesn’t smell like MP3s (what does an MP3 smell like, anyways? Remember the days of vinyl?…I digress). Candy, flowers, these are all typical gifts one would expect to receive on this day, so we decided to mix it up a bit. Stream, download or share the OurStage Is For Lovers Valentines Day playlist, a mix of handpicked tracks from the OurStage Is For Lovers Valentines Day Song Competition. Sweet, savory, there’s a little bit in there for everyone, just like your favorite heart-shaped box of chocolates. Only this gift won’t rot your teeth or go stale.

Love always,

OurStage.

Grab Free Downloads Of OurStage Editor Picks On Facebook

Last month we started giving away music on the OurStage Facebook page. Not just any music. We gave away some of the best tracks from the brightest talent OurStage has to offer. Everyone loved it so much that we’re going to be doing it every month as a special gift to you, the peeps who love OurStage the most. Every month check out OurStage on Facebook, “like” us if you don’t already, and download songs hand-picked by OurStage editors. You can preview each song, check out the artist’s OurStage profile, download just the ones your feeling that day or download them all at once.

Head over to the OurStage Facebook page now to download tracks from the following editor-picked artists:

The Well Reds “6 More Months” – This is the winning track in New Music Seminar’s “Live At The Roxy Competition”, which the Atlanta based rockers placed 1st in.

Tierra Heart “Good Nite” – Soul singer Tierra has been the topic of many convos here in the OurStage office, and lots of companies are looking to license her tracks for commercial use.

Bronze Radio Return “Shake Shake Shake” – Exclusive Alert! We’re the only place you can score a download of the title track off Bronze Radio Return’s new album SHAKE! SHAKE! SHAKE, out March 29th.

Sara Lindsay “Best Of Me” – Sara was the winner of the “Intel Superstars Search” and performed “Best Of Me” at the CES Conference in Las Vegas.

Eddie Bush “Calloused Hands” – Another track that hasn’t been officially released yet, Eddie won the “New Country Artist Search” with this song.

Jacob Heal “I’ll Leave The Lights On For You When You Leave” – Modern rock artist Jacob scored a year’s supply of strings and accessories from Ernie Ball in December.

The Story of Sound “The Razing” – The Story of Sound pops up in the OurStage rock and pop charts, like, every month.

My First Tooth “Orchards” – The editorial staff has been hooked on My First Tooth ever since they were featured as  Needle In The Haystack.

And be sure to follow us on Twitter for even more artist updates!

 


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