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SoundTrax: Songs Of The Revolution

Songs of the Revolution is the product of OurStage’s belief that music, when it finds the right ears, can change everything. We’re bringing a message to the masses, arming citizens with a galvanizing soundtrack of the industry’s most revolutionary acts. This week’s SoundTrax is packed full of exclusive tracks from the OurStage Songs Of The Revolution recording sessions. These buzz-worthy artists touring in the Boston area took some time to perform a few originals in a way never been heard before. We’ve put together a playlist of some of the original recordings of these songs so you can see how they’re remodeling the industry with their unique sounds and styles. Kick back and relax as these acoustic renditions help you float on into a warm weekend with the soothing sounds of acoustic guitar and authentic vocals, then rock out to them in a whole new light that’s changing the way we see music.

Songs Of The Revolution from OurStage on 8tracks.

Revolutionary Rockin’ from OurStage on 8tracks.

Jesse Terry’s Planes, Trains, And Automobiles

Reading Jesse Terry’s list of tour dates from the past few years is a lot like looking at an actual calendar. Almost every single day corresponds with yet another gig, often in an area hundreds of miles away from the previous night’s show. A self-described “road warrior,” Terry has played his way across the contiguous United States multiple times by now, and the wanderlust evident in his musical travels plays a major role on his new LP Empty Seat on a Plane. Whether he’s describing Montana’s Bitterroot Valley or the dusty back roads of Tennessee, it’s clear that Terry isn’t merely going through the lyrical motions. He’s been to each place, soaked up its essence, and reproduced it in the form of gorgeously sung folk songs. Even if he isn’t doing the traveling himself, Terry is busy imagining the voyages of others to far-away locales like Portugal, Spain, or France. He envisions cars, trains, and planes carrying people off to the bright new lives they want, or at least think they want.

That is not to say that Terry doesn’t maintain a strong sense of groundedness amidst his travels. Woven throughout the various narratives on Empty Seat on a Plane is an enduring sense of Americana. In Terry’s lyrics, home is less a single place than a group of ideas and images (ballparks, carnival rides, and wide-open roads) that conjure the unified feeling of America as one expansive home. Specific nods to gospel, funk, and blues instrumentally achieve a similar effect, compressing America’s vast musical history into portable tuneful mementos that give listeners a coherent sense of place no matter where they might be. Never crowded or ostentatious, Terry’s arrangements give each instrument just enough space to make these musical influences clear, and his soothing vocal delivery is calming without being sleep–inducing, which is a rare feat.  While Terry has been accurately compared to the likes of Ryan Adams and James Taylor, Empty Seat on a Plane shows that now he may be well on the way to becoming a reference point for other up-and-coming singer-songwriters himself.

Metal Monday: More New OurStage Metal Releases!

Not that OurStage metal acts are dormant during any particular time of year, but summer seems to be especially lively for new releases. Metalcore seems to be the hot style of metal midway through 2012 with new music from OurStage veterans Danforth, A Wanted Awakening, and Hearts Alive. I’ve heard all three of these albums, each of them are a different style of metalcore.

Hearts Alive’s latest full length album, He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules came out at the end of April and, unfortunately, I’m just now getting around to hearing it (sorry, everyone). The good news is that this album is both rad and a solid effort. Mixing the heard-hitting onslaught of Disfear with the triumphant guitar work of At The Gates, fellow Swedes Hearts Alive create one fantastically aggressive metalcore album with a slight lean toward the more hardcore side of things. Fun fact: Disfear and At The Gates have the same vocalist, Tomas Lindberg, who is also featured on He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules. From front to back, He Who Has the Gold Makes All the Rules is a great listen, one that will surely get your limbs moving in the pit. You can buy it here, or just check it out on Spotify if you like.

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Metal Monday: The Supreme Reign Of Dying Fetus

When it comes to metal, it’s hard to argue against tried and true traditions. Heck, there are still bands emulating the godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath. Though some bands may be treated as pariahs for being unoriginal, many bands are given the exact opposite treatment, being ostracized for changing from their beloved ways (Morbid Angel, anyone?). Dying Fetus don’t really have to worry about that. For about 20 years, Dying Fetus have been putting out strong metal albums, and the metal world has been moshing right along with them. The band’s latest release, Reign Supreme, isn’t looking to change that mold in any way, but does that matter?

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Metal Monday: Ten Great Uses of Unusual Instruments In Metal

Your average music listener might assume that metal bands are all the same in the instrument department—guitar, drums, bass, maybe piano or keyboards—but what about the flute, didgeridoo, saxophone, trumpet, lute, bagpipes, fiddle, berimbau, Whamola, or hurdy gurdy? As unlikely as it seems, there are metal bands that incorporate less mainstream instruments into their sound. Apocalyptica, for example, is comprised of four cellists and a drummer. Among folk, progressive, avant garde, and experimental metal subgenres (and even some mainstream acts), listeners can find all sorts of neat uses of unusual instrumentation. We’re going to share ten of our favorite “nontraditional” metal songs with you—see if you can guess what the instruments are!

SoundTrax: Sticky Souls

If there has been one unifying theme between all of our SoundTrax posts, we hope it is that every playlist is put together with careful thought and features music with a little more soul than your average radio hit. We’re firm believers that music should be an extension of your personality; quirky, syncopated and with a couple rough edges, which is what makes this week’s post so special for us. While there is no unifying genre for this playlist, every song is sung with emotion and style. Some feature the aesthetic of vibrant ’20s big bands, others are stuck in the sweaty gumbo swamps of Louisiana, but they all feature one unifying force; soul. Every artist understands just how much emotional power music can have, and they demonstrate their sheer prowess at manipulating these emotions in this week’s playlist.

SoundTrax: Sticky Souls from OurStage on 8tracks.

Fitz & the Tantrums kick us off with an infectious neo soul/indie pop song crossover that would feel just as at home on your mom’s oldies station as it would on your iPod. Next up, Parov Stelar and co. are back with an upbeat, punchy, jazz-pop tune featuring intricate bass lines and playful horn riffs. The late Amy Winehouse slows things down with her sultry tone and impeccable restraint. OurStage newcomer Ernest Rose has a voice that would make any woman buckle as well as the songwriting chops to back it up. The Crystal Method and Martha Reeves revive R&B and the spirit of Detroit in their track with a modern, bass-blistering level of synth work—definitely the heaviest and most funky track on the list. A quick change of pace as Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings fill your ears with Rhodes keys, shuffled jazz rhythms and gospel choirs. Mark Ronson and Erykah Badu team up on a tune soaked in southern whiskey and filled with New Orleans jubilation. And closing out this week, one of my new favorite OurStage acts, Smokey Robotic provide a slow, dubstep-influenced tune that defies classification, so let’s just chalk it up to awesome music.

OurStage on 8tracks: Rastafarian Anthems

Rastafarian Anthems (Fresh From Babylon, Mon) from OurStage on 8tracks.

Summer is a little ways down the road, but we can still pretend. This funky playlist is just what we needed to feel the sand between our toes and the ocean breeze on our skin. OurStage artists Caracas Sunset from Venezuela and Zebulun from New Jersey bring their beats to the table, sharing the playlist with Slightly Stoopid from California and French group Dub Incorporation. Spread the love with this mix, and there’s sure to be good vibes all around.

SoundTrax: Ambient Thoughts

At OurStage, we believe that music does not always need to fall in a key, or have explicit rhythms to be “good”. Music that offers listeners a soundscape of textures and gestures can make for an incredibly relaxing and thought-provoking experience. This week at SoundTrax, we’ve dug deep into the Ambient/Chill Channel to cultivate a playlist of some of the best sound collages, atonal masterpieces and spooky-horror-film-soundtracks for your listening pleasure.


SoundTrax: Ambient Thoughts from OurStage on 8tracks.

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SoundTrax: Sunsets and Regrets

This week at SoundTrax, we’ve curated a playlist that sounds like sunsets, shimmers like the ’80s and warms you up like a summer bonfire. Every artist featured here borrows heavily from the dance vernacular but also have a clear affinity for fuzzy, jangly, indie pop. What emerges from these two influences is a sound that is steeped in nostalgia but remarkably fresh. Maybe it is this aspect of retro-futurism; straddling the sounds of the past and future with such dexterity, that make the style stand out so well in the present landscape of recycled pop music. Think of it as the sonic equivalent to Instagram. This is the perfect playlist for the end of a long night with friends, when you still don’t want the party to end, but the ringing in your ears leaves you no choice. There’s equal parts guitar and synth work, just as much kit thrashing as button pressing and enough disco swagger to bring the genre back from the grave.

SoundTrax: Sunsets and Regrets from OurStage on 8tracks.

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OurStage on 8tracks: Musically Adventurous

Here at OurStage, we’re always on the lookout for new music across all possible genres, from hip-hop to metal to indie rock to dubstep. That’s why Jordan has created his very own adrenaline-pumping mix of only the most exciting music out there. Metal? Check, Kylesa and Rooks, are crushing it. Hip-hop? Check, we’ve got Will Brennan and The Notorious B.I.G. Indie? Check, The Ascetic Junkies are holding it down. Electronic? Check, Nero is in the mix. There would be a whole lot more, but let’s not get out of hand here…


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