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Songs of the Revolution: O’Brother

It’s that time again. New music revolution time. Every couple of weeks, we offer a new Songs of the Revolution session with some of our favorite artists, featuring exclusive, stripped-down performances and some free downloads. This week: O’Brother.

Atlanta’s O’Brother has released only one full-length album so far — 2011’s Garden Window — but they are already road-tested pros with a loyal and rapidly growing fanbase. Having completed tours with the likes of Manchester Orchestra and The Features, the band was crossing the country on their first major co-headlining jaunt (with Junius) when we caught up with them in Boston. While the rest of the band decompressed in the parking lot after a long drive, singer Tanner Merritt borrowed someone’s old guitar and banged out three affecting performances in the studio. Merritt’s extra-laid-back and unassuming demeanor belied the tense atmospheric shift that occurred in the room as soon as he starting singing. Check out the streaming videos and download the tracks… for free!


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UK Music Big Wigs Want More Copyright Protections, Don’t Like Google

Some of the biggest names in the UK’s music industry, both past and present, have banded together in the name of copyright. Pete Townshend, Elton John, Roger Daltry, Simon Cowell, and Tinie Tempah were just some of the music industry figures who signed their names to an open letter that ran in the Telegraph on the 24th. The letter, Musicians need strong copyright laws to excel globally, opines on Britain’s presence in the international music community and how it can be protected from the ravages of illegal file sharing.

“As a digitally advanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, Britain is well-positioned to increase its exports in the digital age,” the letter states. “We can only realise this potential if we have a strong domestic copyright framework… Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins.” It was previously reported that the letter was going to cite Google as a primary enabler of piracy. Since the publishing of the letter it appears that the rocker are holding off their attack on the search giant, for now.

The letter goes on to reference the controversial Digital Economy Act as a key tool to fight the deleterious effects of file sharing. Some of the more hotly contested aspects of the law, including provisions that would allow the government to cut off internet access for repeat offenders, are not schedueled to be implemented until 2014.

Pierce The Veil Talk Warped Tour, ‘Collide With The Sky,’ And Hot Sauce

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsIn today’s crowded post-hardcore scene, Pierce The Veil stand out as a band who aren’t afraid to take risks, try new things, and, most importantly, stay true to themselves. With a sound that combines aggressive guitars, dynamic vocals and the occasional hint of Latin flavor, PTV are sitting comfortably at the top of their genre. The San Diego, California natives released their third album, Collide With The Sky, on July 17th, and have been one of the most anticipated acts to see live on Warped Tour this summer. We caught up with frontman/guitarist Vic Fuentes and bassist Jaime Preciado at the Mansfield, MA stop to chat about the new record, collaborating with Kellin Quinn and why they included hot sauce in their pre-order bundles!

OS: What’s been your most memorable experience with a fan so far on the tour?

VF: I guess the most memorable experience would be when they hug me with a ton of paint all over them, and then it stays, so I remember it all day…

JP: Yeah, it stays. All day. I have had that experience.

VF: Kids just paint their whole bodies…

JP: It’s, like, 100 degrees outside and the paint just ruins clothing. Or when girls wear a ton of makeup and you’re wearing a shirt, and then next day you see your shirt, and it’s got some girl’s face imprint on your shoulder.

OS: What other bands have you most enjoyed seeing at Warped so far this year?

JP: So many bands. I miss The Used. Those guys were awesome. I like watching Bayside as much as I possibly can, because they’re one of the tightest bands on Warped. They’re so, so good. And today I actually saw Memphis May Fire for the first time. We’re good friends with those guys. They put on a good show. It’s really awesome.

OS: Your set at Warped is a lot shorter than a lot of the shows you play. How did you decide what songs were going to make the set list? Does that change from date to date?

VF: Yeah, it was hard for this tour, because now we have three records, and we’ve never had that feeling, having so many songs. But it’s fun though, it’s cool, we just decided we’ve got to at least play one new song, so we’re playing the new one that we just put out.

Continue reading ‘Pierce The Veil Talk Warped Tour, ‘Collide With The Sky,’ And Hot Sauce’

Flea Of Red Hot Chili Peppers Releases First Solo Album For Charity

Michael “Flea” Balzary, the usually/mostly naked, hair-dyed, wildboy bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, has released his first ever solo album, entitled Helen Burns. However, in contrast with his rambunctious stage presence and famously upbeat alternative funk rock band, the new album “is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record,” says Flea. “[T]he music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home.” It’s available here as a name-your-price download or 180-gram vinyl, and all proceeds go toward The Silverlake Conservatory of Music, described by the musician as “a community based non profit music school that I am an integral part of.” Whether or not you’re a fan of RHCP, this is highly recommended listening – you might be pleasantly surprised.


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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The Zombies and The Left Banke, Live in Baroque Pop Heaven

Like so many other things, it all began with The Beatles. The style that came to be known variously as baroque pop, orchestral pop, chamber pop, etc. can basically be traced back to 1966, when The Beatles started crafting their own brand of art songs with classically styled string arrangements, like “Eleanor Rigby,” right around the same time their American rivals The Beach Boys were getting orchestral themselves on Pet Sounds. Soon the world was awash in pop/rock combos with big ideas—  tinkling harpsichords, tugging cello lines, and tart violin phrases were placed atop ‘60s pop songs like frosted flowers adorning a wedding cake. While the style would forever after be associated with the ‘60s, baroque pop never really stopped influencing subsequent generations of bands, from ‘80s acts like The Three O’Clock and XTC alter ego The Dukes of Stratosphear to the Elephant 6 collective of the ‘90s (Olivia Tremor Control, Of Montreal, et al), and beyond.

But while the sound may have started in the busy brains of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney, baroque pop’s standard-bearers, the artists who truly came to epitomize the style, were The Zombies and The Left Banke. For British Invasion heroes The Zombies, their 1968 swan song, Odessey and Oracle [sic]—recorded in ’67—was a high-water mark both in the advancement of orchestral pop and the oeuvre of the group itself. On the other side of the Atlantic, young New York band The Left Banke was already at work on its second album of baroque-pop gems by the time Odessey was released. Their ’67 debut had included such heart-stoppingly gorgeous hits as “Walk Away Renee” and “Pretty Ballerina,” and even after boy-genius keyboardist Mike Brown departed, they soldiered on with 1968’s outstanding The Left Banke Too. But by the time 1969 rolled around, both bands were basically done, and only the aforementioned masterpieces were left to influence budding chamber-pop disciples.

Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants and Rumors: The Zombies and The Left Banke, Live in Baroque Pop Heaven’

New New Order (Order?) Tour

Yes, the legendary new wave electro rockers known since 1980 as New Order have decided to stop torturing American fans by ending a seven-year embargo, kicking off a short tour on October 5th in San Francisco. Rolling Stone reports that the group will hop strategically (the only way to hop, really) across the continent during the month of October, ending on the 23rd in Toronto. This jaunt will be their first in North America since replacing founding member Peter Hook in 2007.

10/5   San Francisco – Oakland Fox Theatre
10/7   Los Angeles – Greek Theatre
10/10 Denver – Broomfield 1st Bank Center
10/12  Dallas – Palladium
10/18  New York City – Roseland
10/21  Chicago – Aragon Ballroom
10/23  Toronto – Sony Center

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Code Red

Blameshift’s steady rise to the upper strata of commercial music is the product of not just talent, but serious marketing mojo. First the band became road warriors, criss-crossing across the country in a bus fueled by corn oil and building a bi-coastal fan base. Those diehard fans allowed Blameshift to finance their first record through Kickstarter and release free downloads in exchange for a “like” on Facebook. Their strategy paid off, exposing their polished hard rock to new fans and sponsors, and netting them placement on The Real World and Call of Duty. Blameshift’s music is as heavy as it is catchy, driven by the siren song of Jenny Mann. Guitars chug and strike through mountains of distortion, drums are pummeled to within an inch of their life, and Mann’s voice pierces through it all. Start with “Ghost” or “Killing Me” for a dose of dark and fitful rock. If you like to dance through all the drama, we recommend the sinister, polyrhythmic rocker,“The Sirens Are Set.” “Are you ready?” Mann asks. “This could last forever.” Cool by us.

Metal Monday: Cool Off With Cold Weather Jams By Black Thai, Voyager, Black Sheep Wall, And More

It’s summer, which means it’s hot. Really hot. In fact, this is one of the hottest summers ever so far. What does this mean? It means what you need now, more than ever before, are some really solid jams to help you keep your cool. Luckily, we’ve got a handful of metal songs here that should definitely do the trick. Lots of slow, heavy songs—perfectly matched for lazing about in the shade on a blazing day. Now go grab a cold beverage because there’s only so much music can do to beat the heat!

Ben Folds Five Set September 18 Release Date For First Full-Length In 13 Years

Ben Folds Five have announced that September 18 will be the official release date of their first full–length album since 1999′s The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner. A lot has changed since the group called it quits at the turn of the millennium, but Folds, bassist Robert Sledge, and drummer Darren Jessee haven’t missed a beat. Taking advantage of the new surge in crowdfunding popularized by sites like Kickstarter, the band has financed their entire new record, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, through

A few months ago, we got the chance to talk to Folds about the making of the album and the funding process, and we’re excited to see the project finally complete. Folds’ close friend Amanda Palmer also recently made headlines for her massively successful fundraising project on Kickstarter. Last week, Folds took to Facebook to share his thoughts on her upcoming album, Theatre Is Evil, which is also due for release in September.

Listen to “Do It Anyway,” the first single from the new album, below.

Do It Anyway by Ben Folds


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