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This month we are awarding prizes of $100 to winners of the competition finals. In the future there will be prizes to help your musical career. Check back to find out.

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Tag: death cab for cutie
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Tag: "death cab for cutie"

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The Kind-Hearted Kid

Roads

Bad stuff is out there—in nasty Facebook posts, shocking headlines and mean people looking to kill your buzz. Next time you feel a deep and abiding despair about humanity, put on Roads, a Washington-based band led by singer-songwriter Ian Vidovic. Along with keyboard player Abram Bardue and drummer Justin Abel, Vidovic crafts indie pop patchworks of found parts, binding them together with an unwavering hopefulness. On “Love Will Grow” piano and strings are met with yawning textures, rattles and creaks. “I Don’t Know How,” on the other hand, is a quixotic ukulele song, played sweet and easy. If you’re not a fan of high whimsy, you’ll want to bypass Roads. But if you like the gentle and earnest croon of vocalists like Death Cab’s Ben Gibbard and the quirky balladry of Decemberists, well, you’ve found your jam.

SoundTrax: City Lights & Snowy Nights

Ever wish your life were like a movie? That you could walk down the street and have perfectly appropriate music playing all the time?

Here at SoundTrax, our goal is to provide you with weekly music that is specific to an event or mood. No genre limitations, no time-period restrictions, just great music. The order of the songs selected is equally important to the content itself in our opinion, so more often than not, this blog will be presented in the form of a playlist.

As the weather takes a turn for the worse here in Boston, I find my taste in music changing as well. Tempo begins to slow, euphoric bustling arrangements give way to introspective and sparse recordings, and themes shift towards the darker end of the spectrum. So throw on your favorite pair of headphones, slip on some mittens and brave the cold, gray January skies with these tunes:

SoundTrax: City Lights & Snowy Nights from OurStage on 8tracks.

“Codex” by Radiohead
Radiohead have been the kings of introspective rock music for years now, and “Codex” is no exception. The slow, steady pacing of the song provides a sense of safety to an otherwise haunting track.

“Wonderwall” by Ryan Adams
Adams’ cover of Oasis manages to take a stereotypical ’90s rock track and turn it into a beautiful, bare-boned love song. The perfect track to listen to as the sky blackens and the first bit of snow coats the ground.

“Hold On” by Angus and Julia Stone
As the pace quickens, your feet start to fall in line with the subtle shuffle of drums. Hold on, you’re not quite through this storm.

“Temptress” (Tyler Stone’s Forbidden Fruit Mix) by Sutro
Our very own Sutro provides you with this sultry track. With simple yet striking production, and vocals that absolutely drip with sex, this song should warm your insides.

Continue reading ‘SoundTrax: City Lights & Snowy Nights’

Tasty Tracks And Tasty Treats

Here at OurStage there are few things that we enjoy as much as music, but one of our obsessions that comes pretty damn close is our love of food. So imagine our delight when several musicians announced new, culinary side projects. Train released a Petite Sirah wine that will finally let fans know what “Drops of Jupiter” taste like, AC/DC announced a line of fine wines named after their hits—including “Highway to Hell” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”—and former Blur bassist Alex James is now selling his cheeses in the UK.

We did a little digging and as it turns out, the relationship between musicians and foodies is very strong. Yes, plenty of artists offer ways to get your drink on like a rock star (Sammy Hagar has his own brand of tequila), but many are restaurant owners, chefs and even critics! From giants like KISS Coffeehouses and Jimmy Buffet‘s Margaritaville Cafes to smaller, quainter cafes like Moby‘s adorable Teany in New York City, artist-owned eateries have been popping up all over the place. Even J. Lo got into the restaurant game a few years ago; unfortunately, the Mexican eatery “Madre’s” closed its doors in 2008 after six years. (Still better than Britney‘s joint “Nyla,” which lasted less than a year.)

Continue reading ‘Tasty Tracks And Tasty Treats’

Live Wired: Death Cab For Cutie – Live At The Mt. Baker Theatre

There’s nothing quite like witnessing your favorite artists play your favorite songs on stage, surrounded by fans who came to experience the same phenomenon. Welcome to Live Wired, where you can stay connected to the world of live music! This weekly column will explore and review performances by national acts as well as OurStage artists across varying genres. We will also look into what is changing and expanding the way we can experience live music without even leaving our rooms. Check back every Sunday for a new post!

Hulu, best known as the Web site to visit when you need to catch up on the TV shows you’re too busy to watch, is also relevant to the music world. The concept of musicians selling footage of their live shows is definitely not new. Fans have been able to buy VHS tapes, and later DVD’s, of shows they attended or wanted to attend for years. But now you don’t even have to pay to see a show as long as you don’t mind the occasional advertisement interrupting your viewing experience. That’s what Hulu is providing by offering Death Cab For Cutie‘s Live at the Mt. Baker Theatre for free streaming. Fans even have the option of watching the entire DVD or choosing individual song performances they want to see.

During the first ten minutes or so, we are given entertainment beyond the musical aspect of the DVD. All of the members spend this time talking about the early years of their lives and their band. They recall memories of Bellingham, Washington, the location of the Mt. Baker Theatre and the town many of the band members grew up in. We then get to hear about how their lives have changed throughout the evolution of the band. One member reflects on their success, saying “I still just feel like a dude in a rock band. I mean, it still just feels like, okay I guess I get on stage and play music now.” You can tell that returning to their hometown is a humbling experience for all of them.

The performance begins with a typical shot of the band backstage, getting ready to start their show. They enter to applause and with no real introduction needed, begin playing “The New Year”, the opening track from their album Transatlanticism. The song starts with an instrumental intro and while it’s not very upbeat, all the members are rocking out and you can’t help but get caught up in the passion instantly, even as a viewer behind the computer screen.

Throughout the show, the members of Death Cab For Cutie do a fantastic job of keeping up their energy on stage. At first, there are few signs of the crowd’s spirit or involvement but towards the middle of the set, they start to catch on when the band has the audience members participate by waving their hands during “Grapevine Fires”. Front man Ben Gibbard sings each word with so much passion, but his voice lends itself better to some songs rather than others. While songs like “Soul Meets Body” don’t have the same feel as their recorded versions, Gibbard’s voice shines in others such as “Bixby Canyon Bridge”.

The show’s encore is definitely the most powerful part of the set. Gibbard returns to the stage alone and with only an acoustic guitar in hand. What follows is a wonderful version of a fan favorite, “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”. The performance is personal and emotional, doing its recorded version justice. The rest of the band joins him on stage and ends their hometown show with three more songs, the last of these being “Transatlanticism”. There couldn’t be a more perfect way for this band to finish a show. The title track from their 2003 album, “Transatlanticism” is an epic, eight-minute piece that is hauntingly sad but beautiful. The songs starts out mellow and builds up in emotion both lyrically and vocally, focusing on the repeated line “I need you so much closer”. You can feel the hint of desperation in Gibbard’s voice.

Check out the band playing “Transatlanticism” below or catch their whole performance on Hulu!

Get Lyrical: Death Cab For Cutie’s “Some Boys”

We’ve always been pretty jealous of Ben Gibbard; he’s released eight successful albums as the frontman of Death Cab for Cutie, seen success with the Postal Service and his solo material and is married to ultimate indie chick Zooey Deschanel. And it’s hard to fault him for any of that, since he also comes off as sweet, thoughtful and reserved both in his songwriting and during interviews. But on the upcoming Codes and Keys, Gibbard changes things up with “Some Boys”—the quiet, indie rock equivalent of a diss track.

While he doesn’t explicitly call out anyone in particular, it isn’t hard to imagine some of the bands he could be referring to when he sings that some boys are “making a killing at the top of the billing/It’s their role and that’s all that they know.” He clarifies his criticisms in the second stanza, calling out a few specific character flaws: “But some boys don’t listen, some boys don’t listen at all/They don’t ask for permission, they lack inhibitions/No walls and they get what they want.” Even cavalier sexual attitudes are brought under fire, as Gibbard points out that they’ll be “singing the blues” after “Joylessly flinging with the girls that they’re bringing to their rooms.

Sounds kind of like getting reprimanded by your dad, doesn’t it? The whole song oozes with that feeling of, “we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed in you.” (Although now that Gibbard’s a married man who’s no longer allowed to be “flinging,” maybe there’s also a tiny bit of jealousy pervading these lyrics.) But either way, he makes it clear that after a while there’s nothing fun about being an asshole and taking part in empty flings. “Some boys are sleeping alone/Because there’s no one that’s keeping them warm through the evening/And they know that they’re on their own.”

Of course, it’s also possible that Gibbard and co. could be referring to younger versions of themselves. After all, two Death Cabbers—Gibbard and bassist Nick Harmer—got married as the band was working on this release. But with the ominous closing line, “They won’t get what they want,” we don’t think that’s the case. As the band gears up for one of the most highly-anticipated releases of the year, it would appear that they have almost everything that they want.

Give “Some Boys” a listen below, and be sure to check out Codes and Keys—out on Tuesday (5/31)!

Have an interesting story behind your lyrics? Let us know at pr@ourstage.com!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Find Vienna

With charming melodies over electronic pop rock, Philadelphia’s Find Vienna have garnered the attention and earned the adoration of music lovers from coast to coast.

Led by vocalist Patrick Mencel, Find Vienna have been dubbed “Philly’s Buzz Band” and have racked up numerous local music awards, including Best Band, Best Lead Singer, Best Drummer and Best EP for their release In Your Favorite Colors.

The EP, which was released in November of ’09, has seven tracks of beautifully-crafted pop numbers, placing FV somewhere between Coldplay and Death Cab for Cutie. Mencel’s vocals are soft and ambient against the more industrial sounding instrumentation, complete with driving drums, melodic picking, piano chords and the faint sounds of tambourines and acoustic guitars.

In addition to touring the country, Find Vienna have also shared the stage with The Script, The Ataris, Mae, Parachute and more. While they’ve been actively considering signing to a label, they’ve had their music placed in MTV shows like The Real World, True Life and The City!

With big choruses, dynamic instrumentation and pristine production, each track on the record is radio-ready. The group has been working on new music, and will hopefully be putting out a new album in 2011.

Be sure to check out some of the tracks from In Your Favorite Colors below! You can also purchase the whole album on iTunes.


Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: 2011′s Most Anticipated Rock Albums

Last week, we covered ten of our favorite rock albums for 2010, which included records from My Chemical Romance, VersaEmerge, Foxy Shazam and more.

With new records from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Coldplay and Beyoncé scheduled to drop, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big year for music.  This week, we’re taking a look at ten of the most anticipated rock releases, which stretch across subgenres from hardcore to electronica to indie rock.

Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin – TBA

After 2008′s heartfelt release The Glass Passenger, Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon is ready to release new material. Passenger, which chronicled McMahon’s battle with leukemia, was a darker record then sunny debut Everything in Transit. But going on what we’ve heard so far, the new release will be yet another masterpiece, with plenty of well-executed piano-drenched pop rock.

Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys (Spring)

Indie rock kings Death Cab for Cutie will be releasing their seventh album early next year. Frontman Ben Gibbard promises that this record will be “less guitar-centric” than any of Death Cab’s previous records, which have typically been of slower, chord-based song structure. Lyrically, bassist Nick Harmer insists that this album will have a much broader emotional scope than 2008′s Narrow Stairs.

Pete Wentz and Bebe Rexha of Black Cards

Black Cards – TBA

After the band announced their hiatus, Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz decided to keep doing what he does best—make undeniably catchy pop music. Teaming up with then-unknown vocalist Bebe Rexha, Saves the Day drummer Spencer Peterson and The Receiving End of Sirens guitarist Nate Patterson, Wentz created Black Cards. The group’s music (especially Rexha’s vibrato-soaked vocals) is reminscent of early No Doubt, with an influx of dance-worthy electronic beats.

Taking Back Sunday – TBA (Spring)

Taking Back Sunday‘s lineup has changed so many times that their Wikipedia page has a full chart to help fans understand the eleven-year timeline of the group’s career. After a few missteps with new members—even frontman Adam Lazzara apologized for 2009′s New Again—the original lineup is back, making this one of the most anticipated releases for any fan of TBS’ genre-defining album, Tell All Your Friends. From the sounds of the demos that have already been posted, it looks like TBS is returning to their roots and ready to make a big comeback.

No Doubt – TBA

No Doubt

It’s amazing to think that ska-princess-turned-pop-superstar Gwen Stefani had any time in 2010 to return to the studio and make a brand new record with her band, No Doubt. Since the band’s humble beginnings in the late ’80s, Stefani has become a powerhouse solo artist, entrepreneur, fashion designer, wife and mother. But, somehow, she was able to make some time for writing music, and No Doubt’s comeback album is eagerly awaited by fans young and old. As of now, details have been pretty hush-hush about this release, but we’re betting that the new No Doubt will be bigger and better than ever.

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.) – February

After a full-year hiatus from the stage, charismatic ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens is back. Joined by members of Underminded, From First to Last, Story of the Year and Matchbook Romance, Owens has already made a huge splash on the modern rock scene with his new project, D.R.U.G.S. The band will be releasing their album in February, before they head out on Alternative Press’ AP Spring Tour 2011. From the sounds of the tracks already released, this post-hardcore supergroup is poised for a massive takeover.

fun.

fun. –  TBA (Summer)

As we learned in our Q&A with Nate Ruess of fun., the group is hard at work on their sophomore LP and are hoping to release it next summer. The band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, was an exciting, refreshing and eclectic mix of everything from indie pop to showtunes. Fans are definitely on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what this band will do next.

Cobra Starship – TBA

Still riding high off the success of their latest record, Hot Mess, Cobra Starship have already begun recording their next album. Hot Mess spawned the 2009 smash “Good Girls Go Bad” and launched the band from the small-scale modern rock scene to rulers of Top 40 radio. Though no details have been released about the new album, Cobra’s history dictates that it will be chock-full of undeniably catchy, dance-worthy rock numbers.

The Mars Volta – TBA

Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta

GRAMMY-award winning experimental rock group The Mars Volta have kept pretty quiet about their upcoming release, which will be the sixth in the band’s career. The band entered pre-production back in May, and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez recently announced via Twitter that they were putting the finishing touches on the record. This will also be the first record where vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala will be writing all of his own lyrics, with no guidelines or concept provided by chief songwriter Lopez.

Emery – TBA (January/February)

Seattle-based rock group Emery delighted their fans when they returned to their roots on 2009′s …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Full of charging instrumentation, sweeping vocals and shimmering with top-notch production, the record left Emery fans satisfied, but also craving more. The band announced that they are planning to release the album in the early months of 2011, hopefully with some tour dates to follow!

What records are you most looking forward to hearing in 2011? Let us know in the comments!

 


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