Changes to the monthly competitions

Hi and welcome back to Amazing OurStage. We want to let you know that there will be changes to the prizes we are offering. Every month will be different.
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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Come back to see the improvements to OurStage over the next few months.

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Haim “If I Could Change Your Mind” Video Teaser

2012HaimPR050412Haim have released a 22-second teaser for their upcoming music video, “If I Could Change Your Mind,” and as vague as it is (read: we have no idea what’s happening in it) we’re pretty excited to see what the full video holds. Unfortunately, with no release date as of yet, we may have to wait a while. The video was directed by Warren Fu (Daft Punk, The Strokes, Depeche Mode) and since it’s Haim we’re talking about, we feel confident saying fans won’t be disappointed. Check out the teaser below. Continue reading ‘Haim “If I Could Change Your Mind” Video Teaser’

Sound & Vision: Can Muse Become the Biggest Band in the World?

Move over, Coldplay. And tell U2 the news. Muse is gunning for the latter bands’ longtime job, the one for which the former might be considered naturally next in line: biggest rock band on the planet.

Bono, for one, may have seen this coming. When Muse opened for U2 on U.S. dates of the iconic Irish band’s 360° Tour in September and October of 2009, U2 frontman Bono touted the young English trio as one to watch — and listen to — the next biggest thing. Muse deserved the distinction: What other rock & roll band can claim responsibility for inspiring the Twilight saga?

“And, finally, thank you to the talented musicians who inspire me, particularly the band Muse — there are emotions, scenes, and plot threads in this novel that were born from Muse songs and would not exist without their genius.

— Twilight author Stephenie Meyer

But being the muse of a best-selling author and earning plum spots on the soundtracks to the blockbuster films based on her blockbuster book series do not ruling rock Gods make. Muse, though, is about to give it a shot with their upcoming sixth album, The 2nd Law (due October 2), which is receiving perhaps the biggest pre-release marketing push since Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Continue reading ‘Sound & Vision: Can Muse Become the Biggest Band in the World?’

Sound And Vision: Foster the People’s Chart Challenge — Is There Life After “Pumped Up Kicks”?

Foster the People just might be the pop anomaly of 2011.

The trio of Los Angeles-based twentysomethings led by founder and namesake Mark Foster looks like a boy band (only cuter), plays instruments like rockers and produces music with beats that thump as hard as any backing up those fierce divas currently ruling every dance floor in clubland. And then there’s FTP’s breakthrough single, an insanely catchy song called “Pumped Up Kicks” about cool shoes and a youth with homicidal tendencies.

I mean, really?

Even more surprising than the song’s smash status despite its decidedly un-poppy protagonist—that troubled kid contemplating a shooting spree—is the fact that it’s created barely a ripple of controversy throughout its lengthy chart run. Did the clever lyrics fly over the heads of the country’s guardians of morality and decency in songwriting? Were we all just too lost in the beat to notice the finger on the trigger?

Or perhaps for the first time since the second British invasion of the 1980s brought such alternative pop acts as Duran Duran,
Depeche Mode and indie-pop pioneers the Smiths into and around the mainstream, both the masses and the pop-music establishment (radio and retail) are ready to support music that touches on more complex subject matters than “dance music sex romance”—to quote a track on pop iconoclast supreme Prince’s 1982 album, 1999, one of the records that launched the censorship wars of the early ’80s that would hardly raise an eyebrow today.)

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Foster the People’s Chart Challenge — Is There Life After “Pumped Up Kicks”?’

Sound And Vision: Britney Spears At 30 — Where Does She Go From Here?

It seems like just yesterday: She was invading the dreams of pedophiles and lusty teenage boys everywhere. But that was 1998, the year Britney Spears, then sixteen, broke with her No. 1 debut single, “…Baby One More Time,” and its accompanying video, in which the singer made an unforgettable first impression as Lolita-lite, a sexy school girl who was up for just about anything.

At the time, Britney seemed destined for the cut-out bin in two years flat. Her synthetic pop sound didn’t sound built for longevity. And didn’t the name Britney Spears, which was too close for comfort to that of ’80s hair metal heads Britny Fox, have one-hit wonder written all over it?

Boy, was I wrong! Thirteen years later, she’s still with us. Her albums may no longer be as huge as they were at the dawn of the century, but she’s still one of the leading ladies of pop. Super-stardom, however, isn’t everything. Even an act with a hit list that’s as thematically shallow as Britney’s must crave a little artistic growth. She’ll turn thirty on Dec. 2, but to me, she’s still seventeen—partly because I don’t want to admit that I’m getting so old, but mostly because Britney herself still doesn’t sound as if she’s a day over twenty.

Sure she’s lived a lot. There have been two marriages, two divorces (actually, one divorce, one annulment), two children and countless scandals. I interviewed Britney for Teen People right after the release of her second album, Oops!… I Did It Again, in 2000, back when she still hearted Justin Timberlake. She struck me as a sweet teenage girl with a maturity level that matched her age. I don’t know what she’s like today, but her music doesn’t make her sound much older.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Britney Spears At 30 — Where Does She Go From Here?’

Sound And Vision: Guns N’ Roses? Joan Jett? Why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Is on the Verge of Becoming a Joke?

Last month when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its fifteen nominees for induction in 2012, the organization really outdid itself—and not in a good way! Donovan? Not again! Erik B. & Rakim? Not before LL Cool J! Joan Jett and the Blackhearts?

What? No “Weird Al” Yankovic? Hasn’t he been eligible for four years?

The Hall of Fame has been scraping from the B-list for a while now, but the voting body should take a closer look at the A-list. There’s still a lot of unheralded talent there, and that would not include Joan Jett. Yes, Jett’s former band, The Runaways, deserves credit for introducing girl power to hard rock, but did Joan Jett and the Blackhearts really earn a spot in the hallowed Hall based on the strength of one really awesome No. 1 smash, 1981′s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” which the band didn’t even write? In the general scheme of things, aren’t they sort of a rock & roll footnote?

Not Linda Ronstadt. Perhaps the most influential female in ’70s rock, who spent the ’80s juggling genres from new wave to mariachi to the great American songbook, she’s the most deserving artist never to be nominated. And let’s talk about Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks, who is already in the Hall of Fame as a member of Fleetwood Mac but whose solo career is far more worthy of the honor than Jett’s post-Runaways. At least the nominating committee finally had the good sense to give props to Heart, though I’ll eat my copy of the “Alone” Cassingle if the Wilson sisters actually get in.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: Guns N’ Roses? Joan Jett? Why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Is on the Verge of Becoming a Joke?’

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

Dancefloor Coup d’Etat

Slutterhouse

Tension’s a funny thing. Too much of it can be explosive. Too little can be boring. Slutterhouse navigate tension like a tightrope walker, always aware of the potential for disaster but never wavering from their goal. The duo is made up of Rabih Mick Salloum and Nabil Saliba, two Parisians by way of Beirut. Musically their DNA seems more linked to Depeche Mode and Crystal Castles. Underground electronica careens and crashes into mainstream club music, yielding songs like “French Robot Leuve,” where watery digital droplets and beeps provide the backdrop for the monotone ramblings of a bionic man. Good stuff. “Made In Dane” begins like an early ‘80s Madonna single, then takes a flying leap into future with diaphanous washes, pops and crackles and some serious sexy talk. Salloum’s incantation on the chorus, “Darling, won’t you dance?” can serve as the overarching mantra for Slutterhouse. If they build a beat, you have no choice but to follow them to the dance floor.

iRock: The Anix

For many the future of music is a topic up for debate— whether it’ll sink like a stone or be saved by those artists with raw, born-with-it talent. During the past decade, the music industry found salvation in pop and hip hop more so than they have in the past thanks to the Top 40 charts being man-handled by the likes of Lady Gaga, Nickelback, Drake, Flo Rida, Taylor Swift, Ke$ha and the like. Many people today think the true meaning behind music is lost in the waterfall of contracts, dollar signs and sponsorships.

However, now is the perfect time for the underground music scene to make their mark and give the people the raw talent that we were brought up on (remember the 90’s alt rock movement? I sure do). Luckily, I recently found a band that meshes the elements of synth pop and industrial music with the alternative rock sound that has been fading since the birth of autotune. Hailing from the city of angels in California is this week’s iRock artist, The Anix.

The Anix beautifully implements an electronic sound that not many can perfect (especially at this stage) while offering a rock edge jam-packed with strong, cutting vocals and crunchy guitar riffs. In September 2009, the group joined Apoptygma Berzerk on their tour through US, Canada and South America (shameless plug for label attention * cough cough *). With an industry-ready music video for Half The World Away (embedded below) and  write-ups on Absolute Punk and in both Billboard Magazine and Revolver Magazine, this unsigned trio shows potential to hit the rock scene harder than most—and with a polished sound like this, there’s no limit to how far they can go.

The Anix is fronted by Brandon Smith (vocals/guitar) who, along with drummer Logan Smith and keyboardist Greg Nabours, deliver solid performances on each track they put out. Building on influences from The Police, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Queen and Rush, the band proves there are still real musicians out there who can write solid songs with perfect hooks that will keep listeners on the edge of their seat. Check out the playlist below to hear “Resident One,” “The Ghost Of Me And You,” “Half The World Away” and “Bullets Without A Gun.”

Without further ado meet my new rock fix: The Anix.

Tour De Force: The Winter Sounds

One look at The Winter Sounds’ MySpace page and there’s no question of why they would be chosen as this week’s “Tour De Force.” Their “Upcoming Shows” section is completely filled with dates all over the US from February through May. According to their bio, The Winter Sounds played 217 shows in 2007 and, “seem to have an insatiable enthusiasm for touring, sleeping on floors, eating ramen noodles, and getting their music heard.” For members of the band, the road is their home. They are the perfect example of the DIY work ethic,” taking an inventory of life and then deciding to believe in yourself enough to mortgage your future for your dream.”

Their voracious touring schedule has resulted in a revolving cast of characters, but founder and frontman Patrick Keenan is constantly at work,  surrounding himself with some of the best musicians the Athens, GA area has to offer. Whether it be booking shows, raising funds for recording and touring, writing songs, finding places for the band to sleep, or spending nights in rest areas, there’s no doubt that his work ethic and focus is paying off.
Continue reading ‘Tour De Force: The Winter Sounds’

Daily Dose: Thursday, September 18

  • ShoutOut to OurStage Infrastructure Guru Mark, discussing storage, OpenSolaris, ZFS, with SunMicro.
  • Renegades craft a modern take on 80’s new wave/synth pop. Smoke and Mirrors lands them somewhere comfortably between Bloc Party and Depeche Mode.
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