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“Watch This!” Wednesday: Creepy Clips for Halloween

We love passing new music videos around the OurStage office, and now we’re going to be sharing our finds with you. In honor of Halloween, this week’s videos are all about zombies, murder and everything evil. Enjoy!

 

 

Evanescence – “Going Under”

What would you do if you were playing a show, and everyone around you started turning into demons…even your bandmates?! Continue reading ‘“Watch This!” Wednesday: Creepy Clips for Halloween’

Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!

Though Susan Boyle helped make music’s mainstream safer for the mature crowd, her chart-life-begins-at-nearly fifty success story remains a rarity. But perhaps in the case of Jeff Bridges, who won an Oscar for playing an alcoholic country singer in Crazy Heart, a music star could have been born at the ripe old age of 61. Alas, it was not to be. His debut album, Jeff Bridges, entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at No. 25 the week after its August 16 release and then tumbled to No. 58.

Thankfully, Bridges is in no danger of losing his day job.

These are hard times for actors and actresses moonlighting as recording artists. Back in the ’80s, the biggest movie stars usually were guaranteed at least one big pop hit if they bothered to try. Eddie Murphy, Bruce Willis, Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze all did, and each managed one trip to the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100. But that was then. By the ’90s, mega-stars like Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves and Russell Crowe were forming rock bands that went nowhere on the charts.

More recently, Jared Leto’s 30 Seconds to Mars has approached a level of heat commensurate with that of his acting career (which, considering his overall filmography, isn’t as impressive as it might sound), but there hasn’t been a movie star who’s been able to consistently score on the music charts since Jennifer Lopez made her seamless transition to pop diva in 1999 with the No. 1 hit “If You Had My Love.”

A handful of TV stars have done slightly better. Just in time for the September 18 Emmys, House star Hugh Laurie, an Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominee, sees his debut album, Let Them Talk (produced by Joe Henry, Madonna’s talented brother-in-law, and released in the U.S. on September 6, months after its successful spring launch in Europe), enter the Billboard Top 200 album chart at No. 16. Meanwhile, the single “Police Dog Blues” debuts at No. 58 on the Hot 100 — respectable, if not spectacular. But does his chart career have long-term potential? At first, Hilary Duff‘s seemed to, but her music career stalled nearly a half-decade ago (her one-time nemesis Lindsay Lohan‘s never really took off), and Miley Cyrus, who had to make her initial cross-over to pop as her small-screen alter-ego Hannah Montana, is in flux after tanking last year with Can’t Be Tamed.

Continue reading ‘Sound And Vision: It’s the Same Old Song for Thespians Who Sing — and Chances Are It’s Not a Hit!’

Metal Monday: Women In Metal Who Rock The Hardest

Women in metal–a subject that often starts heated arguments filled with strong opinions and misconceptions. Many stigmas exist about female metal musicians, especially metal vocalists: they’re inferior and can’t bring it as hard as the men can. This article will debunk that ideology. Just because the genre’s more famous leading ladies include Amy Lee of Evanescence and Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil doesn’t mean that every other female follows in their footsteps. This ideology has existed for quite some time now, even classic bands like Girlschool saw a strong amount of prejudice throughout their career. In an interview with Lemmy of Mötorhead from Metal: A Headbanger’s Ball he recounted someone who said, after a Girlschool performance “She was pretty good, for a girl” and he responded “Well, f*** you, she’s better than you are!”

Women are infiltrating the metal world. They’re not all singers who only have angelic voices and fit into the “pretty girl” role. More and more, they’re taking on the “badass” persona, and are even playing other instruments in bands, as opposed to just being vocalists. Jeanne Sagan of All That Remains, Marta Peterson or Bleeding Through and Karin Axelsson of Sonic Syndicate have all been holding it down on bass for their bands for years now. Liz Buckingham has been rocking the guitar in Electric Wizard since 2003 and Laura Christine has been playing guitar in a bunch of metal bands lately though she’s best known for her work with Warface. You even have some bands that are primarily women, like Zeenon, who are known for playing really great death metal insted of being “hot metal chicks”.

Candace Kucsulain from Walls of Jericho

Now comes the problem of image. As routinely acknowledged by women metal musicians, being good isn’t always enough—you’ve also got to be really good looking (strongly expressed by the band Kittie in an interview for Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey). For a while the expected role of any woman in metal was to either be a groupie or be attractive and little else (not to say there weren’t people who broke free of that, Doro Pesch being a famous example). As more women entered the metal scene, many that were on par with their male peers, the stigma of women being less talented than men slowly and surely phased out almost completely. Though it’s still a pretty lopsided ration of men to women, it’s certainly not as skewed as it once was, and the public eye looks at women a bit differently than it used to. Unfortunately, certain metal publications still focus heavily on women’s looks, such as Revolver‘s annual “Hottest Chicks In Metal” feature.

Today, there are more bands fronted by women who put on the tough guise and bring it just as hard as any man around, and this is likely due to the influx of women into metal and the shifting of mindsets. In Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy talks about adopting a tougher style and persona in order to feel powerful on stage. She also speaks about how young girls come up to her after shows  to talk about how her performance inspire them. Most metalheads know Angela, who happens to have one of the best guttural screams live in the whole metal genre, but there are a lot of other bands out there that don’t get quite the same press. OurStage’s own Abnormality (whose song “Visions” was featured in a Rock Band game) is one of these bands. While listening to Mallika’s vocals, it’s nearly impossible to tell she’s a woman, and it’s refreshing to hear a female fronting a brutal death metal band. Other women who rock the guttural vocals and the tough guise include (and is certainly not limited to): Otep Shamaya of Otep, Krysta Cameron of Iwrestledabearonce, Candace Kucsulain of Walls of Jericho, Mel Mongeon of Fuck The Facts and Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist.

Still think that all bands with women are like Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Epica, Nightwish, In This Moment and the like? I can’t really see how you could. If you still need convincing, check out this video of Angela Gossow and Arch Enemy commanding a crowd in Japan to the tune of their song “Tyrants of the Rising Sun”

Meow Mix

Kirsten Price

Kirsten Price has lent her voice to ad campaigns for Coke, Campbell’s and Clinique; and has been picked up by networks like CBS, Showtime and MTV for their programming. We’ll give it to the big guys; they got it right. Price seems destined for the upper strata of popular music—her melodies are expertly wrought and impeccably produced. “With or Without You” kicks off with mock-theatric synths, giving way to electric guitar lashes and percolating beats. Think Evanescence’s “Going Under,” but fronted by a smoky chanteuse. “Moving On” is gorgeously layered balladry, with Price’s soulful voice spiraling across swells of synths, guitars and drums. If you’d rather dance than mope, skip to the disco perfection of “Take Me To the Top.” Our favorite, however, is “Give That Girl.” Price’s feathery vocals are like tendrils that curl around each word, tugging you into the mix. It’s feline, minxy and totally provocative pop. Give that girl a round of applause.

Bittersweet Symphonies

Lily Holbrook

The 2005 documentary Playing for Change began with a folk singer, Lily Holbrook, busking on a corner in Santa Monica. From there the film went on to follow the lives of sixteen street performers across the country in their pursuit of happiness. But it didn’t end there—Playing for Change has since grown into a global multimedia project that captures live performances by musicians anywhere from Kathmandu to Tel Aviv.

Holbrook’s story was just beginning too. In the five years since the film’s debut, the Boston-born singer songwriter has released multiple records, played festivals headlined by Radiohead and caused pedestrian traffic jams with the occasional street concert. Here’s why: As a singer, Holbrook is a tour de force, combining the dreamy bohemia of Stevie Nicks with the tormented rock operatics of Tori Amos. “Apocalypse Kiss” lets Holbrook’s sugary vocals provide the treacle for a grandiose, turbulent chorus of grinding guitars and thundering drums. If you like the gothic storm and stress of Evanescence, you’ll want to get this track, like yesterday. “Cowboys and Indians” shows a softer, more organic side of Holbrook. It’s spacious and quiet, with the swell of cello and a simple strummed guitar providing the emotional hook. If her songs have any calling card, it’s their blend of chamber instruments with diaphanous layers of vocals—one providing the melancholia and the other, the relief. From her days busking in subways with just a guitar, she’s come a long way, baby.

 


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