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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Riffs, Rants & Rumors: 2011 in the Rearview Mirror

You didn’t think RR&R would torture you with anything as tedious as another year-end Best-of list, did you? Granted, we do have a piece in the works that will inform you of some excellent albums you might have missed along the way, but that’s as close as we’re willing to get. Instead, this time around we’ll simply take stock of both the magic moments and the missteps that the last twelve months have brought us—works that delivered delight and dismay in equal measure.

Old Punks Never Die


Wire – Red Barked Tree

As the original post-punk outfit, Wire has always lived or died by how well they balanced their arty side with their edgy side. Their discography isn’t without its share of miscalculations in that area, but thirty-four years down the line from their debut album, this one is right on the money.

Gang of Four – Content

The Gang were right on the heels of Wire in first-gen U.K. post-punk, and were just as groundbreaking, but their twenty-first century revitalization has been marred by some dodgy moves. First they re-recorded a batch of their classics on 2005′s Return the Gift, and then they made matters worse with this irksome outing, which is considerably more annoying than the output of the worst third-hand Go4 copyists.

Social Distortion  - Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

True survivors, old-school SoCal punks Social Distortion have been through every rock & roll tribulation—death, drugs, you name it (How did VH1′s Behind the Music miss these guys?)—but not only are they still going strong, they added some extra bluesy swing and Stonesy swagger to their latest.
Continue reading ‘Riffs, Rants & Rumors: 2011 in the Rearview Mirror’

Move It or Lose It

D.V.N.O.

Like the French duo Justice, whose single “DVNO” seems to serve as the inspiration for their name, D.V.N.O. want you to dance. But unlike Justice, the Floridian band isn’t going to lure you to the floor with big disco-electro beats. They do it the old fashioned way, with guitars, drums, and energy that’s off the Richter. “You & I Together” is a manic jitterbug of gritty guitars, rock steady drums, and adenoidal vocals (think Steve Bays from Hot Hot Heat). Stylistically, D.V.N.O. walks the line between gutsy dance rock and emotionally charged pop-punk, a combination of Taking Back Sunday, The Strokes, and The Black Kids. On the emo end of the scale you have tracks like the turbulent “One Last Time.” But with “Dance With Me” it’s back to what the band does best: frantic, percussive rock with a lot of heart. Lovelorn spazzes, manic dreamers—this one’s for you.

The Beat Generation: Digitalism Keep The Beat With 2 Hearts On ‘I Love You, Dude’ [Album Review]

Four years between records can feel like a long time and four years is like sixteen (or something) in house music years. It’s been almost exactly that length of time since Digitalism released their debut Idealism. Their first album was more than a modest success—the duo (comprised of İsmail Tüfekçi and Jens Moelle) made a big splash in the indie dance music world, suddenly finding themselves on equal footing with contemporaries like Hot Chip, Van She and The Presets. In fact, the only other indie dance record that had as good a debut that year was Justice‘s .

All that said, Idealism was a heck of a record, very much worthy of the praise and following that it gathered. The fifteen song set of housey-electro, presented with a strong, beefy rock influence and structure, was designed for crowd pleasing. However, Idealism had a number of wrinkles to help distinguish the group from some of the competition. The tracks had a lot more punch then some of their other more fey contemporaries, and the duo’s love of Daft Punk came off as charming and celebratory rather than derivative. While the group was relatively quiet during the stretch between albums, they always had their assured, confident debut to build a reputation on.

Digitalism – 2 Hearts from White Rabbit tv on Vimeo.

It looks like Digitalism are trying to keep the magic alive on I Love You, Dude. And they have a great shot the second time around as the record doesn’t suffer from the so-called “sophomore slump” that plagues so many promising bands. The record kicks off with “Stratosphere”, one of a couple of tracks on the album that could easily have been slotted into their previous record. The most obvious trait of the record is tracks like these—”2 Hearts”, “Blitz” and “Forrest Gump”—are  sonically in line with songs from their first record like “Pogo” and “Idealistic”. It’s these tracks, this style, the Digitalism we’re familiar with, that make up the front half of the record.

While their sound is still recognizably “theirs”, they’ve both streamlined their attack and tried to expand their oeuvre. An undercurrent of melancholy populated Idealism with high energy tracks like “Echoes” and “Moonlight” bearing some kind of emotional weight.  That same melancholy is still present in much of I Love You, Dude, but the group presents it in a more nuanced fashion. The interesting development is that the group is now producing tracks that sound like they could narrate the fight scenes for a flashy big budget action movie. “Miami Showdown”, a late record  highlight, moves with a lot of swagger and “Reeperbahn” feels like a throwback ’90s big beat track that packs a serious left hook.

Still, despite the growth and time between records, Digitalism have kept their rockist core intact. Digitalism worked with Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas on “Forrest Gump” and the pedigree of both acts makes the union work. An indie dance band who treats their synths like guitars getting it on with a rock ‘n’ roller with an electronic music fetish? Hey, it works.

Forrest Gump by digitalism_official

The energy that Jens and İsmail bring to I Love You, Dude give a kick to some of the best tracks on the record. “Blitz” proves itself worthy of its title, relentlessly and playfully circling around an upbeat synth riff. “Encore” the last track on the record, holds the line steadily as it builds to a final crescendo to close out the record. While not all of the group’s diversions are as successful as this—”Antibiotics” stab at rave house could’ve been more fully realized and “Just Gazin”, while an admirable attempt at effeverscent, pretty synthpop, feels out of place compared to the rest of the record—I Love You, Dude stands as a strong, unified statement. With songs that are sure to frenzy the crowd when the group headlines the summer HARD fest this year and tracks that’ll appeal to the bedroom headnodders, Digitalism has a little something for everyone.

The Beat Generation: Digital Rock, A Playlist

Chest thumping, heart pounding, flying by the seat of your pants—these are attributes that some of the best rock and electronic music have in common. We’ve covered the rockers who like to occasionally jam on an 808 before in The Beat Generation, but what about the musicians that synthesize their proclivities for rock and electronica? Digital rock, as a subgenre, probably has the longest and most fleshed out history of any category of electronic music. (Not the coolest though, that’s a fight between Chicago house and Detroit techno.) From the late ’70s on, from new wave to dance-punk, rock and electronica have co-habitated in harmony.  Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Culture Club, Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, The Postal Service, Justice. Those guys sound familiar? Sure, it’s a wide umbrella, but that just means that with digital rock—or electro rock or synth rock or whatever—there’s something for everyone to love.

Which brings us to today’s post.  We put together a little playlist of some of our favorite OurStage digital rockers for your listening pleasure this weekend afternoon. So sit back, relax and enjoy, dear reader. You’ve earned it.

The Beat Generation: Which Country Does Dance Best?

Dance music is to the world music scene as soccer—or football, depending on your preference —is to world sports. Both have global followers and feature spectacular, grand annual exhibitions (soccer has Champions League and Europa Cup among others and Dance music has Ibiza Rocks and Ultra Music Festival). And, let’s face it, Americans aren’t the best at either. We can’t win ‘em all, guys.

The other parallel between soccer and dance? A lot of countries would lay claim to being the best at either. While trying to pick a definitive winner in either subject would result in a lot of bickering and hurt feelings, we’ll avoid making any definitive statements. And since we’re a music site, we’ll refrain from talking about sports for the time being. That said, there are a few obvious front runners on the dance scene. We want to give a nod to OurStage’s international community and see what different countries have to offer. So, let’s take a look at who might be best at getting the world to dance, and check out what the OurStagers can bring to the table.

The Candidates:

France

Two words. French. House. Parisians have worked in years past to give us sexy, groovy music. Daft Punk, Busy P, SebastiAn, Justice, and everyone at Ed Banger Records, Fred Falke and Alan Braxe. The list goes on and on. France’s own David Guetta is on top of the world right now, producing mega hits for the Black Eyed Peas. OurStage’s Marty Lake borrows somewhat from the electro heritage of his home country his with the heavy beats, housey rave ups and the guitar sounding synth lines that make up his track “Let’s Have Some Wolves” which you can check out below.

The UK

Over here at The Beat Generation, we’re unabashed fans of dubstep. We’ve covered it a few times in the past and made our love known for England’s dirtiest musical exports like Benga and Skream. They also don’t slack when it comes to beautiful, slick dance pop—acts like Katy B and La Roux coming to mind. The Beat Generation also featured an OurStage Brit when Dan Gravelle graced the column. Temple Scene is another act killing it with their own sound. The band crafts deft synthpop with a definite rock edge. You can check out their song “What’s Done is Done” below.

The Netherlands

What country has seven of the Top 20 DJs and the Number 1 ranked DJ (Armin Van Buuren) from DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs of 2010? The Netherlands (obviously). The tiny country may have the highest amount of rump shaking per capita of any nation in the world. However, after the rave, after the after party and after the hangover after the after party, you need something a little gentler to come down to. That’s where Indojin come in. The 26-year-old Rotterdam-based producer claims R&B and world music as influences of equal measure on his sound. His song “Just Pop It” is currently charting in the Electronica Channel and you check out the beat heavy, melodic “Serene” below.

Honorable Mentions

Spain gets an obvious nod for being the dance party epicenter of the universe thanks to Ibiza. Israel needs to have some recognition for their contributions to electronic music in the past and their slowly rising profile in today’s scene thanks to bands like Infected Mushroom and Teflon Tel Aviv. Germany nearly made the cut thanks to current heavyweights like ATB and Paul Van Dyk, and because they gave us Kraftwerk. Finally, Australia was this close to getting on the list with their ascendant rising electro-rock cadre of bands like Cut Copy, Miami Horror and Bag Raiders. However, will.i.am once stated that it was a trip to Australia that led to his discovery of electro and influenced the Peas sound so much. Australia, you get points off for that.

OURSTAGE MODEL U.N. – FRANCE

osblog_modelun_france1

Daniel Antoine

Daniel Antoine

Oui, oui! It’s time to voyage the land of baguettes and berets to scope out the finest French artists on OurStage. Recently, the French electronic scene slowly seeped its way into the states. Acts like The Teenagers, Phoenix and Yelle have enjoyed consistent college radio airplay while Daft Punk and Justice get spun at any nightclub worth going to.  Of course, the artists in this week’s Model U.N. don’t all have crazy synth lines going all over the place so there’s certainly enough variety to keep your headphones happy—Ooh la la!

Marseille-based DJ/Producer bad bugalu takes inspiration and clips of the funkiest latin and soul beats on the track “Tito Puente (Black Brother Remix”). This is a must hear for fans of Brooklyn Funk Essentials and St. Germain.

The Agency is an indie pop group consisting of New Zealander ex-pats based in Paris. With infectiously catchy vocal harmonies and a mention in You Ain’t No Picasso, heavy rotation of the track “Platforms” on college stations across the country is almost inevitable.

The White Loose Woman

The White Loose Woman

The White Loose Woman, out of Lille, is a garage rock-influenced group with a sense of humor. For a group that has the same energy as Black Lips and the same level of absurdity as Gravy Train it’s only a matter of time before a cult following ensues.

If you’re a diehard fan of Cut Copy‘s mixtapes then you should listen to the track “HRTBX” by E.L.K. This solo electronic musician blends industrial with new wave to create an emotional dreamscape fit for long drives in the middle of the night.

For fans of acts on Ed Banger Records you should give The Blisters Boyz a shot. DJs Alastor and Ufukama 2000 draw upon their electro-rock influences to keep the club moving with “Come On.”

If you’re looking for a good blues jam, “u and i” by renowned French keyboardist Daniel Antoine is an excellent choice. The track is driven home with a top notch solo on the B3 over a guitar oozing with reverb.

 

 


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