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.

OurStage is now part of Amazing Media

Come back to see the improvements to OurStage over the next few months.

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True Grit

Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown

Tyler Bryant was only eleven when he got the calling. It was in a music store where Roosevelt Twitty, a sixty-three-year-old bluesman, was playing. A decade later, Bryant’s come into his own as a blues musician. He’s got a song on Guitar Hero 5; a feature in the film Rock Prophecies alongside Santana, Beck and Slash; and serious hype from Vince Gill, who called Bryant a “future guitar god.” One listen to Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown and you’ll realize the future is now. The band delivers sweaty and swaggering rock with plenty of blues gristle. From the droning, shivering “Say A Prayer” to the bruising guitars of “The House that Jack Built,” to the delta blues moan of “Kick the Habit,” Bryant and his comrades know how to give listeners a visceral thrashing. If you worship at the altar of whiskey-soaked, cigarette-singed, explosive blues rock, well, you just met your gods.

Cheers

Champagne Morning

Champagne Morning seems to have it all figured out. The band, based in Kiev, spends part of their time creating euphoric indie pop, and when they’re not doing that, they drink champagne. It might explain the mix of revelry, chaos and camaraderie that permeates their music. Take, for example, “Miracle,” a psychedelic mash of jaunty piano, guitars and drums that bounce along, feckless and free. “Fly High” keeps the party going with a neo-soul/rock groove, blissed-out female backup singers and an American rapper by the name of Fanamonon who somehow ended up in the Ukraine just in time to spit some lyrics on the track. Even “Pain Plane,” which starts off as a moony solo number, bursts into a crescendo of joyful noise at the end. Like the best drunken nights, you can only brood for so long before your friends show up to shake you out of it.

Milk and Honey

Yael Meyer

Yael Meyer had an idyllic childhood growing up in Santiago de Chile, a region of the earth where waterfalls, glaciers, deserts, and mountains coexist. This might explain the quixotic slant of her music, which to date has been aired on shows like Private Practice, and Drop Dead Diva. The LA-based singer-songwriter pens indie folk pop gems full of sweetness and light. “I Wonder How” starts with the stomp and twinkle of keys and tambourine, leading you into a softer sort of celebration that feels a bit like Feist. With its simple vocal lines, acoustic guitar and shaken percussion, “Everything Will Be Alright” is light and effervescent—the treacle for a gloomy day. And if that doesn’t do it for you, then skip to “Heartbeat” for a summery, piano-led romp steeped in nostalgia. Here comes the sun, little darlings.

Field of Dreams

Ryan Hill

You don’t often find jocks onstage singing opera, but Ryan Hill isn’t your average guy. A baseball scholarship led Hill to Ottawa University, where he honed his swing on the field and his voice in the university choir. Guitar and piano practice and classical vocal training began to eclipse baseball as Hill developed his sound and evolved into a prodigious singer-songwriter. “Believe” introduces you to Hill’s most powerful instrument: a malleable voice that ripples up and down the scales. The guy can emote, and does so with just a simple acoustic guitar for much of the song. It isn’t until the three-minute mark that Hill unleashes the rest of his arsenal. Tracks like “One More Time” and “What Do I Know” are codas to the emotional turbulence of “Believe.” The latter is a dark and dusty waltz where Hill proclaims, “I’ve done all I can do. I’m only a man.” But man, is he good at what he does.

Opposites Attract

The Dandelion War

Like Led Zeppelin and Iron Butterfly, The Dandelion War should immediately give you a hint about its music by name alone. The tension between contrasts—low and high, heavy and light, gentle and violent—has long provided creative fodder for artists. The Dandelion War deftly weaves those contrasts together for diaphanous songscapes that range from story to placid. “Jail Bird” adds layers of glacial guitars, synths and drums to create the soundtrack to a dream. But the subconscious can be a fitful place, too, and on “Spectacle” the five-piece band creates a gyre of piano, drums, guitar and bass that falls somewhere between Sigur Rós and My Morning Jacket. “The Petals of Lipaceli” is equally mesmerizing—a long instrumental intro contains pianos echoed by chimes, reverb-drenched guitars, chants and rhythms that become more insistent as they build to crescendo. Sweet dreams are made of these.

Risky Business

Kenton Dunson

A life as an investment banker has its perks, like big paychecks and bigger bonuses. But sometimes a man just wants a mic, a stage and the roar of the crowd. Hip hop artist Kenton Dunson traded his career in finance to take a chance on music, and so far his gamble has paid off. “Beautiful Fight” takes a pitch-shifted vocal stutter, loops it with piano, guitar and beaten percussion for a killer hook, and then adds a story about redemption. “I never was dirt poor / But I came a long way from the church chorus to the workhorse,” Dunson spits. Dude is dope. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been burned. On “Firestarter,” he confesses “I never should have messed with a devil in a dress,” as swaths of digital textures and piano provide the beat. Maybe he’s been unlucky in love, maybe he’s not making a Wall Street salary, but Dunson’s decision to get into music looks like it could pay off in dividends.

 

My Sunny Valentine

Sunshine Factory

Bands like Sunshine Factory rarely lock eyes with their adoring fans, since they’re often staring down at the ground, transfixed by their art. Such is the effect of shoegaze—a style of music known for its hypnotic blend of guitar dissonance and indecipherable vocals. But Sunshine Factory bring the vocals more into the forefront so you can actually sing along. And you’ll want to. “My Sugar Cane” is noise pop with gossamer vocals, undulating soundscapes, guitars that send up drifts of fuzz and keyboards that sound like they’re short circuiting. On “Domino,” Sunshine Factory takes you through distortion and clarity, merging raw post punk with haunting, gothic instrumentals. “Twisted in Clover” harkens back to the early ‘90s when atonal guitars were king. Surges of jarring feedback and vocals that double as opiates—those are the kind of diametric opposites we can get down with.

Mr. Brightside

Andrew Varner

Andrew Varner calls his music “pop with a purpose,” meaning it’s meant to provoke and inspire, not just show off his proficiency on piano. But there’s no hiding those skills—all of Varner’s songs contain expertly-wrought piano melodies blended with soft beats and bright strokes of electric guitar. “Autumn Leaves” introduces you to the singer-songwriter’s dusty voice, fluid fingers and tender-hearted lyricism. On the polyrhythmic “How To Be Alone,” he takes turns ratcheting up the guitar to a fever pitch and downshifting into an easy, mid-tempo amble. Lest you get the idea that Varner’s from the Bruce Hornsby school of rock, skip over to “Let Me Down” for dynamic, driving post-punk. Yeah, there are some nice cascading piano parts in there, but there’s plenty of jagged edges, too. Even pianists get to be badasses.

 

The Man With The Plan

Klasik

Klasik, a.k.a. Anthony Jefferson, describes himself as “a simple man with a magnificent plan” but also a “masterpiece.” Hey, we’re not going to argue. The Johnsontown, PA, native is a hip hop phenom, drawing on a tumultuous childhood and the wisdom that age brings in equal measure. On “The Rebirth” he describes his grandmother as “rolling around town saying that wasn’t her son’s child.” Not an easy start to life, and Klasik acknowledges that “family can put a curse on you.” But where there are bumps in the road, there’s also the will to overcome. If “Rebirth” is a song about emotional survival, then “Think” is a rallying cry for intellectual survival. “Wanna hide something then put it in a book,” he spits over pulsing, orchestral synths. “Cause we never read they know you’ll never look.” Of course, any man with a magnificent plan makes room for the ladies, and Klasik does just that with the big, bassy “So Smooth With It.” Heads up freaks, this one’s for you.

Love Games

The Dotted Eyes

Plenty of amazing things have come out of basements: treasure maps, original copies of the Constitution, full suits of armor—not to mention countless musical acts. Like The Dotted Eyes. Begat in a Bostonian cellar, this quintet crafts toothsome indie pop with acoustic and electric guitars, bass, drums and synths. Singers/guitarists Neil Mittal and Raquel Barrientos trade off vocal duties—his, wistful and soft and hers clear and piercing. “Waiting” builds in layers, dreamy acoustic guitar and quiet vocals first, then shuffling rhythms and synths that pop the melody into third gear. Similarly, “Embers” casts a spell with hypnotic, echoing layers of guitars and pianos, and Barrientos’s luminous multi-tracked harmonies. But it’s not all ether and gossamer. “Glimpse” is homespun indie pop confection that paints a picture of childhood battles and the rocky romantic relationships that follow. When it comes to love, The Dotted Eyes have clearly put some skin in the game. But those kinds of emotional scars are what make everything more interesting.

 


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