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Review: Blink-182′s ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ EP

Three weeks after its release, many of you long-time Blink-182 fans have probably given a listen to their new 5-track EP, Dogs Eating Dogs. I must admit, I was a bit apprehensive putting my headphones on, as I was not too thrilled with the results of their 2011 reunion album, Neighborhoods. Recent press and interviews with the band, however, indicated a possible shift in the right direction. Drummer Travis Barker was quoted saying, “To me, this EP is a hundred times better than Neighborhoods.” The band realizing that there was something not quite right with the prior LP bode well for the EP. Neighborhoods was apparently recorded via file sharing, where each member individually worked their parts out and sent them back and forth, rather than working collectively. Having recently parted with their long-time label, Interscope Records, Blink hit the studio on their own for the first time since Flyswatter (throwback much?) and did so in traditional fashion – together, as a band.

Continue reading ‘Review: Blink-182′s ‘Dogs Eating Dogs’ EP’

Mark Hoppus Launches Clothing Line

While it’s nothing new for bands and various members to take on new projects and explore various avenues, that doesn’t mean it was any less exciting when we heard that Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus had begun to launch new material for his clothing line, Hi My Name Is Mark.

Hoppus will be releasing one shirt a week for four weeks, with the first shirt available from now until Dec. 3, or until it sells out. All of this will lead up to the store’s official launch in the New Year.

You can check out what Hoppus had to say about the line, along with the week’s first shirt after the jump. Continue reading ‘Mark Hoppus Launches Clothing Line’

Blink-182 Reveal Release Date For Upcoming EP

Merry Blinkmas! According to bassist Mark Hoppus, Blink-182′s first release as an independent band, following their departure from Universal Music Group, will drop on December 18. The still-untitled EP will be the first new music from the band since their 2011 full-length effort Neighborhoods, the album that brought the band back out of their extended indefinite hiatus. In addition to new music, fans will have the ability to receive ”a special screened, museum-quality poster, limited-edition T-shirts and sweatshirts, wrapping paper, holiday cards” and more through a pre-order at the band’s website. The band supposedly has been enjoying an unprecedented amount of creative freedom with the absence of a major label contract. Blink’s decision to release an EP of new music, instead of a full-length, is reminiscent of Hawthorne Heights’ recent string of EPs, which the band has independently released through their own record label. Check out our interview with Hawthorne Heights to hear their thoughts on the promising future of short format releases.

Can’t wait for the new Blink EP? Check out OurStage’s own Aimless Again!

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Blink-182 Working On New Album

Pop-punk veterans Blink-182 have plans to write and record a follow up to 2011′s return from hiatus, Neighborhoods. According to NME.com, bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus says the trio are “starting to write a new record right now… [but the] new album probably won’t happen for about a year,” due to current tour schedules. Hoppus hopes to bring some life back into the music world after what he believes to have been “a dry summer” in 2011, “devoid of a lot of great new music.” Drummer Travis Barker adds, ”I feel like the best is yet to come, the next album is going to be exciting.” So keep your ear to the ground for more updates on the next album from Blink-182!

If you like Blink-182, then you might also like OurStage’s own Aimless Again.

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The Best Social Media Sites You Might Not Be On Yet

Since you’re reading this post in a publication that is distributed through a music discovery Web site, there’s a good chance that you’re pretty familiar with the ins and out of the Internet. You’re on Facebook, maybe you’ve tweeted and there’s a good chance you’ve checked in on Foursquare. So, that’s it for social media, right?

Wrong. You can’t really think it’s OK to keep active with just the big players, the major social media platforms that everyone online is already familiar with.  These days, you can’t just be on Facebook or Twitter or MySpace (even though your band hasn’t been logged into for years). The reason is that the game is changing  every day. It seems every week there is some new social media or Web site that you need to get involved with. Since it can be daunting to peruse through all the different sites and understand both what they offer and what they can do for your band,  we’re going to highlight some of the more useful blogging tools that musicians like you need now.

Tumblr has been around for a while nowfounded on 2007, it’s a twentysomething in Internet years. But it really just began to come into its own in 2011, and now is as good a time as any to get into it. Why? There’s a few reasons. Tumblr’s simplified platform is easy enough for anyone to use and the various themes users allow anybody to make a clean, attractive blog. The ask and reply system allows for straightforward correspondence between users. But the most impressive aspect of the Tumblr experience? It’s personal. Facebook allows for mass communication, Twitter allows for mass broadcasts but Tumblr is far more intimate. The artists that do it right, like indie band Toro Y Moi or the Beastie Boys, combine little glimpses into who they are, from their interests to their lives. For more ideas and inspiration, check out the tumblrs for Tom Waits, Childish Gambino and OurStage’s own Bethesda.

Yes, you’ve heard of Google and chances are you’ve heard of (but maybe not used) Google+. Fair enough, you’re not alone if you’ve tried and not kept up with the search giant’s attempt to break into the social media game. However, it may just be the time to give it another look. A number of major name artists are beginning to make use of the burgeoning social media platform. Big names like Britney Spears, T-Pain, Mark Hoppus and Trent Reznor are all users. Google+ has already had it’s fair share of breakout stars, like OurStager Daria Musk. Daria has mastered the medium and became a sensation on Google+ overnight, with over 200,000 people tuning into her last livestreamed show. Check out footage from the Daria’s first Google Hangout concert below.

Finally, you would be forgiven if you’ve come across Pinterest and not thought anything about it with regards to your musical career. Pinterest is like an online cork board; users share images on their pinboards and can browse the pinboards of others for inspiration. At least at this early stage, Pinterest is like Tumblr but with a more human element, or Facebook without all the excess noise. While the number of musicians on Pinterest as of right now is limitedthe Backstreet Boys appear to have the the biggest presencethe service is still very young and growing fast. In fact, the invitation-only site has seen explosive growth in the past six months, growing from 2 million to 11 million weekly visitors between September to December of 2011. So while there’s no obvious strategy for musicians on Pinterestself-promotion is frowned upon and the service is image based for nowit would be good to get in on the ground floor of the wildly popular service.

Rock For Japan: Artists Support Tsunami Relief Efforts

After the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami hit Japan last week, artists immediately took to Twitter and Facebook to encourage their fans to support relief efforts and donate money to the Red Cross. Justin Bieber, Diddy and will.i.am were among those pledging their support for tsunami victims, and many celebs, including Gaga and Katy Perry, are taking action beyond Twitter to raise money for the victims. So read on if you’re looking for ways to support the relief efforts!

Lady Gaga was the first to respond outside the digital sphere, introducing a prayer wristband just hours after the quake struck. The bracelets, which say “Pray for Japan” in English and Japanese, are available for $5 on her Web site, but fans also have the option to add a donation ranging from $5 to $100 to the purchase of the wristband. It’s a simple, but effective concept— within 48 hours, Gaga fans purchased enough bracelets to raise over $250,000 for relief. The Mother Monster’s Web site also encourages fans to donate through Citizen Effect.

Since then, several other artists have ramped up their fundraising efforts. Katy Perry announced that she’ll donate proceeds from the sale of light up wands at future shows to the Japanese Red CrossLinkin Park’s Mike Shinoda designed two tee-shirts—one with a butterfly on it and one emblazoned with the words “Not Alone,” available for $25 each on the band’s Web site. Proceeds from sales go to Music For Relief and shirts will ship April 8th. Simple Plan have also designed an exclusive charity tee shirt, and the group’s Simple Plan Foundation has already donated $10,000 to the Canadian Red Cross.

Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus set up an eBay auction for the band’s limited edition swag and promised the proceeds to the American Red Cross. (Coolest item? The original, handwritten lyric sheets to “The Rock Show.”) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are also auctioning gear to raise money for the Red Cross; an autographed rise cymbal signed by the band and limited edition vinyl are ready for bidding on charitybuzz.

Even Charlie Sheen got in on the action, pledging $1 from the sale of each ticket on his upcoming tour to tsunami relief efforts. And of course, if you don’t want a tee or a wristband, can’t afford rare Blink-182 items or have no interest in seeing Charlie Sheen on tour, you can still text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 and help tsunami victims.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Q&A with Motion City Soundtrack

For pop-rockers Motion City Soundtrack, 2010 has been—and will continue to be—a busy and successful year. The band released their fourth album, My Dinosaur Life, in January and followed up with performances at Bamboozle and the first half of Warped Tour. OurStage’s Jay Schneider caught up with vocalist Justin Pierre to talk about recording with Mark Hoppus, pushing the boundaries of pop rock and Motion City’s post-Warped Tour plans.

OS: So how’s the Warped Tour going for you guys?

JP: So far so good. We’re on the homestretch for us. We have six more shows including today and then we’re done. Just half of the tour.

OS: Some bands, after being on tour for so long, get excited to wear a t-shirt or something they haven’t seen in months when they finally get home. Are there any plans like that for you?

JP: Not necessarily the t-shirt, but I tend to keep myself very busy by doing many different projects. So I have like two weeks worth of projects that I’ve got planned, and we’ll see if I pull them off. They may involve a video shoot, some recording of stuff, some movie things and some hangout sessions with some friends.

OS: Yeah, that’s always good.

JP: Yeah, maybe some Red Dead Redemption. I just started playing it before I came out on tour, so I think I’ve forgotten how to do all the things. I can’t really ride a horse very well.

OS: I’m sure it’ll come back to you. It’s just like riding a bike.

JP: Actually it’s not like riding a bike, because I was in Japan a few years ago riding a bike for the first time in 10 years, and I fell off and totally sliced up my arm. So whoever said “It’s just like riding a bike” is full of shit.

OS: You just released a new album this year. It was produced by Mark Hoppus. What was that studio environment like?

Motion City mastermind Justin Pierre at Warped Tour

JP: It was pretty relaxed. This time we used his studio—the one he and Travis own and run. It was very interesting because, they had Blink rehearsals for their tour. So it was a very weird schedule. We were shuffling around between the main studio and the “B” studio. I don’t know. It was really relaxed more than anything—very easy. I think that’s what’s great about Mark. He just creates an environment in which you totally feel comfortable. As opposed to some people, who shall remain nameless…not “people” but “person”…Anyway, it’s a long story. There’re other experiences where it’s more stressful, where things are just chaotic.  Mark’s good at keeping it relaxed.

OS: It seems, for the new album, that you were pushing the boundaries a little in terms of your sound—maybe a little bit heavier than some previous releases. Was this a conscious effort?

JP: I think the only thing we were aware of was that we wanted it to be more of a “rock” record, as opposed to a “pop” record. I feel like the last record we did was very pop-oriented, and for this one, we wanted to just put a little more energy in. I feel like it was a success in that regard.

There’s a song called “Pulp Fiction” which is totally the brainchild of our bass player Matt Taylor. He tends to write these songs with just like keyboards and drumbeats. It started out as an electronic song. He sent it to me while I was actually in Japan, when I had the bike incident. It was so fun and easy for me to write lyrics, I wrote the entire first verse and chorus within minutes and sent it back. We ended up turning it into a real song, as opposed to an electronic/techno thing, where it started. So I would say that that was different. I think another one, like “Disappear” is very dark and a lot more aggressive. So, yeah I would say that that is a fair assessment.

OS: During Warped Tour and shows in general, it seems that you guys in particular like to mingle and hang out with the people who came out to the show- before/after the set, like at the merch booth for example. Why is that?

JP: I think when we do our tours, it’s really easy. It just kind of makes sense to go hang out with people. It’s only like 30 minutes or an hour out of your day. When we do longer tours, I tend to lose my voice, so I usually don’t talk. But on Warped Tour I’m talking all the time. My voice actually is going right now. It’s kind of on its last legs this week. Hopefully, it’ll hold together. I like actually talking and hanging out with people, and I don’t really get to do it that much. I guess that’s why—for selfish reasons. Most of the time I spend in my bunk, I spend it reading or watching X-files or something, and not talking with people. When I’m around people I tend to not stop. I just keep going and then I lose my voice.

Motion City Soundtrack are performing at the Leeds and Reading Festivals this year in the UK as well as Bumbershoot in Seattle, WA in addition to their own fall tour.

8/26-The Underworld, London, UK

8/28- Leeds Festival,Wetherby, UK

8/29- Reading Festival, Reading, UK

9/5- Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA

10/14- Soma, San Diego, CA

10/15- Avalon, Los Angeles, CA

10/16- House of Blues, Anaheim, CA

10/17-The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

10/20- Portland, OR, Crystal Ballroom

10/22- Salt Lake City, UT, Avalon

 


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