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Metal Monday: Wake Of Redemption Looking To Shake The Earth

Mainstream metal gets a really bad rap more often than it likely deserves. Perhaps this reputation rests on the fact that mainstream metal boosts catchier songwriting, features hooks and is more visible than their underground counterparts. At any rate, there is plenty of worthwhile mainstream metal amongst the riff raff, and OurStage metal band Wake Of Redemption is doing their best to show everyone just that. Don’t be mistaken, Wake of Redemption aren’t just wishy washy pop music that pretends to be metal; they’re pure metal.

On January 29, Wake of Redemption is unleashing their full-force attack on the world: Earthshaker. Listening to the three tracks the band has posted to their OurStage profile, we’re pretty excited and we think you should be too. Earthshaker promises to be a fresh take on a few different mainstream metal styles, all packaged into one cohesive-sounding album. To get some backstory on the album’s recording process, which the band did with Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, He Is Legend, etc.) at his studio in North Carolina, we got in touch with guitarist/vocalist Nick who gave us a lot of insight into some of the decision-making and a description of some of the things that you’ll hear on the album:

“At our first couple of meetings with Jamie, we tracked all of the drums and discussed the overall scope of the project. After some editing, Jamie sent the drum tracks to me. To save money, we ended up tracking all of the guitars at my house but made sure to get a clean ‘dry’ signal of all the guitars and bass while tracking. This gave Jamie the ability to ‘re-amp’ our guitar signals later and run them through some top-end gear he has in his studio. What you actually hear on the album is a blend of our guitar amps and the amps that he re-amped our dry signals through. After guitars and bass were finished, we went back into the studio with Jamie to record vocals and mix the album. Due to his unrelenting schedule and our decision to track guitars, the entire process took nearly a year, but we also saved an enormous amount of money and were able to really concentrate on getting as good of performances as possible rather than watching the clock (especially while tracking guitar).”

What label is Earthshaker coming out on, you ask? Well, the simple answer is “none” but it’s not quite that simple. Much like the recording process, the deliberation about how to release the album took quite some time. Once again, we decided to have Nick clarify by explaining how the band came to the conclusion to ultimately self-release the album:

“After a ton of research and thinking, we are self-releasing the album. We’ve actually been on the fence about it for months (I got the masters back for the album in May!) but finally made the decision and feel very good about it…Early on, we were pretty determined to push this album to as many labels as possible to try to get label distribution. But, we all started reading and talking to people in the industry and it became clear how little money bands make when they first sign to labels. Most of us are at a point where we cannot afford to live the typical early-band life with no income because of family and other obligations, so we started researching the alternatives. I believe that the music industry as a whole is in the midst of a dramatic shift, especially where music distribution is concerned. For around $40, we were able to get our music on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon through a music aggregator, bypassing the need to sign our lives away to a major label for access to the most important distribution chain in the industry. For every album we sell digitally, we will see over 60% of the profit (vs. a maximum of 10% we would receive in royalties were we on a major label). There may come a time when we need major label support, specifically for promotion, but, for now, we are excited about the fact that we are totally debt-free and are at the point where we can sit back, melt faces and hopefully make a little money (which we will inevitably re-invest in the band).”

In the player below, you can listen to a few songs from the upcoming album, as well as download “Oh, Yeah!” (but only for a limited time, so don’t wait). Make sure you buy the album when it drops on the 29th, and see these guys live if they’re playing near you. Wake of Redemption do not disappoint.

Sorry, you missed out on the download! Make sure you grab the album when it drops!

Exclusive Q&A: Future Islands Gaze Out ‘On the Water’

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsFuture Islands is one of those few bands whose bizarre name is actually very indicative of the kind of music they create. The group has become known for their unique post-wave synthpop sound, centralized around the haunting vocals of Samuel T. Herring, that makes you feel as though you’re stuck on a cold and deserted island filled with alien technology. Getting their start in North Carolina as fellow art majors at East Carolina University, Future Islands ultimately moved to Baltimore to become regulars of the indie community there. However, for their recently-released album On the Water, the band made a pilgrimage back to their roots both physically and musically. To tell us about this voyage back in time, vocalist Samuel T. Herring and guitarist/bassist William Cashion took some time to take us inside their creative process and how they were able to incorporate outside elements into their latest work.

Future Islands

OS: You’ve described On the Water to be a concept album about “two parallel journeys—one physical and one psychological”. Does this tie into your own experience as a band or as writers?

SH: Well the concept came secondary to the writing and recording of the songs, a definite afterthought in finding the common thread that tied the songs together to form the album. I do believe in those parallel journeys, however, in that this album moves us through a landscape while also on a journey for something internal from that external change. It definitely ties into my personal experience. Those songs are of my life, and my own questions and hopeful answers. I think it’s pretty indicative of our writing process too, creating first and finding the meanings later. Instead of over-thinking, and putting process before inspiration. The journey is inherent.

OS: The opening track starts off with ambient sounds—is this intended to set the mood for the entire album? Where did those sounds come from?

WC:  I have a fancy little hand-held digital recorder, and one night Chester and I went “sound hunting” around Elizabeth City.  The sounds at the beginning of the record were recorded across the street on the docks.

SH: We all had those recordings in mind and set aside for that purpose. It may seem redundant for some, but for anyone that grew up near the water or had a dock close to home that they would walk down to, it’s an essential form of nostalgia that sets the tone for the album.

Continue reading ‘Exclusive Q&A: Future Islands Gaze Out ‘On the Water’’

Eric Church Presents a Sonic “Homeboy”

Only two days after its release, Eric Church‘s new single “Homeboy” isn’t his anymore.

That might seem odd since Eric carefully birthed the February 15th release right from the nugget of an idea to fruition, but he feels strongly about his attitude.

“Once they’re released, they aren’t mine anymore,” said Eric just before leaving Nashville for the latest leg of his concert tour. “It’s really weird because of the way I wrote the songs and recorded them, but once people hear them they belong to those people. It’s almost like the songs are kids.”

That’s likely even truer now for Eric than it was for past songs.  When the time came for Eric to begin to write his upcoming album, he rented a cabin in a secluded part of North Carolina. Then he spent several months in seclusion developing ideas and writing songs. “Homeboy” is the first song from the album Eric hopes to release later this year.

“When I went up there, I got a fairly good handle on it,” said Church of writing the songs for his album. “It takes me a while for the songs to start telling me what they’re about. It’s a very intriguing process.”

Even those in Eric’s inner circle often have to wait until Eric is comfortable with a song to let them hear it. He doesn’t do demos anymore, he said, instead letting the cuts speak basically stand on their own.

Now out on tour—both headlining and sharing bills with Jason Aldean and Toby Keith—it’s clear that Eric’s style works well for him. Even though this leg of his concerts is just underway, fans are as rampant as they were when they forced last year’s Country Throwdown organizers to move him from the Outlaw stage to the Main stage.

“Our fans are just great,” said Church. “They are always right there, pulling [other fans] up out of their chairs.”

That’s especially true now that Church is nominated for the Academy of Country Music Award for Top New Solo Vocalist. In his competition against Easton Corbin and Randy Houser for the award, Church released a video “Everyone Is Doing It,” that features a host of people in different settings talking about voting for the awards or, in the video’s vernacular “doing it.”

Although Eric said he laughed out loud when he watched the video— that also features a guest appearance by Luke Bryan, who last year received ACM’s Top New Artist award—he said his main goal with music isn’t to win such award.

“I just want to make an epic record,” said Eric. “That’s what making music is all about.”

Watch Eric’s ‘Everyone Is Doing It’ video here

Eric is on tour. His next scheduled concert is February 24th in Florence, SC with Jason Aldean.  For a complete list of concert dates and locales, check here.

Ernie Ball Metal Winner For October Announced!

In October, long time OurStage partner Ernie Ball sponsored the Metal Channel, giving headbangers around the country a chance to compete for a year’s supply of free strings. The votes are in and the folks at Ernie Ball have made their choice. A Vision Grotesque—hailing from Salisbury, North Carolina—shredded and rocked their way to the top of the channel, and into the ears of the judges. Their unique blend of wailing guitar solos, brutal vocals and furious riffage will have your head moving all night long. To listen to A Vision Grotesque, head to their OurStage profile and check out their tracks. Ernie Ball is currently sponsoring the Punk Channel. Hit up the playlist below to listen to some of the top artists currently competing in the channel. The competition continues throughout November, so be sure to head to the Punk Channel to vote for your favorite artists.

Winning Artists Open For HANSON, Hang Out With The Brothers

In  June, the first batch of winners for the “Shout It Out With HANSON” Competition earned coveted spots opening for the pop trio on July and August dates of their summer Shout It Out tour.  We reached out to winners Delta Rae, Brightside Drive and Jeffrey James after their sets to hear about their experiences and are happy to share their stories with you.

Sayreville Winner Brightside Drive

Sayreville, NJ winners Brightside Drive opened for HANSON at the Starland Ballroom. The band played to a receptive crowd, selling numerous copies of their CD and picking up new fans on Facebook. They explained,  ”Opening for HANSON was such a great experience. All the fans that came out were so great (even after waiting in the line for hours) and it was awesome performing for all of them.  I think at one point even HANSON was watching us which was surreal! The publicity from playing the show was huge! Our fan base has definitely expanded. So many people wanted copies of our CD, Transitions. Plus many other fans headed over to our Facebook page to talk to us, get to learn more about us, and become our friend!”

Jeffrey James Band & HANSON

Nashville winner Jeffrey James played to a sold out crowd at their set at the Wild Horse Saloon. The band told us, “We played to a few thousand people. HANSON’s fans were very receptive to us. They seemed to enjoy the set a lot and I got many many great comments from the fans after we were done. As well, when I got home that night my Twitter followers had almost doubled.” Jeffrey James and his band amped up their performance for the large audience and received warm responses to their new material. “My band and I knew that we had to take our energy levels up a couple notches to play to a crowd that size. As the opening act, we had to win over an audience who, for the most part, had never seen us play. We may be recording a new song that we played at the show that got an amazing response.”

Delta Rae

North Carolina natives Delta Rae drove 11 hours from New York to Asheville, NC to play their opening slot at the Orange Peel. Little did they know, HANSON would be interviewing THEM upon arrival. The band said, “We were lucky enough to do a live interview with HANSON right before the show, and have gotten a lot of great attention from that. Part of the interview is performing a few acoustic songs for the Hanson bros, after which Isaac Hanson generously said, ‘Wow, I think we should be opening for them.’ Couldn’t have been nicer guys.”

Manic Impressive

The Black Rabbits

Jetson Black (badass name and 100% real) may sound pretty aloof when he sings, but make no mistake, there’s serious fire beneath the surface. As guitarist and lead vocalist for the Asheville, NC, band The Black Rabbits, Black delivers tightly wound vintage rock fueled by unrequited emotion. His brother, Skyler Black, keeps it rock steady behind the kit, while bassist Natalie Smallish and organist Kim Drake add feathery vocals to smooth out the rough edges. “Hurry Hurry” is a dark little rocker brimming with swag. Guitars strut and drums stomp as the urgency mounts. “For Way Too Long Now” feels more morose, with female backup acting as treacle to Black’s pent-up anxiety. For a break in the tension, skip to “Emotion, ” a kinetic, retro rock juggernaut complete with purring guitars, twinkling keys, handclaps and tambourines. One part Julian Casablancas, one part Jack White, Black hovers between unflappable cool and manic frenzy. Like a train that chugs along and suddenly threatens to go off the tracks, The Black Rabbits brooding, theatrical garage rock makes for an exciting ride.

Ernie Ball Announces Winner For July!

In a month filled with highly-competitive artists and tremendous talents, June proved to be a tough one for the crew over at Ernie Ball.  Though it was hard to sort through all of the talent, they managed to make a decision and reward one lucky band with a year’s supply of strings and accessories.

The Black Rabbits are a quartet from North Carolina with a sound all their own. They describe themselves as having a sound that has “classic chord progression with sensitive lyrics.” This can be noted in each song this young band has incorporated into their aptly-namedEP, The Black Rabbits. Recently they have been making waves and even made an appearance at the Florida GRAMMY’s. With a boatload of new strings,  the tunes are sure to keep flowing!

Take a listen below:

Hip Hop Habit: Zack Fraley

As his profile states, southern rapper Zack Fraley draws on the world around him for influences. Just like any artist working within the realms of expression, he pours the entirety of his being into every one of his creations. But like only the most prolific of artists, Fraley’s raps are transparent enough to allow listeners a sincere glimpse into his life and the state of mind from which his rhymes are etched. Featuring moments of both angst and blanketing despair, Fraley’s knack for poetic diction and offbeat flow is not abundantly represented in the game today.  When combined with his youthful energy and audible sincerity, the result is an enigmatic rap experience that will soon be making headlines.
Where We Go” opens with a daunting sample loop, begging the question “Where do we go from here?” For Fraley, the answer is “We go with our sense of direction /whether it drives us crazy or to sin and confession /we go where we’re wanted for a sense of belonging /we both cry when our fortunes get squandered.” The piece takes the listener through an epic journey, where youths transform from a blurry life of excess into the cruxes of a movements to a land where racial differences fade, with Fraley reaching the ultimate conclusion “It’s a good life if I have peace when I rest my head.” Speaking in the possessive, Fraley unites those following the same path as him, lending a heap of momentum to the tune and a sense of solidarity among listeners in the same boat. The beat is piano-driven and foreboding, mirroring the lyrical content and weight of always moving onto what’s next.
Continue Reading about Zack Fraley

Sultans of Swerve

EGF

Calling yourself Every Gyrlz Fantasy is a gamble from the get-go. After all, women look for different things in a man, right? Some might want him to be wealthy, others might prefer him to be passionate and some might like him to be a woman. But before we start sizing up Antuan Savey and Aaron Mitchell, the two singers that make up North Carolina’s EGF, let’s consider what they’re bringing to the table. There’s “In A While,” a minimalist R&B ballad with tinkling piano keys and whispers of synthesized strings. “I just wanna meet you, see you, feed you, we can do whatever you like,” Savey and Mitchell sing. Fellas, you just earned yourself some points. Then there’s “Shawty Throw It Back,” a heated little mid-tempo groove that shows some serious dance swagger. Quoth EGF: “All I want to see you do is make your body roll,” Beats like these make such a request hard to resist. So maybe they’re not every girl’s fantasy. But the ones who like to dance might want to get to know these guys a little better.

50 States In 50 Weeks… Week 28: North Carolina

OSBlog02_50States_NCFun Facts: State Flower; Dogwood, State Bird; Cardinal, State Song; “The Old North State”

Home of: Earl Scruggs, Ben Folds Five, Daughtry, Ryan Adams, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Nina Simone, Randy Travis, Annuals

The Venues:

The 1,000+ capacity Tremont Music Hall in Charlotte, NC is a popular stopover for national artists in the indie rock, punk, hardcore and metal genres. Their sister venue, the 325 capacity Casbah is a great place to see local and regional up-and-coming talent.

In 2008, Rolling Stone named the Orange Peel Social Aid & Pleasure Club in Asheville, NC one of the five best venues in the USA. The club has hosted acts like Blondie, The Flaming Lips, Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth and The Smashing Pumpkins. Asheville is also home to The Christmas Jam, a annual music festival organized by Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule with proceeds going to Habitat For Humanity. This year marked the 21st anniversary of the festival and featured Ani Difranco, Counting Crowes, moe. and Gov’t Mule.

The Music:

QFYMKETXRZOL-320x240Amaye – While Amaye has only called North Carolina home since 2005, she’s made a big impression on her adopted state, touring all over NC as the lead singer of an R&B cover band at her school, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Check out Amaye’s radio-ready R&B jam “Make Up 2 Break Up,” which won her the Coke and Radio One “My Formula. My Chance” Channel Grand Prize: A collaboration single with Trey Songz!

PSSZCRGHMVNL-320x240Mark Kano – You may recognize Mark Kano as the former frontman of alt. rock band Athenaeum, who recorded and released 2 albums for Atlantic Records in the late ’90s/early ’00s. These days, Mark’s music is more in the singer-songwriter vein. His song “Telling You I Love You” from his debut solo album Walking On Broadway topped last month’s OurStage Singer-Songwriter (Male) Channel.

KNJCFSQJGHXM-320x240The Lo and Beholds – Hailing from Charlotte, The Lo and Beholds are a 5-piece alternative/indie rock group. With such a mature sound, it’s hard to believe that all of the band members are only in their early 20s. Take a listen to the melodic vocals and dynamic guitars of “North.”

MichaelMichael Thomas – With six Top 10 finishes and three Number 1 channel prizes, 23-year-old Michael Thomas has been making quite a name for himself on the OurStage Country Channels. Dedicated to the old-school country sound, Michael released his first album Bonafide Country Boys last year. Check out the album’s title track in the playlist.

Check out these artists and more great North Carolinan music in the playlist below!

Who’s your favorite OurStage North Carolinian? Where do you like to see live music in North Carolina? Let us know in the comments!

 


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