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Intel Superstars Winners Announced!

The Top 5 OurStage artists in the Latin, singer-songwriter and urban genres, who entered their original songs in the Intel “Superstars”Competition via Intel’s Facebook page, are now the lucky recipients of an awesome prize package courtesy of Intel and Cakewalk. Each package includes a personal computer with Intel® Core™ Processor Technology and Cakewalk music software! The Top 20 artists in each of the Intel “Superstars” Competition Channels have automatically made it to the Intel “Superstars” National Finals Competition to compete for $10,000 cash, to be awarded in January 2011 by a panel of music industry experts.

Remember to Judge in the Intel “Superstars” National Finals Competition and help the best artist rise to the top and take home the grand prize!

Congratulations to these Intel “Superstars” Competition Winners:

Singer-Songwriter Winners:
“Worth The Fight” by Marie Hines (Nashville, TN)
“Running Into Walls” by Lily Holbrook (San Francisco, CA)
“My Way Home” by Made To Break (Bothell, WA)
“Quicksand” by Anthony Rankin (Pittsburgh, PA)
“Gotta Get Away” by Seth Glier (Shelburne, MA)

Urban Winners:
“What’s On My Mind” by Kjae (Mentone, CA)
“I Need You” by Mac (Gods Gift) (Fresno, TX)
“Little Do They Know” by Arenbe (Houston, TX)
“Save The World” by Luci (Nashville, TN)
“Thomas Edison” by Bravo Young (Riverdale, GA)

Latin Winners:
“Cuando Mas Te Neccisito” by Luis Guillermo (Berwyn, IL)
“Sunshine In My Mind” by Laura Ault (Astoria, NY)
“Le Propuse” by Berto Lavos (Tampa, FL)
“Live It Up” by Luci, featuring Thrill Coleman (Nashville, TN)
“Elena” by Soulsa (New York, NY)

Check out the playlist below to listen to the winning songs from the Intel “Superstars” Latin, Urban and Singer-Songwriter Channels!

Springsteen Settles Up With The Past On “The Promise”

These days, the words “Bruce Springsteen” often seem like they denote a religion rather than a flesh-and-blood human being. The Jersey giant’s iconic stature has swelled to such an extent over the last three decades that it’s difficult to imagine a time when Springsteen was just a rough-and-tumble rocker still cementing his legend, and not yet a monolithic figure for whom no surname is necessary. But The Promise permits a peek back into the mid ‘70s—a time before many of today’s Springsteen fans were even born—providing a portrait of a very different Bruce.

Even after the 1975 masterpiece Born To Run put the scruffy king of undershirt rock’s name on the world’s lips, it was still too early to be assured of Springsteen’s staying power.  He was at a crucial point in his career, where he could either pick up the artistic gauntlet laid down by the aforementioned album or let the brass ring slip through his fingers, and just as he was getting ready to grapple with that, fate threw a monkey wrench in the works. Differences between Springsteen and his manager, Mike Appel, resulted a long, painful legal battle that prohibited Bruce from making an album until it was resolved. During that long winter of the soul, the songwriter amassed dozens and dozens of powerful songs, fueled by his frustration. When the smoke cleared and the time finally came to record Darkness On The Edge of Town, Springsteen had enough material for six or seven albums, and a lot of great tracks inevitably got left behind. That’s where The Promise comes in.

Courtesy of Shorefire Photo Credit: Frank Stefanko

Thirty-plus years after the fact, The Promise goes spelunking in the Springsteen archives on a rescue mission to recover the best of the lost tracks from the Darkness sessions. It exists in two versions—a two-disc collection of the twenty-two recovered tunes, and deluxe edition that also includes a remastered Darkness and three DVDs, containing two live shows of Darkness material along with a Promise documentary film. Listening to The Promise is like getting a glimpse into an alternate universe where the Springsteen legend developed differently. For one thing, we hear The Boss’s own hard-charging versions of songs he ended up giving to other artists. What would have happened if Patti Smith, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and The Pointer Sisters were denied career-making tunes like “Because The Night,” “Talk To Me” and “Fire,” respectively? Then there are songs that did make the Darkness cut, presented in earlier versions, like “Candy’s Boy” (which became “Candy’s Room” with a radically different arrangement) and “Racing In The Street,” offering hints at the nature of Bruce’s editing process.

Of course, the meat of The Promise is the bounty of compositions that were left behind. From the romantic reverie of the Brill Building pop-tinged “The Little Things (My Baby Does)” and the measured, mid-tempo melancholy of the bittersweet “Come On (Let’s Go Tonight)” to the very Darkness-sounding anthem of alienation “Outside Looking In” and the smoky, wee-hours urban romanticism of “City Of Night,” this collection delivers consistently, cut for cut. So, would Springsteen’s star have ascended even faster if these songs were released in ’76 or ’77? Would they have somehow taken his career down a different path? Would Patti Smith and The Pointer Sisters, denied of their biggest hits, be working hotel lounges today? The Promise can’t answer any of these questions, but it presents some tantalizing possibilities.

  1. Racing In the Street (’78)
  2. Gotta Get That Feeling
  3. Outside Lookin In
  4. Someday (We’ll Be Together)
  5. One Way Street
  6. Because The Night
  7. Wrong Side of the Street
  8. The Brokenhearted
  9. Rendezvous
  10. Candy’s Boy
  11. Save My Love
  12. Ain’t Good Enough for You
  13. Fire
  14. Spanish Eyes
  15. It’s a Shame

By Jim Allen

Jim Allen has contributed to a wide range of print and online outlets including RollingStone.com, MOJO, Village Voice, Uncut, VH1.com, iTunes, All Music Guide, CMT.com, The Advocate, Prefix, Blurt and many more.

Q&A With fun.

When indie rock band The Format announced their hiatus in early 2008, thousands of fans were devastated by the news. Luckily for them, frontman Nate Ruess had a new project up his sleeve. Teaming up with members of Anthallo and Steel Train, Ruess hit the studio a few months later to record the first fun. record, Aim and Ignite. In anticipation of the record release, the band hit the road, opening for pop rock powerhouses Jack’s Mannequin and Paramore.

The eclectic and whimsical Aim and Ignite received fantastic reviews across the board and left fans in eager anticipation of what’s next to come. As the band rounds out a few UK dates with Paramore and 2010′s hottest new rapper, B.o.B., we caught up with Nate to find out more about the story behind fun., touring and plans for a new release.

OS: You’re well known as the former lead vocalist and lyricist of The Format. For those who haven’t heard fun.’s music yet, how does it differ from The Format’s?

NR: Just different songwriters. Different approaches to writing songs. Different songs. Different band. Same vocals.

OS: Rounding out the fun.’s lineup are Jack Antonoff of Steel Train and Andrew Dost, formerly of Anthallo. How did the three of you come to collaborate on this project?

NR: It’s something we all had talked about in the past. And the time window opened up when The Format broke up. So we flew to Jersey and got to work.

OS: Your debut album Aim and Ignite is very eclectic, at times sounding like indie pop and other times sounding like a Broadway musical. Which artists were the biggest influences on that record?

NR: The Xanadu soundtrack. Really that was all we collectively listened to at the time. Otherwise, we all bring different influences to each song. I like how unique that is.

OS: Your song “Walking the Dog” was used in an ad for Expedia.com. What was it like to see your music in a national television commercial?

NR: I didn’t see it for a long time and then one day I was walking through the airport and saw it. I wanted to grab some random person, shake them, and say, “Hear that? That’s me. So stop judging how I look.”

OS: You’ve toured multiple times with Paramore and Jack’s Mannequin. What do you enjoy most about touring with those bands?

NR: The music, the members, their crew and their fans. All great things.

OS: Speaking of Paramore, you’ve embarked on three straight months of touring, including some dates in the UK playing stadium shows with them and B.o.B. How did you prepare for those dates?

NR: I built a mock stadium in my bathroom and I just practice my arena moves.

OS: You were recently signed to Fueled By Ramen. Why did you decide to choose to sign with them and how has it changed things for fun.?

NR: The ink is still really fresh. So nothing has changed yet. Hope it eventually does though. We went with them because we’ve known them for a long time and thought they could supply us a nice balance of artistic creativity and sheer power.

OS: What can fun.’s fans expect in terms of a new record? Any release plans for 2011?

NR: Working on it now. Plan on really digging deep into the new songs once we get home from tour. Not sure what it’s going to be stylistically. I do know these are my favorite lyrics I’ve written so far. Hopefully it will be out summer 2011.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Check out the band on tour this fall with Steel Train and The Postelles:

11/18 – Newcastle, UK @ Metro Radio Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/19 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Evening News Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/20 – Aberdeen, SCT @ AECC Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/27 – New York, NY @Webster Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles

11/29 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa with Steel Train and The Postelles

11/30 – Toronto, ON @The Mod Club Theatre with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/2 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/3 – Boston, MA @ Royale Night Club with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/4 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/5 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/7 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/8 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/9 – Orlando, FL @ The Social with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/13 – Ashland, KY @ Paramount Arts Center with Steel Train and The Postelles

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: The Lives of Famous Men

Their name is The Lives of Famous Men, and if their career thus far is any indication, they will probably know exactly what those lives are like.

Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, this five-piece eventually moved to New York City, where they now claim residency at Arlene’s Grocery and at Philadelphia’s North Star Bar.

Vocalist Daniel Hall has a soothing yet expressive tone, channeling a mix between Head Automatica‘s Daryl Palumbo and The Spill Canvas‘ Nick Thomas. The group behind Hall writes with a strong indie pop sensibility (similar to Steel Train and The Format) as showcased on their latest record, Marigold Maxixe. The record is an evolution from the group’s past material, which was more upbeat and jazzy, but shows that the group is both maturing and unafraid to experiment with new sounds.

Like Meg & Dia, the group opted for a more toned-down approach for their new release, which features airy guitars, steady drum beats, vocal harmonies and charming acoustic guitars. Charging electric guitars have been traded in for bells and tambourines, but the change is both refreshing and well-executed.

After performing at SXSW, Warped Tour, MTVU’s Campus Invasion and on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Lives of Famous Men are more than ready to take on the indie scene. Produced by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, The Pixies), Marigold Maxixe is now available for streaming and download on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Click here to check out The Lives of Famous Men’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel and hear some of their older material in the player below!

Hip Hop Habit: LogicaL

Hip Hop HabitEgo tripping, chest thumping, talking shit—whatever you want to call it—is accepted by mass audiences if it falls under two criteria: truth and balance. No one can dog an artist for trumpeting his abilities if what he speaks is undeniably the truth—as has somewhat surprisingly been the case with Kanye West—especially if there is some secondary content in said artist’s catalog to counterweight what would otherwise be an obnoxious collection of material. This week’s featured HHH artist LogicaL knows both requirements very, very well.

Without Me” delves into the confidence realm with LogicaL begging the question “how could you call it music without me in the equation?” Though that statement may be just a bit outlandish, he has every right to champion his own art. Musically, this excellently-produced track carries the form of a well thought out pop song, from a catchy vocal sample  in the intro to its parallel synthesized sitar-y riff when the verse drops. The track even has a pre-chorus to prepare listeners for what comes next. With his momentum flying, LogicaL admits to loving the chase “I don’t like the ground/ that’s what I’m always in the air for” and confirms his philosophy as being “not all about the flash, but all about the lyrics/ and everybody knows the difference when they hear it.” Ain’t that the truth.

LogicaL Hip Hop HabitDifferent Breed” featuring DayKeeper is where the balance comes in. Immediately recalling Lupe Fiasco’s track “Baba Says Cool For Thought” featuring Lesha Jaco, this piece opens with DayKeeper’s tense spoken word over gentle piano growing in intensity until LogicaL’s verse breaks over a pattern of crunchy snare hits. From here on out the therapeutic beat flows easy, supporting the two emcees’ refreshing message about not buying into the negative practices of settling for less or halting effort too early, illustrated in lines like “Good intentions die hard/ that’s why I always do more than just try hard” and “never settle under par.”

Those two tracks represent the two poles of LogicaL’s stylistic spectrum, but a third approach finds common ground (and also proves the emcee can sing).  Check out “Can’t Let Go.” On LogicaL’s profile if the previously mentioned tracks don’t do it for you. With so many styles, only time will tell which one will emerge ahead of the others and be known as LogicaL’s sound.  Let us know which is your favorite in the comments below!

Metal Monday: Songs for a Cold Winter

The temperatures in many areas of the United States  have been in free fall since Halloween, and that really only means one thing: winter is just around the corner. So, bust out your scarves and mittens, it’s only going to get colder. There are lots of activities that people like to do in the winter to stay cozy. For example, curling up with a good book by the fire or sipping some hot chocolate under some blankets on the couch while watching a movie. Sometimes, though, you just need to get your blood pumping to get warm, so here are six winter-themed songs that are sure to fire you up:

  1. Dead Winter Inside by The Neologist
  2. Premonitions of Winter by Apathy
  3. Icewind Blast by Icewind Blast
  4. Ablaze All Shrines by December’s Cold Winter
  5. Cold Rapture by Fell On Black Days
  6. Frozen by Black Chapel

Rihanna Gets “LOUD”

Rihanna is ready to make some noise. Her latest release, Loud, is laced with the fun, confident, sexy style that made us love this Barbados-born beauty from the start.

Gone are the days of her Rated R sentiments of sadness, brooding, and regret that came on the heels of her very violent and very public breakup with Chris Brown.

The now red-haired maven is back to basics on her fifth studio release, belting out songs about being young, having fun and of course—teasing the boys.

“S&M” is an up-tempo, club banger (and rumored third single) that reminds us that she’s no innocent island girl. The sexy siren is poised to reclaim her title as the good girl gone bad…in a good way.

“What’s My Name?” featuring Drake, is her catchy, second single already generating buzz and heating up the airwaves since it was released in October.

“Cheers (Drink to That)” samples Avril Lavigne’s 2002 hit, “I’m With You” and turns it into the perfect song to get hammered to at your favorite bar.  Although the subject is alcohol, the tone is one of release and reverence, more than rockin’ out and getting wild.

“Fading” is a cute break-up song, with a sassy message that might leave the ladies with a new catchphrase for saying “sionara” to their undeserving boyfriends.

“Only Girl In The World” is RiRi in her element. The upbeat dance track delivers the heart-pounding energy we’ve come to expect from the vivacious vixen, hitting high-notes and riding the addictive beat.

“California King Bed” leaves us lusting after a long-distance love, and creates a sweet, sexy mood with the acoustic guitar and Rihanna’s sultry singing.

“Man Down” is the edgiest effort and sounds more like a confession than a song, with Rihanna playing a remorseful murderess. While the subject is intriguing, the song feels out of place in the otherwise cheerful line-up and was penned by newcomer, Shontelle.

“Raining Men” featuring Nicki Minaj is a sassy single that reminds us that men are a dime a dozen.  The catchy beat is reminiscent of Beyonce’s, “Check Up On It” with the always-intriguing Minaj making an island-inspired rap cameo, complete with synthesized voice tricks and quick pace-changes.

“Complicated” was a bit of a disappointment by comparison to the others. The message is redundant at best: “I love you, I hate you…love is complicated” and is set above a boring beat that drags on and on.

“Skin” is a sultry, breathy delivery of risqué lyrics solidifying Rihanna’s spot as a bonafide sexpot.

“Love The Way You Lie (Part 2)” featuring Eminem is an extension of their smash hit, and delves further into the painful heartache and complicated aftermath of abusive relationships. It offers the one and only piece of insight into Rihanna’s feelings about her highly-publicized predicament:

On the first page of our story the future seemed so bright, and this thing turned out so evil, I don’t know why I’m still surprised.  Even angels have their wicked schemes and you take that to new extremes, But you’ll always be my hero even though you lost your mind…

An obvious departure from the dark, gritty sound of her last LP, the light-hearted, Loud is Rihanna’s triumphant return to the top of the world.

Loud is in stores and online tomorrow.

By Cortney Wills

Cortney Wills is a pop culture journalist born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has lived in LA, Chicago and NYC and enjoys all things entertainment.

Testify!


Jesus rock may seem like a niche market, but Christian/gospel music sales last year amounted to nearly half a billion dollars, according to the Christian Music Trade Association. That’s nothing to scoff at, even if your tastes lean towards the more agnostic. Wichita’s The Lost Colors wear their Christianity with pride, but their turbo-charged pop-rock is palatable for both saints and sinners. “Say OK” begins with big, meaty guitars that send up banks of fuzz for singer Ellie Gorman to power through, while arcs of keys and chugging riffs up the urgency. “Turn Around,” with its spinning chorus, has just as much aggression, this time turned inward. But “Blame” veers from introspection to incrimination, challenging the listener to take stock of his or her actions and quit foisting the blame on others. The Lost Colors steep their rock in stormy hues. Which makes sense, because when your soul is at stake, things can sometimes seem a little bit bleak.

Needle in the Haystack: S-Preme

There are loads of niche rappers in the world these days. It’s easy to make an OK beat and spit a line or two. However, finding a good rapper before they’re mainstream is a difficult feat. S-Preme is one of these rare finds. This week’s Needle in the Haystack artist is on his grind, growing online buzz through interviews with hip hop Web sites, and pumping out new tracks like it’s his job (which it kinda is). Afterall, this is what’s required to become successful, so S-Preme is on the right track!
Once you listen to the free track “Popular”,  you’ll quickly discover why we’ve selected S-Preme as this week’s Needle in the Haystack artist. No doubt you’ll hit the rewind button to hear more thanks to the song’s mainstream sound and infectious hook.

As always, we’ve got an exciting week ahead of us and look forward to learning more about S-Preme. Don’t forget to let us know what you think of the track below!

Tune Up: Your Prescription For Staying In Time

In general, one of these most widely neglected tools for pop musicians is a metronome. If you ask any orchestra, chamber ensemble or marching band, they’ll tell you that next to their tuner, a metronome is the only thing they wouldn’t be caught dead without at rehearsal. The Dr. Beat line, made by BOSS® is arguably one of the smartest, most intuitive metronomes on the market. This thing can do everything from standard measure beeps (in any time signature you can imagine) to complicated subdivisions and polyrhythm’s. It has become a staple at school band programs and should really be a staple for rock bands, pop acts and producers alike.

BOSS® DB-90

-Two overlapping beat options

-Multiple click sounds

-Human voice sound

-50 memory slots

-MIDI in to sync with DAWs or Sequencers

-Drum machine-like click options

-Rhythm coach

Clearly this isn’t your standard metronome. Check out the BOSS® video review to see their DB line in action:

While the features speak for themselves, what stand out the most are the complexity of rhythms, the drum features and the “Rhythm Coach”. You can create virtually any rhythm fathomable on this, and you have the ability to assign a counting voice or even drum sounds to it. This helps to insure timing and gives you reference to your place in the music. Something that is completely unheard of with metronomes is the ability to record your own sounds for playback. Beyond this, they’ve even got programs that test your ability to play along with these complex rhythms by giving you drills and monitoring your playback through a built-in microphone with their “Rhythm Coach”.

Sure, you can pick up a standard metronome (perhaps even one of the smaller ones in the DB line). However, making the investment in the DB-90 will truly make you a better player, and it will give you the ability to rehearse in a full band setting while keeping time quite well. To top it off, you’ll even be able to record with it as it can sync to your recording program. Really the only downside is that the interface can be a bit awkward to set beats up in (as seen by the small screen in the video above). However, with versatility and a robust set of features, the DB-90 is an amazing tool for the performing musician.

 


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