Friday, May 1, 2015

An Interview with AyOH

>> The four members of Chicago-based band AyOH have been working extra hard lately. The group put out an EP in February, titled Dangerous Questions, and recently released a new music video for "Shout Shout" - all while finding time to perform at SXSW. The band has been together for a few years now, but it looks like 2015 might be the year they really shine.  Read my interview with the band below!

Please introduce yourself.
My name is Avi Dell, I'm the lead singer and lyricist for the Alt/Dance/Pop band AyOH out of Chicago, Illinois. I also play guitar and keys.

How did the band first come together?
AyOH is a Chicago formed band arriving from all over the globe. AyOH first came to life when singer Avi Dell (from Pittsburgh) met with drummer, John Arrotti (from Chicago), to work on some original tunes. Avi gave John some recordings that he had been working on including demos and simple lyrical themes and the two quickly formed a strong collaboration. Within a few months they had over a dozen original tunes and today constitute the bulk of writing, but our bassist Lin (from Thailand) and guitarist Austin (from Seattle) contribute creatively in an ever increasing way.

How did you all decide to name the band AyOH?
Before we were a band, we were just dudes playing music, writing songs, sharing ideas. and this one song I brought to the group had this great refrain at the end that went "Ay-OH, Ay-OH" we really clicked with this song and it started feeling like we had a clear direction. "We were like, okay, we can build a band around this sound and this song" the song is now called "Out Alive" and was the first single off our first EP "Take it to the People". It charted nationally on CMJ and has received regular play time on a few local radio stations and college radio across north America.

You released your sophomore EP, Dangerous Questions, in February. What was the writing and recording process like for this EP?
We took this project to the next level. It was an extremely long process, but every rock was turned. We didn't leave any detail untouched. Steve Gillis, our producer, was our fearless leader.

Where did you find inspiration for this EP? Would you say it has a certain theme to it as a whole, or does each song speak to something different?
Inspiration came from everywhere for this. People like Paul Simon to the Killers and Imagine Dragons. We just wanted to create big sounding songs. Each song definitely has it's own personality, but in general there is a real message of hope throughout the EP.

Is there one particular track that has a special meaning for you? 
I don't think I have a favorite, but I'm really proud of "Lion to the Lamb". When I was writing, lyrically it started out pretty heavy and I was worried we wouldn't find the musical weight for balance. But Gillis (producer) recognized our ambition for the song and fearlessly guided us through that process. John Arrotti (drums) came through with the amazing piano arrangements that supported the entire piece.

Ideally, what would you like fans to get out of your music?
Smiles... When we get on stage people just seem to be happy.

You recently played a slew of shows at SXSW. What was that experience like and how does it compare to other shows you've played in the past?
SXSW is an experience all-unto-itself. I've described it as a singular moment in my life. Surrounded by people that love music as much as I do, playing their hearts out. There really isn't anything like it. I feel incredibly fortunate to be playing on such a high level.

Now that you've conquered SXSW, what can fans expect next from AyOH?
We'll be traveling quite a bit but those details are still in the works. If anyone is looking to tour, we're looking for bands to join up with. So please reach out and be in touch!

Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you so much for the time and for helping us spread the word. It's been a pleasure chatting with you.

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No Good News Sign With Pure Noise, Announce Summer Tour

>> Long Island natives No Good News have signed with Pure Noise Records. The label will be re-releasing the band's Disposable Summer EP later this summer.  In addition, the band will hit the road with Light Years, Head North, and Casey Bolles starting June 5th. The full list of dates for that run can be seen below a message from NGN:
We're really excited to be joining the Pure Noise Records family. Jake has always been great to us and we have a lot of respect for the way he has grown Pure Noise and the bands he works with. We're grateful that he's given us the chance to have our songs heard by more people and to spend the rest of the year on the road playing those songs. Thank you to everyone who has supported our band, very stoked for the future.

Tour Dates:
06/05/2015 - Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room
06/06/2015 - Clifton Park, NY @ Trickshots
06/07/2015 - Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East - Upstairs
06/09/2015 - New York, NY @ The Studio at Webster Hall
06/10/2015 - Amityville , NY @ The Amityville Music Hall
06/11/2015 - Philadelphia, PA @ The Barbary
06/12/2015 - Freehold, NJ @ GameChangerWorld
06/13/2015 - Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar
06/14/2015 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Shakas Live
06/16/2015 - Greensboro, NC @ Shiner's Tavern
06/17/2015 - Jacksonville, FL @ The Birdhouse
06/18/2015 - Orlando, FL @ Backbooth
06/19/2015 - Sunrise, FL @ Anonymous Guitars
06/20/2015 - Tampa, FL @ Epic Problem
06/21/2015 - Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade - Purgatory
06/23/2015 - Houston, TX @ Walter's On Washington
06/24/2015 - San Antonio, TX @ The Korova - Basement
06/25/2015 - Dallas, TX @ Sons of Hermann Hall
06/26/2015 - Albuquerque, NM @ The Works
06/27/2015 - Mesa, AZ @ The Underground
06/28/2015 - San Diego, CA @ Voodoo Room @ House of Blues
06/30/2015 - Anaheim, CA @ Chain Reaction
07/01/2015 - Van Nuys, CA @ White Oak Music
07/02/2015 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill
07/03/2015 - Portland, OR @ The Alhambra Theater
07/05/2015 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon - Lounge
07/07/2015 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Loading Dock
07/10/2015 - St Louis, MO @ The Demo
07/11/2015 - Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
07/12/2015 - Columbus, OH @ Double Happiness

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

New Song: "Hallelujah" by Panic! At The Disco

>> Following the departure of drummer Spencer Smith, Panic! At The Disco just released a new song titled "Hallelujah."  The song, set to alternating emojis, truly captures a lot of emotion as noted by Brendan Urie in a message to the fans.  You can stream "Hallelujah" below Brendan's note:
Hello my fellow sinners, 
First off, thank you. Thank you for always being there. For speaking your mind. For following what you believe. For allowing me to grow. For granting me the opportunity to live my dream. Words simply can’t express my full appreciation and gratitude for you. 
As I begin what feels like a new chapter of my life, I’m filled with immense excitement and a fresh sense of hope. I’ve seen this band through every phase, every change, every hardship. And yet my appreciation and love grows with every breath. 
So I lift my arms in praise of your greatness. YOU are great. YOU are beautiful. YOU are talented, and smart, and kind, and loving, and generous, and simply amazing. 
And you make me want to scream “HALLELUJAH!” from the top of my lungs with every bit of fervor and strength I possess. And I invite you to join me as you have over and over again. 
So Hallelujah, my fellow sinners. Hallelujah. 
Brendon Urie
Panic! At The Disco

>> You can view the song's lyrics here. If this isn't enough for you, Panic! has put together a "Say Your Prayers" playlist on Spotify, which you can listen to and follow here

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Summer Tour Dates: Charli and Jack Do America

>> This just in: Charli XCX and Bleachers (Jack Antonoff of fun.) will be co-headlining a tour this summer.  The first leg of the tour, featuring support from BØRNS, kicks off in San Diego on July 21st and runs through August 12th. The first set of dates for Charli & Jack Do America can be seen below, and tickets will be available starting Friday.

>> This won't be the first time Charli and Jack collaborate. The two took part in an “In-Ride Session,” presented by Kia, back in December. The two artists teamed up on an awesome mashup/remix where Antonoff covered Charli XCX's “Break the Rules” and Charli covered Bleacher’s track “Rollercoaster.” Watch the video for the cool combination below.

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Charli XCX: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
Bleachers: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Music Video: "Just Like You (When You Turn Out The Lights)" by TEAM*

>> TEAM*, one of my favorite discoveries from CMJ, just released a new video for their song "Just Like You (When You Turn Out The Lights)." The song comes from the band's 2014 album Good Morning Bad Day, and the video portrays a day in the life of TEAM* including everything from photo shoots to gigs and meeting fans. Watch it below, and if you're feeling the song, check out the whole album too.

>> Catch TEAM* on the road with Hit The Lights and Cartel for the 10 Year Anniversary Tour of Chroma!  Tickets and more info for this killer tour can be found here

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Game of Thrones Video Fever!

>> The season 5 premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones is just a few days away (thank heavens!), and it seems that I'm not the only one who's been counting down the days. Last month, Nerdist premiered a Taylor Swift / GoT parody titled "Blank Page," and apparently that was only the beginning.  A number of musicians have released music and/or videos full of references to the series, and it just wouldn't be right not to share them.  Here are two of my favorites:

>> Plaid Brixx released an incredible GoT-themed Taylor Swift parody yesterday.  The video, titled "Jon Snow," includes fantastic costumes and the line "I knew you knew nothing when you walked in / So shame on me Jon Snow," making it a must-watch. (Also, singer Chris Duggan makes a pretty great Ygritte.) Bonus points if you can make it through without laughing. 

>> Nerdcore/laptop rapper MC Lars also released a track inspired by a character from Game of Thrones - the mother of dragons Daenerys Targarean. The video for "Dragon Blood" features a present-day Khalessi tearing it up in an office and taking her seat on the throne (at the head of the conference room table). The video was executive produced by Adam F. Goldberg, the creator and show-runner for the successful ABC comedy "The Goldbergs," which helps explain why I've watched this video 3 times already... Watch it for yourself below!  
*Note - MC Lars will be on the Vans Warped Tour this summer, so if we're lucky, maybe he'll treat us to some GoT tunes as if winter was coming.

>> This one might not have a video, but that doesn't mean it's not worth mentioning.  Enter Shikari covered the Game of Thrones theme song recently for a BBC Radio One session.  The band recently released their new album, The Mindsweep, but made a point of paying tribute to good ol' GoT in the process of promoting their original work.

>> Know of any GoT inspired songs or videos that we missed? Share the love in the comments or with @TheMusicObsessi on Twitter!

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Enter Shikari: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Plaid Brixx: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter
MC Lars: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter

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You, Me & Everyone We Know Announce Spring 2015 Tour

>> On the heels of releasing their latest effort, Dogged, You, Me, and Everyone We Know just announced a month-long tour.  YMAEWK will hit the road with Daisyhead and Future Crooks on May 19th to support the EP. The full list of dates for this run, which comes to an end on June 13th, can be seen below.

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YMAEWK: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter
Future Crooks: Facebook | Twitter
Daisy Head: Facebook | Twitter
Dogged: iTunes | Physical

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An Interview with Spencer Sutherland

>> I stumbled upon a talented singer/songwriter a few months back who was doing a video cover series. After looking closer, I found that there was more to this artist than just covers. Spencer Sutherland, the artist in question, has successfully used both covers and original songs to gain quite a loyal fan base for his music. I recently had the chance to speak with Spencer about his song "Nothing Can Hurt Me", Pledge Music, and pursuing dreams. Read the interview below.

Please introduce yourself.
SS: My name is Spencer Sutherland, and I'm singer from a town outside of Columbus Ohio called Pickerington.

When did you start making music? Were you always drawn to the pop/acoustic sound you have now?
SS: I've always been into music, and sang since I ever can remember. The first song I remember being completely drawn to was "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis, so you could say I've always been into pop, being that was considered Pop 60 years ago. I have listened to a very large variety of music growing up and still do. You will hear lots of different influences in my own music as a result, but Pop/RnB is where it's at for me.

What went into your 'Unveiled' EP? What was that process like?
SS: Ahhhh I'm so excited to have Unveiled out! The process was so fun! The writing, recording and getting to be a part of the production -- loved it all! My awesome band played all of the live instruments on the EP too, which is really cool.

You used Pledge Music to help fund the EP. What drew you to that platform over alternatives? Would you recommend Pledge to other artists?
SS: Pledge is so awesome! Great people to work with! I would recommend it to any artist or group! It's easy and really fun because I get to interact with my fans through in a unique way and I am able to offer them personalized items and exclusive content!

How did you choose "Nothing Can Hurt Me" to be your next single?
SS: I chose "Nothing Can Hurt Me" because of the response that I've gotten when I played it live. Fans seem to really be into it and request it a lot!

What motivated you to make your new "Nothing Can Hurt Me" video a fan appreciation video?
SS: Well that's easy - lets start with my fans are the BEST! I think my fans know how much they mean to me, but just in case there was any doubt in their minds I wanted to show them ;) I think its cool to have them be A PART of my project rather than just watching.

How did it feel to have to many fans submit clips for the video?
SS: It blew me away!! I HAVE THE BEST FANS IN THE WORLD! It was amazing to see all the original AND creative submissions.

How have the fans reacted to that video so far?
SS: People have been so supportive and amazing to me about the video! I have gotten requests to do something similar in the future!

This isn't the first time you've called for fan interaction. Tell us about your Female Friday Cover series. 
SS: I love interacting with fans, so I thought it would be great for them to choose my songs! Every week I gave them 4 choices and they all got to vote and choose one cover for me to do for a month! I chose to call it "Female Friday Feature" because the girls were (and still are) blowing up the charts! It was so much fun, and I'm for sure going to do it again!

Which one of the chosen covers was your favorite?
SS: I loved all of them, but doing "Bang Bang" was really fun because I really got to collab with my band to change it up and make it more of an original spin!

On to Spencer news: You signed a deal with Ford Models a few months ago. Congrats, by the way! How did that come about?
SS: I'm so excited I can now say that I'm a model! Like What??? Haha I'm so grateful to be on the FORD team! They're amazing to work with! Basically we went to have an exploratory meeting at FORD NYC and next thing I know, I'm signing a contract! CRAZY!

What has that experience been like so far? Has it interfered with your music at all?
SS: Not interfered at all! In fact, they want to work WITH my music career. I am a singer who also models and FORD is great about that!

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their dreams?
SS: GO FOR IT! You have literally ONE life. Why spend it wondering what if? It's not going to be easy, but it's so worth it.

What are you looking to do next as an artist?
SS: I am currently working on finishing my album and figuring out the single, so naturally I cant wait for that! And then I will be doing shows to support it. Excited to see my fans! There's always a corner to look around, and it keeps life exciting!

Is there anything else you would like to say?
SS: I just want to say thank you so much for YOUR support. I appreciate the interest!! and I want to let my fans know how much I love them!

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