Ok so we all know Lorde, right? She’s now an international star at the age of 16 and has a massive hit song called “Royals.” Well she recently released her full length album and I wouldn’t be surprised if she showed up at every major music festival on earth next year. For those who are as tired of Royals as I am she has released her second single from her album “Pure Heroin.” The songs called “Team” and the video is outstanding. Give a look. This young lady is about to take over our ear drums for a while.
Superstar, and Grammy Award-winning dubstep artist Skrillex has announced a Brooklyn takeover this February with a week full of shows at popular venues and secret locations alike. Skrillex, who is known for often playing huge festivals and large scale clubs, will bring his rowdy electronic stylings to the intimate settings of Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn Bowl, SRB Brooklyn, and Output. This is just one of four curated takeovers set to take place in 2014. Other cities include San Francisco, Amersterdam and Barcelona.
Caleb Hawley is back with a fresh sound and a set of new EPs scheduled to drop in 2014. I first heard Caleb perform over two years ago in the spring of 2011, shortly after his run in the top 50 on American Idol and just months before he made his first appearance on musicwithoutlabels.com. This is one extremely talented fellow. His first self-released projects contained a variety of pop folk songs with incredibly catchy soulful melodies. Hawley’s background includes a degree in Jazz Composition from the renowned Berklee College of Music, three self-produced albums, and a number of songwriting awards. A lot of his work up until now has been heavily influenced by his abilities on guitar, but when asked about his new sound, Hawley elaborated,
“While writing the EPs, I primarily listened to late 60’s and early 70’s Motown. I became pretty obsessed with how such simple songs could be arranged with such intricacy, so I took that influence and went with it. I also focused on centering the album around my voice, rather than guitar, as I had in the past.”
His work over the last two years has revolved around writing, recording, and refining the new music for his pair of EPs coming in 2014. The change in songwriting has given Hawley focus as a soul singer, and his new single, “Would You Even Try?” is a standout on the new project.
I personally can’t get enough of the raw intricacies on this new single! The intro alone is organic enough to transport anyone back to a 1970s cop show. At the very least, the rainbow bass line, conga tones, perfect dry wash on the ride, blended background vocals, and carefully constructed instrumentation delivers a stunning presence on this track… and that gritty flute, just wow. Hawley’s voice is so focused, even when riffing, but more importantly, communicates the disparity expressed in the message of the lyrics. If you knew what people were struggling with or what their burdens were, would you help them? It’s an honest question to ask in our culture today, and I commend Hawley for bringing attention to that piece of life that we so often seem to miss. ”Would You Even Try?” is now available on iTunes and through the Amazon links to the left. The track ushers in a new full band sound that marks the beginning of a completely new creative process for Caleb. It’s a hearty follow up to the single, “Little Miss Sunshine,” that he released in May, but just an appetizer for the first EP we’ll be treated to next month.
Although it’s a new process for Hawley, his DIY mentality remains stable and refreshed while co-producing songs with Lucius drummer Dan Molad. Their contrasting backgrounds in taste helped match a unique approach to a vintage trend. The recording was shared between a small studio in Brooklyn, Molad’s apartment, and Hawley’s living room. The result produced a 12 piece string section from the NY Philharmonic, Beyonce’s horn section, and a live rhythm section to capture the Spector-esque “wall of sound” present on the EPs.
“It’s hard to imagine how the lengthy list of musicians ever fit into one place. Thank you multitracking.“
The first EP, Side 1, introduces a new neo-motown influence, putting a raw spin on a retro sound. New listeners and expecting fans can get their copy on January 28th, and get the single while they wait. For more information about Caleb Hawley and his music, click on the album art below.
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC
Melophobia (n) 1. The fear of music 2. The name of the third album by American rock band, Cage the Elephant.
Hailing from Bowling Green, Kentucky, Cage the Elephant have, in the past few years, made strides from being a small town band to one of the biggest groups of today, headlining tours and festivals alike. Unlike many bands, Cage the Elephant, made up of Matt Shultz (vocals), Brad Shultz (guitar), Lincoln Parish (guitar), Daniel Tichenor (bass), Jared Champion (drums), have found success and critical acclaim from every full length album they’ve put out.
Taking a break now from releasing their album as well as a recent tour with Muse, the 5 are gearing up for an extensive round of festivals as well as a headlining tour. Brad describes life on the road as “… a never ending cycle of wanting to get home then wanting to get back on the road. I think you get to a point that you’re on the road so much that you really want to be home as much as you possibly can. Then you sit at home for a month or two and then you’re bored with it, so you want to get back on the road.” Touring with long time friends, Foals, here in the states and then heading to their side of the pond to support them through a tour through the UK. Brad explains that Foals’ influence on the band was pretty strong, “We were babies as far as musical influences and knowledge. We hadn’t heard a lot of stuff outside of our box. When we first heard Antidotes (2008) it blew our minds and changed the way we thought about music.”
Cage the Elephant not only headlines an up coming tour, but will also be making appearances at a number of festivals, including San Diego’s very own Wrex the Halls on December 6th. Brad explains that while they may not be headlining a festival, he still enjoys playing them just as much as their own show. “There really cool stuff that comes out of both. With headlining shows, everyone is there to see your band. But with festivals there’s a bunch of people that know your music but there’s also the discovery aspect that you get to experience. People discovering the band for the first time or digging a little bit deeper into your band and finding excitement out of that. And not only do I play music but I love to see other bands. I’m a music lover. Being able to see 10 concerts in one weekend is pretty amazing. We’re not the kind of band that sits backstage. We’re all over the festival.”
Whether it be at a festival or their own show, Cage the Elephant fans are sure to know nearly every lyric of every song, even off their most recent album, Melophobia, which was released in October of this year. Brad describes it as “…a trip to see people singing the words already. You don’t know how far people have dug into the album.”
With such a huge fan base and high expectations towards them, its hard to imagine the pressures the band has faced as they raise the bar with each new album. While the album name, Melophobia, is all about the actual fear of music, Brad describes it as more of the pressures of producing a quality sound and meeting that already high bar. “We just wanted to be hyper sensitive or hyper aware from any distraction that was going to keep us from making a totally honest record. Getting past not settling for anything. Not settling for a part in a song just because you feel like you have to put something out. We want to love every part of every song that we did and we wanted it to come from an honest place in our hearts.”
So if you haven’t got your tickets for Wrex the Halls yet, (which is including Queens of the Stone Age, Vampire Weekend, and more) then you’re out of luck because they sold out quickly.
When asked if he wanted to add anything, Brad summed up everything we San Diegans could ever want…
LEAGUES just wrapped up their fall tour with a phenomenal hometown show on Friday at the infamous Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, TN. After seeing them earlier this year open for Local Natives at Live On The Green, a free outdoor fall concert series with thousands in attendance each week, I was excited to see LEAGUES in a hard ticket venue setting. Live On The Green was a huge show for the band, but 10,000 people on a downtown lawn can also come with a number of distractions. The Cannery show was thankfully quite different. There were hundreds of people focused solely on enjoying a show from one of their favorite local bands. LEAGUES delivered. Man, they sure did deliver. If you haven’t heard them before, check out the video of their recently recorded performance of “Spotlight” live at Chicago Sound Exchange:
Although awesome, it just doesn’t do them justice to see a video. Hearing LEAGUES play their songs live truly brought the album to life on Cannery Row. They even treated us to a beautiful cover of “Lay Lady Lay” by Bob Dylan, and a new song. I’ve been to number of shows there, and this was the best sounding by far. Tyler Burkum (guitar), Thad Cockrell (lead singer), and Jeremy Lutito (drums) have a natural ability to bring their studio-level musicianship to the stage. Before their existence as a band, each member was accustomed to hours of work in the studio for their individual careers, perfecting tones, rhythms, textures, grooves, and understanding the balance of songs that brought them joy. When asked about their inspiration, the band would agree that they aren’t necessarily inspired by artists as much as they are “inspired by songs.” “Songs that stop the room for a quick second,” adds Jeremy. It was in 2010 when they unknowingly played their first show as a band at Bowery Ballroom in New York. Just ten shows later, they stepped onto the stage at the great Ryman Auditorium opening for The Fray. It seems like there’s been a vibe of no looking back for the band as they now headlined their own tour this fall. Check out another live in studio performance; this time, at The Smoakstack with “You Belong Here.”
“In order to truly create something new you have to do something you don’t know how to do,” – Thad.
I believe that statement is relevant to a lot of art and product that gets exposure these days. It’s that, combined with an ability to pinpoint the one thing you are best at and can execute to full potential, to transform good to great. In this case, LEAGUES is the best at what they do. They have received some major press in the last year from the likes of MTV, Esquire, Paste, and many more. In a recent interview with Paste, Burkum described some of the band dynamics. “In my opinion, for it to be a LEAGUES song, all we have to do is agree. And it’s going to sound a little different and be a little different than anything any one one us would do [on our own]. If what we’re making excites us all, then that to me is a good sign.” They’ve also described the audience and listeners as being an unofficial fourth member member of the band, which is evident in the way they play shows. “My favorite music connects people and engages you to participate,” says Cockrell. “Look at folk music, those songs got passed down because it was something people could sing together.” As folk music has been passed down, there are many ways in which people can discover music today. The best, in my opinion, is still simply word of mouth. If you dig it, share it! And of course, get a copy of their album, You Belong Here, by clicking on the album art below. Thanks for listening!
By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC