It’s hard to believe, but there’s more to Canada than Rick Moranis. Take the band Wintersleep for example, who have been churning out infectious indie rock for the better part of six years or so. The Nova Scotia natives’ latest Hello Hum has garnered them their usual critical acclaim from their homeland (they won a Juno Award) but also the states (they appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and opened for such acts as Pearl Jam and Sir Paul McCartney). Last week, the Nova Scotians (I’m making that a term if it isn’t already) stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester for a stripped-down performance of single “Nothing is Anything (Without You)” and informal interview on A-Sides. Watch. Listen. Love. Performance: Interview: About asidesmusic.com Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing.
Several things in life are obvious. Dick Butkis will never grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. The Ropers will never use Facebook, and Dido will never invite me over for breakfast. These are just facts – plain and simple, and with this post, I add another to my growing list of truths: you’re going to love these two singer/songwriters on the “show” today. First up is Courtney Jaye,a Nashville-based singer/songwriter who is touring this spring with comedian/singer/songwriter Stephen Lynch in support of her new album Love and Forgiveness. Ironically, the emerging pop star’s songs are the antithesis of the humorous and oft-dirty ditties that Lynch slays crowds with. They’re deeply felt tunes about love and life, and the journeys in-between. At an A-Sides session filmed at the Primary Wave Music’s Listening Room in NYC (by Alexander Stein), she performed a trio of songs. Watch. Listen. Love.
With over 54 million views on YouTube for their debut song “The Biggest Mistake,” The Secret State are anything but a secret these days. See what I did there? Yes, that success has propelled the band to stardom without even releasing a full-length album yet, and it’s not strictly on the interwebs. “The Biggest Mistake” is gaining significant play on radio stations, and was recently remixed by a tag team of hip pop greats Akon and B.o.B. But, this Baltimore-based band isn’t resting on the popularity of their first track. They’re currently putting the finishing touches on their full-length album, which will drop later this year. At an A-Sides session recorded in the percussion room of the Music Conservatory of Westchester, I chatted with Statesmen =Dan Martiniano, Josh Jones, Hunter Schafer, Danny Espinosa, and Mike Marx-Gibbons about their success thus far, their new album, and the follow-up single to “Mistake,” which could very well become a new national anthem of sorts. Since that single and its video are close to the band’s heart (Jones, Marx-Gibbons and Espinosa served the United States on active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq), I’ll let them explain it in the video interview below. But first, watch them totally annihilate an acoustic version of “The Biggest Mistake.” Watch. Listen. Love.
About four years ago (I forget in my old age), I was contacted by a music publicist to come out and see a young singer/songwriter perform at a small club in New York City and interview her afterwards. I couldn’t make it that night for whatever reason, and two years later I’d kick myself… hard. A few years later (what year you ask? I’ll go through my gmail inbox after I publish this post), another publicist hit me up (not literally, because that would be wrong) and asked me to spend an afternoon with one of her clients: another singer/songwriter from England who was in her assessment: “the next big thing.” I couldn’t make it that day either, and my ass has been black and blue ever since (get it? I kicked myself again). The two performers I’m speaking of were respectively Lady Gaga and Adele. How was I supposed to know they’d break out like a pimple at the center of your neighbor’s kid’s nose? Anyway, I bring up these stories for a reason. This series I’ve created has allowed me to more than make up for missing out on those two interviews with those two immensely talented world dominaters. Take our two artists today for example, who are on the cusp of breaking through and arguably already have. The alt-rock quartet Diamond Youth, who come off as a poppier Queens of the Stone Age (I mean that in a good way), may be the best thing to happen [...]
A praised debut album. Sold-out shows. Sexy hats. Yep, 2012 was the year of ZZ Ward and clearly she’s making 2013 her bitch as well. The sultry bluesy singer/songwriter – not the love child between classic rockers ZZ Top and character actor Fred Ward (it’s not possible anyway) – got more mileage than a cheap pair of sneakers with her critically-lauded debut Til The Casket Drops last year, and is currently selling-out shows with with Delta Rae as part of their “Fire and Shine” co-headlining tour. She’s also hitting the festival circuit this spring and summer. Speaking of which, is it me or are there way too many music festivals these days? It just seems like even Sheboygan has a fest this year. Actually maybe they don’t. Get with the program, Sheboyganians! Anyway, earlier this month, Ward, a native of Oregon which I’m banking has a summer music festival of their own, filmed an A-Sides session at the Primary Wave Music’s “Listening Room” in NYC. There, she performed two tracks off her killer debut album, and discussed their meanings. Watch “365 Days” below and visit asidesmusic.com for an exclusive performance of “Put the Gun Down.” Watch (thanks to Alexander Stein for filming), listen, and love it! About A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes [...]
To paraphrase Dave Grohl’s killer Grammy acceptance speech last year, it’s the “human element of making music” that’s most important. The artists featured on A-Sides today take that to heart, and have been producing music without bells and whistles (sorry pretenders of the autotune era) for quite some time. Toronto’s Hayden Desser or simply Hayden emerged in the mid-90′s golden era of alt-rock with his unique blend of rock and folk. He just dropped his seventh full-length album entitled Us Alone, and is currently on the road with his band in support of the record which has already been hailed as one of his best. Following a performance in New York City, Hayden and said band stopped by the Music Conservatory of Westchester to film an A-Sides Music session. They performed “Blurry Nights” off Us Alone followed by an oldie but goodie “Don’t Get Down.” Watch the first song below followed by an interview. Click this link for the exclusive performance of “Down.” As old school WCW wrestler Saturn used to say… “You’re welcome!” “Blurry Nights” Hayden Interview Whereas Hayden got his start in the big city of Toronto, singer/songwriter Tim Chaisson was born and raised within the beautiful pint-sized splendor of Prince Edward Island. And some might say he was born into the music biz (I say he was anyway.) Chaisson is a a sixth generation fiddle player, who plays it on stage at every live show. At an A-Sides session at the Conservatory last week, Chaisson came with [...]
In my late teens, I frequented the North Avenue bars by Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. Those watering holes usually served us Coors Light, Black Haus shots, and whatever our young hearts desired even though we were all under 21 by a few years. But those once-hot spots have long closed down, and have absolutely nothing to do with the band featured on A-Sides today. I only bring up my self-fulfilling piece of nostalgia because A) I love non sequiturs and B) the band Ionia made me think of Iona College. (To others, I’m sure a geographical place comes to mind.) But, lame wordplay aside, let’s get to the NYC band featured on A-Sides today. They’re as hard-rocking and hard-working as anyone around.
Three men approach a White Plains, NY studio within the Music Conservatory of Westchester where I regularly shoot my A-Sides sessions in. They standout instantly. One is dressed down in jeans and has his cellphone glued to his hand. Next to him is a much taller guy with slicked back hair, stylish gray slacks, and a match overcoat that cries “swagger.” The third guy is wearing an almost Indiana Jones-modeled hat, a Fonzie-free leather jacket, and looks like me 30 years from now. The first guy is the tour manager for London-based buzzworthy star Willy Moon. The second guy is Moon himself, and the third guy is… wait for it… my dad ladies and gentleman. My old man arrived early for a lunch date, and crashed the Moon filming. Prior to setting up for the interview (as you can tell by the shakiness of the camera – it didn’t take long), my dad cracked wise – usually at my expense – and ran up to the piano within the studio to serenade us with a Gershwin medley. If I was 13 or 17 I’d be humiliated. But, I’m not and I wasn’t. Neither was Moon, who clearly realized that second to perhaps having his song “Yeah Yeah” played on an iPod commercial and making an appearance on Vh1 just a day prior, this was the highlight of his young career. I’m, of course, kidding. Once my dad left the building and let me do my thing, I asked Moon about [...]