Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynolds at the Feb. 23 sold-out show at Roseland in NYC. Photo/Jon Chattman Lou Diamond Phillips is an icon in this business who unjustly hasn’t had a role he could sink his teeth into for years. That is, until now. In their music video for “Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons utilize the “La Bamba” and “Young Guns” star’s talents by casting him as the ruthless ring leader of an underground, illegal stuffed animal fight club. Don’t scroll back – you read that right and it may very well be Phillips’ finest hour. It’s like Pink Floyd used to say… “shine on you crazy Lou Diamond Phillips.” Well, they didn’t exactly say that, but we all know they should have. But, let’s refocus on the band whose talent extends far behind killer videos with a killer star.
Photo/ Blake Wood Having toured the world with pop goddess Lady Gaga for over a year (following their debut “You Love You,”) it would have been so easy for Semi Precious Weapons to just sell out for their next album. With a fan base rich in “Little Monsters” as well as their own disciples, it just seemed logical that the band would try to make a commercial pop record. But, it didn’t play out that way. Like Gaga herself, Justin Tranter, Cole Whittle, Dan Crean, and Stevy Pyne are in it for the art and are making music that’s true to themselves first and foremost. Having said that, the song doesn’t remain the same. Whereas “You Love You” was a glamified (I’m making that a word) rock record in the tradition of AC/DC, their new single “Aviation High,” which you can listen to here, and the new album it’ll appear on (released later this year) have a more AFI feel. Along with the new sound comes a new style for the band – so say goodbye to frontman Tranter’s high-heeled platforms (at least I think) and say hello to glamified (take note Conky) suits and ties. I caught up with Tranter this weekend, and asked him about SPW’s growth since their previous record and tour. As I discovered, Los Angeles clearly worked wonders for their evolution. “The basic way of life out here is so breezy that I found myself writing more about love, its dramas and my awesome friends, [...]
Does anyone remember the Genesis song “I Can’t Dance?” It’s okay…they probably don’t either. The song resonated with me when it came out and it still does because I simply can’t bust a move – at least not sober. Robert DeLong, on the other hand, probably can cut a rug quite well (not literally because why would anyone brag about cutting a piece of carpet?) Anyway, with his debut album Just Movement on Glassnote Records, the innovative singer/songwriter/drummer/producer/music master is making speakers his bitch with danceable pop that resonates with alt-rockers and body shakers.
In high school, Valentine’s Day served as a constant reminder that I wasn’t getting any. I’m sure there were many people in that boat and by “boat” I clearly don’t mean an actual boat. I don’t own a boat. Anyway, that “holiday” is sort of a weak occasion. As a matter of fact, even when I was dating somebody and especially now as a married man, it failed and fails to resonate much beyond flowers and a nice, romantic dinner. Again, I know I’m not alone in this sentiment but whatever floats your boat….again, not in the literal sense. I bring up this lovey dovey occasion because this week marks V-Day and this edition of A-Sides Music is chock full of love.
Steve Winwood’s 1986 song “Higher Love” was a smash hit, played over and over again the year the New York Mets won the World Series for their second (and, it feels like, final) time. Whereas the song struck gold, the music video was a disaster of epic proportions thanks to the former Traffic band member’s relentless mullet. Sadly, a YouTube search for this comes up empty so you’ll just have to take my word for it. It was not a pretty sight, but don’t stress over it. It has nothing to do with this post, which focuses on budding star Matt Hires. Yep, “Higher Love” simply entered my mind as I typed “Hires,” and I chose to lead off the story this way. Sure, I could have ignored the song in my head, but since Hires’ songs gloriously spin in my head after I hear them, it just felt right. Call me crazy – actually… don’t. Anyway, let’s get to the Floridian, who drops a new EP of infectious pop songs with substance entitled “Forever” next week.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which is hard to believe considering half of you reading this probably still have your Christmas trees up. Anywho, that loving holiday that makes couples swoon, Hallmark rich, some single people bitter, and probably Manti Te’o a little conflicted is fast approaching and what better way to set the mood then with some really good music about the “L” word? The two artists I’m profiling on the first “A-Sides” of the year have two love songs that are as infectious as your co-worker’s cold. Rachel Brown’s “Bumblebee” is a sweet song that’s really a love letter to anyone who’s ever been in love. The song, which she performed last week at an A-Sides session filmed within the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY, is off her debut EP “Building Castles” which dropped late last year. The NYC singer/songwriter’s honest lyrics and unique sound has drawn praise by critics and celebs like Wyclef Jean and the immortal John Stamos. In addition to being a multi-talented musician, Brown has smarts, too. Case in point: she went to Harvard, and you didn’t. Watch her performance of “Bumblebee” below followed by the dropping of some knowledge in an interview. Love it. Love her. Like me? “Bumblebee” Interview Where to find her: http://www.rachelbrownmusic.com/ http://www.facebook.com/rachelbrownmusic http://www.twitter.com/rachelbrownnyc Like Brown, Chris Wallace is a lover not a fighter. His Top 40 pop/dance hit “Remember When (Push Rewind)” – one of iTunes ‘Best of’ 2012 – continues to climb the [...]
Pop music was just so much better in the 1980s. The cheesy songs worked because they made you want to dance and you were just oblivious to the fact that the whole era was a big pound of Pizza the Hut. But, we loved it. We still love it. I love it. You love it. Does Lyle Lovett? Anyway, Tegan & Sara have taken that 1980s, retro, nostalgic feel with their first single “Closer,” and unearthed a burst of fruit flavor for your ears. It’s no wonder the song is killing it right now on alt-radio stations, and has been featured on some VH1 promos already. Not surprisingly, the new pop-infused sound for the Canadian darlings has led to articles being written suggesting the twin-sister duo are going all pop now and leaving their indie spirit behind. The question is irrelevant. Good music is good music. Sure “Closer” rocks like Electric Dreams did back in the day, but it’s not like the sisters Quin are reinventing their style altogether. They’re still the same sibs who have been recording meaningful and catchy (albeit depressing) music for 13 years. Their seventh album, Heartthrob, just finds their same style within a pop production. In other words, sad songs can sound happy. Just ask Foster the People. In any event, the album (produced mainly by Greg Kurstin, who worked with everyone from The Shins to Ke$ha) arrives Jan. 29 and it’s retro sound will make fans feel something and I’m guessing it’ll be positive. [...]
I’ve said it once, and I’ll keep on saying it until it stops ringing true for me personally. I believe in the power of music. It can raise your spirits, and heal you in ways nothing else can. Songs can take you back to a happier place, or simply make you want to sing along and/or dance even if your heart can’t fathom it. The scars of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School are too deep for all of us — especially those personally affected by it. Songs can only do so much, and having my fair share of loss, I also know that contrary to my opening graphs here, music can be an instant form of nostalgia that in the short-term — can actually make you miss your loved one/s that much more. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with Newtown as they try to heal. To offer this seems so miniscule compared to countless others who have stepped it up in far greater fashion, but I, on behalf of A-Sides Music, am offering a few pairs of tickets to the Dec. 30 Steve Miller Band concert at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. Port Chester isn’t that far from Newtown, and while it’s a rather low-level offering, I want to provide the possibility for those hurting so badly with an evening of healing and spirit-rising music. Comment below, and I’ll choose winners in the next day or so. Those with a close connection to the Newtown [...]