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 [...]
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 [...]
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.
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. [...]