Festival Preview: 102.1Edgefest 25 (Dallas)
102.1 The Edge, an alternative rock radio station in Dallas, has long been an important staple in the local Dallas music scene. And one of the most exciting events they do is the annual one day Edgefest each Spring. The 25th annual event takes place once again in Frisco at Toyota Stadium (formerly Pizza Hut Park) this coming Saturday, April 25th, 2015. One of the best line ups in recent memory this year’s lineup is incredibly exceptional! We were the first website besides KDGE to publish the lineup, and below you will find the largest preview to exist on the internet in regards to this event. It contains the set times, bios of the bands, related artists, and a YouTube video for each participant. If you are attending, remember to stay hydrated and wear sunblock. We hope to see you there tomorrow!
Girl Talk Second Stage 10:45 pm – 11:25 pm
The Offspring Main Stage 9:45 pm – 10:40 pm
AWOLNATION Second Stage 9:00 pm – 9:40 pm
Modest Mouse Main Stage 8:10 pm – 8:55 pm
Dirty Heads Second Stage 7:35 pm – 8:05 pm
Death Cab For Cutie Main Stage 6:45 pm – 7:30 pm
New Politics Second Stage 6:10 pm – 6:40 pm
Hozier Main Stage 5:30 pm – 6:05 pm
Yelawolf Second Stage 4:55 pm – 5:25 pm
Vance Joy Main Stage 4:20 pm- 4:50 pm
Robert DeLong Second Stage 3:45 pm – 4:15 pm
Banks Main Stage 3:10 pm – 3:40 pm
Joywave Second Stage 2:35 pm – 3:05 pm
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Main Stage 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
The Kooks Main Stage 1:10 pm – 1:40 pm
Hour Band Second Stage 12:40 pm – 1:05 pm
Road To Edgefest Winner Second Stage 12:00 pm – 12:20 pm
Photo by Paul Sobota
For Fans Of: The Hood Internet, M.I.A., Matt & Kim, Cherub, A$AP Rocky, Ratatat
Celebrating 10-plus years of sample-obsessed production and relentless touring, Gregg Gillis returned with All Day in 2010, his fifth album as Girl Talk, and his most epic, densely layered, and meticulously composed musical statement to date. Continuing the saga from the previously acclaimed albums, Night Ripper and Feed The Animals, Gillis lays down a more diverse range of samples to unfold a larger dynamic between slower transitions and extreme cut-ups. With the grand intent of creating the most insane and complex pop collage album ever heard, large catalogs of both blatantly appropriated melodies and blasts of unrecognizable fragments were assembled for the ultimate Girl Talk record (clocking in at 71 minutes and 372 samples).
In 2014, he released the Broken Ankles EP with Freeway.
For Fans Of: Pennywise, Bad Religion, Green Day, Blink-182, Rise Against, Sum 41
The Offspring are Dexter Holland (vocals, guitar), Noodles (guitar), Greg K (bass) and Pete Parada (drums). Following a riot at a 1984 Social Distortion show, high school buddies Dexter and Greg K decided to start a band of their own in Garden Grove, California. The Offspring have now put out 8 records, performed over 1000 shows across the globe and are known for their many hits including “Self Esteem,” “Come Out And Play (Keep ‘Em Separated),” “The Kids Aren’t Alright,” “Hammerhead” and “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid.”
For Fans Of: Atlas Genius, New Politics, Imagine Dragons, WALK THE MOON, Cage The Elephant, Grouplove
Following a whirlwind two-year world tour in support of their debut record Megalithic Symphony, AWOLNATION withdrew into the depths of the California coastline to construct the sophomore effort. A culmination of the years following the release of the debut album, the 14-track Run, was written, performed and produced entirely by musical architect Aaron Bruno. The end result is a finely tuned musical masterwork that is at times, and all at once, sprawling, atmospheric, exuberant, earnest and refined with moments of a signature aggressive unease.
Released in 2011, the band’s gold-certified first album Megalithic Symphony was an alternative music revelation that became an astonishing success resonating with fans around the world. The album holds a number of long-running Billboard chart positions including 146 weeks on the Independent Albums chart, 111 weeks on the Billboard Top 200, 105 weeks on the Top Rock Albums chart and has topped the Heatseekers Albums chart several times over. Their hit single “Sail,” a redefining global anthem, is certified 6X Platinumin the U.S., and is the second longest charting song in the Billboard Hot 100’s 55-year history amassing hundreds of millions of video views and streaming plays online while charting around the world. Following the success of “Sail,” the band would go on to have two more Top 10 charting alternative singles, “Not Your Fault” and “Kill Your Heroes,” having sold over a million downloads combined. Since the release of their debut, AWOLNATION has performed countless shows to millions of fans across the globe.
For Fans Of: Spoon, Animal Collective, The White Stripes, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie
Modest Mouse’s 2007 studio album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, featuring The Smith‘s Johnny Marr, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 and was released to rave reviews, including The Guardian, which called it “thrilling,” and Entertainment Weekly, which said “[Isaac] Brock has never sounded more charismatic.” More recently, the band has headlined festivals such as Governors Ball, Reading, Leeds, Sasquatch, among others, and toured worldwide. In 2009, they released a collection unreleased songs and b-sides, No One’s First, And You’re Next, and, in 2012, they premiered a 45-minute documentary on the making of The Lonesome Crowded West, an album Pitchfork hailed as a “modern classic.”
Since playing Coachella in 2013, the group headlined Fun Fun Fun Fest in 2014 and re-released their critically-acclaimed albums This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About and The Lonesome Crowded West on Glacial Pace. Both earned “Best New Reissue” ratings from Pitchfork, with The Lonesome Crowded West earning a perfect 10/10 score.
They just released their first album in eight years and 6th overall, Strangers to Ourselves, on March 17th.
For Fans Of: Gym Class Heroes, Passafire, Rebelution, Sleeper Agent, Slightly Stoopid, Sublime With Rome
Formed in 2003 out of Huntington Beach, CA, Dirty Heads released their debut album, Any Port In A Storm in September of 2008, which features the RIAA certified gold track “Lay Me Down,” a song that spent eleven weeks at #1 on the Billboard alternative chart, more than any single that year by any other artist. Rolling Stone touted the ‘Heads as one of the year’s best new bands and they were among the first bands featured on YouTube’s Raw Session. The band followed with their sophomore effort Cabin By The Sea, which saw three hit singles “Spread Too Thin,” “Dance All Night,” as well as the album’s title track “Cabin By The Sea.” The album featured a number of special guests including Matisyahu, KyMani Marley, and Del the Funky Homosapien; debuted on the Billboard Top 20 and peaking at #8 on iTunes overall music chart, #4 on iTunes Alternative chart and #3 on iTunes Independent chart. In addition to the immense fan devotion, press quickly fell in love with the album with Huffington Post declaring, “Summer…officially has its soundtrack.” The band quickly followed up with their first ever fully acoustic album titled Home – Phantoms of Summer: The Acoustic Sessions, which debuted Top 5 on the iTunes charts in the fall of 2013.
The band has expanded their sound for their new album Sound of Change with tracks varying from club bangers to rap tracks and even to a pop hit, all while maintaining their reggae-rock feel good vibe. For their 4th record , the band tapped into some of the best producers around to contribute to the album. Grammy award winning producer Supa Dups (Drake, Bruno Mars, Eminem) worked on “Medusa” and “Radio,” Buddah Shampoo (Ty Dolla $ign) co-produced “Silence,” Niles (of hip hop duo, The Cataracs) produced “My Sweet Summer,” David Bassett (Fitz & The Tantrums, Josh Groban) co-produced “Hear You Coming,” LD (aka LDontheCut) co-produced “Franco Eyed” and long-time friend and collaborator, Rome (Sublime with Rome) produced the remaining tracks. The album also features guest vocals by B Real of legendary hip-hop group Cypress Hill on “Franco Eyed,” Tech N9ne (collaborated with Kendrick Lamar and B.o.B.) on “Burn Slow” and Ward 21 (collaborated with Major Lazer, 311) on “Medusa.”
Death Cab For Cutie
For Fans Of: The Shins, Modest Mouse, Postal Service, The Decemberists, Stars, Jimmy Eat World
Atlantic recording group Death Cab For Cutie have just released their much-anticipated eighth studio album, Kintsugi, last month in March. Kintsugi – which follows 2011’s GRAMMY® Award-nominated Codes And Keys – marks Death Cab For Cutie’s first new record since the departure last year of founding guitarist/keyboardist/producer Chris Walla. Recorded in Los Angeles with Rich Costey (Franz Ferdinand, Muse, Interpol) behind the board, the album takes its title from the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum, highlighting cracks rather than hiding them. As such, kintsugi represents a compassionate aesthetic philosophy in which damage and wear are embraced as part of an object’s history.
“Considering what we were going through internally, and with what a lot of the lyrics are about, it had a great deal of resonance for us – the idea of figuring out how to repair breaks and make them a thing of beauty,” says bassist Nick Harmer, who suggested the name to singer/guitarist Ben Gibbard and drummer Jason McGerr. “Philosophically, spiritually, emotionally, it seems perfect for this group of songs.”
For nearly two decades, Death Cab For Cutie has been hailed as one of contemporary music’s most compelling and creative collectives. Born in Bellingham, Washington in 1997, the band followed a long relationship with the Seattle-based independent label, Barsuk, by making their Atlantic Records debut with their fifth studio release, 2005’s Plans. The album proved Death Cab For Cutie’s popular breakthrough, earning RIAA platinum certification as well as spawning the chart-topping singles, “Soul Meets Body” and “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.” The latter track was honored with a GRAMMY® nomination as “Best Pop Performance By Duo Or Group With Vocals,” with Plans receiving the nod as “Best Alternative Album.” “DIRECTIONS,” the 2006 DVD companion to Plans, earned an additional GRAMMY® nod as “Best Longform Music Video.”
Now fully affirmed as an era-defining band, Death Cab for Cutie made a stunning #1 debut atop the SoundScan/Billboard 200 with 2008’s RIAA gold certified Narrow Stairs. More critical acclaim and two further GRAMMY® nominations followed, including nods for “Best Alternative Album” and “Best Rock Song” (honoring the hit single, “I Will Possess Your Heart”). The Open Door EP was released in 2009, earning DCFC a third consecutive GRAMMY® Award nomination for “Best Alternative Album.” Codes And Keys arrived in 2011 and made a top 3 entry on the SoundScan/Billboard 200 before receiving the band’s fourth straight GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Alternative Music Album.” “You Are A Tourist,” the album’s first single, also proved a multi-format radio smash, reaching #1 at both Triple A and Modern Rock outlets nationwide – Death Cab for Cutie’s first-ever #1 at the latter format.
For Fans Of: Twenty One Pilots, American Authors, The Mowgli’s, The Colourist, Youngblood Hawke, Atlas Genius
New Politics are excited to announce a new partnership between DCD2 and Warner Bros. Records, which will see the punk-rock trio release their third studio album, Vikings, in 2015. The album features hit new single, “Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens),” a middle finger punk-rock-pogo anthem that’s rapidly claiming the charts and getting early love from radio across the country as well as over 1.5 million Spotify plays in the short time since its release.
The new single and upcoming album follow the Danish trio’s smash successes “Harlem” and “Tonight You’re Perfect,” both Alternative Radio hits heard everywhere from the trailer for Disney’s Frozen to commercials for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Microsoft. “Everywhere I Go (Kings and Queens)” is on the same path, already featured in Monday Night Football for ESPN and ABC and getting plays with KROQ, Live 105 in San Francisco, WRFF Philly, WBOS Boston, The Buzz in Houston, KTCL Denver, Sirius Alt Nation, and other major market panel leaders. The band has toured arenas with the likes of Jane’s Addiction, 30 Seconds to Mars and P!nk.
Label head Pete Wentz says, “New Politics were part of our first signings to DCD2 on the relaunch and we’re super stoked that they’ll also be putting out the first full-length on the label. Our summer tour with these guys was so great and I love the new single. I can’t think of a better band to rep what DCD2 stands for.”
New Politics’ self-titled debut, which came on via RCA in 2010, was centered on a singular motto. The Denmark trio, who uprooted their lives and relocated to Williamsburg after signing with the label, based everything on the notion of just saying “Fuck it.” The phrase wasn’t about apathy, it was about doing what felt right and making the sort of music they wanted to make. It worked: New Politics yielded raucous hit single “Yeah Yeah Yeah” and the band embarked on tour for nearly two years with the likes of 30 Seconds To Mars and Neon Trees, enrapturing fans with their intensely dynamic live shows, bolstered by David’s impressive breakdancing skills. The band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Fuel TV’s The Daily Habit, and earned scores of press, including accolades from Alternative Press. Doing what felt right to the band evolved into a big album with a bigger response.
When it came time to pen a follow-up to their formative album, New Politics hit a few roadblocks. David and Soren had hardly paused between the momentum of New Politics and this new disc, titled A Bad Girl In Harlem, jumping into writing within a week of getting off tour with the Dirty Heads in the spring of 2011. But they quickly realized that there was no plan or outline for the next album, and suddenly both musicians were single and living in Brooklyn, a fact that illuminated just how far they were from home.
Homesickness and culture shock set in, and New Politics were forced to grapple with their present musical identity. “I don’t think any of us had really considered that we now would be doing a second album and the whole culture shock of coming over here was hitting us,” Soren says. “The first album was a punk album and this one had to be taken to a whole new level, but we didn’t actually know what that level was.”
The process of writing A Bad Girl In Harlem proved long and arduous, but ultimately fruitful. The band came out of it with over 60 demos, many inspired by David’s new single life. The musicians embraced a greater variety of musical styles, drawing influence equally from punk rock and pop music. The recording process coincided with the songwriting, and in fact a few of the disc’s final tracks feature the original demo vocals, which resonate with a more genuine flair than the subsequent takes.
The songs’ lyrics, too, were rooted in the musicians’ shifting lives and experiences. “Harlem,” the album’s first single, was inspired a fling David had with a girl from Spanish Harlem, an area he never thought he’d visit. The throbbing rock number captures a boisterous party vibe and marked a turning point in the band’s writing process for A Bad Girl In Harlem. “It came at a point when we were all like ‘What the fuck is going on?’” Soren notes. “And the song came from us having fun. We were still a little afraid of changing but we just said ‘Fuck it.’ We realized we had nothing to lose and could do whatever we wanted.”
So it turned out New Politics’ old motto could be their new motto, even as the band shifted and evolved. The rest of the album, culled from the pile of demos, is notably varied, and follows in this raucous sensibility, even on standout “Stuck On You,” an emotional piano ballad that reveals the group’s introspective side. The punk aesthetic from New Politics lingers, but regardless of musical style Soren and David were mostly interested in capturing sincere moments in equally genuine music. “Everything has to come from the heart,” David says. “Realizing onstage that you can do anything and if it’s honest and from the heart, the rest will follow. Everything will follow. It’s been really cool realizing that and bringing it into the album.”
“I feel that we have never been this focused,” Soren adds. “It’s more than us being these crazy, jumping around musicians and just going with whatever flows. We have more of a mission. We went through something hard and now we’re stronger than ever. I think that’s the most important thing – it’s actually been a great experience to fall down and rise again.”
For Fans Of: Kodaline, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, James Bay, Vance Joy, George Ezra
What are the Twenty First Century Blues? And who shall we find to sing them?
From trivial first world problems to the seismic shifts in geopolitics, the modern Blues resonate down the years with the same eternal themes – loss, loneliness, longing and regret. New wine in vintage casks.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day and hailing from County Wicklow, Hozier was raised on the building blocks of popular music: rhythm and blues, soul, jazz and the deep dark stuff stretching from Chicago to the Delta. He joined his first band when he was 15 years old, fronting a soul band with some older heads. Taught himself to play guitar and piano, and went to Trinity College to study music. Whilst there, he bagged a seat on the flight deck of the symphonic B-52 that is the Trinity Orchestra, fronting their missions into the world of classic rock.
However, four years looked like a long stretch, particularly when the goal was to write, record and perform his own music; so Hozier dropped out to concentrate his talents on the creative process full time. He tried out with a few different producers in various studios, experimented with genres; but never felt happy with the results. Home is where the art is, and a simple studio, set up in the attic proved to be the crucible where Hozier would forge a musical identity he could call his own. A place where Stevie Wonder and Billie Holiday are revered alongside James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.
He says: “Listen to any song, from any era; and you’re looking through a keyhole into the artist’s world as seen through their eyes. Art is, in it’s simplest form, the reproduction of the world around us. All artists reproduce their vision of the world, and in doing so create a document that reflects the times they live in”. Which brings us back to the Twenty First Century Blues, and Hozier’s unique, poetic evocations.
Hozier’s first release is a 4 track EP. “Take Me To Church” (the lead track) and “Angel Of Small Death” reflect the gospel – soul gumbo at the heart of his music; “Like Real People Do” is an Arcadian acoustic adventure and “Cherry Wine” a raw emotional discourse, recorded live at 6 am on an abandoned hotel rooftop; with accompaniment from the dawn chorus. Hozier played all the instruments (Fiachra Kinder helped out on drums), sang all the parts and recorded at home. Rob Kirwan (Depeche Mode, PJ Harvey) mixed the tracks in Dublin.
His self-titled debut album was released last year in 2014.
For Fans Of: Tech N9ne, Machine Gun Kelly, Slaughterhouse, Rittz, Freddie Gibbs, Hopsin
For as volatile as it sounds, the actual dictionary term for “radioactive” leaves a lot to the imagination. But just as he does with every word he spits, Ghet-O-Vision/Shady recording artist Yelawolf gives it new life and meaning. Making it a fitting title for his official debut album.
“I think its a perfect word to describe where I’m going,” says the Alabama born rapper. “It’s the fallout, the aftermath of everything I’ve been through and here’s what’s left. This radioactive material.”
With a life story that no book could contain, the artist born Michael Atha could have auditioned for the “most interesting man in the world” title. Geograpically, he was born in a state that rests between Mississippi and Georgia but mentally he was raised in a state of constant change. Bouncing around between Alabama and Tennessee as a child, Wolf’s upbringing exposed him to the impoverished realities of both White America’s trailer parks and Black America’s ghettos.
The duality would finally define itself on a fateful evening where his mother was playing host to a group of friends who happened to be the roadie crew for rapstars Run DMC. It was that night where Wolf, who was raised on a healthy dosage of Southern Rock, would hear songs like “My Adidas” and Beastie Boys “Paul Revere” for the first time. From that point on he knew that Hip Hop was now in his DNA. Unfortunately up to this point Wolf had to battle Hip Hop listeners who judged by outside appearance…but he’s winning that fight now.
After years of toiling in the rap chitlin circuit, the mixtape matrix and doing hooks for a spectrum of artists ranging from Juelz Santana to Slim Thug, Wolf broke out in grand fashion with his critically acclaimed independent release Trunk Muzik (Ghet-O-Vision Ent.) on New Year’s Day 2010. Prideful boasts on songs like “I Wish” (“I wish a motherfucker would tell me that I ain’t Hip Hop/Bitch! You ain’t Hip Hop!) made listeners look beyond his tattoo-decorated skin and respect his skills. The excitement, paired with his unforgettable live shows, led to numerous magazine covers a record deal through Ghet-O-Vision/Interscope and then a partnership with Shady Records. The label founded by the man who many naysayers opted to unfavorably compare him to, Eminem.
“There is a fair comparison between us,” says Wolf. “But the true difference is vocal. The cadence and the words I use. There are words that I can rhyme that he can’t just because of my Southern accent. I can go to totally different places because of my slang alone.”
He wastes no time taking you to these places on Radioactive. With an additional meaning of aspiring to be “active on the radio” the album’s first single “Hard White” featuring club music kingpin Lil Jon is a dark, 808-fueled uppercut that shows traces of the Three-6 Mafia influence he picked up while living in Tennessee. Wolf takes it even further on “Throw It Up” featuring former Mafia member Gangsta Boo and Eminem, pulling from both sides of the tracks he was raised on.
“Juxtaposition is very comforting for me,” he says. “You can’t stare at a square, that’s boring. But if it’s broken, you stare at it longer and try to figure it out. This song is culturally impactful.”
With skateboarding being his first love before his affair with Hip Hop, Yelawolf already traveled the country living everywhere between California and New York, crashing on couches and park benches. So when he writes national anthems like “Made In the USA” that pairs lyrics about the dirt with a flowery hook, know that it comes from the perspective of a fly that has been in the dumps, not just on the wall.
“The grit and gutters are what I know the most about,” says Wolf who also had a stint as an artic fisherman in Alaska. “I always believed that the people who build the cars, clean the houses, dig the ditches and sell the drugs are the ones who make the world go round. As pretty as the hook is, it’s still sarcastic. The melody is great, but I was able to hide a real vocal point behind it.”
He continues to drive these points home on the tracks “Growing Up In the Gutter” featuring his Slumerican partner in rhyme Rittz and the instant smash “Let’s Roll” featuring fellow American badass Kid Rock. Both of which showcase his unique ability to shift gears from Southern Hip Hop to Southern Rock all the while remaining neutral in his own lane.
“I’m one of the most honest artists out there and I’ve always been this way,” says Wolf in mentioning his crotch-kicking manifesto “No Hands” where he shoots at naysayers and imitators. “It doesn’t matter what music I make whether I’m rapping on an 808 or over a guitar. I have a birth right to talk about these things that I do.”
Radioactive is also Yelawolf’s opportunity to open up and share some of the non-musical experiences that have made him the man and artist he is today.
On “I See You,” a song inspired by a talk with his grandmother, he talks about hitting rock bottom before finally realizing that you had the best in life all along. With “The Hardest Love Song In the World” he stays true to the title admitting that it’s two parts difficult writing a “rap ballad,” especially about the special type of woman he likes. Then in the appropriately named “The Last Song” he talks about his rocky relationship with his estranged biological father, for the final time.
“I’m not mad at him and I don’t have a grudge,” he says. “But I just had to get that off, musically.”
Though he’s been releasing material since the early 2000’s, Radioactive qualifies as Yelawolf’s official “debut.” Unlike his prior efforts that were recorded in basements and garages, only to be appreciated by his first core of loyal fans, this album was captured amidst rigorous touring, growing anticipation and now, expectation. If his ability to survive the last ten years are any indication, Wolf will rise to the occasion and beyond.
“I see this album as my Southernplayalistic and I hope it does what “Hey Ya!” or “B.o.B” did for Outkast,” says the artist who was featured on Big Boi’s 2010 single “You Ain’t No DJ” that was produced by Andre 3000. “The goal of making albums is seeing where else you can go. I made sure everything I made was at the core, true to what i was.”
Yelawolf’s second full length major label album release, Love Story, was just released this week April 21 on Slumerican/Shady Records/Interscope, which Yelawolf describes as “more passionate” than his past projects.
Love Story was recorded mostly in Nashville with executive producer Eminem and various other producers including Malay, WLPWR and DJ Paul.
“I’m telling the truth about a lot of things,” Yelawolf’s said in describing the new album, which follows the release of his mixtape Trunk Muzik Returns in March, 2013 and his debut, 2011’s Radioactive. “I try to be as honest as I can with everything I do.”
For Fans Of: George Ezra, Hozier, James Bay, Kodaline, Ben Howard, Bastille
After dodging the camera for the first leg of his recording career, Vance Joy is staring down the barrel for the cover of his long-awaited debut Dream Your Life Away.
No more arty blurs, or in the case of the “Riptide video”, being totally MIA.
“You can see people’s personalities in their eyes,” Vance Joy says. “You can tell if someone is really feeling the song they’re singing. I wanted to have a straight on direct ‘look into my eyes’ moment for this album cover. If I’m going to regret anything it’s not going to be that my face looks like my face. People can like it or not like it, but I won’t look back and go ‘I shouldn’t have been wearing that hat’ or anything.”
Vance Joy has had an unexpectedly long time to finish his debut album. There’s a simple reason why — his first single “Riptide” kept charming the world and its charming author followed it around the globe. Several times over.
As well as selling out headline tours in Australia, Vance Joy performed at South By South West, Glastonbury, Firefly and Boonaroo Festivals before returning to Australia for Splendour In The Grass and then back to the UK, Europe, US and Canada for headline tours and V Festival, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Osheaga.
In Australia, Riptide moved from alternative to commercial radio, then commercial TV and got a second wind after it became the first song to top Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown without an album to call home. “Riptide” went worldwide, hitting No.10 in the UK, and Top 10 in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It has sold over a million copies worldwide, is being streamed over three million times a week and has cracked the American Top 100 after relentless touring. “Riptide” has gone four times platinum in Australia, with its award victory lap including the prestigious ARIA Song of the Year award.
“It’s taken on its own life,” the musician says of “Riptide.” “It’s definitely been a door opener. It’s running its own race now.”
Naturally “Riptide” surfaces on Dream Your Life Away, kept company by another track from the God Loves You When You’re Dancing EP, “From Afar.”
“It’s still one of my favorite songs,” Vance Joy admits.
They’re some of his earliest compositions. Back when Vance Joy was still Melbourne boy James Keogh, he’d been in a “shamelessly” Bloc Party inspired Uni band while he juggled footy with a law degree. Falling asleep in most classes suggested that maybe law wasn’t where his head was. Just prior to a three-month vacation, he wrote a song called “Winds of Change.”
It contains the phrase “an errant finger pokes me in the eye” as well as precisely zero obvious Bloc Party influence. Crucially, James Keogh had found his sound, just before he found his pseudonym Vance Joy (a character who likes to tell stories in Peter Carey’s book Bliss)
“‘Winds of Change’ is the first song I ever wrote that I thought was any good,” Vance Joy says. “It was 2009. It was a breakthrough. It planted the seed in my head of me being able to write good songs. So I went away and I had all these ideas running through my head, I didn’t take an instrument, I just made notes in a book. When I came back I wrote ‘From Afar.’ ‘Winds of Change’ was the first coherent song I wrote that I wanted to show people. I’m glad that song opens that album. It was the change in my songwriting, I discovered that strumming rhythm. It started something.”
Good things came fast. He pieced together “Riptide” on a dirt cheap ukulele (he’s since upgraded) from a few songs sitting on his cerebral scrap heap. That area in the back of his head also gave rise to new single “Mess is Mine,” a charming construct of good sections he managed to shoehorn in one song.
“It’s total cannibalization that song,” Vance Joy explains. “There’s so many bits from other songs I had on the wreck heap. Some of the lyrics are from conversations I had, like my friend who had a crush on two blonde guys in a hostel in Byron Bay, so I got that line ‘check me in and check me out’ from her. That stayed with me. ‘Riptide’ was pieced from a few songs I had lying around. You do whatever works.”
Books and films also provided plenty of inspiration. The movie in “Riptide” was “Midnight Cowboy,” while on Dream Your Life Away the tune “We All Die Trying To Get It Right” started life when Vance Joy was watching the movie Infamous about writer Truman Capote. ”With a line like ‘we all die trying to get there’, sometimes you hear something and you put it in your phone. Well, you blatantly steal it. But rarely does something come to fit perfectly, even the syllables, but it did in that case.”
“Who Am I” parties like it’s 1899 — the year poet W.B Yeats wrote “The Wind Among the Reeds,” where Vance Joy saw the line about laying your dreams down at someone’s feet and asking them to be careful they don’t crush them.
“Georgia,” one of singer/songwriter’s personal favorites, was particularly important. He wrote it on January 1 this year, right in the throes of “Riptide” fever. “Hemingway says, ‘I have written well, I will write well again.’ The well doesn’t dry up. Before ‘Georgia,’ I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired, then that song came out of nowhere. I was on a high for five days. You can’t force it, but it’s nice to know that now you recognise when a song is coming.”
Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” also provoked the “first cut is the deepest” acknowledgement in “First Time,” the last song recorded for the album, again salvaged from one from Vance Joy’s “maybe” pile. “I’m glad we resurrected it,” he says. “It’s turned out really well for a song I hadn’t thought about for a while.”
“Red Eye” captures a pre-frequent flyer Vance Joy who didn’t know the phrase for the night flight, also with a few lyrical (and canine) nods to Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman.” “It’s a tried and true story,” Vance Joy says of the geographical heartache in “Red Eye.” “You put two lovers in a song, separate them, and you’ve got three minutes to reunite them. I suppose it’s a story that has been told and re-told in different forms. It’s reliable.”
Dream Your Life Away was recorded mainly just outside of Seattle with producer Ryan Hadlock (Lumineers, Gossip, Johnny Flynn) including a handful of songs (“Mess is Mine,” “Winds of Change” and “Georgia”) being finished off in a tree house on the studio grounds. “It was beautiful,” Vance Joy says of the gravity-defying recording sessions, “And it was cool being so super close as we were recording.”
With his debut album finally finished, Vance Joy is in the enviable position of the entire world wanting to hear it all at the same time. He’s already blacked out the next year for touring, on the back of nearly two years of touring since “Riptide” was a mere ripple.
The album title, Dream Your Life Away, came to him after hearing John Lennon‘s 1981 classic “Watching the Wheels.”
“He has that line ‘People say I’m crazy, dreaming my life away,’ and I love that idea. That title feels like a good reflection of my life recently. It’s still all totally new to me. I still feel new as, which is good. I still feel like I’m just chipping away.”
Vance Joy has an original voice which at first he kept to himself. Feeding on a diet of The Pogues, Paul Kelly, and whatever else was playing, he cut his teeth performing at open mike nights in Melbourne. It is folk music with pop influences. His songs capture the familiar pulse of everyday experiences in a unique and celebratory manner. His lyrics will reach out to you and hold on for a moment.
Vance Joy newest single, “Mess Is Mine,” is currently top 15 at alternative rock radio. “Mess Is Mine,” the second single from Dream Your Life Away, which has 20+ million Spotify streams, and is shaping up as another multi-format success.
Vance Joy will join Taylor Swift on “The 1989 World Tour,” playing over 80 shows worldwide to over 1.6 million people in North America alone.
Vance Joy will return to the U.S. in April for a headline tour leading into Coachella and Governor’s Ball this Spring.
For Fans Of: St. Lucia, Lorde, Atlas Genius, Pacific Air, Youngblood Hawke, The Neighbourhood
“Robert DeLong seems like one of those kids beamed here from a future world where all threads of music have been stitched together into some kind of vibrant cloth. His hybrid of electronica samples from pop, folk, house, dubstep and glitch… ” -Kevin Bronson Buzzbands.la
Robert DeLong’s fluid live show effortlessly blends classic songwriting and futuristic technology—Wii-motes, Sega controllers, MIDI-interfaces, and drum pads blend into a fluid and original live experience.
Just as he did on the superb Just Movement record, where he combined “rave-tastic” beats with thoughtful and universal lyrics, Robert DeLong showcases his admirable lyrical skills on his Long Way Down EP.
DeLong cemented his rising star status globally in 2013 with a slew of big-name festival appearances, including Coachella, Lollapalooza, and a star-making turn at Made In America in Philadelphia. His live show continues to grow more impressive with ever-expanding production and visuals to match his one of a kind stage presence, where he mixes his ground breaking (and often self-created) instrumentation which includes video game controllers and monster drum solos.
Long Way Down is a precursor to DeLong’s second full-length, scheduled to be released in 2015. The sophomore effort promises just as much musical eclecticism, paired with the beloved innovative instrumentation fans all know and love, exemplifying DeLong’s maturity and evolution in his artistry.
He has toured as the opening support for Two Door Cinema Club.
For Fans Of: Sam Smith, MØ, ASTR, Bipolar Sunshine, SOHN, Broods
Banks released her hotly anticipated debut album Goddess in September of last year via Harvest Records.
Banks is part of a new generation of forward-thinking artists and an emerging star in the making. From the acclaimed London EP to two consecutive sold out headline shows at London’s Koko to triumphant performances in front of thousands-strong, packed-to-the-rafters tents at both Coachella and Bonnaroo– performances that were highlighted by everyone from Time magazine to The Guardian – it is clear that every transmission from Banks is waited upon with bated breath. We placed her on our list of picks for the Top 50 Best Bets Of SXSW 2014 (see here).
Some things don’t need to be defined. Some aren’t meant to be in a box, held in proverbial captivity. They inherently defy a need for classification. Banks makes music. Great music. Why not just stop there? Allow her to be a siren for a generation, beckoning for self discovery. She begs for it. Conveying her sound seems almost unfair. It’s built on a simple notion of emotion. Perhaps that explains the near explosion of eager fans frantic to share their own discovery, ultimately propelling this songstress’ art to the top of Hypem charts. A toy keyboard is all it took to awaken the inevitable. That evolved into a piano. The notes articulated feelings. Then chords turned to melodies. Heart-piercing lyrics cloaked in lush orchestration. Now Banks’ EP London applauds her arrival. The four songs introduce this budding self- taught songstress, one whose voice echoes a generation. She writes with a restless urgency, lyrically candid yet relatable, weaving vivid imagery into pop-skewed lullabies as she lures with every note, every chord, every breath. A hypnotic blend of beats, pianos, echoes and an addictive vocal presence, Banks slips in and out of genres with an ease so effortless, it once again serves as a reminder to leave your tags behind. Hip-hop, Pop, R&B, Alternative, Electronic… they all live in this very place. And she can be any or all. Or none. A singer. A poet. A pianist. A narrator. An artist.
For Fans Of: Capital Cities, Little Daylight, Big Data, Ghost Beach, Saint Motel, Trails and Ways
After a 2014 that saw the release of their debut EP, festival appearances across the U.S. and their first late night television performance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Joywave are back to kick off 2015 in a big way.
They just released their debut album How Do You Feel Now?, April 21st via Cultco Music/Hollywood Records. News of its release comes in conjunction with the band’s announcement that they will be joining Bleachers on a U.S. tour this spring, prior to the records’s release. In addition to the album’s release date and title, the band is sharing its cover art and track listing, both of which can be found below. They previously toured with Bleachers for the first time last year in 2014.
Creating a sound that deftly jumps between genres, Joywave’s music is grounded in classic songwriting, often injected with house music’s energy, the playfulness of disco and an overarching hip-hop spirit. Their How Do You Feel? EP (released on the band’s Hollywood Records imprint Cultco Music in March 2014) demonstrates the bands pointed talent for originality while blending influences.
Where any other band might lose its identity in the quest to experiment with so many different sounds, Joywave’s all-embracing approach puts their distinct personality front and center while reinforcing the band’s stance that they are not aiming for the middle. “Music should engage the audience. If we have not elicited a response of some sort, we have not done our job.”
Being from Rochester, NY, Joywave acknowledges that they are somewhat isolated from the mainstream music scene and that’s how they like it. “We’re able to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in big cities but exist outside the trends and can be creative doing what we genuinely like without being overly influenced by other artists.”
Joywave’s distinguished sound is already paying off, they’ve received high praise from Rolling Stone, The Fader and Nylon, to name a few, and have been generating a substantial fanbase on the road nabbing slots with The Killers and RAC while performing at some of this summer’s biggest festivals including Lollapalooza, Osheaga and Bunbury. To top it off, Joywave made their TV debut on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” performing not only their hit song “Tongues,” but also performing with Big Data on their collaborative alternative radio hit “Dangerous (feat. Joywave).”
Last fall, Joywave brought their live show across the U.S. as they toured with Betty Who, Night Terrors of 1927 and St. Lucia.
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
For Fans Of: Bleachers, Jack’s Mannequin, The Griswolds, Bad Suns, WALK THE MOON, The Colourist
“I wrote a pop record and then she showed up.” Andrew McMahon laughs, cradling his 6-month-old daughter, Cecilia, as his wife Kelly lounges nearby with their dog, Doris. The young family is backstage at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park relaxing before McMahon performs a sold out headlining show. McMahon is referring to his new release, the self-titled LP, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
McMahon has had a winding road to this artfully balanced life. This is a man who was diagnosed with cancer at 22 years old, on the cusp of releasing his debut album (as Jack’s Mannequin). Who wed Kelly the following year and then took on an arduous schedule of touring and album releases. Who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his song “I Heard Your Voice in a Dream” on NBC’s Smash. Who sold nearly 2 million albums in a little more than a decade. Who, for much of that time, was struggling underneath the weight of it all.
Despite these outward signs of success – beating cancer, getting married and an Emmy nom – McMahon says the road to recovery was “a rollercoaster ride” that took the better part of a decade. “My body healed faster than my mind and my heart. It took me years to realize that and do the work. I had to figure out how to acclimate to the world post-illness. I decided to take time away from the business of making music so I could pay attention to everything else. I left my label, my management and the name I had been making music under for the better part of my 20s. I moved out of Los Angeles. It was a metaphorical hard reset.”
The time allowed McMahon to process what had happened and to renew his passion for songwriting and record making, to refill the well of his creativity. McMahon also changed his mode of operation, taking the critical step of physically distancing his work and home lives by retreating to a cabin – “a shack, really. It had no running water,” – in Topanga Canyon (CA) to hatch the album. He would spend the weekdays in the canyon immersed in music and on the weekends travel the hour and a half back south to be with his then-newly-pregnant wife. “It was important to me to be completely present when I was home. Separating out the work actually created more space to live a life worth writing about.”
In Topanga, Andrew was able to focus intensely on song craft. He poured his feelings into his work: the anticipation and anxiety about becoming a father, excitement for meeting his new daughter, ambivalence about entering his 30s. Soon after the Canyon sessions, McMahon began working with producer Mike Viola, who McMahon calls “the album’s spirit guide.” In Viola’s Echo Park garage studio, the two of them meditated on a range of classic rock and modern artists.
At the same time, McMahon began to consider the might-have-beens of his life. “I found myself asking, ‘What would have come next if I hadn’t encountered that bizarre chapter of my disrupted 20s?’ As I was writing the new songs, I was able to revisit relationships that had evolved or been dismantled in the vacuum of that disruption.” He adds, “It’s not that I wanted to erase my past. I wanted to explore it, to go back to the point where I had lost myself, where my personal narrative was overtaken, and move forward from there.”
“High Dive” emerged from the sessions with Viola and is the most representative of this sort of Sliding Doors exploration. “‘High Dive’ asks the question ‘If I had never gotten sick, where would I be?’” says McMahon. “My illness put a lot into perspective for my wife (then girlfriend) and I. With ‘High Dive’ I imagined what it would have been like if we’d split up and she’d moved on. In a universal sense, it’s about letting someone go and realizing you were wrong, but it’s too late.” The song buoys McMahon’s gentle tenor, slowly building from a spare composition with a snapping, driving beat, ‘High Dive’ swells into the bridge (“Flashbacks get me close”) and resolves into a viscerally satisfying chorus flush with other voices, McMahon’s piano wrapping around the melody.
Intimate details populate the album, with McMahon writing sometimes obliquely, sometimes frankly about his struggles. “See Her on the Weekend,” a literal recounting of his time in Topanga, drops the aside “I drink more than the doctors say I should.” “Halls” outlines self-sabotaging tendencies in service of his career, “Cut my hair, and I found me a new girlfriend / Thought a broken heart could write a perfect song.” “All Our Lives” is particularly unguarded but even when he’s singing about someone else, an old friend with “a heart so gold, and words so blue / in a body home from hell,” you wonder if he’s not singing about himself in some roundabout way.
The first single, “Cecilia and the Satellite” was actually one of the last songs written for the album. “A few weeks before Cecilia was born, I was introduced to James Flannigan, a British songwriter and producer. I knew I wanted to write a song for her, to show her who I was before she was born and my commitment to protect her.” While “Cecilia” details McMahon’s love in high contrast with what he calls “the impermanence of living,” – its soaring chorus anchored by a kick drum like the steady thump of a heartbeat.
After seeing the impressive results of their session, McMahon asked Flannigan to join him and Viola to help finish production of the album. The three of them bounced around LA in various production spaces and studios until all the details had been tweaked and McMahon was satisfied that it reflected the journey as a whole. “I had been dreaming about an album that sounded like this for years, but I didn’t know it until I heard it. It took all three of us. I realize now how important every piece of the process was – every step on the path and every voice in the room.”
If, as McMahon says, “music is a mirror to the adventure of living,” then it follows that each new chapter of life deserves its own title. As such, he decided his music would go forward under the name Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. “My wilderness is mostly abstract,” he posits, “I forced myself into strange new places on the hunt for these songs, and I met some amazing people in the process. The new name carries the spirit of our collaboration.”
There is a balancing act that permeates not only McMahon’s life but his new album as well, mixing the electronic and the acoustic, the modern and the classic. But even though McMahon may have created two mini-masterpieces: an epic pop album stocked to the gills with anthemic songs and a healthy, bright, baby girl with Kelly, there’s no question which one he’s more proud of.
When you’re a touring artist, life on the road can be tough when you’re away from your family — especially when you have a new baby. Such is life for Andrew McMahon, but he makes the most of tour life by bringing his wife Kelly, and baby daughter Cecilia (now 1 year old) along, as seen in his latest music video for “Cecilia and the Satellite (A Day in the Life).”
“Cecilia and the Satellite” was written only weeks before Cecilia was born, and the new video follows Andrew and family (even their dog Doris!) while on tour. The sweet clip was filmed over the course of one day in Philadelphia, directed by Olivier Agostini.
Think of it as the ultimate take your daughter (and wife and pet) to work day.
For Fans Of: The Strokes, The Vaccines, The Killers, Two Door Cinema Club, Kings Of Leon, Arctic Monkeys
Luke Pritchard (vocals/guitar), Hugh Harris (guitar), Max Rafferty (bass), and Paul Garred (drums) generate the rubbishy garage rock sounds of the Kooks. Named after the song on David Bowie’s Hunky Dory, the Kooks met while attending Brighton Music College in the mid-2000s. Each shared a liking for the Police, the Strokes, the Everly Brothers, and Funkadelic, and the bandmates began funneling such influences into their own sweet and precocious sound in 2005. Before the year’s end, the British foursome was releasing singles for Virgin UK. “Eddie’s Gun” and “Sofa Song” did moderately well on the U.K. singles chart; however, the romantic playfulness of “You Don’t Love Me” eventually gave the band its first ever Top 20 hit. The Kooks’ debut full-length, Inside In/Inside Out, arrived in January 2006. The band’s fifth single, “Naive,” landed at number five by spring. Hot on the heels of their international success, the Kooks made their American performance debut at the annual South by Southwest conference in Austin, TX, in March, and the U.S. version of Inside In/Inside Out arrived on Astralwerks in October 2006. Two years later, the Kooks returned with Konk, an album they hoped had a “bigger” sound than their debut. The album’s arrival coincided with the announcement that Rafferty had left the band and was replaced by former Cat the Dog bassist Dan Logan.
The multi-platinum selling UK act released their new album Listen in 2014, their fourth record.
“To me,” lead singer/ guitarist Luke Pritchard says, “this album is about pure expression. Even the way we made the album felt fresh. Rather than us just being a band in a room, playing our guitars with the vocal over the top, which is what we’d always done before, we were really listening to what was going on around us, picking up ideas. The whole thing was much more natural.”
“Listen is to The Kooks what Rock Steady was to No Doubt – both a return to form and an invigorated, rollickingly rhythmic reinvention.” LA Weekly
“…the best thing they’ve done in years.” – PopMatters
‘an engaging collection that refuses to be hidebound by the structures of indie-rock’. 4* The Independent
‘The Kooks have come out fighting and the result is an album bristling with character’. 4* The Telegraph
‘The Kooks have cast off their Indie noodlings and transformed themselves into technicolour butterflies’. 4* The Evening Standard
‘This is a very good album. The Kooks sounds like a band rejuvenated’. 4* Q Magazine
‘Gone is the arch Britpop-lite, and in its place is a limber, carefree feel, drawing on classic soul and late Stones’. The Sunday Times Culture