Watch this Girl Gain Fame
Who: Billie Eilish
Where: Los Angeles
What: Indie/Alternative with a hint of R&B
Sounds Like: Lorde, Melanie Martinez
It's been almost two months since I posted, but lately I haven't been inspired to write. I have been stuck in such a rut finding new, smaller artists. So many bigger bands have released new material and I've been going through listening to that. One day I was scanning through my Instagram feed and saw that Megan Park posted about directing Billie's new music video of "Watch," so of course I checked it out and loved it! Even though Billie has that familiar sound, there's just something about her songs that's so different from anything else. Maybe it's because she mixes in some r&b into her songs or maybe it's because she has such a strong voice for only fifteen years old. So give it a listen and be forever grateful to me that I suggested her.
In with the Wheelands
Who: Wheeland Brothers
Where: So Cal
What: Beachy Acoustic Pop
Sounds Like: Dirty Heads with a hint of Jack Johnson
Well folks, it's that time of year again where I fully invest myself into finding perfect songs to fit my summer playlists. I recently found out that I will be able to go to California next month with my best friend before we start this new chapter in our life. There's no better way to celebrate the graduation of high school than to road trip back home and create long lasting memories. But in order to make a perfect summer, you have to have the perfect soundtrack. The ideal music to listen to while driving down PCH, seeing the shoreline, and observing beach-goers skate down the sidewalk towards the pier. And I found exactly that while listening to a Spotify radio station created due to my fond interest in Sublime and Dirty Heads. Wheeland Brothers consist of two brothers (if it wasn't clear in their band name), Nate and Trev, who grew up in Orange County and incorporate a home-y feel in their music. The first song I heard of theirs is called "In With the Newport." The starting line of the song automatically gave off a Dirty Heads vibe with vocals similar to Jared Watson. If you listen to the beginning rap of "That's All I Need" by Dirty Heads while listening to "In With the Newport," you'll be sure to see a similarity in the style and vocals of the two groups. While the Wheeland Brothers can pull off some awesome raps, they have also done songs similar to Jack Johnson, so if you like the more mellow vibes, then listen to "Just Take It Easy" and I'm confident that you'll have a double take because it sounds just like Jack himself. The fact that this group has stayed true to their roots and have done more than one style in their songs is one of the many reasons that they deserve more recognition. So when you get the chance and want to listen to the perfect soundtrack to your summer, check the videos below and let the music take you on a trip to Southern California.
The Perfect Trio
Who: Delmer Dennis
Where: Dallas, Texas
What: Surf Rock, Blues
Sounds Like: A hippy Young the Giant
Who: Summer Salt
Where: Austin, Texas
What: Alternative, Tropical Indie
Sounds Like: An Indie Beach Boys
Who: The Walters
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What: Alternative, Indie
Sounds Like: Mac Demarco
and The Lumineers
Because I'm graduating high school in less than a month, I've packed my weeks with concerts and other fun events. My most recent outing was the Summer Salt and Walters concert in Denton, Texas. This concert had to be one of my favorites because of the intimacy of it and the fact that I met amazing people there. All three bands that performed were spectacular, so I decided to wrap it all into one blog post and explain why each act was special to the concert.
Opening up a concert can either be good promotion or a sad reality. Delmer Dennis has to be the best opening act I've witnessed in all my concert going years. He immediately captivated me by the way he flowed right into his music so easily. Although few knew his songs, everyone caught on fast and realized the talent this dude had. The best part is that he lives in Dallas which means more concerts for me to go to!
Summer Salt was the reason I went to this concert. Their music is extremely similar to the Beach Boys in the sense of doowops and surf rock. Their presence on stage and the beginning rifs of their song put the audience in a trance and caused a sway in everyone's bodies. I know for a fact that I was busy looking like an idiot swaying around and waving my hands, but who cares, right? That's the point of good concerts. The best ones are ones that cause you to not care about how you look. Just being there and listening, not being self conscious about how people will look at you, just enjoying the music.
The Walters was a pleasant surprise for me. I only listened to one of their songs before, so I didn't have any expectations for their set. The audience though got so into it that it was hard not to appreciate it. I have to say that The Walters, as awesome as their studio EP's are, are much better live and in person. Not their music per say, but the way they engage with their fans during their set. Everyone screamed the lyrics as lead singer, Luke Olson, crouched over and made eye contact with every person in the front row. During their set, the guys of Summer Salt came out in the crowd and hung out with us and crowd surfed during the last song.
These guys did an amazing job sharing their music in an intimate way and I'm definitely going again next time they go on tour! Check them out!
Who: Lord Huron
Where: Los Angeles, CA
What: Psychedelic Folk
Sounds Like: The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons
Just two weeks ago, the TV interpertation of Jay Asher's book "Thirteen Reasons Why" was released on Netflix. I read the book a few years ago and waited patiently for it to be released as a film. Easy to say, Executive Producer, Selena Gomez, did a spectacular job bringing the story to the screen and keeping Asher's thoughts intact. My absolute favorite part of the show was obviously the music in each episode. For those of you who have just landed on Earth, the storyline is that Hannah Baker, sophmore in high school, kills herself and leaves behind cassette tapes explaining why she did it and the tapes are passed around through the list of people that caused her death. Clay, her socially awkward friend recieves the tapes and learns every single devastation that occured in her life. In the duration of the show, we learn that Clay was hopelessly in love with her and he can't help but wonder what he did to be on the tapes. During a beautiful flashback scene to their school dance, Hannah and Clay dance to "The Night We Met" by Lord Huron, which seemed like the perfect soundtrack to their romance. This song was beautiful, yet haunting, knowing what would eventually happen to Hannah and created a bittersweet feeling. I love the mix of sadness and delight I get from listening to this song, just like every other song Lord Huron has released. Their sound is so unique and flawless and it would be a perfect soundtrack to live life to. Check them out and if you haven't yet, watch "Thirteen Reasons Why."
Hard Work Pays Off
Who: The Wrecks
Where: Los Angeles, CA
What: Indie Rock
Sounds Like: Blink 182, Cage the Elephant
This weekend, I received the opportunity to interview The Wrecks after their set at Edgefest. Not only are they awesome musicians, they're also genuine, happy guys. Thanks so much for sitting down to talk with me and here is your interview as promised. :)
Q: What drove you to want to make music as a career?
Aaron: It's crazy because we're playing with Blink today, but that is why I play music because of Blink 182.
Billy: I saw a girl play Welcome to the Jungle on the drums in the fourth grade talent show and I was like "I want to play the drums"
Schmidt: My mom used to play a lot of Motley Crue in the car and I wondered how songs were made and I thought no way I could be like any of those guys. I wanted to play guitar after that so my parents bought me an acoustic guitar and I thought "This isn't right," but I kept going with it. I was at a friend's house and played his electric guitar and realized that's how bands do it.
Westen: For me, I saw Green Day and Jimmy Eat World in fifth grade and I wanted to do that. The in college, I realized that no other job would be fulfilling and make me as happy as playing music
Nick: My grandma taught me how to play the piano when I was really young and for some reason I really gravitated toward writing but then I got more into alternative music after going to a concert when i was thirteen and that's what I wanted to do. I wanted the touring, the band life, and to write songs and perform for huge crowds of people.
Q: Any advice for people trying to break into the music industry?
Schmidt: Never be discouraged and stay motivated.
Nick: Hard work, honesty, and genuine appreciation for what you're doing goes a long way. When we moved to LA, we quickly saw the people who looked like they worked really hard but none of the genuine hard word and grind is there.
Q: If you could perform onstage with one artist, who would it be and why?
Billy: Cage the Elephant, and play In One Ear with them. I would probably pass out if that happened.
Aaron: Blink 182
Schmidt: Red Hot Chili Peppers; even though they're a big band, I'm die hard from the beginning with the sex funk.
Westen: Probably Jimmy Eat World or Green Day
Billy: Foo Fighters would be sweet
Nick: I would say the Killers because that's the only band I would put above other bands
Q: Who are your musical influences?
Nick: In high school, I listened to Pop Punk and gravitated towards detailed and honest lyrics: bands like Say Anything, Motion City Soundtrack, the Front Bottoms, or Modern Baseball. Bands that don't hide behind a lot of metaphors and tell exactly what happened to them.
Aaron: Obviously Blink 182 but lately my influence has been Schmidt because he's taught me everything.
Billy: 80's drummers because they power through and don't care if they look stupid. Drummers like Tommy Lee or Mark Schulman from Foreigner
Schmidt: As a guitar player, I'm really into funk stuff like John Frusciante from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jimi Hendrix. As far as more alternative, I'd have to go with Queens of Stone Age, Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Vampire Weekend, Black Keys, or Cake.
Westen: Probably Jimmy Page, a lot of 70's music and funk.
Q: What would you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Aaron: This past week we played at SXSW
Westen: We played with the Mowgli's at Texas A&M
Billy: Walking on stage and hearing a shit ton of people know the band's lyrics is so weird to see
NIck: We played our first ever festival today and we're 30 or so spins from breaking the Top 40 in national airplay with Favorite Liar and I think if we get that, that will have been our greatest achievement.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
Nick: Honest, energetic indie rock
Who: The Lagoons
Where: Los Angeles, CA and Austin, TX
What: Mix of jazz and electronic pop
Sounds Like: A slower tempo of Daft Punk, Alt-J
Recently I took a trip back home to California to visit family, and before every trip I go on, I make the perfect playlist to mentally prepare myself. I found The Lagoons by typing California into the Spotify search engine. It took some scrolling, but I had found the perfect song to add to my playlist. Their song "California" will obviously be my favorite of theirs because it references my native home and brings back soothing memories with the slow rhythm of the jazz. I usually make fun of my dad for listening to Jazz music because it reminds me of elevator music, but The Lagoons blends it flawlessly into their electro pop songs. The fact that they're thinking outside the box and playing music that isn't very popular in the industry makes me appreciate their originality even more. After furthermore researching their origins, I've come to find out that they used to live in the Los Angeles area and recently moved to Austin, Texas to launch their career as musical artists. Their music highly reflects the atmosphere of Austin in the relaxing, carefree tempo. Next time me and my dad go to Austin to visit record stores, I'll make sure to work it around one of their concerts, which is now one of my main priorities. I would 10/10 recommend this band if you're looking for an escape from the real world or homesick like me.
Perks of Being a Blogger
This past week, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite bands, Ballyhoo, and I learned that they're the easiest group of guys to talk to. Their manager, Alex Wright was amazing at fitting me in before their set and this wouldn't have happened without his help. After sitting down with Howi Spangler, Donald Spangler, and Nick Lucera, I got the 411 on their new album and the direction they're going with fame and music.
Q: How did you come up with your band name?
Howi: I wanted to name the band Bombshells or Mean Candy Smash, but then we had a friend that said we should call the band Ballyhoo. I looked up what the word meant and it was loud noise, crazy advertisement, and organized chaos and in my head it was big block letters so it stuck with us.
Q: What songs do you play most on a set?
Howi: Definitely play Walk Away since it's our biggest song, Cervesa because it's a big closer and a lot of fun, Morning Sunlight which is kind of a doowop old 50's rock mix with a Weezer sound.
Q: Describe your upcoming album in three words
Donald: Best album ever
Nick: Freshest album ever
Howi: Fresh as fuck
Q: What's different about your new album compared to previous releases?
Howi: There aren't any punk rock songs on it. We're usually a band that mixes it up and this time we focused on the reggae pop sound to make it bigger and better. It turned out really cool and I think we're all happy about it.
Q: What are some of your musical influences?
Howi: Mine personally is Green Day-that's where I learned to be a performer onstage, Sublime, 311, Incubus, they all mixed the ska, punk and reggae all together
Q: Who are some of your favorite bands to tour with?
Donald: Reel Big Fish is really good
Howi: Ya, Reel Big Fish- they're all really good guys, 311-their crowds show us a lot of love; pretty much everyone we tour with is really fun.
Q: If you were stuck on a deserted island an only got to bring one album, which would you bring?
Howi: Insomniac by Green Day
Nick: The Devil and God are raging inside me by Brand New
Donald: Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins
Q: What's the upside and downside of your new label
Howi: We can do whatever we want whenever we want and out out bands we like, but the underside is we don't have much money to spend on recording and the big release market brands. We have a new deal with our distributor that allows us some label services and marketing money, so our new record's going to come out bigger than the last five albums.
Take me back home
Who: Bumpin Uglies
Where: Annapolis, Maryland
What: SKA, punk, reggae
When: formed 2008, first EP released 2011
Sounds Like: Dirty Heads and Sublime blend
After following one of my favorite bands "Ballyhoo!" on our Undiscovered Artists Twitter, I managed to find Right Coast Records- the label that Ballyhoo, Resinated, and Bumpin Uglies are signed to. All these bands have their own unique contribution to the punk music world, but I have recently been addicted to Bumpin Uglies' vibes. I was driving the other night, extremely happy that I'm able to listen to my playlists with my new radio adapter, feeling at peace and a little homesick when their song "Bad Decisions" came on. Although I'm still in Texas and there's no possible way I can teleport to California while driving in my town, this song is the closest to I've felt to home in a long time. This band has a true talent if they can make me feel like California in dry heat and flat roads. There are very little songs that hold a special place in my Californian heart and this is one of them. So listen to this song, and just imagine yourself in your happy place.
Who: The Darkness
Where: Suffolk, United Kingdom
What: Glam Rock, Soft Metal
When: 1999-2006, 2011-now
Sounds Like: Guns N Roses, Def Leppard
Ever since I found The Struts, I have been searching for some recent bands who bring back the 80's rock and The Darkness does exactly that! I'm so suprised that I've never heard of them before! Their debut album, Permission to Land was a huge success in Britian and it recieved quadruple platinum. I am so sorry to those of you who are fans of them and cannot believe that I didn't listen to them! Although their first two albums were huge hits, their most recent ones after their break are truly underrated. Since getting back together, the group has molded together and found their true sound... Linked below I will have their hit song "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" and one from their newest album.
All my worries are Gone
Who: Day Wave
Where: Oakland, California
What: 80's Alternative
Sounds Like: Two Door Cinema Club
This year, I've been really into buying cheap clothes in order to save money. My friend, Sami (the music lover) decided to take me thrift shopping in Lewisville and we defenitely hit the jackpot! Sami's really good at making playlists for certain occasions such as her Bands playlist and (my favorite) one created for night driving in big cities, She told me on the way to the stores, "Grace you gotta listen to Day Wave! No one knows about him, so you'll like it!" The first song she played of his was "Gone." I was instantly entised because it reminded me so much of being on a summer trip. As soon as I got home, I added it to my "wanderlust" playlist. Day Wave may be too alternative for some of y'all but just soak in and appreciate his happy, stressfree music.
Check out Sami's spotify because she's obsessed with making awesome playlists!
And check out my Wanderlust playlist for more artists like Day Wave!