Lord Huron’s new album Strange Trails (out April 7) is already making waves. Frontman and writer Ben Schneider, whose appearance resembles that of a man from The Gilded Age, finds inspiration in the natural world and in his travels. With his four-person band he is traversing the U.S. and Western Europe to showcase his rustic creations. Check out this interview with Ben Schneider in Interview Magazine, and see Lord Huron at The Beacham on July 21st!
At 24, Jon Bellion has written songs for Eminem, Rihanna, and Jason Derulo, released three mixtapes, and toured internationally–there is no direction he can go except rocketing upwards. His latest release, The Definition (2014), was released to critical and popular acclaim, and is spreading like wild fire throughout the globe. Following the release of The Definition, Bellion did an incredibly interesting AMA (Ask Me Anything) on reddit.com.
http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/2h9aer/seriously_dont_ask_me_what_its_like_to_write_hit/ The Social will be hosting Jon Bellion on June 16th.
It’s hard to believe Betty Who has only been on the scene since late 2012. She’s taken the world by storm, releasing two EPs and a full length album entitled “Take Me When You Go.” Now she is heading across the U.S. and Canada, blowing fans minds everywhere she goes. Rolling Stone’s description of her “pulsing” single ‘Runaways’ is spot on.
It’s the best way to characterize English melodic hardcore band The Basement. After entering into a hiatus in 2012 with a short and sweet message to the fans, the band reunited as simply and as drama-free as they had separated. Now, with a nearly one year-old EP entitled ‘Further Sky,’ the band is touring the U.S. to sold out shows. See them in person at The Beacham on August 10th!
Members of the band Death, considered a pioneering force in death metal and grindcore by the music community, will reunite for a handful of shows kicking off at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco Friday, June 22.
The tour will next move on to the House of Blues in Los Angeles and Chicago, then play New York City’s Irving Plaza before winding down at The Beacham in Orlando for what is currently the tour’s final stop. Tickets for the San Francisco show are $28 in advance and $32 day of. Doors open at 8 p.m. and showtime is 9 p.m. Special guest is Gorguts.
The five-city tour, called Death To All Tour 2012, celebrates the life and music of Death founder Chuck Schuldiner whose life was cut short when he died December 13, 2001 at the age of 34 from brain cancer. The shows benefits Sweet Relief Musicians Fund – a charity that provides financial assistance to career musicians faced with illness, disability or age-related problems.
In 1999, Schuldiner had been diagnosed with a high-grade pontine glioma, a malignant type of cancer that invades the brainstem. Although he underwent a successful surgery to remove the tumor, the cancer returned years later. The first surgery left the guitarist and his family with a financial debt of over $70,000. The metal community rallied with auctions, benefits concerts and fundraisers to help offset the cost.
A cash strapped Schuldiner was denied the second surgery when it was learned the family took out medical insurance after his first surgery and therefore it was a pre-existing condition (the tumor existed before and insurance refused to cover the surgery).
While Schuldiner received chemotherapy, musician friends stepped up and in the summer of 2001 members of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Korn auctioned off personal items to help raise money. Schuldiner contracted pneumonia in early November and died a month later.
Touring members of Death include: drummers Gene Hoglan (Individual Thought Patterns/Symbolic) and Sean Reinert (Human); bassists Steve DiGiorgio (Human/Individual Thought Patterns) and Scott Clendenin (The Sound of Perseverance); and guitarists Paul Masvidal (Human), Shannon Hamm (The Sound of Perseverance) and Bobby Koelble (Symbolic).
Since his earlier days of rapping alongside New Orleans rapper Lil
Wayne, Curren$y has been a very notable voice in hip-hop. His status
increased even more as he released his much acclaimed Ski Beatz
produced record, Pilot Talk, as well as his sequel album later that
same year, laying down lazy, well-thought out rhymes over dreamy and
smooth production. Curren$y seems to flawlessly release new material
every month, delivering mixtapes and guest appearances heavy in
between solid album releases. The Stoned Immaculate marks the very
first “major,” release from the New Orleans native, and his forth
effort for 2012.
Yet, as much material as the rapper seems to be releasing, he doesn’t
seem to ever decrease in quality. The Stoned Immaculate doesn’t show
any crumbling by Curren$y’s talent or flow, but rather a continuation
of his constant and steady effort in hip-hop. This album is Curren$y’s
most polished and well rounded work to date, delivering the consistent
stoner-smooth jams the rapper is well known for with an additional
number of guest appearances.
In fact, one of the only downsides to the album is that it may
actually have too much guest appearances. Of the 13 tracks, 10 of them
have guest appearances, with the digital version of the album holding
16 tracks with 11 songs featuring other rappers. Curren$y’s drifting
voice works well on the beats provided for The Stoned Immaculate, but
some of the other rappers don’t stack up as high. On “What It Look
Like,” Wale’s voice sticks out a little more noticeably than Curren$y,
sounding somewhat obnoxious on the hook. Wiz Khalifa makes two
appearances, providing one hit and one miss for the album. The rappers
themselves aren’t all terrible, but these beats are meant for the
smooth-talking Curren$y at times and are a bit unsuitable for company.
The guests aren’t all sloppy, however. Wiz Khalifa did serve a great
verse on the album’s theme song “Jet Life,” alongside rapper Big
K.R.I.T., who also produced the song. 2 Chainz did very well on
“Capitol,” slowly rapping and stumbling with every syllable the way
the Georgia rapper is known for, while spitting somewhat clichéd lines
that provide guilty pleasures to listeners (You know I do it like I’m
doing it for Dew/Watch the shoes, ostrich, you know what time it is
like 2 watches). In “No Squares,” Curren$y takes his title as one of
the hardest working rappers in the game (Spokes pokin’/I should be the
“weed don’t stop me from workin” spokesperson/Cause I get it in,
stoned, active like a sober person runnin”). The production by Daz
Dillinger, Tony P, Bink!, J.U.S.T.I.C.E League, Pharrell, and many
others are all solid and created a very perfectly rounded mix for the
entire album, providing Curren$y with southern drum heavy patterns,
mildly lazy flute/synth loops and a high volume of spazzy jazz
Curren$y is definitely known for rapping alongside his production in a
very lazy manner, almost blending into the background while riding the
wave of each beat. This is something not all rappers can do and what
most strive for. This could be either a gift or curse for the hip-hop
artist though, since some of his lines may come up missing as he’s
homogeneous to his production and his voice is inseparable to the
flows on some songs.
But as the album title states, Curren$y proves himself to be
immaculate, effortless spitting rhymes about the finest herb, the
hottest girls, and the fastest cars he handles on a daily basis. The
subject matter may not be new at all for hip-hop, but it does seem
perfected by the rapper, and the delivery makes it a fresh listen.
This album is exactly what you would expect from the N.O. artist with
plenty more to offer.
While writing their third studio album, Endless Flowers, the globetrotting garage punks of Crocodiles went a bit bohemian. Principle songwriters Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell wrote and recorded most of the record in Berlin, sharing a “shoddy chateau” together on the outskirts of town, hitting up sordid dive bars at night and bringing the various vagrants they encountered home with them.
“Somehow we eventually came up with an album,” says guitarist Rowell above the electric squall of the band’s pre-release rehearsal in Berlin.
The resulting record, Endless Flowers (out June 5 on Frenchkiss), is Crocodiles’ poppiest offering yet, blooming with slick guitar hooks and sexually charged rhythms that capture the combination of honesty and depravity gleaned from the group’s musical study abroad. We caught up with Rowell to get the skinny on the new record, memorable episodes of debauchery and a peculiar production practice called “The Naked Dictator.”
It sounds like rehearsal is going pretty… loud. Are you playing in the same space where you first rehearsed your album?
No, but ironically enough we’re playing our record release show basically in the same space where we rehearsed the album. It’s literally cavernous: It looks like a cave, and it’s under a train station. Brandon [Welchez] and I taught the band the songs there, and just after we finished rehearsing they turned the caves into a venue. So now it’s like, a 1,000-capacity club underneath the train station, which is pretty nuts.
How have you guys been spending your time in Berlin?
Brandon and I lived together in a little chateau on the edge of town—a cheap chateau, a shoddy chateau. Brandon and I have been working together and making music together and making love together for about 12 years now, so we’re thick as thieves, and we know exactly what the other person is thinking just by the blink of an eye. We cooked breakfast for each other and did all kinds of domestic things, finishing writing the record, taking in all the crazy local characters. So that’s how we wrote it. Then we flew the band out and took them to this cavernous rehearsal space and recorded it. The whole thing has kind of set a precedent for what we’ll do in future albums: Move to a city, immerse ourselves in the sordid underground that revolves around dive bars and gay bars and stuff, invite all these crazy characters back to our house, and hopefully we’ll eventually come up with something that’s worth releasing.
Do you already have your next city picked out?
We’re thinking Mexico City next. All the same feelings we get off of Berlin we get there. It’s cheap, it’s nefarious, it’s artistic, it’s beautiful—really inspiring. We actually wrote quite a bit of this album when we were there last.
What sorts of nefarious dives do you frequent in Berlin?
There’s a bar that basically translates to “The Rotten Rose” that we went to a lot. It’s completely covered in mirrors–the whole thing, even the tables. They’re located in Kreuzberg, which is a grittier part of the city on the south side of the river. Same thing with the Witch Club, which has like all these random stuffed witches on broomsticks all around the place. It definitely says a lot about the clientele. Witch Club had a really good dance floor though, and they put on really good garage-rock nights. There’s also a club called Ficken 3000, which translates to “Fuck Club 3000.” That had like a blackout room where you can go if you’re expecting to hook up. They also have an ice cream machine in there, so you have to go to the blackout room if you want to eat ice cream. Which sends a really odd message.
And what kind of nefarious characters have you been bringing home with you?
[laughs] Like male burlesque dancers…some of the actual club owners. We got in really well with the owner of Ficken 3000, actually. All kinds of interesting people. Coming back here now for our album release is like a reunion! We didn’t really bring it up that we were in a band or anything when we met these strangers, but they’re fans now. They’ll be there at the release show under the train station. I can’t even imagine what backstage will be like…probably like a zoo, literally. Animals. People who act like animals. Bushels of hay. Urine on the walls. Or maybe they’ll just bring canvases and an easel and paint us.
Did you play any shows in Berlin before this one?
We played here once before, and that was at a house party. It was insane. We had to keep starting and stopping because people were falling all over us. It was also a dress-up party where everyone was in crazy costumes. I had like a military outfit on, but I cut the shorts really, really obscenely short, and I cut the sleeves off my military jacket, and I had a helmet on and lipstick.
You’re playing a record release show on a boat on the Thames. How did that come about?
The record label that released our “I Wanna Kill” single in the U.K. are having a party, but it happens to fall on the same day that the Sex Pistols had their famous boat gig. It also coincides with the week of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and our record release. So it’s all kinds of stuff. We kind of work off spontaneity 100 percent of the time, so something crazy may happen. I hope so. I hope the boat sinks.
Flowers show up on the album cover and in several songs throughout the record. What attracted you to that image?
In a way it just came together. A lot of the inspiration on this record is poetic and literary figures. At the time we were reading a lot of Charles Baudelaire and like Flowers Of Evil, so maybe that’s in there. But flowers can mean anything, really. It can mean happiness, sadness, a first date, a funeral—anything. It’s a poetic thing and an image that’s been used a lot because it’s really effective, especially if you want to straddle that line between dark and light.
When was the last time you gave someone flowers?
I gave them to my wife—or my wife to be—Hollie [Cook] after she played a gig. She was going to be on a television show, so I brought her flowers at the television show.
What led you to the naked photo you used for the album cover?
There are people out there who probably like our music and probably listen to it pretty carefully, and here we’re exposing ourselves a little more and getting a little more naked emotionally. Thematically, it just fits. It’s deviant but it’s also very emotional and honest and kind of romantic in a way. Jesus, the model…people all have different opinions about what he’s doing and what it means, which is really cool. But mostly it’s the cover we wanted because it just fits our songs, you know. There’s some dirtiness, some nastiness but also some real honest moments. And Jesus is beautiful as well.
Is that Jesus on the cover of the “Sunday” 7-inch as well?
Yep, that’s Big J.
As a band you seem pretty comfortable with nudity. Can you tell me about the Naked Dictator?
[laughs] Yeah, it’s just fun to mess with everyone who’s involved in the recording session. So we did that by going into what we called the Naked Dictator persona, by getting naked and whipping each other with hot mops dipped in water and stuff. Like, while we were recording someone would go into their Naked Dictator outfit, which is nothing at all, and smack someone with a mop or something, so it’s recorded.
So the Naked Dictator is actually on the album?
Yeah. [laughs] In several forms.