2015

Ode to Songs from Leonard Cohen
November 11, 2016 2:10 pm

In the days since we’ve begun grieving over the results of the 2016 Presidential election, it’s a wonder if this year is worth it altogether. Various news outlets confirmed on November 10 that Canadian music legend Leonard Cohen had died at age of 82, leaving behind family, friends and his latest album, October’s “You Want It Darker“.

Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker

His deep, rugged vocals and a beautifully realized heaviness to delivery adds depths with a sludgy and distilled aftermath on his final work.

Cohen was an inspiration for many artists and it’s easy to hear this influence in artists like Jeff Buckley and Josh Ritter. His infamous song “Hallelujah” has been covered by music’s biggest names at least once in their careers. Cohen’s musical themes range from religion to sex and one can turn to many of his songs in French for a beautiful spin on things. His artistry and talent made him Canada’s equivalent to Bob Dylan or Paul Simon, but with the experimental off the cuff of Tom Waits.

Cohen possessed an impressive catalog outside of “Hallelujah”. His debut album “Songs from Leonard Cohen” was released in 1967 and released shortly after was “Songs from a Room” in 1969, featuring the beautiful “Bird on a Wire“. These are two greatly influential albums for me, although I loved to see him progress to the force he became at the end of an eighteen album run. I love the minimalist style he kept throughout those albums and consider them my keepsakes.

 

Cohen was also known for his poetry and the otherworldly way he crafted language. I imagine a lot of it had to do with his open mind and vast love for experiencing the world. In 1992 he released “The Future”, an album with a dark political tone; I wonder if Cohen knew something we didn’t. Lyrics like “I’ve seen the future brother: it is murder” shows that he didn’t just write songs and poems without thought; he wrote in a way that highlighted his eloquent coordination of words.

In a 2014 interview with Q Magazine, he explained how “Canadians are very involved in our country. We are on the edge of America and we watch America the way women watch men,” before pausing with perfect comic timing and stating “Very, very carefully! So when there’s this continual cultural and political challenge right on the edge of your lives, it develops a sense of solidarity. So yes, it is a very important element in my life.”

America has watched Leonard Cohen “like women watch men”, evident in our own Bob Dylan. It is these types of artists with blind aesthetic brilliance that we savor and hold to elucidate our own lives and trials. We will miss you Leonard; you were a Beast of a lyricist and a lover of all things. Thank you for your legacy.

 

MY JAM TV IS OUR MODERN TV
June 21, 2016 12:22 pm

Remember when MTV played actual music videos? I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw an MTV music video. Vh1 had it going for a while, but now both channels are overwhelmed with shitty reality shows voiding themselves completely of music. Well, never fear because My Jam TV is the new MTV! The company started last year and is rapidly growing, spreading to London and China, getting on Sky TV, Roku and soon on Apple TV. My Jam TV is causing some major waves.

Here is the real break-down of what it is: It’s a channel where artists pay to have their music videos played on the air in an ever shifting rotation.

What this means for the viewer: An endless stream of music videos of all genres from new and growing artists. We scored a few minutes with CEO, David S. Zucker, and talked about it’s inception and its plans for the future:

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 12.21.43 PM

Where did the idea for My Jam TV come from?

After MTV started to die, I talked with my partner, Russ, about how there is nothing that really shows music videos and new artists anymore. I then asked if he wanted to start up a channel that does exactly that. He was a tiny bit unsure but I told him, “We have nothing to lose, why not?” And so we did it. We’re trying to get the word out there so that the independent artists know who we are and that they know it isn’t just another YouTube, it’s a station that is on constant rotation and people all over the world will be able to see who they are. Its tough to start, but little by little we’re trying to get out there and help the independent artist, that’s what it is about.

How does it work for the viewer and artist?

We want to educate the artist. We will broadcast their music video many times throughout the month, they get to build their own fan page, be on a radio show, a chance to be on live TV and play on the air. We also offer digital distribution with the artists to the viewer, but unlike most companies, 100% of the money from buying music goes straight to the artist.

You are broadcast all over the world, are you open to other languages?

We are mostly English right now, we do have a few Chinese bands actually and their stuff is incredible, so in other words, yes we are open to other languages. We would love to also get into the Latino community and even have a separate Spanish channel and possibly other language specific channels down the road.

What do you see for My Jam TV five years from now?

I see us having multiple channels for the various music genres, a hip-hop channel, rock channel, country and so forth. We want all sorts of music on My Jam TV, letting people explore genres they normally wouldn’t. We want to give an opportunity for artists to grow, expand and let people worldwide experience something new.

So for our readers who love new music, you know what to do. The indie channel is right up our alley, sticking it out for the underdogs. If you’re an aspiring artist, they offer a great way to get your name and music out there. Check out their website and enjoy this awesome endless flow of music videos.

GO LOCO FOR HEYROCCO
June 8, 2016 5:36 pm

Do you ever just need a shot of some straight-up rock? Something new that fills your need for strong guitar, fast drums and a slick bass? Heyrocco comes from South Carolina with tons of energy and gumption. With songs like “Yeah and “Elsewhere,” they will fill your cup to the brim with attitude. Nathan (Nate) Merli leads with vocals and guitar, Christopher Cool struts the bass and Tanner (Taco) Cooper keeps it together with the drums. Their new EP Waiting On Cool is a breath of fresh air that brings the listener to rock that sounds straight from 1990.

Heyrocco is ATYPICALSOUNDS’ Artist of the Month and in honor of that we got an awesome interview with Taco:

Can you tell me a little about the band?

I met Nate in 6th grade, he was playing guitar and we would play together and go skateboarding, your average bad boy stuff for 6th graders. We met Cool in high school and played blues with him and a girl named Sarah, but we parted ways with her and started up Heyrocco.

How was it different playing in Europe compared to the States?

Its weird, one of the biggest differences was the hospitality from the venues. We’d show up and have an apartment or room for us, [they’d] feed us and [offer] free drinks. They really just tried to make us feel welcome, it was really cool even though we were pretty small.

What is your secret formula for creating music?

Keeping in constant inspiration. If we sit around in the house too long it shows in our music. [When] we are on tour or visiting a place, meeting new people or anything exciting, that is the fuel for our music. We also do the fresh ears, trying to cleanse the palate with ATL Trap music and really hardcore hip-hop.

What is the song that best represents your band?

(Chuckles) That would be a different answer from everyone. I’ll check with them and let you know. I would say “Slice of Life.” It started with trust and it is about trust. I think it represents us and what we’re going to be doing.

*Christopher Cool’s: “Perfect World

*Nathan Merli’s: “It hasn’t been written yet.”

Was there anything that inspired Waiting On Cool specifically?

It wasn’t a person or band. It was an area. We spent two months out in Venice Beach recording a lot of music. It was mostly being in that area and listening to West Coast music, whether it be hip-hop or grunge. That is what really influenced the EP.

You guys have a very specific style, do you try and keep it that way? Or are you open to different stuff?

We just write a lot of songs, there are a lot of outliers on the albums, but there are way more weird ones that we keep in the garage. It gets pretty crazy and weird. We like to try to release a lot of different music, we like bands that have a large variety. I don’t like picking up an album where every track is pretty much the same four chords.

Would you ever consider making a B-Sides Album?

Oh yeah! It’s going to happen for sure. It’s just a matter of time.

Has Heyrocco’s growing fame affected how you write or the band in general?

Overall, it has given us confidence in our writing. With that support we can write new stuff without real hesitation.

13263672_1131803193508394_6257844899282959215_nWhat are you listening to now?

A lot of 2Pac and Miles Davis. Oh, and this band called Rehab, they have this hilarious song called the “Bartender Song.”

Do you see the band moving into different styles in the future?

There’s no way to say exactly. We are going to start recording LP two next month, and are super excited about that. Maybe not a new sound, but new instruments and new arrangements of music. The next one won’t be your standard album, it’s gonna be a lot more experimental.

A lot of focus on tones, I think that the next album will represent the band and what it will be from there on out.

Any new instruments that you’re excited for?

I got Conga drums! They are great, and adding them to any song just makes it funkier, which is awesome.

What are some albums or bands that are essential for rock enthusiasts?

Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement, and Jimi Hendrix, all of his work. If you haven’t listened to his stuff, you need to right now.

As a band, is there anything that you want your fans to walk away with?

Out of everything, we want them to walk away with positive inspiration.

 

Now I need to brush up on my Hendrix, but we were grateful for his time…Heyrocco just got home from a 16-hour drive from Chicago.

After finishing up a European Tour last year, Heyrocco are working on some shows but focusing mostly on recording and hanging out at the beach. Waiting on Cool is a fantastic blend of quick and powerful anthems and slow, thoughtful pieces. I particularly love the slower songs like “Slice of Life.” They have a certain depth that is really hard to achieve for most bands but for Heyrocco, it comes with ease.
Check out their new EP and look out for their new LP hopefully coming out later this year. Listen to it on their site, and check out their other amazing songs like “Mom Jeans” and “Melt” and you’ll have new music to rock out to for the month.

LITZ: WASHINGTON DC’S LEGEND FROM BIRTH
June 1, 2016 1:25 pm

For somebody hearing your band for the first time, what would you want to tell them?

“We are a band focused on metaphysical ascension, our music is literally a sacred practice to enlighten, open the mind of the world and to evolve the collective consciousness.” -Austin Litz

The band LITZ is a spiritual tsunami of energy and talent that creates a beautiful vista of sound at every concert. We had the chance to talk with the face of the band Austin Litz about his family’s store, Victor Litz Music Store, and his journey to local fame and amazing connection with music.

To get started, could you introduce yourself and tell us about the store?

I’m Austin Litz and I’m a third generation musician. But we are the first generation that is trying to do live music and shows on a regular basis, not just make money from the music industry background. My grandfather started the store and played live for a bit, but kept going with the store and teaching lessons for the most part. My dad doesn’t really teach lessons, but he oversees all the departments and stuff. I was fortunate enough to grow up here with the store and take lessons on anything I chose.

What are some of your definitive points as a musician?

Life is like a sound wave. Here are a few of what I would call my defining moments: I have a brief memory of playing a 2 minute solo at a bluegrass festival when I was 7 because my father’s friend pushed me on stage between performers to fill the time. Playing the Saxophone was the biggest defining moment though, something just clicked, it was the first time I wanted to dive in and play music constantly, teaching music, seeing that I am a professional and was confident in instructing people. Lastly, selling out the show of our record release. It wasn’t just random people, we had roughly 350 people come and pay to see us. This was the moment where we thought, “Wow, we can be live performers and have a real career here.” So, I guess those three things, finding a new instrument, being a teacher, and being a successful performer.

After seeing you play and talking here, can you list off all the instruments you play?

(Chuckles)

Woodwinds – All the saxophones, flute and clarinet

Piano – Synthesizers, organs and keyboards of sorts

Strings – Bass, Classical guitar

Vocals – It counts as an instrument

Brass – Trumpet, Trombone and French Horn

Just about everything?

Basically everything but the drums set itself, but I do use a few other percussion instruments. Also the didgeridoo, pan flute and ocarina. We actually just covered the “Temple of Time” from the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and put it at the very end of the last song of the new album.

Let’s talk about the album, was there anything in particular that helped create Illusion of Time?

All of it comes from personal experiences. The whole concept for the album didn’t come until after we recorded all the music. So the album is actually a double album and the second half of it was already recorded 6 months ago and both of them are that same concept of time. The second part of the double album will come out in October. We wrote all the material and recorded it and during post production, we took a step back and realized that a lot of it is about travel, time and circular patterns in life. A lot of these songs really relate to aging and growing. We have been playing music our whole lives and yet this feels like the first thing we really truly made. Like a paradox, releasing our album felt like our birth, and yet music has been alive in us for years.

What were some of the bands and people who really influenced you?

A college friend Chris Martin helped me to not fear being outlandish and the social parts of music. Even though I don’t listen to The Motet much, the idea for LITZ was literally an instantaneous moment at a music festival in a quasi religious experience where I was watching them, feeling the energy, realizing that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We also all grew up on ska and go-go music which was a huge influence (Fishbone, The Pietasters, Rare Essence Chuck Brown).

303345_143979772441727_886127356_nHow did you come up with the sound for LITZ?

We knew the venues, the crowds and we knew what we liked. We took our preferences and filtered them through what people enjoy and make our music. It’s a very conscious creation of music while being true to ourselves.

How do you deal with “writer’s block”?

Jam sessions. We might get stuck playing the same key or tempo at times, which isn’t bad, but jamming out helps creativity flow.

Thanks so much Austin, we are super excited for your next album in October. Anything you would want to tell your listeners about the band?

Thank you and you’re welcome! I would just say that we are very spiritual in our music. We want people to be able to come and enjoy our music and turn around with the motivation and dedication to achieve their own dreams.

Austin Litz, LITZ the band and Victor Litz Music Store are based in Washington D.C. Check out their music here and if there is a show near by you, nothing in the world should stop you from going.

THE DISFUNCTION: IMPRESSIVELY MORE FUNCTIONAL THAN MOST
May 31, 2016 12:46 pm

In the city of Rincon, Puerto Rico, a small group of friends were taking a music class together in high school. Each of them loved music and chose different instruments to allow their creativity to grow, later deciding to bring their love for music to the public. Starting out in the smallest of venues, The Disfunction made music that they loved and wanted to share it with anyone that would listen. 

the disfunction

The band itself is made up of core members Manny, Francis, and Nicky. Manny (Manolo Lorenzo) is the lead singer and songwriter of the band, rocking out on keyboard and destroying the microphone every show. Francis (Francis Guzmán) melts faces with guitar riffs and chords on acoustic and electric guitars from beginning to end of the album. And last but not least, Nicky (Nicky Godinez) keeps the smooth sounds going on bass and sometimes acoustic guitar. They have two drummers, one in Puerto Rico (Joseph) and the other here in the US (Carlito). Also in their first album and many other songs featured their friend Christian Cordero, an amazing pianist, and he helped produce a lot of the keyboard and synth work. With all these moving pieces, most bands would lose direction or quality, but in fact, these changes in the band are what makes their music from album to album continuously evolve. 

Manny was kind enough chat with us about his career, the band and even what he is listening to right now.

The Disfunction

What brought the band together?

We all went to the same high school and grew up as friends. I got into music before anyone in my band. But in high school, everyone in the band took music classes and my keyboard player, who is a phenomenal musician, learned really quickly and he is the best musician out of us. Our Puerto Rican drummer (Joseph, the first original drummer) is a beast of a drummer and plays a masterful classical guitar.

How are your gigs in Puerto Rico different than those here in the US?

The bars pay you to play there, we’re not paid by how many people come in the door. You just play for whatever crowd you get, which is pretty much just tourists. There are a few people that will hand us their business card and will want us for a gig later, but we have to be smart in the business and market ourselves in the right places. It’s all about the hype and mystery, and then deliver on it with amazing shows and albums.

Speak into My Good EyeDo you guys sing in Spanish or have any songs in Spanish?

We have two songs in Spanish…that we never play. The latin market is not what we are really aiming for.

What do you do to wind down after a show?

We often stick around the venue to see the other bands and meet people, make connections and then just go out and see the city. Pretty much just a tourist. If I’ve we’ve been there before, sometimes we’ll just grab a drink and then just head home and sleep especially if we have a show the next day.

If you could play in any city in USA, where would you play?

If there is anywhere I would love to play, it would be Nashville. I would also like to play in California again.

What are you listening to now?

Tame Impala, Girls Names, Mild High Club, Tropical Popsicle, Mac Demarco and Flaming Lips.

What are your plans going forward?

We just want to make it. But we want to make it in a different way. We want to get recognized and play the right places and be with the right people. We are obviously playing a lot of shows to promote the new album now, but if we go back to Puerto Rico at the end of the year, we will most likely start working on a new album.

The Disfunction’s new album 1,2,3… Testing is a beautiful and rugged piece that feeds from the personal lives and styles of each band member. The album is mostly solid rock with a little punk, some alternative and a spoonful of indie which caters well to rock enthusiasts of any kind. The album has is a blend of the sound of The KillersHot Fuzz, the attitude of classic Led Zeppelin and a hint of personal uniqueness reminiscent of U2.

Johnny, the last song of the album, is their most popular song that came with a great new music video. Talking to Manny, the song has a personal connection to him and his friends, telling the story of a friend who fell into a wayward path leading to a lot of self destruction. This really shows the deep, personal and powerful connection the band holds to their music.

During the interview Manny also revealed that his favorite song is “Sunshine,” a beautifully bright and melancholy piece. The bitter sweet story on which it’s based on is what resonated with him. A woman in his life had everything going for her. She beamed like a ray of sunshine in his eyes and was established as “the one” for him. But he let her go and after time, this song was born.

1,2,3… Testing is a phenomenal work filled with hope, sorrow, action and reflection. This album has something for everyone. The Disfunction has one goal: play as much as they can and bring their music to anyone who will listen. You can buy their new album on iTunes and Google Play

MONOGOLD IS LIGHT YEARS FROM MONOTONE
May 17, 2016 12:57 pm

When the word “alternative” floats around in music conversation and defining bands, I personally think Monogold is the perfect example of what it is to be “alternative.”

Monogold comes from the streets of Brooklyn as a DIY band that writes, produces and records  just about everything. With this, they are able to create music with the purity of moving from mind to finger to instrument to track. Starting in 2009, the three man band has this magnificent grasp on intensely bright music and an ability to create powerful melodies that leave the listener in a trace.

One must take the time to listen to each part of the song to fully appreciate the effects of the individual instruments. For example, the song “Foxgloves” from their EP We Animals has fast smart drums, strong background vocals and harmonies with crisp guitar and bass to make a fast and fun track. But they also show great control and versatility by making softer and relaxing songs with strong acoustic parts and surreal falsettos like “Pink Lemonade” from their newest album Good Heavens.

I have never been a person for high pitched male voices. Few artists have made the cut for me when their voices are that high, but Monogold is making their way up in my books. Their vocal parts are not my favorite but I can work with them, especially since their creative use of three instruments plunge them from sub par to beautiful. 

My recommendation is that you listen to at least three different songs. The two I mentioned above and “Holograms” to make an educated decision about the band for yourself. Why I recommend all three is for you to find the common unique quality amidst the different vibes throughout all of them. 

DENUO: A BRIGHT BROODING
May 12, 2016 11:57 am

Denuo plays beautifully dark music in minor keys that floats a person down a river of reflection while not becoming grim or unpleasant.  

Tom Mason is the man behind this intriguing and powerful music. Born in North Wales, UK, Mason started up the band in 2007 and was joined by Sam Barnes and Harry Jones playing through various cities in the UK. Their first studio album Scarlet Sleep came out in 2014 and two years later they came out with a four song EP, Frozen Lake.

Now, to the important stuff, the actual music. I’ve been using a lot of heavy imagery to describe it because it is the best way to describe it. Denuo’s music is like a winding river through the night, strong, daunting and mysterious. There are the more upbeat songs like “Closer” or “Dreamless,” but most are like “Waves of Silver” and “Frozen Lake.” His clear cut parts which normally just consist of guitar, drums and bass with a small mix of synth pads make for something more intimate for the listener to connect to. The music is well written, but I am going to say that the bass lines are really good: simple and subtle but flow so well throughout the songs.

Frozen Lake was recorded over this past winter months allowing it to stay within their mellow, dark musical style while slowly serenading those bleak and beautiful winter nights. The songs pull you into the winter ice with graceful sounds and creative writing.

Their music isn’t something I’d have on a loop all day, but today has been particularly rainy and gray outside (in DC) and it fits in a satisfactory way. So go ahead open your mind with these songs and listen for the power and wonder that comes from Denuo.

PAINT YOUR MIND WITH LOST LANDER
May 11, 2016 11:43 am

Portland, Oregon, the land of the weird, odd and unique. Excellent breeding grounds for bands of a powerful sound. Lost Lander was founded in 2011 by Matt Sheehy working with producer Brent Knopf. Soon after, Sarah Fennell, Patrick Hughes and William Seiji Marsh were brought in to contribute their own vivid colors to the group. 

As I have been engrossing myself in the band and their music, I hear wisps of Vance Joy, Imagine Dragons, The Killers and The Lumineers throughout the songs. At times, it was hard to tear myself away from those of its similar style to Lost Lander, yet they had their own unique elements that always brought me back. This is not a slight to their style but an applause to their ability to create something distinctive while drawing from the world around them.

The name Lost Lander comes from Sheehy’s mother and a dream she would tell about Lost Land Lake where she spent a portion of her childhood. It is interesting how the idea of a dreamscape is exactly what I see and hear when their music is playing. It has this surreal connection to nature with their various electronic and acoustic instruments fusing magically. The elegance of the music is increasingly graceful, soliciting an experience rich in color and vast in depth. From vistas like “Sunburns” glorious bright sound to “Through Your Bone’s” dark and mystical tones, their music is surprisingly varied and well written.

Medallion is their second studio album, and like many bands, it takes on its own personality apart from previous album DRRT. 

“Medallion…concerns dualities – experiences of love and loss, impermanence and longevity, death and rebirth.” Lost Lander 

I couldn’t agree more. With more epic parts like the opening of “Gemini” and more introspective pieces like “Trailer Tracks,” this album delves into the heart of pulling the yin and the pushing the yang.
I don’t care what kind of music you like or what you’re in the mood for, one of the songs that was mentioned here or from the albums will speak to you, I guarantee it. Go and get lost in the land that they create.

WHO IS DUA LIPA?
March 4, 2016 6:15 pm

Dua Lipa is an Albanian-British model and dark-pop princess who is set to release her debut album early this year. While the mere 20 year old musician is still an industry baby, she possesses an exoticness that is mysteriously appealing to our diluted and mediocre American culture. It’s a pop sensibility mixed with the edginess of rebellious youth, and the confidence of a runway model. So who is Dua Lipa? And why is she so interesting?

As the story goes, Dua Lipa is the London born child of two Albanian immigrants, presumably escaping the traumatic events of the early 90’s civil war in the region. Surely this cultural heritage fuels some aspect of her artistic expression. The family returned to Kosovo in 2008 as the small eastern European country claimed it’s independence. However, two years later, at the age of 15, Dua Lipa returned to London, staying with friends to pursue her interests in music. She became a model at 16, an opportunity that not many young women are awarded in life. Perhaps it was a stroke of destiny.

These are the elements that make the otherwise generic sounding pop so interesting. There’s a fire in this artist that exceeds even the talent of her very professional production and songwriting team. She is a natural, a former theatre student and daughter of a rock n’ roll musician.

Dua Lipa recently released a handful of singles along with videos and has set out on tour in anticipation of the forthcoming debut album. Definitely look out for this rising star, and for you Americans out there – break out of your mold, expand your musical horizons and embrace the message of this aesthetically mature young artist. She could be the next Lana.

YOKO ONO STILL HAS THE MAGIC
February 24, 2016 11:34 am

Yes, I’m a Witch Too,” proclaims multi-media artist Yoko Ono with her latest release – A full length collaborative effort LP released for streaming through Manimal Group. Perhaps Ono’s later in life effort will finally be enough to rid her of her Beatles home-wrecker label.

The fact is, Yoko Ono is a genius of a soul in her own right. If it hasn’t been fully recognized yet, the sheer originality which she brings to the modern soundscape with her latest release is enough to magically transport one back to the culturally revolutionary days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

However, there are some very noticeable differences from Yoko’s days in the Plastic Ono Band. Ono has embraced the modern virtual world, releasing her largely electronic songs digitally and equally embracing the social media platforms which she now uses as just one more vehicle for her creativity and expression.

The Album is a sonically eclectic mix of avant-garde expressionism, drawing on collaborations with everyone from Moby, to Portugal! The Man, to tUnE-yArDs, to Miike Snow. She even sits down for a song with her son Sean Lennon. A personal favorite is her punk inspired “Move On Fast” with New York City producer Jack Douglas. Lyrical content is fittingly spell-binding, losing it’s listener in obscurity and symbolism.