October 27, 2016 9:28 am

When I was 17 years old, I was doing what most other 17 year old teenagers do; playing sports, doing homework, driving a car for fun, I was even playing guitar a lot by most standards. But I was creating nothing like Gab Strum did in his seventeenth year.

He started the electronic pop project Japanese Wallpaper and released his first single “Waves” back in 2014. Even at this early stage in his career, the sounds he created were nearly on the same level as ambient titans Tycho and Boards of Canada. The ethereal, jovial tunes started drawing attention from some pretty well-known folks in the industry such as fellow Australian, Chet Faker. Also in Gab’s seventeenth year, he won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition. Oh, and his track “Breathe In” was also featured on the soundtrack for Zach Braff’’s follow-up to Garden State, Wish I Was Here. Seventeen! I think this goes to show how the state of modern music equipment has altered the music scene. If a high school kid fifty years ago wanted to make music with more than a guitar, he would find it incredibly difficult to do so. The tools to do so weren’t easily available yet. Now we can download software on our laptops and create magic.

Gab did his first tour of Australia back in 2014 with great success. He has since been putting out EP’s with some fantastic remixes in the last couple years. Most recently this year he released the single “Cocoon.” Earlier this year, he released a deluxe edition of his self-titled EP that came out in 2015 with a slew of new remixes. The remix of Between Friends” by Sable is a noteworthy track from the record. The single “Forces” featuring Airling is a smash. I think it’s safe to say that Japanese Wallpaper has a promising future ahead of him. He has a few tour dates left in 2016 if you happen to live in a major Australian city. I imagine he’ll make his leap over to the states soon enough and I for one will be right there in the crowd grooving along to these incredible tunes.

October 19, 2016 11:23 am

“When I was a young boy, my father took me to the city, to see a marching band…”

This line of lyric is so universally known by the rock world that no one can hear this song and not feel some strong attachment to it. My Chemical Romance‘s immersive album The Black Parade was part epic, part tragedy filled with soaring highs and wallowing lows. Rock Sound magazine is celebrating the 10th anniversary of this legendary album with the story of the creation and life of The Black Parade and an incredible amount of content.

9390352-368-k802450A decade is a long time, in 2006, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii came out, Casino Royal and Cars debuted, Justin Timberlake was bringing “Sexyback, Shakira’s hips didn’t lie and Daniel Powter was still having his bad days. This was a year of strong movement in pop culture and punk rock was being redefined. My Chemical Romance way making one of the biggest movements because of their raw style of music, fashion and tone in their genre defining The Black Parade.

Rock Sound’s October edition is an essential for any punk, emo, rock or ska fan. There is a beautifully told story of MCR’s creative process of The Black Parade and its life and impact it had on the band. It is filled with a lot of funny small stories and interesting insights on why the band took a break and how they dealt with all of these changes.

However, the part of this edition that seems more interesting and gripping is the cover album that accompanies the issue. Rock Sound gathered a grand collection of artists deep in the indie rock world to cover each song on The Black Parade giving each track new life while saluting them with praise and honor at the same time. From Escape the Fate‘s similar and powerful rendition of “Dead!” to Twenty One Pilot‘s heart breaking performance of Cancer and Against the Current‘s different take on Teenagers, this album brings new life to The Black Parade while reminding you how truly amazing this album was and still is.

I would recommend anyone and everyone who is a fan of MCR, The Black Parade, punk, rock, indie, ska, heavy metal or good music in general to pick up this epic issue of Rock Sound with the additional tribute album. MCR is also celebrating this 10th anniversary with a special deluxe edition that any fan NEEDS to get, you can’t miss this. The Black Parade is amazing in both forms and may their music and memory carry on.

September 1, 2016 12:05 am

Summer’s over people. Get those lively synth tunes about not letting the night escape us out of my face. The season of hibernation is upon us, and to help us soundtrack the cyclical death of all leaves is Avi Jacob. Be appreciative.


Jacob’s latest single, “Pickup Truck, is an Americana wet dream from beginning to end. You’ve got a sweet acoustic guitar being masterfully plucked throughout, pickup trucks, lyrics alluding to a father being disappointed in his son. These are the pillars of our great country, and Jacob builds a beautiful house of music with them as his supporting base. This is the environment Jacob is most comfortable with.

Just watch the video of him performing “Modest Man below. It’s just him wailing on his guitar in the woods as he sings his heart out. There probably isn’t another person around for miles. What’s truly great about the video is how authentically homemade it is. No hi-def camera showing close up shots of him from all different angles, no detailed cinematography of the surrounding elements either. It’s simply a camera on a tripod set up on the back porch filming Avi Jacob perform. That’s it.

The idea of a truly genuine artist feels somewhat out of place in 2016. Every persona, as well as every song, tends to get workshopped ad nauseum. The true persona is there at the core, but everything built around him or her are half-truths and hyperbole. It obviously makes for great entertainment, but it’s always bittersweet realizing that the person making such human and relatable art isn’t actually relatable (or even that human) in real life whatsoever. However, every line that Jacob powers out of his soul affirms that what’s being said is 100% him.

Because of this, Avi Jacob doesn’t have the wildest of web presences. He has a total of 79 tweets. His Facebook is only used to promote his performances. And from what it looks like, his website doesn’t even work. It’s doubtful that any of this bothers him though. Because it genuinely seems as though he is an actual rogue folk music folk tale who jumps from town to town by trading a song for a bed and some hot supper.

Maybe it’s all just a ruse and he’s secretly been a millionaire method actor researching for his next role this whole time. Inside Llewyn Davis desperately needs a sequel, so it would make sense. Other than that scenario, Avi Jacob is most likely the real deal that Folk music needs right now. His voice is passionate and his songs are beautifully heartbreaking. What you see is wholeheartedly what you get.

August 4, 2016 11:22 am

Hours before I was set to meet Jared Leto, staring in the highly anticipated Suicide Squad, at an Italian restaurant in the West Village I was awoken out of a dead sleep by a neon-masked jester giggling as he poured ice cold water all over me. I demanded to know what he was doing here, to which he responded, “The Joker will see you now,” in a high pitched cadence. 

The jester then proceeded to take a trumpet out of his satchel with the word “Chaos” bedazzled on it. He masterfully played the tune of Reveille with the brass when suddenly, Jared Leto himself popped on my mattress, cackling sisterly. He was dressed head to toe in his much buzzed about Joker getup, a move that hinted he was still very much in character. Ever respectful of an artist’s craft, I gladly played along. “Oh no, it’s the Joker,” I yelled. “What did I do to ever deserve a visit from anarchy’s son himself?!”

Although the Academy Award winner was deeply immersed in character, I couldn’t help but notice him give a slight wink of appreciation for going along with him on this thespian journey. Which is why, out of respect, I played the helpless and hysterical victim for Leto and his unnamed assistant in mayhem while they attached alligator clamps to my nipples. I still can not decide what was more electric that morning: Leto’s performance or the car battery he used to shock me.

Following a few more downright twisted acts of torture, the My So Called Life star blindfolded me, stuffed me in a burlap sack and tossed me into the back of his car. He drove and drove. Each erratic swerve gave birth to a new bruise. Sweat accumulated onto my shirt so immensely that it began to push down on my chest every time I would try to breathe. The only thing that kept me sane was shouting the questions I had initially planned for our interview. Leto pulled over at one point, only to throw a stink bomb in there with me when I asked him what working with Viola Davis was like. After that, I passed out from the astounding commitment he had to such a sinister character.

joker-suicide-quad-rick-ross-skrillex-purple-lamborghiniWhen I came to, I found myself strapped to a chair in the restaurant I had previously made reservations for. I couldn’t help but smirk at the 30 Seconds To Mars front-man’s demented attention to detail for this sly caper he’s orchestrated. Upon noticing I was up, he bellowed “good morning, Sunshine” loud enough to cause the entire restaurant to look over to our table. The jester was summoned by Leto and asked for him to fetch my ‘present’. After rummaging around his chaos satchel for a little while, he took out a plastic butt with wide circular hole in between cheeks and a clock attached to it counting down from 6 minutes. Leto thanked him by petting him under his chin like a dog, to which the jester stamped his leg up and down repeatedly.

The waiter came to take our order. I asked for a Caesar salad with ranch dressing on the side. Leto asked for a hot bowl of madness. Seamlessly, the jester then took the waiter’s pepper grinder and immediately began playing to its phallic nature. The comedic brilliance was upped when Leto dropped to his knees and confessed how been longing to taste some flavorful wood.  The chemistry between the two was palpable for everyone.  As we were being escorted out of the restaurant by the manager, the countdown butt I was ordered to hold hit zero. Confetti sprang out of the butt’s hole, landing on someone’s pasta primavera.

Back in the trunk, I gnawed out of the newly wrapped tape around my mouth to thank Jared for such a breathtaking dinner. To have front row seats to his performance-art tour de force inspired me in ways I never thought imaginable. His brilliance will not be forgotten. The jester took a power saw to the backseat in order to create a hole to the trunk. He jutted his head into the hole and spat on me.


Once I felt myself being tossed from the trunk to my front lawn, I knew the interview was over. But before he tailed off into the sunset, Leto whispered into my ear about his gratitude for being granted the opportunity to let someone in on his process. It was easy to see that this role would be nothing without late Heath Ledger’s work in the iconic Dark Knight and how working with Viola Davis and the entire Suicide Squad was a dream come true. “We’re all lucky enough to have the greatest jobs in the world and we worked tirelessly to make sure what we were marking would be loved by all who saw it. It was a collaborative effort all the way through.”

Before I got the opportunity to thank him, Jared Leto was back in his Jokermobile. His jester, having just cherry bombed my mailbox, ran in through the window of the moving vehicle to make the getaway appear as wildly slapdash as possible. Leto’s feral laughter was heard as he and his jester tossed molotov cocktails at all of my neighbors’ houses. Despite the claims of arson, the only fire I saw that day came from Leto’s unflinching dedication to authenticity.

Suicide Squad hits theaters this Friday, August 5th. Find out more about the chaotic group hereget tickets here and check out more Jared Leto here.

August 2, 2016 4:34 pm

“I’m addicted to working. For me to be up all night writing songs and waking up early and posting teasers—it’s addictive to me. It’s just my natural state to be creative, even on my off days.” –Troye Sivan

The hard working Australian musician/Youtuber/actor Troye Sivan sounds like he could be an ATYPICAL SOUNDS staff member, but unfortunately he’s probably a little busy between touring, writing music and being the 3rd most subscribed to Youtuber in Australia.

Sivan says that it’s “not his job,” to disprove the stigma Youtubers might get, but when he makes such good music, why should he have to?

I care about my music, what people think of me. I just want people to hear my music with an open mind. If you don’t enjoy it, that’s cool. But don’t not listen because of that label. It’s going to take a few years before people take it seriously, but it’ll happen. –Troye Sivan

Sivan is on his way to becoming a bonafide pop star, 4,260,226 subscribers can’t be wrong. His debut Blue Neighborhood is airy, yet aching. His songwriting is innocent, smooth and brutally honest. Blue Neighborhood is such a perfect title, it’s filled with good vibes and yet there’s an underlying tinge of pain reminiscent of a midnight drive.

Not many artists can live up to the hype of 4 million people, but Troye Sivan does.

August 1, 2016 5:21 pm

All good things must come to an end as all people know. Be it the final climax of your favorite summer movie, the ultimate ladling of icy green summer gazpacho, or even the sunset on the last day of your final real summer vacation, time has a cruel habit of overstaying its welcome and continuing to exist well beyond our capacity to enjoy it.

Truly, we must savor these dwindling summer days. There is only ever today, always and forever, presented as future but turned present upon confrontation and then past as it disappears into memory. Hauntingly beautiful, terrifyingly predictable, waveringly consistent; the end of summer has been staring us down since the end of spring. Despite my best effort to avoid eye-contact, it is time to acknowledge its mystery and gear up for September.

So with that in mind, we’ve assembled a few songs you might enjoy to help get you there. Don’t think of it as goodbye summer but as hello autumn. It is the most thoughtful of seasons, chilly and colorful, waiting in the wings, eager to take its place as the metaphysical envelope in which we live our daily lives.

June 29, 2016 12:04 pm

Delorean has been through more things than your average band since they last released an album. After being kidnapped in 2013 while on tour in Mexico City, the Spanish indie dance quartet have given us their fifth album, Muzik. Dance music requires the ability to be audibly stimulating, but also physically experienced. The majority of the tracks heard on Muzik rely on the driving force of the kick drum and smooth aural landscapes painted by synthesizers. While not a complete departure from their previous sound, this album shows new growth for the band.

The album is nearly 100% electronic with real drums as the only organic aspect of the sound. For this record, Delorean chose to mix their knack for indie pop with their House music influences. In a recent interview, they explained what they meant by House music, “House is a very broad term, so we did not want to focus on a type of House, but to honor all its forms and productions that we have been absorbing throughout our lives.” Those House influences are very apparent on the title track, “Muzik,” opening with an atmospheric synth pad and Ekhi Lopetegi’s vocal part while slowly adding a kick and a snappy high hat before turning into a real dance track for the last half of the tune.

Their DJ mixing abilities that dramatically influenced 2010’s critically acclaimed album Subiza have culminated here on Muzik in an ultra modern fashion. They worked with remixer DJ Kigo to open a local club called Desparrame. This was the launching pad for their remixing skills. The 2013 effort Apar met the critical acclaim of Subiza thanks to a progression in those skills. Since 2010, Delorean has become as known for their marathon DJ sets as they are for their material as a band.

Standout tracks on the new album include “Contra,” “Muzik” and the closer “Parrhesia.” Throughout their career, Delorean have created their own blend of melody and emotions. The sound that they once pioneered is more commonplace these days, yet Delorean continues to deliver the sonic quality that is expected of them. As of now, the band is only playing a handful of tour dates in Europe, but should they announce a tour in the states, they should not be missed. They have toured with the likes of Miike Snow in the past, so it would be fair to expect them on a good tour this time around.

With Muzik, you get a bit less of the indie rock heaviness and more of the 80’s disco vibes that make it easy to see why the band named themselves after a time machine from a classic 80’s film. If we’ve learned anything, it’s that Delorean can and will continue to make modern albums that take us back to a time when dance pop was king.

June 15, 2016 12:24 pm

If there’s a recurring theme for America in 2016, it’s that oligarchs are having great success at being seen as a champion of the people. They never are, but hey, keep on lauding them for their savvy marketing in conversation because you read too much Chuck Klosterman and want to be known as the ‘nuanced thinker’ in your shitbox group of friends.

Oligarchs have been trying to be fun and relatable pals who enjoy grabbing brewskis at BDubs with us kids for a while. Essentially, that’s the point of pandering advertising: to make it seem as though Company X knows what Person Y is going through, which is why they’d be flat out dumb if they didn’t buy Product Z. Done well and in moderation, it’s a fine and necessary evil that pays for a lot of stuff we all adore. But now that these multi-million/billion dollar companies have caught wind to the vomit-inducing ‘Brand Culture’ sweeping the nation, while living within our most prized possessions in app and website form, they’ve gone further and further into the fiery fissure of contrived relatability to an embarrassing extent.

This is what makes the brunt of music-based arguments that have fans so petulant now. We’re all at the whim of a few megalomaniacs who control an industry that’s become more about the middle-man than the artist and listener. As shown through the multiple instances over the past year, fans weren’t even able to listen to their favorite artist’s newest material without their allegiance to the correct middle-man in the form of a streaming service.

Tidal and Apple Music are both attempting to convey the image as the ‘artist friendly’ streaming provider. This angle is super ironic for Apple, considering that they’re one of the main reasons why album sales are where they are now, but it’s working for them regardless. Each had multiple albums released exclusively on their platform by A-List talent at this point, and each album has been as relevant and conversation-monopolizing as intended. All this, though, and Spotify still towers over their subscriber tally combined without a single exclusive release of their own.

Although Apple seems to be gaining ground, Spotify is currently sitting atop the streaming throne completely unbothered despite being completely untethered to any artist whatsoever. While being the most senior service of the three by a considerable margin helps with this count, it can’t go unnoticed that Spotify is completely bypassing musicians as a selling point to their music service.

Spotify has elected to focus on user experience, along with the sheer concept of music quantity being at the user’s disposal. It’s made the user completely forget that although they are now paying for their music, a concept that was thought to be doomed just a few years ago, they are still fucking over the artists they are listening to.

A great argument can be made that listeners do not deserve to have a platform so beneficial to them. Whether it’s illegally recording bands for the sake of bootlegging or risking the death of their computer for a free illegal download of the new Metallica album, fans have a lengthy history not caring if their favorite artist goes poor. By enabling this behavior, Spotify comes off as the less affable, capitalist hungry brother of Napster with a better legal team and the foresight to keep the record labels happy. After all, they’re an oligarch in the making now.

For a brief moment in time, I was sure Spotify would be the one to bring an end to the last standing major record label. That although they were still giving an insane amount of the royalty percentages to them, those half-penny checks would eventually prove to be too paltry for survival, thus closing up shop on unfair royalty payouts, leading Spotify to create a fairer split percentage with the artists themselves. Maybe Spotify would even open a record label in order to facilitate this. But as the history of any business sector would show you, the oligarchs do not crumble, they simply converge.

Just a few days ago, leaders from the three major labels met with a score of the more modern music hosting platforms to discuss streamlining royalty identification. What it seems like, from reading this report, is that basically anyone who’s even thought about starting a business in the music industry was invited to this thing. CD Baby? Tunecore? These names mean nothing to me…yet. But I think that’s the point- getting independent labels under the belt of the bug guys will probably prove to be incredibly beneficial in the long run. 

But one small note about the article: there seems to have been no artists there, except for a cellist by the name of Zoe Keating, who I’m sure plays the cello wonderfully. I’m not sure if there were any artists present to be able to establish their own desires for how their music gets distributed and at who’s and what cost, but it just goes to show how little any particular artist fits into the equation.

And no fans were there either. Not even a token one for good luck. Because despite an oligarch’s vociferous huffing and puffing about how much they love the people, they probably couldn’t give less of a shit about you.


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

April 6, 2016 3:47 pm

What is it that we Americans say? Two heads are better than one. Case in point, Brooklyn’s Lucius, and their new album Good Grief. Equal parts dream pop and indie rock, Good Grief finds itself in a nice place—it somehow sounds both new and familiar. Solid production supports some good songs and a few great ones. The album fits squarely within current the indie pop realm, but sounds different enough that it doesn’t feel tired or played out.

Lucius jumped into the consciousness after the release of their first EP and album, Wildewoman, which scored them a run of shows opening for Jack White. Good Grief is not a huge leap for them, but it does bring a different overall tone. It seems like Lucius turned down some of their Americana influence and turned up the eletro-pop. Good Grief is pretty thoroughly stuffed with hooks. There are pensive hooks like in Madness” “What We Have (To Change)” and super danc-ey hooks like “Something About You” and the infectious “Almost Makes Me Wish for Rain.” Their single “Born Again Teen” seemed a bit frantic on its own, but in the context of the album, it is a blast of energy. Ballads “Dusty Trails” and “My Heart Got Caught on Your Sleeve” bring a tender side to the album and let the two front-women Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig show of their Berklee pipes.

The combo of Laessig and Wolfe is really what defines Lucius. Their backing band are no slouches. Dan Molad on drums, Peter Lalish on guitar, and Andrew Burri, on more drums and more guitars, and they all sing. The crew consistently provides busy and interesting music that can test the boundaries of having “too much going on” without actually stepping over. But it’s the ladies that really set the band apart.

On my first listen, Good Grief reminded me of St. Vincent’s self-titled album. But, while these two acts are definitely in the same ballpark in terms of music and style, there is one pivotal difference. St. Vincent is all about Annie Clark. I know it took me probably a year to learn that her name is Annie Clark and the band’s name is St. Vincent. Blondie fans know what I’m talking about. This misunderstanding could exist with Lucius but, it gets eradicated as soon as you look at a picture of the band and see two women in matching costumes. “They can’t both be ‘Lucius’… or can they?” Wolfe and Laessig dedicate their image to being as alike as possible. Setting aside the sheer amount of work that must take (two of every piece of weird mod clothing, identical hair color and style ALWAYS…), it achieves several effects. Having two identically costumed front women is like doubling a vocal on a recording, but all the time and with everything. When they perform live the power of a doubled vocal is there, but it’s also there when they pose for a band photo.

More importantly though, having two identical frontwomen depersonalizes both of them. Annie Clark and Debbie Harry took all the attention from St. Vincent and Blondie because they are beautiful women pushed to the front of the stage in wild costumes. But when you have two beautiful women pushed to the front of the stage in wild costumes together, something different happens. They don’t come across as an individual with a backing band, because they aren’t. They come across as two people that are part of something bigger. It encourages the fans in the audience to not just “look at the girl singing the songs,” but rather actually listen to the music and experience the show. It stresses that this band is not about one individual, it’s about the band.