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BORNS: RADIATING EPICNESS AT TERMINAL 5
May 27, 2016 2:23 pm

BORNS. FUCKING EPIC. That’s all we have to say here at ATYPICAL SOUNDS after attending their show Wednesday night.

Terminal 5 was filled down to every last crevice at the sold out show. Fans were constantly cheers-ing beers, dawning  electric smiles and radiating good vibes all night long.

Opening acts BEAU and Coast Modern were the opening entertainment for the night. BEAU shook up the house with her strong textured vocals and bodacious dance moves while Coast Modern brought some California sunshine to the stage with their fun Cali dance tunes. Two amazing opening acts later, just when you thought the energy of the room couldn’t raise anymore, then the main course took the stage. Illuminated blue silhouettes began to play the first fun notes of Seeing Stars as Garrett BORNS effortlessly dances in twirling circles up to the mic with a beer in hand. For the rest of the night, it didn’t matter where you were in that packed venue. Close to stage or tucked in a corner, it didn’t matter because you couldn’t help but feel like you were just lucky to be there.

Going to this show was particularly special because for every song it seemed the audience was singing the song back. It’s expected that everyone would know the words to hits such as 10,000 Emerald PoolsElectric Love, Dopamine and American Money  but the whole concert virtually felt like a sing a long and that says something about the quality and greatness of BORNS sound.

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Dopamine is a record that makes your ears crave every track and lyric. What a truly unique artist with the talent and finesse of Freddy Mercury and an incredibly talented ensemble backing him. BORNS is a must see show!

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To see if BORNS is coming to a town near you? Click here.

Photos Courtesy of Mina J 

 

 

LANY: THE MAKEOUT TOUR ENCHANTS WEBSTER HALL
May 24, 2016 5:20 pm

Friday night we got rowdy with LANY at Webster Hall and watched them work their magic. Fans ranging from late teens to 30-somethings covered every inch of the Marlin Room as they awaited the California trio to come on stage. Odessa was the opening act who not only looked like some sort of ethereal goddess but whose voice was so beautiful it made you feel that her music is probably what’s on replay in heaven. (Seriously though). Her effortless folky charm was just right for setting the tone of the night.

LANY took the stage shortly after and gave their heart and soul to the crowd for the hour. Opening with their newest hit “Where The Hell Are My Friends,” the room roared. Next to me I heard an older woman gush to her friend over lead singer Paul Klein, “I can’t even believe he’s real. He’s so perfect.” Home girl is right. Paul, Les Priest (keyboard/guitar/vocals) and Jake Goss (drummer) are not just there as prime eye candy. It’s a real experience to watch them perform. A pure honest energy comes on stage with these boys, not to mention the true nature of their friendship, their vocals and their music. They performed all of their greatest songs including “Made In Hollywood,” “ILYSB,” “You Are Fire” and ended the night with an energetic encore performance of “Hot Lights.”

If you are a LANY fan, getting tickets to a show in your city should probably be added to your to do list right now! If you haven’t listened to them, check out their albums Make Out and I Loved You. For tour dates and more information about the band click here.

CUBA FINALLY UPDATING ITS DATA PLAN
May 18, 2016 2:51 pm

You are most likely reading this on your computer or possibly your phone thanks to the magical powers of the Internet. My wife talked me into upgrading my old 2G Samsung to a 4G iPhone last summer and around the same time, Cuba has made a data plan upgrade.

For roughly the past 20 years, the Internet in Cuba has been limited to very few families (less than 5% of households in 2013 according to The Verge). But as time changes and needs and wants progress, demand for Internet access for public use grew immensely. As of now, there are a few dozen new wireless hot-spots that will allow the general public access to the Internet for the first time in Cuban history, all in and around the city of Havana.

But this access doesn’t come without limits. The public hot-spots run about $2 an hour, which is insanely expensive when a normal Cuban household earns about $20 a month (converted to American dollars). Could you imagine spending %10 of your income on 1 hour of Internet? In a park? With slow, limited access? It is quite the cost for something we use constantly, especially since the few sites that are allowed access in Cuba are filtered and regulated by the government.

Could you go with only a hour of Internet a month? Or no Internet at all? Rooster Teeth, the online film and entertainment company, produced a documentary last year called “Connected,” which was about living sans Internet or modern technology for a week, could you do that?

Even with these tall-order terms to get onto the Internet, the population will still benefit. It’s great that the power of information will start to seep into Cuban life and hopefully become more easily accessible (and affordable) once people get a grasp of how valuable these hot-spots are.

As much as society, cultures and countries fight the need for the Internet, the world is becoming totally dependent on it. Let’s just hope this dependence doesn’t go all Matrix on us.

KACY HILL: THE ETHEREAL TRIPHOP QUEEN
April 29, 2016 11:04 am

Kacy Hill, Phoenix, Arizona native is starting to climb the charts one funky octave at a time. Prior to her current music career, the ethereal meets trip hop singer started modeling at 16 after being discovered by a wedding photographer. This led her to pursue modeling full time after high school and move to L.A.

However, the universe had other plans. After being introduced to Jaylien Wesley (songwriter and producer), Hill and Jaylien got together and did a magical collaboration. One of the songs that they brewed up, “Experience,” caught the likes of Kanye West after he was given a copy. Hill was touring around with West as a backup dancer at the time during his 2013-2014 Yeezus Tour and soon after she signed with his record label G.O.O.DMusic.

Wasting no time, the singer/songwriter is now touring around the U.S, Canada and Europe. She just released her E.P Bloo this past October. Containing a roster of hits such as Foreign Fields and “Arms Length”. To find out more about Kacy Hill and her tour dates click here!

FINISH TICKET: WHEN NIGHT BECOMES DAY
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Finish Ticket is a California band who has opened for notable names such as Twenty One Pilots, The Black Keys and Ed Sheeran. With exceptional vocals similar to that of Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Brendan Haye’s vocals are taking over the West Coast and has already started to permeate ear drums all across the country. To top it off, his identical twin Michael is a bassist in the band. But it doesn’t stop there! The Alameda, CA band also includes Alex DiDonato and yet another set of twin brothers Gabe and Nick Stein.

Finish Ticket started the band in their high school years. Once high school graduation rolled around they left for their universities but realized after a year what their souls truly yearned for. After coming back together they went on to independently release their records Shake a Symphony and Tears You Apart. These sounds caught the attention of Atlantic Records with whom Finish Ticket is now signed.

In September 2015 they released their E.P When Night Becomes Day. Each song on this E.P is raw, relatable and fun. “Color” sounds like the film score that comes on after the protagonist has beat his inner antagonist and is finally free and “Never Alone will give you some serious chills!

Check out their E.P and upcoming tour dates here.

GOOD AFTERNOON (MEN)
January 13, 2016 3:47 pm

New Yorkers, feast your ears on the new kids (excuse me, men) on the block. They’re called the Afternoon Men, and they rock. They rock with a sound that is equal parts nostalgia and freshness. Their music bounces seamlessly between genres, touching on influences from Springsteen, The Hold Steady, Counting Crows, The Decemberists, Titus Andronicus, and more.

The five-piece stepped on the scene back in October of last year, releasing their first single, “Parking Lots and Basements.” The music is catchy, with that oh-so-pleasurable balance of 90s Alt-rock, 00s Pop-punk, and contemporary Indie-rock. The lyrics are painstakingly truthful, as the singer navigates the trials and tribulations of trying to land himself a lady as a broke musician in the country’s most expensive city. The song’s overall force is only magnified by the clever lyric video accompanying it.

The men have released a couple more tracks on their Soundcloud page. While these tracks feature a more toned-down sound and oblique lyrical message, the narrative established in “Parking Lots” continues throughout. The result is an overall cohesiveness to their catalog that serves as a refreshing deviation from today’s pop music landscape dominated by one-off singles.

Having already caught the attention of Deli Magazine and sold out the main stage at Pianos, Afternoon Men are gearing up for an exciting 2016. The men are set to release their fourth single with yet another lyric video, “The Books in Her Closet” in the upcoming weeks. They’re also gearing up to headline The Bowery Electric on January 22nd. You can get tickets here!

Sure, this band is new and they’ve got a lot to prove in a city riddled with fellow newcomers. But if what they’ve released so far is any indication, they’re certainly worth checking out live and keeping on your radar.

SPOTIFY MADE US FEEL ALRIGHT
December 29, 2015 3:31 pm

Be honest, who introduced you to The Beatles? Was it a friend or family member? Was it a teacher or someone influential in your life? No matter who it was their sound resonated with you; poppy yet authentic, and it rang in your ears for days. Classic rock at its finest, and you couldn’t get enough.

Recently Spotify has been able to release their entire, I repeat, entire catalog. I don’t know how many times you’ve gone on Spotify or any other music player just to come out empty handed over copy rights. It hurt, and you had to find an alternative that hardly hit the need your brain was hoping for. Less than tasty tunes are a tragedy.

john-820x420The first time I knew I would love the Beatles for life was when I heard ‘Eleanor Rigby’ on a greatest hits album. Before that, I was positive they could only make poppy tunes. I am a much bigger fan of darker and more mysterious music, although ‘I want to Hold your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’ never failed to make me smile either. But when I heard Eleanor I realized what a vast array of music they were capable of making.

Once I heard it I couldn’t search enough through all of their music. Of course that led to stumbling on albums like Revolver and The White Album. To me, I had opened up a vault of cathartic bliss, the foundation for all the modern rock and indie I already loved. I grew up listening to their pop songs, knowing there was a classic tone to their music. It’s like dusting off that old record player in your grandpa’s basement. Such a breath of relief for the modern musician to understand there was a band so far ahead of their time yet so loved they were blown off stage by the screams of their fans.

The Beatles have had a massive influence on countless artists that, before playing music, I wasn’t even aware of. For example, Elliott Smith has made it entirely obvious that he was influenced by them but put an even darker spin on and also recorded his album Figure 8 partly at Abbey Road Studios (speaking of – Abbey Road is another amazing album by them! But, you already knew that.) Another band who obviously holds them dear is Dr. Dog. From their song writing lyrically, to their bass playing style similar to Paul McCartney’s. Then again, I’m not sure there are a whole lot of artists who haven’t been inspired by The Beatles.

Us Beasts would suggest you sit down, put your head phones on, grab a stiff drink and listen through. You don’t need us to tell you what you would find.

TOP 8 TECHIE GIFTS FOR MUSICIANS
December 18, 2015 3:18 pm

Looking for a techie gift to give to a musician friend or relative?

Christmas is right around the corner and we’ve gathered the Top 8 (shoutout Myspace) music gadgets to help those technologically challenged gift givers this holiday season.

1. Subscription Membership – Instead of dropping $150 on another pair of trendy headphones that will break or disappear within the next month, get your music-loving loved one the gift of music…a lot of it. Services like Amazon Prime, Apple Music, and Spotify Premium even have great family deals and trial months specials, making a full year of unlimited access to downloadable music cost less than $120.

2. Milktape

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While Cassette tapes and CDs have become somewhat of a throwback, the mixtape is a timeless gesture. Check out Milktape’s customizable cassette-shaped USB ports. They hold between 15-20 songs and are both Mac and PC compatible. Plus, starting at $15, this seems like the perfect stocking stuffer for a music-lover on the go.

3. Blackstar Fly 3

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Whether your Secret Santa selection is a subway performer or touring musician, the Blackstar Fly 3 is a must-have for a musician on the go. This 3-watt mini amp runs on battery power, features a standard ¼ inch input, and has the basic delay, tone, drive, and volume controls. It also has an AUX input, transforming it into a portable speaker and making your $60 go a long way.

4. Jamstik+

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This may as well be the “hoverboard” of music gadgets this year: insanely popular and uniquely ridicuous. Targeted at the Generation Z teenster demographic, Jamstik + features a guitar hero-like neck and iPad app geared towards teaching people the guitar in a way they can understand. While the idea of using technology to enable people to learn an instrument on their own is commendable, the high cost of nearly $400 seems a bit much. However, if you can swing it, this may be the future of learning music.

5. Mixtrack Pro 3 DJ Controller

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DJ’s are people too! But seriously, this product (BEAST-tested and approved) is one of the best portable DJ sets. Everything is intuitive, from the slomo features to the synchronization tools. While the price tag is steep at $250, it is a worthy investment for a DJ who can make a decent chunk of change spinning events around the city.

6. Midi Keyboard

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Shopping for a Midi keyboard can be a lot like Tinder, you spend hours searching, ample time considering which way to swipe, and still don’t know if it’s going to be a match. That’s why we urge you to stick to the big names when buying a MIDI keyboard for someone else – Alesis, M-Audio, Novation, etc. If you’re buying for a newbie, opt for a mid-price MIDI with touch pads like the Alesis V and Vi series. At prices ranging frow $100-$200, they are easy to learn on and super fun to play.

7. Audio Interface – Having the ability to record an at-home demo is a must-have for any up and coming musician. Interfaces are the best way to get started on learning how to self-produce and self-release your own music. For a singer-songwriter, opt for a 2-input interface like the Focusrite Scarlett. The Apogee brand is also great way to go – The Duet is some of the premiere technology out there right now. But at a price point of $600+ the duet is a serious investment. For a cheaper option, the Apogee One is half the price at $300 and even has a solid built-in mic.

8. Abelton Live – And we saved the best for last. Abelton is a musician’s best friend, partner, and mistress all wrapped into one pretty little piece of software. With the ability to record, mix, and master both in the comfort of your own home and live in front of an audience, it is the most versatile DAW at the amateur’s price point. With Intro packages starting at $99 plus the ability to upgrade to the Standard or Suite version, Abelton Live is an affordable way to learn how to record at home and make that recording come to life on the stage.

SPOTLIGHT ON: MUSICOVERY
October 28, 2015 8:55 am

In an internet radio world dominated by big players like Pandora, Sirius XM, Apple Music, Google Play and Spotify, the little guys have a lot to prove just to keep up.

Musicovery is an app that integrates mood-based listening with online radio. It does so in the Songza vein; however, in a much more simplified fashion. While Songza boasts twenty different moods, Musicovery selects the big four: “Energetic,” “Calm,” “Dark,” and “Positive.” The four moods are set up like a grid with the “Energetic” and “Calm” on the North and South poles and “Dark” and “Positive” on the West and East poles. The user selects an area on the grid and the service plays a song based on both where the selected area falls on the mood spectrum and additional genre preferences the user can select.

Sometimes less is more. Other times, less is just less.

While Musicovery’s inclusion of only four moods certainly lightens the workload of the listener, it does not provide the ultimate experience that a more complex service like Songza provides. The few mood choices make the listening experience haphazard and difficult to listen to if you are a listener who has specific taste. Additionally, Musicovery’s lack of activity-based customization reduces the overall efficacy of the platform. If a user isn’t feeling in a particular mood but is doing a particular activity, the user cannot utilize the platform. Finally, the abundant technological setbacks, like not having an app with iPhone compatibility and bugs on the desktop site, make the user experience a frustrating one.

Amidst the more negative analysis, there is a silver lining to Musicovery. I have never seen a more diverse and global approach to the online radio listening experience. Musicovery is a go-to for a listener with a wide range of musical interests spanning every genre and every country of origin. For a World Music lover like me, this app is a great destination for a more globally focused listening experience.

At the end of the day, Musicovery’s globally focused listening experience cannot compensate for its lack of mobile accessibility, glitches on the site, scarce mood options and lack of activity-based listening. While I would love to root for the little guy, I find myself sticking with the big guns like Songza (acquired by Google and integrated into Google Play) and Spotify… at least for now.

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