July 1, 2016 11:31 am

Metalcore, electronicore and post-hardcore had a baby. Its name is I See Stars and was born in 2005. Michigan natives Devin Oliver (vocalist), Brent Allen (guitarist), Andrew Oliver (vocalist), Jeffrey Valentine (bass guitarist) and Dakota Sammons (drums) all comprise the electronicore band and have been blazing the trail for this genre.

In 2006, they released their E.P Green Light Go before signing with Sumerian Records in 2008. They made the Billboard 200 list with their first full length album 3- D in 2009 in collaboration with producers Paul Wisner and Cameron Mizzell. Two years later they released The End of the World Party, thus beginning the integration of electronic music into their screamo-esque music.

They went mainstream after appearing on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, being featured on Substream Magazine and Alternative Press and touring with Black Veil Brides. A year later in 2012, they released Digital Renegade with the addition of Danny Worshop (Asking Alexandria) and Cassadee Pope (ex-Hey Monday). New Demons, released in 2013, incorporated more electronic and trap elements and made it to number 28 on the Billboard 200. In 2015 they released a pair of remix albums reinterpreting past albums and reimagined favorites as acoustic/orchestral songs with a combination of covers of Daughter, Disclosure and Hozier. Some bands have that special drive, passion and charisma, I See Stars is one of them.

TreeHouse is their newest album just released on June 17th. If you have’t got a listen in yet, click here! In addition to their new release, I See Stars is on the roster for Warper Tour 2016. Click here to find tour dates near you!

June 23, 2016 5:13 pm

Caitlin Notey is a LA native, 23 and the lead singer of alternative/folk band Huxlee. She describes Huxlee’s sound saying, “If Alabama Shakes, Bonnie Raitt and Fiona Apple had a little sister with an undying love of N*SYNC.” Yes, the description is accurate and Huxlee’s sound sends shivers down the spine.

Huxlee consists of Caitlin and her five best friends: Carey Singer (guitar), Mac Sinise (drumers), Nick Chuba (programming/banjo), Joe Scolari (bass) and AJ Novak (percussion). The band met while pursuing USC’s Popular Music program. Caitlin says her band, “Masterfully interprets my jumbled artistic impulses and help to create an expanded and fuller sound than what I could ever imagine.”

They released their first EP Bloom in 2013 containing hits Olivia, Crooked Tree, Isn’t/Anything and more. In July of 2015 they released their second EP Teammate. This EP, just as the last, does not disappoint. Aftertaste, 22,Teammate and If I Don’t Get on TV are a compilation of gritty, pop folk magic!

It’s safe to say they are going to be around for awhile and will only be getting bigger and bigger. For tour dates and to hear their most recent EP, click here.

June 3, 2016 2:14 pm

SPEAK is a synthpop group from Austin, Texas. Combining ear pleasing vocals with catchy synthesizer backdrops, Speak breaks out of the mold typical to the genre. None of their recent songs sound forced; in fact they jam in ways that I was unprepared for.

Composed of Troupe Gammage on keys and lead vocals, Nick Hurt on guitar, Joey Delahoussaye on bass, and Jake Stewart on drums, the band has been putting out material for over five years now. They have a comfort with one another that comes with ease translated in their music. These smooth dance tunes will help even the most awkward of us find our groove.

Their latest song is “Gates,” which hopefully might be a lead single off a forthcoming album. Ridiculously catchy, between the synthesizer and Gammage’s vocals, I am hooked. True to the new wave style of Austin, in the music video everybody looks slightly lost, or out of place. Maybe it’s the thick rimmed glasses and the awkward carrying of the magic metal box. Regardless, the more I listen to this song, the more I like and appreciate Speak. I found myself coming back again and again to “Gates,” even humming it first thing in the morning after I woke up.

Gammage truly has a fantastic set of pipes, not only making dope music with Speak but also performing voice work for many and multiple video games. Even though each member of the band is talented beyond reason, it is Gammage that I find ties the whole shtick together.

Improving and tweaking their sound much over the course of their last few projects, their latest album Pedals, which came out mid ’14, is a good place to start if you’re not hip. Their lead single off Pedals is “Peaks”; sick drums over elegant harmonies. The beat will immediately get your head a bobbin’, if you have a pulse.

“Heavy Metal Way” may be my favorite track on the project. It brings a more rock-friendly feel with the drum-line intro that sets the rest up perfectly. Again, Gammage’s vocals are truly inspiring. He reminds me of a young Adam Levine the way he seamlessly switches between low scratchy growls and pristine falsetto.

Much of Speak’s appeal to me while listening through their discography is how they don’t lean on the category of ‘synthpop’ as a clutch, but instead uses it to fuel the basis of who they are. They incorporate gnarly guitar solos and blistering drum beats to round out a healthier end result. Some of their instrumentals take on a post-rock sense of depth and longing. Nothing resembling pedantic, Speaks excels at surprising the listener track after track.

I am sincerely looking forward to the next tape from the lads of Austin. With a ton of new music already infecting the airwaves of Summer 2016, I think Speak has a bonafide chance to really be heard.

May 4, 2016 12:42 pm

Jessica Rotter is hitting the music scene ever so eloquently while rattling every listener’s ear with her debut album Plains. Atypical Sounds got to attend Rotter’s release party and it was an evening to remember. Rotter took the stage on the rooftop of the W hotel with beautiful views of downtown Los Angeles shining through every window. Dressed in a beautiful old school Hollywood dress she expelled soul shaking vocals from Plains such as “Aflame,” “Stars,” “Flowers In My Head and “Let Me Go.” Rotter combined with an amazing entourage of band members and back up singers made for an exceptional Friday night.

We got one on one time with Jessica recently and talked Plains, love, freedom, motherhood and everything in between! See below for the full interview. 


When did you realize that music was a career path for you?

I think I realized it multiple times. When I was very young I was always singing. I would day dream about going on stage. Every stage I could ever go on I would start singing. It was kind of just part of me. When I graduated college I was kind of pursuing directing for music videos and then I ended up just getting a lot more work singing just because I’ve been singing my whole life. It made me realize I should just embrace singing. I had been writing music but I wasn’t sharing it actively, and then when I started sharing it I was like wait a second this is amazing and so much fun. What am I denying? I was like stop lying to yourself go be a musician.

Is there anyone that you saw yourself performing with when you were younger (elementary/junior high days)?

Yeah. Are you kidding me? Everyday I would dream about *NSYNC bringing me up on stage. I just imagined going to one of their concerts and Justin Timberlake would see me singing along and he would be like ‘I can tell she has a great voice she should come on stage.’

Has your family influenced your music at all?

Yeah definitely. I think that growing up in a classical-ish family influenced me as a musician. Listening to a bunch of amazing film scores and classical music growing up really influenced me but directly my dad did help me with a lot in the early stages of the album. He arranged all of the big string parts that you hear on the album like “Last Sound” and “Hit The Ground.” My dad actually wrote those string parts. He was a composer first and now he’s a contractor so he hires musicians for orchestras. He helped me coordinate and put this huge session together with all these amazing L.A musicians. There are like twenty-five string players. It was a big session. It was amazing. I felt really fortunate.

What does this record represent to you?

I wrote it in a very transitional period of my life. I was kind of searching for freedom a lot of the time and trying to find myself. What I realized is that even in love there are times of loneliness and even with this illusion of freedom there’s the other side of it which is that you are alone. So it’s like what about being tied to another person creates a struggle and what about not being tied to another person creates a struggle? How do we find peace in either situation? It’s really just me wrestling with loneliness and love. As I said at my show, I got pregnant unexpectedly. Honestly, I think I realized that if I was going to be having a child and I didn’t pull myself together I maybe never would do this. I felt that there was a real need to expedite this journey and really create something and put it out there. Some of the songs I wrote before I got pregnant but they all kind of fit into the same world of when you’re free who are you and when you’re not free who are you? What is freedom and what’s more rewarding? And at the end of the day, I think that being in relationships that are real and rewarding is more important than this illusion of freedom that everyone is chasing all the time.

What inspired the album title?

Really it’s a metaphor for that open space and how when you’re in a huge open space you can feel completely alone or you can feel completely free. It kind of metaphorically explains that feeling in a lot of the songs.

How did you find your peace?

Honestly, I think that sometimes you just have to make a choice and I think that I just made the choice that I had things pretty good. I was never concerned with becoming a mom, I think that was always magical to me especially as a creator. It’s like hello this is the coolest creative project ever. My son is the most amazing child. Obviously, every mom is kind of biased about that but he really is. He’ll walk outside and put his arms out and talk about how beautiful the trees are. He’s also super musical. He’s a drummer. He’s only two and a half. He’s so cool so none of that has ever been a problem. Really I don’t think I would be pursuing my career in such an intentional way if I hadn’t had him and had such a strong reason for making my life happen.

At your show you said you wrote a certain song when you were going through your pregnancy. Which song was that again?

Stars. I wrote it before I found out that I was pregnant but I sang it throughout my entire pregnancy. It was always playing in my head. I wrote Stars right when I had just gotten into my first relationship with the same person who is now my fiancé and the father of my child. I had been in love with other people but this was my first true relationship. So this song for some reason just kind of came out of me and I sang it all the time. And it did, it really carried me through my album, it carried me through my pregnancy. A lot of people have reached out to me about Stars saying that it’s really helped them through hard days.

What’s an activity that helps rejuvenate your creativity and music?

I love going out into nature. I actually just moved right outside of L.A and there are a lot of hiking trails so I spend a lot of time outside. I like meditating, I go to the beach a lot and (laughs) I’ve discovered gardening which is like, I don’t know—something about putting a plant in dirt is very therapeutic for me. (Laughs) I feel like a mom to the plants when I’m gardening. It’s just nice to get hands on with the earth.

Have you ever had a song, lyric or melody come into your head while you’re meditating?

Yes. My favorite though is when I will wake up from a dream and record a song. That’s how “Flowers In My Head” happened. I woke up one morning and sang this guitar line and then turned my phone off and went back to sleep.

How would you say you defy what’s expected of the modern female musician?

I guess first we need to decide what’s expected of the modern female musician. I definitely think that I’m not an obedient person so by nature I am defiant. I think that nothing should be expected of a modern female musician and I definitely don’t think that I ever got into music to be a sex symbol. I think that female musicians and male musicians should just be looked at as artists which is what we are and not to be exploited. I know a lot of female musicians are exploited for multiple reasons. Especially with this Kesha thing coming to light—it’s brought up this whole thing where you realize how many women in this industry are not being treated as people and are being treated as objects. I’m going to be myself and I’m not trying to cater to someone’s image or stereotype.

What would you say your spirit animal is and why?

I think I’m a butterfly. I think in my heart that’s why this album is about freedom because I like flying and I like movements and I like growth. I love the caterpillar symbolism.