Modest Mouse was formed in 1993 in Issaquah, Washington and over the last decade has become the indie rock standard and one of the few bands capable of treading the narrow path where massive popularity is possible without sacrificing their longtime fans.The band released their first full-length album, This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About, on the Up label in 1996. With the release of their second album, The Lonesome Crowded West in 1997, the band’s status reached new heights with a legion of fans and critical acclaim. In 2000, Modest Mouse was signed to Epic Records and released their third album, The Moon & Antarctica. In 2004 came the release of their breakthrough album, Good News For People Who Love Bad News, which included the hit “Float On,” has sold over 1.5 million copies and earned the band two Grammy nominations.
Inspiration for the band name“I wish I could hit upon a pleasant track of thought, a track indirectly reflecting credit upon myself, for those are the pleasantest thoughts, and very frequent even in the minds of modest, mouse-coloured people, who believe genuinely that they dislike to hear their own praises.”
Virgina Woolf, “The Mark on the Wall”
The most recent Modest Mouse album, We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, was released on March 20, 2007 and immediately entered the Billboard Top 200 chart at #1.
On August 4th, 2009 Modest Mouse released a special EP, No One’s First, And You’re Next. This new EP contains eight songs, six of which were released as limited edition 7” vinyl singles. Also included on the EP is ‘King Rat’ which was a limited promo-only 7” single free with the purchase of We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank in 2007 and ‘I’ve Got It All (Most)’ which was the b-side to the ‘Float On’ single in 2004 and is currently out of print. No One’s First, And You’re Next debuted at #15 on the Billboard Top 200 and was the #2 Digital Album.
Simultaneous to the EP release, Modest Mouse released the highly anticipated Heath Ledger directed video for ‘King Rat,” a track also included on the No One’s First, And You’re Next EP.
The Cult formed in ’83 in England. They gained a dedicated following in the United Kingdom in the mid-1980s as a post-punk/gothic rock band before breaking mainstream in the United States in the late 1980s as a hard rock band. They fuse a “heavy metal revivalist” sound with the “pseudo-mysticism of The Doors and the guitar-orchestrations of Led Zeppelin … while adding touches of post-punk goth rock,” says the author of The Cult Biography, Tom Erlewine.
The band saw mainstream success in the mid eighties. Following difficulties with a lawsuit for an album cover, among other things, the band inched slowly forward until years later, with the same line-up still in place, they released The Cult in October 1994. Their band experienced a brief hiatus when they split up following their 1995 South American Tour.
A few years later, Astbury (vocals) and Duffy (guitar) jump started the band with a new bassist and drummer. Their first official concert was at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in June 1999, after having rehearsed at shows in the Los Angeles area. The band’s 1999 Cult Rising reunion tour resulted in a sold out 30 date tour of the US, ending with 8 consecutive sold out nights at the LA House of Blues.
Following brief moments of touring, recording and breaks, The Cult has seen growing success in the US. They’ve been busy recording and releasing an album virtually every year for the past half decade.
If you think you know Pennywise, think again. Though the band has made a name for themselves over the past 26 years as a politically minded, melodic hardcore act who have sold millions of albums. They have become one of the most successful independent acts of all time, however they weren’t always this way. In fact the group got their start playing backyard parties in their hometown of Hermosa Beach, California, without having any aspirations other than playing as many songs as they could before the police showed up. This side of the band has never been captured until now and Yesterdays sees the band putting some of their nascent material in proper recorded form for the first time ever.
Not only is this the perfect way to welcome the band’s original vocalist Jim Lindberg back into the fold but Yesterdays is also in many way’s a homage to Pennywise’s original bassist Jason Thirsk who wrote a bulk of the lyrics and music to these songs in the late 80s (Thirsk subsequently passed away in 1996). “Jason was the emotional core of Pennywise and his songwriting was very much about PMA (positive mental attitude) and that’s really what initially drew me to the band and where we started out,” Lindberg explains.
Lindberg“The punk scene had became really cynical and confused in the late eighties and it seemed like the only bands that were doing anything inspiring were the one’s singing about positivity and unity and heading in a new direction.”
Lindberg refers to Yesterdays as a “new album of old songs. It’s an accurate description when you consider that the band had to relearn many of the songs here from a cassette they recorded at their rehearsal space back in 1988. Original recordings of these can be heard at the end of the album. The remaining material consists of outtakes written during Pennywise’s Full Circle and Straight Ahead era during the late nineties. However when Lindberg, guitarist Fletcher Dragge, drummer Byron McMackin and bassist Randy Bradbury recut these songs earlier this year they inevitably made them sound as urgent and as they did when they were originally written.
Public Enemy rewrote the rules of hip-hop, becoming the most influential and controversial rap group of the late ’80s and, for many, the definitive rap group of all time. Building from Run-D.M.C.’s street-oriented beats and Boogie Down Productions’ proto-gangsta rhyming, Public Enemy pioneered a variation of hardcore rap that was musically and politically revolutionary.
With his powerful, authoritative baritone, lead rapper Chuck D rhymed about all kinds of social problems, particularly those plaguing the black community, often condoning revolutionary tactics and social activism. In the process, he directed hip-hop toward an explicitly self-aware, pro-black consciousness that became the culture’s signature throughout the next decade.
While rap and rock critics embraced the group’s late-’80s and early-’90s records, Public Enemy frequently ran into controversy with their militant stance and lyrics. After all the controversy settled in the early ’90s, once the group entered a hiatus, it became clear that Public Enemy was the most influential and radical band of their time.
The group eventually came back in a big way in 2012, releasing two new full-length albums: the summer’s Most of My Heroes Still Don’t Appear on No Stamp and the fall’s Evil Empire of Everything. Public Enemy also toured extensively throughout 2012 and into 2013.
From Gadsden, Alabama. It’s a small town east of Birmingham and West of Atlanta, close to the Talladega track.
His mom was 15 when she got pregnant… 16 when he was born. Him and his mom ran around for years, he went to 15 different schools before he finally dropped out in Southside, AL between 9th, 10th, and 11th grade… all in mainly three different states. Tennessee ( Franklin, Antioch ), Alabama ( Gadsden, Rainbow city, Southside, Fort Payne, Center ), and Louisiana ( Baton Rouge ).
He picked up skateboarding at 7 years old and he never stopped. That kept his hip-hop ear keen. He was listening to music through skate videos, like 411, that he would not normally hear. The small town, country side kept him firmly planted in the heart of Red Neck, Metal Head, Southern Rock… Pantera / Three Six Mafia gutter type of stuff.
Lots of Drugs, Lots of crime, Lots of Crazy house parties, Bikers, Big Trucks, Box Chevys…
Many musical influences… things that don’t culturally blend well… he makes that his challenge. He’s all over the place and he loves that. He says it, writes it, and performs it… and that’s the very thing that makes him Yelawolf.
COLD WAR KIDS
Cold War Kids means International Blues. They began in August ’04 with friends, jangly guitar, handclaps, and a Harmony amp in a storage room atop Mulberry Street restaurant in downtown Fullerton, CA. For the first practices, having instruments was secondary to stomping and chanting; Clanging on heat pipes, thumping on plywood walls. Hollering into tape recorders. Slipping and swaying into alleyways and juke joints of yesteryear. Tapping in to the American dustbowl and British maritime. On the restaurants roof the sound and feeling was cultivated and burned, built and hallowed out, painted and stripped to the primer.
Almost three years have passed and they haven’t let up since the starting gun fired. The album “Robbers & Cowards” was released in the US in October ’06 on Downtown and the rest of the world in February ’07 on V2. ‘Why even have apartments?’ they often asked themselves as they have toured with the vim of a family reunion brawl across the US, UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.
Cold War Kids strive to make honest songs about human experience in orchards and hotel rooms, Laundromats and churches, seaports and school halls. They love the songs of Bob Dylan, Nina Simone, and the Velvet Underground and make their own, which they’d like to think, are pretty original.
DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979
Globally revered and highly influential, dance-punk duo Death From Above 1979 hails from Toronto, Ontario, and consists of Jesse Keeler on bass/synths/backing vocals and Sebastien Grainger on vocals/drums. Their first full-length album, “You’re a Woman, I’m A Machine”, was released in late 2004 to critical acclaim and selling over 175,000 copies worldwide, in addition to going gold in the band’s native Canada. The band broke up in 2006, but reunited in 2011. Their second album, The Physical World, was released in September 2014, with the band touring extensively in support.
Sebastien“Jesse and I have decided that what we can do together should not be denied. Together again, as was always the intention, as a collaboration. The collision of two different worlds. As this all takes shape, we will reveal it to you. All of it happening, as it always has, in our own way.”
Atlas Genius formed in November 2009 in Adelaide, South Australia. The band is made up of brothers Keith Jeffery on lead vocals and lead guitar, and Michael Jeffery on drums. They set about building a studio where they could write and record music for their newly formed band three years before they even played their first live show as Atlas Genius. The first song the band finished was a song called “Trojans.” They sold the song on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify. Then, in the midst of cramming for their Fall 2011 semester final exams, the band checked their email account for the first time in over a month, and found that dozens of record labels, publishers, lawyers, booking agents and management companies from all over the world had contacted them.
Keith“It’s still surreal. I think when we were very young, we had hopes that something like this might happen one day, but then you grow up a bit and it seems less and less likely. So when we put ‘Trojans’ out, we figured it would be a success if maybe a hundred people heard it. We don’t want to force our music onto anyone. Our goal is to write songs that we love and we hope they connect with other people too.”
There was an immediate reaction from listeners, and in September, “Trojans” was placed into heavy rotation, where it maintained a top-five position on the listener-generated Alt-18 countdown and peaked at number one for 4 consecutive weeks in January 2012. “Trojans” began selling over a thousand tracks per week on U.S. iTunes and soon climbed to 45,000 sales – all with zero promotional efforts from the still-unsigned Atlas Genius.
Palma Violets are a four-piece band from London, made up of bassist/vocalist Chilli Jenson, guitarist/vocalist Sam Fryer, keyboardist Peter Mayhew, and drummer Will Doyle, who play their own distinct brand of psychedelic rock & roll. In 2010 a chance meeting between school friends Fryer, Mayhew, and Doyle, with Jenson at the Reading Festival, compelled them to form a band after becoming disillusioned by the lack of meaningful and emotive music on offer. After a slow start to their career, it was in 2012 when things began to take shape and this coincided with their residency at Studio 180, a cheap, repurposed house in Lambeth, London. This was a hub of creative minds, from artists to photographers, where Palma Violets were able to produce their sound in the company of like-minded people, and afforded them the freedom to craft their music.
– Sam Fryer, vocals/guitar “It’s still surreal. I think when we were very young, we had hopes that something like this might happen one day, but then you grow up a bit and it seems less and less likely. So when we put ‘Trojans’ out, we figured it would be a success if maybe a hundred people heard it. We don’t want to force our music onto anyone. Our goal is to write songs that we love and we hope they connect with other people too.”
The ramshackle nature of their rehearsals and the increasing audiences attending their live performances in a sweaty room in Lambeth created a buzz that eventually alerted A&R bosses at major labels to the band’s talents. Without any recorded music at the time, industry types were forced to judge them purely on their live shows, and after much vying for their signatures, the band signed to indie label Rough Trade. Their first studio work came late in 2012 when single “Best of Friends” was released and was subsequently named NME’s number one track of the year, which then propelled them to the front cover of the magazine. A feverish hype swirled around the band as they secured a U.K. tour and their debut album 180 was released in early 2013.
The Orwells are made up of five dudes from Chicago, Illinois. They play rock n roll music. Their names are Mario, Grant, Henry, Dominick and Matt. They write songs — scratch that, primitive teenage battle cries — about girls and America and being suspended from high school. Although one might categorize The Orwells’ distinct brand of the blues as garage or punk, they would be wrong. The Orwells sound comes from a deeper, different place–a place both long forgotten and also timeless.
Matt“Our thing with college is that, for us, it’s like, you can go to college any time in your life. You can not be in a punk band any time in your life. We have the opportunity, so let’s f***ing do this. If it fails? Then we’ll do whatever the hell comes next. You’re not gonna be able to do this again.”
The Orwells were named one of the most criminally overlooked artists of 2012 in MTV’s annual list. Their first single, “Mallrats (La La La) received acclaim from Pitchfork, and their song “Who Needs You” has been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered.
Their enthusiastic 2014 performance on The Late Show with David Letterman went viral after Letterman called for an encore but could not play as Matt O’Keefe had broken all of his strings while playing. Their second album, Disgraceland, was released last year after much anticipation.
Robert DeLong is a one-man futuristic dance party with beats as cerebral as Orbital and club-ready as Calvin Harris, DeLong is also a profoundly gifted singer/songwriter who raises questions about identity and spirituality. That DeLong brings people to their feet is especially true live, where his unique stage setup ratchets up the energy to a level befitting productions the size of Electric Daisy Carnival or Coachella’s Sahara Tent. A true one-man band who sings, plays a full drum set and controls his loops via video game controls like Wii-motes, joysticks and game controllers, DeLong creates a spectacle that is wholly his own.
RobertIn the end it’s still about the song. I’ve seen a lot of artists where, especially with live looping or beat making, that stuff just ends up being these guys figuring out cool things they can do, but there’s no song for anyone to attach themselves to.”
Adding to the vibe, every show features face painting for audience members, creating a communal experience. DeLong has already dubbed his growing fanbase The Tribe of the Orphans, an apt name for the visual extravaganza the audience provides for every show with their Neverland imagery. While the face painting, usually done by DeLong’s girlfriend, enhances the bond between DeLong and his Tribe, the standout visual at the gigs is his one-of-a-kind equipment.
On her current single, the raging, unapologetic “Desire,” Meg Myers “juggles the pretty and the ugly perfectly,” as Stereogum noted, adding that with her “fierce-then-vulnerable voice, you have something that is as sweet as it is unsettling.” The Nashville-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter has consistently worked that dichotomy in her music, exploring the tension between dark and light, sweet and sour, and sex and death in her cathartic songwriting.
Meg“I came from this grunge, punk-rock background, but I always wanted to write catchy pop songs, I just didn’t have the technical knowledge to make them work. But I grew up listening to well-crafted songs. I loved Sting, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, James Taylor and Fleetwood Mac. That’s what I was drawn to. I love the simplicity of a great song, I just didn’t realize how hard that was to capture in a recording.”
Her richly powerful voice, which can slide on a dime from a feathery trill to an anguished howl, is the perfect instrument with which to express her brooding, fiercely raw lyrics about craving what’s just out of reach. The words are bolstered by the layered guitar-synth soundscapes she creates with her collaborator and producer Dr. Rosen Rosen.
Ever since Joshua Kmak discovered garage rock, it has been all he wanted to play. After “The Nformals” fell through, Joshua (guitar) and Cameron Sisti (drums) decided to take things in a new direction and start fresh.
Bringing all of his reverb, and surf riffs inspired by people like John Dwyer and Ty Segall, Shady Francos began to take shape. As soon as bassist Jerrica Ojeda enlisted…the mad scientist had all of the spooky, fuzzy, slimy, grimy ingredients needed to make SHADY FRANCOS. ‘Its aliiive!’
With a full set and frantic pent-up live energy, they hit the San Diego live music scene in early April of 2014. Ever-thirsty for fresh blood and a passion for all things D.I.Y., Shady Francos are regularly invading Southern California warehouse/house shows and can sometimes be found creeping around Tijuana’s rock club scene.
Moon Hooch captured the imaginations of thousands with its infamous stints busking on subway platforms and elsewhere in New York City: two sax players and a drummer whipping up furious, impromptu raves. This happened with such regularity at the Bedford Ave station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that the band was banned from playing there by the NYPD. The trio’s subsequent tours with They Might Be Giants, Lotus, and Galactic as well as on their own have only broadened the band’s appeal. Wherever Moon Hooch plays, a dance party soon follows.
Listening to this music, it’s easy to become emotionally invested. It may not always prompt you to strip off your clothes, but the emotional impact on both the musicians and their fans is visceral and undeniable.