S A I N TSE N E CA – PAR ADE OF LI GHT S – JUK EB O X TH E G H OS T – TH E K N O C K S & M O R E
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editor-in-chief jenn stookey
co-founder – art director cara bahniuk co-founder – photo editor ashley osborn managing editor jessica klinner online editor nick yacovazzi digital marketing manager olivia adams co-founder – legal – finance mckenzie hughes contributing photographers pablo aguilar, omar al-zidjali, cara bahniuk, demi cambridge, jordan fischels, lori gutman, rachel kober, casey lee, charlie martel, natalie montaner, savana ogburn, ashley osborn, heather phillips, sam polonsky, taylor rambo, sam roenfeldt, kara smarsh and clark terrell contributing writers (online & publication) haley black, jennifer boylen, geoff burns, colleen casey, rebecca del castillo, ally fisher, trevor figge, annette hansen, jessica klinner, zoe marquedant, bridjet mendyuk, theresa pham, alyssa schmidt, catie suliga, nick yacovazzi and bailey zeigler digital marketing team geoff burns news posters laura arthurs, samia mirza, sarah akomanyi and megan young _________________________ website twitter highlightmagazine.net @highlightzine facebook instagram facebook.com/highlightmagazine @highlightzine _________________________ thank you thank you being as an ocean, shawn carrano, ashley osborn, equal vision records, warner bros. records, this fiction, atlantic records, anti records, capitol records, astralwerks, fearless records, total assault, clarion call media, high road publicity, the catalyst publicity, not safe to drink, brixton agency, pmk bnc, good fight entertainment, universal music group, and to all of our hardworking staff who make highlight possible each month. _________________________ 06 being as an ocean ashley osborn
07 parade of lights cara bahniuk
saintseneca courtney coles
the knocks courtney coles
capsize ashley osborn
cardiknox cara bahniuk
jukebox the ghost sam polonsky
fall out boy natalie montaner
H I G H L I G H T â€™ S 4 T H B I R T H D A Y I S S U E
08 clothing highlight 11 label highlight 12 highlighted artists 15 venue highlight 16 industry highlight 19 film highlight 20 capsize 26 cardiknox 30 saintseneca 34 parade of lights 40 jukebox the ghost 44 the knocks 50 being as an ocean 60 tour round up troye sivan the white noise kaleo pvris i see stars firekid fall out boy daya cardinals pride silverstein chunk! no, captain chunk! emarosa 76 reviews
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BEING AS AN OCEAN 50
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34 PARADE OF LIGHTS
44 THE KNOCKS
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60 TOUR ROUND UP
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TEAM MEMBERS Jason Aalon Butler / Founder / Designer / Dude who was crazy enough to put almost all he had into starting it LOCATION Los Angeles, California WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND GENTLEMEN IN REAL LIFE? I was actually laying in my bunk while on tour with my band, and I had been trying to devise a method to start something that was both ethically and aesthetically exceptional as well as something that was authentic to who I am not only as a creative, but as a person in the bigger picture known as “life.” I had been trying to understand the idea of the “gentlemen” and felt it had actually grown to be quite archaic in our modern day when considering the progress I’d like to believe we’ve made as a progressive people. Not only this, but also considering most brands that offer “gentlemen’s essentials” are missing out on the other half of the “gentleman” which is the woman. Or, as we like to say— the “gentlewoman.” This is when I decided to come up with a name that held a duality and could represent everybody no matter what you identified as. Hence the name Gentlemen In Real Life, which acronymically spells “GIRL.” I wanted this brand to be not just for one type of person but for all people. WHAT DO YOU FEEL YOUR BRAND REPRESENTS? A culture that encourages uniqueness and nurtures the desire to do and be more. We believe that there is no such thing as the average man (or woman, for that matter). This is our mantra, and you will find it as an accompaniment to all we do as a brand. The inevitable disparities that lie between all of us, as people, are what grant us that particular uniqueness and a chance to be something special, something more than average. If you possess the desire to excel and believe in yourself, then Gentlemen In Real Life is your catalyst, offering products that are made with your same intentions. WHAT IS THE REASON YOU STARTED YOUR BRAND? We feel that over arching corporate idea of brands and consumer goods could very well be the leading cause in devolving quality in products that most of us are purchasing. Essentially, we are focusing on the quality and details that we, ourselves, want to see in every product we develop. Also, the aesthetic in an ethically produced item is something we feel is certainly missing in most goods we come across. We must make sure not only our customers and our brand benefit from Gentlemen In Real Life, but our employees and manufacturers as well. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGN AND WHY? This is going to sound lame, but I honestly couldn’t pick 3. There is something particular about each product that I love. That’s the only way a product makes it into production; we must love it and personally endorse it. WHY PEOPLE SHOULD CHECK OUT YOUR BRAND? We feel this brand is worth people’s consideration simply because we are considering the people when we are creating. Everything we do with this brand carries a clear intention to deliver quality items that are ethically manufactured and exhibiting a distinguishable uniqueness about them.
t @GentlemenIRL | i @gentlemeninreallife | f /gentlemeninreallife | gentlemeninreallife.com PHOTOS: Jonathan Whitehead and Jesus Martinez
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YOU MAY WANT TO LISTEN TO...NEON GOLD RECORDS Founded in 2008 by Derek Davies and Lizzy Plapinger, Neon Gold Records is a young label, but glancing through their roster, it’s hard to imagine. In its eight years of existence, the label has launched the debuts of Ellie Goulding, Charli XCX, Marina & the Diamonds, Tove Lo and more! Davies and Plapinger have known each other since they were kids and started the label from their dorm rooms. You may even recognize Plapinger from her own band that she started in 2011 called MS MR. Together, Davies and Plapinger have created a label that has kickstarted the careers of so many amazing artists. Keep your eyes on this label because every artist they undertake is bound for greatness.
Hailing from San Francisco, Cathedrals is a electro-pop duo that needs to be on your radar. Lead singer Brodie Jenkins has an enchanting voice that fluctuates ever so slightly to create a unique sound. To get ahold of their music without paying a dime, head over to their website to download their latest EP for free. If you’re a fan of Phantogram, St. Lucia or Grimes, you’re bound to love everything Cathedrals has to offer. We promise! L I S T E N T O “Howling”
Swedish singer Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson, aka Tove Lo, is no stranger to the pop world. Her hit song, “Habits (Stay High)” peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the debut album it appears on, Queen of the Clouds, opened at #14. Known for her dark take on pop music, Tove Lo is representing emo kids everywhere in the mainstream. She is tried and true to her ‘90s roots and that emerges in her songwriting and style. L I S T E N T O “Not On Drugs”
Magic Man has been through several changes in their six year career. After forming as a duo, the band expanded into a full lineup and just last summer, they announced that they were returning to their roots as a two piece. One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is Magic Man’s ability to create stunning electronic rock tracks. Their style of music is creative, refreshing and sure to lift your spirits. If you’re a fan of Bear Hands, Walk The Moon, and/or the Mowglis, Magic Man is definitely a band you should check out. Be sure to catch them this spring on the Hotline Spring Tour with the Griswolds and Panama Wedding. L I S T E N T O “Out of Mind”
WORDS: Jessica Klinner
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HIGHLIGHTED ARTISTS ERIEL INDIGO L O C AT I O N Los Angeles, CA
Energetic, honest, and just plain fun, Eriel Indigoâ€™s tunes bring the party to you. Fat beats over iconic melodies spell success for the rising dance pop artist. With big tracks and more on the way, Eriel Indigo is chasing towards the spotlight.
ROSEDALE L O C AT I O N Toronto, Ontario
Rosedale is a blossoming pop punk artist with some big things in the works. Dancey, emotional and uplifting, frontman Mike Liorti is the brains and brawn behind the music.
SUZY JONES L O C AT I O N Nashville, TN
Bold and brilliant, Nashville R&B artist Suzy Jones isnâ€™t here for your approval, but rather to share with the universe an extension of her soul in brief, but breathtaking tunes. With a voice as dynamic as Tori Kelly and an attitude all to her own, Suzy Jones is a artist you must have on your radar.
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WORDS: Nick Yacovazzi
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VENUE HIGHLIGHT B E L LY U P A S P E N - A S P E N , C O L O R A D O HISTORY This quaint venue is located in the middle of downtown Aspen, Colorado, which has a population of fewer than 7,000 people, and is one of the mountain town’s many gems. The small, intimate venue can also transform into an upscale dinner and banquet hall for fundraisers and other private parties. Belly Up has a capacity of 450, making it the perfect location to get up close and personal with artists who normally wouldn’t play in a smaller venue. Many of the artists who play at Belly Up have been large enough to play at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado, but seeing them at Belly Up is a whole new experience. A diverse group of artists roll through the Rocky Mountains on tour. Skrillex, Chromeo, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Kacey Musgraves and Jenny Lewis are among musicians that performed at Belly Up in 2015. This year, the venue expects to put on shows by Reel Big Fish, GriZ, LeeAnn Rimes and Deer Tick. Home of the Winter X Games, Aspen floods with people every January who are looking to enjoy a long weekend of extreme winter sports accompanied by many concerts. The lineup of 2016’s Winter X Games included deadmau5, Run The Jewels, DJ Snake, KYGO, Nas and Twenty One Pilots.
WHY PLAY HERE? The concert scene in Aspen is much more lively in the winter months, mainly due to the incredible skiing and snowboarding, as well as the attraction of the Winter X Games. If musicians choose to stay longer than one day, they have the opportunity to enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities from skiing and snowboarding, to snowshoeing, hiking, camping, climbing, fishing and river rafting. The Maroon Bells is located just 12 miles south of Aspen and is Colorado’s most photographed scenic location and one of many hikes that offer tourists and natives a truly breathtaking experience. There are plenty of activities that can be found in town as well, such as museums, art exhibits or visiting one of Colorado’s many local craft breweries. This charming, upscale mountain town is a tourist destination to many and the perfect retreat for musicians in need of inspiration and revitalization.
Above & Beyond
REVIEW: Haley Black
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industry highlight N A M E Mike Ziemer L O C AT I O N Los Angeles, CA J O B Founder of So What Music Festival, Evolve Management and Third String Records
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WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STORY/WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY? I started out as a kid going to shows and moved on to a member of the “press” by interviewing bands and doing show reviews when I was still in high school. A couple bands noticed that I was getting well connected and asked me to manage them. From there they asked if I could help book them shows and somehow from that I became a promoter!
AS SOMEONE WHO’S BEEN PROMOTING SHOWS FOR YEARS, WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO MAKE THE JUMP TO THE FESTIVAL WORLD? It happened naturally. Our second show ever was a two stage mini-festival. It was always hard for me in the beginning to say no to bands wanting to play my events so we just kept trying to add more stages and squeeze more bands on.
THIS IS THE 9TH ANNUAL SO WHAT MUSIC FESTIVAL. WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THI NG YOU’VE LEARNED ABOUT PROMOTING AND PUTTING TOGETHER A FESTIVAL THAT HAS GROWN INTO A MUST-ATTEND YEARLY EVENT? You have to be able to deliver a quality event that keeps people wanting to come back, and not only that, but travel from all over the world. Your brand has to be genuine, people have to trust your brand and know you’ll book the right bands and put together the right experience they want.
UNDEROATH IS HEADLINING THE SECOND DAY OF THE FESTIVAL AS PART OF THEIR REUNION TOUR DATES. HOW DID THIS AND THE REST OF THE LINEUP COME TO BE? I emailed their manager for a couple years straight with different ideas I had. We wanted to screen the DVD last year and have them do a secret performance and all sorts of ideas, but it finally worked out this year. The rest of the line up was me just picking and choosing from available bands and putting together a line up that not only the fans love, but I love! WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT PUTTING ON A FESTIVAL YEAR AFTER YEAR? LIKEWISE, WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST PART? The most difficult is stressing about good / bad weather since it’s an outdoor event. Texas is very unpredictable and I’m really hoping for 2016 we have another sunny and 75 year. It’s about time the gloom goes away, and we have an awesome festival. The best part is just standing back on show day and being like “Holy shit, we did it… we put this together!” WHAT ARE THREE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM SOUTH BY SO WHAT? 1. Definitely booking Taking Back Sunday and The Used— those bands are a major reason why I got into music so it was a very full circle thing that happened to come on the 10 year anniversary of me booking shows. 2. The moment we confirmed Underoath, I lost it. I wanted that to happen so bad. 3. In 2011, we sold out the festival in advance at 4500 tickets and had to turn away so many people. That was incredible.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH? I want to constantly grow and do bigger and better things. I have a lot of ideas and a lot I want to do. We are going to bring So What?! to new markets and see what else we can do as a business to expand our year round shows into new markets. You can never be satisfied and comfortable in anything you do, you have to constantly want to improve and do more.
t @mikezieme r
PHOTO: Hunter Garrett INTERVIEW: Jessica Klinner
i @mik ez iemer
s o w h at mus icf es t iv al.co m
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H I G H L I G H T E D
F I L M S
A N D T H E N O M I N AT I O N G O E S T O . . . 45 Years
Actress in a Leading Role Nominee - Charlotte Rampling In the midst of planning their 45th wedding anniversary, the couple receives news that brings everything into question. Rampling stars as Kate Mercer, who grapples with her husband’s former life while preparing to celebrate all the years she spent with him.
The Hunting Ground
Music (Original Song) Nominee - “Til It Happens to You” Written and directed by Kirby Dick, this documentary tackles the issue of sexual assault on American college campuses. The film discusses the actions (or lack thereof) of each institution and the broader implications on culture while also focusing on the specific cases of two former UNC students, Andrea Pino and Annie E. Clark.
Music (Original Score) Nominee In this action-packed crime drama, an FBI agent (Emily Blunt) teams up with an inter-agency task force to take on a Mexican drug cartel. Under the guidance of a consultant (Benicio Del Toro), they cross the Mexican-American border in an attempt to apprehend the cartel leader (Julio Cesar Cedillo).
Foreign Language Film Nominee In this Turkish drama, five sisters are sequestered in their own home, forbidden from leaving even to go to school. The imprisonment strengthens the bond between the girls and fuels their desire to rebel against the conventions set upon them by their family and society.
Sanjay’s Super Team Short Film (Animated) Nominee
This animated short follows a young boy who, after being pulled away from his morning cartoons, spends the time he should be meditating with his father reimagining the Hindu gods as superheroes. The story is inspired by the life of Pixar’s own animator/director Sanjay Patel.
Ex Machina Visual Effects Nominee
This psycho-thriller stars Domhnall Gleeson as a programmer who wins a meeting with the reclusive, genius CEO of his company, played by Oscar Isaac. He is introduced to Ava, an artificially intelligent robot played by Alicia Vikander and asked to judge how human she is.
REVIEWS: Zoe Marquedant
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BOUNCING BETWEEN THE
east and west coast, Lonnie Angle and Thomas Dutton found themselves leaving their home of Washington and heading to New York to begin a new musical endeavor. Cardiknox was formed after Dutton met Angle when he decided to create a stage musical of a concept album that he had produced with his previous band. He explained the album as a rock, opera musical, and was put in touch with by a mutual friend, who has a background in the theater. “We ended up moving from Seattle to New York to work at a theater there and after doing a reading, we were feeling burnt out on it, so we decided take a break and work on a new project, so we started Cardiknox,” Dutton said. Flash forward three years later, and Cardiknox are preparing to release their debut album, Portrait, on March 11. The pop duo is all about visuals with bold color, whether it is displayed through their style, live show or even the music itself. Although much of the album appears bright and cheery, the lyrical content travels to a much deeper level of the human experience, and the duo are hopeful that the message will be received by the audience in a positive and uplifting way. “The album itself has an overarching theme of being kind of broken and torn down but ultimately persevering and working through that to end up in a stronger place,” Angle said. “It’s in many ways my story and Thomas’s story, and I think our hope is that people will hear that story and in whatever way, shape or form will help give them hope with whatever they’re going through in their life.” The duo recruited street artist Tristan Eaton to create the album artwork for Portrait, which is a vibrant, layered portrait of Angle. The debut is an accurate portrayal of the band’s identity, which is all encompassing of their boldness and perseverance while paving this career path. “[Eaton] does these huge street murals all over the world and his most iconic style is generally a portrait of women, like the unusual, peeled-back layers on a face,” Angle explained. “He’s well known for one of Audrey Hepburn, which is in lower Manhattan, and [we] commissioned him to do a portrait of my face. The more we thought about the album, it was really a portrait of our lives in terms of story telling.” The album artwork is an accurate representation of the liveliness of the album, which features upbeat, synth-driven tracks like “Wild Child” and “Into the Night.” A lot went into cultivating each individual track, which are carefully constructed in order to deliver a vivacious live experience accompanied by a heavy fashion influence to amplify their stage presence. Angle specifically loves classic silhouettes that make her feel comfortable and empowered on stage and can be caught wearing bomber jackets with gold chain statement pieces, along with her signature double top-knot. “We’re definitely inspired by a lot by visuals,” Dutton said.
“When writing a song, sometimes you can already picture the music video and the perfect visual to go along with it. We definitely think about visuals and the live performance a lot when we’re writing.” Dutton and Angle put a lot of careful thought into each aspect of this new album, including the music video for “On My Way,” which was released in February. The video is a one-take shot of Angle walking toward the camera, navigating her way through a vacant bar and the streets of L.A. and Dutton offering up a few moves toward the end. The choreographed number was rehearsed relentlessly over the course of a month before the eagerly awaited day of filming finally arrived. Angle and Dutton were given ten stressful takes to get the video right and ended up settling on the ninth shot. The semi-candid concept was designed in hopes of creating a video with an unbreakable conscience that keeps the viewer engaged. “We’ve been huge fans of music videos, even seeing movies that are really long one-take shots. I think it’s a really captivating technique. Especially with the music video, which often times, especially in pop, are a lot of flashy edits and going from scene to scene. There’s something raw and engaging about it, you just can’t take your eyes off of it,” Dutton said. Although Cardiknox are new on many people’s radars, they have experienced a substantial amount of success in three short years. The duo is signed to the popular brand name record label, Warner Brothers. They are currently on their third official U.S. tour this spring with Carly Rae Jepson, after wrapping up a tour last month with another duo, The Knocks. Last year, Dutton and Angle played alongside Betty Who for several shows, as well as traveling to Europe for a number of festivals, including Reading and Leeds. Their set at Reading and Leeds is what they consider their greatest performance highlight when a mosh pit broke out. “I remember turning to Thomas and looking at him like, ‘Is this real life?’ People were crowd surfing dressed as Power Rangers. It was this moment where you’re like, ‘This is so much bigger than anything we could ever even do on our own,” Angle said. “This is like a collective energy that feels totally electric.” Despite the steady transition into a life of constant touring and performing, the duo has worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. Their dedication has earned them a slot at Bonnaroo this summer with headliners Pearl Jam, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Ellie Goulding, Death Cab For Cutie, Halsey and more. “Even for someone who seems to an outsider like an overnight success, has put in so many hours, so many tiny victories on the way to them really breaking out. It can wear you down,” Dutton said. “But as long as you keep moving, you end up in a good place.” PHOTOS: Cara Bahniuk INTERVIEW & STORY: Haley Black
H O M E Los Angeles, California N O W J A M M I N G “Wild Child” HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 29 C U R R E N T LY On tour with Carly Rae Jepsen
ZAC LITTLE LIKES WRITING ABOUT
the things that scare the shit out of us: existentialism, dreams, “the big picture,” what-is-life-and-what-am-I-doing type of stuff. He’s the singer of Saintseneca, an indie-folk band from Columbus, Ohio, who just released their third album, Such Things, via ANTIRecords. Currently on tour with Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, the band are pushing themselves to discover new sounds with the debut of Such Things. The lyrics in some of the songs bring about the scariness of the unknown. “I’ve always been interested in big picture stuff,” Little said. “Philosophical dilemmas— it’s something I’ve always been thinking about.” The record is groovy, which is exactly what Little wanted, and it’s mellow without being sleepy. Putting forth instruments like the mandolin, the balalaika and the bouzouki, the record holds textured tones and rollercoaster tempo patterns, which keep things interesting. Little said he’s “always trying to find new instruments” to learn, which he uses more in the writing and recording than onstage. Starting off playing trashcans for drums and small house shows in Ohio, the band is now constantly on tour, which is hard as a band on the shorter end of the spectrum. “I try to be surprised when I’m writing and I find that using different types of instruments helps me do that,” Little explained. “I don’t feel stuck playing the same thing on guitar all the time. I like the feeling of discovery and playing something you’re not familiar with and are surprised by the sounds coming out of it.” Getting inside Little’s head is difficult; he’s a man of few words. He explained Such Things is an accomplishment, but it isn’t something he can compartmentalize in terms of growth—new songs versus old songs, saying the music the band has made and the work they’ve done “exists in the same continuum.” It’s something not many bands can say about themselves, let alone their music. Exploring the pop elements in the record, the songs “Such Things,” “Sleeper Hold” and “Bad Ideas” are the grooviest tracks and rise above the group’s linear past. “I think there are always things that I’m pushing myself to try, new things,” Little said. “I always push myself to create new sounds and do something I’ve never done before. Specifically, on this [record], one thing we tried was to write things that had a bit more groove [to it]. A lot of the old material had a lot of linear qualities. This time, I was trying to write songs that used that groove to push the songs on the record along.” From playing small house shows to being on the same bill as Against Me!, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Murder By Death and Dogs On Acid, the band has evolved. Little said the group has undergone major lineup changes as well as changes in sound—each record evolving with time. “Our setup has evolved over time,” Little said. “Occasionally, we play house shows, which are a little more unconventional. It’s an incredibly rewarding thing to [get to play music]. At the same time, there are constant challenges. On one hand, it’s nice to play
with different lineups, but that can also be a real challenge to figure that out.” While Little is soft-spoken, it might be because he is constantly thinking and creating, maybe even dreaming. He said he has “always had dreams about how cool it would be to invest time and record [music]” when he was younger. Experimenting in
the studio with different instruments and sounds is what sets Saintseneca apart, always searching for new sounds. One thing Little brought full circle was how being on tour, playing these dreamlike songs, brings about a certain energy between the band and the fans.
exciting, super fulfilling, and sharing that with people when you feel that energy is reciprocated in some way is gratifying. Those are the same existential moments where you go, ‘What am I doing? What is this?’ That can be hard. It goes both ways.”
“One of the most difficult, but most rewarding things [about being in a band] is going on tour,” Little said. “It’s super
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H O M E Los Angeles, CA N O W J A M M I N G Feeling Electric C U R R E N T LY Just finished up a tour with R5
AFTER SEVERAL YEARS, REVISITING AN OLD PROJECT MAY SEEM VERY UNLIKELY. BUT SOMETIMES, THE INTERRUPTION CAN BE JUST THE INSPIRATION NECESSARY TO MAKE SOMETHING AMAZING. This is especially the case for Parade of Lights. The L.A. based band began in 2006 under a different name with Ryan Daly, Anthony Improgo and Randy Shulte, but had to go on hiatus after frontman Daly dislocated his knee during a show. While being stuck in a holding pattern so he could heal, they all individually took touring gigs and didn’t start working together as a group until Daly and Improgo ran into each other in Australia, reconnected with Shulte and recruited their newest member Michelle Ashley. By early 2013, they were on a roll as Parade of Lights and have shown no signs of slowing down. Currently, they have an EP (Golden) and a debut full length (Feeling Electric) under their belt, but Parade of Lights initially got some immediate attention with the first single “We’re The Kids.” The single was picked up by Alt-Nation, Sirius XM and ultimately lead to their signing with Astralwerks. “It started getting played and all the labels, of course, they hear ‘radio,’ and they all come running. It’s sort of one of those things that we had the options with a few labels and we ended up signing with Astralwerks because they’re awesome and they have a great track record,” Daly shared. “It’s just kind of crazy how it happened.” Beyond radio airplay, they have seen lots of luck with their songs and TV placement and have gained quite a following that way. The title track from their full-length Feeling Electric was featured on FIFA 2016 and their song “Golden” has been heard on tons of ad campaigns and television shows from Bose and Mazda to the Super Bowl and the Olympics.
“It never trips me out that hard,” Daly admitted. “But I remember seeing it in a couple commercials. I saw it on the Olympics trailer and that was pretty awesome. “Golden” was on the Sochi Olympics and that was definitely one where I was like, ‘Oh shit, this is awesome.’” On top of getting in front of a vast audience on TV, the band has spent the last month playing for a new type of audience while on tour with R5. They’ve played with artists like Awolnation, X Ambassadors, Imagine Dragons and others, and this tour is another good run to add to the books. “It’s definitely different than any tour we’ve done because the audience is a lot younger, which is cool, it’s just sort of new territory for us.” Daly said. “People seem to be responsive and people like us, [so] it’s been going well.” Last year, Parade of Lights released Feeling Electric after spending several months working on it in Nashville, Tennessee. Despite being in Music City, the band chose the location simply due to proximity of the festivals they had booked like Bonaroo, Summerfest and Firefly, but it was overall a good experience. They rented a condo and a studio and worked tirelessly on a record that has been very well received. Daly and Improgo wrote and self-produced the album just as they do with every aspect of what it takes to be Parade of Lights. It’s not that the band has any reservations when it comes to working with other people; it just hasn’t been a necessity thus far. Improgo takes care of the graphic design and visual aspects of the band while Daly takes photos for those things, and like with their full-length, they write and produce everything on their own. But this work ethic is simply a matter of staying true to their vision and getting that point across to listeners. “It’s all built into the creative vision behind to project itself. When we do everything, it allows us to transfer a more cohesive vision to the listener or just any person who has any interest in our band at all,” Daly said. “We never really needed to work with anyone, and when we have, we weren’t as excited about it as we were when we were on our own.” One can only guess that Parade of Lights will continue this trend with their upcoming work. After just finishing tour with R5, their only immediate plans are to begin working on another record. “We’re going to start demoing and get ideas together and stuff and see where that takes us,” Daly said. “That’s pretty much it for now, focusing on material and hopefully people care about it.” PHOTOS: Cara Bahniuk INTERVIEW & STORY: Jennifer Boylen 38 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
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H O M E Washington, DC N O W J A M M I N G “ Hollywood” C U R R E N T LY On a national tour and recording their upcoming live album
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LOSING YOUR LABEL AND HAVING
to keep going in your music career on your own sounds like a bad day for any band, right? For pop rock trio Jukebox The Ghost, this was not the case. When the band became newly independent earlier this year, they saw what most would see as a setback, as an opportunity. The band had previously been signed to Cherrytree Records along with the likes of Ellie Goulding and Sting. After signing with the label just over a year ago, the band now finds themselves on their own. “Through sort of business and inter-label politics, the record label we were on, essentially their contract was canceled, so all the bands got dropped or absorbed. It was unexpected but it was not for musical or personal reasons,” vocalist and pianist Ben Thornewill explained. But the band, also featuring guitarist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin, are no worse for the wear and have a lot of faith in themselves and their music with or without a label. “We’ve always been working on our own and working with a label or whomever it is that we happened to be partnered with,” Thornewill expressed. “We’ll just continue doing what we do. It actually doesn’t change much on our part.” Shortly after becoming independent, the band launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation and distribution of their first live record. The campaign garnered a lot of buzz amongst Jukebox The Ghost’s dedicated fans. Ultimately, the band more than tripled their $10,000 goal by earning $36,882. Although the Kickstarter campaign proved successful for the group, the band had some reservations going into it and made sure to plan it out in a way that worked best for them. “My only hesitation was sort of the stigma with asking for money, which I’m not comfortable with,” Thornewill admitted. “We could have done it on our own, but we thought it was better to get people excited and to raise awareness about it. [Kickstarter] was sort of the best mechanism for doing that.” The fans went above and beyond the call of duty for Jukebox The Ghost, showing their love and support in a way that the band didn’t quite expect. “Our fans really rallied and were there. It’s really encouraging to see, in that way, the support of fans. We’ve been on tour and talked to them, and everyone that’s contributed has been excited to have been part of it. It’s a really cool feeling. It’s neat to have our fans involved beyond just coming to the shows and saying ‘Hi’,” Thornewill expressed, gratefully.
Jukebox The Ghost find they are at the top of their game when they are performing live. While they love creating music, getting to perform it is something even more special to them. Instead of creating another LP, the band felt that a live record was a fitting step to take next. “A new album or LP is a different amount of work… people have been asking for a live record forever from us, and it just seemed like a natural opportunity,” Thornewill explained. With their Kickstarter success, the band will be able make their vision a reality. The new live album will feature recordings from their current tour and will showcase an essential side of the band’s identity as musicians. “I think there’s a rawness and a vulnerability and an excitement to a live show. It’s what we’ve always been best at, and our ‘record records’ have been sort of an attempt to mimic in an enhanced way of what we’re doing live,” Thornewill described. And it’s the live setting where Jukebox The Ghost has really thrived as a band for over a decade. Building a following over time and gaining a reputation as an act not to be missed. “Performing, it’s the other half of writing a song. You write a song, you pour your heart into it, you record it and then the joy of getting to take it out into the world and perform it for people and share it with people is really unrivaled,” Thornewill said. After all is said and done, despite their fearlessness, the band does hope to eventually find a new label and to create more new music. While the band has no problem with striking out on their own, they’re also not against finding an added support system for their music. “For us, it helps us to have that infrastructure and the people to work with,” Thornewill explained. “Just having more people working on [an album] and heralding the band and championing the album, the more likely it is to succeed, so we’re definitely looking for opportunities.” The band emits a sense of self-reliance and determination that is more than refreshing. Despite the ups and downs of working in an ever changing industry that can either play to your benefit or leave you in the dust, Jukebox The Ghost keep moving forward with enthusiasm and passion. “At any given point we’re always thinking, ‘Do we want to keep doing this?’ and so far the answers always been ‘yes’.” PHOTOS: Sam Polonsky INTERVIEW & STORY: Annette Hansen
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IT’S 3AM. TIME’S UP, BETTER GET HOME AND GET SOME REST. TOMORROW’S ANOTHER BIG DAY. Ben Ruttner, moonlighting for the night as alter ego, DJ B-Roc, trudges to the warehouse exit, stepping over some misplaced bottles and avoiding the couple still making out in the corner. He grabs a ride home and makes it to his bed. After indulging in a few hours of pure, uninterrupted rest, he gets ready for another big day in the studio. B-Roc arrives to the studio early the next morning with his partner in crime and better half, James “JPatt” Patterson to begin banging out new tunes. A duo based on the juxtaposition of give and take & different, yet complementing styles, B-Roc and Patterson discuss and fiddle with each track, beat and vocal sample until both of them are satisfied, exhausted, or sometimes both. JPatt’s knowledge and the ability to play any instrument put in front of him drives him to splash a little bit of everything into the mix—violins, pianos, drums samples, you name it. While on the other hand, B-Roc is a master of production. Subtleties, technique and quality drive the abilities of B-Roc, but the two men together is where success shines. The Knocks have created a brand unlike any other, and it lies within the DNA of their tracks. Masters of melodies and deities of dance, the Knocks are simply doing what they know best: That for their identity and brand to flourish, collaboration is major key. Not just any artist or group will do though. For the Knocks, talent must intersect with passion, and the duo’s grassroots remixes of Walk The Moon, Carly Rae Jepsen, X-Ambassadors & countless others reflect that thinking, for the group aligns itself with those who have heart, potential and growth. The Knocks and their listeners aren’t the only one tracks the pair’s success though. Recently, B-Roc and JPatt inked a deal with the legendary Scooter Braun. A power-player in the industry, Braun is expected to help the production duo to reach new heights and establish them as a dominant force in the dance & electronic genre. “We’ve never worked with a major company like this before, and signing with Scooter was really organic,” B-Roc explained. “We did a bootleg remix of a Carly Rae Jepsen track, “All That” and got an unexpected response when we put it up online. Carly eventually put it up on her own Twitter, one thing led to another and her team reached out to us about cutting an official remix of the track and putting it on Spotify.” “Before the remix though, we had cut a track with Martina from Dragonette and felt that this song was made for Carly. We ended up pitching the track to her team, they loved it and found out we had recently moved on from our previous manager and ultimately we ended up signing with Scooter’s team,” he added. 46 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET
Braun’s move to add the Knocks to his brand’s roster helps bring their music to the forefront of the industry. Known for cross-collaboration with his clients such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber, the signing suggests that Braun sees an unfathomable amount of potential between the producers and plans to use their complementing talents and collaborating abilities to pair them with some of the world’s hottest artists and acts. While the pair has taken some time to rejoice in the signing, they haven’t stopped the laser focus just yet. Instead, the DJs have been dialed in the past two weeks more than ever in the wake of their upcoming album, 55. Commercially friendly and universally themed, the Knocks just want to make the world aware of their existence and have some big plans to make it work. “For awhile, we were in a bad label situation,” B-Roc admitted. “We signed to Interscope way too early in our career, and we didn’t exactly [know] what we wanted to do with our music. They wanted us to get songs ready for radio and we were still figuring out whom exactly the Knocks were. We were primarily remixers & producers turned artists all of the sudden and we didn’t know what we were doing.” “During the time we were supposed to be writing for the record, we kept remixing, touring and finding our identity until we had this serendipitous situation where we ended up being relieved of our duties from the label, which worked out for both parties,” B-Roc added. In the aftermath of the label departure, the Knocks released their single, “Classic,” a club banger that has attracted features from artists such as Powers and Fetty Wap. The track’s release sparked something in the duo, a calling and a sense of clarity. For the first time, direction was inspired, and the pair believed that they finally found the direction of their project. “Identity takes time, and we took our time,” B-Roc said. “We’ve been around for a while doing remixes, but this is the first statement as artists and our first real body of work. Old fans are going to like it because if feels like a natural progression, and a bunch of new doors are going to open up to new fans who have never heard of us.” The Knock’s new record is out now, and while it will be the band’s first original body of work, the pair won’t turn their backs on what helped bring them to this point— collaboration. Regardless of collaborations or not, the duo’s debut album will be one thing above all else— the art of the Knocks. PHOTOS: Courtney Coles INTERVIEW & STORY: Nick Yacovazzi
H O M E New York, New York N O W J A M M I N G “Love Me Like That (ft. Carly Rae Jepsen)” C U R R E N T LY Just released their debut album, 55 HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 47
“Identity takes time, and we took our time”
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H O M E Alpine, California N O W J A M M I N G “Dissolve” C U R R E N T LY On a US tour with Silverstein and Emarosa
IT’S BEEN SAID TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT BANDS EVOLVE WITH TIME. THROUGHOUT THE FOUR YEARS OF BEING AS AN OCEAN’S CAREER, IT’S OBVIOUS THAT’S BEEN STEADILY OCCURRING MUSICALLY, AS WELL AS INTERNALLY. At this moment in time, the guys announced their signing to Equal Vision Records and released their new song, “Dissolve.” The song features vocalist Joel Quartuccio with a more reflective stance in the verses as guitarist and vocalist Michael McGough sings the hook, “I wear my heart on my sleeve, so you can watch it bleed.” The new song heads toward a more alternative route with the chorus and McGough’s vocals almost giving it a partial pop spin. A lot has changed throughout the years for the guys, including original guitarist Tyler Ross and bassist Ralph Sica. Except there has always been one important constant attached to Being As An Ocean— Quartuccio’s lyrical vision. “It was an escape,” the 24-year-old says about the band’s music over the phone in early February, just several weeks before they released “Dissolve” and announced their partnership with Equal Vision Records. He’s hanging out in his hometown of San Diego. During the time leading up to the interview, he was helping a close friend type up a memoir, as his band were in their off-time gearing up to embark on a U.S. tour with Silverstein and Emarosa in the next several weeks and a headline tour right after. And if he wasn’t working on those two things, he was spending time working on his side project Drown Me, his work-in-progress doom band alongside his friends Chris Darton and Michael Backer, which Quartuccio says he, “needed as that outlet for something that wasn’t so personal to me, something that wasn’t songs about me or the things I actually hold as virtues in my life.” Everyone else is staying busy as well. McGough has been working on his side project Heart Of Gold, an 80’s pop redux with a sun, sand and palm trees vibe, and Ross on his newest band as well. That escape Quartuccio is referring to stems from his 11-year-old self trying to find his identity, as he was going through his parents divorce during that age. And he found it watching live music. “Seeing these people as an 11-year-old on stage and watching them I was dumbfounded at the different things it takes to get up there to do it, so I kind of fell in love with the idea,” he continues.
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His favorite place to go growing up in San Diego was a venue called Ground Zero, just five miles down the street from his house. While the venue has been closed for about 10 years now, the vocalist found himself there anytime something was going on, including watching hardcore, metal or anything that could get him into the venue for $5.
‘Yeah, let’s do this, you’re a member’ because we didn’t want him to record something awesome and have him go back and say, ‘Hey, even though I’ve done this I don’t know if I can carry on or if this is what I want to do.’ It was an aligning of the stars kind of thing to where he was full board ready to go so that was a huge asset.”
It was also at Ground Zero where he met and solidified relationships with people that would eventually become his band members in Being As An Ocean.
The added drumming element of Denis, who, Quartuccio says, “brought something really interesting in the rhythm we had not had before, a different kind of energy behind the drums that was not quite there yet,” progressed the band even further, on both Perish and their third album, Being As An Ocean.
“[Ground Zero] was a huge part of our ethos,” Quartuccio says. “Even to this day when we listen to something that reminds us of some show we saw there or if a band has a sound that is really like a throwback to early 2000s metal hardcore, we turn to each other and go, ‘Ground Zero’ [Laughs.].” When the musician turned 13, he formed a band called The Betrayal with Sica, Ross, and the band’s original drummer, Shad Hamawe. After about five years passed, the guys grew up and entered the adult music world. “We were just looking around at each other trying to be honest with ourselves and say, ‘Is this the same band we want to be doing in five years? Is this something we want to explore and progress in for five years?’ and the answer was no,” he says. “We kind of collected our thoughts and the sound of Being As An Ocean, no matter how exploratory or experimental it was for us, because it was what we all wanted. Those collected thoughts turned into Being As An Ocean’s debut album, Dear G-d… in 2012, which Quartuccio says was “knowing we wanted to do something different, but didn’t know quite how to communicate it, so we did what felt right and what sounded good to us and just rolled with it.” The 11-song album is full of aggression mixed with Quartuccio’s screaming vocal ability, as well as his singing voice. The post-hardcore record showcased what fans would quickly catch on to as “Being As An Ocean”. Fast-forward to 2013; Connor Denis replaced Hamawe on drums, and the band recruited guitarist and clean vocalist McGough, who progressed Being As An Ocean’s career instantly with his work on their second album, How We Both Wondrously Perish. McGough’s clean vocal ability gave the band a brand new soul, pop element that wasn’t available to them on the first record. “Michael brings a touch of diversity and dynamism with his singing and, besides the fact that he has a voice of an angel, he is a phenomenal guitar player so he was kind of the all-around package,” Quartuccio says. “With him kind of coming into the band, it took us months to really go,
While Quartuccio has always been known for writing about personal matters on previous albums, that shifted perspective with their self-titled release. The album takes the listener through three different stories with a total of 10 songs. The first story, told through the first several songs on the album, is about a close friend of the vocalist who dealt with extreme physical and mental abuse from his father, and was able to come out at the end to actually forgive his father during the time before he passed away. “It was an extremely restorative moment for him. He had a beautiful experience with his father, and I thought that story was worth telling at a time where forgiveness isn’t always the highest health currency in western culture and is something that is severely lacking in our society, so I thought it was important to talk about,” the vocalist explains. Another story includes his own historical fiction with a bit of sympathy for the devil, concerning the biblical story of Judas and trying to relate to the human side of Judas. The third story deals with a domestic matter about someone who killed their three-year-old daughter in blind rage. “It still scares me to contemplate some of things that story brings to mind, and I think it’s important for people to [recognize] the evil and the darkness of this world and acknowledge that there is evil and darkness in each and every one of us, but knowing there are things in this world we can do to combat the darkness we might inflict upon the world,” Quartuccio says. “I truly believe everyone has a bigger capacity toward good. I believe that people are inherently good and to deal with something so dark it’s our responsibility to recognize the potential for them and to combat them when they do happen or prevent them before they do.” And while the vocalist pours out his thoughts time after time on each record, many people seem to interpret Being As An Ocean as a Christian band, when that’s not the case HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 55
“I wake up every day and look back on everything we’ve done and everything we plan to do and am still completely dumbfounded I get to go out and do this as work…”
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at all. Yeah, he’s a Christian and sometimes he does sing about God, but that shouldn’t automatically place them in the religious genre of music. He says many artists will have “God” or “Lord” in their lyrics, but really they’re just people, and God just happens to be a part of their reality. “When it comes down to writing everyone has been very gracious with me and no one has ever said, ‘No, this just isn’t good’ or ‘We don’t want to write about this,’” Quartuccio says. “The beautiful thing about my band is we do not fight. I’m sure there are plenty of people that would like to say that same thing about their band, but I can say it with confidence. Not everyone believes the way I do in the band [about God] and they’re okay with it because it’s just something to talk about. If you don’t believe the same thing, that’s where conversation happens, that’s when you learn new things about each other and find that we can hold different beliefs and still be okay, still function and not lose our identity as people.” He writes down all of his lyrics in a tiny black poetry book. The size of the book actually helps in keeping his lyrics short and concise, but sometimes he finds it extremely emotional when putting the words on paper. “That is the biggest catharsis I’ve ever experienced is writing something that is emotionally sensitive to myself so much so that when I had written it I might have even cried over it or have been really scared to have it in there and just left it and say, ‘I’ll just deal with it when I have to scream it.’ I think that’s been the part that I’ve tried my very hardest to be honest with myself and to deal with my own shit,” he says. Whether it’s the time and dedication that has gotten Being As An Ocean to where they stand right now or just the fact they keep evolving musically and internally, they seem to stay original. Either way, they’re going to release new music soon, are on a new label and have a new drummer. It’s the start of a new era for the band, and if their new song, “Dissolve,” is any indication of what the next album is going to consist of, then spend some time listening to what they’re saying and the musical direction they’re heading in because Being As An Ocean is about to be one of the most important bands in the scene. And the humbleness and vision behind Quartuccio’s voice over the phone only backs that up. “I just take time to decompress and think about how honestly grateful I am to be able to do all of this stuff,” he says at the end of the hour-long phone call. “We get to take deep breaths and go, ‘Wow, I can’t believe we’re here.’ I wake up every day and look back on everything we’ve done and everything we plan to do and am still completely dumbfounded I get to go out and do this as work to live my passion. If I could go back and tell my 11-year-old self standing at those shows [at Ground Zero] and whispered in his ear, ‘Hey, you’re going to be up there for your job one day and see the world because of the thoughts you’re having right now,’ I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s a beautiful thing to reminisce about something to keep me encouraged, that with enough perseverance and dedication you can do anything. You could have a great idea, but if you don’t put any time to water it and make sure it’s growing right, it’s not going to end up being anything. I’m eternally grateful not only how this all turned out, but the people that life threw in the way to move it along.” PHOTOS: Ashley Osborn INTERVIEW & STORY: Geoff Burns
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TOUR ROUND UP
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PHOTO: Taylor Rambo
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PHOTO: Taylor Rambo
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PHOTO: Sam Polonsky
PHOTO: Charlie Martel
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PHOTO: Charlie Martel
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Tonight Alive ALBUM
SOUNDS LIKE Set It Off Paramore All Time Low RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Waves” “Drive” “We Are”
To Be Free
How Does It Feel?
Power of One
BUY IT ON March 4th, 2016
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The Australian five-piece of Tonight Alive have parted ways with their notable guitar heavy pop-punk sound for a synth driven electro-rock on their newest album, Limitless. Fans will be elated for more as the first track, “To Be Free,” opens with a robotic rendition of lead singer Jenna McDougall’s voice paired with electronic drums and heavy keyboards. The second track, “Oxygen,” and following track, “Human Interaction,” showcase the band’s conglomeration of a new sound that’s part rock, part electro and part synth, but is only short lived and thrown off by the pop-laced single “Drive,” which comes in with sweet guitar riffs, a fun tambourine and drum beat. Fans of Tonight Alive’s heavier, punk sound will be hooked with the heavy guitars and crashing drums on “How Does It Feel?.” Limitless not only showcases a new sound for the Sydney natives, but also McDougall’s impeccable vocal growth, notably on the ballad “Waves,” where she strikes cords, making allusions to love being like “caught up in [a] riptide.” McDougall’s vocals also make an impression on the power-rock anthem “Everywhere” as well as the fun indie-pop driven “We Are,” where anthemic lyrics of changing the future come roaring to life (They’re not gonna change the world/We are/No, they’re not gonna save the world/We Are). Overall, Limitless is an exceptional step for Tonight Alive. Themes of change, inspiration and taking the reigns on life are prevalent throughout— not only lyrically but also musically. McDougall’s powerhouse vocals have only become stronger, making every motif she sings, seem truly limitless to boundaries. REVIEW: Ally Fisher
A r t i s t Into It. Over It.
A l b u m Standards When Into It. Over It. mastermind Evan Weiss decided to create the follow-up to 2013’s Intersections, he knew he wanted to produce something authentic, so he set off for solitude and recorded on all analog equipment. The result of that is the quirky and raw Standards. The album neatly drifts between punchy and energetic tracks like “Closing Argument” and “No EQ” to more soft and subtle tracks like the acoustic “Old Lace & Ivory” and the hazy “Anesthetic.” What’s most interesting about this album, though, is its ability to be flawed and unclean, while still being melodic and intriguing. Sometimes the album’s more stripped down and raw nature makes tracks like “Adult Contempt” feel chaotic and messy, yet it adds a certain air of charm to songs like the haunting “Your Lasting Image.” Standards is not the kind of album that wins you over with its crisp production, but rather it’s bare-bones, genuine tunes. r e c o m m e n d e d t r a c k s “No EQ” & “Old Lace & Ivory” r e v i e w Annette Hansen
A r t i s t Miike Snow A l b u m iii Swedish indie pop band Miike Snow’s third full-length album, iii, oozes with themes of love, jealousy, deception, loneliness and hopeful recovery. Opener, “My Trigger,” is a seductive, punchy number leading into the catchiest, and perhaps best, 10 minutes of the record. An unexpected collaboration presents itself in “For U” featuring Charli XCX’s lullaby-like vocals with dissonant and choppy riffs. The synth on several tracks resembles a robotic tone, especially in “I Feel The Weight,” which follows along the sappier, more desperate theme of love. The lack of natural vocals taints this track, and it loses much of its potential. The listener can feel the weight of the synth, making it sound more bruised than brave. “Over And Over” resembles Smashing Pumpkins orMarilyn Manson with Andrew Wyatt’s ghastly, low tone. Each track has been strategically placed in an order that tells a story. The album weaves through the dramatic twists and turns relationships often take, beginning with a lusty relationship in “My Trigger,” to jealousy in “Genghis Khan” and a breakup in “I Feel The Weight.” The closing track, “Longshot (7 Nights),” is a whimsical finale to the melodramatic record by Wyatt and Bloodshy & Avant, who carefully construct ten diverting tracks. r e c o m m e n d e d t r a c k s “The Heart Of Me” & “Lonely Life” r e v i e w Haley Black
A r t i s t Strangers You Know A l b u m Loosen Up The Leash Sometimes it’s hard to believe the music bands create for their debut release. California duo Strangers You Know released some killer songs for their EP, Loosen Up The Leash. I’m a huge proponent for banger first tracks, and “Tied” is the best first track I’ve heard in a long time. It encompasses the energy and beat that causes a listener to continue on instead of giving up. I’m also a giant supporter of music that flows effortlessly from the first track to the last. Unfortunately, this EP didn’t do that for me. What started with a killer song was turned around quick by the second track, “Believe In Me,” and third track “Middle.” While these songs are good, they seemed out of place compared to the others, almost as if they were a different genre completely. Overall, this duo is on to something good, and this was a great debut EP. r e c o m m e n d e d t r a c k s “Tied” & “Used” r e v i e w Jenn Stookey
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