Artist on the Rise: Greenjeans

Greenjeans (@greenjeansband) is a decade-old Columbus, OH-based indie rock outfit who just missed out on this millennium’s garage rock invasion. These lads deserve to be stars based on what they have recorded thus far and it is only a matter of time before they break through and get a chance to shine.

The most recent lineup consists of singer/guitarist (and songwriter) Dave Durham, drummer Eric Slaback, guitarist Marko Skugor, keyboardist Johnny Riddle, and bassist Colin Giacalone. An earlier lineup recorded the 2014 album Cave Demos, which encompasses the raw, gritty style brought to the alternative radio stations for a time by The Strokes, Jet, among others. The mixing is unpolished, making it even more of a garage rock masterpiece. One should not mind if this record becomes re-mastered one day once the band gets a record deal, just so long as the suits do not tinker with Durham’s work too much.

Cave Demos features the eerie “Lullaby”, which is the album’s shortest tune and would be brilliant at the end of a horror film. “Something to Do” is one of the tracks that would be amazing on alternative rock radio back in the early 2000s and it would be great on today’s radio. “Sign of the Times” is the track that is the most Strokes-esque with Durham giving Julian Casablancas a run for his money. Other notable throwbacks from this record are “Sleezeball” and “Weirdos (Dumb & In Love)” The industry is cyclical, therefore maybe there is hope for Greenjeans to make the charts one day along with the resurgences of The Hives, The Datsuns, and the like.

In March of this year, Greenjeans released the new single “Vuvuzela” that is a departure from the group’s prior work. The track is more of a psychedelic surfer rock song that clocks in at over five minutes, which would warrant a radio edit version for it to make it to air. It, much like the Cave Demos tracks, is written and performed brilliantly. On Friday, October 20 the band will be gracing the stage in their hometown. Perhaps they will mix it up with some vintage and modern indie rock, but whatever they choose to play it should be an amazing night indie rock enthusiasts will want to be part of.

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Artist Showcase: Corina Corina

Oakland, California native Corina Corina (@CorinaCorina_) has demonstrated she’s a fierce player in today’s independent music scene. Having resided on the other coast in Brooklyn, NY, Corina is well on her way to garnering attention from the mainstream with her angelic, soulful voice and genuine songwriting. Having two full-length solo records under her belt in under half a decade along with an acoustic blues side project demonstrates Corina’s strong work ethic and dedication to building her brand with her musical talent being the driving force.

Corina Corina’s 2012 debut The Eargasm is a melting pot of pop, hip-hop, and R&B goodness mixed into an LP worthy of the paying public’s attention. A video was made for the first track ‘The Familiar’, which would fit right in on the I Heart Radio’s Top 40 playlists alongside offerings from the Iggy Azaleas and Demi Lovatos of the world. Corina Corina’s main focus musically is providing beautiful vocals on the album’s bevy of upbeat tracks that match the instrumentals like a glove. In addition to The Eargasm’s up tempo songs, she carries herself quite well on the record’s ballad ‘Royalty’. It is crystal clear Corina can write, produce, and perform across multiple genres and with this record in the right hands and heard by the right ears, she should have a career in the industry in some capacity for decades to come.

Co-produced by the highly regarded Willie Green, the album is riddled with tunes worthy of airplay on Top 40, hip-hop, and R&B stations. The key is these tunes have substance behind them, which cannot always be said for the major label offerings of today. ‘The Wrong Direction’ is a warning to females to avoid the pratfalls of the mainstream media’s images of women. ‘Baby Don’t Sell Yourself Short’ are words of wisdom as advised by Corina’s father, but the lesson is one that everyone can relate to. These two tracks along with the album’s first and last songs have the greatest potential of taking Corina over the hump from underground to the next breakout star. On the other hand, much like other underground artists, without major label support Corina has the creative control that other artists sometimes lose. Writing, producing, and recording the record sans corporate backing led to a fantastic debut effort that indie music lovers need an earshot of.

Corina Corina’s sophomore effort, The Free Way, dropped last year and was bankrolled by the public through an Indiegogo campaign. Much like her debut album, Corina and Willie Green served as Executive Producers maintaining that creative control and authenticity that can be lost with major label involvement. Although many of the record’s tracks have potential for airplay at Top 40 and R&B stations, The Free Way’s standouts are ‘When I Say’, ‘Time’, and ‘Last Night’. There is something for everyone on this album and casual fans of pop and R&B will not be disappointed.

Consumers can expect smooth collaborations, tight hip-hop beats combined with on-point raps, upbeat tunes to get dancers in the mood to move, and lyrics from the heart and mind that have a purpose. Combine these elements with Corina’s angelic vocals and pop music lovers will get something that holds up to the mainstream offerings of Taylor Swift and Charli XCX. Give independent music lovers credit as their support in making this record a reality contributed to the ability of Corina and Green to create the kind of record they wanted to. This cohesive duo gave it the basics to make it professional, yet not overproduce it nor include soulless, hollow songs just to fill quotas.

Corina Corina continues to tour all over the country in support of her two brilliant works, however, she is also involved in the two-piece act Max Caddy. In fact, the final tune on The Eargasm titled ‘Me and Those Dreaming Eyes of Mine’ is a Max Caddy song included as a bonus track. Do not let this artist’s pierced and tattooed exterior fool you. Corina has come to play as a pop, hip-hop, and R&B artist and with the ability to write and produce material it makes her a valuable asset in an industry that is not always known as female-friendly. Being multifaceted and having the results to back it up gives Corina leverage to do things on her terms, which is a win for music, artists, and fans alike.

*Photo by Gubi Chiriboga and courtesy of corina-corina.com.

Critique: Kid Runner’s Wake Up Now

Kid Runner (@kidrunnerband) sent out a wake-up call to the music world, so to speak, in the form of their second EP Wake Up Now. Dropped this past October, the unsigned Columbus, OH quintet have delivered a series of tracks that stand up in quality to anything from Passion Pit, OK Go, Walk The Moon, and Fun., who perform a similar routine. If they had the same resources available to them those bands have, Kid Runner would hold their own on late night TV shows as well as the Alternative and Top 40 charts.

The opening track, which happens to be the title track, is disappointing in that it is relatively short but is a nice instrumental intro nonetheless in the same vein of The xx. ‘Thinking Out Loud’ is a would-be hit with fans of Sheppard with strong male and female vocals on display. According to their Soundcloud page, it is the EP’s second most clicked track behind ‘Move’. Speaking of which, ‘Move’ is the track that has earned the group local success as a winner of Radio U’s daily ‘Battle of the Buzz’ competition. Furthermore, the song is also licensed for use on MLB Network. The band also released a video for ‘Move’ that is equally as relevant as major label artists’ videos using a fraction of those groups’ budgets. These two tunes on their own ought to be enough to garner Kid Runner the industry-wide attention they are due.

Wake Up Now has three more tracks that have their own flavor and showcase the five-piece’s creativity and talent. ‘Breaking Away’ is a tune in which the lyrics imply it is a song about destorying figurative shackles and escaping a toxic situation and/or person. It is the EP’s most serious song and one that proves Kid Runner’s wide songwriting range. Even hair metal bands churned out the occasional ballad and life commentary with favorable results. ‘Killin’ Me Now’ is pop brilliance from start to finish with the incorporation of keyboardist Frances Literski’s backing vocals to compliment the strong drum and keyboard work. Litterski’s dove-like vocals are also included in “Higher”, the record’s most dance club-friendly tune.

Alt-pop music lovers willing to take approximately 30 minutes to check out Wake Up Now will experience proof Kid Runner is going places figuratively. Literally, the group is expanding their horizons outside of their local confines opening for Civil Twilight in Pittsburgh on May 28 and playing at Cincinnati’s Burnbury Music Festival on June 5. Those gigs are followed by a return to Columbus on September 5 for the Fashion Meets Music Festival. Alternative and indie music’s true believers and supporters must not miss out on a chance to hear Wake Up Now in addition to their self-titled EP. If this band has the success they have demonstrated they deserve, the alternative and pop rock genres are in great shape for years and years to come.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

Artist To Watch: Chased By Giants

The Nashville quartet @chasedbygiants is quite atypical of the brand of music that comes out of Music City, USA. That does not discount the quality of what this band has put out thus far. The group is in the midst of recording their debut record, but have provided the general public a sweet taste of what to expect.

The foursome consists of guitarists/vocalists Joe Darkangelo and Kenny Rutschow, drummer Justin Bird, and bassist Joseph Falconberry. The group made their Facebook debut in May of 2013 and list some of their influences as Yellowcard, Paramore, and Relient K. Honestly, the band’s demo version of “Tonight” (which can be heard in the video above) is reminiscent of Box Car Racer and Sum 41, which is a good thing.

Based on the raw version of “Tonight”, if Chased By Giants stick to recording songs like that track, their debut record should receive rave reviews. This month, they have a couple of live events for music fans to see them in action (Sat. 4/19 and Sat. 4/26 in Mt. Juliet, TN). People in that area are going to be very lucky to have a chance to check out this group on a live stage. Their demo is a strong sign that they are going to rock it on the live stage and their first album, when it drops, should not disappoint.

Review of Reva’s newest single “Landslide”

Liverpool-based four-piece band Reva (@wearereva) have scored with their most recent masterpiece “Landslide”. This is a tune reminiscent of a time when alternative music charts contained tracks from names like Kula Shaker, Superdrag, and Manbreak. Band members Lewis Cromby, Jake Larsen, Luke Lawler, and David Duff have captured the classic alternative Brit-pop to the letter on “Landslide” The track’s harmony and arrangement are reminiscent of what you might hear on songs from other bands Oasis and Vertical Horizon. That kind of familiarity can only be a good thing as Reva continues to travel the road to success.

The song rocks musically, of course, but on “Landslide” the vocals are spot on. Unfortunately, the band is unsigned so this gem may not have the number of listeners it deserves. There is no doubt Reva will do its best to ensure the masses get to hear their music.  They have built a name for themselves as a local band and are ready to take the entire homeland by storm. One of these days, the hard work will pay off and “Landslide” could find itself as a major hit on worldwide Alternative charts soon once Reva has inked a deal. This single is a mere taste of what this quartet has to offer and it is in one’s best interest to check out all of their material to make an informed decision.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page.

Review of Mount Carmel, Nick Tolford & Company, Bummers, and Mama at Woodland’s Tavern – Columbus, OH (3/28/14)

This past Friday night, a splendid four hours of jams were produced by four brilliant local music acts. They all brought a little something different to the table and wholeheartedly delivered sets people not in attendance will regret not witnessing.  After each performance, it is safe to say that the central Ohio music scene is back on track and should be in good hands for years to come.

 

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The quartet named Mama was first up and played to a dozen plus early birds, but laid it all on the stage like they were performing in front of thousands at the original Woodstock. The group might have a modern look, but their sound is totally vintage and it was performed flawlessly. Their female drummer banged that kit like crazy and one could tell she was totally feeling the vibe of her bandmates.  The lead singer, whose mustache gave off a Freddie Mercury look, had a voice reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Although the band did not have a record for sale at the gig, had there been one can surely bet that word of mouth would have driven sales of said record. Once a CD from this four-piece is available, not getting an earshot of it is a dire mistake.

 

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Psychedelic surfer rockers Bummers (@bummersmusic) were second on the bill and the fashionably late Woodlands crowd started to file in anticipating an energetic set from this four-man act. This group of fun-loving jammers are coming off performances at SXSW where they were certain to entertain and turn some heads.  They certainly did their share of head turning of the crowd and then some.  The group implied although their album is complete, it will be some time before the masses can get an earful of it.  Bummers are very smart in allowing a delayed gratification for their fans to help generate and maintain the buzz surrounding their music. Once the record is out later this year, it is sure to be a local bestseller. If they rocked Austin the way the rocked Woodlands, there is little doubt a label deal is imminent.

 

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Sextet Nick Tolford & Co. (@TolfordAndCo) were up next on the list and their sound was reminiscent of critically acclaimed Josh Dodes and Fitz & The Tantrums. Honestly, Tolford was more over with the crowd than the headliner, as evident of his constant interaction with them. Everyone on stage seemed to have a great time putting on a performance for the audience and were handsomely rewarded for it.  Tolford’s backup singers were fantabulous in their style as well as with their pipes. It was great seeing Leslie Jankowski, ex-frontwoman of Frostiva and Behind You With Knives, back on stage.  She seemed genuinely happy to entertain again and here is hoping that although she keeps working with this band, perhaps she will strap on a guitar one more time as leader of her own group.

 

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The band everyone came to see, Mount Carmel (@mountcarmelswag), was fascinating from beginning to end of their set. Most of the material came from the trio’s new record, Get Pure, which was released that evening. The Brothers Reed and James McCain brought everything and the kitchen sink to their performance. They are described as a throwback to power rock with a blues influence.  After checking out some of their tracks from years gone by, Mount Carmel’s lead singer brought some heavier sounding vocals that heard on prior tracks.  Purchasers of Get Pure should expect a bluesy metal approach on this CD that is more fist pounding than previously released material.

This was a solid gig from the get-go and was totally worth the hype. It was probably the best $10.00 well spent at a local show in a long, long time.  Those who could not be in attendance ought to take some time to seek these artists out online for booking information, tracks, as well as upcoming events.  It is a show that may have caused a case of Tinnitus, but the experience was definitely one to be had.

 

 

 

Artist on the Rise: The Wet Darlings

@thewetdarlings are an American quartet who currently call Columbus, OH home. The band has been performing self-described ‘indie sludge pop’ for a half-decade. They have released some great music over the years, but from the looks of things this is the year things should take off for this down-to-earth foursome.

The Wet Darlings are comprised of guitar-playing brothers Bill and Joe Patterson, drummer Aaron Bishara, and vocalist/keyboardist/ring leader Jenny Lute. The track “Bicycle” consists of Pixies-esque rock by Bishara and the Pattersons combined with Lute’s alluring voice. Lute is on the list of strong Ohio frontwomen, including ex-Phantods singer Gretchen King, former Frostiva members Leslie Jankowski and Trinae Rose, and Vanity Theft’s Alicia Grodecki.

The band has done right by the hometown fans by playing in central Ohio every so often to make each performance in front of Columbusites meaningful. No matter what municipality one is in, there are some local bands who play too often and try too hard that they wear out their welcome real fast. Ultimately, those artists do not last very long as in a short time the music consumers have seen all there is to see, which may not have been much to begin with. The Wet Darlings are the polar opposite of this. They are a group that, no matter the size of the crowd or venue, give 100 percent effort onstage without coming across as overexposed. In the entertainment business, it is about leaving the audience wanting more. Also, for a group that is highly regarded around the city, they have high standards and put on a stellar performance the rare times they take the stage.

The group is currently recording a full-length record likely due out late this year or early next year. Furthermore, next month the band is heading out on the road for a couple of gigs in New York, the number one media market. Before they do, however, The Wet Darlings have one of their rare in-town performances on Saturday, April 12 with critically acclaimed trio Nick D’ & The Believers. Because they do not play often, indie music enthusiasts need to make a serious effort to attend one of these shows to have a brush with greatness. Please check out the song “Vampires” as featured in the video above to see what you are missing.

New Hollow Is The Future and The Future Looks Good

@NewHollowBand is a trio comprised of Mookie Clouse, Chad Blashford, and Evan West who have just inked a deal with Epic Records, the former label of Flickerstick, Michael Jackson, and Bliss 66. On their Facebook page, New Hollow mentions The Smiths, The Naked And Famous, and HAIM as some of their influences. On what should be a surefire Top 40 Pop and Alternative hit “She Ain’t You”, the group channels successful young-but-veteran band Lifehouse. “She Ain’t You” won the Breakthrough Song Of 2013 Award from Sirius XM’s The Pulse. Based on that song alone, the band should have an excellent 2014 with all new ears hearing their tunes.

New Hollow’s success started several years ago with three consecutive trips to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Sales Chart, all with minimal to no radio airplay. This goes to show the superb marketing the band has been fortunate to have. Now that the group has a deal with Epic, will this translate into full-length CD sales? Only time will tell. It is the one thing that has plagued young bands in years past. Those groups might have had a song or two that received some heavy play on the music video channels and the radio, but the tracks did not resonate with enough paying consumers and the group loses its contract. Sales, sales, and sales are the name of the game these days and these blokes know how to play it.

A sense of the pride about New Hollow is that this is considered a “local” band. Their hometown of New Albany is a Columbus suburb in central Ohio. There has been a bevy of great talent to come out of the area. Watershed, Willie Phoenix, Howlin’ Maggie, Frostiva, The Sun, and Sean Benjamin are just a handful that come to mind. In this day and age, these young men have the best chance to succeed with all the various means to make money. There was no YouTube and iTunes when some of these artists were making their way through the scene. Here’s to New Hollow’s success in the past, the present, and a very bright future based on what has been seen and heard thus far.

Can-Am Connection 2.0 Should Have A Giant Year

Big Little Lions (@BigLittleLions) are a duo made up of a native Canadian and an Ohioan and expectations are high in 2014. Helen Austin and Paul Otten have displayed a mere taste of what is to come in the next several months and it is pure radio gold. If record companies and Music Directors know what is good for them, they will strongly consider giving this tandem the spotlight they have earned.

For instance, the song “This Road With You” demonstrates the group’s ability to pull off a Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros vibe with significantly less personnel. This twosome’s folksy pop tune would fit right in with other Adult Top 40 acts such as Boy, Walk Off The Earth, Rusted Root, among others. One ought to really take notice of the song featured in the above video as “The Way Home” is a brilliant track that, with the right kind of promotion, has the legs to breakthrough as a Hot AC smash.

Big Little Lions are off to a great start with over 16,000 Twitter followers and a #1 ranking in Canada on ReverbNation. Look for their record Paper Cage featuring both masterpieces and then some. This team of Otten and Austin is bound for some huge things and listeners will be grateful for being part of the ride.

The British Invasion Continues in the Form of Woman’s Hour

Londoners Woman’s Hour (@womanshourband) is a quartet in their third year of existence looking to make an impact in 2014. The foursome of singer Fiona Jane, guitarist brother William, Nick on bass, and keyboardist Josh have busted their bums to present a unique brand of music. The band is wasting no time attempting to expand its brand as they are in the midst of an international tour that is surely going to increase their profile.

Track “To The End” is a beautiful piece of work that combines Fiona Jane’s sweet vocals with an electronic backdrop. It is some of the songs that can make up the soundtrack of anyone’s life. A YouTube user described the tune as, “A song like when you dive into the water and forget everything around you.” Another single, “Our Love Has No Rhythm” is an intimate tale of awkward desire, but its presentation is a motivation to express desire. The song featured in the above video has the most YouTube views of them all, however, once the full-length is released watch out for Woman’s Hour to make some noise on the Adult Rock and Hot AC charts.

Woman’s Hour is looking to make noise on the independent scene sooner versus later with their world tour. Besides shows in their native England, the group has played Paris and will hold gigs in New York, Los Angeles, as well as the famous SXSW event in Austin, Texas. Based on what the band has provided thus far, 2014 looks to be a breakout year for these four Brits.