Artist to Watch: The Shapers

Paris trio The Shapers (@theshapers) look to be in good shape for a major run in 2014. Guitarist/vocalist Anthony, drummer Benoit, and Raphael on bass keep the old school punk movement alive while placing their own flair on tunes inspired by Green Day, Rancid, and the like. In this day and age of emo, electronica, and poppy rock raiding the airwaves, The Shapers are exactly what mainstream radio need to bring a sense of diversity back to the music scene. Then again, what makes The Shapers’ music great is that the many of the punk genre’s artists, for the most part, are disinterested in playing the mainstream music games and politics.

The Shapers were founded in 2009 and three years later released the full-length Everybody Needs to Have a Dream. This is a record that critic Katie Burkhart holds in high regard by saying, “This 13-track album has the upbeat, hair down, riding in your convertible sound, and as for you fella’s, your mustaches are free to fly in the wind too.” With tunes like “Cherry Bomb”, “Girls I know”, and the track featured in the above video, this unsigned tandem could see themselves with a deal. That is, if record labels have the guts to go against the grain and buck current trends. Good music is hard to find sometimes and with a talented threesome like these guys, they are on the verge of something huge with the right resources available to them.

France is known for acts like The Rasmus, M83, Phoenix, and Daft Punk. It is safe to say The Shapers sound nothing like those acts. Standing out is in the spirit of punk rock and this group is doing its part by zagging when others are zigging. They are the #1 band in their genre in their native France, per ReverbNation. Catch up with the group online at Spotify, iTunes, and the like to find out this artist on the rise is all about.

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Artist on the Rise: Leila Licks

Swiss musician Leila Licks (@LeilaLicks) is the second-ranked artist in her region per her ReverbNation page. Obviously, this rocker is doing something right. She performs in the same vein as Melissa Auf der Maur and Amanda Palmer, however, Licks still manages to make herself seem distinct from those artists. She is someone that rock fans need to pay attention to over the next 10 months and beyond. Her haunting vocal delivery will leave listeners in a spine-tingling delight.

Leila Licks keeps her bio very short and to the point. She deems herself to be a singer, songwriter, artist, storyteller, producer, artist, and humanist. Furthermore, she goes on to state she loves music, art, life, and people. One can only hope that her love of the people will be reciprocated by music lovers checking out her music. Licks’ records can be purchased at online retailers such as CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon. Standout tracks aficionados should pay attention to are “No Truth”, “Sick of It All”, and the song featured in the video above.

Leila Licks is making a name for herself on social media with quips and words of wisdom featured online at Twitter and Facebook. It could do one some good not only to hear some tremendous tracks from this musical poet, but to obtain some thought-provoking and provocative statements on life itself. No matter whether it is in her native land, The States, or other parts of the universe Leila Licks is here and given what she has to offer the music scene, she is not going away anytime soon. Rock fans might as well relax, take a listen, and enjoy the ride.

Artist on the Rise: Andrew Ferris

Photo courtesy of the artist's Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of the artist’s Facebook page.

Austria resident Andrew Ferris (@iamandrewferris), not to be confused with Australian Andrew Farriss of INXS, is a musician who takes pride in doing things the right way: his way. Disenchanted with what major labels have been churning out, Ferris’ uplifting-yet-grounded style of indie pop is a sigh of relief from overproduced fare clogging up the airwaves. He is making a name for himself for his covers, but Ferris’ original work is pretty superb and stands on its own legs.

For instance, off of his full-length debut release Yellow Lorry, the opening track “Smile” demonstrates its worth as an Adult Top 40 radio hit. Other standout tracks include the very upbeat “Little Bird” and the folksy tune “The Fall of Man”. Ferris shows a wonderful range on the record with a little bit of cafe folk, country, and pop rolled into nine neat and easy-listening songs.

Andrew Ferris has created brilliant soundtrack-esque music on Yellow Lorry. Who knows what excellence his next full-length record will bring.  Merely describing the mastery of the CD does not do it justice.  It is encouraged to check out the music for oneself and find out exactly how great this up-and-coming singer-songwriter is and will be for years to come.

Sounds of Seattle Band a Strong Indicator of a Successful Future

Seattle’s Peace Mercutio (@peacemercutio) is a quartet that is on its way to big and bright things in 2014. The group originally formed in Milwaukee and made their way westward to the Grunge capital. 2011 was a very big year for the group as their full-length record Weather The Storm was released to digital retailers. Ever since, things have looked up for the band. They have received airplay on over 130 college radio stations and given their easy-on-the-ears sound, the trend should continue to mainstream alternative stations should the band secure a record deal. Honestly, they seem to be doing just fine without a contract, which gives Peace Mercutio the freedom to do things on their terms.

The group is about to go out on the road with popular Radio U artists The Classic Crime and Emery and the western U.S. tour kicks off on Friday 1/24 in their backyard of Seattle. Word of mouth from live events is a smart way for a budding artist to expand their band and build their fan base. By already having material available for fans to purchase, this group is well on the way to generating more revenue and increasing their awareness. If all goes well, it is fathomable for Peace Mercutio to take part in an eastern tour one day.

What does Peace Mercutio sound like? Per the band’s official bio, they drop a who’s who of respected groups such as Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin. There is only one true way to find out about the group’s sound and that is to check out the video included. The band, consisting of dual vocalists and guitarists Andy Lundman and Dan Buckley bring an uncommon and fresh concept to sharing the lead. Rounding out the group are Taylor Jurgens on drums and bassist David Oquist. The single posted here is just a mere taste of what this artist on the rise has to offer. It is in music consumers’ best interest to remember the name Peace Mercutio as 2014 is bound to be huge.

R&B Singer-Songwriter On The Rise And Breaking Hometown Stereotypes

Seattle native Tess Henley (@TessHenley) is a force to be reckoned with as a soulful artist with a pop side. This is fascinating as the Seattle area is best known as the hotbed for artists such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden. It is refreshing to have an artist who has the ability to move the meter and break stereotypes. This is evident in her video “Who Are You”, which has Top 40 hit all over it. She has been part of shows that were headlined by R&B superstars Jill Scott and Anthony Hamilton. Alicia Keys, Fiona Apple, and Vanessa Carlton better look over their shoulders. There’s another piano player on the scene and she plays for keeps.

Henley, no relation to Eagles member Don (as far as we know), is ready to blow up and should be confident heading into this new year. Three years ago was a big period in her career, as she won the 2011 Independent Music Award for Best R&B Song (“Boy In The Window”) and the soultracks.com International Songwriting Competition. This demonstrates Henley’s ability to perform and pen tracks. There are complaints from the general public about one-dimensional musical acts. Henley is a breath of fresh air, clearly capable of being able to write her own music, play an instrument, and have the vocal chops to pull off the total package.

Henley’s debut full-length record High Heels & Sneakers is available now at online retailers and features “From The Get Go” and the song featured here. She is doing well with Twitter followers considering she is an independent artist and is #2 R&B artist in Seattle on ReverbNation. 2014 should be a huge year, so be on the lookout for Tess Henley to take the music world by storm. She can write, sing, play, dance, and look good doing it.

Review of OneFortyThree, They’re Coming They’re Coming, and Jesse Wilkes at Scarlet & Grey Cafe (1/11)

This past Saturday night OneFortyThree (@OHonefortythree), They’re Coming, They’re Coming (@TCTCMusic), and acoustic soloist Jesse Wilkes put on a solid night of musical action. These artists could have easily phoned in their performances, given the fact that a fourth set from another band never materialized. It was quite pleasing everyone involved made an effort to put on their best shows to make up for the other group’s absence.

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As for ChilIicothe native Jesse Wilkes, he played as an acoustic soloist.  No beatbox, no computers, no synthesizers. It was just a man with a guitar and his natural voice.  Wilkes was the opener, designed to warm up the crowd for other acts, but he did more than just keep the stage warm.  After the performance Wilkes provided at S&G, one looks forward to what he has to offer in recorded material. He definitely earned his keep for the evening and people should keep a look out for his work in the future.  Wilkes is the #1 Folk artist in his region according to ReverbNation. Fans of singer-songwriters are best served looking up Wilkes to find out what he is all about. He is expected to have a big 2014.

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They’re Coming, They’re Coming is a four-piece Columbus outfit consisting of James Anderson, Louis Liphart, Griffin Brink, and Brad Guggenbiller. From beginning to end, these guys had the female-heavy crowd hanging onto every note. A stuffed ALF doll was present for the set as well and it could be considered an unofficial fifth member of the band. The doll did its job as a good luck charm for the group and the band even received a chant for “one more song”. They’re Coming, They’re Coming did a nice job with the BLACKStreet hit “No Diggity” and performed an alt-country song as their encore. The band has a small presence on the Internet and are ranked #22 at ReverbNation, where would-be Alternative Top 40 hit “The Tree” is available to hear. Here is hoping 2014 is a breakout year for this quartet.

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The third performance of the night was conducted by the #14-ranked alternative rockers in Columbus, OneFortyThree. This quintet was on point and is in the midst of working on a live album, which this past Saturday’s gig was part of.  Newcomer Kristian Wilson more than held her own with the charter members of the band. Boy, does keyboardist Randall Chafins know how to bring the energy or what? Everyone was on point and brought their A-game for one of their biggest performances.  This group should go places in the new year, especially after orchestrating the crowd’s participation in their live recording.  That is when a band knows they are on their way to new heights.  It was announced a new EP is in the works, so be on the lookout for it at online retailers.  OneFortyThree’s current material is available at their Bandcamp page and is downloadable to those who want to add it to their personal music players. Local music fans are best served going out and seeing this group before while they can.  It might not be too long before they are out on the road all over the place spreading their brand.

The music of the evening was all on the up and up and each artist brought something different to the stage, making for a diverse and fun night.  2014 is in its infancy and it will be a shock to no one if all three end up having a better year than 2013.  Music lovers are advised to do their research and learn more about these artists. Get to know them before they explode. Defeatists want to underestimate the central Ohio music scene, but it is not in their best interest to do that any longer.

Southern Solo Artist Is Set To Break The Mold

Dallas pop artist Boy Epic (@BoyEpic) ranks #1 on ReverbNation and has his take on Top 40-music available at iTunes. Not much is known about the personal side of the man behind Boy Epic, and quite frankly it is a genius marketing strategy. It adds to the mystique and intrigue of the artist. Furthermore, it places the emphasis on the music itself.

Boy Epic has covers of established chart-topping tracks posted on social media in addition to his original tunes. “Unfaithful” is a song that, if there is justice, will take its rightful place on “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest”. It is a track that holds its own with other pop stars’ hits, some of which are remade by Boy Epic.

The only way to really know what Boy Epic’s music is all about is to listen for oneself. On the other hand, if there is additional coaxing involved, think Katy Perry-esque tunes combined with the vocals of Kill Hannah’s Mat Devine. That would be the best way to describe the unique style of this star on the rise.

Enjoy the music video above for a Boy Epic original, which is up to over 17,000 views on YouTube and, if all goes well, should go viral. He may be unsigned, but more than likely a deal will be inked. That is, if the labels know what is best for business.