All posts tagged: feature

Skaters

One of Us: Michael Ian Cummings Discusses SKATERS and the Band’s Debut Album “Manhattan”

Music is often a product not just of its creators, but also geographic locale. Consider the role that place plays in popular music throughout the decades. Not just in terms of particular scenes, but in the way that place can seep into the very fabric of a song or album, evoking the cultural mileu in which it was created. For example, I cannot separate overall aesthetic of Bowie’s “Young Americans” or much of John Lennon’s mid-1970s records from the cultural landscape of New York City in that decade. To take a more obvious example, consider the ways that the sounds of industrial Detroit seem to permeate the sonic textures of Motown’s golden era. The same can be said of Manhattan, the debut album from New York City band SKATERS. While the title is blatant, the ways in which NYC frames the album are unimposing, yet unmistakeable. We had opportunity to chat with SKATERS’ Michael Ian Cummings about the band, the album, and what’s in store for SKATERS in the immediate future. As Cummings puts it, …

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“Broken Anchor Blues”: Austin Hartley-Leonard Discusses Broken Anchor and Their New Album, “Fresh Lemonade”

Struggles with substance abuse are so common in the rock world as to be cliche. Repeats of VH1’s Behind the Music or a skim through any rock biography will attest to how commonplace such excessive and damaging behaviors are among musicians. Equally commonplace (and perhaps, equally cliche) are how those narratives play out, tending to follow one of two storylines: either the musician dies as a victim of their own excess, or they work through their demons to emerge sober, and spend the rest of their careers producing mediocre music embedded with vaguely moral messages. Los Angeles musician and songwriter Austin Hartley-Leonard is upsetting the latter half of that narrative, having emerged from tougher times not only alive and clean, but primed to embark on a new and particularly fruitful phase of his musical career. “I had been a solo singer-songwriter type around L.A. for about five years, and had made a couple of records. It was going fine, but about two years ago, I sort of had to clean up personally, you know; I …

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The Popdose Interview: Howard Kaylan

On a cool night back in May, I ran into Howard Kaylan at the opening of Graham Nash’s photography exhibition at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York City. We chatted for a few moments after I explained that I was slated to interview him, and he shared the history of his friendship with Graham, stemming from the Laurel Canyon days in the 1960s. Our conversation was politely interrupted by a tall gentleman who tapped Howard on the shoulder. He’d seen Howard giving a taped interview earlier for a documentary by Henry Diltz and wanted to ask him a question. But it wasn’t anything to do with Howard’s long-lived career as a Turtle, or any of their monstrous hits (five in the top ten between 1965-69), nor was it regarding the time that Howard puked all over Jimi Hendrix, as detailed in his autobiopic, My Dinner With Jimi, nor did he ask any one of the plethora of FAQ from Howard’s time with the Mothers of Invention, including the age-old, “Is it true that Frank …

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Marshall Crenshaw: A New Chapter in a Timeless Story

 Marshall Crenshaw. At this point, one word sums him up: legend. From his entry into the fray with his now-classic “Someday Someway” to recording some of the most solid albums of the ’80s (think Field Day and Downtown) to writing songs for one of the best spoof-rockumentaries, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, his career has been varied, always evolving and highly respected by critics and fellow musicians alike. With the release of not one but two new three-song EPs available for download, beginning an ongoing series, Marshall Crenshaw now moves into the next phase of recording while balancing live performances and hosting a weekly radio show as well. I had a chance to speak with Marshall from his home; my thanks go to Mr. Crenshaw for the time and as always, Cary Baker for the assistance. Thanks very much; it’s great to finally get to talk to you after so many years of great music, so thank you for that; much appreciated! Hey, I recognize the name Popdose; have I ever talked to Popdose …

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The Popdose Interview(s): Rick Gonzalez, Ray Wise, and Tara Butters & Michele Fazekas of “Reaper”

From September 2007 to May 2009, The CW served as the home for 31 episodes of one of the most un-CW-like series ever to grace the network’s schedule. Reaper starred Bret Harrison as Sam Oliver, a young man who, on his 21st birthday, discovers in rapid succession that A) his parents sold his soul to the Devil, played to perfection by Ray Wise, and B) as a result of that sale, he is now forced to serve as Satan’s bounty hunter, collecting the souls that have escaped from Hell. If he doesn’t, then his parents’ souls become forfeit…or at least that’s the story that the King of Lies is spinning, anyway. Rather than take any chances, Sam sets off to perform his duties, aided by his two slack-tastic pals, Sock (Tyler Labine) and Ben (Rick Gonzalez), using a variety of “vessels” to capture these souls and then depositing them into the hands of Gladys (Christine Willes), a demonic employee at – where else? – the local DMV. When not doing the Devil’s bidding, Sam’s also …

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The Popdose Roundup: 13 Women You Must Hear in 2013 (Six Free MP3’s)

No offense to the fellas and your multi-platinum rock bands, chart-topping hip hop and country albums and ill-advised racist anti-racist collaborations; but when it comes to innovation, envelope pushing and flat out excitement, the ladies have you beat. And it’s about time Chris Brown got beat by the opposite sex. Now the lame stream media would have you believe that the only ladies on the planet who are musically relevant are Taylor Swift (TayTay), Rihanna (RiRi), Selena Gomez (SeeGee), Demi Lovato (the DL) and Adele (Ms. Adkins if you’re nasty). Enough! Let’s broaden our minds. These 13 ladies lead a new parade of talent, each moving popular culture into fabulous new places. Our only criteria: No over-earnest coffee shop singer/songwriters (like Lili Taylor’s “Joe Lies (When He Cries)” warbler from Say Anything) No age-inappropriate teen vixens or wannabe pole dancers (this knocks out 40% of the submissions) Vocals must only contain 30% of the recommended daily allowance of AutoTune (this knocks out most of the rest) No Real Housewives vanity projects #1: Charli XCX London …

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Noelle Johnson’s ‘Beautiful Soul’ Tackles Healthy Body Image Issues, Beautifully

As part of an ongoing series, POPDOSE explores the positive portrayal of women in pop culture. Last year, we discussed how British teen pop star Cher Lloyd was strangely repackaged for US audiences. The hot topic also came up in our conversations with Gabriella Cilmi, Crystal Bowersox, Brittany McDonald and Orianthi among others. Joining the conversation is Noelle Johnson, a singer/songwriter from Sequim, Washington on the breathtaking Olympic Peninsula. Not only is her single ‘Beautiful Soul’ a timely and positive message, it’s also one of the best songs we’ve heard this year. I personally keep it on near constant iPod rotation. This is a song to be shared with all of the women and girls in your life — not to mention anyone who is into Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men and the Lumineers. We absolutely love the video for “Beautiful Soul.” Was it inspired by your own journey, your friends, the media or a little bit of everything? NOELLE JOHNSON: First of all thank you so much for a chance to chat with …

Jim Horn

Legendary Session Man Jim Horn On Working With John Denver And Getting Inside The “Genius” Of Brian Wilson

At 72 years of age, there’s not much that Jim Horn hasn’t done. While his name might not be immediately familiar, you’ve definitely heard a lot of his work over the years. The session vet got his start playing sax and flute as a key member of Duane Eddy’s band in the late ‘50s (in fact, Eddy once turned down an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, because they didn’t allow saxophones – which they called the “instrument of the devil”). His work with Eddy was merely the starting point of his professional career. From there, he would become one of the most in-demand session players (and a member of the well-known “Wrecking Crew”) during the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.  He got the chance to work with all four Beatles. What else needs to be said? Okay fine, here’s more: You’ll find his work on songs like “Good Vibrations,” “God Only Knows by the Beach Boys, “Running on Empty” by Jackson Browne, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” by the Righteous Brothers, music for the movie …

Rick Springfield

Chasing Good Songs: Rick Springfield On His New Music & The 30th Anniversary Of “Living In Oz”

If Armageddon is indeed lurking anywhere around the corner, at least there will be a soundtrack thanks to Rick Springfield’s newest album Songs For The End Of The World. Better still, Songs is a quality listen for your final trip into the great beyond, the latest in a string of solid albums that Springfield has put out in the past decade. At a time when many of Springfield’s peers are slowing down and either putting out no new music or recording sporadically, the Australian-born rocker keeps on charging ahead with seemingly limitless energy for a man who officially is 63 years young. Part of that is because Springfield wants to continue to make sure that people are aware that although he is well known for his successful acting career (and the related ‘80s teenage heartthrob status that came with that) and other side trips, it’s music that is always first and foremost in his heart. He’s still working to define how people view Rick Springfield, the artist. Even after selling more than 25 million albums …

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Sweeter in Her Story: The Ultimate Gabriella Cilmi Interview — Free MP3 Download

What would you say to one of your favorite musicians if you were given the chance to hang out for a while? For me, this would be Aussie singing sensation turned European pop star Gabriella Cilmi — for her, it would be Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Who fared better? Read on and judge for yourself. POPDOSE was given the opportunity to hang with Ms. Cilmi (pronounced “chill me”) via SKYPE from the recording studio where she’s putting the finishing touches on her third album. It was so refreshing to chat with an artist while she’s deep in the creative process — the results of which you can enjoy for free with a track giveaway below — instead of during the typical press junket. The absolutely charming Ms. Cilmi laughed throughout our 33 and 1/3 minutes together. Perhaps this was because of my sparkling wit and charm; more likely, she’s like this all the time. Then again, I bet her bandmates were miming to her though the studio glass. Even if you’re new to the …

Kevin Eubanks - photo credit: Raj Naik

The Popdose Interview: Kevin Eubanks

Kevin Eubanks is a guy that you’re probably most familiar with because of his 15 year stint as the bandleader for Jay Leno and the Tonight Show and that’s okay. But there’s so much more to know about Kevin Eubanks as a complete artist. For one, he’s a big fan of Swedish heavy metal. We’ll be honest — we didn’t know that either. It’s just one of many things that came up in conversation as we were discussing The Messenger, which is the latest solo release from Eubanks, available in stores now. The Messenger  finds the guitarist branching out and as he says “I didn’t want to be as concerned with the ‘jazz sound’ as much, I wanted to let out a little bit more of what I’ve been musically exposed to. Joined by members of his quartet, the album also features a guest appearance from Alvin Chea of Take 6, something that was a personal thrill for Eubanks who has been a longtime fan of the group. But The Messenger also has a family …

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Crystal Bowersox On Idol, Dylan, Portlandia… All That, For This

Crystal Bowersox was compared to Janis Joplin the moment she first stepped onto the national stage, and yet, she was still a bit ahead of her time. While her rich, powerful voice, rootsy outfits and bare feet helped her sail to the American Idol finals, it would be years before those cheeky Brits Mumford & Sons brought Bowersox’s home-base Americana sound back to the top of the charts. Recently freed from the shackles of major labeldom, Bowersox’s timing is right on the money for the release of her second album, All That, For This (out March 26, 2013). Even though Crystal and I are both from Northern Ohio (near Toledo for her, outside Cleveland for me), we both lived in Chicago and frequented Uncommon Ground café (she sang, I drank) and we both survived Hollywood Week (OK, my run was six years), our paths have yet to cross. We recently connected by phone from our respective homes in the Pacific Northwest (Portland for her, Seattle for me). There’s a lyric on the title track of …

Belinda Carlisle

The Popdose Interview: Belinda Carlisle

For the whole of the 1980s, singer Belinda Carlisle was the symbol of success, first as the lead singer for the groundbreaking band The Go-Go’s, then as a hitmaking solo artist. Lately we hadn’t heard as much from Belinda as we used to. This has recently changed for a couple reasons. Universal Music is releasing a Belinda Carlisle solo retrospective as part of their Icon series, and Carlisle put out an unflinching memoir titled Lips Unsealed in 2010. The latter openly chronicled all areas of her life, including harrowing details of her difficult childhood, her rise from Dottie Danger and role as one-time drummer for the punk band Germs, her eventual ascension to pop’s heights and concurrent depths behind the scenes. Popdose had the opportunity to catch up with Carlisle to talk about the Icon disc, her solo years, and to speculate on what life would be like for the Go-Go’s had they started in the Aughts instead of the Eighties. She responded with grace and was humble about her influence which, in the power-pop genre, is …

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Download Now: Brittany McDonald “Notice Me”

As Jermaine Stewart once so eloquently sang, “We don’t have to take our clothes off to have a good time.” Now, some 27 years later, Brittany McDonald sips the same cherry wine while bringing this important message to a new generation of girls. Her self-released video for “Notice Me” is racking up views on YouTube and she’s having no trouble finding friends on Facebook. The song shimmies the musical gap between Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen, the video packs dozens of classic film, TV and music video clips into a very powerful narrative. Young McDonald is so passionate about the subject, she even penned a Huffington Post article called “Selling Sex is Never Going Out Of Style.“ With 108,000 views and counting, you clearly struck a nerve with fans. Was the video for “Notice Me” inspired by your own journey, your friends, the media or a little bit of everything? BRITTANY McDONALD: “Notice Me” was most definitely inspired by my own journey and personal experiences. Being a female in an industry where who you …

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SXSW Interview: Jim Lauderdale

Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale have known each other for more than 30 years, and they frequently hang out both on- and offstage. Separately and together,  they create country music of the highest pedigree.  So whenever they want to tear into a wailer or a weeper – which is fairly often – it’s always good for the listener. You can find some of these on Buddy and Jim (New West Records), the album collaboration between these two wonderfully talented music pros, and even more when the Miller-Lauderdale show comes to a stage near you. Miller is a killer guitarist who’s toured with Elvis Costello, Steve Earle and Linda Ronstadt, and a hot producer for artists like Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin and Robert Plant. Lauderdale has written hit songs for George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, George Jones and others.  Both together and separately, they have helped to lay the foundation for the Americana music movement and preserve everything that’s good about traditional country music. Buddy and Jim are gearing up for a …

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Amaluna takes Cirque du Soleil to new Heights

Amaluna, the latest gem from Cirque de Soleil’s seemingly bottomless treasure chest, is about to bid farewell to Seattle and trek across North America. This dazzling, spellbinding and breathtaking show transcends mere entertainment — it is a testament to the power of love, femininity and creativity — it stretches the very limit of what we think the human body and imagination can achieve. Most importantly, Amaluna is a blast. It’s America’s Got Talent seen though an acid trip, the Olympic gymnastics finals as produced by Red Bull, a two-hour rollercoaster ride set to a soundtrack that’s equal parts Prince and the Art of Noise. The less you know going into the show, the more fun you’ll have. I easily missed 90% of the plot and still had the time of my life. I highly recommend seeing it once — then reading the program to learn the story — then seeing it again. Cirque de Soleil shows can be a bit hit or miss depending on one’s aversion to or fear of clowns — my phobia …

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David Schelzel of the Ocean Blue: The Popdose Interview

Hershey, PA’s the Ocean Blue rose out of the 80’s and soundtracked much of my greater 1990’s. Over the course of five albums and some terrific EP’s, they bridged the gap between new wave and the next Brit Pop invasion (Blur, Pulp, Oasis) while providing a soothing antidote to Nevermind Ear (the medical condition resulting from playing Nirvana, Soundgarden, NIN and Smashing Pumpkins on heavy rotation). As the century turned, the band became less prolific, but their legacy just just grew stronger. On March 19th, 2013, the Ocean Blue returns with a new album, Ultramarine (four and 1/2 stars out of five). It is a true return to form for fans of their two biggest albums while providing a perfect entry point for fans of heartbreakingly gorgeous, shimmering guitar pop. Last Thursday, on the eve of their concert in Seattle (see below), POPDOSE caught up with frontman David Schelzel to discuss the new album, the upcoming tour and everything that’s changed since the band last released a full-length album in 1999. POPDOSE: On the Ultramarine track, …

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The Popdose Interview: Peter Beckett of Player

Remember the band Player? Sure you do…and even if you think you don’t, it’ll only take three words to remind you who they are: “Baby Come Back.” That’s not by any means to suggest that there’s no more to the band than their biggest hit, mind you: they released four albums during their original run during the late ’70s and early ’80s, and despite regular claims to the contrary by the misinformed, they actually had two – count ’em – TWO top-10 hits (the other being “This Time I’m In It For Love”), and although the band’s line-up has fluctuated over the years, Player continues to reform on occasion for live dates and, believe it or not, even has a new album: Too Many Reasons, released on Frontiers Records. Popdose was fortunate enough to chat with frontman Peter Beckett about the band’s reemergence, along with a deep discussion of his past musical endeavors, including stories about opening for Jimi Hendrix and The Who, co-writing an Olivia Newton-John classic, and more. Popdose: You and Ronn Moss …

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Drew Holcomb on Songwriting, Fatherhood, and the NBA

You’ve probably heard a Drew Holcomb song before. His music has been featured on an endless amount of television shows: Parenthood, Justified, Deadliest Catch, How I Met Your Mother, House, One Tree Hill — and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head, so it’s ironic when the words “I don’t watch a lot of TV” come out of his mouth in the opening line of “Rooftops” from his latest release, Good Light. Because if he merely watched the shows that have featured his music, he’d be watching plenty of television. It will be hard for Holcomb to top 2012. His wife and bandmate, Ellie, welcomed their first child Emmylou, who has been out promoting their new record. Although playing Bonnaroo in 2013 won’t hurt, and for the next week, Drew and his band are on The Rock Boat cruise with Sister Hazel, Brandi Carlile and others. Normally here at Popdose, we pick up the phone and have a conversation with artists. But my day job makes that impossible. …