Sunday, December 30, 2012

Young Guns

Young Guns are a British rock band from Buckinghamshire and London, UK. On 22 June 2009 they released their debut EP Mirrors, and their debut album All Our Kings Are Dead was released a year later on 12 July 2010.
The success of the album and its singles to date has resulted in magazine covers, the band playing sell-out headline tours, as well as landing high profile support slots with Bon Jovi and Lostprophets. They have also played at many festivals (in both the UK and Europe), culminating in an appearance on the main stage at the Reading Festival, where the band shared a stage with the likes of Guns N' Roses and Queens of the Stone Age.

The band released their EP Mirrors, which included popular songs such as Weight of the World & Daughter of the Sea in June 22, 2009, and started touring in July 2009, and supporting Lostprophets at around August 2009.

Young Guns decided to move onto their first album, All Our Kings Are Dead, under their own label called Live Forever. This was released on 12 July 2010 and peaked at No. 43 in the UK Albums Chart, and No. 3 in both the UK Rock and Indie album charts. The album featured the singles, Winter Kiss, Sons of Apathy, Crystal Clear, Stitches as well as Weight of the World from Mirrors. Soon after the release of the album Young Guns released music videos for all of the singles.

During the summer Young Guns played at some of the UK's largest festivals, including Download Festival and opening the main stage of Reading Festival. This was proceeded by a European Tour supporting Danko Jones & their own UK Tour (supported by The Swellers and Japanese Voyeurs). Starting on the 15 February Young Guns supported All Time Low with Yellowcard on another European Tour which ended up in the UK, visiting venues such as The O2 Academy in Brixton. On the 10 July 2011 the album was re-released and retitled All Our Kings Are Dead: Gold Edition. This version included the original album as well as a bonus disc DVD. The DVD contained 3 acoustic sessions, 3 live videos and a documentary as well as the music videos for all 5 singles.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens (pronounced “SOOF-yahn”; born July 1, 1975) is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist from Petoskey, Michigan. He is known for his lyrically focused and instrumentally rich songs that often relate to faith and family. He has enjoyed wide critical success in the United States. He is considered part of the folk revival through indie pop, but his influences are very broad, including experimental electronic music, the jazz of Vince Guaraldi, and the academic minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass.

 The name Sufjan is an Arabic/Persian name that predates Islam and most famously belonged to Abu Sufyan, a figure from early Islamic history. It has been mentioned in the press that the name was given to Stevens by the leader of Subud, a spiritual sect to which his parents belonged when he was born. Stevens has stated that the name is of Armenian origin and means “comes with a sword,” and that it is “a charming militaristic Muslim name.” In fact the name is not Armenian, and Armenia is a predominantly Christian country. Sufjan is also the plural form of Sufi in Persian . Sufi is a practitioner of Sufism .This word is frequently used in the old Persian literature ,specially Sufi poetry .

 Sufjan Stevens began his musical career as a member of Marzuki, a folk-rock band from Holland, Michigan. He also played (and continues to play) various instruments for Danielson Famile. While in school at Hope College, Stevens wrote and recorded his debut solo album, A Sun Came, which he released on asthmatic kitty records, a record label he founded with his step-father in 1999. He later moved to New York City, where he was enrolled in a writing program at the New School for Social Research.

He has contributed to the music of Denison Witmer, Soul Junk, Half-Handed Cloud, Brother Danielson, Danielson Famile, Serena Maneesh, Castanets, and Liz Janes. He played piano on for fellow Brooklyn musician’s The National’s album 2007 Boxer. A cover of  “She Is” is included on the album Dream Brother, released in the United States on January 31, 2006.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Band of Skulls

Band of Skulls are an English alternative rock band from Southampton, consisting of Russell Marsden (guitar, vocals), Emma Richardson (bass, vocals), and Matt Hayward (drums). The group formed after meeting in college, although Russell and Matt have been friends since school.

Initially, they played at night clubs in the greater London area and recorded some demos under the name of Fleeing New York before changing their name to Band of Skulls in November 2008. Their debut album Baby Darling Dollface Honey, distributed by Shangri-La Music, was released exclusively on the iTunes Store on 6 March 2009, followed by a general release on 20 March. The track I Know What I Am was chosen as iTunes’ free Single of the Week to coincide with the digital release.

Emma Richardson helped create the cover to both albums.
On 5 October 2011, the band released "The Devil Takes Care of His Own"—the first single to be taken from the new album—with an accompanying music video. The second studio album Sweet Sour was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales. It is produced by Ian Davenport (Supergrass, Badly Drawn Boy), who also produced their debut album, and was released on February 21, 2012 in the US, and February 20, 2012 in the UK and Europe.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Fine Frenzy

A Fine Frenzy is a band led by Alison Sudol (born December 23, 1984 in Seattle, Washington), an American singer, songwriter and pianist. They released their first studio album One Cell In The Sea on July 17, 2007.

Born in Seattle to dramatic-arts teacher parents, Alison moved to Los Angeles, US at the age of five. With her newly single mother, Alison moved frequently around the city. She developed a strong love for the fantastic literary worlds of CS Lewis, EB White, Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens, while becoming a passionate author in her own right.

In an interview with Alison Sudol shares how she came up with the band’s name “(I) had a bunch of books open on a table, “a fine frenzy” jumped off a page of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ [Shakespeare] and it was just right, though every now and then I wonder if it’s a bit … flowery.”

Alison also immersed herself in classical music, Motown, Aretha Franklin, swing bands, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John, Louis Armstrong, The Beatles, Technicolor movies and classic 1950’s television.

After teaching herself to play piano, Alison increasingly invested her internal narratives into song form. She found solace in the melodic melancholia of new global British bands Aqualung, Radiohead, Coldplay, Keane, etc… She was also moved by the diatonic minimalism of Philip Glass and the transportive allure of Icelandic music (Björk, Sigur Rós). She graduated from Delphi Academy Los Angeles in 2001. Inspired, Alison Sudol developed the sound of A Fine Frenzy - hypnotic piano arrangements under classic American melody fused into irresistible, atmospheric songs with the power to reach around the world.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ingrid Michaelson

Ingrid Michaelson (born 8th December 1979) is a U.S. singer-songwriter whose single “The Way I Am” reached number thirty-seven on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

She took up piano at the age of five, attending Manhattan’s Third Street Music School for two years, going on to the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island’s Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute. There she met vocal coach Elizabeth McCullough, who worked with her through high school. She is a graduate of Staten Island Technical High School and Binghamton University, where she received a degree in theater.

Her influences range from Fiona Apple to Coldplay. She regularly appears at Manhattan venues such as The Knitting Factory, CBGB’s Gallery, Bar 169, The Sidewalk Cafe, Kenny’s Castaways, and Pianos.

Her music has also recently enjoyed a bit more commercial success with songs like “Breakable” and “Keep Breathing” being featured on ABC show Grey’s Anatomy, as well as a 2007 Old Navy commercial being set to her song “The Way I Am”. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Civil Wars

The Civil Wars are a duo composed of singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White. The two met during a Nashville, Tennessee songwriting session in 2008. After recording a live performance album and a four song EP, their full length album, Barton Hollow, was released in 2011. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Best Folk Album in 2012.

Grammy for Best Folk Album
In December, The Civil Wars performed at the Grand Ole Opry's Ryman Auditorium and composed the song "Safe & Sound" with Taylor Swift and T Bone Burnett for the film The Hunger Games. The Civil Wars also recorded another song for The Hunger Games soundtrack (The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond), called "Kingdom Come". The soundtrack was released in the U.S. on March 20th, 2012.

Barton Hollow was included on several Best Albums of 2011 lists, including NPR Music, Paste Magazine, American Songwriter, Rough Trade,, Time Magazine, iTunes, Huffington Post, Associated Press, The Tennesseean, and The Wall Street Journal.

Entertainment Weekly, USA Today and Yahoo Music picked the duo as their Best New Artists and Breakout Stars of 2011.