Since high school, I have enjoyed finding new bands and artists that are still under the radar of the mass population. I find it so satisfying to find a good band, share one of their songs with friends, and then hear my friends still humming it weeks later. I used to spend a lot of time on www.purevolume.com (which I still highly recommend). But, since Purevolume.com hasn't yet attracted those in the country genre, I've been on the lookout for ways to find new country artists. While there is still no website that I’m aware of, I have found the Mecca of lesser-known country talent in Nashville’s bar scene. With social media, it is so easy to follow these artists once you know their name. When I hear a musician I like, I simply follow them on Facebook and Youtube. From there, I can listen to and share any and all of their new music.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
This week we get to take a tour inside the mind of Steffan Rundquist, this week's featured independent artist. In my opinion, his words below very accurately capture the process most of us go through in becoming a musician. First there is challenge, then inspiration, followed by internal and external discovery, and eventually songwriting and mastery of one's instrument and/or voice. -Steve
My songs are a combination of acoustic reggae, pop/rock/ska I love reggae! especially Bob Marley. Bob Marley opened the door for me to spirituality. I grew up in Sweden in a very materialistic society. The eternal sound vibrations from Bob Marley's music made me see beyond this material world I was living in. Bob Marley was so courageous in his way to tell the truth about corrupt politics and societies etc. I listen to Bob Marley to get inspired to be brave. I also have traveled around the world for a long time (including as a child- my father was a sailor in the Merchant Marines and I went with him around the world for months at a time) and I have seen a lot of beautiful things but I have also seen a lot of injustice. I came to a point in my life where I had to make a choice with my lyrics and music. Today I write 50% love songs and in the other 50% I criticize injustice.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Aestus is one of the many up-and-coming bands in the Los Angeles area. They have recently released an EP, Psychonaut, which contains six songs, and includes the instrumental versions of these songs as a bonus. I had originally heard of the band in 2011, when they opened for The Contortionist, Textures, The Human Abstract, and Periphery at the Key Club. My friend and I were quite impressed with the show, despite not having heard of them before, and I’ve been keeping track of them since, waiting to for them to put out a record.
The most noticeable part of this album is the guitar tone, which is clearly modeled after the “djent” tone that’s become so popular in the past few years. Guitarist Dakota Miller did a fine job recreating it, as well as mixing Psychonaut. The production quality is impressive for a DIY release, something that becoming a common occurrence in the modern music scene. Dorian Grae’s vocals switch between low growls and cleans that are quite reminiscent of Korn, a trait that is common throughout much of the guitar riffs as well. “The Scavenger” is a great example of this, while also containing a southern rock, grungy vibe. Perhaps the most technical song on Psychonaut is “Lobotomy Party,” a short song that contains a few high tempo riffs and stuttered rhythms. While barely over two minutes long, this song best demonstrates the skills of guitarist Miller and bassist Robert Felix as stringsmen. The final track off of Psychonaut, “Umbra”, struck me as an unfortunately dull ending to the EP; at over six minutes long, I was hoping for a bit more as a whole. For better or worse, “Umbra” ends with the EP’s only solo, which brought about a much better climax than the start of the song hinted towards.
My favorite song off of this EP is “Bones.” It opens with a stuttered, palm-muted riff that breaks from triplets into a swing before moving on to the verse. I’m a big fan of a swing/shuffle feel in metal, as well as pretty much anything with a triplet groove, and Bones certainly delivers in this regard. It’s got a groovy southern rock vibe and grungy vocals that work quite well together, easily setting “Bones” apart from the rest of the album.
Psychonaut is a solid release for an early level band. The production quality is great, the songs are solid, and the inclusion of instrumental tracks is something that appeals to a large number of metalheads nowadays. My only concern is, with the exception of “Bones”, Aestus doesn’t do anything particularly different from many of their peers. The songs are all solid, but there isn’t much to set Psychonaut apart from the thousands of other metal EPs available to listeners in this day and age. That said, this is Aestus’s first real release, so they’ve certainly got room to grow their sound. I would certainly like to see that improvement on their next release; “Bones” and “Umbra” show that there is room to do so, and I hope they capitalize on it.
Support Aestus on:
Support Aestus on:
Friday, November 1, 2013
For this month, I want to tip my hat to one of my favorite musicians of all time: Dave Grohl. In the following video, he goes into great detail to describe the song writing process behind "The Pretender". Aside from being a great combination of guitar riffs, this exploration into Dave's mind and the resulting product for this song is really cool. Enjoy!
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Music, drinks, people… There’s nothing bad about Losers
After another amazing long weekend in Music City, I’ve solidified my favorite bar in Nashville – Losers Bar & Grill. While Broadway is foolproof with Tootsies, The Stage, and Rippy’s, Losers is located closer to Music Row and attracts a local crowd of musicians.
It has everything a good American bar needs – large patios, unpretentious and welcoming clientele, cheap beer, cornhole and great music. While there, I met a singer-songwriter, who when I asked about his Nashville experience, said, “I moved here ‘cause I thought I was a musician. Turns out, I’m no different than anyone else. The only ones that make it in this town are the ones who don’t stop practicing and make sure they get better every time they play.” Open mic night at Losers is filled with artists just like this one – talented, driven, and passionate. It really shows how much talent there is down there, and how much it takes to make it. There are no groups, bands, or headliners. It’s just a bunch of people that love music, drinking and playing together. In my opinion, every night at Losers is worth the 13-hour drive down.