Earlier this week, Sleeper Agent finally released “Waves” from their sophomore album, due to be released next year. 

I first heard this song in its demo state while staying with band members Alex and Tony—two of my beloved friends—in Bowling Green. It was stuck in my head from that moment on, and after hearing it later at their practice session, I already had it memorized. 

I heard it a final time at Starry Nights last fall, and from backstage, I belted out every word. 

Until now, I hadn’t heard it since. It’s been a long wait, but worth it. To hear it grow from its rough demo state to this clean and enchanting version is so rewarding. If it’s rewarding for me, I can hardly imagine how the band feels! (See what Rolling Stone had to say about the new track here). 

The band is currently in the process of shooting the video for Waves in Los Angeles, and I’m eager to see what pops up as a result. 

Sleeper Agent will be playing in San Francisco with New Politics at The Independent on February 16th, 2014. If you’re in the bay area, come to the show and you can see us both! :)

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What’s in a Year?

It’s been almost one year since I’ve written anything on Vinyl Sea Press.

To say I went on hiatus is a bit of an understatement. But all good, creative people go on a long hiatus at least once in their careers, right? It’s only fitting that I did the same! :)

So, why was I gone so long? It broke my heart to do so, but my passion with music journalism exists particularly in meeting with artists face to face, and in rural Utah/Idaho… that’s not an easy task. Not many artists stop nearby. and juggling work and college didn’t make traveling long distances easy or convenient. Once I realized this, I decided it was probably best to put Vinyl Sea Press on hold until it could get the love and attention it truly deserved. 

Today is the day that love and attention begins. You can mark my words, I intend to come back to this blog with a vengeance! I’ve missed it so, and some wonderful things have happened in my life that are going to give Vinyl Sea Press what it needs. 

That photo above was taken by me earlier this year in San Francisco. 

And what does SF have to do with all of this?

Well, I’m so pleased to announce that I’ll be moving to San Francisco in January 2014, where I will finish out my last two years of school as a student of the University of San Francisco. There I will also live out my days with the love of my life by my side. He and I met on Tumblr, because he was a reader of this very blog. It’s only fitting that a relocation to be with him leads to a resurge in VSP! :) San Francisco is a much better place than a rural town to network and make connections in the music world, so I’ll have no excuse to neglect VSP then! 

With that in mind, lovelies, I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. But I do hope you’ll accept my return with open arms. I hope we can reconnect and I can post content that speaks to all of you. I have a very big vision for what Vinyl Sea Press should become, and after two years of studying journalism under my belt, I intend to make content more sophisticated around here. Please feel free to drop me a line at any time—either through Ask Box or email—as I’m dying to get to know my followers again.

Thanks for all of your support over the years. I will cherish your continued support in the years to come!

Odd Folk.

Chicago is a good place.

I know this, even though I’ve never been. I like to think I have all of the musicians who have started out there to thank for this, and starting today, you could add a folk/bluegrass band called Odd Folk to that list. 

"Who is Odd Folk, anyway?" 

I’m not surprised if you’re asking a variation of that question in your head right now, because until a few weeks ago, I didn’t know who they were either. They’re very new to the game, it seems… but like anybody else, they’ve got to start somewhere. 

They remind me of a far grungier version of either The Avett Brothers or Mumford and Sons with a female vocalist thrown into the mix, if you can imagine that. (If you can’t, just give them a listen and you’ll see what I mean). They’re heavy on the banjo, include the fiddle and the mandolin, and have twangy vocals that are rough around the edges. (In a good way, of course). Their sound is provided by four members, each seeming to be multi-instrumentalists. 

They are, as their name suggests, odd. But that is what makes them so damn great.

After spending several days listening to their five-track EP on repeat, I decided that I find them to be very promising. Do they need work? Absolutely. Is that a bad thing? Hardly.

In fact, I think it’s wonderful. It means they’re going to push themselves, keep trying hard, and make sure they end up on the map. They have such a solid, beautiful foundation in their music — there is so much talent in their instrumental arrangements alone — and I think that they’ll get more organized as they continue to grow and play. I hope with all of my heart that they don’t give up, and I very much look forward to the day in which I can write about them again — improvements included.

Until then, I give them every ounce of my love and luck.
May they take the world by storm. 

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Check ‘em out for yourselves, gang: On Facebook // On Bandcamp // On Tumblr.

Back to the mountains!

Hey readers!

I’ve spent the past two weeks in my hometown, Tulsa, accomplishing a lot that was very overdue. Included in that was the base work for two new articles coming up:

  1. One on an awesome Brooklyn-based band called The Dig, whom I had to pleasure of spending an evening with in Salt Lake City alongside Ben Kweller and Sleeper/Agent. I’m so excited to finally tell you guys about them! 
  2. The second article is on a band out of Chicago called Odd Folk. They’re a bluegrass/folk band and they have a promising sound. So happy to have the honor of sharing them with you. 

Keep an eye out, my friends! :)

Starry Nights Music Festival — Buffalo Rodeo.

This post is part of an ongoing series that will be sectioned off into parts until all of the material I have collected from Starry Nights runs out. This is a post on Bowling Green natives Buffalo Rodeo. 

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Sometime after 9:30pm on Friday, September 28th, I walked into a tent that belonged to a creative studio company called Yellowberri.  

Shortly after my arrival, five young people walked in wearing nervous smiles, eager to meet me. 

They were Bowling Green band Buffalo Rodeo, and I was just as eager to meet them. Having just seen their killer set, I couldn’t wait to sit down and talk with them about how the festival had been treating them and their hopes as a band.

As per usual, we started out with basics. They introduced themselves and their roles in the band — Zach Preston on vocals,  Ryan Gilbert on drums, David Hall on bass, Nathaniel Davis on guitar, and Jordan Reynolds (the only female in the band) on keys and vocals — before I began to casually question them. 

I quickly realized how wonderful it was going to be to talk to them. They were fresh and timid, with hands still clean from the busy and big bad world of record labels and the unknown world of touring. Their hopes and dreams hummed around them in an invisible halo, and it was such an inspiring thing to feel. 

The band had been selected via a voting contest to play the festival by the attending public, and that alone could say it all. When I asked about it, they gushed openly that playing the festival was nothing short of surreal, and that being picked by the public came as a shock. Out of the 23 total bands that played the festival, they were the youngest in the lineup, all age nineteen. They play music well beyond their years, and you can feel that hope I spoke of running through their music. 

The swelling, progressive indie rock that they produce is a direct reflection of their souls, and you can feel it pour out over you as you stand and watch their set. Their sound is well put-together, with catchy melodies that are easy to follow without lacking depth, and curious lyrics and song titles. (They did admit with a smile, however, that many of their songs lack names at the moment).

And although they had they typical nervous habits, like clinging to a mic stand or fearing to look out at the audience, they still seemed as though they were born to be on a big stage in front of hundreds to thousands of people. Before the festival, they had never played to a crowd bigger than fifty, but they could’ve fooled me. 

Buffalo Rodeo is, quite simply, impressive. They are young, talented, free, pure, and deserving. They are a band to listen to, to look out for, to root and hope for. They make music with the purest intent, and they want nothing more than to have fun and have people listen to the music they make. 

So why don’t you help them out, dear reader, and give them a listen yourself?

Be that person who can boast, months or years down the road, that you listened to Buffalo Rodeo well before anyone else. If there is anyone from Starry Nights Music Festival who deserves that, it’s these guys.

You can trust me on that one.

Anonymous said: When are your starry nights posts gonna be up?

My post on Buffalo Rodeo will be up tomorrow! :)

Starry Nights Music Festival — Overview.

This post is part of an ongoing series that will be sectioned off into parts until all of the material I have collected runs out. This is an introduction. 

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"Sorry, no media backstage."

This was the most consistent thing I heard come out of people’s mouths at Starry Nights Music Festival, apart from the endless streams of “Nice to meet you!” that followed introductions. (And of course, the hoots and hollers that come from crowds, but that’s a whole different breed). 

My response to the seemingly-angry security guards who pulled the media card was always a variation of the same: “I’m with Sleeper/Agent, and I’ve been back here all night. I appreciate the fact that you’re doing your job, because it’s an important one, but I don’t have a camera and I understand that everything that happens back stage needs to stay off the record.” 

Some lightened up and let me through. Others needed Matt Shultz — Cage the Elephant frontman and largely responsible for the success of Starry Nights — to come to the gate and vouch for me. One guard left his post briefly to find a producer, who came over to the gate and asked my name/who I was with. “Well, nice to meet you!” he said, and then he nodded to security, who stepped aside without a word and let me through. Again. I took it all in stride though, with a smile to boot. 

As for what I said to the security guards? It was all true, of course. The backstage area, which was actually just a large portion of the open farmlands sectioned off and dotted with event tents, was our sanctuary last night. I could tell you who I met, but I may not be able to tell you what we talked about. I could tell you I saw things, but I can’t tell you what I saw. I can tell you we all had a wonderful time, but I can’t tell you what we did. 

What I can tell you, though? Everyone I met was gracious and warm. Every friend I was reunited with — Morning Teleportation, anyone? — was a sight for sore eyes. Every word exchanged was funny, happy, loving, and loud. The music we heard coming from any one of the two stages was flawless, clear, beautiful. 

And the night, starry or not, had been ours.

It was perfect, and I’ll carry it in my memories for the rest of my life.

As you know, I announced earlier this year that I was raising money to accompany Sleeper/Agent on tour. The response and support I received was overwhelming, to say the least. I am forever grateful.

And although we may not have raised enough money for me to go on tour, I’m so pleased to inform you that we DID raise enough money for me to attend Starry Nights Music Festival in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The festival takes place in late September and to say that I am ecstatic to interact with the great musicians in the line-up is an understatement. I’ll be reunited with old friends but also make new friends, and I really can’t wait for that.

Thanks again for all of the generous donations and support that made this possible. You are all so wonderful! :)

thechildrensplace:

a classic

This is both the best and most atrocious video I have ever seen.

Vinyl Sea Press needed some humor, so there you have it. 

My friends in a band called The New Electric Sound released their first music video on Friday, and oh man, is it fantastic.

The video features lead vocalist/guitarist Scott Vance, who is all sorts of wonderful. He’s a person I’m so happy to know, and equally I’m proud of his performance in this video. I mean, Lord knows I couldn’t hang upside down as long as he had to for these shots! 

All in all, this video is just gorgeous. Drool-worthy. Mind-bending. Lots of good, good things. 

Plus, the song is unbelievably groovy. I listen to it almost constantly. Dig in, guys!