Holy goodness, gang… it’s March already! Where on Earth does the time go?
I suppose time flies when you’re spending it wisely, and now that I’m neck deep in my first semester of university, one could certainly say that that’s what I’m doing. Music, as it always magically does, has become a bit of an escape for me. It is also an accompaniment, with playlists constantly on repeat as I dig into my books and homework.
Lately, this song above — Love Interruption by Jack White — has been one of the more frequently heard tracks in my music library. I was 11 years old when my best friend’s dad first played The White Stripes for me, and it’s been love ever since. My admiration for Jack has only grown since then, and recently, he announced his solo career. He did so by presenting this track to the world. It’s the first single off of his new album, Blunderbuss, which will be released in full on April 23, 2012. White also just performed this song on SNL.
White’s first-ever headline shows take place this month and all are sold out, including the show in my hometown, Tulsa.
For more information, visit White’s website at www.thirdmanrecords.com.
Happy listening and happy first week of March! :)
Music video for Double Trouble by Jack & White, from their first EP, Gemini.
"Want a bite?" Brooke White asks me, holding out a spoon for me take.
She is eating a banana cream pie shake from Sammy’s, a burger joint here in town that has become a haunt of mine since I last posted about it. The shake has a real piece of pie blended into it, and I happily take the spoon from her.
Five hours ago, I didn’t know either Brooke or her bandmate Jack Matranga. Before earlier in the week, I had never heard their duo Jack & White. But now I feel like I’d be comfortable in their company for eons, and have many favorite songs from both of their EP’s.
Five minutes ago, I finally got them all to myself for the second time in the night, the venue clearing out and quieting down around us. We sit on the stage together and I can’t help but marvel at the way a room’s energy changes when the buzzing audience is gone — suddenly we are all just people. She is not Brooke White, the famous former American Idol contestant who gets recognized on the street and whose Google searches bring up everything you could ever want to know. She is just Brooke White, who is 27 weeks pregnant with a currently insatiable appetite and dead tired after her long day. He is not Jack Matranga, Brooke’s talented counterpart who has girls fawning over him and big fame in his future. He is Jack Matranga, who is currently searching in a slight panic for his lost cell phone and packing up gear in the process. And I am not Ashley-Jayne Osborn, independent music journalist who has famous people for friends and connections to Rolling Stone Magazine. Instead, I am Ashley-Jayne Osborn, hard-working and broke college student doing her best to make it in the world with happiness in her hands and some new friends by her side.
We are exactly who we should be.
It is nearly midnight, and Brooke and Jack have had some setbacks today. Their flight was delayed three hours, and as soon as they arrived here in Rexburg, they hit the ground running. They had three events to attend.
They are tired but don’t complain about it once. Rather, they are down-to-earth and radiant. They meet every fan who wants to meet them, taking photo after photo and cracking jokes in the process. Brooke is dazzling, her blonde hair framing her face in a curly mane, and her smile lighting up her whole face. Jack is silly and kind, enthusiastic when meeting each person who comes up to the table and laughing often. They absolutely adore their fans, and it’s completely obvious.
White describes her unexpected musical connection with Matranga to be so instantaneous that they clicked “just like a seatbelt”. The two formed Jack & White a year ago this month, originally getting together to collaborate on a solo album of Brooke’s, and instead discovering how well they play music as a pair. They wrote the song Feathers together (from their first EP Gemini), and fell in love with it. The rest is history.
As for their actual music? White’s smooth soprano harmonizes so richly with Matranga’s sweet tenor that they would be pleasing to listen to if they were just acappella. But couple their voices with both of their wonderful guitar parts as well as the purity of their percussion (as provided by drummer Adam), and you’ve got something truly beautiful on your hands.
They describe themselves as “Self-Everything”, because they are self-recorded, self-mixed, and self-produced. There is no middleman, no bigwig record label. It is just them, in all of their individual glory. It makes sense; especially when you factor in the fact that Matranga is a simple man, preferring to live his life with minimal belongings and maximum amounts of love.
They spent a great deal of their time tonight discussing their newest EP, Winter, whenever they could. It was just released about a month ago and I believe they’re quite right to be proud of it — it’s beautiful, catchy, and robes real-life issues within the magic of their upbeat music. Their first EP, Gemini, was released in August of 2011. It got its name because White and Matranga are both Gemini’s, and although it’s different from Winter, as one would expect… it still has the same qualities. It’s all just lovely.
They are lovely. Really, they are. I could write whole books full of the positive things that I could say about Jack & White. They have not a malicious bone in their body. They do what they do merely because they love it, and can only hope that other people love it too.
I part ways with the pair so honored and happy to have met them.
As I leave Sammy’s, I am showered in hugs and love. Jack hugs me goodbye and speaks to me as though I am now his friend for life — something he seems to naturally do with everyone, but it never wears out. Brooke hugs me tightly goodbye also, letting me know that I’ve now got friends in Los Angeles when I make it out that way. I even get a hug from percussionist Adam, who kept me company earlier in the evening and is just as kind as Jack and Brooke.
I head out into the cold night air with a warm heart, and it is this part of my profession that will never get old. To experience the generosity and genuine intent of others is refreshing every time it happens, and tonight has been no exception.
I hope that one day you, too, will have the opportunity to meet them if you haven’t already, and in the meantime, I hope you’ll listen to their music. You’re in for a treat.
For Jack & White will do nothing but add warmth to your winter and show you the good side of a Gemini.
Jack & White on the web.
Jack & White on Facebook.
Jack & White on iTunes.
The first time I truly understood the power that live music could have on me, I was fourteen. My body was pressed against the front of a stage and my eyes were just about level with the feet of The Envy Corps lead vocalist, Luke Pettipoole.
It was one of the greatest nights of my life.
I’ve watched the band grow and evolve as the years as have passed, but my love for The Envy Corps has never waned. Their sound has changed a bit, yes. What once was a heartfelt and swelling indie rock has shifted over into an indie rock base with more of an electronica backing. But I still find each of their albums to be utter genius, even if I think I might always prefer their first album most.
The only time I have ever cried from the sheer emotion and beauty of a live song was when the band performed Baby Teeth that aforementioned evening. Luke’s whole being was within it, and his devotion to what he was singing was evident. That, paired with the lyrics and music, brought forth the tears with little effort. I have loved them ever since.
Their most recent album, It Culls You, was released in October of 2011. The way the band has evolved from that night I first experienced them is both admirable and rather astounding. They have pushed and pulled themselves so that they produce music that shows their growth — even their style of clothing has changed.
And yet, even with this change, they lack none of their original appeal or energy. They are still soaring, atmospheric, and bone-marrow deep in their lyrics and sound.
They have, in simple terms, come out from their gradual cocoon as a butterfly.
The Envy Corps on the web. Check ‘em out and stream It Culls You in its entirety via the “media” page!
SLEEPER/AGENT’s truly unique music video for their song “Get Burned” premiered on MTVu February 8th, and I couldn’t be happier.
While I loved everything the Get It Daddy music video was, this video is just somethin’ else. Directed by Cage the Elephant frontman Matt Shultz, it’s a grungy, bizarre take on Alice in Wonderland. Tea and treats, white rabbits and fits of insanity… this video has it all. It takes you right down the rabbit hole.
Apart from this, however, it combines both a vintage and modern feel to things that I love. It also has a wonderful shock factor toward the end — and you can’t beat those, right?
Dig in, gang. It’s superb!
Last night, I happily devoted three hours of my life to a phone conversation with my dear friend, miss Alex Kandel (of SLEEPER/AGENT), and among the many things we discussed… she encouraged me to fall in love with this band featured in the video above.
Well, I did… head over heels, in fact.
They’re called GROUPLOVE, and although they say they hail from Los Angeles, their story is a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. Christian Zucconi (vocals and lead guitar) met Hannah Hooper (vocals and keyboards) one night in New York City, where they had both lived for years, but had never crossed paths. Something from that night forward came alive in them, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Shortly after they met, Hooper was invited to Greece, specifically the small island of Crete, for an art residency. With little hesitation, she asked Zucconi to come with her. He wholeheartedly agreed.
While in a remote mountain town on this trip, Hooper and Zucconi met three other very important gentlemen in a clashing of fates — Andrew Wessen (guitars and vocals), Ryan Rabin (drums), and Sean Gadd (bass) — who, as I’m sure you already guessed, came together to form the rest of GROUPLOVE. When their summer in Greece came to an end, they all went back to their respective places around the globe. Hooper and Zucconi back to Brooklyn, Gadd in London, and Wessen and Rabin in L.A. After spending the past five months making glorious music together, the band worried that their musical history might fade like a sigh if they didn’t somehow come together again. So just like that, Hooper, Gadd, and Zucconi made the move to L.A. to record their very first record in Rabin’s studio.
In late 2011, the band released their official debut album, “Never Trust A Happy Song" of which the dance-worthy track above — Itchin’ On A Photograph — is included on. The band has since had Tongue Tied, track two, in the Apple iPod Touch commercial titled “Share The Fun”. And just a couple of nights ago, they were on Jimmy Kimmel. I expect we’ll be seeing a lot more of them!
I was so partial to the band just from hearing this one track last night that I promptly bought their whole album via iTunes. I plan to plow through it with joy and excitement. Give it a listen yourself and use the links below to find out how you can let GROUPLOVE further into the musicality of your life. Enjoy!
GROUPLOVE on the web!
GROUPLOVE on Facebook!
Purchase “NEVER TRUST A HAPPY SONG” on iTunes!
It’s been almost a year now since SLEEPER/AGENT first took me backstage at Cain’s Ballroom and I sat on a red couch coated in the members of Biffy Clyro’s sweat.
Tons of things have happened since then, of course, but my friendship with this wonderful group of people has not faded. Instead it has greatly increased.
So much so, in fact, that they have agreed to let little me tag along with them for a month or so during fall tour season! I’ll be documenting shows, tour life, and any other shenanigans we get ourselves into in an installment I’m lovingly calling "Spying on SLEEPER/AGENT".
It won’t be as creepy as it sounds, I promise! ;)
I can’t yet tell you where, with whom (apart from SLEEPER/AGENT), nor exactly when this will all be happening… but rest assured that it’s a confirmed event, due to occur sometime between August and October. Apart from my normal style around here, posts will also take the form of video, dialogue, and anything else we come up with.
All in all, I am so pleased to share this announcement with you! I am overjoyed that I will get to spend so much time with friends who are dear to my heart, and I will keep you all thoroughly updated as news concerning my adventure comes in. I hope to finally meet some of you wonderful folks at these shows and offer you my proper thanks for your support these past two years. I can hardly wait for what this new year brings.
See you soon! :)
P.S. — Vinyl Sea Press is going to be updated weekly with quality content from now until mid-April! (No lie! It’s for school!) Stay tuned, my fancy friends.
In case you hadn’t already noticed, Vinyl Sea Press has a brand new look! The design is entirely original, and everything — the feathers, lace, paper, pressed flowers, and the texture in the color portion of the header (to name a few small details) — is digitally drawn and crafted from scratch by Corinne. She took my entire idea and turned it into a design beyond my wildest dreams. I can’t thank her enough!
Not to mention, the blog now has a comment feature and other small surprises.
Check everything out and give me your thoughts! :)
Scott Vance is leading me through a maze.
We are weaving through small rooms and doorways to find somewhere to sit so a mini-interview can begin. Scott and I met officially five minutes before this moment, after I had just seen he and his band — The New Electric Sound— carry out an excellent show at a venue called Sammy’s. Sammy’s is a burger joint and music venue hybrid, famous for their pie and cupcake shakes. It’s the only true music venue in my new tiny college town, and I was more than pleased to discover that the bands that play it are truly on-point. My thirst for good live music is going to be quenched while I’m here, I realized, and it was Scott’s band that made me have that realization.
Scott finally takes me into a very cold room that is storage for food and also an office. It’s bare and unkempt with a desk in one corner, but it’s away from the roar of people and has a couch. It will do just fine.
As we sit down, Scott — who is lead vocals and guitar — admits to me with a smile that this is the only time he’s truly gotten to relax all day. They traveled four hours or so from Provo, Utah to be here tonight… and I think everyone was grateful they came. His comment makes him sound like a seasoned musician to me, but all things considered, he isn’t really. He and his band have only been playing shows together since September.
This is surprising because the band truly is polished. With a groovy surfer-rock sound that is at times almost borderline Buddy Holly, they are quite unique. They still have the grit of rock and roll, with a beat that successfully made me dance, but somewhere underneath it all is swirl of 50’s influence that is sure to put them on the map. They even surprised the audience when one of their songs reached the breakdown and Scott began a fluid rap — this comes from his background in making hip-hop music. All of this together proved to me that they certainly have the potential to shake up the music world.
Not only do they sound fifties-influenced, but they look it too. Most of the members were raised first on a base of jazz, but grew to appreciate the 50’s and 60’s eras. As a result, they’re a mixture of pompadour hairdo’s and thick-rimmed glasses, cardigans over button-up shirts and sharp looking shoes. Their appearance adds to their charming personalities, and overall helps put their music into focus. It’s a good mix.
They’re a charismatic group who shine on stage, with a sound that is greater than they give themselves credit for. They’ve got humor and wit, smiles and shaking hips, and the ability to transport you to another time and place while still keeping you grounded in the present. I’m already a huge fan and absolutely look forward to them progressing. I know they are going to do just that.
Keep an eye out for them, ladies and gentlemen… and in the meantime, lend an ear. (Link below). I can guarantee they’ll get your toes tapping and make the rest of the world melt away. And with our days often full of stress and complications, could you ask for much more than that?
I don’t think so either. Dig in, friends!
The New Electric Sound is:
Scott — Lead vocals and guitar
Ben — Lead Guitar
Logan — Keys
Tony the Drummer — Drums, of course!
Eric — Trumpet
They can be found on Facebook here!
Happy New Year from Vinyl Sea Press! :)
Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend) has beautifully branched out into the world of solo music (but don’t worry — he’s still sticking with VW).
Above is his song Wood. It starts out with simple sitar, but then quickly picks up into the surprise of an utter symphony. Cello, violin, and both tribal and traditional Indian drums soon become the foundation for the song. It flows from there to a small moment of synths, and finally smooths out into Rostam’s sweet vocals. It then crescendos once more into symphonic sounds and chants, and the whole song thus comes together in an utterly delightful fashion.
The lyrics tell a summery sort of story, sleeping in sunlit grass and listening to horses as they pass. The kind of landscape and lifestyle we all dream of in a wintery time like this. Rostam easily provides one with a dream and an escape — and of course, a satisfying track sure to make your heart swell no matter the season.
Click play and enjoy.
And if this intrigues you enough, Rostam has made each track available for download here.
Audio reblogged by capecod-kwassa-kwassa. Text is original to this post.