Sunday, August 31, 2008

A band a day...Skratch n'Sniff

Earlier in the week, I talked about The Senate, a band that mixed hip-hop and elements of rock into their music.

Skratch n'Sniff is kind of like that...only they don't actually have to play instruments.

Skratch n'Sniff is:
DJ Mike Czech: Turntablist
Malcolm: Host

Skratch n'Sniff isn't actually a band in's a radio show that was born in San Diego during the golden age of the mashup (2003) and has been around ever since.

Small history lesson on mashups:
Mashups started getting attention when Danger Mouse (who later went on to create half of Gnarls Barkley) produced The Grey Album (mixing Jay-Z's Black Album with The Beatles' White Album) to positive results.

MTV liked the idea so much that they wondered what something like it would sound like live and Jay-Z and Linkin Park were the first (and so far, the only) artists to try the Collision Course.

Lesson over.

The idea behind their radio show is very simple, mix contemporary modern rock songs with some of the best rap out there.

As a listener of both genres, you would think that I'd be rather skeptical of rock and rap mixing.

But one listen to their mix of Saving Abel's "Addicted" with Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop" and you might just wind up being "Addicted to Lollipops"...I've never even heard the full original of Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop".

The two songs on their own have been very popular, but together sound as if they were meant for each other, both musically and lyrically (which is somewhat rare for a mashup).

The one hour show's popularity has actually grown to reach 45+ cities, including major markets such as Dallas, Boston, and Atlanta.

Skratch n'Sniff have actually stood the test of time with mashup music where others haven't and they're still growing.

Here's a super mix featuring clips and full songs that they have mixed.

A band a day...Ember

Continuing our mini-trip through Texas, we move to Austin where Ember resides.

Ember is:
Chris: Vocals
Deuce: Guitars
Jared: Guitars
Jason: Bass
Dusty: Drums

I've only listened to this band for about a month and they've quickly left an impression on me.

They've been around since 2004, but have really started to build a name for themselves in their area with their latest EP called Under Pressure.

I think the lead singer sounds like a mix of Brad Arnold of 3 Doors Down and perhaps Ed Sloan of Crossfade being backed by Staind. 

Soulful, heartfelt vocals backed by heavy music...kind of reminds me of one of my favorite bands.

I could see these guys going on tour with fellow Texans Overscene, whom I just profiled.

Much like Overscene, they can cater to a more mainstream-ish rock crowd without making it sound too contrived.

They've actually come up to New York City for label showcase shows with positive results...although still no label.

But with the mainstream appeal of a song like "Blind", expect that to change.

Here's the brand new video for Blind.

A band a day...Overscene

Dallas, Texas is the home of our next band...Overscene.

Overscene is:
J-Rock: Vocals
Justin: Guitar
Erin: Bass

I know what you're thinking...three pieces? Shouldn't their be a drummer? Well, unfortunately, their drummer, Michael left the band in late June and are currently looking for a drummer and a second guitarist.

That hasn't stopped Overscene from making a name for themselves.

Their debut album, The Moment of Change, has been earning quite a lot of respect in the rock world. Their song "Here I Am", which I would consider the lead single fits perfectly on rock radio.

They have an excellent balance of softer and harder songs.

It's a mix of something like Three Days Grace, Seven Wiser (RIP), and in their heavier moments, Nonpoint.

Recent tours with Sevendust and Black Stone Cherry have given them more exposure, which is not bad, considering they're still unsigned.

Perhaps they can eventually join Flyleaf and Drowning Pool in recent bands that have given Dallas their reputation for rock music.

Here are live videos for Each Time I Fall and Stems.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A band a day...The Senate

On August 7th, I went on an assignment to help tape a band called The Senate. Normally, when I go to a show, I would have likely gone onto the Myspace of the band just to hear what the band sounded like...but this was one of the few cases that I didn't. I figured it would just be like any other band.

However, in the 45-minute set at the NYC performing arts venue known as The Triad, I got to see the most original band I've ever seen perform live.

The Senate is:
Michael "MyKel" Coppola (Vocals/Rapper)
Crystal Joy (Vocals)
Stephen Loos (Guitars)
Russell "Shoelace" Savarese (Guitars)
David "D Bass" Holder (Bassist)
Benjamin "Benny Blanco" Rivera (Drums/Percussion)

When you think of the government, you think (or rather should be thinking) that it is a collective representation of the people.

When I think of The Senate, I think that it is a collective representation of the music that they listen to.

Quite literally, the musicians in this band come from all sides of the musical spectrum.

They are influenced by artists like Jay-Z, Sarah Vaughan, The Deftones, and Billy Joel

However, when you see them live like I did, you actually get somewhat of a different experience.

I hear Jay...Mary J., some Gym Class Heroes, The Roots, and a mixture of Chevelle and the Deftones.

What struck me about this band is that they appreciate all forms of music and are not limited to just one brand. They like their hip-hop, they like their top 40, and they like to rock. As a matter of fact, they opened their show with Van Hagar's "Right Now" backing MyKel's rapping.

What also strikes me is the concept of the band.

When I think of a traditional band, you know who your leader is...and most of the time, it's the lead vocal.

But when you think of that analogy of the government's Senate and the band The Senate, what you get instead is a group of leaders.

In other words, even though MyKel and Crystal do most of the vocals, it doesn't mean that they necessarily lead on all of the songs. They had guitarist Stephen Loos sing a song and at the very end of their set, they asked their drummer to come up and sing for them to a rousing applause...because what drummer in a band gets that kind of play?

There's no glass ceiling or barrier between the leads and the rest of the band and that is a great concept for a band. 

They are currently working on their debut album Mistaken Coincidence.

Long Island bands beware because The Senate currently has the floor.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We now interrupt your life to bring you something more important...

OMFG, new Metallica!

The Day That Never TODAY!

And more bands to come soon...

We now return you to your miserably boring life already in progress.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A band a day...Advent...I mean Blinded We Fall...I mean Headtrip...yeah, that's it!

If you were wondering what the name of the band is...well, it's a funny story. Two years ago when the band released their breakout release The Lines of Healing, the band had been known as Advent.

Earlier this year, they'd changed the name to Blinded We Fall and actually had a song featured as Blinded We Fall in a Metal Edge magazine CD sampler (Everything You Know).

Just a month and a half ago, they'd changed their name once again...this time to their current name...Headtrip.

Headtrip is:
Brandan: Vocals
Josh: Guitars
Derek: Guitars
Cliff: Bass/Backup Vocals
J-Sonic: Drums/Samples

If anyone remembers the Rockturtle blog I'd posted in a couple of years ago, I'd mentioned this band regarding the blossoming Dallas scene where bands such as Flyleaf and Faktion were also on the rise.

They're currently unsigned, but labels such as Bieler Bros. are currently looking to bolster up their roster and they're mentioned as one of a few bands they're interested in signing.

They've played a huge show in Texas opening for Linkin Park, Metallica, Deftones, and Mudvayne and have played shows with Finger Eleven, Adema, and Drowning Pool.

Brandan's vocals are diverse ranging from Kevin Palmer's raspy whisper to Cristian Machado's growls. His vocals are backed by Breaking Benjamin-esque guitars and Adema-esque drums and programming.

Even though this year is coming to a close, 2009 could be the advent of Headtrip.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Collaboration Station...

There are so many good collaborations that have happened in the world of rock over the past few years and I just wanted to post some decent recent ones...are one of these any of your favorites?

Some of them you may not even know about...I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting some on my own...

Art of Dying featuring Shaun Morgan of Seether-Die Trying

A band a day...Amaru

In my last blog, I mentioned the band Burn Season. Well, before there was Society Red, there was a band that was started by the drummer of Burn Season. The name...Amaru.

Amaru is:
Bobby Amaru (formerly of Burn Season): Vocals, Guitar
Stephen Carey: Guitar, Backup Vocals
Brad Stewart (formerly of Shinedown): Bass
Jonathan Fowler: Drums

Hey, isn't that Brad Stewart? The guy I mentioned in the last blog? Well, you would be correct.

Amaru recruited Stewart and together they cultivated a band that plays a catchy, mainstream form of rock.

In just a short amount of time, they, like Society Red have earned a reputation in the Jacksonville area. They've already played major shows with bands like the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

It's interesting because it seems like either Amaru or Society Red...or even both bands could be recruited to distribution deals because they both rock.

They come from the same area, come from similar bands and both have the potential to tour the country.

I'll be following both bands in their quests for redemption.

In the meantime, check out Amaru's performance of Without You from a New Year's show. 

A band a day...Society Red

Damien Starkey is tenacious. He led the band Burn Season to a major-label deal with Elektra Records in 2001. But the business was turning a corner after the Napster-era and Elektra couldn't stay afloat. In 2004, Burn Season was dropped without a deal and without an album. In 2005, they'd been signed to Bieler Bros. Records and after a couple of years on the label, they decided to call it quits.

You would think that with all of that happening to a band that you would be jaded enough to quit the music the case of Damien Starkey, you would be wrong. Dead wrong.

As a matter of fact, it led to rebirth and rejuvenation with Society Red.

Society Red is:
Damien Starkey (formerly of Burn Season): Vocals
Paul Phillips (formerly of Puddle of Mudd): Guitar
Dizzi Devereux: Guitar
Brad Stewart (formerly of Shinedown): Bass
Brad Moxey: Drums

As you can see, they're a supergroup of sorts. 

Unlike most supergroups though, they don't take any of the elements of their old bands and incorporate them into Society Red. They bring a brand of rock that takes old-school Guns N'Roses and mixes them with a bit of the radio ready material that you hear today. Well...that and Jack Daniels.

It all makes for a potent mix that has earned them quite the buzz. Because of earlier successes in previous bands, they've become one of the top unsigned acts to watch in the entire country in a very short time.

If you're lucky enough to live in the Jacksonville area, you should check them out...because their next stop will likely lead them on a tour of the country.

In the meantime, here are videos of the Pretty Handsome Awkward sounding Love and Hate and a video that can only be described as SocieTV.

A band a day...Civil Twilight

It's rare that I'll post about an indie type band as a part of my band a day as most of my favorite acts are considered post-grunge.

But Civil Twilight is an exception to the rule.

Civil Twilight is:
Steven McKellar: Vocals/Piano/Bass
Andrew McKellar: Guitar
Richard Wouters: Drums

I'd only heard about them for the first time last month after insider blogs had mentioned that they had been signed to Wind-up Records, probably my favorite record label (which houses Evanescence, Seether, 12 Stones, Finger Eleven, People in Planes, and others).

One other thing I'd heard about them is that they reside in South Africa...not a first for the label having signed Seether years ago.

So I was curious and decided to listen to the song "Letters to the Sky". They had me at hello. I couldn't believe how powerful and emotive the music was with only three members. There are few times when a song can grab such attention from me on a first listen and I was hooked.

Their music can be described as a mix of Coldplay, Radiohead, The Police, and Muse. Big company, I know...but absolutely true if you listen to their songs. 

They're at their best when they're moody and brooding, but they're not afraid to be upbeat either. Furthermore, their music is epic and intense without being drawn out.

They moved to the States only a few years ago when they recorded their album Human. Songs from the album have earned spots on major television shows such as Without a Trace, Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles, and House. Not bad, considering they were unsigned at the time.

With a release scheduled for later this year, don't be surprised if you hear much more of them.

In the meantime, here is the video for Letters from the Sky and a performance of Human.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A band a day...Vertigo

Vertigo represents a new rising breed of female-fronted rock.

Vertigo is:
Lindsay Stamey: Vocals
Joel Rudnick: Guitar
Nate Engels: Bass
Justin Stamey: Drums

Their influences range from A Perfect Circle to Radiohead and their music is often described as a mixture of Flyleaf and Radiohead.

Vertigo is from the hotbed of Knoxville, Tennessee, home of bands such as 10 Years (who's producer Travis Wyrick also produced Vertigo's debut ...And Miles to Go Before We Sleep) and One Less Reason.

It's too bad that Vertigo can't lay claim to being the most popular female-fronted band in the state, but that's not to say that it can't happen.

Vertigo's debut record is intense without having to be heavy. Their music is catchy without necessarily being radio ready. 

If their debut is any indication, then the future is looking bright for Vertigo to blast off.

They were mentioned as one of the top 25 bands on Tunelab Music's unsigned artists to watch and they've been abuzz in Knoxville's local circles as well as the cities that they have been starting to tour across the country.

While I personally was unable to see them live, I believe that if given the chance, you'll be mentioning them alongside Paramore, Flyleaf, and the like.

Here's a video for These Adult Bones, a live performance of Evaporate and a live performance of a new song called The Leech. Go figure that they were opening for Flyleaf in the last video.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Hey guys...I'd just like to ask the readers of the blog how I'm doing.

A part of creating this blog has to do with listening, too.

I'd just like to know what you've thought of the first month of this blog, what your favorite/least favorite bands are, what your favorite articles are and what not.

Those who have been reading this blog, I'd like to thank you for fueling me to keep this going and saying that I've got plenty more where this has come from.

The Youtube Music Festival...

Thanks to the popularity and importance of Youtube as far as music is concerned, I've decided to start an online festival to celebrate the awesomeness of live performances.

Every week, I plan to post five performances that I believe deserve your attention.

So without any further ado, let's start it off with a cover of The Final Countdown.

I'm sorry, but I had to keep the budget down for performances and they were the only ones that would do it for free.

Let's keep the performances rolling with Taproot's Myself. I generally like to keep away from pits...but you can't help getting involved in one when there's a mosh started by the lead singer!

Next is Ra's Do You Call My Name. I was supposed to go to this concert last week but I wound up being sick. I feel bummed about it.

The next performance is Evans Blue's performance of The Pursuit. I post this performance in regards to Kevin Matisyn having left the group a couple of weeks ago. Let's hope that both parties can move onto making better music.

My headline performance of this week though belongs to Alter Bridge with their performance of Blackbird from last month. The fact that I was there to watch it certainly doesn't hurt it but everytime I see this performance it gives me chills.

A band a day...Art of Dying

Art of Dying is the story of David slaying Goliath.

In 2007, they put out their debut record and have been gaining airplay and sales even though they are an independent artist.

Art of Dying is:
Jonny Hetherington: Vocals
Greg Bradley: Guitar
Tavis Stanley: Guitar
Cale Gontier: Bass 
Jeff Brown: Drums

Jonny and Greg used to be in a project called Sunlikestar in the early 2000s. Sunlikestar did have airplay on Muchmusic in their native Canada, but the project fell through in 2004. 

Enter Art of Dying. They put out their debut record in 2005 and decided to change their sound from electronica and industrial into something that was post-grunge drawing influences from Pearl Jam and Chevelle.

Even though the record has been out in Canada almost exclusively, it has gained enough buzz to earn them touring in the States including earlier this year with Disturbed.

Even though the band has had turbulent times changing members often, it seems as if recently they've come into their own recruiting Cale Gontier (cousin of Three Days Grace frontman Adam) and Tavis Stanley from the band Thornley.

And mark my words, this is definitely not the last you hear of this band.

Shaun Morgan, who's band Seether (who I'm sure many of you haven't heard of) had headlined a tour with Art of Dying and a performance of Alice in Chains' Nutshell influenced a future collaboration.

No word on when that collaboration will be put on an album, but I can guarantee...just like a DJ predicted that it would be a "grand-slam home run" when it does.

In the meantime, you ought to watch videos for Get Through This, Completely, and I Will Be There.

And to get an idea of what they sound like live, here are videos for Die Trying and Inside It's Raining.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A band a day...Black Water Rising

Rob Traynor used to be the lead singer of Dust to Dust. Johnny Fattoruso used to be a guitarist for Stereomud. Mike Mesolsohn was the drummer for Boiler Room. And bassist Oddie McLaughlin is just happy to be here.

Together, they make up Black Water Rising, another band on the rise.

It's rare to find a band with their sound in New York City. You're used to finding a lot of bands with an indie sound. This band is about as rock and roll as it gets.

Their song "Brother Go On" has been gaining play on one of my favorite radio stations, Sirius' Octane. They're an unsigned band and it's one of the most played songs on that station all year.

They've been creating a bit of a buzz playing with bands like King's X.

No word on whether they've signed with a label yet, but they do intend to release their debut before the end of the year.

In the meantime, here's part of a live set from Clifton, New Jersey.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A band a day...Before the Rise

Before the Rise is probably the first band that I've ever known to come from the state of New Hampshire.

Before the Rise is:
Doug: Vocals
Washburn: Lead Guitar
Waterman: Rhythm Guitar
Rick: Drums

Before the Rise is influenced by Nonpoint, 40 Below Summer, Staind and Taproot.

They've only existed since November 2006, but they have been creating quite a buzz. They recorded their debut, Seed the Soil, with Matt LaPlant at Bieler Bros. Studios who's produced the last two Nonpoint records.

They've already played major shows with The Dreaming and Kittie and that resume will increase.

They may have recorded at Bieler Bros. Studios...but for whatever reason, they are still unsigned.

It apparently won't be long as they have big news coming soon.

I don't think it has to do with getting nominated for an award for an organization that supports "having a good time", as they've already announced that.

Before the Rise is a band on the rise and to give you an idea of how quick that rise is, here's a performance of Suffering.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A band a day...Breaking the Silence

Did you pick up Pillar's latest record For the Love of the Game? If not, please do and listen to I Fade Away. You might notice that there's a female on the vocals. Her name is Sarah Anthony and she fronts a band called Breaking the Silence.

Breaking the Silence is:
Sarah Anthony: Vocals
Mark Anthony: Vocals/Guitar
Matt Beal: Bass
Keith Anselmo: Drums

Breaking the Silence formed in 2006 in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Not exactly a hot bed for bands, but this band is indeed hot.

In 2007, they worked on and released their debut album Stand, which was produced by Travis Wyrick who's produced 10 Years and, you guessed it, Pillar.

The album features the dual-vocals of Sarah and Mark Anthony. It's very hard to get two vocalists to play off of each other in the same band. Even some of Lacuna Coil's fans still can't get into both Cristina and Andrea's vocals. Somehow, Sarah and Mark make it work in a big way.

Breaking the Silence combines the dual-vocal interplay of Lacuna Coil with the accessibility of Evanescence and the message of Flyleaf and Fireflight.

Breaking the Silence is steadily gaining a reputation in their state and the rest of the region as a band to look out for. If you like Flyleaf's live show and you've seen their show many times, you may just be surprised by how good Breaking the Silence's stage presence is.

This band should not stay under the radar for very long if at all and they're already hard at work on their next album.

In the meantime, you can check the video to the title track off of their album Stand and another live montage.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Producer Profiles...Howard Benson

Most music producers' careers have started as part of a band.

Howard Benson's career almost started in space. Literally. He graduated from well-recognized Drexel University, one of the best engineering schools in the country in materials engineering. During that time, he took time away from his major to take classes in music theory.

After graduating from Drexel, he moved out to California where he got a job in his field. At around the same time, he'd gotten into a band that hadn't really been successful and it was in the mid 80s when he decided that he wanted to become a producer.

And in 1988, Howard Benson got his first big-time gig with T.S.O.L (True Sounds of Liberty), a popular punk band in the Los Angeles area.

He produced Hit and Run, which became their biggest selling record.

Bang Tango & Pretty Boy Floyd would be next...

After hair metal bands went out of style, he went quite for a while.

But he came back with a vengeance in 1993 with Motorhead's Bastards. The success of that album led Benson to produce 3 more Motorhead albums. Motorhead's Benson-produced albums would actually be the inspiration for an album produced 11 years later...we'll get to that in a bit...but back to the late 90s.

It was in 1999 where Howard Benson would start to hit hard rock radio. His first project was P.O.D.'s Fundamental Elements of Southtown.

The album had modest popularity, but the song and video for Rock the Party got so popular that it beat videos on TRL from Britney Spears to N*Sync.

In 2001, he would return to the boards for their second album called Satellite. The album's release date is a date that will live forever in our minds: September 11, 2001. The band's lead single "Alive" became something of an anthem at the time. The album is their most popular to date, selling over three million Grammies and earned the band their first Grammy nomination.

In 2002, P.O.D. introduced their friends Blindside stateside with Silence.

Benson also produced albums from Crazytown, Skindred, and Switched that year.

In 2003, Benson would produce Depswa, Adema, and Cold, but his biggest artist that year would get another Grammy nomination. Hoobastank's The Reason became Benson's first pure taste of pop success with a hard rock artist.

So, you were wondering who was inspired by Motorhead to work with Howard Benson? It was My Chemical Romance.

He took Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge to platinum glory in 2004.
2004 also marked the year that he was Getting Away With Murder.

His reputation grew, but 2005 is when Benson really hit his stride. His work from 2005 and 2006 would also net him his first Grammy nomination as a producer.

Aside from working with Vendetta Red, The Starting Line, and Theory of a Deadman, Benson produced The All-American Rejects' most popular album to date, Move Along. He also produced a young artist who's still has tour dates off of their debut album.

In 2006, he worked with Less Than Jake, Saosin, and Head Automatica. He also worked with Papa Roach and Hoobastank again. But this year belonged to Three Days Grace and Daughtry.

In 2007, he worked with Mae, Relient K, and The Starting Line's last album. But towards the last quarter of the year, Seether dominated the rock radio charts.

2008 has already been productive with releases from Hawthorne Heights, Third Day, Theory of a Deadman and Gavin DeGraw.

And with upcoming releases from Halestorm, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Meg and Dia, and Ryan Star, there's no telling what the future holds for this space man from Pennsylvania.

Music Industry Ideas...Part II

Part II is going to deal specifically with regular music retailers...for example, Circuit City or Best Buy.

I think that music retailers ought to make a digital push. Perhaps not ditch physical CD's out completely, but certainly push for digital sales...and here's how I would do it.

Let's just say you're at one of these stores buying something and you stumble upon the music section.

Imagine a computer system that allows you to register to a digital store and then be able to download and sync those songs almost immediately.

All you would need to do that are a hard drive, a flash drive or an MP3 player with its USB cable. You register for the service, you pick the songs/albums you want to download and within minutes, they're yours. For people who just purchased a music player for the first time and don't know how to use one can have the option of running through the instructions with how to upload those songs.

This is in the case that you're on the run and don't really have time to do it at your own house.

Music shelves have decreased in size anyway, so with that said, if you open this system, you'd have an "endless shelf".

A band a day...A Band Called Pain


This Bay Area band is BAD ASS!

Allen Richardson (Vocals)
Shawn Bivens (Guitar)
Bryan L.B. Dean (otherwise known as "Dark Kent") (Bass)
Tony Providence (Drums)

Brought up on the influences of Kiss, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Pantera, A Band Called Pain plays a brand of groove-oriented grunge with elements of rock and roll and funk and soul.

Listeners may hear Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Living Colour in their sound as well.

Their debut record Broken Dreams spawned a soundtrack song. "Holy", my favorite song of theirs made the soundtrack for Saw II.

They're currently finishing up recording their second album called Beautiful Gun, which is likely to be as explosive as the title indicates.

As a familiar song states "I'd rather feel 'pain' than nothing at all".

Here's a video for their song Pieces and a live performance of their song Hellbound.

A band a day...The day after...

I didn't have to go very far to find my next band who...happens to come from Las Vegas!

Jenine Cali (Vocals/guitar)
KC Wells (Bass)
Daniel Kloza (Drums)

It's rare to get into a band that has a local following, but it's very rare when that local following is on the other side of the country. I mean, I've never even BEEN to Las Vegas. But it's completely worth it.

This power trio can play many sub-genres of rock and make it their own. Their back catalog hearkens back between 80s alternative and 90s grunge with garage rock and emo sprinkles.

I may have never been to Vegas, but listening to the music actually makes me think that "This is Vegas." It's laid back and understated but has an intensity about it. I think of Vegas as a perfect escape from the world just as I think that listening to TDA is the perfect escape from the world. 

But unlike the old adage of "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", this band is too good to "stay in Vegas". Their music is receiving airplay regularly on Vegas rock stations (probably one of the best markets for alternative or active rock in the country).

They're currently at work on their third album (fourth, if you count the double E.P.) and if their recent live material is any indication, they've already stepped their music up to another level.

Here are live performances of Black Heart Symphony, Hum, and a remix to Car Crash.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Producer Profiles...Brian Howes

Like a lot of producers, Brian Howes had been an artist himself. Back in 1999, he'd been the lead singer of a ska/punk-funk band called DDT.

As a matter of fact, he'd been active as of 2003 as the lead singer of Closure. Nice segue, huh?

Closure had been on TVT Records and actually toured with labelmates Sevendust. They'd also toured with 12 Stones, Trapt, and Buckcherry.

Brian Howes hit the ground running as the producer of Closure's record. Unfortunately, in 2006, they listed that they no longer had a label.

But that didn't stop Brian Howes from working with other bands, grooming them into supergroups by writing and producing their albums.

In 2005, he'd worked with Canadian pop-punk band Hedley. They were written off and critically panned. However, their debut album spawned six Canadian singles and a double-platinum record.

Howes would out do himself later that year working on the major-label debut album of an up-and-coming midwestern band called Hinder. Again, the album itself was critically panned. In 2006 though, the album took off. As of January of 2008, Extreme Behavior is a triple-platinum album in the States.

In 2006, Skillet's John Cooper, became a big fan of the record and wanted to work with Brian Howes on their Atlantic debut, Comatose. The album is Skillet's best-selling record to date, selling over 300,000 records.

Also in 2006, he worked with Chris Daughtry, with whom he co-wrote "What I Want" and "Over You" to rock and top 40 success. The album is currently the most successful he's worked on to date going quadruple platinum as of April of 2008.

It was then that Brian became noticed by industry majors. In 2007, aside from working with Canadian artist Faber Drive and Puddle of Mudd, Jimmy Iovine signed him to a deal with Interscope Records to develop their artists. His first order of business...

Revelation Theory dropped the "-elation" this year and released their major-label self-titled debut.

With all the success Brian's achieved as a producer, it seems that Brian is ready to crossover to other formats.

He is on the verge of more multi-platinum success.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A band a day...Adelita's Way

What do you get when you mix bright lights, expensive cars and sin? If you guessed The Fast and the Furious, you'd be wrong. I'm talking about Vegas, baby! Vegas and Adelita's Way.

Adelita's Way is:
Rick DeJesus: Lead vocals
Chris Iorio: Guitar
Chris Clemence: Bass
T-Reks: Drums

Adelita's Way is Fuel with a mixture of Daughtry and Closure.

Rick DeJesus is a reality television veteran. He'd been cast on VH1's Strip Search and won and he'd also been cast on E!'s Paradise City.

But don't let the attention whoring fool you...this band is WORTH whoring for with powerful vocals and hooks that make pirates jealous.

They'd signed a demo deal to Interscope Records and is currently managed by Larry Rudolph who used to manage nobody important

They're currently unsigned, but that's not stopping hit producers from signing on. Brian Howes and Skidd Mills are currently working on finishing their upcoming album.

I didn't find much about them unfortunately aside from a live performance, a cover of Closure's Look Out Below.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A artist a day...Brooke Barrettsmith.

You know that old-school disco-era song Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel?

The first two lines of the song may very well apply to 26-year-old Brooke Barrettsmith.

Brooke Barrettsmith's band includes:
Billy Adams: Lead and rhythm guitars and road manager
Phill Grooms: Bass
Matt Stephens: Drums

This young songwriter/guitar player/piano player spent a chunk of her teenage years performing in a group with her family, including her sister Juleah. Her mother was an opera singer and her father was a session drummer, so the bloodlines are filled with talent.

This Chicago native went on to audition for American Idol's fifth season with her sister, which was pretty forgettable, well...almost.

She and her sister didn't make it too far, but not very long after, Brooke was signed onto Sony Essential Records.

Brooke's music is inspired by secular artists (Daughtry and Jimmy Eat World) as well as Christian artists (Pillar and Skillet).

She's not the only Idol hopeful to step into the Christian music world...but she may have more potential than any of the artists I listed.

This year, Brooke joined Pillar for their For the Love of the Game tour. Her album drops on August 19th and may set the standard for contemporary Christian albums this year.

In the meantime, there are live videos of Farewell, More Real, and a random video of Anymore which features Rob Beckley and Lester Estelle of Pillar...there are two drummers playing on that song at the same time!

Producer Profiles: David Bendeth

They are unsung heroes. Producers don't just press buttons, they help find an artist's voice and I intend to find ten rock producers that do just that. I'm going to run down my favorite producers because I feel that they don't get nearly enough credit.

I start with my first producer, David Bendeth.

David Bendeth was actually an artist himself. He did well in his native England, going on to release three albums.

He produced his last two albums and that's when he got the ball rolling on producing other artists. He'd gone back and forth from London to Toronto and in the mid 80's produced his first major artist in Canada called Platinum Blonde.

He eventually moved to New York where he actually became part of the industry and then back to Toronto as an VP A&R for BMG Canada where he helped sign artists such as Crash Test Dummies and Treble Charger in the mid 90s.

He moved back to New York and became an A&R for RCA Records where in 1997, he was responsible for signing Treble Charger to an American deal, SR-71 and Vertical Horizon.

A few years later, he would get his first taste of huge success as a producer when he produced Vertical Horizon's Everything You Want in 1999. Everything You Want, Best I Ever Had (Grey Sky Morning) and You're A God became huge hits back in early 2000.

In 2000, he would also produce SR-71 and a young artist (Mitch Allan) who would become a hit songwriter. He also produced their next album in 2002.

In 2002, he would oversee Elvis' 30 #1 Hits album which would go on to sell millions worldwide and became the #2 best-selling record worldwide that year.

It was after SR-71's Tomorrow where he would focus almost entirely on hard rock.

He went on to produce 40 Below Summer in 2003.

In 2004, he went Cold. So Cold. He produced two of the most instantly recognizable rock songs that year.

He produced an underground band that was trying to achieve mainstream success called Candiria. He also mixed the title track for Killswitch Engage's breakthrough album, The End of Heartache.

In 2005, Bendeth would produce more up-and-coming talent such as Fivespeed, Dropping Daylight, and Hawthorne Heights.

His relationship flourished with Breaking Benjamin in 2006, where he would produce their most successful album-to-date radio wise with Phobia.

He also produced or mixed for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Pillar.

In 2007, he'd work with a young artist that was ready to break out called Paramore. Producing the album RIOT! earned Paramore a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

He would also help produce Bloodsimple and The Almost.

In 2008, he's been in the works to make albums or mix singles for Dark New Day, Making April, Capital Lights, Search the City, There for Tomorrow, Nural, Underoath, and his friends in

Believe it or not, this 50-something from Jersey is the face of modern rock.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Music Industry Ideas: Part I

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I was going to post ideas that I think the music industry would benefit from.

The music industry, as mentioned before, is in a huge slump at least when it comes to physical CD sales and the digital sales are not making up for it.

Perhaps these ideas don't fit, but I just wanted to throw them out there.

The first idea is actually something that's been making headlines recently.

Nine Inch Nails has given fans plenty of options to purchase albums. I believe that labels should take that philosophy and give fans the ability to listen to albums before others do.

I think that the minute that a label approves an album, they should make options available that day for purchasing an album.

For instance, you pre-order an album for $5-$10 more than the regular price, you should get the album on the day you pre-order it as MP3's and a code to download B-sides, live tracks, and videos over time. If you pre-order for $15 or more, you get the album that day as MP3's, the code and you get the album physically shipped to you and so on and so forth.

If you've ever bought an album that came with a fan club option, this would be it, but better.

Most of the time, people are disappointed with the fan club albums because they don't get that kind of access when there's only a year membership. You may only see that particular band once in that year live. I think if you offer fans more, they'd be willing to pay a little extra for it.

It'd revolutionize the music industry because this would force labels to think about sales other than first-week sales. If something like this actually became successful, it could even force radio stations to become a bit more freeform.

For instance, let's just say you bought Metallica's Death Magnetic today, got the entire album today and had no idea what the first single was. You get enough people that bought that album, they call stations to dictate what they want to hear.

I think the general idea you're going to get out of these ideas is the idea of freedom and giving back to the fan. Just not for free.

A band a day...Straight Line Stitch

Last year marked the beginning of Raging Nation Records, a new imprint on Koch Records that was formed by famed music video director Dale "Rage" Resteghini.

"Rage", as he's known in the business, is well known for shooting hip-hop and R&B videos as well as videos for metal bands. Enter Straight Line Stitch.

Straight Line Stitch is:
Alexis Brown: vocals
Seth Thacker: guitar
Pat Pattison: guitar
Jason White: bass
Patrick Haynes: drums

Take Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow, mix her vocals with Morgan Lander of Kittie and make her the lead singer of God Forbid and you may have something that sounds like SLS. Take that, Wicked Wisdom!

Straight Line Stitch comes from Knoxville, Tennessee and formed in 2003.
When it comes to metal bands from Tennessee, they're the only 10 I see.

Alexis Brown is a firecracker. It's rare to find a metal vocalist who lists influences ranging from Cab Calloway to Lamb of God. Somehow, she makes that shit work.

On August 19th, Straight Line Stitch will become the first artist to release an album on Raging Nation's Koch imprint.

They're already starting quite the buzz in the metal world...they're currently on tour with Bleed the Sky and will be opening for 36 Crazyfists in September. They've also had shows opening for Slayer, Staind, and Chevelle.

She's not just a great growler...her best moments on When Skies Wash Ashore will be when she's singing ("Promise Me").

They're not going to be a band like Flyleaf that goes platinum off of a record and put out songs that appeal to everyone, but they have a sound that is undeniably every bit as powerful and every bit as intense.

Check out videos for Remission and Black Veil.
Here are live performances of Taste of Ashes and Black Veil. Now THAT'S how you gain a reputation.

A band a day...Broken Iris

Broken Iris is a band that mixes ambient rock with atmospheric vocals to evoke intense music.

Broken Iris is...
Adam Roth: vocals
Alex Ashton: cello
David Christiansen: keyboard
Danny Cocke: guitar
Steve Avery: bass
Chris Brawley: drums

Take A Perfect Circle's vocals, Radiohead's atmospheric music, Evans Blue's intensity and mix them with One Republic's accessibility.

Broken Iris formed in 2005 in Sacramento, California. 

It's pretty rare that you find a regular cellist in a band. The only recent example I can think of is Tantric.

Anywho, they released their debut album, The Eyes of Tomorrow, in 2007 and it was inspired by a former guitarist's story.

They may be an unsigned artist, but there are a couple of songs that they have on that album that could be all over the country right now (Beautiful Girl and A New Hope). The harmonies built on the songs on this album with the vocals and piano/keyboards are amazing and worth listening to over and over.

If you go on their Myspace as of today, they have the title track of the album that's downloadable. The song "The Eyes of Tomorrow" is definitely the cure for your recession blues should you not be able to afford the album yet.

For an unsigned band, their sound is epic and intense and this is yet another band that I don't see being unsigned for too much longer.

Here is a video for The Scar and there are live performances of Beautiful Girl and The Scar.