New music from Cold War Kids, Lupe Fiasco, The Temper Trap and more…

21 01 2010

Looking for a few new jams to tickle your musical taste buds?  Check out a few singles that I’ve been diggin’ lately.  No better birthday present than good music (that’s right, RockAngel is 28 today!)

Cold War Kids – Audience…If you’re a fan of Cold War Kids, this is sure to please.  Pretty catchy…they have that Indie vibe beatin’ hard in this one…

Next up…Lupe Fiasco with Solar Midnite from the Twilight New Moon soundtrack.  This hip-hop star brings his talents to a rock beat and he kills it!

If you haven’t heard yet, Paper Tongues are making quite the splash and their song “Trinity” is one of those that just sounds like an instant classic.  Haven’t quite figured out their sound from their singles so far but this is one of those songs I could hear again and again and never get sick of…

Ready to get real indie-electro?  “I go I go I go” by the Wave Machines takes a minute to get to the chorus, but once it does, I love it.  Don’t be put off by the beginning, make it to the end and it gets pretty catchy…

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard “Sweet Disposition” by the Temper Trap (500 days of Summer and all the drama shows on ABC) but their song “Fader” is what’s been rocking my world lately.  I just can’t help but to smile and get pumped up when I hear this…another instant classic in my mind…

And to be sure not to let their treadmill video define them, Ok Go makes another visually stimulating video.  Warning-it might make you feel like you are on drugs…(and btw, the song is pretty kick ass too)


Free Downloads – January 14, 2010

14 01 2010

Here’s the first set of many free downloads I hope to share with you in the coming days.  Who doesn’t want free music?  And the best part is, all these tracks will be hand-selected by me, so you know they won’t suck.

Florence & the Machine & The XX remix “You’ve got the Love”

Metric “Front Row” – acoustic version

Live, Love, Laugh and Cry with Thao with The Get Down Stay Down

7 01 2010

A complicated web of human interaction and emotions has never sounded so fun and playful as it does with Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. Thao’s music is indie rock at it’s finest with elements of chamber pop and alternative folk.  It’s  catchy, quirky, and everything you’d expect from a band that sounds like they could be your best friends.  Thao’s voice and lyrics are laced with an innocent sexiness that enhances the fun and fresh melodies of the band while bringing the music to a balance of being relate-able and still danceable.

Their latest album release Know Better Learn Faster boasts songs like “When We Swam” that makes an audience instantly want to sing along as well as the title track which highlights their ability to produce an escalating progression of sound and emotions.  The music portrays a kind of human quality that lets us know that this is a band that has lived their lives like the rest of us…just trying to figure it out as we go along, but enjoying the ride the whole time.   Thao was gracious enough to take some time out during the current US tour to answer a few questions for us.

RA:  At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to be a musician?

Thao:  I think i knew very young, around 13, that i wanted to be a musician. I didn’t fully commit to the idea until i the end of college when i intentionally left myself no other option. (by this i mean i refused to even consider going to grad. school  and did not have any other kind of job lined up.)

RA:  Along your journey, have you always felt supported and confident that you were on the right path or have you met with a lot of roadblocks along the way?

Thao:  I think in this realm i have walked a very charmed path and am incredibly grateful for how things have seemed to fall in place without much grief.

RA:  Your music has a very playful sound.  Will you tell me a little about your writing process?

Thao:  well first i like to have incredibly complicated interactions with humans and then i like to make questionable decisions and then it helps if they do too, and then i cry, and then i write a song.

RA:  Haha…very cleverly put.  I’ve always heard that being in a band is like having many relationships at
once, what is the group dynamic like with your band?

Thao:  Adam and Willis are dear friends of mine and we are very familiar with each other’s living habits. It’s like living with your co workers in a van on a weird extended business trip. we are a tight-knit bunch when we are together, which is very frequently, for what seems like unnatural amounts of time, in closed spaces. but off tour we try our best to tend to our regular lives. we’ve known each other for a few years now but in touring time that’s about 17 years.  We are a goofy bunch with very tame tendencies like watching the food network in hotel rooms after shows. and the discovery channel. we love Man vs. Wild. Do yall watch that in Montreal?

RA:  Actually, I live in San Diego, but I’ve seen the show a few times. It sounds like you guys have a lot of fun on the road, do you have any really great/funny stories that stand out?

Thao:  Once at a Super 8 (terrible hotel/motel chain) in the midwest, adam woke up and his leg was in what we thought was drying blood (not his own!)  and while he was in the shower trying to scorch off his skin i went to talk to the people at the desk and i said ‘um, we have blood on the sheets’ and the woman at the desk took it into the back room and then returned and said matter of factly:  ‘it’s not blood’ and i said : ‘what is it’ and she said: ‘ fecal matter.’

RA:  Wow, that is definitely memorable!  I was supposed to go to the San Diego show at the Casbah but ended up having to work that night and missed it;  I was so bummed.  What could we expect at a typical show?

Thao:  thank you for even considering coming.

you could expect a lot of dancing around and hair and me almost falling over too much (because of the moving around and the cables, not because i am drunk) and willis wearing this necklace full of tiny plastic and rubber animal toys that he made himself and adam wearing this necklace with just ONE rubber horse head from the same place and us succintly recapping events of the day/ week FOR INSTANCE on that drive to san diego I was very concerned that an SUV ahead of us had a part of itself dragging on the ground but we got closer and it was just a black pair of those plastic balls hanging from the hitch. you know what i’m talking about? the ball-sac ornaments? i think they are called truck nutz or some such. terrible. those things are terrible.

RA: I have actually never seen those…I will consider myself fortunate.  What’s coming up in the near future for you guys that you’d like to share with the readers of RockAngel Music?

Thao:  well we are all flying to Tokyo tomorrow because our new record is being released over there. and then we are going to Europe in jan for tour. and then we are going on a west coast tour with the Thermals in feb. and then we are going to sleep.

RA: Sleep that I am sure will be much needed!  Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Thao.  I expect that you guys are going to make a big splash in the music world and we are very grateful for getting a chance to get a little peek behind the scenes.

Thao on Lala

Thao on Myspace

The Official Website

“Love All, Serve All and Tell the Truth” – Trevor Hall, Eternal Optimist and Musician

7 01 2010

(originally written 11/17/09)

When it comes to music, I find that most of my favorite albums are the ones that take some time to grow on me; however, every once in a while I hear an album and I instantly fall in love…so is the case with Trevor Hall’s latest self-titled release.

From beginning to end, this is an album that will not only engage your ears, but engage your inner being.  He mixes reggae style with a rock and roll edge, and smooths it out with deep, soothing vocals.  His music has an undeniable refreshing tone of unity that leaves behind a feeling of inspiration.  His sound is somewhere along the lines of Matisyahu, Ben Harper and Michael Franti but he has definitely found his own voice…and it’s one of love, hope and connection.

The first track “Internal Heights” is a melting pot of cultures that manages to still rock out, which is the perfect way to start of the album.  From there Trevor moves through some island-influenced serenades like “Who You gonna Turn to” and The Lime tree” but still keeps the energy alive with songs like “Unity” “Sing The Song” and “Volume”.  If one thing is evident in this album, it’s Trevor Hall’s passion for music and for bringing people together.  Not only are the songs rich in sound, but the music enriches your soul.

Growing up in South Carolina, Trevor knew at an early age that he was meant to make music.  As a young teen, he would come home every day after school and spend time playing guitar and writing songs.  After being fortunate enough to attend the Idyllwild School for the Arts in California, Trevor saw how music could bring people together and from there, his after school hobby developed into the start of his career.  Currently on tour with Matisyahu, Trevor was generous enough to take some time to us…

RA:  First off, let me say that your music is amazing.  I listened to your latest self-titled release through a friend and was instantly blown away.  Your sound is very worldly and your voice seems wise, way beyond your years, it is very much that of an “old soul”.  Can you tell me a little about the influences and inspirations that have played a part in developing your musical style today?

Trevor:  Ever since my youth, I have been greatly inspired by reggae music, especially roots reggae that brings the spiritual message. I was so attracted to that one drop rhythm. It really resonated with me how anyone could move their feet to it. That was the foundation for me. Now, I am really inspired by Indian music and other music from around the world. As for my lyrics, I am greatly inspired by the mystic poets such as Hafiz, Rumi, Kabir, and Rabindranath Tagore.

RA:  Did your upbringing and family have a lot to do with the positive and hopeful messages that we hear in your music or did that come along the way as well?

Trevor:  My family has always been extremely supportive. They have showered love on me ever since I was born. I believe that a child’s youth shapes their whole lives. They made sure that I had the freedom to express myself through music.

RA:  What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Trevor:  By the Grace of the Most High, I have been extremely blessed to play with all types of people. The highlights have not been only playing with people, but forming friendships as well.

RA:  It looks like you’ve been on the road quite a bit lately, do you have any funny or interesting stories about the people you’ve met or what you’ve experienced?

Trevor:  The road is always surprising. You never know who you are going to see or what is going to happen. This time around we had a little funny situation where we ran out of gas in the middle of no where in Montana. Within moments my drummer, Chris Steele, flagged down a car of 3 cowboys and got in the car with them to go get gas. After he left, my bass player, Super Mario, and I wondered if it was the best idea, wondered if we would ever see him again. Chris returned, and we made it to the next gig 🙂

RA:  Unity is one of those songs that just sounds so natural and organic and really has the ability to just bring people together.  Can you tell me a little about the writing process for that song and the experience of working with Matisyahu?

Trevor:  I’m in the dressing room right now in Illinois. Just got off stage with Matisyahu singing that song. It is always a blessing sharing the stage with him. I love him greatly and really hopes he continues to flourish. “Unity” was written during our last tour together during the time of the Mumbai shootings. There was a Jewish Temple there and the couple inside had died. Matisyahu knew of the people so it really hit a little closer to home. The whole tour we were really discussing and meditating on why people fight and kill in the name of God and Religion. It made us so unhappy. Also, there were other things happening on that tour that were related to that situation. The pot kept brewing and brewing until that song came out the last show of the tour.

RA:  Although you don’t seem to be a household name yet, the response I’ve gotten from everyone who’s heard your music is the same, they all just think its reeaaallly really good.  It seems to be just a matter of time before the word spreads and you have a huge break.  Do you feel like that’s where you are?  Or is this tour with Matisyahu really the big break?  Where do you see yourself in the near future?

Trevor:  I try not to think about the future or where I could be. I am blessed to be playing music every night and doing what I love. Where the Almighty wants me, She shall put me there. I have no fear.

RA:  I know there have been ups and downs, and I’m sure the road hasn’t always been easy, but it seems like you’ve come really far at a young age, was there ever a time when you didn’t think you’d make it, or when you weren’t sure that this was the right path for you?

Trevor:  Plenty of times. That even happens now some times when I am really tired and burnt out. But those thoughts pass quickly. Music is what I love, but I also believe that it is my service to the world and to others. It is my duty…no matter what happens.

RA:  I really do think your music has a way of reaching out to everyone and touching them in a very inspirational way.  Are there any final thoughts you’d like to leave for your fans and our readers?

Trevor:  Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope the music inspires you in a positive way. Love all, Serve All, and tell the Truth.

Trevor Hall’s Official Website

Trevor Hall on Myspace

Trevor Hall on Lala