Welcome to another installment of Back of the Rack, where we highlight some of our favorite new artists, and give them a bit of the attention they’ve worked so hard for.
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As you browse through this month’s issue, make sure to show your support for the tracks you love by following the artists on their social media outlets, and more importantly, by checking them out when they stop by a town near you. Let’s kick things off!
While Vinyl Thief may be based in Nashville, the group doesn’t subscribe to the notion that all music from the city has to be influenced by twangy vocals and banjos. According to lead vocalist Grayson Proctor, “In the past, people always equated Nashville with cowboy hats and rodeos. That’s all starting to change with new bands that aren’t afraid to take risks.” Well known in the south east for their confident live shows, Vinyl Thief is hot off the release of their newest EP, “Rebel Hill.”
New York City based Town Hall describe themselves as “adventurous indie folk,” a well-suited title for a group that commonly features cellos and clarinets, but isn’t afraid to genre-hop into commonly unexplored territories. The perfect example, featured here, is their cover of the 2001 radio hit, “Always On Time.” Town Hall released their first LP, “Roots and Bells,” this past April, and feature a free download of their EP “Sticky Notes and Paper Scraps” on their Bandcamp page as well.
After moving from Southampton to London with her big sister at the age of 18, the now 22-year-old Louisa Rose Allen has been paving her own way to music stardom ever since. Foxes spent a brief period of time studying music academically, but quickly dropped out after realizing it wasn’t the studying that inspired her creation, but the creation itself. After debuting on Neon Gold Records late last year with her album “Youth,” Louisa dropped “The Warrior EP” just last month.
Pint Size Hero may still be unsigned, but that hasn’t stopped them from releasing the hard-hitting, in-your-face rock and roll album “Get Your Kicks.” Released this past June, “Get Your Kicks” is the kind of do-it-yourself LP most independent bands dream of making – a tornado of distorted guitars, adrenaline-packed riffs, gritty vocals, and gut-punching low end. While Pint Size Hero hasn’t played a sold out stadium yet, their music sure sounds like it belongs there.
Quinten 909 is a mainstay in the club overseas, serving as the in-house DJ at club AIR, located in Amsterdam. While Quinten’s tastes range from disco to funk, to electronica and back, the artist’s work stays grounded in house beats aimed at moving dance floors. Touring the festival circuit around his home country, along with weekend trips to the biggest clubs, Quinten 909 makes sure to give ample time to his music production, as well. He’s performed remixes for countless bands, and has been featured on GirlsLoveDJs Records.
Here’s a brief background on Darlingside: Harris Paseltiner picked up cello at age six and performed on NPR twice before joining the band. Auyon Mukharji spent a year touring Brazil, Turkey, and Ireland, studying each land’s traditional music. Don Mitchell honed his craft as a singer/songwriter on sunset boat cruises, and Dave Senft studied composition at college before learning guitar as a street musician. Drummer Sam Kapala has been playing drums since he was seven. How’s that for experience?
Sorcha Richardson hails from Dublin, Ireland, but now resides in New York City, where she works on her solo material, and with the music collective Colossal Mantis. The 21-year-old singer/songwriter’s music has drawn comparisons to pop-folk act Bon Iver, but her voice strongly echoes duo Tegan and Sara in both delivery and tone. “I Heart NYC,” along with most of Sorcha’s catalog, feels like a confession she has entrusted the listener with, a sorting-out of the emotions that come with taking life on in the big city.
Los Angeles trio Armada has been on a hell of a roll in recent months, landing Deli LA’s award for June 2012 Artist of the Month, getting airplay on LA’s Stat 98.7, and even landing their single “Beautiful Heat,” on CBS’s “Blue Blood.” Ready to make their next leap forward, Armada’s debut full-length LP “Paper Ghosts” is set for an August 28th release date. While they may still be unsigned, it looks like things are only getting better for the group, who plan on hosting their record release party in Los Angeles September 5th.
With their strong DIY ethic ranging from recording to design, to marketing and everything in between, Suite 709 has found themselves amid countless “top new act” lists across the country. Recently featured in Google+’s new national ad campaign, Suite 709’s newest album “Night and Day” has provided the group with a whole new set-list to get their highly regarded live shows grooving. From the mouth of front man Jirod Greene: “People are saying that it’s something that you’re not hearing on the radio these days. So I guess fresh would be the word to sum it up.”
While hip-hop makes it’s way through an odd phase in it’s existence, struggling to find it’s place between the old school boom-bap it was raised on and the electronic influences that seem to be permeating it at an alarming rate, Oddience has jumped in the scene apparently just to twist things up and make hip-hop even weirder. Want a taste? How about this line from their website’s bio: “The objective remains simple; created a sound that is 50% Extra Terrestrial and 50% Hulk, conveniently bottled into the body of Jeff Goldblum.” You can argue that, somehow, that sums up their sound nicely.
Heavily influenced by the rock legends of the 60’s and 70’s, three-piece band Canto shares a special bond – all three members are brothers, and all are under the age of 20. Coming from a family with nine siblings, Canto found music the best avenue to make themselves heard among the household competition – literally. “I wanted to play any instrument I could get my hands on” says singer/guitarist Seamus Blackwell when discussing his family life. Now with years of practice and cultivation of talent, it’s not just family taking notice anymore.
That does it for August’s edition of Back of the Rack. Don’t forget to support your favorite artists from this month’s issue however you see fit – whether it’s following on Twitter, liking on Facebook, purchasing a digital download, or buying a ticket to see them live, our love and support is what keeps talented musicians like the ones featured this month afloat. Enjoy the rest of your summer, and see you next month!
About the Artwork: Chris Blanz has been an entrepreneur most of his adult life, founding cabedge.com, in 2001, an interactive design studio. Cabedge provides web-centric brand strategy, design, content development and the development of “usable communication tools” for their clients, including household names such as National Geographic, Tylenol, ExxonMobil, Johnson & Johnson, LEGO, and The Washington Post.
Blanz and his design studio have won over 60 American Advertising Awards, along with taking home two “Best in Business” and “Future 50″ awards. The entrepreneurial bug bit again and Blanz sold cabedge.com to start his newest venture, MOBLS.com promises “Mobile focused tech-centric product development and sweat-equity investments in companies and concepts that move, motivate, inspire & teach.”
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor