Author Archive

BRMC

Origin- San Francisco, California

Genre- Alternative Hard Rock

Active Since- 1998

Labels- Abstract Dragon, Vagrant, Co-Op, RCA/BMG, Island, Echo, Virgin

BRMC’s official website

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is a rather muddled band, not in the sense that their music isn’t good, just that they’re not easy to research. I couldn’t find good history anywhere but Wikipedia, and even there it was confusing. I’ll do my best to explain the origins of this band, which is one of the best groups (musically) that I’ve heard in the last few years.

The band was formed in 1998 when lead singer Peter Hayes and guitarist Robert Levon Been met in high school. Hayes had recently left ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’, another local band. While looking for a drummer, the duo found Nick Jago, an Iranian from Devon, England, who had moved to California with his parents. They named themselves ‘The Elements’, but upon finding another band had already taken the name, Hayes, Been and Jago came up with the name, “Black Rebel Motorcycle Club” from the movie, “The Wild One”.

The group’s first two albums where considered Modern Hard Rock, with classic rock influences. The second of the records contained tracks which were critical of the United States Government. Robert Been used the pseudonym ‘Robert Turner’ on theses albums to avoid being linked to his father, Michael Been from the band ‘The Call’.

During the recording of Howl, due to problems with Nick Jago and the band, Jago quit the band for rehab attempts in 2004. He returned near the end of recording, but Jago didn’t really contribute much to Howl. During the European tours for Howl, the band employed a temporary fourth member, guitarist Spike Keating. The sound of this album was very different from the basic BRMC sound (the first two albums were apparently called BRMC), and had more of a folk/acoustic feel to it.

On April 30, 2007, Baby 81 was released. This album had a much more solid BRMC sound, with the basically Hard Rock sound with angst themes. Some more in-band drama occurred, and Jago left the band again in June of 2008, so he didn’t have anything to do with the band’s fifth album, The Effects of 333. Peter Hayes issued a statement about Jago’s leaving; “Nick won’t be joining us for the upcoming European tour, but it’s not true that he is fired. We just feel Nick needs time to sort out exactly what he wants right now. His heart and all his energy and attention is on his own solo project and he needs to see that through.” Nick Jago was replaced by drummer Leah Shapiro. The Effects of 333 is completely instrumental.

On November 10, 2009 BRMC released a live DVD through Vagrant Records. It was recorded in Glasgow, Berlin, and Dublin during the Baby 81 world tour. A song by BRMC,¬† “Done All Wrong”, appeared on the soundtrack to the 2009 film New Moon.

BRMC’s sixth studio album, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo was released March 8, 2010 in the UK & Europe and March 9, 2010 in North America.

Well, BRMC makes some awesome music, and from Baby 81 I heard some of the best tracks in my life. Haye’s vocals aren’t bad, although his occasional off-key-on-purpose does get annoying. The thing I like most about this band is it’s beautifully full and rocking sound, which I didn’t hear in Howl, but I heard it loud and clear in Baby 81 and Beat the Devil’s Tattoo.

The only few things I don’t like about the band is it’s internal drama. I think they’ve finally fixed that, but I think you should be sure to get a group of people you’re very good friends with before you go about making a band. Jago obviously did something to slow BRMC down in its early history.

Other than that, I think BRMC is actually a little out of this time. It’s not old-fashioned, it’s not modern, and it’s certainly not ahead of our time. I suppose BRMC is one of those bands that we can learn something from, because they are revolutionizing the lower grunged-over Hard Rock areas of music. They’re trying new things and profiting by it, and for their ingenuity I salute them.

Any real music lover would know that there’s something about this band that’s different. Stock up on some of this music, because it’s some of history’s best. You won’t regret it.

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OK Go

Origin- Chicago, Illinois

Genre- Alternative Rock

Active Since- 1998

Labels- Capitol, Paracadute

OK Go is a rising band that knows how to write music. Their imagination is also manifested in their Grammy Award-winning music videos, such as “Here it Goes Again” (2007).

The band’s history is an interesting one, and is unique in comparison to most group formations; lead singer Damian Kulash, met bassist Tim Nordwind at Interlochen Arts Camp when they were 11. Kulash was in for graphic design, and Nordwind was there for music. The band name comes from their art teacher, saying “OK…Go!” while they were drawing. Needless to say, they kept in touch, and met the band’s former guitarist and keyboardist Andy Duncan in high school, and drummer Dan Konopka in college. They all went on to form OK Go in 1998.

After serving as the house band for a public radio program’s Fifth Anniversary Tour, the group released OK Go in 2002, the band’s first album. The track Get Over It peaked at #21 on UK music charts, and other now-famous tracks began to be featured on guitar hero and multiple EA Sports video games.

In the Fall of 2004, OK Go produced and released Oh No, which was recorded in Malm√∂, Sweden. The album’s first single, “A Million Ways”, became a global sensation when Damian Kulash’s sister choreographed a music video depicting the band dancing in their backyard. It quickly became the most downloaded music video of all time.

On July 31, 2006, OK Go released an extremely elaborate music video for “Here it Goes Again”, choreographed on six treadmills, also by Kulash’s sister, Trish Sie. As of April 2010, the original video upload for “Here It Goes Again” has been viewed over 50 million times, putting it in 42nd place for the most views of any video and 29th place for most viewed music video as well as the 7th most favorited video and the top favorited music video of all time on YouTube.

In the two videos, Tim Nordwind lip syncs the lyrics instead of Damian Kulash. On August 31, 2006, OK Go appeared live at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards performing their treadmill routine for “Here It Goes Again”. On February 11, 2006, OK Go and Trish Sie took a Grammy award for “Best Short-Form Music Video” for their music video “Here It Goes Again”.

On October 12, 2008, OK Go announced that they had finished writing new songs for their third album and were in the studios in upstate New York with producer Dave Fridmann. Of the Blue Colour of the Sky was released on January 12, 2010. On March 10, the band announced its new alliance with the independent Paracadute Records, and had cut ties with EMI and Capitol Records. Of the Blue Colour of the Sky was re-released on April 1, when the new label took over the promotional campaign and all distribution responsibilities for the album.

OK Go released two videos for the single “This too Shall Pass”, a marching band version and one featuring an intricate machine going on in a domino fashion. It’s pretty awesome.

The band has contributed to the tracks of several movies, including I Love You, Beth Cooper, I Love You, Man, and New Moon.

Well, I have to say that OK Go is one of the most creative bands that history has yet witnessed. All of their music videos are truly some of the best I’ve ever seen. Their music is generally good and has a loose similarity to its parts, but doesn’t completely sound the same. It’s all very good that such a band should arise in these years, to influence our youth and rising musicians to be truly creative for themselves to better contribute to the musical world, and not become the slaves of humanity and media that many stars of today have become.

Damian Kulash’s vocals are some of the best I’ve heard from today’s bands, and they always work well with the instrumentals. The lyrics work, even if they don’t make much immediate sense.

I own about fourteen of their songs (my favorites) and am not sick of them although I’ve been listening to them for months. I would recommend any musical enthusiast to preview as much of OK Go’s music as possible, and to check out their award-winning music videos.

Lead singer and guitarist Damian Kulash is blue, bassist Tim Nordwind is red, Dan Konopka (Percussion) is green, and Andy Ross (guitar and keyboard) is yellow.

Madsen

Origin- Clenze, Wendland (Germany)

Genre- Pop Rock

Active Since- 2004

Labels- Universal Music Group

Madsen’s official website

One of the most popular German bands to emerge in the last ten years, Madsen is a wonderful example of German music. I have extensive knowledge of German bands and have access to German top 200 charts, and Madsen is impressive.

The three Madsen brothers were part of two bands before forming Madsen, Alice’s Gun (hard rock) and Hoerstautz (hiphop). By 2000, they started sending demos to UMG (Universal Music Group). At the end of 2004, UMG signed Madsen into a contract. At this point, the band consisted of five members; Sebastien Madsen(vocals), Johannes Madsen(guitar), Sascha Madsen(drums), Folkert Jahnke(keyboard), and Niko Maurer(Bass guitar). Folkert Jahnke left the band later on.

The band started out playing extensive regional shows in Wendland, a Slavic area in central Germany. In May of 2005, Madsen released their first album, Madsen, which peaked at #23 on German music charts, and #39 in Austria. In that year, the group performed at four of Germany’s largest music festivals (which are all some of the largest in Europe), including Rock im Park, Rock am Ring, Highfield, and Hurricane. In June of 2006 they performed at the Nova Rock music festival, which has boasted such performers as Audioslave, System of a Down, Green Day, Metallica, and Guns N’ Roses.

Madsen released Goodbye Logik, their third album, in August 2006. Goodbye Logik peaked at #8 in Germany and #18 in Austria, a huge success for the band. Frieden im Krieg (Peace in War) was released in 2008, Madsen’s third album.

Madsen has produced six #1 chart toppers, all singles from the three albums. “Du Schreibst Geschichte” gained #1 for nine weeks, which is Madsen’s greatest hit so far.

Madsen is what I would call a respectable band, both for their success and their talent. They still, however, retain the qualities of a garage band, and a few things are proving problematic for them. Sebastien Madsen’s vocals are a little strained at times, and often not really assisting the instrumentals. He’s still good in most of his songs, though, and I’m sure he’ll get better as the band continues to record.

But that’s another problem- they don’t produce enough music. Most bands can release two albums every year, while it takes Madsen almost two years. I just wish they’d get more done, because they’re good, and the world needs more German music.

Other than that and a few little things with individual tracks, Madsen’s good. They can’t compete with the bigger German bands like Rammstein or Culcha Candela, but they hold their own.

I own a few tracks of theirs that I like, and I would encourage you all to take a look at their music, and get what you like, but probably not their entire albums. If you are one who enjoys foreign music and a bit of musical variety, then Madsen is a good choice- or a good start. I’ll be posting more about foreign bands later.

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Collective Soul

Origin- Stockbridge, Georgia (US)

Genre- Alternative/Mainstream Rock

Active since- 1993

Labels-Atlantic, EL Music Group, Roadrunner Records(current)

Collective Soul’s official website

I’m sure we’ve all heard of Collective Soul. That’s because they are one of the most successful and skillful bands in the history of rock. They have made a significant mark in musical history, and are still recording today.

Ed Roland, Collective Soul’s founder, basically started out studying musical composition at the Berkelee College of Music in Boston, playing in the band “Marching Two-Step” with Matt Serletic, Michele R. Caplinger and Shane Evans. Caplinger would eventually go on to be a music industry publicist and she was appointed executive director of the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy in 2000. Matt Serletic, went on to become a Grammy Award-winning record producer. Although “Marching Two-Step” never really got a label deal or anything, the band’s members all moved on to become contributing members of musical society.

In 1992, the band split up, and Ed Roland couldn’t seem to make a debut with any of his recordings, until his song “Shine” became a hit on a famed college radio station in Florida in 1993. It was at this time that Roland brought Shane Evans, Dean Roland (Ed’s brother), Will Turpin, and Ross Childress together. Ed Roland came up with “Collective Soul” from a term he found in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. He is quick to say that his nomenclature has nothing to do with Rand’s views or the book. As he said, “we just dig the name.” Atlantic Records Promptly took up Collective Soul due to “Shine”‘s success.

Collective Soul has produced eleven albums in all. That’s quite a few. They’ve landed seven #1 hits. That’s almost unheard of. Collective Soul’s first album gained almost immediate fame, which is weird for a new band. Their next two albums were recorded with little money in a cabin in the middle of a 40-acre cattle farm into a computer. Collective Soul and Disciplined Breakdown contained #1 singles such as “December”, “Where the River Flows”, “Gel”, “Precious Declaration”, and “Listen”. All this was done when they didn’t even own the rights to the name Collective Soul. How admirable.

Collective Soul’s album Dosage was something of a turning point, largely because of “Heavy”, the band’s greatest hit so far. It stayed #1 for more than 15 weeks on the mainstream Rock Chart. A few other chart-toppers such as “Run”, “Needs”, and “Tremble For My Beloved” gained Collective Soul so much radio exposure that it is often said that Collective Soul was the most played band of the 90’s. Dosage was released in 1999, and the group played at the 1999 Woodstock music festival.

In 2000, the band came out with Blender, which received generally good reviews, but wasn’t the smash hitter that everyone expected. “Why, Pt.2” gained a #2 ranking, and “Vent” and “Perfect Day” both reached radio charts. The overall rating for the album was an average “good”. But in 2001, 7even Year Itch: Greatest Hits was released, marking the end of Collective Soul’s contract with Atlantic Records.

For the next two years, the group took a hiatus, during which Ross Childress left left the band and was replaced by Joel Kosche. From 2004 to 2009, Collective Soul produced four albums with El Music Group. In 2005, Shane Evans, who had been with Ed Roland since the very beginning, left the band as drummer, and was replaced by Ryan Hoyle.

In 2009, Collective Soul signed on with Roadrunner Records, and produced Rabbit, their eighth album. It gained chart notice, but not quite as much as the overpowering Black Eyed Peas and other 2009 acts which I’m sure we all remember.

In September of 2009, Collective Soul was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Ed Roland invited long-time friend Shane Evans to join the band on the stage to celebrate.

Personally, this is one of my favorite bands. Collective Soul pioneered modern rock music, their clean-cut, clear and electric sound making their 90’s hits sound like cutting edge alternative rock. Ed Roland’s vocals are debated as scratchy or airy, but that’s what we call a metallic voice. No other voice would work as well with the instrumentals provided.

Collective Soul’s instrumentals are revolutionary for their time, with loops and bass themes all over the place. Shane Evans is an excellent drummer, and the guitars are truly sublime; the music, with the occasional piano or strings (still keeping the songs fast-paced) making an entrance, makes you just want to fly- it’s really that good.

I would strongly recommend any music-lover to look into Collective Soul’s music. Not one of their songs is a disappointment.

I don’t have the names-to-faces yet, but the guy in the middle is Ed Roland.

the Features

Origin- Sparta, Tennessee

Genre- Indie Rock

Active Since- 1994

Labels- Spongebath Records, Fierce Panda, Universal Records

The Features’ official website

The Features are a pretty good band. Although they haven’t really had much success in the US, the UK has them covered well enough that they can call themselves professionals.

Only two of the four original band members are still in The Features; Matt Pelham and Roger Dabbs. The other two, Don Sergio and Parrish Yaw left around 1998, after the band’s first release failed to be released for Spongebath Records, all except for the songs “Thursday” and “Rabbit March”. After their second release attempt failed, The Features self-released an EP album, “The Beginning”, which was re-released in 2004 by Universal Records, due to the band’s public favor. They continued on to release three more albums, “Exhibit A”, “Contrast”, and “Some Kind of Salvation”. The latter was re-released as an imprint from The Kings of Leon, and was very successful. The Features have gained quite a bit of exposure from opening Kings of Leon tour concerts.

Matt Pelham’s vocals are, in my opinion, exceptional, but his rather falsetto moments are a little annoying. I don’t normally enjoy listening to a song with such a high singer (for a guy). His choruses are often drowned out by instrumental overkill, but that’s ok, because the guitars and drums are awesome. The bass also adds the correct touch. The Features add the occasional brass or saxophone in their albums, which is often a risk for an indie band, but they work it out nicely.

I bought The Features’ entire new album (Some Kind of Salvation) and love it. I would strongly recommend this band.

left to right; Rollum Haas, Matt Pelham, Mark Bond, Roger Dabbs

a Brief Introduction

This being the first post on this website, I would like to make an introduction to what this blog is and why you should be interested.

I am going to find bands, artists, and musical groups from all over the world and blog about them, no matter what genre. I will also review individual albums and concerts, tours and music videos from groups and artists. All of my material is completely original, and I will do extensive research on each of these bands before formulating an educated opinion. For more information, just check out the ‘about’ page.

Expect posts at least five times a week, and they’ll be fairly long. Please note that all content on this blog is copyrighted in my name, and in the name of Project Reugenott, a social networking community that I own.

Well, that about sums it up. I hope this will be an interesting blog in the near future.

-Westley Jennings