Here we are nearing 2013’s end and isn’t this the by-the-book time of the year for year end lists and stuff? Best ofs, worst ofs, highlights, lowlights and trends that- for better or worse- defined this annual cycle. Get ready for the inevitable onslaught of references to blurred twerking and if that’s what you’re looking forward to, then you’d best look elsewhere. No really, fuck that noise, it’s a waste of time and space.
It’s been a full year of a rock solid collaboration between High Voltage and WGBU-FM’s radio show Dirty Glitter hosted by the fantasatical Brody Ramone. What began as an experimental hook-up every Thursday night (8pm PST/11pm EST) turned out to be a brilliant match because our goals just happened to be in perfect alignment: helping listeners find their new favorite band or artist. We’re all about new music discovery that’s worth getting excited about as opposed to pushing/promoting artists who are already established and on the map. Seriously, I love Queens of the Stone Age and Soundgarden as much as the next person, but they don’t need a damned thing from me as far as coverage when Rolling Stone and NME are underfoot. It’s the creative and diverse sonance being made underneath what is on the Top 40/Billboard charts, mostly by bands/artists who are still busting their asses at club shows, still hustling for your *Like* on Facebook, slinging their own merch and deserve to be heard. So we try and get you to hear them.
So here’s the first in a series of recaps of the songs and artists that I personally selected for our High Voltage segments on Dirty Glitter w/ Brody Ramone this year.
November 21, 2013
The Record Company- “Baby I’m Broken”
We’re paying a return visit to the Los Angeles blues/rock revivalists that High Voltage loves called the Record Company because Tuesday (Nov. 19th) brought a new EP from the trio called Feels So Good. By nature of the seasoned musicians that they are, Chris Vos, Marc Cazorla and Alex Stiff do fantastic work in honoring the old school but are finely adept at freshening it up and serving it new with hearty rock and soul. As is tradition with the blues, love is hard work so here’s Chris wailing on his harmonica and guitar while Marc on drums and Alex on bass are the rhythm of trying to do right with “Baby I’m Broken.”
Louis London- “We’re Not Alone”
From Sydney, Australia we have the 5-piece pop/rock outfit, Louis London. Relatively young in band-years, Ed Saloman, Nick Ingall, Karl Fernandes, Jack O’ Donnell and Jack Kiddell conceived Louis London in 2010. In 2012 their debut EP, On Your Lips We Roared, did just that with tracks like “Hardly Hear You” putting the band on the music radar in Australia with great song structures and Saloman’s soaring and flexible vocal style. Their second EP called The Big Deep came out Nov. 11th and from that EP, here’s “We’re Not Alone.”
Ceasefire- “Wake Up”
From Orange County, CA we have Ray Alexander (vocals), Kamren Alexander (guitar), Tristan Montgomery (bass) and Anthony Hainsworth (drums) of Ceasefire who are all about reaching and anthemic songs that move the head and the heart. They formed in 2011 and their music channels and even pays homage to 80s new wave, 90s arena rock and their wide stretch of influences that range from Joy Division to Oasis, Morrissey to Pink Floyd and the Cure to ELO. These guys are ambitious down to who they work with and earlier this year Ceasefire went into the studio to record their In The Dead of the Night EP with serious music muscle: Josh Mosser (Eminem, Imagine Dragons, Christina Aguilera) and Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Pink). Here’s a track from the EP: “Wake Up.”
October 31, 2013
MONA- “Cross The Line”
Mona aren’t new; they’ve been around since 2007 but we don’t feel like enough ears are aware of their goodness. A little 50’s retro swagger, cigarettes, guitars blazing and some blue collar Mid-Western and gritty Southern attitude and charm, Nick Brown, Vince Gard, Zach Lindsey and Jordan Young sound like that band your mother warned you about but only because she knows how good bad boys can be: musically and otherwise. Now based in Nashville, the foursome throw down scorching and rugged rockers of honesty, then can flip to something gospel-touched or ballad pretty all carried by Nick’s soaring vocals: The guy can sing. In July came their sophomore album, Torches & Pitchforks, which speaks of the tug between good and evil and is a worthy addition to your 2013 record collection.
James Bay- “When We Were On Fire”
Most 22 year-olds don’t have anywhere near the vocal command and presence as James Bay does but we’re not complaining; he’s from the UK and a singer-songwriter who creates a certain magic between him and his guitar. In the vein of a John Mayer or a Ray Lamontagne, the earthiness and expressiveness of James’ voice along with his lyrics convey a sensual warmth. This track, “When We Were On Fire” is from his Dark of the Night EP which is a very stripped showcase of this young man’s talent of which there is plenty of. He’s toured with ZZ Ward, Beth Orton and even opened for the Rolling Stones. Keep an eye on this one.