Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cure for the Mondays: Jessica Childress - "I Quit"

Jessica Childress - "I Quit"

It's Monday, I know we're all thinking it.

LA soulstress Jessica Childress has a voice like the soul queens of old. Combining rock 'n' roll pinaz with traditional R&B into her own sassy style Childress is taking the industry by force with her awesome talent. Riding the wave of exposure from her time on the show The Voice, she has recently released her debut EP Don't Forget My Name and is playing sold out show in her native California. With any luck this will all translate into a full-lengthed album and more extensive touring.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Living Room Performance: Slash & Myles Kennedy "Sweet Child O' Mine"(Acoustic)

Slash & Myles Kennedy - "Sweet Child O' Mine"(Acoustic)
Foxtel's Max Sessions
Seymour Center
Sydney, Australia

I doubt that he needs any introduction, having slung his six strings in some of the most iconic bands to ever play rock 'n' roll, Slash, guitar god extraordinaire, has had more effect on the instrument and style of the guitar in the last 4 decades then any other artist in the last century. How many of use have found ourselves in the basement adorned in a top hat and strumming an air guitar. If anything this performance demonstrates the immeasurable skill Slash has with his insturment.
Sharing the stage with him is Myles Kennedy, Lead singer of the band Alter Bridge and long time Slash collaborator. Kennedy also held the vocal lead for Slash's 2012's Apocolyptic Love. Enjoy this rare rendition of a true classic.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Quick Pick :Vikesh Kapoor @ Mississippi Studios 02/19

Wednesday, February 19th
Vikesh Kapoor (Supporting)
Eleni Mandell
Mississippi Studios
3939 N. Mississippi
Doors:8PM /Show:9PM
Adv.:$10/Day Of:$12
21 & Over

Possessed by a folk spirit, Vikesh Kapoor creates music that allows his organically rustic voice to  swim freely through beautifully simplistic instrumentation.  Like Guthrie and Dylon before him Kapoor sings of the human condition that exists beyond chronological boundaries. This is the ache and struggle of every human heart. Touring in support of his album The Ballad of Willy Robins  which tells the story of one of the many hardworking blue collared souls over looked in our digital age. Supporting the beautiful melody of Eleni Mandell's country-folk this show should sound like heaven off the wood paneled walls of the lovely Mississippi Studios. Nothing gets you over the hump of the week like getting your folk on.

Friday, February 14, 2014

"Finals Week with The Hard Lessons": The List: Top 5 Best Worst Foods To Eat on the Road


After touring the world for the better part of ten years, here are the best worst things to eat after a night of rocking.

5) Donor Kebab! Kurt Cobain references the "Kebab Machines" of the U.K. in the liner notes to Incesticide, and being the students of Rock N Roll (and greasy food) that we are, we mowed through that rotating-spit-meat all across Europe while touring with OK GO and Motion City Soundtrack.

4) Pizza Rolls! I don't think a lot of people realize that Totino's Pizza Rolls are safe to eat without microwaving. More times than I care to admit we'd stop at a gas station, pick up some frozen boxes of pizza rolls, put them on the dashboard to defrost in the sun, and proceed to eat them. Boom! Dinner without stopping the van!

3) Complimentary Tater Tots and/or Bacon! Sometime around 2007 it started becoming trendy for bars to have nights where they would put out plates of bacon or tater tots instead of peanuts. It really took the guesswork out of dinner.

2) The venue's pizza! "Oh, we get a complimentary pizza. I bet it tastes great."

1) In N Out Burger! All fast food is the same and it all sucks, except for this precious gift from the Western states. We once stopped at In N Out Burger for three meals in a row after leaving California. Animal style never goes out of style!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Finals Week with The Hard Lessons" 10 Questions: The Hard Lessons

The Michigan power trio The Hard Lessons have been rocking the world with their great bluesy rock 'n' roll for the last decade. An amazing feat for any band, they continue to fight the good fight with the recent release of their latest album Start What You Finished.
The band took sometime to talk to BLS about, amongst other things,  the new album and what it takes to survive as a band for ten.

BLS: You’ve just released Start What You Finished, your latest full-length album. What do you enjoy the most about the new album? Sonically and technically, how dose this album compare to your past material?

HL: It was the easiest record we've ever made. After ten years of playing in this band, we just feel a lot more comfortable writing and recording. I love the fact that we captured a lot of what people love about our live sound on this record. All of the things people know and love about our band are there (big riffs, boy/girl harmonies, Ko's soulful vocals, some poppier hooks) but it is definitely the closest we've ever come to capturing the live sound and that distinguishes it from our past records.

BLS: Start What You Finished sees the new addition of Steve Warstler on drums. What made you choose him to join the band? What dose he bring to the band and the sound of the new album?

HL: Steve started off as a fan of our band, later we had his band Mind Fish (featuring Dean from Silent Lions) open for us at some shows in Michigan and Ohio. When Mind Fish broke up and Steve stopped doing stuff with Silent Lions we found ourselves in need of a drummer and just asked him to fill in. The first thing he did with us was film the video for "Sit & Argue" before he had even played a show with us!

BLS: As a married couple do you find that there are unique benefits and disadvantages of being in a band together? Dose your relationships effect the dynamics with the other members of the band?

HL: Before we had our son, I would say that it was mostly all benefits. Most of my friends who toured would get into it with their significant others because they're off traveling the world while their boyfriend or girlfriend sits at home. Visiting 7 countries with my girlfriend (and then wife) was awesome. However, now that we have a son it provides some unique challenges. Rehearsal? Gotta get a sitter. Show? Gotta get a sitter. Recording? Gotta get a sitter. Luckily our families are more than happy to help. 

BLS: As a band you’ve always believed in presenting a distinctly unique image, from pressing your music to vinyl to screen printed gig posters. Is this a conscious effort, or is it the result of the skills of those around you? What makes vinyl records so appealing to you?

HL: We do all of those things because we are FANS of music first and foremost. I'm not calling out someone who doesn't press their music on vinyl, or saying that if you don't have silk-screened posters that you're not a music fan. But there is just a different mentality with some folks - and they know who they are. We grew up in record stores, obsessing over every detail of records, collecting posters, mentally cataloging record labels and limited releases. We wanted our band to be a part of that culture. I get that people want access to music in the palm of their hand, but I want something I can stick on my shelf and admire both sonically and physically.

BLS: You recently reached an amazing mile stone of 10 years as a band. How has the band and you as artists evolved in this past decade? What steps have you taken to be able to survive the tests of time? 

HL: It is not easy to reach 10 years. But we love doing what we do, and there are still people that love our band. If either of those were to go away, I might not see a reason to continue. I will always play music in some way, but the band The Hard Lessons (especially live) is about interacting with a CROWD. If no one was coming to our shows, we couldn't do this. Our fans complete us. They are part of us.

BLS: What would you like for the next ten years to hold in store for you and your band? 

HL: I feel like we just now have figured this whole thing out. I wish I knew as much as I know now - songwriting, traveling, recording, performing, etc. - when we were starting out and had such a strong spotlight on us. It's embarrassing to see how green we were, but I think that youthful, naive enthusiasm is what really endeared us to people. 

BLS: In the early 2000’s you received a lot of attention on a national level that has unfortunately receded in the last few years. Do you feel this is the result of the industry or did the focus of the band change? Are you concerned with trying to regaining that past momentum?

HL: I think the answer is twofold. First, at 10 years no band receives the attention they get when they're new. I watched that Pearl Jam documentary and they went from selling 10,000,000 copies of their debut, to selling 500,000 at 10 years. But they still have this rabid fan base who supports them. I think that is a natural trajectory for bands, even on our small level. The other thing is this is not the only thing in our lives anymore. We have a family, we work at other jobs, we have a home. Before our life was this band. It is still extremely important to us, but we don't live or die by it anymore. 

BLS: You guys are huge proponents of the local scene both in supporting your own and encouraging others to support theirs. With the ups and downs of your own musical journey how has your hometown scene made a difference? Do you think that the salvation of music lies in the bands and artists in your own back yard?

HL: I'm proud to have made such an impact in Detroit, Lansing, Ann Arbor, Flint, Grand Rapids... We love Michigan, and to have inspired bands from our home state is very meaningful. I'm not sure if a Michigan band will change the world tomorrow, but as the White Stripes proved, sometimes the underdogs from the forgotten parts of the country can end up on top.

BLS: So with a new record in you back pocket, what dose 2014 have in store for you? 

HL: More shows, but no tours. I think the two-months-on-the-road version of this band is no more. But we're trying hard to make it to places that have been really instrumental to our success in the midwest. Grand Rapids, Flint, and Lansing are next.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of? 

HL: I already mentioned Silent Lions, who are from Toledo. goLab from Toledo is also amazing. Korin and I used to work at the School of Rock with this little girl named Blaire Alise who has grown into a kick-ass artist in her own right. But I'm always amazed by what "few people have heard." Who could be included in that? T. Rex? Hum? The Pixies? Link Wray? In my opinion most people only have room for a few artists and it is like Eminem, Miley Cyrus, etc. After that it all comes down to more specific tastes. All I know is that my son loves some Iggy Pop!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"Finals Week with The Hard Lessons": Tuesday Double Feature:AC/DC "Jailbreak" & Clip from "The Warriors" movie

In this week's Tuesday Double Feature the band The Hard Lessons take their turn with a unique choice of videos that highlights their individual perspective and love for great music where ever it's found.

AC/DC - "Jailbreak"

We love Thin Lizzy, but if you say Jailbreak to us we're gonna think AC/DC. This video is straight up camp, but Bon Scott is so invested that he pulls it off. I was talking with Eddie from Detroit band The Sights about how AC/DC's songs may not change much, but you can place the era by Malcom's tone.

Clip from the Movie "The Warriors"- music by Barry De Vorzon

I love this scene from the Warriors. The music is dope, and all of the gangs in the movie could be bands. In fact there was a Michigan band called The Baseball Furies. Our new song Gramercy Riff is a play on the The Gramercy Riffs in the movie, and the lyrics reference it quite a bit too.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Finals Week with The Hard Lessons": Cure for the Mondays: The Hard Lessons - "Sound The Silent Alarm"

The Hard Lessons - "Sound The Silent Alarm"

An oldie but a goodie.

An odd little video that The Hard Lessons recorded in the midst of their tour for the Arms Forest album back in 2009. Perfectly catching their playfulness this is just what the doctor ordered to help you with a bad case of the Mondays.
Make sure you stay tuned all week for more great things from this band as they take BLS for a spin.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

"Finals Week with The Hard Lessons": Living Room Performance: The Hard Lessons - "I'm Board"

The Hard Lessons - "I'm Board"

St. Andrew's Hall

Detroit, Michigan

December 26th 2013

"Covering this song started off as a joke at a birthday party for our friend Adam who is part-owner of the Ottawa Tavern in Toledo. It ended up becoming the impetuous to recording our new album. We opened for the Stooges in 2007 and we covered "No Fun" at a gig the day after Ron Asheton died. There's a little Iggy in all of us."- The Hard Lessons

This week, we at BLS are going back to school with the rock powerhouse of Detroit band The Hard Lessons. A long time personal favorite of my own, it's an honor to have the band take over for the week. Not only does this band created some of the sweetest rock 'n' roll out there but their live performance is easily in my top 5 all time greatest shows and that's just from seeing them 2 or 3 time. So get your learning hats on and don't worry, all tests are open book.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday Double Feature: Monolo Panic 'Seasoned Noise" & Lost In Atlantis "Tek No"

From Star Wars to Tron I feel like I'm reliving the movie inspired fantasies of my childhood in this weeks Tuesday Double Feature. So join me and let your inner geek reign free.

Manolo Panic - "Seasoned Noise"

The broad styles of  Swiss indie-rock band Manolo Panic reveals the eclectic background of its members. From Candy sweet pop to deep blues folk, the diverse sound of their music is sure to hold something for everyone. The band will be playing some date here in the States come this spring in support of their debut LP Helpless & Strange. Unfortunately the closest the bad will be playing is LA, but that doesn't stop you from checking our their wonderfully danceable music and this Star Wars themed video. 

Lost In Atlantis - "Tek No"

The electro-pop of Arizona band Lost in Atlantis has a pulsing electric energy that's hard to denied. Hand picked for 2013's Vans Warped Tour, their stint on the national tour was cut short when the band was hit by a drunk driver in a near fatal car accident. Thankfully the band survived and now continue their push to stardom in support of their wildly energetic album Love Freak. For myself and a few others this video insights memories of the brilliant camp of the first Tron movie,which I myself saw as a double feature on a drive-in screen in a Southern California desert town.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Cure for the Mondays: American Authors - "Best Day of My Life"

American Authors - "Best Day of My Life"

When was the last time you played with your monsters.

It might not be too long before Brooklyn based American Authors could be a house hold name. Having been chosen as VH1's official "You Oughta Know" selection for February the band will have their music on TV, the web and incorporated into mobile and social platforms.If that wasn't enough, March should continue their momentum with the release of their debut album Oh, What A Life set for release on the 4th as well as appearances on some A-list talk shows. Not bad for a group of Music College dropouts.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Living Room Performance: Death - "Keep On Knocking"

Death - "Keep On Knocking"
Check Yo Ponytail 2


Los Angeles California.

October 28th, 2013

For the longest time the amazing music of Detroit band Death lingered lost in obscurity, but as time has proven good music will never die. Even if the name of your band is death. Years ahead of their time the proto-punk of this tiro of brothers, was the cultural significance of finding an M-16 in the battlefields of World War II. The story of the band and their long overdue rediscovery is recorded in the documentary A Band Called Death.
After hearing of this band they quickly gained a place on my rock 'n' roll bucket list to catch live. Though it's not the same, here's a chance to see the band at work. Hopefully it might just hold us over until they make it to our neck of the woods.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

"Cannibals Week" Wrap up

It's been an awesome week with the Summer Cannibals as they took BLS on the maiden voyage of band take over. Thanks goes out to the band for all their great additions.
Don't miss the chance to catch there amazing live show this Wednesday at Mississippi Studios for The Mercury's free Ear Candy show. Joining them is the spacey pop of fellow Portland band Grandhorse.

Here are the details:
Wednesday, February 5th
Mississippi Studios
3939 N. Mississippi
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM
Free Show
21 & Over

Here's another little taste of what you'll see.