Music & Bands

An Interview With Australian Rocker, Aimee Francis

Cherry Grrl recently had the esteemed privilege of talking with Aimee Francis, a rock n’ roll loving, shop-a-holic. If you don’t know her as the 20-year-old Australian transplant with an amazing voice and vibrant personality, you will. Francis has gained traction in the lesbian (and musical) community with performances at Dinah Shore and her self-funded EP is available now.

America, Meet Tôg. Tôg, Meet America.

Welcome to the horror show, starring seven-piece Norwegian film enthusiasts, Tôg. Fronted by Lars Christian Olsen, the mysterious and enigmatic maestro cites philosophy, as much an inspiration as other music. Moody and infectious with some elements of house, the act will be playing five shows at SXSW in Austin, before playing the Northeast of the U.S.

I talked with Lars about philosophy, music and of course, the challenge of fame (for both of us, of course).

An Horse: They’re Just Happy To Be Here

If I were to tell Kate Cooper or Damon Cox that I think they’re the “next big thing,” they would shake their heads and change the subject. It’s a part of their charm, but they also would rather genuinely not know. So far, the duo from Brisbane, Australia known as An Horse have toured with Death Cab for CutieKaki KingThe Appleseed CastWintersleepTegan & Sara (Quin, who are credited for helping break the band in America), and Manchester Orchestra, who they will be supporting on tour this year.

An Interview with Lesbian Rock Band Hunter Valentine’s Kiyomi

Since 2004,  the three openly lesbian rockers of Hunter Valentine have been creating a definitive sound that inevitably produced legions of devoted fans. This held true over the release of a 2005 EP and finally their 2007 full-length record, “The Impatient Romantic,” on True North Records.

Austin’s StumbleDrunk Breaks New Ground On Old Rock

Austin, Texas’ StumbleDrunk is a rock ’em, sock ’em, all-American rock n’ roll band. Derek Pope, brothers Carter and Tucker Francis, Josh Massey and Wayne Zingery drink to excess and jam even more excessively. In preparation of the physical release of their debut record, Monday Evenings, available January 22nd, 2011, I talked with frontman Carter Francis about what it’s like to be in three bands, starting a record label and playing music with your best friends.

Boy & Bear Set to Rule More than Australia

Boy & Bear is an indie folk band band from Sydney, Australia. I first got wind of them when they were tapped to support everyone’s favorite Grammy-nominated English folk band—Mumford & Sons—on tour, and their hit “Mexican Mavis” from their With Antartica America EP began to generate some buzz. But back in 2009, Boy & Bear was a solo project for singer/songwriter Dave Hosking. Soon after, bassist Jake Tarasenko joined and then, Killian Gavin and Tim Hart. They found their footing as a five-piece when Jon Hart came on board, but there’s more to Boy & Bear than just all of the members being bluesy singer/songwriters.

Chicago’s L’Altra Are All the Wiser

L’Altra is Italian for “the feminine other.” The band formed in 1999 in Chicago with Ken Dyber, Eben English, Lindsay Anderson, and Joseph Desler Costa. After a couple of records and an EP, Dyber and English left the band to pursue other interests, and Costa and Anderson continued on until both were pretty much on the verge of snapping. Joseph and I talked a bit about the challenges L’Altra have faced in the past, reuniting with Lindsay for their record Telepathic, and what comes now.

Interview: Cyndi Lauper

We challenge you to name a top-selling, high-charting female singer/songwriter in the 21st century not inspired by Cyndi Lauper. As a matter of fact, we challenge you to find someone who doesn’t know all of the words to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Go ahead, we’ll wait. Can’t do it? That’s right, and with good reason.

David Berkeley vs. Bar–BestNewBands.com Exclusive

I talked with David Berkeley about the release of his fourth record, Some Kind of Cure, in an exclusive interview for Best NewBands.com. He performed that evening at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

Exclusive Interview: Kreayshawn!

Twenty-two million YouTube views can’t be wrong, can they? “Gucci Gucci” became this summer’s anthem, turning Kreayshawn into a sensation. From interviews with XXL and Complex magazine, selling out mini-tours, and getting covered on a freestyle by Lil’ Wayne, the California native is literally, everywhere. Kreayshawn is currently signed to Sony and is hard at work on her first full-length album. She called from Los Angeles to talk about the White Girl Mob, getting signed to a major label, and how to get her attention.

Get Your Pom-Poms Ready for Hoodie Allen’s Pep Rally

Let’s explore for a second the commonalities of an up-and-coming rap or hip-hop artist: Growing up in or around a large city? Check. Eclectic musical taste? Check. Began writing or freestyling since their early years? Check. Hoodie Allen meets all of the the criteria and then, there’s that non-musical elephant in the room: He graduated from UPenn and works for Google by day. Real-life aside, Hoodie Allen is what would happen if Slick Rick met Girl Talk in 2010.

Ideals: A Cocktail for Your Ears

Ideals are a melting pot of all the things I like in my music: brooding vocals, haunting lyrics and an aggressive sound that accurately replicates a live show on their EPs. After I received a late night text from someone who heard an Ideals song on their Pandora station, I immediately checked out their tunes on YouTube. Subsequently, I became a bit hooked.

Innerpartysystem Will “Never Be Content” With Standing Still

Electronic/dance-pop heroes Innerpartysystem are not going to have a quiet 2011. Their EP, Never Be Content will be released on February 22nd, and it’s really something special. The band: Patrick Nissley, Jared Piccone and Kris Barman, are also in the process of finishing a new full-length record, which is due this year as well. Their video for the single “American Trash” debuted on Filter magazine’s website on January 25th and it’s a visually stimulating, but sardonic pop culture commentary that you can’t help but tap your feet to.

Interview with God-Des & She: Pt. 1 of 4

A four-part exclusive interview with hip-hop/pop duo God-Des & She at Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, New York on 5/9/2011 for CherryGRRL.com.

Interview with God-Des & She: Pt. 2 of 4

A four-part exclusive interview with hip-hop/pop duo God-Des & She at Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, New York on 5/9/2011 for CherryGRRL.com.

Interview with God-Des & She: Pt. 3 of 4

A four-part exclusive interview with hip-hop/pop duo God-Des & She at Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, New York on 5/9/2011 for CherryGRRL.com.

Interview with God-Des & She: Pt. 4 of 4

A four-part exclusive interview with hip-hop/pop duo God-Des & She at Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn, New York on 5/9/2011 for CherryGRRL.com.

Interview: LGBTQ Music Scene Vets, Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray for the Riff Raff are not your average folk band, and the story of their lead singer is certainly everything but. Alynda Lee Segarra was a 17-year-old girl fascinated by punk rock and the world outside of the borough of the Bronx in New York. She ran away from her aunt and uncle’s home and found her way around the country aboard freight trains. Alynda finally found a place to call home in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she made ends meet by (seriously) playing washboard in a group called Dead Man’s Street Orchestra. As she met other musicians and learned more tunes, Alynda found a home for her smoky vocals when she founded Hurray for the Riff Raff. Comprised of Alynda, Yosi Perlstein, David Maclay, and guests, the band combines a contemporary soft-rock and soulful sound with the timeless folk of Bob Dylan and the Band.  Their new record, “Young Blood Blues,” is out now. Alynda shared some of her fascinating story with Cherry Grrl.

Interview: Natasha Bedingfield on Connecting With All Women… Dinah and Beyond

Natasha Bedingfield is a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter who has recorded some of the most identifiable and danceable pop music of the last six years. Her tracks, “Unwritten,” and “These Words” are still heard today and are generally considered sing-along anthems. Her third album, Strip Me, was released on December 7, 2010 and this April she will be heading to Palm Springs to grace the lovely ladies of Club Skirts The Dinah with a special performance.

Listen to The Drums

The Drums is an indie-pop band, by way of Brooklyn, New York. Influenced by bands like The Smiths andOrange Juice, Jonathan Pierce and Jacob Graham met at summer camp and formed a mutual interest in music. The pair formed Goat Explosion, before separating and succeeding in different bands. Reforming in 2006, they added drummer Connor Hanwick and guitarist Adam Kessler to the mix. They were on many music outlet’s “bands to watch” lists in 2010 and went on to open for acts like Kings of Leon and Florence And The Machine. In September 2010, it was announced that Kessler had left.

Local Natives’ Andy Hamm

[It was with the thought in mind that there was no one who loved music quite like me writing about it, that I headed to Zilker Park in Austin, Texas this October to not just change the face of the musical press, but to also gay up the joint a bit. I was able to speak to some of the musical acts I have identified with over quite some time, and this is the result of these adventures: Musicians Are Your Friends, Too. MAYF2 aims to provide the answers to every question you’ve ever wanted to ask to the musicians you admire.]

Madeira Bring Other Genres To An Alt-Rock Party

Borrowing talent from New Hampshire and Texas before calling Florida home, Madeira is a young alternative-rock band hiding the experience of prior bands and a love for music under their hood. Tyler Duncan, Andrew Mack, Cameron Rhome and Skylar Martin have been honing their skills crafting infectious pop-rock, but also experimenting with elements of heavy metal and reggae. I got the guys together after band practice to talk about approaching this industry, what being musicians mean to them, and the challenge of playing too many genres.

MEN At Work: Brooklyn Dance Trio Takes NYC First

Last week, for the first time, in New York’s Bowery Ballroom, I watched MEN in costumes dance. I watched MEN sing. I watched MEN jam.

Wait, I paid to watch dudes?

I kid, of course (and to the readers, I apologize, I usually try to avoid bad puns). The Brooklyn-based disco-funk dance trio, fronted by JD Samson and joined by Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O’Neill, sold out the Bowery Ballroom. MEN are now joined by Tami Hart (who you can see in the above photo). Tami replaced Ginger (more on that below), and is now the permanent bassist/2nd guitarist for the project.

No Moment Like Today for The Anytime

I can admit that when I heard The Anytime‘s EP, Crave, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t even know who they were before I was offered a copy of it. But I quickly learned that these four buddies out of Ames, Iowa are dedicated to making their special brand of hip-hop inspired rock big. Andrew Gates, Matt Dery, Caleb Wiggins and Tyler Higdon are The Anytime, and they will do anything to gain your loyalty.

North Carolina’s Troop 41 are Soldiers of the Game

Billed as the “next big thing to come out of the Carolinas” Troop 41 are Tristian Brown (T-Breezy), Lelynd Darkes (Lil Lee), and Dakare Wilder (Lil Inferno). The trio met in 2005 during middle school in Raleigh, North Carolina and shared a love for rap music and basketball, as well as a real flair for performing. Five years and three albums later, the young rappers have the 98th selling single “Do the John Wall” on iTunes.

Paula Cole Returns with New Album and Empowered Approach to Life and Love

Paula Cole is an interesting amalgam: a Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter, producer, and activist, but despite her many contributions to the world of music, she still finds time to challenge, motivate, and above all things, live. Her chart-topping singles, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait” (aka theDawson’s Creek theme song) made her a household name and one of the prominent voices of a generation. Her new album, “Ithaca,” is arriving on September 21st, and it tells us the story of her entering new stages of being: motherhood, separation, and finding new love.

San Diego’s Transfer Make Their Own Fate

Transfer first got on the radar of myself and many others as the opening act for Brandon Flowers, which you can read about HERE. I enjoyed the San Diego rock band very much, but I also a little embarrassed that such an amazing band had eluded me. Fronted by Matthew Molarius on guitar, Jason Cardenas,Shaun Cornell, Andy Ridley, and formed in 2006, the band has gone through many changes to get where they are right now: a tight-sounding rock n’ roll band.

Sinai Wants To Save The World From Bad Music

Respected in the rock scene in their own right, Walt Lafty and Nick Perri (who played together in Silvertide) know what it is to rock out. After parting ways to conquer the musical world, they reunited with drummer Shane Rozum to form Sinai.

I talked to Walt about this crazy industry, the effect of the web on his job and what Sinai hopes to accomplish as a unit.

SuperMashBros. in a BestNewBands.com EXCLUSIVE

Interview with the Super Mash Bros. before their sold-out show at NYC’s Irving Plaza. See the review at: bestnewbands.com

The Heavy Pets Want to Improve Your Life

The Heavy Pets are Jeff Lloyd, Mike Garulli, Jim Wuest, Jamie Newitt and Justin Carney, a five-piece rock n’ roll jam band out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The band began in 2005, and now have two LPs under their belts: 2007’s debut double-disc Whale and 2010’s The Heavy Pets. This all seems simple enough, with the exception that they have received critical acclaim from almost everywhere, including The Huffington Post, for their danceable and infectious live performances, have a massive discography, and are festival favorites.

The Music to Mend Fences

Yesterday, I was able to talk on the phone with Christopher Mansfield, aka Fences. The Seattle-based singer-songwriter has put out some of my favorite records in the last two years: The Ultimate Puke EPand the Sara Quin (of Tegan & Sara)-produced Fences. Hot off the airplay of “Girls With Accents,” the rest of the world is beginning to take notice. Chris is currently on the road, and he called me from a rest stop in California before heading back out on the road for another five-hour drive.

These Furies Are Good For You

It was four years ago when Lee Moretti’s awesome red hair and I first crossed paths. She was a bassist for New York-based band The Upwelling, but parted ways with them, before she and I crossed paths again when she joined San Francisco alternative rock band Third Eye Blind occasionally as an additional guitar player or accompanying their arrangements on stage on the keys. Last Spring, she joined 3eb on tour before returning to Berklee College of Music to finish her degree. It was there that she met Sonya Rae Perricone and The Furies were born.

Tonight Alive Could Be The Biggest ‘Tiny’ Band On Earth

Tonight Alive are just one of those bands that you don’t want to get, at first listen. Your indie-sensibilities groan at the thought of another Paramore (despite the fact that they’re still your secret guilty pleasure). But the similarities begin and end at the obvious: punk-pop band with a female lead. Not only are they worthy of early praise, but they’re completely committed to the music, and each other. That kind of maturity is not often seen from a group of friends in a band who are all under the age of 22.

Vonnegutt: Alternative Hip Hop Kings of the Dirty South

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Vonnegutt, the self-described “alternative/hip-hop/pop” four-piece repping the Dirty South.  Fronted by emcee Kyle Lucas from Marietta, Georgia, Kyle had been hustlin’ on the mixtape scene for years before meeting with session guitarist Neil Garrard, who was crafting hooks for some of southern hip-hop and R&B’s larger acts, including Kelly Rowland.

Wakey!Wakey! Talks Shop, Headlines New York’s Le Poisson Rouge

What Le Poisson Rouge lacks in the ability to generate actual energy from a crowd as a venue, they make up for booking talented acts like Wakey!Wakey! The venue, located in New York’s West Village, can seat 250 people, or, when the tables and benches are removed, pack in 700. Brooklyn-by way of-Virginia’s own Michael Grubbs and company were the headliner on Thursday evening, playing songs from their LP Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You… and The War Sweater EP.

White Rabbits Have Nothing But Time

I had the opportunity to sit down with three of White Rabbits: Alex Even, Matthew Clark and Brian Betancourt. The Brooklyn, New York six-piece, by way of Columbia, Missouri (including Stephen Patterson, Greg Roberts and Jamie Levinson) could fall into the ever-expanding category of “indie rock,” but I believe experimental and even, energetic, would be equally fitting.

Young Galaxy: The Smartest Band You’ve Never Heard Of

Young Galaxy are not just another dream-pop band. They’re not another Canadian indie-pop band, either. So what are they? Well, they are a consistently great and dedicated band that has suffered the highs and lows of the music industry. They were signed to a “mega” label in Arts&Crafts, and then found that the “dream” wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.