The Majesty 12, X files fans will know what I'm talking about, and if your not an X files fan then you will soon, but for very different reasons. The majesty 12 in reference here happens to be new group of southern Californian natives known as HOTT MT (Hour of the time, majesty twelve) who recently released their debut ep called I Made This, a strong electronica pop album with a very heavy eastern influence. The sound, which the band has called Thai gaze is an eclectic mix of nineties show gaze and modern electronica.
Upon the official release of the album the band hit the road, traveling east to Oklahoma to visit Wayne Coyne, lead singer of the Flaming Lips, on his birthday. The band showed up, unannounced on his porch that day and knocked on the door. Upon answering the door Coyne, who at first was on the phone but promptly finished the conversation and asked the group in to find out what they wanted. The Band, who had come, simply to give him a specially packaged, one of a kind cassette edition of the new ep had no ideas when asked by Coyne what they planned to do next, "Head back to L.A." Nick Logie AKA spooky says was all they knew. Apparently Coyne liked the response (or hated it, depending on how you look at it) cause he asked them to stay the night. That "night" ended up being four or five and the chance to help Coyne and the Lips out with some songs they were working on for other artists and a new original single and video he recorded with band, which has since gainied some good youtube play and the band a bit of a reputation with out even having played a single show up to that point.
By the time the band had returned from the great Oklahoma Voyage, barly one week out of the ep release the name HOTT MT had already began to be circulated and the buzz over the band and the collaboration with Wayne was blowing up. Spin magazine, MTV and the OC weekly all reported on the trip and the band who is gearing up for their first shows are as pumped as they are anxious and possibly nervous. "We've been really busy trying to get the live show looking and sounding awesome. It has been difficult to feel prepared with how quickly things have happened. we are realizing that good intuition is much more important for this project right now." Ashleigh Allard AKA Ashi, lead singer of the band says of the their preparation and feelings about the coming shows.
To prep for their debut show on march twelfth (MT) a few close friends and family were gathered in downtown fullerton two weeks before, for the band to try the new songs out on, and the experience was magical. With a full band backing the duo to round out the sound and allow the group to recreate the expansivness Of the album, Ashi and spooky destroyed a short set that included every song on the album. Ashi steels the spot light, with her bleach blond hair and golden formal esque dress, her energy never dies and, like the band its self their is a certain amount of Irony there, the tiny, white, bleach blonde, southern Californian calls her home Bangkok, (city of angels in Thai) California and has spent time around the globe including an artist residency in Beijing and has the vocal and physical energy along with stage personality of a much bigger person.
"We are used to immersing ourselves into art, so we find that we are able to trust ourselves and work well quickly." she says when talking of the bands discipline and approach to their music. "The song we wrote with Wayne had a different approach as it was based entirely on our experiences those few days in OK city. A lot of the songs on I Made This came from focusing on a specific location, such as mountain, or beach. A few of the songs were approached like making tom kha gai soup, or some curry - adding layers till it felt just right. Conspiracy theories, myth, science fiction, fiction in general, global economics, family, spirituality, social status, and all of the emotions that go with those ideas. There's a lot of things and ideas we're interested in and appreciate, in this project we try to address them all" but regardless of the concept it seems that this band is more about the sound and feel than it is about simply playing songs.
There is a special feeling you get when you see something unique and one of a kind. HOTT MT bring that feeling and the bands pop sensibilities lend its self to a what can only become a larger and larger audience. While the bands sound and image are unique and well crafted, the undertones of the songs are simple and catchy. One quick listen to I Made This and phrases such as You Know When Your Right and Every ones dumb but me seem destined to be trapped in your mind for days. The band may be new and may have only played a few select shows at this point but the vision is big and brave. With Flaming Lips in their corner and with such a mesmerizing show to see, this band seems destined for big thing.
"I grew up on Long Island, moved to Florida when I was 16, my parents told me we were going on vacation but we just never came back." That's the way Louis DeFabrizio tells it when talking about his childhood. " I moved (back to New York) to Brooklyn about two years ago.... This new record we just finished making is about starting over. So I guess the move has affected me a little bit" not that any one who has ever heard Gasoline heart would ever want anything about this band to really change all that much, but like the title of the bands last album suggests, Nostalgia Ain't What it Used to be, so change is bound to come. "I think the only thing that has changed, songwriting wise is I am trying to keep it a little bit more simple." He says of the changes that come with new scenery and time. And much like those lyrical changes sometimes it's the simplest of changes that can lead to the greatest of creations. It was that change of scenery that led to the newest of Gasoline Heart's lines ups and it's a Line up that may be the most special one to date for fans and for DeFabrizio. The guys in Gasoline heart's current line up have only been playing together for a few years as Gasoline heart but have been in and out of each others lives musically and personally for years. "Dave & I used to be roomies years ago in Florida, he really pushed me to start writing songs. He actually started The Kick with me (My old band) Then Squad Five O lost their drummer and they asked him to join and I got ditched. Now its kinda come back full circle, us playing together...and Casey McBride played bass on the record, he used to play in The Kick (as well)... this is the first time recording with Adam & Dave, those guys are a trip." he says of his band mates. Chemistry is everything and this Line up is chalk full of it. Adam and Dave who first began playing together when they both joined the late Squad Five O in the late nineties have been playing ever since as the duo aptly known as Adam and Dave's bloodline. With all this musical inbreeding and friendship one can only hope to hear what the band has up sleeve for this next release. The band just finished a new album and are gearing up for shows and the release with art work being worked on at the moment. The "new record was recorded in New York City at a place called Singing Serpent. We did it all live and it sounds pretty bad ass...Got a few slow numbers with some jammy parts. A few 2 minute songs and a few 8 minute songs. Its gonna be wild" he says of the album. Wild happens to be a good term to use when talking about this band. Louis has been very out spoken for his love of "wild" bands like pearl jam and Soul Asylum and much like his heroes, DeFabrizio has also never been afraid to speak his mind and be himself. "Last year I played Cornerstone Christian festival out in Illinois and I got kicked off stage after one song. I said f*#k on the mic and all hell broke loose. That festival is really the only connection we have to the Christian Scene if that even still exists." That incident made some headlines on a collection of blogs and christian news letters last year but it seems that Gasoline heart could really care less and seem only focused on heading forward."I hope people like [the new record], its very uptempo and straight to the point." and as was sung on the last album, You can't keep a good kid down. Gasoline Heart are a refreshingly organic and real band in a world of over produced pop hit machines. Here is a song writer who writes from his heart for his own ears and not some one else. with a new album in the works keep coming back for more info on when. for more info on the band check out http://www.facebook.com/#!/gasheart
here is a brand new video from Tumbledown, a catchy anthem of life on the road. Like the true country singer here's a song about the rambling life. "It's a great big world and I'm roaming around." front man, Mike Herrera sings "we come to party in your town." the song is comes country complete with chicken picking guitar, cross harp harmonica, and just enough city's named to know they been on the road.
Jace Krause has been around, his band Friday Mile had gained a good reputation in the northwest, played some good venues and gotten some radio play, but when the band disbanded in 2010 he and his fellow band mate Jake Rohr started Fort Union. "we wanted to work out with Ryan Lynch. He agreed to help us flesh out the songs, and ended up taking them to new places. We decided to use that momentum and make these songs have a spacey/folky feel." The "messy and Lo-fi" feel of what has so far been two released songs by this band truly sound spacey. Ethereal and raw, Fort Union's songs drift, like a trip though time and space, a little 90's pop, a little 60's folk and a lot of the future. the floating vocals sound comfortable and the bubbling bass lines make your feet helpless but to tap. the band sounds Happy with where they are and that communicates well in the music. "The Northwest is an inspiring place to live. I love the natural beauty of the landscape, but I also love the brand of people here." Jace says about living in the northwest. There is some great music coming from Seattle and Portland these days and Fort union is definitely part of that. Fitting in nicely with Portland's laid back environment and hospitality, Fort union have found everything they need to thrive and write. "I get inspired just as much from the landscape as I do the people that I know. And I know some really amazing people. The Northwest is an inspiring place to live" Much like many artists coming up these days in the midst of economic turmoil, the DIY approach to life, music and art is booming and Fort union are attempting to release a vinal in the coming months. "We just finished mixing this record with Gary Mula in Seattle. We are going to press vinyl with the help of a Kickstarter." the website dedicated to helping raise money for bands and organizations that need the help. The album should be out soon, with the help of friends, family, and fans so check out fort union on facebook to stay up to date with how thats going, and keep coming back for more great news, here at the Independent... http://www.facebook.com/#!/fortunion?sk=info Photo by Dylan Priest http://dylanpriest.com/
Here is a great Live video of one of the northwest's most brilliant songwriters. Appleby is the pride and joy of Seattle right now. And with songs like this it makes sense. His songs are well crafted, and with his delicately placed sorrowful wailing, the song's true emotion is in no way hidden. http://www.facebook.com/#!/bryanjohnappleby
She has been playing in and around some of LA's most important musicians and trend setters for close to ten years, but ask most people who Morgan Nagler is and you will most likely get blank stares. this is a problem. More people should know about Morgan, who goes by the stage name Whispertown (previously known as whispertown 2000, the whispertown 2000 and at one point vagtown). Her relaxed vocals and playful melody's are catchy as anything playing on the radio, and her approach to music as pure as anything on NPR. After experimenting with a variety of line up's Nagler simplified the process and worked with a select few on this album and the selection shines through on the dancy first single Open The Other Eye, with harmony's from the likes of Maria Taylor and Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and co produced by Bellows and Andy LeMaster (Bright Eyes).
"So Jake and I went to Athens, Georgia, with bag full of songs and an open mind. I have a psychic connection with Andy" She muses "so we turned the songs into dreams." not that that is a new thing for her, whispertown has always had a sort of dreamy quality but the difference is this time the dream seems possibly more modern, where as her past work has always seemed to have a sort of honky tonk nostalgia, this album seems to have deluded that quality and added a little more electricity. "The songs have all come from the same place they always have. I wanted to experiment with removing my jingle jangle acoustic strum that normally serves as the bed, in which the songs lay." Nagler says, and I for one love it. Whispertown has always been in great company, from her close friendship with Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennet early on to touring frequently with Maria Taylor and/or Taylor's band Azure Ray to signing as the first outside artist on Gillian Welch's Acony records and this album seems to have encapsulated that. "we really are all one and United" Nagler say's when talking about the new song, and thats what you feel when listening to Open the Other Eye. A sense of community and connection. Whispertown have two video's in the works and plan to tour a ton behind this release so keep an eye open for them, you need to see this band, you need to hear these songs, Morgan Nagler needs to be known by more people, she deserves to be known by more people. keep on coming back for more new music. http://www.whispertown.com/
Here is a great acoustic version of I am Jacob by Briertone. Briertone are a dark folk rock band from the central coast. After taking a break to play some less dark solo stuff, Adam Pasion and the gang are back with a new EP and renewed sense of purpose. doing what they do best, the Tone deliver on this boot stomping anthems of hope and life. the music video(below) is a great representation of what this band is all about, dark and sorrowful epics of mankind with wild west back drop.
The Pithy sweet are that band I wish more people cared about. What the pithy Sweet have going for them is great song writing, great players, and a really cool groove. this is live session they day a year ago, playing on the beach in, lead singer Ben Kent's beloved Big Sur. The band lays down one great originals and then Cranks out an incredible cover of Coconut by Harry Nilsson, who like the Pithy Sweet was under rated and never appreciated the way r should have been in his time. Here's an great band playing great music with a great back drop. In short I really enjoy these videos and this band.
The Backdoor preachers are great old time rock and roll band, reminiscent of 1970's MC5, Iggy pop, or the Rolling Stones. Mike Castellano has been part of the LA and Orange County music scene for over 25 years, most notably playing bass in Hellbound Hayride for over 15 years. Along with Friend and fellow bass player Preston Peck and fellow Hayride guitarist Louis Ramos, the Backdoor Preachers were born out of a desire to just play some good music, the way they wanted to.the band has found a bit of a home down in Long Beach, Ca at Di Piazzas and has played there on decently regular basis, including a few slots with punk legend Mike Watt of the Minute Men and stooges fame. The Backdoor Preachers sound like a rock and roll band playing rock and roll music at a rock and roll bar, and that's just what they are. the band swings from heavy and hard hitting pre punk sounds of VooDoo Love and Can't Find the Good times all the way to the almost classic country rock sounds of Texas all the way to the ethereal and dark Strange Days Like These. These are simple songs, played by musicians that are anything but simple, the genius guitar playing and slight vocal harmony's push these songs past the simple and nice into the classic and powerful.
For anyone who longs for the days when you could go see a good rock and roll band with out having to pay atleast 30$, this is the band for you.
Backdoor Preachers will be playing at Di Piazzas in Long Beach Sat. Feb. 18th at 10:00pm.
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Photography by Allisonmilenephotography.com
Here's the story. HOTT MT recorded an album, they made a special edition of it, packaged it up in an amazing box designed by lead singer Ashleigh Allard, drove across the country to the home Of Flaming lips front man Wayne Coyne and gave it to him on his birthday, he asked them to stay, They recorded a song with him, then a video for the song, then they came home. Here's the video,I'll let you know when I know more... a full feature on the band(exclusive photo's and interview) coming soon. so pay attention.