DC101 KERFUFFLE

Greta Van Fleet is four young musicians - twin brothers Josh (vocals) and Jake Kiszka (guitar), both 22, younger brother Sam (bass/keys, 19), and longtime family friend Danny Wagner (drums, 20). All are from the tiny Michigan hamlet of Frankenmuth known for its family-style chicken dinners and the world’s largest Christmas store. All four were raised on their parents’ extensive vinyl collections which helped give birth to the music they make today: a high-energy hybrid of rock’n’roll, blues and soul.

2017, Greta Van Fleet’s first year as a professional band was a wild ride of sold-out concerts in North America and Europe, glowing press, accolades from a slew of fellow artists from Elton John to Nikki Sixx to Justin Bieber to Tom Hanks, millions of YouTube video plays and Spotify streams, two #1 singles at Rock Radio and two #1 EPs, and most importantly, the genesis of an extraordinary connection with their fans. On August 15, 2018 the band released a brand new single, “When The Curtain Falls,” that took a mere three weeks to explode into the Top 10 at Rock Radio, accumulate more than 10-million streams, and one million-plus views of the track’s companion music video. Greta Van Fleet will see its debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, released on October 19, 2018 (Lava/Republic Records).

Greta Van Fleet’s shared message with their music is to spread “peace, love and unity,” and their collective goal is to have people walk out of their live shows feeling invigorated, energized and exhilarated, and to take that feeling out into the world.

Los Angeles quintet Young the Giant expertly juxtapose their adventurous spirit with fearless grace on their new album Mirror Master. As the band’s fourth album, Mirror Master follows 2016's critically acclaimed album Home of the Strange.

“Superposition" comes at a time when everything around us seems to be moving faster than ever, but Young The Giant have found a way to make sense of it all. Expressed through lyrics about the little decisions that enlace, tangle and intersect your path with the people in your life and the ones you’re bound to meet, because together, you are in superposition.

Young the Giant first broke through with their 2010 self-titled debut album, which featured the RIAA-gold certified hits, "My Body" and "Cough Syrup." This was followed by the release of 2014’s Mind Over Matter, which was both a commercial and critical success. Young the Giant continued to brave new themes and sonic landscapes with their wildly adventurous third album, Home of the Strange. Young the Giant has sold out performances at historic venues such as Radio City Music Hall, The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, and more. They have become a festival mainstay at high profile outings such as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Governor's Ball among others.

Some people say 'luck is the intersection of hard work and opportunity'. On their fourth full-length album and first for Loma Vista Recordings, The Revivalists chronicle, catalog, and capture an unbelievable ride where ten years of tireless hard work would be unexpectedly revved up by the wrongly dubbed “overnight success” of the gold-selling number one single “Wish I Knew You.” Like any enduring band worth its salt, they reacted the best way possible to newfound popularity - by buckling down and turning up with an album chock full of tunes worthy of even greater success. It’s the result of a trip that unassumingly commenced in 2008 with hundreds of underground shows yearly and culminated 10 years later with not only “Wish I Knew You,” but three years of back-to-back sold out headline tours. In life, like rock ‘n’ roll, some questions get answered while others stay unanswered. Our personal backroads tuck, twist, and turn through ups, downs, and everything in between at light speed, sometimes without explanation or a moment for reflection. Mirroring the push-and-pull of the past few years, the boys—David Shaw [lead vocals, guitar], Zack Feinberg [guitar], Andrew Campanelli [drums], George Gekas [bass], Ed Williams [pedal steel guitar], Rob Ingraham [saxophone], Michael Giradot [keyboard, trumpet], and PJ Howard [drums, percussion]—deliver a bevy of anthems marked by moments of sonic complexity, celebration, and catharsis.

“As far as the music goes, sometimes I just have a feeling, and it comes through in a song,” says David. “I don’t know what it is, but it makes me feel something. I wanted this album to be simply about that. Making the new music has been a bit of a cathartic process for me—just to get some of these feelings out, lose myself in the art, and become someone else. Songwriting is the great escape. It’s where I can be who I want to be. It’s been three years of touring our asses off, writing in between, and honing our craft. Then, ‘Wish I Knew You’ happened. Everything got even crazier. This album basically came together the way we always make records though. It’s simply a collection of songs from where we were at that point in our lives. We didn’t want to divert too much from what we’ve always been, but we wanted to take it to the next level and continue that trajectory of our artistry and creativity.”

Simultaneously, life was rapidly changing around the band, and the music spoke to that.

“Everything going on these past few years certainly informed the direction,” David continues. “I don’t know if I was ready for some of what transpired emotionally. I got personal on some of the songs. I said some things I might not have otherwise. Thankfully, I have a good family network and amazing girlfriend to balance all of the changes.”

“We were fortunate enough to have this ‘hit’ on the last record, and things have changed,” adds Andrew. “We had to keep pushing forward.”

For the first time, The Revivalists recorded and co-wrote with multiple producers and writers, enlisting the talents of Dave Cobb [Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton], Andrew Dawson [Kanye West, Fun., Sleigh Bells], and Dave Bassett [Elle King, Vance Joy] for sessions in New Orleans and Nashville, which became a hub for the band. They spent three weeks recording at the iconic RCA Studio B, soaking up the aura of one of the most storied studios in music and the city’s rich musical history. Additionally, it would be the first record with drummer/percussionist PJ joining the band in the studio.

Bringing sixty songs to the table, the guys whittled the batch down to the best fourteen of the bunch.

Andrew continues, “On the first few records, we were figuring out what our identity is, so we were really involved in the minutia of recording. After all this time, we have an identity, and it’s more based in our songs. We were able to let go and allow these producers to take us into a direction that we wouldn’t go on our own. We got to explore a little more. Being ten years in empowered us to do that.”

“We had the opportunity to work with more people, which was amazing,” David goes on. “The main difference was having this team and the chance to co-write. It really elevated our craft in a way that I don’t think we ever thought about previously. We were all working together in the studio, while keeping the true heart and soul of the band intact through the whole process.”

The first single “All My Friends” speaks to that spirit. Driven by swaggering piano, boisterous horns, and bluesy leads, the track swings towards an unshakable chant, “All my friends take good care of me.” Striking, sharp, and soulful, it introduces this chapter with confidence and charisma.

“I actually wrote those verses when I was 27,” says David. “I met up with Dave Bassett in Malibu where I did some writing sessions, and I brought the lyrics to the table. It’s a bit of a retrospective look back. You’re in your twenties, staying out for three days, not contacting your significant other, and getting into some bad shit. Looking back, I realized, I had an amazing group of friends who stuck by my side.”

“Musically, it bridges the gap between what we’ve been doing and what you’re about to hear,” explains Andrew.

Representing a vast swath of the country and defying regional pigeonholes, David’s roots are in the Rust Belt, while Zack, Ed, and George hail from the Tri-States and Michael and Rob from the Southwest. Andrew cut his teeth bashing the drums in the DC scene and newcomer PJ made his bones in Chicago. However, The Crescent City would ultimately bring them together. Since forming in New Orleans, the group quietly grinded towards international ubiquity one gig, song, and album at a time. Seven years in, 2015’s Men Amongst Mountains represented a high watermark. Its lead single “Wish I Knew You” became a slow-burning hit, racking up more than 200 million streams and ascending to #1 on Adult Alternative and Alternative radio. On the latter, it clocked a record for “most single-week spins ever at the format” before eventually receiving a gold certification from the RIAA. A mainstream phenomenon, the song found traction at Hot AC and Top 40 and bubbled up on to the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks as the band made the rounds on television with performances on Today, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Ellen, and Conan. Acclaim came from USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Forbes, Flaunt, Buzzfeed, Uproxx, Billboard, and more with Rolling Stone touting them among “10 Artists You Need To Know.” Along the way, they garnered a Billboard Music Awards nomination and two nods at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Between countless gigs, the musicians also ignited festival stages at Bonnaroo, Governor’s Ball, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Outside Lands, and Pilgrimage, to name a few.

Looking back, the frontman smiles, “It’s been quite the ride.”

In the end, The Revivalists welcome listeners on this journey with them as they set out with a newfound depth and ambition.

“As we went along, we found there are more questions than answers, and we’re all sort of figuring it out,” concludes Andrew. “We’re all doing the same thing. We hope people listen to the record and maybe can go out and keep making connections. That’s what we’re supposed to do. It’s the human experience.”

“We’re in this together,” David leaves off. “We love to take people on an emotional rollercoaster with us. That’s what this record is. It’s who we are. There’s some real magic in that.”

Tom Morello is living proof of the transformative power of rock’n’roll. As the co-founder of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Prophets Of Rage, and through collaborations with everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Johnny Cash, he has continually pushed the limits of what one man can do with six strings.

But on his latest album The Atlas Underground, he’s transformed his sound into something even he could not have anticipated, blending Marshall stack riff-rock with the digital wizardry of EDM and hip-hop to create the most ambitious artistic effort of his storied career.

The Atlas Underground includes collaborations with Marcus Mumford, Portugal. The Man, the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and GZA, Vic Mensa, K.Flay, Big Boi, Gary Clark Jr., Pretty Lights, Killer Mike and Whethan among others. “The riffs and the beats led the way, but the extraordinary talents of the collaborators set my creativity into uncharted territory,” says Morello of the project, which will be released October 12th, 2018 by Mom + Pop Music.

Assembled over the last two years in a variety of studios, The Atlas Underground is what Morello calls “a clandestine sonic conspiracy of artists working in disparate locations toward a shared goal of creating a new genre of music.” The lyrics often take the form of “social justice ghost stories,” and on tracks such as Bassnectar, Big Boi and Killer Mike’s “Rabbit Revenge” and the RZA/GZA-featuring “Lead Poisoning,” they convey the experiences of those less fortunate who were unable to speak up for themselves.

“This record also afforded me the opportunity to divest myself of my natural Type A controlling character,” admits Morello, whom Rolling Stone has recognized as one of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time. “After initial conversations with the collaborators about theme and lyrics, I made it clear that there was no ego stake in these songs and that the only goal was to make something we all loved; something that was fucking powerful with no preconceived notions other than the freedom of taking a blank sonic page and letting our freak flag fly.”

Morello knew some of his collaborators beforehand, particularly the Wu-Tang members, with whom Rage Against The Machine shared an infamous U.S. tour bill in summer 1997. In other cases, the connections were serendipitous, such as when Morello heard K.Flay on the radio and cold-called her, only to discover they were both from Illinois and “shared that suburban angst.”

Morello took great joy in sending batches of riffs and guitar noises to collaborators such as Bassnectar and Knife Party, who would send back “smashing tracks” that scrambled everything together. Just as rewarding were in-person jam sessions with artists such as Clark, where songs were built verse/chorus/lyrics from scratch. And in the case of “Find Another Way,” Mumford and Morello teamed up for early-morning Skype sessions in-between their parental duties.

“I’ve been devoted both musically and as an activist to fighting injustice at every turn,” says Morello. “Amid this heightened sense of impending doom, it’s now time to rally the troops in a last-ditch effort to save the planet, and our artistic souls. By challenging the boundaries of what music is and has sounded like before, you can open peoples’ eyes to changing the status quo in society.”

In tandem with acclaimed multi-media artist Sam Durant and director Sean Evans, who staged Roger Waters’ “The Wall,” Morello is planning an innovative live presentation of the music on The Atlas Underground, which won’t be reliant on fill-ins to replicate the guest artist’s contributions. “We’re assembling something that’s more of an art installation than a show, which is different than anything anyone has ever done,” he says. “It will be a challenging piece in non-traditional venues that will bring the ideas on the album to life — a last big event before we all go to jail.”

SHAED is a head­bobbing pop project comprised of multi­instrumentalist twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and powerhouse vocalist Chelsea Lee. Lee’s vocals weave divinely through the Ernst twin’s pop­sensible production that can make anyone move. Their debut single, “Just Wanna See”, is a genre bending slow jam that has received international praise and favorable comparisons to bands like Florence & The Machine, Sia, Justin Timberlake, and Sylvan Esso.

Listening to the larger-than-life, dense, but precise, garage blues-rock of The Blues Stones on their debut, Black Holes, it is astonishing to discover all that sound and fury is created by just two people. Longtime friends, guitarist/vocalist/lyricist Tarek Jafar and percussionist/vocalist Justin Tessier, have known each other since meeting as teenagers in high school, but it wasn’t until almost five years later, while attending university together, that they decided to combine their talents on guitar and drums, respectively, into a musical project.
The Blue Stones are firmly in the tradition of other such rambunctious duos such as The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Royal Blood, at once harking back to the glory daze of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix Experience and their Motor City rock ‘n’ roll models from the other side of the Detroit River, The Stooges, MC5 and Alice Cooper. Throw in modern influences like Kentucky guitar-slingers, My Morning Jacket; and New Orleans’ rhythmically tight MUTEMATH; rappers Jay Z, Kanye West and J. Cole, along with seminal blues giants Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and B.B. King, and you get an idea of the Blue Stones’ musically eclectic palette.
From the slap back echo and the Rolling Stones “ooh-oohs” in the gut-punching “The Drop” through the tribute to perseverance in the martial snare, bluesy singalong of “Rolling with the Punches” and the acoustic-to-electric whisper-to-a-scream dynamism of the title track, Black Holes shows a band blasting into outer space and leaving “Solid Ground” behind. It’s the voyage of a group beginning to find its way, emerging from isolation and perspiration to inspiration, reaching an audience waiting to be tapped, and entertained. A rock ‘n’ roll band fighting the good fight, looking to connect in an increasingly fragmented music universe.
“The album’s about being an adolescent on the cusp of becoming an adult and entering the real world from a sheltered environment, like college,” explains Jafar. “Feeling torn between taking the secure path or doing something that might be riskier, but you’re passionate about… following what you love as opposed to sticking to the straight and narrow.”
Indeed, “Black Holes (Solid Ground)” is about precisely that either/or dichotomy, caught between infinite space and terra firma, willing to take a shot at the unknown rather than settle for the familiar, in between Jafar’s restless guitars and Tessier’s tribal drum beats.
“We play blues-rock, though it’s not loose and dirty, like the traditional kind,” explains Justin. “It’s lean, raw, tight, without a wasted note.”
It took seven long years – and an independently released EP – for The Blue Stones to hone their approach, putting in those requisite 10,000 hours to perfect their craft, and then build upon that. As Jafar describes the audience participation of “Rolling with the Punches,” which is the group’s usual, rollicking set-closer, “It takes a lot to be a success. You have to stay proud and focused. And it’s always fun to have people sing the words you’ve written and just sit back and take it all in.”
There’s a similar message in the album finale, “Magic,” in which Jafar admits he doesn’t believe in it. “People these days are all looking for instant gratification, the quick reward,” he says. “If you want something that will endure, that’s not how it works. You have to put in the hours and the effort.”
The Blue Stones have done just that, with an approach that isn’t afraid to take chances, like plumbing Jafar’s love of hip-hop and Miles Davis into the funky backbeat of “Be My Fire” or the epic psychedelic experimentation in the pitch-dark “Midnight.”
“You never know where we’ll pull inspiration from,” marvels Justin.
“This is the album we’ve always wanted to make,” adds Tarek. “We set out to show we’re more than loud and lo-fi, that we have range and dynamics.”
And now it’s time to take to the road, play these songs and add to their growing legion of admirers.
“We have dreams and we have goals, but we separate the two,” adds Justin. “A dream is to headline Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, where we saw so many great bands. Out goal, though, is to reach out at every show and win people over one by one. That’s how we’ve always done it and it’s worked so far. We believe in what we’re doing and we have emotional connections to the songs we’re playing. We want to provide our audience with the kind of experiences we had when we were younger attending shows of our favorites. That’s what we look to pass on.”
“My whole attitude is, let’s see what happens,” nods Tarek. “And that’s allowed me to be up for anything.”
“We’re emerging from the tunnel and realizing there’s a guiding light at the end,” pipes in Justin.
“It’s not over now,” sings Jafar in “Lay,” “Don’t lay your flag and turn away/Please don’t leave me with another regret.”
With the release of Black Holes, The Blue Stones are ready to raise the stakes and turn up the heat.

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