All posts by briantodd

Aaron Lewis: Country Music Star?

It’s Sunday morning before I have to go into work at 1:30pm and I’m scrolling through the new releases in the Country section of the iTunes store and I come across the name Aaron Lewis.  “That name sounds familiar” I say to myself.  “Where have I heard it before?  I know I recognize it” I prattle on inside my own head.   Then I click on the name and up comes his “Endless Summer” single artwork with his picture and it hits me like a sopping wet towel to the face.  AARON LEWIS…of STAIND.   Everyone knows the band Staind with each and every song in the key of  “slow and droning”.  They never have been my cup of cyanide but Aaron Lewis is the voice and principle songwriter for Staind and he, like the trend many other pop/rock/suicidewatch musicians, has decided to jump formats in to country.   Darius Rucker (formely of Hootie and the Blowfish) did it and has achieved much success.  Bon Jovi even did it and succeeded.  Now you may add Aaron Lewis to the list.

You may think country music is a wild departure from the typical stylings of Staind but if you think about it much of country music themes are eerily aligned with the subject matter Lewis is accustomed to writing about, heartache, love lost, sad stuff, angry stuff, etc.  And then there’s the antithesis to all of that which, suprisingly, Lewis has chosen to tackle with his single entitled “Endless Summer”.  It’s…fun.  Upbeat even.  Not what I think of when I hear Lewis’ name and that’s a very good thing.  It’s a summer themed song just in time for, well, summer.  He joins the ranks of feel good, carefree country rock artists and he sounds like he’s been doing this his whole musical career.  In it, he throws a shout out to Jason Aldean and even takes a jab at Miley Cyrus. (and good for him).

In the mornin’ on a Saturday
I got my girls and we’re skippin’ town
In my ’67 442 got the rag top down
Aldean’s on the radio
Ain’t it funny how they sing along
Makes you smile just a little bit because it’s not a Miley Cyrus song

These are the moments we can share
Come on let me take you there

Loadin’ up and living right
Fast cars on a summer night
Breeze is warm and the moon is bright
This endless summer

This entire post may read like a hyperactive kid who just drank 4 cups of coffee wrote it and that’s because I’m genuinely surprised.  Never once did Aaron Lewis and country even come close to each other in my mind but now that I’ve heard some of what he’s written, I’m actually anticipating hearing more!

Much to my surprise this is NOT his first foray into the country realm.  In 2011 he released an EP length album titled “Town Line” which was his proverbial “ground breaking” entry in to his new market with his lead single “Country Boy” featuring the talents of Charlie Daniels and George Jones.

Endless Summer ($1.29 available on iTunes) is the first single from his upcoming full-length country release entitled “The Road” slated to release in June this year and you know what?  I’m going to get it and listen because I’m truly curious about what I’m going to hear.

Aaron Lewis, Country Music Star.  That’ll take some time for me to get used to hearing!Enhanced by Zemanta

Silversun Pickups – Bloody Mary

Silversun Pickups

Starting out like a slow smoldering fire yet to ignite Bloody Mary, the first single from Silversun Pickups new album Neck of the Woods, eases your ear into the overall feel and sound of their latest endeavor.  Lead singer/guitarist Brian Aubert said in a recent interview with Spin magazine that the songs on their upcoming release sound “like a horror movie” and that, on this album, he wanted to explore what built him and made him the way he is.  The track rolls along delivering its creeped out freaky lyrics until you hit the 2:31 mark when you get a heightened mix of bass and guitar with a steadier back beat that combines with haunting vocals that ignite this track and carry it through until its end.

Have a read of this snippet from the track:

You can stay here long enough
We can play with Bloody Mary
Say her name into the dark
Activate our nerve endings

If we can stay here long enough
We can play with Bloody Mary
She can chase us through the dark
Activate our nerve endings 

I’m not listening to this album alone in the dark but I will be listening!  Neck of the Woods is currently available for pre-order from and on iTunes with the album releasing on May 8th which coincides with their performance from the Jimmy Kimmel Live! outdoor stage.

Give Bloody Mary a listen or three:

Sellling over 1 million albums worldwide since 2005, you can catch Silversun Pickups on tour through 2012-2013 in support of Neck of the Woods.  Tour dates and info can be found on

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Hollis Brown

If you listen closely enough you can hear a slight hissing sound in the distance of Hollis Brown‘s new mp3 “Spoonful”.  That’s analog tape people.  Something you don’t hear much anymore in the world of new music with the takeover of the digital production studio.  Add to that the roughly live to tape tracking and you get a warm vintage style track complete with raw grinding guitar work, harmonica and an overall sound that embodies 1970s style blues rock.

From NYC, Hollis Brown spent some time in Nashville refining their sound and that effort is strongly represented in the twangy-bluesy Spoonful.  There’s a slight influence of country underneath the hard blues based jam.  No single member over powers the other in this single and that ‘just right’ blend gives them their unique yet familiar sound.  If you ask the band, their goal on their upcoming 4 song EP entitled Nothing & The Famous No One was to create a warm vintage sound.  Success.  Very much so.  Their description of resonant guitars and gritty vocals is spot on and no matter how hard I think about it, I just can’t come up with a more apt description of the sound they’ve crafted.

Their EP will release digitally on April 3.

Hollis Brown will perform live at SXSW on Saturday March 17.  Much luck to them!  (get it?!)

For your enjoyment we are sharing two tracks from Nothing & The Famous No One

Gypsy Black Cat [mp3]
Feel free to download and listen and share.

Dare I say, I hear a bit of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in Gypsy Black Cat…that can only be a good thing.

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Ronnie Montrose (1947-2012)

Montrose in 1974 opening for The Who at Wembley

The music world lost a great guitarist in Ronnie Montrose last week. Gaining notoriety with the band that. Ore his surname, Ronnie Montrose was one of the pioneers of modern hard rock guitar. Hits such as Bad Motor Scooter, and Rock Candy propelled he and his band, featuring a young singer/songwriter/guitar wiz named Sammy Hagar, to fame in the 70s.

Give a listen to Bad Motor Scooter and you’ll hear the origins of the style Eddie Van Halen made famous. Also on that track you’ll hear the intro Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe revamped in Kickstart My Heart. Rock Candy is song that stands on its own in terms of guitar riffs and lyrical content.

I am a huge fan of Sammy Hagar and were it not for Ronnie Montrose we might not have known who Sammy Hagar is. He gave the Red Rocker his start as a frontman and helped launch his career. Sammy posted a tribute to the late Montrose on his website. So in addition to his contributions to rock n roll on the guitar I am also grateful he introduced Sammy Hagar to the world.

Ronnie Montrose died at age 64 after a battle with cancer. Wherever he is, I hope he’s still rockin’.

Ronnie Montrose

Sammy Hagar

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The Hunger Games – March 23

A film adaptation of a stupendously successful book always makes me a little apprehensive.  When the source material is as astounding as Suzanne Collins‘ The Hunger Games is, adapting it to film comes with immense pressure to live up to all expectations.  Watching both theatrical trailers and the sneak peak on the official The Hunger Games movie site has calmed my anxiety somewhat, though.  I won’t fully know until I witness the entire movie if it lives up to the fame the novel has created but I think people are going to like what they see in three weeks and you’ll be hearing of the blockbuster take from the box office the following Monday.

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.  A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

You may not know some of the names of the starring cast such as Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth  (you might though) but rest assured after this movie opens you’ll know them all.  Woody Harrelson and Lenny Kravitz (yes, Lenny Kravitz) also star in the film.  I’ll also say this film features a heavyweight in the motion picture world in the form of Donald Sutherland.  If he’s involved, you know something good is coming!

March 23rd marks the official release date of Lionsgate Films‘ The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross, nationwide.

To find out more:
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Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters (Photo credit: NRK P3)

I would feel remiss to go without mentioning the Foo Fighters right now.  Their current album is 2011’s Wasting Light which is well worth several listens and with their performance and winnings at the 2012 Grammy Awards I just have to talk about them.  They were nominated in 6 categories:  Album of the Year, Best Rock PerformanceBest Hard Rock/Metal PerformanceBest Rock SongBest Rock Album and Best Long Form Music Video (for Back and Forth) and won 5 of the 6 (all but Album of the Year).

Following the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994 Dave Grohl pressed on forming the Foo Fighters with himself as the sole permanent member of the band at the time.  18 years and 11 Grammys later they’re still rocking on cranking out hit after hit.  Grohl and his mates have discovered a formula for success in modern rock and they are not shy about putting it to use on each of their studio efforts.  Fortunately for us fans that formula translates excellently into live concert energy.  I was lucky enough to see the Foo Fighters on tour when I was in college in support of One By One  and to this day that concert remains one of my favorites of all time.

If you heard Grohl’s acceptance speech for Best Rock Performance he just gets it.  Music is human.  It’s from the heart and soul.  It’s fun.  That comes though on every one of their albums and at every one of their shows, even as he’s cracking some god awful jokes in between songs.  Congratulations on the latest Grammy wins and keep it up guys, I’ll be waiting to pop the cork on the Foo Fighters 20th Anniversary two years from now!

Go give a listen to Wasting Light and see what you think.  Rock on.

Foo Fighters on the web


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Matt Von Roderick

Synth pop rock with lead trumpet?  I’ll admit it, when a press release opens with “award winning trumpeter” I’m not inclined to read much further.  Something in this case made me keep reading and I’m glad I did because it got me to the video for Matt Von Roderick‘s new single “Let the Trumpet Talk”, an infectious blend of synth pop overlaid with insane, yes insane, trumpet solos by Von Roderick.

Released on February 7, the YouTube video for “Let the Trumpet Talk” has already amassed over 400,000 views and shows no signs of slowing down.  The video is hilarious and well done.  It’s completely about letting loose and just having fun, which is something you should be doing anyway!  Don’t take everything too seriously, it’s not good for your health and this song speaks to that.

The release of Let the Trumpet Talk is getting Matt Von Roderick ramped up toward the release of his EP JAZZYSEXYROCK in May.  I’m inclined to check it out when it’s released.  In the meantime, it’s interesting to note that the video for Let the Trumpet talk includes cameos by one Autumn Reeser (Entourage, The OC) and Jerry Zucker (one of the brains behind The Naked Gun and Airplane!).

Feel free to check the video on  YouTube and, of course, Let the Trumpet Talk is available for download on iTunes.

Watch the LET THE TRUMPET TALK video:

On the web:

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