If there's one band that you simply have to see live, it's Foxy Shazam. Period. The Ohio-based group has spent the last decade building a reputation for themselves, being well-known for their signature live performances that are often a somewhat delicate balance between wildly theatrical and just plain insane. And they do so while wielding a unique and infectious brand of rock in a style that's all glam.
Diego Garcia's music could be called easy listening if not for the infusion of flavors his heritage and experiences have brought to his writing. The songwriter's latest album, Paradise, encompasses themes of love, reconciliation and self-discovery to the beat of Garcia's acoustic guitar. But Garcia's influences are wide ranging, including punk pioneer Iggy Pop.
Shad's music contains a secret weapon as unlikely as his upbringing: heart. The rapper, who was born in Kenya and raised in Ontario, might never have had the chance to turn his hobby into a career if not for a talent competition held by a local radio station. Winning the competition allowed Shad to record a debut album in 2005 and since then, he has recorded three more full-length albums and won Rap Recording of the Year at the 2011 Juno Awards, beating out Drake.
If you're not familiar with the 1988 album Vivid by Living Colour, you're either a hermit living in the wilds of Appalachia, or simply too young to remember. Vivid not only hit No. 6 on the Billboard 200 that year, it also went double platinum.
Since 1999, Killswitch Engage has been widely recognized as one of the bands that helped propel metalcore into the mainstream with its 2002 album, Alive or Just Breathing. That very same year, however, lead vocalist Jesse Leach decided to part ways with the group rather unexpectedly, leaving the rest of the band scratching their heads.
If you want to break out, you have to hustle, at least according to hip-hop artist Grieves. Before signing with independent hip-hop label Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2010, Grieves (real name Benjamin Laub) was simultaneously writing new music, playing gigs and trying to get his material heard by as many people as possible.
We haven't heard much from Cymbals Eat Guitars, the NYC-based indie rock outfit responsible for 2009's Why There Are Mountains and the 2011 follow-up Lenses Alien. What's a young band to do after getting stamped with a "Best New Music" label by the hype machines? For CEG, personnel changes and relocating back to Brooklyn have kept the group busy and given them something of a new look.
Indie rock band Born Ruffians will play in Grand Rapids for the first time during its upcoming fall tour.
For his latest album, Holding My Breath, singer-songwriter and pianist Jon McLaughlin signed a campaign with PledgeMusic. A crowdfunding source similar to Kickstarter or Indiegogo, PledgeMusic is strictly for musicians with notable users such as The Lumineers, Luke Bryan and Gang of Four.
The excitement of a new album for fans also shakes with a dose of nerves. With the music industry continually changing and many musicians conforming, the worst fear for fans is the album will drop with a sound of unrecognizable content.
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