More Artists

Get to know some of the up and coming Artists on AOTPR. This section also houses AOTPR's back catalogue.

Youngblood Brass Band

Youngblood Brass Band

I don't know if I've ever met anybody whose band had a cooler story than Youngblood Brass Band. I ran into Joe Goltz at a party last summer, and ever since then I've thought that I should tell somebody about YB, which is a nine-piece horn band that pretty much defies any further description. I'll just post a few links so you can see (well, and hear) for yourself. I don't really even know if they're nine-piece; I can't ask Joe because it took me so long to write this article that they all left the country. They do that every year, because their completely unprecedented approach to brass-driven music is radio-ready, sell-out material all through their European tours.

The Process of Music Production: Claire's "Wouldn't It"

Here's a really short podcast that traces the development of the "Wouldn't It" production. It starts with the intro from the final release, but then shows five different stages of the song's development, playing different progressive versions of how the arrangement and production of the track changed. Each of the versions is from the same section of the song, the second verse and chorus, until the podcast closes with the rest of the song from the final release. If you've got a few minutes, take a little trip through the process of how a singer/songwriter and her producer find the track that they want to make from a beautiful song.

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"Wouldn't It" From Claire's New "Hearts and Minds" EP

Claire

Claire
"Wouldn't It"

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Claire Massey is the original vocalist in 'ohana Dreamdance, co-writing "Made To Love", and singing on four or five of the group's first tracks, only one of which ("Let Me") has been released so far. But most of Claire's music has come out of her successful collaboration with highly respected Chicago guitarist Tommy G., a collaboration that has included writing, performing and recording a number of noted projects. The two were founding members of the nineties pop group, now cult favorite, Tami Show, which included Claire's sister Cath, and after Tami Show's run through two major label deals ended, Claire and Tommy continued working.

Their 2002 LP Suncat Muse included the single "Butterfly", which, in complete defiance of the sordid financial realities of modern corporate radio, reached the Top 20 of the national AC charts as a true independent single. Their production technique has always come from traditional band-based arrangements, and it begins when Claire and Tommy write a song, usually a guitar driven progression from Tommy that Claire will put lyrics and melody to. When they're ready, they find some great musicians, usually the same ones, book studio time in a great room with a great producer/engineer, and work together with everybody until the track is right. It's the approach of most great bands, and a very different process from the producer-and-vocalist approach of most beats-driven music, like dance and R&B.

Black Light Saints: Three Excerpts From Impossible Picks

Black Light Saints

Here's a first listen to three excerpts from Black Light Saints' new EP Impossible Picks ---- "What Happens Next", "Baby Girl" and "Cattle Skull". The record is already getting talked up a lot, both because everybody who's heard it is so into it, and because of the high profiles of the members --- Ephraim Cuellar, Britton Wetherald, and Alex Brandi, not to mention the production by Dan Agosto. More from us in our story about Black Light Saints and from them on their Facebook.

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Black Light Saints Finish Mixing Impossible Picks EP

Dan Agosto was at Heart & Soul Studios all last week completing the mixing and mastering for an exceptional debut EP by Black Light Saints, and even though he only delivered the masters on Sunday, there's already a great review on the EP out of the UC Berkeley paper The Daily Californian --- but more on that in a minute. I can't post the link to the review until I explain a couple of things, even though it was pretty amazing. "In Impossible Picks, Black Light Saints know what the electronic genre begs for and deliver it in 27 minutes of hypnotic synths and infectious bass" is the way Daily Californian writer Cynthia Kang closes the first paragraph of her well-written review, and she goes on, even more enthusiastically.

Black Light Saints:
Excerpts from "What Happens Next", "Baby Girl" and "Cattle Skull"
from Impossible Picks

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From Philadelphia's Rock Scene: Blackened Blue

We're following a band from Philadelphia called Blackened Blue, and we've just posted a recent recording of one of their newer tracks, "High Tide", in our On The Side section. Blackened Blue's music is unique in a way that will often stay beneath the media radar for awhile. They're unusual, and unusually musical, but not in any of the ways that will usually attract immediate media attention. One of the really unique qualities they bring to their original music is that their song arrangements showcase a vibrantly creative respect between the four musicians. It allows them to put tracks together that are precisely crafted, but that move effortlessly --- and often surprisingly --- across a range of musical boundaries. You wouldn't usually hear a blistering metal passage as part of a groove-based song, or a lyrical passage in the middle of hard alternative track, but Blackened Blue go wherever they want to go, and somehow take you with them. It's not so much that they defy established conventions, it's more like they just see right through them, ignore them, and move on. There's much more to hear and see about Blackened Blue at blackenedblue.com, and their album A Brief Moment Of Clarity is available at Amazon, Last.fm and iTunes.

Blackened Blue

Just found out about a band from Philadelphia called Blackened Blue -- this is a new song of theirs (available soon) called "High Tide".

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In the Studio With Hay Perro

Dan Agosto spent the weekend in the studio with Hay Perro. Although there as bass player in the band, it brings to mind some of the projects that Agosto has worked on. Here's a few of the stories, if you didn't see all of them:

2 Great Acoustic Sets: Allison Wonderlin and Sammy Tenuta

Allison Wonderlin
Sammy Tenuta

There's not too much that's more real than walking onto a small stage in a club you've never been in before to play your guitar and sing your songs. Not a lot of room for posing, nowhere really to hide, an acoustic set is usually just you and a cafe full of strangers, and hopefully a few friends who came too. It's a hopeful, challenging, intimidating chance to do what you love and find out if anybody else loves it, likes it, or even watches it when there's a TV over the bar they can watch instead. Last week I saw Sammy Tenuta and Allison Wonderlin trade sets in a friendly place called Club Amore (how can you not love that name) and take turns making everybody in the place stop everything else and wait for every word, every note.

You wouldn't usually get the chance to see such a study in complementary differences. Sammy comes out of successful Chicago rock bands that headlined the biggest rooms in Chicago in the nineties, returning after ten, fifteen years with his originals and favorite covers, doing them just to do them, playing and singing just because he's so good at it. He doesn't seem to care that he can command the undivided attention of everybody in the place, that he can move easily from tracks he wrote to songs everybody knows without leaving anybody behind. He just starts at the beginning and leads everybody along, from song to song, with nothing but his voice, his guitar, and a musician's attention to all of the details that make non-musicians keep listening.

Allison is from the opposite end of the world. She's just starting out, except like those few artists who are completely immersed in really unusual talent, she seems like she's done it a thousand times. She doesn't seem to care that she can inspire surprised admiration from everybody in the place, that she can move effortlessly from songs she's written to tracks that everybody knows and get everybody to go with her, she just walks up on to a small stage and takes the whole room wherever she wants to go, until it's Sammy's turn again.

Sammy Tenuta - Somber the Fact

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Somber The Fact

Here's a new acoustic track by Sammy Tenuta, called "Somber the Fact". A few years ago, Sammy and Mario Licciardi were in a band called Wildwood, one of the best around. Just before all of the complications that catch up with bands caught up with Wildwood, they did get into the studio with producer Johnny Nevin to record a track called Live Life Right. It's a carefully-crafted, multi-colored jam that was one of the tracks from the Heart & Soul days that we went back and signed when we were starting the All Over The Place label.

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