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An Interview with Jesse Miller of Lotus PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Michaela Marchardt   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 17:14

LOTUS – ALWAYS EVOLVING, NEVER BORING

Lotus, currently on tour with their brand new album, Monks, played at Marathon Music Works in Nashville on September 18th. The brothers Luke and Jesse Miller formed the band back in 1999. Although they’re mainly known as a festival band, they’ve been able to build a strong fan base and have released several studio albums since their beginning days.

The five-piece band is known to be a multi-genre band, always evolving their sound. But for the most part, they tend to gravitate toward elements of electronica mixed with that particular jam band flair that festival-goers love so deeply. Not so much this time, Monks is a completely different album compared to any of their previous work. It’s a hip-hop album that features famous rap artists such as Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Mr. Lif and many more.

Unfortunately, their show did not draw a very large audience. It’s hard to compete with the Americana Music Festival and Conference, which also kicked off that night. Regardless, Lotus brought an energetic performance, rewarding its fans with familiar tunes rather than just promoting their new album tracks.

Prior to the show, Jesse Miller agreed to an interview with Blank News.

This new album can be purchased on iTunes or you can name your own price and download it via their Bandcamp page: http://lotusvibes.bandcamp.com/album/monks.

Blank: Monks is very different. Tell me why you wanted to do a hip-hop album. And what was the experience like working with rap artists?

J. Miller: It wasn’t something we really set out to do, but we had a lot of fun putting it together. Musically we’re mostly an instrumental band, so usually we focus on how everything works together and making it work very tightly together. For this project, it was like, what can we get rid of to leave room for the MCs and really showcase the voices and strip everything down. We didn’t just want to jam an MC into one of our tracks.

 

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An Interview with The Revivalists PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sarah Waldrip   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 15:28

Reclaiming the Rock, Expanding the Roll

An interview with the summer’s most sizzling new rock and roll heroes, The Revivalists


By noon on the fourth day of a four- day long music festival, it’s astonishing that any band could create a stir amidst the festival goers’ much needed sleep and rehydration rituals. But however unlikely, it was unmistakable what happened during the sunny noon set on July 21 at the 17th annual All Good Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio. As their name promised, The Revivalists took the stage and delivered all the energy that we several thousand in the concert field needed to perk up and come back to life.

Although they are new faces rising on the festival circuit, The Revivalists have repeatedly opened for bands like Government Mule and JJ Grey and Mofro in the past, serving as proof that these guys can rock with the best. Their consistent rave reviews and total-package live performances have propelled them to astonishing heights in barely more than half a decade.

The New Orleans- based septet officially formed in 2007 after accidentally discovering lead vocalist David Shaw singing on a porch near the street. With that last piece of the puzzle in place, the group began working non-stop to build on their natural chemistry and solidify a sound of their own, one that both honors the rock legends of the past and embraces the dynamic, genre-bending trends of the present. Like a reflection of the challenges in the city that brought them together, they found unity in their diversity by combining their influences in both music and life.

After six years of hard work and relentless touring, The Revivalists have an incredible stamina and versatility; their spontaneity and animated engagement with one another, as well as the audience, is a staple in their live show which we definitely saw first-hand at All Good this year. Regardless of exhaustion, venue size or location they emanate a natural, raw energy when they take the stage, balancing effortlessly between dynamic rhythms, funky sax and trumpet, soulful pedal steel, in-your-face vocals and fiery guitar shreds.

The members of the band were all more than happy to sit down with BLANK after their Sunday performance at All Good Festival to talk about their past and present inspirations, melding of influences, commitment to live performance and their bigger than ever plans in store for the fall and winter, including a new album in the works. They’ve put in the miles together and established a deep bond as friends and professionals, and their personal chemistry on the stage carried fluidly off the stage for a laugh-a-minute lighthearted chat in the waning hours of the festival.

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Interview with Passion Pit's Ian Hultquist PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Jordan Knight   
Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:00

It’s 4:30 p.m. on Friday the 14th, when Passion Pit converges on the What Stage at The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

There is a radiant light coming from the Tennessee summer sky. The eruption is palpable.

In unison, the crowd lifts as if propelled towards the heavens in a joyous dance that continues to gain momentum for the next hour and a half.

To describe a Passion Pit show is akin to a long discussion on surfing...sooner than later you will lose your audience, but once you have been bitten by the bug you will never fully recover.

Now it’s several weeks later, the sky is full of scattered clouds, moving quickly and spouting rain as they deem appropriate. I am driving quickly through my neighborhood, trying to get to a point of optimal cell service and possibly a place to pull off the road for safety’s sake.

My phone begins to play loud indie rock, alerting me that the time is now, cell service and parking be damned. Passion Pit’s Ian Hultquist is calling, and I am pulling off the road in moving traffic. I find my spot and Hultquist tells me all about the band's unexpected beginnings, its love for Bonnaroo, and his circus act designed for cramming people into a van.

Ian Hultquist (far right)

Ian Hultquist (far right)

Bonnaroo celebrated its 11th year in 2013. Passion Pit took to the main stage and wowed the audience with their high energy and danceable hits in the heat of the late afternoon sunshine. Ian and the gang were energized and ready to rock in what would be the most memorable blocks of music during the festival.

“It was great. It was my third time there; my second time performing,” Hultquist said. “I have known that festival for years now and love going to it and playing it. The fact that we got to play on the main stage in front of Wilco and then Paul McCartney consecutively was a dream come true for me. I’ve been listening to The Beatles since I was born and I’m from Chicago and Wilco is my favorite band.”

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An Interview with Ex Gold PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Damion Huntoon   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 15:51

While speaking with guitarist/vocalist Chris Rusk in a dark bar on an uneventful Labor Day in the Old City, his face wears a look of very serious concentration coupled with a large, crooked grin.  This expression seems apt when coming to understand the nuts and bolts of his band, Ex-Gold.

“For me it’s just a way to express frustration but it’s not dark or serious,” says Rusk.  “I’m only half mean what I’m saying.”

Rusk’s musical history has carried a thread of this dichotomy.  Historically his groups have constantly teetered between intense musical prowess and a disregard for convention or austerity.  As a drummer for the schizophrenic bombast of Midnight Bombers What Bombs At Midnight and the power trio hilarity of Ross The Boss – which included Royal Bangs’ Ryan Schafer and was sued for copyright infringement from the national haircutting franchise – Rusk has always found his voice in trying to bewilder audiences.

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An Interview with Kelley McRae PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alec Cunningham   
Thursday, 03 October 2013 15:46

An Interview With Kelley McRae on her new release and upcoming tour

Husband-wife duo hit the road in support of McRae's third studio album


Singer/songwriter Kelley McRae has recently released her third studio album, Brighter Than The Blues, and she will be touring to promote the release throughout the United States in the coming months. Backing McRae and her soft and delicate, absorbingly supple vocals, is husband Matt, providing subtle harmonies and robust acoustic accompaniment.

If you approach this duo and the listening experience they provide with an open heart, you're almost guaranteed to shed some tears. McRae and her husband have not only created thoughtfully composed tracks instrumentally, but they have also created multifaceted tracks lyrically. McRae has a rare knack for writing introspective, absorbing lyrics, and her flair shines through on her latest album.

McRae's musical career has been unique in that she has had her husband working as her right hand man, and the result has turned out to be rewarding for both listeners and the duo alike.  "Matt and I come from pretty different places musically and we’ve had to work hard to figure out how to write songs we’re both really excited to perform. The music and shows have transformed from a solo singer/songwriter type thing into a true band experience and that’s been a really fulfilling process. He’s also just an incredibly talented and hard-working dude, so I feel lucky to have him on my side," she says.

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