ALESSIA CARA MAKES HER LOS ANGELES DEBUT @ THE TROUBADOUR

Canadian Alessia Cara made her highly anticipated Los Angeles debut at The Troubadour. Signed to Def Jam records based on her Soundcloud page that included covers of Lorde, The Neighbourhood, Sam Smith and Justin Bieber, this show marked Alessia's first headlining gig.

PINS ANNOUNCE U.S. SUMMER TOUR

Ahead of their June 9th release of their upcoming album Wild Nights, UK's PINS have released their new single "Young Girls." Also, they just announced their U.S. summer toiur which kicks off June 13rh in New York.

ZELLA DAY @ THE TROUBADOUR

Zella Day has released her debut album Kicker and she celebrated with a sold out show at LA's famed Troubadour last week.

MAKE MUSIC PASADENA SHINES IN ITS 8TH YEAR

Last Saturday, over 150 bands made their journey to downtown Pasadena to take part in Make Music Pasadena (MMP), billed as the largest free, all-day music festival on the West Coast.

WINTER @ THE ECHO

Winter's new album Supreme Blue Dream is the ideal soundtrack to your summer..

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

CHARLI XCX's DEBUT ALBUM OUT APRIL 16TH; SXSW DATES

Charli XCX

Charli XCX (AKA 20-year old Hertfordshire born Charli Aitchison) is proud to confirm the release of her debut album “True Romance” through IAMSOUND on April 16th in the US (and April 15th through Aslyum in the UK).

Charli commented, ‘I am so happy to have finished my first album, True Romance. For me, it's a very emotional record. I suppose I kind of grew up through the process of making this album and as I've grown my views on love and life have been constantly changing. Each song is about love in some shape or form, whether that be euphoric love, heartbreak or obsession. Every corner of my own romantic history is explored on this record, so for me it’s very raw, it's very honest and it's very true. I've written a pop record from the heart, and when people hear it I hope they want to dance and cry at the same time. ’

Over the past few years, Charli has released a series of singles and mixtapes, toured the globe supporting the likes of Coldplay, Santigold, Sleigh Bells and Justice and garnered champions from practically every tastemaker blog and magazine on both sides of the Atlantic. She’s had 2.5 million views on YouTube, 470k views of new video for ‘You (Ha Ha Ha)’ (in one month) and over 630k total plays on Soundcloud. It’s hard to believe someone so young could achieve so much. Through it all her main focus has always been on making the best possible album she could. This was made possible by working with some fantastic collaborators who helped hone her vision for a dark, emotional pop record including Ariel Reichstadt (Usher, Major Lazer, Solange), Patrik Berger (Lana del Rey, Robyn) as well as hotly tipped blog favourites Blood Diamonds and J£zus Millions.


As well as being an artist in her own right, Charli has written and featured on one of the biggest global breakthrough hits of the last year for Icona Pop. ‘I Love It’ is currently creating an absolute frenzy stateside (featuring on a brand new Dr Pepper ad and also in the hit-TV show Girls) having blown up all over the world; triple Platinum and #3 in Australia, # 1 in New Zealand, #1 in Germany, #4 in Austria, double Platinum and #2 in Sweden and racking up over 10 million YouTube views so far for the official video.
Charli is gearing up for a string of dates in Austin at SxSW music conference in March where she’ll gracing multiple high-profile bills including: the Perez Hilton party, Gorilla Vs Bear/Hype Machine party, Filter Party and more confirmed below; followed by a tour with Marina and the Diamonds in the States and Ellie Goulding across Europe. Charli has also announced three UK shows around the release of her album including London’s Old Blue Last on April 17th, Glasgow on April 18th and Manchester on April 19th.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

NEW VIDEO: HOT AS SUN'S "DAHNCE TO THE BEAT"

Hot As Sun performs at The Bootleg Theater.
photo by picksysticks
NylonMag.com just premiered the new video for Hot As Sun's "Dahnce to the Beat."  It's off their upcoming debut album Night Time Sound Desire which drops next month. Below is an excerpt from the article and you can read the rest of the article detailing where the music video was shot right HERE.
NylonMag excerpt:
Listen to the song and the serendipitous connection doesn't seem that surprising at all. For one thing, the band is irrepressibly upbeat--their '60s doo-wop meets electro-pop sound seems custom-made for sonic fairytales and happy-endings (you can hear it all on March 26, when Hot As Sun's debut album Night Time Sound Desire comes out via Last Gang Records). It's also their mentality when it comes to making music. As Stoll puts it, "We wanted to write a 'dance' song that didn't take itself seriously and that made you want to dance--so the video had to do the same."
"Dahnce to the Beat" by Hot As Sun

Monday, February 18, 2013

THIS WEDNESDAY: ECHOSMITH @ THE TROUBADOUR

Echosmith
Echosmith are (L-R) Graham, Noah, Sydney & Jamie.
     On their first ever record label tour, attached to support Owl City,  Pasadena-based Echosmith recalled their favorite stops along the way; one city especially was Lansing, Michigan, because growing up in Southern California, snow is a rarity that's only seen on television or in movies.  Of course, with this band of four, made up of three brothers and one sister with ages ranging from as young as 14 to 19, it's a given that these siblings will experience many more 'firsts' in their lifetime.  One other 'first' for the band, consisting of Jamie (19), Noah (17), Sydney (15) and Graham (14) was on December of 2011, when they signed their very first record deal with Warner Bros. Records.
     The past couple years has been one exciting adventure for  Echosmith.  Along with the record deal and touring with Owl City, the group recently landed a coveted spot on this summer's Vans Warped Tour (another first!).  But for these young siblings who grew up in a musical household, starting a band was not as obvious as it seemed.
     “We grew up…being around all sorts of different kinds of musicians and artists,” says Jamie.  “It was a really cool environment to grow up in. We never [played music] with the intent of forming a band. It was more coincidence.”
     While most kids spend their time going to  the mall, watching movies and just hanging out with friends, for this clan, at a very early age, their ‘normal’ childhood consisted of hanging out with artists and musicians in recording studios with their music producer father.
     “We just started jamming together…and started off by playing a lot of covers and different styles of songs,” says Sydney.
     So what began as simple jam sessions has turned into a full-fledged career that will eventually lead them to another 'first' - their debut album.   Recently the group took time out of their busy schedule to talk to Picksysticks about their new album, their life on tour,  street performing, their decision to be homeschooled and their thoughts of playing a sold out show at The Troubadour this upcoming Wednesday.

I first saw you guys street performing early one weekend at Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.  Tell me about that.

Jamie: We’ve done it before and we’ve seen people do it.  We thought it would be fun to try out street performing and make a little extra money.

How do you think that prepared you for playing in front of people?  Were you scared that people wouldn't stop to listen?

Sydney: There’s always the worry that ‘Oh, what if nobody watches and nobody cares?’ But… usually it was pretty full and there was usually a really good crowd there.

Echosmith at Third St. Promenade
Echosmith performs at Santa Monica's Third St. Promenade.
Do you guys write your own music? What’s that process like?

Jamie: It’s a very collaborative process. I mean, we’re all in the room just writing and bouncing ideas off each other. No song comes along the same way. It’s always something different.  It might start with a guitar lick, a drum rhythm or lyrics or whatever it is. We like to mix it up and always keep it collaborative.

You guys are in the middle of a tour right now with Owl City. How’s that going?

Jamie: It’s been super exciting.  It was a lot of fun just to go play for his audience to see how they respond.
Noah: It’s been fantastic. We’ve been gaining a lot of fans and the people have been really enjoying the shows. We've been meeting them out at our merch table after and there have been long lines of people just coming over to meet us [after our shows].

How do you balance touring and school? 

Sydney: It’s definitely a challenge. We just figured recently that we’re all just going to be homeschooled; myself, Noah and Graham…It’s crazy but we know it’s a priority and we need to do it so we thought that homeschool was the best option.

I’d imagine you guys are so busy now (with touring, recording at the studio) When do you have time to hang out with friends and have a normal childhood?

Sydney: It’s kind of hard but you definitely get in some time with friends. We’re pretty good at balancing it but it’s definitely not a normal life for a teenager; so I’m not able to go to the mall with my friends every weekend which I’m ok with. I’d rather do what I’m doing than go to the mall.

Touring could be exhausting, how do you guys keep yourselves entertained on the road?

Noah: We do a lot of things. We obviously listen to a lot of music to pass the time.
Sydney: A lot of sleeping.
Noah: Yeah, a lot of sleeping. Sleeping and joking around and just having fun, making it as light and fun as possible.

And what have you guys learned while being on tour? 

Jamie: There’s a lot that we’ve learned about it. It’s cool to see a totally different city since we've lived in L.A. and grew up here.  You have to remember to pack a lot of things and…flying on a plane, you’ve got to be careful with what we bring and how you pack b/c it’ll get really expensive really quick.
Sydney: Not to bring any liquids.

What’s it like touring with your siblings?

Graham: It’s really crazy. I like it
Sydney: It’s really crazy. I think it’s a lot of fun because we’re so close. We all get along for the most part and  we’ll annoy each other sometimes but ninety-nine percent of the time we have a lot of fun together and we have a lot of the same interests in music and things to do so it makes it more fun.

Sydney, what’s it like being the only girl in the band?

I think it's pretty fun because when you’re the only girl you get a little bit more special treatment…I think it’s fun. I’m ok with it. I used to want a sister but now I’m perfectly fine with not having one.

Your musical influences are diverse. I’ve read you grew up listening to The Smiths, U2, Joy Division, Fleetwood Mac, Coldplay and Mumford and Sons?  What influences the band’s sound the most?

Jamie: We kind of pull different things from different bands. Things we love about Fleetwood Mac are their harmonies and then the things we love about The Smiths are the way their rhythm is…we kind of pull a bit from a lot of different kind of influences from different areas. It’s kind of hard to pinpoint one that’s more than the others.

Now, you’re working with Mike Elizondo (Tegan and Sara, No Doubt and Maroon 5). What’s it like working with him?

Jamie: It’s been exciting working with Mike. He’s worked with a huge variety of artists; from Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara to Eminem. It’s really cool to get his perspective when you’re collaborating with him and it’s been really exciting. The chemistry has really been great between us.
Sydney:  He [worked with] Switchfoot and Switchfoot has always been our favorite group growing up. It’s pretty cool to work with someone who works with a band that we we're in love with.  He has a lot of really good ideas and he’s a really nice guy. So it’s nice to have someone in the industry that’s nice and is really good.

You’re playing the historic Troubadour this Wednesday.  What’s it feel like, playing in such a historic place? 
Jamie: We’re super stoked to play The Troubadour. We have gone there as fans before, seeing bands that we like. It’s a really cool spot so we’re really excited to go and actually perform there to play for all…our friends and family out here.

And what should we expect from the new album?

Noah: Lots of upbeat songs. We've got a few slower songs, a variety of songs and hopefully things that people like.
Jamie: This first record is, kind of for us, about really defining and showing people who we are and what we’re about. So there’s a lot of variety on it.  You can hear our song “Come Together” – it’s a nice case of what’s to come.

When can we look forward for your new album? 
Jamie: We’re looking at this year. We’re real close to finishing it so we’re looking for late summer.

Well thank you for taking the time to speak with me and I look forward to your show this Wednesday at The Troubadour.

Echosmith heads out on the second leg of their tour with Owl City this weekend. And this summer, you can catch them when they perform at this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.  Check out their tour dates below along with their lyric video for "Come Together."

"Come Together" by Echosmith

ECHOSMITH TOUR DATES:
2/24    House Of Blues (Cleveland, OH) *
2/28    The Rave (Milwaukee, WI) *
3/10    Knitting Factory (Spokane, WA) *
3/23    The Pageant (St. Louis, MO) *
4/05    Altar Bar (Pittsburgh, PA) *            
6/15    White River Amphitheatre  (Auburn, WA) ^
6/16    Portland Expo Center Parking Lot (Portland, OR) ^
6/19    Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre (Chula Vista, CA) ^
6/20    Pomona Fairplex (Pomona, CA) ^
6/21    Pomona Fairplex (Pomona, CA) ^
6/22    Shoreline Amphitheatre (Mountain View, CA) ^
6/23    Ventura County Fairground (Ventura, CA) ^
6/26    NMSU Practice Field (Las Cruces, NM) ^
6/27    Quail Run Park (Mesa, AZ) ^
6/28    TBA (Las Vegas, NV) ^
6/29    Utah State Fairpark (Salt Lake City, UT) ^
6/30    Sports Authority Field (Denver, CO) ^
7/03    Klipsch Music Center (Noblesville, IN) ^
7/05    The Flats At Molson Canadian Amphitheatre (Toronto, ON) ^
7/06    Darien Lake Performing Arts Center (Darien Center, NY) ^
7/07    PNC Banks Arts Center (Holmdel, NJ) ^
7/09    Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach (Virginia Beach, VA) ^
7/10    Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, MD) ^
7/11    Comcast Center (Mansfield, MA) ^
7/12    Susquehanna Bank Center (Camden, NJ) ^
           
* Opening for Owl City
^ Warped Tour (Ernie Ball stage)
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Thursday, February 14, 2013

HAPPY VALENTINES FROM THE DOLLYROTS

Dollyrots' Luis and Kelly

It's Valentines Day. You know what that means! Another FREE song from The Dollyrots.  It's called "Valentine's Day" and it's actually an anti-Valentines Day Song and you can grab it for FREE (for a limited time) right HERE!  They treat their fans so well.  Not only did they give us a free song, Kelly and Bowling For Soup's Jaret Reddick made a new video for the song "Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya" which was included on the album One Big Happy split album released last year from Brando/Queso records.

The Dollyrots have a string of shows coming up, including shows this weekend in San Francisco and Sacramento.  They're also performing at this year's SXSW and on February 28th, they scheduled another StageIt show where they'll be performing favorite Dollyrots love songs.  

 "Love Ya, Love Ya, Love Ya"  
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

JILLETTE JOHNSON @ HOTEL CAFE

Jillette Johnson opens up for Kris Allen at The Hotel Cafe.
photo by picksysticks
Last time I saw Jillette Johnson, she played at The Hotel Cafe and performed  on the house piano facing against the wall. Ms. Johnson stopped by The Hotel Cafe again for two consecutive nights.  This time she was supporting American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen on his "Out Alive" tour and bringing along her own keyboard to face the crowd.   There's a fiery vulnerability in Johnson's songs which are carefully threaded by her soulful voice and heavy-hearted melodies, highlighted by her deep and moving keys.  Whiskey & Frosting was her debut EP which she released last August with a debut full-length album expected to be released in the next few months.  She also makes some of the best lyric videos out there.  Just watch her newest for her single "Torpedo" done on an Etch A Sketch. Check it out below along with her remaining tour dates with Kris Allen.

"Torpedo" by Jillette Johnson


KRIS ALLEN'S "OUT ALIVE" REMAINING TOUR DATES:
Feb. 14 - Cafe DuNord - San Francisco
Feb. 16 - Mississippi Studios, Portland
Feb. 17 - Tractor Tavern, Seattle
Feb. 19 - In The Venue, Salt Lake City
Feb. 20 - Wheeler Opera House, Aspen
Feb. 21 - Soiled Dove Underground, Denver
Feb. 22 - U of Colorado Boulder
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Sunday, February 10, 2013

WARDELL @ The Bootleg Theater

Wardell
Wardell plays The Bootleg Theater in Downtown LA.
photo by picksysticks
Tuesday night, I had a choice to either watch a free show at The Echo featuring rising stars KITTEN or check out Wardell, the brother-sister duo, who were performing that same night at The Bootleg Theater.  I chose to pay the $10 cover charge to watch Wardell after listening to their single "Opossum," a slow-burning ballad with dreamy harmonies that conjures Van Gogh's Starry Night, saturated melodies that make you feel like you're floating, soothing to the ears, like warming up in front of a cozy fire.  Wardell consists of siblings Theo and Sasha Spielberg (yes, that Spielberg) and Sasha is Zooey Deschanel  adorable but much better in the vocals department with her sultry confidence.   Definitely a band I'll pay to watch again.   Too bad they didn't have any cds to sell. The nearly sold-out crowd would've snatched up every single copy including yours truly.  They play a sold-out show at The Troubadour this Tuesday and are scheduled to play at this years' South by Southwest Music Festival in March.


Wardell's Sasha Spielberg
Wardell siblings Theo and Sasha.
photos by picksysticks
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Friday, February 8, 2013

SONG OF THE DAY: "REBELS IN THE LIGHT" BY MANICANPARTY

Manicanparty

Today's song of the day comes from Manicanparty. Just listening to it makes me want to take on the weekend head on with no regrets.  Take a listen. It's called "Rebels in the Light."

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

HOT AS SUN'S SONG FEATURED ON "GLEE"

Hot As Sun
Hot As SunHot As Sun

Recently, I got a chance to finally catch Los Angeles' fuzzed-out, electronica outfit Hot As Sun who's been garnering a lot of buzz in the local music scene. Their name takes from Paul McCartney's instrumental song "Hot As Sun" and their sound is equal parts experimental, electro-pop with a dash of the sonic landscaping of  60's girl group melodies. Needless to say, their highly anticipated debut album is expected to drop in March.  

And just tonight, their new song "Don't Let the Right One Get Away" was featured on Fox's hit show "Glee."  Give it a listen below:

"Don't Let the Right One Get Away" by Hot As Sun
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NEW EP AND VIDEO FROM NICO VEGA


Heavy L.A. rockers Nico Vega just released their new EP Fury Oh Fury, complete with six tracks of, if you know Nico Vega, unapologetic guitar shredding, stadium-ready rock anthems and head-banging beats.  RollingStone.com is streaming the EP right now. Listen to it right HERE.

And recently, due to popular demand, Nico Vega, fronted by Aja Volkman, made a video for their highly popular single "Beast!" which premiered on VEVO.

Tomorrow, they begin their North American Tour with Imagine Dragons in Tempe, Arizona with their SoCal performances next month with stops at The House of Blues and The Wiltern.

"Beast" by Nico Vega
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

GET TO KNOW MADRID-BASED ROCKERS, EVERLYN


When you think of Spain, alternative-rock isn't the first thing that comes to mind.  Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to Everlyn, the five-piece rock band from Spain.  Catchy melodies peppered with classic 90's alternative hooks are the ingredients Everlyn looks to change the perception of the music industry in Spain, a country dominated by Latin music.  And they do it so well, layering with sugary rock ballads to genuine dance-hall party rock.  Add to that lead singer Karol Arribas' booming vocals and you've got the makings of a breakout debut album, A Ticket to the Moon, which some are already dubbing one of the "Most Anticipated Albums of 2013."   That record drops February 26th from BMG which you can preorder at PledgeMusic.com.


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Monday, February 4, 2013

JOY FORMIDABLE'S "SILENT TREATMENT"


Here's a live rendition of Silent Treatment, taken from Joy Formidable's album Wolf's Law that we filmed at the Engine Room Studio in NYC.  Their follow-up to their hit album The Big Roar, was released January 22nd and tickets for their spring US tour are already on sale.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

HAPPY FRIDAY! "LET'S TEAR IT UP!"

ZERO ZERO
Official press photo by James Patrick

Described as "electro-fuzz for the 21st century," Zero Zero is the side project of The Love Me Not's Nicole Laurenne and Michael Johnny Walker.

You can check them out when Zero Zero headlines the Gem&Jam Fest LATENIGHT on Febrary 9th in Tucson.  Check out their video below for "Tear it Up!"


"Tear it Up" by Zero Zero
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CHERRI BOMB AND HOLLYWOOD RECORDS PART WAYS



It's been a crazy couple of weeks for Los Angeles-based Cherri Bomb.  Last week, in was announced that guitarist/vocalist Julia Pierce left the band. Today, news breaks that Cherri Bomb was dropped from their label Hollywood Records.  Cherri Bomb confirmed the news on their Facebook page saying:

"friends, fans and fellow convicts~
news of the day!
it's true that we were dropped from hollywood records yesterday and we have never felt so FREEEEEEEE! we've cleared the path for a new beginning....
...strap in, it's gonna be a hell of a ride! XO n, m, and ~Rena"
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BRAND NEW BEST COAST EP COMING THIS YEAR

Best Coast performs at Make Music Pasadena
photo by picksysticks
Bethany Cosentino just posted a YouTube vid revealing that they're planning on working on a new Best Coast EP with plans to release it this year.   Check out the transcript and video below:


"Hi, it's Bethenny. I'm making this nerdy video b/c I wanted to be the first to tell you that Bob and I are going to be headed back into the studio starting Feb. 11th to record a brand new EP. We'er going to be doing it here in L.A. with our friend Wally and we're so  exicted to be recording new music I've been writing a lot here in my bedroom. So yeah, we can't  to get this out for you guys to hear and I'll b posting a lot of Instagram photos and Twitter and keeping you guys up-to-date with what's going on in the studios. So get excited for that and hopefully we'll have this EP out to you super soon and I'll definitely keep you updated with all the information about it but.  I wanted to make this to tell yu guys that its happening!"

"The Only Place" by Best Coast
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