Artist Spotlight- Seasons After

This artist alert is going to be unlike any other that I have had a chance to write. I have a strong personal connection to this particular group of dudes and have so for 10+ years. They are 100% unsigned and independent and I respect the hell out of these guys. So without further adieu, let me introduce you to one of the first bands I have ever been able to consider as a family: Seasons After.

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I had a chance to see/meet Seasons After way back in 2008-ish, (may have been longer actually) in Jacksonville, NC. I honestly do not remember what band they were opening for, but boy, I sure did remember them. This powerhouse team of dudes consists of members Tony Housh on vocals, Chris Dawson and Jimmy Beattie dueling on guitars. The occasionally have substitutes for drummers but have found one incredible bassist that I hope they hang on to.

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Let me tell you why Seasons After will forever be my favorite band. It is not the photos I take of them, or even the music….even though they have really, really damn good music… it’s the guys themselves. As someone who understands that, for every band, there are thousands of fans and hundreds of shows. You can’t expect a group to remember everything. But, the incredible thing is, they remembered me. They always made me feel like family even before we got as close as we have become.

20369507_10159010521285363_5076435803311806248_oFor example, I make a point to go out to any and every Seasons After show in NC as I can go to, why, because I believe in these guys. But here is the kicker, at every show, no matter how long it has been, they’ve always remembered me and sat down and just talked to me like an old friend. I actually had a chance to sit down with Tony at the Bridge to Grace/Seasons After show at The Muse in Wilmington on July 27th, and pleasantly to my surprise is Tony had kept one of my business cards that I had given him, which so happened to have a picture of him on it, in his cell phone case and takes it around where ever he goes. I seriously got emotional when I heard that.

Not everyone can be on a level with their fans like these guys can be. On top of how incredible this group of guys are, they are 100% independent. Having gone the label route, they abandoned being attached to the mainstream and branched out to do their own thing. Now, this isn’t a small feat to begin with, but add in the fact that they record, mix and master their own media at the same time!

With that being said, their latest album Manifesto, which was released late in 2016, has a special place in my heart. This was/is the comeback album of all comeback albums. Not just in a, “we are here” kind of way, but the lyrics and the sound emulate that of an internationally recognized band. One particular song that will forever stay with me is “Fighter”. Why you ask? Well, we have all had a moment where we have had to fight. Whether it was for something or someone, to stay alive, to stay relevant, or even just to get through the day ahead. The song, when I first heard it, hit me at my core and motivated the hell out of me to do what I am doing today (giving unsigned bands a media outlet that is).

At the end of the day, I have to thank these dudes for a lot of what motivated me to get where I am today. If you haven’t had a chance to check them out, please do so. They are worth your time and energy!

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Carolina Music Awards 2017

Hey ya’ll!

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Carolina Music Awards as press, and honestly, it was more fun then I expected!

The Carolina Music Awards were started 10 years ago by a gentleman named Omar McCallop and it’s amazing how strong this awards event is going 10 years later. This event has categories for Hip Hop/ R&B, DJ’s, Bluegrass/ Folk, Rock, Country, and they even have a Youth Category (no joke, those young adults rock!)

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The event starts with a red carpet event which starts 2.5 hours before the awards actually begin. I got there around 5 pm (because to me, being ‘on-time’ is being early). I also had no idea what to expect. This was my first time attending an event like this, I usually just photograph shows that my husband’s band plays at. I quickly noticed the there were two red-carpets set up. I was approached by a lovely woman named Sabrina and asked if I wanted to help her out on the fashion red carpet, which started before the Awards red carpet (they were kind of interchangeable because Artists would walk up to this red carpet first and then move on to the second red carpet). I figured why not, at least I could get some good photos that I could share here and with her. This part of the event wasn’t what I expected.

I teamed up with another photographer named Rada from Burt and Brewington Creative Agency  and we covered the entire red carpet event as well as the interviews put on by the radio station covering the awards. It was awesome because we got to meet artists from all the genres. I finally got to meet Tiffany’s friend Maria from Break the Skyline (p.s. go check out their music video for Unspoken… it rocks!) as well as getting to see a familiar face in LaureNicole (I’ve had the chance to talk with her a few times at different shows).

This part of the event was a great start to the whole event and I really enjoyed it. This sounds silly, but I have never been called a “real photographer” before (usually I am just photographing local bands) so when Miss. Sabrina called us that, it made me happy. It sounds silly…. but that meant a lot for someone to recognize that this is what I want to do, it’s not just a hobby for me.

The actual awards portion started around 8pm (after some technical difficulties which are bound to happen with any event). The press was regulated to the wings of the second floor for covering the event. If you weren’t sitting on the right side of the auditorium, it was incredibly difficult to get decent photos of the presenters as well as the musicians accepting awards. Guess who made that mistake? Me. By the time I realized it, the other side was already full and there wasn’t room for me to move. Oh well, I made it work anyways.

I must say that Mr. Omar really impressed me when he came out on the stage the second time, right after the technical difficulties happened. He told us that if there was anything that went right and that we were pleased with, to thank his staff, but if there was anything that was wrong, that responsibility totally rested on his shoulders. I can really appreciate that from a team member stand point. He wants his staff to get the praise for their hard work, but he feels that if anything was wrong, the responsibility rested on his shoulders as the head of the event. Kudo’s to you sir!

The event was started off by my girl LaureNicole and she did an impressive job as usual! The first set of awards were the Youth Awards, and they definitely did not disappoint! These young adults are incredibly talented and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them!

I will be honest with you all and tell you that I don’t know anything aboutRap, Hip Hop, R&B, being a DJ, or even Bluegrass. What I know is Country and Rock. That being said, I know that it takes a lot of time, effort, and talent to produce any genre of music, so my hat is off to everyone that was nominated and won awards last night! It was said several times that there were no losers, because everyone wins by bringing their music to the world! I feel this is a very true statement because different types of people like different types of music, and people can really connect with music. Just because I don’t like something doesn’t make it less important to the music industry because someone else will like it and it might help them through difficult times! It may be just what they need to make it through another rough day. I can appreciate that! This event wasn’t about the specific genre’s per say, it was more about celebrating our music scene as a whole and all of the accomplishments we’ve made so far!

If you want to see all the pictures of the event, check out the Angel-Phoenix Facebook Page, where I posted a gallery of all my images. I tried to get photos as people accepted their awards, but it was difficult from where I was standing. For this article though, I will be focusing on the rock genre, since that’s what we cover here at Angel-Phoenix!

The Nominees for Best Rock Male were A Strike Within, Jason Damico, CJ Bauckham (of I Am Maddox), Matt Thies (of Open Wire), Chris Hathcock (of The Reticent), Adam Nelson (of Something Clever), Brad Pruette (of The Lilly Brothers’), and Mark Cloos. The winner of the Best Rock Male of the Year was CJ Bauckham!

The Nominees for Best Rock Female were Logan Christopher (of Paper Dolls), LaureNicole, Fredi Sholtz, Rei Haycraft (of Raimee), Courtney Sapp (of We Were Once), Nikol, Denise Masters (of Desired Redemption), and Lauren Light. The winner of the Best Rock Female of the Year was LaureNicole!

The nominees for Best Rock Band of the Year were Open Wire, Mightier Than Me, I Am Maddox, What Happened Yesterday, Break The Skyline, The Gray, Reason|Define, and Matt Parker and the Deacons. The winner of the Best Rock Band of the Year was Mightier Than Me.

Overall, the event was a fantastic experience and I was incredibly excited to be able to cover the whole event. I met a lot of great new people and there was a LOT of networking going on from all sides. Everybody looked fantastic and were super nice!

Make sure you check out all the bands tagged above I this post, you might find people that you’ve never heard of! Give everyone some love because we’re here to celebrate all the artists and their accomplishments! I can’t wait to see what happens next year!

 

 

New Supergroup The Fell release new single “Footsteps”

The Fell – is an exciting new band consisting of rockers Anthony Del A Torre (Young Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) on vocals, Guitar player Mike Krompass (Multi-Platinum music producer and session guitar player), Randy Cooke (notorious session/touring drummer who has recorded/played with a laundry list of greats) and last, but not least, Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs) on bass, who needs no introduction.

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Now, for a band with such a powerhouse team of musicians, it is a shocker that this group hasn’t gotten a whole lot of attention, yet. Can you believe they are UNSIGNED? The group has a very unique sound that I can’t quite find an exact comparison for. But if I were to compare them to something, I would say you are getting a mix of Adelita’s Way mixed with 80’s hair band power vocals and rounded out with a hint of blues. Anthony has an incredible vocal range that is just “oh-so-buttery” but leads into a pure rock-and-roll belt. It kind of reminds me a bit of Sahaj Ticotin [vocalist for Ra]. Doesn’t hurt that the dude is a looker either.

Now, back to the song, “Footprints” was just recently remastered with Anthony’s vocals since the recent departure of original singer Toby Rand. Not gonna lie, I absolutely loved the original. The track itself is extremely groovy. But what makes it unique, I could hear this being played in a dive bar to mainstream radio. Dare I say it, I could hear it in a country bar too!

Anthony’s vocals do bring something special that the original singer didn’t have. The range, adaptability, and control that he has made it sound as if the recording of the track was effortless. The gentlemen of The Fell found a true gem in Del A Torre.

The pure grittiness of the video they released alongside the re-master is unlike your normal “studio-style” video. It pairs unique filters and To see how quickly the guys meshed together and created this beautiful remaster of an already amazing track.

As for the track, it is 100% one of my new favorite songs. I have said in reviews before, “catchy song is catchy” and there is no doubt about it that “Footprints” is catchy. I have caught myself listening to the track over and over again without even realizing it.

I give a huge thumbs up to the creative minds behind The Fell, I look forward to this group’s long and healthy future in the industry! You can pick up a copy of the new single on https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/footprints-single/id1260206880

 

Break the Skyline unleashes new music video for latest single “Unspoken”.

 

It seems that for a song being titled Unspoken, there is a lot being said. Visually matching a story of clear cheating mixed with themes of anger & letting go, Break the Skyline’s accompanying video for their track Unspoken weaves melodic musical layers with lush vocals which seem designed for opening up how one feels after dealing with an unfaithful partner.

Beautifully shot and edited together, this video takes you through the tale of a young woman catching her partner which on the face of looks like he’s begun setting his sights on his catch of the night.

Throughout the video, we witness her in great pain & heartbreak pen a letter of goodbye to her now lost lover. As she sets her feelings on fire at the end of Unspoken, a clear message of goodbye and no luck blasts through understanding as if we can feel her pain, like we can perceive pain appearing everywhere.

Our main character’s continuous torment as a result of her lover’s action is clearly displayed throughout her performance. You feel her jumping at you through the screen and grabbing you by the throat, daring you to feel as she does, begging you to understand, wishing no person to ever endure as she has this terrible experience. Throughout the presentation of Unspoken her display of jaded feeling, no pun intended, as if it’s breaking through the skyline.

A tight, well-produced tune mixed with both a dynamic performance by the band & spread shots of our storyteller belting out her narrative of disloyalty, Break the Skyline has a gem on their hands with Unspoken.

Album Review – Worhol “The Awakening”

I think I say this every time, but lord do I love this job! I love finding new music and this band definitely did not disappoint!

Worhol is a theatrical/ symphonic rock band from Texas founded by father and daughter in 2013! Ashley (lead singer/pianist) and her father Larry Worhol (guitarist/pianist/composer) decided to follow their musical dreams together and form this amazing band. They chose the name of their band because of their relations to Andy Warhol. They were joined by Craig Malinowski (bassist) and Marty Naul (drums). Their describe themselves as “an army of chosen ones who would bring forth to the land a new and inspirational voice in music.”

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Do you like bands like Evanescence, Nightwish, and Within Temptation? Then you’ll most definitely like Worhol. That’s what got my attention, Amy Lee is the reason that I learned to sing. Finding another strong female singer like her? I’m game! Their new album definitely did not disappoint!

Their latest album ‘The Awakening‘ released on 14 July, 2017 and I’ve listened to it at least once a day since I got it on iTunes. I really love her voice! She does remind me of the aforementioned female-led bands, but Ashley stands out at the same time! I feel that she has a distinct voice and this album is amazing.

The album starts out with Voices From Above, with a catching orchestral beginning and then bam, there Ashley is! It’s a great first song to the album, it’s intriguing! Her voice kind of reminds me of Christine from The Phantom of the Opera!

Bowing Before You has an interesting but strong beginning. A great display of their drummers talent. This seems to be the first of their slower songs, but it flows very well. I don’t know if slower is the right word, kind of slower and softer? Not quite as punchy and the pitch changes don’t seem to be as drastic as the first song.

Time to Say Goodbye has a gorgeous piano introduction that leads into a great guitar melody without losing the beauty of the piano. It’s got a kind of haunting melody to it and an easy flowing rhythm to the song.

Already Forgotten really displays, in my opinion, the diversity in Ashley’s vocal range that I am incredibly jealous of as a singer. She’s someone I would aspire to sound like. 

Rage and Revenge has a most interesting guitar introduction that carries you into the rest of the instrumental song. I love that they included this on the album, even though there aren’t any words to this song! A great display of the instrumental talent amongst the members of the band!

In This Town starts out with a kind of soft and haunting melody that is beautiful. While the song tempo picks up some it keeps its melody while Ashley sings softly.

We, The Abused starts out very fast paced but it is still a great song. At one point it slows down to just a piano and Ashley’s voice and man can she hit the higher notes! It’s something some female singers can only dream of.

Jurisdiction is one of my favorite songs off this album, I think. It show cases Ashley’s range, the drums are very prominent, and I just really enjoy this song. There is a nice guitar rift in the song that I can definitely appreciate. It also sounds like there is a violin towards the middle of the song, which I think is pretty creative.

Is This What’s Left of Me has a really pretty piano intro before the guitar comes in that I really like. The drums are strong and distinct again without taking away from the vocals. It has an interesting tempo change shortly after the introduction before going back to the same tempo with the piano and the drums. I think that is really unique.

Darkness is a great display of the symphonic sound. It also happens to be my other favorite song from this album. I know I’ve talked about it throughout this whole article, I just really enjoy Ashley’s voice.

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I really enjoyed this album and band. I haven’t really listened to symphonic rock before other than Nightwish and Within Temptation, so I am still learning more about the genre. I watched a couple of their music videos to get a better feel for the band and their videos are just as impressive as their music is. I really can’t wait to hear more of this band! If you haven’t checked them out yet, I really suggest you head over to YouTube, iTunes, or wherever you listen to music and search for this band.

Album Review: Darling Waste: The Skeleton Key

So this review has a special place in my heart. I originally got an informal introduction to Darling Waste back in 2010/2011 when I had the utmost honor of being part of the incredible staff team that made up the Myrtle Beach Zombie Walk. During this time, I had a chance to meet the mastermind behind the band; Lance Waste. Lance and I have stayed in contact on/off since.

Lance is joined by an incredible team of musicians that make up Darling Waste. You have Madeline Hoyle on guitar, Donnie Talbott on drums and rounding out the foursome Kelli Stilgenbauer on bass. Now I call this a “team of musicians” because they aren’t your typical band, they truly work together in unison to make the music work.

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Now I was given a sneak peek of the new album “The Skeleton Key”, and it put me in such a giddy and happy mood. When this girl, right here, gets hints of Blink-182 mixed with some of AFI (not the recent stuff, we are talking the old punk days) it makes me ridiculously happy. So happy in fact, if my ears could smile, they were while giving it a listen.

I don’t want to give away too much on the album, but any punky-pop fan is going to love this one for sure. The tracks “Sing Along Time” and “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” are the epitome of what I call a “road-trip” song. Essentially,  you learn the words and they are stuck. Don’t judge me too hard for saying this, but those two are going to be right next to Journey on my road trip playlist.

There was a bit of a shocker on the album that I didn’t see coming, “Hurt Before” is a slower tempo love type of a song, but, it so happens to feature one of my favorite up and coming front ladies Stef with an F from City of the Weak. The mix between the to vocal styles gave me goosebumps once Stef’s first verse kicked in. This song definitely deserves a round of applause in the “jaw dropping” department.

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When asked about the album Lance had to say, “This album was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It took four years to write and record. I almost gave up on it several times. The album weaves in and out of itself lyrically. Each song on this album has a companion song as well. Touring the world for three years straight ended with me getting detained and removed from England, where I was living at the time. I was super depressed. I was cut off from my band, my girlfriend and all of my belongings. I went to Myrtle Beach and spent the summer being massively self destructive, which is the song “How I Spent Me Summer Vacation” then the summer ends and the romance falls apart in “How To Avoid Large Ships”, “Sing along Time”, “Dead at 27” and “The Same Old Song” all tackle the subject of growing up and maturing in the music scene, while “I am the Villain” is a response to a poisonous relationship and “Hurt Before” is the events that came right after the events in Villain. Each song is a story from the past couple years of my life, written in real time as they were happening. The toughest song to write and perform is”Shattered/Divine” , which is my bedside plea to my mother to wake up while she was in a coma.”

Overall I am thoroughly impressed with “The Skeleton Key” and what Darling Waste is bringing to the table in 2017. Please make sure you grab a copy when the album drops on August 11th courtesy of Imminence Records. These guys and gals really put a ton of blood, sweat and tears into the making of this incredible record.

You can pick up a pre-order copy of Darling Waste’s “The Skeleton Key” on Amazon, GooglePlay Music, iTunes and more. Click the link for direct information on the pre-order. http://smarturl.it/kzwfm8