to 9:00 PM
48 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Gold Motel
event::about With GOLD MOTEL, it’s always summer, the bags are always packed, and the car is always running. Beneath tight pop hooks and warm melodies, GOLD MOTEL’s songs are infused with joyous exuberance as well as sweet melancholy. The ten tracks on GOLD MOTEL's debut album Summer House are snapshots of dreaming, transient youth in constant motion - driving down desert highways, watching fireworks from the boardwalk, wandering the city in an endless summer but, in the end, always searching for the safety of home, friends, and love. The Chicago-based quintet originated in the warmer climate of Los Angeles during the summer of 2009. Greta Morgan (The Hush Sound) returned from a year in Southern California to her hometown of Chicago, bringing with her what would become the five-song GOLD MOTEL EP. Collaborating with her friend Dan Duzsynzski (This Is Me Smiling), recording began on a set of sharp, sunny pop songs with a decidedly West Coast outlook. Working with Duzsynski, Morgan realized that her pre-conceived solo project could grow into a full band effort. Through the fall of 2009, GOLD MOTEL transformed into a full-fledged band, adding Chicago music veterans Matt “Minx” Schuessler, Adam Kaltenhauser (both of This is Me Smiling), and Eric Hehr (The Yearbooks). The super group played together live for the first time in December of 2009 with a sold out headlining debut at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen, coinciding with the release of the GOLD MOTEL EP. Since then, GOLD MOTEL has headlined shows from Los Angeles to New York (and most cities in between) in support of Summer House, including a Winter 2011 national tour supporting Hellogoodbye. In November 2010, they released a two song 7 inch vinyl, Talking Fiction.
to 10:00 PM
to 11:00 PM
to 12:00 AM
to 1:00 AM
Young the Giant
170 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Young the Giant
event::about Comprised of Sameer Gadhia (vocals), Jacob Tilley (guitar), Eric Cannata (guitar/vocals), Payam Doostzadeh (bass) and Francois Comtois (drums/vocals), Young the Giant’s unique brand of sun-soaked rock has received praise from fans and critics alike, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Billboard, and Nylon Mag. The band’s diverse ethnic backgrounds –Indian, Persian, British, and French-Canadian—translate into an incredibly dynamic sound that offers jazz rhythms, surf pop harmonies, Mediterranean and Caribbean influences, flashes of jolting alt rock and so much more. The band's self-titled debut album, produced by Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, My Morning Jacket) was released on January 25th. The band, originally from Newport Beach, CA, has recently hit the road with bands like Minus the Bear, Neon Trees, Marina and the Diamonds, and The Futureheads.
to 2:00 AM
The Gregory Brothers
34 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists The Gregory Brothers
event::about The Gregory Brothers became internet sensations in August of 2010, when their viral YouTube hit, "Bed Intruder Song," crossed over onto the Billboard Hot 100. To their loyal fans, however, they were already known for the video series "Auto-Tune the News" and their blue-eyed soul record, "Meet The Gregory Brothers." They've been praised by Katie Couric, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Washington Post. They've also had the pleasure of collaborating with T-Pain, Joel Madden (of Good Charlotte), Weezer, The Welcome Wagon, and Sufjan Stevens.
to 9:00 PM
30 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists California Wives
event::about It may get a little confusing, but California Wives, Chicago's newest conglomerate of new wave pop servants to hit the colorful streets of the city's music scene, is making waves in their short existence, under a moniker that would have you expecting something much different. But given that their music has been compared to the recent revival of the new wave genre - think of New Order's synth-pop mixed with guitar riffs reminiscent of The Police - Jayson Kramer (vocals, keys, guitar), Dan Zima (vocals, bass, guitar), Joe O'Connor (drums) and Hans Michel (guitar, keys) don't mind the confusion, as long as they can help breathe new life into music genres that have been around longer than they have. Formed in 2009, after original band members, Zima, O'Connor, and Michel, realized they needed to cover new ground; Kramer brought his love of electronic music into an already talented core of musicianship that completed the foursome, and blended all of their influences into one cohesive idea. As the last addition to California Wives, Jayson Kramer proves that coming in last isn't necessarily a bad thing. A classically trained pianist from a young age, Kramer later taught himself guitar in his early teens, and it wasn't long before he began writing his own music. Crediting his high-school friends with introducing him to computer-generated music, Kramer dove head first into electronic music while attending Boston University, and though he continued to study biology, his hunger for learning more about computer music than chromosomes generated a self-made library of electronic tracks that helped shape his creative style and self-expression. As California Wives' triple-threat (vocals, guitar, keys), Kramer finds himself right where he should be. Though Dan Zima is responsible for California Wives' streaming pulse, bass wasn't his first instrument of choice. Zima began playing guitar in grade school after his mother purchased him a guitar with lessons - but he didn't take it seriously until high school - playing in cover bands, one of which included current band mate, Hans Michel. The union worked out so well, Zima stopped showing up to his other band practices and spent the weekends playing bass for the new band instead. He hasn't put it down since. As co-founder of California Wives, Zima also splits songwriting with Kramer, and continues to sing vocals on tracks like the bittersweet "Guilt." As a child of musician parents, music has always been an imprinted and natural part of Hans Michel's life. Having been influenced by everything from classical and metal to, more recently, new wave and house music, Michel likes to think of his role in the band as not just a guitarist, but as an arranger. He focuses on challenging the band's tendencies to bring forth ideas from more eclectic styles of music, helping to make each song better than the last. At the same time, he always tries to make sure the songs maintain the band's focus and identity. As the hardest hitting drummer in the Midwest, Joe O'Connor has never been able to pick up anything else - and he's just fine with that. In high school, O'Connor spent most of his time obsessed with bands like AC/DC, The Clash, and newer artists like Andrew WK and the Hives. These bands would later go on to personify his loud and fast approach to rock and roll. In his teenage and college years, he branched out into indie mainstays like Wilco, Ted Leo, The Flaming Lips and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. In the past few years, he - like the rest of the band - has spent more time listening to musicians who utilize electronics, especially New Order. O'Connor tries to split the difference between the various types of music he's loved his whole life, by playing beats appropriate for new wave songs, with enough volume to stick with the loud and energetic crowd. Beginning as a "side project," the natural chemistry between this unit propelled California Wives to the top of their priorities. Committed to exploring their combined musical backgrounds, the childhood pals continue to mix and match their musical influences as they create a catalog of original tracks that has thus far reawakened a genre with their exciting take on new wave pop. Not to be forgotten in the band's history, the recording process has always been an integral part of California Wives. The band's early basement recordings followed quickly after each writing session; this experience with recording would allow the band to release two early EPs completed entirely on their own. The group also self-recorded the synth-tastic "Twenty Three," which is one of band's hottest single to date. As the band moved forward, the decision was finally made to work with the finest studios and producers that Chicago had to offer. After four hard months of recording, mixing, and mastering, California Wives released their much anticipated EP, Affair, in September 2010, which was recorded at Gravity Studios, and mixed at Chicago's famed Engine Music Studios (whose artists include Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Iron and Wine). Affair displays California Wives' all-around musical dexterity that boasts flanking guitar and glimmering keys, with ever-so-clever lyricism, in tracks "Blood Red Youth,' 'Guilt," 'Photolights," "Purple," and a brand new version of "Twenty Three." And with the Affair EP finally in the hands of the public, it seems that the newest blend of new wave pop has been striking the right chords. With recent write ups in My Old Kentucky Blog, The Chicago Reader, AOL Spinner, radio exposure on Chicago mainstay WXRT, a recording session at the illustrious Daytrotter Sessions, and the addition to Tomorrow Never Knows music festival 2011, California Wives are seeing the hard work pay off. But even with some new found success, California Wives continues to push the creative process even further. In the upcoming months, California Wives will be recording a new single to debut in the spring months and will continue to hit the road to establish solid followings in Midwestern cities, such as St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. California Wives are also planning a trip south to play at one of the largest music festivals in the US, South by Southwest, where they've been invited to play in Billboard's Official showcase. With such a hard work ethic, California Wives are proving to themselves and their audience that this newest formula of indie pop is here to stay. California Wives tour dates: 3/17- Billboard.com Official SXSW Showcase @ Buffalo Billiards, Austin TX
to 10:00 PM
to 11:00 PM
18 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
event::about You may not expect one of the most compelling new voices in hip hop to wield dual psychology and sociology degrees from Stanford University or find inspiration in the buttoned-up world of indie rock, but for K.Flay, defying expectations is simply part of the game. Kristine Flaherty grew up outside of Chicago, devouring her father's classic rock records and staying up late to dance to Parliament-Funkadelic in the living room. It was this same musical open-mindedness that would later spark her artistic development. She found her musical voice in college, fusing the eclectic power of the Bay Area hip hop scene with her own unique presence, inspired by strong, independent female artists ranging from Missy Elliott and Lauryn Hill to Fiona Apple and Liz Phair. On stage, K.Flay is a one-woman whirlwind: whether she’s creating beats, singing, rapping or playing guitar, her wit and acerbic charm shine through. Her talents have led her to share the stage with artists including Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, and 3OH!3, where she quickly won over audiences who hadn’t seen anything quite like her before. Further setting her apart from the pack, she serves as her own producer in the studio, methodically infusing her hip hop swagger with a dose of sonic exploration. With one mixtape (the genre-hopping MASHed Potatoes) already available online, K.Flay is spending the rest of 2010 recording in San Francisco and touring with Passion Pit in October and 3oh!3 in November.
to 12:00 AM
61 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists The KNUX
event::about *The KNUX BIOGRAPHY 2BROTHERS: KRISPY & JOEY Le’STRAT BORN & RAISED IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANNA RELOCATED TO LOS ANGELES KRISPY: LEAD VOX, KEYS, PROGRAMMING, BASS JOEY: LEAD VOX, GUITAR, KEYS, PROGRAMMING, BASS DEBUT ALBUM: REMIND ME IN 3 DAYS… 4STARS - ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE ROCKED: GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY ART MUSEUM, SXSW, COACHELLA, SASQUACH FEST, BONAROO, ROCK THE BELLS, ESSENCE FEST, DIVERSAFEST, ALL POINTS WEST, BUMBERSHOOT, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, VOODOO FEST CURRENTLY AGONIZING OVER THE SEQUENCING OF THE SOPHMORE ALBUM.
to 1:00 AM
106 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
event::about MNDR A one-woman tour de force, Amanda Warner, better known as MNDR, is the powerful voice behind the authoritative and approachable experimental club music that she creates. An incandescent front woman who is equally talented with her technical skills, MNDR combines pop sensibilities with a love of early house, minimal techno and IDM. She blends a well-honed musical background with in-depth midi programming, sound design, and analogue synthesis skills, wiring up her machines to concoct an incredibly danceable electronic pop sound. MNDR, a.k.a Amanda Warner, has been nearing the completion of the first full length album in NYC with producer and co-writer Peter Wade, to be readied for release in Spring/Summer 2011.
to 2:00 AM
115 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Oh Land
event::about "What does it sound like? What does it smell like? What does it look like? How does it feel? I always ask myself these questions when I'm writing," says singer and producer Nanna Øland Fabricius. "I think that Oh Land has a unique landscape all on its own. I strive to make the possibilities endless and to have all the senses collide in to a language on their own." Her multi-sensory approach to songwriting has been present from the beginning. Before Oh Land had a name, or even songs, she was a restless child on the outskirts of Copenhagen, where she wove together imaginary languages, characters, and magazines. Though she didn’t know it then, this sense of play would develop naturally into the skewed and rich aesthetic of Oh Land’s music and performance style. She is the product of extremes. A disciplined ballet dancer who was educated with the Royal Danish and Royal Swedish Ballet schools coupled with a “circus-like” upbringing courtesy of a family of creative souls. Their unique and individual talents have left deep imprints on how Oh Land experiences and interprets the world around her. Performance has always been a part of her personal expression as nurtured by the performances of those closest to her. Whether she was learning to see from a sister who designs clothing, to hear from her opera singer mother, or to touch from her church organist father; the mixture of this unique upbringing has contributed to the multi-faceted layers of an ever evolving Oh Land. Oh Land’s music bears the fruit of this incredibly stimulating childhood. She has created a soundscape that dreams as hard as it dances. Her performance style confronts the audience with elements as sonically and visually diverse as drum pads, an omnichord, and a front projector system that broadcasts homemade visuals across balloons. "I want my music to feel like 2050 meets something really classic, like meeting a stranger that feels as familiar as an old friend." says Oh Land. Her approach to songwriting reaches beyond melody to touch on shared experience; her music simultaneously incorporates the whirrs, tics, and thumps of machinery and the soft, human tug of strings and delicately layered vocals. It was this dual quality of her music – human, yet otherworldly -- that landed this peculiar, talented, and determined artist on the radar of Epic Records during a 2009 showcase at SXSW at the end of a brief US tour that Oh Land booked herself. Used to pushing the boundaries of her talent, Oh Land relocated to Brooklyn at the beginning of 2010 to write the latest chapters of her whirlwind story: an ever-evolving album that features speaker-panning samples, honeyed hooks, and the knob-twiddling skills of Dan Carey (The Kills, Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip) and Dave McCracken (Depeche Mode, Beyoncé, AFI). The jungle drumming and layered vocals of “White Nights” evokes a quest to find peace and a sense of home in the chaos of a city that never sleeps. She sings, “There’s a restlessness in me/Keeps me up ’till the dawn/There is no silence/I will keep following the sirens,” alluding to both the noise and throb of the city and the mythological seducers that call to lonely sailors. “I wanted my new album to strike a balance between the big city and nature,” she explains, “because they’re both pulling me in different directions all the time. I live and grow in the eye of the storm.” That duality is also at play in the steady pulse and lavish loops of “Sun of a Gun,” which layers literal references to the sun (“a symbol of the divine that we’re now afraid of”) over unflinching comparisons to the twilight of an ill-fated relationship. Oh Land’s lyrics evoke storybook imagery that is both rich and moving, inviting the listener to step to the edge of the rabbit hole and plummet. For instance, “Wolf & I” works as both a trippy, heart-stirring ballad as well as a “modern fable about doubt and fear” that tells the tale of a love triangle between a wolf, the sun, and the moon. If her music contains an allegorical element, her connection to performance is almost spiritual. “Even when I was really little and feeling angry about something,” she says, “I knew to shut up the second I went backstage. There’s this magic about performing that’s very holy to me.” That spell was broken ever so briefly when a major back injury caused her ballet career to come to an abrupt halt after being told by a doctor that she would never dance again. “I was like a black hole during that period,” admits Oh Land. “The only thing that got me through it was music, because I felt like I could still dance through it; like I could lie down, close my eyes, and figure out melodies without moving.” This dark period led her to discover that the entire reason she danced in the first place was because of music and that was the creative medium she wanted to mold as her own. This discovery manifested itself in Oh Land’s self-produced debut album, Fauna. Released in 2008 by Scandinavian tastemaker/producer/DJ, Kasper Bjorke, the album featured Oh Land’s first 10 tracks as an artist - lush otherworldly soundscapes that wouldn’t sound out of place alongside the Bjork LPs and trip-hop tracks that she obsessed over while growing up. Her recovery and seamless transition to songwriting is revisited in the new track “Break the Chain,” a heady but hopeful reflection on Oh Land’s journey to reclaim her self-expression and bring to light the ideas that have flooded her subconscious from the start. To try to wrap your head around her disparate influences and patchwork influences might sound complicated, but if you ask Oh Land, what she’s doing now isn’t all that different than the years she spent “styling” clothes her mother made, or teaching younger dance students new routines behind the backs of their teacher. She has always taken the raw materials of expression and used them her way. “When I was younger,” says Oh Land, “We didn’t think, ‘Let’s play with our Barbie dolls or a board game today.’ We were building our own universes. And nothing’s changed, except now I have an audience beyond my parents.”
to 8:30 PM
Boy & Bear
66 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Boy & Bear
event::about Australian Indie Folk band Boy & Bear is signed to Universal Music Australia's Island imprint for Australia and New Zealand only, their song publishing is with SonyATV world wide, their booking agent in Australia is Stephen Wade at Select Music, their booking agent in the UK and Europe is Lucy Dickins at International Talent Booking (ITB), and their booking agent in the US is Bobby Cory at CAA. Boy & Bear won the Triple J Unearthed J Award in 2010, was named Rolling Stone Magazine's 'Artist to Watch' for 2011, and sold out 15 of the 17 shows on their debut headline Australian tour in October/November 2010. They have toured Australia with Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Angus & Julia Stone, The Hungry Kids of Hungary, Lisa Mitchell and in April 2010 they toured the UK with Laura Marling. Laura Marling also used Boy & Bear's rhythm section as part of her backing band for the entire tour, which included Europe. In November and December 2010 Boy & Bear performed a capacity showcase at the Mercury Lounge in New York City and they completed their first headline (eight-date) tour in the UK with sold out performances in Oxford, Brighton and London. After SXSW, Boy & Bear will be jumping into the studio with acclaimed producer Joe Chiccarelli (The Shins, My Morning Jacket, The White Stripes) to record their debut album, set for release later this year.
to 9:25 PM
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers
67 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers
event::about Shilpa Ray’s forearms bulge with blood when she plays her harmonium. “I have strange musical injuries,” she explains, referring to the blisters on her fingers. But none of that stops her from pounding on the accordion-like instrument, which reached the height of its popularity in 19th-century churches. “I always feel like I’m still my 14-year-old self,” she says, explaining her determination to play despite the trauma her music can cause. “I never developed beyond that in my attitude.” Ray’s teenage tendencies are alive and well on Teenage and Torture, her second full-length with Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, which will be released in early 2011 on Knitting Factory Records. A collection of 10 savage and sultry blues-influenced songs, the album finds Ray eviscerating her subjects (and often spilling her own guts) with the kind of sharp-tongued, smart-assed angst that keeps juvenile detention centers in business. Songs like “Hookers” and “Genie’s Drugs” aren’t dealing with kid-sized issues, but no matter the situation, Ray says, “I always have that gut reaction the way that teenagers do.” Growing up in central New Jersey, at 6 years old Ray picked up both the harmonium and piano at the insistence of parents who wanted her to learn classical Indian music. “I really wanted to play guitar and my parents said no,” Ray says. “But I had the harmonium, so I would learn chords to songs that I liked and start to play.” At 16 she taught herself how to play The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” but it wasn’t until a few years later that she worked up the nerve to perform in front of other people. Settling in New York City with no idea how to form a band, Ray frequented open mic nights at the East Village’s legendary Sidewalk Cafe, where she performed solo. “I started going to Sidewalk because I didn’t fit into any scene and it seemed like there you can be anybody and still get a shot,” she says. “So I went and I sang a song a capella and they asked if I played an instrument and I told them about the harmonium, so they said if you bring this harmonium down, we’ll give you a show.” Ray would soon form her first band, Beat The Devil. While the group was met with early success and local acclaim, winning great praise from many observers including Brooklyn Vegan and the New York Times, they disbanded shortly before the release of their first and only album. Initially Ray decided to continue on as a solo act, but she soon began enlisting the help of musicians she had met while playing out. Eventually the line up began to solidify and Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers was formed. In 2009, the group released the self-financed album A Fish Hook, An Open Eye and the excitement for Ray and her unique artistry picked up where it had left off. “Following the demise of her previous band,” wrote the New Yorker,” Ray has struck out on her own, further showcasing her seemingly indestructible vocal chords. She screams, growls, and snarls her way through the screeching muck of oil-stained garage rock and backwoods blues, cresting just above the waves of a sonic tumult that threatens to consume her minuscule frame. This tenuous command of a raucous sound makes for a volatile breed of rock and roll.” Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hooker’s latest album, Teenage and Torture, both refines and expands upon the arresting qualities of their first release. The result, “isn’t as thrown together as the first one,” says Ray. “The first record was like a series of thoughts, this is one big thought. You’ll slip into a different world when you hear this.” Recorded with Black Dirt Studios’ Jason Meagher at Seizure’s Palace in Gowanus, Brooklyn, the songs on Teenage and Torture are dark, sardonic looks inside Ray’s own world and obsessions, augmented by the musical styling of her Happy Hookers—Nick Hundley on bass, Andrew Bailey on guitar and John Adamski on drums and percussion, and featuring Greg Lewis on organ, Jonathan Lam on pedal steel and Andrew Hoepfner on vocals and keys. “Most of the time when I write songs, they’re semi-autobiographical,” says Ray, “but they’re also taking situations and trying to understand things that I have a hard time understanding,” she says. “ When I wrote ‘Genie’s Drugs,’ it was about this dude I used to date who was dating every other chick on my block. One day I said, ‘I don’t want you to see this Genie girl, why do you see her?’ and he told me, ‘Well, she’s got the good drugs.’ And I thought it would be great to write a love song about I’m so poor that I can’t afford the drugs to keep him around.” On another standout track, “Liquidation Sale,” Ray mocks herself for feeling down. “I could not take myself seriously writing a blues song,” she says, “so a lot of those lyrics are me making fun of myself and how fake I am being by even writing it. At the same time, I’m like everybody else, I want that window to complain.” Blood and blisters be damned, on Teenage and Torture, Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers have some things to say, and you’ve got n
to 10:20 PM
to 11:15 PM
104 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Screaming Females
event::about Last year, Screaming Females toured relentlessly in support of their critically acclaimed third album Power Move. Their hard work landed them spots opening for Dinosaur Jr., Throwing Muses, and Jay Reatard, plus dates touring with Arctic Monkeys and the Dead Weather. The year brought them to a wider mainstream consciousness, gaining attention for their punk rock sensibilities and their raucous live shows driven by front woman Marissa Paternoster’s famed guitar heroics. But Screaming Females’ success did not come overnight: it came after four years of playing over 300 self-booked shows at nontraditional show spaces, sleeping on floors around the country, self-releasing their first two albums, and breathing new life into the New Brunswick, New Jersey DIY basement show circuit. And on their forthcoming September 2010 LP, Castle Talk, the trio proves their abilities as more than just a pint-sized guitar shredder. Castle Talk showcases their growth together as a unit, as a band, with some of their most complex and confident songwriting to date.
to 12:10 AM
The Joy Formidable
230 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists The Joy Formidable
event::about There's something panoramic about The Joy Formidable's music - their mountainous, fuzzed out riffs and ferocious, earthy rhythms shrouded in ethereal haze. It sounds like where they're from: Childhood friends Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar) and Rhydian Dafydd (bass, vocals) grew up in rural North Wales, surrounded by rolling green hills and little else. "There's a beauty and a loneliness to the landscape there," says Dafydd. "We had no neighbors growing up," Bryan notes. "I think my parents looked for a house with no neighbors so they could play their music as loud as possible." For her part, Bryan loved the isolation. Growing up as an only child, the singer immersed herself in her parents' enormous record collection and the classical guitar studies she took on at the age of seven. "I loved playing guitar by myself, back then I was quite introverted with my music," she says. Bryan and Dafydd had been writing music separately from one another, and worked together in a couple of short-lived local bands after finishing school. They knew they wanted to collaborate, but didn't manage to make it work until a few years ago. "We kept missing each other," Ritzy says. Bryan went off to Washington, D.C "on a whim" and returned to Wales in 2008 with renewed focus. "My family situation wasn't easy to go back to" says Bryan. "I came back out of necessity and found a lot of sanctuary recording with Rhydian and having this new band to concentrate on." For six months, the pair wrote together, experimenting with different sonic approaches. "We'd go for walks in the hills between recordings," Dafydd remembers. "We'd write for hours and hours," adds Bryan, "and if we got frustrated, we'd go stomp it out, up and down the mountains." But as the sessions began yielding signature tunes like "Austere" and "Cradle" - tracks that combined the duo's interest in thick, textured noises with clear, shimmering pop hooks - they knew they'd found their sound. "We'd always been into writing strong melodies," Bryan says. "The sparks really flew when we started messing with things that were choral and symphonic, mixed with what both of us had already enjoyed separately: dirty, loud, rhythmic guitars and thick bass-lines." The Joy Formidable released "Austere" in July 2008, followed by "Cradle" on double 7" later that summer, and quickly produced an eight-track EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, which they released themselves in the U.K. in early 2009. Having relocated to London and recruited drummer Matthew Thomas, the trio quickly earned a reputation for blistering live performances. "We love and encourage the beautiful double-pedal," says Bryan, with a chuckle. "We do lean towards a slightly metal aesthetic when it comes to drums, which makes it very loud and heavy and all the things we want to be as a live entity. The new album definitely explores those elements, and that's because of Matt being in the band." The trio spent 2009 touring the U.K., Europe and Australia with bands including Editors, Temper Trap and Passion Pit, mastering tiny clubs and festival stages alike. Their introduction to American audiences came early this year, when Passion Pit invited The Joy Formidable to open a pair of sold-out shows at New York's Terminal 5. In late April, they teamed with a new label started by Passion Pit's Ayad Al Adhamy, Black Bell Records, to release A Balloon Called Moaning in the U.S. The New York Times' Jon Pareles praised the EP's "cryptic lyrics that glint with urgency," and said that "the music regenerates the turbulent haze of 1990s rock, but it's less tormented and more anthemic, confident of the pop structures at its core." They've also earned critical raves from NME, The Guardian, the London Times, Spin and Pitchfork, heavy rotation on Sirius XM's indie rock channel, Sirius XMU, and praise from Garbage's Shirley Manson and Courtney Love, among others. This summer, The Joy Formidable signed with Canvasback Records, and will release their debut album for the label, The Big Roar, early next year. When they weren't on the road, the band worked on writing and tracking the material for The Big Roar. "We recorded in a tiny corner of our London bedroom" Bryan says. "It was great, because you could capture that moment when you wake up in the middle of the night with a melody or an image or a lyric." Working on and off for a year, The Joy Formidable crafted a remarkable collection of modern rock songs that explore what Bryan describes as "the possibility of victory in a hopeless situation.” Adds Dafydd: "The album covers a lot of emotional range. It's captured the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive." They produced The Big Roar themselves - with help from engineer Neak Menter - and traveled to Los Angeles this summer to mix it with producer Rich Costey (Muse, Foo Fighters, Glasvegas). A single from those sessions, "I Don't Want To See You Like This," is due out this autumn, with the full-length to follow in early 2011. The Joy Formidable will headline the Emerge NME Radar tour in September and October, making stops at various venues throughout the UK, and return to the U.S. for a headlining run in November
to 1:05 AM
to 2:00 AM
A Place to Bury Strangers
194 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists A Place To Bury Strangers
event::about A Place to Bury Strangers had a simple goal for their first proper studio album, the exquisitely-damaged Exploding Head: "The original idea," says vocalist / guitarist Oliver Ackermann, "was to create the craziest, most fucked-up recording ever." How crazy, you ask? Enough to justify that Cronenberg-channeling title, for one, as dollops of distortion and flecks of feedback deliver enough controlled chaos to derail a turntable. And if vinyl isn't your thing, well, let's just say you'll be checking the levels on your living room stereo from the second "It Is Nothing" sucks everyone in earshot through a vortex of groove-locked rhythms (hammered out by drummer Jay Space and bassist Jono MOFO) and back-spun power chords. Pain as pleasure, if you will, a beautiful feeling that's maintained for 43 mesmerizing minutes, from the paranoid android pop of "In Your Heart" and gorgeous gate-crashing melodies of "Keep Slipping Away" to the Chinese water torture chords of "Lost Feeling" and sputtering percussion of "Everything Always Goes Wrong" Not to mention the apocalypse now effects of "Ego Death" the sinewy, slightly sinister overtones of the title track, and the firework finale flare-ups of "I Lived My Life To Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart". A Place to Bury Strangers has an illustrious touring history including supporting Nine Inch Nails at arenas, large venue tour with MGMT in Europe a full US tour with Holy Fuck and shows with some of their heroes and influences including The Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dandy Warhols and Chapterhouse. They have been touring non stop since the release of Exploding Head, doing three full scale US tours of the US and UK/Europe including shows with the Big Pink, Japandroids, Darker My Love and Dead Combo. They are now hard at work on the follow up to Exploding Head with an eye toward a Spring 20011 Release. A Place To Bury Strangers have often been called "the loudest band in New York". This may very well be the case, but unlike much so-called "loud" rock and roll that's out there, APTBS is not loud simply for the sake of it. The sonically overdriven sound they've accomplished is no clumsy accident, but a carefully cultivated and well-maintained entity all its own, fostered by an unbridled passion that's clearly evident in every live show they play and each recording they make. A Place To Bury Strangers does not so much play songs as allow them to pour out. They are songs about longing, heartbreak and confusion played extremely well and at a passionately loud volume...
to 8:30 PM
19 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Tanya Morgan
event::about Tanya Morgan is a rap group. More than that, they're a great rap group as evidenced by the praise they've received from the likes of Billboard, Vibe, SPIN, XXL Magazine, XLR8R, Los Angeles Times, The Onion, NY Magazine and a bevy of other press outlets who have praised the group throughout the duration of their career. "Tanya Morgan are like the sons of De La Soul -- soulful, stressed, effortlessly smart flows, intricate production, the whole package," says SPIN Music Editor Charles Aaron. Hailing from both Brooklyn and Cincinnati, Tanya Morgan formed on the message boards of Okayplayer.com in 2003 when Donwill, Ilyas Nashid and Von Pea were all solo artists trading demos and beat tapes. The three MCs decided to collaborate for a one-off project and settled on the name Tanya Morgan - an inside joke to trick hip-hop crate-diggers and sample-searchers into thinking the record was an old-school soul singer. After their debut album, Moonlighting, was endorsed by the likes of ?uestlove in 2006 and was received enthusiastically by fans, Tanya Morgan decided to keep working together and keep the name. In the wake of Moonlighting's critical success, the group released its follow-up, 2009's Brooklynati which saw the group reach more fans and beguile more journalists as it was widely regarded as one of the year's best hip hop releases. Since Brooklynati's release, the group has reformed with Ilyas moving on to focus on his solo material and video production while Von Pea and Donwill continue to tour as Tanya Morgan, supporting the group's classic material as well as the members' first solo releases: Donwill's Don Cusack In High Fidelity and Von Pea's Pea's Gotta Have It, both released in 2010. 2011 will see more tour dates and work on the group's third full-length album, yet untitled.
to 9:25 PM
26 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Big Sean
event::about BIG SEAN BIOGRAPHY Some may call it luck, but for Detroit based MC Big Sean, his chance meeting with Kanye West in 2005 was the exact moment when his hard work finally started to pay off. After rapping for the multi-platinum superstar in a radio station hallway, Big Sean stayed in touch with Mr. West and eventually signed to Island Def Jam through G.O.O.D. Music in March of 2008. Now, he is gearing up to release his debut album which not only includes features from some of today’s most highly respected artists but also gives listeners an in-depth look into the life of an MC who is so committed to his craft, he puts everything he has into each and every rhyme. Big Sean was born Sean Anderson in Santa Monica, California and moved to Detroit with his parents at two months old. When Sean reached kindergarten, his mother enrolled him in a Waldorf school where children’s creativity is heavily nurtured and developed. “I grew up in the hood in Detroit and went to a private school in a super nice neighborhood, so I got to see the best of both worlds,” says Sean. “It was a real artsy school. We learned three or four different instruments and spoke Spanish and German for eight years. I owe a lot to that school because that’s where I started making music and gained a love for poetry.” When he was twelve, Sean started rapping, a talent that came to him naturally thanks to his artistic background. “I was really into the whole Bad Boy era,” he remembers. “That’s what really made me want to rap because girls liked Mase and Puff Daddy. But when I started hearing people like Jay-Z and 2Pac, that’s when I really developed a love for music.” The following year, he enrolled in a Detroit public high school where he met fellow MC Pat Piff, with whom Sean would later form the group S.O.S. When they were sixteen, the duo entered the Friday Night Cypher, an MC contest at the Detroit hip-hop radio station, 102.7 FM. S.O.S. won the battle and were awarded the chance to rap live, on-air, for the entire city to hear. “It was a really big thing,” remembers Sean. “We were like high school celebrities.” The performance was so popular, they were asked back to the station every Friday night for nearly a year. “One day between junior and senior year, Kanye was down at the station promoting Late Registration and my boy called me and said ‘if you down to the station and rapp for him, he’ll sign you,’” says Sean. “I was like, ‘you sound crazy.’ He was like, ‘forget that, you need to go rap for him!’” Sean decided to take his friend’s advice and drove straight to the station with one of his demos in hand. “I had never met a celebrity so my heart was beating out of my chest,” remembers Sean. “I was like, ‘Yo Kanye, you’re one of my favorite rappers, can I rap for you real quick?’ He was like, ‘Alright, you have sixteen bars, but you gotta rap while we’re walking out.’ I was freestyling and thinking the best lines I had. I ended up rapping for like ten minutes straight.” Kanye was thoroughly impressed by the courageous young MC and invited him to a private listening session later that night. Sean showed up and waited for his chance to ask ‘Ye if he was looking to sign any new artists. Kanye insisted that they would be in touch and Sean left feeling as if he had made the connection of a lifetime. A year later, Sean received a call from Don C, Kanye’s Road Manager who asked Sean to fly to New York to meet with G.O.O.D. Music President John Monopoly. “Basically he was like, ‘We want to hear a little bit more music before we decide to make an investment in you. So we are going to give you some tracks and see what you can do.’” Sean and Pat went home to record. While everyone at G.O.O.D. Music was impressed with the songs, their response was not anticipated. “Our manager hit us up one day like, ‘I got some great news!’” says Sean. “‘G.O.O.D. Music wants to sign Sean, but they don’t want to sign the group.’ It was real bitter sweet.” Sean officially signed to G.O.O.D. Music at the end of 2007. Around the same time, he released his first solo mixtape, Finally Famous, Vol. 1 which included an intro from Kanye. With over 60,000 downloads, Finally Famous was a huge success. In March of 2008 Sean signed to Island Def Jam. He spent the remainder of the year traveling the world with his mentor on the Glow In The Dark tour, where he was able to observe the life of an international icon. The following Spring, Sean released his second mixtape, UKNOWBIGSEAN, which BET named one of the best mixtapes of 2009. Now, at age twenty-one, he is getting ready to release his commercial debut, Finally Famous, an LP Sean says will resonate with anyone who has ever taken a leap of faith. “I want my album to be something that people can include themselves in,” he says. “I want people to be able to relate to it in the sense that if you’re doing something and you’re being recognized for it, you’re finally famous.” Finally Famous is an eye-opening look into the inner workings of a highly skilled artist. On the bounce heavy song “Made,” produced by Kanye West and Wrightrax, Sean and guest star Drake rap about never feeling satisfied when it comes to success. “Donald Trump” is a collaboration with Pharrell about making it big. Sean also touches on a lot of relationship issues including “I Almost Wrote You A Love Song” about a couple’s communication breakdown. “My biggest strength I feel is being able to be myself on all of my songs,” says Sean. While they may have met by chance, it’s no coincidence that Sean was hand picked by Kanye to represent the future of G.O.O.D. Music. “I remember in the eighth grade I told myself, man I’m going to be signed to Def Jam,” says Sean. “I always put it out into the universe and I think it was written for me. I was meant to inspire people, I was meant to make music… This is what I was meant to do.”
to 10:20 PM
67 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Black Milk
event::about As the buzz of many of hip hop’s young leaders-to-be evolves from loud commotion into hushed whispers, Black Milk has stayed relevant by remaining focused on creating music that endures. He’s achieved recognition from fans, critics, and his peers as one of the best producers around, and when coupling that talent with his sharp lyricism and stylish delivery as an emcee, Black has proven to be one of the most vital hip hop artists of his generation. This is already clear to those who heard his 2008 album "Tronic," which capped a successful and astonishingly prolific year (in which he also released collaborative full-length releases with rappers Bishop Lamont and Fat Ray, as well as producing the acclaimed solo album from Slum Village’s Elzhi). Tronic showcased a growth in production technique that few expected from a beatmaker best-known for chopping samples, as his signature drums were now peppered with live instrumentation and richer arrangements. 2009 looked to be another year of tremendous progress for Black Milk’s career. After touring Europe with his newly-formed band, consisting of drummer Daru Jones and keyboardist/singer AB, he returned home to Detroit ready to launch efforts on his next album. The year took an unexpected turn as his mentor Baatin of Slum Village–who Black credits with launching his professional career–suddenly passed away. Only weeks later, Black’s manager HexMurda fell into a coma and was paralyzed with a rare pontine stroke. The quick succession of these events eerily mirrored the abrupt deaths of Detroit legends J Dilla and Proof in 2006, stunning the close-knit hip hop community in the Motor City. Things only got worse for Black as he dealt with additional deaths within his family over the next few months. 2009 had become the most difficult year of his life. As the year came to a close, he returned to recording, and announced that his next release would be audaciously titled "Album of the Year." Black quickly explained that the title was referring to the course of events from the previous 12 months. Many fans and critics discounted that explanation, expressing either excitement or objection that he was brashly proclaiming that his work would be the year’s best before the year had even started. Far from a melancholic work, "Album of the Year" once again sees Black Milk working to break new ground in hip hop production, and to both refine and redefine his sound. While continuing to construct the skeletons of the tracks on his same trusted AKAI MPC-2000 XL that he’s been using for years, he now employs a team of studio musicians and session players to add new layers of fat and muscle to his songs, with most of the players’ parts composed by the artist himself. A broad range of influence shines through in the tracks, with tinges of rock, reggae, and afrobeat joining his trademark hip hop bangers. Few artists in hip hop are able to create music that can rise above expectations and defy categorization. Black Milk welcomes the challenge to accomplish what others cannot, and he’s doing it not only with his acclaimed recordings but also with an electrifying live show. Performing with Daru Jones and AB, the tracks are taken to another level on stage. Both "Album of the Year" and exciting live performances across the globe are sure to elevate Black Milk that much closer to the star status many have predicted.
to 11:15 PM
to 12:10 AM
86 schedule::attendeesLocation Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards
Artists Big K.R.I.T.
event::about Imagine Kanye West being born and raised in Meridian, Mississippi. Now imagine him being produced by Organized Noize. That imagery would create music almost identical to the Crooked Letter state’s next hip-hop heavyweight, Big K.R.IT (King remembered in time). The 24-year-old rapper slash producer defied the odds of both his personal life and hip-hop’s current landscape to be the most in-demand and respected rookie on the Cinematic Music Group/Def Jam Records roster. Rapping since twelve-years-old and producing from age 14, KRIT personifies the term Student of the Game. Being a product of one of the smallest cities below the Mason Dixon line the young MC didn’t have the financial means required to purchase tracks and studio time. So K.R.I.T took a much more economical approach and began mastering the MTV Music Generator on his Playstation. Wanting to elevate his sonic craft he then studied local friends who were a bit more advanced in certain areas of production, or sit for hours and watch an engineer homie mix a song. On the lyrical side, Big K.R.I.T kept an ear bent to the cadence and profound pronunciation of great orators like the Notorious B.I.G, Tupac and Pimp C. The Mississippi eagle also bathed in the classic compositions of legendary teams like OutKast and 8ball and MJG. “These guys influenced me because they rapped about what they knew about and they kept it 100,” says K.R.I.T. “Even like an Organized Noize––they stayed true to what they did and branded a sound. So they influenced me to stay true to myself and rap about what I know about.” Instead of making the mistake many a young artist in search of an identity commit––becoming a Xerox copy of their influences–– K.R.I.T developed his own sound. That he was raised on his parents’ soul music (Bobby Womack, Willie Hutch) explains why his production comes rich with rolling percussion, smooth yet potent baselines and keys that are sugar cane sweet. It’s homemade molasses in stereo. With a perfect self-produced score as the backdrop, K.R.I.T uses a fluid and personable flow to captivatingly give his own Merridian, Mississippi narrative, complete with entertaining quips, steely confidence and food for thought. During a time when southern MCs succeed by hanging their hat on their drug dealing history or street lord affiliation, whether authentic or fictitious, K.R.I.T.’s true-to-self approach is a courageous one. “People wanna hear relatable music––something not so far from their every day,” he says, before adding. “A lot of times people get caught up in making a hit and it isn’t timeless because it doesn’t serve a purpose. If I have a voice and the opportunity to speak to millions of people I at least have to say something important.” The Big K.R.I.T. formula was not only pure it was undeniable. His underground ascendance began in 2005 when an Atlanta DJ placed his song “We Gon’ Hate” on their mixtape without request. Feeling validated K.R.I.T decided to put 100% into upgrading his music dreams to reality. The next year he would drop out of Meridian Community College and move to Atlanta. In the peach state, K.R.I.T. would get a crash course in industry biz. Whether it was selling discounted beats to local artists, engineering their sessions and/or mixing their songs–––being that he was talented at more than just beat making––K.R.I.T did it to make ends meet. After a few years of releasing underground music K.R.I.T.’s music started to catch peoples attention, allowing him to entertain the countless music execs and managers who expressed interest in him throughout his years in Atlanta’s underground. One of those interested was Jon “Shipes” Shapiro, head of Cinematic Music Group (Sean Kingston, Nipsey Hussle). The two agreed on a deal in January 2010 and set forth to turn B.K into the next hip-hop superstar. According to Shipes K.R.I.T.’s palpability makes his market potential a no-brainer: “In real life he’s just a kid from a small town whose music is phenomenal.” K.R.I.T. then went to work on his Cinematic Music Group debut, the street album K.R.I.T. Wuz Here. The underground opus that birthed gems like the trunk rattler “Country Shit,” poignant “Children of The World” and irresistible Devin The Dude assisted “Moon & Stars” snatched the attention of many hip-hop heads; none more important than former 50 Cent manager and G-Unit Records President Sha Money XL. Upon receiving an early preview of K.R.I.T. Wuz Here, Sha was “blown away.” So once the veteran exec landed a position at Def Jam as Senior VP of A&R last April he made sure his first signee was K.R.I.T. Though at the time the Mississippi gem’s John Hancock was also being sought aggressively by other labels, K.R.I.T. chose the exec with the most enthusiasm for his music. “Sha just kept saying ‘I love this! I believe in it,’” tells K.R.I.T. “He was just so adamant about it.” Now, the rap game has received a breath of country fresh air: an artist that insists on remaining an individual and feeding his growing audience with feel-good rhythms and “rhymes with morals.” Big K.R.I.T. is in fact The Truth. Within a month of acquiring his deal he was not only critically acclaimed and courted for interviews by media giants like XXL, The Source, Rapradar.com and MTV.com, he gained fans in his own peer group––from buzzing newbies (Wiz Khalifa, Currensy and Smoke Dza) to living legends (Ludacris, Bun B). Today whether its hip-hop lovers in the skyscraping offices of Def Jam or those in the small town of Meridian, MS, they’re all feeling the synergy being churned by the birth of rap’s next royalty. So until Mr. King Remembered In Time releases his 2011 Def Jam debut all hip-hop can do is witness a reign on the rise.
to 1:05 AM
to 2:00 AM