The sound of the award-winning group Town Mountain can best be described as traditional bluegrass, albeit with a rough-hewn side to it that is not too slick or glossy. They are a band of the here-and-now, yet they have a groove that is based on the bluesy and swinging sounds explored by the first generation of bluegrass pioneers of the last century. With the success of their latest album, Leave The Bottle, the word is out with some of their best reviews yet.
“Thank god that Town Mountain are around to blow a hole in all the genre-juggling games of which music writers like myself are so fond,” said Devon Leger, of Ed Helms’ The Bluegrass Situation. “They play bluegrass. Period. They play it hard, they play it fast, and they play it like their fingers are bleeding and their picks are breaking.”
“Phil Barker’s ‘Lawdog’ sounds like an unearthed classic, and the group’s tight harmonies alone make this record a treat for any bluegrass fan,” said Juli Thanki of Engine 145, the 2011 IBMA Print Media Person of the Year award winner.
David Morris of Bluegrass Today adds more praise, “The songs are new and mostly written by band members, but they sound like they could have come from the exciting early days of bluegrass…..The band sounds the part – tight picking and comfortable harmonies that aren’t overdubbed to soulless perfection. And the songs sound the part, too – murder ballads, endless highways, a nod to bluegrass’ Celtic roots and even a tip of the hat to a moonshiner.”
Riding on the momentum of Leave the Bottle, Town Mountain came away from the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) World of Bluegrass convention with a couple of IBMA Momentum Awards in had for “Band of the Year” and lead singer Robert Greer for “Vocalist of the Year”. Town Mountain includes Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Nick DiSebastian on bass. The band plans on recording a new album in 2014.
Town Mountain was formed out of the fertile music scene of Asheville, located in the mountains of western North Carolina. After recording their first two albums, Town Mountain signed with Pinecastle Records label. That led to a pair of acclaimed recordings with 2011’s Steady Operator as well as Leave The Bottle. Both projects were produced by Mike Bub, a recipient of five IBMA Bass Player of the Year awards as well as many other IBMA honors won during his time with the Del McCoury Band.
The members of Town Mountain have thought long and hard about their cultivated roots music groove. The group has focused on the goal of creating a unique sound and brand while still giving a nod and a wink to the traditional side of the bluegrass genre.
“I feel like we’re closer to original bluegrass than a lot of bands out there today,” says Langlais. “I listened to a radio show recently that featured Ricky Skaggs and he flat-out said that Bill Monroe influenced rock and roll. He said that folks like Elvis and Carl Perkins and those guys were looking up to Bill Monroe. So, I feel like our band has a lot of that influence as well, of the blues and early rock. If you go back and listen to Monroe pre-Chuck Berry, those are Chuck Berry licks. A lot of music in the 1940s and 50s was so over-lapping. It is easy to put genre labels on it today, 60 years later. But to be honest, it was all so new and it was influencing each other at the same time.”
Town Mountain will make appearances at many venues and festivals around the country including performances at MerleFest, the all-star Mountain Song at Sea cruise, Wintergrass, Suwannee Springfest and more. As the year progresses, Town Mountain will appear at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, the Grand Targhee Festival, the California Bluegrass Association’s Father’s Day festival and other events.
Shocking, hilarious, sometimes revolting, and yet completely endearing, the Flatbush Zombies are a genuine mystery in a musical landscape where few still exist. Meechy Darko and Juice, Brooklyn bred youth with a penchant for gold grills, Charles Manson and dropping acid, make up the high energy trio alongside producer and lifelong friend Erick Arc Elliott. The Zombies rose out of complete obscurity on the back of a synth heavy, weed laced banger entitled “Thug Waffle,” an ode to marijuana and breakfast foods which immediately propelled them to the forefront of New York’s fresh crop of talent. Their seamless recipe of can’t-look-away visual appeal and deft lyricism had them opening for Slaughterhouse and Schoolboy Q within a month while peaking the interest of everyone from Lana Del Rey to VICE, and garnering them a show stealing guest spot on the first A$AP Rocky single, “Bath Salt.” Their first full length mixtape, D.R.U.G.S. (July 2012), released with over 50,000 downloads in the first week and provides the backbone for their hypnotically abrasive and off the wall live show.
The Underachievers are a hip-hop duo from Flatbush Avenue, NY consisting of Issa Dash and AK. They are currently signed to Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder and released their debut mixtape INDIGOISM on February 1, 2013. These guys are lookin to spark a revolution in this rap game, and just in time seeing as the Age of Enlightenment is upon us.
Dad shorts. Taco bell. Pizza. Skateboards. JAIL.
“Please Remain Calm” is the punk album of the Great Recession. The Connecticut five-piece has crafted an album that captures the defeat, the heartache — what it feels like to be young in the American Decline. Following up 2010′s critically acclaimed self-titled LP, “Please Remain Calm” combines elements of Springsteen-esque heartland rock with the band’s signature blend of 60s pop melody, 70s punk energy and 80s new wave panache.
Hostage Calm begin “Please Remain Calm” with weaving counter-melodic guitars and bass, stitched together with anthemic choruses. Openers ‘On Both Eyes’, ‘Don’t Die On Me Now’ and ‘Brokenheartland’ take the listener through all of the band’s signature stylings, setting the mood as the album reveals greater depth and dynamism. A slower, more intimate version of the band’s classic ‘The “M” Word’ features an orchestral arrangement, complete with strings, brass, keys and concert percussion. Immediately following this, the band delivers perhaps its most avant-guarde arrangement, ‘Patriot’; a full a cappella ode to a lost love affair with America. What opens as a very electrifying, hit-driven album fully descends into some of the band’s most intricate and moving work to date.
But “Please Remain Calm” is more than Hostage Calm’s opus: it’s their manifesto. Like how “London Calling” captured the gray and grinding Britain of 1979, this album calls to mind the hopeless college student moving back in with her parents, the bank boarding up the house next door, and the impossibility of love in a time where nothing moves forward. Pushing musical boundaries at every turn, “Please Remain Calm” never loses its feeling of timelessness.