Sixty Seconds on Songwriting with Rare Americans

Ask any pop punk fan what attracts them to a band and they’ll tell you two things: a DIY ethos and fans-first attitude. These are the two pillars upon which Rare Americans have built their boundary-pushing pop punk. Having released a handful of singles and videos from their forthcoming self-titled album, the Vancouver-based band have proved their vitality as pop punk pioneers and socio-political commentators. We catch up with front man James Priestner to find out more…

What’s the band’s origin story?

Lubo and I played in a band together called The Lunas which was similar to bands like Arctic Monkeys. My brother Jared and I took a trip a year ago to Bequia in the Caribbean and I brought my guitar. I joked that we should write a song, and sure enough we came back with 15. Over the course of the next couple months we wrote another 20. 

What’s the secret behind your pioneering pop punk sound?

I guess it’s multiple influences coming together. James loves bands like Modest Mouse, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes. Jared is a punk rocker listening to bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, and Rancid. Lubo’s favourite bands are Dream Theatre and Steven Wilson. We all share a love of hip hop! 

Tell us about the roll call of guests you enlisted to help on the album.

We hired producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, The Strokes, Raconteurs, Arkells). On drums we had Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, Cold War Kids, The Shins) and on bass we had Yuuki Matthews (The Shins). We also have a bunch of gang vocals in our music which was any friends that were available to help out on the day!

You’ve been releasing a new track with a music video every week, what’s the story behind that strategy?

I own a small production company here in Vancouver called Limited Company, so all the music videos were done in-house. For ‘Cats, Dogs, & Rats’ we hired an animator from Brooklyn named Harry Tietelman who did Killer Mike (of Run The Jewels) video for ‘Reagan’. He also drew all of our artwork and album cover. ‘Balmoral Hotel’ features Grace Dove who played Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife in The Revenant. ‘I vs I’ features Kai Kennedy who played Finn Wolfhard’s (from Stranger Things) bandmate in PUPS music videos for Sleep in The Heat and Guilt Trip.

 

Follow Rare Americans:

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-919911504       

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzCTW3k3_ItdqxdVaeXn2IA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RareAmericansFP

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/rareamericans/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rareamericans/          

Website:  www.rareamericans.com   

 

 

This is what A Flock of Seagulls song ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’ sounds like as seven different genres

Everyone’s favourite 80’s new wave band, A Flock of Seagulls, are making a comeback!
For the first time since 1984, all four original members of the band appear on-record together for brand new album ‘Ascension’. To celebrate their return, we’re re-living the best covers of the band’s smash hit ‘I Ran (So Far Away)’. What’s clear from the variety of versions is that there’s not a corner of the music industry A Flock of Seagulls haven’t touch with their calling card hit. From stripped-back piano renditions, to pop-punk covers, and a rap homage, there’s a little something for everyone below.

Tori Amos

This renowned songstress covered the hit on her Original Sinsuality/Summer Of Sin tour in Denver, during Piano Bar Time, after confessing she had ‘gotten into this weird 80’s thing’. Despite worrying aloud that her cover might not be up to scratch, she later released the version along with the rest of the show in the 3rd CD of The Original Bootlegs. This video is a live audio recording from her show at Paramount Theatre, Denver, CO on 19 April 2005.

Buy Tori Amos – The Original Bootlegs here.

Bowling For Soup

The pop punk heroes put their stamp on the single for the 2003 reissue of Drunk Enough to Dance and their Punk Rock 101 single. Both the original and the punk cover are the theme song of the American DiC dubbed version of Saint Seiya, also known as Knights of the Zodiac. The cover is also featured in the film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder: Freshman Year.

Buy Bowling For Soup – Drunk Enough to Dance here.

Hidden in Plain View

This New Jersey five-piece gave I Ran (So Far Away) the post-hardcore treatment for covers compilation album Punk Goes 80’s under Fearless Records. It’s not miles away from the Bowling For Soup cover, but if you’re looking for a little more grit and a little less bounce, this is the cover for you.

Buy Punk Goes 80’s here.

Darude & Blake Lewis (Gareth Emery remix)

Well, you never have to wonder what it would sound like to cross a platinum-selling Finnish DJ, an American Idol finalist, and a trance legend with 80’s new wave. Darude and Blake Lewis covered the tune in 2008, before Gareth Emery got his hands on it, turning it into this floor-filling banger.

Nickleback

The titans of rock aired their no-frills, high-octane version during several dates of their Dark Horse tour in 2010, with guitarist Ryan Peake on lead vocal duties.

Lonely Island

The comedy duo contributed this unbeatable cover for an SNL skit entitled ‘Iran So Far’. Andy Samberg serenades Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadeinejad (Fred Armisen) with a song about their undeniable love, while Maroon 5’s Adam Levine lends his vocals for the ‘I Ran’ chorus. If you’re not sold on that information alone, know that there’s also a cameo by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Slim Thug

You’ve heard the pop punk covers, the stripped down piano versions, and the comedy takes, now it’s time to hear the rap version. American spitter Slim Thug adds a taste of the streets with his cover ‘I Run’. The track, which was featured on his 2009 album Boss of All Bosses, interpolates through his bars.

Grab a copy of Wishing: The Very Best and remind yourself of A Flock of Seagulls biggest and best.

Oceans Of Noise Have Just Released Their Self-titled EP, And Its A Treat

 

 

 

Oceans Of Noise, a band of musicians pulling together to explore new sights and sounds, now that’s what i call music at its finest!

With the launch of their brand new EP having taken place in London’s much loved venue, the OMEARA, the band are now ready to take the sweet tunes and majestic melodies out to the rest of the world, with the EP available to purchase on Apple music and Spotify, be sure to catch some Alternative metal at its best.

So be sure to check them out:

Apple Music: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/oceans-of-noise/1296282833

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/21HzqFortyEjD2yOdCZAPY

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/oceansofnoise

Facebook: facebook.com/oceansofnoise

Twitter: twitter.com/oceansofnoise

Instagram: instagram.com/oceansofnoiseband

Website: oceansofnoiseband.com

 

Live Review: Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!

Three time Grammy award winner and seasoned Rockabilly veteran Brian Setzer marked his return to London for the first time in six years last Tuesday (11/07/17), playing the only U.K show in his European tour at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

London is a significant place for Brian Setzer, being the city that the Stray Cats, the Rockabilly revival band made it’s inception in 1981 after travelling from Long Island, New York to join in with the Rocker revival happening in Britain at the time.

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“Hello London!” Setzer at his first London flat. / Source: @briansetzerofficial (Facebook)

With a crowd both young and old the streets of Kentish Town were lined up with rockers clad in leather and pomp’s up high. With a career spanning over 40 years and indulging in not just Rockabilly but Jazz too, London welcomed him with open arms.

Setzer’s presence was known as he walked on stage in a classy pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch as his musical hero Eddie Cochran would have done. His Rockabilly Riot included the regular, orthodox line up of an upright bassist and drummer, with the inclusion of a pianist (rhythm guitarist for numerous songs) and went straight into a cover of Carl Perkins ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’, which emanated a certain suaveness.

Setzer; in his pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch, during the opening song. / Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

The show was what you would expect from Setzer and his entourage to this date, a humble showcase of Setzer’s career spanning from the Stray Cats, with a welcoming performance of Cry Baby, from the cats revival era album Choo Choo Hot Fish to his Orchestra which included a delightful performance of his Louis Prima cover of ‘Jump, Jive an’ Wail’.

Setzer continued to play a collection of songs throughout his career, including ‘Slow Down’, which lead into a cover of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ with a career with as much longevity as Setzer, he worked his charm and the entire crowd joined in.

Inbetween songs, Setzer would work that charm and converse in stories of rock and roll and the occasional memoir, one of which talking about Dave Edmunds and the original recording of Runaway Boys, leading into a dual guitar rendition “the way it was recorded”.

But of course, many of the audience were most likely there for the love they share for Setzer’s primary band The Stray Cats, and fans walked away content hearing the bands popular tracks, including ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and ‘Rumble In Brighton’, the latter being fitting of the Cats inception in the U.K.

Whilst the performance itself was a spectacle, I felt the sound of the venue could have been better; notably the pianist, who was playing Jerry Lee Lewis “staccato” styled licks adding to the authenticity of the performance, whilst a welcoming feature, the live mix would boost the solo’s to an uncomfortable rate, often being muddled in the mix, this was also the case with a couple of the guitar solos, mayhap my position in the venue did not help being front & center.

It’s hard to talk about a performance like this and not mention the virtuosity of the bands playing, from the incredible speeds and textures of the upright bassist, to the Jazz influenced Rockabilly style that Setzer has crafted in the latter part of his career, the subtlety of showing off technique and skill in a humble way, Setzer gives off a vibe of enjoying his craft, from the instrumental version of the 1950’s classic ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’, all the way to the encore of his version of Santo & Johnny’s ‘Sleepwalk’, a bittersweet conclusion to the show before blasting into the final song ‘Rock This Town’.

Brian Setzer, and his Rockabilly Riot are currently in the middle of their European tour. With the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Stray Cats debut album coming up next year, we may (or may not) be seeing more of him very soon.

Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

Setlist;

  1. Put Your Cat Clothes On (Carl Perkins cover)
  2. Rumble In Brighton
  3. Vinyl Records
  4. Stray Cat Strut
  5. Nothing Is A Sure Thing, Baby
  6. Stiletto Cool
  7. Cry Baby
  8. ’49 Mercury Blues
  9. Whatshername
  10. Drive Light Lightning
  11. Slow Down (Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash cover)
  12. Gene & Eddie
  13. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys cover)
  14. Runaway Boys
  15. Jump Jive An’ Wail (Louis Prima cover)
  16. Fishnet Stockings
  17. Let’s Shake
  18. Sleepwalk (Santo & Johnny cover)
  19. Rock This Town