Festival late night sets announced

April 26, 2010

 Who’s counting down for music festival season? 

The season is fastly approaching all of us music fans and festivals around the country are putting their final touches on set lists and other features.  The whole music festival experience is indeed a unique and eye opening one, and any music fan should try and experience at least one music festival.  Or maybe ten.

Music festivals give fans a chance to see a wide variety of bands and musicians with people that share the same passion and love for music as you do.  There is nothing but good vibes and happiness at the festivals, and everyone in attendance is just thrilled to be alive listening to incredible music in a gorgeous location. 

For the bands, playing a major music festival is a huge accomplishment for them and it could probably be the biggest show the band has ever played.  This results in some of the best sets of live music you will ever see which alone will make you want to come back again and again.  Some of the craziest sets at music festivals are the late night sets.  By this point, everybody is really pumped after seeing the headlining band play and the late night sets always seem to result in the biggest parties and raves.

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WTMD: Not your average radio station

April 23, 2010

When you turn on the radio in the Baltimore area, you are bound to hear multiple radio stations that play rock, rap, and country music.  These genres of music are dominating the airwaves, and after awhile hearing the same songs and artists over and over can get tiring. But there is one small station at the beginning of the dial that is different from the norm.

This unique radio station is 89.7 WTMD, and the music that comes from this station is far different than what you hear nowadays. WTMD has numerous radio programs that play an eclectic mix of music.

Located in Towson University’s Media Center, WTMD used to be affiliated with the university but parted ways a few years ago to become their own organization. Although many people in the Baltimore area still have no idea that the station exists, it has recently developed a solid fan base and more people are catching on to the contagious station.  John Kennelly, a musician and student at Towson University, listens to WTMD all the time.

WTMD's First Thursday stage

“I had no idea WTMD existed a few years back,” Kennelly said.  “But once I found out about WTMD, it is the only radio station I listen to and I have been spreading the word to all my friends because it is not your average station.”

On top of playing different genres of music, WTMD helps out local bands in a big way.  WTMD sponsors local Baltimore concerts and music festivals, and they also throw their own event called “ First Thursdays” which is a free concert in Mount Vernon on the first Thursday in the summer months.

WTMD also hosts different programs that play music from local Baltimore bands.  One of the more popular programs, “Baltimore Unsigned”, takes a look into some of the best local bands in the Baltimore area.  The program features album cuts, interviews, and live studio performances from these local bands. Kevin Shook and his band, The Cheaters, were featured on this popular show.
“Being featured on WTMD’s Baltimore Unsigned really helped our band out in a big way and let listeners know who we are and what we are about,” Shook said. “WTMD is such a great radio station and we owe a lot to them by helping us get new fans.”

WTMD is catching on in Baltimore and local bands have a lot of respect for the station because it looks out for the new music that is constantly coming out.  It gives local bands a chance to be heard on the radio.  If you haven’t listened to 89.7 WTMD, check it out and hear what people in Baltimore are raving about.

Cypress Hill is back

April 21, 2010

That’s right, folks.  Fans of the legendary hip hop band have a reason to smile and get real excited.  Cypress Hill is back with a new album and will be throwing down with Slightly Stoopid on a massive summer tour.

The new album, Rise Up, is the band’s first in six years, but you wouldn’t think it has been that long.  Rise Up features the solid music and raps/freestyles that Cypress Hill fans have enjoyed since the early ’90s. Along with B-real and company, an all-star lineup is featured on the album, including Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda, System of a Down guitarist/vocalist Daron Malakian, Everlast, Young De, Evidence, The Alchemist and Cheech and Chong.

Cypress Hill celebrated the release of Rise Up in front of a packed house at The Warfield in San Francisco last night. The band will kick off their summer tour with Slightly Stoopid July 16 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in California and will travel the country supporting the new album.  They will then head overseas and tour around Europe.

This will be an unforgettable summer tour for the musicians and music fans.  If you are huge fan of Cypress Hill and Slightly Stoopid, or just appreciate good music, be sure to mark this show on your calendar.

Check out this video of Cypress Hill with Tom Morello performing their new song “Rise Up”  on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

The recording process

April 18, 2010

Vespertine Movement is currently in the studio, working on a 5-6 song EP. We have been recording original material for a few months now, and will continue to finish the recording when school is out for the semester. We are hoping to release the EP, that is untitled right now, later this summer. We have been recording this EP at UMBC and our practice space at Studio 14. Our bass player, Owen McCusker, is studying to be an audio engineer and is working on recording our album.

Recording an album is a long and tedious process, but it is important that the album sounds good and professional because it is what represents your band and your music.  A CD is one of the first things fans and promoters ask for when they hear about a band, and if you are able to hand out a well written and produced album to people, it can really help you build your fan base and let you play at new venues.

Every band has a different approach to recording their material, and you can go in different orders, but the way our band has been doing it is based off examples of other bands and tends to be the traditional way to record.  The recording process consists of recording the drums to a click track, which makes the drums on beat with the pace of the song.  After getting a solid take of the drums, we have been recording the bass, rhythm and lead guitars, and then vocals.  It could take several attempts for each instrument because you want it to sound as good as possible, because that is what will be on the final cut which will be on the EP.

Local bands can also record their music in a live setting.  This means that instead of playing and recording each instrument one-by-one, bands get all of their members together in the same studio room and play their songs together like they would at a live show.  The final steps of the recording process are in the hands of the engineer.  The audio engineer puts the final touches and effects on the music that was just recorded and sends the material to get mastered so it can sound as good as possible to listeners and music fans.

Whether you decide to record you band’s original material one-by-one or in a live setting, they can both lead to great results.  The recording process is very important to bands that are just starting out and bands that have been established for many years.  There may be some tough times in the studio, but it is also where a band can really connect and bond over the music they are creating.

How does your band record?  Got any cool stories from the studio?

Meet The Three Tree Experience

April 16, 2010

The Three Tree Experience, also known as 3TE, sticks close to their roots. All four musicians that make up 3TE have an extensive background in music and their tight connection shows both on and off the stage. The three founding members of 3TE, Dave Tart, harmonica/vocals, Matt Lowe, bass/vocals, and George Barnes, drums, have been playing together since 2006 when they met at Towson University. After a few guitarists sat in with the band, they finally found their guy in 2008 with Ben Palacpac. Since then, the rock/hip-hop band has been playing many shows and benefits in the Baltimore metro area to spread the word on their music and their message.

The Three Tree Experience (From left: Ben Palacpac, George Barnes, Dave Tart, Matt Lowe)

The Three Tree Experience is fresh off of recording their new LP “Seedy” and being featured on the cover of Maryland Music Magazine. Big things are on the way for this solid Baltimore band as they continue to take their music to new heights.

Check out my conversation with Dave Tart on how The Three Tree Experience got started and where he hopes to see the band in a few years.

Q: When and how did 3TE form?

A: The Fall of 2006 is our official “birthday”, but we were far from the lineup that we now have. The four guys that you now know as 3TE were a band around March/April of 2008 and it has been that way ever since.

Q: What are some of the band’s biggest influences?

A: I know for me, personally, I use Blues Traveler/Sugar Blue for my harmonica playing and Method Man/Andre 3000/Damian Marley as muses for the lyrics. As a whole, though, we use our roots from childhood as the basis for us. Ben grew up with a lot of Rock n Roll music, Matt with the funk rock tunes and George had jazz, whereas Hip hop has always been my musical influence primarily.

Q: How would you describe 3TE’s sound?

A: All of that stuff that I said before has a piece of each tune we play. One person may say that we are a hip-hop band because my lyrics are said like rapping. The next guy may say we’re a rock band because we have exposed guitar solos and rhythmically challenging music. Another might feel more funk to us because of the bass lines. Basically, the way someone thinks we sound is exactly how we sound, but we aren’t picking a genre.

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Roger Waters to commemorate The Wall

April 16, 2010

Get your tickets fast, because one of the greatest rock and roll shows will be hitting stages across North America this fall.

Roger Waters, co-founder and writer for the great and influential band Pink Floyd, will be commemorating the 30th anniversary of the The Wall.  Waters will commemorate one of the most popular albums and the film of all time with a full band, a huge tour and a big, high-tech production that tripped so many people out 30 years ago.

The Wall has been performed by Waters and Pink Floyd  31 times, and Waters thought that it was the right time to bring back the magic that inspired so many.  The tour will start September 15 in Toronto and run to December 14 in Anaheim.

This will be a true sight to see for  any Pink Floyd fan, and it will give younger generation fans the chance to see one of the most memorable performances in rock and roll history.

The songwriting process

April 15, 2010

Creating and writing a new song and/or jam is a very tedious and timely process, but once it is finished and all the band members know their parts well, it is one of the most rewarding things especially when you see people dancing and bobbing their heads to music and art that you created.

For my band Vespertine Movement, John, lead guitar, Owen, bass, and Guzzi, rhythm guitar, are the ones who write our songs. They all play guitar and they usually get an idea while strumming around with an acoustic guitar, and that is the origin of a new song. When we practice, we work on the song and all of the changes that go on throughout the tune.

When it comes to the drums with me, I hear the guitar and bass lines and that is where I am able to come up with a solid beat for the whole song. After we have the basic idea and beat, we all use constructive criticism with each other and decide whether we should add more elements to the song, take something out or change it any way we can to make it sound as good as possible in all aspects.

After we have all of the ideas for the song, either John or Guzzi writes lyrics and that determines who will sing that particular song. Practicing a new song or jam can get very repetitive and we usually find ourselves working on it for hours at a time, because we want to get it to the best of our abilities so we are confident when we play it live.

We try to write new songs as much as possible so our fans don’t get bored always hearing the same songs and the same set lists, especially since we haven’t been playing as long and don’t have too much original material. It is really fun getting new songs down, and it makes the band and our friendships that much closer because we are working together on music that we love influenced by bands and musicians we have been listening to for years. We, as a band, hope that one day we can be the influences on young local bands trying to make a name for themselves.

How does your local band create songs? Give me some cool stories about the song writing process for your local band.