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Interview with Pop! Fiction

by Elyse Von Der Fecht | March 4, 2015

Pop! Fiction is a pop American band comprised of Justin Tyler, Tyler Nichols, Alex SkyWalker and Will McCoy. The band was founded in Orange County, Calif. in 2011, where they wrote, recorded and released a five song EP Next Level.

Pop!Fiction originated in Orange County, Calif. (Photo provided by Pop!Fiction)

Pop!Fiction originated in Orange County, Calif. (Photo provided by Pop!Fiction)

The EP was produced by Kyle Black at Mike Green’s Treehouse Studios. Pop! Fiction’s second release, a self-titled EP released in 2012, featured production and writing credits from Linus Of Hollywood, Jaret Reddick (Bowling For Soup), and Ben Romans.

See what the guys had to say when I asked them these questions during our interview.

Elyse: How did you guys come up with the band name ‘Pop Fiction’?

PF: When first deciding on a band we wrote down around 50 names and Pop! Fiction stuck out to us the most and thought it was catchiest. We wish we had a crazy story behind it haha.

E: How did you guys meet each other and become a band?

PF: We’ve been a band for three years now and we’ve all known each other for a very long time and have been playing music together as well before we even started Pop! Fiction.

E: Since being in the music business, what was difficult to over come?

PF: This industry is insane and very competitive! To be honest we’re still overcoming the most difficult part and that’s breaking through to mainstream and becoming a household name. That’s ourmain goal as a band.

E: While writing lyrics, how do you create the name of the song?

PF: The name of the song is typically a line that we repeat or that’s catchy in the chorus of the song.

E: Out of all the singles you released, which would be your favorites?

PF: I think we can all agree our most favorite and popular singles are “Come Back” and our most recent single “California Kids”.

E: From the cover videos you’ve done so far, which was the funniest to record?

PF: We love doing cover videos and we’ve gotten great responses from them. The funniest to record was probably the Taylor Swift one we did because we recorded it in a tunnel somewhere in Long Beach and people were walking by and we’re like, “what the hell?” And we were playing the song through little speakers too so it was very hard to hear and sing along to.

E: From your previous shows, which artist did you enjoy playing with?

PF: We recently played our biggest show as a band at the House of Blues Anaheim with MKTO. This show was amazing is exactly why we do music. Everyone loved us and it was an incredible night.

E: As musicians, what are your daily routines before shows? (If any)

PF: We really don’t have any routines. But definitely do stretch a little and drink hot tea. And we also love to say hello to everyone waiting in line before the show.

E: What do you guys hope for in 2015?

PF: We would love to tour constantly! That’s pretty much one of our main goals right now. We want to play across the country to as many fans as possible.

E: What would you like to say to every who supports your music?

PF: We appreciate all the love and support that we receive from everyone! We respond to every person that replies on twitter to show that too. To be honest we wouldn’t be able to do any of this if it wasn’t for the fans! SO WE LOVE YOU ALL!

Make sure you check out their recent song “Down For Whatever,” which is now available on iTunes.


Imagine Dragons’ Smoke & Mirrors

by Glenn Rohrbacker | March 4, 2015

Imagine Dragons burst into the mainstream a few years ago with their debut album Night Visions. This album spawned several radio hits that took Imagine Dragons from an indie rock band to a household name.

Imagine Dragons released their sophomore album Smoke & Mirrors Feb. 17 (AP photo)

Imagine Dragons released their sophomore album Smoke & Mirrors Feb. 17 (AP photo)

Hits like “It’s Time,” “Radioactive,” “Demons,” “Top of the World,” and more were featured on this album.

Their new album, Smoke & Mirrors, has already started to go down the same path, having two singles already become very popular before the album’s release last week.

“I Bet My Life” and “Shots” – which premiered during the Grammy’s – have already seen a lot of commercial success. The greatest thing about this album is probably the constant surprise from song to song. By listening to this album, you can barely put a label on the genre of this incredible band. From hard rock to R&B to Latin flare, this album has it all.

Disclaimer: “Shots” is not what you think it’s about. It’s about admitting when you messed up and reciting a plea for forgiveness. However, its unique melodic style makes it a great first song to start off the album. The title track, “Smoke and Mirrors,” is very similar to something you might hear from John Legend in terms of style. It is a great example of how diverse the sound of Imagine Dragons is.

“I’m So Sorry” is very similar to the style of Fall Out Boy with its heavy distortion and hard rock motives. Nonetheless, it is a great song to rock out to. “I Bet My Life” is a hit for a reason. The song is just incredibly uplifting and hopeful. It’s definitely my favorite song on the record.

It’s impossible not to groove to “It Comes Back to You.” It’s a nice simple song that is really enjoyable to listen to and just bob and take it in.

Lead singer Dan Reynolds takes to the power of his voice to put a whole bunch of emotion into “Dream.” You really feel this one. Another uplifting song to close out the album called “The Fall” is the perfect finish to the sophomore album to a veteran sounding band.

In just a few short years and a couple strong albums, Imagine Dragons has proven themselves to be one of the best new artists out there. They have also shown their incredible ability to create music that pushes boundaries, creating an exceptional example for the bands and artists to come. Smoke & Mirrors is definitely one of the best albums in 2015 so far and their third album should be no different.


There’s one thing missing in the concert scene

by Ashley Winward | March 4, 2015

When it happens, I cringe. Every single time it happens. An opening act finishes their song and a swarm of sound comes back into focus; half the crowd had been talking through the whole song. A girl, clearly only there for the headlining act, looks up from her phone and sighs wishing that the band would just finish their set already. There’s a small pocket of kids actually excited about the band performing and yet they are being pushed aside. I see it every show I go to and it infuriates me to no end. Respect at shows have been a topic of interest within the past few years with more and more incidents and videos showing up in online media.

One of the most recent stories of musical disrespect in the news took place this week in Vancouver British Columbia where a drunken fan continuously harassed Andy Biersack and the boys of Black Veil Brides to the point that Biersack came down into the crowd to handle the situation.

The fan had come only to see the band who had performed before them, Memphis May Fire, and continued to heckle the band even after Biersack threatened, “If you think you’re so good come up here right now.” Security had to remove Biersack from the crowd and the audience member was removed from the venue before a physical altercation took place.

In Australia, during the famous Soundwave festival, Jena MacDougal of Tonight Alive had to pull security off a fan that they had in a chokehold pinned to the ground, later tweeting, “Security are hired to protect. Not to tackle, chokehold, push or physically assault our fans. I’m extremely disappointed.”

This past summer in Montreal, lead singer of The Story So Far Parker Cannon got into a fight with a security guard after the guard shoved a fan to the ground. This caused a scene involving security as well as members of both The Story So Far and Four Years Strong.

In a personal experience of mine, I went to a show once and saw a band, Acidic, jump down to the barricade of a show and tell an uninterested fan to “Wake up sweetheart” reminding her that she was at a show and should be having fun instead of sitting on her phone.

It’s really frustrating for me, as an active concert goer to see these blatant acts of disrespect and, as the years pass, I don’t see it getting any better. It deters from the experience, offends people and, in the end, can be the thing that can make or break a fan’s decision of coming back to a show. It doesn’t really take a lot to make a show more enjoyable for fans, artists and security alike.

If you’re in the crowd, respect all artists. There is plenty of time to talk in between sets so you don’t really need to be having full blown conversations during a performance. You’re missing out on truly appreciating and taking in the music. If you just simply aren’t into the band anymore? Go to the bathroom, go get a drink, check out the merch tables; just don’t be ruining the experience for those who may love the band.

Security, especially at rock shows, need to understand the crowd and be there for support accordingly. Catch people before they fall, remove people that are a danger to others, and, above all, don’t be rude to the fans because the artists will stand by their fans every time. Artists need to be vocal about respect in the industry through interviews and social media because fans will listen.

Finally, by being a good example and showing that respect to other artists, fans and security, we can set a precedent of respect in the scene that will make the concert going experience better for everyone. We should be celebrating the music, not shaming the scene. It just takes remembering the golden rule; treat others as you want to be treated. Let’s start a new trend, it just takes one person to get a movement going.

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | March 4, 2015

Spotify playlists guaranteed to alter your mood

Music is more than a medium used to enhance our everyday lives. It has the power to change the way we see things and alter our moods for the better (and sometimes worse).

We use music as a means of transportation, taking us to a new places and situations that are seemingly invisible until melodies and lyrics evoke them for us. Sometimes you hear these mood-changing tracks on the radio in the car, on a loop streaming through the mall, or maybe the tragic scene at the end of a movie. Either way, something about that song has the power to make you stop in your tracks and notice it.

Spotify does an amazing job at curating playlists with the ability to transform the environment around their listeners. With over forty million active users across the globe, Spotify has the ability to bring so many people together with the power of music. While their users can of course, create their own playlists for whatever upcoming occasion they’d like, Spotify also takes it upon themselves to create track compilations perfect for anything from a rainy Sunday afternoon to a backyard barbecue with your closest friends. The following are some Spotify playlists that I guarantee will alter your mood and either lift your spirits or help you realize it’s okay that they’re a little down.

Home Sweet Home is the perfect playlist to listen to when you’re curled up on your couch for the third snowy day in a row and cabin fever is starting to set in. For college students especially, sometimes it seems like you haven’t been home in so long but life (and classes) keep getting in the way. This set of songs will take you some place a little closer to where you want to be and the things you miss about your own backyard. With songs like “Hold Back the River” by James Bay and “Only Love” by Ben Howard, you’ll take a mainly-acoustic based set to evoke emotion without getting too sappy – because no one wants to spend a snow day curled up with a box of Kleenex.

Mood Booster is guaranteed to do just that. Packed with three hours and fourteen minutes worth of upbeat, feel-good tracks this playlist is bound to change your mood on those overwhelming days when you just need an extra push of motivation to get yourself to the gym. With popular tracks like “Sugar” by Maroon 5 and the over-played, yet somehow still enjoyable, “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, this playlist lifts your spirits instantly. This compilation veers from the ever-so-popular “radio tracks” however, with silver linings such as “Superheroes” by The Script, a personal favorite track of mine that somehow always gets me singing along. This fifty-four song up-tempo list will have you singing along instantly and unlike some other track lists – the shuffle button is your friend. If you give it a chance, there shouldn’t be one song you feel the need to skip over, unless of course you want to hear “Uptown Funk” one last time before you get out of the car.

My favorite playlist at the moment is Indie Acoustic >> Chill. I tend to go through musical phases, wanting to listen to nothing but Simon and Garnfunkel one day and Nas or Chance the Rapper the next. This is mainly because I use music as a way to escape the mundane everyday. Sometimes I want to sit in a coffee shop and read a book cover to cover or drive faster than I should down a road with nothing but trees on either side, but time and life seems to get in the way. These playlists have a way of taking me to those desired destinations when I can’t leave the office or the quiet floor of the library because I have a midterm the next day. “To Whom It May Concern” by the Civil Wars and “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses are just two of the sixty-one songs that strum their way through your speakers. The lyrical content on this particular playlist is generated from a strong story-telling perspective that is bound to speak to situations from your past, present, or even future. This is the perfect collation to get you through hours of homework and actually help you feel relaxed while looking at the overwhelming amount you still have left.

It’s been proven that music can be life changing. Used as forms of therapy and rehabilitation, science has noticed that our minds subconsciously associate music with situations we’re in when we hear it. By allowing these playlists to be the soundtrack of your snowy day, car ride to the gym or Sunday night study session, you’ll find yourself relaxing and having a lot more fun doing those daily tasks that can get boring after a while. Whether for the good, the great, or the even better, these songs will brighten your day (and night) on some level.


Local gigs of the week

by Ashley Winward | March 4, 2015

local gigs of the week

Toad’s Place
March 5: DJ BL3ND with DNNYD and Mex-Em

March 6: Hostage Calm with Sorority Noise

March 9: Of Montreal with Deerhoof and Yonatan Gat

The Space
March 7: Gladshot with The Zambonis, The Oddbodies, Dagwood and No Line North

March 8: Idlehands with Happy Body Slow Brain, Barely Here, Kalimur and Young Lincoln

March 9: Actor/Observer with Trespassers, Wolves at Bay, Too Tall Grizzly and Lesser Men

March 10: Endeavor with Until We are Ghosts, Down with Rent, Crafter and Aggrivate

The Oakdale
March 8: Excision with Protohype and Minnesota

Album of the Week

by Ashley Winward | March 4, 2015

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | February 25, 2015

Daughter & Son Volume Two

Daughter & Son are a NYC-based duo consisting of Jody Shelton and Mighty Kate. The two began their careers in the music industry as solo artists, but have now formed an artistic connection that creates undeniably beautiful music with simplistic verses and hooks that deserve a repeat button of their own.

Daughter & Son are a NYC-based duo (Photo provided by The Press House)

Daughter & Son are a NYC-based duo (Photo provided by The Press House)

Back in 2008, these songwriting forces to be reckoned with were set up on a “musical blind date” by their managers. At this time, they possessed a collection of seven solo albums between the two of them, but it became evident that their musical capabilities as a whole were much stronger together than apart.

The arrival of their new EP, Daughter & Son Volume Two, brought joy to fans everywhere when it was released back in June of this year, followed by a beautiful video of their self-titled single, “Daughter & Son.”

Just like their music, this video exemplifies the gratification of brightening someone’s day. Following the story of the video’s protagonist, whose smile is rebuilt after the death of a loved one, based on the actions of strangers around her. The song is meaningful, with the strong chorus driving the emotion laced throughout the guitar-based melody.

In a feature constructed by the talented duo, Kate speaks about the transformation from a solo writing career to one with Shelton. She speaks about the newfound partnership in a freeing way, realizing just how nice it can be to have someone to bounce ideas off of, and rely on when the writer’s block becomes too hard to push through.

“Oh Lover” is one of the songs featured on the mini feature that documents the two and their musical process. This is one of my favorite songs written and performed by the duo, exemplifying their ability to sing the words most people search to say every day.

“Oh lover, you are my night sky, wrapped in a blanket of starlight. You gave me the strength to find my sight, so I’ll never be scared of the dark.”

This song is the unspoken letter that represents love in its purest form. There is no overly-romanticized verse leading to a bridge of unsolved heartache. This song is purely the raw feeling and emotion of love. The simplest of words that describe the most complex of feelings. And who doesn’t fall in love with the sound of two acoustic guitars playing in unison?

Together the two create beautiful harmonies intertwined with melancholy melodies resembling that of the Civil Wars. Backed by folk-like song structures, and realistic story-lines, their music cuts to the heart of a listener, peeling away any layers of fluff and revealing the heart of each track from the moment it starts.

Lady Gaga honors a timeless classic

by Ashley Winward | February 25, 2015

As I sat at my television, hands covering my eyes, I have to admit I was terrified. When I heard that Lady Gaga was performing at all, I was generally concerned but to hear that she would be honoring a classic had me preparing for the worst.

Lady Gaga performing at the 2015 Oscars (AP photo)

Lady Gaga performing at the 2015 Oscars (AP photo)

I’m not saying that Lady Gaga is a terrible performer—quite the opposite—but you have to admit, some of her performances have been theatrical to the point of being frightening. From gaudy outfits to taboo backup dancers, Gaga has done it all and shocked the world every single time. To my surprise, she shocked the world again; not from her stage show but from her voice alone.

Honoring the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of the film (March 2, to be exact), Gaga performed a medley to The Sound of Music.

The iconic musical has seen itself transform from book to Broadway to silver screen and everything in between. Most recently, The Sound of Music was brought to television for a live performance in 2013 staring Carrie Underwood as Maria, starting a series of live Broadway broadcasts, like Peter Pan, and talks of future productions as well.

Songs in the medley included “The Hills are Alive,” “My Favorite Things,” “Edelweiss” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

The set up was simple and elegant, with fog and trees creating a mysterious atmosphere. Gaga then appeared out of the fog in an elegant white dress that was absolutely breathtaking, much more appealing than the stiff glittered frock she wore down the red carpet. Her voice was pure and theatrical in all the right ways, like she was born to perform on the Great White Way. It was so refreshing to see her showcase just her voice. The whole performance was muted, but in the best way. I felt like I could close my eyes and see the movie playing out in front of me.

As much as I’ve loved the crazy, over-the-top Gaga for the past couple of years, seeing her perform like this and with Tony Bennett, just seeing her calm down, has made me appreciate her even more.

I really hope that this is a direction that she’s planning on following for a while. It would be nice to see her settle down and show the world that she’s more than just the crazy act she puts on. She’s an amazing singer and truly a brilliant artist.

Local Gigs of the Week

by Ashley Winward | February 25, 2015

local gigs of the week

Toad’s Place
Feb. 26: Bright Night 14: Electro Glow Party

Feb. 27: Partynextdoor

The Space
Feb. 28: The Dodos with Springtime Carnivore

BAR (21+)
Feb. 25: California X with Ovlov and Dead Pines

Cafe Nine (21+)
Feb. 25: Kings and Queens of East Rock

Feb. 26: And the Kids with The Sun Parade and Rudeyna

Feb. 27: Victor Roland

Feb. 28: Natalie Tuttle with Rusty Things, and Peter J Brail

Feb. 28: Jazz Jam Session: George Baker Band

Feb. 28: MV & EE with Spectre Folk, The Mountain Movers and Rivener

March 1: Americana Songwriter Circle

Album of the Week

by Ashley Winward | February 25, 2015
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