“Love Stuff” by Elle King

I recently listened to the album Love Stuff, by artist Elle King. This twelve-track CD was an interesting one, to say the least. However, “interesting” isn’t the best way to describe my feelings about it. Overall, I feel that the album is just okay. There are good points and there are bad points, but not enough of one to outweigh the other.

Let’s being with the negatives. The biggest problem with this album for me is King’s voice. She is forcing it too much when she sings, which creates a raspy tone, much like a chain-smoker, that is cringe-worthy at times. When I first put this album on, and was greeted by the track “Where the Devil Don’t Go”, I almost turned the CD off because of how much I was put off by King’s voice. It honestly made me wince when she hit some of the notes. When she forces her voice, and she gets loud, her intonation is poor, which creates difficult to listen to, off-color notes. One of the songs that was supposed to be the “big feature”, if you will, was her single “Ex’s and Oh’s”. Because of her raspy voice, I was less than impressed by the track.

Another problem with King is that some of her tracks are the kind anyone can hear from a generic, angsty female artist. The best comparison I have is that King is like Christina Perri, just with a deeper, less full voice. Two tracks that stand out in this regard are “Song of Sorrow” and “Ain’t Gonna Drown”. It’s simply typical for an angst-style singer, with the whole sort of “the-world-is-against-me” lyricism. These two negatives are heavy hitters when looking at this album on the whole.

Now, I would be lying if I said I hated everything about this album. I want to start by saying that there are three songs that are standout diamonds-in-the-rough on this album. The first is “Kocaine Karolina”, which is a sadder song that talks about a woman who has lived a hard life because of her fire-brand spirit, but encouraging her to keep on going, and not waste away before she dies. This is a standout due to the gentle nature of the song, and the simple melody behind it. Because it’s a gentle piece, King doesn’t have the rasp in her voice like in other tracks from her essential shouting. The next track that stands out is “America’s Sweetheart”, which, despite the title, is about a girl who is a genuine country girl, and not a prim-and-proper doll that people want to see as the “American sweetheart”. This is one of the tracks that King’s raspy voice actually works for the song. The track itself has a sort of Mumford and Sons country-rock feel to it, where King actually does some impressive work. The last of the three is “Make You Smile”. This track to me is slightly reminiscent of Christina Perri’s song “Miles” in its themes, just as a reference point. Once again, its King’s gentler side that makes this track a good one.

The other thing that actually makes this album good is the music in every song. Every song has a different musical style associated with it. This can go from a 70’s rock style, like the song “Under the Influence”, to a hard rock feel with “Last Damn Night”, and may other styles in between. This actually impresses me a great deal, because many artists are not as diverse as King in that regard, and stick to one style of song. This album is twelve tracks with twelve different music styles.

So, overall, I can’t say I’m overly-impressed with the Love Stuff album, but I can’t say I totally hate this album. It has its things that make it something worth while, while there are other things that cause it to drag along the ground. I can’t say I would recommend this album personally, however, just because of how indecisive I am over it. To me, it just leaves a sort of “Oh…” feeling after listening to it, and frankly, that’s how I’m ending this review, because I have no real strong, conclusive way to sum up Elle King’s album.

Panic is Perfect

Coming into the music scene with a number of groovy singles is Panic is Perfect. The San Francisco based band comes together with great riffs mixed with the indie pop sound that we all know and love. Although the genre “indie” is far from dependable, these guys put a sound to it, and it is awesome.

Echo, one of the group’s singles, builds in an electric sound while keeping the classic guitar and drums right there with it. They are not overpowered by the electronica that plagues many of today’s top 40s songs. In a few of their other songs they even add an acoustic sound.

Panic is Perfect is name I personally hope to see popping up a little more in the coming year. They do a great job of creating a progressive sound without ruining it with overpowering electronic elements. Their upcoming EP is set to be released in mid 2015, and it is one that I’m looking forward to listening to.

LANY answers riveting questions

Listen to LANY here.

LANY | FACEBOOK

LANY | FACEBOOK

Why is your name LANY?

“LANY” represents the span of the country… from Los Angeles to New York.

What inspires your music?

The really good moments and the really bad moments of life.

When did you form the band?

We wrote our first 2 songs in March of last year. We put them on the internet April 22, 2014.

What if you couldn’t do music, what would have been your back up plan?

I don’t think we’ve ever really had backup plans.

What is the craziest thing you’ve done during tour?

Well, we’ve only played 4 shows so far so… Jake played drums with his shirt completely unbuttoned last week.

What do you do when writing music?

We’re all in a room together. Sometimes, there’s a lot of ideas. Sometimes, there’s a lot of silence.

Where do you see your band heading in 10 years?

International Arenas.

What is your favorite food to eat?

Sushi and Pizza.

If you were an animal what would you be?

A killer whale.

If you can pick a super power what would you be able to do?

Flight?

What kind of music do you listen to?

We don’t listen to a lot of country or rap.

What inspires the sound for each of your songs?

I think what we care about the most is that our music feels really good.

What other genres would you like to try and write music for?

Maybe a soundtrack?

What is your favorite color to wear?

Probably black.

If you were a box of cereal what would you be and why?

Cinnamon Toast Crunch because it’s the best.

Interview with FRANKIE

Frankie answers all of WQAQ’s questions.

1. What inspired and pushed you to become a musician?

Honestly i’m not good at anything else haha. I’ve grown up singing my whole life, teaching myself instruments and writing songs. At first I thought it was just a way to express myself and help me get through the teen years but when I went to college I realized it was my only passion. I tried a psych degree, theatre degree, and finally took a music class and realized that it was the only path for me and have never looked back!

2. How did you feel when Problems Problems reached over 200,000  plays on spotify?

Ya that was crazy haha…when Problems was put on New Music Tuesday Spotify Playlist that was so flattering and really took the song to a new level. It had been doing really well on soundcloud, hype machine, and other blogs but seeing all those plays on spotify was so rewarding and unexpected in the best way. Still shocked!

3. Who would you say are your biggest role models?

I am absolutely obsessed with Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac and have been my entire life. My mom was obsessed with her and it definitely moved on to me as well. I love the singer songwriters of the 70’s…mainly women too. I love Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell, Carol King, etc because they said what was on their mind and were 100% themselves in a time when men controlled a lot which I admire so much. I also am really inspired by the Spice Girls for their girl power and what they represent. They are a group of women that every girl on the planet wanted to hang with and I think there is something really powerful to have that sort of charisma and charm thats addicting.

4. Have you considered going away from your indie pop sound or having any collaborations with any other artists?

I would love to collaborate! I love working with other artists especially songwriters so i’m really down to pair up with whoever and see what sort of creation comes out. For this upcoming EP, I teamed up with my 3 best friends who are also my bandmates and I feel like we created this really unique quirky pop sound that i’m definitely going to stick to and explore for a while!

5. Are you working on any new projects we might be able to know about? Also are you excited about the upcoming tour?

I have finished my EP, Dreamstate, which is coming out April 14th and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been locked away with my producer, Petros, in his bedroom studio for the past 6 months creating this sound and the response so far has been so overwhelming and so sweet that i’m excited for people to hear the rest of the project! Also really stoked to tour the EP and introduce the music to new people around the country…definitely a huge goal of mine for the upcoming year!

6. What would you say is your favorite time to right new songs? Do you have any sort of ritual for this?

For this EP each song came about in a different way. Half of the EP was written with my friends in a house by the beach away on a writing retreat and the other half came to me (full melody + lyrics) in that moment when you’re about to fall asleep. It was the craziest thing…I would grab my phone immediately as I was sort of waking up and record it immediately to make sure I didn’t forget anything before the morning came. That was definitely an unexpected new way of writing! It happens differently every time so its hard to say.

7. What are your favorite activities apart from singing and songwriting?

I love being outside soaking up the LA sun as well as binge watching my favorite TV shows…but to be completely honest music is my life and is seriously all I do haha

8. Do you have a favorite venue and what would be your dream venue to play in?

I’m from Oakland so it would be a dream to play at the Oakland Coliseum. That would be wild.

9. What are you listening the most recently? Any thoughts on how the music industry is doing?

I’ve been listening to the radio recently funny enough. I normally don’t for whatever reason but i’ve been enjoying studying up on current indie/pop music and seeing whats out there. I feel like pop music is getting more and more experimental and wider with genres so that to me is really exciting. People’s ears seem to be expanding and a lot of cross overs are happening which I couldn’t be more thrilled about. 

10. What would you say is your spirit animal?

hmmmm… a hummingbird ;)

Royal Tongues Interview

JG: Justin Gammella
AB: Aaron Bonus

Royal Tongues|Facebook

Royal Tongues|Facebook

1) I’m sure you get this all the time but where did your name come from?
Honestly, we had making up band names and don’t think they matter too too much. At the time we were thinking of names “Royals” and “tongues” were pretty big on alternative radio so that’s how it became.

2) How did you two meet?
JG: Around two years ago, Aaron’s manager at the time hit me up to see if I’d be interested in writing a song with Aaron for his project. We met and wrote and finished a song in the 6 hour session we had; we knew right away we had chemistry. We didn’t start working together much more in-depth until he got back from tour a few months later.

3) What is your least favorite question to be asked?
To be honest… how did you get your band name, because it’s not a cool story.

4) What is a question you wish you were asked more and what is the answer?
JG: I’m a producer/gear guy first so I always love when people ask about how the EP was recorded or what effects we used for certain parts etc. The EP was mostly recorded in my home studio in Buffalo, NY. Parts of “Rollin’ On” were recorded in LA. Our studio is very minimal which actually really inspired us to think outside the box sometimes or forced us to try different methods of recording or producing because we had limitations with what we could and could not do. I think a big part of our sound came from those limitations and us just figuring things out as we went.

5) What did your parents play for you when you were younger?
JG: My dad is from Italy and came here when he was around 20 years old. He would play music that Europeans liked; ABBA, Alan Parsons Project etc. I definitely had to rely on friends to get my musical taste, even though I do love ABBA.
AB: My dad introduced me to the Jackson 5,the Beatles, queen, and all things classic rock. My mother showed me rod Stewart and the bee gee’s.

6) What were you into when you were teenagers?
JG: As a teenager I was definitely outwardly into the whole me/punk scene. I was a huge fan of Brand New and Taking BackSunday, that whole teen-angsty scene, ha.
AB: I would say dredge,the killers,jimmy eat world, and the postal service.

7) What is the music scene in Buffalo like and has it influenced you?
JG: To be honest, we are sort of the out band out in Buffalo. It is slowly forming an alternative scene but Buffalo’s main musical exports have been hardcore and pop punk music. Most of the local bands here fit into those two genres.

8) If you were to blow up overnight what would you do with your success?
JG: Personally, I’m a workaholic and I love doing this (producing, songwriting). I would want to build up my studio significantly more and just write, write, write. Aaron and I both are interested in developing other acts as well and that’s one of the first things we’d do too.
AB: Not to sound cheesy but I would be a voice for those who don’t have one. Things I believe need to be addressed in the world.

9) I saw that you listed Smallpools and Passion Pit as some of your influences is there any influences people wouldn’t expect?
JG: I’m a HUG fan of The Beatles, you’d know that right away if you ever walked into my studio. But I also am a sucker for pop music. I consider Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Dr. Luke etc. to be some of my biggest influences, especially in production.
AB: I love nickel creek, they have a more county vibe but I dare anyone to listen to “why should the fire die” in entirety and not become a fan.

10) What do you do to wind down?
JG: Honestly? Just veg-out on the couch with my girlfriend and watch Netflix or something. I don’t think people realize that even though I’m not killing my body by being in a studio or playing a show it is pretty mentally exhausting doing it for 8-12 hours a day and I just need to zone out and not think about anything.
AB: I am sure by listening to The balance lyrics you can take a guess lol.

11) What are you working on now? Touring? EP? LP?
JG: We are working on exactly that. We are releasing our debut EP on March 10th independently and are currently working on a full length with no set release date at the moment.