Marian Hill is a duo consisting of Jeremy Lloyd and Samantha Gongol. Their name is based on the lead characters of The Music Man: Marian Paroo and Harold Hill. The multi-talented duo, who have been collaborating in one form or another since high school, have shifted the classic paradigm of a woman on a stage and a man with a piano to a woman on a mic and a man with a laptop -- and the results are seductive and vivid. Tempting paradox with a blend of blues and bass, acoustic and digital, classic and modern, Marian Hill have arrived.
The duo released their debut EP, Play, in 2013, which garnered a favorable review in The New York Times. Marian Hill's second EP, Sway, earned them a chance to perform on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Their debut studio album, ACT ONE, was released in 2016 and featured the hit single "Back to Me", featuring Lauren Jauregui.
Best-known for their unorthodox two-man lineup, hard rock act Local H has made a career out of straddling the fine line between indie and classic rock, cleverly framing their sardonic lyrics with a generous helping of power chords and feedback.
Scott Lucas (vocals/guitar) and Joe Daniels (drums) began playing together in high school in their native Zion, IL. Finding a suitable bassist proved an insurmountable challenge, so the industrious Lucas eventually devised a way to install bass pick-ups into his six-string. Armed with this intriguing novelty setup, the duo signed with Island Records and made their recording debut on 1995's Ham Fisted, a rather unoriginal disc which had some detractors tagging them as Nirvana wannabes. Its follow-up, 1996's much improved As Good as Dead, was another story, however, considerably expanding the band's sonic palette and firmly establishing their identity as Midwestern ironists supreme. Led by well-crafted power pop radio singles like "Bound for the Floor" and "Eddie Vedder," the album was eventually certified gold and helped earn the duo their alt rock cred, while simultaneously validating their contradictory ties to classic hard rock. Though less-focused and not quite as immediate, 1998's still solid Pack Up the Cats seemed set to maintain the band's rising momentum. But record company woes (Island's parent company Polygram was in the process of being absorbed by Universal Music) effectively clipped the band at the knees, the album became lost in the shuffle, and Local H went on a near three-year hiatus. In the interim, Daniels left the band under amicable circumstances and was replaced by former Triple Fast Action drummer (and Bun E. Carlos drum tech) Brian St. Clair.
Lucas and St. Clair returned in 2000 with a new album and a new label. Here Comes the Zoo (Palm Pictures) featured more of the Midwestern angst and cutting satire that had always defined Lucas' hard rock, but added the busier drumming style of St. Clair. Incessant touring followed; in 2003, the duo returned once again with the No Fun EP for the Chicago punk imprint Thick. The band's fifth album, Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? arrived in spring 2004. The band released the 18-track live album, Local H Comes Alive in 2005. Three years later, the duo followed up with 12 Angry Months, a concept album based on a failed relationship.
Foster The People:
Few bands have been able to have a top 10 album as quickly as indie pop up-and-comers Foster the People. With only one album out, Torches, Foster the People has captured the attention of audiences around the world with their hit single, "Pumped Up Kicks." Their success is all the more surprising considering the song deals with a school shooting, but the catchy dance sound that's indicative of the entire album has struck a favorable chord with critics and fans. Those that haven't yet heard Foster the People can catch them on their international tour dates in 2011; the ones that haven't sold out yet, anyway.
Foster the People was formed by Mark Foster in 2009, after years of being kicked around by the Los Angeles music scene. After working as a jingle writer and working on original compositions for a number of years, Foster began combining his favorite musical elements into the sound you hear today. He began posting his songs on the mp3 blog The Hype Machine and eventually began scoring small tour dates, with accompaniment by drummer Mark Pontius and bassist Cubbie Fink. The band was originally called Foster & the People, but was changed after audiences kept mishearing it as Foster the People. The popularity of Foster the People's music online combined with a breakout tour date at South by Southwest led to a record deal and the release of Torches in May 2011. The album quickly broke into the top 10 and shot to #1 of the Alternative charts.
As Torches races towards platinum certification, Foster the People are headed out on many, many tour dates in 2011. Concert dates are already underway and, while many tour dates are already sold out, there are still plenty of chances to catch Foster the People in late summer/early fall. The band is making it's way through tour dates in Texas and Arizona before ending up in California in early July. On July 14, Foster the People will begin concert dates in Europe, including performances at the Melt Festival in Grafenhainichen, Germany and the Lattitude Festival in Suffolk, UK. Foster the people will play tour dates in Australia in late July before touring the US agin from August to October. Foster the People will conclude their 2011 tour dates in the UK in late November, so buy your tickets from Eventful soon before the entire tour is sold out.
i grew up outside of chicago,
starting writing songs in san francisco,
and now live in brooklyn
my music is a version of indie hip hop
mixed with electronics
mixed with me headbanging
but i'm still figuring it out
Todd Lewis (Vocals, Guitar)
Mark Reznicek (Drums)
Clark Vogeler (Guitar)
“There’s a certain uneasiness to the Toadies,” says Vaden Todd Lewis, succinctly and accurately describing his band—quite a trick. The Texas band is, at its core, just a raw, commanding rock band. Imagine an ebony sphere with a corona that radiates impossibly darker, and a brilliant circular sliver of light around that. It’s nebulous, but strangely distinct—and, shall we say incorrect. Or, as Lewis says, “wrong.”
“Things are done a little askew [in the Toadies],” he says, searching for the right words. “There’s just something wrong with it that’s just really cool… and unique in a slightly uncomfortable way.”
This sick, twisted essence was first exemplified on the band’s 1994 debut, Rubberneck (Interscope). An intense, swirling vortex of guitar rock built around Lewis’s “wrong” songs and abstract lyrics—like the smash single “Possum Kingdom,” subject to as much speculation as what’s in the Pulp Fiction briefcase, it rocketed to platinum status on the strength of that and two other singles, “Tyler” and “Away.”
Perhaps in keeping with the uneasy vibe, that success didn’t translate to label support when the Toadies submitted their second album, Feeler. Perhaps aptly, things in general just went wrong. “We got approval for a record,” says Lewis, “and somewhere in the process of handing over the masters to get mixed, it got unapproved. So we went back to the drawing board.”
Eventually some of the Feeler tracks made it onto Hell Below/Stars Above—a sophomore offering that came seven years after Rubberneck. “It was a very weird, trying time,” says Lewis, who didn’t see the next blow—the sudden departure of bassist Lisa Umbarger—coming. “We went out on tour, and immediately the band split up,” he laughs sardonically. “We kinda shot ourselves in the foot.” They released a live album, Best of Toadies: Live from Paradise, and it was over.
Coming out of the Toadies, Lewis, guitarist Clark Vogeler and drummer Mark Reznicek were disillusioned. Vogeler went to work as a film editor, Rez hooked up with the country-western band Eleven Hundred Springs. Lewis initially thought, “Fuck this whole business. I’m gettin’ out. I just wanted to do anything else.”
Toadies fans, though accepting, stuck with them, often inquiring as to the band’s activities. Says Lewis, “People just asked me “So, what are you doin’ now?” Although he’d been “foolin’ around” with Rev. Horton Heat drummer Taz Bentley, he answered, “I don’t know. Nothin’. This, that and the other. Workin’ around the house, workin’ in the garage, just toolin’ around.” Soon it occurred to him that music was all he wanted to do. “I’m a musician. That’s what I do, and I’m not happy not doing it.” Eventually Lewis and Bentley formed the Burden Brothers in 2002 and released a slew of EPs, two albums and a DVD while touring profusely.
Meanwhile, “Possum Kingdom” never left the airwaves, enjoying constant rotation at major modern rock stations. Fans clamored for a Toadies reunion. “The band never went all the way away;” says Lewis. They regrouped in 2006 for a couple of sold-out shows around St. Patrick’s Day, and again the next year for the same thing. In August 2007, when personnel changes with the Burden Brothers resulted in that band going on hiatus, Lewis began writing.
“I was pissed off again and wanted to keep goin’,” he says. “I didn’t know what I was writing, right out of the gate, but… it was just coming out very “Toadies.”
Lewis called Rez and Vogeler and asked if they were interested in making another record. They were—and the Toadies officially reconvened, signing with Kirtland and recording No Deliverance with David Castell (Burden Brothers, Blue October) at Fort Worth Sound in Fort Worth and Music Lane in Austin. Lewis says the band has gone for a “bare knuckle” sound, amping up the psychotic stomp heard on Rubberneck and Hell Below… on the grinding, relentless title track as well as the seething, death-of-a-romance gem “So Long Lovey Eyes” and the towering, sludgy “Man of Stone.” The upshot is a taut, exhilarating listen that is quintessentially Toadies.
Lewis is stoked on “the freshness of this new record. Getting back into this, back into the feel of the Toadies, is cool. Lewis, Rez, Vogeler and new bass player Doni Blair (Hagfish, Only Crime) are optimistic that their indie incarnation will succeed, thanks to the support of their devout fans—and equally supportive label. “The music industry has changed so much,” says Vogeler. “A band like us can be on an independent label and still get the music out to the people who want to hear it.”
The Toadies are now free to pursue success on their own merit and muscle. And things are starting off nicely: On August 2, The Toadies will play Lollapalooza and, following the album’s release, they’ll embark on a nationwide tour offering old fans and those to come—as he recently told SPIN, “Balls. A ton of balls.”
“Getting back to the bare knuckles element of the Toadies,” continues Lewis, “is what I really enjoy, after being away from it for so long.” Vogeler and Rez concur. “I’m here and still doin’ it,” furthers Vogeler, “because the music’s good.” And Rez proclaims in his thick Texas drawl, “The Toadies are back in business.”
And suddenly, everything wrong is right.
While he's toned down his interactions with the law in recent years, no rapper with such a violent and illicit past has made as much of himself as Snoop Dogg. Snoop became one of the idols of West Coast rap in the early 90s, mixing a sultry smooth voice with hard and cutthroat lyrics. Since his debut in 1993, Snoop has been steadily recording albums every couple of years and performs on tour dates that are still attended by huge crowds. His latest album, Doggumentary, is a sequel to his first album, Doggystyle, and a prime example of how Snoop hasn't forgotten his roots after all these years.
During his youth, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., began singing in the choir at the local baptist church, eventually starting to rap in the sixth grade. Snoop attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and was a member of the Rollin' 20 Crips. In his free time, Snoop began recording freestyle sessions with his friend Warren G and his cousin Nate Dogg. Snoop Dogg's freestyle over En Vogue's "Hold On" was heard by Dr. Dre at a party and Snoop was invited to the studio for an audition. Snoop began his commercial career with appearances on Dr. Dre's debut solo album, The Chronic, and on the single "Nuthin' but a 'G' Thang". Hype for Snoop's debut 1993 album was increased by the success of Dr. Dre's solo album and Snoop Dogg's own murder charges; Doggystyle ended up going four times platinum after just a year and sold more copies than The Chronic.
Snoog Dogg's newfound status as a rap star led to a series of tour dates and further spread the word about the LBC rapper. Snoop Dogg's follow-up album, The Doggfather, was released in 1996, shortly after Dr. Dre left Death Row Records. The album was produced largely by DJ Pooh and Daz Dillinger, and featured a slower, softer sound than Snoop's previous G-funk sound. Growing tired of Suge Knight and Death Row, Snoop opted to sign with Master P's label, No Limit Records, in 1998 and released his next three albums with the label. Snoop's music radically evolved in 2002 with Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, which showed the dissolution of his gangsta image and sound and the birth of his pimp image and smoother sound. This era also saw Snoop Dogg playing concert dates to stadiums full of people, further cementing his status as a mainstream icon.
With a history of stellar, no-filler records, Spoon has somehow topped themselves with Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, a consistently thrilling album recorded throughout 2006 in Austin by the band and Mike McCarthy (except "The Underdog," recorded in Los Angeles with Jon Brion). Spoon have been together over a decade, with one of the most unusual trajectories of any band in recent memory-and one of the best and most unique songwriters in the world. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga starts with "Don't Make Me a Target," a song that builds on Spoon's familiar minimal rhythmic piano/guitar vamp popularized on earlier Spoon hits like "Small Stakes" or "The Way We Get By." The album quickly moves into uncharted territory with the atmospheric "The Ghost of You Lingers" and moves through serveral different stylistic changes from the explosive (no pun intended) "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" to the wall-of-sound horns of "The Underdog." The Britt Daniel originals on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga comprise possibly his most heartfelt batch of songs since 2001's Girls Can Tell.
It's worth pointing out that Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is comprised of ten songs (see Loaded, Fulfillingness' First Finale, Back in Black, The Queen Is Dead, The Charm of the Highway Strip, Nebraska, Nashville Skyline, Heroes, Unknown Pleasures, The Violent Femmes, The Woods, Sticky Fingers, etc.). We've also got it on good authority that 36 minutes is the ideal album length.