2015: The Year of Fiction 20 Down – Stream “New York Thing”

Fiction 20 Down, New York Thing Alternative Hip HopThis year, Fiction 20 Down is doing something different with their music, their content and their fans. 2015 is The Year of Fiction 20 Down, with each month bringing fresh new tracks, podcasts, interviews, videos and more.

They started right off in January with “New York Thing”, which takes on a really fresh new sound, with synth and verse being laid down to reveal their alt-hip hop talents. Every time F20D releases new material they demonstrate ever greater ability to jell as songwriters, and with that, their willingness to explore into new worlds of sound. “New York Thing” is quite an impressive start to a year that will be full of musical surprises and great new content.

Coming soon, F20D will officially announce a new contest related to The Year of Fiction 20 Down. It’s all in the name: Fiction 20 Down was originally a song written by lead singer Jordan Lally about facing his major fear of singing in public. Though he loved music and yearned to start a band, that fear kept him from pursuing his #1 dream until he faced it head on and went all-in. Had he shied from singing in front of people, Jordan’s life would be vastly different today. This year is about standing up to your fears and not backing down, boldly living the life you choose, and inspiring others to do the same. Stay tuned to Fiction20Down.com and facebook.com/fiction20down for the #yearF20D for awesome contest details coming in the next few days.



Kalen & The Sky Thieves Release New LP, ‘Bluebird’ – Stream the Album Now

On Tuesday Kalen & The Sky Thieves (http://www.kalenmusic.com/) released their new album, Bluebird. I’ve listened to it several times through prior to the release up to today, and I urge you to go and listen to it from start to finish, and find yourself on a moody rock journey that will make you a better person. Kalen Lister’s voice alone makes it an amazing album, but the song composition, musicianship and production quality put this album in another echelon right away. Plus, it will make you want to get up and dance right from first listen, if you’re not one of those self-conscious types, ya dig?

The best part is that two weeks ago, I had no idea about Kalen & The Sky Thieves. One of the things that I love about my job as a music publicist is finding myself at cool events due to dumb luck, which in this instance was an invitation from a fellow panelist at a local university career seminar. Elisa, the general manager of RAW Baltimore suggested that I come see what their bi-monthly showcase events were all about.

In short, it’s artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians… If you’re a creative sort, you’ve got a place at a RAW Showcase. With no idea of what to expect, I sat down in the music room, where Kalen & The Sky Thieves were about to come on stage. They cooly came on and broke right into a bright and savory song, though I can’t fein to remember their setlist, just hearing them for the first time that very evening. At some point in their second song I started to feel like I was sitting through a nearly private performance for a band that was about to break out in a big way–the kind of thing that doesn’t happen too often.

Their set consisted of a collection of songs that established something rare these days: a true rock sound. After happily taking in their entire set, I felt that there was something about them, the “it”, or “the oooh” as one friend of mine likes to say. After meeting each member after the show, that feeling was reinforced by how sincere they were, and their excitement level after playing a relatively quick set that certainly blew a few more minds that just my own.

Enough, go drench yourself in some rock bliss and listen to their new LP Bluebird. And catch them on tour if can; I’ll be doing just that the next time they’re in my neck of the woods, which I hope is sooner than later. Once you’ve fallen in love, you can get the album from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bluebird/id919695837

Check them out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kalenandtheskythieves





Vacationer – “The Wild Life” (video)

Music and surfing, surfing and music…like a coach and a team, peaches and cream, etc. They go insanely well together.

Vacationer - The Wild Life - Official Video

Kenny Vasoli of Vacationer

I’ve recently been doing a series of interviews with musicians that surf, mostly because the conversations flow when the common ground of surfing is the topic. To add to that, I genuinely like the music my interview subjects produce; maybe even more like love.

It may be because their water experience flows into their music and resonates with me. Though I’ve not met or interviewed Kenny Vasoli, lead singer of Vacationer, as of yet, I decided to post up the band’s latest single and video, “The Wild Life”. It’s off their album Relief, which was released on June 23rd.

Kenny’s a surfer, see, and though their label describes this song as “[mixing] the influence of The Beach Boys, J. Dilla and LCD Soundsystem into a sonic mai tai,” throwing down comparisons simply puts mental walls around the experience of a first listen without the influential notion of trying to pick out other bands’ sounds and musical styling.

Plus, I have a fundamental problem with the Beach Boys comparison. At least give Kenny some credit, he actually surfs, while the band once dubbed “America’s Band” only had one member who ever even set foot on a board, and only casually at that.

I might be using logic that only surfers will understand, but the surfing aspect of life, once taken root, shows through in the music. Hence the reason that while The Beach Boys were embraced by the mainstream and labeled “surf music” by the clueless masses, it was never considered surf music by real surfers of the day; an era of surfing defined by counter-culture rebellion, when surfers were outcasts. We’re not outcasts anymore (most of us, at least), but the essence and attitude of surfing still remain. It’s a drug, it’s addictive, and it teaches us things about life that simply can’t be learned elsewhere.

While “The Wild Life” isn’t a song I fell immediately in love with, it’s clear from the video imagery that Kenny has been to many places similar to where I’ve traveled. That tropical and carefree attitude is palpable in both the song and video, and I can sense that song coming to him on a trip somewhere in Central America, where the pace of life slows down considerably, allowing for freer, right-brained type of thought.

The parts that really hook me in and put a smile on my face: The feeling of being on a surf trip that the video evokes, and the lyrics, “No point in making plans, the wild life is human nature.” Go off the grid, get in the water, live life at its purest. Ahhh. I’m all for “The Wild Life”.

Check out Vacationer’s website and their Facebook.

Tauk interview and live show review

I got the chance to interview Tauk at their residency show the other night, which was fortunate because everything the day threw at me was conspiring to make me late as hell. But thanks to a cool water-taxi driver who got me across the inner harbor tout de suite, I made it nearly on time, and I was fortunate I did.

The band members were all present for the interview (how refreshing to get the WHOLE BAND’s input and thoughts rather than one half-interested member, which can happen…not naming any names). They are, in the order they were sitting around me: Charlie Dolan (Bass), Alric “A.C.” Carter (Keyboards/Organ), Matt Jalbert (Guitar), Isaac Teel (Drums).

Click the “Play” button to listen to the interview:

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It’s a lively, easy-going interview, the kind I really enjoy doing. I personally wanted to get clued in on how they formed, how they write, and their backgrounds. Turns out that three of them grew up together, and all of them are seriously schooled in music. There is certainly no coincidence that the best bands I come across typically consist of musicians that have taken the steps to get a proper musical education and background. The difference being in their seriousness, professional approach and focus.

Their live show was quite impressive, and 8×10 is the perfect small room to see them in. The place was packed well before their set as many had come out to also see Cory Henry, who played the set before Tauk, and absolutely killed it.

Tauk’s songs, at times dreamy, at other times dirty, bring the listener along on a beautifully undulating ride. They make the kind of music that fans of many genres can really tap into and enjoy. For those that appreciate well-written music played tightly by musicians that find the hook and stay there, get out to 8×10 any of the remaining Wednesdays this July. Furthermore, check out their forthcoming album Collisions when it drops July 22.

You can check them out more at: http://taukband.com/