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Music: Horse Thief Premiere "Little Dust" Video

07/30/14 - Buy Horse Thief's latest album.

More Info From The Publicist: "I had written a short film script called "Ordained" that I had been sitting on and it just felt like the perfect pairing to Cameron's songwriting. Cameron and I really worked together seamlessly in the creative process and I knew this role could be perfect for Luis [Bordonada]." – Matt Bizer, Director and owner of Robot Fondue

Bella Union has just released Fear In Bliss, the debut album from recent signings HORSE THIEF. This youthful band is a purveyor of a panoramic yet nuanced sound, flowing from intimate to anthemic, the mood from vibrant to contemplative, with front-man Cameron Neal’s lyrics ranging from confessional to metaphorical. The result evokes the wide-open spaces of America’s Midwest but infuses the sense of grit and wonderment with edgier emotions.

Horse Thief, originally founded in Denton, TX, moved to Oklahoma City to attend the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, from which they recently graduated. The band subsequently signed with the Flaming Lips’ management and soon came to the attention of Bella Union. Though Fear In Bliss was conceived at Horse Thief’s Oklahoma headquarters the band decided to record the album in LA, “to leave our comfort zone of Oklahoma”, and producer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver) has helped the band fuse their renowned stage performance with studio quality.

The over-arching theme to Fear In Bliss is “finding yourself and what you believe in, and finding the comfort in acknowledging fear. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression which comes out a lot on the new album. But when everything gets rough, I think there’s always a way to fix it. The biggest thing for me is to give comfort to people, to shed light on the truth that someone is feeling the same way as them.".

Somewhat appropriately, having originated in Denton, TX, Horse Thief toured with fellow Dentonians and label mates Midlake throughout February, on their UK / European tour. They just came off a US tour with The Paper Kites.

Fear In Bliss is out now on Bella Union.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: The Idea Men Review

07/30/14 - Buy The Idea Men's latest album.

The Idea Men recently released "All The While". It's a fun blues/rock song you could throw on at your next BBQ turned kegger. If you're into Jack White or Dr Dog, these guys could be for you. Grab a beer and hit play.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Garden State Line Review

garden state line

07/30/14 - Buy Garden State Line's latest album.

Garden State Line recently released "Walk Away" and "Liquid Universe". If you're into Sublime or Incubus, these guys could be your 2014 fix. "Walk Away" can get a bit repetitive lyrically, but is definitely catchy (sort of made me want to get in a fight?). "Liquid Universe" can be slow at times, but makes up for it with a great drum track and guitar solo. Overall, I liked what I heard and am looking forward to what's coming up next.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Union House Releases Debut Album "Manifesto"

union house

07/30/14 - Buy Union House's latest album.

Union House is comprised of Maine natives Ric Bruns (vocals and guitar), Greg Lunn (vocal and guitar) and Chas Bruns (drums and bass). They have just released their debut album "Manifesto".

Click here for their Facebook page.

Click here to listen to samples and download the album.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: KahBang Festival Leaving Bangor For Portland - Portland Accepts With Open Arms

kahbang portland

07/17/14 - The rumors have just been confirmed. Due to slow pre-sales and some budget constraints, the KahBang festival has decided to move to Portland, Maine. CEO, Josh Gass, says there were a variety of factors which led him to make the decision, but ultimately it was the City of Bangor's decision not to allow camping on the waterfront that finally pushed him to make the move.

So much for KahBang in Bangor becoming like SXSW in Austin. Looks like Portland is going to reap those rewards now...

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Mike Sempert (Of Birds & Batteries) Premieres "Finest Line" Video

07/08/14 - Buy Mike Sempert's latest album.

More Info From The Publicist: Mike Sempert is best known for his work as the songwriter and frontman of the Bay Area band Birds & Batteries.

After years of recording and touring, Sempert decided to take a break from the band to focus on other aspects of life. He got a dog, moved to Los Angeles, and married his longtime love. Inevitably, a new collection of songs came together, many of them centered around these changes and the questions creative people often face as they stare into the oblivion of adulthood.

And so comes Mid Dream, written and recorded in Oakland and Sacramento in the months leading up to Sempert's move to LA. The album is comprised of deeply personal songs presented in high fidelity on both an intimate and epic scale. While Birds & Batteries' albums were on the synthier end of the spectrum, Sempert's new songs called for a more organic treatment - exposed vocals, live drums, acoustic and electric guitars, wurlitzer and rhodes. Some songs are ornamented with flourishes of orchestration, lush background vocals and achey pedal steel guitar, while others are stripped down to the bare essentials. Unobscured by excessive reverb or distortion, Sempert's unique voice and direct lyrics are laid out for all to see, in a humble and bold offering. The clarity of production and songwriting on Mid Dream was influenced by the classic studio music of the 1970s- albums by Gram Parsons, John Lennon, Fleetwood Mac as well as music by Beck, The Shins, Sparklehorse and Cass McCombs and many more. Sempert's voice has been compared to that of Richard Manuel of the Band and Alan Sparhawk of Low.

Birds & Batteries bandmates Colin Fahrner and Jill Heinke were called on to contribute drums and bass respectively, as well as a cast of tremendous musicians from the Oakland music community. Friends and neighbors Blake Henderson (engineering) and Sonya Cotton (vocals) contributed vast intangibles to the album, fostering an environment of warmth and support around the recording process. The result is honest, gentle and striking; there's plenty of sunshine breaking through the fog and sea spray. Mid Dream is his meditation on love and commitment, on art and growing up (or trying to). Mike will be on the road with his band to support the record, so we hope you get a chance to see him make this music live as well.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: The Zilis Release New Single "Diamondback"

The Zilis

06/06/14 - Buy The Zilis latest album.

More Info From The Publicist: Check out Americana rockers The Zilis! They just released their new single, "Diamondback". This track is off their recently released album Sketches II, out now. The trio blends roots rock with shades of blues and folk. They have been featured on the Canadian television show disBAND, and have opened for renowned artists such as Bon Joni, Kiss, and The Sheepdogs.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Thee Idea Men Premiere "New Level Shoes"

Thee idea men

06/06/14 - Buy Thee Idea Men's latest album.

More Info From The Publicist: Thee Idea Men were born from a senior project started by Matthew Jurasek (lead guitar/vocals) and fellow Drexel University student, Tyler March (drums). The classroom assignment turned into a full-fledged band with the addition of Matthew Raspanti (rhythm guitar/vocals) and Kris Pirnat (bass). After the addition of new members, the four moved in together, converting their spare bedroom into a studio where they were able to establish their signature sound. Pulling inspiration from Robert Johnson, The Rolling Stones, White Denim and other blues-rock pioneers, Thee Idea Men have managed to create a sound reminiscent of old school rock n’ roll for the new ages.

New Level Shoes is the band’s follow up release to their first album, Getcho Groo Von. The band’s initial release successfully secured Thee Idea Men as the winning contender on The Deli’s “Band of the Month” Poll in November 2012. Getcho Groo Von also landed the quartet on Revista Mock’s “Top 10 New Bands To Listen To” list in March 2013.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Cymbals Eat Guitars Premiere "Jackson"

cymbals eat guitars

06/30/14 - Buy Cymbals Eat Guitar's latest album.

More Info From The Publicist: “Wanna wake up wanting to listen to records / But those old feelings elude me / I raise a toast to the rock n' roll ghost,” sings Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joseph D’Agostino on the hyper-adrenalized “XR,” which sounds like a Tonight’s the Night outtake recorded at triple speed, with its braying harmonica and spitfire vocal delivery. It’s the track that perhaps best captures the spirit of the band’s third LP, LOSE, one of coping with abject loss and grief by rediscovering what you’ve always loved, as difficult as it may be—the redemptive power of music. For D’Agostino, this entailed coming to terms with his best friend and musical collaborator Benjamin High, who passed away suddenly seven years ago, just as Cymbals Eat Guitars began recording in earnest.

LOSE is a very apropos title because it refers not only to losing Ben, but also it's about a sort of nostalgia, a longing for a time when music meant everything to you and your friends, and it seemed like one great rock record could change everyone's life the way it changed yours,” says D’Agostino. “It's about being in mourning for your long-held belief that music could literally change the world. That's the contradiction at the heart of LOSE... You're disillusioned, but somehow you can do nothing else but rail against that feeling mightily and try, once again, to make a record that makes you and everyone else ‘wake up wanting to listen to records’.”

And indeed, the band, rounded out by bassist Matthew Whipple, keyboardist Brian Hamilton, and drummer Andrew Dole, alongside producer John Agnello, do little wallowing. This is a raucous affair, an Irish Wake, ultimately rooted in nothing less than a celebration of just being alive.

“Jackson” kicks off the album in prototypical Cymbals fashion—all allusions to suburban ennui, drugs, and geography, as D’Agostino reminisces, “We're riding through Jackson Pines / Towards Six Flags to wait in lines,” with an agoraphobic romantic companion whom he directly addresses, “You're taking two Klonopin / So you can quit flipping / And face our friends.” Yet, this is a leaner, more sinister Cymbals. The vocals are crisper, the drums more dynamic, the bass more melodic, all buttressed by a sensational see-saw guitar figure that blossoms into a lacerating yet anthemic rocker.

“I think this one is obviously more accessible than Why There Are Mountains or Lenses Alien,” says D’Agostino, referring to the band’s first two LPs, their debut having been awarded Pitchfork’s coveted Best New Music. “The first two had a lot more stop and start,” he continues. “This one has a ton of momentum. It's got fluidity and grace. I think I gave the lyrics more room to breathe, so you can kind of follow what's going on.”

The record also features some radical stylistic departures for the band. “We just got tired of playing mathy, ponderous songs every night,” laughs D’Agostino. This sea change is exemplified by the tranquil, gorgeous Velvets-esque ballad “Child Bride,” and the soulful slow-burn of “Laramie,” that finds D’Agostino crooning in a near Prince-esque falsetto, “I'll do the Kev and you can do the Charles,” slyly referencing band favorite The Wrens, before admitting with contrition, “We were both in need of rescue / So who saved whom?”

And that’s what’s perhaps most impressive about LOSE—the manner in which D’Agostino comes clean with his emotions, tackling seemingly ineffable mourning without equivocation. “There are no $5 words that you'll have to pull up dictionary.com for... some of the lyrics are directly confessional. Very open, no obfuscation,” he explains. “I lost my dear friend a while ago and I've sort of been addressing it in song for most of my career, though you probably couldn't really tell until now. It’s just a direct expression of grief. I figured if I confronted it head-on on record it'd make for some interesting music.”

But this is more than interesting—LOSE is a headlong rush of regret sublimated into a grand catharsis.

“These songs are a joy to play, and hopefully they will be a joy to listen to,” says D’Agostino. “I know I still get chills from every song on this record, so that has to mean something. You have to trust that feeling.”

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

Music: Sleigh Bells To Perform In Portland, Maine

Sleigh Bells maine

05/16/14 - Buy Sleigh Bell's latest album.

Sleigh Bells with Yvette on June 9th at Port City Music Hall. On Sale Now.

-Brought to you by Robert Thorn.

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