Faith, friendship and Farsi: The OaKs to release stirring sophomore album Songs For Waiting, the patient product of two years in the Afghan Mountains and ten years of spiritual and musical partnership, March 2008.

Faith, friendship and Farsi: The OaKs to release stirring sophomore album Songs For Waiting, the patient product of two years in the Afghan Mountains and ten years of spiritual and musical partnership, March 2008.

Band lyricist Ryan Costello details the story behind “Masood” — the hypnotic, hopeful tale of an Afghani teen and a mythic hero. Fans of Paul Simon’s Graceland, Steve Earle, Wilco, Sufjan Stevens abide.

One of the major surprises of CMJ 2007, Orlando band The OaKs is set to release its sophomore album Songs For Waiting on March 3rd, 2008. The profound and stirring album is the follow-up to the band’s Our Fathers and The Things They Left Behind which caught the ears and minds of many fans and scribes in 2007 with its unique blend of Graceland’s polyrhythms, Steve Earle’s politics, Wilco’s urgency, and Sufjan Stevens’ orchestrations.

The story behind The OaKs’ music is just as interesting as the sounds. In late 2003, just two years after 9/11, The OaKs’ Ryan Costello sold everything he owned, joined a humanitarian organization and moved to Afghanistan. Costello lived there for two years, working in the Central Afghan Mountains with returned refugees, teaching them creative agricultural techniques and becoming fluent in their native language, Farsi. Late at night, while the dust storms blocked out the stars and rattled the windows, he would sit and work out impressions of what he had seen and heard that day on his acoustic guitar. Costello also documented his time in Afghanistan with a series of moving portraits which can be viewed at ryancostello.com.

After returning to the United States, Costello joined back up with his long-time creative and songwriting partner Matthew Antolick, who was drumming full-time in a Moroccan band. Antolick and Costello began working out Costello’s melodic ideas and lyrical concepts, home-recording in Antolick’s apartment what eventually became Our Fathers and The Things They Left Behind. Exploring themes of self-sacrifice and introspection over roots-folk and jazzy melodic layers, Our Fathers… was an original breath of fresh air in the independent music scene.

The release of Our Fathers… drew immediate attention to The OaKs in Orlando’s press and music scene, and the attention quickly went national as Paste Magazine featured Costello and The OaKs in its July 2007 cover story “Can Rock Save the World?”. The OaKs also partnered with Global Hope Network on the release of Our Fathers…and agreed to donate 50% of the profits from each CD or track download to aid widows and recently-returned refugees from Afghanistan.

As the attention grew, Costello and Antolick realized immediately the difficulty of translating their multi-tracked compositions into a live setting as just a duo, and began working to put together a band of diverse musicians who could make the compositions come to life on stage. They were soon joined by Jeremy Siegel, a classically trained bassist steeped in Led Zeppelin and Bootsy Collins riffs, and also fluent in classical and jazz trombone. Tim Cocking came next — a piano major and audio engineer as dexterous on his keyboard and accordion as he is on his trumpet, and Greg Willson, a seminary student wielding a mandolin and electric guitar and playing the breathiest Stan Getz-style saxophone they had ever heard. Their lineup was completed shortly thereafter by Melissa Reyes, a singer-songwriter whose alto voice and folk harmonies perfectly complement Costello’s high vibrato. From the first guitar riff at The OaKs’ debut show at the 2006 Anti-Pop Music Festival, it was apparent that these people were meant to be making music together – the energy in the room was electric, and the reviews were raving.

Out of this natural chemistry was born many new songs over the winter of 2006/2007. Inspired by the unique talents of each new band member, Costello and Antolick began writing songs that would showcase the bands rhythmic tightness and diverse instrumentation. The result is Songs For Waiting. On the album, Costello delves into the life of one of his complicated mythic heroes, Dietrich Bonheoffer, a German Lutheran minister who was executed for attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler (“The Two Calls [of Dietrich Bonheoffer]”). In “Masood”, Costello paints a composite portrait of a teenage friend he had in Afghanistan who took on the mantle of his family after his father passed away, and of Akhmad Shah Masood, an Afghan war hero who was killed in the war of 2002.

Costello also draws from one of his favorite southern authors Carson McCullers in “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter”, writing about searching for truth amidst brokenness. He writes of his more personal experiences with spirituality and failure in the prayerfully repentant “Here I Am Again,” and with friendship across the divide of global conflict in “War Changes Everything.”

Inspired by Costello’s lyrical and melodic depth, Antolick pulled drumming inspiration from everything from Moroccan polyrhythms and bebop jazz, to John Bonham’s spacious power. The OaKs honed these tracks in the living room of Costello’s wood-floored 1950’s style house, and at live shows across the state of Florida, until the melodic complexity and rhythmic tightness of the music exceeded anything the band had done before.

In late July of 2007, Costello put in for part-time employment at his social work job and The OaKs began recording Songs For Waiting. Using the warm, full sound of Costello’s old house, he and Antolick were determined to use no artificial reverb on the new album, instead using room micing techniques to mix the elements together in the style of their favorite 1960’s jazz and rock albums. Even synthesizers were played through amplifiers and speakers and run into the room to give them the woody ambience of Costello’s house. Over the next few months The OaKs employed trumpet, trombone, sax, Hammond organ, bells, synths from the 70’s and 80’s, acoustic and classical guitars, electric and acoustic bass, a plethora of shakers, tambourines, and hand-drums, and a Wurlitzer electric piano from 1959.

In mid October Antolick, Costello, and keyboardist Cocking began mixing the new album. Using as few modern mixing tricks as possible, including no artificial reverb or delay, they carefully arranged each song. Throughout the mixing process they were mentored and guided by Alan Douches of West West Side Music, whose hand has been on great recordings from Paul Simon’s Graceland to Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House and Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois.

Finally, after over four long months, The OaKs’ Songs For Waiting was finished on November 8, 2007. The new album is scheduled for release on March 3, 2008.

Songs For Waiting Tracklisting:

Release Date: March 3rd, 2008

01. The Two Calls (of Dietrich Bonheoffer)
02. Masood (MP3)
03. Old Bones
04. Pike County
05. After the Fires
06. The Attraction of the Pilgrim
07. Here I Am Again
08. War Changes Everything
09. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
10. Song for Waiting

More about The OaKs’ song “Masood”:

It was early December, 2004. 26-year-old Ryan Costello had just moved into a new house on the west side of Kabul with a South African family, having lived there only one month. With only a scant knowledge of the local language, Farsi, Costello began walking the streets near his house during the day determined to make friends in the neighborhood. After several days of hanging out with and taking photographs of the local school age children, he was invited by a middle aged man into his mud-walled shop and offered tea. Not knowing the local custom of declining invitations at least three times, Costello said “yes”, which surprised the man who frantically looked around, realizing he had no tea to serve. At that moment another, younger man with a beard and leather jacket who had been standing in the corner of the shop spoke up, “You must come to my house and have tea with us.”

Just a few hundred feet away Costello approached an old rusty gate racked with bullet holes and walked into a courtyard where the shell of a blown-out building stood. Up the winding stairs and into a carpeted living room, with thin cellophane over the gaping hole blown in the wall, Costello sat and waited. After a few minutes, in walked a young boy, around sixteen-years-old, with clear eyes and a wide smile. “Hello – welcome. My name is Masood.”

Thus began a close friendship between Costello and Masood. Taking him deep into the heart of the city’s swarming bazaars, Masood helped Costello buy a Chinese bicycle for 20 American dollars. Masood and his brothers took Costello all over the ancient city, from the mined mountains on the outskirts of the city where the faithful gather holy water from a sacred spring to the bird bazaar where birds from all over Asia are traded and sold. Their unlikely friendship grew deeper, as did Masood’s English and Costello’s Farsi. Masood shared his life story, how his father had been a renowned judge before the war and how they lived in a large house, which they now huddled in the remains of.

One sub-freezing night in the middle of winter, Masood showed up on Costello’s doorstep with red, worried eyes. “Can I use your phone to call my brothers out on the west side of the country?” After some prompting, Masood shared with Costello that his father was near death with an undiagnosed illness. Masood took Costello in the cold night to his house, up the stairs and into a small back bedroom, where Costello saw Masood’s mother, brothers, and sister huddled around his father who lay on a cot on the floor, a loud rattle in his chest. Masood invited Costello to come and sit with him next to his father, and they sat together for some time. Masood asked if Costello would pray over his father, and, raising his hands in the Afghan custom, he did. That night, Masood’s father passed away.

The next day began 40 days of mourning. Masood came over to get Costello one early morning soon after, and Costello walked into their courtyard to find relatives from all over Afghanistan had come to pay their respects for Masood’s father. Many of them walked up to Costello and thanked him in broken English for coming to spend time with him in his last hours, and for praying for him.

Costello and Masood continued their close relationship for two more years after this, until Costello left for America. Masood changed after his father died, becoming more sober and pensive. He shared with Costello the weight he felt on his shoulders to rise up and provide for his family and to take on their name.

Three years later, as Costello sat around in his living room in Florida one summer strumming on his classical guitar, he began working on a song that would weave in the story of Masood with another Masood who was killed in late 2001, Ahmad Shaw Masood. An Afghan mythic hero who rose up mighty armies to fight first the Russians and then later the Taliban, Masood from an early age carried himself as a warrior and a walking message to his people never to let themselves be ruled from without. Called “The Lion of Panshir”, Masood gave hope to his people in a hopeless time. As a composite of one personal friendship and one mythic story, Masood came to be one of the centerpieces of The OaKs’ new album Songs For Waiting.

The OaKs Live:

01/05 Orlando, FL The Social

Electro-spaz duo Yip-Yip wraps-up a round of rocking the states, prepares for the release of new album in early 2008.

Electro-spaz duo Yip-Yip wraps-up a round of rocking the states, prepares for the release of new album in early 2008.

Band discusses the origins of its name, being banned from Canada, Muppets, sounding “video gamey” and costume maintenance with Metromix.

“It’s hard to categorize what exactly Jason Temple and Brian Esser, the duo behind Yip-Yip, accomplish on stage. Dressed head-to-toe in identical checkered costumes, the two look more like manufactured clones, an impression that’s reinforced by their spasmodically electronic yet strangely organic music.” – Paul Heibing, Metromix

Collectively known as Yip-Yip, Jason Temple and Brian Esser are currently wrapping up a US tour in anticipation of the release of their latest record, Two Kings of The Same Kingdom, out February 5th, 2008 on the California-based S.A.F. label (Die! Die! Die!, The Show Is The Rainbow, Junius).

Two Kings of The Same Kingdom is the follow-up to the duo’s critically praised In The Reptile House album. The new album comes complete with a DVD including a video for each song on the record. If you don’t have your promo handy, you can check out the clips via You Tube HERE.

Recently, Temple and Esser sat down with Metromix writer Paul Hiebing who asked all of the questions any Yip-Yip fan would want the answers to. If you can’t see them now, be sure to catch these crazy brothers from different mothers in a city near you in 2008!

Yip-Yip Live:

12/04 Visalia, CA The Cellar Door

12/05 San Diego, CA Epicentre w/The Locust

12/06 Phoenix, AZ Trunk Space w/Cable Car Crash

12/07 Mesilla, NM The Bean

12/08 Austin, TX Mohawk

Two Kings of The Same Kingdom Tracklisting:

Stream The Album HERE

Release Date: February 5th, 2008

01. Anarchist Clog
02. Sprinkle Council (MP3)
03. Genius Beast
04. Humanly Wanderers
05. Car Picnic
06. Jazz Rats
07. Gender Changers
08. Club Mummy
09. Audacity Beach
10. Outer Tomato
11. Heavies Go Odd
12. High Heel To Mammal

More about Yip-Yip:

Yip-Yip is Brian Esser and Jason Temple, two 25 year-old “writhing costumed beanpoles” from Orlando, Florida. They have been making music together since they formed in 2001. They have also been roommates for much of this time, annoying neighbors in apartments until moving into “The Reptile House” in 2004. The house provides Yip-Yip with the space they need to continue making all of their music, recordings, art, videos, and costumes at home.

Yip-Yip started as a recording project and has, in its six years, resulted in two self-released full-length albums and an EP, two handmade art zine/CD singles, the CD-R-turned-international-release Pro-Twelve Thinker, and two more “real” releases, In The Reptile House and the upcoming Two Kings of The Same Kingdom. Two Kings of The Same Kingdom is Yip-Yip’s fourth full-length album and comes in at just under 25 minutes. Its twelve new tracks were recorded by Yip-Yip in their house in Orlando, Florida over the summer of 2007.

New additions to the Yip-Yip arsenal of musical instruments on Two Kings include an organ, cymbals, a gong, and a real saxophone, a noticeable departure from the digital horns heard on their previous album. Yip-Yip also experimented with video for the album (a DVD is included with the CD), making a music video for every song using newly acquired, cheap, used equipment. Esser and Temple try to push themselves to their musical limits with each new album, resulting in a sound that is increasingly complex, yet still fun to listen to. The same goes for their live show.

Esser and Temple started playing live shows in 2003 and since then have experimented with incorporating everything from videos and strobe lights to rollerskates and goodie bags. At the beginning, they played scattered shows around Florida with friends and soon after began opening shows for various touring acts. A year or so of this led to their first tour in 2004, after which they’ve done eight tours with two more planned before the end of 2007. During this time, Yip-Yip has played nearly 300 shows, played with many of their favorite bands, made a lot of great friends, and seen most of the United States and parts of Canada — this after serving a one year ban from the country in 2005 after trying to enter without work permits.

This year, Yip-Yip has stayed busy making new music, trying to push their sound into new musical territories. Their live show is a constantly growing, portable multimedia event, including costumes, video projections, and matching backdrops with every hand and foot being used to play the music on various analog synthesizers, an organ, a saxophone, cymbals, and effects. Their new album Two Kings of The Same Kingdom is set for release on February 5th, 2008 on S.A.F. Records.

Serj Tankian – Elect The Dead interview

by Mike Cox

MVRemix: Serj, in regards to “Elect The Dead” your solo debut on Serjical Strike/Reprise Records, you have been quoted as saying “the title is open to interpretation” tell us a little about your interpretation.

Serj Tankian: I am more interested in how people interpret the phrase “Elect The Dead” than what I may or may not have intended. I named the album after the track, which is a spiritual song about love, life and death and is the heaviest song on the album without having any heavy instruments.

Serj Tankian interviewI have gotten some great responses from friends/colleagues as to what the meaning could be.

1) The current leaders are not qualified enough to lead us through these trying times, so we need to look for guidance from past leaders (Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, JFK, etc). The living ideas of the dead are more powerful and effective than the dead ideas of the living.

2) The victims of the epitome of civilization should elect our next leaders so we can live in a more just society.

3) We need to gain the wisdom from beyond history, from beyond the material and physical worlds, to be able to deal with not just electing our political leaders today, but learning how to elect ourselves as leaders.

MVRemix: You basically took the true punk rock DIY ethic to a new level. You played virtually every instrument on the new album aside (as I understand) from guest drummer’s Brian “Brain” Mantia (G N R and Primus) and SOAD (System of a Down) drummer John Dolmayan. One can only imagine the process. After almost 10 years recording with SOAD it must have been quite the transition. Did it feel smooth and natural?

Serj Tankian: Much of it is culled from recordings I’ve amassed over a long period of time, up through this past year. I have such a backlog of material and when I was going through everything, the songs on the album are the ones that stood out. When I wrote everything, I wrote it on piano and acoustic guitar, and I didn’t know I was going to arrange it as a rock record. Producing this was something- in the beginning when I first started, I was a little skeptical about it, because what if I succeeded as an artist and not as a producer? So I had that in the back of mind, but I really knew what kinds of sound I wanted from the tones, what kind of guitars I wanted to use, how I wanted my pianos, strings and vocals to sound. I was very involved, and knew what I was going for, so as I went along, layer by layer developing the songs, it was getting there, so I didn’t want to bring someone else in and change things at that point. But I had to do that, to step out into the control room, take my artist/songwriter hat off, put on the producer’s hat and say “How could this be better, is this the best it could be” at every point in the game. I did have the help of some close friends/artists to collaborate with. Dan Monti, my engineer and guitarist played on the record, as did my friend and opera singer Ani Maldjian. John Dolmayan (SOAD’s drummer) and Brian “Brain” Mantia (Primus, Gun N’ Roses) helped by playing drums.

MVRemix: Speaking of Serjical Strike, your new label I’ve noticed the association with Reprise. Is it an association of contractual or logistical necessity?

Serj Tankian: Our deal with Reprise is on Serj Tankian “Elect the Dead,” and not on any of our other records. We are not tied to any major label and can take our acts anywhere ultimately.

Some bands we’ve released indie ourselves (Buckethead and Friends, BAd Acid Trip, Kittens for Chrisitan), others we’ve put out through majors (Fair to Midland on Universal, Axis of Justice CD/DVD on Sony, and Elect the Dead on Reprise/Warner).

MVRemix: Your back-up band F.C. C. – I love the name. It’s an oblivious jab at the institutional powers, the self – righteous few with the power to punish and the right to censor. Care to elaborate?

Serj Tankian: FCC in the U.S. stands for the Federal Communications Commission, the governmental body that levies penalties for swear words in broadcasting. We decided to make the FCC itself a cuss word to outline the hipocrisy of their existence. Our band is called the Flying Cunts of Chaos.

MVRemix: Having just wrapped up the U.S. leg of the tour, care to shed some insight on what it was like heading a new line-up?

Serj Tankian: I remember that it felt very comfortable getting on stage as a solo artist from the first show on. We’ve already played arenas in the UK with the Foo Fighters, and a host of shows on our own in Europe and the U.S. to promote Elect the Dead.

MVRemix: Was the vibe natural? Was the acclimation smooth?

Serj Tankian: Very

MVRemix: Having played all over the world, do you prefer to play stateside or over-seas?

Serj Tankian: Both can be very fun depending on the season.

MVRemix: On that note, have the fans embraced the new project or are they constantly requesting SOAD songs? If so do the SOAD requests get old?

Serj Tankian: We’ve had an amazing response to the new songs on Elect the Dead and have not heard any SOAD requests from the audience. I think everyone knows that this is a new project and have embraced it.

MVRemix: I have heard you’re covering “Holiday In Cambodia” live on tour. Nice choice. Any other covers in the line up?

Serj Tankian: Beatles’ Girl

MVRemix: As everyone knows, you are politically motivated. After posting the “Understanding Oil” essay post – 911 you took a lot of flack. The ensuing years have found you championing several causes, are your convictions as strong as ever?

Serj Tankian: Yes.

MVRemix: Do you really think music (and or musicians) can make a viable impact in the Political arena?

Serj Tankian: Music is an intuitive medium, and if communicated correctly has the ability to inspire and change people’s hearts. The hearts change the minds, and the minds can change the world.

MVRemix: Speaking politics, in early 06′ you and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine had the rare opportunity to interview imprisoned Journalist/Political Activist Mumia Abu-Jamal (who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia Police Officer). What was that like?

Serj Tankian: It was a really eye opening interview with a journalist who is well read and well spoken. He has been made the example despite the lingering questions of injustice in the case, and he’s well aware of it.

MVRemix: And for the final redundant question…any plans for a SOAD reunion?

Serj Tankian: SOAD is currently on an indefinite hiatus after 10+ years of being a touring and recording band. SOAD is not a corporation that needs to put out a product every year to sustain. We’re a group of artists and we create music together when we want to. We are enjoying prioritizing other artistic and personal efforts. We’re all friends and supportive of each others’ art. If and when we need to speak as one to the world, the world will be aware.

Original Serj Tankian article

iLIKE TEAMS UP WITH ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC TO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE ARTIST CONTENT FOR SIXX: A.M., DROWNING POOL AND MÖTLEY CRÜE

iLIKE TEAMS UP WITH ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC TO PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE ARTIST CONTENT FOR SIXX: A.M., DROWNING POOL AND MÖTLEY CRÜE

iLike to Promote Eleven Seven Music Artists and Syndicate their Music Videos, Tour Diaries, Personal Messages and Online Fan Events Across the Web Via iLike’s Universal Artist Dashboard

Next SIXX: A.M. Music Video, “Accidents Can Happen,” First Ever-Exclusive Video Premiere on iLike.com

SEATTLE – December 3, 2007 – iLike, the Web’s leading social music service, and Eleven Seven Music, one of the world’s leading independent record companies, today announced an ongoing original content and promotional agreement. Leading Eleven Seven Music artists will post exclusive content including music videos, tour diaries, personal video messages and online events, on iLike beginning today. To kick-off the collaboration, SIXX: A.M. will world premiere their new video “Accidents Can Happen” via the iLike iCastÔ feature. Other participating artists include chart-topping, award-winning Tenth Street Entertainment and Eleven Seven Music acts Drowning Pool and Mötley Crüe.

The bands will post original content, much of it in weekly video installments, using iLike’s Universal Artist DashboardÔ and iCast multi-media blogging tools, to be syndicated across multiple websites including iLike.com and iLike’s popular application on FacebookÒ Platform. iLike will also promote participating artists on strategic locations throughout iLike.com and the iLike application on Facebook Platform.

The original content that participating bands are making available exclusively on iLike for syndication and promotion to music fans across the Web is as follows:

* SIXX A.M. World-Exclusive Video Debut and Weekly Video Diary: Beginning today, SIXX A.M. is exclusively debuting their new music video, “Accidents Can Happen” (the second single from the band’s first album), on iLike and iLike’s popular application on Facebook Platform for four days prior it’s wide release on December 7. This is the first time a major act has debuted an official music video on iLike before it has been made available anywhere else. The band will also provide iLike users with an exclusive series of weekly videos, entitled “24/7/SIXX: A.M.,” which will show fans what goes into launching a new band and supporting a new single. For more information and to view the new music video and band diary, go to: www.iLike.com/sixxam

* Drowning Pool Weekly Video Tour Diary: Beginning today, Platinum rock band Drowning Pool will offer music fans a weekly video tour diary. These raw, intimate videos, which were filmed by the band using a camera phone, will provide Drowning Pool’s more than 50,000 registered fans on iLike with a rare glimpse of what life on the road and behind-the-scenes is really like. Fans will be able to communicate with the band by posting their reactions and comments to the band’s Fan Wall on iLike. For more information, or to view Drowning Pool’s tour diary, go to: www.iLike.com/drowningpool

* Mötley Crüe Online Fan Event: As a special thank-you to the band’s more than 78,000 registered fans on iLike, Mötley Crüe is giving away Guitar Hero III/Mötley Crüe prize packages via their Artist Page on iLike. Mötley Crüe is one of the earliest adopters of iLike’s iCast blogging tools. For more information or to participate, go to: www.iLike.com/motleycrue

Drowning Pool lead vocalist Ryan McCombs says, “It’s really cool to be part of something new and be able to reach our fans in such a unique way.”

“Eleven Seven Music and their dynamic roster of artists share our passion for leveraging new technology to foster music discovery and acquisition,” said Ali Partovi, CEO of iLike. “Our new Universal Artist Dashboard offers Mötley Crüe, Drowning Pool and SIXX: A.M. a channel to reach the most fans with the least effort, with a syndicated presence on iLike, Facebook and beyond. We are so pleased that leading acts across multiple genres of music are rapidly adopting iLike’s Universal Artist Dashboard and iCast blogging tools to communicate directly with anybody who likes their music.”

“Tenth Street Entertainment and Eleven Seven Music have continued its legacy of using the latest technologies to the benefit of the artists we represent. We were the first to premiere music on the internet back in mid ’90’s, the first to commercially sell a digital download and the first to sell out a tour exclusively through internet sales. Working with iLike allows us to continue to expose our artist’s music through the latest available platforms,” said Allen Kovac, CEO of Eleven Seven Music.

Says Nikki Sixx of SIXX: A.M., “My new addiction is iLike.com.”

Post Once, Publish Everywhere

As the dominant music application on Facebook Platform, iLike’s convenient Universal Artist Dashboard has already been broadly embraced by the music industry and over 150,000 artists. The Universal Artist Dashboard gives artists one automated control center from which to reach Facebook users as well as fans across many other sites, including iLike.com, Ask.com, desktop plug-ins for iTunes® and Windows Media Player®, and many more, including MySpace and Orkut, to come soon.

Now just one year old, iLike is already one of the fastest growing music services in the world, with 15 million users worldwide and three million more being added monthly.

For more information about iLike Artist Services Platform, or to sign up as an artist, visit: www.iLike.com/forartists.

About iLike, inc

iLike is the Web’s leading social music discovery service and the dominant music application on the Facebook Platform. With more than 15 million registered users, iLike helps people share music recommendations, playlists, and personalized concert alerts. The iLike Sidebar for iTunes and Windows Media Player suggests new music, creates automatic playlists, and connects people through music. iLike offers musicians and labels a Universal Artist Dashboard from which to reach fans and manage their presence across multiple channels: Facebook, iLike.com, Ask.com, iLike Sidebar plugins for iTunes and Windows Media Player (and soon, through adoption of Google OpenSocial, also Myspace, Bebo, Orkut, Hi5, Ning, and other leading social networking sites). By leveraging iLike’s “artist-fan graph,” a vast database of connections between consumers and their favorite artists, iLike helps artists reach their fans and cultivate the viral spread of their music. iLike, inc also runs indie music site GarageBand.com.

About ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC:

Founded by Allen Kovac, CEO of Tenth Street Entertainment, a leading music marketing and management company, Eleven Seven Music was developed in association with ADA distribution. Eleven Seven Music artists include SIXX: A.M. Buckcherry, Drowning Pool, Trapt, Marion Raven, Debbie Harry and The Exies. The label’s inaugural release (Buckcherry’s current album “15”) features the smash hit single “Crazy Bitch” which earned a Grammy nomination and has sold over 1 million CD’s worldwide. Sixx: A.M.’s “The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack” is the soundtrack to Nikki Sixx’s new book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star (released September 18th via MTV Pocketbooks/ Simon & Schuster) which has spent nine weeks on The New York Times best-seller list.

THE BLACK GHOSTS

THE BLACK GHOSTS

PRAISE THE LORD.
SIMON LORD THAT IS, IN LOS ANGELES THIS DECEMBER WHERE HE’LL BE SHOWERING YOU WITH SONIC GIFTS FROM THE HOLY DECKS AT THE HOTTEST FESTIVE PARTIES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON…

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Who is Simon Lord?
Simon William Lord was the vocalist in Simian, therefore that is indeed his voice in We Are Your Friends.
For those who aren’t aware (shame on you) and for more interesting info on The Black Ghosts, go here for a little more background.

Ghosts of The Present:

The Black Ghosts debut American EP
“Anyway You Choose To Give It” OUT NOW on IAMSOUND

“This 4 song boner that pokes back to the 80’s erotic pop era when West End Girls, some bigger than others, slithered into bathroom stalls like Karma Chameleons only to overdose on Candy and fall crashing down through a Heart of Glass” – Tripwire
“The Black Ghosts will get you moving without fail…. The result is dark, daring electro-synth songs with thoughtful lyrics taken from a cynical and strangely empowering perspective.” Spin.com
The Black Ghosts are uncommon pop geniuses with a knack for catchy songs that avoid cliches.” – XLR8R
The Black Ghosts present a different twist on your typical electro-rock-whatever. They possess a refreshing, soulful feel to both their tracks “Face” and “Something New”… “Face” feels a little Scooby Doo, like in a running from the ghost type way, but it’s not the least bit cartoonish or cheesy. Totally catchy. – Big Stereo

The Future…
Monday December 10th
LA Weekly Showcase @ El Rey – 10.30 pm
“Still Fucking Awesome” @ Beauty Bar – 12.30 am

Tuesday December 11th
Cinespace

Wednesday December 12th
Club Moscow

Friday December 14th
PYT Pre-Party @ Turntable Lab- 8-10 pm
PYT @ Jimmy’s Lounge – 11pm

Saturday December 15th –
Check Yo Ponytail @ Explx – 11pm
Blow up LA @ TBA – 2.30am

Grammy award winning Dirty Vegas leader Steve Smith reveals personal songs on debut solo album, This Town. Guests appearing include actor John Savage, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson and X-ecutioner Rob Swift.

Grammy award winning Dirty Vegas leader Steve Smith reveals personal songs on debut solo album, This Town. Guests appearing include actor John Savage, The Magnetic Fields’ Claudia Gonson and X-ecutioner Rob Swift.

Steve Smith, the former front man for the Grammy-award winning group Dirty Vegas moved to Boston in 2005 in search of a new beginning. Feeding off the musical inspiration of Boston, he began creating his first solo album, This Town. The project really started coming together when he joined forces with Anthony Saffery of Cornershop, who agreed to produce his songs. Together they booked the legendary Camp Street Studios in Cambridge, Massachusetts (formerly called Fort Apache) and got to work.

On this album, Smith collaborates with an assortment of talents, including producer Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The X-ecutioners), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (principal violinist for the James Horner Orchestra – Titanic, Legends of The Fall), and Rob Swift (Ill Insanity, The X-ecutioners, Quincy Jones). The result is a delightful fusion of sounds that blends folk, rock, electronica, and Steve’s inherent songwriting ability.

This Town draws the listener in from the start with an inspiring dialogue by acclaimed actor John Savage (The Deer Hunter, Hair), which sets the stage for the main theme of the record. The message: “Life is a rollercoaster, but through our setbacks, we’re fortunate enough to inevitably end up exactly where we want to be.”

Or “Sometimes, being a genius is just getting up in the morning.”

Two bonus tracks are also included – a previously unreleased, acoustic version of the Grammy Award winning Dirty Vegas track “Days Go By”, and a new song called “Late Nights and Street Fights”, which was chosen to be the main title theme for the FOX TV hit series, Standoff. This Town is set for release on Smith’s own label, G.A.S. Records (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) on February 18, 2008.

This Town Track Listing:

View Album Trailer HERE

Release Date: February 18, 2008

01. This Town
02. Hit Me Up (MP3)
03. Restless
04. Universe
05. Morning Jane
06. Smile
07. Comedown Queen
08. Sleep Like A Lover
09. Better Off That Way
10. That Town
11. Bonus Track: Late Nights & Street Fights (Theme from the Fox-TV show Stand Off)
12. Bonus Track: Days Go By (Steve Osbourne Acoustic Mix)

More about Steve Smith and Dirty Vegas:

14-year-old Steve Smith was waiting for his piano teacher to arrive when he spotted the school drums and jumped on the kit. He was lost in the moment when the door burst open and the horrified teacher asked, “wouldn’t you prefer to sign up for drum lessons instead?!” Cue a cheeky grin!

Born into a South London working class home in the early 70’s, Steve was the youngest of five. He grew up with his ear pressed to his elder siblings’ doors where he gleaned everything from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. As his teenage devotion to percussion grew, so did his passion for Latin musicians, specifically Santana and Tito Puente.

In 1988, acid house exploded in the UK and Steve found himself swept up in a wild new era of electronic music. He began to experiment with sampling the classic tracks he loved his whole life. A well-known house DJ, Andy Nichols, started a band that aimed to blend house music with live musicians. Steve instantly had the perfect introduction to playing live shows in front of huge crowds.

In the late 80s, rabid dance fans flocked to the illegal South-East England rave scene despite frequent raids by police and scaremongering stories in the papers about the supposed “drug culture.” But that did not concern Steve, who devoted every weekend to playing with Andy Nichols’ band or as a live percussionist at house clubs. He began to receive invitations to recording sessions and playing on club tracks. He became increasingly fascinated with the world of samplers and 909 kick drums. Still, while completely immersed in electronic music, he always held tightly to his childhood love for the Bruce Springsteen songs that had come from his sisters’ bedroom, and the sweet tones of Stevie Nicks that had blared from his brothers’ old stereo.

Steve steadily built a reputation as an excellent Latin percussionist and held residencies at legendary clubs, including Ministry of Sound. He toured alongside DJ’s like Sasha and Paul Oakenfold, and was ultimately offered a residency at the world famous ‘Pacha’ on the clubbing mecca island of Ibiza.

It was the summer of 1999. Steve had just split with his long-term girlfriend. With nothing to lose he packed up and drove from London to Ibiza with everything he owned. Days were spent with an acoustic guitar on stunning beaches, and nights in the infamous ‘Manumission’ and ‘Space’ clubs. He played alongside the top DJ’s in the world – studying how certain tracks caused reactions in crowds unlike those at any rock concerts he’d ever attended.

Inspired by the island of Ibiza as creative artists David Bowie, Mike Oldfield, Mario Testino and Errol Flynn before him, Steve spent the summer composing songs. As 1999 drew to a close, Steve headed into the studio for a session with Paul Harris, a DJ friend, who had been playing around the London ‘Milk Bar’ scene since 1990. Paul had just started working with a young producer named Ben Harris (no relation). While they were recording, Steve picked up an acoustic guitar and played them a song he called, “Days go by.” Paul and Ben loved it, and started to play around with the tempo. They recorded the song, called themselves Dirty Vegas and pressed 1500 vinyl copies. The track spread like wildfire through clubland – suddenly Steve had an Ibiza dance anthem.

Steve, Paul and Ben found themselves swept up in a rock and roll dream world of major label signings and world tours. “Days Go By” climbed the charts, and was licensed to a television commercial for Mitsubishi, ultimately garnering the band three Grammy nominations, and the award for best electronic song, in 2003.

Throughout his years with Dirty Vegas, Steve continued to write songs on his acoustic guitar. He knew that one day he would record his own album. Personal, sweet and intimate, some of those songs finally make an appearance in the track-listing of his first solo effort, This Town.

Dirty Vegas disbanded and Steve reunited with his girlfriend. He felt it was time for a radical change. Boston always had a magnetic energy for him when he played there and he felt a need to encourage that feeling. A move to the USA in 2006 got his creativity flowing and just like Ibiza a few years before, Steve started to soak up the musical heritage of his surroundings.

Semi-biographical songs, such as “This Town,” are about his move from London, while “Smile” (dedicated to Steve’s late father) came to him in a dream. In an amazing coincidence, Steve saw violinist Jay Ungar play at a local church in the small town where he had recently taken residence. After the performance he asked Jay, who has appeared on many famous movie scores, if he would play on the song. He told Jay it would be an honor since his father’s favorite piece was James Horner’s score for the film Legends of The Fall, on which Jay had played violin.

Another coincidence brought him together with Anthony Saffery, the former sitar player from the UK band Cornershop, who had also relocated to the Boston area and had become a producer. Together they booked time in the legendary studio, Camp Street (formerly known as Fort Apache) and began long and intense recording sessions: the outcome of which are the tracks that are Steve’s first solo effort, meaningfully titled This Town.

On his album, Smith collaborates with an assortment of talents, including producer Anthony Saffery (Cornershop, The X-ecutioners), Claudia Gonson (The Magnetic Fields), Terry Barber (New York Symphony Orchestra), Jay Ungar (James Horner Orchestra), and Rob Swift (The X-ecutioners, Quincy Jones).

Steve can still be found spinning electro house sets at clubs around the country and around the world, but these days he might be just as likely to be strumming a guitar in a coffee shop, or playing percussion on a rock stage, in support of his new solo path. This Town is set for release on Smith’s own label, G.A.S. Records (named for his late father, George Albert Smith) on February 18, 2008.