Feature Friday: Halcyon Drive

November 21, 2014 § Leave a comment

Halcyon DriveFeature by Bailey Garno

How often do you hear the words “garage” and “pop” mixed together to characterize a music group? Not often, but that uncommon mix of music styles is exactly how the Australian Halcyon Drive describes themselves in their Twitter bio. The release of the single “Crusoe” has thrust Halcyon Drive into the indie music scene spotlight and has turned ears to their recently released EP, Cruel Kids.

Listeners may be surprised to discover upon listening to the selection that the immensely dense and complicated sounds are produced by the hands of just two individuals! Michael Oechsle is the lead vocalist and guitarist while Max Pamieta is on drums and contributes to vocals. Together, this duo manages to do it all. It’s quite impressive, although perhaps less uncommon these days with the technology that allows artists to create looping effects and dual drum segments. That is exactly the sort of work that Oechsle and Pamieta do in the studio and on stage. Despite all this effort, Halcyon Drive is still applauded for having wonderfully energetic sets.

The new EP lends its success to two other geniuses; Cruel Kids was recorded and produced by Steven Schram (San Cisco, The Cat Empire, Little Red) and mastered by Brian Lucey (Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys). To showcase the new tunes, Halcyon Drive is set to play multiple shows through the year. Notable acts include The Standard Bowl in Sydney and the NYE On the Hill festival.

Find Cruel Kids available for streaming, download, and purchase on SoundCloud and Bandcamp now!

Show Preview: Animal Years & Robert Randolph and the Family Band

November 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Animal Years

An MCU favorite, Animal Years, will be returning to Brooklyn Bowl  next Friday, November 28! Check out some awesome music while you’re recovering from an impending post-Thanksgiving food coma and avoiding Black Friday mayhem.

The band will be opening for Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Over the summer we got to see Animal Years at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, and you will not be disappointed by their performance.

Animal Years, Robert Randolph and the Family Band
When: Friday, 11/28 – Doors at 6 PM, Show at 8 PM
Where: Brooklyn Bowl - 61 Wythe Avenue - Brooklyn, NY 11249
Price: $20, get tickets here

Show Review: The Humble Grapes

November 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

Photo: So much fun playing at The Bitter End last night! Thank you so much to everyone who came out. We can't wait to see everyone in December! NEXT SHOW: Sat Dec 20 7:30 Rockwood Music Hall #thebitterend #rocknroll #greatbeard

On Saturday night, The Bitter End came to life with a performance by The Humble Grapes, a NYC-based band.  Full of soul and exceptionally talented musicians, as the night went on The Humble Grapes were really able to hype up their audience.

The band is comprised primarily of lead singer, Brie Capone, and David Kaufman on piano.  It doesn’t feel right to even call Kaufman a keyboardist, his presence on the full-stage piano deserves much more recognition.  As does the backup band that accompanied Capone and Kaufman Saturday night.  The duo were supported by an incredible drummer, insane guitarist, bass guitarist, and unique background singer–a nice mix of girls and guys.

During their first song, “Save Me,” I was especially impressed by the background vocals.  It was a great touch to the live performance, especially for this relatively low-key band.  Capone truly becomes one with the music when she sings, and that sense of feeling the music became obvious throughout the band, particularly in the drum and electric guitar solos.  The band also made several attempts to make sure Kaufman’s piano was amped up high enough to showcase its importance in The Humble Grapes’ overall sound.

In their opener and throughout the show, I found that though their musical presence was sound and entertaining, there was not much to their lyrics.  It was a bit disappointing, though it is easier to get away with in a live setting.  The arrangement and atmosphere of The Bitter End itself was a little stifling for the band, as well.  The main area is seated, which I found really limited audience participation.  With a more unknown band it is also difficult to get the crowd excited, and even harder when they’re sitting.

The Humble Grapes found their groove when they busted out the perfect cover–Lorde’s “Royals.”  The song was a perfect fit for Capone’s sound and the spirit of her voice.  The familiarity sparked the crowd and The Humble Grapes’ momentum soon soared.

They followed with the crisp piano sounds of “Life, Love, and Pain,” where Kaufman could show off his chops.  Then they segued into “The Only One In Love,” which was my favorite of the night.  The instrumentals were fantastic from every member on stage.  Each person got to bring their talent to the forefront and showcase all the underlying layers of The Humble Grapes.  The lyrics also came through in this song.  I found them beautiful and relatable–The Humble Grapes were winning me over.

However, the next song, “24 Hours,” was not my favorite.  It seemed to be a turning point in the show, but something in the song felt like an abrupt switch that just did not sit well.  It was a lengthy song, and I will amend that it did turn into a jam by the end.  Capone packed on the power and was able to hype up the crowd.

They played a new song, “Heaven Help Me,” and an older song, “Honey,” which was unfortunately a bit like a retreating step backwards.  For a live show, “Honey” felt too slow.  However, Capone and Kaufman were clearly proud of it, making it a testament to who The Humble Grapes are.  You can’t begrudge a band that, and Kaufman’s talent was back redeeming the song on his piano.

Kaufman’s excitement fueled into the last song of their set, “Addicted.”  It was another upbeat tune, and as soon as Kaufman stood up to pound away on the keys, you knew it was serious.  By this time, The Humble Grapes had come full circle and had the room energized and feeling like we were in some old-fashioned, classic saloon.  It was a great time, and propelled the crowd to call out for an encore.  I was pleasantly surprised with this turnaround, but was slightly disheartened when The Humble Grapes decided to slow it down with a song called “Sleep.”  They promised to bring the momentum back up as the song progressed, and they did end on a good note, but it would not have been my first choice.

Overall, The Humble Grapes have an excellent stage presence and are clearly talented.  In fact, I much prefer their live sound and would encourage anyone to see them, if only to hear Capone’s rich, soulful vocals, and Kaufman’s captivating control over the black and whites.  The Humble Grapes will play next at Rockwood Music Hall in New York on December 20.

Tuesday Tunes: FOUR Best One Direction Songs

November 18, 2014 § Leave a comment

It’s no secret that the MCU team’s not-so-guilty pleasure is One Direction. To celebrate the release of the boy band’s fourth studio album, FOUR, we decided to take on the difficult task of choosing our favorite songs from each album. Check out our picks below and tell us what your favorite 1D songs are at @MusicCreatesUs! You can also subscribe to the playlist here.

Up All Night:
Same Mistakes
More Than This
Stand Up

Take Me Home:
Over Again
Rock Me

Midnight Memories:
You & I

Stockholm Syndrome
Act My Age


Behind The Song: Busy Living – “Let You Down”

November 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Los Angeles’ own Busy Living has recently premiered their debut single, “Let You Down,” which was produced by Spoon’s Jim Eno. The indie-pop band, comprised of Mike Moonves (lead vocals, guitar), Tim Hutton (bass, vocals), and Matt Leddy (keys, vocals), will be releasing more music later this year.

Read what frontman Mike had to say about the recording process and the meaning behind “Let You Down.”

“Let You Down” is a breakup song without the relationship. It’s about two people who feel very differently towards each other and how damaging that can be for both parties. For someone like me, it can be even harder to be the dissapointer than the disappointee. The guilt that went through my heart when this poor girl poured her tears out to me was almost unbearable. I thought that we had an understanding but people hear what they want to hear. Regardless of how many times I tried to explain that I wasn’t interested, she couldn’t accept it. So this song is an apology to her as well as a defense of my actions.

The recording process for this one was very creative and different from what I’m used to. I’m a bit of a planner. I like to have all of the pieces laid out before they’re put together. While I do enjoy a bit of spontaneity and improvisation, I like to know where the ship is going before I board. With this song, Jim (Eno) basically kicked me out of the studio while he and the other band members tinkered around with sounds and arrangements. I waited outside chain-smoking while they sequenced the drum machine and the live drums to meet in this perfect organic medium. I appreciated the tactic, as well as the results, and we really ran with it.” – MM

Feature Friday: TWICEYOUNG

November 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

via Golightly MediaFeature by Bailey Garno

Having recently released their sophomore album, Prefer You, the Nashville natives TWICEYOUNG are on our radar at Music Creates Us. Floating around the indie pop/electronic genre, this three-piece offers a characteristically eerie synthesized, mixed with acoustic sound that seems totally appropriate as the end of the fall season approaches. Formed in the fall of 2012, TWICEYOUNG is made up of Tyler Laspopoulos (vocals and guitar), Zach Myers (drums), and Seth Lourdon (bass).

The first thing you need to know about these guys is that they like to give away their stuff…for free. Their ideology? Spread the music, share the love. So this is something all music lovers can appreciate and respect.

Something else noteworthy is the story behind the band’s name. In an interview with Noisey back in September, Laspopoulos admits that he drew his inspiration from his grandmother. In the final months of her life, Laspopoulos was by her side, listening to the crazy stories from her roaring 20s. The writer admits that he never did what she did and that “[she] was way cooler than [him].” The band’s name reflects this sense of nostalgia that was procured from memories that weren’t even Laspopoulos’.

With a dark, glittering sound and lyrics that’ll make you think twice, TWICEYOUNG is worth a listen. You can download Prefer You on iTunes or stream for free on blackbook.com. Enjoy!

Album Review: BØRNS – Candy

November 13, 2014 § Leave a comment

via Interscope Records

Review by Bailey Garno

Just as pretty and unique as his debut single, BØRNS released his first EP alongside Interscope Records this past November 10th. Candy delivers four sweet tracks that showcase the supreme vocal and instrumental talent of show runner Garrett Borns. Here’s a review to give you a taste of what you’ll hear.

The first track starts the album out on the right note. BØRNS’ unique vocals drawl, “Candy, she’s sweet like candy in my veins,” giving a nod to the title of the EP and the intoxicating effect candy has, coursing through the body like a drug. “Electric Love,” like the other tracks off the EP, has deep, synthetic percussion elements that BØRNS’ voice soars over. With the LA-based singer’s higher range and the heavy bass instrumentals, Candy is very reminiscent of Haim’s Days Are Gone, a uniquely indie-pop-rock album indicative of the exciting shift alternative music has taken.

Following “Electric Love” is the already beloved and beachy “10,000 Emerald Pools.” Each song on the four-track EP is distinguishable from another but still clearly fits the signature BØRNS sound. The next track, for example, is still synth-driven but manages to sneak in an acoustic bit that shimmers like the surface of 10,000 pools. The word that comes to mind when listening is “mirage,” which I suppose makes sense given the blissfully breezy melody I mentioned earlier. “10,000 Emerald Pools” will be a favorite off the EP for sure.

Coming in with a contemporary take on the boy bands of the ‘60s, “Past Lives” is a groovy beat that will evoke the singing-into-a-hairbrush phenomenon. The chorus is particularly catchy, with a repetitive rhyme scheme that can be excused because we know from earlier tracks that BØRNS is by no means lyrically inept. Overall this happy, upbeat tune is my favorite on the EP.

Many times the final track off an album can feel a bit exhausted. This is not the case for Candy. To close out the successful new EP, BØRNS rushes into “Seeing Stars.” The track is a final energized punch that has the effect of moving everyone onto the dance floor. It will surely not disappoint.

So if you have a bit of a sweet tooth and you’re craving a new flavor, you need to listen to BØRNS’ debut EP, Candy, now! Available for download off of iTunes and for streaming on Spotify, have a listen and let us know what you think of this indelible treat.

Rating: 4.75/5
Recommended Tracks:
“Seeing Stars”
“10,000 Emerald Pools”


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