Posts Tagged ‘Laura Stillo’

Getting to Know Starlet Kina Grannis

Posted by    |    April 14th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Kina Grannis performs at the Kessler Theater Sunday, April 15, Doors at 7, Show at 8pm. The below interview was conducted in October 2010, when Grannis appeared in the Cambridge Room at House of Blues.

Kina Grannis is freezing. The green room at the House of Blues, which is adorned with funky wallpaper instead of living up to its namesake, is entirely too cold for the month of October in Texas, and Grannis’s thin black sweater isn’t helping very much.

It’s the Fall of 2010 and Kina is getting ready for her performance in the Cambridge Room, a cozy environment perfect for her fans that take her lyrics to heart. The audience will be able to get close enough to the stage to shout out their requests and see her fingers fly across the frets.

We begin the interview, and within moments, she and I are talking like old friends. Put two California girls in a room in Texas and they’re bound to bond over the lack of palm trees in the Lone Star state. After a stint in Austin, Kina can relate.

Photographer Emili Carmichael is taking pictures of Grannis during our conversation. “I feel like that light is probably doing scary things to my face!” she laughs as Carmichael’s flash emits a blinding light and the camera shutter clicks open and closed. It is pretty much impossible to make this girl look anything but gorgeous.

The first time I heard Grannis’s voice, I was casually listening to The Sixty One, browsing for new artists to add to my self-professed awesome collection of underground singers when I stumbled across her cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence“. My ears have forever submitted to her sweet voice and talent powerhouse. Her music is a comforting blend of honesty and hope. Grannis, the eternal optimist, has a way of writing the most dismal affairs into positive, uplifting melodies. (more…)

Getting to Know Landman-Slash-Musician, Albert Aguilar. Yeah, You Heard Me Correctly.

Posted by    |    March 15th, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Oklahoma City oil and gas man Albert Aguilar is the most atypical musician I’ve ever interviewed. The earth’s natural elements fuel his paycheck; music is more of a hobby for him, despite his EP and upcoming album that would suggest otherwise. I spoke with Aguilar in Dallas late last year during his first national tour alongside British artist Lee MacDougall. We sit down in the green room of Poor David’s (which I always want to call ‘Poor Richard’s’, but that’s a side effect of me being a junkie for The Office) where he hands me a Miller Light. As I set the beer down on the counter, his tour manager enters the sullen room and tries to pay Aguilar the earnings from his performance, but he refuses to accept the cash.

The tour manager places the green in Aguilar’s hand, before being chased down by the musician who tries to shove the money down the manager’s bowling shirt.  Muffled, argumentative voices are overheard for a good two minutes as I begin to laugh into my tape recorder. He’s the only musician that I have ever seen refuse money.

“I feel bad, there are a lot of struggling musicians out there. Me, yeah I get paid for [performing], but…” he tells me, his eyes resting on the ground. Aguilar’s day job provides him with something few musicians have: peace of mind and a reconciled checking account. The money doesn’t matter to him. “Yeah, I just like to play,” he confesses.

The men finally settle on an amount of money that Aguilar is comfortable accepting, and he sits down to continue our interview.

Aguilar describes his music as “real and honest.” Says the musican, “I honestly feel like I have something to offer if you really want to listen.” Also, can we talk about how pretty he is? Because, damn. (more…)

Valentine’s Day Playlist

Posted by    |    February 10th, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Falling in love is never accompanied without a soundtrack. It’s the times when you are driving alone in your car, thinking about that certain someone, listening to Rihanna’s lyrics, wondering if you, too, have found love in a hopeless place.

Valentine’s Day is approaching, making citizens of the United States, and those who stream Hallmark commercials online, feel the need to be falling in love with someone; a significant other, a dog, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. We’re all looking for any lyrics that can be manipulated to fit the current goings on in our life stories.

Here’s a Valentine’s Day Playlist that will get your heart pumping and your brain thinking thoughts of love, or at least, lust.

1. “Mercy” – Matt Nathanson. Nathanson’s songs are always pulsating with sexually-charged lyrics, and “Mercy” lands within these boundaries. This time, he wants “a real love/ to let me in”. And then, of course, that love should let him between the sheets. At least he wanted to be in love first. (more…)

Literature Lessons with Former Rilo Kiley Guitarist, Blake Sennett of The Elected

Posted by    |    February 6th, 2012 at 9:17 am

Wearing a yellow Bob Marley tee paired with seersucker shorts, Blake Sennett casually walks through Club Dada, hours before he will perform to a hipster crowd that looks as if they rolled around in Buffalo Exchange moments before arriving at the venue.

As we sit down for his interview, the lead singer of The Elected band fumbles through the Facebook application on his iPhone, frustrated with social media.

“I have my own personal Facebook, and then I have ‘The Elected’ Facebook, and the label put me on as an ‘administrator’ which, I know that gives me access to things, but how do I post to something if I’m an admin?” questions the former Rilo Kiley guitarist.

As I show him a strategic method to technologically morph from Blake Sennett the man into The Elected the band, we discuss our California origins, and joke about the stronghold technology has over our lives.

I ask him if I’m allowed to say that I was – am – a big Rilo Kiley fan. “Yeah, aw thanks,” he responds, a hint of longing resounding in his vocal chords, “Yeah, I liked Rilo Kiley too. I think we all loved Rilo Kiley,” he says, poking around on his touch screen phone before clarifying, “I mean; not everybody, I just mean, people in the band.” (more…)

TONIGHT: Deleted Scenes at Dan’s Silverleaf, Interview with Matt Dowling

Posted by    |    January 31st, 2012 at 3:11 pm

When band members can sing, play instruments (and play them well, at that) and have a riotous sense of humor, it doesn’t go unnoticed. Matt Dowling (bass, keys) of DC-based band Deleted Scenes is one of those triple threats. Not to mention he also started his own company aimed at helping others. Helping people. Plenty of decent people don’t volunteer ever, and this guy is dressing the wounds of the bleeding whilst struggling to make a name for himself music-wise.

Deleted Scenes’ Sophomore LP Young People’s Church of the Air, released last fall includes intricate, circuitous songs such as the melancholy “Nassau” and eerily haunting “A Bunch of People Who Love You Like Crazy.” We caught up with Dowling to find out what the DC songster thinks of Texas, and about the hypothetical outcome of a Deleted Scenes vs Deleted Scenes flag football game. 

On your Sophomore album, Young People’s Church of the Air, which song was the most rewarding to record?

I think the start-to-finish process within the studio for the recording of “English as a Second Language” was pretty amazing to be a part of. That song was the least developed going into the studio and the initial takes of it were pretty abysmal. We had to try a number of different experiments, such as recording the vocals to tape and messing around with tape speeds, in order to get it right. To see how bad the initial takes were and then see how good (at least we think) the final product was, it made that song particularly rewarding to record.

What terrifies you most about Texas?

If one state could secede from the Union right now and self-sustain is would have to be Texas. In some sense, that is the most terrifying about Texas. Texas could secede and start a war against the rest of the US and probably fare pretty well. Also, the whole Waco – David Koresh thing was pretty freaky…..but also kinda awesome.  (more…)

Interview with Matt Pelham of The Features

Posted by    |    January 26th, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I don’t know exactly what it is, but there is something about a man with a southern accent that drives girls mad. Tennessee band the Features will arrive in Dallas tomorrow, January 27th, at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum, in support of their new album, Wilderness (8 out of 10 stars by SPIN Magazine). Along with a refreshingly eclectic sound, attendees will surely experience an earful of charming southern twang as lead singer Matt Pelham engages his audience. I caught up with Pelham to chat about friends Kings of Leon and find out what exactly you should buy him at the bar.

If you could write the future for the Features what would you want the band to accomplish in five years’ time?

Mainly, if we could just get to a point where we’re able to tour and record records, not have day jobs and just be able to play music, that would be ideal.

Kings of Leon proclaimed your band to be “the best undiscovered band around”, what does that feel like?

It’s extremely flattering. It’s nice of anyone to say that [laughs]. It’s quite a compliment. I don’t know that it’s changed anything, we still just do what we’ve always done. (more…)

Dallas-Based Singer-Songwriter Cameron Ernst in the Top 10 for the GRAMMY’s ‘Emerging Artist Competition’

Posted by    |    January 19th, 2012 at 10:37 am

Let’s time travel back to this past Summer, when our website was blowing up with Kansas-bred, LA-educated, Dallas-based singer-songwriter Cameron Ernst and his ‘Love is Louder’ campaign. Sound familiar? Good. Well, this talented lad is in the Top 10 for the GRAMMY’s Emerging Artist Competition, which is a pretty big deal. Like most ‘Top 10’ events, the way the competition is hammered down to the last man (or woman) standing is by the voting power of America. So, it is up to you, darling audience, to help Ernst win.

You can only vote once, and the winner gets to play during GRAMMY week in Los Angeles. Vote here and let’s send one of our own to LA, so everyone can see just how talented us Dallasites are.


Lana Del Rey On SNL, Generation X Has No Idea What Is Going On

Posted by    |    January 16th, 2012 at 10:53 am

Former underground pin-up sweetie-quickly turned mainstream beauty, “singer” Lana Del Rey performed as this week’s musical guest on Saturday Night Live, hosted by brit Daniel Radcliffe (who does a mean American accent and even meaner impression of Casey Anthony’s prime-for-psychoanalysis dog).

SNL has been upping their game as of late, adhering to the standards of the Internet-generation (Bon Iver will perform as the musical guest on Feb 4th, lord knows how he will manage to fit his nine-piece band on the tiny train station platform), those who spend their free time soaking up the opinions of music blogs, downloading Spin magazine’s playlists, hoping to find an underground band that will be theirs and theirs alone for a grand total of six weeks before they’re scooped up and placed in a Apple product commercial (I’m looking at you, Grouplove).

ANYWAY, point is, while Del Rey and the internet gen are totally BFF forevz, she completely ate it on SNL. Which sucks, because I maintain “Video Games” (below) is one of the most culturally observant songs I’ve ever heard. If you listen closely, you can hear Twitter feeds blowing up around this performance.

I understand the need for pronunciation, but just listen to her diction – it’s like she’s making fun of the idea that people will be making fun of her and that she just doesn’t care at all, because damnit, she’s onstage, and hell, you’re not.

If, for whatever reason, the above video intrigues you, and you wonder how you can get your grubby mitts on more of Del Rey’s limited supply of music, “Born to Die,” her latest single, is currently the free single of the week on iTunes. Download it ASAP, and perhaps it’ll serve as your secret song for some unnamed period of time. Or until the rest of your friends read this blog. Then you’re screwed.

Reminder, TOMORROW: Burning Hotels with Mon Julien, Air Review and Menkena at Granada Theater

Posted by    |    January 13th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Or as we like to call it, party time! Just a reminder that our video crew will be hanging out at Granada Theater for a good portion of the day tomorrow capturing some sweet footage of Local Edge Presents Burning Hotels for their upcoming Artist Interview Sessions video. But, you music-hungry moguls, here are some of our AIS vids to hold you over until the Burning Hotels edit is complete. Check the Air Review and Menkena AIS vids below for a preview of tomorrow night’s opening acts. Come find our cameras and say hey!

Upcoming Video: Burning Hotels

Posted by    |    January 11th, 2012 at 3:00 pm

As we recently named Fort Worth outfit Burning Hotels’ single “Beard” to be our top local song of 2011, we haven’t been able to stop crushing on them in the New Year. This Saturday, January 14, YouPlusDallas will be at Granada Theater catching the catch-all at the Local Edge Presents Burning Hotels with Mon Julien, Air Review and Menkena. Our camera crew will be hovering just below the stage, an arm’s-length away from Chance Morgan and Matt Mooty’s shiny shoes, capturing the glory on film for you, our darling audience, and transforming it into a certified Artist Interview Session.

We’ve hung out with Burning Hotels a lot, but have yet to devote an Artist Interview Session video to the sex wave rockers, until now. Here are some fun times we’re currently reminiscing on as we anxiously await this weekend’s events. Check it.

Local Edge Presents Burning Hotels Saturday, January 14, Doors at 7pm, Click for tickets