Artist Spotlights

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Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Simple Plan

Simple_Plan_-_Pub_3_-_Chapman_Baehler

Montreal, Quebec-based pop-punk outfit Simple Plan aren’t just kids anymore—they’re a double-platinum-selling quintet with more than 800,000 records sold in Canada, and a decade’s worth of experience under their belts. In June they put an end to a three-year wait for their new record by releasing Get Your Heart On!, their fourth official full-length. To celebrate the new release, we heard from guitarist Sebastien Lefebvre, and asked him a few questions. They’ve also contributed an Rdio playlist of songs they like to listen to on tour. Listen to it below and follow along with the Playlist Notes.

Playlist Notes

1. Tom Petty - There Goes my Girl (driving song)
2. Lykke Li - Love out of Lust (after show chill song)
3. Goldfinger - Going Home (End of tour song)
4. Unwritten Law - Nevermind (We were on tour together song)
5. Passion Pit - Little Secrets (After show dance party song)
6. Rise Against - Architects (Pre-show energy song)
7. Neon Trees - Animal (Put us in the mood to play song)
8. Bon Iver – Holocene (Flying or after show wind down song).

Five Questions with Simple Plan

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Sebastien Lefebvre: I feel like most important or influential people in the world of music have been heard before. But, to name a few of the artists I always go back to, and might not be the most popular/obvious: Bjork, Bon Iver, Joey Cape. Actually, I pick Joey Cape. He's the singer for a band called Lagwagon that I used to listen to growing up. Everything he's done since or touches, I'm a fan of. Whether it's Bad Astronaut, The Playing Favorites, or Joey Cape's Bad Loud, I'm a fan of his voice and his writing.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SL: The new Bjork, Biophilia. It's not out yet, that's why I would like to hear it.  Same sentiment towards the new Blink-182 album.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SL: There's a few. But the Offspring is the band that really got me into punk rock and playing music. So it would have to be them. My teen years also had a weak spot for Bush-X. Big fan growing up.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SL: We just want our music to make you feel something, hopefully forget about the bad stuff and have a good time.
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SL: This record is about having fun. We wanted to make a record that had a little bit of every record in it. An album that had everything that Simple Plan is good at. The fun and energy, a few deeper songs that the fans like to connect to, and also trying a few new things here and there. I think we achieved that.

You can listen to all of Simple Plan’s music on Rdio now. For more info about them, check their official website and follow them on Twitter.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

An Introduction to: Justin Hines

Justin Hines

Newmarket, Ontario-born Justin Hines knew what he wanted to do with his life when he was just 14 years old. After singing at a Toronto Raptors game, he knew that both his heart and his voice belonged in music, and that’s where he’s been since. That Hines is bound to his wheelchair (he has Larsen Syndrome, a condition affecting his joints) has made nary a difference in his life—he taught himself to play piano—and has since played on bigger and bigger stages, including those at the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics. Hines’ third album, Days to Recall, is the followup to his 2009 effort, Chasing Silver, and is now available on Rdio. You can listen to some of Justin’s favourite songs on his playlist below:

While you listen, check out Hines’ official site, follow him on his blog, and check out our Five Questions with Hines.

Five Questions with Justin Hines

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Justin Hines: I often find myself telling people about Ron Sexsmith. His lyrics are poetic and meaningful and his melodies are unbelievably beautiful. I'm a big fan. 
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    JH: I haven't heard all of Mumford and Sons' material yet, but I'd sure like to soon! Their sound is fresh and new, and I'm thrilled for their success!
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    JH: My family often speaks of my childhood fascination with Willie Nelson. "On the Road Again" was probably the first song I ever sang in public and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I even had a long red-haired wig and miniature acoustic guitar (haha). I still love him to this day. 
  4. I hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    JH: I hope people are feeling something, anything really, when they listen to our music. 
  5. I was thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    JH: I was thinking about the amazing journey this last little while has been as well as being inspired by other peoples' journeys when we wrote music for the new album. 

Playlist Notes

1. Ron Sexsmith - Former Glory: A beautifully poetic song about finding the light at the end of the tunnel by my favorite Canadian singer/songwriter.

2. James Taylor - Copperline: Basically every James Taylor song would be on my playlist so I picked the one I woke up singing this morning.

3. Eva Cassidy - Fields Of Gold: Love the original Sting version as well but this cover really is a spiritual experience by an artist taken from us too soon.

4. Iron and Wine - Naked As We Came: Probably the most unique and vulnerable love song I've ever heard. Love that guitar part as well.  

5. Gordon Lightfoot - Song For A Winter's Night: Who doesn't want to be by a fire drinking hot chocolate while listening to this song?  

6. Chocolate Genius - My Mom: I'm not sure how to describe how I feel after listening to this song but I'm pretty sure it's one of the most honest and raw expressions of pain that music has ever known.  

7. Coldplay - Fix You: Really nice melody that seems to compliment the comforting sentiment of the song. Moving and majestic. 

8. Johnny Cash - Hurt: I'll never forget hearing this song and seeing the video for the first time. Talk about an impactful and meaningful way to leave this world.  

9. Alison Krauss And Union Station - The Lucky One: In my opinion, Alison has one of the most pure voices in the world and supported by this great song with amazing musicianship make this one of my favorite tracks in recent memory.  

10. Jim Croce - Photographs And Memories: Another artist where every one of his songs could make this playlist. I'm not at the point in life where I reminisce of days gone by but if I was, this song would be playing in the background. 

11. Ray Lamontagne - Hannah: His voice alone tells a story and his songs give him an outlet to share it. 

12. Kings Of Leon - Notion: Can't help but move my head to this song. Great album by a great modern day rock band.  

13. Adele - Rumor Has It: Truly a shining star in music right now. She's breaking down some barriers with her unbelievable talent and this song is just plain cool.  

14. Janis Ian - At Seventeen: What an incredible take on the awkward years of life. One of my favorites from that era of song.  

15. John Martyn - May You Never: A very underrated writer and guitar player in my opinion. It's always hard to wish someone well in a heartfelt way and I think this song does it beautifully.

Artist SpotlightsMusic

Rdio Pre-Release: Listen to Dom's Family of Love

DOM

Dom is back from their debut EP, Sun Bronzed Greek Gods, with another morsel of summertime pop fun, the EP Family of Love. Although this new release isn’t available to the world until next week, you can stream it right now on Rdio.

And while you’re listening to, Tweeting about and Facebook Sharing Family of Love, we have Five Questions with Dom and an especially spunky playlist, Caggot Funts mixxx 69.

Five Questions with Dom

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Dom: Judy Nylon
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    Dom: John Coltrane's A Love Supreme
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    Dom: Ace of Base
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    Dom: High
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    Dom: What Mariah Carey would sound like on acid with The Spiders from Mars as her backing band
Artist SpotlightsGiveawaysMusic

All About: The Black Lips

The Black Lips stand apart in Atlanta—though they hail from Georgia, which is typically associated with southern hospitality, these guys unapologetically rock out. Their sixth album, Arabia_Mountain, was their first ever created with the assistance of a producer—Mark Ronson (yes, the same one behind “New Direction (Mark Ronson Dub Remix)”).

We have three great things for you related to the Black Lips today (four, if you count the Exclusive remix). Black Lips singer-guitarist and new Rdio Influencer Cole Alexander answered Five Questions with the Band and put together a playlist: “music that the black lips like to listen to on road it inspires us. some of this music sounds nothing like the music we make. but i want to make some music like this.”

Finally, we have a pair of tickets for their Empty Bottle show in Chicago, to celebrate their Lollapalooza appearance and East Coast tour. So press play on this playlist and dig in.

Five Questions with the Black Lips

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Cole Alexander: Robert Lee “Sugar” Hightower (of Slim & The Supreme Angels and The Supreme Angels
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    CA: Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s legendary paper recording of the voice of Abraham Lincoln. Technically it’s phonautograph. Not sure if it actually exists but there is some speculation that it is buried deep in the vaults of the Library of Congress unbeknown to them
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    CA: Nirvana and The Beatles
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    CA: KOOKIE
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    CA: Spiderman being MOLESTED

Win Tickets to See the Black Lips in Chicago

We have two tickets for the August 5th Lips show at the Empty Bottle in Chicago to give away. How do you enter? Tweet a link to the Black Lips’ “New Direction (Mark Ronson Dub Remix)” track on Rdio, plus the hashtag #BlackLipsRemix—do that between now and Wednesday, July 27th, 2:00 pm PST and we’ll randomly select a winner. For more information, read the Official Rules.

 

If you can’t see them in Chicago, the Black Lips are coming to a city near you:

  • August 03 Nashville, TN @ Exit/In (tickets)
  • August 04 St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird (tickets)
  • August 05 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle (tickets)
  • August 06 Chicago, IL @ Grant Park - Lollapalooza (tickets)
  • September 08 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre - Hopscotch Festival (tickets)

∞  July 27, 2011 — 3:36PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Sondre Lerche

Norweigan singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche mastered a lot of music from beyond his hometown—he’s a student of world. His latest album, a self-titled sixth album, touches on the sound of America, Rock ‘n Roll, with an undercurrent of complex guitar rhythms. If you’re curious about his musical past, who he believes contributed significantly to music, or what he listens to before a show, read (and listen) below.

Five Questions with Sondre Lerche

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Sondre Lerche: Van Dyke Parks is an amazing composer, arranger and all around guy whose work and spirit I really treasure. His album Song Cycle is a great, wild place to start.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SL: I’ve yet to hear Meaninglessness by Jon Brion. It seems impossible to come by and I’m really curious what it sounds like. Also looking for A Tabua de Esmeralda and Africa Brasil by Jorge Ben.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SL: Pretty much anything that was playing on MTV from 89 to 92.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SL: Into
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SL: lots of things I won’t bore you with

∞  July 21, 2011 — 3:40PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Ellie Goulding

Although she left drama school to become a musician, there’s a sense of the dramatic in Ellie Goulding’s music. Breaking into the British mainstream, she worked with Frankmusic and was chosen in the BBC’s music critic poll as the “Sound of 2010.” Ellie hasn’t disappointed, with an incredibly popular (and as you may see on Rdio) heavily listened-to debut album, Lights. Ellie answered Five Questions for Rdio which reveals much about her musical heritage. She also created a playlist reflecting her trademark blend of electronic and pop.

Five Questions with Ellie Goulding

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Ellie Goulding: I know this seems ridiculous, but it is surprising how many young people don’t know who Stevie Nicks is. She has inspired so so many female singers and songwriters, and yet a lot of people still think she is a “he” because of the name. I was in the same room as her lately and felt truly honoured. Her voice really gives me chills and shivers and she has had an incredible life.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    EG: It would be Wild Beasts’ new record, Smother on vinyl. They get labelled as dream indie pop, but you can never quite pigeon hole them. They make distinct melodic piano driven pop songs about love and sexual desire, with really beautiful guitar riffs, and the singer Hayden has an incredible vibrato. It’s all I listen to at the moment.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    EG: The PretendersSimply Red and Seal. Random I know, but whenever I squint my eyes and think really hard about what music I used to be around, I always concluded with these artists. We lived in the middle of nowhere so we were always driving to somewhere with a CD on.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    EG: Hopeful
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    EG: My childhood

∞  July 13, 2011 — 3:41PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

An Introduction to: Diamond Rings

John O’Regan didn’t begin as Diamond Rings—he started with The D’Urbervilles and art school. After moving from the ‘burbs into Toronto, he then began creating music anew as Diamond Rings, releasing it with accompanying music videos. Astralwerks recently re-released his debut album, Special Affections, which got him nominated for the Canadian Polaris Music Prize.

What’s next for John O and Diamond Rings? You’ll have to Wait & See. In the meantime, learn more about what inspires him, and listen to his Astralwerks-hosted Diamond Rings’ playlist.

Five Questions with Diamond Rings

1

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Diamond Rings: Klaus Nomi
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    DR: Speaking In Tongues by the Talking Heads. But it’d have to be the one with the super limited edition Robert Rauschenberg designed album cover.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    DR: Bruce Springsteen
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    DR: Open minded
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    DR: Myself

∞  June 27, 2011 — 12:15PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Sam Roberts

 

Sam Roberts isn’t only a singer-songwriter—he’s also, unsurprisingly, the Sam Roberts Band’s front-man. Although he released music such as the Juno-winning albums We Were Born in a Flame and Love at the End of the World, he aimed to capture the same bottled lightning with the Sam Roberts Band, which recently released their first album, Collider. Sam Roberts himself took time to chat with us and create a playlist, which is hosted on Universal Music Canada’s Rdio profile. Listen now to Sam Roberts Made Us A Playlist! and keep reading to learn more about the man and musician.

Five Questions with Sam Roberts

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Sam Roberts: Rodriguez..He is a great singer-songwriter from the 60’s and 70’s who never got his due in North America although he hails from Detroit.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    SR: His album Cold Fact became a cult-classic in South Africa where my family is from and so his music was a part of our upbringing. 30 years after the fact, he was brought down to South Africa where (to his surprise) he played a sold-out tour, featuring the iconic songs from Cold Fact, with every soul in the audience singing every word. That doesn’t happen every day.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    SR: Let’s call it a given that the Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan featured heavily during my childhood. That being said, Paul Simon’s Gracelanddefined my whole musical world when I was 11. It stood out so completely from everything else on the radio at time and blended his amazing voice and lyricism with the South African music I had always loved.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    SR: Dancing uncontrollably
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    SR:  The !!!FUTURE!!!!

∞  June 22, 2011 — 12:15PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Colour Revolt

Started by a gang of Mississippi high school boys, the band Colour Revolt has seen a lot change, including college and a recording session interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. Thus, parts of their sound and spirit grew into what you’ll hear in the newly released deluxe version of their second studio album, The Cradle. Learn more about them through their singer, guitar and keyboard player, Sean Kirkpatrick, as he answers Five Questions with Colour Revolt. While you’re reading, listen to Colour Revolt’s Songs That Never Get Old.

Five Questions with Colour Revolt

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Colour Revolt: There’s a guy named Sam Amidon who has really struck my fancy as of late. He does great revisions of old folk songs. His unique approach to these tunes is obviously apparent from the first moment you hear his voice. Rarely do I hear artists make someone else’s song seem like something completely their own.
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    CR: I would love to listen to the record School House Rock Rocks. Where else are you going to find great School House Rock covers by the likes ofPavementDaniel Johnston and Biz Markie?
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    CR: The Presidents of the United States of America’s self titled record still reminds of the finer times of my childhood. Even to this day I can pop that record in and sing every single word.
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    CR: In a tizzy
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    CR: The flight of the Kitty Hawk

∞  June 9, 2011 — 3:53PM

Artist SpotlightsMusic

All About: Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly combines two seemingly opposite styles of music—the traditional sound of Irish song with modern punk rock. Their new album, Speed of Darkness, is a testament to how much you can do with high-energy fiddles, guitars and enthusiastic singers. Today we have Five Questions with Flogging Molly and a special-edition playlist from band member Dennis Casey, so keep reading to learn more about Flogging Molly. 

Five Questions with Flogging Molly

  1. Who do you think is an important musician that most people have never heard of before?
    Bridget Regan of Flogging Molly: Manu Chao
  2. If you had access to any record in the world, what would you listen to right now?
    BR: An original copy of Tigermilk.
  3. Which album or artist do you most associate with your childhood?
    BR: The Smiths
  4. We hope people are ______________ when they listen to our music.
    BR: Inspired
  5. We were thinking about ______________ when we wrote music for the new album.
    BR: Being honest

Dennis Casey of Flogging Molly created a playlist of “Songs I Love” and includes a story for each one below…

Playlist Notes

1. Avey Tare, Lucky 1: Great sounding record, grab your headphones and turn it up. This record sounds like it was recorded underwater and at times on a submarine.
2. Snooks Eaglin, Funky Malaguena: Snooks Eaglin was a guitarist I found out about while in New Orleans. He was a great guitar player and singer as this song shows. He has a very loose style and a very welcoming voice. It just makes you smile and want to hear it again. He is usually called a Blues artist but a songster is more like it. He does sing and play the blues like a master but he also pulls out songs like this. You can’t go wrong with this guy.
3. Cyro Baptista, Bird Boy: This is a cool record, by a Brazilian percussionist. So you can bet this is all about rhythm and using percussion at times as a voice. It takes you to other places.
4. The Drowning Men, Rita: These guys did a few tours with us. This song was stuck in my head from day one. I found myself singing it in my head day and night. Great song. It’s nice when that happens with a great song. Check them out.
5. Jimmy Hendrix, Manic Depression: Nate, George and I like to play various covers at sound check before the whole band gets there. Nate came up with this one. So I have been listening to it to learn it. Then just getting hooked on it. Jimi Hendrix never ceases to amaze me and inspire me.
6. Billy Childish, Joe Strummers Grave: Put this song on 10 after a few beers and a few shots of whiskey. This song has a swagger all its own delivered with a snarling cockney accent. Great lyrics on top of all of that.
7. James Booker, St James Infirmary: This guy sounds like his fingers are spiders on a piano, and he sings with all the soul a man could. This is one of my favorite American folk songs. He does a haunting version.
8. Billy Bragg & Wilco, One by One: This song has such a beautiful sound, these guys really nailed it on this. They matched Woody Guthrie’s lyrics and sentiment perfectly with the music they wrote for his lyrics. It’s such a sad but true lyric.
9. Black Sabbath, N.I.B.: Heaveyyyyyyyy. One of the hugest guitar riffs ever. Who else can start a song with a bass solo and pull it off?
10. Bob Dylan, I’ll Keep it with Mine: I like the way he plays the piano on this song. It’s a nice change from the guitar he usually uses. Also the lyrics are, well, It’s Bob Dylan so enough said there.
11. Paul Westerberg, It’s a Wonderful Lie: This song is my hangover song. I can listen to it till it goes way. I have a lot of them. But this one is my current hangover soundtrack.
12. Radiohead, Reckoner: I purchased the version with all the separate tracks, you can import into Garage Band and remix it. It’s really interesting to hear all the parts of this song, as you wish to. It seems like a complex song, but when you isolate certain tracks you can hear the basic song with vocal and acoustic guitar or which ever way you like. I wish more artists did this.

∞  June 1, 2011 — 3:56PM