Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Just Visiting Album Review by Gerard Ucelli

Even though this album isn’t what I’m necessarily into, these guys have a very radio friendly rock sound that is highly reminiscent of the grunge era. 
The single “Life In A Shoebox,” which is hands down the best song off this album, the band can be easily compared to bands such as Nirvana and Beck. I love how the story flows and it makes the viewer want to listen more into the story. 
What makes me commend Just Visiting is that they’re a bilingual band. A couple of songs were in Spanish on this album, “Te Prometo” and “Para Ti.” 
Even though I am not bilingual, I felt like the lyrics represented tough times and depression because these tracks were definitely the most emotionally charged. I took an interest in re listening to those songs despite not knowing any Spanish.
The very beginning of “Lust” had a very poppy feel to it at first. It felt like I was listening to The Strokes. As the song goes further, it had the presence of listening to Brand New’s older material. Lead Vocalist, Johnny Cervini has a similar singing style to Jessie Lacey when it comes to his darker songs. 
At first I wasn’t a fan, but after listening to how deep the lyrics are in each and every song, I have to give them the upmost respect in what they do because it is done so passionately.
Check them out on Facebook

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Link Drop- New Music, Videos, and More!!!

My Pet Dragon
I interviewed My Pet Dragon last year for the Banner and really heard from them since until a few days ago. I'm happy to report they are okay and have a bunch of new music. Check out their music video for "Moonshine," and listen to their album Mountains and Cities.

Listen to album

Katie Fasulo
KT is a very talented singer and a personal good friend of mine who used rock out with Spread the Rumor a few years back. Check out her acoustic song "Goodbye."

Jon Comis
Check out my friend Jon's acoustic covers. He's getting a ton of views and positive responses from these!

The second single "In Your Face" off ID's fourth coming debut album, Ashes Divide, slated for an early 2012 release on Romulus X Records.

Download available at

Crash the Superbowl
Watch the video here and vote!

Voodoo Terror Tribe
Check out this metal band's NAME YOUR PRICE ALBUM, Stands to Reason EP.

Talain Rayne
Check out the album Attic Lights and listen or download it.

Radioactive Material
This local S.I. punk band, and close friends of mine, are kick starting their new band with a few songs for the masses on their Facebook. 

Check them out here

Mike McNichol
Check out some humble yet passionate recordings by local S.I. guitarist Mike McNichol. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Rachel Chan Interview on Album 'Go'

This article was originally done with the Christian Post and can be found here.

Rachel Chan, daughter of best selling author and world renown evangelist Francis Chan, is making her own headlines with the upcoming release of her first album Go, slated for release Jan. 10 2012 under the EMI Christian Music Distribution.

The 15-year-old singer has had a passion for music her whole life. Playing the piano since she was six, recently teaching herself guitar, and singing as far back as she can remember – it was time to put it together.

Usually focused on student ministry, Chan said getting signed was unexpected and an awesome experience. "Definitely very exciting and new," said Chan, as she was in continuous prayer about the situation. 

The young singer was very blessed as she got hooked up with a well known producer from the start, Dave Lubben. "I absolutely loved working with him. He was like a big brother," she said.

One of the greatest attributes of working with Lubben was his attitude and making "everything about the Lord."

Rachel said her mom was a singer and she was used to being around a studio and watching others record, but as far as doing it herself for the first time, she describes it as "mind-blowing."

She expressed the importance of being involved with the writing process of the album making sure her hand was on every track. 

"I don't know why God chooses people," she said when asked about writing the lyrics, but states she gives glory to God, loves music, and does it for the kingdom.

Chan feels she has a very important message for her peers and she is unafraid to tell it. "I hope they are encouraged to be bold for Christ, and be serious and real about God."

She hopes everyone can see the awe and beauty, and the importance of coming from somewhere the listener can relate to.

Perhaps one of the most surprising features on this album is a guest rap appearance by Francis Chan on the album's first single, "Prove It."

She originally had "No intention of having my dad rap on it," she said. "Let's try having my dad rap on it," Chan said after talking about needed a little something extra for the bridge of the song.

The key aspect of the song is to portray the love of a father both here on Earth and spiritually. Chan describes the song as a metaphor for the love of God and how he takes care of us.

As far as her goals for the future, Chan said, "[I'm] not much of a planner and go with the flow," and hopes people who hear are changed and encouraged to do something crazy for the Lord. 

Next year she has some shows lined up with the Rend Collective Experiment, and will also perform at places her father speaks.

Right now she said she is perfectly content with praising the Lord, and "doing school stuff."

Chan would like to add, "Be bold in your faith and give all glory to Jesus. Don't be scared , the greatest witness we have is our lifestyle. Don't bury your talent."

She further said, "Young people are at a lack of role models who are following Christ. By listening to the CD it's not just words and tune. Don't be lukewarm."

Check out her Facebook

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Family Force 5 Album Review: 'III'

Original article on the Christian Post

"Family Force 5 is a party that makes you shake your donk," said FF5 lead singer Soul Glow Activatur, and now that the album has been reviewed, his statement is absolutely correct.

FF5's new album III is a fantastic journey through the innovative musical minds of crunk rock pioneers that paved the way for artists like LMFAO and 3OH!3. 

The music is a fusion of the beats and sounds of southern rock mixed with almost hip-hop sang/rapped vocals over trippy 808s and heavy guitar riffs. 

There is literally no genre of music the band does not dip into, even having a bluesy and reggae type mash-up.

Family Force 5 is one part Kid Rock and Lil Jon mixed with Kanye West's '808s and Heartbreaks' and Gym Class Heroes, or as the band refers to themselves, "Ghetto redneck music."

The album opens up with strong with "Can You Feel It." This song is very aggressive and sort of proves to be the anthem of the album. It's kind of like TobyMac circa Momentum days but still has its own flare.

The next song, "Paycheck," has a "swaggerful" like flow to it as part of the chorus says, "Shoulda been a baller, shot caller," then brings it back to a funny perspective saying, "Now I thank God for the hand out..." This song is extremely catchy. 

Singer, Soul Glow, says this is his favorite song. He explains, "People think it's political, but everyone seems to be having financial hardships. We wanted to write something people can relate to and have something to say, you know, dig deep and make it sound real." 

Track three, "Wobble," is already a fan favorite at live shows according to Soul Glow. It's an infectious dance tune meant to get crowds moving. The song is a half reggae/dance and half dance party moves song. 

The next song, "You Got It," is reminiscent of Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" with its funky bluesy groove and even tone as the singer expresses his love for a girl. This is a slow relaxing track.

Where "You Got It," leaves off, "Mamacita" picks up. The song is essentially the Latin sounding continuation of the previous song. It carries on from the spark found in "You Got It." Naturally it's more danceable and has a brilliant chorus with the best part repeating saying, "You got me loco saying Ay Yi Yi."

"Tank Top" brings in the pulsing 808 beats and deep synths as they bring in a fun strictly club like song. Definitely a song that would be played on a pop/rap station.

The next song, "Not Alone," is by far the most serious and deep song on the album. It really shows off the bands song writing ability and proves that sometimes life isn't always a party. The singer calls out to God for His touch singing, "I need you now, I want you now/To tell me that you're not alone."

Returning to true crunk rock form, "Dang Girl," brings their signature feel back. The vocals are over the top and contain a southern gritty rap flare to them. It's the club "banger" of the album with an amazing synth breakdown transition at the end.

Perhaps the best radio single on the CD is, "Love Gone Wrong." It's a super catchy song with an even stronger sing-along hook. This song is about the perfect girl from the singer's point of view.

The last song on the record is appropriately titled "Get On Outta Here." This song features the most rap on the album, and it proves to be an angry but fun send off dismissing all the haters.

Soul Glow said the song was the "anti-hater anthem of the batch" and they "wrote it with that in mind to be more personal."

The vocalist describes the bands unique sound as, "Fun party inspired rock. Some think it has to do with synthesizers. I guess so...we have plenty of 808 beats too." He goes on to explain crunk rock as being "very southern."

"It's what we are. We kind of just fell into it. We are from Atlanta, it's very southern. We have that rock vibe, and that super ghetto vibe. It's a blend of everything."

FF5 released III on Oct. 18 and in promotion have embarked on their It's All Gold Tour followed by a short Christmas tour. In January and February they will be heading back to the studio to record a few more tracks for their deluxe edition of the new album, calling the addition, 3.5.

Family Force 5 Interview with Soul Glow Activatur

Interview with Soul Glow Activatur
Originally posted by the Christian Post

Family Force 5, is changing everything the music world may think about music and are infusing it with something different and creative. 

Hailing from Atlanta, GA, these crunk-rock stars are all about having a good time and letting the listener have a great time with each listening experience. 

First off, what is "Crunk-Rock?" 

According to Soul Glow, crunk rock is, "Fun party inspired rock. Some think it has to do with synthesizers. I guess so...we have plenty of 808 beats too." He goes on to explain crunk rock as being "very southern."

When asked if that's what they set out to sound like, Soul Glow answered, "It's what we are. We kind of just fell into it. We are from Atlanta, it's very southern. We have that rock vibe, and that super ghetto vibe. It's a blend of everything."

He feels that FF5 are the pioneers of their style of music. Soul Glow and his brothers Jacob "Crouton" and Joshua "Fatty" Olds have been making music this way since the mid 90s and now there are a few other groups with the same style. "We definitely helped usher in groups like LMFAO and 3OH!3,"  he says.

FF5 loves to be unique and different. One way they do this is by assigning themselves stage names almost like they are rappers. So lets introduce the band:

Soul Glow is the vocalist and rhythm guitar player. 
Crouton plays drums and does vocals. 
Fatty plays bass and also does vocals.
Derek "Chap Stique" Mount is the lead guitar player.
Nathan "Nadaddy" Currin plays the synth, percussion, and also does vocals.

Soul Glow talks about the names being something fun they did because they are from Atlanta where a lot of hip-hop legends are from, especially Outkast with Big Boi and Andre 3000. 

The names were originally a joke, but when they started seeing kids wearing homemade T-shirts, they knew they were on to something.

Soul Glow says, "Everyone had names, so could white suburban kids. It's part of the culture." In a disapproving and sorrowful tone he jokes, "Except for the name Crouton. I don't know what happened there," referring to his brother.

Another important aspect of Family Force 5 is there faith. Although not explicitly a Christian band, they are definitely Christians in a band who happen to have strong faith. "We have strong faith, but don't beat people over the head with it. We just want to make fun positive music that humans can listen to, ya know?"

Soul Glow goes on to talk about their new album titled III. It's FF5's third album, and was released Oct. 18 followed by the It's All Gold Tour.

In the band's press release it says III is a throwback to their first album. When asked about this, Soul Glow agreed saying, "The first album was very aggressive while our second album was more dance like. We wanted to give the fans what they wanted and not run away from being red neck ghetto kids."

In fact, the singer says he came to the realization he was a red neck while visiting L.A. He recalls being in a meeting talking about their music when someone brought it up. He denied it at first but then said to himself, "I'm southern, I do enjoy watching Nascar once in awhile, and love fried chicken...Yup, I guess I'm a red neck," he described.

Soul Glow said the highlight of the album for him is the song "Paycheck." He explains, "People think it's political, but everyone seems to be having financial hardships. We wanted to write something people can relate to and have something to say, you know, dig deep and make it sound real." 

He says that track is doing well so far, and the song "Wabble" is getting a lot of positive feedback. "The overall response has been great – people are liking them," the frontman says. "There's something for everyone of this record. It's aggressive and 'dancey' with some serious stuff, more personal."

When asked what his biggest rock star moment was, Soul Glow immediately thought back to a tour they had completed, "We did a festival in the U.K. where we played with metal band Rammstein and the next night we played with MIA, who is more pop hip-hop. Both of those shows were drastically different yet had the same great vibe."

He admits that although they've played in front of 20 or 30,000 people before, it's the small things that feel the best. "One time I was driving through a Starbucks and I got a free coffee because the kid told me he loved my band. It was so cool."

Soul Glow says one of his biggest failures since being in the band is a tour they went on in 2008. "I didn't like the tour and I wasn't feeling the crowd."

Switching topics, he was asked, "What's one thing the world should know about you guys?"

"We pretty much do everything on our own. We do the art work, videos, directing, and photo shoots. It's fun to say that – [we are] excited about creativity," he replied. "We are creative idiots."

On possible dream collaborations, the singer said he'd love to work with Justin Timberlake. "Justin stop making movies and come back to music! I wasn't a fan of N*SYNC, but I love his solo music," he said. 

The It's All Gold Tour will be followed by a short Christmas tour. In January and February they will be heading back to the studio to record a few more tracks for their deluxe edition of the new album, calling the addition, 3.5.

In five years time Soul Glow hopes to be on an island having "massive dance parties." "Justin Timberlake can come too!" he said.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Face The King Interview

Face The King is a rapidly growing rock band from Long Island that is making waves with a slew of big shows and the release of their latest EP, The Burning & The Falling Down. 

The band is entering the studio again this month to bring forth their new musical venture to the masses and are very excited to do so.

The band recently became involved in the "I95: Rumble At The Room" contest, where they are competed for supremacy over some of their peers at the Room in Brookfield, CT and won. A&R judges from EMI Records will be judged the bands and they received free recording time at the Factory Underground. 

So be sure to check out the alternative/indie sounds of Face The King and get to know them right before they blow up.

Where'd you guys get the name from?
It was a dark and stormy night when a single bolt of lightning struck the ground and left the words Face The King burned in the ground.  How dramatic is that!!! We got the band name from a song that I wrote for a previous band.  The idea comes from that time when you feel you need to answer to a higher power for the life you have led.  More specifically it is the time before that - when you have to face yourself before you answer to anyone else.  I still like the lightning story.  

Describe your style of music and what makes the band stand out among others?
I think we are a alternative rock band at the core of it.  The music we write is very theatrical and dramatic.  It takes you somewhere from start to finish.  We understand that the music is as important as the lyrics.  But what makes us stand out the most is where we all are rooted as musicians.  Each one of us individually is comfortable with a different style of music.  The end result of combining all those styles is Face The King. We have heard from bands that we play the music they want to play but they don't because they play what they think will make them famous.  We stand out because we play the music we want to play - getting famous would be a bonus.     

I hear many different influences in your music, how do you feel the "modern" up and coming rock band within your genre is evolving?
I think that the modern up and coming rock band is being pushed into the unique blend of a produced and raw sound.  Studio magic is great for some bands - but there are bands that are coming around that are better live than in the studio.  I think we are on the verge on seeing the opposite of what has happened to music.  So many bands sounded great in the studio these past years.  Then you see them live and they let you down.  It is an illusion.  Now - there are bands that sound great on record and understand that they need to be better live.  The modern rock band is learning what it takes to put on a show.  

What was it like working with Steve Haigler and why do you feel the album is the band's big break? 
Working with Steve can be summed up in a great saying that he repeated time and time again in the studio.  Steve pushed us to the point of tears.  I honestly think I saw Joey curled up in the fetal position in the corner - rocking back and forth - wishing he had never stepped into the studio.  Steve would say to us "Let's piss on some trees."  This translates to - leave your mark.  Once your music is released - it can not be taken back.  I think that Steve helped us all learn that concept.  As for the big break part - I don't think we go in thinking that this album is going to make us huge.  We go in to make the best record.  You hope at the end that you feel as though the music has a shot of being the band's big break.  If you don't get that feeling - you should be working harder in the studio and go and higher Steve. 

How does the song writing process work, and what goes into perfecting and mastering the song?
We have a formula for song writing:

Eric + Dan x Anthony + Joey - Ego = Song

How great would that be if that worked?  Honestly, the song writing experience starts like a good conversation.  Someone starts and you hope everyone is interested enough to contribute. Dan says that the songs come together faster and easier in this band than in any other he has played.  I agree with that.  When the song begins to take shape - that is when we break it down.  We make it as great as we possibly can. Sometimes we over think it and go back to the start.  Sometimes we just let come out and never question it.  The rule of thumb is that the song is never done until it goes to tape.  And even after that - things can change for the live show. 

What's a Face the King live performance like?
It is pretty mediocre at best.

Actually the thing I am most proud of is our live show.  We sound good on record because we sound great live.  We put our all into every show.  Each show is the most important show we are going to play.  We bring the audience on stage to sing.  We talk to the crowd as if we were sitting around the dinner table.  Somewhere in between we play music for our fans.  Face The King believes in the show - from the moment we get on stage - until the last note.  At the end of the show we want you to want to see and hear more.  The comment that we hear a lot is that your sound is too big for this venue.  You should be playing arenas.  Someday I think that will happen - but we are definitely enjoying the ride. 

Tell me about the z100 contest and what does it mean for the band if successful?
The Z100 Hometown Hero contest is where bands and solo artists compete against one another to play a slot at this year’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden.  The performance takes place in the garden’s Coca Cola Access Lounge. There is an A list panel of judges including the program director of Z100, and the presidents of both Universal Republic and RCA Records. The top acts are determined by the listeners/fans. Our main goal with entering the contest was to enter the top 25, since it allows us gain great exposure. It also ensures that high-end people in the business will be reviewing our music. Due to the immense and much appreciated support from our fans, we successfully made the top 25, placing 11th out of 400 competitors. Now we play the waiting game, where they will choose 5 finalists from the top 25 to enter a final round of voting. If a rock band such as us were chosen to play for a pop contest, I would be shocked for words. It would only mean greater things for the band if successful. Wish us luck!

What's the band's biggest rockstar moment/biggest failure?
The biggest rock star moment hands down was when Anthony dove into the crowd naked.  That never happened.  I would have to say that the moment that made us feel like we were on the right path was the first time we saw the crowd filled with fans - not friends - singing the words to all of our songs.  You never think about that - and when it happens - you can't stop thinking about it.

As for the biggest failure -  I would have to say not quitting our old bands sooner - so we could have started Face The King earlier.   

What are the future goals for the band and what can we expect next?
Right now we are working on the next EP. It has to be bigger and better than everything before it.  To be blunt though - we would all like to play music full time.  That is our goal - to support ourselves with our music.

Also - to use the WaWa coupons that were sent to us by WaWa's corporate office for the poem I wrote on our website.  This might also be up there for the biggest rockstar moment.  If you think that is strange - it means you have never been to a WaWa.

Anything you would like to add?
One last thing - this next EP is being written by Face The King and by fans.  What I mean is that the lyrics are being inspired or are being written from the words of our fans.  If you have a story or a poem that you think would be a great song - send it to us.  We have told our story and now we want to tell yours.  You can send it to our email: facethekingmusic@gmail.com.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Interview with rapper/actor Eric D'Alessandro of ERIX FLIX

Eric D'Alessandro is a talented kid from Staten Island who started out as a regular guy making funny videos just to entertain himself, friends, and family. After creating a local viral video where he mimicked MTV Cribs, I started creating his own buzz.

His second big break and most successful video is Maria Marie's Sweet 16 (warning NSFW due to language).

After making funny videos, Eric began to focus on music. He started by making parody rap songs to current hits, and use clever word play and great skill despite joking around and recording the songs live.  He soon wasn't satisfied being the funny guy and began taking his craft seriously, recording serious rhymes over industry and licensed beats. Now he has a mixtape, Still Not Heartless.


Check out the interview I did with him below at WSIA 88.9 Radio Station at the College of Staten Island.

Bare with me, it's my first video interview


The Actor

The Rapper

Album Promo

Check out his first single "Closure."


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hip Kitty Album Review for Self Titled EP

Hip Kitty is a band that mixes several genres of music together forming what is sure to be a wonderful live experience and pure fun to jam out to.

The band's style is a mix between southern rock, metal, and modern country rock. Lead singer Jen Halverson is half Carrie Underwood and half arena rock band lead singer. Her vocals are raw and aggressive and fit perfectly over soaring guitars, and flow beautifully over ballads.

The band formed in 2002, and have two prior releases besides this EP.

"Hip Kitty is an exciting New Rock Band with great songs and an equally great Live Show. Their energy is infectious. They have worked hard at being in the Top of their class in the Nashville area. I feel they will be in the next group of up and coming bands out of the area. If you have a chance to see Hip Kitty, don't miss out, they may be on their way up and out of here very soon!” said their producer Greg Archilla.  

The first track of the album, "I'm With Your Best Friend," starts the album off strong with a vibey mainstream country rock single. The bridge of the song shows off the singer's sexy side as she seems to almost be seducing the listener between her breaths.

"Over My Head" showcases Halverson's voice as she displays a lot of attitude in a catchy rock and roll anthem. The song is very guitar driven and really compliments the vocals well adding the already apparent attitude.

The ep's one ballad is is done excellently as it allows the band to really show off their chops. The vocals in "On This Side Of Heaven" also, allow Halverson to showcase her range as well. The song has "big sound" a nice light rock radio feel to it.

"Love Hangover" is one of the heavier tracks on the album, and infused with grunge and a cool vocoder voice effect adding to the feel of the song. The song introduces male vocals as well.

The last song closes out the album strong. "Agony And Ecstasy" is a great mix of all the other songs. It has a strong rock gritty country chorus. The best part of the track is the way all the sounds and style come together to close out a fantastic ep.

Check out Hip Kitty on their Facebook