Sunday, February 27, 2011

Diamond Eye to Open for Quiet Riot/Warrant/L.A. Guns Summer Tour in Australia

It's been a long road for the Diamond Eye guys. The heavy-metal foursome have been braving the Australia metal circuit for more than two years now. When I came upon Diamond Eye almost two years ago, they had a sound and determination that I knew would take them to new heights if the kept with it.
Now, two years later, after a an EP and a live DVD (soon to be reviewed here once I can get my hands on it), the DE guys have landed their biggest gig yet: an opening show for the legendary lineup of Quiet Riot, Warrant and L.A. Guns on their upcoming summer Metal Health Tour in Australia. Though Diamond Eye is only set to open for the Perth date of the tour (according to DE lead guitarist Greg Fawcett, "they wanted a local band for each show"), it will still prove to be their defining gig up until now.
The possibilities are endless for Diamond Eye if they play their hearts out; if they can manage to win over some of the metalheads that come out in droves to see the likes of Quiet Riot and L.A. Guns, then they'll soon be on the fast-track to a record deal in no time. And with the talent that they're harboring now, I see no reason why it would be any different of a case. Soon all the metalheads of Perth will know who these guys are, if they don't already.
In Fawcett's own words, "It's a great opportunity for us so we plan on really fucking nailing it!" What more is there left to say?  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Swinging on the Coast

I'm starting to learn that finding truly talented groups isn't as rare today as I thought it was when I started NewRockNews43 over a year ago; it just requires a lot of hard work and determination. Where as A&R reps from the large labels must not spend more than a few hours every week looking for new artists, I have made it my mission to spend upwards of 30 hours a week working to bring to light the countless droves of talent and creativity out there. Simply put, it just requires a lot of good, old fashioned leg-work, but the reward for such an effort is most certainly worth it. To come across and have a chance to discover the artists that I do, I will always see the time as well spent. This group today is one of those rewards I've gotten from such leg-work.
Swing The Coast is a powerpop-pop-punk band from the Detroit, Michigan area hellbent on taking over the world in waves of rhythm and melody. From the very beginning, there's something different about these Coast guys. Amidst the melee of over-the-top cookie-cutter powerpop bands that make up so much of today's pop-punk scene, Swing The Coast seem to have a new grip on reality, and a new angle from which to unleash their pop-punk madness. Watching some of the videos on their Myspace page, I learn that STC exhibit one quality which, if nothing else does, will lead to their eventual success. Manager-less, promoter-less, and all by themselves, STC are striking out on their own with a set determination that is the most punk-rock attitude they could have.
With their self-titled "Deluxe" EP released earlier this year, Swing The Coast have a top-notch recording from which to build their fanbase steadily and surely. Breathing life into the STC outfit are friends and bandmates Josh Belanger (lead vocals and guitar), Travis Langolf (guitar and vocals), Cory Nance (bass and vocals) and Myles Laparl (drums). With a dynamic duo on guitar and a driving partnership in the rhythm section, Swing The Coast set themselves apart in ways that will make the words "next big thing" flash before your eyes when you listen to them.
The Swing The Coast "Deluxe" EP is chock-full of catchy, to-the-top pop songs that lend power and polish to a great effort of a record. Tracks like "She's So Rock and Roll" and "O.K.D." exude raw talent and vision that are more than easy to latch onto. Yet it's tracks like lead-off single "Suburban Girls" and "Hold On" that really make the EP what it is. With a pulsing drumbeat by Laparl to introduce the track, "Suburban Girls" seems to be a departure in the powerpop vein from the typical single. While the song structure is relatively similar in scope to other songs, one of the things that really sticks out to me is how the quickly-laid down verses meld seamlessly with the more melodic, epic choruses. Though it may not be an actual change in time signature, the illusion of such is what makes this song work so well. Clever in its lyrics and message, "Suburban Girls" is a great track, glorifying the nostalgia we all feel for home. Belanger's lead vocals are compounded and driven higher by the hint of a backup chorus by Langolf and Nance, and with the vocal element the way it is, there is no way that "Suburban Girls" can't succeed. Truly a great, stick-in-your-head track, this is definitely the one that would get my vote for lead-off single.
"Take This City" is similarly dripping in melody and professional polish. Boasting a killer riff by the duo of Belanger and Langolf on guitar, "Take This City" continues the feel-good feeling of "Suburban Girls" for at least one more song. Track number two on the EP, "Take This City" is a fast-paced note-storm equipped with all the melody one could ask for. Laparl relies heavily on his snare in this one, and where it gets old when other drummers do the same exact think, here it gives a necessary kick to the track. I can only imagine what this song must sound like live: Belanger and Langolf tearing away on their guitars while Nance's bass lines pump even more life into Laparl's drumbeats. There are a lot of groups that I've seen reach full maturity music-wise when they play a big set of dates like Warped Tour, but Swing The Coast has gone above and beyond already. The maturity that is present in their song-style and execution is something that will ensure that these guys are not soon forgotten.
Though the EP as a whole is a great effort by STC, I am impressed in a much different way by "Hold On." In fact, I can't even put my finger on what I like so much about this song, but all I know is that there's something about it that I absolutely love. Maybe it's the anthemic, sing-along chorus or the clear-lucid vocals, but whatever it is, Swing The Coast hit it out of the park on this one. If "Hold On" is any sort of window into the future of these guys, I'd put all I had on a bet in STC's favor.
A far cry from poseur bands that seem to be enjoying massive success on all the top-pop stations, Swing The Coast are the real deal: a hard-rockin' quartet with some rough-around-the-edges rhythm and glistening melodic polish. As I listen to the determination in the lines of "O.K.D.," the lyrics "nothing's gonna stop us, nothing's gonna stop us now" jump out at me as a clear and present prediction of the future. Swing The Coast have made up their minds: nothing's gonna stop them, and if that's not set determination, then I don't know what is.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, New Found Glory, All Time Low

Key Tracks from Swing The Coast "Deluxe" EP: "Suburban Girls," Take This City," "Hold On," 'She's So Rock and Roll," "O.K.D."

Check out Swing The Coast more at: and

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cloé Beaudoin: Unwrapped and Under Covers

Up until now, the couple articles I've written here on Cloé Beaudoin have been on her original work: her acoustic ballads "Deliverance" and "Dying Awake," and of course her acoustic and full-band versions of her epic song, "Rest in Peace (RIP)." Yet this Canadian siren has more talent than I ever could have imagined as I review her back-catalog of videos on Youtube and take a look at some of her new uploads. It seems that many artists start out doing covers and the real test for them comes when they move from covering songs to writing their own original material. Yet sometimes, it is more intriguing to watch the motion in reverse, as once an artist has developed their own style through original work, it becomes interesting to see how they interpret another artist's music.
In the back-catalog, among covers of Linkin Park and Paramore, I find a year-old cover of Green Day's "21 Guns." When I first heard this song in May of 2009, I knew it was going to be huge: an epic ballad than sets the tone for the whole 21st Century Breakdown album. It's that one song that seems transcendent: full of life and rebirth all at the same time. Yet it grows in a whole new way when I listen to Beaudoin's cover of it. It has that same transcendent quality as the original, but there is something intense in a different way, almost as if the romance is coming from the other direction; whereas it was Billi Joe calling in the original, here Beaudoin is the one returning, and so lends to the song another level that it didn't have before.  
But that was a year ago, and to write about something a year old isn't exactly cutting edge. Yet Beaudoin has in the past week uploaded to new acoustic covers that just amaze me. A couple weeks ago I came across a new post on her Facebook fanpage alerting of a new cover, and so on a curious note I checked it out. A cover of Three Days Grace's new song "World So Cold" off their most recent album, Life Starts Now, the cover seemed odd at first: Beaudoin slows down the tempo and draws out the lyrics in breathy slight-pauses. But the minute she gets to the chorus, the speed immediately quickens, and she shoots it up, belting out the Amy Lee-style vocals that drew me to her originally. Just closing my eyes and listening, I know that this cover is special: there's just something about her breathy vocals married to the hardcore minor chords she plays on her guitar. I am at once addicted to the chorus and play it again and again.  
Yet even her Three Days Grace cover isn't the newest thing Beaudoin's done, though she only uploaded it no more than two weeks ago. This past Wednesday, Beaudoin uploaded yet another cover for my entertainment pleasure. This time it was a cover of fellow Canadians Sum 41's new single "Screaming Bloody Murder" from their upcoming release. Switching tracks from the post-grunge to the pop-punk, Beaudoin demonstrates again just how versatile she is and can be. Garnering just under a thousand views in just over four days, the cover showcases again Beaudoin's self-aware romantic vocals glued to an addictive melody and rhythm. The amazing pipes I have come to know Beaudoin for are prevalent and fit dynamically with the melodies she belts from her throat. I know this is a Sum 41 song and I am a huge Sum fan myself, but I must say in all honesty that if this was a Beaudoin original, I wouldn't be disappointed in any way. As with her cover of "World So Cold," Beaudoin slows down the tempo and then shoots forward during the choruses, lending to an already addictive track a certain sense of unique ambiguity that makes this song all the more impossible to turn off or turn down. 
Crystal clear from her covers as well as her originals, Cloé Beaudoin has that unique ability to transform and adapt herself to fit into any genre or style she wishes. It goes without saying that this song will be on repeat for the foreseeable future on my computer. Beaudoin continues her string of triumphs with this cover: most successful, most addictive.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Homebrewe to Make U.S. Debut!

Homebrewe promo.
After months and months, Homebrewe, one of the dynamic alternative bands that helped launch the reputation of NewRockNews43, is coming to the U.S. I discovered Homebrewe in October of '09, and for over a year now I've been in contact with the alternative foursome from Perth, Australia. The same hardcore lineup of Kohen Grogan (lead vocals and guitar), Casey Grogan (lead guitar and vocals), Dylan Grogan (bass and vocals), and Rory keys (drums), that they were when I first heard them, Homebrewe's uniquely riveting sound hasn't waned one bit. Though it was songs like "DEP" and "Beautiful View" that drew me to Homebrewe in the first place, it was the alternative power-ballad "Miss You" that really found a voice in speaking to me. On talking to Kohen Grogan last year about the music video for "Miss You," I found out that the song is based on and dedicated to a friend of the band who was in a tragic accident. At that I let the subject drop, as it is never the place of any news source to exploit the personal lives of the band members for any sort of story, and that's not how I run NewRockNews43. But if anything could be said of "Miss You" and its music video, it's that for an unsigned band on a shoe-string budget, the video was top-notch and deserving of all kinds of praise.
Homebrewe's debut album, My Own Nemesis, was released on the backs of songs like "Best Thing" and "DEP," and the rest of us can rejoice because of it. "Best Thing" showcases Kohen Grogan's high-pitched shriek and the other Grogan brothers' guitar prowess. Keys' drumming is head-banging in style, and the four work together so well, I could swear they'd been together for upwards of ten years. Brimming with luxurious excess and attitude enough to make your bones break, My Own Nemesis is a triumphant first step forward for Homebrewe.
Now as Homebrewe prepare for their first U.S. tour, there must be static in the air. Drawing support for their send-off show in Perth from Australian up-and-comers Serial Killer Smile and The TN's, Homebrewe ready themselves for a four-week U.S. tour set to commence in Dallas, Texas on June 29th, 2011. Where they will be heading to after that I'm not sure yet, but you can all bet that I'll be finding out. Keep checking back here for more Homebrewe news, and make sure to go check these guys out when they come. If their debut album sounds like this, then I can't wait to see what kind of explosive live show they put on!        

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hello, Astronaut!!

As it's been a few weeks since I've updated (sorry guys, but college is hard lol), I thought I'd start off the new year with an artist that captured my attention so completely when I first heard his music that I have literally been listening to it for months now. I must admit though, rarely is a cover of a song done that propels not only the original artist back into the spotlight, but also has the potential to open the door for an entirely new talent. While it has happened before, as in the cases of Van Halen's cover of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" and Marilyn Manson's cover of the Eurhythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," it's more of a rare treat than a common occurrence. Yet every once in a while an artist comes along with a cover that is so unique and different from the original, while still maintaining the magic that the original possessed, that it's impossible not to take notice. And that's where I find myself today: listening to a cover of a song that was great to begin with, but now seems otherworldly.
An acoustic-pop/electro-pop answer to the guitar-driven pop-punk groups occupying so many of the top spots on Purevolume, Hello, Astronaut is a sound full of possibilities in the vein of Owl City and Never Shout Never. The brainchild of 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist Jordan Palmer, Hello, Astronaut finds home and comfort in the pop-happy melody that comes from Palmer's keyboards and the chorals chimes of his voice. Surely Palmer's hamebase of Fresno, California must be going nuts with his songs pervading the atmosphere. One thing I'm sure of is that whatever fans he has in his hometown, they are going to be his biggest supporters, coming out to every show and doing what they can to show their support. And who could blame them? With melodies like these and a voice like the one he has, Palmer is sure to be on the same fast-track to notoriety and success as were Owl City and Never Shout Never before him.
Hello, Astronaut's sophomore EP, The Only One EP, is a collection of feel-good pop and relatable lyrics with enough rhythm to give a little extra kick to the tracks. I particularly love the intro to the song "Say Goodbye." A ukulele chord set owing to influences from Never Shout Never and Train, "Say Goodbye" immediately gears up and takes off as the ukulele strings fade out and the piano and drums come in. Palmer's voice is complemented perfectly by his double-tracked vocals in the background, giving an overall feel of choral tenacity to a track that shines because of it. With a melody and rhythm that is contagious to say the least, "Say Goodbye" is most certainly one of Hello, Astronaut's premier tracks. Sometimes it takes artists a number of albums and EP's to really find their sound. Yet there are other times when some artists can hit it out of the park on one swing, and Hello, Astronaut has certainly found a way. Whether this was a song Palmer worked on for a year or one that came to him in the middle of the night I have no idea, but one thing I do know is that whatever he's doing, it's working. Definitely one of the tracks that will be on my "most-played" list all week.
As "Say Goodbye" fades out, "The Only One" starts up, and from the start the rhythm and tone in this one is different. Here, Palmer has opted for an acoustic guitar over a ukulele for the intro, lending a more rock feel to the song. At just under 3:00, "The Only One" is most certainly the rock song on Hello, Astronaut's EP, showcasing power chords and palm-mutes sandwiched between catchy choruses and melodic verses. Palmer, however, has maintained his vocal power, dynamic in his tuneful presentation of his choruses with such an infectious air that I can't help but sing along. As Palmer winds down a bit towards the interlude, his keyboards continue to rock me back and forth in a wirldwind of melody and grace. "The Only One" has certainly earned its place as the title-track of the EP.
And yet, the song that drew me to Hello, Astronaut in the first place is neither on the the Only One or Paper! Snow! A Ghost! EP's, nor is written by Palmer. It's Palmer's cover of Vanessa Carlton's 2002 smash-hit "A Thousand Miles" that really floors me. The piano intro is just as soothing and melodic as in the original, but as the keys drain out, Palmer bursts in with a techno beat and electronic chimes that send this song to another world. His voice is nothing but pure pop brilliance, and his rearrangement of the song keeps the brilliantly written backbone and tune while at the same time exploring new territory in the pop-punk and electronic-rock arenas. The mix of Owl City-like beats and chimes coupled with Carlton's original lyrics and string arrangements makes this a slamdunk for Palmer. Hello, Astronaut's version of "A Thousand Miles" up for free download on the Hello, Astronaut Purevolume page will undoubtedly take the music community by storm. This remake is a viral hit if I ever heard one, and with this cover in pocket, Hello, Astronaut has struck musical and commercial gold. Certainly one of my favorite songs this month and for the next few, Hello, Astronaut's cover of "A Thousand Miles" speaks volumes to what Jordan Palmer is capable of.
With two EP's and a number of singles under his belt, Palmer should have no trouble at all accomplishing the feat of getting onto next year's Warped Tour, at the very least. Beyond that, I see him doing nothing short of following the path of Owl City and Never Shout Never, going national, and eventually international. Hello, Astronaut most definitely has what it takes to be the next pop viral sensation. Absolutely someone I'd bet on.

Sounds Like: Owl City, Never Shout Never, Tain, Forever the Sickest Kids

Key Tracks from The Only One EP and Covers (respectively): "Say Goodbye," "The Only One," "A Thousand Miles"

Check out Hello, Astronaut more at: and

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