Monthly Archives: March 2014

Indie pick of the week: Antevorta

Hailing from Metro Detroit, Antevorta considers themselves “divergent and distinct” in the music world, and could be considered part of the metal, punk/hardcore scene, though they don’t believe in labels.

Photo/Antevorta

Photo/Antevorta

While the band was formed two years ago by vocalist and lyricist Carter Jones, the current line up, who have been together for about three months, includes Guitarist Bradley Frey, Bassist Andrew Demercurio and Drummer Geoff Walchak.

Jones, frontman for the group, writes songs for Antevorta, who recently made music a full-time gig. “Antevorta,” the ancient Roman goddess of the future, seemed like the perfect name for the group, who “see music as the longest lasting component of our lives.”

“Emotionally-engaging music is what we desire to create, and we feel as if we’re doing it,” Jones said. “Whether it be making someone cry, or making them want to set fire to something, as long as there is some interaction with our music, we believe we’re doing something right.”

One of Antevorta’s older tracks, “Of Stimulant,” was written about Jones’ future in music and the importance this passion has in his life.

The band’s 5-track EP is scheduled for physical release this spring. In comparison to their older songs, the newer music has an updated sound, which Antevorta said “are the 5 songs at this point that best provide what’s necessary to introduce us as a band,” resonating well both live and on recording.

The new tracks brought influence from not only Jones, but the instrumentalists as well. “Narcoleptics Anonymous” was composed collectively by all current band members.

When they write a song, they “find something they like and run with it,” often starting with a riff and going from there, recording all songs on their own equipment.

“Our inspiration comes from various facets,” Frey said. “Aside from aural influences, much of our inspiration comes from the lives we lead along with the times and places we find ourselves in concurrently. Distaste for the masses, interest in governmental and judicial topics, societal addictions, theology, and celestial exploration are a few of the reoccurring topics found in our music, or rather, our minds.”

While they find influence in many places, other music also inspires the band. Some artists they admire include Grizzly Bear, Alexisonfire, Cudi, Animals as Leaders, Prince and Tides of Man to name a few.

Antevorta will debut their EP live at their first show, Saturday, April 26th, at Transitions Skatepark in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. In addition to the release and show, they eventually plan to release a music video, in addition to hosting promotions and bringing more live performances.

“We are consciously allowing ourselves to cater to as many different recipients as possible, so if you listen to our music and you like it, tell us and we will come to you,” Jones said. “As much as we like practicing and perfecting, we want to share this with you more than anything. The live setting is what the past two years has been all about. A recording is a recording. To share the music from human to human, in such a close capacity, is beautiful and makes us anxious.”

To keep up with Antevorta, like them on Facebook, and check out their Youtube Channel.

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Indie pick of the week: The Deals

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Photo/The Deals

If you’re looking for that guitar-filled, classic-rock sound, this might be your band. Self-described as a “a late 60’s power trio sound with aggressive, expressive, and inventive playing on behalf of each and every member,” The Deals draw influence from some of the biggest names in rock ‘n roll.

Friends and Oxford, Mich. natives Christian Brendel (bassist and vocalist), John Bivens (percussionist and vocalist) and Kyle Marker (guitarist) made their debut at “Oxfordstock,” their high school’s answer to battle of the bands.

From there, The Deals have gone on to play gigs in Romeo, Chesterfield Township, Mt. Clemens, Oxford, Lake Orion, Lapeer, Pontiac, Ortonville and Detroit, in addition to winning an all expenses paid trip to Memphis, Tennessee where they competed at the 2013 International Blues Festival.

“Music is important to us because we can’t see ourselves doing anything else with our lives,” Marker said. “For us it’s more than a hobby, more than just a living, it’s a passion.”

While they do a lot of covers, when The Deals write their own songs, it usually starts with one member bringing the core of the music and the band working together to explore and expand upon the idea.

The group draws inspiration from early blues artists and classic rock artists, including Black Sabbath, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Billy Idol and The Kinks, to name a few.

With The Deals finishing up college soon, fans can watch for their first EP this summer, as well as an increase in shows around Michigan and a possible performance in Chicago. 

Want more of the Deals? Like them on Facebook

Pop artist Vid Taylor reveals latest work, “The Times Newsaic”

Artist Vid Taylor’s latest project is newsworthy. Through ‘The Times Newsaic,” he transformed New York Times clips into something new– a series of collage pop art works.

The Times Newsaic.  (PRNewsFoto/Vid Taylor)

“(Through The Times Newsaic) I would like people to reflect on the world around them and the chaotic manner in which we are constantly barraged with ideas, images, and media on a daily basis,” Taylor said.

For Taylor, art has always been a part of life. From visual to performance, he got involved at a young age, going on to earn his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2003. He currently runs New York Pop Art Station Popboompow

“I have always been drawn to pop art – The pop influence is more apparent in my other work – ‘The Hot Sauce Project’ – The Times Newsaic is Pop – in that I am utilizing the screen printing technique made famous by the pop artists – and in that it draws from the news and pop culture as source – though at the end of the day I view the Newsaics as more simply contemporary art,” Taylor said.

When composing each creation, Taylor starts out by carefully studying each paper for three to four hours, searching for intriguing and interesting content. He then decides what to use based on what’s happening in the world, in addition to what is highlighted or advertised in the issue– always looking for things he considers inspirational.

After consuming the information in each paper and narrowing down the sections, he spends another four to five hours ripping it, then scanning the shreds for two hours, rebuilding the work digitally for another four to five hours and spending about 8 hours in the studio on the “realization of the physical art,” using clips in and out of context to create the final product.

“As an Artist – the allure of this work for me is multi-faceted from all fronts – historic, poetic, philosophic, aesthetic, technologic, and beyond,” Taylor described the project in Artist Statement. “The overarching philosophy behind the work runs through all facets and is not only informed by them – but defines them as well. The following is a glimpse into my thoughts and explorations that have continuously kept me inspired to remain relentless in the creation of this body of work.”

At the same time, Taylor is working on “The Hot Sauce Project,” in addition to utilizing Kickstarter to earn the funds necessary to properly display his works at New York’s Select Fair and Frieze Art Week, May 8-11 at the Altman Building, 135 West 18th Street, in Manhattan.

The projects are expensive and take up much time, so he is seeking financial assistance to help him reach his art goals. Taylor wants to take the project further, and said if he raises the necessary funds, he would like to publish a book and some special additions of his works.

“I am looking forward to the additional exposure for this body of work. I believe in this project – and it’s potential – and I hope others will see something within it that strikes them personally,” Taylor said.

Elimanted ‘Idol’ contestant Ben Briley talks experience, future

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Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

On Thursday night, Ben Briley became the first male contestant eliminated from American Idol season XIII.

Briley said his song choice (Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets”), which broke away from his traditional country performances and spotlighted his piano skills, was probably the reason he was eliminated.

While it disappointed him, he wasn’t shocked, though he did feel “thrown under the bus” by the judges, who originally encouraged him to step outside of his comfort zone and do something different.

“It stung a little because the whole purpose is that I am a little different and I wanted to show that,” Briley said. “For one contestant they’ll say, ‘you’re consistent but we need you to change,’ but then they’ll say to someone else, ‘you don’t need to pinch around.’ But when somebody does take a big step forward to show a different side, it gets shot down on national television.”

“I wasn’t the weakest but I was definitely one of the weaker ones. I knew I would be in the bottom three, but I was surprised to go home, mainly because I wasn’t ready to go home, because I had a lot of plans of what I was going to do. but now I’m going to go home and figure out where I’m going to take my career from here.”

Choosing a more rock-style song was Briley’s way of showing his diversity. While he loves country and wants to make his career in the genre, he also has strong appreciation for rock and other music styles. He wanted to bring a new angle of himself to the stage, and show off his piano skills.

“It was definitely surprising (to be first guy eliminated). I didn’t expect to go home so soon,” Briley said. “But I chalk it up to that song– that was definitely the reason. I wanted to stick around as long as i possibly could, but everything happens for a reason, and this was a good reason– it couldn’t have happened at a better time, I was getting really homesick.”

Despite getting the boot, Briley enjoyed his time on idol. The Tennessee-native said he learned a lot about himself. From his first performance onstage to running past cheering fans in the tunnel, Briley said it was an exciting experience.

“During the audition when I went to Hollywood, i didn’t think i would get to go, but then they wanted me there. That gave me ambition and drive to do well in the show,” Briley said.

Working with the judges, including sessions with Randy Jackson, help Briley improve his singing. He said he has gained a lot musically from his time on Idol.

“I’d probably say the best piece of advice would be don’t sacrifice your performance for your artistry,” Briley said. “Keith told me the first week. and it really hit home for me, and i didn’t really understand it until I went back and watched it later. But it’s true. That was probably the most down to earth advice i got while on the show.”

Living close to Nashville, Briley said he hopes to play in the “music city,” and make some music. But for now, it’s time to relax and take it easy, as he returns to his wife, and hometown.

“Really, when I get home, I’m going to take about a four-day nap, and somebody needs to buy me a steak,” Briley said. “Then I’ll figure out what’s next. I’m going to go back to work, and I live 30 minutes outside of music city, so shouldn’t be too hard to book shows and find people who want to listen. My goal is to have a single on the radio by the end of the year.”

Emily Piriz eliminated from American Idol, reflects on experience

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Emily Piriz, 18, was eliminated from American Thursday night, March 6 following her performance of “Stars.”

Photo/FOX

Photo/FOX

The Florida native said her parents and boyfriend were her biggest support system, and she enjoyed being on Idol.

The experience and constructive criticism, as well as many new friendships, are what she takes with her. She described the other contestants as a “second family.”

“It was really hard to leave,” Piriz said. “(Thursday night) they had a car waiting for me and told me I only had 45 minutes. I let the car go and stayed for 4 hours sitting talking, and enjoying each others’ company because honestly, these are some of the best people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Piriz said she has always seen Jennifer Lopez as one of her favorite singers, so getting to meet and receive advice from the singer was a dream come true.

On Wednesday  night, Piriz performed “Let’s Get Loud.” She said she might have been able to bring more energy, but she could not have brought a better song.

“I probably just needed to bring even more energy to the stage. But I don’t regret doing that song. That song really hit home for me, and I was happy with my performance.”

“JLO’s support meant everything,” Piriz said. “Since my first audition, she was a fan of mine. She told me I was a great singer I used to be a little girl looking up to her– she used to be one of my idols. So to have that support from her means everything.”

While she was sad to go, Piriz said this is just the beginning. Her next move is returning home, finishing high school and getting ready to move to California to continue her music career.

“My first album, I definitely see a pop-rock kind of vibe,” Piriz said. ”I want some funky songs on there that have a lot of edge to them, but I definitely want to be behind the piano and do some softer sounds too. So my first album’s definitely going to be all me– it’s going to reflect  who i am.”

In the past, Piriz competed on X Factor, and America’s Got Talent. She said the other shows don’t live up to the Idol experience, which she described as “as good as it gets.”

Competing helped Piriz further develop her musicality and performance. She learned to make the stage her own, keeping up confidence and optimism, and staying true to herself.

“I see (Idol) as the best experience of my life, no regrets at all — I’m happy with everything I’ve done,” Piriz said. ”It was very rewarding and I’ve been able to meet so many great friends that I will keep forever, so I’m really grateful to have had this experience.”

Emily Piriz performed “Stars,” by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, during Thursday night’s show.

To keep up with Emily, check out her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @RealEmilyPiriz.

Andre 3000 stars as Jimi Hendrix in upcoming film, clip released

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

Rolling Stone released a clip from the long-anticipated Jimi Hendrix biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side, which premieres next week at South by Southwest 2014. The movie tells the story of the famous guitarist and singer’s life leading up to fame.

Photo/

Photo/ DARKO ENTERTAINMENT AND FREEMAN FILM

The film, starring Andre 3000, actor and Outkast MC, was written and directed by John Ridley, Oscar-winning screenwriter behind 12 Years a Slave. Production began seven years ago, when Ridley started exploring the track “Sending My Love to Linda,” a song about one of Jimi’s biggest supporters, friend Linda Keith.

3000 spent hours preparing for the role, repeatedly listening to interviews and watching films in effort to become Hendrix, he shared in an interview with Rolling Stone.

The recently released clip features a scene with Hendrix, his manager Chas Chandler (played by Andrew Buckley) and Keith (played by Imogen Poots) hanging out in a restaurant discussing what Hendrix should do next.

“I don’t want to get caught up in those kind of labels, though,” Hendrix (Andre 3000) says in the scene. “I don’t want it to be, ‘Well OK, he’s playing the blues,’ or ‘He’s playing R&B or soul or whatever’.”

While the film is about Hendrix’s life, because of his estate, music by Muddy Waters, the Beatles, the Troggs and other similar artists will be featured in the movie instead. As of right now, the U.S. release date for the film has not yet been announced, but it is due in United Kingdom theaters next August.

Indie pick of the week: Holoking

Stephanie Sokol for The Pit

At first listen, Chicago indie hip-hop duo Holoking resembles a more rhythmic early Lupe Fiasco sound, meshed with a touch of Kid Cudi. But the rhythms and uniqueness of each song is what makes this group different– artsy rhythm and instrumentals compliment the strength of influential lyrics.

Holoking is a chicago-based group created by Chris Hunt and Kenny Jenkins (MC Diverse). PHOTO/Holoking

Holoking is a chicago-based group created by Chris Hunt and Kenny Jenkins (MC Diverse). PHOTO/Holoking

Vocalist “MC Diverse” Kenny Jenkins and Percussionist Chris Hunt are the men behind Holoking. After Chris left band Cloudeater, he teamed up with Kenny for this new music project.

Kenny and Chris met through a mutual friend, and after working on projects together in the past, reconnected last month for Holoking.

“On the music side, I’ve been trying to think about the quality of starkness and how to work with that within a musical appropriate framework that allows Kenny to do what he does best,” Chris said. “So I suppose those aesthetic challenges make for good inspiration on one level. All of the usual inspirations happen as well — other art, general and specific life experiences and struggles, politics and ideas.”

Holoking’s music composition starts with Chris laying down his ideas and goals, exploring ideas and creating demos that he sends to Kenny to work on them further and eventually add vocals. They then work together on the music til it is perfected.

Their track “Superhuman” has many deep themes to it, and can be interpreted in multiple ways, according to Kenny.

“On the surface, Superhuman could be perceived as just boasting about lyrical invincibility, thoroughly laced with pompous bravado,” Kenny said. “But it’s actually more reflective of a few things that run far deeper; the will of the human spirit and its ability to thrive in the face of adverse conditions; an undying ambition to trudge forward. Also, the prospects of the creative documentation living beyond the span of one’s lifetime– indelibly present.”

Holoking is currently in the process of “finding their universe,” and making a lot of music to share with the world. The group will be releasing more music and scheduling live dates soon.

“I hope listeners hear something that causes thought,” Chris said. “It is difficult enough for a new band to reach audiences, so beyond just pressing play I can only hope that it isn’t greeted with apathy. We believe in what we say as well, so I hope there is rich lyrical and sonic content that the listener would find valuable to investigate.”

To keep upated with Holoking, visit their websiteSoundCloudFacebook page, follow them on Twitter and check out their Youtube Channel for their latest music.