Playlist: Pros and iCons Share Biggest Inspirations

Pros and iCons

Pros and iCons released their debut album, iConic, last year. The band has a wide variety of influences and they were kind enough to share those with us today. Check out the playlist and what they had to say about each song.

 Mötley Crüe — “Kickstart My Heart”

There’s an undeniable energy in all of Mötley Crüe’s music that greatly inspired iConic. Their anarchical style and explosive hits capture the anthemic poise we aim to express in our music and live performance. Plus, they’re just badass.

Linkin Park — “Breaking the Habit”

This is one of our favorite songs by one of our favorite artists. They infiltrated mainstream radio while aggressively combining pop, hip hop, and rock. Our band name Pros & iCons expresses an inherent duality to illustrate our genre-bending approach, which is similar to and inspired by Linkin Park.

Polyphia — “Light”

Pop melodies disguised as guitar leads? Polyphia exceeded our expectations of contemporary rock. Their tunes directly inspired what we had aimed to achieve on “Catch Me.”

The Weeknd — “Angel”

Whether by heartbreak or just damn good songwriting, we couldn’t escape this song for the months we were finalizing iConic. The Weeknd’s nearly somber musical disposition makes our little 2007 emo hearts feel at home. His songs are massive and emotional, much like ours, and “Angel” greatly influenced our track “Fallen.”

Lady Gaga — “Marry the Night”

Gaga is one of Joey Dean’s (vocals) biggest inspirations. Her vocal approach, translating her classical training into her pop/rock ‘n’ roll hybrid, is much like Dean’s. Her Born This Way era certainly bit from the 80s, much like iConic, and this massive hit has inspired us sonically, thematically, and visually.

Drake — “Hype”

When we were writing iConic, Drake dropped “Views” and we couldn’t stop streaming this ish. Much like The Weeknd, Drake’s emotive lyrics and production make us feel some type of way and we love it. We had to choose “Hype”—everyone gets hype at every Pros & iCons live show.

Bring Me The Horizon — “Drown”

Much like Linkin Park, Bring Me The Horizon seamlessly blended together genres into a style original to their name. Particularly, their orchestral influence fits well with cinematic and video game-inspired tracks we have and have yet to release. “Drown” is one of our favorites off That’s The Spirit.

Elton John & George Michael — “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”

Between their style, vocal approach, and stories, these two LGBTQ icons are huge inspirations for Joey Dean. They both evoked something provocative in their approach, while maintaining a richness to their singing. And, well, Elton John wrote for The Lion King. How could we not include him?

Sylar — “Soul Addiction”

Sylar is a fellow NYC native, hailing from Queens, the stomping grounds of our own Niko Vaude (guitar), and so we’ve been watching their journey for a while. Their record Help! proved we weren’t the only crazy kids on the underground NYC scene progressively blending together genres. “Soul Addiction” became a Van’s Warped Tour anthem we couldn’t stop listening to.

Thirty Seconds to Mars — “Kings and Queens”

It’s hard to articulate with Thirty Seconds to Mars. Their music just has this feeling. It fires us up from the inside and inspires. We grew up listening to them and have felt an irresistible connection to A Beautiful Lie and This Is War. “Kings and Queens” is just that song.

New Music Friday: Bayside, Lupe Fiasco, and More

New Music Friday is here and there are some releases that you should definitely check out.

Alt-J – Reduxer

Bayside – Acoustic Volume 2

Beartooth – Disease

Cypress Hill – Elephants on Acid

The Ex-Optimists – Drowned In Moonlight

Kevin Devine/Petal – Devinyl Splits No. 9

Loretta Lynn – Wouldn’t It Be Great

Lupe Fiasco – Drogas Wave

Restorations – LP5000

Terror – Total Retaliation

Well Wisher – This Is Fine

Interview: Super American Talk New Album

Super American

Super American recently released Tequila Sunrise. I highly recommend checking it out, which you can do over on Bandcamp. Pat Feeley took some time to answer our questions about the album, the Buffalo music scene, and more. Give it a read below.

When did you first start working on Tequila Sunrise?

We didn’t know it at the time, but we started it the first day we ever worked on music together. It was March of 2016, I believe. The final product didn’t come to fruition until we started putting the pieces together earlier this year.  Matt’s songs span a great length of time probably dating back to 2015. Mine were all written last year except for “Commitment Issues,” which we finished right before we went into the studio. When we found out the record was a go (we had a budget) we began demoing out all of our ideas and trying to fit them into one piece of work, Tequila Sunrise. The final versions are all closely derived from the demos we did prior.

What was the writing and recording process like?

There was no particular writing “process” for this record as it basically spanned our entire existence as a “band.” When we were inspired we would make something and share it with one another. Add to it. Subtract from it.  Work it from there. The recording process was unique because we had demos of all the songs — that we liked. So we were trying to preserve that energy while adding quality and weight to the recording.

If you could describe this album in one sentence, what would it be?

Nice to meet you.

Now that the album has been out for a little while, how does it feel to have it out in the world?

It feels weird. I felt amazing the first night and day. Very thankful for all of the positive things people were saying and the support of our friends, followers, etc. I was proud that we were able to see it through. Now I really just want to make something better.

Being from Buffalo, NY, what is the local scene like there?

I love my city.  Sometimes we eat each other alive instead of showing love, but it’s a small town and the sun doesn’t come out for six straight months.  It takes great leaders to really set a positive and inclusive tone for a scene to grow and thrive, so hopefully we will set a good example.  There are a lot of talented and passionate people.  Nothing energizes me like going to a show and seeing someone express themselves.

Do you find yourselves heading out to NYC often to play the wide variety of venues there?

We’re almost 7 hours away from NYC, but have have played there a few times. It’s a trip! Cleveland, OH is honestly more like our second home. (Sorry!)

Is there a venue in NY that you hope to play one day? How about outside of your home state?

We don’t discriminate. I want to start playing anywhere someone might know a couple of our songs.

What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

Exploring new ways to express myself.  Learning!  Doing my laundry more often. Improving my fitness and attitude. :)))

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. Where can our readers keep up with Super American?

@supamerican on Twitter / Instagram. Thanks for having me.

Rapid Review: Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises

Pale Waves - My Mind Makes Noises

The new Pale Waves album is one I intended on checking out much sooner than I did. However, I’ve been feeling like I’m perpetually behind on everything these days. Too many books to read, too many podcasts to listen to, and let’s not discuss how many albums I have yet to listen to from this year. With that in mind, I wanted to come up with a quick way to get my thoughts out on an album, so here’s what I’m calling Rapid Review (not too clever, I know) and I’m kicking it off with My Mind Makes Noises.

“Eighteen” is a great start to the album. The vocals are great and the music is catchy. This is a song that I could easily see myself listening to a lot even though it feels more like a summer jam than a fall song. “There’s a Honey” follows the same vibe that we get with the opening track and builds on it nicely.

As I continued listening through the album, there’s an importance placed on relationships throughout it. Some, like “Loveless Girl,” aren’t always in a positive light, but it puts you into the situation and you’re able to understand the narrative. “Drive” was a track that instantly got my attention, though. “I drive fast so I can feel something” is repeated throughout and it just stuck with me.

“She” is intensely personal and it stands out as it takes a slower approach. You can tell there’s some resentment in the lyrics and vocals. If I had to pick one song to introduce someone to Pale Waves, it would be “She.” It gives a good look at the kind of band they are and how much potential they have.

“Red” is a song that would fit right in with pop radio. The chorus is infectious and it’s easy to have it stuck in your head. It’s another standout song on this album. While this album does blend together a little too much at times, it’s a big step in the right direction. They clearly have talent and they know exactly who they are. The vocals are appealing and the music is catchy. Just adding a little more variety would be great and I hope we see that from them on future releases. Give Pale Waves a listen if you haven’t yet, though. The band is well worth your time.

Playlist: Fatherson Share Their Influences

Fatherson

Fatherson recently released Sum Of All Your Parts and they took some time to share their influences with us. They wrote a bit about each selection and you can listen to the playlist on Spotify.

Sigur Ros – Heysatan

That Takk album by Sigur Ros is hands down one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. I go back to this song religiously, I guess it’s because I have no idea what he’s saying so I make it up for myself.

Death Cab For Cutie – Brothers on a Hotel Bed

Our collective favourite song of all time. Possibly even our collective favourite band. Lyrically Ben Gibbard always puts the most eloquent twist on heartbreaking situations. This song is about losing love over a long period of time, which is something that I guess most people are afraid of.

Manchester Orchestra – Everything to Nothing

Loud, heavy, heartbreaking and honest is pretty much how I’d describe everything that Manchester Orchestra do. We’ve been inspired by them since hearing wolves at night on MySpace. I would maybe say this was my favourite song of theirs. The way they throw about the 1 at the end yet make it super approachable is just cool and it was amazing to discover that other bands did that too.

Phoenix – Lasso

The intro to this song is so cool, if you watch on YouTube the dude is playing two parts at once. They are also so amazing live, proper gentlemen of the stage with super groovy tunes. Plus the drummer looks like he’s going so fast he might take off at some point 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

The 1975 – The Sound

This band definitely inspired a bit of confidence in us when we were writing this new album. They just say and do what they want and their artwork and statement is always so cool. Very big fans of their live show too, they are definitely the most innovative band to come out of the UK in the last decade in my opinion.

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Definitely the most inspiring artist/song/library of musical masterpieces on this list for me, for sure. This song blew me away when if first heard it, not only is there a Paolo Nutini sample in it but there’s also an incredibly beautiful song underneath the melee of production.

Noname – All I Need

I had Telefone on repeat for about a year, Noname writes poetry. I was so engaged from the get go, one night whilst trawling through tiny desk sessions, her one appeared and that was it. This song is my favourite on that album but if you haven’t heard it yet do yourself a favor and get lost in it for a few days!

Paramore – Last Hope

Saw them in Wembley Arena in London in front of about 20,000 people and they made it feel like a club show! This song is the epitome of a modern rock ballad with an amazing melody and her incredible voice on top of it!

Radiohead – No Surprises

The kings of tone and song structure really. You can’t help but be in awe of them, they’ve been moving the goalposts forever and always better themselves. I listened to Ok Computer a lot over the last couple of years alongside the bends. This song though has the most amazing sounding guitar melody I think I’ve ever heard.

Idlewild – Little Discourage

We toured with Idlewild on their 10 year anniversary of 100 Broken Windows after being massive fans since we were kids. It’s such a raw and messy album but it has so much energy in it. Little Discourage made the place go off every night and it was so inspiring to watch it have the same visceral potency 10 years after it came out. It just shows you that great songs last the test of time.

Snow Patrol – How to be Dead

The opening song to one of the best albums of all time. And that just has to be a fact, it’s a super cool sounding album from some guys from Northern Ireland. I was about 11 when it came out and bought it at Asda and went straight to Greg’s to listen to it, which we’ve done with every album they’ve released since. Incredible band and this song is so cool.

Playlist: Sam Hale Shares Artists He Loves

Sam Hale
Photo credit: Jenna Doolittle

Sam Hale is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who had been hard at work on some new music. He’ll be releasing Somewhere Between Love & War on October 12th. Sam kindly put together a playlist of some of the artists he loves and wrote a little about each selection. Check it out!

David Ramirez – “Watching from a Distance”
David Ramirez is electrifying. I heard this album and it inspired me to reach out to his producer, Sam Kassirer. That is how Somewhere Between Love & War was born.

Wye Oak – “Before”
Wye Oak is an interesting discovery I made last year. They are two multi-instrumentalists that create a rich and colorful blend of sounds accompanied by thoughtful and honest lyrics. You’ll have to check them out!

Cigarettes After Sex – “K.”
Cigarettes After Sex put out a pretty awesome album, especially the song “K”. Their music has a dreamy undertone with seductive vocals that don’t sway too much from the pocket, leaving you in a state of infinite trance.

Kevin Morby – “Harlem River”
Kevin Morby’s repetitive guitar lick in “Harlem River” influenced me a bit when creating “Supernatural”. The song starts off giving you a Gotye feel, but once the song picks up it becomes super spacey and psychedelic. I appreciate a long song when it’s done correctly. They achieved it in this one.

Chromatics – “Into The Black”
I love the Chromatics recreation of Neil Young’s “My My, Hey, Hey”. It’s almost as if her voice was made for this song. This song opened me up to hear their whole catalogue.

The War on Drugs – “Pain”
It took me a while to actually start listening to The War on Drugs. I had heard of them and friends told me to check them out. It’s no mystery they are an amazing band, but they have definitely influenced me. The song “Pain” is one of my favorites.

Nick Hakim – “Green Twins”
Nick Hakim put out a super soulful album called Green Twins. The title track “Green Twins” is one of my favorites. The song has a subtle distorted effect that makes it feel like an old vinyl. His performance is amazing and I love the production on this number.

The Cinematic Orchestra – “To Build A Home”
I heard the song “To Build A Home” a while back on the independent station KCRW in Los Angeles while driving home from a friend’s house. I instantly fell in love. It’s such a beautifully played song that gives you chills right when the singer hits the falsetto vocals in the chorus.

Slowdive – “Start Roving”
The band Slowdive has been around for a while, but they recently put out an album called Slowdive after 21 years of not releasing any music. All the songs on the album are amazing, but the one that stood out to me is called “Star Roving”. It has this industrial, 80’s pop quality to it that I just love.