Neil Nathan: In the spirit of Ziggy Stardust and The Wall comes a new concept album from Neil Nathan. Sweep the Nation, released under Neil Nathan Inc., a clear jab at corporate personhood, is a “power to the people” concept record inspired by the current political awakening exemplified by the Arab Spring, Occupy Movement and most recently Spain, Quebec, Russia, Mexico, and Japan's record setting protests. Nathan, who is listed in the credits as The Overlord, a glam rocking alien from Sirius who’s come to Earth to help us embrace our democratic destiny, really shows his range on this record, mastering power pop, alt rock, and glam rock equally well.
Nathan, a former high school history teacher in some of the toughest schools in NYC, and American Teacher Magazine cover boy, used to play politically charged songs like Roger Waters’ "Watching TV" and Neil Young's "Ohio" to get his students excited about both music and history."On this record, I loved combining my passions for history and rock n’ roll into one glam rocking manifesto, a full-on concept album with all out guitar rockers, dancey grooves, lush. harmony filled choruses a la Queen, Sweet, and ELO, and a Ziggy Stardust inspired alien alter ego character,” says Nathan. “This is everything I love about three chords and the truth, about rock n roll's power to affect positive change. With all that's going on in the world and the US in an election year, it just seemed like the right time for these songs. Regular folks all over the world are standing up for what they believe in and I aimed to write the soundtrack. I'm hoping a few of these songs inspire them to keep speaking and singing truth to power." And in that same spirit of community exemplified on Sweep The Nation, Nathan successfully used the crowdfunding platform Rockethub to raise $5k to fund the record.
Filled with feet stomping, fist pumping, sing along anthems like “I Ain't No Company Man”, “Everybody Everywhere”, and the title track “Sweep The Nation,” Nathan aims to stoke the flames of conscious, peaceful dissent. He's even added a new cover to the mix with a barn burning, modern rocking rendition of Lou Reed's “There Is No Time” off his classic New York LP.
In 2010, Neil Nathan released his debut LP, The Distance Calls. Produced by Detroit Garage Rock Hero Bobby Harlow (The Go), it featured musicians from The Dead Weather, QOTSA, King Tuff, Detroit Cobras, and The Go. It included Neil's intimate cover of ELO's “Do Ya,” which so impressed rock n’ roll hall of famer Jeff Lynne, that he gave his blessing for it to appear on Showtime's Californication Soundtrack. Another track off the record, the Stone Canyon inspired California Run, has been featured on ESPN, NHL Network, and is spun at San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park. The record also featured the modern glam rocker, Better Be Goin’, which so inspired the visual effects lead from Super 8 & The Sorcerer's Apprentice, that he created a next level CGI Anime Video for it.
Neil also recently co-produced the debut EPs of Americana singer songwriters Susannah Conn and Caren Le Vine as well as 18 year old indie rock wunderkinds, Engines, at New Warsaw Studio in Brooklyn, with longtime collaborator Riley McMahon. They were released on Nathan’s Pirate Vinyl imprint along with Pete Sinjin’s Better Angels Radio (#10 Euro Americana Charts).
QUEEN ORLENES: The story of Queen Orlenes begins in Caldes d'Estrac, a beach village an hour north of Barcelona. Sitting on the balcony of a run down hotel, American-born, London-based songwriter Brooke X opened up her laptop and began typing a letter. It had been one helluva year. A heady cocktail of personal tragedy and professional set backs had left Brooke in a quandary--suffer the same fate as so many music... industry casualties, or wipe away the tears, pick herself up, and try again?
The letter, as it turned out, was to her future band mates--long time friend and New Yorker Ian Wolff and native London musician Rob Walbourne. What would happen if they took away all the pressure to be successful? And focused solely on making the music they loved and could be proud of.
The answer came a few weeks later, via a 15-hour drive from NYC to Sparta, Tennessee. The trio set up their gear in the rural farmhouse of Ian’s grandfather and spent the hot Southern summer turning years of angst and anguish into the sound of Queen Orlenes.
Ten Tennessee demos completed, the group returned to London and happened upon producers Richard Cardwell and Jim Duguid, who took an instant liking to the band and promptly cleared their schedules to begin making the records.
In between studio sessions, the band embarked on a self-funded UK tour whilst setting up shop in farmhouses across North Devon and East Sussex where they continued to write songs. "The Ark," one of the sparkling results of a North Devon session, was included on charity album "Songs To Save A Life" to raise awareness and money for the Samaritans.
With four new tracks, Queen Orlenes are readying the release of their debut EP "Helicopters," on their own label, River Gang Records. Title track "Helicopters" is about "finding the courage to talk about the stuff in your life that's fucked you up," Brooke X explains. "Or it will bury you." It's a heady mix of melody and emotion, set to sparse yet hypnotic guitars and a marching drum beat that builds and builds.
This is music made by real people who have lived and loved hard.
Barkhouse : At first Barkhouse was an event, a one-night show designed by Will de Zengotita, to showcase some long hidden material. Will was joined by several musicians that night, including old companions Jay Mort and Olmo Tighe. Ignited by the “Barkhouse” show these three would go on to form a new band of the same name. Even as the writing became a shared endeavor, their songs have continued with the same sincerity and intensity that characterized those first offerings.
Now two years on and well established in the Brooklyn music scene they recently hooked up with Wreckroom Records to record Hold Tight. Barkhouse has drawn comparisons to older acts like The Cars and Talking Heads as well as newer bands like The Black Keys or The Walkmen but you’ll have to see for yourself.
The Lunatic Fringe: The Lunatic Fringe is a hard-charging, energetic rock/pop foursome out of New York City. Formed in late 2009 by singer/songwriter Dave Felipe, the band also includes Emerson Young (guitar/vocals), Joe Haines (bass) and John Novello (drums). The diverse musical backgrounds of all four members results in a strong sound full of juicy hooks and edgier melodies. The band prides itself in putting on high energy, memorable performances for fans and friends.