Tag Archives: Rock

Exclusive Interview with oblio: New Single Announcement, East Coast Shows, and more!

Had a great time speaking with oblio, an alt-rock trio from Long Beach, California last week. The guys, Alex, Blake and Free, broke some news about upcoming music that they are working on, discussed the new single they released this spring “Batting Cages”, and talked about the upcoming shows on the East Coast this August. Excited to see what is to come for this band!

What was the inspiration behind your new single “Batting Cages”?

Blake: Lyrically, I have a hard time articulating the meaning of “Batting Cages”. The lyrics have no linear story or moral, which is unusual for us. Its kind of a series of satirical vignettes, meant to jab at contradictions in our relationships. It usually gets a good reaction from fans, which is really rewarding.

We love a lot of punk and hardcore, and lately that’s been seeping in to our sound quite a bit. Musically, I think Free came up with the idea for the main riffs and verse, and I came up with the chorus later… At some point we just decided to play it all fast and heavy. We wrote it just before Alex joined the band, but he did contribute really badass bass lines to the final recording.

 

What does the name “Batting Cages” come from?

Free: Mostly from the “punny” nature of this song, the “hedgehog’s dilemma” of not allowing people too close to you, and lines in the chorus: “I don’t want to be a bearer of rage, I would rather be a batter in a cage. Throw your heart at me.”

 

You guys are playing two shows on the East Coast after primarily playing on the West Coast. Are you excited to come to the East? What led to the shows on the East Coast?

Free: Oh yes. Super excited! Originally, Blake is from the LA area, and I’m from Boston. After a previous band we were in, we got together and wrote a full album in the basement of my family’s house. Things felt really natural and we were churning out songs, so eventually I moved out to LA to fully commit to the band. Thats the short version of how oblio was formed. Blake and I are cousins (Alex & Blake were childhood friends), so we actually have a lot of family and friends on the East Coast that have never even seen oblio play live yet.

 

When can your fans expect another single or new album release?

Blake: We’ll be putting out a new standalone single titled “The Quiet Song (That Fades Out)” in just a week or two!

Free:  We’ve been kicking it around for a while. We never found a place for it on a full album or EP, so its been through a few creative edits to get it right.

We’ve also been at work on our 2nd full-length album for about a year, and we’re almost done recording it. Hard to say anything about it at this point, but I will say it’s a stronger “rock” record. Where our previous release “Autophobia” spread across a really surprising gamut of genres and stylistic endeavors, this next release feels like a solid punch of songs that fit together “stylistically”, instead of “conceptually”.

 

What is a lyric from your music that sticks out to you?

Alex: It’d be from the song Shunned; “Jesus is my only friend and I treat him sh*t, but his hand’s on my glass turning water to gin…”

Free: From the song Wisdom, off our first LP Autophobia: “With a mouth that has none to oppose, truly wisdom is knowing: the self is the greatest of foes”

Blake: There’s another line in our song Shunned; “I act so broken, I just might break.” Simple, but I’m really proud of the honesty in that one. We all love the lyrics in that song. Hahah.

 

What is your favorite song right now?

Alex: “Easy Love” by Wood Lake.

Free: I went through a huge Ghost phase recently, a little late to the party, I know, but I’ve been recently ingesting their entire discography up until the recent new album, and though Blake was listening to this on repeat about a year ago, I still can’t shake the feeling that the massive rhythm in Ghost’s “Cirice” is going to stick with me a while longer.

Blake: “Steph” by Headbed. They’re probably the coolest band I know in our local LA scene. We’ve played shows with them a few times, and they’re just wonderful. Definitely check out their EP “Tremble”.

 

Lastly, what is one of the most memorable experiences that your music has taken you?

Alex: I have a vivid memory of taking turns showering in a truck stop sink and only having two shirts to wear because all my clothes got stolen on the first night of tour (Someone broke into the van). It was a long tour but people were so helpful. Also some employees at a Starbucks heard our story and gave us a ton of free food and stuff.

Free: We got pretty drunk one night and carved our names into the back of the black Fender Tele that serves as oblio’s “main guitar”. It’s nice to see that carving when we pick it up to play.

Blake: We did a show once where the people up at the front started all dancing together to our song. Any musician would say “that’s why we do what we do…” It was a beautiful moment.


If you are interested in seeing oblio on the East Coast,  check them out on:

Friday, August 3, 2:30 pm – Inside Out Stage at Soulfest in Gilford, NH

Thursday, August 9, 7:00 pm – The Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, MA

 

 

 

 

Artist Spotlight: Inspired & the Sleep

Recently, I had the privileged of interviewing Max from the San Diego indie rock band Inspired & the Sleep. The band released a new single this spring called “First Time”. The track is very personal to the band as it is about a DUI in a relationship and how it brought the couple closer together. Here is Max from Inspired & the Sleep:

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would your dream location be? (This can be anything from a beach that you love or a huge arena or Red Rocks, etc).

Oh man, I mean there’s tons of venues and places I would wanna play. Not sure if I could give exactly one dream venue cause I’d like to play them all and I feel like you could have just as an amazing experience playing a some basement house show over some huge arena. I will say I would like to play other countries, we’ve been talking about getting over to Europe and I’ve always wanted to play Japan I hear that’s a surreal crowd.

Where do you look for your inspiration when writing songs?

It’s not really tangible. It just comes when it comes. And I would say it all comes from the human experience. One thing I will say is I tend to write about past events in my life years after they happen for some reason.

The single “First Time” was released in April, do you have any other new music you are working on?

We do! Can’t really disclose what’s to come or when, but there will be new music this year so look for that 🙂

You guys were the winners of the 91X San Diego Battle of the Bro-Am competition and are playing at Bro-AM this weekend in Encinitas, California. Congrats! Are you pumped for that experience? Have you attended Bro-AM before?

That show was amazing! There’s so much love and positivity going around with Switchfoot’s crew, fans, and causes. It’s truly inspiring. The event saved over 250k for charity towards kids in need in San Diego which is just insane. Also I’ve been a huge fan of Sure Sure for sometime now and it was an awesome experience to share the stage with them and meet those dudes :). And yes, I’ve been to the Bro Am many many times starting back when I was in high school.

What is a lyric from your music that sticks out to you?

‘And there’s that night that we drove drunk, you went to jail and my heart sunk. Cause it’s my job to keep you safe’ – That’s probably my favorite lyric from ‘First Time’ just because it’s straight honesty. Not trying to hide behind metaphors or complexity. Just truth.

What is your favorite song right now?

Hmm well that’s always just changing, but I would say ‘(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano’ by Sampha is this week’s favorite jam.

Lastly, you guys have been making music for a couple of years now, what is the memorable experience that your music has given you?

I would say my most memorable experience isn’t defined by a single event, but rather the ongoing experience of being able to make art. Music is what gives me purpose in my life and If I didn’t have that outlet I don’t know where I would be.

 

We look forward to this new music by Inspired & the Sleep, and here is the new track released in April, First Time:

 

 

 

Dispatch release first album since 2012, America, Location 12

Dispatch has released their first album since 2012 with America, Location 12. The band members have recently been working on solo projects, with both Chadwick Stokes Urmston (stage name Chadwick Stokes), and Brad Corrigan releasing solo projects over the last few years.

America, Location 12 is a great album for summertime with the positive vibes and just general upbeat tracks that Dispatch has made themselves famous for. Some of our favorite tracks include, “Only the Wild Ones”, “Painted Yellow Lines”, and “Midnight Lorry.”

I had the privilege of attending one of their release shows in Providence this past weekend. Dispatch performed an intimate set of four songs, three songs from the new album and one of their old hits.

Here is a link to the new album on Spotify:

 

 

Artist Showcase: Valleyheart

Valleyheart is a rock band from Beverly, Massachusetts that released their first EP”Nowadays” this spring. The band features a few former members of Exiting the Fall.

This four tracked EP touches on themes of questioning the presence of God, reflecting on the past, shifting situations in life, and finding purpose.

These are questions that many can relate to, and have even thought about in their own lives. This questioning, paired with well written lyrics and great guitar overtone, make this EP a mixture of complexity, honesty, wonder, and faith.

I would highly recommend this EP to anyone who enjoys honest lyrics, and some good rock music.

 

Album Showcase: Calm Down, Everything is Fine by Mike Mains & The Branches

Mike Mains & The Branches sophomore album Calm Down, Everything is Fine has a great blend of various styles. There are songs that have rock influence, while their are other songs such as “Slow Down” which is calm and has a folk feel.

These mixtures of style are blended on the last track of the album Calm Down, Everything is Fine. The tack starts off calm, with some intimate verses, but picks it up halfway through and turns into a fantastic rock song. It contains really well written and clever lyrics, having lyrics that mention wine, Jesus, and Davey Crockett.

The album features some star studded musicians, with Matt Hoopes of Relient K on lead guitar, and Zac Farro of Paramore on the drums.

 

New Artist Showcase: Living At Last

A few months ago I got a message from one of my former campers from when I was a camp counselor. He told me that he had started a band, Living At Last, and was wondering if I wanted to check it out. I checked them out, not really knowing what to expect.

I listened to the first track and immediately liked the sound of it. It had a solid overdrive guitar in the background, and the lyrics were inspirational and showed maturity way beyond the years of high schoolers.

My two favorite tracks on the album are Numb and Eyes Like You. Eyes Like You got stuck in my head for a full day after listening to it for the first time. I am excited to see what music Living At Last come out with in the future, because they will only get better from here.