“This band is a creative outlet that I absolutely crave. Making an All Star project is an excuse to reunite with friends around the globe and make some noise together, something exciting that doesn’t have a lot of rules.”
Emerging from the post-nuclear wreckage of the late-nineties grunge scene, All Star United’s self-titled debut CD galvanized an unwavering fanbase across the globe. Incorporating spot-on hooks, a redemptively acerbic (sometimes self-deprecating) wit, and ‘amps on eleven,’ All Star jolted the subculture with new energy, like some sort of musical CPR, breathing life into the collective consciousness, proving once again—in case anyone had forgotten—that rock n’ roll is best when it’s fun.
Buzz around the Grammy-nominated act increased exponentially into something bordering on legend. How many rock outfits, after all, can get away with releasing a record “whenever they feel like it” and still boast a solid fan base on four continents, claiming certifiable rock star status in far-flung sovereignties such as Singapore where All Star has topped the national charts?
All Star’s new project, Love & Radiation, is a smash return to the best of what made ASU great in the first place. As the towering, twenty-story hook of the title song declares, “You’re the one I’ve been waiting for!” Fans can uncross their fingers at last. The Eagle has landed. Elvis has returned to the building. Love & Radiation is a comeback package that’s simultaneously innovative, thundering, and beautiful. The wit is back. The mock-Jagger posturing. The incarnational rub calculated to subvert the subversives.
From sparkling pop anthem “We Could Be Brilliant” to tongue-in-cheek tour de force “Let’s Rock Tonight” to the radio- friendly hilarity of “The Song of the Year,” All Star demonstrates a reach and span few of its peers can approach. And somehow, the band manages to make it all mean something, too.
“Love & Radiation has some recurring themes,” Ian explains. “This idea that God’s light is most visible through us when we’re shattered shows up repeatedly. It’s that paradox of strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, riches in poverty that, ultimately, can only be described as the movement of ‘grace.’”
While the band has enjoyed a number of cast changes through the years, Eskelin has been faithful to bring back original members to participate repeatedly. There’s a dynamic sense in which All Star United has morphed into a “fluid community” where parts are recurring and interchangeable, but the sound is consistent even as it evolves. Ian himself has spent the last few years writing and producing for other artists, as well as releasing a solo record, marrying, and having a kid. But All Star United is an entity he stubbornly refuses to let go of.
“No matter what else I’m involved in,” Ian says, “I can’t stay away from All Star for long. These are the songs that keep me sane, creatively. I can’t help writing them, and no one else is going to record them. They’re just too... well, they’re too All Star United.”
A seven year veteran performer Riley Armstrong moved from Vancouver Canada to make Nashville, Tennessee home base for five years, with two internationally released albums on Flicker Records/EMI distribution, Riley asked to be released to pursue a call on his life to simplify. His return to Canada and marriage to his beautiful wife Shannon was the answer to the heart cry. Seeking to create an outlet for the music that had stirred during that time of transition, he partnered with 7 Spin Music from the Chicago area, a grassroots co-op style music company that created an encouraging space to birth a new album called La Loop.
In a sea of trends and conformity, Riley Armstrong stands out. Perhaps its proof that you don’t need a loud voice to be heard, just an honest one. Riley has dedicated his life to capture feelings to breath life into melodies that uncover the beauty of imagination that floats through-out the nooks and cranny ’s of our days. His legacy is built on the smiles, tears and stories of those who discover the soul of his music. A vigilantly for the different, celebrating the uniqueness in all of us.
Riley and his wife Shannon live in Calgary Alberta Canada. Performing over 150 events a year with over 40,000 albums sold and 4 unique and off the wall videos, his reputation for an exciting and hilarious live performance filled with real life honesty are always well received by young and old.
John Lennon said “life is what happens while we’re making other plans” and The Blood Violets are a reality that reflects that truth. So many of our hopes and dreams can steal our happiness and or our self worth when life presents a path that is not what we envisioned for ourselves. We fight with all that is in us to achieve our childhood dreams and in many cases we find ourselves struggling to remember what they were in the first place. Do our choices dictate our lives or do our lives dictate the choices that we make. I’m not sure that there is a clear answer here, but that is my point. Who can really say? Whatever the case, The Blood Violets are a band that was given life through other plans and we now find ourselves embracing it.
The vision began 4 years ago in the winter of 1999, or the winter of discontent as I now refer to it. We recorded a record and just wanted to go out a play gigs and meet people that related to the music that we created. A simple idea really but bands can never be that simple. Anyways, before we had our first show, we were teased with major label interest. I’m not saying that we never wanted to get signed and tour the world, please! We did want that to happen, but after we had had a chance to find ourselves and more importantly our community. We got sucked into the machine because everyone that heard our record loved it and that was amazing to us and very flattering, considering that we didn’t think it was that great. It was a picture that ran out of funding, so we put it out just so we could start playing gigs and have a record to sell. Dreamworks and RCA came to our third show and for the most part really liked it, but felt that the record was better than the live show; REALLY...do you think? IT WAS OUR THIRD SHOW!!!! HELLO. I’m not bitter really.
That was the beginning of the end and this is when I wish we had remembered our little dream that was soon going to be eaten by capitalism. Some labels thought we didn’t have a hit song and some wanted to replace members that they didn’t like. Others thought that we had a great thing going and we just needed the time to pull it together. For whatever reason, not having the right song was what we focused on because lets remember, we didn’t really love our first record. OK, before this drags on to much longer, lets just say that we played a lot of gigs over the next few years all over the country and made lots of fans and friends. We have had a few member changes, 2 name changes and 3 managers and a lot of unreleased songs. Yet. After all the ups and downs, we are still making music, or should I say it is making us.
With their gut-punching thick Foo Fighters style guitars combined with a Radiohead-esque melancholy and an Indie rock flare, The Contact has built a musical niche for themselves somewhere between The Smashing Pumpkins, Muse and Keane. This sound, along with songwriting that is at once spiritual, gritty and filled with metaphor, have helped The Contact find a space for themselves in Canada’s competitive music scene.
Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Contact is composed of Geoffrey Fifield on vocals and guitar, Tim Fifield on bass, drummer Chris Gilks and keyboardist Jordan Allen.
The band finished recording and mixing their third studio project ‘Canvas Tears’ (released June 2007) produced by Grammy winner Quinlan and engineered by Lil Thomas. “We’ve been self-producing for years, so we really needed someone not to ‘tell’ us what to do, but to collaborate on our ideas and let them fly,” Geoffrey notes. “Quinlan’s a great listener with a very open mind." After two months laboring between The Sonic Temple in Halifax and The Fiction Room Studio in Columbus Ohio, the CD was mixed by Chuck Zwicky (Prince, Chantal Kreviazuk, Soul Asylum) in New York City and Mastered by Dave Collins (The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Soundgarden) in Los Angeles. The Contact came away with an album that blends all their collective influences over a bakers dozen tracks with a recorded sound that exceeds everything they’ve ever committed to tape. “During a recording session, we hit the climax of ‘Anthem of a Refugee,’ and it all came together for me,” Geoffrey recalls. “The realization that all of these people - musicians, producers, mixers, are working as one to create something far beyond the sum of all the parts is incredibly moving and humbling." But even with an album that is sure to open up many eyes, ears, and hearts while The Contact spreads the love to more and more audiences, they have no plans to treat the road any differently. With extensive tours, crowds can’t help but be intrigued by the gripping stage show.
“We just want to keep touring and getting better as a band," Jordan concludes, “A year ago we didn’t think we would be in the position we are in. We just want to keep breaking the boundaries of what we are as a band and push ourselves to the limit.” And so just as it had been when he stepped into the front man role, the sparkle returns to Geoffrey’s eye, even brighter than before, but this time showing so much more than mere potential of a young band, more than the excitement of what "could be.” This time there is a new confidence brewing; an excitement that is not only explosive but silently assuring that their voice will be heard.
There is an oft-forgotten place where desperate desire for Truth romances both the raw and intricate elements of Rock and Roll. It is there you'll find the inspiration behind This Holiday Life.
The band was formed in Spring of 2003 by Scott Anderson (Voices, Guitars), Bobby Anderson (Bass), Mark Nagel (Drums), and Joe Freeman (Lead Guitar). Based in San Diego, the four created a natural buzz throughout their hometown with their first release, The Fallout. The 6-song EP showcased the aggressive and captivating talent of the band and was nominated for "Best Rock Album Of The Year" at the 2004 San Diego Music Awards. Taking to the road, THL began securing a reputable local and West Coast following.
Summer 2004 put This Holiday Life on their first national tour introducing them to the better part of the Midwest and East Coast. Added as tour support for Switchfoot and Copeland, their fan-base began to grow exponentially as their live show matured into one that would ignite passion in the hearts of many. By the end of the year the band had independently sold 5000 copies of The Fallout.
Early 2005 brought plans for a new full-length record, and another summer run with Switchfoot down the East Coast. Once again nominated for a San Diego Music Award, this time "Best Rock Group Of The Year", it became clear that THL was making a lasting impression on their hometown. The band began to write both on and off the road, compiling over 50 new songs for their next record. The result was the 14-song glimpse into the inner workings of the band, Friction, produced by Don Chaffer. Both moody and engaging, Friction showed the band's maturity and continued ability to craft catchy pop tunes with songs like "Don't Stand Up" and "Two Years Underground".
Several more national tours and 2 more nominations for the San Diego Music Awards have made the guys a go to San Diego band. In April 2007 they were teamed up once again with the production genius of Don Chaffer in the studio for their highly anticipated 2nd full length album, The Beginning of the End of the World. Never wanting to create the same thing twice, THL went as organic as they could creating sounds that the four of them could reproduce live with as much energy as the record. The result is an energetic ensemble of rock songs with just the right proportion of pop. From guitars to pianos to trash cans and bottles, THL has left their mark on musical history with songs like "A Yes, Not a No", "Motivation" and "Mission Control to my Heart".
Intoxicating melodies and purposeful lyrics are the oils with which Scott paints the story. His easily distinguishable voice captivates listeners, while his musical poetry challenges them to ignite with an unquenchable passion for Truth. Bobby, Mark, and Joe bring life to the music by weaving the canvas on which the story is told. The story we are all a part of...the story of this life...this holiday life.
In a world where musicians are so willing to compromise, Houston-based rock band Inhabited remains accountable to its original vision—making innovative music that serves listeners on a higher level.
This may seem risky given today’s competitive music climate and pressure to conform artistically for commercialism’s sake, but these have become risks worth taking as Inhabited returns to the music scene with LOVE, its first record on burgeoning indie label 7 Spin Music.
“This new record is genuinely heartfelt,” says lead singer Sara Acker. “We have risked a lot to stay true to the music and have fought for our artistic freedom! We started working with 7 Spin because they think outside the box. They do things a little differently, and so do we.”
Inhabited once more reinvents itself on LOVE, featuring pop/rock grooves pouring through the band’s straight-ahead rock. Working again with producer Monroe Jones (Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Third Day), Inhabited cements its place among modern pioneers of both sound and style.
Funneling heartfelt passion into the words as well as rhythms on LOVE, Sara, her brother Marcus (guitars), and Charlie Harper (drums) will certainly engage their audience with this project. LOVE takes listeners on an emotional ride through real life experiences, ranging from the tragedy of love lost to the trials that accompany following one’s dreams. “Inhabited is about being honest and discussing struggles,” Sara says “but we also aim to move people toward that light at end of the tunnel.”
High-energy numbers “We Will Live” and “I Want to Know” deal with the search for meaning, while “Hush” and “Respect” shred fashion magazines, redefining the essence of true beauty. The slower “Song to the Fatherless” and “I Miss You” sweep aside the hurt of losing a loved one and replace it with God’s promise of unconditional love. Bold and raucous, anthems “Are You With Me,” “One Show” and “Old School” send Inhabited’s message to stand united in the face of intimidation.
The album’s first single, “Hush,” written and produced by Marcus and Sara, speaks directly to Inhabited’s young female audience. “Girls are constantly under pressure to measure up to unrealistic standards,” Sara says. “Our culture dictates that if we don’t look a certain way we should ‘fix ourselves’ with surgery or by other unnatural means. I believe there is a priceless beauty in individuality, no matter what that looks like.”
She continues, “our fans might not realize the impact they have on us. Many times their stories inspire our songwriting.” For example, “Song to the Fatherless” tells the true story of a boy who came from an abusive home with no father figure, while his mother was strung out on drugs. “This song is written to kids who have experienced a parent walking out on them. The music carries the lyrics ‘God will never walk out on you! He’ll be the father that you never knew.’”
Offstage Sara keeps in contact with Inhabited’s fans through blogs on its website, giving encouragement and often telling their stories through the band’s music. To further involve fans in its work, Inhabited took a photo booth out on tour to collect pictures for use on the cover of LOVE. “We took the pictures we collected of fans to be used in the artwork. Rather than putting our picture on the cover, we wanted to show our fans the love – that’s who this record is for.”
“We love music and live for that moment on stage when we exchange musical passion with the audience. There is something about connecting to someone’s soul through music – something that’s not coming from us but from the spirit behind our music.”
And that spirit of love in Christ is evident to everyone Inhabited meets. “While some Christians are quick to point the finger, we want to come alongside people and show them love. We are all on a journey of sorts. The important thing is that when we stumble and fall, we get up and keep walking. Yes, Christ came to save us all from our sins, but people will also know Christ by our LOVE.”
The Mark White Band is a worship band from the metro-Detroit area. They consist of Mark White (Vocals, Guitar, Piano), Mike LaBelle (Bass, Keys, Vocals), Pat Nagle (Electric Guitar), Josh Belokonny (Drums, Programming). They exist to spread the Name of Jesus and place His fame and glory above all things. For the past 5 years God has been molding and continues to mold their hearts for what He has for them. The Mark White Band feels called by God to spend their lives writing and leading worship songs for His global Church and this generation. They desire to be vessels of influence for His glory, and to be lights in this broken and dark world - pointing people to the truth and majesty of Christ. Their songs are designed to be relevant and Biblical expressions of worship. Their music is continually finding new shape and expanding in new dimensions of creativity. Their songs are already being sung in a number of churches and ministries and are gaining momentum in this generation. God has been greatly expanding their ministry – as they travel and lead and continue to pour into their home ministry. God has been opening great doors for them, and their prayer is that God will use them in amazing and incredible ways - all for His glory.
"We join in the eternal song of God. His beauty and glory will never fade, and the story of His grace is for all generations. All we bring is another melody that fits His theme - the theme of the unending worship of the self-existent Lord of all. We are humbled to be a part of His grand story." - Mark White
The Mark White Band has just completed a brand new album titled “Now & Forever” that is set to nationally release January 13, 2009. This album is a collection of brand new, original songs for the Church and this generation. They are extremely excited for the project’s release and feel it greatly represents their music, creativity, and most importantly their passion for Jesus Christ and seeing His Name be glorified.
The emcee known as Playdough is definitely not a kid’s toy. His think for yourself attitude is a breath of fresh air in the ever-changing world of hip-hop. Don’t get it confused - this Texas emcee is all business with a flow and delivery that takes you back to the golden era when beats and lyrics made you the master of ceremony. With his 7 Spin release “Don’t Drink The Water”, this album will be recognized as one of the building blocks that will assist in the process of swaying the pendulum back to a true appreciation of the lyricist. Judging from his work with his DeepSpace 5 counterparts and his mastery of the Queens English and his proficient use of the MPC, it will be no time before his malleable word play and music production will be associated with the greats.