Tag Archives: music

Neo Geo’s Rainy Terrell: “I hate fake!”

Have I mentioned how much I love female-fronted bands? How about female-fronted bands who REALLY know how to rock? Take my love for rock music and add the intensity and dynamic that can come from a female voice, and you’ve got Orange County natives Neo Geo. Their sound is just the right amount of edgy, their lyrics are unapologetic, and their music is diverse and moving. Truly a band to see live, as they will make sure you have an experience that you won’t soon forget.

I got the chance to talk with Rainy Terrell of Neo Geo about the passion behind their music, and what the band is up to next. Trust me, you’ll have a new-found appreciation for the badass-ness that is Rainy Terrell after reading this, or your money back. Which doesn’t really apply because this site is free, but read below anyway, and possibly discover a new favorite band in the process.

Neo Geo
Neo Geo’s Rainy Terrell performs at the Skullcandy Stage, Warped Tour 2011.
Photo: picksysticks

I know how difficult it is for “female-fronted rock” in this genre. How do you feel about that?

I see it as an opportunity more than anything. I don’t see it as a challenge; I see it as something new and it can be really awesome for our younger generations to see that also women are so captivating and emotionally very invested. I truly love it and it’s a challenge but yet it’s not. I see it as an opportunity more than anything to really convey how I feel. I really want to be an inspiration for younger women and kind of help them find their way. I’m trying to inspire younger women to find themselves.

You have a little bit more of an edgier, brash sound. How much of that is conveyed from your personal life?

Honestly, I used to do theater and I was in opera and that’s how I studied technically how to sing. As I got older I realized I really didn’t want to sing other people’s things. I wanted to be able to be in a band and actually convey what I feel and my emotions. So anything that you ever see on stage or anything that I write about is honest and true. I love artists that are real. I think that’s really important for any kind of music, because you expect to get something from the energy. I am theatrical, but I would never be a gimmicky band.

I can tell that your group has the passion for it! You can tell when a band is passionate about their music as opposed to gimmicky.

Exactly, I would never be a gimmick band. It’s always very real. I am human and there are some times when I am in a bad mood, or I’m in a great mood, or I am hurt about something, like anybody. I think it’s important to express that and not be fake about it. I hate fake!

So Neo Geo has been hitting some of the western tour dates. How has it been being on the road with the guys?

You know, I think I’m used to it by now. I have three brothers … and then being in a band with four other guys, and then all the techs are guys. So, it’s something that I find me picking up on certain things in their personalities. There are some things that I find myself doing that are kind of guy like, even though I am very feminine. Like, I’m okay with being able to be around them, and doing work. I do understand when they talk about girls or whatever. I feel like a little sister to them.

What kind of fan base have you noticed with Neo Geo? How do you interact with your fans?

It’s really cool because our fan base is a wide variety. I have women that are coming up to me that are in their 40s and 50s and guys that are in their 40s or 50s in our fan base. They’ll come to Warped Tour and they’re like, “Don’t ever stop what you’re doing.” A woman told me, “You’re like the next Gaga or Pink or No Doubt.” It feels really good to hear something like that.

What does the band have coming up in the future?

We just released a single called “Superstar”. When we go home [after Warped Tour] we’re going to be recording the second record. So that’s going to be really fun. I absolutely love [the single] “I’ve Done It Alone”, it’s even more of a favorite than “Superstar” but I love them both. Then we have a lot of other songs, another awesome ballad as well. So there’s a lot of really good songs that are going to be on the next record. It’s still going to be Neo Geo but it has a little more of an electronic/hip hop type feel, but it’s still very rock. It’s really hard to put a genre on it. It’s just Neo Geo; just a little different, but the same at the same time. It’s evolving.

 

Make sure you check out Neo Geo’s next show at The Roxy, September 12th, and if you’re not in the So Cal area, why not grab a free download of their latest single, “Superstar”? You’re welcome.

This Treatment Doesn’t “Hurt”

Cover for “This Might Hurt” by The Treatment, courtesy of Adrenaline PR and Spinefarm Records

Let me take you back to another time, friends.  It was a day when men were men, women were women, and not every rock band wore skinny jeans and guyliner.  Bands like AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and all their counterparts were dominating stages and airwaves.  These days, those bands are considered legendary, but their style and presence are long considered a thing of the past.

Well worry no more, friends.  If you like that style, then The Treatment is for you.

Formed in Cambridge, UK in 2008, this five-piece rock band is currently traveling through the US for their first tour of the country, opening up for rock icons KISS and Mötley Crüe on their not-just-cleverly titled “The Tour”. With their debut album, “This Might Hurt”, currently available for download on iTunes, the album also comes attached with their EP of covers, “Then & Again”.  San Supersonic had a chance to catch up with lead singer Matt Jones on the cusp of their show on August 12th at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.

If you’ve had a chance to listen to their first single, “Nothing to Lose but Our Minds” (which you can right here), then you’ll notice that the band happens to be pretty classic sounding.  It’s less of a current style of rock, and has drawn a lot of comparisons to the earlier bands.  It was one of the reasons Nikki Sixx championed the band and was instrumental in getting them on board as the opening act of this tour.  “We couldn’t ask for more,” said Jones about the tour.  “We grew up listening to both bands, and I had posters of them on my wall.”

The craziest part is that these aren’t the only rock juggernauts these guys have already put in miles with.  They’ve also shared performances with Motorhead, Black Stone Cherry, and Alice Cooper among others.  Big name performances?  They’ve notched those too.  They’ve already gained experience playing at Download and Sonisphere, two of the biggest European festivals for music.

It’s easy to understand why Jones couldn’t ask for more. The group’s origins began in 2008, when Dani Mansworth began looking to start a band.  With him as the drummer, he quickly recruited Ben Brookland and Tagore Grey on guitar, along with Rick “Swoggle” Newman on bass.  After a six-month search for a vocalist, the group found Jones in Norwich and the road began for the five-piece.  The members of the band packed up and moved in with Mansworth and his father Laurie, who was no stranger to music himself.  The elder Mansworth has worked with such UK acts as More, Airrace, and Roadstar.  The group began almost daily practices, knowing exactly in which direction they wanted to go.  The sound is incredibly vintage for a band where all the members are in their late teens and early 20’s, but considering they list Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Thin Lizzy as influences, it should come as no surprise.  “We didn’t think we could be doing this all this quick,” said Jones.  “We all work hard at what we do.”

It’s easy to talk comparisons to some of these bands though, and often PR pieces will tend to use a lot of hyperbole when discussing a new band’s sound, strictly to get others to warm them up.  When Jones was given the chance to put the band’s style into his own words, he gave an opinion not far from others I’ve spoken with.  “We’re just a rock band.  We’ve got a classic rock feel with a youthful twist.”

The 14-track debut just premiered in the States on July 17th, being distributed through Spinefarm Records, and the upcoming EP features tracks that not everyone would recognize as “iconic” right away.  Picking tracks from artists like Canned Heat, Electric Light Orchestra, Slade, Jo Jo Gunne, and Chris Spedding, none of these tracks may possibly click in someone’s head.  The most notorious, at least people I spoke to can remember, is ELO’s “Evil Woman”, which is still not a track someone can point out instantly.

“We wanted to do songs people our age might not have heard of,” said Jones, and the selection work.  Instead of taking the safe route and tossing in something like “Back In Black” or “The Boys Are Back In Town”, the group threw in tracks like Canned Heat’s “Let’s Work Together”, or Spedding’s “Motorbikin'”.

The band is still young and there’s still several thousands of miles for this group to log before they near the number their heroes have traveled, but if their hard work is any indication, the group is more than up to the task.  “This Might Hurt” is available on iTunes, and “Then & Again” is actually available as part of the album on the iTunes store.  If you can’t see The Treatment in Chula Vista, they also play Irvine on August 14th.

Carolina Liar to headline The Griffin

Have you ever been to a show by your favorite band in the perfect, intimate setting that made it possible to not only enjoy the show, but also feel like that band is singing right to you? Well, if you haven’t, get out to the Griffin while the summer’s hot (or, while the summer’s as sticky as a roll of duct tape). The Griffin is getting a shiny new summer series, including a stop by pop rockers Carolina Liar on July 31st. And this is quite possibly the perfect setting for them.

Carolina Liar has been making serious waves while they (successfully) battle the sophomore slump with their second album Wild Blessed Freedom, and when you’re touring with heavy hitters like One Republic, Kelly Clarkson, and fellow up-and-comers We the Kings, you’re bound to make some important friends along the way. They’ve been compared to about a million and one solid acts, from the Killers to U2, but this group isn’t trying to fit into anyone else’s shoes.

They’re holding their own, delicately navigating the atmosphere of pop, while not being afraid to throw an out-of-the-box lyric your way. Lead singer Chad Wolf is brave enough to test the limits of his vocal prowess, and in songs like “Beautiful People”, he dares to sing the lyrics “‘Cause it’s beautiful people like you/Who get whatever they want/And it’s beautiful people like you/Who suck the life right outta my heart.”
Add in the catchy melodrama of tracks like “I Don’t Think So”, and the album starts to sound like a fresh approach on pop.

Check out the brand new video for their single “Drown” and let me know what you think.

Sure, there are a couple cookie cutter pop medleys that fall into a familiar pattern (namely, “King of Broken Hearts” and “Daddy’s Little Girl”), but overall, Carolina Liar isn’t just content with the ordinary. And a band that is willing to push its songwriting limits is pretty much guaranteed to impress you live.

Not to mention, venues like the Griffin make shows by bands like Carolina Liar an experience. There’s just something missing from the large arenas; a personal touch that really gives you the chance to enjoy the music, no matter what you listen to. So if you’re interested in being a part of that kind of experience, check out Carolina Liar at the Griffin on July 31st.

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Warped Pleasure of the Week: A party worth dying for

Maybe the rough yet melodic rockers of Funeral Party were on to something when they named their band; when you listen to the monotone yet searing vocals of Chad Elliott over the melodic and sometimes dance worthy riffs behind the music, it’s hard to tell whether it’s a funeral or a party. Perhaps these LA natives strive for both, and that’s what makes their music interesting to hear.

It’s easy to tell why they became a cult hit in their local neighborhood, but you have to give them props for catching the ear of Lars Stalfors, a producer who has worked with the likes of The Mars Volta, Juliette Lewis, and Reel Big Fish. Factor in their own decision to get dropped from predominantly pop-punk Fearless Records (they were later signed with Sony), and it’s now up to Funeral Party to not only prove they can hack it mainstream, but also convince us of their sound.

Pseudo-pop and ironic clashes of genres are the next big thing, making Funeral Party pretty damn catchy, despite the lack of melody in Elliott’s vocals. But I’m waiting to see if they can take the energy-driven garage show and put it in a package that will make Sony Music proud.

On a completely unrelated note, their website is probably one of the coolest I’ve ever seen. But what do you think? Would you see them at Warped?

Warped Pleasure of the Week: Dead Sara

It’s that time of year again boys and girls. Teenagers, PETA warriors, and one journalist-like, music loving blogger will be sweaty and dehydrated for the chance to see a handful of metal-core bands and one or two fairly awesome closers. But wait, don’t hate on Warped Tour just yet. I know it tends to be a biased music production, but with over 90 bands performing there is bound to be something for everyone — a few diamonds in the rough — which is why I’m highlighting some particularly shiny Guilty Pleasures of the Week for the rest of June.

I have to start with gruff, rough-around-the-edges rock group Dead Sara, because I have a weakness for female-fronted bands. And the first moment that I heard the unique vocals of Emily Armstrong part screaming, part singing over the powerful guitar riffs that are an ode to the nu metal style of the 90s, I was in love. Armstrong seems to channel the fiery rasp of Janis Joplin as she pours either pure emotion or raw energy (I can’t tell which one) into the lyrics “So go for the kill/’Cause no one else cares!” from the single “Weatherman”.

But don’t get me wrong, Armstrong is no Joplin. Armstrong is at times missing style and magnetism in her voice, causing some to say Dead Sara’s debut full length album as a whole falls a little flat.  Despite the huge growth spurt of the band, it’s probably going to be up to their live performances to convince audiences that they are definitely not a one-trick pony and have more to offer. (Just check out some of the meaningless heavy debate on the YouTube page for this video for more on how unconvinced a few people are.)

But… it is their first album. They are allowed a first album to put themselves out there and grow from here on out. Despite the lack of dynamic, I’m excited to see what they can pull out for their sophomore attempt. But what do you think? Do you think we’ll hear more from this band in the future?

Guilty Pleasure of the Week: I’ve got a girl crush on Kimbra

I’m pretty sure this counts as a girl crush. I daydream to this woman’s voice. I can’t stop listening to her lyrics! Though I have to admit, her accent is throwing me off and sometimes I have no idea what she’s saying. Who am I talking about? The lovely New Zealand talent Kimbra, that’s who.

Does she seem familiar? Perhaps you are one of the 48 million (and counting) who saw the famous video cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”, also known as five people playing one guitar. I saw that video. And I didn’t stop there. No, then I had to look up the original video, then I had to Google search the vixen that stole my heart with her cool cropped hair and amazing voice.

And what I found was Kimbra, a twenty something, jazz-inspired, Nina-Simone-possessed sensation who just recently dropped some goods for America in the form of an EP. And I really hope she catches on because her talent is undeniable, her style is a fresh new interpretation of jazz, and her adorable personality is completely contagious.

You’re so welcome. Also, ten points to everyone who spots the Kid Coolout in the video. Ten more points if you actually know who Kid Coolout is.

Mraz: He’s like a fine wine…

I swear I’ll get back to San Diego musicians very soon. Besides, he might not be from SD, but he does live here and that counts for something right? Jason Mraz, in my opinion, just gets better with age and his latest single proves this point. Forget calling him a “pop” musician, forget Geek in the Pink and his other forays into whimsical, light-as-air fluffy songs. Just sit back and enjoy the beautiful lyrics and the near perfect delivery of melody in Mraz’s latest single, “I Won’t Give Up On Us.”

For folk and indie lovers, it’s probably going to please you. For others, you might need a little bit more convincing. But the single does prove that Mraz may be harvesting an even more mature sound, and it definitely works for him. What do you think about this new single? Are you expecting a great fourth album to come from this?

Becoming a Part of the Social Club

Green room full of feather boas, stage lights and sombreros? Check. Oddly placed hanging decorations on the walls? Check. Contraband liquor smuggled in backstage? Check. When you’re hanging with local San Diego band Social Club, it’s never a dull moment.

Watch the Social Club Interview video. Click the HD button to watch in High-Definition.

I honestly never thought I’d see the green room of PB bar Typhoon Saloon (nor did I actually think that they had a green room), but I have to admit I’m impressed. The props that are stored back there make it an interesting place already, and after adding a few lights, me and my camera-savvy friend Thierry corralled all of the members of Social Club together for what proved to be a very interesting interview.

It’s so easy to relax and have fun around Thea and the three J’s (John, James, and Jeff — and yes I mixed up their names at some point that night.) And dubbed one of the “prettiest” bands on their label, they’re not too bad to look at, either. On stage or off, all of the band members have a unique energy: John with his searing emotions in each lyric and each point he makes about the band; Thea with her gentle mysteriousness; James and the famous faces he flashes on stage – when he’s not smiling brightly from ear to ear behind the scenes; and lastly Jeff, the energetic adventurer of the group who probably doesn’t need that double shot of espresso in the morning: he’s just naturally that energetic.

Yes, you’ll see the typical questions but one thing is evident; this band is full of unique and diverse personalities that show in their music as much as it shows in their personal experiences. Their sound is a huge catchall of everything good that just somehow makes so much sense. So basically, if Dr. Frankenstein had created musical life by adding a bit of punk rock, a bit of mellow singer-songwriter, some modern age hip hop influences here and there and sprinkled it all with a pinch of classical background, the creation would have been Social Club — only way more interesting and much more beautiful. Maybe they haven’t been compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein before. I swear that comparison made sense in my mind.

Don’t leave it up to me to describe their sound. Listen for yourself!

The very first Streetside Session

“PLEASE do this more often!”

That was only one of the many things that were yelled out at pop-rockers Social Club, as we filmed for the very first installment of Streetside Sessions. If you don’t know what a Streetside Session is (or you can’t guess from the extremely obvious title), then hang tight, because a video will be around here soon. And when it does get here, you’re welcome to swoon and ahh at the brilliance that is performing on the streets of San Diego. To say this shoot was fun would be an understatement. The day was spent in Bankers Hill and included balcony-spectators, rolling compliments, and even a five dollar bill from the window of one woman’s car. Drive-by donations, anyone? The video isn’t here quite yet, but in the meantime, enjoy some behind the scenes shots of the shoot.

I know, I know, we are such a tease.
Click photos to launch full-screen.