Saint Motel (4)

EXCLUSIVE: Saint Motel — Turning the Paradox of Life Into a Distinct Art Form

Saint Motel (4)
Saint Motel band members from left to right: lead guitarist Aaron Sharp, bassist Dak Lerdamornpong, drummer Greg Erwin, and vocalist A/J Jackson.

At the core of the universe exists a dire paradox—an impenetrable struggle between good and evil, and everything in between.

LA local band, Saint Motel is turning the paradox of life into imaginative magic by applying the concept of absurdity to a distinct art form that is all their own.

Composed of vocalist A/J Jackson, lead guitarist Aaron Sharp, bassist Dak Lerdamornpong, and drummer Greg Erwin, the men of Saint Motel are composing more than just music. They’re creating a unique way of thinking through music with all the eccentricity, energy, and symbolic randomness of something visionary.

Saint Motel (3)
From left to right: Greg Erwin, Aaron Sharp, Dak Lerdamornpong

The quirky quartet first met when Jackson and Sharp were attending film school at Chapman University in Orange, California, and from then on they’ve made a conscious effort to ride the wave of absurdity while attempting to find balance in everything.

“If a sound is really upbeat, we usually have negative lyrics,” explained Jackson to Meets Obsession Magazine before their recent show at DC9 in the Nation’s capitol.

“We try to create a dichotomy between good and bad. Things that you wouldn’t necessarily think would work together actually do.”

Inspired by everything from the falling of leaves, to the ingenious personas of Beethoven and Buddha, to plastic surgery, Saint Motel is a musical montage of disparate and engaging styles. They make modern music for modern minds with a respectful adherence to the literary, cinematic, theatrical and musical explorers that have come before them.

From their debut EP “ForPlayin 2009, Saint Motel has made a point of inserting subtle social commentary into their songs through a variety of random references to pop culture.

Reflecting on their song, “Dear Dictator,” Jackson explains, “It can be about so many things…rebelling against the man…or just man in general. Or maybe a past English teacher.”

“Or even Mussolini!,” interjected drummer Greg Erwin.

Jackson went on to say that with their songs, it’s best to “fill in the blanks and make it more personal to you.” And that’s what all great songs should instigate — a want to take what is given to you, and make it truly your own through interpretation and feeling.

With the release of their inaugural full-length album “Voyeur,” the band is exercising this same psychedelic/indie/dream pop style in a more creatively self-sufficient way.

Saint Motel (1)
Saint Motel performing live at DC9 in Washington D.C.

Saint Motel recorded half the album with the financing of a record label and half the album on their own dime, calling the process, “a truly liberating experience.”

Some of the standout tracks of “Voyeur” include “At Least I Have Nothing,” “Puzzle Pieces,” and “Daydream/Wetdream/Nightmare.”

“Daydream/Wetdream/Nightmare” captivates the whole surreal magnetism of dreaming, living, and yearning through melodic synthesizers and transitory chants.

Jackson reveals, “the song is kind of a dream…a differently structured song… a sort of rock opera, a journey from the daydream to the nightmare.”

With this new album, the four men of Saint Motel are once again utilizing their cinematic minds to turn captivating images and ideas into sounds.

Saint Motel seeks to find connections in the unconnected, and meaning in things that seem at first glance to lack any sort of meaning at all.

They accomplish this with vision, timely wit, personality, and a distinct sense of humor, proving that there are no limits to what can be expressed or achieved by blending different forms of art.

So turn down the lights, turn up the volume…and enjoy the show that is Saint Motel.

To buy Saint Motel’s new album "Voyeur"  and to check out upcoming tour dates visit here.

Stream Saint Motel's "Voyeur" below:

LISTEN: Tame Impala — “Apocalypse Dreams”

LISTEN: Tame Impala — “Apocalypse Dreams”

LISTEN: Tame Impala — “Apocalypse  Dreams”

Think The Beatles meets Pink Floyd meets Animal Collective…meets a multicolored sonic reincarnation of Andy Warhol with a modern twist.

This is what I felt when I listened to the new track “Apocalypse Dreams” by Australian band, Tame Impala for the first time.

Composed of front man Kevin Parker, Dom Simper, Jay Watson and Paisley Adams, Tame Impala brings psychedelic rock to a whole other level, modernizing and synthesizing sound into a Beatle-esque journey down a vibrant rabbit whole.

“Apocalypse Dreams,” off their new album  “Lonerism,” doesn’t resonate like an anthem depicting the end of the world—like the title of the track implies—but rather the song brings up a dreamlike sense of immortality and eternal possibility. Take a listen!

LISTEN: Taken by Trees — “Dreams”

LISTEN: Taken by Trees — “Dreams”

LISTEN: Taken by Trees — “Dreams”

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Taken by Trees’ New Song “Dreams”
Makes Dreaming in Reality... Seem Real

Dreams. What are they and why do they fade as quickly as they appear in the mind? Where do the images, colors and sounds of our dreams originate? And how do these subconscious visions percolate deep down into the cordial cores of our beings, in both sleep and waking life.

Dreams have been a consistent theme in art, music, film, philosophy and literature since the beginning of time.

The track “Dreams” off the ethereal solo project, Taken By Trees, by Swedish songstress Victoria Bergsman, dives into the mysterious depths of the subconscious, letting all the ephemeral mystery and real pertinence of dreams come alive in blissful electronic ecstasy.

“Dreams” is off her upcoming album “Other Worlds,” set for release on October 2, 2012. As the former lead singer of the band The Concretes, Bergsman has made a name for herself by her soothing voice and philosophically attuned disposition within songs.

Bergsman described the dreamlike allure behind her new song by saying, “But the kind of dream I am referring to in this song is more like a sense of longing, a vision of a place where things are quiet, like floating in the ocean off of Hawaii. I find that very hard, feeling at peace, feeling that things are OK just as they are. In the past I always feared that calm would lead to laziness, but now I see it more as a strength, something I want to achieve. The album is very much about that … and about finding love. It’s a feel good album.”

Dreams can be frightening, inspiring, and can sometimes begin to influence your life on the same level and intensity that memories do. And this track does just that. It makes you feel like you’re dreaming…in reality.

Eli Pearl and The Brixtones: Blurring the Lines between the Musical Past and the Musically Progressing Present

Eli Pearl and The Brixtones: Blurring the Lines between the Musical Past and the Musically Progressing Present

Eli Pearl and The Brixtones: Blurring the Lines between the Musical Past and the Musically Progressing Present

“A year ago, I was in the waiting room at an Emergency Room in San Francisco. I was waiting for my then girlfriend and out of nowhere this kinda pseudo-gospel song came to me and I immediately just started humming it over and over and typing the words as they came into my phone.

By the time I was done, I'd been sitting there for four hours. I walked in with a sick girlfriend and left with a new song... and her of course. It's when songs come together in unexpected situations like that--- that I appreciate most.”

-Eli Pearl (Lead Singer and Guitarist of The Brixtones)

It’s a beautifully prevailing thing to feel inspired by the past and dually captivated by the present. This is the power of true music and this is what musician Eli Pearl feels every time he picks up a guitar or listens to a record.

For Pearl, it has always been about the music. Ever since he was a little boy rebelling against those creativity-killers in the classroom of his French immersion school, music tempered his angst and set his emotions into creative motion.

“I was getting kicked out of class or sent to the principal’s office pretty much every day—if not multiple times a day, and she (my nanny at the time) would have to come and pick me up.” Pearl explained to Meets Obsession magazine. “At the time, she was dating a guy who played bass in a lot of respected metal groups around Los Angeles…we ended up at a garage-turned-studio and walked in mid take, and I just remember having my mouth wide open..”

And that was the beginning of the end for Pearl.

Eli Pearl as a young boy. Courtesy photo.

“When she dropped me home, she tried to convince my mom to get me a guitar and later that week, when she picked me up, there in the backseat was that guitar, I still have it.”

From that moment on, Pearl has consumed his life in creating music, “[learning] to invite the songs as they come” to him through different situations and strategies.

Sometimes in rebellion, there is truth and expression. And sometimes, with the proper instrument, an artist can harness his or her rebellion and can change the world—or at least change your world.

Pearl grew up in Los Angeles and was taking over the Sunset Strip as the lead singer of his band Slippery Velvet by age 13.

Even at 13, Pearl was experimenting with sewing his own clothes, piecing together fashion staples of the 60s and 70s in his own distinct way.

Inspired by the Stones, the Kinks, and Buck Owens to name a few, he discovered the art of performance and songwriting before he was old enough to shave, possessing an organic command of personality, fashion sense, and playing way beyond his years.

Pearl explains, “the largest comet to smack into my consciousness and open me up to a whole new level of songwriting has to be Harry Nilsson, not only was he a king among his fellow songwriters, but he was not afraid of utilizing humor in a clever and honest way, which is something that I believe has been lost or that people are scared of using.”

And this is exactly what Pearl’s music has always been about—using his humor, spontaneity, and fearlessness to unite and stimulate individuals on a profound level.

While touring the U.S. as a steel guitarist for the group, The Driftwood Singers and American rock band Maxim Ludwig & The Santa Fe Seven, Pearl consistently crafted his own sound and signature.

Now, older (an ancient 22) and wiser, he is set to “reinvigorate this cultural wasteland” through his new project entitled The Brixtones.

Partnered with British bell-bottom wearing bassist Harley Hill, the band combines a captivating folk nostalgia with an innovative push towards rock revolution.

And when we asked Pearl about his personal relationship with music and if he thought music could save the world, Pearl responded with certainty, “do I think music can save the world as a whole? No. Do I think music can save an individual person? Definitely.”

I’m tempted to agree with Pearl. We can all individually be saved by music- if only we open our hearts and souls enough to hear its healing harmonies.

The Brixtones are in the process of playing club venues in and around Los Angeles. Their next show is on Monday July 23 at The Mint in Los Angeles, CA. Click here for tickets.

LISTEN: The Kills — Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”

LISTEN: The Kills — Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”

LISTEN: The Kills — Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”

It’s a beautiful thing resurfacing something from the past and running it through a musical machine to create a wholly new and original sound.

The Kills, composed of American vocalist Alison Mosshart and British guitarist Jamie Hince, do just this in their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s trance-like tune “Dreams” on a new Fleetwood Mac tribute album called “Just Tell Me That You Want Me” set for release August 14th.

The Kills put an eerily tenacious twist on the quintessential breakup ballad originally written by Stevie Nicks, documenting everything both had and lost. The song seems to resonate around the beating of a drum, mimicking the beating of a heart.

Also, on the upcoming “Just Tell Me That You Want Me” Mac tribute, the ethereal Lykke Li gives a faithful cover of “Silver Springs.” Her voice is enduring, haunting and otherworldly.

LISTEN: Laura Marling — “New Romantic”

LISTEN: Laura Marling — “New Romantic”

LISTEN: Laura Marling — “New Romantic”

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Sprung from the soulful depths of Hampshire, England, 22-year-old Laura Marling spins a soothing kind of wit with her folksy voice and sharply attuned allure.

Her song, “New Romantic,” off of her “My Manic & I” EP, comes across as the quintessential modern love song.

With lyrics such as “I would never love a man 'cause love and pain go hand in hand,” the song is sarcastic, heartfelt, and full of an honest ounce of derisive candor.

“New Romantic” pokes at the incongruity of modern society and how individuals seem to fall in and out of a certain conception of love, loss, and longing in this new romantic way…

We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (7)

We Ask Influencers of Rock: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time?

We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (8)

The transitory allure of summer can come and go, but the music that accompanies such changes in weather, mentality, and life can last forever.

Summer anthems can make us feel alive, in love with the world and those in it, and ready to take on the expansive mystery of the universe. They can also be about loose morals and broken curfews. But either way, they evoke a certain feeling.

Summer anthems are empowering, freeing, and utterly boundless containing the command to set spirits soaring and radios cranking. We asked a handful of influential individuals in the music world to tell us what they’re rocking out to this summer.

Here were their answers:

Brian Baker | Minor Threat and Dag Nasty, Guitarist for Bad Religion

"My [summer song] would be "Grass" by XTC from their album 'Skylarking'."

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We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (6)
Matt Sorum
| Drummer of Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, and the Cult

“Kiss was my first concert at the age of 15 and set the tone for my life. It basically is a simple message -- live life to the fullest and party everyday like it is your last.”

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We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (2)
A.J. Jackson
| Lead Singer of LA buzzband Saint Motel

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Megan Friend
| Music Journalist for Meets Obsession Magazine

“When thinking about my summer anthem, one song in particular comes to mind. One that has resonated with me since the first moment I heard it years ago. “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve.

Anyone who has heard the provoking first notes of “Bittersweet Symphony” pierce through their car speakers can agree. It’s as if you’re waiting for the radiance of life to begin. And this is exactly what summer is. It’s a time of transition and a time of freedom. And what better way to encapsulate change, life, death, and all those moments in between than through music “cause it's a bitter sweet symphony this life...”

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Nick Papageorge
| Guitarist for thatwasthen

“Even though this is totally far-removed from my own musical style, one summer anthem that reminds me of my blissful college days and the ticking timebomb of summer excess is probably "My Girls" by Animal Collective.

The way the beat drops after the syncopated intro just screams "dance party," even juxtaposed with the airy, Brian-Wilson-like vocals and the idealistic lyrics.”

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We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (4)
Lonn Friend
| Rock journalist and author of Life on Planet Rock and Sweet Demotion

"So many to choose from, Beach Boys alone composed several, but for pure high temperature anthemic elation, my pick is Van Halen's "Beautiful Girls." Launched by one of the most infectious guitar hooks ever laid down. Van Halen II hit the stores in January 1979 two months before I graduated UCLA. Perhaps that's why the song still resonates so loudly in my L.A. born heart and soul. Freedom, females and rock n' roll.  Beautiful.”

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Cyril Niccolai
| Lead singer and guitarist of The Fairchilds

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We Ask Rock Royalty: What’s the Quintessential Summer Anthem of All Time? (5)
Trev Lukather
|Musician and the talented son of guitar prodigy Steve Lukather

LISTEN: Metric — “Speed The Collapse”

LISTEN: Metric — “Speed the Collapse”

LISTEN: Metric — “Speed The Collapse”

Metric always manages to create hauntingly powerful music that makes you feel fit to take over the world and leaves you inspired and wanting to dance.

The Canadian indie rock band, composed of the electric vocalist Emily Haines and the gifted guitarist James Shaw, has just released their new single “Speed the Collapse” off of their upcoming fifth studio album “Synthetica.”

The song title, “Speed the Collapse”  suggests a mysterious apocalyptic energy of demise and emotion, and yet the song follows the same style of previous Metric masterpieces, but also verges on a new realm of musical mood.

“Speed the Collapse” is eerie, upbeat, and full of supernatural synthesizing—veering towards paradox, veering towards ingeniousness.

"Synthetica" is set for release on June 12, 2012.

LISTEN: Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — “You’re A Lie”

LISTEN: Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — “You’re A Lie”

LISTEN: Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators — “You’re A Lie”

Just when you thought rock 'n' roll was dead, visionary guitar conqueror Slash of Guns N’ Roses has seemed to resurrect it.

Teaming up with Myles Kennedy, Slash has just released his second solo record, “Apocalyptic Love.”

Kennedy shows his volatile depth and musical dimension throughout the album alongside Slash’s timeless shredding.

Their new single, “You’re A Lie” seems to demonstrate some magically induced melodic combination. The pure vigor and electrically enthusing appeal of Slash with the divine vocal range of Kennedy meld perfectly.

“You’re a Lie” may prove to be an instrumental track for the ages- inspiring and instigating the hearts and souls of its listeners, eternally and entirely.

Album In Review: JD Samson & Men Release New “Time” EP

Album In Review: JD Samson & Men Release New 'Time' EP

Album In Review: JD Samson & Men Release New “Time” EP

Photo: Allison Michael Orenstein

So much great music is being filtered out of Brooklyn these days, and the visionary pop-rock group and performance art collective, JD Samson & Men is no expectation.

Men is bringing profound lyrics in a dance-friendly fashion onto the scene with their new EP entitled “Time,” which is set to be released this Tuesday May 8.

JD Samson & Men combine rock sensibilities with an electric dance beat throughout their newest record, and songs like “Time” show the comprehensively versatile style of the Brooklyn-based duo composed of JD Samson (of feminist, electropunk band Le Tigre fame) and Michael O’Neill.

Make Him Pay

The energetic musical pair has made a living out of combining different art forms meant to inspire and intrigue—and such is the case with their track “Time,” which captivates the feeling of the passing of time and articulates our human obsession and fear with this inevitable passing.

Musician Johanna Fateman and visionary artist Emily Roysdon provided assistance on the EP in creative invention and songwriting, while Alex Suarez of Cobra Starship produced the EP.

Songs like “Make Him Pay,” off “Time,” bring up stark questions about our current modernity. However, the pleasingly high-energy appeal of the song is not lost among fascinatingly profound lyrics.

“Take it Away,” on the other hand, proves that Samson and O’Neill are not only magicians of sound and beat, but that they’re also verging on becoming social activists through music.

LISTEN: Zola Jesus — “Avalanche”

LISTEN: Zola Jesus — “Avalanche”

LISTEN: Zola Jesus — “Avalanche”

Nika Roza Danilova, better known as Zola Jesus, has the exuding power to create worlds of mystical experimentalism in her music. She’s ambient and endearing in her lyrics, and in her ethereal voice.

Growing up in the remote city of Merill, Wisconsin, she developed a strong love for nature, its sounds, and its spirit.  Some of the most interesting aspects of Zola Jesus’ music are its philosophical undertones. Drawing influence from such existential thinkers as Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, Zola Jesus exudes sophistication far beyond her 23 years in her music and in her stage presence.

Zola Jesus’ track “Avalanche,” off her album “Conatus,” is prevailing, eerie and full of vigor.  Take a listen!

LISTEN Gold Leaves — “Cruel & Kind”

LISTEN: Gold Leaves — “Cruel & Kind”

LISTEN Gold Leaves — “Cruel & Kind”
Upon first hearing Grant Olsen of Seattle indie-folk band Arthur & Yu, I was blown away by his passionate lyrics and the way his voice melded effortlessly into the powerful notes he strung.

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Olsen’s new song, “Cruel & Kind” from his solo side project, Gold Leaves, radiates a certain eternality and existential acceptance to both life’s burdens and life’s blessings. Grant Olsen is a volatile modern poet depicting the stark prosaic reality of everyday life and the passing of time.

Through his music, he tells twisted tales of love, freedom, perpetuity, death, and defeat that we all share. In addition, there is a profound wisdom in his lyrics that’s difficult to describe. Olsen has the voice, harmony, and spirit to mend broken hearts and provide instances of hope to the hopeless. That is the power of true music and musicianship. Take a listen!

LISTEN: Beach House — “Bloom”


The new single “Lazuli,” off of Beach House’s anticipated upcoming LP “Bloom,” is full of surreal sophistication.

Beach House, the “dream-pop” pair consisting of French singer Victoria Legrand and Baltimore native Alex Scally, presents their music as ethereal travelers of dreamlike melodies.

The song makes you feel at ease with the world and as if all that seems in commotion in the universe will settle in time.

Reminiscent of the otherworldly music by Enya, “Lazuli” exudes peacefulness through its profound mantras of hymns and synthesizing harmonies.

Take a listen.

Music in Review: The All-American Rejects Live at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C.

The talented yet implausibly modest men of the All-American Rejects have traveled endless bounds in depth and delivery since their simple days of adolescence in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

On Sunday night at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C., the Rejects showed their tremendously electrifying command of persona to a completely full house of local fans of all ages and backgrounds.

With the release of their fourth studio album, Kids in the Street, the All-American Rejects are proving that lyrical growth is still possible in a band with their degree of exposure and mainstream appeal.

Over the years, the Rejects have quite honestly developed their musical techniques to the point of putting on a near flawless live rock show, while maintaining the youthful pop sensibilities that made them multi-platinum rock stars.

Front man and bassist Tyson Ritter resembled a second generation David Bowie at times as he gracefully spazzed around the stage in a fury of random and poetic intention.

Accompanied by writing partner and lead guitarist Nick Wheeler, drummer Chris Gaylor, and rhythm guitarist Mike Kennerty, Ritter was a powerhouse of personality and candor as he led his band through a set of favorites that included “Dirty Little Secret,” “Move Along,” and “Swing Swing.”

Highlights of the show included Ritter’s heartfelt, acoustic rendition of the new ballad “I For You,” a mature and melodic outlook on the riled confusion of heartbreak, love and defeat. The raw energy in the electrified venue was undeniable.

The Rejects were intimately connected to the adoring audience through the entire set, dispensing lyrical lessons on life’s uncertain and excessive tendencies.

Before the opening of their new “Kids in the Street” title track,  Ritter urged the crowd of whistling and wailing kids to think for themselves, be human even if that means at times disrupting the status quo and live like you’re alive.

I guess sometimes it’s a powerful thing to be a reject

LISTEN: Delta Spirit — California

LISTEN: Delta Spirit — “California”

LISTEN: Delta Spirit — California

There’s something marvelously dynamic about California. Having grown up there, I can say with certainty that every Californian should step outside of themselves, and their laidback oceanic sensibilities of the land of eternal sunshine to see something new and beautifully out of their comfort zone.

Delta Spirit’s song “California,” off their new self-titled album, summarizes the eternal sensibility of California.

“California” forms in melodies captured in the curls of breaching waves, and weaving green coasts. It’s a song that doesn’t just refer to a specific location, but evokes the essence of such a quintessential location on the human earth.

In “California,” the San Diego locals capture all those California sunsets that you swear are too picturesque, momentary and precise to actually exist.

It is a song of change, longing for not just a place, but rather a feeling that you call home.  Take a listen!